Monday, September 20, 2010

Unintended Hiatus

Wow. I haven't logged onto Blogger for about two or three weeks. School started and life immediately disappeared. I'm slowly getting a decent schedule, three weeks in, and shall hopefully be back into updating this very soon. I'm glad to have that schedule fixed now; it will make updating much much easier.

Along with lack of updating, I haven't been able to do much non-school related reading. Which is just awful because I bought a bunch of books with my excess aid that I've been really wanting to read. And now they're just sitting there.... 

I'm working this week on getting caught up in some classes and ahead in others. Hopefully by next week, I'll be ahead in all of my classes (or at least the ones where getting ahead is a possibility). Once I reach this goal, doing fun things -- like reading, knitting and blogging -- will be more possible.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Craftie Allie is OPEN!

Click the picture to go check out the beanies I currently have for sale. I"m already in the process of making/designing other things but I wanted to get some custom orders completed first.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was going to buy Mockingjay tomorrow after I got my excess aid. I went by the education department's library at my university today and look what was there, ready to be check me! (I love being the first person to check out a book!)

...I'm a lot more excited that I appear, promise. Murray was trying to get my attention.

SO! I'm off to go read now! SO EXCITED! I've been avoiding book blogs because of this book, haha.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

The Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read

  1. Pride and Prejudice :: Or really, classics in general. I love reading but I have such a hard time getting through this book and others like it. I'm under the impression I will have to audio book these classic novels someday, just so I can check them off my list.
  2. 1984 :: I've started this numerous times, I've just never been able to get into it. One day....
  3. The Hobbit + Lord of the Rings :: Again, these are books that I would consider a Must Read for anyone who loves literature. 
  4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy :: I've read the first chapter. It's amazing, or so I've been told, but I don't see it. 
  5. The Vampire Chronicles :: These are books I've heard about for my entire life. I've read other work by Anne Rice and was able to get through it, but these books are just too difficult. Actually, it isn't the books that are difficult. Louis is difficult and I refuse to read the rest without reading the first. I'm currently working my way through Interview With a Vampire. Very slooowly.
  6. Anything by Mark Twain :: I don't know how I've gone twenty-three years without encountering a novel, but I've somehow succeeded. Everyone else I know had to read at least something for school, but I somehow missed out on it.
  7. The Fountainhead :: I include this only because I've been wanting to read a Ayn Rand book for a while now and just never had the chance. I found this one for $.50 at Goodwill once and bought it. Maybe one day I can knock this one of this list.
  8. The Jungle Book :: I feel like this was something I should have read years ago. For someone who loves literature as much as I do, I've really missed out on a lot of things....
  9. Memoirs of a Geisha :: I've owned this one for years. It just keeps getting moved from shelf to shelf as I move from place to place without ever being picked up.
  10. Jane Eyre :: I've talked to a lot of people who do not necessarily enjoy "classics" but love this book. Maybe I should give it a shot instead of trying to jump headfirst into the classical genre.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Murray Monday

I've decided to make Mondays Murray Mondays, which will feature pictures of my baby and any information I would like to write about him. For the first entry, you get to see his sleepy side.

Today, we took a trip about 1.5 hours away to visit with my mother. She wanted to see her new granddog, plus had some things to get me and I needed to get tags for my car. So I packed up a towel, two or three toys/things for him to chew on, food and water and off we went!

Until I got on the interstate, he was incredibly annoying. I've driven with him before and he's always been rather well behaved. Today, not so much. At least while we were in town. As soon as we hit the interstate, he fell asleep on my leg and I eventually moved him to the passenger seat where he slept the rest of the trip away.

Mom fell in love with him immediately, as did everyone else who was working in her office today. He's just too lovely for a person to not completely fall head over heels. 

My mother and I grabbed lunch and ate in her office and, once our meal was completed, he fell asleep in her arms. And then he slept the rest of the way home. And then he slept all day in the house. Puppy enjoys sleeping. A lot.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: August 20 - 23, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question comes from Libraryscatbooks!

How many blogs do you follow?

On blogger, I follow 32 blogs. On LiveJournal, I follow over 40 blogs (plus probably about as many communities). On Tumblr, I follow over 90 blogs. I don't read every blog every day. In fact, I've been having issues with LiveJournal for a while now and probably have a week's worth of entries to read. I read the blogs when I have a chance. 

I enjoy blogging, though I'm not very good at it, and I enjoy being part of a community of people (on various host sites) that also enjoy it. And I'm always looking for more book blogs to help inspire me to make this one better. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quick Life Update

I set up a weekly schedule in regards to updating this blog, hoping to get in some form of a habit. I had planned on starting it this week but I have a little distraction....

Meet Bill Murray, though we just call him Murray. He's a purebred pug that we were able to get for free! He's nine weeks and two days old, so he's demanding a lot of my time currently. We're busy house training, crate training and leash/collar training. He's taking his 50th nap for the day, so I'm hoping I'll be able to start my new schedule either today or tomorrow, though I may just wait until next week. Depends on how things go tomorrow. Today wasn't so bad, though Murray is not a fan of all of the rain we're currently receiving.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: August 13 - 16, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

I've seen quite a few of my fellow book bloggers participate in this in the past. I thought this week I would give it a try!

This week's question comes from Michelle from Michelle’s Book Blog!

How many books do you have on your 'to be read shelf’?

I couldn't even begin to guess! Max has a bunch of books that I've never read, most of which I have no real interest in reading but still have intentions to give them a shot. Then I have books that I've bought over the years but have yet to pick up. But no real clue on the number, really.

The only number I can give is the total on my Good Reads account, which is 85. I'm rather certain I could match that with the books we own that I plan on reading, though.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I finished this novel a couple of weeks ago. I've been wanting to review it but...I haven't really known what to say about it.

I'll start off with writing a brief synopsis, something I've been meaning to do but when I sit down to write these reviews, all I am really able to do is type out what I thought. 

The novel is told from the perspective of three people who all have one person in common. This person is an artist, Robert, who is arrested for trying to stab a painting. Then there is a psychiatrist, Marlow, who ends up with Robert as a patient. Marlow is also a painter, so he has that in common with Robert. Since Robert refuses to talk, though, that's really all Marlow is able to go by. 

When Marlow begins to research some of Robert's history, we are introduced to our second perspective, Kate. Kate is Robert's now ex-wife and she tells us her part of the story. Later, we are introduced to Mary, Robert's girlfriend after he leaves his wife and also a fellow painter. Together, they piece a story that is amazing and intoxicating.

In between these perspectives -- or really the story about Robert -- are letters from the past. Letters that were found on Robert and is an obsession of his, fueling his obsession with painting a particular woman. 

I want to write more, but honestly, the more I write, the more I'll give away. This is why I have a hard time doing synopsis: I never know when to shut up.

This is Kostova's second novel, the first one I've read of her's. I've started The Historian numerous times but could not get into her writing style. I am a sucker for historical fiction based on art history (fact or fiction), though, and was able to put my all into this. It was a rough start. I feel like her writing style never suited Marlow, whose perspective dominated the majority of the novel. When told from either Kate or Mary's point of view, though, I found the novel to be really hard to put down.

My only other real critique is that, though this novel is just shy of 600 pages, I felt shorthanded at the end. While this is ultimately the story about Robert and his obsession, there were many sub-plots that I feel were started and not developed as much as they could have been. While this is probably the best idea (too much would have take away from the main story), I almost wish there had been an epilogue of sorts to update me on those sub-plots. To give closure to those sub-plots. Or maybe this is just one of those stories where I don't want it to end.

While hard in places, overall, I found this novel to be very exciting, captivating and interesting. It has given me more interest in reading (and actually completing) The Historian, which I might tackle once I finish the books I am currently reading. I would most definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, psychological fiction and novels concerning art and art history. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I didn't "do" the Harry Potter books until quite recently. Within the past two years, to be precise. I tried to read the first one when I was younger but could not get into it. I regret shunning them for as long as I did. And I regret shunning the movies, as well. I know I'm a late fan and do not wish to label myself a "Harry Potter Nerd" because I feel that label belongs only to people who have been around Harry since the beginning (or at least close to it).

I'm a Junior Nerd.

I re-read the series (well all but two) a few months after completing it the first time around in preparation of the sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Later that year, for my birthday, my mother bought me the entire series and so I decided to read them again. I'm in no rush currently and tend to just pick them up when I need some light, entertaining reading.

This book was one of the two I didn't re-read my second go through so this was only my second time reading it. The first time, I loved it and flew it so quickly. This time...I was almost bored. I cannot take the whiney-ness that is Harry in this one. I didn't like it the first time around but the story was so captivating that I was able to just put that aside. This second time, though, it was all that I seemed to notice.

While I didn't enjoy it that much the second time around, I do rate this one rather high on my list. Number 3 or 4 out of the 7, most definitely.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm part of the college students geared reading group on Good Reads and some of the members of the group have started a book review blog. This is a meme they've started and I hope to participate when I'm able to!

  Top Ten Books I'd Want On A Desert Island!

  1. Water For Elephants by Gruen :: This is a rather recent read but I seriously love it. It's one of those that I cannot wait to read again. 
  2. Flowers for Algernon by Keyes :: This book never ceases to amaze me (and make me cry). 
  3. The Thirteenth Tale by Setterfield :: Again, I only read this book for the first time earlier this year but I immediately fell in love with it. It's one that I feel I need to put myself back into and get a good feel of the story and see what all I've missed.
  4. The Lady and the Unicorn by Chevalier :: I've come to the conclusion that Chevalier is my favorite author. She is the only writer whose work I've read completely (her newest one is my upcoming book club pick and I'm incredibly excited to read it even though her last book didn't really impress me as much as I would like). There's just something about her writing style that sinks me in. This was my first book of hers and it's always remained my favorite.
  5. Alice I Have Been by Benjamin :: I need at least one book I've yet to read on here, I think.
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas :: This has been my favorite book since high school, though I've only read the abridged. I'm hoping to tackle the unabridged some time this year.
  7. Shadow of the Wind by Zafon :: Again, another book I've only discovered this year but it's another that I really want to read again and feel out completely.
  8. The Birth of Venus by Dunant :: A book I read in high school and loved. I'm really big on stories that have something to do with art and/or artists.
  9. The Crimson Petal and the White by Faber :: It took me forever to finally sit down and tackle this book. But it was a wonderful experience and I would love to read it again some time.
  10. The Entire Harry Potter Series by Rowling :: Cheating? Oh, darn. Then I'd randomly pick either the Half-Blood Prince or The Deathly Hallows

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a book that one is led to believe is solely about a project taken on by the author, Julie Powell. But once the novel begins, the reader is taken on a ride a whole lot farther than he or she probably wants to go.

Julie is about to turn 30 and feeling like she hasn't accomplished much -- if anything -- in her life. And so she sets up this project: In one year's time, she is going to complete the 524 recipes written out by Julia Child in her first cookbook, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. What was originally started out as a blog became a book which then became a movie. 

I had no interest in reading the book or viewing this movie until earlier this year. The movie kept coming up in conversations with friends and teachers and when I learned it was to be a future book club read, I went ahead and watched the movie via Netflix when I had nothing better to do.

The movie was better. And the only reason this truly bothers me is because this book had such great potential!

The parts that were strictly Project related were great. I devoured those parts, loving to read about the recipe as Julia has written while also reading about the recipe as Julie perceived and performed it. The mishaps, the challenges, the wins, the losses. All of that was wonderfully interesting.

The other parts, though, those I could have dealt without. The parts about her family, the parts about her job, the parts about her friends: the one deciding whether or not it was okay to have an affair, the one deciding whether or not she wanted a divorce, the friend who took for-effin'-ever to pick up a couch.

Seriously: Did not care for and still do not care for. Maybe these parts helped in being able to know who was who later when friends started to come over to eat closer to the end of the project. This is the only reason I can account for telling us their lives. I felt as if I were peaking in on things I had no part of.

Aside from those parts, I found this book enjoyable. Some days her writing style irked me, and I honestly have no idea if this is related to her actual writing style or my mood for that day. And reading the book really added an aspect to the movie for me and made me like it more.

I want to give this book 2 stars but I give it the extra one for the chapter about the lobster (my favorite chapter, hands down) and the last couple of chapters. They really saved the book in my eyes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I loved this book, though I didn't think I would. The writing is captivating and intriguing, leaving me to wonder about the characters even when the book was not in hand.

If I were a history buff, I would hate this, I totally see that. I went to Wikipedia and read through the historical inaccuracies and there are quite a few and all a big deal to the story. But I wasn't reading this book to learn about history. I realize that most historical fiction books take a small detail and just go with it. Yes, they do research but most authors will strictly stay away from the books whose findings would go against the story they would want to write.

As I said, I wasn't researching history: I was interested in the story Gregory concocted.

I could have used 50 more pages, though. I see why it ended the way it did and I actually enjoyed that. At the same time, though, I was interested in (fictional) Mary's story. I wanted to read more about her life after this last event. I wanted to read about them going back to their home, children in tow, and how their life was. I found (fictional) Mary to be a wonderful character and fell in love with her without even realizing it.

Overall, inaccuracies aside, I found this book to be interesting, captivating and kinda trashy all in one. The characters sprang up from the pages for me, vivid in my mind. It's the day after I completed the novel and I still see them every now and then. It was an addicting story and I'm happy to have read it. 

Whether or not I'll read any of her other books, though, I cannot decide. I did find one of her other books at a used bookstore that I'm planning on going back to today. I have a handful of books from school I'd like to get rid of and they give store credit when books are brought in. I'm sure I'll come home a few more books richer and will hopefully have a place for said books.

And we're back on the air!

School is out* and I am ready to jump back on the wagon, finally! I've restarted my 101 in 1001 challenge with a brand new list. This list features some reading goals, one of them being to review every book I read while doing this challenge. I'm not allowed to start another book until the review is written. This is pretty much the only way I can get this done.

I finished my first book for this challenge and have already written the review on my Good Reads account. I'm about to copy/paste plus maybe add a few things here. I'm just happy to say that this is back on!

I still have quite a few books I have not reviewed. I have every intention of writing at least a couple of sentences on each of those books with a rating. I think I'm in the right mentality now to do this, plus I won't allow myself to read more until I get this caught up. I'll be on campus all day tomorrow; I plan on doing it there.

I'm hoping this journey will start going well. I need to prove to myself that I can stick to something and see it through....

*It's not really out for me. I am taking an online physics class that takes up more time than I would like but that is beside the point

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Paper Towns by John Green

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a novel about two teens, Quentin "Q" Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman. They've known each other since they were children and Q is rather in love with this Margo who he has known for so long, yet knows nothing about. 

Although neighbors and almost lifetime aquaintances, Q and Margo never really hung out. Until one night when Margo appears at Q's window and takes him on a night of adventure full of revenge that Q will never forget. Upon parting each other, Q is left with the hope that they can finally be real friends. But the next day, Margo isn't at school. Or the next. Or the next. Margo disappearing was not anything new -- she was a very adventurous person who has many stories of just leaving. But her disappearance left Q uneasy. Why would she spend that night with him and not tell him she planned on leaving? Although she was adventerous, she didn't just up and leave. She made plans. She always leaves a trail.

This time, she left a trail for Q to follow.

Q enrolls his friends Radar and Ben and together, they try to piece together the clues. Q believes that Margo wanted to be found especially by him. And this thought left him with so much hope. So much hope.

This was my first book by John Green though I've heard good things about his other novel, Looking for Alaska (review soon). I found this to be incredibly interesting and it kept me captivated page after page. It was a very fast read and I'm rather certain I will read it again in the future -- and I'm not usually one to re-read books.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a story about Susie Salmon, a 14 year old girl who one day takes a short cut home only to be lured into a secret place (built by a neighbor), raped and then murdered. This is what we learn in the beginning. The rest of the novel shows us what happens after her death -- in her "life" and those of hers around here.

Susie is stuck in what is coined as the "inbetween", coined justly due to the fact that it is in between earth and heaven. Some of the novel tells us what happens to Susie while in the inbetween. She describes the world in which she now lives, the people she meets, how she is able to get whatever she could ever want. The other part is informing us what happens to her friends and to her family after her passing. She even keeps us updated on the life of her killer.

This was an amazingly touching and moving story. When I first started it, I found myself not wanting to put it down. But (without discussing specific events) I lost interest. I found myself forcing my way through some of the chapters. Some of the things were just too...odd to be believed. Some of the things were just too much to read. 

Overall, though, I found the story to be interesting, just too long. Too much padding almost yet not enough information at the exact same time.

I did go see the movie directed by Peter Jackson. And I must say I did not find it enjoyable. He made quite a few changes -- understandably -- but I found it not making sense. And a lot of the relationships that developed that were such a big deal in the novel were either nonexistent or barely touched upon. And honestly, the parts about the building relationships were what I found so interesting.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This is the first installment of the book series the HBO television series "True Blood" is based upon. The first book introduces us to Sookie Stackhouse, a southern girl with what she coins a "disability". Sookie lives in a Bon Temps, Louisiana in a time where vampires have finally decided to "come out of the coffin". When Sookie finally meets (and saves) a vampire, Bill, her entire world begins to change. Vampires. Murder. Mystery. What isn't there to enjoy?

Quite a bit, actually.
I watched the first season and the majority of the second season of "True Blood" long before I picked up this novel. I started reading it once in Books-a-Million but found the writing style to be horrendous and lost interest in it. Though, seeing the writing style, it made me realize that the television show -- which also has horrendous writing -- didn't butcher the novel(s) as I had originally thought.

Once you look past the writing, whether in book or novel form, the story is at least interesting. The show gets rather ridiculous fast, which makes me wonder if I'll ever bother with the rest of the written series, but it sucks you in completely. This is a vampire soap opera -- that's the best way I can explain it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Note

I've completed 7 books thus far this year but have no reviews to show for it. This is my fault; I let school get in the way of this project. And I fear now that I've let too much time pass to give good reviews to the books I've read. I have a couple handwritten that I will type up soon. The others will remain review-less.

I'm going to get on the ball with this, though, and make sure I at least write a review out by hand the day of completion. I finished a novel this morning. I plan on working on the review after I knock out an hour or two of homework.
I think I'm just nervous for I've never written a book review before. And when I'm nervous or uncertain about something -- especially a new adventure, like this -- I tend to let other things take its place of importance. I won't be doing that anymore, though.

By Saturday, I will have reviews posted. Or this blog (and therefore goal) is just pointless.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Reading Challenge: 12 TBR Books

I finally made a Good Reads account and joined the group The Book Addicts. They have a challenge of reading 12 books of your "to be read" list during 2010. I joined the group just for this challenge; I really need to start ticking away this TBR list. The following is my list of books I plan on reading. Click the links to read reviews!

Note: The books on this list will appear also on the full list here. They will not be part of any other reading challenges I might partake in.

01. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold Completed on: January 19, 2010

02. A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire
03. The Green Mile by Stephen King
04. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
05. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
06. The Labyrinth by Catherynne M. Valente
07. Many Lives Of Tom Waits by Patrick Humphries
08. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
09. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
10. Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde
11. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
12. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

2010 Reading Challenge: A - Z

In 2009 I took on the A-Z Reading Challenge. I got about half of the letters completed. I find it such an interesting challenge, I want to challenge myself again this year! The following is the challenge I have chosen and the books I have read. Click the links to read the reviews!

Note: The books on this list will appear also on the full list here. They will not be part of any other reading challenges I might partake in.

Option B: Read titles A to Z. Commit to reading 26 books theoretically speaking.

A :: Addition by Toni Jordan
B :: Beloved  by Toni Morrison
C ::
D :: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
E ::
F :: The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
G :: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson
H :: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I :: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
J :: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
K ::
L :: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
M ::
N ::
O :: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
P :: Paper Towns by John Green
Q ::
R ::
S :: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
T :: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
U ::
V ::
W :: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
X ::
Y ::
Z ::