Friday Update

FridayHappy Friday everyone!!

It feels like ages since I’ve posted anything really consistently.  The last time I didn’t post for a long time it was only about a month off.  This time it’s been like 3 or 4.  Yikes!!

So I’m really contemplating what I want to do with my blog, especially since the site is coming up for renewal on GoDaddy soon too.  Should I keep it?  Of course I want to, but if I’m not posting on it hardly at all, then what’s the point?

I’m not going to stop blogging because I love having this site as a place where I can track the books I read.  If anything, it’s the Books Read in 2014 page that I update and maintain the most.  So I’ll keep it if just for that and hopefully get to a point where I can post more often.

But right now I’m so busy with work and other volunteer activities, as well as making time for hobbies and fun, travel, etc.  I did just take a vacation and got some reading done but only actually finished one long book because I was really active and didn’t have a lot of down time for reading.  It was a hiking in the mountains type vacation, not a lying on the beach reading kind.

Also, I’m not reading very much.  Last month I only read 5 books, 2 really because the other three were short graphic novels.  The two months before that, only 7 books; again, mostly graphic novels.  So that has dampened my blogging enthusiasm because I’m not just involved in reading so much right now.

StreaksOf course I’d like that to change and so I’m making a concerted effort to read more. I even started a streak on this app called Streaks which is a motivational calendar.  I tick off each day that I read and so far I’ve been doing pretty good.  I also finished my first book of the month (granted it was a short one), and we’re only 5 days into September so yay for that!

Another solution I’ve come up with is to make video reviews of books.  I did make some videos in the past and don’t remember why I stopped.  While it might seem like it would be more work to make videos, edit, and upload, I actually think it would be less time consuming than all the steps I take to create a blog post.  What I go through is:

1) Find the book in Goodreads
2) Copy the link to the book
3) Save the picture of the book cover on my computer
4) Upload the picture, including the link
5) Copy the information about the book: summary, year published, page count, etc.
6) Type up the review (this is the easy part)
7) Categorize
8) Publish

For some reason that all sounds so exhausting right now.  I could just type up random review posts without pictures or details but that’s boring and I feel anything worth doing is worth doing right.  So if I don’t have time to do it to my standards, it remains undone. Or maybe I should try the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin.  Would that solve my problem?

So yes, that’s why I’ve been away and I’m not sure when I’ll be back to normal.  Of course, the longer I’m away, the more books pile up, and then it’s overwhelming and that doesn’t help matters.  So perhaps I should just dive in with current books and get caught up there and then work my way back.

Until I decide or begin posting again, that’s the latest…I hope you all are getting much more reading and blogging done than I am.  I still need to catch up on my blog feeds which swelled up to 400+ posts while I was away so I guess I’ll find out when I get to those too!  Happy reading everyone!!

Would You Rather: Book Tag

Today on YouTube I saw a video by The Readables about a new book tag created by RayKayBooks on YouTube.  Even though it’s the BookTube edition and I do have a BookTube channel which I haven’t posted on in ages because I’ve been crazy busy, I decided to do a quick post here on the blog because I thought it’d be fun.

1. Would you rather read only trilogies or stand alones?

I would rather read only stand alone books.  I’m not a huge fan of series anyway and most of them I feel are way too drawn out and go on forever.  In general I prefer stand alones so I don’t think I’d be missing out on too much if I just stuck with those.

2. Would you rather read only female or male authors?

Hmm, I think the majority of my favorite books and also all the books on my TBR are written by men so, in order to read as many of the books I have on my TBR, I’d have to say only male authors.

3. Would you rather shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?

I don’t usually buy books and when I do it’s usually because it’s obscure and I can’t find it at the library or traditional bookstores so I end up on Amazon.  But, if I were a person who bought books, I’d rather support an actual bookstore and go there in person to buy my books, so I’d say Barnes & Noble.

4. Would you rather all books become movies or TV shows?

I’d rather see the book adapted to a TV show because then they could remain true to the book and include all the important bits and really spend time developing characters and plotlines.  Of course ideally it’d be a really high quality TV show on HBO or something that was really well done.

5. Would you rather read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

Reading just 5 pages a day would be torturous, especially if it was a great book, so I’d say 5 books per week.

6. Would you rather be a professional reviewer or author?

As fun as it would be to get paid to read and review books, I think I’d rather be an author. I’m sure it’s a lot of work, but it’s always been something I’ve daydreamed about and I’d love to experience it.

7. Would you rather only read your top 20 favorite books over and over or always read new ones that you haven’t read before?

I don’t generally re-read and many of my favorites I have such fond memories of that I wouldn’t want to spoil them because I’m sure I’ve changed a lot since I first read them. So I’d say always read new books.

8. Would you rather be a librarian or book seller?

I think I’d like to be a book seller.  It’d be fun to have my own shop and get to select books and recommend them to customers and help others find amazing reads.

9. Would you rather only read your favorite genre, or every genre except your favorite?

I don’t really have a favorite genre, but if I did I think I’d rather read from that because I’m pretty picky about books and there are a lot of genres I really don’t like, so I’d be fine sticking to one genre like, science fiction, for example.

10. Would you rather only read physical books or eBooks?

I’d have to say only physical books because I really do prefer them.  That would complicate things when I travel or go on vacation, but I guess I’d just have to find a way to deal with it.

What about you?  Which of these would you prefer?  Feel free to copy this and do a blog post or leave your answers in the comments below!

Friday Finds (10)

Friday FindsHere are my Friday Finds for the week!
20797535From Jenn’s Bookshelves post called Summer Book Preview, June 2014, Part III
A Better World by Marcus Sakey
6215736 From Booklover Book Review’s Post called Daily Book Wishlist
UFO in Her Eyes by Xiaolu Guo
20764862 From The Literary Omnivore’s post called The Week in Review
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
18343196 From a review by JulzReads
Killer Instinct by S.E. Green
19301797 Another review by JulzReads
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker (A book within a book? Tell me more!)
18693956 From a review by Bibliophile by the Sea
Seven Lives and One Great Love, Memoirs of a Cat by Lena Divani (What a cool title and idea!)
195674 From random recommendations on Reddit
Aquamarine by Carol Anshaw

Friday Finds (9)

Friday FindsHere are my Friday Finds I came across while catching up on episodes of Books on the Nightstand:
17465246 Books! by Murray McCain
17669036 The Bear by Claire Cameron (audiobook recommendation)
5369 The Amber Room by Steve Berry
17910163 Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
13872 Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
17465700 A Life in Books by Warren Lehrer
20170296 Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
13129925 Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix18373305 FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics by Simon Oliver

Friday Finds (8)

Friday FindsHere are my Friday Finds for this week!
20575865 Meatloaf in Manhattan by Robert Power
18310561 The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

From Leeswammes post on New Books
18498565 The Book of You by Claire Kendal

From the Library Loot post by Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
4499464 Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson

18667964From Unabridged Chick’s review post
Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Stephanie Thornton

18089902From Entymology of a Bookworm’s review
The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo

19484015From Booklover Book Review’s post on Noteworthy Book Releases in May
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

Before We Leave You by Patricia Cori

9358591Before We Leave You: Messages from the Great Whales and the Dolphin Beings by Patricia Cori (2011)
212 pages
Goodreads Summary: What if whales and dolphins truly do have a superior intellect, as many believe, and can speak to the human race? What would their message be? In November 2008, gifted clairvoyant Patricia Cori was in Jordan teaching a workshop when a life-changing event occurred. A community of Cetaceans—“a choir of whales and dolphins,” as she describes it—interrupted her talk with a frantic plea for help. Cori was suddenly witness to a devastating scene of suffering, a communal grieving of scores of whales and dolphins “frenzied, lost, and dying.” This was the first of several terrifying calls for help, all of which were immediately followed by mass suicide events as these majestic creatures collectively chose to leave us and our planet. 
These troubling incidents evolved into the stream of messages for humanity that Cori reveals in this extremely timely work. The whales and dolphins present their deep understanding of our urgent global situation, calling for the human race to restore balance to our ecosystems—especially our dying oceans. For the first time, we read the communications of the Cetaceans and their story of devotion and celebration of life on the Great Planet Earth. We are also given a glimpse of their role in the unfolding of galactic events throughout our solar system, and the message is clear: We must wake up and realize that our continued abuse of the environment is altering the course of Gaia’s progression to the next dimension. Without the whale and dolphin song—without these musicians who hold the oceans in balance—we risk our advancement through the ascension process for which our entire solar system is destined. Before We Leave You is a roadmap to that higher future and a pathway to global transformation. 

I’ve been curious to know more about animals of the ocean, especially whales and dolphins.  There’s one book on this topic in particular I’d love to get my hands on, Ripple by Tui Allen, but haven’t been able to locate a copy at my library.  When I came across this one and saw my library had just ordered a copy, I immediately reserved it.

In the book the author talks about how she was contacted by the consciousness of the water beings and the messages they shared about their importance to our planet.  The book was overall a lot drier than I had expected.  She shared a lot of background and random information and experiences before actually speaking about the importance of the whales and dolphins.

I was expecting something like questions and answers, or little snippets of fascinating information.  Instead I had to force myself to keep reading to get to the parts I was anticipating.  And to be honest, I don’t think I really grasped that much after reading it.  I think the book could have been a lot clearer and made it’s point much better if it had just stuck to information and presented it in an easy to read way.

Still, I was really affected by this book because of some of the information.  I love water animals like dolphins and whales and find them fascinating.  But I had no idea of the greater purpose they serve.  Apparently their songs and sounds are encoded with vibrations that help balance out the earth and contribute to the health of our planet.

I also had no idea just how damaging the things that we do in and near the water is to these creatures.  And I don’t follow the news so I had no idea so many whales and dolphins were “committing suicide” by beaching themselves because they found conditions in the oceans so intolerable.

Reading this book really gave me a new appreciation for these animals and made me realize the importance of helping them and preserving our oceans.  I wish the author had included more resources of how to get involved and make a difference.  I did find myself looking up some organizations and taking actions to educate myself, get more involved, and spread the message about the importance of the oceans and the need to take care of the water as it is home to so many important animals.

I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in a deeper understanding of whales and dolphins.  It isn’t a perfect book but it is one of the few I’ve found on the subject, so if you’re interested, this book might be one you’ll enjoy reading.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey by Camaren Subhiyah

15825744Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey: A Parody of Downton Abbey by Camaren Subhiyah (2013)
128 pages
Goodreads Summary: The hit series Downton Abbey, upon which this parody graphic novel is based, has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards in 2012, including an acting nomination for Brendan Coyle, who plays valet John Bates (a.k.a. Agent Gates). Our book will release in January 2013, in time for the premiere of season 3 in the U.S.While the Granville family dutifully entertain their guests at Devonton Abbey, an ace team of Secret Service agents camp out as unsuspecting household staff, protecting the Royal Crown and her citizens from impending world war.

Who is aware of the international intrigue concealed below stairs? Will Agent Gates save Britain from her enemies while ensuring Devonton Abbey’s reputation is upheld? Will Lady Margaret secure a proposal from Martin Crawhill, the heir to the estate? Will Thompson and O’Malley ever get lung cancer?

I’m totally hooked on Downton Abbey and love reading books about how the show was created.  I’ve also seen some parodies of the show popping up in book form and of course have to get my hands on those as well!  This one I had never heard of until I stumbled upon it while browsing Goodreads.

Luckily my library had a copy and I quickly checked it out and then devoured it.  It’s a graphic novel parody of Downton Abbey in which quite a few members of the staff are really secret agents.  Their names are changed but the drawings of the characters are identical to the actors on the TV shows.  It was also written in exactly the way the characters speak and I could hear their voices and accents as I was reading.

Basically this is just a fun, somewhat silly, read that anyone who is a fan of Downton Abbey can enjoy.  It was quite funny, unique, quirky, and just tons of fun to read.  If you don’t watch Downton Abbey, then all of it will probably be lost on you.  But if you love the show, I’m sure you’ll love this book!  It would also make a great present for anyone who enjoys the show and has already read all the other more mainstream, behind-the-scenes books out there.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow

17190361Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow (2013)
96 pages
Goodreads Summary: A humorous “guide to life” for grown-ups! One day, Diane Muldrow, a longtime editor of the iconic Little Golden Books, realized that, despite their whimsical appearance, there was hardly a real-life situation that hadn’t been covered in the more than 70-year-old line of children’s books—from managing money, to the importance of exercise, to finding contentment in the simplest things. In this age of debt, depression, and diabetes, could we adults use a refresher course in the gentle lessons from these adorable books, she wondered—a “Little Golden guide to life”? Yes, we could! Muldrow’s humorous yet practical tips for getting the most out of life (“Don’t forget to enjoy your wedding!” “Be a hugger.” “Sweatpants are bad for morale.”), drawn from more than 60 stories, are paired with delightful images from these best-loved children’s books of all time—among them The Poky Little Puppy, Pantaloon, Mister Dog, Nurse Nancy, We Help Mommy, Five Pennies to Spend, and The Little Red Hen. The Golden greats of children’s illustration are represented here as well: Richard Scarry, Garth Williams, Eloise Wilkin, J. P. Miller, and Mary Blair, among many others. Sure to bring memories and a smile, this book is a perfect gift for baby boomers, recent grads, lovers of children’s literature—or anyone who cherishes the sturdy little books with the shiny cardboard covers and gold foil spines!

Like a lot of people, I have a lot of nice memories of reading various Little Golden Books when I was younger.  So it was really nostalgic to go back and see photos from various books.

This book is also just really short and has hardly any text.  There are just photos and a little quote to go along with it.  So it’s a very short book, whimsical, and can easily be flipped through in a few minutes.  It’s more of a picture book with just a photo taken from a Golden Book and then a little saying on the opposite page.

I rented this as an eBook from my library and it was a very fast read.  That format probably wasn’t best to view the images on, so I’d recommend picking it up a physical copy.  This could easily be paged through in a bookstore or library.

Seeing some of the images definitely did take me back to childhood and there was a great nostalgic feel.  I was expecting it to be more of a discussion of certain plot lines and stories from Little Golden Books and the morals they were trying to convey.  Still I really enjoyed this book and it was a fun little read.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Archetype by M.D. Waters

18079523Archetype by M.D. Waters (2014)
Series: Archetype #1
384 pages
Goodreads Summary: Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

This was one of my most anticipated books for 2014 and I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next and final book to come out in July.  This book is definitely not your typical woman-with-amnesia-doesn’t-know-who-to-trust book.  There are so many different aspects to the story and more depth than just what appears to be a love triangle between the man who says he’s her husband and the other guy she is inexplicably drawn to.

There’s a great backstory about a war, the United States is divided in half, women are being put in camps, there’s something going on with genetic engineering, and much more. The world is so fascinating but isn’t really gone into in a lot of detail.  I’m hoping there will be more information in the next book about what happened and why.

Also, the heroine is very clever and can think on her feet and take care of herself.  She knows something is amiss and takes it upon herself to investigate and find out what’s going on.  Then there’s the voice in her head telling her things, weird dreams, and so much more that she’s unsure of, doesn’t know if they are memories or just imagined.

The way the plot went toward the end and how some things were revealed was totally unexpected and I love books that keep the plot fresh and unpredictable.  I actually like that it didn’t have the cliched happy ending that I was expecting and that there’s more to the story, more to be told, and more growth for the heroine.

So if you want a refreshing new book with science fiction/dystopian elements and a heroine you can really get behind, definitely check out this book.  You won’t be able to put it down and can finish it in time for the final book in July!

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

6881206 (1)The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger (2010)
40 pages
Goodreads Summary: First serialised in the Guardian, The Night Bookmobile tells the story of a young woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing mobile library that happens to stock every book she has ever read. Seeing her history and her most intimate self in this library, she embarks on a search for the bookmobile. Over time, her search turns into an obsession as she longs to be reunited with her own collection and her memories.

I was on a bit of a graphic novel reading streak since no novels were grabbing my interest. This is one I’ve had on my radar for a while and I finally picked it up.  I love the idea of the bookmobile and the unique twist of it being stocked with every book you’ve ever read.  There are so many books I read before I started keeping track and now I don’t remember what they are.  So I’d love to have it all documented there.

It was also cool how it wasn’t just books, but journals, diaries, cereal boxes, etc.  It’s essentially whatever you’ve read and all the things we read have an impact on us.  So I loved the concept.  But I didn’t really like the execution.  I feel like I was missing something and it wasn’t clear what the point of the story was.

I definitely didn’t like the ending and think the story had so much more potential and I thought it was going in a totally different direction.  It’s supposed to be a series or have more coming to it, but so far nothing has been published.  So for me there was definitely a feeling of something missing.

Still, if you love books, want to read a new graphic novel, or are just intrigued by the concept, it’s worth checking out.  It’s only 40 pages, full of beautiful illustrations, and will be a quick, easy, and fun read.

My Rating: 3 Stars