Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani (2012)

191 pages

Goodreads Summary: In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system—began shutting down. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was able to be released from the hospital within weeks . . . without a trace of cancer in her body!

Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge.

As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, she had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she had been a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she had never even imagined.

I read this book on my flight to India and it came at the perfect time for me.  A friend and mentor who was supposed to be joining the us on our trip passed away suddenly and unexpectedly several days before we were scheduled to leave.  Reading this book was actually a very comforting experience and made me feel that his soul chose to move to another realm and that his death was no accident. Continue reading

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The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (2006)

Series: Gentleman Bastard #1

499 pages

Goodreads Summary: In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages and after Sarah at Sarah Says Read raved about it, I just had to read it.  So I added it to my list of Bout of Books readathon books and ended up enjoying it quite a bit.  However, I will say it was quite long and seemed to take forever to get through so it wouldn’t make the best readathon book. Continue reading

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Bucket List

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is bookish things you’d like to do sometime in your life.

1. Attend Book Expo America
2. Go to Booktopia one year (Books on the Nightstand)

3. Read all the books by Booktopia authors the year I go so I can chat with the authors, ask them questions, and really get the most out of it.
4. Read all the classics on my Goodreads shelf (97 total)…I think I’ll get to it eventually. Continue reading

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January and February 2014 Monthly Reading Summaries

I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump (and perhaps a bit of a reading one too) but, before I manage to fall too far behind, here is my belated recap of January and February:

January Summary
Total Books Read: 9
Fiction: 6
Non-Fiction: 3
Total Pages: 2,692
Male Authors: 6
Female Authors: 3
International (Non-US Born) Authors: 5
New Authors: 3
Favorite Book(s): Lexicon by  Max Barry

Total Pages to Date: 2,692
Total Books to Date: 9

January was an awesome reading month!  I read so many excellent books and really enjoyed pretty much everything I read.  I also got in one re-read and read quite a bit by international authors which was one of my goals this year.  I have to say that I also read all of this between 1 January and 19  January which is when I left for my trip to India.  After that it was pretty much downhill from there and I didn’t read (or at least finish) anything the rest of the month.

February Summary
Total Books Read: 11
Fiction: 9
Non-Fiction: 2
Total Pages: 975
Male Authors: 9
Female Authors: 1
Male & Female Authors: 1
International (Non-US Born) Authors: 2
New Authors: 3
Favorite Book(s): Velvet series and Five Point Someone (haven’t reviewed yet)

Total Pages to Date: 3,667
Total Books to Date: 20

February wasn’t a very productive reading month.  Even though it says I read 11 books, all but 3 were graphic novels and very short ones at that, hence the <1,000 pages read.  Most of those were light reading that I read on the plane ride home.  Then I read a bit when I got home but that was about it.  I’m hoping to start reading more fiction and novels in the upcoming months.  I’m not caught up on reviews so if you’re curious about what exactly I read, click here for the entire list.

How were the first two months of the year for you?  Do you usually get in a reading slump when you travel or first return home?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I know I’m a day late but I’ve been in a serious blogging slump and have barely been posting since I got back from traveling to India.  I was online today catching up on my blog feed and saw tons of cool posts from yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday.  So I decided to join in since I thought it’d be fun and I do want to have some content on my blog and keep things going until my motivation returns.

So, without further ado, here are 10 authors I’ve never read:

1. James Patterson: I’ve heard he doesn’t even write his own books anymore but he’s so massively popular that I kind of want to check him out at some point.  At one point I did check out Along Came a Spider, one of his earlier books, from the library but never got around to reading it.  I’ve also heard his YA series Maxmum Ride is pretty awesome.

2. John Green: Another super popular author but I’ve never read anything by him and, to be honest, I don’t really have a desire to.  One part of me wants to join in the conversation and at least see what his books are like, the other just doesn’t feel compelled by any of the plots of his books.

3. John Grisham: Another author who is super popular and widely prolific yet I’ve managed to never pick up a book by him.  It’s probably because he writes in a genre that I’m not that interested in, but maybe one day I’ll check one of his famous books out. Continue reading

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Booking Through Thursday: Fanfiction

I don’t think I’ve done a Booking Through Thursday at all this year and, because I’m in a bit of a reading/blogging slump right now yet want to keep my blog going, I thought it’d be the perfect post for today.  Here’s this week’s question:

BTT asked:  What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

My answer:  To be perfectly honest I don’t know that much about fanfiction so the overall impression I have is somewhat negative.  When I heard the word fanfiction I think of people so obsessed with a work of fiction that they spend all their time thinking about the characters and the world, then writing tons of stories involving said characters.  So there is that sense that these people don’t really have a life and would prefer to live in an imaginary world. Continue reading

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Friday Finds (5)

Here are my Friday Finds from the past few weeks:

From a review by Book’d Out
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingleman-Sundberg (reminds me a lot of  The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson)

From this Top Ten Tuesday list
The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan

From Between the Covers review
The Free by Willy Vlautin

From this review by A Bookish Affair

Continue reading

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Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd

Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd (2013)

160 pages

Goodreads Summary: Kids love to express themselves, and are designers by nature whether making posters for school, deciding what to hang in their rooms, or creating personalized notebook covers. Go, by the award-winning graphic designer Chip Kidd, is a stunning introduction to the ways in which a designer communicates his or her ideas to the world. It s written and designed just for those curious kids, not to mention their savvy parents, who want to learn the secret of how to make things dynamic and interesting.

Chip Kidd is the closest thing to a rock star in the design world (USA Today), and in Go he explains not just the elements of design, including form, line, color, scale, typography, and more, but most important, how to use those elements in creative ways. Like putting the word go on a stop sign, Go is all about shaking things up and kids will love its playful spirit and belief that the world looks better when you look at it differently. He writes about scale: When a picture looks good small, don t stop there see how it looks when it s really small. Or really big. He explains the difference between vertical lines and horizontal lines. The effect of cropping a picture to make it beautiful or, cropping it even more to make it mysterious and compelling. How different colors signify different moods. The art of typography, including serifs and sans serifs, kerning and leading.

The book ends with ten projects, including an invitation to share your designs at GoTheBook.com.

I saw this book mentioned on Books on the Nightstand and it sounded like a really fun read.  I love art and graphic design so this was the perfect book for me.  It says it’s for children and also plays on the author’s name but I think this book is for older children or adults. Continue reading

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Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (2011)

272 pages

Series: The Beauchamp Family #1

Goodreads Summary: The three Beauchamp women–Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid–live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret–they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there’s Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it’s time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

I picked up this book after I started watching the TV series.  I’d heard people talk about how much they loved the show and at first I didn’t know it was based on a book. I decided to give it a try and really enjoyed it.  So when I got through all 10 episodes of the first season and was craving more, I ended up grabbing the book.

While reading comments on a forum about the show, one viewer said they read all three books in 3 days and really loved them.  So I was expecting to really like them too.  The first book is quite short and I did finish it in 2 days.  It has a very light writing style and is very easy to read quickly.  However, I have to say I still really like the show more than the book. Continue reading

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Bookish Discussion: Memories and Fear

Two books I recently posted reviews on (The Machine and Allegiant) really got me thinking about two things: memory and fear.

In the world of The Machine it is possible to have painful memories erased from your mind.  In the book this often leaves people completely destroyed, only a shell of their former self.  There are also people in the book who are religious and feel strongly that memories are connected to a person’s soul and that shouldn’t be messed with.

Allegiant also deals with memory because one of the factions has a memory serum that can cause people to forget things.  The memory serum comes into play later in the book in a bigger way and some characters are conflicted about using it.  So the question arises, if you lose your memories, how much of you is really left? Continue reading

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