Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Challenge wrap ups.

End of the year. I guess I did pretty well on my challenges. Mount TBR was a wash. I didn't get all 50 States for Where are you reading, but I wasn't really planning ahead to get all the states (and too many duplicate states).

Mt. Vancouver - Completed:
1. The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick
2. Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
6. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
7. Kindred by Octavia Butler
8. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
9. Naked Heat by Richard Castle
10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
4. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
6. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (in progress)
7. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
8. Legend by Marie Lu
9. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
10. The Restorer by Amanda Stevens

1. Across the Universe by Beth Revis, audiobook
2. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, audiobook
3. Tithe by Holly Black, audiobook
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, audiobook
5. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, audiobook
6. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
7. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, audiobook
8. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
9. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, audiobook
10. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, audiobook
11. Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King, audiobook
12. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan, audiobook
13. Room by Emma Donoghue, audiobook
14. The Descnedants, Kaui Hart Hemmings
15. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
16. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, audiobook

See my Where are you Reading? map

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winner of the Historical Holiday Blog Hop giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway Congrats, Ileana A.! I've already emailed you, so just reply back with your choices and address.

Thanks everyone who stopped by!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2013 Challenge- BINGO!

The library challenge I did this year seems to be DOA, and this one sounds, crazy, evil, and fun. So, check it out.

Hosted by Reading in Winter and Creativity's Corner. Check out the full rules HERE.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme hosted this December by Suko's Notebook.

I haven't done one of these in a while. Its not that I haven't gotten anything, but got in a bit of a funk about not wanting too. Which is the story of the last month or so. I got sick the week before Thankgiving, one of those pesky lingering cold. Worst part last about a week, screws with your sleeping habits kind of cold, with a lingering cough. Sorry, TMI. But the point of the story is it also screwed with my reading habits, and having trouble starting anything new that isn't an audiobook since.

So, the book for review I wanted posted already (At Drake's Command by David Wesley Hill will be a little later, sometime this month.

From Sawcat's Book Blog

These lovelies I found at a neighbor's yard sale: Labyrinth by Kate Moss (looks unread); Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (same publisher & era as my Great Gatsby); One for the Money by Janet Evanovich; and for my nephews, an early reader of The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford; and Classics Illustrated (ie. Classics turned into comic books) editions of A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. I am determined to get at least one of my nephews into reading, so I figure these comic book versions might draw them in a bit more.

So what did you get?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

1st Annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the First Annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop, hosted by Passages to the Past.

For my giveaway, I am using Better World Books, who helps fund literacy projects around the world, and for each book purchased, they donate a book to someone in need. Good works! And all books ship internationally for free! So that means, this is open internationally! *confetti*

The winner will get to pick 3 books from the Bargin Bin sections of Historical Fiction and/or History.
Note: BWB gets their used books from donations from individuals and libraries. Conditions vary. Hardcovers may not have their dust jacket, some may have the various treatments done to them by libraries, some have bookcrossing stickers. The best available condition will be chosen. The books I've received have been in great condition, other than what has been noted.

Browse Historical Fiction
Browse History

Some of my favorites found in the Bargin Bin
Girl with a Pearl EarringInto the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1)Captain Alatriste (Adventures of Captain Alatriste #1)HiroshimaMidnight in the Garden of Good and EvilSix Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Plus, Amy is hosting Grand Prize drawings at her blog. They include:

Historical Holiday Blog Hop Grand Prizes

- $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card

- Prize package(s) of historical novels (titles will be added as authors sign up)

1. Oleanna by Julie Rose (pb)
2. The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell (pb)
3. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell (Audio Books)
4. The King's Daughter by Barbara Kyle (pb)
5. The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien (pb)
6. Royal Romances: Titillating Tales of Passion and Power in the Palaces of Europe by Leslie Carroll (pb)
7. The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell (pb)
8. The September Queen by Gillian Bagwell (pb)
9. The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick (pb) *w/signed bookplate
10. The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick (pb) *w/signed bookplate
11. Sea Witch by Helen Hollick (pb) *w/signed bookplate
12. Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell (pb)
13. Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell (pb)
14. The Queen's Vow by Christopher Gortner (pb, UK edition)
15. Into the Path of Gods (Book 1, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (pb)
16. In the Shadow of Dragons (Book 2, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (pb)
17. The Anvil Stone (Book 3, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (hc)
18. A Land Beyond Ravens (Book 4, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (hc)
19. Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth (pb)
20. The Rose of York: Love & War by Sandra Worth (pb)
21. A Dance of Manners (A Regency Anthology) by Susan Flanders, Cynthia Breeding, Kristi Ahlers, Gerri Bowen and Erin Hatton (pb)
22. The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose (hc)
23. The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan (pb)
24. Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland (signed pb)
25. The Master of Verona by David Blixt (hc)
26. Before Versailles by Karleen Koen (pb)
27. Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones (pb)
28. At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Barnhill (pb)
29. What You Long For by Anne Barnhill (pb)
30. Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara (signed hc)
31. The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift (pb, UK edition)
32. The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman (signed pb)
33. The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd (pb, with Tower of London Tea Sachets)
34. The Mischief of the Mistletoe (2 copies - 1 pb, 1 hc - both signed)
35. The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
36. The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora by Stephanie Thornton (pb w/bookmark)
37. The King's Grace by Anne Easter Smith (pb)
38. Illuminations by Mary Sharratt (hc)
39. Selene of Alexandria by Faith L. Justice (2 copies - 1 pb, 1 eBook)
40. A Thing Done by Tinney Sue Heath (2 copies, pb)
41. Rebel Puritan by Jo Ann Butler (pb)
42. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen (audio cd's)
43. By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (2 copies, pb)
44. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
45. Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
46. The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
47. Movement of Stars by Amy Brill (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
48. Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
49. The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry (hc)
50. The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase (pb)
51. Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase (pb)
52. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn (pb)
53. The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan (ARC)
54. The Sign of the Weeping Virgin by Alana White
55. A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (pb)
56. The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau (signed pb)
57. Second Lisa by Veronica Knox

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Under the Tree

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me.

1. Frozen Heat by Richard Castle - I love the tv series, and the books are just as fun as the show. I showed great restraint in only getting the Season 4 dvds this fall.
2. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta - I loved Finnikin of the Rock when I listened to it this year. And since for some bloody reason the audiobook has not made it across the Pacific, I need this in print.
3. Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before it was History, It Was News by Todd Andrlik - I always loved the book of NY Times front pages we had as a kid, stealing dad's magnifying glass and reading as much of the articles as I could. This shouldn't be a surprise to my family.
4. The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer - I feel deficient for not having read either of these yet.
5. Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran - I've loved Ancient Egypt since the fifth grade. I made elaborate tomb with a mummified Barbie for a school project. And I loved Moran's novels that I've read so far. I'd like Cleopatra's Daughter also, but I've read that and not these two, so they are more of a priority.
6. Firefly: A Celebration by Joss Whedon - Oh how I loved Firefly. I called home when in grad school to get my parents to record an episode (they were in a different time zone), because I missed it where I was (the horror!).
7. The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era - Love the series, and The World of Downton Abbey is just gorgeous.
8. The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer - Loved the medieval one, but for some reason this has not been published this side of the pond D=
9. Queen of the Conqueror: The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I by Tracy Borman - this sound fascinating when discussed in the BBC History magazine some months ago.
10. Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman - I loved how she wrote Richard in her Henry II/Eleanor of Aquitaine series. I think I've had a long enough break from the bad experience with Devil's Brood to pick up another of her books.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Challenges for 2013

I'm going to join a few challenges in the next year. I've started a page up top that will be for tracking progress, but this will be for joining announcements.

Where are you reading is hosted by Book Journey. I did pretty well this year (for not really aiming for specific states), so am giving it another go.

Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge is hosted by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf. I will be aiming for the Initiate level (1-5 books).

Audio Book Challenge is hosted by Teresa's Reading Corner. Since I've read over 40 audiobooks this year, I'll be aiming to the Married (listen to more than 25 audiobooks) level.

Mount TBR Reading Challenge is hosted by My Reader's Block. I didn't do too well on this this year, so am going to try again. I'll be aiming for Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s.

Historical Tapestry hosts the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge every year for a few years now. I'll be trying it this coming year, at the Renaissance Reader level (10 books).

That's it for right now. Will probably look out for a library challenge also.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Last Minute Read-a-thon

Vonnie of Vonnie's Reading Corner is hosting the Last Minute Read-a-thon, to take place in one month's time. Spend the final days of December reading with us.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Hobbit post delayed

The last post for the Hobbit discussion won't go up tomorrow. After the busy that was the start of last week, I've come down with a cold this weekend and haven't been able to do any reading, let alone write the post.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Clear Your Shelves Giveaway Hop- US & US/Can

This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I have been doing a bit of a purge and reorganization of my books and have a few titles I'd like to send along to new homes. One giveaway is US only, the other is open to US and Canada.

Giveaway 1: The Guenevere Trilogy by Rosalind Miles
US Only

I purchased the first book new (Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Coutnry), and it has been read once. I purchased the other two used. The Child of the Holy Grail is in like new condition. The Knight of the Sacred Lake has some minor water damage on the cover, and about 50 pages. The four small thumbnails show the water damage (click for larger view)- not too bad, as you can see. And it definitely does not impede your reading of the book. And plus, free for you! Due to weight, this is open only to US readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway 2: Arc of The Philosopher's Kiss by Peter Prange
US or Canada

I recieved this through the Goodreads First Reads giveaways. It's been read once. You can read my review here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs participating!

Review: This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
Publisher: In print: Alfred A. Knopf, division of Random House, Inc./ Audio: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Lorna Raver
346 pages / 10 hours, 55 minutes
Checked out from the library

With its cloud of skirmishers in advance,
With now the sound of a single shot snapping like a whip, and now an irregular volley,
The swarming ranks press on and on, the dense brigades press on,
Glittering dimly, toiling under the sun- the dust-cover'd men,
In columns rise and fall to the undulations of the ground,
With artillery interspers'd the wheels rumble, the horses sweat,
As the army corps advances.

An Army Corps on the March
Walt Whitman
We are currently in the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (1861-1865), so reading This Republic of Suffering right now is a timely read. I had read her Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War in grad school, which was well written and very informative. So when I noticed the CROAH group on Shelfari had read this, I put it on my tbr. I am also fascinated by the culture of death- mourning traditions, mourning jewelry, cemetery art, etc. So yes, the word death caught my attention.

It is estimated that at least 620,000 soldiers died from battle or disease during the Civil War, which "is approximately equal to the total American fatalities in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, The Spanish American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War combined" (p.xi). These numbers are staggering, and for a time when people were more used to death than we are today, they weren't ready for this.

Gilpin Faust discusses the notion of dying well, and how soldiers had to justify trying to kill others, even though it was against their beliefs. But then she goes into some subjects that were a bit surprising to me. Today, soldiers killed in combat or on the job, their remains are returned home to their families, and there are numerous National Cemeteries for them to be buried in. But many of these practices grew out of the Civil War. There was no formal method of identifying soldiers, no formal system for burying the fallen, or transporting them back to their families.

Gilpin Faust does a good job presenting the similarities and contrasts to the ordeals of those from the North and those from the South. There are lots of primary source materials, and a great deal of information in the end notes as well. There are a great deal of images in this rather short history book, but some people will likely find some of the photographs disturbing. This was the rise of photography, and people like Mathew Brady served as early photo-journalists, photographing camps, battlefields shortly after battles ended, or even sometime afterwards. So there are photographs of the dead- some lying where they fell, some along the process of burial, and one being embalmed before being sent to his family. These photographs, while squeamish, are necessary to demonstrate the various points she makes throughout the book.

A well written and documented book, I found it fascinating. If you would like to read up on a not often discussed social issues coming out of the Civil War, I highly recommend this book. This fall, the PBS program American Experience aired an episode entitled "Death and the Civil War", which is based on this book, which I would also recommend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cat Thursday

Its a day to share your favorite cat pictures! Hosted by The True Book Addict.

I just got my first smart phone, so internet peoples, you will suffer my experimenting with photos! I admit, I'm a crazy cat lady, so odds are they will be of one of my cats. This is Pooh. My phone has nifty filters, some better than Instagram, like this one.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Classics Club List

I've heard mentions of The Classics Club, but seeing Wallace's post about it this morning, I finally I had a look. 50 classics in 5 years, that doesn't seem unreasonable. So I put together a list. There's some plays, novels, and some non-fiction and mythology books. Ones with (r) are rereads.

Now I can't start now, so I am setting my start date as December 1, 2012, making my end date December 1, 2017. I've set up a nifty spreadsheet to make updating the list easy, and I'm going to add it as a page (linked up top).

So, do you participate in Classics Club?

The Hobbit Read-along Chapters 10-12

The land about them grew bleak and barren, though once, as Thorin told them, it had been green and fair. There was little grass, and before long there was neither bush nor tree, and only broken and blackened stumps to speak of ones long vanished. They were come to the Desolation of the Dragon, and they were come at the waning of the year.
Well the troupe has made it to Laketown, and the dwarves are out of the barrels. They are given supplies by the Mayor, who is eager to see the backs of them, and they head into the Desolation of Smaug. Once they find the moon door, its time for Bilbo to earn his keep, and see if the treasure still remains with the dragons. Bilbo just didn't count on Smaug having a sense of smell like a turkey, being able to smell the hobbit and missing gold.

I really liked the chapter with the dragon. Its one I remembered from when I read it before. Between his moon door riddle solving, and his conversation with Smaug, it was a strong part of the story. I may or may not have been imagining how the conversation between Smaug and Bilbo scene may end up very Sherlock-y, especially since it is the same actors playing the characters. The image has gotten rather stuck in my head.

The hunt for the moon door was another of those scenes that are reminiscent of what Tolkien does later in LOTR.

Next week its Chapters 13-15, then one more week after that!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October RAK Wrap Up

Book Soulmates hosts the Random Act of Kindness events every month. Head over to their blog if you'd like to sign up.

In October, I sent Petra of Hazel the Witch a paperback of Austenland and Stephanie of Cover2Cover Kindle books of Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Masque of the Red Death and Partials (Thanks to the YA bloggers making me aware of the sale on these titles).

I received from Vonnie of Vonnie's Reading Corner The Goddess Inheritance and Katherine. Petra sent Deborah Harkness's The Jewel House. Stephanie sent the nookbook of The Passage by Justin Cronin.

Thank you all so much! I can't wait to read the books I recieved, and I hope they enjoyed theirs!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Kick Ass Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Kick Ass Heroines.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) Ginny Weasley Hermione may be book smart and skilled in charms, but Ginny could easily take any of her brothers with the intensity of her defensive spells.

Defiance (Defiance, #1)Rachel Adams - Instead of encouraging his daughter to take interest in skills of running a home, Jared Adams taught Rachel self-defense and how to fend for herself.

Temple of the Winds (Sword of Truth, #4)Cara - Mord Sith, an elite warrior, skilled in torture. You do not want to be on her bad side.

Fatal Voyage (Temperance Brennan, #4) Temperance Brennan - A smart, passionate forensic anthropologist. Sometimes she gets impatient, or ticks off the wrong person. But she can take care of herself.

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) Katsa - She is a skilled fighter and skilled in survival, she has served as the king's enforcer for years.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) Arya - Spunky younger daughter of House Stark. Would rather do battle training with her brothers than act like a lady.

The Lord of the Rings Eowyn - Fiesty daughter of Rohan who runs off and joins the army. Quite a feminist character for the time.

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1) Holly Short - First female captain in LEPrecon history. Can be a loose canon, but definitely a match for Artemis Fowl.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls The Sisters Bennett - Take the Bennett sisters, add katanas. Stir. The five sisters turn fiesty in the war against the zombies.

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)Annabeth Chase - Her mother is Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare, so she has a natural talent for battle.

The Hobbit Read-along: Chapters 8-9

"I will give you a name," he said to it, "and I shall call you Sting."

The troupe sounds begins their trek through the Mirkwood, without the security blanket known as Gandalf. It starts off well, with them following Beorn's instructions, but after the Bombur incident, things go to pot. Discomfort and a lack of food leads to straying from the path, and the troop gets captured by Ron Weasley's worse nightmare, the giant spiders. Bilbo's quick thinking leads to an opportune rescue, only for the dwarves to be captured by the Wood Elves.

I think the scene with the spiders is the highlight of Bilbo's character so far. Its the one moment so far when he really reacts first thing, instead of first feeling sorry for himself.

The scenes with the woodelves seems to set up the dysfunctional relationship between dwarves and elves we see when the fellowship firsts meets up in Lord of the Rings. Who knows, maybe this scene is part of why they reacted they way they did. I must say, these sections were another part that I didn't really remember from before, so it was almost like a first read again.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Snapshot Saturday

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by At Home with Books. Check out her blog to find links to other participants.

Last weekend, our large dog broke her leg, and when they took x-rays to diagnose it, the vet saw signs of cancer in the leg. Even if it wasn't, they would have recommended amputating the leg, since the break was so high up. We waited for biopsy results this week, and even with the strong meds, she was in pain. Plus her back legs seem to have gotten weak in the last week, and at her age (12) we weren't sure how well she'd do with an amputation. So we decided to put her down. She will be missed, with her yeasty, seperation anxiety ways.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Always meant to join into this, since I've been doing a lot of library check outs this year. All book covers head to the Goodreads page for the book. This week's check out is:

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1)Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

I also have a few audiobooks lingering around

The Red TentCloud AtlasThis Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil WarThe Long Earth

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust, and The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.