Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Years Reading Resolutions

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL holiday, filled with lots of love and joy!

I spent time with family and spent lots of time coloring in my new coloring book!
Checkout some of my creations on my Instagram page:
Image result for instagram

I have been doing a little reading on my break from school, but not as much as I planned. I finished reading a revised version of Nirvana, which the publishers sent me after I submitted a review for an earlier version to NetGalley. I have some notes written out, so expect a review for Nirvana, coming up.

I also just finished reading Bloodmark, which was pretty awesome! I will post a review for it pretty soon, as well. 

I am super excited about my current read, though! I have been waiting almost 2 months to read Library of Souls, the final book in the Miss Peregrine series. I put the 3rd book on hold, immediately after reading the 1st book. I was able to check out the 2nd and read it the day after finishing the 1st book. I was pretty upset that I had to wait at all, when a month went by and I was still waiting, I began to lose hope. But FINALLY! I received an email telling me that I could check it out. So, I immediately stopped everything I was doing and started reading!  I'm about half-way through it, right now, and hope to finish it tonight. 

So, stay tuned for these reviews, and more!

I don't usually do New Years Resolutions...

But I felt it appropriate this year.

I started this blog a couple of months ago and decided that new years is the perfect time to improve it! 

  • I want to post more regularly. I have learned that many bloggers plan out their posts for the week. I have tried to type up a couple of entries at a time and schedule them to post. I want to make this a regular thing, so that there is consistently new content on my site.
  • I also want to branch out and start reading a wider variety of books. Right now I usually go for either YA or biographies and memoirs...time to switch it up a little. 
         Any suggestions? Let me know what books you think I should read!
  • Also, since I am working on my master's degree, in hopes of being a child and family therapist, I plan to start trying out some children's books that I think might fit well with my practice. I will make this a separate page, so that those interested in each topic can easily access only those posts. However, I figure it's never to early to start collecting books that might help children in the future.

What are your New Year's Resolutions (bookish or otherwise)?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Jolabokaflod! Let's all go to Iceland!

I think I have found my dream Christmas vacation spot!

According to a decades-old Icelandic tradition, books are the standard Christmas gift. NPR reports:
"The culture of giving books as present is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday," says Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association. "Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading. In many ways, it's the backbone of the publishing sector here in Iceland."

 From: So Cool! Iceland’s Tradition is to Give BOOKS for Christmas
In the months before Christmas, publishers compete for the attention of Icelanders in a season known as Jolabokaflod, the "Christmas Book Flood." According to NPR, "The Flood begins with the release of Bokatidindi, a catalog of new publications from the Iceland Publishers Association distributed free to ever Icelandic home."

The tradition is especially fitting for Iceland, as it's famous for being a highly literary culture. As the BBC pointed out in 2013, "This island nation of just over 300,000 people has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world." Las month, the New York Times reported that "At least 90% of Icelanders age 16 or older read at least one book a year just for pleasure." In comparison, only 72% of American adults read a single book last year.

Do you plan to give any books as Christmas gift? If so, who are you giving them to, and how did you select which book to give them?

My Year in Books: 2015

Badge square
You read 54 out of 60 books.
There are still days left! You can do it!

View more of my Year in Books on GoodReads!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Adult Coloring Books

I am very intrigued by the new trend of Adult Coloring Books. I love coloring!

I first came across them on GoodReads, when I saw a giveaway for one. Then, I saw them featured on a talk show that was giving suggestions for Christmas presents.

Some of them are really intricate-looking. And pretty...

I think it's a pretty good idea to use as for relaxation and stress relief, and some are advertised as such.

Some send a good message:


I came across a post today that showed me that there are some pretty unusual and funny adult coloring books, as well. 

Here's the post I came across that showed me some other unusual and silly coloring books:

And another that lists 14 Unusual Coloring books for Adults

I know I want an adult coloring book for Christmas. I'm not quite sure which one though.
What do you think?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Judy: A Dog In A Million by Damien Lewis

I requested this book after reading about Rags (From Stray Dog to WWI Hero), I decided I wanted to read it from the title alone. Between getting a copy and starting it, I had a few other books on my list to read. When I got to this book, I actually got a little apprehensive. Rags made me sad, and I began to contemplate whether I was emotionally alright with reading this book. I pretty much have a breakdown whenever an animal is harmed on TV or in a movie or a book. But I decided it must be a good story and even though the dog most likely dies (not a spoiler, this took place during WWII), I wanted to read it.

First off, I must confess that I had no idea about the POW camps in Asian during WWII. In short, all the allied forces and Americans in the area were rounded up and made to build railways through impossible terrains.

Judy was chosen as a gunboat mascot from a kennel in Shanghai. While she was an excellent mascot, and saved her shipmates lots of trouble, Judy would soon do so much more.

Judy was inspirational to many people in the far east POW camps during WWII. More people knew of Judy than they did the hell railroad that the POWs were forced to build, and many former POWs say that their pets in the camps kept them alive, by giving them a little normalcy and something to stay alive to care for.

I fell in love with Judy's humans, as well, when Olivar and Wuley saved her and Tank made a fool of himself trying to train her.

I also learned a lot through this book. I am an animal lover (yes, I am a cat AND dog person!) and a dog owner. I thought I knew a lot about dogs, but this book gave me further insight. For example, I was unaware that dogs could pick up scent through their whiskers, and their "superior smelling abilities are intensified by a scent detecting organ, the voremonasal, situated in the roof of their moth, which is completely lacking in humans, and one that we, as yet, little understand."

I was super impressed with how smart Judy was! She learned to communicate with her many humans in a way to get what she wanted, and later what was needed to save their lives. I cannot believe how amazingly intelligent and brave she was.

She chose her own masters, and protected her family with all she had (and then some).

Even when struggling for her own life, she used all the strength she could must to rescue everyone she could. And her story is a prime example of the strength in a dog's loyalty. She was loyal to her masters and her family above all else. However, that loyalty was not one-sided, and had her human family not risked their own lives, Judy certainly would not have made it through the POW camps.

While I like that the author included the inscription on Judy's tombstone at the end of the book, I thought that more could be said to wrap up the end of the book.

Nonetheless, this book was excellent! With more dogs like Rags and Judy, and more people like their humans, the world would be a much better place.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tarnished Blog Tour & $20 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Tarnished (Perfected #2)
by Kate Jarvik Birch
Release Date: December 2015
Entangled Teen

Summary from GoodReads:
Freedom comes at a cost...
Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet--graceful, demure...and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman's glided cage. Her escape started a revolution, but she's trapped, unable to get back to Penn--the boy she loves--or help the girls who need her.
Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she's lucky, she'll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives of everyone she's tried to save...

Buy Links:

Book One (Perfected):

Praise for Perfected:
“Compelling, imaginative, and unique. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!”
— Mary Lindsey, author of Shattered Souls

Perfected was one of those books that I was sad to have to wait to read the sequel. In fact, I remember trying to find a pre-release copy after reading Perfected, some time ago. Alas, a few weeks before its release, I was given an opportunity to read it! Thank you YA Bound Book Tours for allowing be to be a part of this blog hop!

Perfected left off after Ella crossed the border into Canada, but alone, without Penn, who had planned to run away with her and rescue her from being his father's pet. In fact, the book begins:
Remember. This wasn't freedom. This room with its dingy walls and small, square window, was just another cell. Another cage. Only this time Penn wasn't here to help me get away.
 This time, I'd have to escape on my own.
 When my world was split in two, after the US police dragged Penn in one direction, while the Canadian officers pulled me in another, a part of me felt like I stayed tethered somewhere across the border, waiting for Penn to come walking across that bridge, no handcuffs weighing down his wrists, no bright red gash across his forehead. Just him, whole and well and complete. 
 But with that half of me gone, I couldn't think straight anymore. There was only space for one thing: getting back to Penn.
I was proud of Ella in parts of this book. In parts, I wanted to yell, "What the hell are you thinking?!?!?!" However, Ella has definitely grown and learned since her days at the Congressman's house.

Even though I though I knew what was going on, this book still surprised me.  I didn't expect things to be so different for the pets since Ella's escape.

I read this book so quickly that I couldn't believe it was over. I read a kindle version of the book, and your progress does not show at all times. I had not looked at my progress since a little over 50% to 60%. When I swiped to turn the page and saw Acknowledgements, I had to double check to make sure that I had actually just read the last page!

I had no idea if there would be another book to follow, but after reading the last page that I had no idea was the last page, OMG! OMG!

Yes, OMG x 2! It was that much of a cliff hanger!

This book did just as well as the first at giving readers an ending that would make them immediately try to get their hands on the next book...and get really upset if this is not possible. : (

I was very pleased with this book, although I was a little upset at where it ended. I am hoping that a third book is in the works, to continue where Tarnished left off. If not, I will be very sad.

This is one of those books that I will be waiting (not so patiently) to get my hands on the next one in the series. Finishing this book made me feel exactly how I felt right after finishing Perfected.

Kate Jarvik Birch seems to have the perfect recipe for the cliffhanger that makes you anxious, maybe even a little angry that you have to wait to find out what happens next.

If you liked Perfected, you will definitely love Tarnished. If you haven't read Perfected, go do that now! Then, immediately continue with Tarnished!

About the Author:
Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals including Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids. To learn more visit www.katejarvikbirch.com

Author Links:
Giveaway Info: Blog Tour Giveaway $20 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour Organized by:

Blog Tour Schedule:
December 1:
Semi short chic – www.semishort.blogspot.com – Promo Post
Desert Rose Reviews - http://desertrosereviews.blogspot.com – Promo Post
Andrea Buginsky, Author - http://andreabuginskyauthor.blogspot.com/ - Promo Post

December 2:
Mythical Books - http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/ - Promo Post
Cover2Cover - https://chocomeiske.wordpress.com – Review
A Soul Unsung: Book Gossip for the Soul - http://soulunsung.blogspot.com – Promo Post
Asylum For Book Addicts - http://asylumforbookaddicts.weebly.com/ - Promo Post

December 3:
Yellow, Green, and Read All Over - http://www.ygreadallover.wordpress.com – Promo Post
The Flashlight Reader - www.theflashlightreader.com – Promo Post

December 4:
I am Shelfless - http://iamshelfless.blogspot.com/ - Review
Movies, Shows & Books - http://moviesshowsnbooks.blogspot.com/ - Promo Post
Katie's Stories - http://kjhstories.blogspot.com/ - Promo Post
Night Owl Reads - http://nightowlreads.com – Promo Post

December 7:
The Voluptuous Book Diva  - http://voluptuousbookdiva.blogspot.com – Promo Post
Buried Under Books - https://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/ - Review
Bad Bird Reads - http://badbirdreads.com/ - Review

December 8:
The Not So Public Library - http://thenotsopubliclibrary.blogspot.ca/ - Promo Post
Living in a Bookworld - http://livinginabookworld.blogspot.gr – Review
Pages to Explore – www.pagestoexplore.blogspot.com - Review

December 9:
Crystal's Chaotic Confessions - http://crystalschaoticconfessions.blogspot.com/ - Promo Post
Urania's Distractions - http://uraniasarri.blogspot.gr/ - Promo Post
A Leisure Moment - Www.aleisuremoment.com – Promo Post
Addicted Readers - http://addictreaders.blogspot.com/ - Promo Post

December 10:
Geeks in High School - http://www.geeksinhighschool.com – Review
The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club - http://theunofficialaddictionbookfanclub.blogspot.com – Promo Post
Take Me Away To A Great Read - http://takemeawaytoagreatread.com/ - Review
Around the World in Books - http://www.aroundtheworldinbooks.ca/ - Promo Post

December 11:
Meet your New Favorite Book – www.jesslovestoread.blogspot.com - Review
Worth Reading It? - http://www.worthreadingit.blogspot.com - Review
Book Enticer - http://www.bookenticer.com - Review
Teatime and Books - http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com – Promo Post
A girl and her books - Www.southernbooknerd.blogspot.com - Review

My GoodReads Review

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

J by Howard Jacobson (Tentative review)

GoodReads Description:

What country isn't a charnel house of its own history?
Two people fall in love in a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited. As they discover where they came from and where they are going, a bigger, more shattering truth is revealed to them.
Kevern doesn't know why his father made him put two fingers across his lips whenever he began a work with a J. It wasn't then, and it isn't now, the time or place for asking questions. Ailinn, too, has grown up in the dark about who she was and where she came from. On their first date, Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn't ask who hurt her. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren't sure whether they have fallen in love of their own accord or whether they've been pushed into each other's arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?
Hanging over all the lives of everyone in this novel is a momentous catastrophe - a past event shrouded in suspicion, denial and apology, now referred to as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED.
Tender and terrifying, J deserves to be spoken in the same breath as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World.

So, let me first start by explaining that it has not taken me more than 2 or 3 days, 4 tops, to read a book in a long time. Since this was my first book to review from Blogging for Books, I wanted to try to get my review in in a timely manner. So, when I got the book, I finished the one I was reading and put the 6 or 7 other books I had to review on hold. Let me also say that I was really excited about this book, between the awesome looking cover and the description, I was ready to love this book. 
It has now been over two weeks, and I have only been able to make it to page 85 of this 400 page book. Now, I am NOT one to stop in the middle of a book and put it down, but as I was trying to give this book a chance and giving it about 4 times the amount of time I usually devote to one book, the list of books I have to review has almost doubled. 

Since I now have about a dozen books waiting to be read and reviewed, I started one a couple of nights ago, to make sure that the issue is not in my mood to read or something. I just got done with that book, and I cannot give this book another two weeks, right now, especially since I am trying to get the rest of my schoolwork in before the end of the semester, next week, before my month-long, winter break from homework, during which, I have planned to read at least 15 books, in order to build up my new blog. 

However, I am not giving up on you, J. Instead, this is my tentative review, until after the holidays and my winter break. Perhaps when I stop worrying about how many other books I am making wait, I will be able to better get into and finish this book.

Dear Mr. You by Mary Louise Parker

I have admired Mary Louise Parker since the premiere of Weeds. I loved her in Weeds and when I heard that she wrote articles for Esquire and other publications, of course I was curious. After I read one article, I was hooked. Needless to say, when I saw she wrote a book, I HAD to read it. I actually didn't know that this was said book until I had already gotten hooked with the description. I just happened to be browsing NetGalley, and I always read the description before looking at the author or reviews. Yes, I knew that MLP wrote well enough to produce a good article here and there, but I had no clue she was such an exceptional writer!

From the very first letter in the book, i Could tell how well written it was and that I was going to enjoy it. The book is a collection of letters written to various men that she has encountered, throughout her life.

I related to the chapter about the three-headed dog the most. It read like a more creatively-written chapter out of my own life. With the end of the chapter I have just now realized. Ok, tiny spoiler (kind of). Anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship will relate to this and appreciate her interpretation of it (or at least I did).

As I expected from reading MLP's articles, this book is funny, possibly even more than I expected it to be, or perhaps just a different kind of funny than I expected. She seamlessly balances wit with serious life lessons and painful memories. She apologizes to NASA for not believing they were useful in the past. That's all you need to know.

And the way she speaks of her children and reminisces over memories of her son,
and that time he said Mary-Louise, Mar-la-weez, Mar-la the beautiful, Mar-la beautiful, that's it, Mommy, I will call you Mar-la beautiful. I will call you that forever, until my bones are air.
Small spoiler (kind of, but not really): MLP writes one letter to the orderly in the hospital when her son was born, which ends with:
I haven't even heard it yet, the sound that will make me happy to have been born, mommy. I have that coming. It will make one taller, brighter, better. Put everything in its proper order of importance. 
Reading about some of the inspirational men in her life made me want to go meet people like them (or them), so that I can have a similar relationship with them.  The Storyteller being the epitomy of this.
We told each other already. There is no need to write to you, I just wanted to see you in these pages, despite the fact that I cannot put you into words. You mean something untranslatable.
The chapter about adopting her daughter made me cry. And she writes to an animal, which made me love her on a whole other level! Even though, at first, (minor spoiler) I thought she was writing to a dog, this made me so happy!

This book also taught me a few things. I learned about the theory of epigenetics...not going to give a spoiler here. If you don't plan on reading the book, Google it. If you do, then read this first and Google it later to learn more.

Most of all, I want to hang out with MLP more than ever, but I'm also really sad that I never met her father.

This was one of the best books that I've read in a while. this one will stick with me in a way that few books will. I have very few girlfriends, and I want MLP to be one of them!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.