Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Case You Missed It: February 2012!

Wow, February just flew by for me! We had so many things planned this month on the personal front that it felt like I was constantly on the move! It was a fun month though. We got to celebrate both Valentine's Day and my fiance's birthday and one of my closest friends got married! We are moving through our wedding to do list. Since my last update we have ordered our Save the Dates (can't wait to see them in person!), organized hotel blocks, created a wedding website, ordered our wedding cake/cupcakes (yummy!) and perhaps something else but those are the big things! In two weeks my mom and grandma are coming up to visit and we are going shopping for my wedding dress and I can not wait for that!

Around the blog I feel like I was reading really big books in February which cut into the amount of books I read total. I try not to read books just because they are short so that I can get through more reviews but try to pick them for their quality. However, this month the shortest book I read was 304 pages and the longest was 528. There were some doozies this month for sure!

After a stellar reading month in January, February just didn't live up to my high expectations but I still managed seven great books, bringing my total for the year to 16 books.

Here's how it all broke down:

So that's my February! How was yours? What was your favorite read this month? 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: The Legacy of Eden

'The Legacy of Eden'
Author: Nelle Davy


Format: ARC
Published: Mira; Jan. 2012
Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B
Source: Publicist


Synopsis: For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name—no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways—and the once-prosperous farm.
Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died—alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land or the memories.
Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name.


My Take: I love a good family saga so I was intrigued by this book from the very beginning and was more than happy to participate in the book tour when approached! The Legacy of Eden is about a grand farm in Iowa and its amazing downfall. I found myself wondering what is it about farms in Iowa and their 'falls from grace' that intrigue authors since I had recently just read A Thousand Acres (click title for my review) and this had taken on almost the exact same topic, although in a very different format, both were tragedies. 


The Legacy of Eden is alternately told in the present and the past and can sometimes be confusing to find out what time you are in because sometimes it is someone telling you their memories of the past and sometimes it is a direct storyline from that time period so whether the narrator is always reliable will remain up to you to discover for yourself. When the story opens, we are introduced to Meredith who lives in New York and is an artist, about as far from farm life in Iowa as you can get. She receives a letter from a lawyer and is immediately set into some serious bodily reactions that speak to some deep hurts from her past that she had never wanted to deal with again. She calls up her sister, only to discover that nobody else wants to deal with them either. See, the letter tells Meredith and her sisters that the farm of their ancestors, Aurelia, is now in disrepair and the last landholder, their uncle, has passed away. It needs to be sold and the belongings do to. You wouldn't believe that a once powerful piece of land could be driven into the ground like that but it could and so the flashes to the past begin.


So begins the story of Lavinia, originally known as Anne-Marie. Once a small-town doctor's wife and Meredith's grandmother, Lavinia social-climbs her way to the matriarchal position of the wife of Cal Hathaway, the head of Aurelia, the farm of envy in Iowa. What continues throughout this book is their life and what happens to make them spin into a downward spiral. At turns a mystery and an intense fiction, it was a page-turner to be sure, it read unlike any other I had ever read before. Were the actions Lavinia committed throughout her life as heinous as everyone had made reference to throughout the book? Hardly. For as much foreshadowing as there was, the 'crimes' committed hardly held up to the level I expected until the very end (when they did!). Also, with all of the changes in tense and time periods I would recommend for more usage of proper names to clarify who is talking and less use of pronouns to help with clarity for the reader, but it certainly is an intriguing first novel by Nelle Davy and I look forward to seeing what else she has to offer in the future!


Cover Lust: This isn't the cover I had on my ARC but it appears to be the one on the published version. I like this one though. It's very dramatic with the impending storm clouds and the young woman. She could be Meredith or Lavinia. 

Giveaway Details
The publicist has kindly offered up two new copies for me to giveaway! The deadline for this giveaway is Mar. 13th; entries open to those in the US and Canada.

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Mar. 13th. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mailbox Monday: February 27, 2012

It's Mailbox Monday time! Mailbox Monday is going on tour and February is being hosted by Metroreader! Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!


I hope you all had fabulous weekends! This weekend was full of highs and lows. One of my oldest and dearest friends got married this weekend and it was wonderful to get to be a part of the celebration! So lovely! Then, some of our friends who moved here a few years ago from Australia who we have become close with have decided it's time to move home and it was their going away party. So sad! An emotional weekend for sure!


As for the books, it was nice and easy this week, only receiving two books this week. Phew!


From the author:
1. One Pink Line by Dina Silver




















From PBS:
2. Pinch Me by Adena Halpern




















What did you get?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Sonoma Rose

'Sonoma Rose: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel'
Author: Jennifer Chiaverni


Format: ARC
Published: Dutton Adult; Feb. 2012
Pages: 416
Genre: Historical fiction
Grade: C
Source: TLC Book Tours


Synopsis: As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the federal purview.
Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease that is now afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa's resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.
As a flash flood traps them in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave-or foolhardy-enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa's first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to Berkeley, where a leading specialist offers their only hope of saving Ana and Miguel. Here in northern California, they create new identities to protect themselves from Rosa's vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents-officers representing a department often as corrupt as the Mob itself. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa's daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma Valley vineyard-despite the recent hardships of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal.


My Take: Living in San Francisco, I will read almost anything set in the area. So when Sonoma Rose was pitched to me, I eagerly jumped at the chance to read a book set in Sonoma, the beautiful wine country nearby. Also, I love historical fiction novels so I was interested to see what it was like to live in Sonoma in the 1930s. 


Jennifer Chiaverini is a prolific writer, having over 20 books under her belt so I was surprised that I hadn't come across her before. Clearly she is popular so I was glad to give her a chance. Sonoma Rose is part of the Elm Creek Quilts series but could easily stand on its own. I didn't feel lost as to the story line at all. I do have some familiarity with quilts, having tried my hand at them before, but those who have a passion for quilts will probably get even more out of this novel then I did.


Rose is our leading lady and she is living an incredibly hard life when the story opens. She has borne eight children but only four remain living. The other four have passed away due to some unknown illness that doesn't allow them to digest their food properly. She also has a very abusive husband John. Those scenes are very hard to read. You want her to get out and protect her children but she doesn't have a job and therefore is totally dependent on him and his support


One day the abuse gets so bad though she feels she must leave or she will die. By chance, one of her children lets her know of something hiding in the barn which happens to be suitcases full of cash because unbeknownst to Rose her husband is a bootlegger. Uh oh that is a crowd she didn't want to get mixed up in! Rose grabs the money, grabs the kids, and hightails it out of there!


To her rescue come her long lost love Lars! They escape north to the wild wonders of San Francisco and then finally Sonoma where they settle and make a life with friends and wine makers but all is not placid and easy because it is prohibition after all and they are living in the heart of America's wine country.


Ok, let's get down to brass tacks here. This was a long and involved story at over 400 pages, and while the story was involved enough for me to keep reading and I enjoyed the main characters and wanted to root for them and their lives to get better, there were certain plot lines that dragged for pages and pages that I felt Chiaverini could have tightened up and therefore could have cut the story down significantly without ruining the crux of the story. The children's disease (potential spoiler alert here, so avert your eyes!) was celiac's disease. There were pages upon pages of how to treat them and a banana diet and regret for children lost and well, unless you have celiac's disease I don't really need to know the intricacies of a banana diet. Also, I really felt like I was being preached to about why Prohibition was so bad and it really didn't achieve its initial goal but is that really an issue anymore? I mean is Prohibition 2.0 on the table at the White House? So what's with the preaching?


So like I said, the story was good and I liked the characters, and most certainly, if you are quilter, you would probably really enjoy this book, but for me, we could tighten this up a little.


For other opinions on this book, please check out the full TLC Tour here!

Cover Lust: It's a little cutesy for me. This book is full of Prohibition and spousal abuse and you put roses and sunshine on the cover? I'm confused!



Giveaway Details
The author has kindly offered up one new copy to a lucky winner! The deadline for this giveaway is Mar. 9th; entries open to those in the US and Canada.

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Mar. 9th. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I've Been Tagged!

This meme has been traveling around the blogosphere and last week I got tagged by Care's Online Book Club! I wanted to spend sometime answering the questions she posted so that's why it took me so long to get around to finally answering the questions! Here's goes:

Rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you've tagged them!

Questions from Care and my answers:


1.  Tell me about any letters you’ve written lately to a friend just for the heck of it?
Oh man, it's been a long time since I've written actual letters since I am on email all the time now. My sweet younger cousin Emily and I used to try to write letters back and forth all the time but then she got computer privileges so now we email instead too! It's probably been well over a year if you don't count birthday cards and the like. 

2. Do you have a favorite beer?
Mmmm, anything lite. I am more of a cocktail girl.  My favorite cocktail at the moment wavers between anything cucumber in it or a classic bloody mary. 

3. If you ever write a book (or if you have), which genre would it be/is it?
I haven't and I don't know if I will although sometimes I think I might. It would either be a fun chick lit or a memoir about my crazy life but then I think I'd like to remain private. 

4. What is your favorite dish to cook?
I really love to make homemade macaroni and cheese. I also love to bake but that's different than cooking. 

5. Didn’t Trisha ask some awesome questions?
Yes.

6. How would you have answered her No.9? (What book would you absolutely hate to see get parodied?)
To Kill a Mockingbird. The topic has a serious purpose so it shouldn't be parodied. 

7. Do you have a favorite number?
Eight. It just is.

8. Tell me a nonfiction book idea subject that you think I should write a book on because there isn’t one already?
I kind of feel like there has been a book on everything already and then someone comes out with the next great thing. However if it's going to be your book, it has to be something you are passionate about.

9. Did you like my answers to No. 5 for a book that should be H.S. curricula?
I haven't read either of those books. Am I failing your curricula now?!

10. Red or white?
White wine please.

11. Would you be embarrassed to receive a postcard with artwork by Dali? ya know – the erotic variety?  I have some if you want one. I’m kinda embarrassed to send.
I doubt anything would embarrass the postmen and women in San Francisco!

If you want to answer these questions and join in the fun, consider yourself tagged!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review: Simpler Living

'Simpler Living: A Back to Basics Guide to Cleaning, Furnishing, Storing, Declutttering, Streamlining, Organizing, and More'
Author: Jeff Davidson


Format: Hardback
Published: Skyhorse Publishing; June 2010
Pages: 456
Genre: Crafts, hobbies, and home
Grade: B
Source: Publisher


Synopsis: Life moves too quickly these days, as technology, work, and personal commitments make it almost impossible to relax and enjoy life. Finding yourself stressed over the clutter in your kitchen or the mass of paper in front of your computer? Relax. This book will help. Filled with tips on how to uncomplicate your daily routine, eliminate stress at home and work, and more, this book will help you free up your time so you can once again enjoy doing the things you love. Author Jeff Davidson has compiled more than 1,500 ways that you can simplify your life.

Divided into sections for easy reference, this book will show you ways you can eliminate stress in your home, your personal life, and in your professional life. You will learn the six questions you should ask yourself before buying something new, the most efficient way to clean your pots and pans, the pay-ahead technique to get yourself out of debt, ways to make your commute more comfortable, and advice on hassle-free vacation planning for you and your family. This book is the guide you’ve been looking for to lead the peaceful, productive life you’ve always wanted. 1,000 color photographs.


My Take: This book intrigued me because I would love to make things easier on myself in any way possible. We live in a teeny tiny home and can easily become consumed by stuff, so I am constantly getting rid of things! Also, we all know that it is all the rage to clean with more natural techniques and do anything that is kinder to the earth so if this book could give me some more helpful tips I would happily read it and give some of them a try.

Divided into five sections, this book is chock full of information. This isn't a book you will just flip through in an evening and write down a couple of helpful hints. Nope, this book has a ridiculous amount of info and depending on what it is you might seek you could really find a lot of helpful hints inside. It's kind of overwhelming. The first chapter talks about how overwhelming the modern world has become which honestly I could have done without, we all know that already, and I don't need a pat on the back for making it this far in my life. I actually like some of these modern conveniences thankyouverymuch. The next chapters were good though depending on what you are in the mood to learn: 'Simplify Your Castle', 'Streamline Home Paperwork', 'Simplify Your Professional Life', and 'The Personal Touch'.

Overall, I think this book would be handier for people who maybe have bigger homes or a couple of kids. As someone who has a one bedroom house and no kids my life is pretty streamlined as it is so besides a couple of cleaning tips, the book didn't offer up too much my bevy of magazine subscriptions have already told me (oh wait, should I be decluttering by getting rid of those?!). 

Cover Lust: It really is a fitting cover as these are all images that make me say 'Ahhhhh'!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mailbox Monday: February 20, 2012

It's Mailbox Monday time! Mailbox Monday is going on tour and February is being hosted by Metroreader! Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

For all of those in those in the US who get a day off of work for President's Day like me can I just get a collective: Woohoo! Man, I needed a three-day weekend. I don't know what it is about having that extra day off but it helps so much! This weekend I thew my fiancee a Balinese themed birthday party in honor of our big trip last year and it was a blast! We made lots of yummy food and had fun with all of our friends who came! The rest of the weekend has been spent checking item soff of the wedding to-do list.

Now, onto the the books: 

From Bantam Books:
1. Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal





















From Atria Books:
2. The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose




















From Washington Square Press:
3. The House of the Wind by Titania Hardie




















Purchased by Me:
4. South American Handbook 2012 (because this is where we are thinking of going on our honeymoon!)




















What did you get?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Gillespie and I

'Gillespie and I'
Author: Jane Harris


Format: Paperback
Published: Harper Perennial; Jan. 2012
Pages: 528
Genre: Historical fiction
Grade: D
Source: TLC Book Tours


Synopsis: From the award-winning author of The Observations comes a beautifully conjured and wickedly sharp tale of art and deception in nineteenth-century Scotland.
As she sits in her Bloomsbury home with her two pet birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter recounts the story of her friendship with Ned Gillespie—a talented artist whose life came to a tragic end before he ever achieved the fame and recognition that Harriet maintains he deserved.
In 1888, young Harriet arrives in Glasgow during the International Exhibition. After a chance encounter with Ned, she befriends the Gillespie family and soon becomes a fixture in their lives. But when tragedy strikes, culminating in a notorious criminal trial, the certainty of Harriet’s new world rapidly spirals into suspicion and despair.
Infused with rich period detail, shot through with sly humor, and featuring a memorable cast of characters, Gillespie and I is an absorbing, atmospheric tale of one young woman’s friendship with a volatile artist and her place in the controversy that consumes him—a tour de force from one of the emerging names of modern fiction.


My Take: Honestly, I've been avoiding writing this review and I normally don't do that. I read this book a few weeks ago as I was so excited when it came in the mailbox. I had heard amazing things about Jane Harris and I was honored to be chosen to be a part of the tour to promote her newest book, Gillespie and I. I figured it was fate that put this book in my hand. Alas, perhaps this was a case of too high of expectations, but things did not go as planned.


The crux of the story is this: it is the 1880s in Scotland and we have a witty, young heroine, Harriet. She travels to Scotland on her own, which is quite daring, for a bit of a vacation. She is very wordly-wise and very funny. Harriet I could be friends with. While visiting Glasgow's International Exhibition she meets a semi, or perhaps soon-to-be, famous painter's family, that of one Ned Gillespie. A friendship blossoms. She is invited over for tea, then for walks in the park. Friendships happen. Ned is married to a wife, has two children, has an overbearing mother and ne'er-do-well brother. But it is Ned who Harriet is most intrigued by as he is her intellectual equal and she loves his paintings. A story progresses.


Here's what I loved: Harriet's biting humor. Here's what I didn't love: pretty much everything else. And for a book that's over 500 pages, even though she is a leading lady, Harriet isn't enough to get me through it. The book didn't progress. The plot moved slower than molasses on a cold day one might say and well I didn't want to pick it up at night because I knew I would instantly fall asleep.

However, I know plenty of others had different reactions so don't just count on meFor other opinions on this book, please check out the full TLC Tour here!


Cover Lust: I love this cover! One of the other reasons I was drawn to this book was how artistic this cover is which I think is incredibly fitting because the book centers around an artist's life!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do You Give Book Recommendations?


I always thought that once I started blogging, and therefore really started analyzing my book choices, whenever book discussions would start up among friends and acquaintances I would jump at the chance to start recommending my latest and best read. However, I have noticed that hasn't been the case and I am wondering if I am not alone.

This is not to say that I don't love to talk about books with my friends just like I used to because I do. I definitely do! I think it may actually be a factor of me becoming more aware of the fact that reading is such a personal choice. Since I've started blogging, I've really honed my tastes and discovered just exactly what I like and don't like, having my percentages of positive book rankings increase with each year. Before blogging, I used to just read authors I knew and whatever would entice me on the bookstore tables. Now, I analyze book blogger reviews, have publishers telling me the newest and latest books they recommend, and I have to really think about whether they would be a good fit. In doing so, I have come to realize that if I put so much effort and know that not every book is a perfect for me, how am I to assume that just because this was the best book ever for me, it may not be for you! And gawd forbid it's not and you turn around and tell me so!

So basically, when book discussions come up with my friends, I keep my mouth shut, listening to what they are reading and nodding along but I rarely chime in with 'you have to read this!'. Naturally, if someone straight up asks me, I will gladly recommend books that I think they will like, no questions asked! But I gotta know, am I the only one?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: Secret Daughter


Format: Paperback
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks; Apr. 2011
Pages: 368
Genre: Fiction
Grade: A
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: Gowda's debut novel opens in a small Indian village with a young woman giving birth to a baby girl. The father intends to kill the baby (the fate of her sister born before her) but the mother, Kavita, has her spirited away to a Mumbai orphanage. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Somer, a doctor who can't bear children, is persuaded by her Indian husband, Krishnan, to adopt a child from India. Somer reluctantly agrees and they go to India where they coincidentally adopt Kavita's daughter, Asha. Somer is overwhelmed by the unfamiliar country and concerned that the child will only bond with her husband because Asha and Krishnan will look alike, they will have their ancestry in common. Kavita, still mourning her baby girl, gives birth to a son. Asha grows up in California, feeling isolated from her heritage until at college she finds a way to visit her birth country. 

My Take:  I can't believe it's taken me so long to read this book! It's been sitting on my shelf for months and I knew from reviews I had seen and just seeing the synopsis that it would probably be one that I would like but why did I choose to deny myself for so long? Who knows, because I can honestly say that so far this is easily my favorite book of 2012! I found myself telling everyone I came in contact with while I was reading this book that they needed to read this book! It was just so moving and powerful for me and I felt that others needed to experience it to. So, let's dive in and talk about it.

Secret Daughter opens with Kavita, a poor Indian woman giving birth to a daughter. While her husband Jasu loves her, he cannot afford the dowry that having a daughter would mean on his meager farming salary. He needs a son to help him. This is not unusual, it happened all over India and still occurs today. Kavita's daughter, upon her arrival, is ripped from her hands and well, disposed of. Kavita and Jasu, in their own separate ways never get over what has occurred. So when Kavita falls pregnant and gives birth again to a daughter she'll be dammed if she lets Jasu do that again. So while still recovering from having given birth, her and her sister travel the distance to Bombay to put her daughter up for adoption. The only comfort this can bring Kavita is that at least she did all she could do to keep her daughter alive, but she will always wonder what happened to her 'secret daughter' because as far as Jasu knows, this daughter died at birth as well.

Meanwhile, far away in San Francisco, California, a bright, young couple are struggling to have a child. Somer has struggled through multiple miscarriages and is starting to lose the powerful and outgoing person she had become. Her Indian husband Krishnan suggests that perhaps they should consider adoption and that it could be expedited if they adopted an Indian child. Well guess who they adopted? Kavita's 'secret daughter.'

What is so captivating about Gowda's novel is that it is alternately told for the next twenty years from everyone's point of view: Somer's, Kavita's, their husband's, and the daughter they all share: Asha. As they grow and struggle, deal with what life has to offer them, and how they learn to raise a daughter that they love but struggles with not knowing her past, and how the others learn to cope with a daughter they will never know the fate of and always miss. Secret Daughter pulls at the heart strings and makes you consider a story from all sides, wanting to discuss it with everyone, which is the best kind of story. Knowing that this is Gowda's first novel only makes me more excited to see what she has to offer next!

Cover Lust: I like it. It totally captures the spirit of the book.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mailbox Monday: February 13, 2012

It's Mailbox Monday time! Mailbox Monday is going on tour and February is being hosted by Metroreader! Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!


Happy almost Valentine's Day everyone! Do you all do something special for Valentine's Day? My fiance's birthday is the day before Valentine's Day ... ie today! So we always get to make two special dinners in a row! This weekend found me celebrating a bachelorette party with one of my dearest friends: one of my freshman year roommates from college! She is getting married in two weeks so we had to send her off in a big way on Saturday night! It was a lot of fun with a big group of girls and I hope she had a blast. It sure looked like she was!


Now onto the books! 


From Minotaur Books:
1. Secret of the White Rose by Stefanie Pintoff




















From PBS:
2. The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate




















3. The Last Blind Date by Linda Yellin




















4. The Unseen by Katherine Webb




















5. It Started with a Kiss by Miranda Dickinson




















What did you get?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winner of Blood, Bones and Butter Giveaway!





Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway to win Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton (click title for my review) courtesy of Random House. The winner, chosen via random.org is Kathy at Bermudaonion! Congrats!


If you still have a hankering for a giveaway, don't forget to enter my February Review Book Giveaway going on now!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Now I Answer Everything!

On Wednesday I gave you all the chance the ask me anything you wanted so you could get the chance to get to know me better. I had seen other bloggers do this and I liked the idea of seeing what you all wanted to know more about and making this more of a free flowing exchange of information. Luckily no one asked anything I was uncomfortable answering!

So without further, here goes nothing!

Mrs. Q: Book Addict asked:
How do you choose your next read?
Well before I started blogging life was much simpler, the sky was brighter, raindrops were wetter, and the books I pulled off the shelves were whatever I wanted them to be. I kid, I kid. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't stop blogging for anything, but lately I feel like I am drowning in review books so I have significantly cut back on accepting books (now I just need to get people to stop sending them to me without me asking). SO to get back to your question, I have a stack organized from when I received the books for review and I work my way from the one I received the longest time ago to the present. Every few books I throw in one I want to read for fun to make it feel like I still have some free will in this whole thing and obviously if I have agreed to participate in a tour those come in to play. Luckily, I have become really good at requesting books that I really like so lately it's been pretty much one good book after another. How do you pick your next read?

My reading stacks!
If you had to choose one book to give to teenagers as required reading, what would you give them?
Oh my goodness, that is some pressure! I feel like it should be a book that is a classic, one that will stick with them forever. Although, part of me feels that I should pick this book that I read recently that centered around the lives of teenagers and was so dramatic and powerful and might help get teenagers to think about their actions a little bit more. I am talking about Night Road by Kristin Hannah (click title for my review). Although, if I had to pick a classic, my favorite from high school was Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (click title for my review) and it has always stuck with me. I would hope that all highschoolers should be so well read!


Bermudiaonion asked:
How did you and your fiance meet? 
Well, we like to think it's the most romantic story obviously but I am not sure it is! We met on 7/7/07 which is pretty cool ... at a dive bar which is kinda funny. A girlfriend of mine and I went to this particular bar because they always played '80s music on Saturday nights and it was fun to go dancing and when we had a hard time catching the bartenders eye Rob was kind enough to buy our drinks. The rest as they say ... is history. We talked all night, went out for a date the following week and I knew from the get-go that there was something different about Rob from any other guy I'd ever dated. I am so excited to be marrying the love of my life!

Rob and I in Bali this past Sept. 
How are the wedding plans coming along?
I think they are coming along pretty well but it's so much work! Since we met and fell in love in San Francisco, it was our goal to have our wedding here, even though neither of our families our from here so it will be a destination wedding for our families and a lot of our friends. This means lots of questions. We've also learned, like I'm sure most major cities are, San Francisco is a very expensive place to throw a wedding and it is our goal to throw a nice wedding on a sensible budget ... ie we will not go into debt! After this, if anyone needs any tips on how to through a wedding on a budget in San Francisco, ask me for tips!

Reading with Tea asked:
How are you getting on with your glasses? I remember when you posted about getting them - and then I got some about six months later and had the same feelings! So I thought I would ask...
Ah, yes, my glasses! I like them ok, although I think I will forever be kind of self-conscious about them. I wear them at work for my computer work and I think they definitely help because every once in awhile I forget them and at the end of the day my eyes are so tired! I hope you are getting used to yours!


Fizzy Thoughts asked:
What Kathy asked!
Hopefully you liked my answers there!

Also, how did you end up in California (from Idaho)?

Ah, well that's a long and winding road! Yes, I was born in Idaho (a very small town!) but I mainly grew up outside of Seattle. That is probably one of the most beautiful parts of the country so if you've never been I highly recommend it! After college (I went to Gonzaga University - Go Zags!), I moved to Portland, Or for a little bit but it was too similar to Seattle and needed a bigger change. A lot of my college friends lived in San Francisco so I thought I would give it a try. Seriously, I had no other reason to move here than, 'why not?!' and I've been here for seven years in March! I love it here. It's a funny, beautiful, friendly city and I've made my life here. I consider myself a San Franciscan now for sure.

And what's your favorite dessert?

Now, that's an easy one! Creme brulee all the way! Every time it's on a menu I will order it. Just don't muck with it. Keep it classic.

Best dessert ever!
Constance Reader asked:
I'd like to know more about your wedding planning! Have you picked your dress yet? Can you describe it to us?
I haven't picked out a dress yet but I am SO excited for this part of the planning for sure! My grandmother has generously offered to buy my dress for me and so she and my mom are flying up to help me pick out my dress in early March. So the three of us, along with my matron-of-honor and another good girlfriend are all going shopping together to pick it out. I can't wait. But of course I have a vision of what I hope it will look like! I've put a picture of my the style I am looking for below. What do you think? I hope I find it!

Love this style!

Blodeuedd asked:
The best book you have ever read? The one you could re-read over and over again.
I know it should be something totally inspirational, like a classic that has moved everyone for generations but for me, it will be and has been for years, Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. When I am in a sad mood or just need a pick me up all I need to do is read this book and I am smiling again! I adore this book and I think I always will!

Kayo asked:
Where is your perfect vacation spot? 
I think I could go to Hawaii over and over again! Living on the West Coast, it's just the perfect location for the beach and total relaxation! Now, I want to go on vacation!

Or where would you love to go on vacation that you haven't been?
So many places! Lately we've been throwing around the idea of South America. I haven't been anywhere in South America. I would also love to go to Australia and New Zealand some day!

Denise asked:
What inspired you to started blogging about books?
Well there were a couple of different influences for that actually. I had been turning to book blogs at the time for book reviews I could trust. At the same time I was also feeling the need for a new creative outlet as I turned 28. The two merged together as I thought, hey maybe I should try book blogging since I love books and it would be a good way to record what I read too. It's totally been a passion project ever since!

Sylvie asked:
If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would you go?
London. In a heartbeat. I studied there for a semester in college and always assumed I would live there at some point in my life. I hope I still get to!

Yep, I could live there!
Well that's all the questions! I hope you got to know a little bit more about me. I loved seeing what you all wanted to know about me and to get to take the time to tell you a little more about me.
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