Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I wish I could give this 100 stars. So accessible and poignant, best book I've read/listened to in 2017 so far. The Hate U Give covers so many current topics honestly, from the difference between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter, to how our personalities change depending on where we are and who we're with, and how we may not see that we're allowing racist comments to pass. It's a perfect showcase of the landscape in place and how unfair it is.

The characters feel so real, and Bahni's reading is perfect. Starr has her faults like we all do, and is forced to own up to those at times, but also finds her power and her voice to make a difference. We are able to feel for her and relate to her as a normal teenage girl just trying to get through being a teenager, with the added problems of gang issues, living in a poorer neighborhood and going to a school where she doesn't really feel like she can be herself. I feel like Starr and her experiences are a great discussion start. I don't feel like I've been attacked as a white person, I feel like this is a wonderful explanation, a here's why, now how can we do better?

I apologize because I feel like my words are inadequate for how important and wonderful this book is. Please read it, even if you don't think you need to, you might be surprised.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Series I've Been Meaning to Start

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Check out the rules and future list topics here: Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is Series we've been meaning to start but haven't yet.  It will be tough to hold it to just 10, but here we go!  All descriptions copied from Goodreads.

The Mary Russell Series by Laurie R. King

Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes' pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.

The Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown

Curiosity just might be the death of Mrs. Murphy--and her human companion, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen. Small towns are like families: Everyone lives very close together. . .and everyone keeps secrets. Crozet, Virginia, is a typical small town-until its secrets explode into murder. Crozet's thirty-something postmistress, Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, has a tiger cat (Mrs. Murphy) and a Welsh Corgi (Tucker), a pending divorce, and a bad habit of reading postcards not addressed to her. When Crozet's citizens start turning up murdered, Harry remembers that each received a card with a tombstone on the front and the message "Wish you were here" on the back. Intent on protecting their human friend, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker begin to scent out clues. Meanwhile, Harry is conducting her own investigation, unaware her pets are one step ahead of her. If only Mrs. Murphy could alert her somehow, Harry could uncover the culprit before the murder occurs--and before Harry finds herself on the killer's mailing list.

 The Psychic Eye series by Victoria Laurie

Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients-or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.

The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella

Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something.

Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

The Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine

Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden - waves her hand to tame the most violent weather. Now she races against accusations of corruption and murder. Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Because he stole three bottles of Djinn, he is now the most wanted criminal on earth. Can she find him before the bad weather closes in?

The Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human...

But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders.

Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who-or what-is doing the killing. But can she do it in time to stop the massacre?

The Emberverse series by S. M. Stirling

The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.

Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen's rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

But it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand....

The Others series by Anne Bishop

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

And there you have it, just a few of the many series I want to start, and someday I will, no really!  What series have you always meant to start and just not gotten to yet?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Sunday Post #5

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

This past Wednesday my husband and I went to a Celtic Woman concert!  We've always enjoyed watching them on PBS and were excited to go see a live show!  Here are some pictures:

It was also my first time going to a show at our local Kauffman Center, which is a very modern interesting building!  That link goes to their flickr account which shows inside and outside pictures of the place, it's very cool.

6/13/17 -  I took part in Top Ten Tuesday, where it was a Father's Day Freestyle, so I chose to talk about books that reminded me of my Dad, that he had given me, or that he enjoyed, or that we both loved. My Top Ten Tuesday Post

Here is the Top Ten Tuesday Rules and future topics if you'd like to join in!

Next Tuesday I'll join Top Ten Tuesday again, and our topic will be "Series we've been meaning to start but haven't yet".  It will be hard to hold it to 10!

Next Saturday would have been a review of my TBR List book of the month, but it turned out to be a dud, so I'll just be updating my previous post with that sad news, rather than devoting a post to it.

The Other Einstein is the current Big Library Read going on right now.  Paper Girls Vol. 1, and Sorcerer to the Crown are also library books I picked up this week.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Father's Day

I'm joining in on Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Check out the rules and future list topics here: Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is a Father's Day Freebie, so I am going to share books that my Dad enjoyed or that had a connection for us. He was instrumental in my becoming a bookworm, making me hand drawn flash cards before I'd even gone to Kindergarten. I always gave him books (and a fleecy shirt or blanket until he said no more, I have enough!) for holidays and birthdays, because that was something I knew he would enjoy! Sadly we lost him in October 2014, so this list has some feels for me, but I think it's appropriate for my first Top Ten Tuesday.

Elizabeth Peters is the author of the Amelia Peabody mystery series, which follows the lives of Amelia and her Archeologist husband Radcliffe Emerson on their adventures around Egypt and occasionally back home in England. Dad and I both love Archeology and all things Egyptian, so I was excited to introduce him to this series after learning about it from my aunt. He loved them as much as I did and they are among our most treasured books.

From Wikipedia:
Barbara Louise Mertz (September 29, 1927 – August 8, 2013) was an American author who wrote under her own name as well as under the pseudonyms Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. In 1952 she received a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. While she was best known for her mystery and suspense novels, in the 1960s she authored two books on ancient Egypt, both of which have remained in print ever since.

While I do enjoy her other series as Elizabeth Peters, and also writing as Barbara Michaels, her Amelia Peabody series is by far my favorite, and the audiobooks read by Barbara Rosenblat are a complete delight, and EXACTLY how I imagined every character to be.


Murder She Wrote was one of Dad's favorite TV shows, so of course I had to get him the books as well!  Who doesn't love Angela Lansbury? I have only read a couple of these myself, but I do have quite a few, so I think it's about time I tucked in, from the beginning.

From Goodreads:
Jessica Fletcher is off to London to deliver the keynote address at a mystery writers convention. She's also looking forward to seeing her mentor, Marjorie Ainsworth, who's hosting a party on her estate to celebrate her latest book. But a routine business trip becomes murderous business--when Jessica discovers Marjorie stabbed to death in her own bedroom...


You might have guessed by now that Dad liked mysteries, and that was much of what I bought him, trying find the ones I thought he might be interested in.  He was interested in teddy bears, and was actually quite crafty himself, able to sew and crochet, and he did actually make a few stuffed animals.  He thought this was a fun series, and though I haven't read them yet, I do plan to.

From Goodreads:

Retired San Francisco cop Brad Lyon is settling into a quieter life with his wife, Ashleigh, in Virginia's mountain country, where they collect and create teddy bears. But even here, stuff happens...
The day is here-and Brad Lyon is helping his wife put the finishing touches on her best bears, just in time for the Shenandoah Valley Teddy Bear Extravaganza. The event will draw fur-ball fanatics from near and far to buy, sell, or simply ogle the bears. But the main event will be the showing of the Mourning Bear, made to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic-and worth a hefty $150,000.
Then a local also meets a watery grave-and Brad Lyon spots the body floating in the Shenandoah. Old habits die hard, so Brad starts investigating like a homicide cop and finds the deceased might have had a connection to the Mourning Bear. But the local law would prefer that Brad keep his mouth sewn shut...


The Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle were another cozy mystery find I made that I felt was right up Dad's alley, as coffee was such a part of his personality. For quite awhile it seemed like all he drank, coffee = Dad to me, so these were a no-brainer. They also contain a lot of interesting coffee trade information from where it's grown, and how it's sold to how it's prepared in coffee houses. I have read quite a few of these and recommend them!

From Goodreads:

A delightful series featuring Clare Cosi, manager of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse...

Clare arrives at work to discover the assistant manager dead in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere. Two detectives investigate. But when they find no sign of forced entry or foul play, they deem it an accident. Still, Clare is not convinced. And after the police leave, Clare can't help wondering...If this was an act of murder, is she in danger?


Medieval history and settings were another thing we both enjoyed, along with theater.  This series incorporates both of those and was one he really enjoyed.  Again I haven't read them yet, but I hope to one of these days.

From Goodreads:

The year is 1434, and preparations are under way for the Corpus Christi festival in Oxford, England. Plays are a traditional part of the celebration, and Joliffe and the rest of his troupe are to perform Isaac and Abraham. Until then, their theatrical antics are in demand by a wealthy merchant who offers them an opportunity to ply their trade for room and board.

But when the body of a murdered man is found outside the barn door where the troupe is lodging, Joliffe must raise the curtain on the merchant's mysterious past and uncover the startling truth behind a murder most foul...


Arthurian tales was another interest that Dad instilled in me, along with all the magic and mystery of Merlin, and the Druids, Knights and the Round Table.  This particular book is from 1964, edited by Richard Brengle: Arthur King of Britain, History, Romance, Chronicle and Criticism, with texts in modern English, from Gildas to Malory.

I suspect this one may have been a text book for a literature or history class that he took in College since he would have been there around that time period, or he may have just decided it looked interesting. I know I'm guilty of that! I haven't ever read this one, so I look forward to checking it out one of these days as it appears to be a collection of some classic Arthur tales with commentary.


When I was twelve, Mom, Dad and I were able to go on the trip of a life time.  Using saved up travel points, Dad was able to take us along with him on a trip for a work tradeshow, spending extra days to tour through Germany, Switzerland and England.  We saw so many castles, but none will ever be able to compare to those built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria.  Most people are familiar with Neuschwanstein even if they don't know it, as it's one of the most featured castles of all time, from advertisements to game show trip prizes, it is the epitome of the fairy tale castle, only it's real.

It's such an interesting story in real life, so when I saw this mystery based on King Ludwig, I had to get it for Dad.  Again I haven't read it yet, but I definitely will, it was such an amazing trip, with many ups and down (my poor Mom sprained her ankle on the way back down, it's built up in the mountains), but I am so grateful for getting to experience all those places.


As you may have suspected, anyone interested in things like Medieval history, castles, and King Arthur probably has at least a passing familiarity with Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  You would be right!  Here are Dad's copies from 1966!  They are pretty fragile at this point, so any re-reads will probably happen on a new copy or by audiobook (which I have, and they are great!), but I treasure these all the same.


In keeping with the fantasy theme, this is a book that Dad gave to me either for Christmas or a birthday, I don't recall now, and I'm not sure where it is, but I know I loved it, and now I need to go find it!

Mom has always been the present buyer in the family, which I'm sure is pretty typical as mom's just are more into that than dad's are (not always, but often), so when he actually did the present presenting himself, it stayed in my mind.  I really enjoyed looking through this one a lot when I was younger, because of course, Unicorns, need I say more?

The write up is pretty long, so you can check it out on Goodreads:  The Unicorn.


Last but not least, we have The Muppet Show Book, one of my absolute favorites when I was younger, from 1978.

When I was little, my Dad worked at our local PBS station, and Sesame Street and The Muppet Show were not to be missed shows.  It was so cool that my Dad worked at the TV station that played Sesame Street, the muppets were a huge part of my childhood, as they probably were for many people my age, and even still today, as evidenced by the recent muppet movies and reboot of the show.

This book had illustrations and scripts for the first couple of seasons, so even if it wasn't on right then, I could visit them whenever I wanted!  I believe ManaMana is in there too. :D  so here you go, because I have to!

There are many more books I could share, Dad was interested in so many things that he passed on to me, music, nature, astronomy, but I think these are a pretty good sample of his personality and our shared interests. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and letting me share this with you!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Sunday Post #4

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

I made new section headers for my Sunday Posts!  What do you think? 

Just in case you needed a read-a-thon: Read-o-Rama starts today on Twitter, check it out!  Here's my goal post!

We finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and it was as much fun as expected! I laughed, I cried, I'm in for the next one!

6/4/17 - I showed off my May Reading accomplishments and what I hope to read for June, it's already changed quite a bit since this post! May Reading - June Lineup

6/6/17 - I reviewed A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

6/7/17 - I reviewed The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

6/10/17 - I revealed My TBR List Winner for June, Nerd in Shining Armor by Vicki Lewis Thompson

To be honest, I'm really not sure! I'm not very close to finishing anything I was planning on reviewing, so it will be a surprise to me as well!  Nerd in Shining armor is due up 6/24, so next week  may be a week off of blogging for me!

I went a little Wonder Woman crazy Sunday after seeing the movie.  Just a little.  These were all purchases except for The Hate U Give and Bitch Planet which were both from my local library.

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