Saturday, May 07, 2016

My TBR List - ...Bring May Flowers




And the Winner is...


With 50% of the vote!

******************

Welcome to my May 2016 edition of My To Be Read List, hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading. This is a monthly meme where we offer up 3 choices from our TBR pile for our readers to pick from to help us make the super hard decision of "what do I read next?" a little easier and to whittle away at the ever growing TBR Mountain! 

Theme: ...Bring May Flowers, a continuation on last month's saying/theme. This month all my titles have flowers in them.  ;) Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me which you chose and why.

The poll will stay open through Friday 5/13 , and I'll update this post with the winning book on Saturday 5/14, then post a review on the last Saturday of the month, 5/28.

If you think this sounds fun and would like to join (the more the merrier, because we love voting!) please head on over to Because Reading where Michelle lays out the rules for us!

And the choices are...

From Goodreads:

The country may be struggling through the Great Depression, but the good ladies of Darling, Alabama, are determined to keep their chins up and their town beautiful. Their garden club, the Darling Dahlias, has just inherited a new clubhouse and garden, complete with two beautiful cucumber trees in full bloom.

But life in Darling is not all garden parties and rosemary lemonade.

When local blond bombshell Bunny Scott is found in a suspicious car wreck, the Dahlias decide to dig into the town's buried secrets, and club members Lizzy, Ophelia, and Verna soon find leads sprouting up faster than weeds. The town is all abuzz with news of an escaped convict from the prison farm, rumors of trouble at the bank, and tales of a ghost heard digging around the cucumber tree. If anyone can get to the root of these mysteries, it's the Darling Dahlias.
From Goodreads:

(Pink Carnation #11) In October of 1806, the Little Season is in full swing, and Sally Fitzhugh has had enough of the endless parties and balls. With a rampant vampire craze sparked by the novel The Convent of Orsino, it seems no one can speak of anything else. But when Sally hears a rumor that the reclusive Duke of Belliston is an actual vampire, she cannot resist the challenge of proving such nonsense false. At a ball in Belliston Square, she ventures across the gardens and encounters the mysterious Duke.

Lucien, Duke of Belliston, is well versed in the trouble gossip can bring. He’s returned home to dispel the rumors of scandal surrounding his parents’ deaths, which hint at everything from treason to dark sorcery. While he searches for the truth, he welcomes his fearsome reputation—until a woman is found dead in Richmond. Her blood drained from her throat.

Lucien and Sally join forces to stop the so-called vampire from killing again. Someone managed to get away with killing the last Duke of Belliston. But they won’t kill this duke—not if Sally has anything to say about it.
From Goodreads:

October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

From Goodreads:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Fangirl was my first Rainbow Rowell novel and I'm definitely in for more! What attracted me to this one was the fan fiction aspect, while I never published anything I wrote online, I have many many pages about one of my favorite bands that I wrote in college and beyond, so I totally get it. I could really identify with her reasons for writing, and also her trouble at writing something original. As an adult still interested in writing, I want to move away from fan writing and make something original all my own, and it is hard! Writing within an established world that you've taken so much joy in is comforting, stepping out of that zone and trying to create something new is terrifying, and initially kind of sterile. I believe now that I wrote because I was depressed and stressed, for many reasons, and that was my escape.

Past the writing aspect, I really enjoyed the character development and the relationships.  I loved Cath's roommate and Levi, who is such an unbelievable sweetheart.  I was angry at Cath's sister Wren and just felt so much for Cath's struggles and the hard time her Dad went through. This was a great coming of age story, and now I'll also have to read Carry On, which is Cath's fan fiction.  I think that's awesome that Rainbow Rowell went ahead and wrote that too!

This one gets a definite recommend from me, and I'm looking forward to more!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bout of Books 16 - May 9th - 15th, 2016


Bout of Books


It's Bout of Books time again, we're up to #16 in 2016! Join us for a week of reading and shenanigans!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
- From the Bout of Books team


Currently Reading:



Finished:



66 pages

already started
80 pages


125 pages

DNF
54 pages

already started
318 pages

76 pages


Page Count:

5/09: 195
5/10: 162
5/11: 191
5/12: 193
5/13:   98

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling

The Only Pirate at the PartyThe Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed listening to Lindsey's story in her own voice. I was a little surprised at no mention of the collaborations with The Piano Guys, which is how I first discovered her, or with Pentatonix on Radioactive which is one of my favorites, or with Peter Hollens on the Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Skyrim pieces which are how I discovered Peter. While they are large factors in my experience of Lindsey, I'm sure there could be very good reasons they may have been left out.

It was a fun listen that lets us in on the ups and downs of normal girl become you-tube star and how quickly things can change. She's also honest about her own struggles with an eating disorder and her own expectations and painful reality checks while establishing herself in a harsh industry.

I've enjoyed her music and personal style immensely, and she and her team were super nice over a ticket misunderstanding on our part, and during the meet and greet we attended. Meeting her, Gavi and Drew was like getting back together with old friends even though it was the first time, and I thank them for that! My heart broke along with her, their team and the other fans at Gavi's passing last year, as she says after the book was finished, but before it was published.

I'm excited for how far she has come, and wish her continued success and happiness, which is sometimes hard to find through the process and journey. I'm looking forward to seeing where her path leads!

View all my reviews

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon - Spring 2016


It's time once again for the Spring Edition of Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon! I look forward to this so much, there's just so much excitement around it, so many people taking part all over the world yet also together, united in our love of reading! I just love it! I even made myself a banner!

There are some big changes this time, with cheering moving exclusively to Twitter, there is also a new Facebook Group that has already been super active and supportive, sharing our TBR stacks and making suggestions for each other.  It's hard to decide where to post.  The blog is fun, but I think Twitter and Facebook will allow for more immediate contact with others, so I will likely do most of my updating and cheering for others there. Feel free to give me a shout @Shaunesay during the 'thon!

Here are some books I've got lined up, but these are always subject to change depending on the mood of the day!

Dewey's TBR:

Audio and Kindle:



Physical Books:



Finished:

23 pages

74 pgs, 2:31:44

463 pgs

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney

Synopsis:

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power.

Hatshepsut—the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt's throne and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty—was born into a privileged position in the royal household, and she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of pharaoh in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut shrewdly operated the levers of power to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her monuments were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her unprecedented rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.


I have been a fan of all things Ancient Egypt from a very young age, so I was excited to have the opportunity to choose The Woman Who Would Be King from Blogging for Books.  Hatshepsut has always been an enigma, a woman ruling as a man, then being struck from the historical record after her death by having her name chiseled away and her statues and liknesses altered and re-purposed. 

The Woman Who Would Be King is a biographical speculation on what Hatshepsut's life may have been like, bolstered by Cooney's extensive archeaological knowledge, encompassing the daily life of ancient Egyptian royalty with all it's privileges and responsibilities.  What she presents is the story of a woman, who from the moment she was born was expected to fulfill a purpose she had no say in, to be the wife of her brother, the king, to bear an heir to continue the line, and serve as a high priestess.  When that purpose came to a pre-mature end, her brother died young, and she was still quite young herself, her story diverges into something amazing that could only have been brought about through her intelligence and cooperation of those around her.

Cooney gives us a glimpse into the immense responsibility and the expectations visited upon the rulers of Egypt, often at a young age, sometimes with the help of parents or older sibling/spouses ruling as regents, court officials that may have been friends or may have had their own agendas.  Treacherous and demanding waters for anyone to navigate.  We are fascinated by the exotic-ness of Ancient Egypt, by sexual practices that are taboo in our society but were common practice there, the riches we've seen these kings and queens surrounded by and buried with, the paintings, temples and statues.  Cooney gives us a more realistic picture of the time, the illnesses that were prevalent, the politics and rituals, and to me it's far from a position I would want to find myself in!  This climate makes Hatshepsut's story even more amazing.  Cooney presents some views on how her kingship came about that seem quite plausible, with all indications that she was a good ruler, and that perhaps the destruction of her legacy was not due so much to personal enmity, but political expediency, to solidify her nephew's kingship and the future of his line.

I actually ended up checking out the audio book of The Woman Who Would Be King, as I felt this book had languished on my TBR pile long enough and I was a little over extended on physical books.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only is the author herself the narrator, but that she does an excellent job and it was very enjoyable to listen to.  Cooney brought Hatshepsut to life with beautiful language and the passionate performance of an academic to whom she was not just a historical figure, but a very real person. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring into Horror Read-a-thon - April 18 - 24, 2016




It's time for the 2016 Spring Into Horror Read-a-thon, hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading.  The one main rule is to read one scary to you book, so you get to choose your own level of scary! Other than that, read whatever you like!
 
My Scary Read:
 



Currently Reading:


Finished:


184 pages

196 pages

87 pages dnf

23 pages

74 pgs, 2:31:44

463 pgs
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