Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dewey’s 24-Hour #Readathon - Wrap-Up and Closing Survey


I'm pretty proud of myself this time around. As I mentioned in my reading plans post, I was able to stay home for the entire readathon. However, I still only managed to read a total of 9 hours. Still, I did some time on social media, participated in a few of the mini-challenges AND I read a whole book! 418 pages to be exact. I haven't read a whole book in a day (less than a day) in many, many years.

I read The Ritual by Adam Nevill (so good!). I also kept track of hours (minutes) read and pages read.



Closing Survey!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? 

Definitely Hour 24!

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!

Like I said above, one book, but that's pretty darn good for me in a 24 hour period (actually 9 hours total). That book was The Ritual by Adam Nevill.

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

If you like horror, I highly recommend The Ritual (see above). There is a movie adaptation on Netflix that is pretty darn good too, but as usual, the book is much better.

4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?

I can't really think of anything, but I will say that I was really pleased with the mini-challenge format this time. So nice to be able to participate in them at our leisure during the entire readathon. Thank you!

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep? 

Very likely to participate again. 

I would volunteer, but since I have my own readathon blog/group, Seasons of Reading, from which I host four month long seasonal readathons and two special two week readathons yearly, I've got my hands pretty full.


Thanks for the fun! See you next time in October!

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Dewey’s 24-Hour #Readathon #SpringHorror


I am VERY excited this year because this will be the first year I will stay home for the ENTIRE 24 hours! Woot!

Here is everything I'm planning to read/try to read.








Since my Spring into Horror Readathon is still going on through Monday, it's all about the scary. Plus, scary books are always great at keeping the eyes open. lol

I'm not doing special snacks this time. Just normal things I usually eat like honey peanut butter, popcorn, high fiber brownies, yogurt, sugar-free lemonade and coffee. I'm also going to make this cake...


Low Calorie 2-Ingredient Pineapple Bliss Cake 

I will probably be updating on Facebook and Twitter mostly, and will wrap up here. I will also be interacting in my Seasons of Reading Readathons Facebook group. Come join us if you're on Facebook. 


Happy Reading!

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

#CatThursday - #Cats in #Art (28) Theophile Steinlen - Part Two


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Steinlen painted so many cat paintings! I'll be featuring him again in the future. Love his work so much.

 Cat and Her Kitten


 Chat et Chatte 



Pierrot and Cat




Recumbent Cat


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Friday, April 20, 2018

#Review - How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz #nationalpoetrymonth


My thoughts
As I began reading this collection, I did not expect to be a sobbing mess about midway through until the end. Wow. The poems in this book are about an artist struggling to make her voice heard, but they are also much more. They are about a woman's love for a mother who made her the very person she is. So beautifully written and poignant. For words to evoke such an emotional response is pure genius. I dare anyone to read this collection without ending up with your guts wrenched and a pile of sodden tissues beside them.

The stand outs...the most heartrending, at least to me...

To My Mother Whose Body Is Trying To Kill Her

Have you heard the new Janelle Monae song? It's really good.
If you haven't heard it, it would be dumb to die before you did.
Maybe you'd feel better if you heard it. You haven't visited me
in Texas since my friend Derrick bought his ranch. It's so huge, 
like an 80s late night soap opera set, and his girlfriend is so beautiful, 
and their dog is so neurotic. And it's all worth seeing, at least once.
You haven't seen it at all, Mom. Mom, the man who loves me
told me he wanted to marry me there. It was at a Halloween party, 
and I said, I can't believe you are telling me this while I'm dressed as a zombie!
And he laughed, and I laughed, and Mom, you can sit on that bench!
We can sit on it together. What happens if he is telling the truth, Mom?
Don't you think I need you to be alive for that? Mom, you didn't want
to talk on the phone in the hospital, didn't want people to hear you like
that. And now, you have slipped beyond the ability to talk, strapped 
to machines like a bomb. Mom, are you listening? All you have to do
is stay. Get through this. There is good food waiting for you, and
fresh laughter and books. My books even. I  mean, what is the point
of writing books if you aren't here to read them. I'm serious, Mom, 
please. Stay. Mom. Mom. Please. Stay.

A passage from Dark Luck

Mother, my love, you were a grace that gifted my life. I loved you 
every second, and told you and told you and told you. You were there
when I was born, and I was there when you died, released yourself
from a suddenly irreparable body. We spend mother's day weekend
together. I told you my hopes and you celebrated them. You left
having given me a path, your approval, and all the parts of you
I wear like jewelry every day. I wear your wit, your quick loud laugh,
your round Irish cheeks. I wear your face and voice. When I hear
your voice in my head, you tell me to be bold, to be brilliant,
to be the woman you always saw me as.

But it's so hard, Mom,
so hard to be anything
in this life, in this world
that no longer includes
you.

A passage from Ten Months After

...one of her favorites, a story from my childhood,
and I heard my mother's voice rising from my throat,
the soft velvet of it, the rounded corners of the sentences,

softly pulsing the story forward, while guiding the sleeper 
to sleep. I smiled thinking of her, this tradition all three
of her children now do with our own,

and I thought, I wonder who read to her? Who planted
this seed that is still blossoming? And I realized I'll never know.
My eyes darted to the kid in the bed,

her eyes closed, her breathing slow, as my voice thickened,
tears drifting useless down my face. I miss her. I miss her.
I miss her. I keep reading until the story ends...

A passage from On The First Anniversary of My Mother's Death

...the lights 
shut out, and I am alone. Mom, I say to the rain, I miss you.
I can feel her rolling her eyes in heaven, something she'd do
when she felt something, but knew it would be corny 
to acknowledge it. We were a conspiracy, you and I, Mom.
I miss all the ways you saw me. The way you'd probably laugh
at me, crying in a dark house, so angry at squirrel, but how
you'd circle back, eventually giving me the comfort I wanted.
It was never about the squirrels. I miss crying into the couch
cushions of your laugh. How light you made everything.
How heavy everything is now that you are gone.

(Adding more sodden tissues to the pile)

See what I mean...powerful stuff.

I am very close with my mom. We do pretty much everything together and she really is my best friend. The thing is, we are very much alike and so have our little tiffs, but nothing ever changes between us. The best I can explain it is, we are soulmates. She is my confidante and cheerleader, and I hope I am the same for her.

And so, as mom marches closer to her seventieth birthday, I find myself facing the harsh reality that someday she just won't be here. I'd like to thank the author for reminding me what it means to love someone so much that when they go, they take a piece of you with them. I need to be prepared. I'll never be prepared.

About the Collection
Vulnerable, beautiful and ultimately life-affirming, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s work reaches new heights in her revelatory seventh collection of poetry. Continuing in her tradition of engaging autobiographical work, How to Love the Empty Air explores what happens when the impossible becomes real―for better and for worse. Aptowicz’s journey to find happiness and home in her ever-shifting world sees her struggling in cities throughout America. When her luck changes―in love and in life―she can’t help but “tell the sun / tell the fields / tell the huge Texas sky…. / tell myself again and again until I believe it.” However, the upward trajectory of this new life is rocked by the sudden death of the poet’s mother. In the year that follows, Aptowicz battles the silencing power of grief with intimate poems burnished by loss and a hard-won humor, capturing the dance that all newly grieving must do between everyday living and the desire “to elope with this grief, / who is not your enemy, / this grief who maybe now is your best friend. / This grief, who is your husband, / the thing you curl into every night, / falling asleep in its arms…” As in her award-winning The Year of No Mistakes, Aptowicz counts her losses and her blessings, knowing how despite it all, life “ripples boundless, like electricity, like joy / like... laughter, irresistible and bright, / an impossible thing to contain.”

HOW TO LOVE THE EMPTY AIR brilliantly illuminates why we read poetry, and why poetry is needed. We read it to see another person’s unique experience, but also to help us clarify our own. And we read it to reassure ourselves that what we experience and feel it part of a larger human drama that we all share. Cristin reminds readers how huge, life-shifting events are totally unique and personal—and yet, they are also universal.

About the Poet
Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is the author of seven books of poetry, including The Year of No Mistakes, crowned the Book of the Year for Poetry by the Writers' League of Texas. She is also the author of two books of nonfiction, most recently Dr Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, which spent three months on the New York Times Best Seller List. Recent awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the ArtsEDGE write-in-residency at the University of Pennsylvania and the Amy Clampitt Residency. When not on the road, she lives in Austin with her husband.




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Thursday, April 19, 2018

#CatThursday - Simply Hilarious #Cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

No explanation needed.  ðŸ˜¹ðŸ˜¹ðŸ˜¹






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Thursday, April 12, 2018

#CatThursday - #Authors and #Cats (71) Rosa Silva's I'm Not Sorry: Poems by Cats #Review


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), pictured with a cat(s), or guest posts by cat loving authors who also (sometimes) write about cats.


This week I'm reviewing I'm Not Sorry, (a book of Poems by Cats) by a good friend of Cat Thursday, Rosa Silva from Cat Lady Confidential.

My thoughts on I'm Not Sorry
She has done it again! Completely capturing the funny and feisty (and often loving) sides of cats. Oh, but oops! This is a book of "Poems By Cats"...so, of course, they would be accurately portrayed. Seriously though, the poems in this book are cats to a T. I have a few favorites I will share here so you can see what I mean.

I like to sleep in the sink
it's also a great place to have a drink. 
But fresh laundry is the best,
when I sleep there I feel so blessed. 
The linen closet is also good for a nap, 
or even your comfortable lap.
With so many great places to sleep, 
why did you buy me a bed that looks so cheap?

Hilarious!

It's a blessing
to be a cat
do you know
how much humans love me

I meow to get your attention
look at me
play with me
pet me
I am your cat

Sometimes I love you
sometimes I hate you
sometimes I hate you and love you at the same time
I guess I'm human after all

Apologizing is
foreign to me
for I am a cat 
and I'm always right

Truth! And this one is Alice's personal motto...

It's 6 a.m., it's time to eat.
It's 9 a.m., it's time for a treat.
It's 11 a.m., it's time for brunch.
It's 2 p.m., it's time for lunch.
It's 4 p.m., it's time for a snack.
It's 6 p.m., I could eat a macaque.
It's 8 p.m., it's time for dinner.
I'm sure this diet will make me thinner.

Love it!

I love this clever little book of poems. Another added delight is each section is headed by a particular cat accompanied by gorgeous cat images. For example: Petey O'Malley...The most shameless cat in the world. 

If you're looking for a fun, light read that completely encompasses the attitudes and antics of cats, then this one is definitely for you.

About the Book
These cats have destroyed curtains, scratched couches, bitten hands, shredded toilet paper… and they are not sorry. Now they decided to celebrate their achievements in these insightful and funny poems written by themselves.

With titles like “It’s 6 a.m., time to wake up”, “I hate the vet”, “Oops, I did it again”, “Let me in”, and “Red dot, red dot”, this collection of laugh-out-loud poems offers a cat’s view on common wacky and exasperating feline behavior. It’s the perfect gift for crazy cat lovers who appreciate hilarious insights into the feline nature.

Buy the book here

About the Author
Rosa Silva is the author of “I’m Not Sorry: Poems by Cats” and “Stop Meowing and Go the F*ck to Sleep“. When she’s not working on her next book, you can find her reading, travelling, or writing the next post for her blog Cat Lady Confidential. She shares her home with (surprisingly) just one cat.

Praise

Melissa Lapierre from Mochas, Mysteries and Meows
“It goes without saying that every cat parent reading this poetry collection is going to see their precious little fur balls between the pages. Rosa Silva, the voice behind the Cat Lady Confidential blog, knows cats and this humorous look at their antics written by the kitties themselves as they delight in their mischief, is sure to put a smile on the face of every cat lover.”

Caren Gittleman from Cat Chat With Caren and Cody
”Anyone and everyone who has ever lived with, loved (and sometimes hated) their cat, can relate to this book! (…) Don’t let the size of this book fool you, it might be small, but the content is purr pure genius! It’s not easy for these kitties to convey their mischief as poems and they are purrfectly written.”

To read more about the book, including more poems from the book, stop by this page.


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Friday, April 6, 2018

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie - Excerpt #Giveaway



Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.


Order your copy of MY DEAR HAMILTON today!



A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A Founding Father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…


✭✭✭ ORDER MY DEAR HAMILTON TODAY✭✭✭
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Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie’s MY DEAR HAMILTON – Blog Tour Schedule:
April 2nd
Books A-Brewin' – Excerpt
April 3rd
My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt
Smexy& Fabulous – Excerpt
April 4th
Always a happy ever after –Review & Excerpt
Ficwishes – Excerpt
Quirky Lady Bookworm Reviews – Review & Excerpt
SJAT's Books and More – Review & Interview
April 5th
Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt
Literature Goals – Excerpt
April 6th
Books After Fifty – Excerpt
History Undressed – Review & Excerpt
Under the Covers Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
True Book Addict – Excerpt
Zili in the Sky – Excerpt
April 7th
3 Degrees of Fiction Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Evermore Books – Excerpt
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
April 8th
BookCrushin – Interview
Liz's Reading Life – Excerpt
Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt
April 9th
Book Bug Blog – Review & Excerpt
Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt
April 10th
Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt
My Fictional Escape – Review & Excerpt
Oh, for the Hook of a Book – Review & Interview
April 11th
Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt
April 12th
Denny S. Bryce – Review & Excerpt
Good Drunkard – Review & Excerpt
Ruth Downie – Interview
Margie's Must Reads – Excerpt
April 13th
A Bookaholic Swede – Review
Creating Herstory – Review & Interview
Historical Fiction Reviews – Review & Excerpt
April 14th
Book Nook Nuts – Excerpt
Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt
Leigh Anderson – Review
Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt
Teatime and Books – Excerpt
Two Girls with Books – Review & Excerpt

About Stephanie Dray:

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into multiple languages, illuminating women of the past so as to inspire the women of today. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital.

Stephanie Dray Website |Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter | Dray & Kamoie Website


About Laura Kamoie:

Laura Kamoieis a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction, and the author of two nonfiction books on early American history. Until recently, she held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction under the name Laura Kaye, also a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels.





BONUS CONTENT - EXCERPT

The night before our wedding, the ball at our house was attended by all the best of Dutch Albany society. The Van Rensselaers and the Van Burens, the Ten Broecks and the Ten Eycks, the Van Schaicks and the Douws, and so many others. Neither snow nor ice nor howling wind seemed to deter our New Netherlander friends and neighbors from coming out to the Pastures for the celebrations.

Amidst boughs of holly and the light of countless candles, the grand hall on our second floor hosted festivities that included food and drink, dancing and music, and games and toasts. We danced minuets, cotillions, and Scottish reels until my feet ached and my heart soared. Alexander never seemed to tire, and I determined to keep up with him through every bar and set. I danced with Mac and my brother-in-law, Mr. Carter, a man eight years Angelica’s senior, whose business supplying the army for once permitted him time to join in the festivities. But Alexander could never wait long before declaring himself impatient and claiming me again.

My fiancé appeared more at ease than I’d ever seen him before, and perhaps that wasn’t a surprise, as these days of rest and merriment were the first break from military service he’d had in five years. Indeed, his eyes sparkled as he asked, “May I steal you away for a moment?”

“By all means.” I’d been hoping for a quiet opportunity to give him my gift. He took my hand and led me around the edge of the dance floor as we were stopped again and again by well-wishers, until we finally escaped down the stairs and into the cooler air of the dimly lit sitting room, which afforded us a modicum of peace and privacy. There, Alexander asked me to wait. And while he ducked away I seized the moment to pull my gift from its hiding place in the cabinet next to the fireplace. Alexander returned before I’d barely completed the task—and held a large sack of his own.

“Whatever is that?” I asked.

He grinned and nodded at what I held in my own hands. “I could ask the same.”

I smiled. “A wedding gift for my husband.”

He feigned a frown and stepped closer. “Your husband, madam? Do I know him?”

Playing his game, I said, “Oh, you know him very well, sir. And your gift is for?”

He came closer yet. “For my wife-to-be. And before you ask, indeed, you know her well. She has a good nature, a charming vivacity, and is most unmercifully handsome”—he arched a brow and closed the remaining space between us—“and so perverse that she has none of those affectations which are the prerogatives of beauty.”

How did he always manage to set my world a-tumble with his words? “Oh, you must be a lucky man, indeed. I hope you’ve shown her your appreciation.”

He barked a laugh. “You saucy charmer!”

I sat in the chair closest to the fire so that I could see by the greater light there, and Alexander pulled up a chair of his own so that our knees touched. With a nervous smile, he placed the heavy sack onto my lap. I untied the its string and worked the coarse cloth over the solid object inside. Impatience rolled off him so forcefully that I had to tease him further by taking great pains to slide the sack evenly off, a little on this side, and then a little on that.

“And to think someone once told me you were the Finest Tempered Girl in the World,” he said with a chuckle.


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Thursday, April 5, 2018

#CatThursday - Determined #Kittens #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

We've all witnessed that mischievous look in the eyes of a determined kitten. Turns out, we never dreamed they were determined about so much. lol







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