Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cat Thursday - Moving with 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)

I thought this was a fun video to share today since we will be moving households as soon as we're able to find something suitable for my mom and me and my two boys. We're trying to get a duplex or a house with a mother-in-law apartment. We will have Alice and Arya to think about...and Mom's cat, Emma and her dog, Flencie. Looking further into the future, we may be relocating back to our home state of Michigan so we have some fun moves with pets coming up.

Cole and Marmalade are the cutest. They seemed to adjust quite well to the move, travelling and all. I love when they start exploring their new home. Cats are so fun! Don't you just love the slippery floor!?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Reading Life (42) - Read-a-Thon wrap-up and more

So, yesterday ended my Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon. I'm happy to say that I was able to complete two books! I read...

I also participated in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon on Saturday (for about 10-11 hours). I actually managed to stay up all night, but only read half of The Troop. My wrap-up post is here.

What I'm reading now...
Finishing up The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James
Continuing with Roots and Akhenaten by Naguib Mahfouz
Coming up next...Children of Darkness by Jonathan Janz, The Great Mortality by John Kelly

What I've been watching...
Mom and I took my boys to see The Jungle Book on Saturday. They are 13 and 14 years old and I was so thrilled that they wanted to see it. They loved it. The Jungle Book is Gabe's (my older son) favorite since he was little. I'm hoping I can get him to read the book this summer. Mom and I loved the movie too. It was visually stunning, exciting, scary in parts...just an all around great film. I highly recommend it. 

Two of my favorites characters...

Raksha voiced by Lupita Nyong'o

Bagheera voiced by Ben Kingsley

Game of Thrones! I was SO excited for the new season. A lot of revelations in this first episode. Don't ask me what, or who, this is...I'm not telling (If you saw it, you'll know). I don't do spoilers. lol

Honestly, I love the Game of Thrones show so much, and the A Song of Ice and Fire series, that I'm seriously thinking about starting book 3, A Storm of Swords, just because I know I'll have to read it slowly (due to other reading obligations) and so will prolong my Game of Thrones euphoria after the season ends. I think I might be addicted. ;-)

I've been watching Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned on Lifetime. It's a three part "mini-series" that originally aired in the UK and it is EXCELLENT (like most British offerings, I've found). I'm finishing Part 3 tonight (as I type, actually) and can't wait to see how it ends. Her husband is such an ass.

Recent book acquisitions...

For review (next month) from Henry Holt & Company

Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe, Andrew Dickson 
(Don't miss the giveaway!)

from Dollar Tree
  • The Good Inn: an Illustrated Screen Story of Historical Fiction, Black Francis and Josh Frank (co-written by the Pixies front of my favorite bands!)
  • Gameboard of the Gods, Richelle Mead

What's going on in your Reading Life?


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour #Readathon - I tried (End of Event Survey)

Well, another 24 hour read-a-thon comes to a close. My attempted reading time was 10-11 hours after I returned from my outings yesterday. Of course, much of that time was interrupted, eating snacks, watching the Prince tribute on Saturday Night Live. I almost managed to stay up all night, but I kept falling asleep so that inhibited my finishing the book I was reading.
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 20-21 and final hour
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? N/A
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? I'm not fond of these specific question surveys. I prefer more organic "updates."
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? It seemed the same as times before to me.
  5. How many books did you read? 1/2 of a 400 page book. 200 pages. I'm a slow reader. :-(
  6. What were the names of the books you read? The Troop by Nick Cutter
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? A foregone conclusion since I only read the one. 
  8. Which did you enjoy least? N/A
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  Indeed. Reader only.
Luckily, my Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon continues today until 11:59pm CT tonight. My plan is to finish The Troop and then try to read (and finish) Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth by Naguib Mahfouz, which is only 168 pages. We shall see if I succeed. 

How did your 24 hour reading go?


Dewey's 24 Hour #Readathon - It's SO update

It's 3:50 am and I'm awake. I fell asleep...a brief nap...and then woke up to continue reading. I think I subconsciously willed myself to wake up. lol

I'm still reading The Troop (Nick Cutter). The reality of it is disturbing and I'm really starting to get a Lord of the Flies vibe, which doesn't bode well for some, or all, of the characters, I think. Let's see if I can stay awake and try to finish this book by 7:00am my time.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour #Readathon - Finally...officially starting!

I'm back from my day out with my boys (and mom). We had a nice lunch and then saw The Jungle Book. Terrific movie! I'm trying to convince Gabe to read the book this summer for summer reading. He's my older son and not much of a reader (I'm determined to help him become one), but The Jungle Book is his favorite so maybe the book will spark his interest. Plus, it's an eBook so he can read it on his Kindle.

So, I'm officially starting now (8pm). I'm reading The Troop and looking forward to getting scared. I'll probably grab a snack too. I've made the executive decision to forego mini-challenges this time so I can focus on the reading.

1. What are you reading right now? see above
2. How many books have you read so far? 0
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? see above
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? see intro paragraph of this post
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Nothing...yet.

How's your read-a-thon going?


Dewey's 24 Hour #readathon - Yeah, I'm just starting

I'm late! I overslept this morning...damn. I had planned to get up earlier, do the intro meme, and read a bit before I go out today to take my sons to see "The Jungle Book." Oh well. It is what it is.

I had to alter my original plans, as I didn't finish one of my books for Spring into Horror. So, these are the two I'm hoping to finish. I'll really only be participating for 12 hours (or a bit less) so we'll see how this goes. I need to finish The Troop first and then on to Akhenaten (which is a short book - 168 pages).

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I am reading from Nashville, Tennessee, USA

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

The the scary so hoping this one will have me frightened tonight.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

About the snacks...a bit of a story here. I treated my boys to a junk food supper last night. We had all the dips! I made....

Yum! There is plenty left so that's my snack plan tonight. Plus, chewy sweetarts...and coffee. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Mom of two teen sons and two cat daughters, avid reader, owner of a humongous home library (close to 4000 books, maybe more), writer, work at home (virtual assistant and inbound customer service/call center). I like to sing in my spare time (not often enough), usually at karaoke. 

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I always try to stay up the entire time I participate, but have never quite made it yet. Maybe this time!


Worlds Elsewhere by Andrew Dickson - Giveaway #Shakespeare400


Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and I have a special giveaway for you!

A book about how Shakespeare became fascinated with the world, and how the world became fascinated with Shakespeare - the first book of its kind

There are 83 copies of the First Folio in a vault beneath Capitol Hill, the world's largest collection. Well over 150 Indian movies are based on Shakespeare's plays - more than in any other nation. If current trends continue, there will soon be more high-school students reading The Merchant of Venice in Mandarin Chinese than in early-modern English. Why did this happen - and how? Ranging ambitiously across four continents and 400 years, Worlds Elsewhere is an eye-opening account of how Shakespeare went global. Seizing inspiration from the playwright's own fascination with travel, foreignness and distant worlds, Dickson takes us on an extraordinary journey - fromHamlet performed by English actors tramping through Poland in the early 1600s to twenty-first-century Shanghai, where Shashibiya survived Mao's Cultural Revolution to become an honored Chinese author.

En route we visit Nazi Germany, where Shakespeare became an unlikely favorite, and delve into the history of Bollywood, where Shakespearian stories helped give birth to Indian cinema. In Johannesburg, we discover how Shakespeare was enlisted into the fight to end apartheid. In California, we encounter him as the most popular playwright of the American frontier.

Both a cultural history and a literary travelogue, the first of its kind, Worlds Elsewhereexplores how Shakespeare became the world's writer, and how his works have changed beyond all recognition during the journey.

Praise for Worlds Elsewhere
“There were very few pages on which I didn’t learn something new or revelatory. A must-read for anyone interested in Shakespeare’s impact around the globe.”
—JAMES SHAPIRO, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

“Brilliantly original. Absolutely engaging, witty and irresistible. What’s most remarkable: he’s said something new about Shakespeare. ” —MICHAEL PYE, author of The Edge of the World

“Immensely well-informed and highly readable. A revelatory journey of cultural exploration. ”
—PROFESSOR STANLEY WELLS, General Editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares

“This book is much more than just a hugely entertaining travelogue. In its strikingly original, engagingly idiosyncratic way, Dickson’s action-packed global quest amounts to a substantial new contribution to Shakespeare scholarship.” —THE GUARDIAN

“An extraordinarily exhilarating book, like no other Shakespeare criticism you have ever read... [Dickson] is a serious scholar, and his cross-cultural insights into Shakespeare are remarkable.”

“More than just a hugely entertaining travelogue… a substantial new contribution to Shakespeare scholarship. ” —ANTHONY HOLDEN, The Observer

“A joy, full to bursting with surprising incidents, stories and insight. ”

“Eye-opening and engrossing.” —NICK CURTIS, Mail on Sunday

“A rousing and insightful tour through the global manifestations of Shakespeare's works with plenty of information that will even stun even those who thought they knew it all... an eloquent testimony of how cultural motifs gets transmitted, changed to alien climes and still flourish.” —THE TIMES OF INDIA

“Dickson proves himself a genial guide to Shakespeare's huge influence and legacy. A frequently illuminating investigation of Shakespeare around the world. ” —KIRKUS REVIEWS



The theatre was packed, people jostling for position. As I watched, three men detached themselves from the crowd and began slowly to climb the steps. A ripple of applause washed over them as they came up on to the stage. Acknowledging it, they glanced around – surprised, bemused to find themselves here in the flat grey light of an English summer afternoon. They were decently dressed, if perhaps a little shabby: long perahantunics in grey and mud- brown, loose trousers, jackets, rubber sandals. Orange security lanyards flapped at their necks. They carried bags; one had a rug slung across his arm. They looked fresh off the plane, and dusty with tiredness.

They settled themselves down, cross-legged, on one side of the stage. Ceremonially, the rug was laid out. The carry-on bags disgorged a series of unlikely objects: a small drum, a case of wooden flutes, a much larger rug. One of the men unzipped what looked like a violin case and produced an Afghan lute, the colour of fresh honey, bristling with pegs and frets. After a few lazy skitterings up the fingerboard, he glanced towards his colleagues. The crowd hushed. Somewhere nearby, there was a brief splash of birdsong. Quietly, insistently, the musicians began to play.

About the author
Andrew Dickson was raised in Yorkshire, and studied at Cambridge. He is currently an honorary fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, a former visiting fellow at the University of Warwick, and has contributed toThe New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. Formerly an arts editor at the Guardian in London, he continues to write regularly for the paper and has also written for The New Yorker online and The New Statesman. He makes regular appearances on BBC radio and TV as a presenter and reviewer.

Visit Andrew's website

Visit above site for purchase links.

GIVEAWAY: Open to U.S. entrants only. To enter, please leave a comment telling me which work of Shakespeare is your favorite. If you haven't read any of his work, but would like to, which would you read first? Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact the winner. Giveaway will end on Saturday, April 30th at 11:59 pm CT. Good luck!

Watch for my review...coming next month!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cat Thursday - Cat Read-a-Thon #catsreading #readathon

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)

In honor of my Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon going on this week (and Dewey's 24 Hour going on Saturday), today is the Cat Read-a-Thon. This kitty is participating in Spring into Horror. Can you tell?

Arya does this. smh


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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Reading Life (41) - Read-a-Thons, #ReadNobels and more! #SpringHorrorRAT

It's a busy week! Lots of reading fun going on.

First off, my Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon is going on today through Sunday. You can sign up through Friday (click the title). Yes, horror is in the title, but I only require one horror (or whatever is scary to you...mysteries, thrillers, gothic tales) book to be read. The rest of your reading can be more horror, or any genre you like. On my end, I'll be predominantly focusing on horror. After I finish up this week's reading section tonight of The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James (for TuesBookTalk), I'll be reading these beauties....

If I finish these, I'll be reading this book for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon....

and starting this one, if I finish the above...

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon is this Saturday!

Where in the world will your Nobel take you?

Week 3 of Where in the World will your Nobel take you? This week's questions: 
  • What other Nobel-prize winning authors / books have you discovered (or didn't realize were Nobel winners) and would you like to get in your TBR or read at a later date?
  • What about the book/s, author/s or setting/s attract/s or intrigue/s you?
I had noticed that a couple of the other participants were reading/had read Snow by Orhan Pamuk. This one intrigued me (this line in the description in particular "the lethal chemistry between secular doubt and Islamic fanaticism") and, as luck would have it, I came across a copy at the library sale yesterday. Yay!

These are authors that I have on my Read the Nobels challenge list. I own books by all of these Nobel Prize winning authors. So, books by these authors will be on my TBR in the future.

2007 - Doris Lessing
2000 - Gao Xingjian
1998 - José Saramago
1995 - Seamus Heaney
1993 - Toni Morrison
1988 - Naguib Mahfouz
1983 - William Golding
1982 - Gabriel García Márquez
1962 - John Steinbeck
1958 - Boris Pasternak
1957 - Albert Camus
1954 - Ernest Hemingway
1949 - William Faulkner
1948 - T.S. Eliot
1938 - Pearl Buck
1930 - Sinclair Lewis
1929 - Thomas Mann
1928 - Sigrid Undset
1925 - George Bernard Shaw
1923 - William Butler Yeats
1907 - Rudyard Kipling

The following are books I'm considering to read this year for Read the Nobels 2016 (two from this list):

Albert Camus, The Plague
Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks
Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter


Recent book acquisitions...

Library sale

Kill Your Darlings, Terence Blacker
The Silent Sister, Diane Chamberlain
Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
Mudwoman, Joyce Carol Oates
The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
The Legend of Sheba, Tosca Lee
The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss
The Good Apprentice, Iris Murdoch
Snow, Orhan Pamuk
The Banks of Certain Rivers, Jon Harrison
The Agincourt Bride, Joanna Hickson
Agincourt, Bernard Cornwell

What's going on in your Reading Life?


Monday, April 18, 2016

The Jane and Bertha in Me by Rita Maria Martinez - Review #NationalPoetryMonth

My thoughts
It's interesting to me that (sadly) I had no idea this spring is the bicentennial of Charlotte Bronte's birth, and yet we are reading a historical novel about her (The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James) for my Goodreads book group, TuesBookTalk. So, how also fitting is it for me to be reading and reviewing this wonderful book of poetry? Seems it's a month of Charlotte...and Jane!

I have to concur with another reviewer...poetry is hard to review. That being said, reading poetry always seems to evoke something in the inner spirit. It's getting those feelings on paper that proves to be difficult. The poems in these pages speak to me of a love for Jane Eyre, and also for Bertha, and a wish for their liberation and happiness. I loved the references to Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (a book I also loved), and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. These references speak to the practice in the past of diagnosing women as hysterical and confining them as treatment. An explanation of the fate of Bertha in Jane Eyre, and its "prequel" Wide Sargasso Sea.

I also liked the incorporation of modern themes. One of my favorite poems in the volume speaks of this use of modernity...


I was walking toward the post
when a guy whizzed by like a messenger. 
I can't tell you what he looked like
or what he wore, only that the scent 
of his cologne lingered as if saying hello--
and that he smelled like you, like the blue flask
of Nautica you kept in the glove 
compartment, like my purple turtleneck
on nights I sank into bed carrying 
your scent the way little girls 
carry dolls to their beds, the way men 
carry loose change in their pockets
all day, without realizing.

I love how it demonstrates the power of scent in invoking our memories and how we carry those memories with us, at times unnoticed, until a scent comes along and reminds us, like Grandma's cookies, or the smell of a child's hair when they were babies.

Anyone who loves Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, and poetry, should really read this volume. Truthfully, you should read this even if you're not a fan of the former or latter. It's that good.

About the book
This spring marks the bicentennial of Charlotte Brontë’s birth. In her ambitious and timely debut, The Jane and Bertha in Me, Rita Maria Martinez celebrates Brontë’s classic novel Jane Eyre. Through wildly inventive, beautifully crafted persona poems, Martinez re-imagines Jane Eyre’s cast of characters in contemporary contexts, from Jane as an Avon saleslady to Bertha as a Stepford wife. These lively, fun, poignant poems prove that Jane Eyre’s fictional universe is just as relevant today as it was so many years ago. The Jane and Bertha in Me is a must-read for any lover of Brontë’s work.

The Jane and Bertha in Me is a Rubik’s Cube(TM) of Janes. Each poem is a smartly annotated, hauntingly revisionist homage to Jane Eyre. Martinez’s astounding poems are literary, conversational, personal, fun, as she confidently transports her Janes from the Moors to Macy’s, from Thornfield Hall to the world of tattoos. —Denise Duhamel, author of Blowout

Rita Maria Martinez’s The Jane and Bertha in Me gives an unusual twist to the well-known characters fromJane Eyre, envisioning Jane at the guidance counselor, Bertha getting a makeover. These persona poems give us greater insight into the minds of madwoman and governess alike and even minor characters like Blanche and Alice, with beautiful, lush language and empathetic vision. Even casual fans of Brontë’s great book will enjoy this lively re-imagining. —Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of The Robot Scientist’s Daughter

U.S. residents can purchase a signed copy of The Jane and Bertha in Me from the author’s website.

About the Poet
Rita Maria Martinez is a Cuban-American poet from Miami, Florida. Her writing has been published in journals including the Notre Dame Review, Ploughshares, MiPOesias, and 2River View. She authored the chapbook Jane-in-the-Box, published by March Street Press in 2008. Her poetry also appears in the textbook Three Genres: The Writing of Fiction/Literary Nonfiction, Poetry and Drama, published by Prentice Hall; and in the anthology Burnt Sugar, Caña Quemada: Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish, published by Simon & Schuster. Martinez has been a featured author at the Miami Book Fair International; at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida; and at the Palabra Pura reading series sponsored by the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Florida International University.

Tour Stops
April 4: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (interview)
April 10: Emma Eden Ramos (review)
April 12: Everything Distils Into Reading (review)
April 15: Book Dilettante (review)
April 16: Suko’s Notebook (review)
April 18: True Book Addict (review)
April 22: Jorie Loves a Story (review)
April 25: Diary of an Eccentric (review)
April 26: Unabridged Chick (review)
April 27: Pretty Purple Polka Dots (review)
April 28: Impressions in Ink (review)
April 30: Create With Joy (review)


Sunday, April 17, 2016

#Roots - The Read-Along Discussion One

I apologize for the delay in getting this discussion post up. Seems I'm always running behind.

So, what did you think of our first section, through Chapter 37? I'll share my thoughts and then you can join in on the discussion in the comments, or leave the link to your blog post.

I was actually surprised that the entire almost 200 pages was dedicated to Kunta's childhood in the Gambia. This surprise is mainly based on the fact that I watched the first Roots mini-series at a fairly young age (I was eight) and I don't remember it spending too much time exploring Kunta's early life. That being said, I found this descriptive narrative of his adolescence to be an effective method of showing us the true concept of his freedom in contrast to the horror of being captured and held in the slave ship.

There are hardships as Kunta is growing up. Namely, famine and the strict rules he must live by. However, we are also shown the beauty of nature in his land and the importance of the oral traditions passed down through generations. We see that Kunta had a good life filled with family, hopes and dreams. I love that Haley shows us Kunta's culture and life so vividly. We get a very real idea of what freedom meant to him and what it feels like when it's taken away.

I am really enjoying this book and I can't believe I waited this long to read it!

What do you think of it so far? Share your thoughts.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cat Thursday - Authors and Cats (52)

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)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), or pictured with a cat(s).

Trina Schart Hyman (April 8, 1939 – November 19, 2004) was an American illustrator of children's books. She illustrated over 150 books, including fairy tales and Arthurian legends.

She won the 1985 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, recognizing Saint George and the Dragon, retold by Margaret Hodges.

 One of my favorites!

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