Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Wrap Up

I can't believe June is almost over! Where has this month gone? And it looks like July is going to be just as busy, if not more so, with the 4th of July, my birthday, family events and travel. So while I haven't had much time to read, I am reading, and I hope to have more book reviews in the near future. This month will now be known as the month I became a Virginian resident. While I moved here in April I finally got my license just this week and can now say I am a true resident. I'm rather excited!

Books Reviewed:
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen continues with my love affair of this author's novels. Every one of her books are magical and enjoyable for me. I love them all and it's a rarity for me to say that I love an author's every single book but Allen holds that title for me.

Bayou Myth by Mary Ann Loesch was a pleasant surprise and a chance for me to devour some much needed Voodoo fiction in this hot summer heat. As a part of the Reading Addiction Blog Tour I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to read this book. Quick, fun, and filled with just the right amount of deities I was happy to read it and left feeling content when I finished the book.

Other Posts:
Since moving to NoVA I have been trying to grab hold of every touristy activity that I could manage to grasp. With that, I've gathered a collection of photos of which you can view in my Tourism post. I'm loving the DC area with a fiery passion and I fully intend on posting more tourism posts in the future. However, you can check out more details and area specific photographs/dialogue on my newly made tourism blog: Abscond to Wander.

As mentioned, I have a hectic July coming up and I can't wait. The fourth of July will be spent in Washington, DC and I will be attending A Capitol Fourth. On the 6th I'll be celebrating my (gulp) 26th birthday with friends at a sculpture garden. The 7th? A bbq with my huge family. The 8th? Well, the 8th is extra special. I'll be attending my first ballet - the Paris Opera Ballet to be specific - at the Kennedy Center to see Giselle. It's my birthday gift to myself and I am ecstatic at the opportunity! Otherwise, July is going to consist of a lot of birthday parties and some travel, maybe even a trip to the beach! I adore where I now live and life is wonderful. Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July to my American readers!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Blog Hop: June 29th

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
Do you have a keeper shelf for books you loved? What books are on that shelf and why?

My Answer:
I have multiple shelves in multiple states! Here at my new place I have a tiny bookshelf with only a handful of books I haven't read yet. I selected them, boxed them, and brought them with me on my move. I figure once I get through all of the books I can figure out what ones will stay or go and hopefully then trade them in for some of my more beloved books I left in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania we have a spare bedroom with three bookcases of books I like enough to keep or have not yet read. In my old bedroom there are two more cases with my favorite books of all time. Over the past year with trying desperately to move I finally got it through my head to go through my books and get rid of the books I knew I would never read again. It took a couple of go throughs but now I'm in a mindset that if I finish a book and I didn't like it enough to ever try and read it again I sit it aside to be donated. It's certainly helped with space!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


On Saturday I went to the DMV nice and early, stood on a line that went out the door and down the sidewalk, then applied for my Virginian license. This is a big moment. After living here for two months I'm becoming an official resident. And while I've been working in DC for about a month and have become accustomed to the intricacies of the area I still want to see all of the tourist attractions and do all of the touristy things. 

And I love it.

Every moment I get to experience something new I am having a blast. Want to know of stuff to do in DC? Just ask me. I fully intend on being a walking tourism book by the end of the summer and I like to think I'm doing a pretty spectacular job. 

So while I have been failing miserably at updating with book reviews, I wanted to provide some type of an entry, some type of sign that I am alive and well. Here's a mix of the past two months for me.

Arlington National Cemetery

1. Vietnam Memorial
2. Lincoln Memorial
3. Manassas Battlefield
4. Shuttle Discovery

1. Gluten free cupcake at Alexandria Cupcakes
2. Oysters
3. Jazz in the Park
4. Air and Space Museum (where I eat lunch!)

1. The tree which I sit under
2. The National Archives
3. Flowers
4. Myself during lunch.

1. Baked and Wired in Georgetown
2. Roses on an old houses in Georgetown

Friday, June 22, 2012

Blog Hop: June 22nd

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
Blogging Question: Do you immediately write a review upon finishing a book or do you wait and write multiple reviews at once?

My Answer:
It depends on the book and my schedule. Sometimes I just don't have it in me to sit down and write a review after reading a book. I want it to sink in or I just need to step back from the book and take a break from it. Other times I just don't have the time. I finish reading the book on a lunch break in the middle of a busy week and it is left to sit for days (or weeks) until I get around to writing a review. I've learned that I personally need to write a review the sooner the better (within a week) or else I'll be at a loss of what I really liked and didn't like. Any longer and details begin to get fuzzy. So I try to mak Friday-Monday the days where I make myself sit down for one morning or evening in order to update my blog- in which case I update as much as I can.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - June 19th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed."
-Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Monday, June 18, 2012

Musing Mondays - June 18th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...

Do you think the book cover is “dead”? Do you care whether the “covers” on digital books exist or not?
My Answer:
I don't know if I would go so far as to think that the book cover is "dead" because we still have book covers on printed books, of which I adore. I do judge books by their covers, or maybe I simply judge the covers. When considering my own writing I get completely overwhelmed by the thought of what the cover of my book would look like (filled with the anxiety of thinking, "I hope it looks good!"). For the digital books, well, I own a Kindle and the moment I open a Kindle book I don't see the cover of the book. In fact, sometimes I have to go searching for it. It may be at the start of the book or at the 100% mark, either way it isn't readily available to me which makes me rather sad because I like book covers and I don't mind seeing them.

I feel that so long as there are print books there will be covers. Of course, this can open up another debate about whether or not print is dying - which I don't mean to discuss right now - but just to explain my opinion I will say that if print died this very day and there were no more printed copies of books then I would say, yes, book covers are dead since they apparently don't hold much weight in the digital world. However, even though I am a Kindle owner, I hope it doesn't come to that. I like to have my printed copies and my digital ones and I love book covers all the same.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reading Addiction Blog Tour: Bayou Myth

As a sixteen year old voodoo queen in the making, Joan Renault just wants to be like all the other girls in the small town of Monte Parish, Louisiana—obsessed with boys and swamped with social lives. If the other kids would quit calling her “hoodoo hag,” she might have a small shot at normality. It would also help if Joan’s weekend outings with her secret crush, Dave, weren’t always being interrupted by her dead Grandmere, the legendary Marie Laveau. After all, it’s hard to make out with your best friend when your grandmother is watching! But when you come from a long line of voodoo priestesses with dried gator heads decorating the wall of their huts, normal doesn’t come easily.

When Joan witnesses the brutal sacrifice of a child to a tree Druid, she learns her Grandmere’s scandalous past has come back to haunt those living in the present. Hera, a vengeful voodoo priestess is determined to use the residual energy of Pandora’s Box to revive a sleeping voodoo god and declare war on the descendants of Marie Laveau, especially Joan. Suddenly, Greek myths are being re-enacted all over town, and Joan has her hands full trying to sort it all out. With the approach of Samedi’s Day—the voodoo day of resurrection—Joan must learn to accept her destiny in order to stop the approaching threat to her family and friends.

The deep south, the heat of summer, swamps, crocodiles and voodoo. Something that's always piqued my interest but I have very little experience with. When I had the chance to read Bayou Myth I jumped for the opportunity. It sounded like a fun, entertaining, if maybe a little creepy book to read and it seemed to hit on all that I was interested in.

Joan Renault is a typical teenager, desperate to be normal while very much feeling not normal. Granted, not all teenage girls are voodoo queens in the making but what teenage girl doesn't feel abnormal every now and then? I was relieved to read a supernatural book where the odd teenage girl isn't involved in vampires or werewolves. This stems on something very real but still gives that edge that supernatural YA books provide. Throw in a crush for her best friend and ex-friends and you have a character that teenage girls can relate to (and adults can recall the general feelings they had as teens as well!).

But the use of voodoo and notes (of which I am assuming are accurate) about the religion and its rituals were fascinating for me. Then I got to the awesome point of Greek mythology being tied into the story and I was simply hooked. See, I know my fair share of Greek myths and my knowledge of Voodoo deities is very small but I do recognize a lot of the deity names. To read something where faces and characteristics were placed in present day scenarios with the personalities of mortals was great entertainment and with every little oddity that occurred I thought, "What now?"

With all that was going on I was entertained and wanting more. In fact, I was a little disappointed when the book came to its end. I wanted more. I wanted to keep going. And for me? If my biggest upset with a book is that it is over then that is a good sign. The novel had a few grammatical errors and proof reading misses but due to my past job experiences I tend to zero in on that stuff. It never did anything to upset the plot and could easily be overlooked. All and all, I really adored this book and I've already suggested it to a number of close friends. For having little to no experience with fiction pertaining to voodoo I think this was a wonderful start. I loved the characters (Joan and Dave forever!) and I just couldn't get enough of it. This very well may end up on my re-read pile for future literary adventures.

Interested in getting the book for yourself? Check out these links:
Barnes & Noble

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising*

Monday, June 11, 2012

Musing Mondays - June 11th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...

What is the longest book you have ever read? How long did it take you to read it?

My Answer:

This is certainly an early morning answer because I'm still waking up; however, I basically consider any long book being something that gets close to or exceeds 1,000 pages. From what I can think of at this hour the longest book I've read (thing is, I am sure there are others and I just can't think of them right now) is The Lord of the Rings. Yes, I count all three parts as one big book because I lugged all three parts in one big book around for months. I read the book in High School and from what I can recall it took most of the fall semester for me to get through all three books. Meanwhile, I've read the first book of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (which my one copy was a couple hundred pages thick) in only a month. Currently I am picking at the first Game of Thrones book which I keep coming back to since I started reading it in April. Literally, I read the book for about a week then switch off to other things. I don't believe I've opened it since the start of May but I'm hoping to pick it up again shortly. Generally the speed it takes for me to read a book varies from book to book. Some books, despite their length, I fly through while others I take a little bit more time with.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blog Hop: June 8th

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
If you were to write a book, what type of book would you write?

My Answer:
I would love to do a historical fiction if I had the time to set aside endless hours of studying books in libraries about that particular time period. It's somewhat of a fantasy: to be in a financially stable position where I could go without a day to day job and just read and study and write. Preferably something from the Civil War or Arthurian legend. Oh gosh, just to think of studying up on customs and language, day to day life and clothing style for those time periods makes me so excited!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Peach Keeper

Sarah Addison Allen is by far one of my favorite authors. Her books are always a comfort; something warm and magical that can transport me from real life with all of its stressors to Somewhere Else. Maybe it's because often many of Sarah Addison Allen's characters want to be Somewhere Else as well. Maybe I find myself with those same dreams and I can relate all the better to the fictional characters I'm reading about.

For those who have read and loved Allen's past books they will love this one as well. All of her books have been happy and light with a little bit of necessary darkness. So for that I feel this review will be much like the others I have written about her previous books. Thus far, with my experience of this author, I feel that if you read any of her previous books and disliked them, you shouldn’t even attempt her other novels because they are all so similar. 

To be totally honest, the book is often predictable. You know what's going to happen nearly right away and the book isn't too filled with surprises. It's simple, it's pretty and it has a happy ending. You aren't going to need to concentrate too hard on its written pages and I flew through the book. But that's the thing, it's light and quick and not giving you a headache. It's happy and magical and adventurous in a small town type of way, where you can find excitement just within your own home and where you most certainly least expect it.

It even has a guest appearance by some beloved characters from her first book, Garden Spells and much of the same magical elements that have been found in all of her past books. The leading male characters in this book were possibly some of my favorite that Allen has ever written. But, as always, there is a very strong host of female characters. I think that’s what I like about the book: it’s so filled with women. The strength, friendship, care, and courage of women is easily displayed. Some women fit into social roles, others are mean and cruel, but all seem to show signs of character growth through out Allen’s novels. The Peach Keeper is no different.

Predictability aside, it’s just an enjoyable book. There is obvious romantic tension for the female cast with their possible suitors which I enjoyed (and cheered on) and there is the love between friends that is displayed in a lovely light. The idea that women stick together, through thick or thin, even though they may be scared of what they would face. But sometimes it seems women may have to make mistakes and realize that they’re being poor friends to see the light and strive for that type of dependable friendship.

Of course, Allen depicts southern hospitality, or what I assume it is to be. I’m a Yankee and have very little experience with The South so forgive me if I am missing something here. To me, the book depicts the southern living that I’ve always imagined. Warm nights, flowers blooming, people appreciating food and the outdoors while there are groups like women’s societies that prefer putting together galas under tents and decorated to perfection. I think it’s all rather fascinating. Allen also has a tendency to use nature to her advantage. Trees, animals, and specifically flowers always play such a major role in her books and I love that about her. Every aspect of these character’s lives has an influence over them and I feel that is a great use of plot devices and language. Plus, I’m all about pretty flowers and trees so if you throw that element into a book you pretty much have found yourself a fan in me.

When I discovered that Sarah Addison Allen had been diagnosed with breast cancer and began her treatments right around the time that The Peach Keeper came out, I felt like a horrible fan. She was going through a huge event in her life and I didn’t even know about it! But I’m happy to say that she has conquered the cancer and seems to be in good health and spirits – even writing another book! I can promise you this, whether or not her next book is much the same as all of her others, I don’t care, I will still be reading it and this time I won’t wait so long to purchase it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Musing Mondays - June 4th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...

Do you have a reading goal for the year, such as __ books? Why or why not?

My Answer:
I hope to read 50 books that aren't of the children's book variety. Thus far, I've made it through 20 books, but things are slow moving because I have been so busy. I've had much larger goals in the past: 100, 150, 200. The higher the number, it seems, the busier I am. If I set my goals low I seem to be able to read more. It's strange. But, generally, I like making lists and checking items off of it. It makes me feel accomplished and that works with making a goal of books to read each year. Whether or not that will happen this year - I don't know!