Tuesday, December 31, 2013

ARC Book Review: "Open Your Eyes: 10 Uncommon Lessons To Discover a Happier Life" by Jake Olson

Happy New Years Eve everyone! I hope that you are cuddled up warm in your jammies thinking about your NYE plans, but I bet some of you are at your (ghost town) of a workplace like me! The book that we are talking about was sent to me for review from the author's publishing team. I thought that it was a good inspirational book to end the year on. (Here I will also reiterate my promise that I will never accept a book that I don't think is a good fit for the blog). The book is released today! Happy New Years my friends. Be safe have fun!


Jake Olson was 8 months old when he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is a rapidly developing eye cancer. It's mainly in children, but is rare, only 3% of cancer diagnosed in children is retinoblastoma. His left eye was removed at 10 months old, but doctors were able to preserve his sight it in his right eye, though they knew that it wouldn't last forever. The cancer returned in 2009, when Jake was 12 years old and he knew that he would end up losing his sight. ( I know I told you that this book was inspirational but we need to get through the sad stuff first.)

Knowing that he had limited time with sight left Jake set out to see everything that he could. His parents decorated their house in early November so he could experience the Christmas lights once more. He golfed the Pebble Beach golf course. He played in his team's football games. However one of the greatest experiences for Jake involves the USC football program. His dad went to USC so they were big Trojan fans to begin with, Jake especially. When he finds out that he is going to lose his sight he wishes that he could get up close and personal with the Trojans football team. When the coach at the time, Pete Carroll hears Jake's story he makes it happen. Not only is he there for a game, he's there for team meetings, meal times, and practices. He really bonds with all the players and the coaches. Pete Carroll even writes one of the forwards for the book. Jake and some of the team members still seem to be quite close! ESPN caught wind of this story they filmed some of his experiences. Jake even got some tv time with Lee Corso on an episode of Game Day and made better picks than the coach! (If you're like me, and this name sounds only vaguely familiar let me assist you: Corso is the kind of loud one who does the stuff with the mascot's heads. I also think he kind of looks like Mel Brooks)

Even know that he is blind, Jake is an active golfer. He even golfs on his school team and his dream is to be the first blind golfer on the PGA tour. I think even I would enjoy watching golf if he was involved (more Jake, less Tiger Woods, that's what I'd need to watch golf. But I digress).

The first 25-30 pages are about Jake's background and his experiences (I was reading the ARC, so it might be different in the final published book) but the rest of the book is more of a reflection on how his faith has helped sustain him, how he keeps a good attitude, and how he doesn't let his lack of sight keep him from leaving a full and joyous life.He (and his whole family) lean heavily on their faith to get them through these different struggles. Though some of the advice that he offers is great no matter who you are, like "It's not what happens to us; it's what we do with what happens to us that matters". Another "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass". I love that one. So often we expect huge mountain moving things to make what we want come true, but it's the little shuffles in the right directions that get us to where we go.

Others who have faced difficulties are also featured in this book. A man named Art Berg was made a quadriplegic in a terrible car accident. Doctors told him that he would need to be taken care of for the rest of his life, that he probably wouldn't have kids, drive a car, or work again. 12 years after the accident Art had 2 children with his wife, could drive a car, feed himself, was a motivational speaker and was very self-sufficient.Beck Weathers lost his sight while he was climbing Mount Everest and while he waited for his eyesight to return he was left for dead twice. He managed to stumble into camp on his own, though he would eventually lose both hands to frostbite.

I like that the book had little "insights" from Jake, his parents, and other people who could add something to his story. I think my favorite chapter of the book was "Lemons and Molehills". Who doesn't need a reminder that you need to keep problems in perspective and that "this too shall pass?" This would have been a great Christmas gift for the hard to shop for person in your life, but keep it in mind for birthdays or other occasions.(Though maybe not a great gift for the Notre Dame fan in your life, if they are particularly rabid). The book is very conversational, and is a good casual read while still having a message worth hearing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Less of a Review, More of a Recommendation

I was fortunate to have a few days off of work this week and I got some reading in. Some of them will pop up on the blog but some won't.
One of the books that I read was "The Monsters of Templeton" by Lauren Groff. I loved it! However, it's one of those books that when you try to explain it 1) ridiculous and incredibly confusing or 2) by trying to explain it you give things away.

I'll give you some keywords to intrigue you:
-loch ness-like monster
-affair with professor
-reformed hippie
-middle age running club
-doubtful parentage

It was a fun read and I recommend it!

Also, and completely unrelated I got a daily devotional book based off of CS Lewis books. I'm excited to start it January 1, and maybe some of it will pop up here!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you get everything you want for Christmas.
I hope that you get to spend warm and happy time with your family and friends.
I hope that you get to sing all of your favorite hymns at church.
I hope that whenever you need to drive anywhere that the roads and skies are clear.
I hope that you get a few days off work to spend in your pajamas curled up on the couch.
I hope you have a cuddly blanket and a great book to read.

I'm taking a few days away to have said time with family and friends (and to be in the car, so much time in the car.) Ill be back to give you one last 2013 book review on New Years Eve Day.

"And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 20, 2013

Books Read in 2013

Everyone, here is a mostly accurate list of what I read in 2013. Its missing December. But 11 out of 12 months is good enough that I can live with it. If you want to see what I read in December check out Goodreads. Apologies for any misspellings or transpositions!If anyone has any questions about any of them, or wants to hear more about them let me know!

20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-Life Woman's Guide
to Balance and Direction - Christine Hessler

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess - Jen Hatmaker

A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther, #3)- Philip Kerr

A Gracious Plenty - Sheri Reynolds

A Quiet Flame (Bernard Gunther, #5) - Philip Kerr

A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans: Pirates, Skinflints, Patriots,
and Other Colorful Characters Stuck in the Footnotes of History - Michael Farquhar

A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World - Tony Horwitz

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail - Bill Bryson

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

American Psycho - Brett Easton Ellis

An Exclusive Love: A Memoir - Johanna Adorjan

Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but
Authentic Spiritual Memoir - Susan E Isaacs

Around the World in 80 Dates - Jennifer Cox

Article 5 (Article 5, #1) - Kristen Simmons

Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia - Tony Horwitz

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Sijie Dai

Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities - Alex Marshall

Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional
Archaeologist - Donald P Ryan

Bill Bryson's African Diary- Bill Bryson

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality - Donald Miller

Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm - Mardi Jo Link

Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It - Peggy Klaus

Carrie - Stephen King

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed - Glennon Melton

City of Women - David R Gillham

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

Company Of Liars - Karen Matiland

Countdown City (The Last Policeman, #2) - Ben Winters

Dad Is Fat - Jim Gaffigan

Don't Worry, It Gets Worse - Alida Nugent

Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends,
From Cleopatra to Princess Di - Kriss Waldherr

Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and Strangeness - David Weeks

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1) - Orson Scott Card

Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: 
One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide- Doug Mack

Eva Moves the Furniture - Margot Livesey

Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things - Laurence Gonzalez

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader - Anne Fadiman

Faces from Dante's Inferno:
Who they are, what they say, and what it all means - Peter Celano

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2) - Lauren DeStefano

Firestarter - Stephen King

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores
 the Hidden Side of Everything - Steven D. Levitt

From the Earth to the Moon - HG Wells

Fuse (Pure #2) - Julianna Baggot

Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters,
and a Midlife Miracle - Rachel Dratch

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies
 of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Neil Giaman

Grendel - John Gardner

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles,
 and So-Called Hospitality - Jacob Tomsky

How to Be a Woman - Caitlan Moran

Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home - Susan Hill

Hugh and Bess: A Love Story - Susan Higginbotham

I'm Perfect, You're Doomed:
Tales From A Jehovah's Witness Upbringing - Kyria Abrahams

In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson

In the Devil's Garden:
 A Sinful History of Forbidden Food - Stewart Lee Allen

In the Shadow of Blackbirds - Cat Winters

Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) - Dan Brown

Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents - Jim Malusa

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

Jungleland: A True Story of Adventure, Obsession,
 and the Deadly Search for the Lost White City - Christopher S. Stewart

Last Train From Liguria - Christine Dwyer Hickey

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir - Jenna Lawson

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home
 the Lost Children of Nepal - Connor Grenan

London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets - Peter Akroyd

Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family - Najla Said

March - Geraldine Brooks

March Violets (Bernard Gunther, #1) - Philip Kerr

Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall:
 How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year - Kjersten Gruys

Mistress Of Nothing - Kate Pullinger

Montana 1948 - Larry Watson

More Than This - Patrick Ness

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe - Bill Bryson

Not My Blood - Barbara Cleverley

Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are - Ann Voskamp

Pagan Holiday: On the Trail of Ancient Roman Tourists - Tony Perrottet

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Patrick Suskind

Plane Insanity - Eliott Hester

Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8) - Philip Kerr

Ragtime in Simla (Joe Sandilands, #2) -Barbara Cleverly

Round the Moon - Jules Verne

Running the Books: The Adventures of an
 Accidental Prison Librarian - Avi Steinberg

Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3) - Lauren DeStefano

Sky on Fire (Monument 14, #2) - Emmy Laybourne

Slave - Mende Nazer

Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk
 - Heather Hopham Kopp

Stalin's children : three generations of love and betrayal - Owen Matthews

Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator - Gary Noesner

Strange Images of Death (Joe Sandilands, #8) - Barbara Cleverly

Superman: Red Son - Mark Millar

The Astronomer - Lawrence Goldstone

The Bee's Kiss (Joe Sandilands, #5) - Barbara Cleverly

The Bite of the Mango - Mariatu Kamara

The Blood Royal - Barbara Cleverley

The Book of Madness and Cures - Regina O'Melvenely

The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Life, Love, and Lit - Jen Adams

The Butterfly Cabinet - Bernie Mcgill

The Children of Men - P.D. James

The Damascened Blade (Joe Sandilands, #3) - Barbara Cleverly

The Dark Heart of Italy - Tobias Jones

The Elite (The Selection, #2) - Kiera Cass

The End of Your Life Book Club - Will Schwalbe

The Flanders Panel - Arturo Perez-Reverte

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1) - Carrie Ryan

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets,
Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun - Gretchen Rubin

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) - Douglas Adams

The J.M. Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society - Barbara J Zitwer

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest
 to Become the Smartest Person in the World - AJ Jacobs

The Kommandant's Girl (The Kommandant's Girl, #1) - Pam Jenoff

The Last Kashmiri Rose (Joe Sandilands, #1) - Barbara Cleverly

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir
of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book - Wendy Welch

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Lost Garden - Helen Humphreys

The Magician's Wife - Brian Moore

The Man in the Picture - Susan Hill

The Monks of Tibhirine:
 Faith, Love, and Terror in Algeria - John W Kiser

The Morning Star (Katerina, #3) - Robin Bridges

The Night Strangers - Chris Bohjalian

The Obituary Writer - Ann Hood

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4) - Philip Kerr

The Orphanmaster - Jean Zimmerman

The Palace Tiger (Joe Sandilands, #4) - Barbara Cleverly

The Pale Criminal (Bernard Gunther, #2) - Philip Kerr

The Peshawar Lancers - S.M. Stirling

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - Ree Drummond

The Plot Against America - Philip Roth 

The Righteous: 
The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust - Martin Gilbert

The Road of Lost Innocence:
 The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine - Somaly Mam

The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman #1) - Neil Gaiman

The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll's House (The Sandman #2)

The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country (The Sandman #3) -Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists (The Sandman #4) - Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You (The Sandman #5) - Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections (The Sandman #6) -Neil Gaiman

The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives  (The Sandman #7) - Neil Gaiman

The Sea Captain's Wife - Beth Powning

The Selection (The Selection, #1) - Kiera Kass

The Skies Belong to Us:
 Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking - Brendan I Koerner

The Storm - Margriet de Moor

The Twelfth Department  (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #3) - William Ryan

The Unfailing Light (Katerina, #2) - Robin Bridges

The Very Thought of You - Rosie Alison

Tony Wheeler's Bad Lands - Tony Wheeler

Tug of War (Joe Sandilands, #6) - Barbara Cleverly

Uncorked: My Journey Through the Crazy World of Wine - Marco Pasanella

Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith,
 Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land - Nina Burliegh

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter - Steve Dublainica

Waltz With Bashir: A Lebanon War Story - Ari Folman

We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses
Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese - Elizabeth M Norman

Whatever You Do, Don't Run:
True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide - Peter Alison

Who the Hell Is Pansy O'Hara?: The Fascinating Stories
 Behind 50 of the World's Best-Loved Books - Jenny Bond

Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the
 Battle for France's Greatest Treasure - Don Kladstrup

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) - Lauren DeStefano

Yes, Chef: A Memoir - Marcus Samuelsson

You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage,
 Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations - Michael Ian Black

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Books Read in 2012

2012 was the first year that I kept track of every book I read that year. I thought that you guys might want to see some recent books that probably wont be getting reviews on the blog.This is every book I read in 2012.

The ones I truly enjoyed I highlighted.If you want more info, look at my Goodreads shelf or just ask!
 (Also a lot of this was by hand so I apologize for the spelling mistakes that I'm sure are in here!)

Also I have no idea why my text is formatting like this, oh well. My apologies again.

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption - Katie J Davis

The Black Tower - Louis Baryard

Sashenka - Simon Montifeore

The Outcast - Sadie Jones

Random Acts Of Heroic Love - Sanny Schieman

Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman - Brian Sibley

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green 

Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman

To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism - Chuck Thompson

Hunting Unicorns - Bella Pollen

Anansi Boys (American Gods, #2) - Neil Gaiman

Bossypants -Tina Fey 

Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits - Jack Murningham

Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life -Father Martin

The Welsh Girl - Peter Ho Davies

On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood - Irmgard Hunt

The Savage Garden - Mark Mills

Cross My Heart (Cross My Heart, #1) - Sasha Gould

The Gathering Storm (Katerina, #1) - Robin Bridges

The Poisoned House - Michael Ford

Genesis-Bernard Beckett

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France -Caroline Moorehead

The Magic Toyshop - Angela Carter

The Four Loves-CS Lewis

My Life With the Saints

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
-Father Martin

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis - Lauren F Winner

Girl Meets God: A Memoir - Lauren F Winner

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why - Laurence Gonzalez

What Is Left the Daughter - Howard Norman

Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of 
Resilience-Laurence Gonzalez

Coraline - Neil Gaiman

The Absolutist - John Boyne

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up - Richard Lloyd Parry

A Thread of Grace - Mary Doria Russell

The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust - Edith Hahn Beer

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity - Gregory A Boyd

Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych E.R. - Julie Holland

American Gods (American Gods, #1) - Neil Gaiman

The Princess Bride - William Goldman

Memory - Phillippe Grimbert

The Bride's Farewell - Meg Rosoff

In Our Strange Gardens - Michael Quint

Fatherland - Robert Harris

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden - Helen Grant 

A Very Long Engagement - Sebastian Jaspriot

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman, #1) - Ben Winters

The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic - Penney Darby

A City of Broken Glass  (Hannah Vogel, #4) - Rebecca Cantrell

Night  (The Night Trilogy, #1) - Elie Weisel 

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History Robert M Edsel

The Strangers on Montagu Street (Tradd Street, #3) - Karen White

Away (The Line, #2) - Teri Hall

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals - Christopher J Payne

Rosa (Berlin Trilogy, #1) - Jonathan Raab

The Spiritualist - Megan Chance

The House at Midnight - Lucie Whitehouse

The Girl On Legare Street (Tradd Street, #2) - Karen White

Far to Go - Alison Pick

The Boys from Brazil - Ira Levin

The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground - Rosemary Mahoney

The House on Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #1) - Karen White

Monument 14 (Monument 14, #1) - Emmy Labourne

The Line (The Line, #1) - Teri Hall

Resistance: A French Woman's Journal of the War - Agnes Humbert

The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World... via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes - Carl Hoffman

Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down - Rosencranz Baldwin

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home- Lucy Worsley

Blindness (Blindness, #1) - Jose Saramago

City - Clifford D Simak

Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie

The Tale of Halcyon Crane - Wendy Webb

Mere Christianity - CS Lewis

Passage - Connie Willis

The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder - Erin Blamkemore

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason - Nancy Pearl

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie - Wendy McClure

The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1) - Megan Crewe

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris - David King

A Game of Lies (Hannah Vogel, #3) - Rebecca Cantrell

In the Shadow of Gotham (Simon Ziele, #1) - Stefanie Pintoff

Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana - Stephanie Elizondo Griest

The Sadness of the Samurai - Victor de Arbol

The Dogs Who Found Me: What I've Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind - Ken Foster

Half a Crown (Small Change, #3) - Jo Walton

Ha'penny (Small Change, #2) - Jo Walton

The Unit - Ninni Holmqvist

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious
Economics of Contemporary Art - Don Thompson

The Kommandant's Mistress - Sherri Szeman

A Night of Long Knives (Hannah Vogel, #2) - Rebecca Cantrell

The Cove - Ron Rash

Far North - Marcel Theroux

Children of Wrath - Paul Grossmann

Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul - Karen Abbott

Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 - Jefferson Morley

Solitary (Escape From Furnace, #2) - Alexander Gordon Smith

The Mercy of Thin Air - Ronlyn Domingue

A Simple Murder - Eleanor Kuhns

Death Sentence (Escape From Furnace, #3) - Alexander Gordon Smith

The Soldier's Wife - Margaret LeRoy

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3) - James Dashner

A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel, #1) - Rebecca Cantrell

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2) - James Dashner

Lockdown (Escape From Furnace, #1) - Alexander Gordon Smith

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) - James Dashner

Into the Forest - Jean Hegland

The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt - Hannahlore Brenner

The Story Sisters - Alice Hoffmann

The Little Red Guard - Wenguang Huang

Hark! A Vagrant - Kate Beaton

The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood - Mark Kurzem

When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man - Nick Dybek

The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery - DT Max

Afterlands - Steven Heighton

Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service - Maryn McKenna

Pure (Pure, #1) - Julianna Baggot

Daughters of the North - Sarah Hall

The First Men in the Moon - HG Wells

Pavane - Keith Roberts

The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco - Marilyn Chase

Archive 17 (Inspector Pekkala #3) - Sam Eastland

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

The Graveyard Book -Neil Gaiman

I Heard the Owl Call My Name - Margaret Craven

The Sleepwalkers - Paul Grossmann

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder

The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia - Tim Tzouladis

Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Eden Moore, #1) - Cherie Priest

The Darkening Field (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #2) - William Ryan

Farthing (Small Change, #1) - Jo Walton

Pale Horse, Pale Rider - Katherine Anne Porter

Shadow Pass (Inspector Pekkala #2) - Sam Eastland

The Hobbit - JRR Tolkein

Resistance - Owen Sheers

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa - R.A.Scotti

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3) -Stieg Larsson

The Holy Thief (Captain Alexei Dimitrevich Korolev, #1) - William Ryan

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2) - Steig Larsson

Monday, December 16, 2013

Giving for Good: Literary Charities and Last Minute Gift Ideas

The holiday season is coming, and in the spirit of giving here are a couple of charities that center around books, literacy and learning.

World Book Night  is a charity that gives books to people who don't normally read. You can donate money or volunteer to hand out books! Check out their books for 2014, there are some great ones, especially "The Zookeepers Wife".

United Through Reading  is a charity that basically records overseas servicemen and women reading a storybook and then the recording is sent to their children so they can read along with the recording of their family member and feel close to them. I mean, really. Heartstrings officially tugged.

Read is Fundamental  is a charity that helps get books to kids in lots of different ways. So many kids living in poverty have no books to call their own.They distribute books, encourage families to read together and help children with disabilities get books that are accessible to them. Their website is also adorable, love the little book birdie!

Of course, your local library system can always use your support!


If you are looking for a last minute gift for the bookworm in your life, here are some suggestions. Be sure to check about shipping times, some gifts won't make it by Christmas.(But the right gift is worth it, right?)

"I read dead people" decal

I read dead people. - Vinyl Wall Art - FREE Shipping - Literature Fun

Mary Shelley Quote Art

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Wall Art Typography Print, Quote Print, Steampunk Decor, Inspirational Art, Literary Art, Literature Poster

Bookshelf iphone case

iPhone 4 case, iPhone 4s case, Bookshelf iPhone 4 4s protective case, iPhone 4 cover, iPhone 4S cover, iphone decal, accesories, Mac decal

Library due date tshirt

Library Due Date Card Graphic T-shirt - Fun and Unique Gift For Your Favorite Book Lover! - Personalize It!

Hamlet journal

Reading Diary, Journal or Organizer  with Shakespeare Quote, keep track of what you read. For book lovers. Ready to Ship

Friends don't let friends dog ear pages

Terry Pratchett bookmark

TRAVEL Quote Wood Bookmark (for personalization, please see our other listing!)

Mustache Whale

Illustrated Bookmark : Whale Bookclip

Hold My Spot

Hand Stamped Copper Bookmark - Hold My Spot -

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Twitter for the Reader

I hated on Twitter for a long time, but now I have Twitter and I love it.So, one more thing that I hated on without reason. If you like Twitter AND books here are some good people to follow.

Huffington Post Books (@HuffPostBooks) The book division of Huffington Post. Book reviews, interesting articles, fun lists and more!

Buzzfeed Books (@BuzzfeedBooks) Buzzfeed is an endlessly entertaining site and they launched a book site relatively recently. They have some great lists!

Laura Ingalls Wilder (@Halfpintingalls) Written by Wendy McClure as Laura Ingalls. She doesn't post often but when she does it's awesome.

Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) Neil Gaiman is quite active on Twitter. He talks about his books, good causes, his stops, his crazy hair and how much he loves his wife.

Also...@whoffs. She's ok. She's funny sometimes. She talks about books and other stuff. Sometimes there's cussing.It's me...

Any other good Twitter recs for people who like books?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review: "The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking" by Brendan I Koerner

As I held this book I thought to myself, "Self, you don't like to fly.Why are you holding a book about hijacking airplanes?" I don't have a good reason to give myself, except that it sounded interesting. And gosh darn it it was interesting.

The book talks about the "golden age" of hijacking by telling a lot of stories to supplement the main story. Over a 5 year span, starting in 1968, commercial airlines were hijacked on the regular, and when I say the regular I mean almost at the rate of one per week.Many times they were commandeered by Americans who were a) draft dodging and wanted to go to Havana or Canada b) were angry about the Vietnam War and wanted to defect to Vietnam or c) are just plum crazy and have no plan. About 90% of all of the hijackers fit into one of these categories.

If you're like me you're thinking "holy crap,do they let just anyone carrying anything on their airplanes?"
The answer is yes. Anyone who bought a ticket (and a lot of people who didn't) could stroll right up on a plane.(My parents like to tell me about how they remember walking onto the actual planes with loved ones to see them off.Which is insanity. I remember crying putting my Cabbage Patch doll -Joanna- through the Xray machine going to wait at the gate for my sister. And now THATS crazy talk.)

Throughout the whole book they talk about the airlines/government/nations different responses to hijacking. At first everyone decides that it would just be too expensive to do any kind of safety and security measures.The best they can do is train their pilots how to respond to a hijacking because they are inevitably coming. (Basically their training was "do whatever they tell you so no one gets shot, and hey here's a map of Cuba since that's probably where they're going to ask you to go"). Then some government agencies make up a list of things to look for in a passenger that might give them away as trouble (jittery, no luggage, etc). Then finally after a hijacking when someone was killed the government finally agrees that there might need to be some screening...so they start checking everyone's carry-ons. The airport officials were really scared that people were going to riot when told their bags would need to be searched. They even hired extra police to patrol the airports. They were shocked when everyone complied without fuss. The things we tolerate now, right?

Ah, the airport.You can go to Tuscaloosa but first Imma need to touch all your personal bits.


The book mostly profiles two specific hijackers names Rodger Holder and Cathy Kerkow.

Rodger Holder was always kind of a mess, even before his time in Vietnam. After he served and came back he went AWOL and was given an undesirable discharge (which I didn't know existed, but it's bad news.You don't want one of those). He did a lot of drugs and spent a lot of his time trying to figure out what the universe was telling him. Also he probably had PTSD, even if they didn't call it that then.

Cathy Kerkow was a bubbly,smart responsible girl from a very small town in Oregon. During her high school years she hit a bit of a rebellious streak and started dating much older boys and got into drugs. Eventually moving to California to take full advantage of the free-love anything goes attitude of the 60s.

Through a series of weird coincidences they meet and fall in love, shack up together. She works at a "specialty" massage parlor to support them both, since he is convinced "the universe will provide for them". Rodger is really contemplating on how to make his mark on the world, all he really knows is that he's angry at the Army and for the United States involvement in Vietnam. Rodger's grand plan is: hijack a plane, get ransom money for the passengers, fly to Hanoi, open up an orphanage for all the youngest victims of the war.

Seems like a foolproof plan right? The first problem is that the plane they hijack isn't big enough to cross any ocean. It's route was from California to Washington...so yeah that might have been a crucial thing to think about. Amazingly (through dumb luck basically) the hijacking is successful and injury free but the destination changed. They land in Algiers. If you're not boned up on African history,landing in Algiers is almost as explosive as landing in Vietnam.

Black Panthers, lazy French police, government intrigue, extreme paranoia, Jimmy Carter, unexplained disappearances and all kinds of international shenanigans make for a super interesting book. I thought it was really interesting to see the evolution of airport security as well. 3 out of 5 stars!

I recieved this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion from Blogging for Books