Between Shades of Gray
Book Review / November 16, 2017

Title: Between Shades of Gray Author: Ruta Sepetys Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Penguin Audio Release Date: March 22nd, 2011 Format: Audiobook Pages: 344 Source: Owned Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of Ingleside
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / November 10, 2017

Title: Anne of Ingleside Series: Anne of Green Gables, #6 Author: L.M. Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Starfire Release Date: June 1st, 1984 Format: Hardcover Pages: 274 Source: Library First Published: 1939 Anne is the mother of five, with never a dull moment in her lively home. And now with a new baby on the way and insufferable Aunt Mary visiting – and wearing out her welcome – Anne’s life is full to bursting. Still, Mrs Doctor can’t think of any place she’d rather be than her own beloved Ingleside. Until the day she begins to worry that her adored Gilbert doesn’t love her anymore. How could that be? She may be a little older, but she’s still the same irrepressible, irreplaceable redhead – the wonderful Anne of Green Gables, all grown up… She’s ready to make her cherished husband fall in love with her all over again! (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   Somehow, in all my excitement in October (aka: Overwhelming Busyness), I never managed to post my review for Anne of Ingleside! Well, better late than never right? It’s hard to believe there are only two books left after this… The 6th book in the Anne of Green Gables…

October 2017 Month in Review
Month in Review / November 1, 2017

Newsworthy Wait. It’s November already?! October was a wonderful whirlwind of family visits, wedding planning, musical performances, new and exciting work projects, and helping Kurosh become a true member of the family (even though sometimes it feels like he is patiently grooming us to be members of his pack). I made a conscious effort to spend more time with my friends, and for the most part, I think I was quite successful! David and I managed to write out and mail all our Save the Dates. Let me tell you, that was QUITE an ordeal.  But now that it’s all done and they are in the mail I couldn’t be more excited! That feels like an awesome check off my list. 😀 I also finished training for, and ran, my first 10k! It was cold and pouring rain, but I really enjoyed myself. In this process, I learned that I can run quite comfortably listening to audio books. It just took acclimating to a steady pace. Now I just need to make certain I keep running so I don’t lose my distance!   List of Reads After September being an amazing reading month, October fell flat. With family visiting, sickness,…

Ringworld
Book Review / October 24, 2017

Title: Ringworld Series: Ringworld, #1 Author: Larry Niven Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Del Ray Ballantine Random House Format: Paperback Source: Library First Published: October 1970 Pierson’s puppeteers, three-leg two-head aliens find immense structure in unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders, they send a team of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, eight-foot red-fur catlike alien. Ringworld is 180 million miles across, sun at center. But the expedition crashes, and crew face disastrously long trek. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   Well. This book taught me something I can’t believe I didn’t know about myself until reading this book: I don’t like hard science fiction. Hard Sci-Fi waves technically accurate science into informed speculation by using intricate details to back-up the writer’s speculations.  While reading, when I found that I was incredibly engrossed in some parts and not others, I started to question why. I discovered two reasons I didn’t adore this: 1) I don’t care about the actual science and 2) I need you to respect female characters. Based on those two statements alone, you think I’d more-or-less avoid science fiction. But, that’s a topic of conversation for another day. Today is about Ringworld. The gods…

Poison Study
Book Review / October 13, 2017

Title: Poison Study Series: Study, #1 Author: Maria V. Snyder Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Mira Release Date: March 1st 2007 Format: Paperback Pages: 409 Source: Library First Published: October 1st, 2005 Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison… About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear… (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I recommended this to one of my book clubs for purely selfish reasons. A few different bloggers kept raving about this series over the past year on their blogs. It came up again and again– I knew I just had to check it out, but…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : A Biography of L. M. Montgomery
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Author Spotlight / October 8, 2017

  At this point, we’re just a bit past halfway for #AnneReadAlong2017 !!! Halfway?! That’s craziness. For those of you not following along at home (which, honestly, you all should be. This has been amazing!), Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and I have been hosting an Anne of Green Gables Read Along. You can learn more about it here. But reaching the halfway point, I realized that we haven’t spent any time talking about the woman behind the book: L.M. Montgomery herself. That seems like a horrendous oversight! So grab a mug of something delicious and follow along as we learn more about L.M. Montgomery’s life and the origin of Anne Shirley. Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada on November 30th, 1874. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was only 21 months old, and while she still lived with her father for a while, young Montgomery was under the custody of her maternal grandparents. Sadly, her childhood was spent mostly with her strict grandparents and her imaginary friends. There were few children around for Montgomery to socialize with. This period of her life was essential for developing her creativity. It’s obvious that Montgomery’s childhood served as…

Call It Courage
Book Review / October 6, 2017

Title: Call it Courage Author: Armstrong Sperry Genre: Survival Publisher: Listening Library Release Date: January 22nd, 2008 Format: Audiobook Pages: 128 Source: Library First Published: 1940 A boy tries to overcome his fear of the sea in this treasured classic and winner of the Newbery Medal. Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided tha sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered– so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross. A storm gave him his first challenge. Then days on a desert island found him resourceful beyond his own expectation. This is the story of how his courage grew and how he finally returned home. This is a legend. It happened many years ago, but even today the people…

Attachments
Book Review , Buddy Read / October 2, 2017

Title: Attachments Author: Rainbow Rowell Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Plume Release Date: March 27th, 2012 Format: Paperback Pages: 323 Source: Library “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you…” Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives. Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke. When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ? (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I am a HUGE Rainbow Rowell fan. I am drawn to realistic characters, character-driven stories, and character/relationship development over the course…

September 2017 Month in Review
Month in Review / October 1, 2017

Newsworthy September is over– and now we are starting my favorite season: Fall! Fall is amazing for so many reasons. I love sleeping with the windows open, wearing sweaters and scarves sans coat, all things apple, pumpkin, and root vegetable, the changing leaves, being outside and drinking warm beverages. Unfortunately, the start of fall seems to always be SUPER busy. I am a practicing Jew and the chair of the music committee at my synagogue. Yesterday ended the Days of Awe; the 10 days celebrating the most important holidays of our year. And, shockingly, it’s REALLY heavy on the music. I love what I do, but as a volunteer, this ordeal is always exhausting. I’m glad to see it winding down (only two more holidays in the next 2 weeks!) and get some time back for myself. Hopefully, that means I’ll see you guys more around the blogs.  Work is a bit of chaos. We’ve had a lot of turnover in my area. Some of the teams I support are really struggling. As we inch towards the end of the year, I’m finding more and more things teams have been hiding under the covers from me. The last quarter will be…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : 5 Things I Wish I Could Change About the Anne Series
#AnneReadAlong2017 , List / September 29, 2017

I have come to ADORE Anne Shirley and the Anne of Green Gables books. Yet, as uplifting and wonderful as these tales are, nothing is ever perfect.  Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and I have taken some time this week to reflect on how we might improve upon the Anne of Green Gables series– specifically, what we would love to change about these books. Montgomery creates a beautiful world for Anne to grow up in, but there are a few things which don’t sit well with me, as you’ll see below. Feel free to join in our Top 5 List posts and link up below. Our schedule is merely recommended– you’re welcome to join in whatever you’d like whenever you’d like! And without further ado…   Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Change About the Anne Series   1 – Diana Barry’s obsession with her weight Diana Barry is never really described in a fashion which would imply she is overweight. Yet, starting in Anne of Avonlea, Diana begins to lament over how large she has grown. This continues throughout the rest of the series, too! She never gets over it, even when Anne tells her everything is okay and Diana is beautiful. I understand that this book series…

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