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review 2018-02-14 22:49
Anna's side of the story.
Anna: One Love, Two Stories - Amanda Prowse

Anna is the first of a two book set, the second book, Theo, is due for release on March 8th. In this first book we hear Anna's story, in the second one we will get the other side of the coin. I'm hopeless at remembering the finer details in books, so I'm glad I won't have to wait too long for the sequel.


Amanda Prowse's characters have always struggled in some way, in The Food of Love it was anorexia and in The Art of Hiding it was bereavement and moving on. This time we meet Anna, left without family from an early age and struggling to find her place in the world. She meets Theo, himself a damaged man, full of hurt and resentment. Can they make a relationship work and live happily ever after?


The characterisations were excellent and the dialogue well done and I found myself looking forward to the opportunity to pick it up and resume reading, which hasn't happened for a while. For me it didn't quite reach the level of The Art of Hiding or The Food of Love, but it was still an excellent read. I shall certainly be on the lookout for Theo's story in the near future.



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text 2018-01-04 19:43
My 2018 Reading Plan
The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories - Anthony Marra
Not Without Laughter - Langston Hughes,Maya Angelou
The Bone People - Keri Hulme
Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight - Margaret Lazarus Dean
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration - Isabel Wilkerson
This Side of Brightness - Colum McCann
The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing
Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman - Cathy Wilkerson
The Sky Unwashed - Irene Zabytko
Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath - Paul Ham


Every year, I like to set a few reading goals for myself: number of books, specific titles, and so forth. Because my whims change with the days and new books always catch my attention, I have yet to have one year where I complete my intended goals. So, I've decided that this year I'm going to keep it simple. I intend to read less, to slow down and really focus on and enjoy what I'm reading.


...But I love lists too much. And I cannot resist the urge to make a list of books I “will” complete this year. It's a practice I began in 2012—to identify ten books that will be read by the end of the year. Guess what? I've never read all ten in a year. I still have four holdouts from 2017, plus two others from farther back. So my only concrete goal this year is to complete my 2018 list in its entirety and to read the books from prior years. Other than that, my only goal is to enjoy what I'm reading. I'll set a reading challenge of so many books like I always do, but I'll keep it low so I don't become consumed with it.


So what will I be reading in 2018? These are the ten books that I am committing to. I think I'll be able to complete my challenge this year, assuming the world doesn't go up in smoke first. This year's list has more non-fiction than any prior list because I've had a desire to read more non-fiction lately. I mostly read fiction and I'd like to branch out some.


The Bone People cover


The Bone People by Keri Hulme

My interest in New Zealand and its literature goes back many years. I've made it a point to read more works by New Zealanders, but despite good intentions, I have avoided this Man Booker winner. I'm expecting good things from this one.


Flying Close to the Sun coverFlying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman by Cathy Wilkerson

In undergrad, I watched the documentary about The Weatherman Organization and was very intrigued. I told myself I'd learn more about them and would possibly write a novel focused on them. I've been saving these Weatherman memoirs until I began researching for that novel, but now I'm not sure I'll ever tackle that project. Project or no project, I've decided to stop putting it off.


The Grass Is Singing cover


The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing

I really want to like Doris Lessing, but my first and only experience with her so far (The Cleft) was so off-putting that I've avoided her for more than a decade. I never want to judge any author by one book, so I'm making a point to read her debut novel in 2018. I'm hoping for better results.



Hiroshima Nagasaki coverHiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath by Paul Ham

I have a strong interest in the WWII destruction of Japan, particularly the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I've read some of these historical accounts before and will likely come across much of the same information in this large volume, but it's time to brush up on the subject.


Leaving Orbit coverLeaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean

Dean's previous work was a novel about a girl's obsession with spaceflight during the days surrounding the Challenger disaster. Her second book is this exploration of the rise and fall of NASA. I've had this one on the top of my to-read pile since its publication in 2015, but haven't made time for it.


Not Without LaughterNot Without Laughter by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is one of the more notable authors to have resided in my part of the world. I've always had the best intentions of reading local authors, especially those who were pioneers and helped shape the way for others, but I've never read more than the occasional poem by Hughes.


The Sky Unwashed coverThe Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko

When I first started working at the library more than ten years ago, I saw this book on the shelf and was attracted to its sepia cover, its gorgeous title, and its intriguing description. It was one of the very first books to be added to my to-read list at my new job. Ten years later I still work at the library and I still haven't read this short novel about the Chernobyl accident.



The Tsar of Love and Techno coverThe Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

We loved A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, didn't we? Yet I, like many readers apparently, did not transition well to Marra's follow up two years later, this collection of short stories. Even though I absolutely loved his debut novel, I just wasn't interested in this volume. Adding it to my list will force my hand, I figure.


The Warmth of Other SunsThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

There's been so much praise heaped on this book. It's time I give this historical gem a try.


This Side of Brightness coverThis Side of Brightness by Colum McCann

Last year, I read and absolutely loved McCann's Letters to a Young Writer. I'd spent some time with the author previously, but it was this slim volume about writing that made a big fan out of me. I told myself I'd make it a point to return to the author as soon as possible. And I figured I might as well start with the novel that launched his career.


And my unfinished books from prior years:

The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide

The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

Union Dues by John Sayles

Weeds by Edith Summers Kelley


Seeing all sixteen of these listed, I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I've learned the key to completing my list is to not put off the list to the middle of the year. I really need to be checking off one or two of these titles every month. Intention set.


While I'm making an already long post longer, here are some of the top titles, old and new, I hope to get around to in 2018: The Temple of the Dawn by Yukio Mishima, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton, Erasure by Percival Everett, The Road Through the Wall by Shirley Jackson, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro, Winter by Ali Smith, Parnucklian for Chocolate by B.H. James, 1996 by Gloria Naylor, Hot Pink by Adam Levin, and... I can keep going forever. See how I get myself in trouble?


Do you set reading goals for your year? Do you find it helpful to do so, or imposing? What do you look forward to reading in 2018?


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review 2017-12-23 00:18
Kisses, Cute Boys and Cliché - A 'Meh' Christmas Short Stories Book
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Rainbow Rowell,Holly Black,Laini Taylor,Myra McEntire,Kiersten White,Stephanie Perkins,Gayle Forman,Matt de la Pena,Jenny Han,Ally Carter,Kelly Link,David Levithan

Its Christmas soon and what better way to be in the festive mood than to read a book about the season of giving? So far, I had two and I pick them up one year after the other but I never read them and they were on my shelve for until last Friday I read one of them and I pick this one. So I started to read this last week Friday and managed to finished it early morning today. Here's the thing - I love short stories. They are precise, simple and short. Can be fun, dramatic, romantic and whatever that was meant to be in a genre. So when I read My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, I was looking forward to 'TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES'. As it turns out - it should be change to 'Twelve ROMANTICHoliday stories' instead. And as I know, its under young adult and although I do want to read Christmas stories, I should have bought 'A Christmas Carol' instead. My fault because I should have known what I am getting myself into.


The question is - is this book worth reading? As you can see the rating above from this review... mehhh.


There are a total of twelve short stories here from today's known young adult authors and so far, all twelve of these stories has the same kind of formulate story you must have read or even watch on television. I mean, there are some nice funny ones and I do enjoy Holly BlackKiersten White and Ally Carter ones but the rest, I just didn't feel it. The worst one was Laini Taylor because to tell you the truth - at the beginning of the story I had no idea what was going on. Its cheesy, its cliché and it gives no reason why the girls want to kiss the boys first. Although The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer and Polaris is Where You'll Find Me stays out of its modern themes, every single one of these stories must have 'a kiss with a guy' in any way it has to be written. Seriously, I felt it is forced upon. Why? Because... the guy is cute. That's the reason. Whether the guy is a figment of imagination, a God, an elf... the male counterpart is cute. For me, that's what I remember most.


Did I hate it? Not really. Did I love it? Not really. Its just not really the kind of holiday stories I was expecting to be cliché about. Would I recommend this? To teen readers (girls) who love cute guys. Other than that, no.

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text 2017-12-21 23:52
End of Year Book Goals!
A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas
Lord of Shadows - Cassandra Clare
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Rainbow Rowell,Holly Black,Laini Taylor,Myra McEntire,Kiersten White,Stephanie Perkins,Gayle Forman,Matt de la Pena,Jenny Han,Ally Carter,Kelly Link,David Levithan
Emotions - Arnie Cantarero,Arnie Cantarero,Kiyomi Sakamoto

2018 is just around the corner and I have some bookish goals I want to tick off the list before 2017 is finished! 


1. Restart my Blog! Done! I've been wanting to do this one for a while but my hectic schedule hadn't allowed me to. I'm glad going into 2018 that I will have an active blog once again! 


2. Finish Emotions #2 Done! Earlier this year Arnie Canterero sent me a paperback copy of his sci-fi novel, Emotions to read and review. I LOVED it! And graciously, he also sent me the second book - which hasn't been released yet. I LOVED it as well! I finish the sequel last night! 


3. Finish ACOWAR To be completed...I started this book months ago when I finished ACOMAF. Nothing is wrong with the book, it was amazing, I was just so busy that I could never find the time to read a 699 page book. But I've got nothing but time now so I'm so excited to finally finish this book (and series?). 


4. Finish Lord of Shadows To be completed...The last time I read a page from this novel was five months ago. What's wrong with me? I don't know. Since I've been caught up I've ready every Cassandra Clare book within the first week is has been released (er...let's not talk about the Bane Chronicles). But, when LOD came out I was busy I believe finals were around the corner for me. And then...I'm not sure what happened. I just never read it. I love Shadowhunters, I love Jules and Emma, I love Carstairs, I just couldn't finish reading. Somehow, I haven't been spoiled completely. So, before the end of 2017 I am forcing myself to finish this book. 


5. Reread My True Love Gave to Me To be completed...I read this book when it came out two(?) years ago and loved it. In fact, if you scroll back through my posts I did a review of it. It's the perfect holiday novel so I would love to reread it, or at least reread the stories I enjoyed the most. 



Aaaaaand that's it! What goals do you have for the end of the year? Let me know below in the comments and good luck! 

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text 2017-12-08 22:27
Friday Reads - December 8, 2017
Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories - Jennifer Gracen,KK Hendin,Stacey Agdern,Megan Hart
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon

This weekend I am getting my Bah-Humbug self into the holiday spirit even if I need alcohol to do it. The tree is up in its place of honor (second floor landing) and lights strung; the kids just need to put the ornaments on. I'm taking the boy child out tomorrow so he can shop for the family gifts; girl child will get to do it on Monday. I am baking lots of cookies this weekend for Monday's cookie drive on base (spouses' group makes bags of homemade cookies for every Airman living in the dorms - roughly 12,000 cookies are needed).


So with what little time I have to read this weekend/upcoming week, here is what I plan to read:


1. Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories by Various Authors

     Hanukkah starts on December 12th. We celebrate (kind of) on the first night.


2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

    For an upcoming square and for Pop Sugar. I've already seen the movie and loved it. I'm hoping some non-fiction gets me out of my DNF streak of late.


3. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

    Impulse borrow from the library


COYER starts next weekend, so I am trying really hard not to read off my list until then. I am seriously striking out on the books for the 16 Tasks for the Festive season challenge - I just DNF'd another book tonight.

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