Monday, May 25, 2015

Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.


This week is “Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer”.  Odds are I’ll never get to the beach this year, but if I do here are my beach reads.

Ally Hughes has sex sometimes

Nowhere But HereFirst and ThenWhy Can't I Be YouPS I Still Love YouSophomore Year GreekI'll Give You the SunSummer Chasing MermaidsWedding NightHello I love youThe Start of You and MeLove and Other Unknown VariablesClues you're clueless





Inbox/Outbox: May 18th–May 24th

Read Last week - Green

Since I picked up six new library books last week, of course, I spent most of the week rereading non library books.  I’ve noticed that when I have too many new choices I sometime avoid picking and reread. I read one new book (Sunday) and one notable reread.

The power of oneEverything I never told you

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

This is one of my favorite books of all time, possibly my very favorite. I’ve read it at least a dozen times, but this time I listened to the audio.  The narrator was excellent. I always notice something new about this book.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

It took me awhile to get into it, but once I did there’s no way I could have quit.  If you’ve read it let me know – I’d love to discussSmile

New to My Shelves - Green2

I’m on vacation from work this week so I’m planning to make a big dent in my library stack.  Otherwise I’m going to have to return a bunch unread.

Girl at MidnightShanghai GIrlsLadies detective agencyNone of the Above5 to 1Love letters to the deadBetatwo boys kissing9780525428848_HoldMeCloser_BOM_CV.inddNick and Nora


The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

From – Library

Where I heard about It

Echo is a pickpocket.  A runaway from the Avicen, an ancient race of people who live beneath the streets of New York.  Magic keeps them from human discovery, but humans can see Echo.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See 

From – Library

Where I heard about It  - A real life friend recommended this to me ages ago.

I need to read something set in Asia for the 2015 Read Harder Challenge so I’m going to give this a try.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

From – Library

Where I heard about It

This is my new choice for book by an African writer.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

From – Library

Where I heard about It

Where I heard about It 2

I know very little about trans/queer/intersex - to the point where I’m scared to use the words for fear of offending someone.  I’m afraid this book is going to make me want to throw things, but it seemed like a decent place to start and an interesting story.

5 to 1 by Holly Badger 

From – Library

Where I heard about It – I have no idea. I put it on hold at the library months ago, but can’t remember what triggered that.

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 

From – Library

Where I heard about It

Laurel begins writing to the dead as an English assignment.  She started with Kurt Cobain because her deceased sister loved him.  Laurel continues to write to dead celebrities as a way to work through to anger and grief over her sister.

Beta by Rachel Cohn

From – Library

Where I heard about It – Nowhere I just saw it on the shelf at the library and read the synopsis.

Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.

It sounds interesting and I’m almost ready to admit defeat on the sci-fi I was trying to read for the Read Harder Challenge.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

From – Purchase from The Bookworm (indie bookstore)

This was getting raves a couple years ago and I just never got to it.  Hopefully I do soon.

Hold Me Closer – the Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

From – Purchase from The Bookworm (indie bookstore)

Tiny Cooper stole the story in Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  Now he has his own book, but it’s a Musical in book form.  David strongly encouraged fan compositions to accompany his lyrics – made me wish I could compose.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

From – Purchase from The Bookworm (indie bookstore)

I’ve actually already seen the movie, but I had no idea the book was half written by David Levithan.  The story of how he and Rachel wrote it was really interesting and I’m excited to read it.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Writing Insecurities

I attended a book signing for Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan and during Q&A someone asked, “What advice would you give to new writers?”.  They had several answers, but the following it was hit home for me.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Don’t expect to be good right away.
I really needed to hear both of these. I started this blog over three years ago. I was so excited to have a place to talk about books with other book lovers…and then I discovered that writing about books is much harder than I thought it would be.  I’ve never thought of creative writing as a strength (ergo my Engineering degree), but since I’ve never had a problem expressing my thoughts verbally I didn’t think it wouldn’t be difficult to translate that to paper.  Boy was I wrong.

Verbal communication isn’t as structured and it’s fleeting.  Blog writing isn’t as structured as books or newspaper, but certain rules still need to be followed for readers to enjoy it.  Plus, it’s OUT THERE.  If I say something dumb at book club, we might laugh about it and then it’s over, but if I write something dumb it feels much more permanent. 

I try not to compare myself to anyone else, but it’s hard not to when I read some of the amazing book blogs out there.  I think I expected myself to be able to express myself clearly right away even though the last time (pre-blog) I consistently did any writing was high school.

I feel like it is getting a little easier and I do have reviews that I’m proud of, so I just need to keep writing.  Anyway thank you Rainbow and David for some much need perspective.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Life Changing Magic TidyingI’ve never been a particularly organized/tidy person, but the last year or two have felt especially dismal.  In the past I’ve been able to get my house in order for an event and keep it that way for a few weeks before chaos ensued again, but over the last year or so I’ve really been struggling to even get my house in order to begin with. 

I don’t know if anyone else feels like this book is everywhere right now, but I sure do.  Since the approach seems a little different than anything I’ve tried before I decided to give it a shot.  I’m going to attempt to take pictures and post as I complete each step.  

When I’ve described the book to people over the past week they’ve come to the conclusion that the book is largely about getting rid of stuff.  And while, yes, that is a large component it’s not really the focus.  You don’t go into every step saying “I’m going to get rid of half of my clothes”, or even “I want to fit all my clothes into one closet and dresser”.

Instead you physically handle each item, asking yourself “Does this bring me joy?”.  If yes keep it.  If no you thank the item for what it’s brought to your life – I honestly thanked several pairs of unworn capris for teaching me that I don’t like capris – and then discard.  I think/hope that the deliberateness of the process will make me more aware of what items I love when purchasing new things and keep me from buying things that aren’t going to be used.

The first step is to go through all of your clothes.  You’re suppose to put them all on the floor (I went slightly lazy and put them on the bed). And find EVERY item of your clothing in the house.  When the author visits clients houses she tells them that anything they find afterward will automatically get thrown out.

Here is a lovely picture of my bed with all of my clothing (except work uniforms).  These were held in 4 closets and two dressers.  And I’ve really struggled to find something to wear lately.


The clothing is the only step I have completed so far.

First impressions – Selecting outfits has been infinitely easier and I’m happier with them.  I put together two outfits I’ve worn before without having to think very hard, and I love that I’ve condensed my clothing down to one closet and one dresser – Sorry for the slightly blurry pictures.




I think I’ll struggle to maintain the folding aspect of her plan.  I find in tedious and time consuming, but I’m hoping it will get faster and easier as I do it more.  It is nice to be able to see every item of clothing when the drawer is open.


And here are the bags of clothes going to Goodwill.


Up next….PAPERS.  This step is very much about discarding.  (Step 2 is suppose to be books, but I think I’m going to do books last).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Top 10 Places I want to Visit After Reading About

Every Tuesday the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish host a book related Top 10.
This week is a freebie.  Since lately I’ve had the desire for travel (outside of small town Nebraska for my job) I’m choosing “Top 10 Places I want to Visit After Reading About”.  Ireland
English country


San Fran
Lake tahoe

Inbox/Outbox: May 11th–May 17th

Read Last week - Navy

simon vs_thumb[1]Lies I toldBrown Girl Dreaming

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon is awesome!  I should get a review written and posted in the next couple weeks.

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

Mixed bag. Biggest warning is that it’s not a standalone book.  I was ready for the story to be over only to find out there’s another book.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Beautiful, but I probably didn’t appreciate it as much as I should.  I’m so used to reading fast that I struggle when I should slow down.  New to My Shelves - Navy

A large percentage of my library holds came in this week. Luckily I have a week of vacation coming up.  Plus I bought two on Kindle which I haven’t done in quite awhile.

MagoniaWolves I'm HoneUnder painted skyWe all looked upThe Murder ComplexChinese Born AmericanStarry NightsInked


Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley 

From – Library

Where I heard about It

The synopsis sounds interesting but I’ll totally admit to loving the cover.  So pretty.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt 

From – Library

Where I heard about It  - I don’t remember.  I think I saw it on Twitter at some point.

June’s uncle/godfather/best friend dies mysteriously in 1987 of a disease her mother will barely speak of.  June meets one of her uncle’s friends who helps her understand  more about her uncle, but also changes things she thought she knew about herself.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

From – Library

Where I heard About It

A former female slave, a Chinese immigrant, and the Oregon trail.  Sounds like a fascinating friendship and a pre-roads roadtripSmile.  I also read a great review last week that renewed my excitement to read this book.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

From – Library

Where I heard About It

I’ve already read one graphic novel this year (for the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge).  I wasn’t a huge fan, but I don’t think one book is a good enough sample size to make a judgment and American Born Chinese shows up on tons of list for best YA graphic novels.

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings 

From – Library

Where I heard About It

Sounds a little Hunger Games-ish, but possibly more intense. I haven’t read anything in that genre in a while.

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney 

From – Kindle

Where I heard About It

While I was looking at sale books this one caught my attention.  I like fiction books about art.

Inked by Eric Smith

From – Kindle

Where I heard About It

I’ve been tempted to buy this before and never pulled the trigger.  An ebook sale made the decision for me.