Friday, September 22, 2017

*Book Blogger Hop* 22 September 2017

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
In regards of Banned Books Week (, what are your favourite books that has been banned or challenged? (submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte)
I'm pulling the titles for my answer from the ALA most frequently challenged list.

  1. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz - Now I understand that the original illustrations in this series were creepy, but that was part of the beauty of the stories. Seriously, if you're reading this book without the original illustrations, you're missing out. 
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry - I do not know why people object to The Giver, but I imagine the reasons are ridiculous and tied into the fact that this depicts a dystopian society. 
  3. Goosebumps by R.L. Stein - Parents always seem to be objecting to "scary" stories as if their children can't handle anything the least bit frightening. 
  4. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - I imagine this book hits a little too close to home for certain demographics and they don't feel like it's a particularly positive depiction. I can't really blame them, but maybe they should look into their practices instead of trying to stop people from reading about them. 
  5. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - Alright, I get it. There's magic and that just ain't natural. Apparently having a vivid imagination ain't natural either according to some people. 
So most of my most favorites from the list are children's books, which kind of makes sense when you think about it. I mean, adults should be more worried about what their children are reading than what other adults are reading, right? I just think there are better ways of keeping your kids from reading books you don't want them exposed to than trying to get said books banned outright.
What about you? What are some of your favorite banned books? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the link up, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can be sure to see your answer too.*

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

12 Books of Christmas Challenge List

Hey everyone. So I'm hosting and taking part in a 12 books of Christmas reading challenge. You can find more details about the challenge here, but basically the idea is to try and read and review 12 winter holiday themed books in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since I'm hosting, I'm absolutely shooting for Santa Status with all twelve, but there are 4 levels of reading for this challenge, so everyone can participate if they want to. 

Now, there is a chance that we will be preparing for a trans-Atlantic move near the end of November and beginning of December (if everything goes as planned for us), so I'm coming up with two lists for my intended reads: one physical, one electronic, because if we're working on a trans-Atlantic move, the physical books are going to be going in a box for shipping, so I will not be able to use them this year. At this point in time, I don't know exactly how all that will be going down though, so I'm just planning ahead (for a change). Both lists are also subject to change regardless of what's going on in my life over the holidays though. 

First up is the list of physical books I tentatively plan on trying to read. 

The Holiday Gift  by RaeAnne Thayne
The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews
A Christmas Hope by Joseph Pittman
When Christmas Comes by Debbie Macomber
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flag
Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier
Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
A Cascades Christmas by Mildred Colvin, Mary Davis, Debby Lee, and Gina Welborn
The Christmas Tree Guy by Railyn Stone
Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

And now my list of back up ebooks in case all my physical books are in boxes on their way across the Atlantic.

A Cliche Christmas by Nicole Deese
Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Marina Adair
Mistletoe Between Friends and The Snowflake Inn by Samantha Chase
The Christmas Cake Cafe by Sue Watson
One Christmas in Paris by Mandy Baggot
Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber
All I Want for Christmas by Jenny Hale
Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin
Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow
The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley
Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson
Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

So there you have it. My projected reading lists for the upcoming holiday season. Will you be joining me in The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge? Sign up here. - Katie 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books on my Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is books on my Fall TBR. Now I'm notoriously bad at sticking to my TBR, and even committing to books once I've started them (there's a reason I have 31 books on my currently reading shelf on Goodreads), so this is going to be a list of books that I plan on FINALLY finishing this fall because I do what I want, and I will be reading them in the designated time period so it totes counts.

Here we go!

1: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur - I feel like I have been reading this book forever (it's been almost a full year), but that's because I HAVE to keep putting it down because it's intense. I'm like Joey on Friends, and if I wasn't worried about the cold damaging my Kindle, it would have made repeated trips to the freezer by now. But I am bound and determined to get this book finished and reviewed this fall.

2: Back of Beyond by Neeny Boucher - This is another book that I started over a year ago. It originally got put down because I had a couple proofreading jobs come in back to back that needed my attention more, and somehow I have just not gotten back to this. But it's high time I did.

3: The Voyage by Tammie Painter - I received an ARC of this book over two years ago and I have not finished reading it yet. I try to do the right thing, but sometimes the ARCs are just so tempting I have to say yes, but then I fail to follow through because I'm a horrible human being sometimes.

4: Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz - I've ONLY been reading this book since February, but I got an ARC of it through Netgalley so I should really get it finished seven months ago. Anyone have a time machine I could borrow?

5: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd - This was one of the first books I started reading for book club at our current duty station. That was about 2.5 years ago. It's clearly time I finish this book.

6: Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder - I've been reading this book for over two years now. It's a bit more dry than I was expecting (I don't know why I wasn't expecting it to be dry, it's non-fiction) so I just haven't felt pulled towards finishing it.

7: Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur - This was a book I picked for my book club to read over two years ago. Most of the members that started it also finished it before the meeting, but not me! In my defense, this is The Man I Love from Daisy's perspective, and while it's very much a different story, the part before their lives diverge is somewhat predictable, so it was slow reading...and then the meeting was over and the urgency to finish was gone and somehow it got put on the way-back burner. Fortunately it should have aged well back there.

8: The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen - This book has been languishing on my currently reading shelf for just over a year now. It was a book club pick that was intriguing, but for some reason got put off until the last minute (because that's how I do everything if I'm being honest) and I didn't end up finishing it in time. Honestly, I think I'm only at like 30% in this story, but I'm going to finish it this fall, probably.

9: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck - I only started this book back in like April or May for book club, and being WWII era historical fiction, I should have plowed right through it, but I think I had several back to back proofreading jobs at that time, so this was just not a priority. Also, I'm only like twenty pages into it, so it hadn't even really gotten particularly interesting yet.

10: Squirrel Bait by C.P. Davis - This is a book that I should have read back in February of 2016 when it first released (it's less than 100 pages long so it's not a particularly big commitment), but I bought my copy of the book, so there's really no review requirement there and other things have just felt either more pressing or more entertaining since then. When you add to that the fact that nagging me usually gets the opposite of the desired result, I've sort of been ignoring reading the book out of spite (to an extent). And I'd originally intended to save this book until next March (so I could post the review on April 1st, although I can still save the review until April 1st I guess), I have since decided that I want to clear up my currently reading shelf before the end of the year, so it's gotta' go!

So there you have it. Exactly ten books that I plan on finishing reading this fall because they've been on my currently reading shelf for way too long.

What books are you looking forward to reading this fall? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the link up, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can check out your list as well.* 

Monday, September 18, 2017

#MadLibMonday - It by Stephen King

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Plural noun
2: Adjective
3: Verb
4: Adverb
5: Plural noun
6: Verb ending in ing
7: Verb, past tense
8: Verb
9: Adjective
10: Plural noun

Genre: Horror
Published: September 1986
Pages: 1396

To the (   1: Plural noun   ), the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: (   2: Adjective   ), well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It was the children who (   3: Verb   ) - and felt - what made Derry so (   4: Adverb   ) different. In the storm (   5: Plural noun   ), in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, (   6: Verb ending in ing   ) . . .

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.

Time passed and the children (   7: Verb, past tense   ) up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to (   8: Verb   ) IT as IT stirred and coiled in the (   9: Adjective   ) depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past (   10: Plural noun   ) a terrible present reality.

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for It by Stephen King.

To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It was the children who saw - and felt - what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.

Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment with your list below so that the rest of us can get a chuckle out of it as well. And be sure to share it on your favorite social media sites. - Katie 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

#SneakPeekSunday - Calling Major Tom by David Barnett

Title: Calling Major Tom
Author: David M. Barnett
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: June 18, 2017
Publisher: Trapeze Books
Pages: 304


CALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world... but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.

We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents' Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don't have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he's about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world.

Sneak Peek Review

I received a copy of this sneak peek from Trapeze Books through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

I'm back to being me again and didn't read the synopsis before starting this sneak peek, and based on the title, I was expecting a book, probably romance, that involved phone calls between a soldier (Major Tom) and likely his significant other, the two of them separated by an ocean because of a deployment. That's not what this book is about at all. No, this book is about a man named Tom Major (who is also a Major like the military rank now I think), on a one-way trip to Mars to set it up for future settlement (it seems). 

Because this is a sneak peek, I only got a small taste of each of the main characters personalities. This story seems to be told from the perspectives of two characters, Major Tom and Gladys, an elderly woman in England who seems to suffer from Alzheimer's from the brief glimpse I got into her life. At first I was not sure how the two perspectives were connected aside from the fact that they're both British, but I've since come to the conclusion that they spend a lot of time talking on the phone during Tom's trip to Mars. 

I noticed that another reviewer said this book was "on par with A Man Called Ove" and while I cannot say for sure that that is an accurate assessment of the book as a whole, Tom definitely has some very Ove-like qualities to his personality, so I am inclined to believe them. I can definitely see how this story may play out in a somewhat similar fashion to A Man Called Ove as well. 

There was one line early on that made me giggle. There's a bit where Tom mentions that his training manuals indicate that his job on Mars will involve survival and a lot of potato farming, which I feel is a pretty clear reference to The Martian by Andy Weir. That made me wonder if the "training manual" in question is actually a copy of The Martian. From what I can gather about Tom's personality, that seems plausible. 

So would I buy this book? Yeah, probably. Although I'm not in a big hurry to continue reading it, so I'd be inclined to wait for a sale myself. - Katie 

Buy the Book

Saturday, September 16, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 16 September 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

Frankenstein's Dog by R.L. Stein - This is from the Goosebumps Most Wanted series. I haven't read it, but it's a Goosebumps book so I'm sure it's good. 
The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile by C.W. Gortner - It's historical fiction, and with my recent visit to Neuschwanstein Castle (Walt Disney's inspiration for Cinderella's castle), I'm super into royalty right now. 
Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey - This is from the Once Upon a Time series, so I imagine that it's a fairytale retelling. 
The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey - This is also from the Once Upon a Time series. 
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The book snob in me desperately clamored for this classic. 
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano - My copy of this book has some underlining and notes in the margins. 
American Spring by Walter R. Borneman - This is nonfiction about the American Revolution. It should be at least a little bit educational. 
John Adams by David McCullough - This is a Pulitzer Prize winning biography about one of our founding fathers. Again, educational. 
Anastasia Forever by Joy Preble - I'm imagining that this is speculative historical fiction about Anastasia Romanov...but I could be wrong. 
The Soldier Kings: The House of Hohenzollern by Walter Henry Nelson - This is about a royal German dynasty and should be educational. 
To Tell the Tooth by Gina Gold - My daughter asked for this Baby Looney Tunes book because she's obsessed with babies and thinks they look "so cute!"
The Bogle Wogles by Jennifer and Peter Hornsby - My daughter asked for this book too, because the illustrations are all black and white (it looks like a coloring book and maybe it really is). She wants to color it. 
Are We There Yet? by Elizabeth Levy - American history targeted towards children. Hopefully somewhat educational. 
Sleepover Party Mad Libs by Roger Price & Leonard Stern - In case you haven't seen my Mad Lib Monday posts, you should know that I love Mad Libs and I use them with my children to work on grammar. 
Smiling Hill Farm by Miriam E. Mason - This seems like one of those old-school readers (sort of like the Dick and Jane books) that might have been used in one-room schoolhouses on the frontier. 
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn - This was one of my book snob picks. 
Echoes by Melinda Metz - I'm not really sure why I picked up this book, it might be because it's three books combined into one volume. I really don't know. 
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith - This is book 14 from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and I own some of the other books in this series already, so I figured I needed this one as well. 
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson - My brother has spoken highly of this book and this author. I may already own a copy of the book, but I'm not sure. 
The Once and Future King by T.H. White - This was another book snob pick. And I think I already owned a copy of this, but I'm not 100% sure. 
Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger by Kevin Bolger - My son is currently really into the Captain Underpants series, and I figure this may appeal to him as well because it clearly relies on some potty humor. 
Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R.L. Stein - This is a Goosebumps book, so I just had to buy it. 
Night of the Living Dummy III by R.L. Stein - Another Goosebumps book.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger - I have some of the books in this series, but I don't remember exactly which ones, so I wanted to buy this one in case it wasn't one of them. 
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse - I got a copy of the second book in this series at the thrift store a couple weeks ago (I think), so finding this first book in the series this week was awesome for me. 

So there you have it. All the books I picked up at my thrift store this week. This haul cost me a mere $1 because the books were on sale for 50 cents a bag and I needed two of the plastic bags to hold all my books. 

What books have you added to your shelves this week? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can check out all the books you got this week.*

Friday, September 15, 2017

*Book Blogger Hop* 15 September 2017

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:

Have you ever bought a more expensive edition of a book, when a cheaper edition was available, just because you preferred the cover of the more expensive one? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
This is a bit of a trick question, I think. The short answer is no, basically. I pretty much always buy the cheapest version of a book I can find (I'm a big fan of mass market paperbacks). But I do have the set of Harry Potter books with the spines that make Hogwarts in my possession simply because I liked that cover design, and it was definitely not the cheapest version of the Harry Potter series that I could have bought. So I guess really the answer is yes, I have done this. Once. I'm not likely to ever do it again though (unless there are more new fun covers for Harry Potter because I have an obsession).

What about you? Have you ever bought a more expensive edition of a book because you liked the cover better? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the link up, please be sure to leave a link to your answer below so I can be sure to see what you had to say.*