Thursday, February 20, 2014

Recommended Read - Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives by Sarah Weinman

Recommended Read - Art & Sole by Jane Weitzman

Flop - Barron's Painless Spanish by Carlos Vega

Painless Spanish, 2nd Edition (Barron's Painless Series)Painless Spanish, 2nd Edition by Carlos Vega
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This was NOT painless for someone trying to learn Spanish on their own, and was too frustrating for me to even get past a couple of chapters! Definitely not recommended if you are trying to teach yourself Spanish, but maybe if you had a Spanish teacher going through this book with you it would be better.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snooping Around Sunday - Blog Lovin'

It's been a while since I've been able to take a chance to catch all of you up on the blogs I follow, so what better time to do it than over V-Day weekend? :) I follow a hefty list of wonderful blogs, primarily book review blogs but with some author blogs and randomly great blogs mixed in.

Booksane starts us off by talking about a challenge to re-read some favorite books, to rediscover them (and I'm sure just to simply enjoy them, as that is something I myself do often!).

J.A. Konrath shares a guest post by Joshua Guess, plus shares insights on publishing your stories. It's a great read from two respected authors about how to find your confidence and where to turn to get your stories turned into books. Seriously, you should read their post - it boosted my resolve to try to get more stories written, even if for right now they languish in the world of self-publishing and don't make me any money - because some day they might, and I'll be glad I worked so hard to self publish.

My feminist self was happy to see that The Page Sage had a whole lovely post on feminist literature this Valentine's Day weekend! Her adorable little graphic had some great recommendations - and since I'm a reader of pretty much all genres, I will be adding all of the books to my massive "To Read" list!

As you may have noticed, I recently had a guest blog post by author Elisabeth Elo. Anne R. Allen wrote a brilliant post about how to drum up publicity for your book by guest blogging, and brings up the debate that argues that guest blogging is dead. I used to guest blog, and got paid to do it (via Fiverr, so it's not like I made good money at it) - but I haven't had the time. However, I think she offers some very good points for those of you who are interested!

Noblemania talked about a school visit in which the staff joined in the spirit of his books by dressing like super heroes! This of course made me reminisce about my latest visit to the New Orleans Comic Con, where I got to meet Alan Tudyk, who was one of my favorite Firefly/Serenity characters of all time and definitely a "hero" in my book (although his other Joss Whedon character, Alpha, was decidedly NOT a hero).

It felt like YA Booklover was looking into my mind on her latest post about feeling not-so-bloggy lately. I, too, have struggled to keep up with this blog all while fighting the professional jealousy of seeing so many other bloggers pull off amazing feats with tons of followers in what seems like an effortless manner. But I keep trying to remind myself that 1) My readers DO care whether or not I continue to share my reviews, and 2) It's probably not an effortless thing, but something that requires other bloggers to spend a lot more time on their blogs, possibly because they are less employed than my hectic "day job and then running my travel business" life.

Last but not least, I dug through my reading list of blogs to find the only review I've been waiting on - a review of Cress! Yes, I have already read the first two books of the series - and yes, I plan on purchasing Cress - but I always love to see how other bloggers feel about series that I love. Both Tynga's Reviews and Hidden in Pages did excellent reviews of Cress and left my fingers itching to get my hands on a copy... well, that is, as soon as my wallet isn't empty... ;)

Recommended Read - A Work in Progress by Brad Cotton

A Work in ProgressA Work in Progress by Brad Cotton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the circularity of this story, and the exploration of human nature and our longing for what we believe is normalcy. Perhaps there could have been more dynamic situations, but overall this was a good portrait of life.

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Recommended Read - Overlay by Marlayna Glynn Brown

Overlay: A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las VegasOverlay: A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas by Marlayna Glynn Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I almost didn't read this book since I have a natural aversion to memoirs - as a whole, I find them to be rather boring and self-indulgent. But from the very first chapter I was drawn into this life of struggles portrayed through the author's childhood voice. It is written in a way that draws the reader in and you find yourself not wanting to believe that it is true, but if you had a difficult childhood you realize it can be true. I saw a few glimpses of my own dark childhood mirrored in her story and realize what she must have gone through to get this into writing! I also thought it was creative and unique to tie in gambling terms with each chapter.

With a little more editing and a better cover design, I think this book has the makings to be showcased in mainstream bookstores!

This is NOT your typical memoir, so don't be afraid to check it out!

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Flop - What Maisie Knew by Henry James

What Maisie KnewWhat Maisie Knew by Henry James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I tried, but I just couldn't make it through this story. The writing was too archaic for me, the plot too slow, the characters too shallow and uninteresting. This may be one of the few times where I end up getting more out of the movie than the book. Might be a better read if you like classic literature.

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