The Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read List

It’s been ages since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post, but here you go: the top ten books I am anticipating this fall, in order of publication. Looks like I’d be golden if I could read a book a week (which I can’t).

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | August 14

This one actually came out in August, so maybe it shouldn’t count. But it’s still high on my fall list as I’ve been waiting for it for so long.

2. Chasing Before (The Memory Chronicles) by Lenore Appelhans | August 26

Another August book. I am excited to see Lenore’s next installment in this series.

3. The Jewel (Jewel Series) by Amy Ewing | September 2

Pretty cover. Sold.

4. The Children Act by Ian McEwan | September 9

New Ian McEwan always makes the TBR.

5. Party Games: A Fear Street Novel by RL Stine | September 13

I don’t think words can describe how much I adored the Fear Street series when I was younger. I no longer like being scared one bit, but I won’t be able to resist this one.

6. Made for You by Melissa Marr | September 16

I haven’t finished the Wicked Lovely series and I did not love Carnival of Souls, but Melissa Marr but I’ll give this one a shot.

7. Rooms: A Novel by Lauren Oliver | September 23

Lauren Oliver is another automatic add to my TBR.

8. The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control by Walter Mischel | September 23

I was a psych major. I can’t help it.

9. On Immunity: An Inoculation | September 30

Recommended by Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves for those of us who prefer science to internet logic.

10. Yes Please by Amy Poehler | October 28

Amy Poehler needs no explanation.

What books are you looking forward to this fall?

Runaways [Book Review]

Title: Runaways (Complete Vol. 1 Collection – 2003 issues 1-18)
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Genre: Comic Book
Pages: 448
Year: 2003
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Public Library
Rating: 4/5

Summary (from Amazon):

They were six normal teenagers linked only by their wealthy parents’ annual business meeting…until a chance discovery revealed the shocking truth: their parents are the secret criminal society known as the Pride! For years, the Pride controlled all criminal acti vity in Los Angeles, ruling the city with an iron fist…and now, with their true natures exposed, the Pride will take any measures necessary to protect their organizati on – even if it means taking out their own children! Now on the run from their villainous parents, Nico, Chase, Karolina, Gertrude, Molly and Alex have only each other to rely on.

My Thoughts:

I am 31 years old and this is the first comic book I have ever read. Swapna mentioned it on twitter one day and a few other people chimed in to recommend it and the next thing I knew, I was reading a comic book.

And enjoying it.

Runaways is funny and dramatic and witty. It captures the feeling of being a teenager and learning that your parents are not infallible and takes it to an extreme. They fight, they kiss, they complain, they make hasty decisions, and they think they can do things they shouldn’t be able to do.

But although the teens live inside the Marvel universe, where super heroes and super villains are everyday figures, finding out that your parents are the ringleaders of the bad guys is still shocking, so I can cut them a little slack.

I am pretty sure this volume included both a West Wing and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference. So, naturally, I will be reading on.

The Sunday Salon: Bloggiesta Edition [9.21.14]

I was just hanging out on Twitter on Thursday when I noticed a familiar little thing called Bloggiesta was being discussed. Back when I used to participate in the events of the book blogging world, I used to participate in Bloggiesta – a weekend dedicated to helping bloggers organize and accomplish tasks (and I think I remember margaritas). Well, this little blog needed a lot of love at the moment, so I hopped on as an unofficial participant. It was a great way to get some blogging energy back after such a long slump. Here is a summary of how I Bloggiesta-d.

Tasks Accomplished:

Things I Discovered/Mysteries to Ponder:

  • My reading didn’t taper off when I became a mother. Instead, it dropped off pretty suddenly in the fall of 2013, when E was  year and a half. What happened? Why did life get busy then?
  • I only have three books that begin with numbers: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson13, rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro31 Hours by Masha Hamilton. All 1s and 3s. Weird, right?
  • I have not read any books that begin with a K, Q, or X. K? Really?
  • I didn’t start listening to audiobooks until 2010. Since then, I have finished 117 of them! So many books I otherwise wouldn’t have had time for.

Plans:

  • Actually write some book reviews. Life is going to be busy the next few weeks, but I shall try.
  • Figure out how to add a signature to my posts.
  • Finally create my Books by Author directory. This has been on my to do list for years.

Ole.

The Sunday Salon.com

What Evan Is Reading This Week [9.19.14]

Holy crap, this book is long.

60+ pages of “would you eat them…”

I may or may not have hidden this book on a few occasions.

Evan may or may not have responded to this by ALWAYS KEEPING IT IN HIS CRIB.

But the smile he gets with the Seuss Dude (who has neither a name nor a species assigned to him) tries the green eggs and ham and finds out he likes them is worth the 50 previous pages of refusals.

If only this would translate to Evan actually trying new foods.

Independent Study [Book Review]

Title: Graduation Day
Author:  Joelle Charbonneau
Genre: Dystopian YA
Pages: 304
Year: 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Personal Collection
Rating:  3/5

Summary (from Amazon):

She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can’t do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever—lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

My Thoughts:

Honestly, this one fell short of my expectations. I love this series and I will recommend it in a heartbeat, but I just wish the final book had been as great as the first two. (Final books almost always disappoint me though, and I have no idea what others have said, so maybe it’s best not to listen to me.)

For me, the plot was too convoluted. People were double crossing the people they were double crossing and I had no idea what side anyone was on. I also had some trouble with the plausibility. Yes, this is dystopian fiction, but why would the president of a county ever think it was a good idea to put a teenage girl in charge of a rebellion? And, two months later, I am really struggling to remember how the book actually ended.

On a positive note, the book is action-packed and Cia becomes an even stronger, independent young woman, which is satisfying in its own way. It almost becomes a political thriller, rather than a typical YA dystopian.

In short, this book was by far my least favorite in The Testing series, but the series, as a whole, is still very much worth reading.

 

What Evan is Reading This Week [9.6.14]

I meant to post this yesterday, but since he still asked for this book last night, I haven’t missed my chance.

This week is all about Moo Moo, Brown Cow by Jakki Wood and illustrated by Rog Bonner.

Moo Moo, Brown Cow is essentially a counting book. Kitten goes around asking various animals if they have any children (“Moo moo, Brown Cow, have you any calfs?”) and they respond, conveniently, with an increasing number of them. At the end (SPOILER), the animals as Kitten if she has any kittens and she responds, “no kittens, no kittens, but many, many friends” as she is surrounded by all of the animals and their children. It teaches counting, animal sounds, and animal names (particularly names for baby animals)

I like this book because of its rythym, which is why the last animals response, which doesn’t fit the responses of all of the other animals kills me. Evan asks for Moo Moo, Brown Cow at least once a day, so I guess it doesn’t bother him. I do love that he says, “oh there is a little fry” when I ask about the small fry though.

The Monday Salon: August in Review [9.1.14]

It’s hard to believe it is already September, otherwise known as the disappointing month where I mistakenly think the weather should cool down. Maybe this year I won’t have to wait until November to turn off the a/c? But, this is the August wrap-up, and I expect nothing less than miserable heat in August.

Books & Blogging

I didn’t read much this month. This was more a concious decision than it has been in the past. I was away for two of the weekends and while I was home, Ben and I were spending time together after his summer away.

I finished Girls in White Dresses and Story Hour in print and the latest Maisie Dobbs in audio.

I am in the middle of a few good books and I’ve just been slowly reading them. I took a little break from audiobooks and have been listening to some podcasts. I guess August was my reading vacation month.

As for blogging, I had one good week and some sporadic posts in the other four. You win some, you lose some. I do intend to continue the feature I introduced about the books Evan is reading though – look for those most Fridays.

Health

Well, I fell off the wagon hard. After my foot injury in April, I stopped running. I got the all clear in July and I have been running twice since then (see the weather paragraph above). I haven’t been to a dance class in months. I haven’t been to a real yoga class (as opposed to family yoga which isn’t much actual exercise) in months. I haven’t weighed myself in months. I haven’t counted calories in months.

I am still pretty happy with my weight. But my back has been giving me problems lately and I am sure it is due to this lack of exercise. So I am jumping back on the wagon.

Amanda from The Zen Leaf (which is back up!) created a 100 days of exercise challenge – just ten minutes of exercise for 100 straight days. I’ve already managed to miss some days, but more days than not, I am making an effort to do something.

I am hoping to get a real yoga class in Wednesday and ballet the following Monday.

Photography

I haven’t used my camera much this month, but I did share a bunch of photos on the blog here and I’ve been following some new critique groups on Facebook. I’m always learning.

My most-popular post this month was the one where I shared some of my cell phone photography tips and tricks. I’m thinking about doing another post like this since you all seemed to like it.

Evan

Evan started 2-year-old preschool. And he started sitting in a real chair at a restaurant and kind of listening when we ask him to use his walking feet. And he says “thank you, mommy” and “good morning, mommy” and “I love you, mommy” and it is wonderful. He throws things at me. And he runs off in public. And he throws tantrums when he’s tired and upset. But he’s two and 80% of the time it is awesome.

 

The Sunday Salon.com

New Mexico in Photos – Part 3 [Wordless Wednesday]

Today I am sharing few more pictures from New Mexico (because I am not actually taking any other pictures these days). I bought a macro lens that I use as a walkaround but I’d really like to use for actual macro photography. For some reason, I can’t get my lens, which is designed for macro photography to autofocus when I zoom too close to my subject (which I thought was the point…). So this is the best I could get. Maybe I need to manual focus?

Any macro tips for me?

 

What Evan Is Reading This Week

To round out an ENTIRE WEEK OF DAILY POSTS, I am going to try a new just-for-fun Friday series, sharing Evan’s favorite book of the moment.

This week’s obsession is:

The other night, I read this to E four times in a row after Ben read it six times in a row.

It’s a silly little Doctor Seuss book about opposites and the different kinds of “feet you meet.” My favorite part about reading this one is that Evan seriously believes I just skip the word “foot” in the first page.

This page always goes like this:

Me: Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Right. Evan: Foot.

Every. Single. Time. Apparently he thinks I’m pulling one of my pause-and-see-if-Evan-will-supply-the-word tricks. He can’t be convinced otherwise.

What book are your kids demanding this week? Or what book do you have fond (or not so fond) memories of reading with your kids or parents?