Friday, May 31, 2013

ArmchairBEA 2013 Genre Discussion: Non-Fiction

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots

Today's genre discussion is all about non-fiction. I have to admit that on the whole, I tend to stay away from non-fiction. When I read, I like a good story. That's not to say that I haven't read non-fiction or that I will not read it, it's just not usually my go-to choice. 

I recently came across a series of non-fiction books that definitely appeal to me. It's a series called History in an Hour and basically they are short pieces of non-fiction on a specific topic. So far, I've only read one - Henry VIII's Wives by Julie Wheeler.  I love anything having to do with the Tudors, but normally stick with historical fiction. This, though, was great - it was a fun, quick look at each of the six wives of Henry. Because I enjoyed this one so much, I got a couple more, but just haven't had time to read them yet. I think I got one on JFK and one on Queen Elizabeth. Have you heard of these?


Besides my love of all things Tudor, I also have a deep-seated love affair with all things Kennedy. I have quite a collection of books that I've picked up from library books sales, book stores, and yard sales. Some of the books are about the whole family - like The Kennedy Men and The Kennedy Women both by Laurence Leamer. Then I have some biographies and memoirs such as The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy: Times to Remember by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, along with a handful of books on Jacqueline Kennedy - Jackie After O by Tina Cassidy and Reading Jackie by William Kuhn. Unfortunately I have yet to read any of these, but I will get to them one of these days!


So, beside the Henry VIII's Wives, here are the books I've read and enjoyed that fall into the non-fiction category:
As you can see, the list is not long at all. I think I need to challenge myself to read more non-fiction books - especially some of the Kennedy books that I already own! I'm seeing a new challenge to join next year - one geared towards reading non-fiction.

So, what about you? Do you read non-fiction? If so, what types and if not, why? 


_____________________________________________________________ Previous ArmchairBEA 2013 posts:



Review: Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (audio)

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
Read by Lorelei King
MacMillan Audio
2008
Length: 7 hours
Source: Library

Bounty Hunter Stephanie Plum goes on her most explosive adventure yet.

The Crime:  Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars

Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn’t be more proud. He always was the smart one.

The Cousin:  Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom’s sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family.

The Complications:  Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux

Less than a week after Dom’s release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He’s getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.

The Cupcake:  Stephanie Plum

Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She’s a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she’s involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

The CrisisA favor for Ranger

Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie’s evening activities.

The Conclusion:  Only the fearless should listen to Fourteen.

Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result.

My thoughts: As most of you know, one of the challenges I signed up for this year was the Finish the Series Challenge , hosted by Socrates' Book Reviews and one of the series I decided I wanted to get caught up with, or finish, is the Stephanie Plum series. As an added bonus, I decided I would do all audio for this series. Well, I am absolutely loving this decision. These audios are in a word - hysterical!!!

This time around, Stephanie gets caught up in a case involving boyfriend Joe Morelli's cousin. It seems that the money that Dom Rizzi stole and then did time for in prison is still out there. Now the people involved in the heist want to find that money and somehow Joe's house seems to be involved. On top of that, Dom's sister Loretta runs into some legal trouble of her own, gets put in jail and needs someone to take care of her son, Mario - who happens to go by the name Zook. Since there are no other responsible relatives, that job falls to Stephanie and Joe...a great test for their relationship, if you ask me!!! They need to make sure he gets to school, not get into trouble, and make arrangements when both are busy. Just like normal parenting. Will this be the push to get them to finally tie the knot?

And now on to Lula...Can I just say that I absolutely love Lula!!! She is definitely a huge part of why I love this series so much. She's been dating Tank, one of Ranger's men, for a while, and has decided that they need to get married, so she basically manipulates the situation to her liking and tells everyone she's engaged. Connie's response, "Does Tank know he's engaged?" just proves that Lula marches to her own beat.

My other favorite character is Grandma Mazur - she's just a pip! I can honestly say that I am no longer surprised by anything she does (and she's done quite a lot in this series!). This time, she gets all caught up in Zook's gaming world, going so far as to even dress like a punk and changing her name to Scorch...I mean, come on, who has a granny like that!

This was another fun adventure in the life of Stephanie Plum. There's plenty of action and we meet some unsavory characters, and get to revisit some from previous books that we haven't seen in a while. I can't imagine what the next book brings...


Audio Thoughts: Lorelei King has done it again - another good production of a Janet Evanovich story. I can see why Janet wanted to have Lorelei narrate these books. Once I finish up this series, I do plan on listening to something else that Lorelei King has narrated. Do you know any non-Janet Evanovich books that she's narrated?



*** Devourer of Books hosts Sound Bytes every Friday - a meme to share the audio books that everyone is listening to. Stop by and you just might find your next audio book!






 
Books in this series:


     1.  One for the Money                         12.  Twelve Sharp
     2.  Two for the Dough                         12.5  Plum Lovin'
     3.  Three to Get Deadly                      13.  Lean Mean Thirteen
     4.  Four to Score                                   13.5  Plum Lucky
     5.  High Five                                           14.  Fearless Fourteen
     6.  Hot Six                                                14.5  Plum Spooky
     7.  Seven Up                                           15.  Finger Lickin' Fifteen
     8.  Hard Eight                                         16.  Sizzling Sixteen
     8.5  Visions of Sugar Plums              17.  Smokin' Seventeen
     9.  To the Nines                                      18.  Explosive Eighteen
    10.  Ten Big Ones                                    19.  Notorious Nineteen
    11.  Eleven on Top

ArmchairBEA 2013: Ethics in Blogging

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads


Today is day 4 of Armchair BEA and we jump back into the discussions. The focus of today's discussion is on ethics.

I tend to stay away from all the drama that happens in the blogging world - a lot of the times because I only hear about it after-the-fact. What I can share is what I practice and that's the following:

* Give credit where credit is due: If you quote another blogger, tells us. If you reference an event happening, link back to that event. This goes for participating in memes and reading challenges, too - make sure to cite who hosts said meme or reading challenge. Basically - don't let people walk away from your blog thinking you created something you didn't.

* Disclosure: I've always cited where I get my books from - whether the author themselves, a publisher/publicist, the library, a friend or I bought the book. I used to put this down at the bottom of my post, but now I put it up top.  

* Honesty: When writing your reviews, give your own opinions, not the opinions of others. I've never been the subject of plagiarism that I know of and I hope I never do. I write my reviews based on what I thought of the book - and I really believe that no two people ever walk away from a book feeling exactly the same. We might all love a book, but we all love it for different reasons.


It's not really a lot, but that's what I have to say on the topic. What about you? What are your thoughts on the topic of ethics in blogging? Any advice to share?


_____________________________________________________________ Previous ArmchairBEA 2013 posts:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright

The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright
Harlequin MIRA
May 2013
Format: ARC, e-copy, 304 pages
Source: Netgalley via Kaye Publicity


Meet the Sassy Belles They're strong as a mint julep, sweet as peach cobbler, and no matter what, they stick together.

There are only two seasons in Tuscaloosa—football and waiting-for-football. When Lewis Heart, football announcer and voice of the Crimson Tide, vanishes after an impromptu romp with Vivi Ann McFadden at the Fountain Mist Motel, Vivi does what any Southern woman would do: call her best friend, Blake O'Hara Heart, attorney-at-law.

With the town gossip swirling around them, Vivi and Blake are determined to find out what happened to Lewis and clear Vivi's reputation. Because after all, men may come and go, but the Sassy Belles are forever.

Not since Steel Magnolias have we fallen in love with such sexy, strong and hilarious Southern women. So grab your best girlfriends and join these Belles on the first of many joyrides through the Deep South….

My thoughts: This is the first book by former soap opera star Beth Albright and it's quite a fun read. I enjoy a good book set in the south - there's just something about that Southern charm that just oozes off the pages. I've never spent much time in the deep South, but felt at home reading this book.

In The Sassy Belles, we are introduced to Blake and Vivi, two of the Sassy Belles, a club they started way back in grade school. Blake is an ambitious lawyer and is married to Harry, who's also a lawyer but has political aspirations. While it appears that they have a solid marriage, things are far from great at the homestead. Vivi is just a pip! She has found herself to be the main suspect in the disappearance of her boyfriend, Lewis. Vivi is sassy and fun and definitely needs Blake to keep her grounded. Then there's Meridee - Blake's grandmother, who is known to the town as 'Mother.' She's been acting weird lately and Blake is trying to figure out why. Then she comes across a box of secret letters hidden in Meridee's linen closet...very curious!

This book kept me hooked from the first page. Between the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lewis, the secret letters Blake finds, the state of Blake and Harry's marriage, and the odd behaviors of  Meridee, I couldn't put the book down. Besides all the humor that's interspersed throughout the book, there's also a serious side as Blake struggles to figure out what her marriage to Harry is really costing her.  It doesn't help that an old flame of Blake's is back on the scene.

I loved this visit to Tuscaloosa, full of all it's Southern charm and fun characters. I can't wait to revisit it and those sassy belles in the next book, The Wedding Belles.


Books in this series:
  1. The Sassy Belles
  2. Wedding Belles - due out July 2013
  3. Sleigh Belles - due out September 2013

ArmchairBEA 2013: Giveaway Day!!!

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Today is day 3 of ArmchairBEA and it's everyone's favorite day - giveaway day!!! In honor of this, I am giving away 3 gently used books sent to me for review. The giveaway is open to US residents only.



The Typewriter Girl
by Alison Atlee
My review
Source: Gallery Books









The Fate of Mercy Alban
by Wendy Webb
My review
Source: Hyperion Books









Children of Liberty
by Paullina Simons
My review
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours











Rules for Giveaway:
- Open to US Residents only
- Limit of one entry per person
- Contest ends June 6th at midnight, EST
- 1 winner per book will be selected using Random.org
- Winners will be notified by email








GOOD LUCK!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ArmchairBEA 2013 Genre Discussion: Genre Fiction

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots

Today's genre discussion is genre fiction which is a wide category. Within that category, I tend to stick to women's fiction, contemporary fiction, chick lit, romance, romantic suspense, mysteries/psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries and historical fiction. I just recently started reading some magical realism, but as a whole, tend to stay away from straight fantasy/paranormal fantasy, dystopian fiction and horror.

Before blogging, I primarily read women's fiction, romance books and the occasional psychological thriller. I didn't really branch out from these areas.  I would read anything by Debbie Macomber, Danielle Steel, Luanne Rice, Carly Phillips, James Patterson, and Iris Johansen. Those were definitely my go-to authors and, while I still read them, I've branched out quite a bit.

I've really gotten hooked into historical fiction and definitely have a love affair with all things Tudor. But, I've even branched out from that recently, enjoying books on Russian history as well as books set during WWI and WWII. Some of my favorite historical fiction authors are Phillipa Gregory, CW Gortner, Kate Emerson and Christine Trent.

Within the women's fiction/contemporary fiction/chick lit/romance area, my go-to authors are Kristin Hannah, Jane Green, Jane Porter, Bella Andre, Elin Hilderbrand, Adriana Trigiani, Wendy Wax, Susan Mallery, Sherryl Woods and Robyn Carr. Some of these authors just write stand-alones and some write series. I love them all and always look forward to their newest books!

Then there are the cozy mysteries. I love a good mystery with a fun amateur sleuth and some of my favorite series within this genre are the Tea Shop mystery series and the Scrapbooking mystery series by Laura Childs, the Domestic Diva series by Krista Davis, the Vintage Magic mystery series by Annette Blair, the Crochet mystery series by Betty Hechtman, and the Culinary mystery series by Josi S. Kilpack.

Even within the mystery/psychological thriller area, I've branched out. Now I read Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles series, Tami Hoag's Kovac and Liska series and Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan series.

That's just a little about my reading within the genre fiction. What about you? What within genre fiction do you enjoy reading? Do you read any of the authors I've mentioned above?

_____________________________________________________________
Previous ArmchairBEA 2013 posts:

Review & Giveaway: Sea Glass Island by Sherryl Woods (CLOSED)

Sea Glass Island by Sherryl Woods
Harlequin MIRA
May 2013
Format: ARC e-book, 384 pages
Source: Netgalley


Under summer skies, New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods evokes family, friendship and heartfelt emotion With her two younger sisters heading for the altar, will Samantha Castle exchange old dreams for new ones? Lately she'd rather be on the North Carolina coast with family than in New York with agents and actors. Though she vows not to let her teenage crush on Ethan Cole influence her decision, it's hard to ignore her feelings for the local war hero.

Ethan lost more than his leg in Afghanistan. He lost his belief in love. Even being surrounded by couples intent on capturing happily-ever-after won't open this jaded doctor's heart. It's going to take a sexy, determined woman—one who won't take no for an answer.

My thoughts: This is the third and final book in Sherryl Woods' Ocean Breeze series and I loved all three books. Maybe because I come from a large family and have two sisters myself, but I just found I could relate to all three girls at some point throughout the series.

While Sea Glass Island is primarily Samantha and Ethan's story, all the other characters are involved in the story lines. It seems that the Castle family is back to meddling and matchmaking as they do everything they can think of to throw Samantha and Ethan together. With Emily and Boone's wedding coming up,their are many gatherings and jobs that only the maid of honor (Samantha) and the best man (Ethan) can do - or so say the meddlers!

It's not that Samantha and Ethan aren't aware of each other. She had a crush on him in high school and while they never dated, somehow she ended up with his football jersey which she still wears and Ethan happened to catch her in. But they're in different places in their life. She's an actress and has been living in NYC. Lately her career seems to be stalling and she needs to decide what she wants to do next. Ethan has been to war and lost his leg. He already had one woman leave him because he's not all the man he used to be, and so has sworn off love. Now the town doctor, he devotes his time to helping young children with disabilities work on their self-confidence.

There are hints as to the path Samantha end ups following and watching that come to fruition along with watching her and Ethan finally give in to what's between them make for a good tale. As this is the last book of the trilogy, all the story lines from the earlier two books that were started are all tied up. I like the way the series starts and how it ends - almost like it comes full circle!

While I'm bummed that this series is over, I can't wait to see what Sherryl Woods does next. She is definitely one of my go-to authors. Who are your go-to authors?


Books in this series:

  1. Sand Castle Bay
  2. Wind Chime Point
  3. Sea Glass Island

Giveaway Information (CLOSED):
Thanks to Amy at McAllister PR I have one copy of Sea Glass Island to give away to my readers.
 


Rules: 
  • Open to US/Canada
  • Must include email address to enter

* Mandatory entry - Tell me why you want to read this book.  


* Extra entry #1 - become a follower of Always With a Book. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under).    


* Extra entry #2 - please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting, pinning onto Pinterest or posting this giveaway on Facebook (each way you share gets you 1 more entry).   



All entries can be in one email - but you MUST include email address or no entry



GIVEAWAY ENDS JUNE 12th

Good Luck!!!

ArmchairBEA 2013: Blogger Development

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Today is day two of Armchair BEA and we are discussing blogger development.

Prompt for the day: How do you develop yourself as a blogger. Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other bloggers? Have you gone “pro” or begun supplementing your income through your blog? Are you a long-term blogger, and how has your online personality developed over the years? These are simply ideas. Think development and tell us what comes to mind.

I've been blogging here at Always With a Book for just over 3 years now. It started out as a way to share my thoughts about the books I've read and seems to have grown from there. I don't partner with any other bloggers, I don't supplement my income through my blog, and I don't claim to know it all. But, I do know that just in the three years, my blog has evolved, as have I as a blogger.

Memes: When I first started blogging, I did a lot of these - sometimes 4 or 5 in one week. I found that this was a good way to get involved in the book blogging community and seeing all the different blogs out there. After a while, though, this got to be too many. I stopped doing some, started doing new ones and now, I religiously do three each week:
  • Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews on Sundays - I use this to track what books I got each week
  • It's Monday...What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Journey on Mondays - I use this to keep organized - what I read the past week, my upcoming read and reviews I still need to get to
  • Sound Bytes hosted by Devourer of Books on Fridays - a place to link up audio reviews

Blog Tours: I remember being so surprised and humbled when I got my first request to read and review a book for an author - I couldn't believe someone wanted my opinion! Since that first one, I've done quite a few review requests from authors, publishers, and publicists. I have developed some good relationships by doing this and really do my best to stick to the date agreed upon for the review. I keep a calendar just for review requests and make sure to consult it when a new request comes in - I try to not double book.  This calendar also helps me in determining what I should or can read next - do I have a tour coming up that I need to still read the book for or can I squeeze in a library book or book of my own. I've definitely been more selective with the books I choose to take on, but that's only because I have so many of my own books that I would really like to read.


Reading Challenges: I love doing these challenges and I am pretty selective about the ones I choose to join. I try to join ones that stretch me as a reader. This year, I joined a classics reading challenge because I've been wanting to read some classics and just never seem to get to them. I'm a pretty competitive person, so if I sign up for a challenge, I want to be able to complete it. I have a few that I do every year, like the library challenge (I love supporting the libraries), the e-book challenge, and the audio book challenge, and then I try to add a few new ones each year, too. This year the new ones were the classics reading challenge, the first reads reading challenge (reading new-to-me authors), and the tea and books reading challenge (reading books over 650 pages).

Blog Events: I love participating in events that lots of other book bloggers are doing - like ArmchairBEA, Bloggiesta, Audio Book Week and even some of the read-a-thons. I love the discussion posts that occur during these events, especially since that is typically not something that I do on this blog (although it's something I do want to eventually feature here on the weekly or even monthly basis). I recently joined two online book clubs - She Reads and Book Lovers Unite Book Club. This is a great way to get involved with the blogging community while sharing a common book. So far, I'm enjoying it.

Twitter: I finally decided to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. I use it primarily for my blog - although I do follow a few General Hospital links. This has been a lot of fun - it's a great way to quickly connect with fellow readers and I've even found new blogs to follow as a result. It's also a great way to find out about other bookish happenings, for instance through twitter I found out about the Book Lovers Unite Book Club and also about an in-person event happening not to far from me - Beach Reads 2013 being held at the Princeton Library.


Well, there you have how my blog and I have developed over the past three years. How about you? What have you done to develop your blog or yourself as a blogger?


_____________________________________________________________

Previous ArmchairBEA 2013 posts:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

ArmchairBEA 2013 Genre Discussion: The Classics

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots


The Classics...an area that I've been wanting to delve into for a while, but never seem to get to. I remember in high school reading the requisite books for English classes. There were the Shakespeare plays - Romeo & Juliet, Julius Cesar, Macbeth - and then the books - A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations both by Charles Dickens, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to name a few.

Since then I've read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen at least 3 times. I love this book. And I've read the Anne of Green Gables series a few times - I loved that series when I was young.

I've been wanting to read more classics but never seem to get to them. This year I went as far as signing up for a Classics Reading Challenge - and am hoping to read at least three. Some of the ones I want to read are Anna Karenina and some of Jane Austen's other books like Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey - all of which I have sitting on my bookshelf. 

I'd also like to reread some of those books I read in high school - having to read a book and wanting to read a book are completely different. I think I might have enjoyed some of those high school reads more if I didn't have to tear them about, answering questions about them or taking a quiz on them. 

Do read the classics? If so, which are your favorites?

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara (CLOSED)




Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara
Penguin Books
April 2013
Format: ARC e-book, 384 pages
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours


A novel of art and desire in the 1930s

It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will savor this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set in New York City and New England during the uncertain, tumultuous 1930s.

My thoughts: I enjoy reading historical fiction, and usually tend to gravitate towards anything Tudor-related, but lately have gotten into historical fiction dealing with American History. This book caught my attention because it was set during the Depression era. I admit that I have not read much about the Depression era, so this one definitely sounded like an interesting read and it was. Plus that cover just pulls at you - isn't it stunning?

Desdemona has given up her art career to take care of her ailing father. She heads back to her small hometown of Cascade, Massachusetts and marries Asa. Would she have married him if her father didn't need the financial means to save his theater or a place to live? That is a question that stays with Dez as she moves through life. In fact, there are a few decisions that Dez makes that haunt her in her later days.

On top of being in a loveless marriage, the town of Cascade is threatened to be flooded and turned into a water source for the city of Boston. This is what propels Dez back to her art as she creates a series a postcards that are published in a newspaper to bring attention to Cascade. 

There's so much in this book. There's self-discovery, a little romance, a mystery, and the journey of pursuing what ultimately becomes one's life's work. Between the government's taking over little towns to turn them into water sources, to the government offering artists the chance for work, the history that Maryanne O'Hara touches upon has left me wanting to know more about this time period. I also loved all the art - I am not an artist by any means, and so am always curious by those with the skills to create such beautiful art pieces. I wish we could have seen all the postcards that Dez created. 

This is a beautifully written book that just pulls you in. It's a bit slow to start, but eventually you get to the point where do can't put it down.



About the author: Maryanne O’Hara was the longtime associate fiction editor at the award-winning literary journal Ploughshares. She received her MFA from Emerson College fifteen years ago, and wrote short fiction that was widely published before committing to the long form. She lives on a river near Boston.

For more information on Maryanne O’Hara, please visit her website.  You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and GoodReads.


Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtag: #CascadeVirtualTour).

 


Giveaway Information (CLOSED):
Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I have one paperback copy of Cascade to give away to my readers. 



Rules: 
  • Open to US only
  • Must include email address to enter 

* Mandatory entry - Tell me why you want to read this book. 
 
* Extra entry #1 - become a follower of Always With a Book - via email, twitter or bloglovin'. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under and how).  


* Extra entry #2 - please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting, pinning onto Pinterest or posting this giveaway on Facebook (each way you share gets you 1 more entry).  

All entries can be in one email - but you MUST include email address or no entry


GIVEAWAY ENDS JUNE 11th


Good Luck!!!

Armchair BEA 2013: Introductions

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Today is Day One of Armchair BEA.  This is my second time participating and I'm very excited - last year was so much fun! Day One is all about introductions and getting to know fellow book bloggers.  So here is a little bit about me: 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
My name is Kristin and I am an avid reader. I am fortunate to come from a family of readers where we always got books as gifts - we got books at Christmas, for our birthdays, for good report cards, and we even got a book on the smaller holidays such as Halloween, Valentines Day, and Easter. I also happen to be married to an avid reader, so it's not surprising to find us sitting on the porch reading or heading out to the bookstore for some new books on the weekends. We have a chocolate lab named Maddie that loves to sit with us while we read - she loves sniffing the books, so old books and library books are her favorites because they have great smells!

I started blogging just a little over three years ago.  I stumbled onto some book blogs while playing around on the internet and decided I would give it a go - I didn't even tell anyone about it for a while until I got it going. Going into it, I had no idea of the rewards I would get from blogging - the community I now feel part of, the book recommendations I come across from visiting other books (my tbr list is longer than it ever was!), the review requests that I get from authors/publishers/publicists.I love sharing my thoughts on the books I read and I love reading others thoughts on the same books.


Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? What brought you back for another year? If you have not previously participated, what drew you to the event? 

Yes, I participated for the first time last year. I found it to be fun, came across lots of new blogs and picked up some great tips and tidbits relating to book blogging. I'm hoping this year will be more of the same!


What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?
Right now I am reading Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller, and listening to 3 audios - Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir (in car), Come Home by Lisa Scottoline (on iPod - listen while I walk), and Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich (in house - listen while cleaning, working on computer).

My favorite read (so far) of 2013 is a tie between The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak and The House Girl by Tara Conklin. (Click on titles to read my reviews.)


Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures. 
I am blogging from Pearl River, NY, a small town in Rockland County about 40 minutes north of NYC. I live in a house that is 100 years old - it has a stone foundation from the rocks that give Rockland County it's name.

My town has the 2nd biggest St. Patrick's Day parade in New York State, and being 4 houses from the parade route, we have a big shin-dig for it.


What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? 
I love the virtual friendships that I have made through blogging. It's so nice to have an audience geared to this obsession with books that we all have. I've also found that book bloggers are extremely helpful - all you need to do is put a question out there and you will get responses. 

I recently jumped on the twitter bandwagon and love all the back and forth that goes on there amongst the book bloggers - it's a way to get to know each other a little better. In fact, I recently found that a few of the bloggers I interact with all have Fitbits, and so now we are all Fitbit friends, encouraging each other to get those 10,000 steps in each day! If you're on fitbit, let me know!
 
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little. I’m really looking forward to all of the Armchair BEA festivities and getting to know everyone who is participating.

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (5.27.13)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Well, the weather didn't pan out exactly as I had hoped for the holiday weekend, but I did get some reading time in. Of course, if I just stayed off-line for a while, I would probably have gotten much more done than I did! Twitter is still new for me, and I find myself checking it out all the time. Luckily, from all my diligent checking this weekend, I came across a new online book club that I decided to join. The Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club is just starting and I signed up to read their first book pick for the month of June - Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.  The book sounds interesting and I'm looking forward to being part of the discussion. Let me know if you decide to join in!

 
Books Completed last week:
  • Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery (library book)
  • The Surfing Lesson by Elin Hilderbrand (e-book)
  • Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara (review e-book)
Reading Now:  
  • Body Double by Tess Gerritsen (library book)
  • Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir (library audio book) - car
  • Come Home by Lisa Scottoline (library audio book) - ipod
  • Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich (library audio book) - house
Next:    
  • Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller (review e-book)
  • Time Flies by Claire Cook (e-book)
  • The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag (review e-book)
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (mine)
 Reviews Completed last week:
 Other posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews: 
  • If You Were Mine by Bella Andre
  • Taking Eve by Iris Johansen
  • Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich 
  • Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
  • The Surfing Lesson by Elin Hilderbrand
Contest information:    

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!
 

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