Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Approaching!

My graduation that is.  I have worked so hard for 4 and a half years, and its finally 10 days away.  I'm finishing up assignments, getting ready for exams, and working my butt off at Old Navy for holiday season.  Its all very surreal.  I can't believe I've reached this stage in my life, and I'm so glad that I have.  I've met some amazing people in college, ones that I think I'll always stay friend with, no matter how far away from them I am.
My grandma is flying down from Massachusetts a few days before my graduation, which is very exciting, but the person that means the most in the world to me isn't going to get to be there.  I'd be lying if I said that wasn't incredibly upsetting to me, but it is what it is and I'll get to see him shortly afterward, so I guess that makes up for it.

As far as reading, I haven't finished a book, I have read at all over the break, I haven't had time to even check my google reader!  So, I'm doing that now and maybe after the 10th I'll be able to get things back to normal and resume reading and posting and everything else.

Just wanted to do a quick update!  I promise i'm coming back soon!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Short Haitus

Alright, I love blogging and I love reading and I love reading other blogs, but I have no time this month.  I have only a few more weeks until my graduation and I have a lot to d between now and then.  This is the beginning of the rest of my life and I'm scared to death, but I'm ready for it at the same time.
Normally, at this point, I would have read at least 5 books.  I've finished one, and I'm halfway through another.  I just have had no time to do anything at all, let alone read.  I hate that I haven't had time to read at least the review requests, but this is life, and school is my most important priority.
So, that being said, I'm taking a slight break from blogging and reading.  This is the busiest week in retail and I'm pushing 40 hours.  I have no idea when I'm going to get my reading and blogging groove back but I'm going to try really hard not to be gone too long.  I don't have anything scheduled, so there's just going to be silence on my end.  So, sorry for that.  I promise I'll be back as soon as possible!  Probably midway through the month of December.  I hope you'll all be here when I get back!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

REVIEW: The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory.

book cover of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Title: The Boleyn Inheritance
Author: Philippa Gregory
Date Published:  December 5, 2006
Genre: Historical fiction
Page Count:  518 pages
Challenge:  None
Rating:  3.25 out of 5 stars


Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I had already read The Other Boleyn Girl (see my review here) and I loved it, so I thought that this would be another work of genius.  I was disappointed.  Not that it was bad, I thought it just left some things to be desired.

This book follows three woman, Anne of Cleaves, Henry's wife after the death of Jane Seymour, Jane Boleyn, wife to George Boleyn and sister in law to Anna and Mary Boleyn, and Katherine Howard, yet another one of Henry's wives.  Each of these women are distinctly different, but each of them have one thing in common, the Boleyn inheritance.  Each of them have inherited different things and this book chronicles this.

The stories of these three women are told in their own words, in chronological order, switching from perspective to perspective.  We learn how Anne of Cleaves was saved from the scaffold, but how Katherine and Jane were subsequently sent to their deaths.  You could really feel for these women as we watched their king descend into madness and growing anxiety and suspicion.
You really learned who these women were and what drove them.  Anne of Cleaves came from a broken household and abusive family to fall in love with her new country and make a good queen.  Jane is still serving as a pawn in The Duke of Norfolk's game of advancement, but is tormented by the love that she felt for George and Anne and her guilt.  Little Kitty Howard is also a pawn in the game, but more for herself.  She continually recounts the things that she has, or doesn't have, showing her simple mind.

I liked the characters.  I thought that it was really interesting that Gregory was continuing the story with a few characters from the previous book and some new editions.  As much as I liked it though, I didn't really connect with the characters as much as I would have liked and I think that had something to do with the writing style.  It felt much more mechanical to me that it did in the previous book, and I just had a hard time getting into the writing, not so much the story.

I liked this book, though it pales in comparison to The Other Boleyn Girl.  A lot of people complain about the historical accuracy of her books, and if that's something that will bother you, I don't know if I would pick her books up.  If you're like me, and you like a good story with the history, you'd like this.  I give it a 3.25 out of 5 stars.

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com   The Boleyn Inheritance

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Release Tuesday (27)

New Release Tuesday is a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about in both books and music. Sometimes its release day is close, other times it can be several weeks or months in advance. I only feature one for each category, but there a LOADS of new and upcoming releases and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  Micro
Author: Michael Crichton and Richard Preston
Release Date:  November 22, 2011
Summary:  In the vein of Jurassic Park, this high concept thriller follows a group of graduate students lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company—only to find themselves cast out into the rain forest, with nothing but their scientific expertise and wits to protect them. An instant classic, Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.
Why I'm Excited:  I've actually never read a Michael Crichton book before, but I know a lot of people have read a lot of his books.  This is apparently the book that Crichton was writing when he died, and Richard Preston finished it.  Thought there might be some other interested in this one!
Album Title:  Returners
Artist:  A Ghost Inside
Release Date:  December 31, 2011
Why I'm Excited:  I discovered A Ghost Inside a while back and really liked them.  Its sort of the cookie cutter genre with the screaming and some clean vocals thrown in there, but they have a slightly different sound musically that I really like.  The harmonies on the other albums are nice, and the melodies and such.  Hopefully this album will be a continuation of those things and it will be just as good, if not better.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Manic Monday: Week of November 14

We all know that Mondays are typically pretty manic for us all.  Honestly, who in the world likes Mondays?!  So here's an attempt for me to organize my thoughts for the week.  Here you'll find what I'm reading, what I will picking up next, different posts that you can expect in the upcoming week, and a recap of the posts from last week!  And anything else I see fit, of course :]

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I am painfully behind in this saga.  However, things are starting to get interesting in some respects.  Anna has said some crazy things to her husband, we're learning more about country life with Levin and Kitty seems to be all better after her stint abroad.  I know things are about to get even more interesting, and I still have about another 200 pages to read before I'm actually on track.  But, seeing as my schedule is lax this week, I have the time and it will happen!  Expect the full write up for the last few weeks this Thursday.  I'm serious this time!

The Stream: Discovery by Bill Jones, Jr.
Once again, I can't really say too much about this once, as I'm still not very far into it.  I want to read more of it, I really do, but I'm trying to get caught up with Anna Karenina and this one just isn't grabbing my attention.  I'm on the third chapter.  We'll see how much farther I can get this week.

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What will I be picking up next?
When I'm caught up with Anna Karenina and I get further along in The Stream: Discovery, I'm going to grab another one of  the print books off my pile.  I'm going to start off with Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min.  I think that I can finish that one relatively quickly while reading the other two as well.  As soon as I finish The Stream: Discovery, I'm going to grab Hazardous Choices by Joseph Rinaldo as my next review request.

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What can you expect this week?
++  Tuesday: NRT, featuring some awesome, awesome things.
++  Wednesday:  A book review of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory.
++ Thursday: I will do the Anna Karenina write up this week.  It has to happen!
++  Friday:  TGIF, where we'll be talking about what books we're thankful for receiving from other bloggers or friends or family.
++  Saturday:  Nothing planned.  Maybe I'll have another review to post here!
++ Sunday:  Sunday Salon.

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In case you missed it....
++   New Release Tuesday, featuring a biography of Catherine the Great and the newest release from Mac Miller
++   Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a book review.  Discusses plot points, so if you haven't read it, be wary!
++   TGIF: Character we Love to Hate
++   The triumphant return of In My Mailbox!  Featuring a vlog :]

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

TGIF: Characters We Love to Hate

TGIF!  Everyone loves Friday right?  This is a feature hosted by Ginger at Greadsbooks.com.  Ginger posts a discussion question every Friday and provides a post where bloggers link their posts.  It's a fantastic way to get to know other bloggers!   Interested in participating?  Hop on over to Greads! feature page and learn more and see upcoming questions!

This Friday's Question:
Love-Hate Relationship: Which characters from a book do you love to hate?


I had to think about this one for a good few minutes before I came up with a few, but here they are.

  • Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter Series.  Of course he's supposed to be that character that everyone is suppossed to hate, but I think a lot of readers secretly loved him.  I felt bad for him, but I still hated him.  It was really hard not to.
  • Pendleton from Dead of Winter.  I hated this man.  The more that we got into the story, the more and more I hated him and the more I wanted him to just go ahead and be slaughtered.  That probably sounds horrible, but if you read the book, you'll see why I hated him.
  • Waleran Bigod from Pillars of the Earth.  He was such a dirty old man.  And I don't mean dirty as in pervert, he was just an asshole who would stop at nothing to get his own way and further himself.  I hated him a lot, but he added a lot to the story.
  • William Hamleigh of Pillars of the Earth.  I hated Waleran, but I think I hated William more.  Waleran, I could understand his purpose, but William was just a spoiled brat that didn't care about anyone.  I don't think I would have hated him as much as I did, had a not watched the miniseries first.  He was a lot more despicable in the minseries.
  • Carlos Vicente Solitario from The Witch of Cologne.  Now he really was a nasty old man, who was all pissed off because he became infatuated with a Jew, so he felt like he needed to persecute her daughter.  He was an asshole extraordinaire as well.
Which characters do you just love to hate?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

REVIEW: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

book cover of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Title: Frankenstein
Author: Mary Shelley
Date Published: First published in 1818
Genre:  Classic Literature
Page Count: 203 pages
Challenge: None
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

**Since this is a classic novel that is required reading in many high schools, I do discuss plot points that are critical to the story.  If you haven't read this book, you may want to skip over this post!**

This is a classic that I always meant to read, and I just never really got around to it.  However, for the month of October, I thought it would be an appropriate novel to read.
In the past, I've struggled with some classics novels that everyone says that you should read.  There were some rough spots that I hit in this one, but for the most part I enjoyed it.

I think we're all familiar with the concept of Frankenstein, so I won't do a synopsis.
This book has a lot of different levels, and I think that I would need to read it more than once to really pick up on everything that is in it, but the beginning was one of my biggest complaints.  It was a series of letters that has nothing to do with the central story and I actually had to skip ahead to make sure that I had the right book and I didn't download another book accidentally!  However, once we meet Victor Frankenstein, we start learning his story and the story of the monster that her created.
There were several passages throughout this book that I thought were just boring, and I struggled through those passages as well.  The entire book wasn't like that.  I actually enjoyed the narration of the monster, and was really surprised by the fact that he was so intelligent.  One thing, if you've ever seen a Frankenstein movie, it has nothing to do with this book.  The concept of the monster is the same, but there really is nothing else.  The movies have a hideous creature who is stupid as well, and this is not the case in the book.

There's so much emotion in this book.  Victor is completely appalled by what he has done and suffers several breakdowns throughout.  There is death in Victor's family, which causes him much grief as well, especially since he blames himself for a good portion of that.  There is a lot of emotion from the monster as he struggles to find where he belongs and struggles to understand why his creator has abandoned him.  He longs for the company of others and acceptance, but never finds it and it turns him.

Another things that struck me as interesting, is the face that this is written by a woman, yet there are no strong female characters anywhere in the book.  The mother dies early on, Justine confesses to a crime she didn't commit and is thus executed, and Elizabeth waits for Victor for years, and is killed by the monster right after they are married.  Also, the monster begs Victor to make him a mate, one as ugly as he, so he can finally have someone to spend his time with.  Victor initially agrees, but destroys her halfway through because he feared that he wouldn't be able to control her actions and she would be murderous as well.

As I said, this is a novel that I would have to read more than once to really get the full effect of it.  There are a lot of different concepts and a lot of different motifs I think that are woven through this.  Overall, it is a good classic novel, even if I did struggle with the writing, through everyone else may not.  If you love classic literature and you haven't read this, you need to!  3.75 out of 5 stars!

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  Frankenstein

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Release Tuesday (26)

New Release Tuesday is a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about in both books and music. Sometimes its release day is close, other times it can be several weeks or months in advance. I only feature one for each category, but there a LOADS of new and upcoming releases and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  Catherine the Great
Author:  Robert K. Massie
Release Date:  November 8, 2011
Summary:  The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, andThe Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.
Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones.
Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution that swept across Europe. Her reputation depended entirely on the perspective of the speaker. She was praised by Voltaire as the equal of the greatest of classical philosophers; she was condemned by her enemies, mostly foreign, as “the Messalina of the north.”
Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly described. These included her ambitious, perpetually scheming mother; her weak, bullying husband, Peter (who left her lying untouched beside him for nine years after their marriage); her unhappy son and heir, Paul; her beloved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of young men from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youth as well as sex. Here, too, is the giant figure of Gregory Potemkin, her most significant lover and possible husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of love and separation, followed by seventeen years of unparalleled mutual achievement.
The story is superbly told. All the special qualities that Robert K. Massie brought to Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Greatare present here: historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives.
History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, this eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.
Why I'm Excited:  I've always loved history, and historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.  While this may not be fiction, things like this still interest me and I would love to read this!
Album Title:  Blue Slide Park
Artist:  Mac Miller
Release Date:  November 8, 2011
Why I'm Excited:  Honestly, I can't say that I listen to much Mac Miller.  However, my other half does and this is an artist that I've been seeing more and more of lately.  I thought that this was a worthy feature. :]

Monday, November 7, 2011

Manic Monday: Week of November 7.

We all know that Mondays are typically pretty manic for us all.  Honestly, who in the world likes Mondays?!  So here's an attempt for me to organize my thoughts for the week.  Here you'll find what I'm reading, what I will picking up next, different posts that you can expect in the upcoming week, and a recap of the posts from last week!  And anything else I see fit, of course :]

The Stream: Discovery by Bill Jones Jr.
I picked this one up before October even ended, and I haven't managed to get very far into it.  Not for lack of wanting to.  Something about it is just not sitting right with me.  But, I'm only at the very beginning of it, so there is a lot that can happen between now and then.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
I read The Other Boleyn Girl last year and I loved it, I thought that it was pretty fantastic.  So, this is a continuation of some of the characters from that book.  I like the story line, but the biggest problem I'm having is that some of the writing seems almost mechanical.  I usually never have anything to say about the writing,but something about this is bugging me.  But I still like it so far.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I am painfully behind is the read-a-long.  I really hope to get caught up this week.  I have three sections that I have to get through, which is about 180 pages, which is easily doable, I just hope I find the time.  I'm not behind because I don't like it, I'm just behind because I never have time to do anything.

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What will I be picking up next?
I have 4 more review requests to get through once I finish the one I'm reading now.  I hope that I can get these finished pretty quickly so that I can read some more of the physical books that are on my shelf.  I hope to get at least 3 of those read this month.

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What can you expect this week?
++  Tuesday: Another NRT, featuring a biography of Catherine the Great and the newest release from Mac Miller
++  Wednesday:  Finally, that review of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley that I was talking about last week.
++ Thursday: Anna Karenina Thursday.  It's normally Friday, but since I'm so behind, I figured it wouldn't hurt to be a day early!
++  Friday:  TGIF, where we talk about characters that we just love to hate.
++  Saturday: Maybe a review, maybe something else.
++ Sunday: The Sunday salon, as usual.

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In case you missed it....
++  My Best of the Bunch Selection from the month of October
++  A quick rewind video to wrap up what I read for October
++  November TBR pile, featuring some review requests and a lot of historical fiction.
++  A book review of Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie, 3 stars

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Sunday Salon (27)

So this week I hit a bit of a slump.  Even when I've had a million things going on, I've found the time to make sure that I have posts scheduled, and I usually post once a day.  However, this week was a little different.  The last post I made was Wednesday.  I still have a review to write and I haven't even really done much reading either this week.  I hot a rough spot for a few days.  I also think that it had to do with the book that I was reading because as soon as I picked up another book, I read A LOT.

I hate it when I don't get to post for a few days.  Since I don't have to go into work until 7 tonight (the all-store holiday meeting), I plan on getting some posts scheduled for the week, and not just halfway through the week.  I'm also painfully behind in Anna Karenina.  Two weeks behind actually.  I need to make some time to catch up with that.

In other awesome news, I won a $50 gas gift card this past week.  And I had to go take a stupid diagnostic test Saturday morning, which was nonsense because it asked questions about calculus and statistics, which I haven't taken in about 2 years now.  I've never been good at math anyway, so I just guessed with those questions.  Luckily, its a diagnostic tool for the school of business and doesn't count as an actual grade.  Very happy about that.
But aside from the stupid test, this week will be fantastic, because my entire family and I are going to see The Foo Fighters on Tuesday in Charlotte.  So, I'm excited about that.

So this post was more about my personal life than anything, but it won't be next week, because next week I'm going to make sure that my life is back to normal.  So, be on the lookout for that.  As always, have a fantastic Sunday, and happy reading!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

REVIEW: Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie

book cover of Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie
Title:  Murder in Three Acts
Author: Agatha Christie
Date Published:  First published in 1934
Genre: Mystery
Page Count:  230 pages
Challenge:  Forgotten Treasures Challenge
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Christie does it again!  I absolutely love her books.

"The Reverend Stephen Babbington seldom imbibes, but at a gala thrown by actor Sir Charles Cartwright, he indulges in a cocktail and falls over dead. Since there is no trace of poison or foul play, the case is closed . . . until an identical death at a London party arouses the suspicions of Hercule Poirot."


After Mr. Babbington's untimely death, Mr. Satterthwaite, Sir Charles Cartwright and Sir Bartholomew Strange begin to suspect foul play.  Of course, after it is dismissed, Strange ends up dead as well.  Cartwright and Satterthwaite, both on holiday abroad, take a trip back to see if they can shed light on the situation and of course, Hercule Poirot comes to help as well.

I'm really starting to wonder if I will ever guess the culprit before the end of the book with Christie.  I usually can guess the ending of any book or movie, but with her I never can!  But, that's why I adore her books so much.  Once again, she leads you to believe that the murderer might be anyone, leaves subtle hints, but most of them you never see until the conclusion.  Amazing mystery.
I will say that the only thing that I didn't enjoy was how little of a part Poirot played throughout the book.  Satterthwaite was more of the narrator and more of the person who found different clues.  Not that this was terrible, I just really enjoy Poirot's character.

Great mystery, but for the small part Poirot plays, I give it a 3 out of 5.

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  Murder in Three Acts

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November TBR Pile!



Click the titles to view a synopsis and reviews on Goodreads.com!
Mercy by Joshua Grover-David Patterson 
Fairy Godmother-in-Law by Joshua Grover-David Patterson
The Stream: Discovery by Bill Jones, Jr.
Hazardous Choices by Joseph Rinaldo
Keeping Cooper by Samantha Masone
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
The Last Empress by Anchee Min
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