Totally Random: Rizzoli and Isles Premiere

I have a huge minor obsession with Rizzoli and Isles, but I’ll try to keep my fangirling to a minimum here. My Twitter account will probably be a different matter.

Sometimes, a gif says it all.

“Dumb genius.” I’ve already lost count of how many times my mum’s called me that. It’s her new nickname for me. It fits. I can be very literal at times. And well, dumb, for someone that’s supposedly smart.

And that will be all. Until next week.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Shapeshifter’s Secret

The Shapeshifter’s Secret by Heather Ostler
Publication Date: June 12, 2012

Julia is finally discovering what–not who–she is.

Like any sixteen-year-old, Julia’s used to dealing with problems. From her overprotective father to her absent mother to a teacher who definitely has it in for her. But everything changes when Julia’s reactions become oddly vicious and angry—more animal than human. This action-packed adventure has it all: humor, romance, and a plot that will keep you guessing to the very last page. (summary from goodreads)

I’m picking this one solely for the cover. If I saw it on a bookshelf, it would make me pick the book up and give it a chance. I like the hints of animal fur or markings (?) on the sides of the girl’s face.

When I first came across this book, I didn’t have a copy, but since then I have received it on NetGalley. My review should be up by this weekend.

Socialize with the author:
website twitter

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Armchair BEA: Day 2: Best of 2012

Banner credit to Nina of Nina Reads

Naturally I missed Day 1 of Armchair BEA, but I’m here in time for Day 2.

Today’s topic is The Best of 2012.

Here are two books I am really looking forward to. You’ll see both of these again on this blog; they’re both Waiting on Wednesday picks, and I’m sure I’ll be gushing about them when I finally get to read.

Malinda Lo’s an author I like a lot, and I’m excited to see what she’ll do with science fiction. And I’ve been following Suzanne Lazear’s blog since before I started blogging again. Steampunk + faeries!

adaptationAdaptation by Malinda Lo

Reese and David don’t remember what happened to them after a bird flew into their headlights on the Extraterrestrial Highway–not the resulting car accident and certainly not a bit of the 21 days of care at the military hospital in Nevada. It’s a good thing, the doctors and colonels tell them, that they crashed on a military base, but they won’t tell Reese and David what the extent of their injuries were, or how they were healed. They do tell them they’re not going home, though, until they sign a confidentiality agreement.

When they get home, Reese can’t help but find everything a little weird. Worldwide bird strikes resulting in plane crashes have grounded air travel, David won’t talk to her, and she could swear she’s seen her military doctors around the neighborhood. It’s only when she meets Amber Grey that things in her life begin to really fall apart, and the mysteries of the bird strikes, the military, and her own treatment come together. Reese realizes that she must find out what they did to her in that hospital, but her search for the truth threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

What if we aren’t alone in the universe? What if the alien is inside us? (from goodreads)

innocent darknessInnocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock’s hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer’s eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish. (from goodreads)


As for some of my favorite reads of 2012, here’s a handy list:
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Legend by Marie Lu
Starters by Lissa Price
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

This week’s Top Ten is Rewind, so I picked Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011.

I am going solely off my list of Books Read in 2011, which was compiled mainly from my library checkout record. So I know there are books I’m probably missing, but out of what’s on that page, these were my favorites.

01. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Do I even need to explain this one? I’m going to have to admit, though, that I haven’t read the other two. Shame on me.
02. Vampire Empire #1: The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith. Vampires + Steampunk = Win.
03. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. After I read The Hunger Games, I was on a quest to find every good dystopia or post-apocalyptic book that I could. It’s a lot of hit and miss in those genres, but this is a good one. I want to reread it this year.
04. Bloodshot by Cherie Priest. This is a fun urban fantasy that re-energized my love for the genre.
05. Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I have a policy that I don’t read epic fantasy series until every book in the series is published. This broke that policy, and it’s epic fantasy you can sink your teeth into.
06. Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. After I devoured The Name of the Wind in a day, I had just as much fun speeding through book two. I recommend this and the first book to everyone I can.
07. Ash by Malinda Lo. I think Ash may become one of my favorite books of all time. The writing is beautiful, and I love Ash’s story.
08. The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. I’m a history buff, and Weir is one of the best, in my opinion, for British history. This is a non-fiction book of the lives of each of Henry VIII’s children, and their reigns as king or queen.
09. Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir. Weir also writes historical fiction, which I like just as much as her non-fiction. Lady Jane Grey was a boring figure, until I read this, and it totally changed my opinion.
10. House of Night #1: Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast. A re-read. I think this series has gone downhill, but I still enjoy the first few books when I re-read them. There are so many cool ideas here, and I wish the authors had stuck with those instead of going into … I don’t even know how to describe where the series has gone.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #9

Last Week’s Reads:

The Wild Queen♦♦
by Carolyn Meyer
Linked Amazon Vine review

This Week’s Reads:

The Shapeshifter’s Secret♦♦
by Heather Ostler
Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child
by Noel Riley Fitch
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
by Emily M. Danforth
The Selection
by Kiera Cass
Dark Companion♦♦
by Marta Acosta

Holy Merlin. I read one book last week. I don’t even know where the week went. I had grand plans, too, considering I got some books I’m really excited about reading in at the library. So my massive stack of books that have been renewed too many times needs to be finished so I can start the new books.

I may not get to as many books as I hope to this month, because I’m attempting Camp NaNoWriMo. I wonder if my chances of success go up the more times I mention it? :D At any rate, I have to figure out how to fit more time into my day. I tried waking up early today to get in some extra reading before work, but I somehow shut off my main alarm in my sleep, so that backfired.

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Holt Children’s/Macmillan
Source: Amazon Vine
Series? The Grisha Trilogy #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Page Count: 368


Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart. (summary from goodreads)

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed “Shadow and Bone.” It was one of my Waiting on Wednesday picks before I got it early. I tweeted the author a few times while reading, because I was so excited and loving the book.

I already wrote one review for Amazon Vine, but I wanted to say a bit more about the book. Instead of writing another full fledged review, I’m putting down some random thoughts.

I know I’ll reread it in the future, as there are some things I undoubtedly missed in my rush to find out the whole story. And I know I’ll want a refresher when Book 2: Siege and Storm comes out.

The short version of my first review? I think “Shadow and Bone” is awesome.

I did have a few minor complaints, but they didn’t detract from my enjoyment, so I didn’t rate down for them. Of course, I could have missed the answers to any of these, as I was reading pretty quickly.

–One: I would have liked a description of a kefta, because the garment figures prominently into the story. I think they’re something like coats or robes, and decorated with insignias and embroidery based on rank, but what do they look like as a full garment?

–Two: How old are Alina and Mal? I understand they don’t know how exactly how old they are because they are orphans, but I couldn’t get a rough estimate of their age. I’m guessing somewhere around sixteen or seventeen?

–Three: Why has Ravka been at war for over a hundred years? Who are they fighting? Why has it gone on so long? Is it all due to the existence of the Shadow Fold?

Nothing too big, and like I said, I could have missed the answers to my questions, or they could be answered in coming books.

I read an interview where Leigh describes the book as “Tsarpunk.” I think the Russian influence is one of my favorite things about “Shadow and Bone,” because a lot of fantasy books stick with a medieval European-type of world. I happen to like Russian history, and I hope more authors venture outside the European zone.

The same interview promises some steampunk elements in Book 2. I can’t wait.

Rating: 5 owls

Socialize with the author:
Leigh Bardugo:
Twitter @Lbardugo

Sunday Summary #6

I just did a big May summary, so I’m just going to link that again.

Otherwise this week, I posted a mini review of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I’m an Anglophile at heart!

I made the top 20 — although just barely — in the last week of Reading Angel’s May Page Count Contest. I missed making the top 20 overall by about 50 pages. Boo. My goal for June is 6,000 pages.

I’ve managed to fit in some writing for Camp NaNoWriMo. I think I’m going to make a spreadsheet to track my progress, and I’ll share it.

Sunday Summary is hosted by Book Twirps.

Mini Review: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith

In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I’m posting a short review of one of the biographies I read about her this year.

elizabeth the queenElizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
by Sally Bedell Smith

From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.

In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines—the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.

Compulsively readable and scrupulously researched, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of a woman we’ve known only from a distance, illuminating the lively personality, sense of humor, and canny intelligence with which she meets the most demanding work and family obligations. It is also a fascinating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy. (from goodreads)

“Elizabeth the Queen” is a very readable biography. I’ll agree that it is “compulsively readable,” as I read it two and a half times. I learned a lot more about Queen Elizabeth than I have in other biographies I’ve read recently.

However, I have one major complaint. The author is very pro monarchy. Smith paints Queen Elizabeth in an extremely positive light, making many allowances for mistakes she has made over the years. For example, I was surprised by the harsh treatment of Diana. Diana is portrayed as an attention seeking villain with a personality disorder.

The book gives a good picture of what the Queen actually does, as well as showing a human, personal side of her. But the biased writing kind of ruined it for me. I kept thinking “Really? The royal family can do no wrong?” in the back of my mind while reading.

I also read another biography (The Real Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Andrew Marr) of the Queen this year, one I received from Amazon Vine. While I thought both books were overly positive, I preferred Sally Bedell Smith’s book because it gave more insight into the Queen’s personal life.


Goodbye May, Hello June


May was the month where I started to get things going here at I spent a lot of time working on the blog, adjusting things here and there, trying to get everything just like I want it. I did a lot of “housekeeping” stuff like linking all my old reviews that I imported from my old 5 A Week blog and organizing my lists of books read. I also redid all my tags, adding things like content and type so that they are more useful. I’ve mostly settled on post formats, although I’m sure I’ll still fiddle with things in the future.

I’m doing my best to start socializing with other book bloggers. Not doing so is one of the things I think led to burnout the first time I tried book blogging. So if you see me leave a comment on your blog, don’t be afraid to come say Hi! :)

Reviews Written:
Silver by Rhiannon Held. Blog review.
Silver by Rhiannon Held. Amazon Vine review.
New House 5: How a Dorm Becomes a Home by Andy Butler.
ReVamped by Ada Adams.

It’s Monday, What Did I Read?
May 7. I read three books.
May 14. I read three books, and took some nice pictures of my TBR pile.
May 21. I read three books. Hey! At least I’m consistent.
May 28. I read five books. Go me!

Tuesday Top Tens:
Top Ten Books You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie. Some of my picks include Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey and My Life in France by Julia Child.
Ten Blogs/Sites You Read That AREN’T about Books. I reveal my nerdy side, with picks like XKCD and Discovery News.

Waiting on Wednesday:
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke.
Night Prince #1: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost.
The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow.

Sunday Summaries:
May 6, in which I link to new graphics I made.
May 13, in which I get excited about Overdrive.
May 20, in which I mention accidentally breaking the blog. Whoops!
May 27, in which I mention adding a word count meter. I’m trying to push myself to write.

Book Roundup: (thank you, everyone!)
New House 5: How a Dorm Becomes a Home by Andy Butler. Received for review from author.
ReVamped by Ada Adams. Received for review from author.
The Scarlet Dagger by Krystle Jones. Won from Bengal Reads.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Won from Insane About Books.
Blood Born by Jamie Manning. Won from A Book Lovers Review.
Blood Born swag, from Jamie Manning.

Other Totally Random Stuff:
Cover Reveal for My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
TGIF: A Book Blog is Born. Why I got back into blogging.
Camp NaNoWriMo. I talk even more about pushing myself to write.
May Page Count Contest. I read 4,829 pages and 14.5 books. Not too bad.

I received my first book from NetGalley!
I got onto my first blog tour.
I had 360 visitors in May.
I have 5 feed subscribers.
I have 92 Twitter followers.



Site Stuff:
Write the About Me page.
Write the About the Blog page.
Start a techy weekly or bi-weekly column on WordPress, blogging, and the like.
Double the number of visitors.

Reading Goals:
6,000 pages for the June Page Count Contest.
Reduce the size of my TBR pile. Probably unlikely.

Writing Goals:
50,000 words. Camp NaNoWriMo baby!
Approximately 10,000 of that is for a short story I hope to submit to an anthology.

June 2012 Page Count Contest

Once again I am participating in Reading Angel’s page count contest. It’s a fun way to push yourself to read more.

In May, I read 4,829 pages. My goal for June is 6,000. Go big or go home!

Title Author Date Finished Page Count
The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights
of Mary, Queen of Scots
Carolyn Meyer 06/01/2012 220/420
Appetite for Life Noel Riley Fitch 06/09/2012 592
Snow White and the Huntsman Lily Blake 06/10/2012 240
The Miseducation of Cameron Post emily m. danforth 06/11/2012 480
Team Human Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan 06/13/2012 344
Dark Companion Marta Acosta 06/16/2012 356
My Life in France Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme 06/21/2012 414
The Immortal Rules Julia Kagawa 06/21/2012 512
Truth Julia Karr 06/24/2012 299
My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family Zack Wahls 06/25/2012 234
The Raft S. A. Bodeen 06/26/2012 231
The Shapeshifter’s Secret Heather Ostler 06/26/2012 328
The Hunt Andrew Fukuda 06/28/2012 293
The Queen: A Life in Brief Robert Lacey 06/29/2012 166

Running total: 4,689