What I Read Last Month: March
What I Read March This month, in addition to sharing quick reviews, I thought I would add a quick "Definitely Read This, Skip This, and 'If You Have Time'" list of the best and worst at the bottom. So, read all the way to the bottom! Contemporary

 The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings

 Rating: 4/5 Stars

I absolutely loved this book. I can't wait to read some further books about the real women who inspired the main characters of the novel. I had no idea that it was based on a true story when I started reading the novel, but I did know that the author resided in South Carolina!

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

Under Magnolia

 Rating 4/5 Stars

This review is a little longer, but I LOVED this memoir.

I will say that it started off a little bit slow, but as Mayes's life story progressed, or rather, she delved further back into her memories, the book became more interesting. While she grew up in an entirely different era from me, it still resonated with me because I lived in a small Southern town, went to a small Southern college, and where I studied English. Like Mayes, I having a deep sense of place, which is also very prominent in Southern literature, is important in my life. I have a love for the South, yet, like her, I still have to reconcile things that I don't like with the strange sense of belonging I feel.

The memoir had some humorous antidotes about being in the South during a period of great change, attending a women's college, and her thoughts on life, which tempered nicely with the heartbreaking parts of her family life. I think that if there was too much humor or too much heartbreak, the memoir would not have struck such a chord with me.

Finally, wait for the "Coda" at the end. The summary; the epilogue; the final thoughts. They make the entire memoir crystallize and touch your heart - regardless of where you live. They are thoughts on life and the human experience, but specifically Mayes's experiences. This is a memoir that will stay with me, much in the same way that Bastard Out of Carolina (although it is more of a autobiographical novel) will.

[I listened to a version narrated by the author.]

The Book of Joe

the book of joe

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Ugly tears. Loved this. Like all of the Tropper novels that I've read, it's about a dysfunctional family. In this case, it's about a man's dysfunctional family that extended to a dysfunctional relationship with his entire hometown. And family is extended from biological and family by marriage to family that is chosen - friends.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride

as you wish

Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is a must-read for any fan of The Princess Bride movie. Also, I know basically nothing about making movies, so it was also interesting from that standpoint. I won't give anything away, but to get you interested: Did you know that Collin Firth was almost Westly?!

[I listened to the audio version, which I think added a lot to the story because the individual actors, directors, etc., read their quotes!]

Still Alice

still alice

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I cried some ugly tears as I read this novel, but it was well worth the read. There are people who suffer with this every single day. I loved that the story was told from the perspective of the woman who developed early onset Alzheimer's. Genova's writing style helped to reinforce just a tiny portion of what it would be like to live in a world of forgetfulness and repetition. It's a heartbreaking story, but ultimately a story of love. I HIGHLY recommend this novel!

[I listened to a version narrated by the author.]

One Plus One

one plus one

Rating: 4/5 Stars

One Plus One is a heartwarming story that shows Moyes amazing talent as a versatile writer. None of her books "feel" the same, but they're all great! I teared up. I laughed. I found myself cheering along. I found myself depressed when the characters were depressed. It was an all around engrossing novel with relatable characters.

Into the Tangle of Friendship : A Memoir of the Things That Matter

into the tangle of friendship

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Loved this. Friendship is something that is so near and dear to my heart. Kephart beautifully addressed so many different angles of friendship. I highly recommend it, especially if friendships are on your mind.

Never Let Me Go

never let me go

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I'm glad I read it, but I wouldn't rush to read it, if I to do it over again. The story was a fairly predictable dystopian/sci-fi novel about medical advancements. Who has a soul? Who doesn't? All the typical ethical questions and a little love story. The end.

As of 3/23/15, the Kindle edition was on sale for $2.99.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession

the bookman's tale

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I read Lovett's second novel first. It was ok. I really preferred this novel to his second novel. Not only did I love the love story that unfolds from the main characters past (I'm not giving anything away!), but the mystery, conspiracy, and sense of danger lurking around the corner was super cool.

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue The Untold History of English

Rating: 2/5 Stars

The title was pretty misleading. If you have no background in the history of the English language you will be utterly lost. I haven't looked at foreign languages in awhile, so I struggled a bit, too. Mostly, it seemed like McWhorter just picked some things he disagreed with from the linguist community at large and wrote a book to refute them, which is his right, but to title it "The Untold History of English," is misleading. He threw in a dirty joke here or there to keep it light, but overall, it isn't a book I'd pick up for fun reading again.

classicsThe Woman in White

The Woman in White

 3/5 Stars

"Crime" novels from the 19th Century are so fascinating. Seriously. No forensics, no problems! I'm glad that I read it, because I can appreciate it for what it was during the time period. The story is told after the "crime," from the point of view of multiple narrators and witnesses, which, honestly, I didn't realize was a technique used so long ago! However, there are a lot more fascinating novels out there.

The Professor

theprofessor

 Rating 3/5 Stars

This novel reminded me a lot of Charlotte Bronte's Villette, although it was told from the male's perspective and had a slightly happier ending.

In Cold Blood

in cold blood

Rating: 5/5 stars

Wow. I loved this story. I love crime novels, but this was a whole new level. Even though it should have felt dated because the crime took place so long ago, it didn't. I loved how Capote interspersed the stories of the killers with the story of the search, which I usually hate. I think I found the story of the lives of killers more interesting because I knew they were real people. I also found the murders more heartbreaking, though, because they were real people. It was also an interesting look at life in the rural midwest during the time period. After reading In Cold Blood, I could recall many instances from more modern novels that were likely very influenced by In Cold Blood. So, if you love crime novels (or even TV shows), this would be great for you!

Cousin Kate

cousin kate

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I can see why this was Heyer's only Gothic novel. It was an interesting mix of Rebecca and The Castle of Ontranto. All the Gothic elements were there, so it would be great for teaching, if you wanted to be like "THIS IS EVERYTHING A GOTHIC NOVEL IS. SHE DIDN'T LEAVE A SINGLE THING OUT."

The Woodlanders

the woodlanders

Rating: 4/5 Stars

As usual, this is a tale of people who marry each other, but figure out that they wish that they were married to other people. Little things from the past, which seemed meaningless at the time, actually set in chain a whole course of actions that ruin people's lives. Sad, depressing, and if they could have just gotten divorces, the novel wouldn't have even needed to be written.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

tinker tailor soldier spy

Rating: 3/5 Stars

This novel was a little confusing. Amazon says that it's the 5th novel of a series. Goodreads says that it's the first of a trilogy. I chose this novel, of course, because it was made into a movie. I was able to understand it more than the average reader, probably, because of my work experience in the intelligence community. If I didn't have prior work experience, I might have been completely lost.

Venetia

venetia

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I'm glad that I took the time to read this one! In typical Heyer fashion, it's about a beautiful woman who considers herself beyond marriageable age, but then forms a close friendship - probably too close for the time period - with a man who is known for being a womanizer. I found this one funny and entertaining.

Charity Girl

charity girl

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Honestly, this novel felt more like a short story. While it was too long for a single sitting, it definitely didn't feel as complex as most novels. The characters were funny, but not many were well developed. I feel like Heyer missed a chance to give more dimensions to the main characters, especially Charity!

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

the heart is a lonely hunter

Rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed this novel. Mostly, I picked this up because when I graduated, my professors gave us a list of their favorite novels, and my Southern Lit professor included this. It felt a little bit like an extended O'Connor novel, but different, of course. If you like Southern Literature that takes place in the rural South during the 1930's or so, I would recommend this novel.

 read these

The Invention of Wings

In Cold Blood

One Plus One

Still Alice

if you have time

The Book of Joe

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

don't bother smaller

The Professor

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English

What I Read You can read my past monthly round ups: February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don't forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next--or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links that helps defray the cost of running the blog.

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 
Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog's URL, so that I can find you.
Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read Last Month: February
Here's what I read last month! Again, I am working on reading classics for my two classics challenges (here and here), my TBR pile challenge, plus since I'm working on more personal essays, I've been reading anthologies of personal essays and creative nonficton. Those are kind of dense and slowing down my total number of novels, of course! What I Read Last Month: February   I was kind of disappointed in myself this month. I normally read about 20 books a month. I always try to outread myself. It's silly, but it's just the way I work. I can't even say that I finished a season of The Good Wife or anything. In fact, I don't think I watched a single episode. I was so terribly sick that I couldn't do more than read and reread the same sentences over and over. I couldn't follow along with audiobooks. As I went through my Goodreads account, I saw that I went an entire week without finishing a book. That's not normal for me. I will admit that many of these novels are on the shorter side. I padded the numbers. And I admit it. I already owned them and meant to read them. I just read them all at the end of February haha.   Contemporary

King and Maxwell

king and maxwell

Rating: ***

I finally finished all of the King and Maxwell Series. I don't regret reading all of them, but, they are no works of greatness. Again, the production of the audio version made me feel embarrassed for Baldacci. I got used to having two narrators, but the music was terrible. However, I'm getting a little tired of all of these revenge conspiracy theories. I keep reading and waiting for King and Maxwell to just get together. Get together already.

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

careless people

Rating: ****

I wanted to read this during Jazz Age January, but I didn't have time. So, I started it at the beginning of February. It was so interesting because it discusses the Fitzgeralds, who I find fascinating, but it also gives tons of context. I haven't read many non-fiction books that talk about how murders were investigated during the 1920's, how bootlegging worked, and what life was like for people in the 1920's. Churchwell does a great job of writing about the era and relating it to how it relates to the book The Great Gatsby. I highly recommend this for anyone who is fascinated by the era! One of the really cool chapters was where Churchwell lists all of the new words or phrases that were created and coined during the jazz age. The list is fascinating and illuminates a lot about the time period. Churchwell also includes contemporary literary criticism about Fitgerald's work, which is more fascinating than the current criticism.

 The Lover's Dictionary

the lovers dictionary

Rating: ****

I loved the unique way this story was told. The story, which is not told chronologically, was a short, but interesting read. I had a little bit of hard time telling which definition was being told from whose point of view, but I think some were meant to be ambiguous. I could be wrong. It was definitely worth the read. I won't ruin it for you!

Joyland

joyland

Rating: ****

This was my first Stephen King novel. I've watched a ton of movies and mini-series inspired by his novels over the years, but I don't think I ever appreciated his writing until now. Even though this was a fairly short book, it was easy to tell what a master of story telling King is because he made me laugh, cry, and get a little scared, all in one short book. I can't wait to read more of his novels.

Moral Disorder

moral disorder

Rating: ***

I liked the short stories and the ways that they weaved together, yet I just didn't love it the way I've loved other Atwood novels.

Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles Book 1)

only time will tell

Rating: 2.5

Oh dear. I read this one at the recommendation of my mother, who has read every Archer book ever. I am no longer taking her recommendations. Only Time Will Tell feels like a poor man's Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, except Archer intends to drag this one out to the bitter end. Like the King & Maxwell series that I always read against my better judgement, this ends on a cliff-hanger, so you will go back for more. I will, just because I occasionally enjoy a mindless audiobook while I lay in bed/drift off to sleep. But, I could walk away and never think about this series again. If you are interested in reading this series, the Kindle version is on sale at the time of writing for $3. I'm guessing this is because the newest book in the series is being released soon!

One Last Thing Before I Go

one last thing before i go

Rating: ****

I read my first Tropper novel last month. I couldn't wait to read more! And ok, I'll admit that I kind of teared up at the end. The novel is a moving examination of a dysfunctional family, which after reading This is Where I Leave You by Tropper, it seems like he might specialize in. At first, I definitely did not like the main character, but he grew on me the more I understood him. Again, I like the kind of ambiguous endings that Tropper employs because I'm so used to tidy ones. I'm definitely not putting this particular novel in my favorite novels, but I am going to be reading even more Tropper novels.

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship: How to Support Your Partner and Keep Your Relationship Healthy

ptsd

Rating: Unknown- It depends on what you need

I checked this book out of the library to better understand what my family is going through. I am not a counselor/have no training, so I have no idea how valid the points in the book are, but a lot of it rang true for me. I could see myself in the description of the patients, and I could definitely see the self destructive cycle that England calls "Victim-Rescuer-Persecutor" triangle. The book, which is fairly recent, provides website resources for counseling, group therapy, and other important resources. There are also very practical tips for family members who are trying to show someone with PTSD that they need help. I do think that the book is mostly aimed at PTSD patients who are veterans, but is suited as for families for patients who were victims of a crime.

The Writing Life

the writing life

Rating: ****

This novel was extremely interesting. I prefer to write essays and haven't caught the book writing bug, though Dillard makes an argument for one long book, rather than lots of smaller essays. However, her tortured artist passages scared me away from attempting anything longer than several thousand words. I loved Dillard's look at art as everything from painting to airshow flying. Mostly, I love her style, the details she includes, and they way she weaves something that seems unimportant into a main theme, later in the writing.

Astonish Me

astonish me

Rating: ****

I loved this novel. It had twists, turns, love, broken love, dance, hopes, dreams, and losing everything. This novel was not neat. It was not tidy. It was beautiful.

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen

first impressions

Rating: ***

While I wouldn't say that this novel is based on any Austen plots, I do think that it's obvious from the start (and Lovett says in interviews) that the main character has her own Darcy and Wickham-esque to deal with. I thought that I noticed this as I read the novel, but wasn't sure. After I read the novel, I did a quick internet search!

  classics  

Wessex Tales

wessex tales

Rating: ***

Some of these stories were insanely creepy. I can see why they are included in anthologies with Poe. I also think this was my last Hardy novel (well, short stories) to read!

The End of the Affair

the end of the affair

Rating: ***

This was an interesting novella. I can appreciate it for what it is, but it is not at the top of my recommendation list. I honestly enjoyed the novella a little bit more in hindsight when I looked up some more information about the author and criticism of the novella. Putting it in context would have made the novella more entertaining, but I was afraid of spoiling the book! It didn't hurt that I listened to the audio version read by Collin Firth... 🙂

The House in Paris

the house in paris

Rating: ***

It took me a while to get through this book. The prose was very thick, so to speak. There were beautiful details and insight into human nature, but the French characters who spoke broken English made it harder to understand the middle part. I am glad I read the book, but I would not recommend that anyone rush to read it immediately.

The Convenient Marriage

the convienent marriage

Rating: **

Just not funny. I prefer Heyer's funny novels. All these villains and "silly" women kind of rub me the wrong way.

Listened:

New category! I finally listened to all of the Serial Podcast. My husband and I listened to it together, which was really fun. He's definitely not a reader, but listening was good. And I have a law enforcement background, so I had fun being like "well, what about...?" and then the lawyer/DC detective/journalist would bring the same thing up. thisAmericanLife1 What I Read You can read my past monthly round ups: January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don't forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next--or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links that helps defray the cost of running the blog.

Linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 
Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog's URL, so that I can find you.
Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read Last Month: January

what i read last month

I definitely didn't read as much as usual last month. I meant to read a lot more, but I actually went almost two weeks without finishing a book. I think I volunteered for way too many books to review, so the pressure got to me, so I just didn't read anything. And I discovered The Good Wife.

Contemporary

Dept. of Speculation

book recommendations dept of speculation Rating: ****

I don't want to give anything about the plot away, so I'll just say that it is beautifully written. The third person narrative that is sprinkled with poetry, scientific facts, and all other sorts of prose is unique and makes for a great story. The story tugged at my heart. It's amazing that I could be emotionally invested in the emotions of a character only called "the wife."

The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition

book recommendations grief recovery

Rating:****

I read a review of this book on The Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. I have been dealing with the loss of my health for a long time, but I never thought of it in terms of grieving. I'm not a counselor or psychologist, so I don't know if this book is completely accurate or for everyone, but the first 5 chapters were extremely helpful for me. The workbook portion seemed more appropriate for death, divorce, or even grieving for cumulative losses caused by childhood and other circumstances--basically things that have to do with relationships. While the addendum at the end of the book says that the exercises can be done about your relationship with your health, it's almost too complicated for me (they want a timeline, discussions, etc.) The first 5 chapters or so, though, are applicable to anyone going through a hard emotional time because everything from depression to anxiety seems to be related to unmet expectations (for whatever reason) and it is important to grieve and process the lost dreams that come from losing your health, job, friends, or anything. Not the perfect book for Chronic Illness, but helpful and I will probably reread the beginning from time to time.

Dark Places

dark places  

Rating: ***

I really enjoyed this novel. It was a fascinating read, plus it was nice to see how Gillian Flynn evolved as a writer between Dark Places and Gone Girl. You can read all of my thoughts from a book club link up here!

This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

Lizzy & Jane

lizzy and jane

Rating: ****

I loved this novel. You can read my full review here!

The Girl on the Train

books like gone girl

Rating: 2.5

I was really looking forward to this novel because it was promoted as a multi-view narrated novel in the vein of Gone Girl. The ending was not what I expected, which saved this book from being a zero. It was interesting enough to keep reading it to find out what happened, but it was by no means a book that I would rush to recommend.

Girl, Interrupted

girl interrupted

Rating: ****

I ended up loving this novel. At first, the anecdotes at the beginning were amusing, funny, or sad, but not quite good enough to make me read it quickly; however, I got to the second half of the novel and stayed up late reading! That's when it all comes together and Kaysen really pulls no punches when talking about her views on her diagnosis.

P.S. This is currently on sale for $3 on Kindle! I paid more for a used copy awhile back! This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

This Is Where I Leave You

this is where i leave you  

Rating: ****

I loved this novel. The first half felt like it was filled with a little fluff--sex/pseudo-sex scenes that were kind of unnecessary. However, I couldn't put the last half down. The novel is more character driven than plot driven, which made it a fascinating look at the inner mind of the main character and his family's dynamics. I watched the movie the day after I finished the novel. While the movie was still good, I definitely preferred the novel, where I got a much better look into the main character's mind. I will say that the all-star cast of the movie, though, made it a great watch, just to see the actors working together!

classics

Cranford

book recommendations cranford

Rating: ****

This short(er) novel from Gaskell was much more fun and lighthearted than North and South, the only other novel that she wrote that I have read. I enjoyed the fist person narrative about the "quiet" country town that was anything but quiet. It was full of quirky characters who had a touching dedication to helping their neighbors--no matter how silly the circumstance might be.

The Beautiful and Damned

book recommendations the beautiful and damned

Rating: ***

I really wish that I had read this before I read a biography of the Fitzgeralds' since it is semi-autobiographical. It was a little predictable because of that. I also wish that I had read This Side of Paradise first, since it was Fitzgerald's breakout novel.

Lady Chatterley's Lover

book recommendations lady chatterley's lover This novel was very interesting because I read it immediately following The Beautiful and Damned. The novel takes place during the Jazz Age, also, but it takes place in the UK. It dealt a lot with social classes, like The Beautiful and Damned, but it referred to World War I and the class changes a lot more than Fitzgerald. Money was discussed at length in both novels. Lady Chatterley's Lover is much more explicit with sex than The Beautiful and Damned, which danced around the topic much more. Honestly, I was completely shocked that this novel was published in the 1920's, due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes and language. Lady Chatterley's Lover does mention jazz, dancing, and bobbed hair in passing, but it more about what love, sex, and intimacy means to men and to women. Lawrence wrestles with the three (love, sex, and intimacy) to see where and if they overlap with each other, plus how men and women might view them differently! Women and aristocratic women, specifically, are held to a different standard in Lady Chatterley's Lover, as opposed to The Beautiful and Damned, where the men seem to be falling over themselves to make the American women happy. This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

Madame Bovary

Madam Bovary

Rating: ***

I didn't love this, but I didn't hate it. It's not on my list of books to recommend to anyone, anytime soon. Honestly, I didn't find Madame Bovary very sympathetic. I know the point that the author was trying to make, but it got lost among the tedious whining and immorality of Emma (Madame Bovary). I know that social conventions were different when the novel was written and where it was written, but that doesn't change the fact that the main character was written in such a way that I really wanted her to be unhappy.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

the talented mr ripley While I enjoyed the novel, I hated the fact that the novel ended on a cliff hanger! You have to read the entire series to get the whole story! I couldn't bear 3 more novels of reading the tedious thoughts of the main character. He's actually kind of boring for a murderer. This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

This Side of Paradise

this side of paradise

Rating: ***

I wanted to read this novel because it was the novel that gave Fitzgerald his start. Again, not my favorite book, but I can appreciate it for what it was, a portrait of the "lost generation."

The Sound and the Fury

the sound and fury

Rating: **

Ok, I love Faulkner. Sanctuary and Absolom, Absolom are two of my favorite novels ever. This one, however, I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll try it again some day!

This novel fulfills one of my 2015 TBR Reading Challenge requirements.

Adam Bede

adam bede

Rating: ***

I did enjoy this novel, however it was not Middlemarch. It wasn't close. It felt like an early Thomas Hardy novel. The rural setting, unrequited love, odd/far-fetched situations, and may an attempt to make commentary on social mores and hypocrisy left me feeling like I really did just read something along the lines of The Mayor of Casterbridge (minus the the whole wife selling thing...).

I definitely enjoyed it, but I guess I was looking for something either along the lines of Middlemarch or something more original than an early Hardy novel with a slightly happier (only slightly) ending. So, if you DO want more Hardy novels, read this.

I Capture the Castle

IMG_5694 (1) This novel was a reread for me! You can read all of my thoughts from a book club link up here! (Josie enjoyed it, too!)

Couldn't Finish

This is a new category for me. I had to quit a book about half-way through this month.

Call Me Zelda

call me zelda This novel was marketed as a fictionalized account of Zelda Fitzgerald's life after she was institutionalized.  The story is told from the point of view of a nurse who is taking care of her. The nurse's story was distracting, but what was worse was the fact that there was no new information. Because I had read other novels about Zelda Fitzgerald, I knew the general gist of her life. Most of those books, though, end once she is sent to the psychiatric hospital. Instead of this novel telling me about what it was like for her there, the emphasis was on Zelda rehashing her past, as she worked on her autobiographically based novel, Save Me a Waltz. At the half-way point, I decided that it wasn't worth my time.

Living Well, Spending Less

living well spending less Literally, not figuratively, the worst book I've ever tried to read. Full review on the first half of this drivel here. What I Read You can read my past monthly round ups: December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don't forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next--or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Titles linked to Goodreads are available for little to no cost on Amazon. Get reading!
Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog's URL, so that I can find you.
Categories: Reading, What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
How to Save Money on Audible Books: The Classics
how to save money Now, to do this, I am pretty sure that you need to have an audible account. I haven't tested it out, though. If you are a member like me, you probably are pretty particular about what you'll use your credits on. I love contemporary books, but I also love the classics. When I got my first Kindle, many years ago, I was a big fan of the fact that you could get classic books like Emma for free. After I became an Audible member last year, I noticed that some books were showing up for me with a special price, but I couldn't find any rhyme or reason. Example: Middlemarch showed up for $3.49. middlemarch reduced price Later, I realized that I had a free version of Middlemarch on my Kindle. However, I hadn't read the book yet, so I scooped it up for $3.49, instead of using a credit that is worth $11. My next step was to figure out how I could exploit more Whispersync options, in order to save money on audiobooks. I've figured out that the best way is to browse books that I know will be in the public domain, like Emma, which will be free on Kindle. Some books, like Lady Chatterly's Lover, are available for 99 cents. The best way to tell is to look for books that are Whispersync compatible. emma whisper sync emma 2 emma free book  

Here is an example of how to buy the Kindle book and then get the Audible book for the reduced price:

audible   You can still save money on some contemporary books, but the best deals are on the books that are already in the public domain. I am a huge fan of Audible because I can use the app to speed up the book. I find the regular speed way too slow, plus I can cover more books in less time. Another online resource, if you can't get to your library is LibriVox.com. I found that website during college. It was the only way that I got through Moby Dick. So, I really did read that whole book. I love reading. I find that audiobooks work great for me, though, because I can either multi-task while I am listening or I can rest. Sometimes my temors are too bad to hold a book, so audiobooks totally save me. Other times, I have headaches that are so bad that I can't stand to watch TV, yet I can listen to a book with my eyes closed. Still, I am a sucker for the smell of a book! Do you use Audible? The library? Good old fashioned books?
Categories: Reading Tags: , , ,
What I Read Last Month
what i read last month   Outlander outlanderSince I've been on a historical fiction kick, and this book is being released as a TV series, I thought that I'd give it a try. The concept was interesting (involving time travel), but the sex scenes felt gratuitous and contrived. I can definitely see the appeal and how it will translate well onto the small screen. I don't think I'll be finishing the series, though. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald zeldaI thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I remember when it came out, but I didn't think that I would be interested--even though I love F. Scott Fitzgerald's work. It wasn't until I recently watched Midnight in Paris that I realized that I knew almost nothing about the biographies of either Fitzgerald. During the movie, I got all of the Hemingway and other author jokes, but the Fitzgeralds were a mystery to me. Cider House Rules: cider house rulesI chose to read this novel because it's on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, which has turned out to be a great list, plus I knew it was a well received movie. I enjoyed this novel a lot, especially because of the time period in which it was set, and it was quite thought provoking. I definitely want to watch the movie now! Disability and the Sovereign Goodness of God: disabilityThis was a short e-book that I got as a free resource, which you can also download here. It was a quick, but powerful read. I made a ton of highlights on my ipad. I have a blog post regarding some of the things that I learned in the works. Stay tuned! Middlesex: middlesexI ended up loving this book. It was a slow go at first, but by the end, I couldn't put it down! It wasn't what I was expecting, and I love how the narrative wove the stories of the entire family together by blending the past and present. The Black Box: the black boxThis was a super quick read. I've been meaning to read this one for awhile, so it was good to catch up in time for the release of the next Harry Bosch novel this fall. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but I can always hope that some of the unresolved parts are meant to carry on in the next novel. The Hound of the Baskervilles: sherlock holmesThis was my first taste of actually reading anything by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I've watched countless movies and tv shows inspired by Sherlock Holmes--I've even watched a documentary about the character--but I've never read anything before. I liked it a lot! Later this week, I will be posting my reading goals for August!

Make sure to come back to on August 21 and link-up your Goodreads account!

You can find mine here! What did you read this month?          
Categories: Reading, What I Read Last Month Tags: ,
Breaking News: Satellite Sales Rep Does Not Read
My husband and I have officially decided to join the "cord cutters." Brian was already satellite/cable free when we started dating, but when he moved in with me, I was about 3/4 of the way through a 2 year relationship (contractually bound) with DirecTV. As time as progressed, my love affair with television has waned. Brian and I have worked our way through a few series on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I think the only thing that we ever sat down to watch live was Parks and Rec. Now that my 2 year contract is up, and I spend most of my time reading, crafting, blogging, or working out, I never finished watching several TV series that I was seriously involved with for several years. Vampire Diaries, Castle, The Mentalist, and (gasp) New Girl! I just am not interested. I don't know why. Brian and I reevaluated our expenses and saw that we could go to the movie theater, as a couple, 5 times a month for the price of one month of satellite. Even better, we could go to 10 weekday matinees at the nearby theater that has 5 dollar tickets before 5:30. We can't even find that many movies that we want to watch, but just as a comparison, it was astounding. All of that lead to about an hour long conversation where I was on hold and given the hard sell. But in the end, I had a wonderful conversation with the sales rep: reading Now, with that money each month, we can go to the symphony, tubing in the river, get ice cream after church, or create any number of memories. In 50 years, I won't remember how Castle ended, but I will remember spending the day at Brattonsville with Brian and having a picnic! I'll probably also remember a lot more about what I learned from Absolom, Absolom! than I will from Vampire Diaries.
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June Reads
Happy June, friends! I love to read. I love to listen to audiobooks. I'm also prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo to hone my short story writing skills. What better way to prep than to read? (Although these aren't on the official list, I'd like to re-read some Flannery O'Connor and BJ Novak's One More Thing). I read a ton of fiction. While I was sick last month, I made my way through all of the first 5 published books of the Cousins' War series, by Phillipa Gregory. She does have a non-fiction book out that is about the historical characters that's in my queue to read soon. I'm eagerly anticipating the final book in September! So, I know that this list is ambitious, but I thrive on goals! june reads Finish:
  • Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman. My mom is the one who told me about this book. The sequel, A King's Ransom, was just released. That's also in the queue.
  • American Psychosis. I wrote a little bit about this non-fiction book awhile ago, here. I put it down because I was so slow at reading it. Not because it was bad, but because I would get so caught up in it and have so many thoughts that I would have to talk it out with anyone who would listen to me!
Start AND Finish:
  • Mrs. Astor Regrets--this book by Meryl Gordon was released a few years ago. It caught my eye when Gordon's newest book came out this week, The Phantom of Fifth Avenue. I decided that I would read this older book first by picking up a used copy on Thriftbooks (an awesome used book website!), before using an Audible credit on the new book, since non-fiction isn't always my thing! If all goes well, The Phantom of Fifth Avenue will be on the July list.
  • Erasing Hell by Francis Chan. I know different people believe different things, and within my circle of friends, Rob Bell's book Love Wins was very divisive. A lot of people I respect immensely read and agreed with Love Wins, when I think it flies in the face of everything that I believe. So, to get the other side, I want to read Chan's rebuttal to Love Wins.
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept, also by Sharon Kay Penman. I wish that I read this before Lionheart, because it comes first, chronologically. And, personally, I'm more interested in the young Elanor of Aquitaine than I am Richard the Lionheart. So, I want to back up and read that trilogy first.
These past few month have been super historical fiction heavy, and non-fiction heavy. After this, I am totally diving into some new fiction.   What are you reading? What's on your list for this month?
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