1/31/2011

Priceless Reads

I spent most of this afternoon reviewing the last 8 books that I've read.  In my other blog, Priceless Reads, I've been keeping a review list/ account of the books I read.  I started it last year when I learned about Advanced Readers Copies and how publishing companies are always looking for book reviewers to promote their books.  Since we've moved to Dominica I haven't been able to participate, but last year I received 2 different books as ARC's.  What happens is you promise to review their book (in any light) and post it to 2 different online sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble and they give you the book for free!  The site I've been doing it through, LibraryThing,  uses an honor and check system.. they send you the book and then you send them the links when you are done.  You have several months to do it, but can't receive another book until the review links are verified.  Want to check out my other site?


I have the last 3 books here on the island if anyone is interested in borrowing one before I get around to doing a Book-Swapping Night.  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress seriously made my week last week!

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen


There were several points in this book where I started laughing out loud.  Rhoda Janzen tells her story with a great blend of honesty and word play.  At one point, I was almost in tears from laughing so hard while sitting alone on my couch.  Although I had to fight through some “academia” related paragraphs, there were so many other moments of pure enjoyment that this book earns a top recommendation from me. 

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran


More or less a sequel to Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen is another wonderful piece of historical fiction about the Queens of Egypt.  This time told as a first person account from the aspiring Queen, the main character is well developed and easy to identify with.  The story is filled with jealousy, trickery, politics, and love. 

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran


A great recommendation from my mom, Nefertiti is a wonderful piece of historical women’s fiction.  I love books about women in history, and this one hit the nail on the head.  Told from the point of view of Nefertiti’s sister, Mudnodjmet, the story of the famous Egyptian queen is revealed from start to finish.  It satisfied my love for strong women and also my enjoyment of stories that are told from start to finish.  And what’s even better is that Moran has written several books about the Queens of Egypt, so if you like this one there are more to read! 

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory


This novel was my first introduction to The Tudors, and it had me hooked from the start.  I thought it was brilliant to tell the story of Anne Boleyn through her sister.  I remembered that feeling of sisterly competition, and appreciated the honesty from the main character, Mary.  I read most of the book on a 36 hour flight itinerary, and couldn’t have chosen a better time because I had the luxury of reading for hours on end.  I now realize that this book is actually #2 out of 6, and I intend to start reading the others. 

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger


I had really high hopes for this novel, considering how much I loved reading The Time Traveler’s Wife.  It turns out that this was just a different kind of book.  More ghost story than love story, the twin main characters in this book have a flatness to them that made it hard to connect.  The story goes back and forth between several characters without really developing any one.  I think I had my hopes set too high to really enjoy what this book was; good for a rainy day with a hot cup of tea and nothing better to do.    

Enlightenment for Idiots by Anne Cushman


Everyone needs a little chic lit from time to time.  The main character in this book is believably dumb.  You watch her go from one bad decision to the next, all the time hoping she pulls her act together.  The book was actually longer than I expected, and in true chic-lit form has a happy ending.  It is the perfect “lounging by the pool on a hot afternoon” kind of read. 

The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans


Hot fire fighters, a love triangle, and Montana.  I’ve never read a book with quite this mix before, but it worked in it’s own way.  Even though some parts seemed a bit far fetched, I couldn’t stop reading.  If there was a “made for TV” genre of books, this would fit right in. 

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley


Just like the first book in this series, Flavia de Luce embarks on an adventure to solve a mystery.  Everything about her delights me.  I think it has to do with her being a little sneaky while still maintaining her goody-girl image.  The mystery in this story unfolds at a good pace, keeping you interested till the end. 

1/30/2011

One Down!

I finished my first semester of grad school this week!  And it was just in time to join the girls on a trip to Red Rock.





1/24/2011

Sorrel

Who would have thought that this pretty little flower called Sorrel could wreak such havic on my body?! The locals here boil it to a concentrate, then add ginger, spices, and sugar to make an iced drink aka sorrel juice.  When I tried it for the first time Friday night I certainly didn't know that I would have a severe allergy to it.  By Saturday morning I'd broken out into big red hives all over my body.  I took benadryl, claritan, and tried all the anti-itch creams I could find.  Nothing worked.  By Sunday, Chris and I were getting worried because it was getting worse not better.  Begrudgingly, I called the EMTs who were actually very concerned and very kind.  They even raided the health clinic for drugs for me.  By this morning, I was starting to look a little better.  After two shots, I'm starting to get some regular color back on my skin, and the angry red hives are dulling to pink splotches.  I can see the light at the end of tunnel.

1/21/2011

Semester 2

So begins Semester 2.  We are happy in our new apartment, and the weather has been fantastic.  I can even walk to school without sweating!  The kitties got a new a scratching tower, made by Bruno.

Portsmouth Harbor at Sunset
After all the traveling we did, it's really nice to be back here on the island.  Especially because my wonderful Mom bought me a ticket home for the month of June.  It makes the next year seem so much more manageable.  Now, back to school work.