Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dystopia Reading Challenge

Dystopia Reading Challenge
January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017
hosted by Corner Folds and My Soul-Called Life
(details & signup)


Because I want to finally get a move on and work on my dystopia pile, I decided to give this reading challenge a go.

I was also taken by the Bingo feature ;-)


Update schedule:
» March 16th - First Quarter Update
» June 15th - Second Quarter Update & Giveaway
» September 14th - Third Quarter Update
» December 14th - Challenge Wrap-Up & Giveaway

I will work towards earning a Recruit badge - Read and review 1-5 dystopian books.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
by Meg Elison
-Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic
Amazon | Goodreads | my review -coming

The Book of Etta
by Meg Elison
-Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic
Amazon | Goodreads | my review -coming


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy release: Amy's Story by Anna Lawton

Amy's Story
by Anna Lawton
-Historical, Women's Fiction
Release date: March 28, 2017
Amazon | Publisher

Amy’s Story unfolds on the background of American history, from the late 60’s up until 2011, and takes us through the timeline of how Italian-native Amy (full name, America) creates her success story.

Amy experiences love, heartbreak, friendship, obstacles, success, and more as she moves from Italy to New York City to live by her American father. Following in her father’s footsteps, Amy becomes a successful publisher. Her story intertwines with the story of Stella, her childhood friend, whose unfinished memoir she intends to publish. As Amy edits the manuscript, it is Stella’s story that readers follow as she leaves Italy with her American lover, Jim, a heartthrob who conceals his sensitive nature under a bravado façade, and goes through career achievements and setbacks, and a heartbreaking love story.

Her journey runs parallel to major American historical events―the Vietnam War, student protests and the Kent State shooting, the birth of radicalism and feminism, presidential elections and assassinations, immigration, the Watergate scandal, up to the 9/11 attack and beyond― providing an interesting commentary on the facts that influenced the development of American society over the past 40 years and brought about the current outcome.

Other minor, but captivating, characters complete the picture and sustain the action: Steve, Stella’s husband, conformist and uninspiring; Nik, a passionate and extravagant Russian intellectual; Rosa, once a maid at Amy’s grandmother’s country estate and now married to the owner of a New York pizzeria; and others.

Stella's memoir never gets published, because Amy transforms it into a very successful novel.
This twist will have readers reimagining the entire story and Amy and Stella’s tale will remain with them for a long time.

Excerpt: Chapter 1
New York, September 2001

“Mulberry and Canal, please.”

The cabbie looks at her in the rearview mirror while the car pulls off into the Broadway traffic.

“Are you a tourist?”

“No, I’m a New Yorker.”

“But you were not born in New York?”

This puts her off. This really puts her off. Thirty plus years in this country and they still pick up traces of her Italian accent.

Traces, mind you. It’s practically all gone.

“Were you?” she asks, staring at the prayer beads dangling from the mirror. There is a note of irritation in her voice. The mirror sends back to her the liquid gaze of two dark eyes, now slightly sweetened with the hint of a smile.

“None of my business, miss. Just trying to make conversation.”

Okay, he wants to be friendly. Let’s be friendly.

“So, where are you from?”


Image association. Amy sees flashes of Soviet tanks roaming the country, ambushes on mountain passes, destroyed cities and villages—the footage she used to see in the news twenty years ago. Then, she recalls recent humanitarian appeals for women executed in sport fields, their burkas looking like the hoods of witches burnt at the stake in medieval times.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Rise of Miss Notley by Rachael Anderson

The Rise of Miss Notley
by Rachael Anderson

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: February 2, 2017
Publisher: HEA Publishing
Genre: Historical, Romance (clean)
Paperback: 270 pages
Rating: 5

Tanglewood series:
The Fall of Lord Drayson
The Rise of Miss Notley
The Splash of Lady Harriett - release date: August 7, 2017

First sentence(s):
Miss Coralynn Notley stood on the steps of Langtry Park, directing a pleading glance at the stately butler.

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow. The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?

My two-bits:

The setting and cast of characters does well in telling the tale of a (clean) romance during the regency period. Got a sense of the fashion and daily living which created a cozy ambiance to spend time in.

There was a good dose of classism and social etiquette of the time presented. The dilemma that young ladies of upper society must contend with of an arranged marriage is the focus. In this scenario, the protagonist, Cora, opts to do otherwise. We get to see how that goes.

Loved how Cora is feisty, bright, cheery and independent.

Learning about running a household as a housekeeper and some "downstairs" perspectives were entertaining to experience with Cora. However because Cora is from a wealthy upbringing, the upper class world and its restrained and difficult issues for a unmarried young woman is exposed in this story as well.

A touch of the Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice vibe comes through which is something I always enjoy.


* book tour sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Stacking the Shelves & Sunday Post - 3.25.17

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews (details)
Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer (details)


Slow reading week. But, the mailbox had some goodies.


For Review:

by Edan Lepucki
courtesy of BookShout -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

Always and Forever, Lara Jean
(To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3)
by Jenny Han
-Romance, YA
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

Get It Together, Delilah!
by Erin Gough
courtesy of publisher -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads


From Owlcrate package (details & signup):
OwlCrate is a subscription service that sends you magical monthly boxes tailored to a chosen theme. Each OwlCrate will contain one new Young Adult novel, as well as 3-5 other bookish treats to help you get your nerd on. @owlcrate

March Box includes:
theme: Sailors, Ships & Seas
- Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
- Signed bookplate, letter and temporary tattoo from author
- Sea theme pendant necklace from The Geeky Cauldron
- Octopus notepad from Boygirlparty
- Mermaid scales washi tape from Simply Gilded
- Sea theme tea towel from Kitch Studios
- Owlcrate pin

Daughter of the Pirate King
(Daughter of the Pirate King #1)
by Tricia Levenseller
-Fantasy, Historical, Pirates, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

OTHER things: kinda book-related

Win a Signed Copy of Puck for Shakespeare's Birthday (April 23)!
from Twisted Lit (here)

by Kim Askew, Amy Helmes
-Retelling, Shakespeare, YA
Amazon | Goodreads

Life isn’t always fair, and no one knows that better than fifteen-year-old Puck. When she’s unceremoniously booted from yet another foster home, this city kid lands at DreamRoads, a rehabilitation wilderness camp. Her fellow juvenile delinquents include a famous pop star with a diva attitude, a geeky, “fish out of water” math whiz, and a surly gang-banger with a chip on his shoulder. The program’s steely director aims to break Puck, but she knows that every adult has a breaking point, too. Determined to defy this realm of agonizing nature hikes and soul-sucking psychobabble — even if that means manipulating four lovestruck camp counselors and the director’s dim-witted second-in-command — Puck ultimately gets much more than she bargains for in this “wondrous strange” outdoor odyssey inspired by Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

AND watched: in theatre

Song to Song (2017)
Director/Writer: Terrence Malick
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman
-Drama, Music, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.

MUST remind myself for next time that I am not crazy about this director's style. However, it does well in taking you into the music scene in an artsy way. You will love the soundtrack if you are into this type of music. Loved the cast and all the cameos of musicians. When Ryan was at the piano I was wanting to hear him start singing City of Stars - but that is another music genre.

The Tenor (2014)
Director/Writer: Sang Man Kim
Starring: Ji-tae Yu, Yûsuke Iseya, Ye-ryeon Cha
-Biography, Drama, Music, Korea | imdb | my rating: 4

The talented Korean tenor, Bae, who penetrate the audience's hears through his delicate and powerful singing, is on the rise to stardom at the European opera scene. Sawada, a Japanese music producer, is searching for a new tenor for an upcoming performance. He watches a performance of Bae and invites him to Japan, which marks the beginning of friendship. But, the thyroid cancer strikes Bae. During an operation, the nerves of his vocal cords has be cut due to the widely spread cancer. Unfortunately, Bae ends up losing his voice at the peak of his career. Sawada cant's stand to watch Bae's miserable so he starts to look for a solution.

PART of CAAMFest 2017 (Celebrating Asian American Film, Music and Food - here)
Based on a true amazing and inspiring story. The power of the human spirit and passion (for whatever) as a driving force can create magic.

As this film was part of a film festival a special thank you recording was made for the San Francisco audience from the actual tenor, Bae Jae-chul.

AND watched: on DVD

Bad Moms (2016)
Director/Writer: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell
-Comedy | imdb | my rating: 4

When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.

FUN and funny. Loved the interviews with the actresses and their moms in the Extras section.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Friday, March 24, 2017

Frida Kahlo: An Illustrated Biography by Zena Alkayat

Library of Luminaries:
Frida Kahlo: An Illustrated Biography

by Zena Alkayat
illustrated by Nina Cosford

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genre: Biography, Art
Hardback: 128 pages
Rating: 5

Library of Luminaries series:
Jane Austen
Coco Chanel
Frida Kahlo
Virginia Woolf

First sentence(s):
"i paint myself because i am so often alone, because i am the subject i know best." -Frida Kahlo

Step into the world of one of history's most celebrated artists and feminist icons: Frida Kahlo. This beautifully illustrated biography is full of colorful details that illuminate the woman behind the artwork, including excerpts from Kahlo's personal letters and diaries on her childhood dreams of becoming a doctor, the accident that changed the course of her life, and her love affairs with famous artists. Featuring handwritten text alongside lovely illustrations in a charming case with foil stamping and debossed details, Library of Luminaries: Frida Kahlo provides a captivating window into the vibrant life, work, and creative vision of the beloved Mexican artist.


My two-bits:

This is a gem of a book with colorful whimsical illustrations presenting Frida Kahlo's life. The text is brief and basic which was a great quick way to learn about Frida.

Not really a part of the baby book or children's genre.

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu