March 1, 2015

A List of Meh: What I'm Reading Right Now

I have a confession to make. I haven't finished a book since February 18th! I think it's because I haven't been loving any of the books I'm reading. Or because the spree has finally worn off.

None of the books I'm reading are bad per se, so I don't want to quit them, but I'm just not that into any of them. (It's not them, it's me, ha.) I'm not sure if I should shelve a couple for later, and start something new? But then it seems like if I do that I won't ever get back to them. Choices choices.

So here's what I'm reading:

Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer. I like Heyer's books a lot, but as I'm reading this, it seems so familiar. And then I looked at Goodreads, and I was like, oh, I just read it in 2009. Guess that explains why I remember it so clearly.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. Guys! Why am I not more into this one?! I'm really not sure, but I've just been unmotivated to pick it up. I think it's my usual "Oh no the series is going to be over!" sadness... so by prolonging the read, I'm prolonging my time with these characters I love.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I love the movie the Princess Bride so much, and I've been meaning to read the book for years. I enjoyed the introduction(s) a lot - because they're vastly different from the movie. But now that I'm about 3/4 of the way in, I'm finding it a little dull, because it's so close to the movie.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach. I really liked Stiff by the same author, but apparently I just don't care that much about digestion. I've been listening to it on 1.5 speed to get through it faster.

The Art Forger by R.A. Shapiro. I think this one is definitely going to be a quitter. It was a Kindle freebie, and I don't care about the characters at all. And since I'm less than 20% in, I think I'm done.

    Have you read any of these? Should I stick it out?

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    February 26, 2015

    Book Review: Plague Land by S.D. Sykes

    I recently reviewed Plague Land for Shelf Awareness - and found it completely mesmerizing. If you like historical fiction, you should definitely give this one a try!

    S.D. Sykes's debut novel, Plague Land, the beginning of a historical mystery series, is a literary whodunit set in the fearful, plague-ridden English countryside of 1350.

    Young Oswald de Lacy had intended to be a monk, but at age 17 was summoned back from the monastery upon the deaths of his father and two older brothers. Suddenly managing his family's estates, the new Lord Oswald is already ill at ease when a village girl named Alison Starvecrow is discovered dead. Oswald and his mentor, Brother Peter, who accompanied him home from the monastery, suspect murder; however, Oswald is hesitant to get involved--until Alison's mentally unstable sister vanishes. 

    Brother Peter urges Oswald to keep investigating Alison's death, but everyone else--from his bitter sister, Clemence, to his scheming neighbor to the illiterate village priest--seems determined to thwart Oswald. The ambitious priest, convinced that a dog-headed man sent by the devil is guilty of the crimes, is whipping the villagers into a frenzy. Oswald soon realizes that if he doesn't solve the Starvecrow sisters' death and disappearance, he may lose everything, including the estate he thought he didn't want.

    Atmospheric and brilliant, Plague Land evokes a dark era, where people were quick to believe in the supernatural. Oswald is a thoughtful and intuitive character, in spite of his youth, and Plague Land's haunting denouement is sure to leave readers eager for the next in the series.

    Do you like historical mysteries?

    The image is my affiliate link. P.S. Don't forget that Tuesday's giveaway is still open!

    February 24, 2015

    Kid Review: Books by Matthew Van Fleet (and a GIVEAWAY!)

    Matthew Van Fleet's books are some of our favorites around here -- they're all interactive, with lots of different materials to touch, flaps to lift, tabs to pull, etc. The pictures are cute, and the text is fun. Eleanor (who is almost 5) still loves them, and Juliet (16 months), is obsessed.

    We bought Heads and Tails when Eleanor was a baby - they're pretty similar, but about opposite ends of the animal! Tails is a little better if you have a kid who likes to rip books apart, because there are a few less flaps. But I think Heads is more fun (because of the same reason).

    For Christmas we gave Juliet Dog, which she is completely obsessed with. Unlike Heads and Tails (which feature bright illustrations), Dog has real pictures of tons of cute (and occasionally odd-looking) dogs. I'm pretty sure I've read this about 300 times since Christmas.

    So when I spied some on sale at Costco, I grabbed Moo for Juliet for Valentine's Day. Moo is like Dogs, with pictures of real animals - although it features a wide array of farm animals. Eleanor loves the page with the "piggyback ride" - where several small farm animals are perched on a pig's back.

    Because we love Matthew Van Fleet books so much, I contacted Simon & Schuster and asked them to send me a few books for review. They sent me Cat, which is pretty self-explanatory - a whole book about cats! There are some weird-looking cats - what is up with those hairless ones?! - but some are also cute and cuddly types. Juliet isn't super into this one - probably because her level of dog-obsession is so high. I think if you're a cat family, you'd love it.

    The other book they sent me for review is super awesome. It's called October the Octopus
    and it's a book about months. The book is a stuffed octopus, making it cute and huggable. Both girls have been really entertained by it.

    If you're looking for some great book-gifts for the kids in your life, you can't go wrong with Matthew Van Fleet books! And in fact, Simon & Schuster has agreed to give one of you October the Octopus too! 

    If you leave a comment on this post saying which is your favorite of the titles I reviewed, you'll be entered to win an October the Octopus of your own! On 3/2/15 I'll randomly choose a commenter, and contact you for your mailing info.

    Note: I bought all but two of these books with my own money! My opinions are my own. The links are my affiliate links. Simon & Schuster agreed to give one of you a book too because they're nice.