Sunday, February 1, 2015

My February Reading Map


It’s time to update my Reading Map! This is like a road map of my reading journey. Each month I do a ‘check-up’ to help me see what I’ve accomplished towards my reading goals and to help me see what needs to be done next.

This year I plan to do a lot more ‘free range’ reading, working to empty my shelf of books I’ve been meaning to read, but feeling free to grab whatever I’m in the mood for at the time. In addition, if I happen to come across something at the library that looks interesting, I’m giving myself the freedom to push something off my list and pick up that tempting library book! The only books I will feel compelled to read are book club selections and books I am committed to reading for review purposes.

Here is a summary of my January reading.

Completed From My List
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (book club selection)
The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson (book tour)
The Fever by Megan Abbott
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar

Free Range Reading
A Sister To Honor by Lucy Ferriss

Not read
Saving Grace by Jane Greene

Currently Reading
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman (book club selection)
The Long and Far Away Gone by Lou Berney (TLC book tour)
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (gift from Harper Collins)

My reading map for February appears below. It looks short but... I have three books ‘in progress’ right now, and I do have a couple of books on reserve at the library which will probably come in next week, so it is likely I won’t get to all of these.

February 2015 Reading Map

Saving Grace by Jane Greene
One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

Do you have a ‘map’. If so, share it below in the comments. Maybe I’ll see something I want to add to my list! And if you want to see what other bloggers have planned, check out Reading Queue, hosted by Book Tasty and Books: A True Story. This is a monthly meme similar to my Reading Map feature, in that bloggers share their reading plans for the month. Happy reading!
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Friday, January 30, 2015

January Challenge Check-In


It’s time for a challenge check! I made a good amount of progress towared my reading goals this month. Here is a summary of what I’ve accomplished in January. You can also check my 2015 Challenges page to see where I stand towards completing my goals!

2015 Bookish Resolutions

I accomplished a good amount this month.
  • Book Reviews: My goal is to review 90% of the books I read. Of the six books I read this month, I have reviewed three and have written and scheduled reviews two more. I still have some work to do here. I have kept up with my cross-posting.
  • I made no progress towards finding new homes for my books.
  • I did work on facilitating an online book discussion by playing with the Disqus commenting system. Disqus did not work out for me. You can read my posts about it here and here. While I will ‘never say never’ I have no plans to spend anymore time on Disqus. I will be on the lookout for another commenting system but for now, I consider this experiment over. If you have a system you like and recommend, please let me know!
  • I made no progress towards making a decision about moving my blog to Wordpress
  • I participated in the 2015 Winter Mini Bloggiesta, so that resolution is half completed!

Book Blogger Organization Challenge

This is a very informal challenge with the goal of keeping our blogs organized and maintained. The goal in January was to focus on reading challenges and resolutions. I completed the January phase of the challenge I selected the challenges I plan to participate in and made some resolutions, which you can see in this post or on my 2015 Challenges page. I did not work on scheduling as I already keep my schedule on a Google calendar.

2105 Goodreads Reading Challenge

I read five books in January.
  • The Fever by Megan Abbott
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson
  • A Sister To Honor by Lucy Ferriss
  • Vanessa And Her Sister by Priya Parmar
  • Parenting: Illustrated With Carppy Pictures by Amber Dusick

2015 Mount TBR Challenge

I read two books from my own shelf
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson
And one more which does not count for the challenge since it is an ARC. I still am counting it for my own goal; I just can’t claim it on the challenge page!
  • Vanessa And Her Sister by Priya Parma

2015 Historical Fiction Challenge

I read two historical fiction novels
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • Vanessa And Her Sister by Priya Parmar

2015 Goodreads Choice Awards

I read one book for this challenge
  • Humor — Parenting: Illustrated With Carppy Pictures by Amber Dusick

2015 Bookclub Reads

I read our January selection and attended the discussion
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: The Perfect Mother

The Perfect Mother
by Nina Darnton

Why did you choose this book? this reminded me of the Amanda Knox event
When did you read this book? November 2014
Who should read this book?
Source: library
Here is a synopsis of The Perfect Mother from Goodreads

When an American exchange student is accused of murder, her mother will stop at nothing to save her.

A midnight phone call shatters Jennifer Lewis’s carefully orchestrated life. Her daughter, Emma, who’s studying abroad in Spain, has been arrested after the brutal murder of another student. Jennifer rushes to her side, certain the arrest is a terrible mistake and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring Emma home. But as she begins to investigate the crime, she starts to wonder whether she ever really knew her daughter. The police charge Emma, and the press leaps on the story, exaggerating every sordid detail. One by one, Emma’s defense team, her father, and finally even Jennifer begin to have doubts.

A novel of harrowing emotional suspense, The Perfect Mother probes the dark side of parenthood and the complicated bond between mothers and daughters.

My Review

When I saw the synopsis of this one, I knew I wanted to read it. Though I didn’t closely follow the events of the Amanda Knox trial in Italy, this story very much reminded me of what I did know. An American student, by all accounts smart and polite, is accused of a gruesome murder in a foreign country. Her mother is convinced this is all a huge mistake and does all within her power to convince others that her daughter is the victim of a foreign justice system. And her mother believes in her beyond all doubt….or reason.

After reading the book, I found and watched the Lifetime episode “Beyond The Headlines: Amanda Knox” and now can even more see the similarities. Both girls had to contend with a justice system that plays by different rules than we have here in the U.S. Evidence is presented differently and the structure of trials and juries is different, as are the rules for arrest and trial. In the book, we are able to see how frightened Emma is, but also how belligerent she is towards her mother.

In this story, we also got a look at the mother, Jennifer, and her relationship with her husband and her other children. We witnessed first hand the helicopter-parent effect and how this affected Emma’s choices as a young adult. We watched Jennifer develop relationships with the people hired to exonerate Emma, and we many reasons to exonerate her as well as many reasons to convict her. At the end, even though there is a verdict, we are left with many questions. This would be a great selection for a book club, with plenty of material for discussion! It would be interesting see the verdict your group reaches. You can find discussion questions at Lit Lovers.

My Rating:  ★★★★  4 Stars
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: Dead Wake

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating!

Dead Wake
by Erik Larson
Expected Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship--the fastest then in service--could outrun any threat.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.

Why I am waiting....
I have always had a Titanic obsession, but that has morphed into wanting to know more about other ship sinkings, and I have recently developed an interest in the Lusitania.
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