Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two Chunkster Readalongs

I know I've said this before, but it is true--I'm so weak when it comes to readalongs. If I see one from a blogger I know, I just can't resist. It's so fun reading in groups.

The first is the Bleak House Read-a-long hosted by Jenny of Jenny Loves to Read. I haven't read any Dickens this year, and as I'm a big fan of 'ol Charlie, that's a shame. This end of the year effort will rectify that. I have the book on my kindle, but I purchased the Simon Vance narration of it on Audible so that will probably be my, go-to format.

The second is The Count of Monte Cristo Readalong hosted by Estella Society. I received the lovely Penguin Classics edition for my birthday the day before this readalong announcement was posted. It was serendipitous. How could I not join? 

I'm hoping to fit in a few other books during this time, but I'd imagine that these two will keep me pretty busy. Also, I've officially decided to give up on my two challenges this year. I don't want to read the books I selected right at this moment, and forcing myself to do so will probably make me hate those books. And who wants to hate books? I certainly don't and they are books that I'm sure to enjoy if I read them when I'm ready.

So, what are your reading plans through the end of the year? Are you joining in any readalongs or reading what suits your mood?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reading My Own Books

I have a serious problem, and I blame it all on book blogging. I never used to buy books (I had strict rules for purchasing--had to have already read, and plan to re-read), and now I can't seem to help myself. My book shelves are now double stacked and I'm moving across the ocean in July. We have a limited amount of weight that we can take, and as you all know (from lugging them in your purses) they are HEAVY. (We also bought a piano while here so that's part of the problem. Whoops.)

Enter Michelle of my books. my life. She mentioned on her blog that she was going to read her own books through the end of the year, and made the lovely button above (I'm a sucker for activities with cool buttons). So here I am, committing to read my own books through the end of the year. I will not be checking out any more books from the library (with the exception of audio). I will try to get through some of the books on my overstuffed shelves (before they topple off and bury alive one of my children). This way the books that I don't intend to re-read can find a new home.

I have some good ones on the shelf that I'm really looking forward to reading.

What are your shelves like? I don't think I'm the only one with this problem. Please tell me I'm not alone!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I'm now home from the annual trick-or-treating with the kids. I tried to sneak some of their candy, but they were having none of that (they didn't have anything that great so I'll just sneak out my Green & Black's dark chocolate after they go to sleep). Now they're slipping into sugar comas. Well, not actually, the boys are watching the Chelsea v. Manchester United match. With one Chelsea fan and one Man U fan, we always end up with one sad boy.

Enough of the rambling, and on to the book talk. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to wrap-up RIP VII, considering Halloween is almost over. It has been so much fun. It was my first year participating, and I rocked Peril the First. What I didn't rock was actually blogging about the books, but that's neither here nor there. I present to you, my list.

  1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding--I'm totally counting this. Pretty creepy stuff.
  2. It by Stephen King--fun read-along (or italong) hosted by Jill and Christina
  3. Dracula by Bram Stoker--fun Halloween read, but kind of disappointing overall
  4. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson--Favorite book of the year hands down. So good.
  1. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters -- super fun read-along with the Estella Society
  2. Don't Look Back by Laura Lipman--big lead up to a huge letdown; really disappointing
  3. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #2)
  4. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #3)

I'm still working on Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde, but probably won't make it by tonight. Hope everyone enjoyed some great RIP reading. Thanks to Carl for hosting.

Did you participate this year? What was your favorite read.

Pin It and Do It Wrap-Up

I ended up doing three pins, all of which were recipes. I did make a few other new recipes this month, but they weren't from pinterest so I'm out of luck there. Bummer. I did get some of my organization done around the house, but they also were not relating to things I pinned. No big deal. The point was to be productive, and I think I was.

Zucchini au Gratin

The first recipe I made was Zucchini au Gratin posted on the food section of It turned out alright, but there was too much of the roux, which was entirely my fault. I was supposed to use three large zucchini and I only had three medium sized ones. It was okay. Not sure if I'll try it again as there are so many other healthier zucchini recipes that I actually like more. Pin found here.

Tomato, Basil, and Cheddar Soup

The second recipe I made was Tomato, Basil, and Cheddar Soup from More Fruit Please. We ate it with grilled cheese sandwiches and I wasn't a big fan. I love tomato soups, but this one was very acidic to my taste. I'm sure I could have found a way to doctor it if I'd had time that night, but I had to rush out to a meeting. I don't think I'll be making it again. Still on the hunt for a homemade tomato soup. Do you have one? Pin found here.

Banana, Buttermilk, and Brown Sugar Muffins

Lastly, I made these Banana, Buttermilk, and Brown Sugar Muffins from Herbivoracious. These again, were just okay. I think I ended up eating a couple, but most were thrown away. I make muffins often, but these were not as moist as others that I have made. Disappointing. Even my kids who usually devour my muffins weren't really into these. Pin found here.

Hmm...kind of a bummer that I didn't really love any of these, but it's good to know. Now I can move on and try to find more recipes to add to my cooking and baking repertoire.

Big thanks to Trish of Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity for hosting! I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has accomplished this month. Click here to find out what others have been pinning and doing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Literary Blog Hop Giveaway

Welcome to Kristi Loves Books! I'm an avid reader and have been blogging off and on for a little over two years (hoping to be more on going forward). I have diverse tastes, but I gravitate toward literary fiction, most often classics.

My giveaway is international, and you qualify if Book Depository has free shipping to your country. The winner will be shipped one book of their choice from the list below which includes some of my all-time favorites as well as some of my favorite reads this year.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Villette by Charlotte Brontë
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

To enter, just leave a comment with the following information.

1. What is the literary fiction book that you most often recommend?
2. Name the book that you would like to win out of my above listed of favorites.
3. An email address so that I can contact you if you win.

Easy, right? One entry per person, and no hoops to jump through for extra entries. Please no entries after October 31. I will select a winner at random and email the winner within 2 days. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to the email, or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck, and enjoy the rest of the hop!

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Read in a Single Sitting
  3. Ephemeral Digest
  4. My Devotional Thoughts
  5. Devouring Texts
  6. Tony's Reading List
  7. Nishita's Rants and Raves
  8. Too Fond
  9. The Parrish Lantern
  10. Kristi Loves Books
  11. The Book Club Blog
  12. Sam Still Reading
  13. Silver's Reviews (USA)
  14. Bibliosue
  15. Heavenali
  16. Under My Apple Tree
  17. Misfortune of Knowing (North America)
  18. Lena Sledge's Blog
  19. Lost Generation Reader
  20. Seaside Book Nook
  21. The Relentless Reader
  22. Rikki's Teleidoscope
  23. Monique Morgan
  24. That READioactive Book Blog
  25. kaggsysbookisahramblings
  26. Ragdoll Books Blog
  27. Kate's Library
  28. The Book Garden
  29. Uniflame Creates
  30. Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
  1. Ciska's Book Chest
  2. The Book Divas Reads
  3. Alex in Leeds
  4. Simple Clockwork
  5. Bluestalking (USA)
  6. Fresh Ink Books
  7. Sweeping Me
  8. Giraffe Days
  9. Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book (USA)
  10. Books Thoughts Adventures (USA)
  11. emmalikestoread
  12. Colorimetry
  13. Page Plucker
  14. Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity
  15. 2606 Books and Counting
  16. Book Nympho
  17. She-Wolf Reads
  18. The Little Reader Library (Europe)
  19. Booklover Book Reviews
  20. Dolce Bellezza

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dracula by Bram Stoker (RIP VII)


by Bram Stoker
published 1897
completed October 2012
rating 3/5

I think everyone in the world must know the story of Dracula, aside from maybe me? I knew he was a vampire (pretty sure that's not a spoiler to anyone), but I wasn't familiar with the actual story.

Well, Dracula as a character is as creepy and awful as expected, but the book--not so much. There were times when it was a real page-turner and I was really anxious as to what would happen next, but those moments were few. The best part of the book was the beginning with Jonathan Harker not really knowing what he was getting into while visiting Transylvania in his position as a solicitor.

The middle was a drag. Lucy reminded me of Margaret from North and South. Every man is in love with her and I couldn't quite figure out why. Three proposals in one day (I think I read that right?) must be some type of record.

Several pages could have been cut as there was so much talking about what they were going to do about Count Dracula and not as much doing. Every time Van Helsing opened his mouth, I knew I was in for pages of explanations and philosophizing. Boy was he long-winded.

The men were in need of a good slap. I know they meant well but all of the "let's protect the woman and order her to bed because she cannot handle all the things that we the manly men can handle," was so eye-roll inducing. Usually I can just brush that off in an old-timey book, but this one really grated on me.

Overall, I'm glad a read it. It was a fun RIP read, but it's not one I will likely revisit.

Have you read Dracula? What did you think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by Shirley Jackson
published 1962
completed October 2012

We Have Always Lived in the Castle has been my favorite RIP read so far this year. Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood lives in the family home with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. The Blackwood family lives in the outskirts of the village in which they have been ostracized.

I'm anti-spoiler. I've said before that I prefer to go into books blind so I'm glad I didn't read the back cover. It gives away the reason for the village's disdain for the family, but there's something to be said for discovering the facts of the story as the author intended. I loved how the facts of the past, and the shadow overhanging the family were slowly unfolded. The slow and controlled pace to which the reader is informed added to the eeriness of the story.

In choosing the first-person narration by Merricat, there is an added creepiness that couldn't come any other way. Her mind is a fascinating place to visit. Despite being 18 years old, she comes across as a little child at times. It's also apparent from the start that there is something very wrong within the family dynamic. Even though I guessed the truth that was uncovered at the end, it was still chilling to read.

I've seen it described as a horror story, but for me it wasn't so much terrifying as subtly creepy. I have zero complaints with this book. I read it in one sitting (stuck in bed with the flu), and I was riveted. It's a short book, but the writing was pitch perfect for a truly spine-chilling experience. Shirley Jackson can write.

I highly recommend We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It received the elusive 5-star rating from me, and I guarantee it will be in my top books of the year. It sits at the number one spot currently, but no promises as I still have a couple of months of reading.

Have you read We Have Always Lived in the Castle? If so, what did you think? If not, get on it already! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It-Along Final Post


I finished IT just in time--about 3 hours ago. Nothing like cutting it close. I've been so lame at my past readalongs that by the time I finish the book, everyone else has moved on. That's no fun. So, since I'm still trying to wrap my head around this massive book, I'll just list a few random thoughts.
  • This book was not nearly as terrifying as I expected. There were several times that I read it at night and had no creepy dreams. I even read the big scene in the IT's lair around midnight last night and slept just fine.
  • Stephen King writes some amazing characters. I preferred ITs characters to The Stand. Maybe because they were kids and less annoying (except for maybe Richie--I wasn't a fan). It was easier to keep track of this cast of characters, and I cared about them more.
  • I was surprised to find how much of the story took place in the past. The entire story was basically back story leading up to two days (and not many pages) in the present.
  • The ending was a bit of a letdown. I didn't know the form that IT would take, but as I'm not particularly afraid of that kind of creature, I think the clown was creepier.
  • The Bill and Bev thing pissed me off. HE WAS MARRIED! Seriously! What is wrong with you people?! It was unnecessary to the plot. Not really sure why King chose to go there. And to Bev--Ben is so much better and he still has his hair (though I don't think highly of his fashion sense).
  • The plot line with Bev's husband was anticlimactic. He made such a big deal to get to Derry that I expected this big showdown (I was hoping Ben would give him a beat down [not that I generally approve of such things, but he had it coming]). He died off page, and I almost missed the mention of it.
  • The scene where they all express their love or whatever that was supposed to be after their first time attacking IT, made my skin crawl. I felt dirty reading it. How old are they?! I thought they were like 11 or something.
  •  I loved Ben (hence the note to Bev above). He was my favorite character. Just so quiet, but strong. Never selfish.
So, that's the end of my random thoughts on IT. I'm glad I read it. There was of course, King's trademark verbosity, and some parts that I didn't care for, but when compared to the other few King books I've read, this is my favorite.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Banned Book Week: Lord of the Flies and Giveaway

Sheila of Book Journey is running a week-long event over on her blog for Banned Book Week. For more posts and giveaways, stop by her blog and check it out.

In honor of Banned Book Week, I am reviewing Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The premise of this book is widely known. A group of young boys end up stranded on an island. No adults around. I'm sure you can imagine what happens next.

Before beginning it, I supposed that this book would be an interesting piece of literature discussing human nature, but what I was surprised to find was how much I enjoyed the writing. As well as the writing, I found the different characters fascinating. No real back stories are introduced, but you can get a good feel for their different personalities. It took about a quarter of the book for me to get into it (luckily that isn't very many pages), but I couldn't turn the pages fast enough at the end.

After finishing it for the first time this past Sunday, I am still confused as to why this book was banned. There is death, but nothing particularly graphic about it. I love the introduction in my copy. It's by Stephen King and he has an anecdote about the first time he read Lord of the Flies. He was a young boy and mostly read adventure type books, but asked the librarian (of the little Bookmobile) if she had any books about how kids really are. She thought for a second and brought him a copy of Lord of the Flies. She told him that if anyone asked, he found the book himself (not surprising considering this post is for Banned Book Week).

Stephen King said he devoured the book and felt satisfied that it was a book about how kids really are. King later learned that writing a book about how boys would really behave is what Golding set out to do when writing Lord of the Flies. I wish it wasn't how human would really behave, but I think it is. It's my opinion that there is potential for good and evil in each of us. Deep down, what are we really like when all the rules and supervision disappear? Maybe that is what makes some people uncomfortable with this novel. There isn't always a happy ending for everyone and sometimes humans can do really despicable things. If you haven't read it, I hope you will. 

Now for the real reason you're here--the Giveaway! For one lucky reader, I'll be giving away a new copy of the edition shown above of Lord of the Flies with the introduction by Stephen King.

Rules for Entering
  1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite banned or challenged book.
  2. Include your email address (for use in contacting the winner).
  3. You must be 13 years or older to enter.
  4. Book Depository must ship to your address.
The giveaway will close midnight Sunday, October 7. After selecting the winner at random, I will contact them by email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED selected #2 Sheila (Book Journey) as the winner.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pin It and Do It Challenge

I'm going to do this. Actually do this, and not just sign up for it like the last two times. I love Pinterest, you can find me here. I know people say it's a time suck, but it doesn't have to be. I rarely look at other people's pins. I simply use it to track things I've found online that I want to reference in the future. Most of my pins are recipes or organization related.

If you're interested in playing along with us, Trish of Love, Laughter, and Touch of Insanity is host, and you can find details here.  I think I can easily do 8 pins, but we'll start with Timid Pinner: 1-3. I know I'll probably do 8, but it's the blogging part that messes me up. Why? I don't know. It just does. Happy fall to everyone, and happy pinning and doing.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Read-a-long)

Oh, the ambiguous ending. I usually don't mind an ambiguous ending, but this one left me cold. I'm okay that Waters didn't spell everything out, but I wish there had been more clues to at least make a guess as to what was happening. I have no idea. I have some rather random guesses, but I don't feel like I have enough evidence to argue a case one way or another.

I do think that there was something supernatural in the house. At first I thought it was the deceased daughter Susan, but I couldn't figure out why she would torment her family. My thoughts were that maybe the suspicious circumstances concerning her death would come to light. Nope, nothing did.

The second thought that came to mind was that it was Dr Faraday's mother. It seemed like anyone who got in his way of breaking into the family was targeted. (Roderick was insulting to his class. The attack on the little girl seemed a distraction to the party intended to find a suitor for Caroline. Mrs. Ayres was disapproving of his engagement to her daughter. Caroline became a target once she ended the engagement.) By the end, I was just confused. Caroline seemed to recognize her attacker, but she didn't know either of those two individuals during their lives. Hmm...chin-scratcher.

The title didn't really come into play until the very end and it seemed like an afterthought. That was slightly disappointing.

I wasn't particularly fond of Dr Faraday in the first half, but I actively hated him by the second. He really showed his true character after being snubbed by Caroline. How incredibly insulting he was! He obviously didn't really love her because if he had he would never have said such dreadful things. He was just angered because he saw Hundreds slipping through his greedy fingers. And, stalker much? My goodness. Creepy, creepy dude. Leave her alone already. She doesn't like you.

Despite all my grumbling above, I did enjoy The Little Stranger. I can't deny that Waters' is an excellent writer. It was slow at times, but it kept my attention. It wasn't perfect, but it was an enjoyable RIP read. The audio really helped with that. I will certainly be looking for more audiobooks narrated by Simon Vance.

Much thanks to Estella Society for hosting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Little Stranger Read-a-long Check-in #1

I've had The Little Stranger on my shelf for close to two years. So when Estella Society proposed a read-a-long, I was all over that. The funny thing is that I've hardly touched my copy but have opted instead for the audiobook narrated by Simon Vance. During audiobook week a few months ago I heard many readers gush over Simon Vance. I totally get it now. He is good. Really good. I have actually been looking forward to doing housework this week so that I can listen to more of The Little Stranger. Truly shocking.

How are you liking the book? Can your read it at night?

I'm really enjoying it. Sarah Waters has won me over with her writing. It started a little slowly, but I found that it added to the creepiness. I would catch glimpses here and there of something not quite right in Hundreds, but it kept me guessing as to what would happen next. I haven't been fearful of reading it at night, yet, but I've carried on to chapter nine and it's starting to get a little more under my skin.

What do you think about what's going on?

I can't quite figure out exactly the rationale behind the different attacks, but I've had an inkling as to who is behind them. As I said, I read a little into chapter nine and of what I've read, it makes me think that my guess is correct, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone not there yet.

What do you think of the Ayres family? Do you pity them their fall from the top?

I found them obnoxious in how they treated those they saw as beneath them. Roderick more so than Caroline, but they are both fairly condescending. I wanted to slap Roderick when he made the comment to Dr. Faraday about how they were only friends with them because their real friends couldn't be welcomed into their home in its current state. I guess I'm a girl who doesn't deal well with snobbery. I feel badly for them that they may lose their home, but devastation was all around in that time period. They were hardly in the worst of circumstances.

Thoughts on Dr. Faraday

The group post of questions says "Can't you feel the want radiating off him?" Yes! So much. That is a perfect way of phrasing it. He is so obsessed with this family. He reminds me of Charles Ryder from Brideshead Revisited. He seems to want to work his way into the family in any way possible. His sights seem to be set on Caroline. I think it's telling that he's constantly remarking on how plain and manly, etc. Caroline is.  I'm sure if that play doesn't work, he'll work another angle.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

RIP VII, IT, and The Little Stranger

RIP VII, Or R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings. I am so excited! This is my first year participating, and I have been hoarding scary books for just this event. I have crazy huge stacks, but they are just stacks from which to select my reads. There is no way that I'll be able to be read them all. I'll definitely be shooting for Peril the First--four books of the RIP variety. To the books!

Stack the First: Books I'm Hoping to Finish

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Dracula by Bram Stoker
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters--Readalong hosted by Estella Society
It by Stephen King--Italong hosted by Jill and Christina (what am I thinking?!)

Stack the Second: Audiobooks I'm Hoping to Finish

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters--Doing a listen/read for the readalong.
Don't Look Back by Laura Lippman--Random library pick. The Little Stranger hadn't come in and I had a long drive ahead of me.

Stack the Third: My Maybe Books

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (and other three in Jackson Brodie Series)--This series has been recommended by so many of my favorite bloggers.

Both readalongs are mentioned above, but here are the buttons and links again if you're interested.

Found here

Found here

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky
published 1999
completed September 2012

This book. I don't know if I'll be able to express just how much I love this book. I wasn't really sure I would. I've heard it's easier to appreciate as a teenager, but for me, it worked. In a really big way.

Charlie is a fifteen year old freshman in high school. You'll discover from the opening pages that he's unlike most kids his age. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a series of letters that he writes to a stranger, trying to keep somewhat anonymous. You never discover to whom he is addressing and mailing these letters, but he shares with them in detail of his experiences throughout his first year of high school.

While I loved this book, I don't think everyone will. Some readers have difficulty with Charlie and his voice. If you don't feel an affinity towards Charlie, I don't think the book will work for you. As I said before, it worked for me. He had me on his team from the first page. I've had the book out from the library for months, but once I finally sat down to read it, I finished it in an afternoon. I couldn't put it down.

I fell in love with Charlie. Not in a romantic way, but in a I-want-to-put-my-arms-around-you-and-hug-you-and-protect-you kind of way. Charlie has this innocence, and it's difficult to pinpoint what is so different about him. I initially thought he may have Asperger's, but some revelations at the end of the book made me think his unique way of looking at the world may have been caused by something he experience when young. Either way, he sees the world so differently than others. Others always come first and he genuinely loves and wants the best for everyone. He feels things so deeply, is so loyal, and honest. He understands so much, but is yet so naïve at the same time. I took so many notes while reading this. Some of Charlie's insights are so simple, yet profound.

So many huge issues are tackled in this slim book. I don't want to get into spoilers, but this goes to very dark places, but through Charlie's eyes, it's bearable. For those who've read it, the struggles of Patrick and Brad were particularly heartbreaking. I was friends with several "Brads" in school who weren't ready to share that aspect of their lives with others until later in life. I still keep in touch with some of them, and it makes my heart ache to think of what they must have gone through in high school. How difficult it must have been.

As I was nearing the end of the book, I was nervous. I didn't know how it would resolve itself, but the epilogue set things right in a realistic way. It left me with a sense of hope.

I've attached the movie trailer below. I think it comes out in the US this month, but the UK release is Oct 3. The trailer seems like the tone isn't quite right. Am I the only one nervous about this? I'm hoping that the actual movie is a better reflection of the book. We shall see.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

*Beware of spoilers. There are many.

I had every intention of following along with the read-along posting schedule, but this month got away from me. I did finish the book and am finally linking up my thoughts (albeit a bit late). As an aside, I'm glad that I'm not the only person that thought this was a Civil War book. I didn't realize that it wasn't until this summer and I've had a copy of the book (purchased myself) on my shelf for a year and a half. I am officially a moron.

My enjoyment of this book was similar to an inverted bell curve. I really loved the beginning and ending, but the middle bits were draggy. I don't do well with dialect and the strike held little interest for me. I don't want to do a proper review as I'm not really thinking coherently enough (crappy head cold), but I'll just ramble until I'm tired.

Many mentioned this in their check-ins, but what was up with Margaret? I can't think of a more annoying protagonist (at the beginning at least). The proposals scenes were shocking. She seems so annoyed that they fell in love with her. Most girls would be flattered Margaret, not pissed. It's okay to say no, just don't be a total wench about it.

I hated Edith from the very beginning, but she was much worse at the end. I can't believe they were trying to keep her away from other suitors so they could try to force her into marrying Henry. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but that really sucks for her. Anytime Edith spoke to Margaret at the end, I wanted to slap her. She was so patronizing.

I loved Mr. Thornton. He reminded me a little of Mr. Darcy (personality-wise, obviously not of the same class). I'm so glad of how it worked out, but I kind of wish, like everyone else, that the ending wasn't so abrupt. I read some posts where it mentioned that they never saw Margaret fall in love with him and that it seemed sudden, but I thought it happened back at Milton after he helped Higgins. She started to fall in love with him after "the lie" and just felt like there was nothing she could do about it because she couldn't explain it to him to protect her brother. Did anyone else see it that way, or am I crazy?

Lastly, how can I not mention the cat incident? I would like to ask Ms. Gaskell where she came up with that because it was RANDOM. I was listening to the audio for that bit and had to do a little rewind and replay because I could not believe my ears. Seriously strange.

Overall, I was glad I read it. It doesn't fall into the favorite category, but I'll give Gaskell another go at some point. Maybe next year.

Thoughts on the Audiobook

This was my first. I'm now initiated (somewhat) into the ranks of the audiobook listener). I read the first three-quarters of the book and happened to find the audio CDs in my library. (Which is a crazy coincidence considering my library has a grand total of 20 audiobooks. Not a joke.) I brought it home happily so that I could try it out by listening to what I had left. But it didn't happen how I would have liked. I opened the case to see a note saying that discs 11-14 are missing. Uhh...what? Why are they still circulating these? Would you keep a book missing a quarter of the pages or even one page? So crazy, right? I'm the only person on the planet that it worked for, but I still had to read another 80 or so pages to get to the point where I could listen to disc 15.

I loved it. I don't have much experience with narrators, but I do know that I loved Juliet Stevenson. I was amazed at how well she did the different regional accents. It wasn't as difficult to listen to as I had imagined it would. Now I am all fired up to listen to more. Little Strangers is up next. I already have the discs on hold. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Austen in August Giveaway

Updated: August 20, 2012 GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Congratulations to winner, Melissa of Avid Reader's Musings

Adam of Roof Beam Reader is hosting Austen in August. As Jane Austen is a favorite author, I couldn't possibly pass up participating. Check out the master post to find a list of links to reviews. I've read all of her completed novels, but I'm hoping to re-read at least Persuasion and possibly Northanger Abbey this month.

To spread the Austen love, I'm hosting an international giveaway today for participants of Austen in August. I will select one winner who may select one of the following books as their prize. I'll be giving away the Vintage Classics edition of the six completed novels (unless you have a strong preference to another edition),  and the last option is a paperback including her three unfinished works (one edition also includes Northanger Abbey).

It will be shipped via Book Depository so you may enter if they ship to your address. I reserve the right to ship from another bookseller depending on the location of the winner. To enter, please leave a comment including the items below. For this particular giveaway you must be a registered participant of Austen in August prior to August 1st to qualify.
  1. Tell me your favorite Austen book.
  2. Tell me the book you would select were you to win.
  3. Your email address (to contact you should you win).
The giveaway begins today and will close midnight August 19. I'll randomly select a winner the following day and will notify the winner by email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond or I will select someone else. Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reading Plans for August

I'm a sucker for reading books with others. I just can't seem to stay away. This month there are two events in which I'll be participating. The first is hosted by Andi of Estella's Revenge and Heather of Capricious Reader, and is a North & South Read-a-long. So excited for this one. I bought a Vintage Classics copy of North and South over a year ago and I have yet to crack it open. This is perfect! Click here to join in.

The second even is Austen in August hosted by Adam of Roof Beam Reader. Go and check it out here. She's my favorite author and I've read all of her six major novels at least once (some several more). I'm hoping to read some of her other works as well as re-reading either Persuasion or Northanger Abbey (both if I can fit them in!). 

So those are my reading plans for August. I'm sure I sneak a few other titles in as well once my kids go back to school mid-month.

What are your reading plans for August?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Victorian Celebration Giveaway Winner

The winner of my giveaway is Claudia of Lit Hitchhiker!
Congratulations and I hope you enjoy Villette.

Thanks to everyone who entered and happy Victorian reading!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Victorian Celebration Giveaway

Allie is hosting the wonderful Victorian Celebration for June and July over at her blog, A Literary Odyssey. Many reviews have been posted, so check out the master post to find a list of links to reviews.

I'm hosting an international giveaway today for participants of the Victorian Celebration. I will select one winner who may select one of the following books as their prize. I'll be giving away the Vintage Classics edition (as I am in love with the covers). Here is the selection, based on Victorian books that I've read, enjoyed, and reviewed on my blog.

It will be shipped via Book Depository so you may enter if they ship to your address. I reserve the right to ship from another bookseller depending on the location of the winner. To enter, please leave a comment including the items below. Remember, you must be a participant of the Victorian Celebration to qualify.
  1. Tell me your favorite Victorian book.
  2. Tell me the book you would select were you to win.
  3. Your email address (to contact you should you win).
The giveaway begins today and will close midnight July 9. I'll randomly select a winner the following day and will notify the winner by email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond or I will select someone else. Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

by Robert Louis Stevenson
published 1886
completed June 2012

Two reviews in a week! It's some sort of miracle. This is my first book (well, novella) completed for the Victorian Celebration. You can still join in the fun here. My goal was to try some new-to-me authors, and I have never read anything by Robert Louis Stevenson. I especially was excited to read this after recently visited Edinburgh, home of Stevenson. I'll write a little bit more about that at the end for those who plan to skip it.

So, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. We all seem to know the basics of this story. I can't even remember when I learned of it--probably as a child. It's such a popular reference that I doubt there are many that don't know. I'm one of those strange readers that prefers to know absolutely nothing about a book before picking it up to read. Knowing who Hyde is didn't ruin the book for me, but what I wouldn't give to have read it back in the 1800's when it wasn't common knowledge. It must have been so exciting to read and try to figure out who this evil man was and what his connection was to the upstanding Dr Jekyll.

It's a quick little read and leaves you with plenty to ponder. I don't want to start a discussion on the duality of our nature, but Jekyll is an interesting character. Most interesting in the fact that his friends thought they knew him, but they really didn't. I think we've all come across people like that in real life.

During my visit to Edinburgh, we took a guided tour bus (we were tired and too lazy to walk). We were able to see the home in which Robert Louis Stevenson grew up. It was pretty fun listening to the stories the guides would tell, one of which was that a man named Deacon Brodie was the inspiration for the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Brodie was a respectable cabinet-maker by day, and by night a robber of his wealthy clients (after making wax impressions of their keys). Wow, classy guy. Sorry for the not-great quality of pictures. The bus was a'movin'.

Overall, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, is a quick read and was well-worth the time. After this experience, I'm looking forward to reading more by Robert Louis Stevenson--maybe a little Treasure Island.