Friday, April 25, 2014

Follow Friday - Pets

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: Have any pets? Tell us or show us
I am a future crazy dog lady...or just a crazy dog lady who lives in an apartment and can not meet her dog-wants due to rules and things.  Right now I personally have one dog, a giant 80-something pound mutt named Bandit.  She's friendly and loving (even if a tad needy).  She was a stray who followed my sister home from a walk and we've been together for years now. Almost daily someone asks me about her breed because she's such a cute big speckled mess of a dog.

My family currently has four dogs, a turtle and a hamster (the most they've had were six dogs, 3 cats, an iguana and a turtle).  I don't live at home but I still consider these my pets because half of them were there before I moved and the other half I love to pieces.  Sadly the turtle and the hamster have not been photographed.  But here is a picture of Sandy, Charlie, Cubbie and Bailey on our "dog couch."  Sandy was a neighborhood drop-off, as was Charlie in another neighborhood, Cubbie is what happens when your dog jumps a 6 foot fence and gets pregnant and Bailey was found in a park.  It's a motley and strange crew but I love them!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Follow Friday - Spring Break

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: Spring Break. Where would be your favorite destination spot if you could join the Spring Break festivities?
Guys I'm not a beach person or a party person. That's just not me.  If I could go anywhere during spring for a week, where would it be?  Hiking or climbing.  Right now I'm really into rock climbing (and might have a separate post about how that is interfering with my blogging) so I'd probably go down the road to the Red River Gorge, or maybe somewhere else where there are some good climbs at my level. It may not be sunbathing and I may end up scabbed and scarred but it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Just because I'm super excited about climbing here's two pictures from the past couple of trips.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love Letters To the Dead (review)

4.5/5 stars

Very rarely is a book as lovely to read as Love Letters to the Dead (Goodreads | Amazon).  Something about this story, told in epistolary form through letters to famous dead people, just resonates and reads as genuinely authentic.

It all starts with a school assignment to write a letter to a dead person.  And Laurel does the assignment, pours her heart onto paper, writing words that she hasn't spoken or admitted out loud.  But at the end of the class she can't turn the letter in, she's been too honest, but she does keep writing.

She writes letters to cope with her older sister May's sudden death and to work through her idealized version of May in comparison to the reality of her sister.  But this book isn't just about May, it's about Laurel discovering herself, dealing not only with the guilt about her sister's death but her own problems as well.  She has to step out of the shadow of a dead girl and she does that through writing letters to dead people.
“May, I love you with everything I am. For so long, I just wanted to be like you. But I had to figure out that I am someone too, and now I can carry you, your heart with mine, everywhere I go.”
The writing is both elegant and simple.  There are so many quotes I want to pull from the book.  This whole review could just be quotes that make your heart hurt.  But I'd rather you just believe me and discover it for yourself.  This book is something special.  Though it's a heartbreaking story, with letters written to dead people mostly about her dead sister, in some ways it's still life affirming.  We're not reading Laurel give up, succumb, we're seeing her cope, grow-up and begin to become herself, whoever that might be.  She's flawed, makes mistakes, but most importantly, from the perspective of a reader, Laurel feels real and complex.  Books like this, internal character-driven stories, live or die by their protagonists and Love Letters to the Dead absolutely soars.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Stolen Songbird (review)

3/5 stars

The Stolen Songbird (Goodreads | Amazon) is a book that I have very mixed feeling towards.  This book has one of the strongest beginnings of anything I've read lately.  The way the book introduced the main character and then jumped into action enthralled me.  I was like "YES!"

The story begins with Cécile, a strong-willed girls with big dreams of performing on stage, being kidnapped by a village boy and sold to the kingdom of trolls who live under the mountain.  She fights the whole way - from the moment she's kidnapped, till when she's married against her will to a troll prince and keeps standing up for herself.

So what happened?  The first half of this book is great.  Lots of actions, an interesting world beneath the mountain and lots of political maneuvering.  But at some point the story just peters out.  As the romance grows, Cécile's fight and personality seem to decrease.  That probably won't bother some people as much as it bothered me.  It's fairly well explained.  But a book that started out with such a strong character, fiercely independent full of political intrigue seemed to devolve into something less.  There was also a forced-attempt at a love triangle that never really had any build up or romance to back it up.

How much you like this book probably depends on what you're looking for when reading it.

I received an advance reading e-book in exchange for an honest review.