Wednesday, January 17, 2018

No End In Sight

Rachael Scdoris was born in February 1985, the same year that Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod. She also born legally blind.
"Yes, I am legally blind, but blindness has not stopped me. In fact, the question of my vision would rarely come up if I gave in to my blindness, but I refuse to. Especially when there are so many activities I enjoy:  rock climbing, swimming, running competitively, and racing on a tandem bicycle. But my passion, the reason I believe I exist, is to raise, train, and race sled dogs. I am a musher, a sled dog racer, and I live for those moments when everything in the universe seems to align into a delicate balance of perfection. In those moments my vision is never an issue."
This interesting and inspiring memoir chronicles Rachael's life from her early school days when she was teased and bullied on a daily basis, to her dog-racing days where she experienced her first taste of true freedom. I think what I admired most about Rachael is how she never let fear stop her from trying something new, and how she got back up every time she fell, ready to try again. Talk about never giving up! I also really admired how she pursued her goal of racing in the Iditarod despite all the odds (and the people!) stacked against her. Not all non-fiction reads well, but this book does.
It's an amazing read about a truly remarkable young woman, and I loved it.

Happy Reading!

Another fantastic read:

Favorite Quote from the book:

"Every time I overcome my personal fears and prove something to myself, I want to set the bar a little higher.  In my life, and in all our lives, there should be no limitations, only possibilities."
--Rachael Scdoris

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Not a Review...

You know that saying, "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray?" Well, that's been my week. I blame it on Jane Austen...and the two library books I DNF'd. See, I was supposed to be able to write a review on one of those two books, but I wasn't enjoying them so I quit after only a few chapters. And then, before I could start a new book, I made the mistake of watching Persuasion. The version that stars Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root. Which made me really want to reread the book. So I am. Only I haven't finished it yet; I'm just halfway through...happily ensconced at Lyme with Anne, Capt. Wentworth, and the two Miss Musgroves. Which leaves me without a review to post today. But I'll have one next week. Sometime. I promise.

On a side note, have you seen the previews for the new movie supposedly based on Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time? Because from the previews I've seen it doesn't look anything like the book I read and loved as a child. Trust Hollywood to try to "improve" a classic. They're doing it to Peter Rabbit, too. Those previews look even worse! I think I'll stick with the books.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bookish Suspense...

Title & Author:  One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards
First Line:  "No one said anything about rain in the brochures."

Summary:  Every senior at Sera's high school must sign up for a Senior Life Experience Mission. So Sera and five others sign up for a backpacking trip in the Appalachian mountains. The first thing that goes wrong is when Lucas--the boy Sera has a history with she'd rather forget--joins their group at the last minute. Then, on day two, it begins to rain; it rains so much that the river they have to cross floods, washing out the bridge and dividing their group, stranding them on opposite banks. But the worst thing comes the next morning when Sera, Lucas, Jude and Emily discover their teacher drugged and comatose, their supplies destroyed and stolen, and accusatory words written on each of their wrists:  deceptive, damaged, dangerous, and darling. Someone is watching them; hunting them. And they don't know who or why. Or if they'll survive.

My thoughts:  This YA novel brims with mystery, suspense and a whole lot of teen angst. I liked Sera at the beginning, but by the end of the novel I mostly found her frustrating. Especially when it came to Lucas. I spent half the novel wishing she and Lucas would get over their little romantic drama already. But it took the entire book for Sera to resolve her issues. Sigh....teenagers! Still, there are some good things about this book:  it's pretty suspenseful, the mystery part kept me guessing, and it has quite an unexpected twist. And I liked how the author wrapped things up at the end. But what really made this book fun was reading it with Melody. Because books are always better when shared with a friend.

Happy Reading!

P.S. Every time we do a buddy read, Melody and I always exchange questions at the end. Here are hers to me, and my answers. (And be sure to go check out her review of this book on her blog!)

Q.  Mr Walker, the teacher-in-charge, had chosen a remote place for their field trip. Do you think this is a good or a bad choice?

A.  I thought it was an odd choice for a "Senior Life Experience"--hiking to a famous landmark would've made more sense. And I thought taking so many inexperienced hikers into such a remote area, especially one that had no cell service and no nearby help, was a very bad decision.

Q. The four characters were each branded with a word which defines their characteristics. Based on your opinion, who do you think best fit with the description?

A. This is a hard one. When threatened, or when defending Sera, Lucas could definitely be a dangerous adversary, but I wouldn't classify him as a violent or dangerous person. So I guess I would have to go with Jude who got branded with the word deceptive--not that he was a liar per se, but because he wasn't very open or forthcoming with anyone. About anythingl. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bookish anticipation...

Some of my favorite authors have new books coming out this year and I'm counting down the days until I can read them. The first comes out on January 29th....a new Flavia de Luce mystery!

Then, in March, two of my favorite authors have new books
coming out that I'm really looking forward to:

And I can't wait for these two April releases written about two of my favorite characters:

Last, but certainly not least, is this new Gaslight Mystery coming in May:

Such a good year of reading ahead!
What books are you looking forward to this year?

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Another bookish day...

I opened up one of my library books the other day and was bowled over by the smell of stale cigarette smoke. It was so strong it made my eyes water. Besides the occasional stain of dubious origins, this is one of the unfortunate drawbacks of library books:  sometimes they stink. Luckily for me, Febreeze works on more than couches and carpets. A few judicious squirts above the offending pages managed to knock out the worst of the stink and make an unreadable library book readable again.  Which is a good thing because this particular library book turned out to be a pretty decent read.

Title & Author:  Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima
Genre:  Mystery (First in a series)
Setting:  Timber Creek, Colorado

First lines:  Deputy Mattie Lu Cobb liked her new partner. In fact she was quite taken with him...Large, muscular, strong and rugged, he was the only one in the department who could outrun her in a cross-country foot race. In addition to all that, he could sniff out a missing person. He was Timber Creek's new police service dog, a German Shepherd named Robo.

What I liked best:  Robo! He and his human partner, Mattie, made this small-town murder mystery more interesting and fun. The rest of the book, while good, fell short of amazing for me. Still, I feel like Mizushima has all the necessary ingredients to make this a great series, and I'm very hopeful that she'll be able to better develop the rest of her characters in her next book, and make them as likeable--and her next plot as memorable--as Robo. Because he's awesome.

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome to 2018!

The beginning of a new year always feels like a fresh beginning to me. Like waking up to newly fallen snow.  365 days of unlimited possibilities, unmarred by disappointments or mistakes, just waiting to be filled. Anything can happen! I think that's why so many people feel inspired to set New Year's Resolutions. Because on the first day of a new year it's easy to imagine we can do anything, be anything. And that optimistic can-do attitude is what I want to hold onto this year. I want to let go of fear and be open to every opportunity that comes my way. To say YES to life (paraphrasing Shonda Rhimes). I want to be more positive and adventurous and dare to dream big. To truly be me. Most of all, I want to learn to let the little things go and focus on what's truly important:  faith, family, friends, and on creating more joy in my life.

As for my blogging and reading goals, I'm not setting any this year. No reading challenges. No TO-READ lists of classics, no keeping up with Goodreads, and no stack of TBRs beside my bed. I don't need the pressure, however self-imposed it may be. I want 2018 to be a year of happy reading with no stress. And no guilt. This year I intend to read just for me. I might even spend an entire month rereading my favorite books. (There's certainly  plenty of them to choose from sitting on my own shelves.) And if that means I don't write as many reviews this year, or publish as many posts, so be it.

What new year's resolutions and reading goals are you setting this year?
Happy reading...and 2018!

Friday, December 29, 2017

My A-Z of 2017...

Authors I ended up reading the most this year (with 5 books each):  Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby series) and Rob Thurman (Cal Leandros series.)  Best of all? These were new authors to me this year.

Borrowed the majority of the books I read this year from the library; it never has all the books I want to read, but I'm very grateful for the ones it does have...especially when there are multiple available copies!

Celebrated my blog's 5th anniversary. I published my first post on Dec. 21, 2012. Can you believe I've been doing this for five years? Because I can't!

Didn't read as many classics this year as I normally do...I'll try and read more than four next year.

Enjoyed doing "buddy reads" with both Bettina and Melody this year and chatting with ALL my blogging friends. You guys are the best!!

Favorite new fictional character:  Magnus "Steps" Craig from Spencer Kope's Collecting the Dead. His second book comes out in April and I can't wait!

Genre hopped between mystery & suspense, non-fiction, fantasy, supernatural, dystopian, survival, romance, and then back to mystery & suspense.

Hoping that The Broken Girls, the new Simone St. James novel coming out in 2018, exceeds expectations (and makes up for the disappointment last April when its publication was delayed for an entire year.)

In desperate need of more bookshelves...mine are double-stacked and starting to spill over.

Just finished reading:  An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd

Keeping too many lists of books that I want to read; I'll never get to them all, but at least I'll never run out.

Longest book read this year:  The Shining by Stephen King with 659 pages.

Managed to read 10 books from my own TBR shelf this year. Only 39 more to go.

Not my cup of tea:  erotica, graphic novels, anything political, and those l-o-n-g multi-generational family sagas.

Only purchased 26 books this year (because I was trying to be good). But it wasn't easy. And I already have a list of books that I'm planning on buying in January.

Popcorn (preferably Smartfood's White Cheddar) along with roasted peanuts are my two favorite bookish snacks.

Quote from a recent read:  "...courage and endurance are useless if they are never tested."  --Penelope Fitzgerald, The Bookshop

Long-Eared Owls
Reached #161 on my birding life list this summer when I spotted some long-eared owls on a birding field trip.

Superpower I wish I had:  Teleportation.  That way I could go wherever I wanted without the hassle of going through airport security, or the discomfort of flying economy class.  (My own private plane would be okay, too.)

Tried to read more books from around the world this year and managed to read books set in Yemen,  South Sudan,  Romania,  India,  Syria,  Egypt,
Zimbabwe, and Hungary.

Undecided on whether or not I'll sign up for any reading challenges next year; they're fun, but they can also be a bookish burden. And I didn't exactly finish the ones I started this year. I think maybe it's time to take a year off.

Solar Eclipse, August 2017

Viewed my very first total eclipse of the sun back in August up in Rigby, Idaho. It was indescribably awesome!! (And totally worth the 10-hour traffic jam we got stuck in going home afterwards.)

Wasted way too much time watching TV this year; I should really work on changing that habit in 2018.

X marks the spot!
marks my favorite reading spot. It's not much, but it's a comfortable place to curl up and get lost in a good book:

Young adult fiction pet peeves:  love triangles, instalove, and alternating POVs written in first person. All three have been done to death. I think it's time we all move on.

Zombie read of the year:  Can You Survive A Zombie Apocalypse by Max Brailler. Why?  Because it's a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book which are always fun. I especially loved the Barnes and Noble ending in this one; although the fan convention detour was also great.

Hope you had a great 2017! 
I'll see you in the new year.
Happy Reading!!
And Happy New Year!