Friday, January 31, 2014

Year of the Horse

Happy Chinese New Year! I bet 2014 will be awesome because it's the Year of the Horse and I love horses!
My horoscope based on the Chinese zodiac for the year is: Don’t be discouraged and follow your dreams. Sounds like good advice.
More gratuitous horses:
My gramma riding my horse Thunder:
Corey's grandma riding her horse:
I'm hoping on Sunday we will see it's the Year of the Horse for another reason:
Go Broncos!

P.S. I found the first picture on Pinterest but I can't figure out where. The second pony silhouette, "Memory Bird," is by Art&Ghosts. The Blythe dolls posing with their horses was photographed by Danielle Thompson. The watercolor white horse is by JK Lamkin. I found the pic of Thunder the Broncos horse here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2013 Silly Book Quiz

Time for end of the year book quizzes! Yay! On this one you're supposed to answer the questions with titles of books read in 2013.

Describe yourself: Beloved

How do you feel? On the Edge

Describe where you currently live: The Kitchen House

If you could go anywhere...? Into the Wild

Favorite form of transportation: From a Buick 8

Your best friend is: The Midwife

You and your friends are: Witches of East End

What's the weather like? Ten Thousand Heavens

Your favorite time of day is: Dragons of Winter Night

What is life for you? Wicked Business

You fear: World War Z

Best advice: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Thought for the day: Beat the Reaper

How you would like to die: A Good Fall

Who else wants to play?

P.S. I found this quote on Private Arts.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beatles Banditos

I just started following someone on instagram that photographs street art and came across this mural. It really got my attention; first discovering who the masked men are despite their disguises, then considering the modern twist. Further investigation via Google taught me that it was made in London in June 2013 by Mr. Brainwash, friend of Banksy, and has already been painted over.

Street art: love it or hate it?

P.S. I liked this picture of the mural with people walking by so you can tell how big it is. Thank you Abstracted Eye.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Innocence by Dean Koontz

I was feeling nostalgic when I selected Innocence as an Early Reviewer. Dean Koontz was one of my favorite authors back in the day and it's been awhile since I've read a book by him.

I really love the premise of this book. The main character is a young man named Addison Goodheart who cannot allow himself to be seen because his face makes people want to murder him at first sight. He has no option but to live below the city and only come out at night. Coincidence (or fate?) leads him to meet a goth girl named Gwyneth whose social phobia is so intense that she can't bear to be touched. The two strike an unlikely friendship as they unite to damage the man who murdered Gwyneth's father and is determined to rape her.

Each chapter is only 3 or 4 pages long, and every other one shifts from Addison's past to the present. The constant time shifting every few pages prevented me from getting lost in the story.

I really liked this quote about dogs though:

By the example of their joy and humility, by wanting nothing more than food and play and love, by the deep satisfaction that they take from those humble things, they belie all creeds of power and fame. Although they have the teeth to tear, it is by swish of tail and yearning eyes that they most easily get what they want.

It was good but didn't recapture the magic I felt reading him as a young innocent.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Take It or Leave It Challenge

I found one more challenge that I couldn't resist; I have so many of these books on my shelf already! However, the group that's going to do this challenge is going to read all of these in JANUARY!!! I think I'll be lucky if I can do it in a year. Anyway, here's the challenge and the books I have waiting on my book shelf (hence the READ YOUR BOOK CASE pic):

Challenges #1-6

1. Read a book whose title names an object usually found in the kitchen -

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender

By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel

Five Quarters of the Orange: A Novel by Joanne Harris

2. Read a book from your 'average' year - on average my books were published in 2000, the ones I still need to read are:

The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer

4 Blondes by Candace Bushnell

3. Read a book that has a connection with the number "14" -

Early Reviewers published this year should cover it

4. Read a book from the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2013 -

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

5. Read a book set in France before the 21st Century -

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

Holy Fools by Joanne Harris

Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

The Shoe Queen by Anna Davis

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

6. Read a book by a Yorkshire Born writer -

Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris

Challenges #7-12

7. Read a book you received as a present -

Road from Coorain - from my Gram

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - from Richard

For Whom the Bell Tolls - from Richard

The Night Circus - from secret santa

Gunn's Golden Rules - from Corey

Walking Dead - from Corey

Darwin - from Kyle

8. Read a book that has a glossary - Cesar's Way by Cesar Milan

9. Read a book by the author of one of your favorite books of 2013 - 11/22/63 by Stephen King

10. Read a book that you discovered on an LT thread in 2013 -

11. Read a book that has two of something in the title -

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

What is the What by Dave Eggers

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield

12. Read a mystery book where the lead investigator is a professional sleuth, but not one employed by law enforcement -

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Challenges #13-18

13. Read a book by an author who died in 2013 -

A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson

14. Read a book that is about an athlete or athletes -

Horse People by Michael Korda

15. Read a book that takes place during "The War to End All Wars" (1914-1918) -

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

16. Read a book with an ugly cover -

Looks like they just went with their first idea here.
Oogy's got a face so ugly you have to love it!
Looks like they made this cover at Kinko's.
I don't think this cover is ugly necessarily, but I've had it since college and have never read it because the cover makes me think I won't like it.

17. Read a book about the city, state, or country in which you live -

The Harvey Girls by Lesley Poling-Kempes

Ranch Schoolteacher by Eulalia Bourne

Haunted Arizona by Charles A. Stansfield Jr.

Arizona Curiosities by Sam Lowe

18. Read a book by an author from Sub-Saharan Africa -

Challenge #19

19. Read a book with a walking or standing figure on the cover - I have lots of these

20. Read a book by an author called Elizabeth or a version of that name -

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service by Beth Kendrick

Who else wants to play? Any books on my list you think I should pick or avoid?

P.S. The book case pics came from Private Arts.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story by Jon Katz

The Second-Chance Dog is a memoir about a man who finds love with a woman and her angry dog. He recounts the tale of their respective courtship and rehabilitation. It was a bit repetitive at times and could have used the help of a thesaurus ("disintegrating" is one of a few words that was overused).

I liked reading how he used exercise (long walks in the woods), discipline (a firm voice while teaching obedience), and reward (beef jerky) kind of like Cesar Milan to help his girlfriend's dog but it wasn't my most favorite dog book.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Last year I signed up for 5 reading challenges. I completed 4 of them, but the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge was neglected. I only read 1 book which was all that was required for the Initiate level, but this year I vow to give it more attention. I think I'll stay at the Initiate level (1-5 witchy books) but I would like to read more than 1!

Here's the list I made last year that I hope to put a dent in this year. For real. And I would like to read Serpent's Kiss by Melissa de la Cruz, the next in the series I started last year.

P.S. Sorry, I don't remember where I got the top image from.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2013

I read 50 books last year. Here are my 9 fiction and 4 non-fiction favorites, which I recommend you read as well. They are listed in the order I read them.


The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan - reviewed here on January 29th

Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King - short stories vary from The Derringer Gang to cowboys getting captured by vampire nuns. Each story as good as or better than the last.

Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman - reviewed here on May 7th
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - reviewed here on May 24th
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - reviewed here on August 6th

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - Imagine an evangelical Baptist taking his family to the Belgian Congo in 1959 on a mission to save the heathen Congolese. If you are laughing right now you will like this story.

If Jack's In Love by Stephen Wetta - reviewed here on October 29th

Light of the Moon by Luanne Rice - a woman fulfills her mother's dying wish by going to France to see a band of famous wild white horses. It becomes a journey of self-reflection and healing once her life intersects with a single dad who is trying to help his daughter overcome a tragedy.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami - reviewed here on December 30th


Satchmo: The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong by Steven Brower - The thing that makes this book special is having access to the collages and scrapbook pages Louis Armstrong created himself! Who would have guessed that besides being a genius musician he was also a crafter?!

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris - reviewed here on April 30th
Pussy Riot!: A Punk Prayer For Freedom by Pussy Riot - reviewed here on September 13th
The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant - reviewed here on November 10th