Reading Goals Update

June was a really slow reading month for me. I think that is because I was reading two books that were long–one at 649 pages and the other at 816 pages. One (1421: The Year China Discovered America) is taking me awhile to get through, because of all the detailed facts in it. I haven’t finished either yet. We’ve also been really busy and I haven’t been in the mood to read as much.

So here’s the latest:

Books finished in June (3)

The Kitchen House read for the What’s In A Name Challenge
Miss Zukas and The Library Murders read for the Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Challenge
The Hydrogen Murder read for the Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Challenge

Books finished in 2012 

24 books toward my goal of 50
5580 pages total

You can follow my challenges HERE and my overall progress HERE.

What are you reading these days?

Her Reads…an update

I am still loving my reading challenges and I think I’ve gotten over feeling guilty about reading all the time. It’s rare to find me without a book these days and I think that’s the way I like it. I’ve also been taking advantage of audio books while I’m at work and that has been awesome!!


Remember when I talked about the new books I picked up from interlibrary loan last week? Well here’s the verdict. I sent The Visions of Ransom Lake back without finishing it. I only reached chapter 3. I took the amount of times I rolled my eyes in those three chapters to be an indication that the book was not for me. That’s not to say that it was a bad book. It’s got great ratings and reviews on Goodreads. I just couldn’t stomach it. I think if I’m going to be reading westerns they’ve got to be a little more believable and not so fruity.

And Divergent? Finished that in two evenings, reading after dinner. Then I went online and used a gift certificate from Hastings that my sister gave me and bought it…plus Insurgent. Looking forward to diving into that one but I’m going to take my time since it will be awhile before book three comes out. I’ve accepted that I’m a sucker for dystopian novels. I’ve also accepted that it’s very trendy right now to be a sucker for these. Oh well. I like what I like.


Ahhh cozy mysteries…my new found love. Where have they been all my life? My challenge this year was to read five. I know I’ll exceed that, but once I hit five I’ll take a break in order to catch up on my other challenges. This time I picked up The Hydrogen Murder by Camille Minichino & Miss Zukas and the Library Murders by Jo Dereske



I’m also still making my way through 1421: The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies. There is a lot of great stuff in this book. It’s not a book you can read when you’re not totally focused on it. I can only read it when I don’t have other distractions. Plus, I like to take my time looking up his references and reminding me of the history behind everything he’s talking about. I will usually read a page or two and then hit the internet for more information, before reading on. Needless to say, it may take me several months to get through it. 

Anyone want to recommend a book to me that has a topographical feature in the title, now that I’ve dumped ‘The Visions of Ransom Lake’? Also, what are you reading lately?

Just finished…Just starting


PhotobucketMurder on the Orient Express by Agathie Christie (★★★1/2)

Read for: The Eclectic Reader Challenge
Length: 336 Pages
Filed Under: European Literature, Mystery, Crime
Setting: Yugoslavia, Orient Express Train
Most Liked Character(s): Hercules Poirot-patient & clever; 
Most Disliked Character(s):  Mrs. Caroline Martha Hubbard-loud & dramatic; Cyrus Beth Hardman-purposely slow & unhelpful
Plot: A slow time for travel, the Orient Express is unusually full on the evening that Samuel Edward Ratchett is killed in his compartment. Stabbed several times while the train is immobilized due to a snow drift, it is obvious that one of his fellow passengers is the killer. It is Hercu Poirot who must unravel the mystery.

PhotobucketEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card (★★★★★)

Read for: The Dystopia Challenge
Length: 324 pages
Filed Under: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult, Action
Setting: North Carolina, Battle School, Fairyland/the End of the World, Command School, and the Colony
Most Like Character(s): Andrew “Ender” Wiggin-level headed & compassionate; Commander Hyrum Graff-caring & a friend
Most Disliked Character(s): Peter Wiggin- hateful & cruel
Plot: A hostile alien force has set its sights on Earth. In order to fight this enemy, the government breeds child geniuses and trains them for war. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin survives this rigorous training in Battle School and comes out way above the rest of his classmates. Is Ender the general who will lead Earth to overcome the Buggars?

PhotobucketA Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler (★★★1/2)

Read for: The Eclectic Reader Challenge
Length: 320 pages
Filed Under: Literary Fiction
Setting: Baltimore, Philadelphia and the train in between
Most Like Character(s): Opal Gaitlin-intelligent and forgiving
Most Disliked Character(s): Mrs. Gaitlin-dwells on past mistakes and makes others feel unnecessarily guilty
Plot: A troublemaker since childhood, Barnaby Gaitlin still can’t seem to grow up and enter adult life. For eleven years he’s been working for Rent-A-Back helping elderly people do odd chores around their home. When he begins to have a genuine relationship with his daughter, Opal and meets and begins dating Sophia (who he thinks may be his guardian angel) he starts to realize that his life really could be more. Throughout the book, Barnaby works to regain the trust his juvenile delinquency caused people to lose in him and prove that he really is the ‘good guy.’


Photobucket1421: The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies

Length: 649 pages
Filed Under: Non-fiction, Historical
Plot: On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China. Its mission was “to proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas” and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony. When it returned in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. Lost in China’s long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. (taken from goodreads) 

PhotobucketThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Length: 369 pages
Filed Under:  Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Plot: Orphaned while onboard a ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family. Eventually loyalties are questioned and Lavinia finds herself in a very difficult situation. (taken from goodreads)

 Your turn: What are you reading these days? What is on your to-read list next?

30 Days Hath November: Day 06

Day 06: A book I am reading

Andy and I just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Other than that I’ve just been reading books for class. We’d highly recommend The Night Circus though, it was very good!

30 Days Hath November via So Fawned

The list:
Day 01: A self-portrait.
Day 02: Three inspirational quotes.
Day 03: Something I never leave the house without.
Day 04: A friend I adore.
Day 05: Three years ago today.
Day 06: A book I’m reading.

Day 07: A song for the day.
Day 08: The last item I purchased.
Day 09: A close-up of my day.
Day 10: What I love about my job.
Day 11: Something I’ve been craving.
Day 12: Three blogs I can’t get enough of.
Day 13: Something I’m proud of.
Day 14: A favorite movie.
Day 15: Some style inspiration for the season.
Day 16: Someone who inspires me.
Day 17: My family.
Day 18: What I wore today.
Day 19: A silly self-portrait.
Day 20: A childhood anecdote.
Day 21: Something I could never tire of.
Day 22: Some place I’ve traveled.
Day 23: Eight things you didn’t know about me.
Day 24: Something that means a lot to me.
Day 25: The contents of my purse.
Day 26: Something I’m looking forward to.
Day 27: Myself, one year ago.
Day 28: A skill I’d like to learn.
Day 29: Some place I’d like to visit.
Day 30: Three wonderful things that happened this month

A Halloween Book List

Well, I’m a little late getting this out considering Halloween is today! But maybe you can save the list for next year and start fresh on October1. That’s what I plan to do. So here are my picks for Halloween reading:


The Halloween Tree  by Ray Bradbury
Hallow’s Eve: A Halloween Fairy Tale by Sarah Diemer
The Book of Hallowe’en by Ruth Edna Kelley
31 Days of Halloween by Jake Bible
Halloween by Melanie Jackson
Horror at Halloween by John Gordon



Lazy head start

Andy went out to weed the garden. I admittedly was feeling way too lazy to help him.

Funny enough though- I wasn’t feeling too lazy to get started on the reading for my fall classes while I sat out there and watched Andy labor away.

Yes. I’m a nerd. I work ahead- I start my homework before the semester has even started. (Don’t worry, I also procrastinate- it’s a very delicate balance.)

And Yes. I’m reading The Cay.

Now don’t tell me you didn’t also read it when you were eight. If you didn’t- well then your childhood was seriously lacking in literature awesomeness.

Anyway, I’m taking Children’s Lit this semester and I’m pretty stoked about it. Probably because I’m also the kind of nerd who collects childrens books. There are about thirty books on the reading list which is not bad at all.

So, what was your favorite book as a kid?


on a saturday

I started the day washing dishes and doing laundry and then decided I needed a break so I went over to Barnes & Noble. Of course, I didn’t come home empty handed.


It’s a weakness, what can I say?

For lunch I wen to go get pizza with my grandparents for Easter. Afterward, I went with my mom to the fabric store and picked up these cute prints.


We’ll be sewing those up into skirts for my bridesmaids and little Nellie will get a cute sundress. Not really sure what I’ll do with the rest of my night. I guess I’ll put in a movie or crack open one of my new books.


on a sunday

We woke up to discover that it had snowed some in the night. But it had all melted away by the afternoon. I was able to crack the windows and let some fresh air in. Mauney cat was quite happy about this.


I pushed the window open even more so she could sit herself up on the ledge and enjoy it.


I spent the afternoon cleaning out my car, doing laundry, working on homework, changing sheets and washing dishes. Afterwards, I settled on the couch with my new book, “I Wonder,” by Marian Bantjes.


Marian is a typographic illustrator who was inspired by the ancient illuminations of manuscripts. Since typography and manuscript illumination are two of my top interests, I knew this book was the book for me.

The book is a funny, creative collection of observations on visual culture and design. Here’s a peak at some of the pages.


So far, I’m really enjoying it. I purchased my copy from Barnes and Noble. I highly recommend it.


In awhile, I’ll put some hamburger vegetable soup on the stove to cook, pick out something from my Netflix instant cue, and begin winding down for the evening.

How was your weekend?