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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Monday, November 30, 2015

November Wrap-up


via GIPHY

It finally rained in California!!!  I love the rain because it means getting cozy, staying indoors, and reading books!  This month went so fast, but I managed to read 7 books.  This is way less than the 12 books I was planning on, but I am still pleased with my progress.  I also did 27 blog posts, and start crafting again.  Plus my holiday shopping for most of the family is complete!  

Books Read this month:









 My favorite book of the month has to be Unrooted by Naomi Novik.  It was a YA book that was so original and gripping that I couldn't put it down.  Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner, was also a favorite because it has so much to say about long-term marriages and the hopes and disappointments of life. I like reading a variety of genres each month and these two really epitomized the best of their book type.

What was your favorite read of the month?  Did you meet your reading goals?  Let me know in the comments.
   

   

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik






I didn't know what to expect when I started Uprooted, by Naomi Novik.  But, I had a feeling it must be a special book when I had to wait about 4 months to get it from my public library!  Well, it was worth the wait.  Uprooted is an original, action-packed tale that I couldn't stop reading.

The story begins with a strange explanation of a mysterious wizard:


Our Dragon doesn't eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through.  They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon.  Of course that's not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he's still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years.  He protects us against the Wood, and we're grateful, but not that grateful.


So begins a story much like a fairy tale.  Not a sweet Beauty and the Beast type story.  It's more like a nightmarish story from the brothers Grimm.  This is one of the reasons I liked this book so much:  it didn't sugar-coat anything.

Every ten years, a girl from the valley is chosen by The Dragon (the Lord of the area) and is taken to his castle.  It is unknown what happens to each girl, but that after the ten years are up the girl gets a large dowry and is sent  back to her village; but never wants to settle there.  She stays for a short time, then leaves the area, never to return.   

Agnieszka is a peasant girl born during a year where a girl will be chosen.  She, and every one in the valley, think that The Dragon will choose her best friend, Kasia.  Because of this, Kasia is treated like a fleeting treasure.  She is revered, but no one except Agnieszka gets too close, not even Kasia's own parents.  When clumsy, average-looking Agnieszka is whisked away after she is chosen, everyone is dumbfounded.  What does The Dragon want of these girls?  Will she be a servant, a sexual toy?  What did The Dragon see in her?

The story has so many elements that speak to people:  self-worth, confidence, community ties.  And the theme of putting down roots and being uprooted finds many different situations.  Why is The Dragon alone in his tower?  What is the evil known as The Wood?  Why do the chosen girls feel no connection to the valley once the ten years are up?

I loved the many layers of the story.  At first, I thought that we would only get to know Agnieszka, but later Kasia has an important role in the adventure.  There is the strangeness of the "corruption" produced by contact with the Wood.  Why do plant-life, animals, and people need to be destroyed once they are corrupted?  Can anyone be saved?  The capital of the Kingdom also plays a major role in the book.  I love a book with royal intrigue, and this has plots, and sub-plots aplenty.  There are loads of battle scenes as different people try to rid the area of corruption (and of course this can have different meanings, too).  I would say that sometimes the battle scenes are exhausting to read.  They seem to go on and on.  But that is what makes these scenes like a bad dream, which I think the experience of war can be.

There is a very steamy sex scene in the book, but it never crosses the line into mommy-porn.  But if you don't care for that, be forewarned.  I think the romance in this book is the right amount for the story.  It's not sentimental "Does he like me?" kind of situations.  A mutual respect builds but the people involved don't suddenly change to create a tidy ending.

I don't know if there are any plans for a sequel, but I would be very interested in reading it should it every come to pass.  For the originality of the story, setting and characters I am giving this 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating:

Source:  Borrowed from the Public Library

Format:  Hardcover

Recommendation:  For lovers of action-adventure, this is a must read!

Will I read more from this author:  Yes!!!








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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Stacking The Shelves #7






Stacking The Shelves was started by the wonderful blog called Tynga's Reviews.  Please check out her blog to see all the other Stacking The Shelves posts from around the web.

With Thanksgiving I was super-busy cooking up a delicious storm.  I did manage to finish one book, and acquired another ARC (Whoo Hoo)! Plus I had the week off, so I was able to leisurely prepare for the holiday.  Also, I stayed away from the stores on Black Friday!  So I consider this week a success.

Read:




Acquired from the publisher:




Posts:


Sunday, November 22nd:  Book Review:  Crossing To Safety

Monday, November 23rd:  Thankful Blogging Challenge Day 1

Tuesday, November 24th:  Thankful Bloging Challenge Day 2

Wednesday, November 25th:  Thankful Blogging Challenge Day 3

Thursday, November 26th:  Thankful Blogging Challenge Day 4


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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Blogging Challenge: Day 4



This challenge was the inspiration of Parajunkee.  Please check out her wonderful blog.

Well, today was the Big day!  The Turkey went in the oven at 1:30 (ish) and we ate at around 5:00 (ish).  I spent all of yesterday cooking and watching fun movies with my daughter.  We watched Can't Hardly Wait, Mostly Martha, Pitch Perfect 2 and Elf

I am really thankful that we are just going to be our little family this year.  No guests.  We wanted a stress-free day today, and I think that's what we got. 

Wishing everyone had a lovely day filled with family and yummy food.

Here are the dessert highlights:
Pumpkin Pie & Triple-chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin spice butter cream
    


Here's a close-up of the cake! 

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful Bloging Challenge: Day 3


This feature was started by the wonderful Parajunkee.  If you want to join this feature, go to her blog and add your name to the Linkylink.  Or if you just want to see what others have written for this feature, there is a great list of other blogs who are doing this.  Just go to Parajunkee's blog.

 

Today we are talking about the people who inspire you (The description in the challenge says blogging inspiration, but I am expanding it to include life inspiration).

 

1.  Work Inspiration: L.D.

  In the interest of privacy, am just using initials, but this person is a rock star to me (and don't celebrities value privacy?).  I work in special education.  This person inspires me with her vision of inclusion and for the dignity she shows to the students we work with.  I have learned so much from this person: to keep looking for new approaches to challenges, to not get frustrated when things don't go smoothly, to celebrate our students for who they are right now.  By showing me all this, I have grown better at my job, and have even more satisfaction in it.  Thank you, L.D. for giving me the tools, and the example, to be more effective in my work.

 

2.  Spiritual Inspiration:  My Aunt Carmen

  I want to make sure that my sweet Aunt Carmen knows it is her I'm talking about.  With her modesty, if I just used initials, she would probably think I'm praising someone else!  Throughout my life, Aunt Carmen has guided me, prayed with me, found lots of reading materials to educate me, and has been a spiritual rock for me to depend on. 

  Whenever I need it, Aunt Carmen is there to give me advice and comfort.  She is like a second mother to me.  As my own mom became ill and passed away, she filled in the gap with her love.  I can count on her to listen and not judge.
  My life hasn't been an easy one, at times, but I can always call her and ask for her to pray for me.  I know she is continually saying novenas (a nine day series of prayers) for numerous people.  And this gives me comfort in hard times. 
  Right now, we live quite far away from each other so talking on the phone is how we mostly communicate.  But she also regularly sends me things to read about the lives of saints, various prayer books that might assist me, and a host of other things too.  I have kept these treasures and use them constantly.
  Aunt Carmen has been such an inspiration on how to live a fulfilling life.  She has a great group of friends and has fun with them, cooking, eating, shopping, and going to church together.  I would love to have that in my life. As she has grown older she takes care of herself and is independent.

  Thank you so much, Auntie Carmen, for being in my life!


Who inspires you?  Leave a comment below and be sure to thank these people who mean so much to you.

 

 

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful Blogging Challenge: Day 2


This feature was started by the wonderful Parajunkee.  If you want to join this feature, go to her blog and add your name to the Linkylink.  Or if you just want to see what others have written for this feature, there is a great list of other blogs who are doing this.  Just go to Parajunkee's blog.

Today we are posting some of the wonderful things that have happened to us over the past year.  I'm going to focus on two big things that have really made my life happier:



1.   Forming friendships with my colleagues:






I recently changed schools and I was nervous about meeting a whole new group of teachers.  Would they like me?  Would I be dismissed as "just an Aide"?  Well, from the very first day, this group welcomed me with open arms!  They have been so kind and supportive that I feel really appreciated each and every day.  Plus I have found a group of people who share my love of books and crafting.  We are having so much fun together making imaginative things such as these "Super Teacher" Halloween costumes!  I have also been thankful for the ongoing friendships of my friends such as Debbie S., who works at both schools.  She is so sweet and recommends the best books! 




2.  Starting this book blog:



via GIPHY

Technically, I started this back in April but I really didn't commit to it until July of this year.  I started this for many reasons.  First off, I figured that blogging nearly every day would help improve my writing skills.  I don't know if that goal has been accomplished (that would be for the reader to decide) but I feel that now the words come more readily to me.  Another reason for starting this was to have something that was mine, alone.  I have spend many years supporting other family members with their goals, now it was my turn to do something just for me.  I never thought that anyone would read my blog, but it is slowly gaining readers!  The truly cool thing about starting this blog has been forming connections with other bloggers and becoming more aware of the new books being published.  It has expanded the genres of books I read and made me appreciate how hard authors work to get a book to publication.


What wonderful things have happened to you?  Please share them in the comments section.





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Monday, November 23, 2015

Thankful Blogging Challenge Day 1



This is a challenge hosted by the amazing Parajunkee.  She has such a wonderful, lively blog!  Please check it out!

I am all about Thankfulness this week!  Being thankful is not only a kind thing to do, but I think it also makes us feel more positive about the world.  So I saw Parajunkee's post and jumped at the chance to get involved. 

Day 1:  What am I thankful for?

There are so, so many things to be thankful for right now.  I was honestly thinking about this today as I was sitting in the dentist's chair!  

1.  I am really thankful that I have good health insurance and that dental is included.  This may seem to be a stupid thing to be thankful for.  However, growing up we did not have health or dental insurance and every time we had a problem, my parents had to worry about how they were going to pay for it.  It was scary.  So we never went to the dentist except for when we had a toothache.  We just couldn't afford preventative care.  My heart still races every time I sit in a dentist's chair because I associate it with the only times I would go to the dentist where I would be getting a filling.  I am so grateful my kids and I don't have to live in fear.  I wish everyone had this security.

2.  I am also very thankful to my Husband who works so hard for us.  He not only works a long day at his job, but then he comes home and works some more.  We tag each other out helping kids with homework (I help with History, while he can assist with math and science).  He also works VERY hard on house projects.  He is a Mr. Fix-it!  He can do just about any repair job needed and if he doesn't know how to do something, he will find the skills and learn them!  In this past year he has painted the outside of our entire house, fixed the sewer, and refinished the cabinets in the kitchen.  That man works tirelessly for his family!

I could fill pages with Thankfulness, but I will stop at these two for now.  If you want to join in, make a Thankfulness post and add your name to the Linky Link ( I will try to add the code as soon as I can) .  

Have a great Thanksgiving week! 




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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review: Crossing To Safety


I have never heard of Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, until my good friend Debbie suggested it to me.  Written in 1987, the book begins with two young couples as they start out their careers and lives together and follows them over many years.  Beginning in Madison, Wisconsin in 1937, we meet the Morgans: Larry, a newly hired college professor, and his pregnant wife Sally.  There, they hit it off with another academic couple, Sid and Charity Lang, and begin a life-long friendship.   As you read this description, you may think, "God, this sounds Boooring!"  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The hopes and dreams of these idealistic young people clash with the reality of world wars, illnesses, and career disappointments.  Each character is seeking a way to "safety" through their relationships, which inevitably means that they will sacrifice some of their ideals.

I really loved this book.  I know I got invested in the story when some of the characters became so infuriating that I wanted to throw the book down and scream in frustration!  It has even taken me a surprisingly long time to write this review because I have needed time to digest what this book was trying to tell me. 

As the story progresses, events occur (beyond their control) that will test Larry and Sally's optimism and love for each other.  Sid and Charity also face adversity, but at a different level.  Can we live up to our potential when a spouse is constantly reminding us of our shortcomings?  Throughout the book, Sid is pushed by Charity to do more, be more.  And when he falls short, she is quick to point it out.  I was waiting for Sid to either leave Charity or have an affair.  There are hints of his seeking affection elsewhere, but we never fully understand if Sid carried through to actually betraying Charity. 

When I take a step back and consider the title of the book, I think the message is that people often find security in unlikely places.  A person can have a job that they may be over-qualified for, yet they really enjoy it.  It may fulfill a need that is not immediately noticeable.  In a couple's marriage, it may seem as if one partner is being bullied by the other, yet there are other unseen factors that balance out the equation.  This may be sexual, psychological, financial... who knows.  What determines one's sense of safety is different for all of us, and it's not for us to judge.

This book is not one of action and adventure, but of choices and consequences, events and outcomes.  It is a book I will ruminate over for many more weeks.


Rating:  
 


Source:  Borrowed from a friend (Thank you Debbie)

Format:  Paperback

Recommendation:  A thoughtful book that will ponder over for a long time.

Will I read more from this author?  Yes
 


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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stacking The Shelves #6



Stacking The Shelves was started by Tynga's Reviews.  Please check out this amazing blog!

This was another busy, and emotionally draining week for me.  I was very sad and affected by the many terrorist attacks throughout the world, and by the reactionary responses it brought forth.  So I was in a reflective mood all week.  Why couldn't everyone just be nice to each other?

My response was to blog about the many wonderful book blogs there are on the Web.  Many are afraid in the wake of these attacks and lash out with hate.  I choose to respond with as much kindness as I can muster.  I can honestly understand that people are afraid, but I don't think hate will help the situation.

I didn't get any new books this week.  But here is a summary of my blog:


Read:







Posts:



Sunday, November 15th:  ARC Review of The Sisters of Versailles


Monday, November 16th:  Spreading The Blogger Love #3

Tuesday, November 17th:  Spreading The Blogger Love #4

Wednesday, November 18th:  Spreading The Blogger Love #5

Thursday, November 19th:  Spreading The Blogger Love #6

Friday, November 20th:  Feature & Follow Friday



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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday


Happy Friday everyone!  It's been a very emotional week for me, but blogging has helped me feel good about the world. Fellow book bloggers: you are the best!  I am looking forward to finding even more new blogs on Feature & Follow Friday!  I will try to follow as many of the blogs on the master list as I can and hope that some of them will follow me back!  This is hosted by Alison of Alison can read and Parajunkee Go to both of their sites and check them out!

Question of the Week: If you could teleport into ANY story, which would you chose? - Suggested by Life Is Reading

 

If I could teleport into any story I think I would like to jump into The Lightning Thief and be a teacher at Camp Half-Blood.  I love all the magic and mythology in that whole series and it would be fun to work with the demigod teens.  Can you tell I work in education?

 

 

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Spreading The Blogger Love #6


via GIPHY

This week all I've wanted to do is hug my cat (and my kids). I am dedicating this week to highlighting other blogs that I love. I have learned so much from becoming a book blogger, not just about books, but about being supportive to others, writing honestly while maintaining civility, and thinking carefully about what kind of energy I am sending out into the web when I post.  I know that what I am doing this week is not going to change anything.  But in the face of tragedy I choose to respond with kindness.  I hope we can all try to be a little nicer to each other; no matter what color, what religion, what citizen status, we are all the same.

Here are three more wonderful blogs that you should check out.

1.  It Starts at Midnight:




One of the best organized book blogs I have ever seen, this blog is run by Shannon.  She reads and comments on all kinds of YA books.  She has some great opinion pieces, reviews, blog tours, and giveaways.  Everything is laid out so well, it makes you want to meander around and look at everything.  Shannon also seems to be heavily involved in connecting to other bloggers through challenges such as the 2015 Discussion Challenge, The Shelfie Hop, and the New Release giveaway hop.  When I go to this blog, I feel like I'm "In the know" about all the cool happenings among book blogs.

2.  Reading Addict:




 I've gotten a lot of comments and interaction from a blogger named Crina.  She runs a blog called Reading Addict.  Her blog focuses on YA, NA, Dystopia, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary and Mystery/Thriller.  Whew, that's a lot of different types of books!  Crina does a BUNCH of blog tours, Book Blitzes, giveaways, and reviews.  Her blog is another place where I feel like I am getting the latest information on new books.  Crina is very friendly and kind and I am so glad I found her blog.

3.  Novel Ink:






Isn't this a lovely logo!  This is a beautiful Blog run by two bloggers, Christy and Erica.  They are both fun, happy people who absolutely love all things books.  They have book reviews, discussion posts, and unique features such as Trivia Tuesday, Hooked, and Inked.  Because there are two bloggers, you get twice the amount of books, genres, and styles.  Erica focuses on Contemporary and Romance, while Christy loves Dystopian and Mystery.  This blog has reviews that really personify writing with a voice.  I can learn a lot from how they show their personalities through writing.  They are also sweethearts who take the time to write comments on other blogs.  This is something I need to dedicate time to do each week.  It takes effort and I appreciate it when folks take the time to comment.







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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spreading The Blogger Love #5


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My week of Spreading The Blogger Love continues.  I love how bloggers are there to encourage each other.  When I first started this blog, I didn't know the first thing about blogging and had tons of questions.  Thankfully, several bloggers came to my rescue.  Other bloggers have been very kind in encouraging me through their comments.  Here are a few more blogs that make me smile.

1.  Mikayla's Bookshelf:








This blogger loves YA, Fantasy, Dystopian, and Chic Lit.  I like her blog because her reviews are fun and filled with cool GIFs.  It doesn't hurt that I happen to have very similar tastes in books (Queen of The Tearling is one of my favs, too).  She has regular features such as Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, and Feature & Follow Friday. I also appreciate that she takes the time to come to my site and comment on a regular basis.  This makes me feel like people are actually reading my blog and that I am getting to know them, which is why I started a blog in the first place.

2.  The Innocent Smiley:







When I first started my blog, I would go to other blogs and look with envy at all the cool gadgets on their pages.  One of the things that caught my attention on The Innocent Smiley's site was the Blog Roll on the side of her page.  I liked it so much, I got up the courage to email the blogger, named Valerie, to ask her how she did it.  Could she direct me to a website or reference that would explain how to do the coding?  She not only quickly replied, but explained (in a lengthy email) exactly how to do it.  She gave me example code and even offered to further explain it to me.  Such generousness  of spirit touched me greatly.  She gave me a great tool to show off the blogs I like, but also made me feel like I wasn't stupid.  Her site includes Top Ten Tuesdays, Reviews and posts about her life.  Her site shows how you can find ways to share about your life and connect with your readers (and be super nice along the way).

3.  Milky Way of Books:

Mikly Way of books








Run by Alexandra, from Greece, this blog focuses on Paranormal Romance, YA Fantasy, and Dystopian books.  She is very active with blog tours of new releases, so if you follow her blog, you are sure to be in the know for all the latest books.    Her blog has a very lovely design which will make you want to just explore and explore all the goodies on her site.  I really appreciate Alexandra because she is another blogger who takes the time to comment on my site.  The more often you can visit and comment each week, the more you can get to know your fellow bloggers.




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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Spreading The Blogger Love #4


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My week of Spreading the Blogger Love continues.  I love how supportive bloggers are with one another. Here are three (of many) blogs that I have felt so much support from over the past few months.  These bloggers are helpful and cheer on others.

1.  Read Write Love 28:






This blog is run by the wonderful Nori.  I think she has only been blogging for about a year, but man she knows what she's doing!  Nori heads several projects that highlight debut authors.  Every month, she has her Sunday Street Team to feature new authors and she gets other bloggers in on the action.  She coordinates a whole feast of activities including author interviews, reviews, giveaways, etc. so that these authors get lots of love and support.  Nori is also very active on Twitter @ReadWriteLove28 where she hosts #RQWN (Random Questions With Nori), a Twitter chat that is fast-paced and irreverent.

2.  Chasing Faerytales:










This blog is run by Mishma from Sri Lanka, and Jillian from the Philippines.  These two are teens, leading busy lives yet they still find time to make a creative blog, filled with informative posts.  One thing they do, which I haven't seen on other blogs, is have lots of guest posts.  These guests are other excellent bloggers.  This keeps the blog really interesting.  It's like they have a talk show going with different "guests",  Very Cool.  I also know Mishma from Twitter @chasingfaes.  She is sweet, kind, and has very astute observations about the days happenings.

3.  A Great Read:













This site is run by Jessica.  She has been really nice about commenting on my posts, which make me feel so happy.  When you visit her blog you can see she has a lot of things going on.  She's got reviews, giveaways, and does weekly features including, What Are You Reading Mondays, Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays, Waiting on Wednesdays, and more.  Plus, her blog is filled with lots of humor!  She has a great link right now to a hilarious YouTube video of Buffy vs, Edward.  Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard.









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Monday, November 16, 2015

Spreading The Blogger Love #3


via GIPHY

With all the horrible world-wide events of this last weekend, I feel no motivation to just do regular posts right now. Amid the senseless violence there were many acts of courage, such as the man, named Adel Termos, in Beirut, Lebanon who tackled a suicide bomber to the ground, saving countless lives.  Sadly, he did not survive.   You can read more about this here in this news report. 

 I feel like many of us could use a big hug.  Please remember that there is so much good in the world, too.  So, in the spirit of warmth and comfort, I will spend the week highlighting lots of different blogs that I like.  Please check them out, leave a kind post, and just spread the love.

1.  Rather Too Fond of Books:









This blog is run by a woman named Hayley out of the U.K.  Because of this, she is spotlighting books that I haven't heard of before, but that sound amazing!  I think I can get these books through Book Depository, so I'm looking forward to ordering several of her recommendations.  I am particularly interested in the Christmas books she has mentioned.   They look fun and that is what I need right now.  She does Blog Tours, reviews,  giveaways, and a weekly wrap-up.

2.  Books Bones & Buffy:





 
The name of the blog pulled me in.  Any mention of Buffy and I'm an instant fan!  This blog is run by Tammy, who focuses on Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction.  She has lots of reviews and giveaways.  I really like these genres and so I am getting lots of great book recommendations from this blog.  She does Waiting on Wednesday, and her own twice-monthly book haul post called Overbooked (too cute, right?).  If you are a fan of Fantasy, you will love this blog!

3.  Inked Brownies:






This blogger, named Anne, is from Holland.  She combines two things I love: books and baking!  She focuses on Fantasy, YA and travel books (some of my favorites).  She loves baking and includes some yummy looking recipes to her blog.  I plan on trying out her Triple Chocolate Pumpkin cake for Thanksgiving!  I really love how some blogs seem to really embody the personality of the blogger.  I think Inked Brownies achieves this spectacularly! 




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Sunday, November 15, 2015

ARC Book Review: The Sisters of Versailles



First of all, I want to express my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones during the atrocious attack on Paris on November 13.  It breaks my heart to see such a beautiful city torn apart by fear.  Whatever the reasons these criminals have, it is NEVER justifiable to take lives.  How I wish problems could be solved peacefully.

Okay, back to books...






Synopsis (From GoodReads):


 A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France's most "well-beloved" monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.

Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.

Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.



Review:


I received this ARC courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  My views are not influenced by anyone other than myself.

When I began reading The Sisters of Versailles, I was giddy with anticipation of a juicy read.  This books is filled with fashion, court intrigue, backstabbing sisters, fashion, fashion...  Oh, did I mention there's a lot of descriptions of dresses in this book?  This is obviously a well-researched depiction of court life at Versailles.  While it was fascinating, I felt like I was eating a steady diet of sweets, and not getting a full meal.

The story centers around five sisters, four of whom managed to become mistresses to King Louis XV.  That's a pretty astounding feat to be sure, but I was looking for a more well-rounded historical fiction book.  Even though the Revolution wouldn't occur until 15 years after his death, the events of King Louis XV's reign would put into motion the decadence of Versailles and the unrest of the masses.  Although the book did make vague references to a famine and the masses hatred of the King's mistresses, I didn't feel how the events in the book fit in to the larger history of the times.  I would have loved to read a few chapters from the point of view of some of the servants.  Their more simple lives would have contrasted well with the ridiculous luxury of the main characters and would have grounded the book better.

I did enjoy the letters between the sisters.  Each letter showed the characters' personality and there were many parts where one could read between the lines to understand more of what was happening than what was actually being said. 

I did like this book!  I just feel like it could have been even better with the addition of more depth.  If you like reading about the decadence of Versailles, you will enjoy this book.  This is supposed to be a trilogy about the many mistresses of King Louis XV.  I assume at least one of the books would center around the most famous of the King's women, Madame de Pompadour.  She apparently was very influential in running the country during the Kin's later years.  Perhaps then we will see a book with more history and less bedroom drama.


Rating:  

 
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source:ARC from NetGalley

Format:  E-book

Recommendation: A fun read, but not very historical.

Will I read more from this author:  No thanks





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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Stacking The Shelves #5



Stacking The Shelves was started by Tynga's Reviews.  Please check out this amazing blog!

I read two rather grown up books this week.  Both were on the long side, so I didn't get to read my third book for the week, so I'm a little behind on my goal of three books per week.  Can I sprint through four books this week?  I am not sure, but I will try.  I am using a monthly strategy to plan out my reading.  The problem with this approach is that it leaves no room for spontaneity.  When I suddenly get approved for an ARC or that long awaited books finally arrives at the library, it throws my whole plan out the window!   Any suggestions?

From NetGalley:






From the Library:




Borrowed from a Friend:




Books Read:




Posts for the week:


Sunday, November 8th:  ARC Review of Crystallum

Monday, November 9th:  Book Review of To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Tuesday, November 10:  Book Review of The Kitchen House

Thursday, November 12:  Three 4 Thursday:

Friday, November 13:  Feature & Follow Friday





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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday


Happy Friday, everyone!  I am one of two featured bloggers for this Friday!  My blog is in the spotlight on Parajunkee's blog, while Alison Can Read is highlighting the blog called Whatever You Can Still Betray.  I enjoy #FFF because it is a way for me to find new blogs and check out how other blogs do their thing.  I am also developing fun friendships with fellow bloggers.  I will try to go to and follow as many of the blogs on the blog hop as I can and I hope you guys will follow me, too.  


Feature #1:  Me
Here are my answers to the Featured Blogger questions:

When did you start blogging:
Technically, I started this blog in February of this year.  But I really didn't start blogging with any commitment until July.  Since then, I have worked hard to post reviews and other original content up at least 4 times per week.  

What is your favorite part of book blogging?
My favorite part of blogging is interacting with people who write comments to my posts.  I really like getting into conversations about books and exchanging thoughts about bookish subjects.

What type of books do you mainly blog about?
I mainly blog about YA Contemporary and Fantasy books.  But I also love to read and review Historical Fiction and Classic novels.

What are your favorite novels?
My all time favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  More recently, I have loved The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ajdieh, The Martian by Andy Weir,  and The Book of the Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (that one really killed me!).

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?
The best thing that has happened to me because of blogging is finding other people who share my passion about reading!  Both online, and in person, I have connected to more people by talking about books.  When I am talking to friends, I usually ask them, "What are you reading right now?".  It's a great conversation starter and I learn a lot about someone by what they read and what they think about books.



When did you start blogging:
I started blogging in 2009 but back then, it was just some random posts about life in general and ranting.  It wasn't until June 2010 that I formally established my book blog, Whatever You Can Sill Betray.  I really wanted to be part of the Iron Daughter (by Julie Kagawa) blog tour.

 What is your favorite part of book blogging?
 My favorite part of book blogging is discovering books that I would have never known if I just relied on the books being displayed in bookstores here in my country.  The book blogging community offers a wide (and wild) variety of books, it's unbelievable.  I'm in a virtual candyland.

What type of books do you mainly blog about?
Fiction, mostly from the YA category.  The genres I prefer are fantasy, paranormal, historical and the romances in between.  I do occasionally blog about adult romance though some of them are not contemporary ones since I prefer the romance books read by my mom in her age.  Then, I talk about Manga; though, I wasn't as rabid as when I was in high school.

What are your favorite books?
Aiya!  We all know we don't ask this of bookworms.  I'd ask right back from which age category, genre and subgenre you want me to pull out a substantial roll of parchment.

Naming a few... the Harry Potter series is a given as well as The Lord of the Rings trilogy ( and all  the books related to Middle Earth by J.R.R. Tolkien).  I immediately say Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson, Immortal Descendants series by April White and Eon Duology by Alison Goodman, whenever someone asks for recommendations.  Then, Legend by Jude Deveraux if they want old-school romance books.

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?
Having friends from all over the world!  Meeting new people ( bonus: fellow book lovers) and having conversations with the authors and bibliophiles alike.

Question of the week:  What are the funniest books you've ever read?  Suggested by Alison Can Read


                        
Modern Romance is an actual study done by sociologists commissioned by Aziz Ansari to find out how people date in the age of smart phones and the Internet.  It is funny, and informative.  If you read it, try listening to the audiobook.  It is well-produced and fun.

The Martian is a science-fiction book written by Andy Weir about an astronaut left behind on Mars and his attempt to survive long enough to be rescued.  This is a serious book, but filled with humor.  Having this levity made it easy to connect to the characters and contributed to make this and enjoyable read.

Yes, Please is written by Amy Poehler and is a memoir of her life, so far.  She is smart, wise, and funny as hell!  I love her personal story as one who took it upon herself to create her opportunities, rather than mope about the sorry state of Hollywood.





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2017 Reading Challenge

MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 180 books.
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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
The Fry Chronicles
A Clash of Kings
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Giver
Savvy
The Red Pyramid
Anne of Green Gables
The Complete Novels
Slam!
Slam
Hatchet
Scorpions


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