Holiday Words & Sips

It seems as though this year sprinted from start to close. So much has happened over the past 12 months, and I am beyond grateful for where I find myself in life during this holiday season.

I haven’t had as much time to read as I would have hoped (but isn’t that always the case?). But for this post – as a holiday special, if you will – I decided to share some of the books that I’ve been reading over the past month, and the drinks that I have paired with them. Note: I am still in the process of reading the books listed below, so my opinion may change as I read further.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
My Thoughts: The writing is incredibly beautiful and although the sorrows shared are poignant, the language makes them feel a little less harsh. Even if you don’t typically indulge in YA fiction, I would highly recommend this novel just for enjoyment as an art form.
One Word Description: haunting.
Drink Pairing: Twinings Herbal Unwind (chamomile & green apple), served hot with honey to taste.
Rating: None yet due to it being a current read, but anticipated to be 5/5.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My Thoughts: In my mind, characterization is Doerr’s main strong point, at least thus far. I love all things WWII, and seeing how the two main characters are coming to life thanks to Doerr’s word magic makes this book a treat to read. The pacing is a little slow at times, which is a downside, but it’s more of a “cozy” slow pace than it is a “oh my gosh when will we get anywhere in this story” kind of slow.
One Word Description: Engaging.
Drink Pairing: Leinenkugel’s Pomegranate Shandy.
Rating: None yet due to it being a current read, but anticipated 4/5.

Christmas In London by Anita Hughes
My Thoughts: I’m trying really hard to let myself just be engaged in the story, but I am getting somewhat frustrated with some quirks in Hughes’ writing style. Since it is a romance, there are plenty of times where characters kiss; however, the kisses are always described in terms of how they taste. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, not every kiss tastes like something specific like “champagne and berries” (direct quote). Also, characters never just run into each other; it’s always something like “Louisa sees a young woman coming toward her in a plaid Burberry coat and recognizes Kate” (not a direct quote). Like… does it really take someone that long to recognize another person that they are very familiar with? NO, it does not! So please stop. I do love all of the imagery though. Describing scenes and food is definitely one of Hughes’ strong points.
One Word Description: I don’t just have one word, I have two. Infuriating & entertaining.
Drink Pairing: Tazo peppermint hot chocolate.
Rating: None yet due to it being a current read, but anticipated 3/5.

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
My Thoughts: I really am enjoying this book. I’m not typically one who reads a lot of humor, but over the past year I’ve discovered that I enjoy humor as long as I read it in small doses. Schumer’s book is no exception. If I read too much of it at one time, the humor does grate on me, but in small doses I love it.
One Word Description: Relatable.
Drink Pairing: Mike’s (Hard) Mango Lemonade.
Rating: None yet due to it being a current read, but anticipated 4/5.

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I’m still around, I promise.

Life has been super busy, you guys. In January, my husband and I and our cat and parrot moved about 600 miles away from the county where I had lived since I was in preschool. We got a gorgeous new apartment, I started working a crazy-but-amazing new job, my husband got a new job, and we adopted a dog. All within the span of two months. Things are just settling down now to the point where I’m making myself take some time to read.

(Oh, and did I mention that I’ve been pretty much constantly sick since we moved? My lungs do not agree with the new climate, even though it’s not THAT much different from where I used to live. Cough drops, cough medicine, my inhaler, tissues, Vicks VapoRub and Sudafed have become my best friends.)

Anyway, so I am getting back into reading. Slowly. Very slowly. So I’m still around, I’ll still be posting (hopefully a little less intermittently!), and I will do my best to read the books I have lined up to review! You know who you are. ūüôā

One of the perks of moving from a rural area to a much more urban area is that the library here is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the small town library where the librarians knew who I was… but I am much more pleased with the collection of (physical) books that the library here has! Also, they have a reading room with comfy chairs and big windows. I don’t think there are words to describe how happy this makes me! I love being able to go there on a weekend and curl up with a big stack of books with my iPod playing, and just lose myself in a world that someone else has created. It’s one of the most soothing things I can do.

Another interesting “change” since we moved is that I’ve become more interested in nonfiction. I’ve started reading various humor authors – from Dave Barry (I like him but he is a bit repetitive) to Joan Rivers (don’t like her, too offensive on all levels) – as well as true crime (not right before bed though) and just various other books (for example, right now I’m reading Unmentionable: A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners – it’s pretty interesting! although I already knew some of the things written about in it). I’m also reading a variety of fiction – on my Kindle app on my phone, I’m STILL working toward finishing¬†Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (I didn’t like¬†Gone Girl – I think because I took too long to finish it so I lost threads of the plot – but I decided to give Flynn another shot). From the library, I’m reading¬†Let’s Get Lost by Ali Alsaid,¬†Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume (classic! I’d never read any Judy Blume prior to earlier this year, when I finished¬†Forever…), and¬†Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake. And here at home, I have¬†Fahreinheit 451¬†by Ray Bradbury waiting for me as well as¬†The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, which I’m buddy-reading with my mom. ūüôā

So all is (fairly) well here. I’m happy to be posting an update; I’ve missed being more active on here.

xx April.

Books, books, everywhere!!

I have been an avid reader all of my life, which I do think has helped shape my writing style.  My parents have told me that I was reading by the age of two or two and a half, and, well, ever since then I have been reading voraciously.  Perhaps too voraciously, my husband might say (or my parents may have said), since I have often neglected duties if I am caught up in a good book.  Recently, I have been finding a lot of good books Рbut then again, since when have I not? *wry grin*

A few posts back I mentioned my goal of moving all of the books that were on the floor of our bedroom to a bookshelf that had been recently cleared. ¬†Well, that got done in a day, and while I have yet to organize it… it does look very nice. ¬†I don’t have a digital camera, or I would take a picture of it (mine died a rather dramatic death about a year ago now, maybe closer to two). ¬†But that is only a fraction of the books I own, and goodness, good luck if you turn me loose in a library or a used bookstore!! ¬†I am not picky in the least – the only books I truly avoid are Harlequin romance and Westerns. ¬†But aside from that… I’m willing to try anything. ¬†Mostly fiction, though, since I’ve had too many college and grad school courses in real world stuff. ¬†I much prefer being able to escape to a fantasy world rather than being subjected to reading about dates and names I feel I must memorize in order to be a knowledgeable member of society. *chuckle*

My one guilty pleasure, though, are memoirs. ¬†I can read any type of memoir, although I do tend to lean towards ones in the field of psychology. ¬†I am currently reading a book called Tweak¬†by Nic Sheff¬†(all links lead to Goodreads)¬†about living as a drug addict. ¬†My mother would categorize it as a “tough book” due to the content, and I would agree with her… but I love it nevertheless. ¬†With the field I am going into (social work) I need to know the rough sides of life, because I will doubtless be dealing with people from all walks of life… and what good can I do if my ideas of how other people live are all rosy? ¬†I know that life is difficult, and reading memoirs is one way – I suppose – of reminding me of that, and also of how very lucky I am to be as high functioning as I am, given the problems I face on a daily basis.

But to balance out¬†Tweak, I am also reading I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett. ¬†If there is¬†anything that is more differently written from¬†Tweak than¬†I Shall Wear Midnight, I can’t name it. ¬†I love Terry Pratchett, and recently I have purchased several more of his books for those times when I need a pick-me-up. ¬†When I was younger, I tried reading a Pratchett book, but I failed. ¬†I wasn’t old enough then, I suppose, to understand his dry humor and tongue-in-cheek writing. ¬†However, now, they are delightful. ¬†I’m also reading¬†Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult, which is in between Pratchett and Sheff in levels of seriousness. ¬†It’s actually shown me a different way of looking at the hot topic of gay marriage, which I appreciate… in my family, such things were not spoken of while I was growing up, and even now, with both of us kids out of the house and grown up, discussions of hot topics such as that are not comfortable for my parents to discuss – at least, with me. ¬†But I digress. ¬†Picoult is one of my favorite authors; mostly – and I just pinpointed this – because her books deal with hot topics in society, and as a social worker to be, I appreciate all of the different viewpoints I can get on hot topics (other topics she has dealt with in her novels have been suicide, rape, adultery, and euthanasia, etc.).

Anyway, those are a few of the books that I have read. ¬†If you wish to read my reviews on Goodreads, feel free to check out my Goodreads profile – and if you wish, feel free to add me as a friend. ¬†I am always looking for more people with whom I can be excited about books!! ¬†And now, since it is past midnight my time, I must do something that will allow for me to get sleepy, rather than getting all interested in exploring more of my (too big) book collection. (Wait, is there such a thing as a book collection being “too big”? ¬†…Good, I didn’t think so.)