March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge

March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile

 

Take Control of Your TBR pile is back for its third year, but this will be the first time I’m participating.  For the month of March I’ll read books in my TBR pile that were released before March 1, 2015.

The Rules:

  • Link-up!
  • Make a Goals/updates/Results post (can be combined).
  • Begins March 1st, 2015 and ends March 31, 2015 at midnight.
  • Read/listen to books from your TBR pile.
  • ALL books must have been published before March 1st, 2015.
  • Post a review and then link it to the Rafflecopter for an entry.
  • You can combine events, challenges, etc. (I’m combining this with all of my current challenges.)
  • No novellas.
  • The rafflecopter will only allow two books to be entered per person per day, so update as soon as you finish a book.
  • Earn an extra entry for adding the Take Control Button to your blog with a link-back.
  • Use hashtag #TakeControlTBR
  • There will be a Twitter Party and a read-a-thon (To be announced).
  • The Rafflecopter will close on April 2, 2015 at midnight and a winner will be chosen within 72 hours. The Prize is a new 2015 release valued up to $20.00.

My Goals:

  • I’m going to try to finish 4 books.  I’ve already chosen 3 of them:
  • I’ll include updates in my Monday’s Minutes posts each week.
  • I’m going to do my best to participate in the Twitter Party and the read-a-thon, depending on when they will be.

 

Review: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran

Rosy

 

  • Author: Marion Grace Woolley
  • ISBN: 9780957627161
  • Publisher: Ghostwoods Books
  • Genre: General Fiction

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran is listed as a Fantasy book, in addition to the general category of Adult Literature/Fiction, but it’s not Fantasy.  I suppose the publisher is choosing to market it as Fantasy because it doesn’t really fit into any other genre.  It’s not Historical Fiction, despite the fact that it takes place during the 19th century, and it’s not YA, even though the main character is 10 to 13 years old.  It does have some fantastical elements, and even a little bit of Magical Realism; however, just because the story is set in an “exotic” locale (read: not in the western world), and there happens to be a circus, and a character that is supposed to be Erik from The Phantom of the Opera, that doesn’t mean it’s Fantasy.

Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed in this book since I was expecting Fantasy.  I’m not taking away stars for that, though, since that’s not the fault of the author.  I doubt she had very little, if any, say in what genre(s) the publisher chose to list the book as being.  However, I hated the story, and the characters.  Afsar and Vachon are psychopaths, but not “Dexter” psychopaths.  No, they not only have no qualms about killing innocent people, they do it with a sick sort of pleasure, and that’s what this book is mostly about: who and how they murder.  At first, I felt sorry for Afsar.  I even pitied her.  The first couple of chapters show her as being a young girl who has been raised to hate, forced to be wiser than her years, yet is still clearly naive about how the world works.  My feelings changed as she became more and more cruel, petty, hateful, and jealous.  I waited, and continued reading, in the hope that something would happen for her to change, or she would do something that would be redeeming, even if only a little bit.  Unfortunately, she remains the same despicable person all the way to the end.

If you enjoy stories about psychopaths who discover each other’s love for toying with their human prey before brutally murdering them, then this book is the perfect one for you.  Otherwise, you might be better off reading a different book.  As much as I thought a story about Erik before he became the Phantom would be great, it just isn’t so.

#FitReaders Check-In #8

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for Feb. 16th – 22th.  My goal for this week was an average of 8K steps per day.  I didn’t meet my goal, not even close, so I’ll be repeating the week.
  • I’ll add 1K steps each week that I meet my goal, until I’m completing 12K steps per day.  After that, I’ll add in resistance training and/or jogging.  I didn’t go to any hot yoga classes this week.
  • I felt physically, emotionally, and mentally drained most of this week, and didn’t have the willpower to get off my butt or eat healthy.  I’m proud of myself for recognizing what was happening, and not forcing myself to stick to my goals or seeing it as a major setback.  I didn’t eat mindlessly or allow myself to forget that I needed to workout.  Instead, I made a conscious decision to let this week go and not beat myself up about it.  Sometimes I just need to be a slob.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Total Steps: 29,165
  • Total Distance: 12 miles
  • Total Floors Climbed: 94

Tuesday’s Tunes #2: 5HTP

For those of you who don’t know what 5HTP is, it’s one of the building blocks of serotonin, and a dietary supplement that is sold as an antidepressant.  It also happens to be the title of my go-to playlist for anytime I’m feeling down.  Since last week beat me up emotionally and mentally, I’ve decided to share it with you.  In addition to taking breaks to read anything not related to WWII, I’ve been listening to this playlist quite a bit, usually on my commute to school, and it has helped tremendously.

5HTP Playlist

What songs do you listen to that help you get out of the dumps?

Monday’s Minutes #8

Currently Reading: The Burning Land by Victoria Strauss, a review book, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott for The Classics Club, The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, and The Essential Feminist Reader.

Burning  Sparrow Little Women Fiery Feminist

Finished: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran by Marion Grace Woolley, which I’ll be reviewing on Wednesday.

Rosy

Winter 2014-2015 COYER Progress:  I’ve read 9 books towards my goal of 10, and participated in 2 read-a-thons towards my goal of 3.  I’ve been keeping up with the Facebook group, and I did a mini-challenge.

Show Your Shelves Some Love Progress: 7 

Outdo Yourself Progress: 8

Netgalley/Edelweiss Progress: 6

SF/F Bingo: Since I’ve already finished this challenge, I’m working on filling in the whole card.

S&SBingoUpdate4

Total pages read for the week: 376

Total number of books for the year: 10.  I’m still a little bit behind schedule.  I had 3 papers to write this week, and I’m busy writing 2 more that are due by Friday, so I’m not likely to finish my one remaining review book for the month before the 28th.  I’m hoping I’ll finish it by March 6th, though, since it’s the last book I need to meet my goal for COYER.

Top Commenters: This week, my Top Commenter was Shaina from Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday’s Sundries: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Sundries - Dominic Hartnett
Image: Dominic Hartnett

Sunday’s Sundries are my random posts that don’t really fit into any of my other features.

I was tagged by Michelle @ Because Reading is Better than Real Life.

20 Questions About Me:

1. HOW TALL ARE YOU?

5’3″

2. DO YOU HAVE A HIDDEN TALENT?

No, none that I’m aware of.

3. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST BLOG-RELATED PET PEEVE?

Bloggers who don’t edit for grammatical and spelling errors.  It’s one thing to have a typo every once in a while, but if the majority of posts are so full of errors that I have difficulty reading them, then I’m going to stop reading and move on to another blog.

4. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST NON-BLOG RELATED PET-PEEVE?

Bullies on I-35.

5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SONG?

There’s no way I could ever pick just one favorite song, since my musical tastes go across all genres and eras/decades.

6. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ETSY SHOP?

None.  I stay far, far away from Etsy because there are way too many lovely things that I want to buy, but I have no money to spend.

7. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME WHEN YOU’RE ALONE?

I spend whatever free time I have reading when the Boyfriend isn’t home.  If he is home, I’m writing or gaming. 

8. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE JUNK FOOD?

I would say dark chocolate, but since chocolate comes from a plant, it’s really salad, right?

9. DO YOU HAVE PETS?

Dresden:

2014-12-09 13.24.08

10. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FICTION AND NONFICTION BOOKS?

All of my favorite books are listed HERE.

11. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BEAUTY PRODUCT?

I have no idea what brand it is, but it’s a vanilla flavored lip balm that I got in my Christmas stocking from Santa (aka the Boyfriend’s Mom).  I use it everyday.

12. WHEN WERE YOU LAST EMBARRASSED?

I mispronounced the word “collegiate” in front of the Boyfriend and his Mom because I had never heard the word spoken out loud. 

13. IF YOU COULD DRINK ONE BEVERAGE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Water.  Hydration is important.  If it’s not the only beverage I can drink, then a daily Chai Latte would be awesome.

14. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?

“The Princess Bride”.  I have many other favorites, but I could watch that one everyday and not get tired of it.

15. WHAT WERE YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL? PROM QUEEN, NERD, CHEERLEADER, JOCK, VALEDICTORIAN, BAND GEEK, LONER, ARTIST, ETC?

I was a loner nerd.

16. IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU LIVE?

I have traveled to many parts of the world throughout my life, and, so far, my favorite place has been South Korea.  However, I don’t know if I would want to live there permanently.  I lived there for 3 years, and while I loved it, I enjoyed coming back to the U.S.  So, maybe some place in Western Europe, like Scotland, England, or France.

17. PC OR MAC?

PC.  I despise Apple.

18. LAST ROMANTIC GESTURE FROM A CRUSH, DATE, BOYFRIEND?

The Boyfriend took me to a fondue restaurant for Valentine’s Day.

19. FAVORITE CELEB?

Hmmm….I don’t keep up with celebrities, but for years I greatly admired Angelina Jolie.  I suppose I still do, but I also love Emma Watson, J.K. Rowling, and Henry Rollins.

20. WHICH BLOGGER DO YOU SECRETLY WANT TO BE BEST FRIENDS WITH?

Well, if I gave an answer, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, now would it?  She’s one of the bloggers I’ve tagged…

Tag!  You’re It:

The Liebster Award

liebsteraward

Sara @ Majoring in Literature nominated me for the Liebster Award!  Thank you, Sara! 🙂

The rules for the award:

  1. Link and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you.
  3. Tag 11 other bloggers who have 200 followers or less.
  4. Ask the 11 bloggers you nominated 11 questions and let them know you nominated them.

11 Questions From Sara:

  1. What is the first book you remember reading? Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
  2. Where do you like to read? Do you have a quiet little hideout where you can read undisturbed?  I usually read on the couch or in bed.  I don’t have a hideout right now, but I’m hoping the next apartment the boyfriend and I move to will have a bit more space for me to create a mini Hobbit Hole.
  3. Starting at the very top of your bookcase, what are the first five books you have on your shelves? A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, Prince Lestat by Anne Rice, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, Arabian Nights by Richard R. Burton, and Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales.
  4. If you could meet one author, living or dead, for coffee, whom would you meet? I have no idea, and here’s why: authors are real people, and just because you love their writing doesn’t mean you’ll love them.  My “idols” need to stay that way.  I don’t want to inadvertently find out they’re arrogant jerks or completely different than how the media portrays them, or that they’re just not likeable.  If that happened, I probably wouldn’t ever be able to read their books again, and that would be horrible.  All of that being said, I still would love to interview authors who wrote books I love, but that aren’t big names yet.
  5. How do you feel about seeing a movie adaptation before you’ve read the book?  I’ve had this happen many times because I was unaware that the movie was an adaptation.  If I really enjoyed the movie, I’ll get the book since it’s usually even better.
  6. What is your favourite adaptation of a book?  On the one hand, I want to say the Harry Potter movies, or The Princess Bride, but on the other hand, Hugo was amazing considering the book sucked.
  7. Which character from fiction would you most like to be? I want to be a Hobbit.  I wouldn’t necessarily say one of the Hobbits from either The Hobbit or LOTR, but a Hobbit nonetheless.
  8. Which book do you recommend to others the most?  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  9. Which book have you re-read the most?  Surprisingly, the one book I have read the most times is not The Hobbit, but The Princess Bride by William Goldman. 
  10. How do you feel about eBooks? I love ebooks and my e-reader.  They allow me to be able to get review books without giving out my address, they take away the packing dilemma when I travel, I can read them on my phone when I’m out and about, and with all the online sources for free ebooks (including the public library), I haven’t felt deprived of books when I don’t have the money to spend on them, and I don’t even need to leave home to get them.
  11. Where do you get most of your books from? Library, bookstore, online?  Since I started college, and even more so since I started blogging, I’ve been getting most of my books online (see above).

11 Bloggers I’m Nominating:

11 Questions for my Nominees:

  1. What got you into blogging?
  2. What are your Top 5 Stuck on a Desert Island books?
  3. How many bookmarks do you own, and do you have a favorite?
  4. Tea or coffee?  Or, is there another beverage you prefer to drink when you’re reading?
  5. What are your essential items, besides books of course, for a great reading experience?
  6. Do you listen to music when you read, or do you prefer silence?  If you listen to music, do you make book-themed/inspired playlists?
  7. Do you prefer hardcovers, Trade/Mass Market paperbacks, or ebooks?
  8. What is your favorite TV or movie adaptation?
  9. What fictional world do you want to live in, or would avoid at all costs?
  10. If you could have any supernatural or magical power/gift, skill, or object, what would it be?
  11. Where or from who do you get most of your book recommendations?

Friday’s Fairy Tales #2: Cinderella

Cinderella - A.L. Bowley
Image by Sofi

The original 1697 story of Cinderella, sometimes called The Glass Slipper, is by Charles Perrault, and was published in his book Histoires ou contes du temps passé (You can listen to the story in French or read the English translation, both for free).  His version is the one that people are most familiar with, as it’s the version closest to the Disney animated movie.  It is loosely based on a story written by Strabo, a Greek Historian during the 1st century BC, who based his story on one written 500 years earlier by Herodotus, and was considered to be true.

Strabo’s story is of a Greek woman named Rhodopis, meaning “rosy cheeked”, who was a young girl when she was taken in the city of Thrace, and sold into slavery in Egypt.  Her owner frequently gave her gifts, including a pair of gold shoes, which eventually led her to being noticed by Ahmose II, Egypt’s then current Pharaoh.  She was “rescued” from slavery by becoming one of his wives.  Despite Rhodopis being mostly passive, Perrault’s Cinderella is even more so, and is the most passive version of the Cinderella character found throughout the world.

While the Grimm brothers kept Perrault’s ultra-passive main character, what is surprising is that, instead of cleaning up the story to make it more palatable to Victorian society, their 1812 version, “Aschenputtel,” is the more graphic one. It can be read for free, along with many of their other fairy tales, HERE.

Modern day retellings of the Cinderella story include:

Wednesday’s Words #4: Dr. Seuss

My Russian History Class is really getting to me emotionally.  The atrocities committed by the Soviets during WWII is staggering.  There is so much focus on what the Nazis did, that there is often a failure to notice what the Soviets did, and it all makes me sick to my stomach, depressed, angry, and increasingly cynical.  So, in an effort to make myself feel better, I’m dedicating this month’s Wednesday’s Words to Dr. Seuss.

“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”

I’m sticking with books that don’t have anything to do with Russia right now, with the exception of my school work.  Goodbye, War and Peace read-along.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!”

I’ve got tickets to everywhere, right on my bookshelf.

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.”

So many choices….

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

When I chose my major, International Relations, it was because I wanted to work in Humanitarian Relief Aid, particularly with refugees, and my dream job was in the UNHCR.  After working, very briefly, for a non-profit last Summer, I became disillusioned, and not quite sure if I really wanted to continue on my chosen career path.  Later, I rediscovered my love of writing.  It’s too late to change my major and I can’t afford a double major or even a minor.  I also still feel an urge to do something related to Human Rights, and I still dream of going to grad school, but overall I don’t know what I’ll end up doing.

“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”

I have faith that I will figure it out by the time I graduate, or I’ll at least be able to find a decent paying job in a field that I enjoy until I do figure it out.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

Until then, I’ll keep thinking and working, rinsing and repeating.  However, I will always keep in mind that….

DrSeussGif

and….

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

#FitReaders Check-In #7

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for Feb. 9th – 15th.  My goal for this week was an average of 7K steps per day, and since I hit that goal, I’ll be working towards 8K steps per day from Feb. 16th – 22nd.
  • I’ll add 1K steps each week until I’m completing 12K steps per day.  After that, I’ll add in resistance training and/or jogging.  I didn’t go to any hot yoga classes this week.
  • If it weren’t for this challenge, I don’t think I would have met my goal this week.  I pushed myself harder than I would have if I didn’t do these weekly check-ins.  8K steps a day is going to be difficult because I’m now at the point where I have to walk every day.  In previous weeks, I was able to get enough steps to cover multiple days, so if something came up, I was still covered.  That also allowed for full rest days.  Now I don’t have that option, so I’m not sure how that’s going to work for the days when I’m stuck at my computer writing my research papers.
  • One thing I’m proud of is that I’m beginning to see a difference in my level of fitness.  I still haven’t lost any weight or inches, but when the Boyfriend and I were walking our usual route, which includes a steep hill, I didn’t get winded going up the hill.  In fact, the Boyfriend and I continued our conversation all the way to the top and I didn’t even need to stop to catch my breath 🙂
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Total Steps: 50,463
  • Total Distance: 20.75 miles
  • Total Floors Climbed: 146