December 29, 2013

THIS ISN'T FICTION and TEA & BOOKS Reading Challenges

So, this is it. The end. Of course, technically speaking, you've still got two days left to finish that very last book for both of the reading challenges I hosted this year. I know that some of you even signed up for both, so needless to say (but I shall do so anyway) I am especially proud of you. Didn't quite reach your chosen level? Don't be sad, even if you only made it to a lower level than the one you had initially planned on, heck, even if you only read one chunkster or three non-fiction books, that is still an accomplishment. Granted, it's a smaller one than you might initially have had in mind, but nevertheless it is something. Didn't even read one single book? That's a different story. Go away and read. Fast. There's no other way to save face now.

Now it's your turn to share with me and all the other participants how you fared in the reading challenge you chose - was it fun, or more of a trudge? Are you glad you managed to polish off a few neglected books or tomes from your bookshelves? Maybe I even managed to turn you into a new fan of non-fiction and/or books with a measly *chuckles* 1.000 pages? 

Last but not least, some of you may wonder if there's going to be a repeat of these challenges in 2014 and I'm sorry to say that with my ongoing hiatus the answer is no, but I certainly hope I've managed to wet your appetite for non-fiction and/or heavy chunksters so you will start into the new year with the same reading enthusiasm as this year and won't need me to remind you all the time to pick up that book and read. That being said, I'm wishing you all a bookishly good start into the new year and may the odds of picking up big books and/or those that aren't fiction, be ever in your favor!

December 1, 2013

TEA & BOOKS Reading Challenge


Time's running out, but you're (hopefully) not running out of reading material so close to the end (of the year and this challenge). Did you polish off plenty of heavy tomes? Good for you. Is there still an unfinished chunkster on your bedside table? You're excused then - so go on and read!

After reaching my chosen level already by mid-year, and successfully upgrading to the next level, a fact I never grow tired of mentioning, I hope that many of you enjoyed to plow through those big books as much as I did. Obviously I hope that everyone will have reached (or soonish, anyway) their personal goal and even if you never quite made it past the first level this is still an achievement worthy of, let me think, going on a book buying splurge! Still struggling with book one? That's tough, but don't give up and keep in mind you've still got all of December to stick your nose between those (many) pages.

Curious about who is participating in the challenge? Go here.

This has been the last update in this challenge, but there will be a final post on December 29th.

Time to share your thoughts, struggles, and great readerly moments in this challenge with all of us! Comment away. 

THIS ISN'T FICTION Reading Challenge


Let's right cut to the chase. One more month. Four more weeks. Did this just get your heart-rate up? Well then go away and read. Are you sitting back, quite relaxes? Good job on reaching your chosen level in this year's This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge!

I'm not going to repeat myself, making a point of how I already reached the highest level after only six months, but *oops* it looks as though I just did. Joking aside, some of you already commented previously about reaching their personal goal, so a big round of applause for those readers among us, please. Everyone who's still struggling, maybe getting to one level, but not quite to the next one, don't fret (too much), because this is still a great achievement. Plus, as mentioned before - one more month to go, so you might just make it over the finish lines too!

Curious about who is participating in the challenge? Go here.

This has been the last update in this challenge, but there will be a final post on December 29th.

Time to share your thoughts, struggles, and great readerly moments in this challenge with everyone! Comment away.

The Sunday Book Branch


the reading nook
And before you start rolling your eyes let me assure you that this is the last time of getting cozy with murders this month. All right, let's say the last for the rest of the year. Better? As I still had a number of single books from various series sitting on the shelf I put together a tasty reading menu. Overall the cozies were of the average sort (which is good) yet none made me feel like picking up more books from the series (which is a shame).
P.S.: If I had to pick a fav among the three I'd go for the cookies!

One Bad Apple (Sheila Connolly) / Crops And Robbers (Paige Shelton) / The Christmas Cookie Killer (Livia J. Washburn)
the writing desk
So I though about how much I used to write on my blog and now that everything has been reduced to these Sunday shorties, you're probably shocked/disappointed/surprised/etc to hear that I'm considering to go into full hiatus mode for a little while. No plan to completely stop writing (or reading, mind you), but somehow blogging has lost its allure in recent months, so a break will do both of us (me and my blog) good. Not filing for divorce yet, which is good, right?

Goodreads
the wishing tree
I confess, it was the cover that first pulled me in. Contrary to what some might think, Shaping Humanity isn't about pretty pics of hairy apes, but showcases our ancient human ancestors offering a fascinating journey down the path of human evolution with a visual focus on what earlier humans really looked like. Think paleontology meets forensics!



the book hoarder
No books for me this week, then again, after my recent haul (see last week's post) that's better anyway. Maybe I'll even celebrate the four-weeks-of-not-buying-books *insert Twelve-Days-of-Christmas tune*. Or maybe not. There's no sense in playing hard to get when it comes to chocolate-covered gingerbread and acquiring new books. Not in December, anyway.

the literary mind
Now that December has come around I can't help but dream of A) a white Christmas and b) a bookish Advent-calendar. Seriously, wouldn't that be neat, in fact, more than neat, it'd be totally awesome! Every day a book or maybe a journal or a bookmark or anything that makes the book-lover's heart beat faster. Who needs one of those old-fashioned chocolate filled calendars anyway? Well, all right, they are yummy, obviously, but books beat sweets every time. What bookish surprises would you like to find in an Advent-calendar?

November 24, 2013

The Sunday Book Branch


the reading nook
And I got cozy again with some mysteries. Again I picked a series of which I've thoroughly enjoyed the first book with its organizationally challenged heroine. In fact, I think I will now officially declare this to be one of my favorite cozy mystery series! I love the theme and the chemistry between the main cast, plus the mysteries are quite decent too (if you read as much in this genre as I do, you rarely get surprised anymore). Granted, the last one was a bit overdone, but what the heck.

The Cluttered Corpse / Death Loves a Messy Desk / The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder (Mary Jane Maffini)
the writing desk
Writing is something that you don't know how to do. You sit down and it's something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It's beyond me, because you yourself don't even know if you're going to be able to. I'm always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I'll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don't go up there to write. The typewriter's up there. If it doesn't start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust.
Charles Bukowski

Goodreads
the wishing tree
Songs have been written about my non-existent culinary skills, well, actually that's not quite true though it wouldn't be surprising. Despite all that I really like cookbooks, mostly for their pretty pictures. The Great British Bake Off with its breads and cakes, chutney and jams, sounds deliciously yummy to me. In fact it sounds good enough to maybe even try out some of the recipes! And when all else fails ... Mom's the word!

the book hoarder
You know what they say. Show, don't tell. So, showing it is ... I present to you my (finally) completed AwesomeBooks haul!
Neat, huh?

the literary mind
Don't you sometimes wish you could guide a story you're reading into a different direction? I fondly remember those interactive novels I read as a teen where you could choose your own path along the way. Of course I usually ended up making wrong decisions and ended up dead, but then I'd just start it all over and heck, it was fun every time. Have you ever read one of those Choose Your Own Adventure novels? If so, how'd you like them? If not, tempted to try them out?

November 17, 2013

The Sunday Book Branch


the reading nook
After deciding to polish off some more cozy mysteries this month I went for some knittingly unexciting fluff this week. This doesn't mean the books are the literary version of sleeping pills, they are simply of the variety that won't get your heartrate up (much). Admittedly they didn't quite live up to my expectations after reading the first book of The Knitting Mysteries some time ago, but sometimes brain candy like that is just what the doctor ordered.

A Deadly Yarn / A Killer Stitch / Fleece Navidad (Maggie Sefton)
the writing desk
Writers Write. Or so they should. Unless they are wading knee-deep through the swampy pool of procrastination. But let's not digress. Being one of my favorite writerly websites out there, I thought I need to share it with you. It's fun, it's inspirational, it's helpful, and it's definitely one of my main sources for filling up my Writing Thingys board on Pinterest.
Reading tip: Do you ever feel like the author of the book you are reading is trying to kill you?

Goodreads
the wishing tree
Before you start wondering who's taken over my blog (or worse, my mind) rest assured that it's still same ol' me. I've always loved to read up on the history of things and that includes *gulp* venturing out of veggie-land into the realm of carnivores. In Meat We Trust showcases North America as meat-eater's paradise while back in good old Europe folks had to mostly resort to potatoes and turnips. Interesting vantage point, for sure!


the book hoarder
Still waiting for two more books to arrive. Don't I hate that. Instant gratification denied. Hear me grumble. That being said (or rather, grumbled) I already have two nicely stacked, well, book stacks sitting next to my computer desk just waiting to be completed by their still lost brothers (I'm referring to them as boys as their authors are male, just in case you were wondering). When that moment arrives I will get out my camera and show 'em all off. Finally.

the literary mind
Apropos of nothing I've been wondering about the biggest amount of books I ever bought in one go. Strangely, and after some serious contemplation of the matter, I came to the surprising conclusion that despite mostly resorting to online book buying these days (which makes the whole book splurging a lot easier as it isn't me who needs to carry them all the way to my door step), my grand days of hauling home multiple bags filled with books are long gone, namely when I was still at Uni, often using breaks to browse through sales-bins in bookshops. A rough estimate? I'm fairly sure I managed to buy more than twenty books on a good day. How many books have you ever purchased at once? Anyone hitting triple digits maybe?

November 10, 2013

The Sunday Book Branch


the reading nook
It's back to the roots or rather back to my go-to genre of choice as of lately. Let's blame the season, because it's perfect cozy mystery weather which means I'm all for delving into murderous activities in small town settings. This one, as it so happens, takes place in Booktown, a place where everyone seems to own a bookstore and one particular shop owner always ends up stumbling over dead bodies. All in all your average mysteries with the bonus of a bookish setting.

Bookmarked for Death / Bookplate Special / Sentenced to Death (Lorna Barrett)
the writing desk
Good thing I only signed up to NaNoWriMo in my mind (yep, completely forgot to actually sign up for it), because I'm currently slightly writing-impaired (yeah, I can still type ... a bit) thus mostly plotting in my mind now too. Now why's that? First I accidentally hit my wrist against a sharp edge of the faucet while cleaning the bath, then I had a slight disagreement with the garage door and pulled a tendon in the same hand, and to round things up, one wrong move later my right shoulder was making a funny grinding sound accompanied by another dose of pain. I'm not sure whether to blame the universe for this or whether I'm simply a klutz. I'd rather do some accusing finger pointing toward the great heavens. Here's to healing and more actual writing next week.

Goodreads
the wishing tree
This one isn't about etymology. Or strange words. It's about the figures of rhetoric. To read or not to read should not be the question when it comes to The Elements of Eloquence. One might not end up like Shakespeare, but one might learn a thing or two. About diacopes, for example. Have got nothing to say? Never mind, from here on out you can at least say it well.


the book hoarder
Still waiting for most of my AwesomeBooks haul which kinda puts me on edge. Yep, I'm always getting nervous when one part of an order only takes a few days and the rest doesn't show up for another couple of weeks. Not as though I wouldn't have experienced this phenomenon before. Oh ye Bookshop-Gods, let me have all my books, pretty please!

the literary mind
The little pink slip said, "Reminder: Please claim this bag at planeside." I do wonder whether the former owner of the book, which held this small piece of paper, has been so lost in thought while solving fictitious crimes that they never claimed their bag? Former book owner and former bag owner? Who knows? And my inner cozy mystery crime solver can't help but wonder whether that bag went unclaimed because of the body parts hidden inside. Vivid imagination? Me? I guess so. What are the strangest things you've ever found in used books? 

November 8, 2013

2 by 2 Giveaway Winner

The lucky winner of the November 2 by 2 Giveaway is
Katy
who picked A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books !

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

November 5, 2013

2 by 2 Giveaway


Welcome to the November edition 
of the 2 by 2 Giveaway!

You just can't beat the classics!

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books (Charles Dickens)
Selected Tales (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm)

Once this post goes live you have two days (48 hours) to enter by filling out the form!
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

Rules
Comments do not count as entries - you must fill out the form!
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
One entry per person.
Open worldwide.

Winner
One winner will be picked through random.org on November 8th and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.

November 3, 2013

The Sunday Book Branch


Kind Regards (Liz Williams)
The Victorian City (Judith Flanders)
the reading nook
As I haven't stuck my nose into anything that isn't fiction lately I figured I should put a non in front of the fiction of this week's reading fare. So I stuck my nose, though not between pages, onto the screen of my Kindle and read up on letter writing and the good old Victorian times. The first was all too fluffy and insubstantial, yet the journey through the streets of London in the 19th century has been a real treasure (recommended not just for Dickens' fans).


the writing desk
It has begun. NaNoWriMo. The month of writing 50.000 words. How hard can it be? Sit a chimp in front of a typewriter and you'll have that word count in no time. Of course, the literary merit will probably not be worth mentioning. But, if a monkey can do it, so can I. Maybe this isn't the time and place to mention that, out of habit, I always open bananas at the wrong end. Let's hold that thought. I think I can work with this. Yep, I'm one of those weird people who can find a good story in pretty much everything. Including opening a banana. 

Goodreads
the wishing tree
I love to read. I love to write. And I especially love to read about writing in my bed. You could say I am a lot like the Writers Between the Covers despite the lack of anything even remotely scandalous in my life. Who knows, by the end of the book I might be like Agatha Christie who just sparked the largest-ever manhunt in England as her marriage fell apart. First though, I might want to get married. *wink*




the book hoarder
A tiny portion of my recent shopping splurge at AwesomeBooks rolled in this week, but I've decided to wait with showing off that particular book mountain (trust me, it simply would not qualify for a heap or hill anymore) until they've all made their way into my mailbox or rather, until my mailman, bless him, has hauled them all up onto the third floor. I should think that man will have well trained leg muscles by the time he delivered them all. 

the literary mind
Oh to be a child again ... and go trick-or-treatin'! Of course, where I live, Halloween has only become the rage in recent years and no kids ever ended up knocking on my door. Though, if they did, I wouldn't hand out sweets, instead I'd give them something to read (not the backside of the candy bar wrapper, mind you). Books instead of sweets! How's that for a change? Better than toothpaste and carrots, I reckon. What do you think of my idea to hand out books (and maybe some chocolate too for good measure) on Halloween?

October 27, 2013

TEA & BOOKS Reading Challenge


Welcome back everyone! I hope you didn't miss my updates to this challenge during my vacation last months too much. Of course, just because I was traveling doesn't mean I haven't been reading and I certainly hope this will also be true for all of you.

After reaching my chosen level by the end of June I decided to be daring and upgrade to the next level. While I've been a bit skeptic whether I could really do it, despite having enough time, I was a bit apprehensive as I never made it to my chosen level last year which is pretty pathetic especially seeing how this challenge is my brainchild. That was mainly the reason why I signed up for a lower level this year, only to find myself upgrading again. Next thing you know, I finished another tome this summer which meant only one more to go. Then, a week ago I figured I had to impress you (and myself) by picking up the next (and final) chunkster ...

I'm happy to announce that by reading Duma Key by Stephen King (who, as we've already established couldn't write a short book if his life depended on it) I have now officially reached the Earl Grey Aficionado level. Needless to say, I'm sooo proud of myself. Not only did I finished the upgraded challenge well before the end of the year, even more so, I managed to rid my TBR piles of some serious chunksters which have previously been to daunting to tackle alone. Yay me!

Curious about who is participating in the challenge? Go here.

Updates for the challenge will be posted regularly on Sundays near the end/beginning of a month and the next date will be December 1st.

Anyone else finished this challenge by now? If so, how about a lil' last minute upgrade to the next level? If not, how many more tomes have you got on your plate shelf? Please share.

THIS ISN'T FICTION Reading Challenge


Welcome back to reading everything that isn't fiction! And even though this might sound like fiction (dystopian at that) I did not stick my nose into any non-fiction books since the last update.

Having already reached the highest level in this challenge by reading a total of 22 books I figured a little break would be totally ok. Maybe I could go ahead and come up with a suitable name for yet another level, but what is there really after College? You'd probably raise your eyebrows if I came up with a catchy title like, say, the Waitress level, right? Looking at the current economy and all it wouldn't be all too far fetched though. *cough*.

Of course this doesn't mean I won't be reading any non-fiction books during the rest if the year. In fact, I'm already ogling two books which I purchased in a Kindle sale not too long ago. So I might just devour those next week. And if all else fails, I went on a tiny book-buying splurge this week which means a handful of not-necessarily-fictitious reads will soon be making their way to my doorstep too.

Curious about who is participating in the challenge? Go here.

Updates for the challenge will be posted regularly on Sundays near the end/beginning of a month and the next date will be December 1st.

How far along are you in this challenge? Maybe you've even managed to reach your chosen level by now? Any non-fiction reads you can recommend to this old non-fiction aficionado? Comment below.

The Sunday Book Branch


Duma Key (Stephen King), German Ed.
the reading nook
Much to my own surprise I picked up a fat and heavy tome this week. I figured, the lousier the weather, the more reading I will get done. Was I right with that presumption? Of course. And which book did I pick? I'll give you a hint - the author started out with short-stories, but has evolved to a state where he (probably) couldn't write short stories (or books) if his life depended on it. Yes, good old Stephen King! Ohhh ... and finishing this book meant that I've reached my final level in the Tea & Books Reading Challenge, woohoo!


the writing desk
When your keyboard is getting dusty and your pen still looks like new, your writing might sound rusty as if you haven't got a clue. And it only took me 10 seconds to come up with that rhyme. Not too shabby! What I'm trying to say is, sometimes we need to hone our talents or simply have to kick-start out creative flow a bit. Well, I've got two great recommendations for you today - Daily Writing Prompts and Flash Fiction Photo Prompt. Now let's give our writerly inclined minds some work-out!

Goodreads
the wishing tree
It's all about our Daily Rituals. Or habits. And routines. They make our world go round, get the mind in motion. Not sure where my own place is between Freud's 16 hours days and Gertrude Stein's 30 minutes of writing, but I love the promise of insights into those creative minds and personalities. My ritual of choice? Going to bed with a book every day.

the book hoarder
Guess who went on a lil' shopping spree at AwesomeBooks this week? Over the course of several days and three orders amounting to a total of 22 books *eeek* - including four books from my wishlist which have all been published this year and which are usually real hard to come by for such a super-duper cheap price - I'm about ready to admit that I might have overdone this a wee bit. Anyway, as those are still on their way to my doorstep, how about sharing something else I received this week? I recently purchased a bookish sticker grab bag from Bookish on Etsy and they are truly awesome! 

the literary mind
Imagine you could only read books by one particular author for the rest of your life! All right, let that idea sink in for a moment or two. Me? I'm cowering in a corner babbling to myself like a lunatic at the thought of not having the choice of whose books to read. I mean, it'd have to be a pretty amazing author and even more so (s)he'd have to write a lot to keep me entertained, that's for sure. Could you imagine reading books by one author only until you die?

October 20, 2013

The Sunday Book Branch


Wild Ride Maybe This Time (Jennifer Crusie)
the reading nook
What does it tell you about a reader who needs to have particular books right the minute they are available and then lets them gather dust on the shelf for more than two years? In lack of a word let's use yours truly as example of this awful habit (which I've fortunately grown out of in recent months). So I unearthed two books by one of my favorite chick-lit authors, though this time Jenny ventured into a new direction, throwing in demons and ghosts along the way ... different, yes ... up to par with her previous novels, no.

the writing desk
So I've decided to put the pressure on and sign up for NaNoWriMo also known as Sit-down-and-bleed-onto-those-pages,-damn'-you!-month. I may be exaggerating, but only a little. Ever the optimist I already know that 50.000 words in a month is quite a daunting task (unless your name is Stephen King), but those words don't write themselves, plus this will only be about actually writing and not editing which is something I admittedly tend to do in the middle of the creative flow whenever my inner perfectionist gains the upper hand. Wish me luck!

Goodreads
the wishing tree
I want caaandy, I want caaandy *insert melody*. The story of Candy sugarcoated with a cover that sure gives my sweet tooth something to dream about, but even more so I was intrigued by the sub-title of A Century of Panic and Pleasure ... I don't know about you, but when I run out of sweets on movie night, I'm this close to a panic too. A yummy book that inevitably ended up on my candy stash wishlist.

the book hoarder
And sticking with those song tunes ... no books today, my mailman ran away ... ladidadidaaa. Just joking. I'm on my best behavior so no book purchases or Kindle downloads for me. I also realized I haven't entered any bookish giveaways in ages, so no lucky wins either. On a more positive note - I can actually see how my TBR piles are melting away, yay!  

the literary mind
What's in a name you ask? Quite a lot. It needs to fit the character and it certainly needs to fit into the whole world an author has set up. Of course, some go way overboard with their creativity when it comes to baptizing their babies. Need examples? Rita Jewel in an accessory-themed cozy mystery or how about Andromeda Miller in a chick-lit novel. Bad, I know. And one of my biggest pet peeves too. Are strangely inappropriate or plain ridiculous names a turn-off for you too? What's the worst name you ever came across in a novel?

October 18, 2013

2 by 2 Giveaway Winner

The lucky winner of the October 2 by 2 Giveaway is
Sandra @ That is the Day
who picked The Bone Garden!

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

October 15, 2013

2 by 2 Giveaway


Welcome to the October edition 
of the 2 by 2 Giveaway!

Dead men do tell tales!

The Bone Garden (Tess Gerritsen)
The Surgeon (Tess Gerritsen)

Once this post goes live you have two days (48 hours) to enter by filling out the form!
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

Rules
Comments do not count as entries - you must fill out the form!
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
One entry per person.
Open worldwide.

Winner
One winner will be picked through random.org on October 18th and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.

October 13, 2013

The Sunday Book Branch

Days went by, pages got turned, and look ... it started snowing (luckily not in my part of the country)!

the reading nook
When I'm on a roll, I'm on a roll, so it was more cozy mysteries for me this week. I already read one of the books in the Bibliophile Mystery series earlier this year and had three more lined up. Sadly, the more I read of this series the worse it gets. To sum it up - we're talking obnoxious, silly and far too convoluted. Plus, one corpse should be enough, but no, why not kill off half the town folk while we're at it?

the writing desk
Let's not even go there. The closest I got to writing this week was contemplating the philosophy behind Bo's Cafe Life and pinning a couple of inspirational things for the writerly mind. Which I have. Somewhere. Well hidden. Or maybe I lost it. I mean, not as though I lost it *starts to giggle like a maniac* this is more of a misplacement issue. Of course, once I leave the room and retrace my steps I might just remember where I put it. My mind.

Goodreads
the wishing tree
What do you get when a psychologist with a promiscuous mind writes a book? Perv. Apparently we are all sexual deviants on one level or another. Or so the author claims. A challenging topic that might actually shed some light on ... oh, never mind. *wink*

the book hoarder
Something truly awesome sat in my mailbox this week. And it doesn't even have pages, imagine that. Earlier this year there was this Creative Pay It Forward thing going on all over Facebook. Spied it on Debbie Ohi's Facebook page and saved a spot, naturally. And I am absolutely delighted to now being the proud owner of my very own original mini painting by this amazing illustrator which you might actually know too. If not, check out her site!

the literary mind
Congrats to Alice Munro for winning this years' Nobel Prize in Literature! Of course I'm a bit of a literary philistine as I've never, if memory serves me right, read a book by any previous winner. No, wait, I think I might have been forced to read some while in school. Overall a sad state of affairs, I know. Maybe now that old age is setting in I am finally ready for some more substantial reads than, say, my beloved cozy mysteries. Which Nobel Prize winning authors have you read? Any recommendations?

October 6, 2013

The Sunday Book Branch

Welcome to my first edition of what I'd like to think of as Sunday shorties which take a look back onto my week in reading, writing, and other bookish endeavors ...

the reading nook
My trip to the UK had two major consequences - it soothed my wanderlust and it made me fall behind in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. But you see, when I travel, I travel. Period. No books allowed. Ain't nobody got time for that, so to say. So instead of being out and about all day I am now intent on making some page-turning progress and I catapulted myself back into the Great work, you're 1 book (1%) ahead of schedule zone again. My go-to genre of choice? Cozy mysteries. And there's even been a common theme ... can you guess it?

50% Off Murder (Josie Belle) / Shoe Done It (Grace Carroll) / Die Buying (Laura DiSilverio)
the writing desk
Contemplation cleaning my messy desk before getting down to the whole typing business once again showed how perfectly I've got the whole procrastination thing down. But not this time. The thought was there yet I ignored the chaos. Then stuff happened. Like, say, an earthquake. Don't give me that look now. I'm not telling stories (as I should, come to think of it). Of course one might argue that one teeny little earthquake is a lame excuse. It probably is. But it kinda distracted me. I'm pathetic, I know.

Goodreads
the wishing tree
After hurting my shoulder and neck last week, an incident that is too embarrassing to relive here - oh, all right, I was blow-drying my hair and suddenly my muscles cramped up in the most painful way possible *sigh* - I realized that a hot water-bottle just won't cut it. What I needed was The Novel Cure to whip me back in shape. To be honest, I first spotted the book at the British Library during my recent stay in London. Little did I know that my body would now remind me of purchasing a copy in a not so subtle way.

the book hoarder
My mailbox didn't get lucky this week, but I did hit one of the big yearly flea markets in town which is something I am always looking forward to in early October. Contrary to what some might think, I did not splurge too much. Of course, I could have gone for all those semi-interesting books just for the fun (and cheapness) of it, but I behaved and only bought four books. I won't bore you with listing them though as the all are A) non fiction and B) in German. Let's just say I'm very happy with my as-good-as-new hardcover tomes which only cost me a total of six Euros.

the literary mind
I seriously don't get this whole book boyfriend craze some gals have going on. Maybe I'm reading the wrong books, but I've never fallen for a fictional character. As much as I wouldn't mind hanging out with some of the characters I read about, getting all doe-eyed and starting to drool whenever "his" name is being dropped in conversation is just plain ridiculous in my opinion. How about you? Book boyfriends yay or nay?

September 30, 2013

Writer at Work aka The Indefinite Hiatus

After some careful deliberation I have decided to put my book blogging on the back burner for the foreseeable future. Even if you're only posting a couple times a week, and my fellow bloggers will certainly attest to this, the idea gathering and planning and researching and typing does take more time than most would think. Of course, maybe I'm just really awful at this thing called "time management". As I plan to devote more quality writing time to, well, writing I won't be around the blog much. Obviously I will not be gone completely, but I seriously need to show my inner procrastinator/slacker who's the boss. There are so many unfinished writing projects and yet more new ideas are rolling in all the time, it's downright scary. Suffice to say, I need to get those out of my system before my nightmares become a reality. I kid you not, my stories have literally started haunting me in my sleep. Exciting dreamscape? You bet. Come to think of it, that might make for a great plot idea too ...

That being said, I will post shortish updates on Sundays. Plus, it will also be business as usual with my reading challenges.

September 2, 2013

Vacation Break

While many already enjoyed a nice vacation during the summer I will do so in September which will mostly be spent traveling through the Scottish Highlands and I might even squeeze in a cuppa tea with the Queen. That said, I shall be back refreshed and with a subtle British accent in October!

September 1, 2013

TEA & BOOKS Reading Challenge


Not so long ago we had half-time and look at that - two thirds of the year are already history and I sure hope you all put it to good use. Just remember, as you are nearing the end of your pocket calendars, so should you near the end of the tome you're currently reading. And if you're not currently reading one, what are you waiting for?

I'm happy to say that I listened to the little angel on my shoulder (it helped that the angel knocked out the devil on my other shoulder with a heavy tome) and went for an upgrade to the next level. I'm now officially trying myself on the Earl Grey Aficionado level and even more so I already finished one of the two books I will need to achieve this goal - Blood Memory (Greg Isles). Not sure about which chunkster to tackle next, because it looks as though I have way too many books that fall short of a few *cough* fifty to hundred *cough* pages. If all else fails ... book shopping, yay!

Curious about who is participating in the challenge? Go here.

Updates for the challenge will be posted regularly on Sundays near the end/beginning of a month and the next date will be October 27th (due to my absence in September).

Which tomes did you read this month? How far along are you in this challenge? Feeling the need to upgrade (or maybe downgrade, haha, just joking)? Please share.

THIS ISN'T FICTION Reading Challenge


Eight months of reading should have brought as all a huge step closer to our chosen level in this reading challenge. I hope you all agree and that no more than one or two of you are falling into full fledged panic-mode now. Just relax, you've still got four more months ahead of you. On second thought, just because I can sit back and relax doesn't mean you should too!

As for myself, I've read two non fiction books this month - SuperSense (Bruce M. Hood) and Orwell's Cough (John Ross) - which brings my grand total to 22 books. In other words, I already reached the College level back in June, but obviously I'm not being shy about picking up some more books that aren't fiction.

Curious about who is participating in the challenge? Go here.

Updates for the challenge will be posted regularly on Sundays near the end/beginning of a month and the next date will be October 27th (due to my absence in September).

Which non fiction books have you read this month? And most importantly, how far along are you in this challenge? Reached your level? Want to upgrade? Please share.

The Postman Files - August Haul

You might remember my resolution of not buying more than six books each month? Looking back over the course of the year I have to say, I've done exceptionally well in that regard. Granted, I've been splurging a bit the previous month, but there were also months of no book buying at all. Bottom line - I could have added 48 books (if I had stuck to the six books a month rule) and the great total of acquired reads comes to ... 29 ... can you actually believe it? *tremendously proud of self* Of course it could have been just 25 if only I hadn't ...

... done some damage in the Kindle Summer Sale on Amazon. On second thought, seeing how I only grabbed four out of 300 available bargains, I did behave.

Bought for Kindle
Growing Old Outrageously (Hilary Linstead and Elisabeth Davies)

The Reading Files - Beam me up, Scotty!

This week was dedicated to, shall we say, adventurous reads? As much as all the books sounded as if I'd thoroughly enjoy them they were all, without exception, duds. Not to say they were horribly awfully bad, but close enough ...

Night of the Living Trekkies (Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall)

Thoughts. What do you get when zombies start invading a Star Trek convention? Basically, this book. A parody that merges two themes I love seemed like a good idea at time of purchase, but honestly, this novel is so silly it's not even funny. In fact I only laughed about one minor scene. Borderline boring and far too cheesy for me!

Random quote. He sighted the first zombie carefully and pumped a single round straight into its chest. Nothing happened.
"You missed!" Leia said.
"I didn't miss," Jim Said. "He just doesn't care."
(p. 96)

Verdict. For die-hard fan fiction enthusiasts only!

Abduction (Robin Cook)

Thoughts. What do you get when a medical doctor come author reads too much Jules Verne? Basically, this book. The small crew from a submarine gets sucked into a kind of Utopia which inevitably leads to them disrupting peace there. Cookie-cutter characters, no surprises whatsoever, and a stupid ending if I ever saw one.

Last words spoken. You've got to be from that college up the Charles River. You Harvard fellows are always making fools of yourselves.

Verdict. Oddly unimaginative sci-fi ride to the bottom of the sea!

Seven Deadly Wonders (Matthew Reilly)

Thoughts. What do you get when Indiana Jones tries to save the world Tomb-Raider-style? Basically, this book. Fast-paced, action-packed, and unbelievably over the top this would be fantastic Hollywood blockbuster material. As a novel however it's just plain shallow and implausible which is a shame, because the plot idea had potential.

First line. It towered like a god above the mouth of Mandraki harbor, the main port of the island state of Rhodes, much like the Statue of Liberty does today in New York.

Verdict. Overdone archaeology adventure for adrenaline junkies!

August 30, 2013

Non-Fiction Discoveries

You might not like going to the doctor, but you don't like being sick either. Of course, in olden times it was often better for your health not to seek medicinal advice ...

The founding fathers of the United States were not only rattled by politics but illness too. This book opens a window into the practice of medicine in the eighteenth century. Not happy with today's health system? Think about how it was back in the days.

Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health (Jeanne E. Abrams)
Publ. September 10th - HC
New York University Press
Caesarean sections used to be performed when baby's or mother's life or health at risk, these days though they are often requested without medical reason. What is causing this trend? Read to find out.

Cut It Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America (Theresa Morris)
Publ. October 1st - HC
New York University Press

Ethical? No. Progressive? Sometimes. Presenting a brief history of human medical experimentation this is a study on a shameful chapter in our history. A non-fiction book for YA readers!

For the Good of Mankind? The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation (Vicki Oransky Wittenstein)
Publ. October 1st 2013 - HC
Twenty-First Century Books

August 28, 2013

August 26, 2013

The Curious Reader - Should TBR piles have an expiration date?

First you need to have this book right now. Then it ends up untouched on top of your TBR pile, gathering dust ...

Should TBR piles have an expiration date?

Source
There comes a time in a reader's life when you start feeling like an archaeologist on a dig. Rummaging through your book stacks you constantly find old relics you didn't even know where still there. Granted, there's a certain Kinder-Surprise-flair to this scenario, but it also shows how you're not even close to catching up on your reading.

What's one more in the grand scheme of things?

Before I started blogging I had, on average, thirty unread books nicely stacked next to my bed just waiting to be picked up. Now I'm not going to blame this entirely on having been sucked into the book blogging community, but somehow my current average is, shall we say, slightly higher?

I don't even recall the exact number of unread books I used to own before I took some serious measures of reducing that number. Side note - these measures did not include reading faster! If I had to guess I'd say it must have been around four-hundred or so. That's quite a step forward from a measly thirty books. Looking back now I have no idea how things got out of hand so fast, but apparently they did and no one stopped me.

I'll read it one day! Yeah, right.

One book buying ban which lasted six months, and several book purges later things are looking up again. In fact there's even light able to fall through the windows as book stacks are no longer blocking it. I set myself a limit of how many new books to buy, I got rid of books I no longer see myself reading, and I generally try to steer clear from freebies. As of today I still own roughly 130 unread books, but to me this is quite an improvement. Talk about manageable.

Book buying bans are pretty much self-explanatory, but what's the secret to those book purges I mentioned? Basically, if you don't see yourself reading a novel which you just had to have five years ago, but somehow never got around to reading, you might want to reconsider if it is still a book you actually want to read or not. All those "or not"s have got to go. Period. Not to say that five years constitutes a cut-off date for everyone, but you definitely might want to start with the oldest volumes and work yourself forward. This method sure worked its magic for me, so maybe it'll do for you too!

Read By Date - 31/07/2014

How long have some of your unread books been waiting to finally get read? Have you ever resorted to a book purge to thin out those book piles? What are your secrets to keep those TBR piles at a manageable number?

August 25, 2013

The Reading Files - What's in a cough?

After adventurously going for an upgrade in the Tea & Books Reading Challenge I decided that despite having already reached the highest level in the This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge there's still room to squeeze in a couple non fiction books until the end of the year (and beyond).

Supersense (Bruce M. Hood)

Thoughts. Are we all wired to believe in the supernatural? Religion or paranormal phenomenon, you name it. In fact, the author named it "supersense". As intriguing as the topic might be, I found the execution (maybe inevitably) one-sided and inconclusive. However, I do appreciate the food for thought the author provided!

Conversation starter. More people would rather wear a cardigan that has been dropped in dog faeces and then washed than one that has also been cleaned but worn by a murderer.

Verdict. A half-baked work on the human propensity to believe in the supernatural!

Orwell's Cough (John Ross)

Thoughts. As if writing itself didn't pose enough struggles already, I present to you writers and their maladies. Skilfully setting the scene and allowing a unique retrospect view the author offers fascinating insights into what (most likely) killed 'em off and how their ailments influenced their work. Not your typical biography!

Book quote. "As I warned you I might do, I intend getting married again when I am once again in the land of the living, if I ever am. I suppose everyone will be horrified, but apart from other considerations I really think I should stay alive longer if I were married."
(George Orwell in a letter to Fred Warburg)

Verdict. A must-read for all bibliophiles (and medicine students who long for an entertaining literary trip through history) !