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?