Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon | Book Review

A Common Life is a lovely little book that was published after A New Song, but chronologically takes place in between A Light in the Window and These High, Green Hills.  This kind of drives me a little nuts, but I love this little novella enough to make up for the wrinkle in time.  

Yup; novella.  This book is short!  I read it in one day.  It opens with Father Tim watching the sunset and reflecting on how much he cares for Cynthia, and how he wants to make sure he never loses her.  He runs down the hill with Barnabas, straight in his back door, and straight down on one knee to propose to Cynthia.  She of course says yes!  

A Common Life is told from tons of different points of view!  I loved getting to know the thoughts of many of the Mitford villagers.  There's the usual suspects, like Louella and Miss Sadie and Dooley, plus Hessie Mayhew and Esther Bolick.  I had forgotten the small detail that Esther puts calla lilies on the orange marmalade wedding cake she makes.  I ended up using calla lilies for everything at my wedding; I wonder if I was subconsciously influenced by Father Tim's wedding!

Of course the wedding is lovely and perfect, and the book ends with Father Tim and Cynthia on a very rustic honeymoon in Maine.

Do I even need to say it?  Five of five stars!  Up next: In This Mountain.  It's still July as I write this review, and I only have 3 more Mitford books to re-read.  I'm going to make it!  But guess what?  I was horrified to realize this morning that I don't own nor have I ever read Book 9!  *gasp*  I sent hubby an impassioned emergency text and he responded totally appropriately, by agreeing that that was quite an oversight on my part and of course it's imperative that I own the book and that he'd already ordered it on Amazon and I'd have it no later than Monday as he selected rush shipping.  Ladies, I may have the world's best hubby.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A New Song by Jan Karon | Book Review

(Don't you just love love love this cover?!?)

Continuing my summer re-read project with the 5th book in "the Beloved Mitford Series!" (The publisher uses that exact phrase on the covers of the books. Yup; they're beloved by me, at least!) Same as with the last four Mitford books, there will be spoilers in this "review;" it's more a recap to get to get us ready for the new book in September!

A New Song takes place entirely on Whitecap Island, where Father Tim is filling in as interim priest at St. John in the Grove. While understandably homesick for Mitford, Tim & Cynthia waste no time settling in at Dove Cottage and making friends. 

They take in a boy again. Jonathan, age 3, who's mother is hospitalized with an especially severe bout of depression. Cynthia falls in love with him, but praise God: by the end of the book his mother is able to care for him again. 

Father Tim finds a new "Grill;" Mona's Diner for food & Ernie's Bait, Tackle, & Books for fellowship with the guys. They share a building, and Ernie & Mona are married, but there's a yellow line down the middle between the two businesses. This helps keep their marriage intact!

Father Tim hires a new organist, Ella Bridgewater, who is a CHARACTER! She's a hoot. We could call her the Whitecap Miss Sadie. 

Tim & Cynthia have a neighbor who's a complete hermit/recluse. He's disabled, and has Tourrettes. He hides behind a tall wall. But you know Cynthia... She and Father Tim worm their way into his home and heart. 

Father Tim goes deep sea fishing and spends nearly the whole trip horribly seasick. Fortunately he recovers near the end and helps pull in a big fish. 

A HUGE storm hits and destroys a lot of property on Whitecap, including St. John in the Grove and Dove Cottage. Father Tim doesn't want to desert his new parish in this situation, so Paulina, Buck, Dooley, Poo, Jessie, and Harley get flown in by Omer so that Father Tim can marry Buck & Paulina. 

Jan Karon is so freaking talented. Even though this book takes place far from Mitford, it still felt like Mitford. If that makes sense. I loved it, of course!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Out to Canaan by Jan Karon | Book Review

Out to Canaan is the fourth Mitford book by Jan Karon.  Remember my summer re-read project?  I'm getting down to the wire!  When this review is published I'll have just four short weeks to finish the first nine books of the series prior to the release of the tenth!

These books are pretty old and this is a re-read project, so there will be spoilers.  These "reviews" are more summaries.  I'm re-reading the whole series, so that should be a good indication that these are definitely excellent books!

In Out to Canaan:
*Mack Stroup challenges Esther Cunningham for the mayorship.  This is a major tension through the whole book, all the way to the last few pages.  Esther wins, but only by a coin toss!

*Dooley comes home for the whole summer!  He works at The Local with Tommy and has two girls potentially interested: Jenny and Lace.

*Father Tim helps Lace bring Harley out of the Creek when he gets a bleeding ulcer.  Harley does his convalescing in their guest room and then moves into their basement mini-apartment.  Turns out he used to be a mechanic for a race car driver, so he gives both their vehicles tune-ups.

*The vestry nearly sells the rectory out from under Father Tim and Cynthia, but they purchase it just in the nick of time.  Fernbank is sold to Andrew Gregory and his new Italian bride.  Sweet Stuff Bakery is on the market, but then Winnie Ivey decides to keep it and run it with her new beau.  Turns out the realty company interested in all three properties is owned by Edith Mallory.

*Barnabas is hit by a car, but Dooley and Hal Own save him.  He's gone for a month out at Meadowgate, healing.  When he comes home, he and Violet carefully coexist.

*Father Tim, Cynthia, and Pauline drive to FL and back over the course of just two days to get Jessie back.  Now Pauline has three of her five children back in Mitford.  She's staying sober and working at Hope House.

*Buck Leeper is back in town to turn the Lord's Chapel attic into Sunday School rooms, and while there he meets and gets interested in Pauline.

*The Bane & Blessing sale raises $22,000, but puts Esther Bolick in the hospital with two broken arms and a broken jaw.  She uses two fingers and eye blinks to communicate her famous orange marmalade cake recipe to Bane & Blessing volunteers.

Next up:  A New Song!

*I own my copy of Out to Canaan.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders by Nan K. Chase with DeNeice C. Guest | Cookbook Review

(This isn't the full cover, but it's the best picture I could find.  All the photos in this book are so lovely!)

This cookbook was so beautiful and so informative, I'm giving it 4 of 5 stars even though I'm not going to try a single recipe out of it!

The authors of Drink the Harvest really know their stuff!  I was impressed, reading this cookbook.  I was also excited to see that they're rather near to me geographically; they hail from Asheville, NC.  That is a fun city to visit if you ever get the chance.  While the ladies certainly know their way around a garden and a kitchen, I never felt intimidated while reading.  I kind of got the feeling that if I were talking to them in person, they'd be helpful and kind without ever making me feel silly or stupid.  

However, I do not have a chance to hang out with the authors in person, and I do feel a little intimidated at how much work goes into a kitchen garden.  Gardening is covered in the first part of the book, and I love how honest the authors are about different plants' yields and time to maturation.  They don't discourage you from trying to grow any of the fruits/veggies/herbs yourself, but they do let you know that some things are more cost/time efficient to purchase at a farmers' market.  I've never grown a thing in my life.  In fact, the hubby still hasn't let me forget about the cactus that I managed to kill during our first year of marriage.  Yup, you read that correctly:  I have killed a cactus.  

I had requested this cookbook from my library so that I could start researching homemade wines.  I love wine, and I enjoy cooking (most of the time) so I thought it only made sense to try my hand at homemade wine.  I was in a for a little bit of a shock to find out how much work it takes!  I have a whole new appreciation for vintners now.  Even if I started with fruit from the farmers' market, it'd still be years before I had wine to drink!  The start-up (equipment that you'd need to purchase to get started) is actually relatively low; definitely not prohibitive, but still more than I'd like to buy for an "experiment."  (It might not be an experiment to everyone, but it would be for me.  I tend to not get things quite right at first.  Not so big a deal with trying a new cookie recipe; months of hard work to waste in winemaking.)  The good news is that nearly all of the work is done over the course of a few hours over the course of two or three days at the front end, and then you're letting it ferment.  So I really don't want to discourage anyone else from trying their hand at winemaking!

This cookbook is definitely more than just wine.  Part 1 is all about gardening and Part 2 is about all different kinds of beverages and then Part 3 is syrups and teas.  The winemaking is actually a pretty small part of the book as a whole.  For my purposes, I was interested in the winemaking, but I read the entire book.  It would be hard not to!  So many tips and tricks and advice, and loads and loads of gorgeous color photographs!

Which will be my final point: the loads and loads of gorgeous color photographs.  This book is beautiful!  I really really really want to taste test all of the drinks/meads/wines featured within, and I wish I could have a garden half as pretty as the authors'.  So if anyone else goes and reads this cookbook and makes any of the beverages, let me know.  I'm more than willing to volunteer as taster!

*I received my copy of Drink the Harvest from my public library.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews | Book Review

Throwback Review!

I originally read this book in October 2011, according to Goodreads, and I gave it 4 of 5 stars and no written review.  

Here's the summary from Goodreads:
The popular Mary Kay Andrews delivers a tasty holiday treat as she brings back the winning characters from Savannah Blues and Savannah Breeze for a little Southern cheer. It's the week before Christmas, and antiques dealer Weezie Foley is in a frenzy to do up her shop for the Savannah historical district window decorating contest--which she intends to win. She throws herself into putting up a Graceland/Blue Christmas motif, with lots of tinsel, an aluminum tree, and all kinds of tacky retro stuff. The project takes up so much time that Weezie is ready to shoot herself with her glue gun by the time she's done, but the results are stunning. She's sure she's one-upped the owners of the trendy shop around the corner. But suddenly, things go missing from Weezie's display, and there seems to be a mysterious midnight visitor to her shop.

Still, Weezie has high hopes for the holiday--maybe in the form of an engagement ring from her chef boyfriend. But Daniel, always moody at the holidays, seems more distant than usual.

Throw in Weezie's decidedly odd family, a 1950s Christmas tree pin, and even a little help from the King himself, and maybe there will be a pocketful of miracles for Weezie this Christmas eve.

I may not remember all the details, but I do remember loving this book!  In late October, I was already able to see Christmas on my horizon and this was just a perfect read.  There were a couple of different storylines going at once, but it never felt like the book (or the author) was trying too hard.  It all flowed so well.  And as I've said before, I just absolutely love books set in the south!  Savannah at Christmastime... I'd love to see that in person someday.  This is Book 3 in a series by Mary Kay Andrews.  The fourth book in this series is Christmas Bliss.  This is also the latest book in the series, published in 2013.  We're only halfway through 2014... not too late for Mary Kay Andrews to announce a fifth book featuring the dynamic duo of Weezie and Bebe!  Please?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos | Book Review

My sister-in-love recommended this author to me, and we read this particular book nearly concurrently.  As I write this, I have just finished the book and she has just begun and it's driving me INSANE because I want to talk talk talk about it with her but she's not done yet and I don't want to give her any spoilers!  Such an absolutely fantastic book.  I'm fangirling pretty hard over this new-to-me author and have already recommended her to my mother-in-love.

Falling Together is about Pen, Cat, and Will.  In college, they were a totally dynamic trio.  They were all the same major and they went nearly everywhere together and they just clicked together so perfectly that it was almost off-putting to others.  At one point the author describes, through another character, their mode of communication: they were were so in-sync with each other that shortened phrases, words, would ricochet between them.  It was like listening to conversational bumper cars.  When college ends and Cat gets engaged, the three break off their friendship 100%, cold turkey.  Pen and Will agree that they wouldn't know how to be friends with just each other, without Cat, and for reasons explained in the book, they know that they can't expand their friendship to include Cat's husband.  Fast forward six years.  A lot has changed in each of their lives, but Cat has just emailed Pen and Will for the first time since college.  She wants them all to meet up at their college reunion, and she desperately needs their help.  From the book jacket: "But instead of happy reconciliation, what awaits is a collision of past and present that sends Pen and Will, with Pen's five-year-old daughter and Cat's hostile husband in tow, on a journey across the world."  Literally!  No spoilers, but they really do literally travel across the world.  I love books that take me on a trip!  

Falling Together has so much going for it.  The author is a great writer; the sentences flow very naturally and easily, and convey so much emotion in so few words.  I tore through this book in just a few days.  I also totally identified with multiple characters, in different ways.  Occasionally a character would make an observation or have an epiphany and I'd go "Oh! Me too!  I hadn't ever thought of it that way..."  All of the characters were very human, quite imperfect, but you will love them all the more for that.  At one point Pen, Will, and Jason are asked whether or not Cat would want them to find her and they have to actually think about it.  I don't blame them.  They're not bad people, but are they good enough?  

A slight tangent, but I wonder if this book resonated with me a little more than it might for others, because I was also part of a tight trio in college.  My roommate, Ali, and I had a close friend, Sean, with whom we did nearly all of the freshman "things."  We were all the same major, we all lived in the same dorm building, we went to our first frat party together, we studied together, we ate together.  Sean and I were from the same hometown, and a couple of times he drove me to and from.  However, when Sean and I changed majors and Ali became a resident advisor for a different building, we all fell apart.  I wonder if it'd be easy to fall back together, like the characters in this book.

Back to the book, to the ending (no spoilers):  I liked the ending.  I think it's one of those endings that could make some readers really frustrated, or that some people may not like, but I agreed with it.  There was one last rollercoaster ride in the last three chapters, but then we sailed smoothly out the other side.  It is a decently tidy wrap-up, but not so tidy as to be unbelievable.  

*I received my copy of Falling Together from my public library.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

This is a neat weekly feature over at a blog I really enjoy, The Broke and the Bookish.  They read books similar to some that I've been reviewing, and they're fun and they write well.  Totally worth checking out!

Top Ten Characters I'd Want on a Deserted Island With Me

1. Anne from Anne of Green Gables.  I just know we'd be buds, and you'd definitely want some friends with you on the deserted island.

2. Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plum" books.  She seems fun, and she knows her way around a stun gun.  She's tough, but also fun.

3. Hayduke from The Monkey Wrench Gang.  He's tough; he regularly goes out in the desert and survives on nothing but his hunting skills, canned beans, and beer.  And listening to him talk about conspiracy theories could be entertaining.

4. Velva Jean from Jennifer Niven's "Velva Jean" series.  She can sing, so that's entertainment, and she's tough.  She once survived being a spy in Nazi-occupied France.  Oh!  And she can fly planes.  So if by any chance we had access to a plane, we'd be able to get off the island.

5. Father Tim and Cynthia from Jan Karon's "Mitford" series.  This might be cheating a little, but these two really should automatically come as a pair.  They balance each other so well!  With Father Tim, we'd have a priest and counselor and with Cynthia we'd have a storyteller and positive spirit.

6. Bedlam from Elizabeth Corrigan's "Earthbound Angels" series.  He can "teleport" all over the world, so he'd be able to go fetch us food and supplies and whatnot.  And he's entertaining.

7. Perry from Veronica Rossi's "Under the Never Sky" trilogy.  He's used to living off the land, so he could help us hunt food and build shelter.  And he has super-heightened senses that could come in handy if we needed to keep watch for passing ships or planes to signal for help.

8. Josh Hanagarne from The World's Strongest Librarian.  This one is a slight "cheat" also, as this is a nonfiction autobiography.  But I still want Josh on the island.  He's nearly 7' tall and a body builder and a fellow redhead and he loves literature like I do.  So he can help with all the heavy lifting (literally!) and I bet he squirreled away some books on the island.

9. Vianne from Joanne Harris' Chocolat.  Because we will need someone to make chocolate.

10. Last but not least, Zuzana from Laini Taylor's "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" trilogy, just for entertainment and positive attitude.  

Looking back over my list I see a strong trend toward character who I would find entertaining.  So if you want to come on my desert island vacay with me, you better bring talent to the table!  lol  Who would you bring with you?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Requiem by Lauren Oliver | Audiobook Review

(Cover: ugh.  Not as bad as Pandemonium, but worse than Delirium.  Lena spends pretty much this entire book filthy dirty living out in the woods.  So when did she get her hair all silky and her eyebrows all plucked?  Why is she doing sexy in the woods?  There's a revolution on, people!)

So I finally finished this yesterday, praise God.  GROOOOAAAANNNNN  What a long and difficult book to listen to.  I'm considering reading the book in physical form to give it another chance.  It was the narration.  I'm trying to think back to the narration of Pandemonium but I can't remember it much.  It was the same person, but I don't remember it grating my nerves like this.   Here's the problem:  Every.  Word.  Was.  Emphasized.  To The.  MAX.  For.  The.  ENTIRE.  BOOK.  The narrator made it seem like Lena lived two months of her life at a constant state of near panic/heart ache.  All the time.  Even if she was just discussing foraging or scouting with her group, it was a level of ferocity that put me off.

I gave myself overnight to cool down a little and gather my thoughts and I think that the book itself was decently well-done.  And it had a pretty good ending for a trilogy-ending book.  And I liked the set-up.  Hence the reason I'm considering picking up a physical copy to try again on.

Requiem is told in alternating chapters between Lena and Hana, which was a smart move on Lauren Oliver's part.  This way we still get all the main character's action outside the city, in the Wilds, but we also get to know what's going on inside the city, where Hana is.  Through Lena we see the atrocities foist upon the Invalids--the horrible conditions inside the Crypts where prisoners are kept and the hardscrabble subsistence of the people living in the Wilds.  As the government forces more Invalids out of the cities, things become denser and tenser in the Wilds, leading to fights and theft.  And through Hana we see the realities of life inside the city:  only a very few are privileged enough to have electricity 24 hours a day and many people are living on severe food rations.  There's now a solid concrete wall around the city, so the residents can't enjoy seeing the water or the trees anymore.  

I am glad that I stuck through this to the end.  I liked the way in which the author brought the girls together one last time.  It was very natural and felt right.  I wanted to cheer at the ending.  It's not perfect; there aren't happily-ever-afters handed out to each and every character; but it's right.  It's a good ending.  I know I'll continue to recommend Delirium for a while yet, but I'm not sure I'll really push Pandemonium and Requiem.  Still, I don't consider my time "wasted" for having read them.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews.  You can find their blog here:  This weekly meme, which Tynga's team posts on Saturdays, is all about sharing the books that you received or purchased over the previous week.  Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your own Stack!  This week my stack is tiny; I'm trying to cut back on how many books I order through NetGalley and the library as I catch up my TBR pile!

(Who doesn't love free books?  Go use your library!)

Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders by Nan K. Chase with DeNeice C. Guest--have already read this one and written the review, so look for that very soon!  I loved the book.
The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet: Make Lunches Your Kids Will Love With More Than 200 Deliciously Nutritious Meal Ideas by Laura Fuentes
The Book of Not So Common Prayer: A New Way to Pray, a New Way to Live by Linda McCullough Moore--love love love the cover!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Art: Creative Ideas to Transform Your Books-Decorations, Stationary, Display Scenes, and More by Claire Youngs | Book Review

I can never resist checking out book art books whenever I come across them!  My job is to provide lots of programs for teens in a library, and I love doing book art with them.  Also, I love doing book art in my own home-I'm just nerdy like that.  And what else are you going to do with all the books you weed from work or home libraries?*

Book Art contained tons of great craft ideas, and almost all of them use a pretty short and standard list of supplies, like a craft knife and tracing paper and glue sticks.  I love when there's not a lot of front-end investment in crafting!  The author does a great job with the instructions for the various projects--they're not overly long or complicated, and very clear.  And she provides templates in the back for all of the projects!  

Doesn't the little street scene on the front cover of the book look gorgeous?  I might try something like that at Christmas time.  Could you picture a few books with street scenes cut out of them lined up on the mantel over the fireplace, with a little faux snow underneath?

But right now it's the middle of summer, so the first project I attempted were the greeting cards.  They're a combination of drawing/design and cut-out, and I must say I'm really pleased with the result.  Here's a picture of two of my greeting cards:

I made 14 cards over the course of three days!  I'm going to give a set of 12 to someone for a gift.  Not pictured: a snail design with a flower cut-out.  I used all different brightly colored cardstock for the cards.

I give this book 5 of 5 stars.  It's got easily approachable projects and read well and had lots of photographs.

*Actually, there's lots to do with weeded books.  Writing projects, like black-out or ransom note poetry.  Upcycling, like discussed in this review.  Sell them, if they're in good condition, to a local used-book store.  Donate them, again-if they're in good condition, to your local library or school.  Have a book giveaway on your book review blog.  Recycle them, if they're in poor condition.  Give them away.  Or use them for funtivities.  Did I forget any?  Please comment and let me know!

*I received my copy of Book Art from my public library.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver | Audiobook Review

(Nope.  Not digging this cover.)

Throwback Review!

I originally listened to Pandemonium in June 2013... so just over a year ago.  I ended up giving it 4 of 5 stars on Goodreads, but I didn't write a review and I really can't remember why I gave it so many stars.  My lasting impression a year later is that I didn't care very much for this book.  I think if I were rating it now I'd give it 3 of 5 stars.  It's not the world's worst book by any stretch, but I did some struggles.  Maybe I gave it 4 stars out of peer pressure?  This whole trilogy was just completely blowing up the YA book blogosphere at the time.  And yeah, I can see a lot a lot of teen girls loving these books.  So that's probably it.

The first issue was completely my fault:  There were six months and dozens of books between finishing Delirium and starting Pandemonium and I didn't go back and reread the last chapter or read any book reviews of Delirium before I started.  Turns out there were a few details I wasn't clear enough on before we started.

The next issue:  in the audiobook you can't see differences in type to have any kind of visual clue as to who is talking when.  In Pandemonium the chapters alternate between being in the here-and-now and being in the not-so-distant past.  Yes, the narrator would announce chapter headings.  But I listened to this during my work commute.  I can't sit in my car and listen to books until it's conveniently between chapters!  I have to turn off my car now and go into work and just hope that 8 hours later I'll remember which time period we're in.

The next issue:  I don't know if it was the narrator's style of reading or the way the character was written, but I started to not really like Lena much anymore.  She's this weird mix of whiny and naive and adventurous.  

The last issue:  This is an in-between book.  It has an abrupt beginning and a cliffhanger ending.  This doesn't have to be, ya'll.  Go read Victoria Schwab's Archived books.  Or Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire books.  They have great beginnings, middles, and ends all on their own.  

I'm not going to say that this book isn't worth reading, but I would like to encourage you to read a physical book or ebook version of it so that you can see the type and see the time period changes.  And you'll definitely need to read it if you intend to go on to read Requiem.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn with Petra Couvee | Book Review

(Love love love this cover design!  Conveys the espionage feeling perfectly.)

What a fantastic and fascinating read! It blew my mind. I am so fortunate to live in a time and place where anyone can write anything they like. From the little reviews I write here to the great American novels to.... Fifty Shades. Ha, ha, ha. It all has an equal chance at publication and sale!

The title says it all, with the intrigue and all: The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book. Not only was Doctor Zhivago banned by the USSR, but Boris Pasternak and his family were threatened, followed by KGB agents, and ostracized. Some could almost say that the KGB killed Pasternak: because he was expelled from the writers' union, he couldn't work. He was very cash-strapped at the end. He couldn't go to the hospital, because he was "non-party." (Their words.) But he did not die alone. The CIA made sure that the world knew of him, and of his novel. Millions of copies were sold in the Western world. Hundreds of thousands of copies were covertly smuggled into and distributed throughout the Eastern bloc and Russia.

How cool is that? So many independent groups and people all working together to try to achieve recognition for Pasternak. He was even awarded the Nobel Prize, but the KGB forced him to decline. How sad is that?!?

Reasons I loved this book: for an adult history nonfiction book, it was really readable. Not too dense, but didn't skimp on details either. The author's prose was spot-on. No paragraph-length sentences. Also: the balance between biography and history. This book has a great balance throughout the book and within individual chapters between telling the reader about Pasternak and his life and family, and the CIA/Kremlin activities. I like that personal touch; I like knowing how particular government actions affected him and his loved ones. I really felt for him.

I'm going to sum up with a blurb from the back of the book, because I agree with it: "With groundbreaking reporting and character-rich storytelling, Peter Finn and Petra Couvee uncover the high-stakes drama behind one of the Cold War's strangest turning points. Passionately written and acutely aware of the historical context, The Zhivago Affair almost makes one nostalgic for a time when novels were so important that even the CIA cared about them." ~Ken Kalfus

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

This is a neat weekly feature over at a blog I really enjoy, The Broke and the Bookish.  They read books similar to some that I've been reviewing, and they're fun and they write well.  Totally worth checking out!

Top Ten Favorite Movies & TV Shows

1. The Big Lebowski--This is actually hubby's all-time favorite movie, and we watch it about every 5-6 weeks.  It's become a favorite of mine, too, because I love him (hubby).

2. The History of Future Folk--we LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie!  You MUST go watch it!  That's an imperative.  It's an indie flick; a hidden gem of cinema.

3. BBC's Top Gear-must differentiate!  We tried the American one and just couldn't get into it.  But we love the British one!  We've already watched everything Netflix has, and we're on a re-watch.

4. The Walking Dead-We only "discovered" this one two weeks ago and we've already watched everything Netflix has to offer!

5. Dexter-We love this one too!  What does it say about us that I have two violent TV shows on my list?

6. Pretty Little Liars--this one is just me.  The hubby won't touch it with a 10' pole.  But I watch it while I work out or while I cook.  I'm fascinated by the train wreck, I guess.

7. Battlestar Galactica-I didn't expect to like this one, and I did!  So the surprise in that made it even better.  And now I walk around using "frak" as a mild expletive.

8. White Collar--This was a recommendation from my sister-in-love and we love it.  Art, heists, history, NYC...

9. Burn Notice-I want to be Fiona.  She's awesome.

10. Lilyhammer-I love stuff about the mob.