Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Birthday Book Haul!

Last Monday, the 15th, was my 22nd birthday! Some people go out and buy themselves shoes, or cake,  or clothes, or WHATEVER. But naturally, I trotted out and got myself a chocolate croissant before heading to my most favorite used book store. I had to really show some restraint, because at one point I had ten books in my hands under the excuse, "but it's my birthday!" Unfortunately, my birthday does not bring extra money in my pockets, so I scaled back, and this is what I ended up with.

The Diary of Anais Nin: Volume 2 by Anais Nin (of course): Anais Nin is perhaps most known for her diaries, and over fifteen volumes of them have been published. There is also this crazy photo of her and her seemingly hundreds of diaries. It's beautiful. I've been needing some inspiration to amp up my journaling, and figured she would be perfect inspiration.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse: I don't actually know too much about this one. But if you remember my last haul, I was reading more about spirituality and this is in that vein of things. I'm looking forward to reading it. Every time someone mentions it to me, it's usually tacked on with, "it'll change your life!"

Witch Child by Celia Rees: I have this weird goal to one day be an expert on the Salem Witch Trials. An expert of History Channel proportions. To get in the mood, I bought a fictional YA novel dealing with the witch trials in Puritan New England. Perhaps this won't get me to expertdom, but it's a step in the right direction.

Delta of Venus by Anais Nin: Another Anais Nin, and this is a saucy one! Besides being a famous diarist, Anais Nin is also, possibly, the most famous female erotica author of all time (sorry, E.L James). I don't usually read a lot of erotica, but I have read some stories from this book, and woowee! Well-written and quite sexy. I probably won't read this all in one go, but a story here and there, and I'll let you know how it goes!

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes : I remember reading the short story that birthed this novel in my eighth grade english class, but I don't remember much after that.

Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle: This was not bought at the used bookstore, but I bought it today and need to share. This is a recipe book of "cocktails with a literary twist." I love books, and as a writer I love a good drinks (stereotypes, I know), so putting the two of them together is a brilliant combination. It features drinks such as the Brave New Swirled, Rye and Prejudice, and One Hundred Beers of Solitude. There are also sections for mock-tails, snacks, and drinking games. My favorite? "Pour a cold drink over your head every time you get an awkward boner during Lolita." Ha! Do not be surprised to see some upcoming book reviews with a drink attached to them, as I plan on making the drinks as I read the books, and I will review the cocktail book as we go along.

Phew! Have you read any of these? Which ones should I attempt to get to first?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Ansel and Gretchen are looking for a fresh start. Twelve years ago, they entered the forest as a trio, and Gretchen's twin sister, got snatched by an evil witch. Now, their loveless step-mother no longer feels an obligation to keep them in her home, and has kicked them out. They decide to travel cross country to the ocean, and their car breaks down in Live Oak, a small town with a dwindling population that doesn't take well to strangers. Desperate for cash, Ansel accepts a temporary job doing small tasks for Sophia Kelly, a mysterious chocolatier owner with a poor reputation. Things seem idyllic: Sophia becomes like a sister to Gretchen and opens her home to the siblings, and Gretchen feels like she is far, far away from the woods and the witch that have taken her sister. But when she meets Samuel Reynolds, she learns that the witch is still out there, and closer than she thinks.

What Sisters Red had in intense action, Sweetly had in mystery and suspense. Right away, the reader's feelings are torn on Sophia Kelly. She's so beautiful and sweet, but Jackson Pearce sets up an uneasiness about her with swaying moods and a gossipy small town. I tore through this book, wanting to get to the bottom of the mysterious chocolatier, and the secrets swirling around her. Pearce also really raised the stakes with romance, and two outsiders trying to become insiders in a town that is anything but accepting of newcomers.

Pearce did a good job at tying this novel with Sisters Red, the Fenris make another appearance, and Samuel is none other than Silas' brother! However, I finished the book wishing that the novel had stayed a little truer to the original fairy-tale of Hansel and Gretel. I was a little let down by the ending (which I can't share with you for spoiler reasons!), but it didn't completely tarnish my reading experience, and I'm looking forward to reading her third fairy-tale retelling - there are mermaids!

Rating: 3.75 / 5

Have you read this book? Did anyone else love Hansel and Gretel growing up?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Anniversary to The Great Gatsby!

On April 10, 1925, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published. That means two things: 1) it is the 88th anniversary of The Great Gatsby, and 2) we should all party like it's 1922 and read this novel again! If the anniversary of one of the most well-known novels isn't enough reason for you to give this a read, let's not forget that the much-anticipated movie adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire will be released in four short weeks. I just read The Great Gatsby last winter and fell in love with the twenties, the mystery surrounding Jay Gatsby, and Nick Carroway's observant nature.

Have you read The Great Gatsby? Are you as excited as I am for the film?