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It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted at Book Journey

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It's been a fairly busy week. My grandmother had back surgery on January 15 and we've been trying to make sure someone is with her, temporarily in an assisted living facility for physical therapy, and my grandfather, living at home, pretty much all the time. Luckily we have a big family! She's slowly getting better but we could use any thoughts and prayers you send our way. She is anxious to get home and we're ready to have her home! Health and healing have to come first though.

My mom and I did take time out to see Sarah Addison Allen at her First Frost book launch at Malaprop's on Monday night. She is always so sweet! I plan to write about the event as soon as I finish this post.

My book club meeting was Wednesday night. I chose Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman as this month's read and I was a bit nervous about it. I read both books several years ago and they blew me away. No one else has ever read a graphic novel before but we do tend to read a lot of books based around the Holocaust. It was a hit! Well, as much of a hit as something like that can be. We discussed it for a long time, which is saying something since we tend to just say whether we like a book or not and then move on to what's been going on in our lives. Yay! I'm proud of these ladies for stepping outside their comfort zones!

My  mom's birthday is on Wednesday Tuesday (I've lost track of my days), so she and my dad and my sister and her husband came over for a birthday dinner on Saturday night. My husband made Chicken Pecan Fettuccine, salad, garlic bread and, for the birthday cake, Andes Mint Chocolate Cake with Ganache. Holy moly. It was rich but fantastic!

Posted:
Review: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach--4 Stars

Review: gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson, read by Catherine Taber--4 Stars

Read:
Nothing finished this week.

Currently Reading:
A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

Cress by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler

All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

Up Next:

I might finish Cress. If I do, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead looks good. We'll see though.

What are you reading this week?

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

Review: gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cover of gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
4 Stars

Arlene left her hometown of Possett, Alabama after she graduated from high school and never looked back. She has withstood bribery, threats, and guilt trips from hell from her Aunt Florence and remained in Chicago for ten years. But now Alabama seems to have found her. A face from Arlene's past shows up on her doorstep and at her job, asking questions that Arlene doesn't want to answer. At the same time, her boyfriend Burr, a Black man, is ready to get serious but he wants to know that she's serious too. He wants to meet her family. Her slightly racist family. To keep Burr and protect an old secret and her family, she must head back to Possett.

I have seen Joshilyn Jackson speak multiple times and I always enjoy myself hugely. She is hilarious! And she sure knows how to tell a story. I was hoping to listen to a book that she had narrated herself, but those always seem to be checked out at the library so I grabbed this one instead. Catherine Taber narrated wonderfully so I wasn't disappointed.

I've only read one other book by Ms. Jackson, Between, Georgia. I didn't care for it much. There was nothing wrong with it, exactly, it just seemed forgettable and it has been. I think I'll remember gods in Alabama for a long time.

I don't even know whether to say that I like Arlene. Her heart's in the right place but she's about as crazy as her Mama. She prides herself on never telling a lie but that's not quite the same as telling the truth, now is it? She goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid telling lies but I never knew what parts of her story to believe. With good reason.

There are only a couple of other characters that really stand out for me. Aunt Flo is a force to be reckoned with. She seems hard and almost cold but she has a big heart that she hides well. There are a lot of flashbacks centered around Jim Beverly, the high school quarterback when Arlene was in school. He's not a nice guy, to say the least, but he's not painted as purely evil either. He has kind moments, which make him believable.

The other characters were fairly minor and didn't stand out as much. I definitely liked Burr but he seemed almost too good to be true. He and Arlene would have some big fights but mostly he was the perfectly understanding boyfriend. Arlene's cousin Clarice is too sweet to believe. I liked her too but nobody's that nice all the time.

I thought I knew what was going on all along but it turns out that I didn't. That's becoming rare for me so I appreciate it when it happens! It wasn't just one thing but two! Holy smokes! I think my jaw just dropped when I finally saw the whole picture.

I enjoyed listening to the audio but I kind of wish I had a print copy in front of me. The first sentence is awesome. It starts, "There are gods in Alabama" and goes on to list football quarterbacks and Jack Daniels and other things like that. It's a refrain that repeats throughout the book and I loved it.

For a story about family and roots with a firm sense of place and a surprising mystery at its heart, I highly recommend this one.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Joshilyn Jackson on her website, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Read my 3.5-star review of Between, Georgia.

Buy gods in Alabama at

Southern Literature Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

Review: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cover of Gulp by Mary Roach
4 Stars

Mary Roach has a gift for making science accessible and--dare I say it?--even funny. In this book, she tackles the digestive system.

Covering topics ranging from thorough chewing (as in 700+ chews for One. Freaking. Bite.) to the miraculous properties of spit, from being eaten alive to the possibility (or not) of chewing your way out if you are, from "The alimentary canal as criminal accomplice" to *ahem* flatus, and ending up with bacterial transplants to treat intractable digestive ailments, this book asks everything you might possibly have ever wanted to know on the topic but were afraid to ask.

I have a pretty juvenile sense of humor, so all of the fart jokes, and spit jokes, and *ahem* "criminal accomplice" jokes had me at least giggling. In the two chapters devoted to flatulence, I was quite honestly laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. Not that it was necessarily that funny but because "Oh my gosh, I can't believe she went there. And there. And there!" I'm almost ashamed of myself. Almost. Luckily my husband and I have the same sense of humor so he just kept playing whatever game on his phone as I laughed myself silly and waited for me to catch my breath and report so he could share in the joke too.

I've worked in healthcare for years, so I've developed a pretty strong stomach (though I'm not a nurse or CNA and haven't ever had to wade into the trenches, so to speak), so nothing in here bothered me. That will obviously not be the case for all of you. If you can stomach it (heehee!), I do recommend this. If it doesn't seem to be your kind of thing, it's probably not.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Mary Roach on her website and Twitter.

Check out my 4-star review of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, also by this author.

Buy Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal at


Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net















I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted at Book Journey

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Posted:
Movie Review: Into the Woods--4 Stars

Read:
Cover of Gulp by Mary Roach
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach


Cover of gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson, read by Catherine Taber

Currently Reading:
A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

Cress by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler--I finally got to the top of the hold list!

All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

Up Next:
I don't expect to finish any of my books this week. I am excited to go see Sarah Addison Allen at Malaprop's tomorrow night for her First Frost launch!

What are you reading this week?

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

Movie Review: Into the Woods

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

4 Stars

I adore musicals. And that's probably all I need to write. But here goes.

My husband made a point of showing me this trailer a month or so ago (I usually have no idea what's going on in the movie world). He knew I would be excited by it and I was. Fairy tales, a witch, a musical... These are a few of my favorite things!

The acting was fantastic, the songs were great, and all the stories wound together in unexpected ways. I loved that Cinderella and Rapunzel were more from the Grimm version of the old tales than from the Disney versions. It was by turn dark and creepy and dark and funny. One of my favorite songs had to be the princes (Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen) singing "Agony." They were hilarious! Johnny Depp's "Hello, Little Girl" was downright disturbing, as it was supposed to be. *shudder* But I also loved the whole look of the movie. The costumes and sets were stunning.

We were a little puzzled by the way one character's story arc ended. We had no idea why it took the route it did. My cousin tried to explain it to me today but I'm still a little confused.

I enjoyed myself immensely in this movie and recommend it to fairy tale fans!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted at Book Journey

It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Posted:
My Top Ten Books of 2014

2014 Reading by the Numbers

Review: The League of Seven by Alan Gratz--4 Stars

My sign-up post for the 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books Reading Challenge

Read:
Cover of Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger


Cover of Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye
Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye, read by Campbell Scott

Currently Reading:
A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin--I need to catch up before the next season of Game of Thrones!

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson, read by Catherine Taber

Up Next:
I definitely don't expect to finish anything this week.

What are you reading?

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books Challenge

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Life as a Journey is hosting a unique reading challenge. She has asked us to read seven books meeting seven different geographical criteria.

A book from....
  1. One of the 7 countries with the largest populations
  2. One of the 7 highest countries in the world
  3. One of the 7 oldest countries of the world
  4. One of the 7 megacities of the world
  5. One of the 7 countries with the most immigrants
  6. A continent not visited yet
  7. A book with a journey from one continent to another
This should push me out of my comfort zone! I'll track my progress here.

You can find lists and links, as well as more information, at Life as a Journey.

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

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