Wednesday Update!

My husband and I just got into our new hometown this evening. I am about to crash any minute now, so my Sunday update will be super long. Here is a picture of my adorable kitty (in the old apartment) to tide you over until Sunday.

Sunday Update

My move to up north is almost here! My husband and I start the drive on Tuesday with a kitty that doesn't like to be in a car. Fun times ahead! Anyway, let's get to the books.


Storm Riders - 22% completed - Nothing to see here. Keep moving.

Ringworld - 60% completed - Just keep swimming is my mantra for this book. I am reading it, but I am not reading the book carefully anymore. My goal is just to finish the book.

Social Media Metrics for Dummies - 24% completed - This book is proving to be very educational and useful. I am learning a ton about how to track different statistics about my blog and twitter feed and what the statistics mean.

Tongues of Serpents - 28% completed - I love reading about Temeraire and Laurence's adventures. This time they are in Australia and causing trouble and pushing dragon rights. :)

Cat Sense - 20% completed - Since I got my cute kitty a little over a year ago, I have wanted to learn more about cats. This book looked like just what I wanted. It is interesting so far.

Fun! Entertainment! Randomness!

Review: Living Dead in Dallas

Living Dead in Dallas
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed my second romp with Sookie and her boyfriend "Vampire Bill." As you can probably guess, the book is a bit silly, but the book doesn't try to be high fantasy when it is not.

In this installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series, Sookie and Bill are sent to Dallas to help a nest of vampires find their friend. Sookie and Bill's investigation lead them to an anti-vampire church group, and things go from bad to worse! There is also a B plot in this book that book ends the main story (seriously, the murder happens in the beginning of the book and the resolution is the last thing to happen in the book). The B plot was interesting; however, I wish that this plot could have been the focus of another novel, it felt very thrown together at the last minute. I wish that the B plot could have joined into the main plot, so it could have felt a bit more cohesive.

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Review: Escaping Reality

Escaping Reality
Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC generously provided by Julie Patra Publishing.

Amy is a woman with a past. On the first page of the book, she gets a message that she needs to leave town ASAP from her mysterious handler. While on the run, she meets a rich and handsome stranger name Liam, and the story is off and running.

This book was more fun to read than it has a right to be. It is a romance-thriller, and it kept my attention and interest better than most romance-thrillers I have read. When it comes to romances, I typically go for a standard regency romance. This book, however, kept me attention. I was really intrigued by the mysterious Amy Benson, and I kept turning the page, hoping to find out more about her. Yep, I must admit that I kind of need to know what happens next.

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Wednesday Update

What happened to this week? I cannot believe it is Wednesday already. My husband and I are moving to Pennsylvania next week and the movers are coming Friday for our stuff. We are almost done packing, but as you probably know the last push is always the hardest. Needless to say, reading has been a bit of a challenge; however, I did finish A Good Birth and A Storm of Swords. BTW, what is a sword storm anyway? Anyway, I am close to finishing a few other books too, which is a good thing, because I have a stack of galley books to get through ASAP. There is an excel sheet and everything.


Storm Riders - 22% completed - Nothing to see here. Keep moving.

Ringworld - 50% completed - Ugh. This book is never ending, and not in a good way. I do want to finish it before the Sword and Laser wrap up episode though, so I will push on.

Escaping Reality - 18% completed - I am still not sure what is going on in this book; however, it is a fast read. I have less than 2 hours left (according to my kindle); I just need to find the time.

Social Media Metrics for Dummies - No new update.

Living Dead in Dallas - This book is so much fun. I have less than 3 hours left on the audiobook. I am really glad that I spent an audible credit for the first two books in this series (it was a BOGO sale). I am going to have to get the next one.

Fun! Entertainment! Randomness!

Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Precious Little Life for the kindle is on sale for $2.99. I have been meaning to read this series, so I am excited to get my hands on the first volume for so little.

Review: A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience

A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience
A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience by Anne Lyerly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book as part of a GoodReads First Reads giveaway.

This book came at the right time in my life. My husband and I are planning on having children in the next year or so, and I am in the early stages of doing some research about what I am in for. Two of my friends had babies last year, and I spent a large amount of time with them. Although both had healthy babies, their pregnancies were both rough, so I have been wanting to do research on what a more typical pregnancy and birth is like.

This book was really refreshing, because it focuses solely on the birthing process. I feel like most books focus on (1) getting pregnant, (2) the pregnancy, or (3) what happens after you take the baby home. I rolled my eyes when one of my pregnant friends described her elaborate birth plan, after reading this book, I have a better appreciation for why she created a birth plan. I liked the interviews that were sprinkled throughout the book. I felt like I got a good idea of what childbirth was like for these women.

Also, I really liked that when the author referred to research studies, she has the references in the back of the book. I hate reading books that refer to research, but there is no further information.

There were two things that I did not like about this book. First, I wish that the book had been more grounded in sociological research. I feel that there must be research on the childbirth process or similar women-only events, and I think this research would have strengthened the book. Second, I feel like the book's audience kept changing. I am not sure who is supposed to read this book: soon-to-be mothers, new mothers, mothers, medical care professionals, the author (I feel like the book was a bit cathartic for her) or someone else entirely. The book needs just a bit more tightening before it is perfect.

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Review: A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My original review of this book disappeared into swarmy parts of the Internet, so you will have to get the shortened version.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a ton of fun. It got a bit slow in the middle; however, it redeemed itself in the end. I really enjoyed Catelyn (she is fantastic), Sansa (she has definitely grown the most as a character), Bran (what is going to happen to Bran?!), and Tyrion's (what are going to be the consequences of his last actions?) story lines. I am also excited to find out what happens to Jon, even though I generally find him to be a goody goody.

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Sunday Update

What a crazy weekend! My husband and I are moving soon, so we have been busy packing. Sadly, this means less time for reading. Soon we won't have a television though, so I am guessing I will have more time for reading.


A Good Birth - 66% completed - This is an interesting book. I am enjoying reading the snippets of interviews and how certain themes show up across the interviews. I wish the author had connected her interview project to other sociological projects though. I am also pretty terrified about the prospect of having children now.

A Storm of Swords - 85% completed - This week has been a bit tough for Storm of Swords, the story had slowed down a bit. However, the story has been picking up recently. I am now up to Tyrion last chapter, and things are about to get good. I must admit I love getting to the farewell chapter for each character. Most of the time something dramatic happens.

Storm Riders - 22% completed - I have not touched this book in the last week. This is going to be a problem. I know.

Ringworld - 50% completed - I was supposed to finish this book this weekend. That did not happen. I am not really enjoying this book, and I hate Louis with a passion. Seriously, I think he is an awful person. He is so arrogant.

Escaping Reality - 4% completed - This is a book that I was asked to review. I just started it, but it is going to be a fast read. You are thrown into the action on the first page. It feels like it it going to be a bit silly but lots of fun.

Social Media Metrics for Dummies - I haven't started this book yet. It was a GoodReads First Reads giveaway book. It looks like it will be super useful.

Fun! Entertainment! Randomness!

Amazon is having a huge e-book sale with 503 books on sale. Also, a word of advice: if you can, go electronic for your books. As someone who just packed up several hundred books, e-books weigh a lot less than physical books. I almost solely buy e-books; however, I keep buying physical copies of my knitting books. I almost starting to think I just need to buy a tablet and be done with it.

Review: Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter: 25 More Pedigree Pooches

Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter: 25 More Pedigree Pooches
Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter: 25 More Pedigree Pooches by Sally Muir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Impressions: I must admit that I have a love for knitting books that focus on toys and other small items. Little knitting items are wonderful, because (1) they are tiny (and tiny items are always cute), (2) they use up all the scraps of yarn that you have in your knitting basket, and (3) they are super fast to knit up. I can just imagine knitting up an army of lifelike dogs and bright pink and blue dogs in just a few weeks!

The Details: This book contains 25 adorable patterns of knitted dogs. There are 6 toy dogs (the Shih Tzu is my favorite), 4 utility dogs (I loved the Greyhound), 6 terriers (the Cain Terrier Yorkshire Terrier and the Airdale Terrier are super cute), 4 gun dogs (the pointer is adorable), and 5 working dogs (I really liked all of them).

Each dog is knitted in pieces and then sewn together. The patterns do a good job of describing how to sew and shape each dog, so they look like their namesakes.

Knit Your Own Dog recommends Rowan Yarn; however, the book even states that any yarn (of any size) can be used. I appreciate knitting books that recommend certain yarns (so if I want my project to look just like the picture in the book they will) but also encourage the knitter to try other yarns (I don't like it when books guilt me into buying hard-to-find yarns or out-of-my budget yarns).

Final Impressions: This book is super cute. I love all of the dogs, and I cannot wait to start knitting lots of dogs in all the colors of the rainbow. There is a decent amount of variety in the types of dogs, so I feel like I won't get bored while knitting through the book.

This review copy of Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter was kindly donated by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers.

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Wednesday Update

I know, I know. This is crazy! Two updates in a week! I was thinking that maybe I should do two updates a week, especially since I am reading so many books at the same time now, and it is taking me forever to finish anything. Sadly, I cannot read two books at the exact same time, which is probably for the best. If Joffrey from A Song of Ice and Fire crossed with Sookie Stackhouse from Dead until Dark, we would have some problems. :)


A Good Birth - 17% completed - I just started this book tonight. It was a GoodReads First Reads giveaway book. The book is a discussion on what makes a birth good, and the thesis is based on about one hundred interviews with women who recently gave birth. Several of my friends recently had babies and I would like to have children one day, so the themes in this book are particularly interesting to me.

A Storm of Swords - 62% completed - I must admit that I have read a lot of what happens in this series on wikipedia. I have also been watching Game of Thrones on HBO. Nevertheless, the book has been riveting. It got a little slow for me yesterday; however, the Red Wedding is about to happen, so my interest has picked up again. I am listening to this book, and Roy Dotrice (as if you didn't know) is simply fantastic with the voices.

Storm Riders - 22% completed - This was another GoodReads First Reads giveaway books. I was so excited to get this book. It is by Margaret Weis (!) and Robert Krammes. I am enjoying the writing; however, I am a bit lost in the story. It is book two in the series, and I did not read the first book. I understand the basic premise of what is happening, but this is not a stand alone book. Hopefully, I can get more interested in it, because it is a fast read when I sit down and read it.

Ringworld - 34% completed - This was the Sword & Laser book pick for the month. I told my husband that Ringworld was the main pick and there was an official alternate pick of Redshirts. His first comment was "I think you picked the wrong book." I am starting to think the same thing. Larry Niven is very excited about explaining science. Unfortunately, this is sometimes at the expense of the characters. The book is less than 300 pages, so I WILL finish it by the end of the month, if I can muster up the effort.

Fun! Random! Excitement!

In other news, I have been chosen to read a few books that are going to be published soon including the new Temeraire book Blood of Tyrants and the new Locke Lamora book Republic of Thieves. I should be starting to read these books soon, so be on the look out for my reviews!

Review: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so much fun! The writing was definitely not the best, but it was a fun story. Also, I was pleasantly surprised how strong of a character Sookie was. She definitely stood up to any character, both male and female, that gave her attitude. Audible had a deal going on a month or so ago, and I was able to get the first two books for the price of one. I am looking forward to listening to the second book.

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Review: Courage After Fire for Parents of Service Members: Strategies for Coping When Your Son or Daughter Returns from Deployment

Courage After Fire for Parents of Service Members: Strategies for Coping When Your Son or Daughter Returns from Deployment
Courage After Fire for Parents of Service Members: Strategies for Coping When Your Son or Daughter Returns from Deployment by Keith Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book through the GoodReads First Reads program.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I have worked as a mental health professional in a VA in the past, and I hope to work in one again in the future. This book covers a lot of the struggles that a returning service member experiences and ways that a parent can help. I thought it was great that the authors include some stock sentences that parents can say to their children when they are struggling with coming up with the words themselves. There are also some great tools that the parents can use with their children (e.g., thought record and sleep hygiene recommendations). Another great thing about this book is that when research is discussed in the book, there is a citation on the page and the reference in the back of the book. I have read so many books that refer to research but never cite anything. If you feel the research is dubious in this book, you can look it up! For the researchers I recognized, however, the research was spot on. Finally, the real treasure in this book is all the resources that are listed in the back of the book. The military and other groups have tons of resources for veterans and service members, but sometimes it is hard to figure out where to go. This book gives you a fantastic starting off point.

My one critique of the book is that there is not a bigger push to seek professional mental health help for both the service member or the parent. I say this, because lots of the techniques described in the book (e.g., thought records) can be done alone, but this can be challenging. I would recommend doing many of these exercises with a professional. In other words, if you are a parent or service member and you feel that the tools in this book are helping but you are still struggling, please seek a professional for help.

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The Fault in Our Stars Is on Sale on Amazon!!!

The Fault in Our Stars is less than $4 on Amazon! You need to buy it, read it, and savor it. I know the book sounds a bit sad, read it anyway. You are seriously missing out, if you are not reading it.

See my review here.

Free Neil Gaiman Book!

Issue #1 of Sandman is for free on Amazon! I heard that it will be free for the week, but you should get it ASAP!

Sunday Update

I noticed recently that all I do is post book reviews on my blog, and I have been neglecting other aspects of reading like quotations, book lists, book updates, etc. I am thinking that Sunday will be a day to post book updates and various reading related things that I discovered during the week.

Book Updates:

Storm Riders by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes -- This is an ARC that I received through GoodReads. I had been keeping it on the back burner, but I picked it up again today. I am enjoying it; however, I didn't read the first book in the series, and I am a bit confused as to what is happening. 22% completed

A Storm of Swords by GRR Martin -- I got this audiobook through my library. I have it for 21 days, and I must listen to at least 2.5 hours every day, or I will not finish it in time. I watched the most recent season of Game of Thrones (and read the books' wiki), so I know what is going to happen, but it is still enjoyable. I am really enjoying watching the TV series first, and then reading the books, because I have faces to go with (most of) the names and I can zone out at times and not miss anything. I won't have this luxury; however, once I get to the second half of the book. 36% completed

Ringworld by Larry Niven -- I am reading this for the Sword and Laser book club. The female characters in this book are pitiful. The male characters aren't too fabulous either, though. Ringworld is a classic and does the science fiction part well, even if the characters (and the plot sometimes) suffer for it. 34% completed

Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris -- I started reading this to balance out some of the more depressing stuff I have been reading recently. The book isn't high literature by any means; on the other hand, the reader (I am doing the audiobook) is great and the book has been fun so far. ~33% completed

Random Fun:

Website on American Gods

Poor JK Rowling...or is it all a publicity thing?

Review: The Amber Spyglass

The Amber Spyglass
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A satisfying conclusion to a well written trilogy. I must admit that the religious part of me felt a bit uncomfortable (putting it mildly) with the subject matter (the religious bits get more and more pervasive through the series). However, the story is solid and so is the writing. These two things are hard to come by, so I have to get it where I can. I greatly enjoyed this series as an adult, but I wonder if I would have liked it as a young adult (to whom the series is marketed). There are definitely some heavy topics in it. I could see having a conversation with my kids during and after they read the book.

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Review: What to Expect Before You're Expecting

What to Expect Before You're Expecting
What to Expect Before You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I decided to read [b:What to Expect Before You're Expecting|6287369|What to Expect Before You're Expecting|Heidi Murkoff||6471649] both to scare me into putting off having a baby and to get me mentally prepared for what needs to happen to have a baby. Because my husband and I are not planning on having a baby in the next few months, I am going to have to reread this book, because everything went in one ear and out the other. This is partly my fault, but also partly the fault of the book. The information always seemed either too detailed (so it was overwhelming to memorize) or too basic (so I wasn't paying attention). Also, almost every paragraph ended with "talk with your doctor." As an aside, I think it is important to remind readers about speaking with their doctors and not relying only on books and websites; however, the way the book was written, the reader is left to feel that the author knows nothing. Also, I wish that the author cited her references for her statistics. Some of them seemed a bit off, and I would have liked to see the context of the statistic. Finally, I feel for [a:Heidi Murkoff|53|Heidi Murkoff|], because she had to write a book for someone who is a newbie to getting ready for pregnancy and for someone who has read all websites and books. She tried to make it accessible to both, but I think it failed a bit. I think the book is the strongest when it is not using fun and friendly language like Aunt Flo. The "fun" language just makes the writing sound bad. A book can be accessible without it.

As someone who has not read anything and used this book as a jumping off point, it had a lot of information; however, if you have done any research on the subject, you probably don't need to read this book.

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Review: The Subtle Knife

The Subtle Knife
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had started this book a few years ago after reading [b:The Golden Compass|119322|The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)|Philip Pullman||1536771]; however, I didn't get pulled in and set the book aside. This time around, I tried the audiobook, and I was hooked from the beginning. This is a crazy epic adventure with religious overtones. It is a well written book, and I found myself having strong emotions towards characters. At one point a guy steals an object from Lyra, and I was surprised with how angry I got about it.

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Review: Dracula

Dracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had read this book back in high school. I was able to get a copy of the audiobook for free a year or two ago, and I decided to give it a listen. This is a great book. Count Dracula is a vengeful and fantastic Gothic villain. I also really enjoy how the story is a compilation of diary entries for a group of people. I also appreciate the strong female character, Mina. The book drags at times, but overall it is an exciting adventure and is worth a read.

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