Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day Thirty-One: Read This Month

I managed to meet and surpass my goals! The photo is of the physical books that I finished: Gone With the Wind and Reaper Man. I also started reading Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman.

For audiobooks, I finished Night Circus, listened to A Wizard of Earthsea, Fablehaven, and started the second Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star.

Not too shabby! Thanks for reading and watching for my photos on this photo challenge!

Day Thirty: Freebie/Old Friend

I read this series via audiobook and absolutely fell in love. There is something really amazing and special about these books (to me). I first listened to them during my grad program, but then I kept listening to them over and over to keep me company because I was so often alone. So the characters became my friends and they were all near and dear to me. This narrator is one of the best I have encountered, too.

So here is The Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede (read by Amanda Ronconi):

And sorry it is a little late! Saturday was a crazy day for me!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day Twenty-Nine: Trees

I don't think I have any books about trees, but here are a couple of books with trees on the cover!

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, THE Julie Andrews) and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day Twenty-Eight: Book Soulmate

Wow, my book soul mate? That seems like a loaded question! And it was difficult for me to figure out.

First of all, I don't think I have any one book that is my soul mate because different books speak to me on different levels. I ended up selecting three of my very favorites, but it is certainly not a complete list of my favorites. I excluded books that I had already used in the course of this photo challenge, for one, and I did use many favorites on different days (like The Graveyard Book and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which is actually an awesome choice for my book soul mate. Oh well).

So here they are:
How about book soul mates?
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, which I inexplicably love always. Tuesday's With Morrie by Mitch Albom, which I read at a point in my life that I really needed to hear his messages. Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce as another that had always been a favorite. I had to include the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder because I grew up reading them and they have meant so much to me. I also wanted to include Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, but my copy seems to have gone missing...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day Twenty-Seven: Award Winning

I discovered that most of the books I own that have won awards are books for children... So here are some Newberry winners!

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day Twenty-Six: Plot Twist

The most recent book I read (or listened to, rather) that had several plot twists was this one, Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde:

Not to be confused with (the horrible, never touch with a ten foot pole) Fifty Shades of Grey. Totally different book here.

Jasper Fforde creates very interesting worlds and I definitely got lost in this one. I loved this book and all of its twists and turns. I can't wait for the next installment!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Day Twenty-Five: Mug

I don't think I have any books with a mug on the cover so here is my current book with my (Disney princess!) mug of coffee.

Good way to start the day!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Day Twenty-Four: Tearjerker

As a general rule, I don't go out of my way to read sad books, but I have read that make me cry for various reasons. Usually bitter sweet endings or touching moments. Here are a few:

In the Stone Circle by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Day Twenty-Three: Audiobook

I listen to a lot of audiobooks these days, since that is what I have the most time for. Here is a photo of my current audiobook!
Fablehaven by Brandon Muil, read by E.B. Stevens

Friday, May 22, 2015

Day Twenty-Two: Classic(s)

This is a little unconventional for this challenge, but I sort of inherited this lovely book set that includes nearly all of the most well-known classics:

And I love it. It really has just about everything you could want. Philosophies, sciences, plays, myths, and more. I think it is called The Great Ideas collection or something. I use it to for reference more than anything. It's totally awesome.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day Twenty-One: POC Character

At first, I panicked and thought: I don't have any books about POC. Which is a total lie. I actually have tons, I just never thought about it much.

Hazel and Leo from the Heroes of Olympus sprang to mind, as did Daja and Frostpine from the Circle books by Tamora Pierce. The Graveyard Book came to mind because I always imagined Scarlett to be black, even though Neil Gaiman doesn't specify, to my knowledge.

I settled on a collection of books (I actually have more than can reasonably be put in a picture!), most of which I read during my Race and Ethnicity in American Literature class:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is one I read for a book club, but I think I chose it. The rest were from my class (a couple others we read I did not include like Maus I and II and Hunger of Memory). I enjoyed all of them except Native Son and I struggled with several parts of Jasmine. No-No Boy may have been my favorite of these, though I also liked Their Eyes Were Watching God. And Reservation Blues was very interesting. All of these are very interesting books from a cultural clash perspective. Good reads.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Day Nineteen: Magazine

I don't really read magazines. The only ones I do read are Scientific American and this:
Nice and educational, right?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day Eighteen: Indie Book

Wow. An Indie book? I wasn't entirely sure what that would entail. Not well known? Small publisher? Both?

Anyway, I did a little research (is that sad?) and discovered that it seemed to be a bit of both. Small publisher or self-published books that often stumble into a certain niche.

Apparently my book collection is a little too run-of-the-mill.

The book I used for my name is one, but I already used that and it's not fair to use it twice.

I have a few that are from small publishers, but most of them are ones that I used as references or have not read at all yet. Relics from my parents' "library" after we moved. (My parents collected TONS of books, like you would not believe, and they were stashed, crammed, and otherwise piled onto book cases in our basement. I took just about anything that sounded interesting).

As I was searching my shelves, I stumbled across one of my favorites:
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie (aka R.A.Dick)
I had to look, and the publisher was not one I recognized. Of course, it was also published in 1945. I looked up the publisher and it is a small one and I know many people haven't read this book, so I decided it was good enough for the prompt!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day Seventeen: Library/Book Store

I had already decided to do a bookstore. Part of this reason was that it is Sunday and libraries weren't open. And since I work nights, it was difficult to get a chance to go to a bookstore (I didn't manage it and wasn't sure what I would take a picture of if I had).

In my area there aren't tons of bookstores. The closest to me is Barnes and Noble, which I do frequent. There are a couple of Tattered Cover shops, which are great shops, but definitely out of my way.

My very favorite bookstore was the famous Powell's in Portland, Oregon, which I visited a few years back. It is amazingly huge! A book lover's dream! There was also a nice large book shop in Eugene, Oregon that I visited last year and loved, but I can't remember what it is called.

Since I live in Colorado and can't simply go over for a visit, I wasn't sure what to do. Then I remembered that I had merchandise from Powell's! So here is my Powell's tote bag!

A good friend of mine also got me a pint glass from Powell's. I couldn't find a good way to get a picture of it with the bag, so I went with the bag by itself. If anyone goes to Portland, I highly recommend visiting this shop!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day Sixteen: Favorite Book Couple

I have been re-listening to the Heroes of Olympus series lately, so I really wanted to do Leo and Calypso. Since I don't own the books, I couldn't think of a way to do this. Nico and Will were also strong in my mind because I think that's the cutest (almost) couple ever right now!

So I went back to a very old favorite: Daine and Numair from The Immortals series by Tamora Pierce.

I was always in love with Numair myself, so it stands to reason that this would be an all time favorite!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Day Fifteen: Frustrating Read

I try hard to avoid books that frustrate me, but I have had my share. There are different levels of frustration so it took a while for me to narrow it down. I finall settled on this:
The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey
I have read many of her books and I usually enjoy them. I read the Five Hundred Kingdoms series because they are silly and entertaining. More light-hearted and mixed up takes on fairy tales, which I like.

This book is part of the Elemental Masters series, which is a different and more serious take on fairy tales. I have enjoyed all that I have read so far (with one that stands out as being not as good) except this one. First, it was drastically different from its predecessors, but not in any way that I found redeeming. Secondly, much of it seemed too contrived and the characters weren't well developed nor very likable.

I had tried to read it once many years ago and couldn't get into it at all. I left it and read the next book in the series, which I liked. Just last year I went back, determined to read it. And I did. I usually enjoy her books and she has the ability to be a good writer, so I was frustrated that she did not adequately demonstrate her skills here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day Fourteen: Your Name in a Book

Yeah. My name is Samara. So far, I have yet to encounter it in the books I have read. However, my mom found this particular book and bought it solely because my name is in the title. I'm not even sure she read it! I found it on our bookshelves several years ago and made off with it. I think I perused the first few pages and was not overly drawn in, but maybe one day!

So here is Samara, the Wholehearted by Nancy Bauer!

Aww, you didn't need to name a book after me *wink*

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day Thirteen: Interesting Topics

When I think of interesting book topics, I tend to think more of nonfiction than my usual fiction and fantasy. Two particular books came to mind when I saw this topic:

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (who is amazing, by the way. He is amazingly intelligent and educated and this book is very cool and fun) and Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan (I love his other books. This is told from the perspective of the character Percy Jackson, but the mythological stories are sound as well as interesting).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day Twelve: Did Not Finish

It is not very often that I do not finish a book. There are some books that I find very intense and I put them down (sometimes for a year or more!) until I can handle them again. But if I find them that intense to read, I think that is a mark of a good author. I did this with Practical Magic, which was on hold for nearly two years. I still have The Shining City by Kate Forsyth on hold (it's been more years than I care to count, but the first book was scary and intense, though amazing. The second book gave me anxiety only about 30 pages in!) I absolutely will finish it however. I am even now starting to get to a point where I am ready to manage it. She is such a great author and I love her books, but I need to take them slowly!

There have been a few books that I did not like. After hearing wonderful things about him, I decided to try Piers Anthony's books. I (somehow) managed to make it through his first Xanth book, A Spell for Chameleon. I thought the book itself was HORRIBLE, but that his overall ideas were so promising and cool! So I thought, the second book, The Source of Magic, would surely be better! Nope. And do you want to know where I stopped? Close to the end, in the middle of a climactic battle scene. I was so freaking annoyed with his writing that I could not read more, no matter how much promise his universe and general ideas held. I was so angry. His books could have been SO good, funny, clever, amazing, but he seriously knows how to beat a dead horse with a stick and I could bear it no longer!

I'm sure his fans (of which he surely has many, have you seen how many books he has written???) will find this blasphemous. My dislike was so strong that I doubt I will go back to read any other books that he has written.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Day Eleven: Flowers

This was another tough one for me. I searched through my book shelf for a book that had flowers on it. And this one has a flower in the title, too!
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
Too basic? Oh well... I don't have any flowering plants at home to take pictures of/with. And due to our recent snowy weather, there is a shortage of outdoor flowers, too! I did my best with what I had.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Day Ten: Favorite Title

This was a tough one for me. Did it mean my favorite book? My favorite title, regardless of whether or not I have read/liked it?

I looked though my bookshelves and came up with some contenders, but nothing that knocked my socks off.

I went through my goodreads list and found a book I listened to a while back:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The very first thing that caught my attention was the title! As a bonus, I really enjoyed the book, too.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day Nine: Other Worldly

I read quite a bit of fantasy, all of which is pretty other worldly. So I had to think of one that stood out from those. I ended up picking two:

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

These are both fantasy, but they both stand out in my mind as being rather unique fantasies.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Day Eight: New Release

My most recent purchase of a recently released book:
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

I waited years for this book! Finally! Tamora Pierce reviewed the first book, Seraphina, before it was released and wrote that she loved it so much that she read it twice. Because of this, I bought Seraphina shortly after it was released and I really enjoyed it! That was at least four years ago and I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel since then.

This just came out in March, but I just bought it this month and I am excited to read it!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day Seven: Friend's Favorite

I have many friends who read a lot. To be quite honest, I am not entirely sure what their very favorite books are! But I do have books that friends have bought for me or recommended for me to read. This is one that my friend, Becca, raved about for a while and then bought me for my birthday:

It is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I finally read Jane Eyre so I could catch some of the literary references and then I read The Eyre Affair right away. It was so good! I look forward to reading more in the series.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day Six: E-Reader

I don't have an e-reader, so here is what I use to read my books! (And yes, those are sleep pants patterned like the 4th Doctor's scarf.)
This may seems strange, but I don't have an e-reader! I read actual books or I listen to them on my iPhone. Only once did I read a book on my iPhone, if that counts. But I can't take a picture of my iPhone with my iPhone...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day Five: Laugh Out Loud

Kind of a different topic. So, funny books. Most of the books I read have some humor in them, which I love because it keeps me engaged.

After thinking for a while and coming up with little, I decided to go through my recently read pile and see which book made me laugh the most. I found these:

Plum Lovin' and Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich. I like her books Ailey because they make me laugh. I always work in time to read a couple of her books here and there when I need something funny.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Day Four: Favorite Series

A good majority of the books I read are part of series and I have so many that I enjoy that it was difficult to choose. I finally went back to one of my oldest favorites, The Immortals by Tamora Pierce!
You can see that they are very well loved.
I thought about other Tamora Pierce series, because I so love them all. The Witches of Eileanan series also occurred to me as did the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books. So many to choose from!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Day Three: LGBTQ Character

Tough one. My initial thought went straight to Niko DiAngelo from the Percy Jackson books because I love his character. However, I do not own any of the books where his homosexuality is revealed (except on audiobook), so I had to cross that off.

My next thought was of Lark and Rosethorn from the Circle Universe by Tamora Pierce. Their relationship is fairly subtle, but I love it. And this is one I could photo graph a text moment of:
From Briar's Book

They make me smile!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Time I Made Cookies

This week at work was lab week, which basically means that we got to have lots of fun, games, and food at work. We played BINGO every night (who could collect a set of 5 specific samples first!). There was a scavenger hunt and a competition to see would could build the best animal from things you find in the lab. Crossword puzzles, fun quizzes and different food every night.

Basically, it was awesome.

Friday marked the end of lab week and we were all encouraged to bring lab themed food. So of course I made cookies.

My friend, Lydia, got me these awesome science cookie cutters for my birthday a while back. Plus, I am a nerd and already had nerdy science cookies pinned on my Pinterest boards.

So I used most of my cookie cutter set, plus a glass to cut circles. I made a basic sugar cookie recipe that I have that is designed for cutting shaped cookies.

For frosting, I wanted to try something a little more advanced. I looked (on Pinterest) and found this recipe and set of instructions: I am Baker: Sugar Cookie Decorating 101.

I really liked how smooth and neat these came out, despite my inexperienced and shaky hand. And then I embellished and let them set! I had four different types. Here are my lovely cookies in all of their glory:
Classic Erlenmeyer flask
A bubbling beaker
Blood vial, just like we really get in the lab.
And, my favorite, a culture plate! My frosting wasn't very cooperative, but it was fun and cute!
It was hard work! I made 19 cookies total. It took me nearly three hours to do everything. And I made some outstanding messes throughout the process.

Isaac was my guinea pig. He informed that they were very sweet, but otherwise good. And also cute.

My coworkers gave me lots of compliments and said they looked very professional (I think that was just being nice) and that they were delicious!

Day Two: Bookshelf

I have several bookshelves, but here is (most of) my favorite book shelf!

The bottom two shelves are not shown, which may be good because the books are stacked even more haphazardly than on the third shelf. I have WAY more books than I have shelf space, so I just start stacking them up near where they should go...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Day One: Goals for May

May photo challenge day one!

Day one is about goals for this month. My main goal is to finish Reaper Man and (finally) Gone With the Wind!

Not featured here is my current audiobook, Night Circus, which I also plan to finish this month.

And I hope I will be able to start a couple other books. Wish me luck!