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Top Ten Tuesday: Things that Make me Instantly Pick up a Book April 30, 2013

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 12:18 pm
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toptentuesday

There are certain trigger that make me at the very least pick up a book or add it to my To-Read list on Goodreads. To determine my most popular themes and triggers I went through my endless Goodreads to put this list together, I’ve also included some recommendations because frankly what would be a blog post about books without a few recommendations.

  1. Time Travel Whether it’s Jules Verne or Doctor Who, I love a good time travel story. I have to say this is my favorite science fiction theme. My all-time favorite time traveling book: The Time Machine. It is the time travel book that all time travel books must live up to in my head.
  2. Elves or Fairies. Whether it’s Lord of the Rings or A Midsummer Night’s Dream (take note, those are must reads) I love stories that have fairies and elves. They have such an interesting mythology built up and around them. They are such interesting creatures and no, they don’t do nice things like granting wishes…
  3. Gail Carriger. I have read all of her books and am basically at the point where if she just rewrote the ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle I would read it. My favorite of her books: Soulless.
  4. If a book takes place somewhere Historical. I have a love of historical fiction. Primarily the American west (though I have read a lot of nonfiction in that period), the Tudors era and my current interest the Borgia. There are so many books under this topic I have a hard time picking books to recommend, there are so many that I love. If I had to choose I would go with “The Other Boleyn Girl” and the “The Bogia Bride” they are great examples of historical fiction.
  5. Food. I love food, I am an active member of my local Slow Food and have a passion for quality clean food. So naturally it has bled into my reading list. From both a fiction and a nonfiction stand point there are a number of books that examine what we eat, why we eat what we do and our relationship to said food. Currently from a nonfiction stand point, I recommend “Eating Animals” it takes a look at why we meat. It may or may not turn you towards being a vegetarian (it didn’t for my dad but reassured my decision for giving it up), however, it is a wonderful book that just asks Why? And looks at our whole food system from top to bottom. For fiction, I recommend the “Kitchen Daughter” it was a lovely book that exemplified how food can connect us to our history.
  6. Pulitzer Prize Winners. It is my goal in life to read all of the eighty something books. I’ve read about 12 or so, so far. There have been some wonderful gems that I have just fallen in love. The gems “A Visit from the Goon Squad” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are my top two favorites from that list.
  7. Fairytale Retellings I have always loved Fairytales and reading a retelling just gives it a whole new life and love for me. The really good ones just give a whole new spin on the stories that I loved from my childhood, it’s like reading a grown up fairytale. My favorites from this topic are “The Story Tellers Daughter” the retelling of 1001 Arabian Knights and “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” a retelling of Cinderella.
  8. Steampunk. I love steampunk. Granted I don’t have a number of books in this genre that I really love. My favorite is “Soulless,” it’s a great steampunk, supernatural book with great characters also, please see point #3 for further explanation.
  9. Zombies. I do love me some brain eating, flesh rotting zombies. Whether it is on TV or by book I do enjoy reading about them. I love the Walking Dead graphic novels however, my all-time favorite zombie novel is “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” This book combines two of my favorite things: Zombies and Jane Austen.
  10. Women who rise to the challenge. Hello, my name is Diana, and I am a feminist. I prefer my lead female characters whether they are in books, movies or video games to be strong women. Whether she is rising to the challenge or surviving some crappy situation I am all for it. And for my favorites? Please look at any of the books above…

What are some of your “triggers?” Feel free to leave a comment, I would love to hear about them! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To play along, link to their blog and post a link back to yours.

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Book Review: Ghost Planet April 28, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 9:08 pm

Ghost Planet

Title/Author: “Ghost Planet” by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Genre: Supernatural/Science Fiction Romance

This book was a pick from The Vaginal Fantasy Bookclub. The earth has a colony planet where aliens attach to humans in the form of a past deceased loved one. These ghosts are not able to speak to or interact with their human hosts.
Elizabeth comes to the planet to work as a psychologist helping people cope with these ghosts. Her boss is the handsome Murphy whom she met once, while touring a college in Ireland. There is only one catch….Elizabeth dies on the way to the planet and she finds that she is actually a ghost imprinted to Murphy. She then has to navigate her way through the tough politics of this world while fighting off her growing feelings for him.

Yeah, that’s not even the big spoiler of the book, you know this right off the bat. Overall I have mixed feelings on this book. I really liked the premise to the point where I skimmed through the romantic parts just to get to more of the sciencey fictiony stuff. I also especially liked Elizabeth, she was a well created character.

My problem with the book was that it felt like there was at least a book and a half squished into one book. There is so much that happens in the second half of the book that it feels like you are moving from topic to topic. The romance grows shallower, there are people’s from Elizabeth’s past that come back that just don’t really fit the story. If the author had either made the book longer or made it a two part series I would have enjoyed it more. There are so many themes and plot lines that just seem to get dropped. For example we never find out the how and the why behind why the aliens imprint the way they do. The mystery just gets deeper but never resolved.

I do recommend reading the book, I did enjoy it. I was glued to what happened next. I just wish there was more to the book, which in the end I suppose is a good problem to have.

 

A Review of John Saturnall’s Feast April 25, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 9:39 pm
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john

Title/Author: John Saturnall’s Feast By Lawrence Norfolk
Genre: Historical Fiction

“Kings raise their Statues and Chruchmen build Cathedrals, A Cook leaves no Monument save Crumbs.”
John Saturnall’s Feast is the story of a boy who uses his natural cooking talent to rise from lowly peasant to world renowned cook. We start off before John ever enters the manor’s kitchens. He is a little boy that is tormented by the town bully because his mother is believed to be a witch.
They are eventually driven out of the town to hide within the ruins of an old Castle where John’s mother shares the secrets of the feast with him. The feast is a wonderfully allegory between the preservation of our food traditions and our current fast food, processed junk food obsessed society. Every chapter begins with a recipe from John Saturnall’s personal cookbook.
Amongst all of this we learn about a lovely, yet slightly weird, Lucretia is introduced to us. The way she is introduced to us is really odd and I still don’t quite understand it.  She becomes the ultimate challenge for John as he has to entice her into eating. In the process she becomes a believer of keeping the feast as well and John’s loves interest.
John’s past eventually catches up with him as the new religious order comes in to push out the traditions of the people. John and his friend’s belief in keeping the feast is put to the test against some pretty nasty enemies.
Over all I liked the book but the overall theme and the feel of the book fell apart in the second half of the book. In the first half, it was a lovely story that paralleled a way of looking at food that is very near and dear to my heart. The way the author talked about cooking and keeping the feast was much like a love letter. However, towards the end it seemed to fall apart a bit as the author seemed to only want to focus on the romance as opposed to the main themes that it originally started with. Likewise, there are questions that the author left unanswered with certain characters.
As I said, I did enjoy reading this book. It was a pick for our Slow Food book club, which I recommend it for since it will give us some good discussion topics. We get together to discuss the book and make recipes based on what we read. I’ve actually decided to make some “forged” tarts, one made of mixed greens (kale, dandelion, beet and spinach) and another from mushrooms and white wine. We’ll see how they turn out, it’s a bit of an experiment.

 

Wishlist Wednesday #8 April 24, 2013

Filed under: Wishlist Wednesdays — dianatierney3 @ 12:51 pm
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I discovered this week’s Wishlist Wednesday from Bookshelf Fantasies. She talked about it on her Wishlist Wednesday, which led me to add it to my to-read list but then she did a review of the book which has now led me to add to Wishlist Wednesday status. It’s one of the many reasons why I love Wishlist Wednesday.river

From Goodreads:

“You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life’s advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.

In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: “Pretend!” Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.

Why I want to read it:
Well Time Travel for starters. I have a soft spot for time travel fiction either in literary or book form. The idea of a secret society that controls time travel…I am thoroughly intrigued by the concept. Now I just have to decide, do I start reading it before or after the books I have to read for my book clubs.

Interested in playing along? Put a link to Pen and Paper (our host) on your blog and post a link to your Wishlist Wednesday to their blog. It’s really interesting to see what other people’s Wishlist Wednesday’s are!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I loved or hated more than I thought I would April 23, 2013

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 11:20 pm
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toptentuesday

It’s bound to happen you hear about a book that everyone loves and you can’t wait to pick it up, or you come across that book on the shelf that you thought was just right for you and then you find that it’s nowhere near what you thought it would be. Likewise on the flip side there is always that one book you never expected to love that becomes your best friend.
1. Her Sky Cowboy. I really thought I would like this one but it felt like I was jumping in mid story and I did not find the characters very likeable. The first scene is the main character leaving a wretched dinner for a match her mother tried to make. You’re finding out about the dinner after the fact, and are trying to get entrenched in the world all at the same time.
2. The Iron Wryn Affair. I just found the core plot to be boring and could not connect to the characters at all. Both this book and Her Sky Cowboy are steampunk books. I am starting to wonder if I don’t like steampunk as much as I think I do…that’s a scary thought
3. The Princess Bride. The movie is my all time favorite movie ever. I thought I would love the book as much as the movie but no, not so much. The book is drastically different from the movie in the sense that it has a different feel from the movie and just does not at all feel like you’re reading a fairytale. More like a history book for school.
4. The Beekeepers Apprentice. I heard so many wonderful things about this book. So I decided to tuck into it, I really tried to like it. I promise I did. However, the main characters tone was just so very annoying!
5. The Life of Pi. The premise for the book sounded really lovely. It won lots of awards but I hated it. I think I dozed off roughly every three pages. I am going to give the movie a go though…
Ok, now on to the books I liked more than I expected to.
1. The Grapes of Wrath. I picked it up remembering how my friends from highschool complained about reading it. I never got to, my English teachers were Shakespeare aholics. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was moved by this book.
2. The 13th Tale. I had seen it around, picked it up on a whim and could not put it down. It was a lovely story truly written for a book lover.
3. The Lace Reader. I discovered this book through Goodreads. I fell in love with the story and the characters. The ending had me reeling for weeks.
4. The Phantom of Manhatton. I don’t remember how I came across this book. All I know is that I loved it. It’s the sequal to the Phantom of the Opera. It’s wonderfully creative and gives a point of view that the fans of the musical never saw (and trust me will love)
5. Ghost Planet, I have my criticisms of the book but overall I really liked it. It was a Vaginal Fantasy book club pick, and though I love that book club the books are often hit or miss. This one was pretty on target.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. To play along, link to their blog and post a link back to

 

Earth Day Resolutions April 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — dianatierney3 @ 8:42 pm
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As with every earth day we hear all about the ways that we can decrease our carbon footprint, how we can help save our natural resources, or how to use less oil. It’s all grandiose but have we thought of looking closer to home, like in our own kitchens?
Most people have heard, the average plate of food travels 1,500 miles to get from the farm to the plate. Once it gets to our homes, it has roughly a 40% chance of being wasted. On average American throws away 30 billion pounds of food per year, that’s 1lb per person per day. Given that waste fills up our landfills it takes 350 million barrels of oil per year to process it.
So for this Earth Day, my resolution will be to eat greener….but how?
Well not eating meat is a start, beef accounts for 7.5 CO2 pollution per ½ pound. Just ½ of a pound! (in comparison to less than 1 CO2 for a potato or asparagus according to the National Resource Defense Council) For a vegisaurus such as myself that’s not much of an issue. For those who aren’t, Meatless Monday is a good option. Just being a vegetarian for one day a week can make a difference for your health and the planet!
Buying local. That is the one that makes the most sense given the number of miles that food travels to get to our plates. According to “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” if every US citizen ate just one meal a week from fully local sources we could cut our barrel consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil per week! My plan of attack for this is to most of my shopping at my local farmer’s markets. I already enjoy doing this, Huntington Beach and Orange have some great ones. Also the Great Park in Irvine is a lovely Sunday morning market to hit up. When grocery shopping I plan on looking as closely to where my food comes from as I do for what’s in it. Going the local route will also make a positive difference on the local economy and my community. Granted not everything is going to be local, there are some Italian delicacies I absolutely cannot live without.
Another way I plan on greening up my diet is cutting back on the amount of food that gets thrown out. As it is, when produce starts to wilt it goes to the tortoise or bearded dragon or put in the juicer but there is still produce that goes to waste. Making an effort to plan out my meals for the week, and trying to carry through the ingredients I buy will help me use up the produce I have to cut down waste. As I saw it put by someone today “eat what you buy, buy what you eat.”
However, there is a matter of the left overs. We all have them, the clog up the fridge, turn into science experiments as we forget when it was that we made them and don’t have the courage to open them and check. Those unused left overs are a part of the 30 billion pounds of food waste and massive amount of oil being used. I will be making a greater effort to use up those left overs, even experimenting with freezing some of them. A big factor will be cutting down the amount of food I cook and making a conscious effort to use up my left overs. Perhaps even finding ways to give them new life.
Growing my own food. I understand that not everyone can do this but even a little herb garden makes a difference. My apartment patio runs the length of our apartment, it’s not huge but I have a patch of land to plant food directly along with a number of containers. I can attest to the fact that it is extremely rewarding to walk out into the back yard with a basket and pick at least half of your meal. I have been steadily growing my garden for the last two years. Just this weekend at the green scene event I was very excited to get a Meyers lemon tree, some new tomato plants and a star fruit plant (that’s going to be an interesting plant to grow).
The above are the aspects I am going to adopt in my daily life to be able to create a more sustainable way of eating. It was little things compiling that got our environment into the state it’s in, and its little steps compiling by each individual to get us out of it.

 

Wishlist Wednesday #7 April 17, 2013

Filed under: Wishlist Wednesdays — dianatierney3 @ 12:48 pm
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Griffin's Daughter

This week’s Wishlist Wednesday is another book I picked up at Wondercon. It’s “Griffin’s Daughter” by Leslie Ann Moore.

From Goodreads:

A young girl lives as a social outcast due to her mixed human and elven blood. To escape an arranged marriage, Jelena flees into the unknown on a quest to find her elven father. Her journey takes her on an unexpected adventure of magic, danger, and most startling of all – true love.

Why I want to read this:

Well key word Elves. A young woman who has to try to find herself through a journey. It has all of the markings of an epic fantasy that will keep me from getting my chores done on the weekends. Sometimes a girl just needs a good epic fantasy to get her through the day.

 

Interested in playing along? Put a link to  Pen and Paper on your blog and post a link to your Wishlist Wednesday to their blog. It’s really interesting to see what other people’s Wishlist Wednesday’s are!