Strahbary's Fields

A California Girl's Place for all things Geek Chic

Top Ten Books to Get Ready for Halloween September 30, 2013

Filed under: Fan Girl Awesomeness,Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 11:39 pm
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I am so excited to be a part of Something Wicked Returns blog hop this year. So in honor of that and the fact that it’s Tuesday I am doing The Top Ten Books Get Ready for Halloween.
Sure everyone reaches for Steven King or Dean Koontz but here are some other books who can get you excited about carving pumpkins and all those other great October activities.

1. The Parasol Protectorate Series. Vampires, Werewolves, Victorian fashion….treacle tarts. What more does a girl need to get into the season?

2. Any book from the Broken Heart Series. The books are quite fun (and definitely not for prudish reader), but a town full of vampires in the middle of Kansas, it’s like a supernatural Eureka.

3. Sense And Sensibility and Sea Monster…come on…it’s sea monsters

4. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The love of Pride and Prejudice and the love of zombies combined into one awesome book.

5. The Lace Reader Besides taking place in Salem Massachusetts, it’s just an overall creepy book.

6. My Life as a White Trash Zombie. Being a zombie is not all the glitz and glam everyone thinks it is. so grab a beer and some cheesey poofs and enjoy the ride.

7. Ocean at the End of the Lane. It feels like the kind of eerie ghost story kids would tell by campfires.

8. The Witch of Little Italy. This is just a lovely little book about family and love and witches of course.

9. Garden Spells. Though another book about witches, in Garden Spells Sisters have to come together to accept who they really are and mend their relationship.

10. The Thirteenth Tale. I love love love this book. It’s creepy, it’s mysterious it had me up late reading just to see what happened next.

So this is just the beginning of this awesome blog hop. I have lots planned for this month (including a give away or two). So stay tuned and check back often. Also check out Rainy Day Ramblings for other blogs involved, giveaways and more!


Book Review: Body and Bread September 28, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 12:53 pm

Body and bread


From Goodreads:

Years after her brother Sam’s suicide, Sarah Pelton remains unable to fully occupy her world without him in it. Now, while her surviving brothers prepare to sell the family’s tenant farm and a young woman’s life hangs in the balance, Sarah is forced to confront the life Sam lived and the secrets he left behind. As she assembles the artifacts of her family’s history in east Texas in the hope of discovering her own future, images from her work as an anthropologist—images of sacrifice, ritual, and death—haunt her waking dreams.

In this moving debut novel, Nan Cuba unearths the power of family legacies and the indelible imprint of loss on all our lives.

My thoughts:
I was really disappointed. This book looked so good. I really like Nan’s writing style. It was easy for me to read and she was able to suck me into the storyline.
The problem I had with the book though is that a lot of it revolved around estate planning law and I didn’t realize this was a book that dealt with law, so that was a surprise. I’m not just a paralegal, I’m an estate planning paralegal. So as I am reading this book on vacation by the pool I am finding myself analyzing the law that she references which makes me think about work, which leads me to remember how much time I have left on the vacation….which does not lead to a happy Diana. And seriously, any lawyer in his right mind who knows that the other party has an attorney representing them will NOT under any circumstances meet with said party without their attorney present. Ethics 101 people. (see why I don’t read books that deal with law)
My other problems with the book, the main characters aren’t likeable. The only character I could find that I liked and could connect to was the brother that died. Her other brothers were jerks and just super Christian and not in the good lets give Christians a good name way. More like hey lets perpetuate all the stereotypes that those who aren’t Christian hate.
I also found the main character to be cold and unrelatable. There wasn’t a single trait of her in her adult years that I could latch on to, to help me try to like her. It felt like there wasn’t much depth.
So unfortunately for me this one was a bust. However, I won’t give up on the author. This was her debut novel but since I like her over all style of writing I am willing to try another book of hers.


My Favorite Books on The Banned Book List September 24, 2013

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 8:35 pm



I decided to venture from today’s Top Ten Tuesday group topic to celebrate Banned book week.  I am really enjoying banned book week to celebrate our freedom to be able to read what we want and the books that helped shape who we are.

  1.  The Grapes of Wrath. This is by far one of my all time favorite books. In 1939 the book was banned in many places due to it’s subject matter and some of the violence in it. Interestingly, Kern County California, John Steinbeck’s home county, banned it because they felt that they were incorrectly portrayed those that were in power. It took a lone librarian fighting behind the scenes to get this ban over turned. Why I love this book: It shows the grittiness of life during the great depression, people in my generation and younger have no clue what it was like in this period of America. So many of us have such a hard time understanding what it’s knowing that people were starving to death in our own country.
  2. To Kill a Mocking Bird.  This is another of my favorites, it was banned for it’s description of rape and more recently because of it’s use of racial slurs. Why I love it: if I had to pin point one book that changed my outlook on literature it would be this one. I read it in the 10th grade and fell in love with literature in general. I always loved reading but this book was like my first taste of a gourmet meal.
  3. James and the Giant Peach. There are a few reasons this book has been banned or challenged because of its sexual innuendo, the word “ass,” and magic. Why I love this book: Roald Dahl…need I say more?
  4. Where the Wild Things Are.  It was banned when it initially came out because temper tantrums in boys at the time were deemed to be dangerous and this book glorified that. Also, it was felt that a child being sent to bed without supper would be traumatic for the child. Why I love this book: the book captures the magic and honesty with children.
  5. Slaughter House Five. Most recently this book was banned in 2012 because a local professor wrote in a local paper the book “contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame.” It has since been put back into the library but in a secure section only accessible by parents. Teachers are not allowed to read from it or require it for reading. Why I love this book: It’s just such a wonderful book. It’s a fantastic piece of American science fiction.
  6. The Great Gatsby.  It is the usual suspects, references to sex and partying. Why I love this book: Because at the end of all that partying and glitz and glam the reality of those people showed through.
  7. The Sun Also Rises. The Reason why this book was banned because of its promiscuity and drug use. Why I love it: There is just something about Hemingways writing that I just love.
  8. The Call of the Wild. It’s violent and dark tone. Why I love this book: Ok I hate this book. I have been forced to read it in schools more than once and it just bored the hell out of me. However, the nature of the book in and of itself made a long lasting positive impression on me.
  9. Harry Potter. Because of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Why I love this book: This is more than just magic, this is a book about friendship, loyalty and a definite distinction between right and wrong.
  10. A Day No Pigs Would Die. This one is a shocker to me. It made an impression on my when I read it in junior high. Apparently the book is too graphic. Pigs *gasp* have sex (because contrary to popular belief not all barnyard animals are born through invitro-fertilization), animals give birth and they were killed! for the love of humanity!! Why I love this book: It was just so real and raw. The relationship between the father and his son made a huge impression on me.

These are my favorite books that have been banned both past and presently. For more on Banned book week go to Banned Book Weeks officially website. Also I love the Librarian Who Doesn’t say Shhh!’s blog post from today. It’s a wealth of information for anyone looking to get more involved with Banned Book Week.

So get out there people and celebrate our freedom by reading a book!


Sunday Post #3 September 22, 2013

Filed under: Sunday Post — dianatierney3 @ 10:06 pm


This week has been an emotional roller coaster. My dog ended up having to go to the animal hospital overnight and we found that she has a disease called Lymphangiectasia, basically she has a chronic form of protein losing enteropethy. Now that she and my emotions have both stabilized I’ll be spending a great deal of time studying her treatment, which will be mostly controlled by diet. It will also mean a return to my regularly scheduled postings.

When I wasn’t dealing with the dog issues, I was trying to find ways to distract myself. I’m half way through “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic” and am loving every bit of it.

I have also, somewhat surprisingly, managed to finish the back of the 7th Doctor sweater that I am making. It really is amazing what you can get done when you want a distraction.

I did get the opportunity to go out and have some fun. A group of friends and I got together and went to see the Wizard of Oz at the Pantages. It was really entertaining. Andrew Lloyd Webber added some music to it and the dialogue in general was updated so that it could appeal to both adults and children alike. Also, if you are heading over to the Hollywood area, I recommend Wood and Vine restaurant. A charming restaurant that specializes in local sustainable food.

Wood and Vine
(I not only fell in love with the food but the atmosphere was spectacular)

This week I will be doing some more postings, including book reviews, Top Ten Tuesday and a celebration of banned book week.


Top Ten Books on my Fall To-Read List September 16, 2013

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 11:50 pm
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The weather is getting cooler, certain wonderful foods are coming in to season and it’s boot weather. So with these lovely seasonal additions comes my reading list for the fall to accompany all my favorite things.
1. Some Kind of Fairytale: Peter Martin is called home for Christmas to find that his missing sister has shown up. But not everything she says makes sense, she’s been gone for nearly 20 years and she looks much like she did the day she left. Peter soon discovers that there is something within the woods by his family home. This just sounds mysterious and otherworldly.
2. The Devil’s Queen A novel of Catherin Medici….need I really say more? She is one of the most villainised women in history. I can’t wait to read another version of her story.
3. The Witch’s Daughter: After seeing her mother swing from the gallows in the 1600’s Bess finds a way to keep herself alive, and in the present day she takes in a teenage girl and finds herself having to face the fears she ran from centuries ago.
4. Moon Called: I am one of the few people in the world that have not started reading this series and that needs to change.
5. Pomegranate Soup: this is actually a Slow Food Book Club pick. The Story of two sisters who move from Iran to Ireland and open up a restaurant just sounds like an interesting clash of cultures.
6. The Wishing Thread: The Van Rippers are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens. When the matriarch dies her three nieces, sisters must come back to the little town forces them to reassess their lives and their relationship to each other.

7. The Graveyard book: I need to read at least one Neil Gaiman book a season so that one day I can be caught up with all of his works. This book just looks perfect for fall season. A little boy is raised in a graveyard by ghosts. How perfectly clever is that??
8. Gone Girl: Recently a friend has been raving about Gillian Flynn’s books so it’s time to see what the fuss is all about. In this book a marriage has gone terribly wrong and the wife goes missing but is it really the husband or something else?
9. The Warlocks Curse: So over the weekend I was pleasantly surprised to find that the M.K. Hobson has written another book in what I have to say is my second favorite steampunk series. Can’t wait to read it! AND to make it even better, there is a fourth one coming out in December of this year.
10. Practical Magic: I love love love love the movie. But have never read the book. It’s about time I change that.
So these are the books I will be reading this fall. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. If you want to play along, post a link on their site to your blog and then post a link them from your blog.


Sunday Post #2 September 15, 2013

Filed under: Sunday Post — dianatierney3 @ 12:46 pm


This week has been a week of getting back into the swing of things. The vacation is over, the husband is shipped off back to work.

Bookwise: Well I can’t read a book a day like I did when I was on vacation. I have started The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, which is thick enough to last me a few weeks. I will be reviewing the majority of the books I read on vacation, but they will be coming about in maybe 2 a week.

Now that vacation time is over, I am so very ready for all things fall. Which means I am dusting off my fall seasonal recipes for my own enjoyment and for the next food swap I have coming up in October. Yesterday I made a half dozen jars of pomegranate jelly, and at some point either today or later in the week I’ll be making carrot cake preserves. It depends on how much time I will have this week, I’ve got an educational conference coming up on Saturday that I have been working on for months.

That’s the thing with events, you work on them for months, plan for what seems like ages and then as it gets closer, you just want to get it over with.

Also on a good note, this Saturday I will be see a little ole musical called “The Wizard of Oz” at the Pantageous. My love of Wizard of Oz is like Doctor Who, it never gets old.

Blogwise: Along with some more book reviews I’ll be getting back into Top Ten Tuesdays, posting some more stuff on the original Doctor Who series and taking a look at a sustainable chocolate farm that I toured in Costa Rica.

So that’s my week in a nutshell, I suppose I should get to it. The Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer


Book Review: Beautiful Ruins September 14, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 12:03 pm
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Morning Reading


“Stories are people. I’m a story, you’re a story….your father’s a story.  Our stories go in every direction, but sometimes, if we’re lucky, our stories join into one, and for a while, we’re less alone.”

From Goodreads:

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks on over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot-searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion-along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

My thoughts on the book:

I don’t think I could have picked a better book to read by the pool. From the very first page when we meet Pasquale on the Italian coast you are just drawn in to the story.  It’s both exotic and a lot like curling up in your favorite sweater.  The story itself was incredibly human, and touching.   Each storyline is drawn, they connect, if but for a time as they each struggle to cling to their dreams.