top 10 things on my reading wish list

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toptentuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (I love alliteration!) is the top 10 things I have on my reading wish list. (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.) The Broke and the Bookish

1. More fictionalized histories of obscure celebrities. Think Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. She took a person that we all knew in abstract, Alice Liddell, the young girl that was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and told us a completely plausible, yet wholly fictional story, of her life. (She also did this with The Aviator’s Wife and The Autobiography of Mrs Tom Thumb.)

2. Historical fiction set somewhere other than Regency era England. Specifically, historical fiction set in early America. A few years ago I read One Thousand White Women:  The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus. It was so good! I practically devoured it and it was an idea, a perspective, that I had never read before. I’d love more stuff like that.

3. Books about people who love books. A mystery in a library that has be solved by the librarian… A love story starring a nerdy clerk in a bookshop… And not another swoony, teen, I love Mr Darcy book, please.

4. Authors who aren’t afraid to tell funny stories in funny ways. I love puns. Everything is better with a few bad puns thrown in. But good bad puns, not bad bad puns. You know? Think Janet Evanovich or Rick Riordan.

(this is hard!)

5. Give me more strong, female protagonists in YA with less angst. I hate angst. I know, it’s a necessary part of adolescence, but please, for the love of all things literary, give me a girl with some good sense and no whining.

6. More books set in the 1920s and 1930s. (and 1950s)

7. Jamie, from Perpetual Page Turner, suggests novels that change childhood figures.

“I don’t know if this makes me morbid or not but I’d really love to see a psycho Santa Claus who is a murderer or a Tooth Fairy that steals more than your teeth or Cupid falling in love with a human. ANYTHING.”

Fascinating. I’m all for a little morbidity now and again anyway. Someone write this!

8. More alternative history novels or novels that tell a story that runs concurrently with a huge historical event. Think The Book Thief or even Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

9. Someone give me the grown up story of Ramona Quimby!

10. And last, but certainly not least, I’m adding this one because it has always been a pet peeve of mine but it seems the be getting worse and worse, give me more books that are well-edited, that have all the words spelled correctly, and that uses actual words instead of made up words that don’t exist. (And I’m not talking about jokey, funny words, I mean please stop authors from using the word unthaw. Unthaw is not a word. If you unthaw something, you are FREEZING it.)

Well, that’s my list. Does anyone know of any books that might fit some of these? If so, please leave a note in the comment section and I’ll check them out. Happy reading, y’all!

Top Ten Tuesday (on Wednesday)

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One of the book blogs that I read, The Broke and the Bookish, has a weekly list that they do called Top Ten Tuesday. It happens on Tuesday (usually) and it’s a top ten list of whatever their category for the week happens to be. Since one of my resolutions this year is to update this blog more often, I thought this was an appropriate week to begin participating in Top Ten Tuesday.

January 7 2014: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2014 (bookish, not bookish or a blend)

* Blog more actively, more regularly, and better. I tend to write blog posts in my head while I am work or driving or at the grocery store but then I never seem to get around to actually writing and posting. I enjoy my blog when I use it, and while I don’t want it to start to feel like a chore, I need to do more things that I enjoy, hence, I shall blog.

* Finish unpacking. I bought my house and moved in June and I still have a room full of boxes that need to be unpacked. Most of my rooms have a half lived in feeling to them. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and then end up sitting on the couch in front of the television or with my nose in a book and just ignore the room’o’boxes.

* Grow my new business. I started a home business making wreaths and other handmade items and the wreaths have been extremely popular this Christmas. I want to expand my business beyond just local sales and build up my inventory for my etsy store and perhaps look into some consignment sales in a local shop.

* Read 104 books. That’s two a week for fifty-two weeks. I have read 200+ books in a year in the past but these last few years I’ve finished less than 100 each year. While it’s great that I’m doing more than just reading, I have an extremely long to-read list (not to mention the boxes of unread books in my back room waiting to be unpacked) that I would like to make a dent in this year.

* Budget budget budget. I did some research into different budgeting styles and found one that I think will work well for me so I am beginning my 2014 budget with the goal of saving money for my “emergency” fund as well as the possibility of new counter tops in the relatively near future.

Now I must get ready for work. I know this is only five items and not ten but the rules for Top Ten Tuesday do state that you can do less than ten if you want to and since I am now running behind schedule and I tend to break resolutions anyway, I think five is a good starting point.

Are any of you working on New Year’s Resolutions for 2014? Feel free to share in the comments!

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

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The Sugar QueenThe Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Entertainment Weekly said that The Sugar Queen was “like a dessert.” Considering that I just devoured it like it was a slice of chocolate cake, I would have to agree.

I bought this book several years ago at a book fair. I picked it up in the first place because I loved the cover. This is usually one of the biggest things for me when picking up books by authors I’m not familiar with. Second, after reading the teaser on the back cover I was intrigued. And then finally, I was getting it for $3.50 instead of $13. I love books, but I also love a bargain.

For whatever reason, The Sugar Queen sat lonely and unread on my bookshelf for several years. A few months ago I moved and both of the Sarah Addison Allen books that I own (I didn’t even know I had two!) ended up in the first box of books that was unpacked. (There are many, many more still waiting for me.)

We are having a little down time at work due to some department changes and I knew that I was going to be bored by 9pm last night (I work until 11p), so I decided to take a book along with me, even though we aren’t really supposed to read at our desks. I grabbed The Sugar Queen, settled it in my purse, and headed off to work.

When I got home from work last night I had read the first four chapters and I was hooked. The story is woven like a web, and each person is a string in the web, so every movement one string makes, it affects the ones around it. Each character, whether they were aware of it or not, and for a long time most weren’t, was affecting those around them in such subtle ways. It really is beautifully written.

There is also an element of magic in the book but it’s not really a focus so much as just a matter of fact part of the whole. Books follow Chloe from the time she is a lonely little girl living with her great-grandparents. It seems perfectly normal in the context of the world SAA has created, when the first book pops up in front of Chloe, trying to help her handle her feelings. It’s just part of who she is.

Josey lives a lonely existence, hoping to one day gain her mother’s love, while constantly being reminded that it’s not likely to ever happen. You are able to watch Josey blossom like a tulip in springtime between the first and last pages of The Sugar Queen. And while nothing overtly magical happens to or around Josey, you do start to see that she has a magic all her own.

Della Lee, probably the most disadvantaged of the three women, yet possibly, in the end, the smartest, is an interestingly, complex character. But still simple in some ways as well. She’s very matter of fact, not a lot of thought needs to go into things. Do you like something? Yes, then do it, have it, eat it, go to it, etc. No, then don’t. I came to enjoy the relationship that she and Josey had as much as if she was living in my closet! (That will make more sense when you read the book)

When I went to bed last night I planned to read another chapter or so before going to sleep. After all, I did have to work this morning. But, as so often happens, next thing I knew, it was two in the morning and the story was done.

I like to stop after reading a book and think about the characters and the lives they might be leading now, after I’ve closed the book on this particular moment of their life. I savored the story of three women, each one different but still a little bit the same, wondering what they might be doing now. I will certainly be picking up more works by Sarah Addison Allen.

5 stars

5 stars

View all my reviews

In which I became a homeowner.

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My house!

My house!

 

So I just finished paying my second mortgage payment. Holy crap. I mean, it was kind of surreal when I paid the first payment last month, but now, two months in a row… it’s real. I own a house!

Last spring the family that lived across the street from me and my parents moved out of their house. Mama and I looked it up online to see what the selling price was and Mama suggested I call a realtor and look at it. I really didn’t think there would be any way that I could buy a house but our other neighbors hooked me up with a great realtor that they knew and she came and walked us through the house. Since I had never been through the home buying process before I had no idea what to do but my realtor was great. She gave me the number of a mortgage guy and had me call him for a pre-qualification.

Surprisingly enough, my credit score was good enough to get qualified! Unfortunately I wasn’t qualified for enough money to buy the house across the street from my folks but it was an amazing accomplishment anyway. I had basically given up hope on ever being able to own my own home. Basically I figured I’d be that old spinster lady you read about in old books that lives with their aging parents and grows lonely and bitter. Okay, maybe not quite that bad.

Mama and I continued to look for houses in my price range in my preferred area and just a few weeks later I found a beautiful house just a mile up the road from my parents (which also makes it only two miles from my job) for an amazing price. Mama and I met the realtor for a walk through and I completely fell in love. The only downfall… it was a short sale. Short sales are evil. Seriously. They are the real estate equivalent of Satan. I’ve always heard that short sales are annoying and can take up to three or four months to complete.

After one year of waiting, I withdrew my contract on the house. One. Whole. Year.

I looked at other houses during the year but nothing that I liked more than “my” house. Then one day my realtor sent me a list of 30 properties to look at. They were all out of my preferred neighborhood but not so far out to make them prohibitive. I took Mama and Daddy with me and we spent a day looking at houses. The second to last house we looked at was it. My new house.

I told my realtor I wanted to think about it for a little while but before the day was over I called her and asked her to put in an offer. One month later I had the keys in hand and I was a homeowner! I’m sitting in my bedroom in my house right now and I still can’t really believe it. Sometimes I get off of work and I almost turn left out of the parking lot to go home to Mama and Daddy’s house. Then I remember I don’t live there anymore.

It’s weird, after ten years, not living with them. For the first few weeks I was a little homesick. Okay, a lot homesick. I was so used to being able to walk into the next room and talk to Mama or Daddy that I would find myself getting ready to call out to one of them before I remembered that they weren’t here. (Okay, I admit, I still get a little homesick.)

I still have painting to do and I still have stuff to unpack and put away, but it’s mine. Well, it will be in 29 years and 10 months anyway. But for all intents and purposes, it’s mine. I celebrated my 37th birthday this year in my very own home. Every time I think about the fact that I had pretty much given up hope that I’d ever be able to do it, I’m reminded that anything is still possible if I want it enough and work for it. Cheesy, I know, but true.

In which I tell the voice in the back of my mind to shut it.

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I just read a wonderful article on my cousin’s blog that kicked my butt all the way over here. (Check out http://thefidgetywidget.wordpress.com) The article is called Great Expectations and she talks about her own expectations for herself and some of the doubt that tends to creep in. This page has sat untouched for so long. I’ve written a thousand new posts in my head. I have even sat down and started a new post so many times. But I’ve never finished them, mainly because that voice says who wants to read this drivel?

I enjoy writing. Drivel or not. It gives me joy to put my thoughts down and put them out there for other to stumble across and maybe say, “I’ve felt that way” or to perhaps laugh at some of the random crap that pops into my head on a daily basis. But because of self-doubt I have stopped myself from doing something that gives me joy. Because of that nasty little voice in my head who loves to tell me I’m not good enough, I have forgotten that it doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks so.

I’ve accomplished some pretty good stuff in the past year. Things I thought I would never do. And I want to share them! I started this blog as primarily a place to post about the books I read but I miss blogging on a daily basis like I used to back 12 or 13 years ago. So bare with me here folks, I promise I will be reviewing my books, but I’m also going to begin using this space to put down my thoughts on life in general.

But for now I must get ready for work. It’s snack potluck day and my house smells like pineapple angel food cake deliciousness and as much as I’d like to sit here and write and smell the yum, I must get myself in gear. Happy Thursday, lovelies!