Saturday, October 27, 2012

Don't you hate it when this happens?

So, I am reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, a book I mentioned on here a few days ago. As I said then, this book started off with a bang. I loved it. Now I am about halfway through the novel, and I feel like the energy is gone. I don't know if it is me or if it is the book? I just can't figure it out. Honestly, though, I think it is the book. Something has happened to make me feel less enthusiastic and compelled to keep reading. I am going to stick with it, though, because the writing is really good. Also, I really like the heroine, Karou. So, I'll keep you posted...but I really hate it when this happens!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just for fun...because you know how I feel about the whole "dog on the roof rack" thing. LOL

I really wanted to buy Madison the dog shirt that said, "Don't roof rack me, bro!"  It was too funny! Still, I am poor, so my sign must do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit!

 As usual, "Top Ten Tuesdays" prompts come from The Broke and the Bookish! Check them out!

Top Ten Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit!

I used to love books that frightened me so bad that I couldn't read them alone. I haven't found one of those in a long time, but I will post some of my favorite spooky reads!

1. The Shining by Stephen King. I remember starting a chapter of this one night when I had the house to myself and being so frightened that I had to put it down until someone came home! A sequel is coming soon, so I can't wait to read it!

2. Hell House by Richard Matheson. Oh. My. God. This book scared me to death when I read it years ago! This book and Stephen King's miniseries Rose Red evolved out of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting. When I was a kid, I couldn't watch The Haunting without becoming so terrified that I thought that I would be sick! It doesn't show anything, but it plays games with your head. Hell House also gets into your head...and it is a heck of a ghost story.

3. The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. This is a children's book I read when I was about eight years old, I think. Wow. It terrified me then! It is basically about a dollhouse that comes to life and reveals a murder mystery. Very good book!

4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and Brett Helquist. I was so addicted to this series as a I loved it! Some stories were scary, some boring, and some were funny. When I was a library assistant in the fifth and sixth grades, we could not keep these in stock! Another classic.

5. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. You've probably seen the movie, and I think that the movie is fairly close to the book. I love to talk about this one. You can take it in so many directions!

6. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. This classic novel is short and a great read. It has a good pace, and it is just really creepy. 

7. Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. I really enjoyed this sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula. It is for an adult audience and takes on Mina's story. For more details about this one, see my review here.

8. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. Maybe no one else found parts of this book scary, but there is just something about it that really creeps me out.

9. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter. Extremely creepy feminist horror. Loved it!

10. The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing. This is a great classic. If you haven't checked it out, do so now!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book shopping...

I bought two books today, and I am super excited about them!

I've been waiting for this one. I really like the "Immortals After Dark" series, so Cole is an automatic buy for me. This is a YA book, but I have heard wonderful things.

The other book:

Oh. My. This book is so amazing. I read so many good reviews of it, and, though I had intentions of reading Cole's book first, I can't now...because I already started this one. It pulled me in from the first paragraph (I love moody settings), so there is no going back!

I will keep you posted!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review posted!

I have posted my review of This Dark Endeavor over at my book blog "The Friendly Reader," if you are interested!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"What's Next??"

"What's Next??" is  a prompt brought to you by IceyBooks.

The idea? To give your blog readers an idea of books you will be reading soon. So, here are my choices...

Which should I read first??

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Authors In "X" Genre

As always, "Top Ten Tuesday" is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Authors in "X" Genre... Well, I usually discuss YA or Romance on this blog, so this time I think I should discuss something different! So, today I will list my...

Top Ten Favorite Authors in the Historical Fiction Genre!

1. Margaret George. I love her historical fiction because I feel so close to the characters. She never disappoints! Here are a few of my favorites by her:

Yes, they are "big" books, but George's writing style is wonderful. I know historical fiction gets a bad rep, but I don't have a problem separating historical fiction from history. I also think that George has a good reputation for being historically accurate. 

2. Diana Gabaldon. If you like "time travel" and Scottish history, then you should check out the Outlander series!

3. Some people will hate me for this one, but every now and then, I really like to read a Jean Plaidy book! For a long time, she was the go-to author for books about females in history. Though some would disparage her writing, I don't mind it most of the time. Some of my favorites are...

                                                   (Actually, this is three books in one...)

4. Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness is probably my absolute favorite historical novel ever written. I LOVE IT. Do yourself a favor and grab it. The rest of the series is a bit strange for me, but this first novel is wonderful. Also, if you read Outlander, you will have a little surprise in this book!

5. Hilary Mantel. I really enjoyed Wolf Hall, and I plan to read Bring up the Bodies very soon! PS: It was just announced that she won a SECOND Booker Prize!!! So, one for Wolf Hall and another one for Bring up the Bodies!!!

6. Sara Jeter Naslund: another author who has never disappointed me. I loved Abundance, a Novel of Marie Antoinette.

7. Phillipa Gregory. I loved The Queen's Fool, and I have read several of her other novels. All have been very good!

8. Jenna Blum's Those Who Save Us. This is an amazing story about the Holocaust. It is very difficult to read at times, but the story stays with you.

9. Tracy Chevalier. She has written many historical novels, the most famous of which is Girl with a Pearl Earring. LOVE this book.

10. Alison Weir. She is known for writing non-fiction about history, but she has recently delved into historical fiction. I love reading about Jane Grey, so her book Innocent Traitor is a favorite!

Happy Birthday, Oscar Wilde!

(Source: Library of Congress)


Today, in 1847, Charlotte Bronte published Jane Eyre!!! It is a great day for Victorianists!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A great weekend with great people!

I had a great time at the event in Livingston! The AHA hosted its annual pilgrimage there, and I will be posting more photos soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I passed my dissertation defense!!!

Yes, I look totally exhausted. I still am. And I am not sure why it looks like I have dirt or something to the left side of my nose...ugh. Anyway, I am just happy it is all over with! I found this shirt in Books-a-Million, and my friend Andy bought it for me before I could stop him. It is an old joke in the family to call me "Seuss," so, recently, my mom has taken to calling me "Dr. Seuss." Appropriate.

Anyway, the defense went well. It was really more of a conversation than anything, just like my director said it would be. There were a few criticisms of my work mentioned near the end of the defense, but that is normal! My committee members are great people and so smart. Everything they said made sense, and I had a good time talking about my work.

I have been super nervous since last Tuesday. I haven't been sleeping well, and I was so pumped with energy yesterday that I couldn't calm down even after everything was signed and I was officially able to call myself "Dr." I ran around like crazy yesterday afternoon, writing my committee members "Thank-You" notes and running errands. I had a nice dinner out with my family last night, watched Love, Actually (one of my faves), and tried to go to sleep early. I managed to fall asleep, but I woke up at 1:30 and stayed up until 3:00 a.m. I had the realization that a huge part of my life has come to a finish. I no longer have this huge project I am responsible for finishing. And that is a little scary. But I am feeling better about it today. There is so much more to do, after all!

I also felt sad, because my friend Elizabeth is no longer alive and able to share this moment with me. She knew so much about my desire to complete a PhD, and she was so supportive. We talked about my dissertation and graduation so much...I just wish I could call her up and tell her that it is really happening.

So much has happened over the course of my studies. I started my MA in 2002, and I graduated with it in 2004. I completed another MA in 2005, and I moved to Florida for a year to begin PhD work down there. When I moved back to Tuscaloosa a year later, I dealt with the life-changing event of my father's cardiac arrest and subsequent brain damage. I worked two jobs for five years (as a teacher for the university and as an assistant editor for the magazine). I accompanied the UA at Oxford program to England for a month and tried to keep watch over 45 students (something they didn't always like or understand). Just over the last two years, I have dealt with a break up, getting and adjusting to a full-time job, my grandmother's death, the death of my old dog, the deaths of two cousins, numerous financial obligations, a hospitalization for me and one for my father, and the death of one of my best friends in the world. It has been a hard time--especially considering that during all of this over the last two years I have also been writing a 235-page dissertation. It hasn't been easy, but I am glad I kept on with it.

So, in all, I am going to enjoy this victory while I can! Thanks to all of you who check this blog hoping for a post...I will get better about that very soon!

Monday, October 08, 2012

I love this picture:

My great grandmother Irene (for those of you who remember, I have a photo of me in her wedding dress). We favor a lot, but she had the darker skin and hair from the Spanish side of the family.

PS: I need that corset. Seriously, though: Can you believe how tiny her waist is??? CRAZY. Um, yeah, I would never wear a corset. Just FYI.