Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mailbox Monday (38)

One of my 101 in 1001 goals is to cut my to-read pile in half. In theory, this is a doable goal, especially considering how quickly to read through books. Although it makes it nearly impossible, when I have such big Mailbox Monday posts. I'm not quite complaining here, but I guess it isn't a bad problem to have. With that said I'm linking up with Book Obsessed, our host for July, to share my recent bookshelf additions.
Mailbox Monday
From Paperback Swap
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
I actually won the 3rd (or maybe 4th) book in this series almost two years ago. It's been sitting unread till I can read the books before it, but now at least, I'm finally on my way there.

For Review from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner
I think this summer may be my summer of Gortner, but I'm really excited about it!

For Review from TLC Book Tours
Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra
This one is a memoir of five sibling who survived an unspeakable childhood on Long Island (taken directly off the cover). I have a feeling this will be the type that makes you cry, but still happy to see that they've made it to the other side.

From Goodreads
My goodreads luck must be back since after last week's 6 wins, I've continued to win 5 more over the next week. Not sure how long this will keep up, but at the moment, I'm definitely enjoying it!
The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall
This is a crime series, that (what I'm most excited for) takes place in India. This is the first in a series, and I think the 3rd or 4th recently came out.
Immortal Bird by Doron Weber
This is another memoir, about a family raising a son with a congenital heart defect.
Chasing Alaskaby C.B. Bernard
I think this is also a memoir type, but dealing with exploring Alaska's wilderness.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And are you able to take books off your reading pile, or does it seem to be always growing like me?

Friday, June 28, 2013

You Can't Go Home Again

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
April 17th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
You know when you finish a book and you look back on it with a sense of awe, trying to better understand what you just finished? That was this type of book. The front cover compares it to To Kill a Mockingbird, but even without that that guidance I think I would have come up with the comparison myself. Similar to how you could say that book is about Scout and her relationship with her older brother and father, when it's really so much more than that, with this you could also say it's about Jess and his relationship with his older brother and father, except again it's so much more than that.

I believe the story takes place in the 1980s, but everything feels so timeless about it that it's hard to tell. If someone told me these events took place today, I'd believe it. Or maybe even more amazing, I'd also believe someone who said the book instead took place 100 years ago.

Going into this, I had no idea what to expect, but I think that's the way to do it. Especially since as I started off with, a basic summary isn't going to tell you what it's really about. I will tell you that I cried through the last few chapters, and know this is one I won't forget.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Show Us Your... Link-Ups

This week I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner to share my favorite link-ups. I think this will be a lot of fun, and hopefully I can discover some new ones that are worth checking out, plus introduce others to some of my favorites.

Mailbox Monday
This one was first started by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued.... It's a way to share the books you've picked up whether for review, purchased, or gifted. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists, but I promise you will discover a ton of books you can't wait to read in the process. MM travels to a new host each month, and since this Monday starts July, we'll be linking up at Book Obsessed.

Project 52
This link-up is also on Mondays and hosted by Random-osity and Klienworth & Co. It's where I share my Project 365 posts each week. There's some amazing photographers that participate that I don't quite feel worthy of, but I still have fun sharing my daily photos from the year.

Book Club Friday
Book Club Friday is hosted by Heather of Blonde... Undercover Blonde every Friday. It's a place to share reviews of the books you've recently read. Again you'll discover some awesome sounding books through this link-up, the hard part is finding the time to read them all.

What are you favorite link-ups to participate in that you think I should check out? And if you're stopping by from Kelly's Korner be sure to say hi!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Freedom is the Ultimate Crime

The Registry by Shannon Stoker
: June 11, 2013 by William Morrow
If I had read this a few years ago I would have thought it was such a unique premise. Except now, with the number of dystopians that have gotten big, its themes are awfully familiar in so many others. In The Resistry, Mia is living in a world where at 18 all girls are listed on a database, called the registry, to be sold as a wife to the man whose willing to pay her price.

But even though the world may not have been that unique, I still loved the world building. Each chapter started with a line of two from The Registry Guide for Girls which helps shape girls into the wife they're meant to be, and I thought was an excellent window into the ways the society functions. (Again, not that unique since I've seen similar devices used in Delirium, but still very much appreciated.) Also what I thought was interesting was how the creation of society was handled. All throughout Mia is looking for an answer, but each time the question is asked no one is quite sure what happened and their interpretation of the events that led to its creation is a little different. While it may not be a concrete answer you'd like to have as a reader, the idea that no one really knows and everyone has their owns ideas is probably closer to what would actually happen 100 years afterwards.

While this is a dysptopian, it isn't published as YA. Instead it's being marketed as New Adult, which means it has what's becoming my biggest pet peeve in NA books; that of the innocent, naive girl who had no idea what's going on in the world around her. Thankfully Mia does grow throughout, and I think even she would look down on the girl she was at the start of this story with a little disgust.

The book had so much potential, but while there were aspects I really enjoyed, it didn't quite work. And I can't even really articulate why. The dialogue does feel a little forced and awkward. And there's a pretty big travesty towards the end, except none of the characters seemed to really show emotion on the right scale. There is a sequel, and while I don't see myself running out to buy it, I still think I'd read it, even if it's mainly out of curiosity to see what else happens to this world.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Movie Review

This is the End
This movie was full of ridiculously and over-the-top-ness, and I'm not quite sure it was a good thing. It felt similar to being around a group of friends, and they keep talking about their inside jokes. And since you aren't actually friends with them all you laugh, but don't find it nearly as amusing as those in the inside circle.

There were a ton of cameos though, with the ones by Emma Watson, Rihanna, and Michael Cera being the most noticeable. Although for me the top cameo was the one at the very end featuring none other than the Backstreet Boys.

Yes, not really a surprise that this was my favorite, considering my obsession with them. But still, in my opinion their two minute cameo made the entire movie worth it, and one that I'd probably want to own if only so I can watch those few minutes over and over again.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mailbox Monday (37)

I know you're surprised, but again my mailbox for full of books this week, so yet again, I'm linking up with Mailbox Monday. This link-up travels each month, and for June we're linking up at Dolce Bellezza.
Mailbox Monday
For Review from TLC Books Tours
Together Tea by Marjan Kamali
I'm really excited for this one! It's about an Iranian American woman whose mother is looking for the perfect match for her. The Middle Eastern culture isn't one that I've read a ton about, but again I can't wait to experience it.

From Goodreads
Nearer Home by Joy Castro
I used to win goodreads giveaways ALL THE TIME, to the point where I thought it was normal and everyone else must also be winning once a month. Except about a year after regularly winning, I stopped and hadn't won one since December 2011. At least I hadn't until earlier this week when I won SIX in a single day. I actually thought goodreads was sending out congratulations e-mails in error at first. But turns out it actually happened. Not sure if I'll start winning them regularly again, or if it'll be several years till the next win, but either way I'm happy! As for this book, it's a mystery that take place in New Orleans, and living in Louisiana I always love reading books that take place here.

For Review from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner
I've been wanting to read this since before it was even released, and can hardly believe I actually received a copy of it. I so so excited to finally jump into this one!

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And have you ever won a goodreads giveaway?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Project 365: Days 166 Through 172

We're officially into summer! Although it's definitely felt that way for a while now here in Louisiana. Either way, these are my last few photos from spring (and the first day of summer).
Two Weeks Old
June 15, 2013 - 166/365: Our friends' two week old baby.
At the Boy's Game
June 16, 2013 - 167/365: At the boy's baseball game.
Chicken Tacos
June 17, 2013 - 168/365: Chicken soft tacos, compliments of the boy.
Playing Castles of Burgundy
June 18, 2013 - 169/365: Playing Castles of Burgundy.
Tea & a Book
June 19, 2013 - 170/365: Sleepytime tea and a book before bed.
Red Beans & Rice
June 20, 2013 - 171/365: Red beans and rice for dinner.
Chicken Pesto Flatbreads at Quiznos
June 21, 2013 - 172/365: Quiznos' chicken pesto flatbreads for lunch.

Is it just starting to feel like summer where you are? Or have you been feeling the heat for a while like us?

I'm linking this post up with Random-osity & Kleinworth & Co. for Project 52!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Family Fun - Vamp Style

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
: May 4, 2010 by Ace
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #10
It's been almost 3 years since I last read a Sookie Stackhouse book. So going into this, I was a little hesitant that I'd be confused and have no idea what was happened. Except, I was surprised that a majority of the book came back to me. Although, I'm sure a lot of that was because so much happened in the last book that it was impossible to forget. There were still minor details and characters I couldn't quite place, but overall I didn't feel lost even after waiting so long.

There is a character introduced in the book that while maybe a little cliché, I loved. Granted I have a fondness for this character's period of history, but I thought it was a fun surprise. Maybe not completely necessary, but I appreciated it.

The book does start of a little slow, which in a way was good for me since it gave me a chance to get back into the world. Although, it did have me wondering if these books were as good as I remember. Thankfully the last few chapters are were the action is, and when I got close to the ending I didn't want to put it down.

I already have the next book in the series waiting to be read, so can't imagine I'll let years go by before getting to the next. And from that point, I'd have 2 left in the series, so hopefully instead of waiting 3 years to read the next, I can read the last 3 in the next year!


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

From Miss to Mrs: The One Who Found You

After finishing up our family photos the boy and I made our way to cocktail hour. On the way, we picked up our first and only post-dinner appetizer, a cup of gumbo which was handed out to each guest walking through the plantation house. The plan was for guests to walk through the house, pick up their gumbo, and mingle for drinks and appetizers in the courtyard. Except it was so hot, everyone went right indoors to reception area. It wasn't really a big deal, it just meant everyone was already seated, instead of being up and mingling, but most importantly, rescued from the heat.
Though it wasn't really used, this was the courtyard for cocktail hour.
You can see the reception inside, and even a sneak peak of our cake.
The plan was for us to go right into our first dance to start the reception. So while it wasn't officially the start time listed on the schedule, the boy and I entered the room and went straight to the dance floor.
Two days before the wedding the boy tried to teach me to two step. No, we didn't get a lot of practice, but as I wrote in that recap, I don't think I would have been able to look coordinated even with months and months of formal classes.
Supposedly a friend of mine saw the two of us start do dance saying, "Aww how cute. She tried to teach him how to dance." Two which another friend corrected, "No, he's actually the one who tried to teach her how to dance."
I spent must of the time laughing at myself, while the boy spent a good portion looking exasperated, probably wondering how he was able to dance so much better than the woman he was now married to.
Rather than fill in the rest of the pictures with random words, here at least are the lyrics to our first dance song, "Deed I Do" by Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie.
Do I want you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
Do I need you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
I'm glad that I'm the one who found you
That's why I'm always hangin' 'round you
Do I love you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
I was oh, so blue till you came along
Just to make my life a wonderful song
You brought sunshine just to brighten my loneliness
Is it any wonder in my happiness? I confess

Do I want you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
Do I need you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
I'm glad that I'm the one who found you
That's why I'm always hangin' 'round you
Do I love you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do

There are lots of others that I have met
Those you meet today, tomorrow forget
You're the only one who ever could stand the test
That's the reason why, I choose you from the rest, you're the best
Do I want you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
Do I need you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
I'm glad that I'm the one who found you
That's why I'm always hangin' 'round you
Do I love you? Oh my, do I?
Honey, 'deed I do
If seeing photo evidence of my awkward dancing wasn't enough for you, it's your lucky day, since there's even video of our first dance!

Personal Video
Did you choreograph your first dance or even just attempt to, like the boy and I? Or instead, have you ever taking a ballroom dance class? And while you may not believe it, I actually have! I took a half semester class my senior year of college for fun, but clearly it didn't have a lasting impact on me.

All photos in this post courtesy of Sabree Hill Photography.

Miss a Recap Post?
From Miss to Mrs: The Calm Before the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: There's a Hurricane Coming?
From Miss to Mrs: Here Comes Isaac
From Miss to Mrs: Weathering the Cane
From Miss to Mrs: After the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: Trials and Tribulations
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Errands
From Miss to Mrs: A Night on the Town
From Miss to Mrs: The Hangover
From Miss to Mrs: Rehearsing in the Heat
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Supper
From Miss to Mrs: Gifting the Girls
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Night
From Miss to Mrs: Oh What a Beautiful Morning
From Miss to Mrs: Getting Prettified
From Miss to Mrs: Prepping the Plantation
From Miss to Mrs: Turtle Time
From Miss to Mrs: The Photographer Has Arrived
From Miss to Mrs: Becoming the Bride
From Miss to Mrs: Dress Details
From Miss to Mrs: Ou Est le Groom?
From Miss to Mrs: A Bridge-y First Look
From Miss to Mrs: Couple Time
From Miss to Mrs: Just the Two of Us
From Miss to Mrs: Grouping the Girls
From Miss to Mrs: Ain't No Party Like a Bridal Party
From Miss to Mrs: Fun with Family
From Miss to Mrs: Making it Official
From Miss to Mrs: The Bedeken
From Miss to Mrs: The Final Minutes
From Miss to Mrs: Programming Break
From Miss to Mrs: The Processional
From Miss to Mrs: Walking the Walk
From Miss to Mrs: Circle to Ceremony
From Miss to Mrs: Remembrance to Kiddush
From Miss to Mrs: The Exchanges
From Miss to Mrs: Lucky Number Seven
From Miss to Mrs: Mazel Tov
From Miss to Mrs: Ceremony Details
From Miss to Mrs: The Yichud
From Miss to Mrs: Extended Fun with Family

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WordPress Woes

I may not have my blog hosted on WordPress, but a lot of my blogging friends do, so I have my fair share of interaction on WordPress blogs. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to comment on their blogs lately. It feels like it's been months, but in all likelihood it's probably only been a few days. I type of my comment and hit submit, and it doesn't show up and no notification of what happened even appears. I started even copying my comment, except then I'd resubmit it, and this time I'd receive an error saying I'd already said that. I even started waiting a few days to see if it magically appeared after the fact, and still no luck.

I did post a shout out on twitter, hopping this was a common problem that everyone was happening or hoping someone had a solution. Tamar tweeted me back saying she was having similar issues, but I still had no solution.

I tried googling a solution, and still no luck. Then several days later, I tried a new search and this time landed on this post on Reflections in a Puddle. It seems someone she had been having similar issues and on her blog post asking for help was recommended to check out askismet.
Askismet is a spam filtering website, from the creators of WordPress and I'm assuming is the default way of filtering spam. It seems like I had been caught up in their spam filter. Maybe I comment too much? But I can't quite believe that. Although I'm sure re-posting the same comment over and over in an attempt to get it to show up, didn't help matters.

I've posted a comment to their support saying I thought I was having my comments cached, and within a few hours had an e-mail apology and was able to comment again. So if you have a WordPress blog, expect to see me around more! And if you happen to check your spam folder, I'd imagine you'll have quite a few duplicate comments from me.

Has anyone else dealt with commenting issues either on WordPress or a different site?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Project 365: Days 155 through 165

Jumping right into things, these are my daily photos from the past week or so.
Day Lilies
June 4, 2013 - 155/365: Day Lilies in the backyard. I think these may be my favorite out of all the ones we have.
Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar
June 5, 2013 - 156/365: The Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar is definitely my new favorite. I love the blueberry jelly on the top, and there's dried blueberries inside. If you haven't tried this one yet, it's a must!
Growing Figs
June 6, 2013 - 157/365: I would have much rather had the figs in focus instead of the leaf, but either way, our figs are getting bigger!
Pineapple Juice & a Book
June 7, 2013 - 158/2013: Pineapple juice and a book before bed.
Lunch at McAllister's
June 8, 2013 - 159/365: Lunch at McAllisters.
June 9, 2013 - 160/365: The boy made brownies.
Leftover BJ's Brewhouse Pizza
June 10, 2013 - 161/365: Leftover pizza from BJ's Brewhouse.
Backyard View
June 11, 2013 - 162/365: The view in our backyard. The lemon tree is actually the closest on the left. The fig tree is the third on the left side. And the satsuma tree is on the right, right by the house.
The Last Brownie
June 12, 2013 - 163/365: The last brownie.
Baby Satsumas
June 13, 2013 - 164/365: Growing satsumas.
Soup & Salad Bar
June 14, 2013 - 165/365: Soup & salad at Whole Foods.

I'm linking this post up with Random-osity & Kleinworth & Co. for Project 52!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mailbox Monday (36)

I have an awesome mailbox to share this week! It's due to the fact I'm scheduled for so many reviews over the summer, I think almost every week for two months straight. Lucky for me, they're books I'm really exciting about, and happy to share at Dolce Bellezza, our Mailbox Monday host for the month of June.
Mailbox Monday
For Review from TLC Book Tours
The Registry by Shannon Stoker
I'm actually about halfway through this one already. It's a new adult dystopain that feels like a bit of a mix between Delirium and Matched. So far, I'm enjoying my time with it.

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
I've read so many amazing reviews of this (as well as the author's The Birth House), so I have high hopes of this historical fiction that takes place in Manhattan in the late 1800s. Hopefully it lives up to my expectations.

Godiva by Nicole Galland
I've read one of this author's before (I, Iago, which I actually shared in my first Mailbox Monday post ever), so I know I'm in for an exciting time. This is another historical fiction taking place in England in the 11th century.

For Review for Virtual Author Book Tours
Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats by Angela Shelton
I read a Tilda book last year and that it was a lot fun, which is what I was so excited to see there was another one on tour. The last one was actually more of a middle grade, while this is more of a children's book. Thumbing through it, it looks awesome. My favorite is how there's actual coloring sheets every few pages. I'm thinking I may have to color a few of them myself! Plus the author included a sticker, postcard, and what looks like a mini moo card.

From Paperback Swap
Food Politics by Marion Nestle
This is another book off my mom's wish list. It looks really dense and packed with information, but hopefully I'll get through it one of these days.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And if you schedule reviews on your blog, what's the most you commit to in a given period? I try to aim for no more than once a week, but sometimes I think every other week would be the better way to do it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Blog Love

Last month I started my monthly post highlighting the sponsors of From L.A. to LA. So once again, here are the blogs you've been seeing on the sidebar, with a preview of what you'd find there. Enjoy!

Munchkins and the Military
Tips for the First Time Cruiser
"It's no secret that the Hubster and I are pretty obsessed with cruising. We've agreed that cruising is just about the only way we'll vacation. Even with the Triumph mess that happened two months before our Carnival cruise, we still had no worries that our cruise would suck. I wouldn't have minded a few extra days at sea either way. If you've never taken a cruise, you have to try it..."
Sprayable Sidewalk Chalk
Summer Pasta Salad

Beyond the Aisle
patriotic home decor: for memorial day and beyond...
"I was supposed to be a July baby - my due date was Independence Day. Apparently, I had other plans, and came into the world on May 29th. Being a May baby definitely has its perks: strawberry birthday cake, "summer blockbuster" options for theater outings, and, obviously, sandal weather. Sometimes, my birthday falls on Memorial Day - I suppose I traded one patriotic holiday for another...

As a kid reading my mama's Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living magazines, I imagined grown-up me living in a white farmhouse with a lot of Americana- red, white, and blue look so fresh and happy in home decor. While that dream hasn't come true quite yet, I love finding ways to add these colors to our living space!..."
If you want to look into sponsoring From L.A. to LA check out my sponsor page.

What are your favorite posts from around the blogosphere this past month?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Double Oh...

Bond Girl by Erin Duffy
Growing up Alex always new she wanted to work on Wall Street. But fresh out of college now that she's never, she's not quite sure what she got into. Will she be able to survive as one of the only females in a male dominated field?

When this book first came out I was dying to read it. Except I kept reading negatives reviews of it, and the more I read, the less sure about it I was. But when a friend lent me a copy, it was a perfect time to check it out. And I definitely wish I went with my initial impression, because I really enjoyed this.

I haven't seen this book classified as New Adult, likely because it was published before the current craze, but I think it fits pretty perfectly. After all, Alex has just graduated college and is starting her first job, two things that feel "new adult" to me. Maybe the reason is that Alex seems mature and knows why she's doing, while most of the typical new adult characters seem to not know what they're doing with their lives.

In a way this feels a bit like a memoir, and I think it could have worked as one as well. But I think it works better as fiction. You have to imagine a lot of the events in here happened to at least one person. But since this isn't actually a true story, there's no reason why the experiences of many couldn't all happen to Alex.

There is a bit of a love story in here, but I don't necessarily think it was needed. Part of me understands why it was there, but at times it seemed to take away from all of Alex's work drama.

Duffy does do an awesome job at getting the feel for what it's like working in finance. You may not be there with her, but it sure feels like you are. And while I still can't quite picture what the floor actually looked like, I do have a much better idea of it.

Parts of this book had me appreciate my current job. And yet others made me wonder, what if I had taken a similar career path? What parts of her job sounded exciting to me? I'm not quite sure I'm ready to make that type of career changing decision, but it was fun getting the chance to experience it with Alex.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!