Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Truth About Crusie Ships - Herring

A supposed finalist in the "Global eBook Awards", The Truth About Cruise Ships by Jay Herring is a behind-the-scenes look at cruise ships, their crew, and the reality of how cruises run.

Herring, who signed on for several contracts with Carnival Cruise Lines, worked as the ships' IT manager during his time with Carnival. An officer level position, this role allowed him access to just about every location and situation on board.

The book offers an engaging explanation of how Herring got interested and hired into cruise work and how the world of such "contract" positions works. It offers a fairly clear view as to how some cruise lines mistreat and overwork their staff, doing so under the guise of registering their ships outside of U.S. territory, making it legal to make staff work ten to fourteen hours a day for months on end with no real scheduled time off and to provide crew with poor living conditions including no windows/fresh air, loud rooms above vibrating machinery, and the like.

Herring offers entertaining stories of dealing with senior officers and mixed personalities, as well as both good and bad experiences dealing with passengers. He shares his experiences in a hurricane situation, as well as the excitement and stress of dealing with other high seas emergencies. Ultimately, Herring met his wife, who was also a crew member, and the two left cruise work permanently.

Beyond that, the book was a bit less entertaining. Herring talks repeatedly about the extensive sex, limited relationship building, and excessive drinking on board, which no doubt occurs. But I cannot believe that every crew member would chose to live as he did during their time on board. Herring, who originated from a small town in Texas, admits to having lived with his parents and remained a virgin until he shipped out. Perhaps this affected his decisions.  In fact, I am not so sure even he lived the way he suggests 24-7, I have to assume that a bit of his "memoir" was bravado and self back-patting. Another reviewer called him a "narcissist bigot trying to fluff his feathers [while] acting as though he was a well educated Casanova".

To me, it was clear the book was self or small-publisher published. It was poorly organized, with every chapter returning to the issues of sex and drinking. Had the book benefited from a good editor, it would likely have been organized with a chapter focusing on sex and relationships, one focused on drinking and partying, one on the hurricane and such emergencies, one on his work duties, perhaps one on the ports he visited, etc. This would have made the book more enjoyable. Or maybe Herring just misjudged his audience, assuming teen boys were his readership. Again, a good editor could have really helped him. As well, he/she would have likely caught one of several grammatical issues (a pet peeve of mine, though thankfully they are limited). Overall, this book was an enjoyable read, though in a "reality-tv-show-I-can't-believe-I'm-reading-this" sort of way.  

2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 1/28/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

Jack and Diane
John Cougar Mellencamp, Artist & Writer

Little ditty 'bout Jack and Diane,
two American kids growin' up in the Heartland.
Jacky's gonna be a football star,
Diane's debutante backseat of Jacky's car.

Suckin' on a chili dog outside the Tastee Freeze.
Diane's sittin' on Jacky's lap, he's got his hands between her knees.
Jacky say, "Hey Diane lets run off behind those shady trees,
Dribble off those Bobby Brooks, let me do what I please?!"

He said
"Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone."
He said, "Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone."
They walk on
Jacky sits back reflects his thoughts for the moment,
scratches his head and does his best James Dean
"Well there, there Diane, we gotta run of the city."
Diane says "Baby, you ain't missing nothing!"

Jacky say yeah
"Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone.
Oh yeah say life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone."
Gonna let it roll 'n' rock, let it roll,
Let the Bible belt come and save my soul.
Hold on to sixteen as long as you can,
Changes come around real soon
make us women and men.
Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone.
Oh yeah they say life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone.
A little ditty 'bout Jack and Diane
Two American kids doin' the best they can

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mondays - 01/27/14

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

A busy week already, Purely Vocals is taking part this week in the annual Hingham Cabaret... Starting with a full day of "tech" (noon until 11pm) yesterday, the week continues with  rehearsals or shows every night until but exhausting. I have only a small role in the show though, just singing with PV, so that allows me a fair amount of reading time!
Still Reading: 
Early Decision (Lacy Crawford)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)

Just Finished

On Deck
Who know?!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Deb at  Readerbuzz recently wrote about "unreading", which she defines as perusing a few pages or sometimes a chapter or two of books to decide if she really wants to keep going. Personally, once I open a book I feel guilty about stopping.  Do you ever feel that way?  I've have finally managed to get to the point where if I really don't like something I can toss it aside, but I still feel guilty!

But I really like this idea! As noted previously, my current TBR list is somewhere around 7,000 books, which is more than I am likely to read in an entire lifespan (given my 1-2 book a week totals). So, I decided I needed to aggressively "unread" too. I was able to remove twenty or so titles that I had thought at one time I might be interested in, but either age, maturity or just plain old time has changed my view. I am no longer interested and so I went ahead and removed them.  Joy Behar. Some self-help type reading. Good riddance.

As Deb notes, it's " dusting properly or cleaning out one's closet". And it felt good!  I will definitely do this again in the future, likely the near future!

How about you, have you cleaned out your TBR closet recently?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy - Foxlee

*This book was received free of charge for review  from Netgalley for my honest review and opinion.  All comments in this review are the honest opinion of the blogger.

Ophelia is a sad little girl. Her mother died three months, two weeks and seven days ago. Her older sister, Alice, is not acting normal. And to make matters worse, Ophelia and her sister are being forced to visit a very cold, very dreary city with their father, a sword expert working on a soon to be revealed museum display. And her father's boss, while very pretty, makes Ophelia very uncomfortable despite Alice's obvious approval of her.

While Ophelia tries to keep herself entertained and out of the way, she can't help but be bored. She wanders the very large and strange museum by day and returns to their empty hotel room in the evening.

Then, one day Ophelia finds a friend. She discovers a young boy who has been locked in a hidden room, for 75 years, who calls himself "The Marvelous Boy".  He tells her that he needs her help saving the world and sends her on a hunt to find a missing sword and "The Other One", the person who is to help the Marvelous Boy and the sword save the world from the evil Snow Queen.

But how is a little girl to protect herself from a Snow Queen? And an evil one at that?!

In Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, Karen Foxlee presents a wonderful fantasy for all ages. Though the initial chapter or two is a bit slow, once you get into Ophelia's story you can't help but be sucked in and enjoy the fantasy being woven. The final battle is a bit simplistic, but remember this book is for kids. Despite that, I found it fully engaging and entertaining. A great read for all ages!

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Salon - 1/19/14

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

Hello bloggies!

It was a calm and boring week here, which was kind of nice actually. The students are back and classes have begun, so it's typically busy. It will soon be time to start preparing for May's graduation!

I'm really enjoying that I don't have to go to work tomorrow! Perhaps I'll do some shopping, spend some of my Xmas gift certificates... Or maybe I'll just hang out and read a good book!

I TiVo'd this week's showing of Flowers in the Attic, which I read years ago, and just watched it today. Spoilers coming... Though the acting was alright, I felt this version was just eh.  It almost felt like they didn't want to repeat anything the previous movie did (which was fairly true to the book), to perhaps keep it creative and new, but that left this version lacking. I really missed the surprise of the realization of who was poisoning them, and finding the grandfather was already dead. Also, this version lacked any emotional connection with the little sister and brother. The little sister was a brat and Cory was, well...was he even there? And then he died, but it was like...not much of a moment, as it was in the book. No loss really. And I didn't really like the differences at the end. This new version was totally anti-climactic. I wanted the mom to get her due, but no luck. Very disappointing.

Books and Blogging

After a successful Bout of Books Read-a-thon 2014, I finished up my Netgalley Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, which was a good read. Review coming soon. I've started reading Early Decision by Lacy Crawford and continue my efforts on Moby Dick. Good stuff!

What about you?


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Coreyography - Feldman

Many women, and presumably some men, my age remember clearly "The Two Coreys". In many cases, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim were our first crushes. Their zanny, 1980's comedic "teen-flicks" are classics in our memories ("I don't need your BMW, I've got a Mercedes!"). But sadly, these once adorable, vibrant and talented kids are now most remembered for their struggles and failures. In his autobiography, Coreyography, Corey Feldman shares his story, though perhaps not so fondly.

As a child actor, Corey Feldman enjoyed acting. His older sister had had some success in the field and he was happy to take part, until his unstable parents took advantage of the situation. Feldman found himself supporting his entire family and forced into working and taking jobs that were not beneficial to his career. He was abused physically and mentally by his parents to ensure the money-train continued, until at age fifteen he took his parents to court for legal and financial emancipation.

With his new-found freedom, but no additional maturity (and little support from anyone healthy), Feldman sank quickly into the excesses of the 80's, drugs. His career continued to flourish as he was paired with Corey Haim and the Two Corey's duo (and a long lasting friendship) was born. The two would go on to perform in several blockbuster movies making millions, and remained friends until the end.

But their story is sadder and far darker. Feldman speaks of what he considers to be the biggest issue that Hollywood faces, pedophilia. He admits to having been abused himself, and states that Corey Haim, who's demons allegedly drove him to drugs and eventually killed him at the young age of thirty-eight, admitted to being abused multiple times before and after their meeting. Feldman, in fact, takes responsibility for introducing Haim to some of his abusers and professes guilt.

Corey Feldman was never a favorite of mine. I much preferred Corey Haim. Now, Hollywood is Hollywood and what makes the best show (ie most money) is always going to be what is projected. But that being said, Feldman always came off as self-serving and a bit of a money-hungry jerk. I wasn't sure I would enjoy this read, as I fully anticipated disliking him even more.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only was this memoir extremely well written and presented, but I truly feel that Corey Feldman has survived due only to his own inner strength. Reading this book, I feel that I truly got to know the a new Corey Feldman, perhaps new even to himself.  Rather than the Corey who was always trying to impress, to make a splash to sell movies, Corey Feldman seems to have grown up to be quite the man. He now has a son and speaks of his failed marriage in a mature and kind manner. He continues to work toward making Hollywood a better, safer place for child stars working with organizations to support laws and guidelines to ensure their safety. He does not, however, toot this horn loudly which made me like him all the more.

I do realize that this book will not be of equal interest to everyone, that being the only reason I am rating it:

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Salon - 1/12/14

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

Hello bloggies!

So, the past week was my return to work after the holidays. That first full week back is always tough, but since the students still haven't returned it was at least fairly calm. I had some meetings and have been finally informed, officially, that with the changes at work my job will "definitely be changing". I'm still not sure what exactly that means, but have another meeting later this month with the big boss to talk about it. As far as I can tell, I'm not being canned...yet. Time will tell.

Otherwise, it's life as usual. PV (Purely Vocals) auditioned for our fifth year of the Hingham Cabaret, a variety type show that benefits the Hingham (Mass) Community Center. The event auditions January first, then the cast work hard throughout January, with the show culminating the last week of the month. It's a long hard haul for them. I generally just sing with PV, as I live a good distance away, and support my gals who are in the show. It's always a great show and the audience is usually sold out. So, it's great PR for us.

Books and Blogging

This week has been full of reading and blogging as I joined in the Bout of Books Read-a-thon 2014, January edition. It's been successful as I have read more chapters of Moby Dick than planned and finished reading The Truth About Cruise Ships. Then, I started a Netgalley book, my first actually as I have requested books in the past but never got around to reading them, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. This YA title was a slow start for me, but after a few chapters I am really beginning to enjoy it!  Though I haven't read the planned number of hours each day, I have definitely made up for it on the other days. So averaged out, I'd say it's been a success!

How about you? Did you take part?


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Five Days at Memorial - Fink

Though we can can never really know what occurred at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans in the days during, and following, Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Sheri Fink has presented as thorough a picture of the events of those five eventful days as possible in First Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital.

We do know that much of New Orleans was destroyed to winds, rain and ultimately flooding. Through her exhaustive research of interviews and legal documents, we also know that municipal authorities were unprepared, despite previous experience with such events, and that federal authorities were slow to provide relief. We also know that thousands of people left in the city were desperate for help, safety and rescue, including those left at Memorial Medical Center.

Additionally, we know that Memorial's parent company was grossly unprepared for such an such an event and could not, and did not, offer speedy assistance evacuating patients before or after the storm (in fact hospitals were not required too evacuate prior to the storm, per the city's mayor). Despite that, the remaining hospital staff worked diligently (for the most part) round the clock to help their patients, even recruiting others who had taken shelter in the hospital to care for patients. And finally, we know that, despite that care, forty-five patients were left dead. A number far greater than seen in any other hospital in the New Orleans area.

According to Dr. Fink's research, after days of being stranded with little help or response from rescuers, some doctors/administrators at the hospital made a decision to assist patients who they deemed were unlikely to live through the ordeal. The method of assistance was injections of both morphine and sedatives. A deadly mix, in the opinion of multiple forensic pathologists, which caused the demise of many of those gravely ill patients.

When the tragedy was over, legal authorities set about proving that the injections given by Dr. Anna Pou ("Poe"), a much loved physician who many thought of as a healing angel given her work with cancer patients, and others were in fact a form of euthanasia. Hospital staff refuted that theory and swore they were only trying to provide comfort for these patients (many of whom were not even patients of the doctors' employer Memorial Medical Center, but of a sister company, LifeCare, which rented space in the hospital building), who were suffering terribly.

Ultimately, no one was indicted or convicted of any crime but question still exists. Many believe that doctors euthanized patients to speed up the evacuation of less ill patients, and/or to avoid having to deal with these very sick patients any longer.  Some still feel that someone (other than the dead) should have paid a price for the horrible decisions that were made during that event.

Extremely well research and written, this book is an awesome read. It is a very thorough and gives you a real feeling for what occurred and how such a thing could have occurred, given the dire situation. Yet, the book also left me with the feeling that someone should have been held responsible for these terrible events, a least the unprepared and incompetent parent company.

If I had only one complaint, that would be that the final chapter of the book seemed to be the "epilogue", while the epilogue served the purpose of informing readers as to the history and legalities behind euthanasia. This seemed a ridiculous point in the book to go into such deep and important background. I wish this had been incorporated within the book itself. By the end of the book, I was rushing to return it to the library and felt that I skimmed this info more than I would have perferred.

Overall though, a really great read!

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Tueday Tunes - 1/7/14

A good lyric is like a great book...

11:59 It's January
Scrawl, Artist

January came too soon
Survived the holidays
Without you
But who are you
You are anyone I wish I knew
And tonight I wish I knew
Everyone single one of you

First day Champagne
Old acquaintances are far apart
Tonight Auld Lang Syne means
Leave before the kissing starts

Last year went down the drain
They all do really
Why complain
Drink a cup of kindness (yet)
And say goodbye to our regrets
Ooooh, it's January
Ooooh, it's January
Ooooh, it's January

Was it a good year
Do I really need to know
'cause now it's behind me forever
It was a good year because it was such a bad year
That this year could only be better

Last year went down the drain
They all do really
Why complain
Drink a cup of kindness (yet)
(And) say goodbye to our regrets
Ooooh, it's January
Ooooh, it's January
Ooooh, it's January

But who are you
You are anyone I wish I knew
Tonight I wish I knew
Everyone single one of you
Tonight I wish I knew
Everyone single one of you
Tonight I wish I knew
Everyone single one of you

It's January
Everyone single one of you
(It's January)
Everyone single one of you
(It's January)
Everyone single one of you

(It's January)
(It's January)
(It's January)

Monday, January 06, 2014

Mondays - 1/6/14

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Now Reading:
The Truth About Cruise Ships (Jay Herring)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville) 
 Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy (Karen Foxlee)

Just Finished
Coreyography (Corey Feldman)

On Deck:
So, so many! But this is the year!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-thon - January 2014

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Per my promise to be more active with reading and blogging this year, I am signing up for my first read-a-thon of the year. This is my first Bout of Books, but I am excited about starting the year out strong!  So, here we go...

Time Devoted to Reading

I will be reading every day this week and intend to read no less than two hours each day. This is fairly aggressive for me!

My Goals

  • I intend to finish the book I am currently reading, The Truth About Cruise Ships, and have two others on back burner - though I won't list them as I have a tendency toward changing my mind based on mood. I would like to finish at least one of them by week's end. I also would like to make a dent in my first classic read for many years, Moby Dick. I hope to finish no less than three chapters this week. This is very aggressive for me!

Books to Read

  • The Truth About Cruise Ships
  • Moby Dick
  • Others


  • Number of chapters/books I've read today: I've gotten through one chapter of Moby Dick and about one chapter of my current read, but I'm dragging. The first day back from a vacation is tough and I am looking forward to going to bed early. In total, I've read about an hour and a half...  I'm not giving up yet, and will read for a while longer until it have to turn in due to exhaustion.
  • Total number of chapters/books I've read: 2 chapters
  • Books: Moby Dick and The Truth About Cruise Ships

  • Number of chapters/books I've read today: Got through several chapters of ...Cruise Ships tonight, almost done.  Also about half a chapter of Moby Dick but plan on trying to finish it up before lights out.
  • Total number of chapters/books I've read: 7+ chapters
  • Books: Moby Dick and The Truth About Cruise Ships

  • Number of chapters/books I've read today: As planned, after posting yesterday I returned to Moby Dick, and I finished not only the chapter I was on...but an couple more, which means that my goal to read at least three chapters of this classic is a SUCCESS!!  Tonight, however, I am dragging (still fighting this cold and the week is wearing on me). I read another chapter of ...Cruise Ships, but none of Moby....  And I am just too tired to continue tonight. I think I will head to bed early.
  • Total number of chapters/books I've read: 8+ chapters
  • Books: Moby Dick and The Truth About Cruise Ships

  • Number of chapters/books I've read today: Another successful day! I finished five chapters and completed The Truth About Cruise Ships (review to come), so SUCCESS!  Now to decide what to read next...
  • Total number of chapters/books I've read: 13+ chapters
  • Books: Moby Dick and The Truth About Cruise Ships

  • Number of chapters/books I've read today: Today was a failure... In the middle of two current reads and, it being Friday, I spent the evening doing errands like grocery shopping and laundry. No reading got done (other than some online stuff). Oh well, can't win them all.
  • Total number of chapters/books I've read: 13+ chapters
  • Books: Moby Dick and ???

  • Number of chapters/books I've read today: finally decided on Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. Have read six chapters so far, and not ready for bed yet. May try to hit Moby tonight as well...
  • Total number of chapters/books I've read: 19+ chapters
  • Books: Moby Dick and Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Sunday - Final totals!
  • Number of chapters/books I've read today: Have read another six chapters today, I moving though this one quickly. Never got back to Moby Dick, but that's ok...I'm further along than 
  • Books: Moby Dick and Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
  • Total Books Finished: 1
  • Total Chapters Read: 25+
  • Overall, I would say this read-a-thon was a success! Though I didn't read the planned two hours each day, I definitely made up for the loss yesterday. Overall, 25+ chapters is very good for me. I'm happy to have succeeded in my first read-a-thon for 2014!!

Sunday Salon - 1/5/14

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

Hello bloggies and welcome 2014!

I'm sad to see the holiday pass, but I'm... Well, I'm...

Hmmm, I don't want to sound like a Negative Nelly here, but I'm not really excited yet about the new year. Everyone is writing about how excited they are, and how they are looking forward. But, I'm struggling. I do realize that good things are to come in 2014, but some things are making me anxious as well... 

Work is a stressful place as management tries to "cut costs" by "centralizing" things. This will affect my job, we're just not sure how much.  No one is being very clear (or possibly honest) with staff. I realize that should motivate and inspire me, but right now it just leaves me stressed out.

Thankfully, my kitty has been fairly healthy this fall, but she is getting older and summers are hard on her. I read other bloggers posts about lost pets and can hardly breath for fear of losing her. I know, mentally, that I have no control. Nature is bound to be...and eventually it will occur. But I still struggle with it, trying daily to keep it positive and keep her healthy.

Anyway, I wish I could say I was all psyched about the upcoming year, but right now I'm just...waiting.

Cautiously waiting.

I'd like to talk about all the cool things I did over the holiday break, but the truth is Christmas Eve I felt that familiar sore throat tickle and, TWELVE DAYS later, I am still not over whatever cold/flu bug has infested my poor respiratory system. Seriously, this damn thing is holding on for dear life! Perhaps that is why I'm such a Debbie Downer? Twelve days of sickness and hanging out in bed will get to you, I suppose.

Well, on a positive note...  Christmas was nice despite illness, with lots of time spent with family. New Years Eve was a quiet evening spent at home with the hubby, a roaring fire and Chinese food. And the rest of the my vacation was spent in bed with tissues and some great books (and also a marathon catch up on Cougar Town, 25+ episodes). Can't really complain as that's really my favorite place to be.

And my vacation was supposed to be over on Thursday, but due to the foot and a half of snow we got, I got an extension of two days and the weekend, which was absolutely lovely! And very much needed given my health situation.  So, I guess when you think about it 2014 has be really good to me so far! HA!

Books and Blogging

I finished reading Five Days at Memorial on New Years Eve and intended to start reading a Netgalley YA book I got.  But I just could NOT wait to read my holiday gifts, which included Coreyography by Corey Feldman (which I powered through and was awesome) and my current read (a Secret Santa gift)  The Truth About Cruise Ships, which is an interesting read but clearly a small press release. More about this later.

I'm still working on Moby Dick, though I have to admit it's been slow going. But I am not giving up. 

I am not one for resolutions, since I have limited "follow through". My 2013 Challenge failures show this struggle.  But goals are not bad things and so I've renewed my Challenges for 2014 at the same level and expect to do much better this year, given my reduction in outside responsibilities.  And though I am not joining a Classics Challenge (which I know I would fail miserably), I am determined to increase my classics reading, even if it's just a book or two. 

So 2014 seems to be promising lots of awesome bookishness, reading and blogging fun. I choose to be excited and focused on those good things and let the other possibilities be what they are...

And now I've got to go blow my nose. Again!

How about you? What are you looking forward too, or not, this coming year?


Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013 End of Year Book Survey

Created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner

Best YA book 2013

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Fiction: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Non-Fiction: My Extraordinary Ordinary Life by Sissy Spacek
YA: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I Suck at Girls by Jason Halpern

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

This shouldn't have been a surprise, but I was actually by how readable and engaging this book was...and given that I was struggling back from a tough, reader's block, I was very impressed.  

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

The Hunger Games

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

The Hunger Games...I really don't do series, so this is saying a lot!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Cheryl Strayed

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I Could Pee On You by Francesco Marciuliano, cute read, totally not my typical thing.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Tie between The Hunger Games and The Dog Stars.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I am not a re-reader (again, have you seen my TBR list, OY!), though I am considering a re-read Challenge in 2014. If I do so, it will not likely include any 2013 reads. However, if I have to pick one...I'd say The Hunger Games.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

I don't really pay attention, as I mostly read via iPad.

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Katniss... Or perhaps that peeing cat!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

My Extraordinary Ordinary Life by Sissy Spacek. Perhaps it wasn't the most well written book, but something about it touched me and reminded me of childhood. I LOVE books that can carry me back like that!

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

Five Days at Memorial by Sherri Fink. Very interesting read.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

The Hunger Games!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?


16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

No clue, I don't really track books that way. But the Middlesteins took me a long time to get through...and Siri and Me was a quickie.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Five Days at Memorial

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

The relationship between Sissy Spacek and her readers.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

All of my 2013 authors were new to me.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

The Hunger Games, never would have chosen to pick this up on my own.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Memoirs, of course.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?


23. Best 2013 debut you read?

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala, terrific!

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

The Hunger Games

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
The Hunger Games

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Dream New Dreams by Jai Pausch, the wife of the Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch who died a few years back of cancer. Sad, but hopeful too.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Breaking Night by Liz Murray, heartbreaking story of a forgotten child who managed not only to survive, but got herself into Harvard! I had never heard of this book until the television movie came out a few years back.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Coreography by Corey Feldman (done already!)

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)

Last Night at the Viper Room

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

None, I don't plan ahead that way. For the most part, I read what comes up at any given time, what is available at the library...with exceptions of books I really, Really, REALLY MUST.READ.NOW! Currently, none of those are on my list...

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

None, as noted, I don't generally like series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

More... Just more. More time and focus on reading, blogging, making blog connections, commenting, etc., etc.

Allowing myself to say no to other activities so that I can truly enjoy my reading time and not feel rushed to finish books just to get something up on the blog!

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Friday, January 03, 2014

First Book of the Year 2014

Due to a respiratory infection, I didn't get around to logging this officially but my First Book of the Year 2014 had to be one of my awesome Christmas presents:

Coreyography by Corey Feldman

And it was great!

2013 End of Year Challenge Update

Sadly, a year of failure...on the "Challenges" front. 

But a rousing success otherwise!  I read some really good books and was fairly active on the blog all year long.  And, I was very busy with other things: producing a very successful show, a busy PV year, and a busy house upgrade year!

So, yeah me!  But boo too.

Here's to 2014 being a year more focused on reading and blogging!  I'm not giving up, check out my upcoming 2014 Challenges!

Not even close...

2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Challenge: Breaking a sweat - Read 11-15 more books
Books read 2012: 47
Books to read 2013: 58

Books read in 2013: 35
Books remaining: 23 - FAILED!

Close, but no cigar...

A to Z Book Challenge
Challenge: Option B (the lazy way) - 26 Books
Letters Read: 20
Letters remaining: 6 - FAILED!

 A - A Masque of Infamy
  B - Brain on Fire, Before I Go To Sleep, Becoming Sister Wives 
C - Chance in the World, A; Camp
D - The Dog Stars, Dear Marcus, Dream New Dreams
E - My Extraordinary, Ordinary Life, Everything is Perfect When You're a Liear
F - Full Body Burden, Five Days at Memorial
G - Gift of Hope, A
H - Hunger Games, The House on Mango Street, Heads in Beds
I - I Could Pee On This, I Suck at Girls
J - January First
K - Kitty Cornered
L - My Lost and Found Life; Like Family
M - The Middlesteins
N - Breaking Night
O - One Breathe Away
P - The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City
Q -
R -
S - Siri and Me
T - That Book About Harvard, Twelve Months
U -
V -
W - Wild, With or Without You, Wave
X -
Y - Are You Going to Kiss Me or Not?
Z - 

Pretty close, almost got there...

2013 Library Reading Books Challenge
Challenge: Adult - 36 Books
Books Read: 33
Books remaining: 3 - FAILED!

Sooo close...

2013 Ebook Challenge
Challenge: DVD - 25 Ebooks
Books Read:  22

Books remaining: 1 - FAILED!

Again, sooo close...

What's in a Name 6 Challenge
Books Read: 5
Books remaining: 1 - FAILED!


1. A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title: The Mole People: Life in the Tunnel Beneath New York City
2. A book with something you'd find in your kitchen in the title: The Hunger Games, The House on Mango Street
3. A book with a party or celebration in the title: FAILED
4. A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title: Brain on Fire
5. A book with an emotion in the title: Siri and Me: A Modern Love Story
6. A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title: My Lost and Found Life

Complete 2013 Reading List:

  • January:
  • 1. The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York Ciy
  • 2. Breaking Night
  • 3. Kitty Cornered
  • 4. A Chance In The World
  • February:
  • 5. Full Body Burden
  • 6. The Hunger Games
  • 7. Becoming Sister Wives
  • March:
  • 8. My Extraordinary Ordinary Life
  • 9. Siri and Me: A Modern Love Story
  • 10. I Could Pee On This
  • 11. The House On Mango Street
  • 12. Before I Go To Sleep
  • 13. Brain on Fire-My Month of Madness
  • April:
  •  14. I Suck At Girls
  • 15. A Gift of Hope
  • 16. January First
  • May:
  • 17. The Dog Stars
  • 18. That Book About Harvard
  • June
  •  19. One Breathe Away
  • 20. Heads in Beds
  • 21. A Masque of Infamy
  •  July
  • 22. Wild
  • 23. Dear Marcus
  • 24. My Lost and Found Life
  • August
  • 25. With or Without You
  • 26. Dream New Dreams
  • 27. Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?
  • September
  • 28. Like Family
  • 29. The Middlesteins
  • October
  • 30. Like Family
  • 31.  Wave
  • November
  • 32. Twelve Months
  • 33. Camp
  • December
  • 34.Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar
  • 35.Five Days at Memorial