Posts Tagged ‘Alan Bradley’

Tuesdays are hard for me. We have faculty meetings on Tuesdays which keep me at work up to two hours late add that to my 30 minute commute and any errands I have to run and the mess that I-77 leading into Charlotte becomes in the afternoons, then you’ll understand why it’s all I can do to eat a dinner and then fall asleep with the fork still in my mouth. My TTT will most likely come more and more on Wednesdays and usually a week later than what they are doing over at The Broke and The Bookish. (*note, I started this post on Wednesday night and I came into my office to look up a menu for a local Greek restaurant and discovered that I had never finished the post (a impromtu tennis game pulled me away mid-post Wednesday night) and so now you’ll see just how late I can be…)

I have read 69 (I know, right, that number seems so small) since I started Bookjackets in January 2011. Picking out ten favorites was harder than I thought that it would be! I started by circling the ones I loved and then I had to compare them up against each other and give them ratings based on things like “characterization” “plot” “readability”, etc. to get it narrowed down to the following ten:

10. If You Want Me To Stay by Michael Parker, Read February 7-8 2012, 5/5 Stars
I read this book for a program I was involved in at the local public library. The program involved a group of us reading the same book about some aspect of North Carolina culture and then inviting in a guest lecturer to discuss the book and the themes and the history of NC with us. This was my favorite book from the series.

9. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, Read February-March 2011, 4/5 Stars
This was another book that we read for the same NC Culture series, but I had read this one about a year before the series actually started. When my dad gave me a nook color for my 26th birthday this was the first book I read on the e-reader. Read more about that adventure here.

8. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, Read April 2011, 4/5 Stars
I read this book over spring break my first year of working as a librarian in public schools. I was back in my favorite town, Greensboro, NC where I had gone to college and graduate school and where my boyfriend was still in college and I loved the feeling of being “home” and I associate that feeling with this book. I also loved the book, it is a good mystery and our sleuth, Flavia De Luce, is such a scamp I dare you not to love her instantly.

7. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games, Read November 2010, 5/5 Stars
Catching Fire, Read in April 2011, 5/5 Stars
Mockingjay, Read in May 2011, 4/5 Stars
Read about my love for this series here.

6. The Weight of Silence/These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
The Weight of Silence, Read in July 2011, 3/5 stars
These Things Hidden, Read in July 2011, 5/5 stars
I read these over the summer after my first year in public education. I had greatly disliked the first place I worked at and I was in the process of quitting and moving to a new place of employment. I was having a difficult time telling my uber-scary boss that I was splitting, but these books were such a good escape for me at the end of the day, I truly value them for helping me get through that rough time.

5. Bossypants by Tina Fey, Read in April 2012, 5/5 Stars
Just. So. Damn. Funny. And honest. I love Tina Fey. She is my celebrity crush. She is so beautiful and funny and smart and nerdy and I want to be her. I loved this book because it was purely Tina Fey being open and honest about what it’s like being a woman working in a man’s world.

4. The Reeducation of Cherry Truong by Aimee Phan, Read in in late January/Early February 2012, 4/5 Stars
I received a ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Press and I wanted to do a good job of reviewing it, even if I disliked the book. This was the first time I had been asked to review a book for the blog, so I knew I couldn’t blow it. I ended up loving the book and I was pretty pleased with the review I put out. Read the review here.

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, 5/5 Stars
I. Loved. This. Book. Read about how much I loved it here. I even voted it my #1 book of 2011!

2. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, Read in July 2012, 5/5 Stars
This is a more recent read. I had been hearing a little bit about it and I knew I wanted to read it because I love local authors and books set in my state. I was in love with this book from page one. Read my review here. Also, my book club has chosen to read this one in January 2013 and I’m hoping to get Cash to Skype with us, he tweeted me that he would!! Read the review here.

1. Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis, Read in February 2011 , 5/5 Stars
Again, I am super partial to local authors and Jenn Pharr Davis is one of my favorites! This is the story of a gal who sets out to thru-hike the entire AT by herself and she accomplishes her goal and tells us about all of the incidents she survives in this awesome book. This is a fun read and an encouraging read. I recently saw that there is a new book out by her husband, Brew Davis, that chronicles the hike that landed her the world-record of the fastest thru-hike of the AT which she did in an amazing 46 days!


Read Full Post »

Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart? -The Lovin’ Spoonful

Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can. -Alice Hoffman Practical Magic

So here it is again, almost another month has gone by and no updates from me. We still do not have Internet here, but I am hoping to change that tomorrow as I got a brand new computer at Best Buy yesterday. When I went to college I got a laptop and then when I started grad school my dad bought me a new laptop. That second laptop was on it’s last leg so Saturday G and I went to look at computers at Best Buy. I was all set on getting a new laptop, but after talking to the guy that worked there and looking at the desktops, I decided to go for a touch screen all-in-one desktop! So far, I love it. Now, if I could just get some Internet!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my next post and what I wanted to write about. I’m still reading a lot of the Battle of the Books books and so far I loved Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson is one of my favorite YA authors and sometime soon I hope to do a post just on YA lit. Perhaps after I have finished my BOB reading list. I am in the midst of A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. Last week at school my co-coach told me that she got the questions for this book from another teacher which made me so happy. I am loving the story but I kept getting caught up in having to stop to write questions. I am happy to get to just read the book and enjoy the flow of the story.

My favorite season is upon us. I love Autumn. I love apples and pumpkins and leaves crunching under my feet and cooler air and sweaters and jackets and warm comfort food. To me Autumn is a time to curl up on the couch under a blanket on a grey day and read while enjoying a warm cup of apple cider. I started thinking about some of my favorite Fall comfort reads and I was having trouble coming up with books. I easily called to mind some authors whose books I must have read for the first time in the Fall or they just have such strong Fall themes that I can actually feel the chill in them.

My first Autumn Author is one of my all around favorite authors Alice Hoffman. Everything about Hoffman screams autumn. I started off my list with her book Practical Magic. Thinking about Practical Magic (which is definitely in my top ten books of all time) led me on a tangent about witchcraft and Halloween and I decided that next month I would write a post regarding my favorite Halloween-y books. Practical Magic isn’t very Halloween-y. It’s about family and traditions with magic sprinkled in. I rented the video when it first came out and I hated it. I didn’t watch it again until years later when there was a re-run on ABC Family. I got so into it and forgot why I ever hated it so. (Perhaps it was the fact that a 8 year old just can’t understand everything that occurs in the film). After that second viewing I rushed out to grab the novel. At that time I was very interested in reading all of Jodi Picoult’s books and I had been reading a lot of comparisons to Hoffman so I knew that this was perfect timing. I read the book in about 1 day and I adored it. It differs quite a bit from the movie, but they both have such an Autumn feel to them that I love them both independent of one another and I make a point to watch the movie and read the book (if I have time) each Autumn.

Another great Hoffman Autumn book is a collection of short stories that all revolve around one house in Massachusetts called Blackbird House. Honestly is there anything more Autumn and more magical than a blackbird!? I’m not normally a huge fan of straight short stories, but this book reads in a novel way since all the stories have that common element and you get glimpses of what became of the other characters in past stories. This book reads like a secret society and it is a great Autumn read. Honestly, any Hoffman books work well in this category, but these two books are just may favorite.

My second AA is Sarah Addison Allen. A native of the great state of North Carolina (and she sets all of her books here too!) Allen is a surprising pick for me. The first book I read of hers was Garden Spells and I honestly read it because it was cheap on the Nook and it was my first Nook purchase and I was desperate to read something on my brand new Nook. This book is also filled with magic but instead of the beautiful Autumn setting, we get it set in the middle of a hot summer. Magic always calls to mind Autumn for me. I think because I find the season such a magical time for myself I always crave books with magic in them. The most autumn-y Allen book that I can think of is really The Sugar Queen (which I will honestly tell you I have not read yet). This book takes place during the middle of winter instead of Autumn, but I know I can count on that magic to be there. At this current moment I have Allen’s newest book The Peach Keeper checked out from the library and I am anxious to start it.

Side note: Along with The Peach Keeper I also checked out The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag the second in the Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley and I can not rave enough about these books. The fourth book in the series I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is due to come out in November and I jus can’t wait. I will need to read the third one in that time, but that should not be a problem at all. This winter look for a post on the Flavia series!

I elected to read Flavia first because I wanted to start Peach Keeper when the days are a little cooler, the air a little crisper, the leaves a little crunchier. This fall I am aiming to read only “magical” books. Books with witches and families and magic and spells. Of course in October I will also read about goblins and ghouls and all those scary things that I wait all year to read about.

So my last Autumn Author is actually an autumn book and it was one that I did not care for. A Discovery of Witches had such potential for a great Autumn read. So much so that I cheated and read it in the summer. I tried to convince myself that was why I detested the book so, but no, it was just not a book for me. I won’t continue on my rant about this book, you can find that here, in my previous post. However though, it is a magical family book and you may love it. I hope you do!

I am always looking for magical Autumn books so please send me any recommendations that you have! Happy Autumn and Happy Reading!


Read Full Post »