A Hop, Skip, and a Jump Sunday, Jan 5 2014 

Hi Readers,

Obviously, no posts in June so we are going to post now… a little more than 6 months later. I’m going to keep changing my posts up until I find a style that suits me. Here’s to the one constant in life: Change. If you keep reading, you’ll find some tidbits here and there… maybe some spoilers…

7-4-13: Reviving Ophelia,  Mary Pipher, 4/5, “Most of what girls read in schools is written by men and about men. We need more stories of women who are strong, more examples of women in a variety of roles. History needs to include the history of women; psychology, the psychology of women; and literature, the writing of women.” (289)

→ It took me awhile to read this book, but once I finished it, I wished I owned it. I’ve read some reviews that call it biased. I’ve got to say–it is a book about girls/young women by a woman. I feel that if you’re going to call it biased because it doesn’t include the experiences of boys/young men, your argument wouldn’t really hold water with me because this particular book isn’t about the guys. What a concept?! In any event, I think this is definitely something every girl/young woman/woman should read simply because it does give some helpful insights. I wish I would have read this book sooner.

7-13-13: Bone River, Megan Chance, 4/5, “I heard those spirits again the night the river gave up its bones.” (9)

→ This book was a very different choice for me. I wouldn’t have usually chosen it… but one of my friends was reading it and he liked it… so I decided to give it a shot. The end result was shocking to me, but for some it might not be. I enjoyed reading it for multiple reasons–and let’s be honest I have a weakness for all things Native American. Leonie was a terrific character–and her chemistry with Daniel is destiny. Really good read.

7-30-13: Affliction, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5, “The only part of love that is blind is that first rush of endorphins and craziness; after that wears off, no one knows you as honestly, warts and all, as the people who love you, truly love you.” (297)

→ I really, really, really enjoyed reading the latest installment of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. There were a couple of books that made me question whether or not to keep reading… but if you’re 20 or more books into a series, I highly doubt you’d stop reading. There’s obviously something to the overall story that keeps me hooked. Old and new characters–they all help make this series something to remember. Anita Blake is definitely one of my favorite characters of all time.

8-9-13: He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, Jessica Valenti, 5/5, “Looking back, I realize that it could have been any of those thing, or nothing. Most likely, it was because I had a bit of a  potty mouth (shocking, I know), told dirty jokes, and was louder, more opinionated girl than some of my peers. I know better now, and realize that labeling girls ‘sluts’ is a pretty common silencing tactic. After all, there’s no better way to silence a woman than to call her a whore!” (10)

→ FINALLY! THANK YOU! Another book women should read! Valenti is so not joking when she writes that she goes into 50 double standards. It took me a while to read this one as well (simply because my sister delivered my nephew and, at present, nobody has much time to do anything other than anything baby related–but he’s so perfect… OOPS!) but that just means I was able to appreciate it a little bit more! If you’re a man, read it. If you’re a woman, read it.

9-25-13: Those Who Save Us, Jenna Blum, 5/5, “She can never tell him what she started to say: that we come to love those who save us.” (445)

→ I couldn’t put this book down. I’d get angry because some parts and characters were just so disgusting, ie: The Holocaust wasn’t real, it was propaganda. Are you for real?! I couldn’t believe it. The fact that some people still deny that The Holocaust ever happened… long story short, just makes me sick. That being said, the progression of the plot interlaced with flashbacks was perfection. There was a reason for everything and elements came full circle by the very end of the novel. Incredibly enjoyable read… even if I did become livid at some points. 🙂

9-29-13: The Heretic’s Daughter, Kathleen Kent, 4/5, “And with every step I thought, I am my mother’s daughter, I am my mother’s daughter…” (322)

→ I actually started to read this while on a 20 minute break from reading Those Who Save Us. The only reason this wasn’t read by the next day was because I had chores to take care of around the house. Anyways… I’ve read a great deal of information about the Salem Witch Trials, but never anything about any specific person. I knew that things were difficult and, more than likely, strict, but I didn’t know that just a whisper could land somebody in front of a panel of judges. I wouldn’t have done well back then… I am definitely a woman of the now. The start of the book was kind of slow, but it sped up in the last 100/150 pages. A fiction, yes… but the imagination is a type of monster… and when facts might correlate with the imagination… the results are frightening. This would be a good read for anyone. I’m glad I finally followed through and read it.

11-21-13: Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight, 5/5, “‘I want you to know… you were never a mistake, Amelia. You were the best thing that ever happened to me. You always will be.'” (380)

→ I don’t usually cry after reading a story. I might present strong feelings about one of the characters or events… but I wept after reading Reconstructing Amelia. The cruelty that people (especially girls and women) bestow unto others is… I don’t know… Tragic? Horrifying? Disappointing? So many different ways to put it. The fact is, we spend more time causing pain to others than trying to give them an ounce of happiness. That being said, overall, this was a fantastic read… so well written. It was a bit slow for me at the beginning, but when  it finally got going, I couldn’t put the book down. Reconstructing Amelia is what I call a “take a chance” book (not usually something I’d read, but generally very glad I did).

11-23-13: Shutdown, Laurell K. Hamilton, 5/5, “‘I am not an abuse victim, Ellen. I’m not a victim at all. I own my sexuality in every sense, and I top some of the men in my life. It’s not just me on the receiving end of the rough.'” (20)

→ It was super awesome to read this simply because it is another Anita Blake book. That being said, I really enjoyed Shutdown because it explained more of the dynamics of a polyamorous relationship… and trying to explain it to someone who has no idea about it at all… well, probably (obviously) incredibly awkward. It is refreshing to see Richard finally come into who he is… and I’m very happy to see that Anita and Micah are still going strong. Very quick read and can’t wait for what LKH brings us next!

So needless to say, I did not get to read everything I wanted to… but things CHANGE a lot when a baby comes into your life. Presently, I’m reading two books. I wanted to finish them before NYE, but that just wasn’t going to happen. That being said, Happy New Year. My hope is that 2014 will be kind to you.

Always,
Nolaleigh

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Why Can’t I? Thursday, May 30 2013 

Hi Readers,

Any ideas as to what this post could possibly be about?

Oh, I don’t know. Let’s think about this…

I would love to post every single time I finish a book… but that is just not going to happen. For one reason or another I just can’t do it. Hell, I can’t post once a month. Maybe it isn’t “can’t…” I don’t know. Not a clue. Either way… you’re reading this post for some reason, and me? I am posting this out of some off sense of obligation. Without further ado, here is what I’ve read since January 1, 2013, (spoilers might be involved):

1-15-13: Blood Noir, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5, “Sometimes it’s not the light in a person you fall in love with, but the dark. Sometimes it’s not the optimist you need, but another pessimist to walk beside you and know, absolutely know, that the sound in the dark is a monster, and it really is as bad as you think. “

1-31-13: Skin Trade, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5, “I’m a Christian, but if God is truly a God of love, then why would he have a private torture chamber where he put people that he was suppose to love and forgive to punish forever? If you actually read the Bible, the idea of hell like in the  movies and  most books was invented by a writer. Dante’s Inferno was ripped off by the Church to give people something to ba afraid of…”

2-14-13: Flirt, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5, “I put power into the words, all the power I had, and willed it to work.” (149)

2-19-13: Bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5, “I’d more likely be staring into a pair of my own dark brown, and I can see that everytime I look in a mirror. I’m not fond enough of my own eyes to want to see them in someone else’s face.” (356)

2-24-13: Lost in Time, Melissa de la Cruz, 4/5, “The battle was finished.” (328)

2-28-13: Gates of Paradise, Melissa de la Cruz, 4/5, “Sometimes love means letting go.” (332)

3-3-13: Last Sacrifice, Richelle Mead, 3/5, “‘Just because we want something doesn’t mean it’s right.'” (452)

3-12-13: Hit List, Laurell K. Hamilton, 5/5, “‘Tell that to the BTK killer,’ I said. ‘He was a churchgoer, raised two kids, married, and resisted the urge to kill for decades. He was a person, but he was a monster, too.'”

3-21-13: Kiss the Dead, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5, “I’m beginning to try and wrap my head around the thought that no one gets to hurt the people I love, not even another man that I love.” (359)

3-22-13: The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon’s Court, Michelle Moran, 4/5, “He smiles widely. ‘As accomplished as any Hapsburg archduchess should be.'” (12)

3-26-13: Cleopatra’s Daughter, Michelle Moran, 4/5, “He brushed his lips against my ear. ‘A brave young woman who has always fought for what was right, even when it was unpopular. A woman who can’t return to the land of her birth, but is welcome to cross the seas and rebuild Alexandria in mine. And a woman who has suffered enough in Rome and deserves happiness for a change. Will you come to Mauretania and be my queen?'”

4-8-13: Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg, 4/5, “Writing practice brings us back to the uniqueness of our own minds and an acceptance of it. We all have wild dreams, fantasies, and ordinary thoughts. Let us to feel the texture of them and not be afraid of them.Writing is still the wildest thing I know.”

4-9-13: The King’s Concubine: A Novel of Alice Perrers, Anne O’Brien, 4/5, “‘It is important for a woman to have the duplicity to make good use of whatever gifts she might have, however valueless they might seem… You have to have the inner strength to pursue your goal, and not care how many enemies you make along the road. It is not easy.'”

4-16-13: The Last Nude, Ellis Avery, 4/5, “She looked up at me then as if I were a dream she was having, and that’s when I thought it: I can do whatever I want to her.” (287)

4-18-13: Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson, 5/5, “She wipes a snowflake off my cheek. ‘You’re not dead, but you’re not alive either. You’re a wintergirl, Lia-Lia, caught in between the worlds. You’re a ghost with a beating heart. Soon you’ll cross the border and be with me. I’m so stoked. I miss you wicked.'” (196)

4-25-13: Daddy Love, Joyce Carol Oates, 3/5, “Of every one hundred children perhaps one interested Daddy Love in the depths of his soul. Of every two hundred children perhaps one excited him.” (53)

5-2-13: The Vanishers, Heidi Julavits, 3/5, “Blame is the cord you can never sever, the viscous umbilical you can swipe at with you hands, but there it will be always ghostily hover, connecting you to monsters exactly as pitiful and needy and flawed as yourself.” (278)

5-23-13: God is Not One, Stephen R. Prothero, 5/5, Click here to read my review!

5-23-13: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, 5/5, “Each clue was hidden in a spot where I’d cheated on Amy. She’d used the treasure hunt to take me on a tour of all my infidelities.” (226)

5-26-13: Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs, 4/5, “I was going to have to come up with a rank for myself besides Alpha’s mate. In the pack, I was just Mercy- but if ten more people called me the Alpha’s mate, I was going to hit someone. It sounded like a chess move.” (316)

I love Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. Damn near addictive. Michelle Moran is truly fantastic! The authors that I keep returning to… they know their stuff. Wintergirls broke my heart. The quotes at the end are my favorite lines–just fyi.

Daddy Love and Wintergirls… they were difficult to read. That is probably the point, but after reading them, I felt angry. And I’m not going to lie… a part of me still isn’t over it.

In other news, I feel like a majority of 2011’s Reading List is going to be… cancelled? Yes, cancelled. I’m just not into the titles now like I was when I first found them. That being said, I am finished with 2010’s Reading List–even God is Not One by Stephen R. Prothero. I’ve been reading it since January–it is fairly intensive on some portions, so I decided to take it slow.

So, it is the end of May… and this entry has been five months in the making. Here’s to attempting another entry similar to this in June. Or maybe we’ll all wait until December…

Always,
Nolaleigh

God is Not One Thursday, May 23 2013 

Hi Readers,

I think I’m going to change up how and what I blog. My goal, at present, is to post once a month. I’m not entirely sure how it is going to work yet, but I guess that is the beauty of figuring things out. Which is where I bring you to this book, God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen Prothero.

God is Not One was incredibly informative and gave me a better insight into religion than my Religious Studies professor did when I was in college–but I guess he had to “guide” us in the direction of Christianity because that’s what he believes–ANYWAY. At times, Prothero was obviously giving his opinion about a certain topic, but for the most part, I felt he was able to stay impartial.

He introduces each religion as the “Way of…” This method, without having to read further, immediately tells the reader that all religions are different. Who knew? Prothero titles them:

Islam: The Way of Submission
Christianity: The Way of Salvation
Confucianism: The Way of Propriety
Hinduism: The Way of Devotion
Buddhism: The Way of Awakening
Yoruba Religion: The Way of Connection
Judaism: The Way of Exile and Return
Daoism: The Way of Flourishing
Atheism: The Way of Reason

While incredibly simplistic, his “four part approach” for each religion states:

a problem;
a solution to this problem, which also serves as the religious goal;
a technique (or techniques) for moving from this problem to this solution; and
an exemplar (or exemplars) who chart this path from problem to solution (14).

He uses Christianity and Buddhism as his examples.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It took nearly six months to finish… but what can I say, life happens. If you want to get a basic understanding of “the world’s major religions” this is the book to read. Also, he acknowledges he doesn’t discuss religions such as: “Shinto, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Wicca, Baha’i, Rastafarianism, Scientology, and Sikhism,” simply because he was ranking the mass of the religion by number of followers. Overall, I am giving God is Not One a 5/5. Some parts were dry, but Prothero has a way of writing that helps people understand what exactly it is that they’re reading.

Favorite quotations:

“The ideal of religious tolerance has morphed into the straitjacket of religious agreement” (4).

“Unfortunately, we live in a world where religion seems as likely to detonate a bomb as to defuse one. So while we need idealism, we need realism even more. We need to understand religious people as they are–not just at their best but also at their worst. We need to look  at not only their awe-inspiring architecture and gentle mystics but also their bigots and suicide bombers” (7).

“You don’t have to believe in God to want to understand how beliefs in God have transformed individuals and societies from ancient Israel to contemporary China” (15).

“After 9/11 and the Holocaust, we need to see the world’s religions as they really are–in all their gore and glory. This includes seeing where they agree and disagree, and not turning a blind eye to their failings” (17).

“Religious Studies scholars are rarely honest enough to admit this in person, much less in print, but we all know there are things that each of the world’s religions do well, and things they do poorly” (20).

“…just as hitting home runs is the monopoly of one sport, salvation is the monopoly of one religion” (22).

If you read this, I hope you enjoy it.

Always,
Nolaleigh

2012: Rewind & Survive Monday, Dec 31 2012 

Hi Readers,

I think I am possibly the least consistent blogger on here. I think I will try to be better about that next year. It occurred to me earlier that I haven’t posted a book review since June of 2011. 😦

That being said, here is a rewind back to 2011 for any books I’ve read. Keep in mind, (Date, Title, Author, Rating):

6-13-11: The Laughing Corpse, Laurell K. Hamilton, 5/5

6-16-11: Circus of the Damned, Laurell K. Hamilton, 5/5

7-24-11: The Lunatic Cafe, Laurell K. Hamilton, 5/5

7-24-11: Bloody Bones, Laurell K. Hamilton, 5/5

7-25-11: The Killing Dance, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5

Then school began and I had a change of reading material:

Sept. 2011: The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan, 4/5

Oct. 2011: Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, Alison Weir, 5/5

Oct. 2011: The Collected Poems, Sylvia Plath, 3/5

Winter break came and I didn’t read at all. At all. So sad. But I wrote and wrote like a mad person due to my senior thesis. Anyway…

2-15-12: Morrigan’s Cross, Nora Roberts, 3/5

Apr. 2012: Burnt Offerings, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5

And then I graduated. I’ve been reading like crazy to make up for lost time (except for the occasional gap where I was busy with one thing or another):

5-20-12: Dance of the Gods, Nora Roberts, 3/5

5-24-12: Valley of Silence, Nora Roberts, 3/5

5-28-12: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson, 5/5

Jul. 2012: The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank, 4/5

8-31-12: Blue Moon, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5

9-8-12: Obsidian Butterfly, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5

9-14-12: Narcissus in Chains, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5

9-18-12: Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution, Michelle Moran, 4/5

9-22-12: Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen, 3/5

9-24-12: Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris, 3/5

10-2-12: Cerulean Sins, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5

10-15-12: Incubus Dreams, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5

10-17-12: Micah, Laurell K. Hamilton, 2/5

10-18-12: Danse Macabre, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5

11-17-12: The Harlequin, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5

11-22-12: Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James, 3/5

11-24-12: Fifty Shades Darker, E.L. James, 3/5

11-25-12: Fifty Shades Freed, E.L. James, 3/5

12-25-12: The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson, 5/5

12-31-12: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson, 5/5
(the final five chapters were AMAZING.)

I know there aren’t explanations and the usual chit-chat, but I thought I would share anyways. Oh! And some of the dates are spelled out or just in number formation–that’s because I didn’t write down when I finished it. 😦

On a side note, I’ve been keeping track of what I read by going into Goodreads. It is really helpful and I’ve been able to document almost every book I’ve read since I was 9-years-old. In any case, perhaps you’re wondering if there’s a list for 2013–the answer is yes & no. I want to finish the lists from 2010 and 2011, but there aren’t any news lists–just perhaps some new books. Catch ya later–

Always,

Nolaleigh

The Laughing Corpse Monday, Jun 13 2011 

Hi Readers,

It has been a year, maybe a little more or less since I’ve read Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. It is unfortunate because she is a great writer and her novels really pull the audience in. I’m not sure why I stopped reading… other than my school work… BUT, I’m back now and so is Anita in The Laughing Corpse:

Messy, Dolph had called it. A master of understatement. Blood was everywhere, splattered over the white walls like someone had taken a can of paint and thrown it. There was an off-white couch with brown and gold patterened flowers on it. Most of the couch was hidden under a sheet. The sheet was crimson. A bright square of afternoon sunlight came through the clean, sparkling windows. The sunlight made the blood cherry-red, shiny. (Pg. 18)

Trust me, I was being gracious by posting that particular quote. Hamilton does have a way with words. 🙂 I really can’t wait to read her other works, and more specifically, the ever-growing Anita Blake series. I kind of wonder how much Anita resembles Ms. Hamilton; her picture on the back-cover fits the image I get when I’m reading about Anita.

I love Anita. I love Jean-Claude. I absolutely adore Hamilton’s other characters… but Anita and Jean-Claude… Their dialogue was awesome in The Laughing Corpse. I’m serious! Ask my mum… I scared the crap out of her one evening around 1 am because I was laughing so hard. I’ve been restraining myself from going and finding out what is in store for them in the future books… and I’m not a fan of being someone’s servant, but I am rooting for these two. Then again, if the relationship “works” between any vampire character and the mortal woman, I root for it… ANYWAY… These two characters are so well drawn out; in the first book, Guilty Pleasures, I really liked them bickering and overt “lusting” as Anita calls it, but here, I love it. I was all antsy waiting for Jean-Claude to show up–and he didn’t disappoint.

So, a little bit about the second novel in the Anita Blake series. This time, Anita has been asked to raise a corpse for a client with deviant preferences. Ms. Blake soon learns the more powerful a person is, the more their monster within surfaces. Whether she’s defying a vampire’s rights over her life, or a voodoo grandma with a bad rep, she does it amazingly well. Sarcasm in full swing, Anita Blake kicks ass and asks for names later. Which in all truth, makes this series…

Monstrously entertaining.
— Publisher’s Weekly

The plot was hella intriguing. I’d be getting ready to put the book down for the evening, and then BAM!, something would happen. I’d sit up in bed, “Say what?!” Aaand keep reading. On a side note, I don’t necessarily want to get involved, but researching voodoo would be pretty cool.

As soon as I can, I hope to pick up another book from the Anita Blake series. I mean, every time I finish one of these books, I become a bigger fan of Hamilton and this series. So, I am giving The Laughing Corpse a 4.5/5 out of 5. I was thoroughly entertained and can’t wait to pick up the next novel!

Until next time.

❤ Nolaleigh

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