Friday, February 5, 2016

What Am I Reading 2016: February Releases + To Be Read

Ahh the month of love...and what better than thing to love this month than books! Here are the February releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of February.

New Book Releases for the month of February
1: The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Lets just rewrite and reboot and reimage classics now! Well some of the writing in classic novels can be daunting so I can complete understand why to do this. This book was released on February 2, 2016. Here is the book description: A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul
Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself. Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman’s struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.

2: Find Her by Lisa Gardner
Do you ever have one of those books that despite the content it just speaks to you? Well this particular book did just that when I read the description. To top it all off, it is set in Boston -- one of my favorite cities to visit and has a connection with someone dear to my heart. This book is set to be released on February 9, 2015. Here is the book description: Flora Dane is a victim. Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure. Flora Dane is a survivor. Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home. Flora Dane is reckless. . . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

3: Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant Moore
Another book that just spoke to me. This book is set to be released on February 9, 2016. Here is the book description: A boldly candid, raw portrait of a young woman's search for meaning and purpose in an indifferent world. Decisively aimless, self-destructive, and impulsively in and out of love, Elsie is a young woman who feels stuck. She has a tumultuous relationship with an abusive boyfriend, a dead-end job at a newspaper, and a sharp intelligence that's constantly at odds with her many bad decisions. When her initial attempts to improve her life go awry, Elsie decides that a dramatic change is the only solution. An auto-didact who prefers the education of travel to college, Elsie uses an inheritance to support her as she travels to Paris and Sri Lanka, hoping to accumulate experiences, create connections, and discover a new way to live. Along the way, she meets men and women who challenge and provoke her towards the change she genuinely hopes to find. But in the end, she must still come face-to-face with herself. Whole-hearted, fiercely honest and inexorably human, Wreck and Order is a stirring debut that, in mirroring one young woman's dizzying quest for answers, illuminates the important questions that drive us all.

What I am Reading in the month of February
1: Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince
I am a self admitted tomboy. I hated Barbie and I still do. My brother is one of my biggest influences and if he enjoys it, I probably do too. Yes I do wear makeup from time to time but in all honesty -- I would rather be in sweats with my hair up and playing in dirt. So when I saw this my heart palpitated. Here is the book description: Growing up, Liz Prince wasn't a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing Pretty Pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn't exactly one of the guys either, as she quickly learned when her Little League baseball coach exiled her to the outfield instead of letting her take the pitcher's mound. Liz was somewhere in the middle, and Tomboy is the story of her struggle to find the place where she belonged.Tomboy is a graphic novel about refusing gender boundaries, yet unwittingly embracing gender stereotypes at the same time, and realizing later in life that you can be just as much of a girl in jeans and a T-shirt as you can in a pink tutu. A memoir told anecdotally, Tomboy follows author and zine artist Liz Prince through her early childhood into adulthood and explores her ever-evolving struggles and wishes regarding what it means to "be a girl."
From staunchly refuting anything she perceived as being "girly" to the point of misogyny, to discovering through the punk community that your identity is whatever you make of it, regardless of your gender, Tomboy is as much humorous and honest as it is at points uncomfortable and heartbreaking.

2: The Judas Goat by Robert B. Parker
One night while talking to my love I said that I was in the mood for a good detective story. Therefore this was recommended. I have had this book on my shelve for a while so about time to dive into it. Here is the boon description: Spenser has gone to London -- and not to see the Queen. He's gone to track down a bunch of bombers who've blown away his client's wife and kids. His job is to catch them. Or kill them. His client isn't choosy. But there are nine killers to one Spenser -- long odds. Hawk helps balance the equation. The rest depends on a wild plan. Spenser will get one of the terrorists to play Judas Goat -- to lead him to others. Trouble is, he hasn't counted on her being very blond, very beautiful and very dangerous.

Friday, January 8, 2016

What Am I Reading 2016: January Release and To Be Read

Everyone knows that I am a bookworm.

A major, major bookworm.

So much so, I decided to start a new monthly feature on this lovely blog last year. I had a lot of fun researching and looking up books that I found interesting, writing book reviews, bringing hype to new releases that I am excited about, and just reigniting my love of reading. Plus it is a hobby/interest that brought my love and I closer together. At the beginning of the month I will do a releases that I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the current month.

So as John Dargo would say...enough of this palaver...LETS GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD!

Here are the releases that I am most excited about in the month of January:

1: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
This book has received a lot of buzz via book tubers on YouTube as well as various magazines. Once you read the description, I think you will see why. This book was released on January 5, 2015. Here is the book description: In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she's inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she's never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

2: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Another book receiving a lot of buzz. You would think with the content matter it would not but stories of this nature should be told from other perspectives as well. You will understand once you read the book description. This book was also released on January 5, 2015. Here is the book description: 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05 Someone starts shooting. Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

3: The Ex by Alafair Burke
We all have that ex in our life. You know what I am talking about. Plus, what is it with me and psychological suspense/true crime thrillers lately? Oh yeah...lets blame the love of my life for getting me into them! This book is set to be released on January 26, 2016 and yes it is already preordered. Here is the book description: In this breakout standalone novel of suspense in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, a woman agrees to help an old boyfriend who has been framed for murder—but begins to suspect that she is the one being manipulated. Twenty years ago she ruined his life. Now she has the chance to save it.
Widower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart. Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why? For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

4: Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
When I read the description, which you will in a second, one word came to my mind -- ALLENBERRY. Why do you say that dear Dani? Lets see...tranquil place, someone goes missing, possible murder, trying to a solve a crime, as well as love. Yes. Sign me up. This book is set to be released on January 19, 2016. Here is the book description: When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn't sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate's dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay's glossy reputation. In this genre-bending YA thriller, Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, Sarah's new school may seem like an idyllic temple of learning, but as she unearths years of terrifying history and manipulation, she discovers this "school" is something much more sinister.

What I am Reading in the month of January

Dani needs some laughs in her life right now. With a lot of stress/issues going on in my life at the beginning of the year I need to smile. Badly. Granted, I do have a lot of things in my life that make me giddy and smile especially going to a town where the Governor lives and kill some zombies but more laughter in my life is needed. So here is what I am reading this month.

1: Girl Walks into a Bar...by Rachel Dratch
This falls into the same vein of Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes, Please by Amy Poehler which I enjoyed. So this will definitely bring the smiles. Here is the book description: The former SNL star recounts the adventures and unexpected joy of dating and becoming a mom when she least expected it—at the age of forty-four. Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as “Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians.” Her career as a female comedian at a low point, she suddenly had time for yoga, dog-sitting, learning Spanish—and dating. Dratch reveals the joys and terrors of putting herself out there in a quest to find love and then becoming a mother in an undreamed-of way. With riotous humor, she recounts breaking the news to her bewildered parents, the awe of her single friends, and romance and coparenting with her baby-daddy, John. Filled with great behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Dratch’s time on SNL, Girl Walks into a Bar . . . is a funny book with a refreshing version of the happily-ever-after story, full of sensitivity, candor, and plenty of comic relief, as only Rachel Dratch can tell it.

2: Granted does not fall in the humor genre but I need to catch up my Walking Dead graphic novel reading. That will also be done this month.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Goals and the Mantra of Choose to Chill

Some questions I asked myself while I wrote my 2016 goals list were as follows.

1. What am I bored of?
2. What do I want more of?
3. What can I let go of?
4. What would give me peace of mind?
5. What am I devoted to?

Here are my personal answers.

1: I am bored of compulsively jumping to the wrong conclusion and letting my paranoia get the best of me. People get busy. People sleep. People have lives outside of their computers and smartphones. Just because it is not an immediate response does not mean that they love me any less. Also I am still bored of checking my Facebook to see if what I have posted or shared have been seen or commented on. I need to employ the fuck it attitude back into my life and enjoy myself more.

2. Like last year -- I want more spontaneity in my life. I live my Monday through Friday life as a routine -- wake up, talk to my love as he is going to work, get ready for work, go to work, come home, so on and so forth. I am a creature of habit and if that habit is broken, things go haywire, i.e. getting called to do coverages for Pre-K or the person I work with being absent because she chose not to work that day. Now just because my Monday through Friday life is a routine one does not mean my weekends should be. If something just comes up -- I will learn to say yes more, as long as it is reasonable.

3. Toward the end of the year, I can say that my "on duty" status became less and less. So I am glad that I let that go. So for 2016 I will continue to let go of the feeling that I always need to be "on duty" and that if one of my friends is mad, he or she will become glad again. Sometimes I need to learn to say no and that if I am having my own issues; that I can not be there 24/7. It also works both ways -- if I am having my own issues, which I do, I need to know that I can depend upon my friends and believe me I do know who is there for me.

4. I think learning that just because my friends or family do not message or text or call me all the time does not mean that they do not love me. That will give me peace of mind. For some strange unbeknown reasons, I got it into my head that unless my phone is "blowing up", that I am not loved. Things/shit happen to people all the time. As long as I hear from them, I should be fine. The only thing I will say is that I am tired of the constant initiation I need to do or the lack of attention I receive. If I took the time out to send you a message say hello, get back to me somehow. Do not leave me hanging. That is a pet peeve of mine.

5. I am still devoted to writing more blog posts as well as devoted to using natural remedies and food to keep me in remission from rheumatoid arthritis. Except for some aches and pains here and there, I have stopped taking Humir as of September 2015 and I am doing great.

With that being said, here are my 2016 goals. I do not say "resolutions" as I feel that word already will lead me into failure world.

Dani’s 2016(Two Thousand and Sexin!) Goals

Starting: January 1, 2016
Ending: December 31, 2016

(If in bold it means that it has started and in progress. If it had a line through it it is complete)

1: Read 52 books (0/52)

2: Watch 100 movies (0/100)
3: Using the 1,001 Ways to Live in the Moment book — post a positive quote every day on Facebook (started on 12/28/2015)

4: Keep a positivity journal. Write down every time something happens to me that makes me feel good — a friendly comment, a gift I get, unexpected luck, etc. At the end of the year I will have a journal of positivity and happy memories.

5: Start my day with a positive thought. Utilize my 2016 Happy Notes calendar and Today is a Great Day calendar for this.

6: Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

7: Only use $500 dollars a month cash for fixed expenses and fun. If I use the American Express card for anything — it comes out of that allottment.

8: Complete a A-Z Author Challenge.

9: Save up to $60,000 dollar by December 31, 2016.

10: Do not get so paranoid or think you did something wrong if George does not get back in touch with you right away.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 15 Books of 2015 According to Moi

Now in years past with this blog feature as well as with some inspiration from Stephen King, I asked myself this question -- Did I have a great year pop culturally speaking? Instead this year I decided to focus on books as I wrote about latest releases, did book reviews, and read a lot more than usual this past year. Did I have a good reading year --  I would have to say yes.. Here is a list of 15 books that made me squee with bookworm fandom. So as the great John Dargo would say...enough of this palaver...let us get this ride started!

1: The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins:
My lovely boyfriend has gotten me hooked onto psychological thrillers with a true crime edge. So when I read the description for this, I had to get it. Plus it is called "Hitchcockian". Who can not love something that is compared to Hitchcock? This book was released on January 13, 2015 and it took me two days to read. I also hear it has been optioned for the big screen. Here is the book description: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

2: Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falloff
Who does not enjoy a good mystery with some love and entitlement? This girl does! This book was released on January 27, 2015; I am currently reading it, and here is the book description: Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now. There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam's best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn't as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he'll finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own. Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.

3: H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald
One of the many conversations my love and I have had is our love for birds of prey. Him -- its all about the red tailed hawk. Me -- its all about the owl. So when I saw this book in one of my many book blogs that I follow, I took it as a sign of fate. This book was released on March 3, 2015 and is optioned to become a movie! Here is the book description: When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White's chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself "in the hawk's wild mind to tame her" tested the limits of Macdonald's humanity and changed her life. Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer's eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

4: The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy
One of the many advanced reading copies I received at New York Comic Con in October of 2014 and I was very excited that this book saw the light of day. It is time travel that meets Spaceballs. SIGN ME UP. This book was released on April 14, 2015 and it took me one day to read; with breaks of course.Here is the book description: It’s Superbad meets Spaceballs in this hilarious extraterrestrial road trip! Just a few days before prom, Bennett pulls off something he never imagined possible: his dream girl, Sophie, agrees to be his date. Moments afterward, however, he watches Sophie get abducted by aliens in the middle of the New Mexico desert. Faced with a dateless prom (and likely kidnapping charges), Bennett does the only thing he can think of: he catches a ride into outer space with a band of extraterrestrial musicians to bring her back.
Can he navigate alien concert venues, an extraterrestrial reality show, and the band’s outlandish egos to rescue his date in time for the big dance?

5: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast? Sign me up...well since I am the living and breathing Belle and I am getting my library from my own Beast. This book was released in May. Here is the description: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever. Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

6: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Apparently this book is being touted as another version of Gone Girl, but instead the heroine is a teenager and not bat shit crazy like Amy in Gone Girl. I will admit, I was not a fan of Gone Girl at first but it grew on me, so upon reading the description of this I figured, yet again, lets give it a shot. Apparently that is my motto for my reading this year -- hey lets give a shot! This books was released on May 12, 2015 and it is being adapted for a movie. Here is the book description: HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE. As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything. With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears. The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

7: A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandria Petri
Every girl in their teenage/early 20's have had their bouts with awkwardness and fear. Not this girl. She, in my opinion, is a role model for all of us awkward girls out there. Her memoir was released on June 2, 2015. Here is the book description: Most twentysomethings spend a lot of time avoiding awkwardness.Not Alexandra Petri. Afraid of rejection? Alexandra Petri has auditioned for America’s Next Top Model. Afraid of looking like an idiot? Alexandra Petri lost Jeopardy! by answering “Who is that dude?” on national TV. Afraid of bad jokes? Alexandra Petri won an international pun championship. Petri has been a debutante, reenacted the Civil War, and fended off suitors at a Star Wars convention while wearing a Jabba the Hutt suit. One time, she let some cult members she met on the street baptize her, just to be polite. She’s a connoisseur of the kind of awkwardness that most people spend whole lifetimes trying to avoid. If John Hodgman and Amy Sedaris had a baby…they would never let Petri babysit it. But Petri is here to tell you: Everything you fear is not so bad. Trust her. She’s tried it. And in the course of her misadventures, she’s learned that there are worse things out there than awkwardness—and that interesting things start to happen when you stop caring what people think.

8:The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward
I have never been so excited for a book in a long time and because of my excitement I received an ARC of this at Book Con in May. Just read the description below and hopefully it will pull you in too. This book is was released on July 28, 2015. Here is the book description: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets. As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

9:Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes
How can you go wrong with a title like that? This book was released on August 4, 2015. Here is the book description: A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut collection about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human. Fearless, candid, and incredibly funny, Lauren Holmes is a newcomer who writes like a master. She tackles eros and intimacy with a deceptively light touch, a keen awareness of how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit, and a genius for revealing our most vulnerable, spirited selves. In “Desert Hearts,” a woman takes a job selling sex toys in San Francisco rather than embark on the law career she pursued only for the sake of her father. In “Pearl and the Swiss Guy Fall in Love,” a woman realizes she much prefers the company of her pit bull—and herself—to the neurotic foreign fling who won’t decamp from her apartment. In “How Am I Supposed to Talk to You?” a daughter hauls a suitcase of lingerie to Mexico for her flighty, estranged mother to resell there, wondering whether her personal mission—to come out—is worth the same effort. And in “Barbara the Slut,” a young woman with an autistic brother, a Princeton acceptance letter, and a love of sex navigates her high school’s toxic, slut-shaming culture with open eyes. With heart, sass, and pitch-perfect characters, Barbara the Slut is a head-turning debut from a writer with a limitless career before her.

10: Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski
I scored an ARC of this back at BookCon in May and was so excited to get it as it reminded me of Wayward Pines. This book was released on September 22nd. Here is the description: A story where edge-of-your-seat horror meets post-apocalyptic thriller, perfect for fans of Lois Lowry and The Mazerunner --Night is coming. On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours--it comes every twenty-eight years. Each sunset, the townspeople sail to the south, where they wait out the long Night. None of the adults will tell Marin, Kana, or their friend Line exactly what happens when they leave the island, but when the three are accidentally left behind in the gathering dusk, they learn the truth: at Night, their town belongs to others, and those others want them gone. Fleeing through the now-alien landscape that used to be their home, the three confront shocking transformations and uncomfortable truths about themselves. They are challenged to trust one another or perish. Marin, Kana, and Line must find their way off the island . . . before the Night finds them.

11: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
I first heard about this book from the YouTube channel The Peruse Project. I was able to find it on Amazon and dove right into it. Can relate a lot to it and it is a great read. This book was released on February 23, 2015. Here is the book description: David Smith is giving his life for his art―literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier! This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world's greatest city. It's about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.

12: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
It is set at the United Nations. SOLD. In case you have lived under a rock and do not really know me, one of my dream jobs was to work at the United Nations as a translator/lawyer. I wish I picked up this book at Book Con but it is all good as this book was released on September 22, 2015. Here is the book description: In the future, the UN has brought back an ancient way to keep the peace. The children of world leaders are held hostage—if a war begins, they pay with their lives. Greta is the Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, a superpower formed of modern-day Canada. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. The hostages are Talis’s strategy to keep the peace: if her country enters a war, Greta dies. The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered. Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. Greta is furious that Elian has disrupted their quiet, structured world. But slowly, his rebellion opens her eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power. Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to mete out punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed...unless Greta can think of a way to save them.

13: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This book....this book was the talk of Book Expo America, BookCon, San Diego Comic Con and by me. I am so excited for this series! I haven't been this excited for a book since Neil Gaiman announced a prequel for The Sandman as well as Chuck Palahniuk announcing a graphic novel sequel for Fight Club. I pre-ordered this book back in August. This book was released on October 20, 2015. Here is the book description: For fans of Marie Lu and James Dashner comes the first book in an epic new series. “Brace yourself. You're about to be immersed in a mindscape that you'll never want to leave.” —Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy. This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

14: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Another book that I was excited about. Eleanor and Park was so good and resonated a lot with me; especially with the kind of relationship I have with my symbiote so...I have to read everything from this author now! This book was released on October 6, 2015. Here is the book description: Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here -- it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up. Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.

15: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles Book 4) by Marissa Meyer
The trend of reimagining/rewriting fairy tales for modern day is still alive and well. I, usually, do not like remakes when it comes to movies/television shows but with books I do not mind a new spin as long as it is original. This series just does that. This book was released on November 10, 2015. Here is the book description: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer's national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

Well there you have it. What books or pop culture did you enjoy in 2015?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

December Advent Calendar 2015

Besides Halloween, I will admit I still get excited for Christmas time. Things just seem to be more magical in the month of December. Maybe it is because of finally finding the love of my life or maybe it is due to still working in Kindergarten; I do not know. For the fourth year in a row, I am doing an activities Advent Calendar to count down to Christmas after reading some great articles online about it. I am big on traditions so here is an outline. Most of the things will be done either by myself, with George, or with my family. Also, just because there is a date attached does not mean it will happen on that date -- it is more of a checklist.

November 29th: Give George his Countdown to Christmas advent calendar (25 wrapped books. He opens up one a day to countdown until Christmas.)(Done!)
November 30th: Watch the 50th Anniversary Special of Charlie Brown/A Charlie Brown Christmas (Done!)
December 1st: Gather clothes and bring to The Bowery Mission.
December 2nd: Make Christmas mix CD for George. (Done!)
December 3rd: Get holiday cards. (Done!)
December 4th: Wear mistletoe headband.
December 5th: Watch the movie Scrooged.
December 6th: Get some chocolate coins and give them to people who make me smile. (Done!)
December 7th: Wear Christmas ornament earrings, get some hot chocolate at Hu Kitchen & walk around Union Square holiday market. (Done!)
December 8th: Watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
December 9th: Start writing out holiday cards. (Done!)
December 10th: Get a holiday inspired manicure. Make sure one nail is sparkly!
December 11th: Watch A Nightmare Before Christmas.
December 12th: Attend CZW Cage of Death with George. (Done!)
December 13th: Mail holiday cards (Done!)
December 14th: Watch He-Man & She-Ra A Christmas Special
December 15th: Get a holiday inspired candle from Bath and Body Works.
December 16th: Make Star Wars themed glitter snowflakes.
December 17th: Go watch some ice skaters in Bryant Park.
December 18th: Watch one of my favorite movies Untamed Heart and have a good cry.
December 19th: Cozy up in some pajamas and watch the Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special.
December 20th: Give my Funshine buddy her present.(Done!)
December 21st: Watch The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Little Drummer Boy) on DVD.
December 22nd: Make sure all of my gifts are wrapped. (Done!)
December 23rd: Wear ugly Christmas sweater to work. (Done!)
December 24th: Go Christmas caroling in Washington Square Park. (Due to the weather, I didn't go.)
December 25th: CHRISTMAS!!! Open presents and watch The Muppets Christmas Carol.
December 26th: George visits to celebrate Boxing Day and Christmas. Go and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, go to dinner, and just celebrate our time together.

I hope all of my readers are enjoying this holiday season! What did you do for the season? Leave a comment below to let me know!

Friday, November 6, 2015

What Am I Reading: November Releases + To Be Read

Where in the heck did this year go? Lots of fun times with my love and lots of great reading happening thats what! But this year is not over yet. Almost at my reading goal (Read 52 books in a year) and this months new releases and to be read will just push it over the edge! Well enough of this, as the great Harold D. Saxon, John Dargo, and Don Swanson would say -- ENOUGH OF THIS PALAVER LETS GET THE SHOW ON THE ROAD!

New Releases for the month of November
1: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles Book 4) by Marissa Meyer
The trend of reimagining/rewriting fairy tales for modern day is still alive and well. I, usually, do not like remakes when it comes to movies/television shows but with books I do not mind a new spin as long as it is original. This series just does that. This book is set to be released on November 10, 2015. Here is the book description: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer's national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

2: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
Okay time for a Dani confession....sometimes she likes to read cheesy romance novels that have a paranormal edge to them. But this one does not appear to be that cheesy. This book was released on November 3, 2015. Here is the book description: Country clubs and garden parties. The last thing Cassandra wants is to spend the summer before her senior year marooned in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. Cass craves drama and adventure, which is hard when she just feels stuck. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on her family's private beach, claiming that it is his property-and that the year is 1925-Cass is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. As she searches for answers in the present, Cass discovers a truth that thrusts Lawrence's life into jeopardy. It won't matter which century he is from if he won't live to see tomorrow.Desperate to save the boy who's come to mean everything to her, Cassandra must find a way to change history...or risk losing Lawrence forever.

3: The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson
As many of my readers, friends, my love are aware -- I identify myself as a geek girl. It is refreshing to see memoirs coming out nowadays about fellow geeks finding their place in the world. From Simon Pegg to Felicia Day and now this, I am excited! This memoir will be released on November 10, 2015. Here is the book description: For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a bestselling book of the same name. He also started a hilarious Twitter feed (sample tweet: “I'm not on Facebook” is the new “I don't even own a TV”) that now has more than four million followers. Now, he's ready to tell his own story and explain how he came up with his incredibly unique sense of humor and perspective on life. He explains how he grew up “bone-numbingly nerdy before there was even a modicum of cool attached to the word.” The Bassoon King chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek (“the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers”), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and finally, Wilson's achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Bahá’í faith he grew up in.

What I am Reading in November
1: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
I have a lot of friends who work in retail -- namely Walmart. Once you read the book description, you will understand why I had to read this, especially this month. Here is the book description: Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking. To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

2: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
This graphic novel came as a recommendation from Reagan on BookTube. It is hitting close to home so far. Here is the book description: David Smith is giving his life for his art―literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier! This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world's greatest city. It's about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.

What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: October Release + To Be Read

Well I guess it is finally time to wake up and enjoy some books! This fall, especially October, has a lot of books coming out that I am throughly excited and ecstatic for. Well enough of this palaver like Harold D. Saxon would say....Lets get this show on the road!

New Releases for the month of October
1: City on Fire by Garth Risk Halberg
This book is set to be released on October 13, 2015. Here is the book description: New York City, 1976. Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor—and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve. The mystery, as it reverberates through families, friendships, and the corridors of power, will open up even the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city. And when the blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever. City on Fire is an unforgettable novel about love and betrayal and forgiveness, about art and truth and rock ’n’ roll: about what people need from each other in order to live . . . and about what makes the living worth doing in the first place.

2: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This book....this book was the talk of Book Expo America, BookCon, San Diego Comic Con and by me. I am so excited for this series! I haven't been this excited for a book since Neil Gaiman announced a prequel for The Sandman as well as Chuck Palahniuk announcing a graphic novel sequel for Fight Club. I pre-ordered this book back in August. This book is set to be released on October 20, 2015. Here is the book description: For fans of Marie Lu and James Dashner comes the first book in an epic new series. “Brace yourself. You're about to be immersed in a mindscape that you'll never want to leave.” —Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy. This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

3: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Another book that I an excited about. Eleanor and Park was so good and resonated a lot with me; especially with the kind of relationship I have with my symbiote so...I have to read everything from this author now! This book is set to release on October 6, 2015. Here is the book description: Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here -- it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up. Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.

What I am Reading in October
1: Cell by Stephen King
Another book recommendation from the Mister. I asked him about which book I should start next and this was brought up and he said I should start this one as it has a Walking Dead feel to it. I was sold. Here is the book description: The next call you take could be your last in this terrifying #1 New York Times bestseller by Stephen King. WHERE WERE YOU ON OCTOBER 1ST AT 3:03 P.M.? Graphic artist Clay Riddell was in the heart of Boston on that brilliant autumn afternoon when hell was unleashed before his eyes. Without warning, carnage and chaos reigned. Ordinary people fell victim to the basest, most animalistic destruction. And the apocalypse began with the ring of a cell phone....

2: Speaking of The Walking Dead -- I have volumes 22,23,and 24 to read. So that will be done this month too.

3: Almost done with the Farscape graphic novel series too! Have volumes 5,6,and 7 left. So that will be done too. I hope.

So what do you plan on reading this month?