The June Round-Up!

Half the year is over! To make my goal of reading 110 books by the end of the year I should have completed 55 books by June 30th.  I can happily say I was finished with 95 books at the end of June!!! WOOT WOOT!  I’m clearly going to make my goal of 110 by the end of July, so upon completion I’ll re-evaluate my goal and up it.

My cousins with my sister and her EPIC hat

This summer has proved to be one of the busiest of my life, and June continued that trend.  The beginning of June was my sister’s bridal shower, (her wedding is the end of July – YAY!) and man was it fun!  My sister BEGGED us to play toilet paper bride at the shower.  If you’re unfamiliar with this game let me enlighten you.  You split up into teams, are given toilet paper and other “accessories”, and must dress one member of your team in a bridal gown of toilet paper.  It is by far one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and the creations are hysterical.  Two of my mother’s friends must have been dressed in four rolls of toilet paper a piece.  Then of course my cousins made my sister an EPIC hat using all the ribbons from her gifts.  Seriously, the hat was enormous. (Just check out the picture)

Wedding!

The weekend following  Todd and I flew out to Columbus, Ohio for his cousin’s wedding.  This trip marked the farthest west I’ve ever been in the US!  We don’t get to see Todd’s extended family much since the majority of them are in Ohio, so not only was it great being there for the wedding, but it was wonderful visiting with Todd’s family.

Our Relay For Life event took over our lives for the third and fourth weeks of June.  The event went off WONDERFULLY and we’ve raised over $100,000 to-date!  I met my personal goal of raising $1,000 and was SO damn happy!  We had beautiful weather and the event was just perfect.  It was unfortunately my last year as an event chair (as I’ve been a chair for three years) and I couldn’t have asked for it go any better than it did.

Probably my favorite event of the whole month was last weekend when I got to meet ROBERT GOOLRICK!!  If you don’t know who he is then you’ve been living under a rock!  Robert wrote A Reliable Wife and just came out with his newest novel, Heading Out To Wonderful.  My favorite bookstore R.J. Julia hosted an evening with him in their bookstore and honestly I’ve never looked forward to something more than this!  He was absolutely hysterical and I was mesmerized as he read two chapters from Heading Out To Wonderful.  Being able to chat with him later on as he signed my books was heavenly.  AH. I’m still in disbelief that I got to meet him!

Anyway, enough about what I did. What did I read!?! I finished 12 books this month and The Siren by Tiffany Reisz was HANDS DOWN my favorite of the month.  I keep telling people that it’s 1,000 times better than the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and that they should read it instead! The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen came in at a close second! I kept it eclectic for June – erotica, historical fiction, Jane Austen fan fiction, etc.  Someone needs to give me a romance novel intervention.  I literally can’t get enough. HELP.

Alright folks, enough of my rambling.  What have been some of your favorite author meetings? Who do you want to meet?  What did you read this month?  Any good books you want me to add to my list?

As always…..happy reading!

My Favorite Ten Books of the Year! (Part I)

With the year coming to a close I figured I’d post my favorite ten books that I read for the year. The books below haven’t necessarily been published in 2010, they’re just my favorite reads for 2010. 

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 1.) Persuasion by Jane Austen – This is one of my all time favorite novels! I re-read it again this year for a group discussion that was going on in the Jane Austen group on goodreads. A quick synopsis is that Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth fall in love once upon a time and become engaged.  Anne breaks their engagement after being persuaded by her family that it is not a suitable match, due to Frederick’s lack of wealth and lower social status.  Broken hearted Frederick throws himself into his duties as an officer in the navy, quickly gaining wealth and title.  Several years later the Elliot’s, now having financial difficulties, rent out their family estate to Wentworth’s sister and brother-in-law; the Crofts.  When Wentworth goes to visit the Crofts he’s thrust into Anne’s company again.  The two must figure out if the love they once shared still exists within each other, or if it is lost forever.  I am so glad that I re-read Persuasion again this year.  I had read it a long time ago and completely forgot how much I truly loved it.  If you have never read it, then I highly suggest you do.  It’s a love story that you will truly never forget.

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2.) A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick – WOW.  My mind is STILL blown from this book.  Just wow wow wow wow wow.  Goolrick’s way of writing is incredibly captivating.  His characters are vivid, his settings are descriptive, and his story is unique and imaginative.  Ralph Truitt, missing female companionship, puts an ad into the newspaper for a wife.  Catherine Land, a woman with a sordid past, answers the ad and begins the long trek to Wisconsin to be Ralph’s wife.  The reader soon learns that there is more to Catherine then originally thought.  I highly suggest reading this book.  You can read my full review here

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3.) Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman – My book club selected it as the group read for September and boy am I glad.  Klosterman is definitely the foremost expert on current pop culture.  His books are filled with references to music, movies, celebrities, major events, ect.  I wanted to have an intellectual conversation with everyone as soon as I finished the book. In Killing Yourself to Live, Klosterman takes the reader on his journey cross-country to figure out why it is that a musician needs to die in order to become a legend.  He visits the sites where musicians have died, hoping it will shed light on their immortality.  While he doesn’t necessarily come up with an answer to that question, he does come up with answers to some of the questions he has about his own life.  If you’re a fan of music this is a great book to read.

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4.) Fitzwilliam Darcy: Last Man in the World – Abigail Reynolds – I’m a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice sequels, which is unsurprising considering that P&P is my favorite book ever.  I read a lot of Jane Austen fan fiction over the course of this year, with this being my favorite of all of them.  Abigail Reynolds specializes in writing Pride and Prejudice variations.  She essentially writes Pride and Prejudice while changing a major detail.  In this particular instance Reynolds makes Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth the one that sticks.  Darcy, thinking that Elizabeth has said yes to marrying him, kisses her, and is then caught.  Since propriety was such a major think back in the day, Elizabeth says that yes they are engaged and begins her facade into being a dutiful but unhappy bride for Darcy.  Darcy is none the wiser, he sincerely thinks that Elizabeth is happy to be married to him.  When he does find out the unhappy truth he is devastated and crushed.  They must figure out a way to make their marriage work or be unhappy for all their lives to a partner they despise.  The reason I think this was my favorite of all of the P&P sequels/variations/retellings I read was the characterizations.  Reynolds writes the characters just as rich and full of life as Austen did, which in-turn makes her books an absolute joy to read.

Cover Image5.) Walking Dead Volume I by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore – Todd and I started watching AMC’s The Walking Dead when it premiered a few months ago and were in love with the idea of it.  We went out to Barnes and Noble soon after and decided to pick up the first volume of the graphic novels.  The story, art-work, writing, just everything about it blew me away.  It’s a spectacular view of life and how the most dire of situations not only changes us as people, but society as a whole.  There is a lot more to this series than meets the eye.  If you’re unafraid to delve into the deeper meaning of the words and actions of the characters you can find it a very fulfilling read.  You can read my full review here.

So that concludes my top 5 favorite books I’ve read for the year.  Please check in within the next day or so for numbers 6-10!

Happy Reading!

The Weekly Roundup – Week 3

Last week was a so-so week.  There were days I was totally driven to read and others I was so damn lazy.   

I headed over to Barnes and Noble on Wednesday picked up some new books. (YAY!)  I got The Road, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (reviewed here), and Boardwalk EmpireI finished writing reviews for the books I completed the prior week and got my head back into books.  I completed A Reliable Wife and had my mind BLOWN.  (See my review here for what I mean)

Thursday I read some more of Fifth Avenue 5 A.M.  The book is taking me a while to read because it’s discussing the way Breakfast at Tiffany’s changed women’s views of themselves, and what they could accomplish with their sexuality.  It also gives historical information on how the book came to be and how it was turned into a film.  There are multitudes of facts, thoughts, and ideas discussed that so I’m trying to take my time reading it to fully appreciate it.  It makes many references to the novel version of Tiffany’s so I decided to take a pause with this book and read Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  I figured what better time than now?

Friday Todd and I went to a wedding for our friends Dave and Kate.  Had a great time with all of Todd’s co-workers – it was an all around good evening.  We came home from the wedding and passed out early, as Todd had to head to Atlantic City the following day for a bachelor party.

Saturday got up early and got a ton accomplished before Todd left for AC.  I got two loads of laundry done, read some Breakfast at Tiffany’s, made brownies, and then pasta salad all by 11:30am. My aunts drove my grandma up that afternoon from New Jersey to have lunch and hang out together.  It was nice seeing them and I always enjoy seeing gram.  Adam came over that night and we just hung out, read, and watched some TV.  (Adam and I LOVE watching Law and Order Los Angeles together – we’re addicted) 

Sunday I wrote my blog reviews for A Reliable Wife and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and then started reading my next book Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister

Week end I was up to 74 completed books.  This leaves 26 books before December 31st.  I have to read a little over 4 books a week for the next 6 weeks to make it to 100!  I need to read almost two books every two days to complete the challenge for 2010.  OY OY!

I’m off now to go crawl in bed and read some more.  It’s going to be a busy 6 weeks!! Wish me luck!

Happy Reading!!

#73 A Review of A Reliable Wife – Robert Goolrick

Robert Goolrick, if you are reading this I want to shake your hand.  Seldom do I come across novels that blow my mind the way A Reliable Wife did. 

Ralph Truitt, tired of being alone and missing the companionship of a woman puts together an advertisement looking for a wife.  Catherine Land, a woman with a sordid past, sees a way to change her identity and answers the advertisement. Ralph has letters, a photo, and tons of hope for the woman coming to Wisconsin be his wife.  Catherine’s train finally arrives and much to Ralph’s dismay she is not the woman in his photo.  He tells her,

“This begins in a lie.  I want you to know I know that.”

 Ralph has no idea who this woman is and is deeply hurt and embarrassed at what is transpiring.  On the way to his house a deer crosses the road startling the horses on their carriage.  Ralph is thrown from the carriage and suffers a head wound.  Catherine gets Ralph back to his house and meets his two servants Mr. and Mrs. Larsen.  Mrs. Larsen and Catherine treat Ralph, sew his wound up, and try to get him to keep moving in case of a concussion.  Ralph winds up taking a turn for the worse, contracting a fever that evening.  Catherine and Mrs. Larsen begin the long process of nursing Ralph back to health.  All the while Catherine keeps thinking that she must keep Ralph alive, that it’s too early for him to die, that she hasn’t done it yet.  The reader comes to find out that Catherine is planning on murdering Ralph and taking all of his money.

“She would have her lover’s beauty and her own, and she would have Ralph’s money, and surely the two together would be enough.  That at least was the plan.  She would marry Ralph Truitt, and then, one day, almost imperceptibly he would begin to grow old and die.  And then, one day not long after, he would be dead and she would have it all.”

Ralph survives his illness with the help of Catherine and Mrs. Larsen.  Once on the mend he tells Catherine of his own sordid past, including his lustful adolescence, his first wife and the son she bore that wound up not being his.  The two marry and Ralph is able to begin quenching his sexual desires.  Ralph gives Catherine everything that she asks for in return for her going to St. Louis to bring back his long-lost son.

The above is not even a quarter of the storyline yet it is all I can reveal without spoiling the end of the novel. This novel is incredible.  The story is crazy; it’s filled with blackmail, murder, lies, betrayal, love, deceit, and so much more.  Goolrick wrote a crazy story and he wrote it extremely well.  As I said above, seldom do I find books that blow my mind.  When I say blow my mind I mean books that I finish and have to just sit and reflect on.  In the case of A Reliable Wife I was just disturbed, impressed, and in awe of the story.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

My one warning I must mention is this book has tons of sexual references and innuendos.  The main characters have pasts that are heavily influenced by their sexual desires and experiences.  This is definitely a book for more mature readers.

5 out of 5 Stars