Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Life...

Monthly Rewind

My Pic of February
 Tulips: a close-up

February in One Word
During February we only had 40% of the sun days we usually have. Unfortunately the same happened in January and those grey, dull days got to me. I felt tired, sad and my motivation left me alone at the beginning of February and hasn't returned yet. If you live somewhere where it's warm and you see my motivation tell her (yes, my motivation is a her) to come back home. I promise it'll get better here, weatherwise. 

5 Things that Happened in February
  1. It was my birthday on February 1st and I spent it with all my friends and my family.
  2. I finally, after two long months, saw my friend and her baby boy again. He grew so much since Christmas! He is such a cutie and you can play with him and entertain him basically every second of the day. He also would have shared his banana with me but I didn't share my coffee so I thought it would be unfair if I ate his fruits. 
  3. I received my annual bonus from my favorite bookstore and the amount of money I spent there in 2012 just blew me away. The book industry will not go backrupt - I took care of that. 
  4. I booked my trip to London this August! I am really looking forward to going "home" again and am counting the days.
  5. I finally figured out a good way to organize and color-code my to-do lists.

5 Songs that Were Popular on My I-Pod

Before he cheats by Carrie Underwood

Good Girl by Carrie Underwood

Daylight by Maroon 5 but I love the cover version of Alex Goot and Julia Sheer

Have a nice trip by Daisy Mallory

Our Kind of Love by Lady Antebellum

Book I Read this Month
  • Shannon Stacey - Exclusively Yours
  • Maureen Johnson - The Name of the Star 
  • Lindsey Kelk - The Single Girl's To Do List 
  • Gervase Phinn - The Little Village School  
  • Monica McInerney - Spin the Bottle 
  • Gail Carriger - Etiquette & Espionage
6 books
2081 pages 

a TV series I liked this month
I got the 5th season of the Big Bang Theory for my birthday and I started watching it in February. I also loved watching Elementary and Unforgettable, which both recently started here in Austria and two days ago after stumbling upon an interview with Mayim Bialik on YouTube I rediscovered Blossom. 

5 Random Things I (Re-)Discovered/Liked this Month
    1. As I mentioned above, I recently rediscovered the TV series Blossom. Do you still remember it? I know that I watched it quite regularly as a kid and really enjoyed it and after watching the whole first season of Melissa and Joey last month I thought why not be a bit old school and watch the first series I ever saw him in again. 
    2. I also rediscovered Shannon Stacey's book Exclusively Yours in February. I read it in Janauary 2012 and really liked it. It was one of those books that stayed in my head for over a year and because I haven't written a review of it I had to re-read it to do just that. 
    3. Cheese! Speaking of random :) I always ate cheese but it wasn't something I absolutely had to have but recently I just fell for it and there's nothing better than a fresh roll with salted butter and some cheese. Breakfast safed!
    4. After I read Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn for the first time I was obsessed with red Moleskine notebooks and three weeks ago one of them fell into my hands and I used it ever since for my daily lists and reminders. It brought a little bit of color to my bag.
    5. I really liked staying at home with a cup of coffee and a good book. The weather made it quite easy to do just that and it also didn't encourage you to go out.

    Things I'm Looking Forward to in March
      • The semester at university will start again in March and I will take one rather interesting seminar - at least I hope it'll be interesting. 
      • My aunt, uncle and two cousins will return from their 4 week long vacation in Taiwan. 
      • I'm really looking forward to the publication of Cassandra Claire's Clockwork Princess and Maureen Johnson's The Madness Underneath.
      • A lot of birthdays - including my mum, both  my uncles, my aunt and many friends.
      • Easter holidays
      • Bloggiesta (March 22nd – 24th). For more information click here

      Felix in February
      he loves snow so much

      Tuesday, February 26, 2013 books

      Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
      This week the girls at The Broke and Bookish want to know my:
      Top Ten Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List

      There is absolutely no ranking going on here. 
      I just wrote them down how they popped into my head.

      Gail Carriger – author of the Parasol Protectorate series and the Finishing School series
      Sophie Kinsella – author of the Shopaholic series and some amazing standalones
      Terry Pratchett – author of the fabulous Discworld series
      Monica McInerney – author of many wonderful novels set in Australia and Ireland
      Janet Evanovich – author of the Stephanie Plum series
      Amy Plum – author of the wonderful Revenant series
      Jill Shalvis – author of the Lucky Harbour series
      Cleo Coyle – author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries
      Jack Sheffield – author of the Ragley on the Forest Village Schools series
      Gervase Phinn – author of The Dales series and The Barton in the Dale series

      Monday, February 25, 2013 pictures

       This week's topic will be:
      House / Haus

      Please link you post to mine in time. 
      Submission period is between the 25th of February and the 4th of March
      (11:59 pm CET). 

      Sunday, February 24, 2013 books

      Showcase Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea which was inspired by In My Mailbox from Kristie at The Story Siren.
      It is a possibility for us to show what amazing books we got during the week. 

      This week I went book shopping with a good friend of mine and of course we bought some. 
      Here's what I picked:

      I had a German copy of this book for years and it is on the edge of dying. I read it quite a lot and that's how it looks. So when I found an English copy in the store I decided to buy it and read it again soon. 

      Many of my book blogging buddies have read it or are reading it right now so I decided to take it with me and give it a go. 

      It sounded really good from the synopsis and it's about London - in a way. What more do I need?

      I am so pysched that my bookstore had this book lying around. Yes, I did a little happy dance in the middle of the store. I love Gail's writing and adored her Parasol Protectorate series and was eagerly waiting for it to be published and than decided to wait for the book shopping date and keeping my fingers crossed that they have it.

      Thursday, February 21, 2013 books

      The Single Girl’s To Do List
      by Lindsey Kelk

      First sentence:
      It had been an odd Sunday.

      Rachel Summers loves a to-do list:
      • Boyfriend
      • Flat
      • Great job

      NOT on the list:
      • Being dumped

      Best friends Emelie and Matthew ride to her rescue with an entirely new kind of list – The Single Girl’s To-Do List. Rachel doesn’t know it, but it will take her on all kinds of wild adventures – and get her in some romantic pickles too. And then it won't be a case of what but who she decides to tick off…

      • Mr. bendy yoga instructor
      • Mr. teenage sweetheart
      • Mr. persistent ex
      • Mr. deeply unsuitable

      The Single Girl’s To-Do List gives Rachel the perfect heartbreak cure – and proves love is out there if you’re willing to take a chance.
      source: Goodreads

      My opinion:
      I am list making addict! I am one of those who love the feeling of crossing something off a list and I also color-code them. So what could be more obvious than me buying a book that’s called The Single Girl’s To-Do List?

      I already read the first book in Lindsey Kelk’s I heart … series and fell in love with her way of writing. To be honest, I read this book in July 2011 when I was on a road trip through Western Australia and loved it. That’s why I bought a physical copy to put it next to her other books I own and because I couldn’t remember much and wanted to write a review I decided to read it again.

      Rachel, a London based make-up artist, is a list addict like me and plans her life in great detail but she hasn’t planned that her boyfriend will break up with her – in a rather cowardly way, might I add. Fortunately Rachel’s two best friends come to her rescue and over a some bottles of wine they decide to start the Single Girl’s To-Do List.

      This book is full of love and friendship, motivation, butt kicking – which, let’s be honest, is sometimes necessary to reach your goals – and wonderful characters. Rachel is not only super organized, she is also fun and hilarious, a really good friend and super blind when it comes to the one who loves and adores her. She is also strong willed, not (really) afraid to face her fears and knows what she does and does not want in her life.
      Her friends Matthew and Emelie are two fabulous friends who are always there when Rachel needs them and they also make sure that she doesn’t kill herself after the break-up.

      The book basically covers Rachel’s way from being recently dumped to recovering and discovering what she wants in life and how she can achieve it. It is full of funny and witty dialogues, great characters and strong friendships.

      While reading I often thought that I would kill for friends like Emelie and Matthew but in hindsight I have to say that I have a lot of wonderful friends who not only been through a lot of things with me but would also come (and came) to my rescue anytime I need them.

      If you are looking for a fun and upbeat book about a strong girl and her officially becoming a single girl, for the first time in her life, than read this book. Lindsey Kelk’s writing is just fabulous.

      For more information about Lindsey visit her Homepage and her Twitter page.

      Tuesday, February 19, 2013 books

      Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
      This week the girls at The Broke and Bookish want to know my:
       Top 10 Favorite Characters in Mysteries

      I love reading mysteries - mostly cozy mysteries because I can get scared pretty easily but still. I also have an obsession with watching crime series like Castle, Body of Proof, Elementary and Unforgettable. You could say that mysteries, as long as they are not really scary, are my thing. 

      Here are my top ten favorite (book) characters out of the mystery genre:

      Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series (what a shock, right? :))
      Lee from JoAnna Carl's Chocoholic Mysteries
      Claire from Cleo Coyle's Coffeeshop Mysteries
      Patricia Anne from Anne George's Southern Sisters Mysteries
      Mary Alice from Anne George's Southern Sisters Mysteries
      Comissario Brunetti from Donna Leon's Comissario Brunetti Mysteries
      Signorina Elettra from Donna Leon's Comissario Brunetti Mysteries 
      Angie DeLaura from Jenn McKinlay's Cupcake Bakery Mysteries
      Angelica from Lorna Barrett's Booktown Mysteries 
      Lisa from Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen Mysteries

      Many of these characters are the main characters of the series (which, in my opinion is a good thing that they are my favorite because they are the ones that appear in every book) but there are some exceptions (the last 4 are not the main characters)

      Do you read mysteries? Are there some you would recommend reading?

      Don't forget: 
      I'm giving away an e-copy of Stephanie Wardrop's debut novel Snark and Circumstance
      You can enter the giveaway here.  

      Monday, February 18, 2013 pictures

       This week's Photochallenge topic is
      which immediately made the word "pencil" pop into my mind.
      and because I couldn't decide which picture to post, I'll post my top three: pictures

       This week's topic will be:
      Pointed / Spitz

      Please link you post to mine in time. 
      Submission period is between the 18th and the 25th of February
      (11:59 pm CET). 

      Saturday, February 16, 2013 books

      Guest Post by 
      Stephanie Wardrop 
      Author of Snark and Circumstance

      Today I have the pleasure of hosting a Blog Tour stop for Stephanie Wardrop's debut novel Snark and Circumstance that will come out on May 2nd, 2013. 

      Stephanie grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania where she started writing stories when she ran out of books to read. She’s always wanted to be a writer, except during the brief period of her childhood in which piracy seemed like the most enticing career option – and if she had known then that there actually were “girl” pirates way back when, things might have turned out very differently. She currently teaches writing and literature at Western New England University and lives in a town not unlike the setting of Snark and Circumstance with her husband, two kids, and five cats. With a book out – finally – she might be hitting the high seas any day now. 

      Today she will tell you something about the books that inspired her: 
      First, I want to thank Karin for playing host to this post and for having a photograph of her dog on this site that is clearly my childhood dog, Angus, reincarnated. He was named for the canine hero of the children’s books by Marjorie Flack.

      This coincidence got me thinking about all the books I devoured as a kid. I have loved, and lost, so many books over my nearly five decades on this planet that I believe heaven is a place where I will be reunited with all the books I loved and lent to people, or lost in moves from one place to the other. It will be a great big library with all of my old fictional friends waiting for me to start the conversation all over again.

      The Early Years
      As a little kid, Leo Lionni’s Frederick taught me the important role of the artist in society. Frederick is a storyteller and therefore does not appear to anyone around him to be doing anything socially useful. But the other mice learn that even if Frederick is not out gathering nuts with the other mice, he is gathering story material to keep everyone entertained and peaceful for the long months of winter. This is more than a good excuse for apparent laziness. It’s a lesson in the value of writing.  
      I also loved the Paddington Bear books as well as Winnie the Pooh (in fact, I still identify with Piglet) in part because I loved their British-ness. It was like those Brits had a whole other language, but still spoke English! I distinctly remember annoying everyone around me one day because I kept repeating the word “perambulator” and cracking myself up. I thought it was a hilarious word. 
      But my real love of words had to come from Dr. Seuss books, which taught me that words can rhyme and have a rhythm and a music of their own. I learned you can make up words, too, and thus make up whole worlds. The Collapsible Frink and the Chippendale Muff should exist.  Somewhere. 

      Elementary school
      Like most girls, I liked my heroines spunky, and no one was spunkier than Pippi Longstocking; if I could have lived with a horse and a monkey named Mr. Nilsson, I would have been the happiest child on the planet.  I also loved From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer Hecate Macbeth William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth by E. L Konigsburg (I still remember the heroine and her brother debating whether an object can be described accurately as “crushed up”) and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.  

      Junior and Senior High
      Judy Blume and Richard Peck were my heroes. I liked JD Salinger, too, and in high school I read Dostoevsky, some Turgenev, and a lot of F Scott Fitzgerald. Lest I appear to be a total geek, I will confess that I also read every book about rock music available at the Reading Public Library, and remember an English teacher pointing out one day in class that I could read something better than the Jim Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive that I had open on my desk (on her desk was a copy of Tammy Wynette’a bio Stand By Your Man.  Hey – you read what speaks to you, right?  No judgment here.) And while I would never make a case for that biography as great literature, the book did introduce to me to loftier writers, like Kerouac and Neitzsche.
      But as a young writer, I was most captivated by John Irving’s lovable characters who were at once very real and very exaggerated.  His ability to write with such hilarity and sincerity at the same time will have my undying admiration.    
      I remember riding the DC metro home from work one day and crying, wedged between the other straphangers, over the death of Owen Meaney even though I had known from the beginning it was coming.  If I could do that, make someone feel that power just once, I’d be satisfied.

      Here is a sneak peak into Stephanie's book, Snark and Circumstance:
      One superior smirk from Michael Endicott convinces sixteen-year-old Georgia Barrett that the Devil wears Polo. His family may have founded the postcard-perfect New England town they live in, but Georgia’s not impressed. Even if he is smart, good looking, and can return Georgia’s barbs as deftly as he returns serves on his family’s tennis courts. After all, if Michael actually thinks she refuses to participate in lab dissections just to mess with his grade, he’s a little too sure that he’s the center of the universe. Could there be more to Michael Endicott than smirks and sarcasm? If Georgia can cut the snark long enough, she just might find out.
      Snark and Circumstance is the first title in the Snark and Circumstance series of young adult romance novellas from Stephanie Wardrop.

      A huge Thank You to Stephanie for stopping by the blog and telling us all about the books that inspired her. Keep your eyes open for a review of Snark and Circumstance, which will be published here closer to the publishing date.

      You can also win an e-copy of Snark and Circumstance today. Just enter the Rafflecopter below and keep your fingers crossed:
        a Rafflecopter giveaway