Reader Seeking Help with Where to Start Reading Comics

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I’ve always been interested in reading comics especially after loving Batman the Animated Series, Batman Beyond and Justice League Unlimited. But I never know where exactly to start. I just find all of the different storylines and universes a little intimidating (or more than a little intimidating). It seems like in every storyline all the characters have a slightly different backstory so jumping right into the comic series seems to be a confusing place to start. So I’m looking for advice on where to start. (particularly with Batman).

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Snowed In Reads

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Today was a snow day where I live, and I was inspired to recommend some books to read when you’re snowed in. These are books you can curl up with your hot chocolate and get lost in. For me this means fantasy, but, I also have a mystery and a biography on this list.


1. Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

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I just did a review on this series that I’ll link here. But to summarize, this book and its sequels are excellent. A fantastic and glamorous main character and her dashing husband make quite the team, despite their rocky relationship, solving the murders that they run into. I particularly love the 1930’s setting and each mystery is perfect for a day you’re snowed in.

2. Jane Austen: A Life by Carol Shields

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This book is perfect for a day you’re trapped in the house because it’s a short and engaging read lending itself for a day where you have a couple of hours for uninterrupted reading time. This is definitely a must read if you’re a Jane Austen fan.

3. Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

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This is one of my all time favorite series. It follows two main characters, Blackthorn and Grim, as they are given a new chance at life when they are broken out of prison by a mysterious person. This story has some of the most captivating characters I’ve ever read about and beautiful and engaging writing that will keep you enthralled till the very end. Because its one of those books you’ll never want to put down, it’s a great book to read when you’re stuck inside. The beautiful setting definitely lends itself to a beautiful and snowy day.

4. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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I don’t think any snowy reads list would be complete without Narnia and its never-ending winter. This quick, wonderful read with its snowy setting is perfect for blizzard weather. Just don’t forget your cup of tea. You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.

5. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Since I mentioned C.S. Lewis, I might as well mention the other half of the pair: Tolkien and his epic, Lord of the Rings. A fantastic story, with something in it for everyone. It’s full of action, adventure, and romance. The perfect story to get snowed in with.

2019 Goals

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It’s a little late to be posting my goals for 2019 but better late than never. I made ten goals  split into two categories; Reading Goals, and Blog Goals. And without any further ado here are my goals for 2019.

In 2019 I would like to…

  1. Read a total of at least 75 books
  2. 1/3 (or 25) of those books should be nonfiction
  3. Read at least 12 classics
  4. Have a TBR for each month
  5. Read a biography of a woman a month

My Blogging goals for 2019 are…

  1. to post more regularly- 2018 was rough, it was full of tons of changes. Hopefully, 2019 will be more settled and therefore I should be able to post more regularly.
  2. I still plan on posting one Ladies Guide per month.
  3. I plan to post at least 1 discussion post and one book review a month.
  4. I hope to post a TBR and monthly wrap-up for each month.
  5. I will also be posting regularly on my Instagram.

Nonfiction November 2018 Random Questions Tag

I had no idea what I wanted to post today so I thought up some questions I decided I would like to answer. Here’s the result.

1. What book got you into reading nonfiction?

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For me, that would have to be The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin. I picked up the Cello Suites because promised a different Bach than the one you learn in Music History class. This book definitely delivered on that promise. It was a fascinating read about Bach, the musical genius, but also about a man who got into a duel with a bassoonist and had 20 children. It also combined Bach’s story with the story of Pablo Casals, the cellist who reintroduced the world to the wonderful cello suites of Bach’s.

2. What book are you most proud of finishing (or will be when it’s finished)?

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I will be super proud if I ever finish all the books I have started right now. But the book I’m most proud of finishing is the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. It was a very powerful and moving read, since you are hearing about the Civil War from someone who not only was in it, but was responsible for the troops he commanded. It was fascinating hearing about Grant’s strategy his own words as well hearing about famous historical events from someone who was a part of them.

3. What is your Favorite Nonfiction book?

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And… its another book about Bach. Evening in the Palace of Reason by James R Gaines is my favorite nonfiction book as well as one of my favorite books period. The authors passion about Bach and his music really made Bach seem like a real person, not just a someone you read about. This is another book that combines two biographies in this book that was Frederick the Great who met Bach once. But the occasion was definitely a memorable one.

4. Is there a nonfiction book you would like to reread?

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One would be Evening in the Palace of Reason by James R. Gaines. But since I already mentioned that book I’ll say The Assassin’s Accomplice by Kate Clifford Larson instead. I read this book before I started the Ladies Guide to History and I would really like to write a post on the book. I found the subject, Mary Surratt an absolutely fascinating individual. An incredibly horrible person, but interesting nonetheless. The book relates how she was connected to the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln and debates how much she was really involved.

5. Is there a nonfiction book you chose to read solely because of the cover?

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Yep, I’m definitely guilty of this many times over. But in this case, I was in the Assateague Book Store and saw a book with gorgeous horses on it. Assateague + horses, yep had to buy it. Even if it’s about the wild mustangs in the west lol. But Wild Horse Country by David Philipps actually turned out to be a good book. It was fascinating learning about the mustangs that are a feature of the landscape in the west. A very different place than the east coast where I live.

6. What nonfiction subject do you read the most of?

I find myself gravitating to women’s biographies, due to the Ladies Guide to History (hint check out The Ladies Guide to History posts). Yep mostly biographies and history for me.

7. What would you like to read more of?

I would potentially love to learn about lots of things including: music, natural history, philosophy, religion, the list goes on. But I just bought a philosophy book so I’ll probably start there. 😉

8. What would you recommend to a nonfiction beginner and why?

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I recommend Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain it seems like on a daily basis. I loved this book its extremely readable and everyone is fascinated with understanding themselves.

9. What is your most recently purchased nonfiction book?

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That would be Desert Queen by Janet Wallach about Gertrude Bell a woman archeologist in the Victorian Era

Bonus Question: If you could meet the subject of a biography or memoir who would it be?

Yep, no guesses needed here that would be Bach for me lol.

Series Review: Amory Ames Mysteries by Ashley Weaver

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Here I am, back again with another mystery series review. When I began this blog, I honestly believed, I would be reviewing fantasy since it’s what I had been reading the most of at that point. But, I guess, tastes change. The Amory Ames Mystery Series by Ashley Weaver caught my attention a while ago, but I was rather reluctant to start it. However, this series actually surpassed my expectations and I fell in love with so much about it.

What the Series is About:

This series follows our title character, Amory as she becomes embroiled in a series of murders. Each of these murders each happen within Amory’s acquaintances who happen to be part of England’s upper class. Like another series I’ve reviewed, (Sebastian St. Cyr Series by C.S. Harris, self-serving link here), her position in society gives her an edge over the police in solving these crimes. Her social status allows her to ask questions and observe people, the police could not. Her erstwhile husband often unwittingly gets involved in these investigations as well.

Each novel in the series is a self-contained mystery. A reader could pick up any of these books and be satisfied and not feel like they are missing any information. So far there is a total of 5 books and I sincerely hope for more.

What I Thought:

Like I mentioned earlier I sincerely enjoyed this series. I was often waiting anxiously for the next book to come in the mail (yes, I am a physical books kind of gal.) I loved so many things about this series including the setting, the mysteries, and the characters. This series is set in the early 1930’s but the troubled times does not seem to affect the upper class the characters are investigating all that much. These novels take place within the high society of 1930’s England with all the glitz and glamour you’d expect. The author included many delightful descriptions of the fashion and parties. These descriptions immersed you in the setting, world and time period.

The setting definitely made this a fun read and the mysteries were also compelling. Although, I think the mysteries could be a little overcomplicated and dramatic at times, especially in the fourth book. But overall, they were definitely entertaining and engrossing. But as engrossing as I think the mysteries are, the true strength of the series belongs to characters: Amory and Milo. They are characters who are definitely not what they seem to be at first. But to say anything more would probably be a spoiler. But needless to say, their relationship is what made these books stand out and kept me wanting more.

I loved this series and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good light read. Mystery lovers and romance lovers alike will love this series.


First Book in Series: Murder at the Brightwell 

TV Show/Movie to Nonfiction Match-up

In honor of Nonfiction November, I thought I would steal an idea from last month and match a movie or TV show with a nonfiction book that would pair well.

Downton Abbey- To Marry An English Lord by Gail McColl and Carol MCD. Wallace

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This is probably the most obvious pairing on my list but its a good match. Downton Abby is an example of the phenomenon described in this book. When English Lords who found themselves in a situation where their estates weren’t as profitable as they once were a solution appeared in the American Heiress. These women and their families were looking for a way to ingratiate themselves into the established aristocracy and since they weren’t having much luck at home in America they went abroad to England where they found themselves in high demand. To Marry an English Lord is also a fantastic book to start nonfiction with since it is written in a very non-boring compelling way.

The Tudors – The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir

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This show is certainly dramatic but has nothing on the actual events that surrounded this family. Many times I found the actual events less believable than in the tv show. Alison Weir’s The Life of Elizabeth I isn’t about Henry VIII which the tv show is about but it’s about his and Anne Boleyn’s remarkable daughter. Alison Weir really brings this capricious and independent ruler to life in her biography.

Father Brown (or really any mystery series) – Manhunt by James Swanson

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The story of Lincoln’s assassination is a fascinating one. This book unfolds the story in a novel like fashion. You won’t want to put this book down even if you already know the outcome of the story. This book might not be for the most serious of Lincoln scholars but it is a fantastic read for anybody looking for an account of the conspiracy. This is another good book for nonfiction beginners.

Spirit: Stallion of The Cimarron – Wild Horse Country by David Philipps

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I absolutely loved this movie when I was younger. I found the idea of the mustangs endlessly fascinating as well as a beautiful image of the United States. This idea must have stuck with me because when I saw this book in the Assateague Island (a place where there is also wild horses) visitors center I had to pick it up. I wanted to read about these beautiful animals especially since it seems like such a different world than the one I live in. This book discusses the wild mustang’s history and the problems facing them and facing the government who has been placed in charge of taking care of them. The author’s discussion on what these animals have come to mean to the people of the United States is a compelling one.

 

Nonfiction November TBR

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What is Nonfiction November and Why I decided to Participate

This month I’ve decided to participate in Nonfiction November hosted by Olive from abookolive and Gemma from Non Fic Books. Honestly, this is one of my favorite readathons of the year. This readathon is one of the reasons I grew to love nonfiction because it allows nonfiction a little of the spotlight. Because people are posting about it, people are able to see what nonfiction is out there and what books might interest them. It gets people talking about nonfiction in a positive way. Not as something boring but as something just as fun to read as fiction.

The Challenges

The hosts have decided on 4 challenges this year and they are…

  1. Past time/ pastimes
  2. Self/Shelf
  3. Wander/Wonder
  4. Micro/Macro

Check out Olive’s intro video here.

My Picks for the Challenges

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  1. For the first challenge I chose a book based on the first half of the challenge, past time, and I chose a book about history, specifically the history of England as I chose Foundation: The History of England from its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors by Peter Ackroyd.

 

D255EB98-4A54-4974-BD47-344CD07A5593.jpeg2. For the second challenge, I am basing my reading on the first word, self, as in self-education or enlightenment. I know very little about philosophy, so I chose a book that has been sitting on my shelf. (see what I did there lol) My pick is At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell, to learn a little more about it.

 

2043e55b-823b-4451-9264-e6295d759d9c3. For the wonder/wander challenge I chose a book I’ve wandered away from and is a book I would really like to finish. It’s Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff.

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4. And for the final challenge, I chose the book Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America by John J. Fialka because, while they are a small subset women they had a massive impact on the United States.


These are the four books I picked to for the challenges and particularly want to read but I am also hoping to get a few others read as well.

Are you also participation in Nonfiction November? Let me know what books your thinking about reading. I’m always on the lookout for book recommendations.