Monday, September 28, 2009

Birthday Books

I had a wonderful birthday away and of course got some birthday books which always are nice. My best friend got me both The Time Traveler's Wife (which I have been dying to read especially with the movie out and everything) and a book by her favorite author Mitch Albom, For One More Day. She gave the same books to my other best friend who was with us on the trip and we are planning on reading them together which will be a lot of fun. I also got gift cards and cash from my family to buy even more books! I cant wait. Now I have to figure out what I want to have in my hot little hands heehee

Friday, September 25, 2009


Today is my 28th birthday. Nothing big just another wonderful year and more to look forward to. I am going away with my girlfriends for 2 days to celebrate and am so excited I cant sleep anymore! Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009


I am so excited to announce that I was asked to review my first book by a publisher. I received an email today from a publisher asking if I would be interested in reviewing a book called Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel based on the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII. I immediately emailed back saying yes. I am just so excited someone would consider my thought and opinions worthy and I hope that I can do the book justice. Squeee what a way to start the week!

Wolf Hall comes out October 13th. Hilary is an award winning writer and the author of nine other novels. She also writes book reviews for The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and London Review of Books.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Philippa Gregory 2

I finally got time to take pictures of my night with Philippa Gregory. Because I ended up going alone, my friend who was suppose to come with me had to take a stray kitten she found to the vet, I didnt take any pictures because I was too shy. Phillipa was wonderfully funny and nice and she shook my hand when I nervously told her what a big fan of hers I was. I was able to get three books signed, My copy of The White Queen, a copy of The White Queen for my friend, and my copy of The Constant Princess (my second favorite of hers after The Other Boleyn Girl which I was unable to locate) I very much enjoyed meeting her and hope to meet her again in the future as well as attend other talks by writers I like.

Here is my reminder that I did indeed meet the fabulous Philippa Gregory

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday asks "Whats the most enjoyable, most fun, most darn entertaining book you've read recently?"

Hmmm I guess I would have to say The Luxe series. I read both Luxe and Rumors and am awaiting the end of the month for Envy to come out on paperback to start that. While I thought I wouldn't care for the series too much as its young adult I find myself captivated by the ever moving plot as well as truly getting attached to certain characters. I am actually very anxious to read the next book Envy but am making myself wait for the paperback so I don't have 2 paperbacks and 1 hardcover as I hate mixing the two. I find myself anxious to know the fate of two specific characters and feel a bit like a child having to wait. The books are certainly light and fluffy but the intrigue and gossip make the experience a lot of fun. I dont even want to talk about the wait for the 4th and final book Splendor which will be released at the end of October but wont be coming to paperback for a year after that.

BBAW- Reading Meme

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
No I like to read in bed so no food.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea ofwriting in books horrify you?
I would never write in my book willingly, that's sacrilege

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?Laying the book flat open?
Most of the time I just memorize the page number though I do use book marks at times and even lay it open (*gasp*) if I know Ill be back quickly

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Fiction. The only non-fiction I like is cute animal stories.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard copy. I think reading and listening require different skills and I prefer to read so I have time to visualize, digest, and reread if need be.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are youable to put a book down at any point?
It depends on the book. Some books I can put down others I can't.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
I usually try to reason it out but I have been known to look things up later.

What are you currently reading?
Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig

What is the last book you bought?
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory which I got signed when I met her and which I still need to take a picture of

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I really like to finish one book before starting another. If I pick up another while reading another book it usually means I am about to quit the first book.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
I like to read in bed snuggled up under the covers with pillows and pets around me. I don't have a specific time though I do a lot of reading at night.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
I like them both.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Philippa Gregory is one of my favorites. My favorite book is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and I encourage everyone has tried to read it to get through the first fifty pages and the book gets better.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
By size of how they look together on my bookshelves though I do try my best to keep series together. The only time I cant is when some are paperback and some are hardcover. I hate that and usually try to stick with one or the other.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

As a birthday present (25th is my birthday) my husband and I took some pictures together. This is my favorite shot.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Philippa Gregory

I met Philippa Gregory tonight! I went to see her in Princeton and I got two books signed; The White Queen and The Constant Princess. I will take pictures of the signatures tomorrow Im exhausted after a super long day and getting lost on my way home from the event. Phillipa was funny and informative and I loved her British accent and jokes about the monarchy. This was my first book signing event and I really had a good time so I might have to look out for other authors I like now. The people running it are very efficient and I waited less then half an hour in line to get my books signed and shake hands with the brilliant Philippa. I was alone so no pictures sadly but hopefully next time. She said that The White Queen is the first of six books based on the Plantagents and the War of Roses. After that she is thinking of revisiting the Tudors again as she said she has had her eye on a certain person though she did not mention who it was. Im beat but what a great night.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Historical Fiction Round Table

An amazing event being held for all historical fiction lovers is coming September 14-18. To read more click here! I can't wait for the fun to begin!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Finds

Being Chinese I am attracted to books dealing with Asian culture. Though I am the child of two immigrants I see myself as firmly American being born and raised in this country in a town where I was one of the few minorities. Growing up I never appreciated my culture, wanting to be Caucasian like all my peers and thus scoffed at learning Chinese and Chinese school as well as all the little tidbits and things my family would try to impart on me. Only as I grew did I learn to appreciate the culture and history of the country my family is from. I look back regrettably at the years I wasted not wanting to be bothered learning more about the culture I come from. Though I can carry a conversation in Chinese reading and writing are lost on me and probably always will be. I'm sad at the idea that my family's heritage might die with me as I lack the skills to pass on anything meaningful to my own children. I hope that my children will come to embrace and love their heritage at a younger age then I did. So it is with a natural curiosity that I have come to enjoy books written about Asian culture and by Asian writers. I very much enjoy Amy Tan and Lisa See's books as they teach me more about my heritage as well as incidences that I can relate well to in my own life. This week I found two new books based on Asian culture that have sparked my interest and I will be adding to my TBR pile.

The first is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet about a Chinese boy falling in love with a Japanese
girl right before the start of World War II. When the war starts the little girl's family is taken away to interment camps and the little boy promises to wait for her in Seattle. After recently reading Lisa See's Shanghai Girls it touches a bit about the war and how Chinese immigrants feared being taken away to interment camps and trying to distinguish themselves from Japanese American

The second is The Calligrapher's Daughter which is based on Korean history, that
of which I admit I know very little about but am eager to learn more about. It deals with Korea during the time of Japanese occupation and the struggles of one girl trying to seek her own path while her father pushes her to stay on the traditional one.

Philiipa Gregory Book Tour

Philippa Gregory's US and Canada book tour dates are up. You can find them on her website. My friend and I are going to try to go to it together this Tuesday. I hope I can get out of work in time to make it but even if Im late Im going. Now I have to get my hands on The White Queen this weekend to get her to sign it. Should I bring another one of her books with me too in case she is feeling generous? I cant find The Other Boleyn Girl (my favorite of hers and the reason I got into reading historical fiction) but I do have my Constant Princess I could being as that is my 2nd favorite of hers. I am so excited and I hope I can make this and take some pictures of the event and Philippa.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Release The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger

The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger is coming out October 6, 2009. Based on Catherine Howard, Henry VIII"s 5th wife and cousin to his second Wife Anne Boleyn, it will be interesting to see Haeger's take Catherine who history has deemed mostly silly and frivolous. I myself am quite excited to read this as I am a big fan of Haeger's writing and though I felt her most recent, The Secret Bride, was a misstep I forigve all as she introduced me to the sweeping love of King Henri II and Diane de Poiters (in her book Courtesan ) which I simply can't get enough of. Here is Amazon's description

"When the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart's desire in favor of her family's ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon-her own romantic past. The Queen's Mistake is the tragic tale of one passionate and idealistic woman who struggles to negotiate the intrigue of the court and the yearnings of her heart. "

The Luxe

Well I finished The Luxe today and enjoyed it enough to go out and buy the second book Rumors and place it ahead of Rhett Butler's People which was next on my TBR list. All in all I enjoyed The Luxe a lot. I am a big fan of the show Gossip Girl and so much of the witty banter and dialogue reminded me of the show. The Luxe is essentially Gossip Girl set in the early 1900's. It flows easily and the characters grow on you. The story line is one that is familiar to aristocracy; money, gossip, image, and doing whats best for the family. I enjoy the way Godbersen starts each new chapters with a little snippet of an article or letter to give you an idea of what lays ahead. Lastly I will admit I am a sucker for a good looking cover and will read books with beautiful covers just to see what is going on inside those pages and The Luxe and its subsequent sequels are some of the most lovliest covers you will ever see. So if you are looking for a fun romp in high society with gorgeous gowns, debonair men, and gossip abound you might want to take a stroll into the young adult section and pick this one up...the cover alone is worth it I say!

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday asks "Whats the most informative book you read recently"
For me that would have to be Gone with the Wind. Despite Gone with the Wind being a love story about Scarlet and Rhett I also felt Margaret Mitchell was writing a love story about a lost South as well. Being from NJ and thus living in the north I never really gave much thought to what people meant when they talk about Southern culture and while I heard of Southern charm and civility it never occurred to me where those things came from. Gone with the Wind opened my eyes to this lost culture of gentleman and gallantry. It was also informative in its description of the Civil War and the ravages the people of the south felt during and after the war. It made me understand the life and culture these people were fighting to save even if I whole heartily abhor the idea of slavery. I also surprisingly learned a bit about the Klu Klux Klan and while I despise them as well I understand a little about what their driving force was when they started though it still can not excuse the atrocities they commit. All in all I felt for someone like me who has little to no knowledge about the South this was an inside glimpse at the culture and lifestyle of a people and how even today you can see vestiges of these old customs alive today in Southern charm and hospitality.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I received this wonderful award from Esme. The two of us have bonded over our love of cats and books. Thank you so much Esme!

Wordless Wednesday

From my vacation in August to the Caribbean.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

I am partcipating in my first Teaser Tuesday hosted by Should Be Reading

Grab your current read.
Open to a random page
Share (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on the page
Be careful not to include too many spoilers
Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR pile if they like your teaser

"Oh what's that old adage...heart stopping envy is the sincerest form of flattery? You should learn to view papers as I do"
pg 78-79 The Luxe by AnnaGodbersen

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter

I won a signed copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran through Hist-Fic Chick, Allie. I can't believe it. This is the first book I ever won and I am so excited to read it. Cleopatra's Memoirs by Margaret George is one of my favorite books and I became utterly fasinated by Cleopatra because of it. I am so excited now and will be checking my mailbox daily now! Thanks so much Allie!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gone with the Wind

I just finished Gone with the Wind and thought I would throw up some thoughts about it while they were still fresh. I had seen the movie years ago as a child and never really understood what the movie was about though as I read bits and parts of the movie came back to me. I think for me the overall theme of Gone with the Wind is not only the love between Scarlett and Rhett but also a love story about the south as it once was. Much of the book is a history lesson on the ravages of the Civil War on the south and in many ways I feel that the Old South is as much as a character in the book as the people. One of the best parts I think of the book is the depth of character development Mitchell does. Since the book is well over a thousand pages she has time to change the characters slowly and in many ways the South changes in the same way. Since the book is so long and there is so much to it I thought I would break down my thoughts into the four main characters of the book: Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie, and Ashley. All of them leave an indelible mark in the book.

Scarlett- Scarlett is the narrator of the book. At the start of the book she comes off willful, spoiled, and used to getting her way. When her heart is crushes she runs headlong into a unwanted marriage at the same time the Civil War really begins. Throughout the book as the south gets ravished by war Scarlett is forced out of her pampered coddled world into something harsher and rougher then she has ever known. Instead of foundering though she rallies and gathers her wits and strengths to secure her home and those she loves. This however has a price as she becomes a calculating and more determined while showing a great deal of brightness and intelligence in desperate times. While Scarlett is not my favorite character you see the world through her eyes and thus I do find myself admiring her pluck and gumption when faced with such hardships as war. She is certainly not the most lovable character but she is a real one with human flaws that we have all have and at her heart I feel she does have the best intentions.

Rhett- For me Rhett Butler is the soul of Gone with the Wind. Since his arrival briefly at the start of the book my entire time reading was spent waiting for his appearances. His wit, charm, and devil may care attitude as well as the image of Clark Gable makes him absolutely swoon worthy even if his character is at times a bit of a cad. As it is his love for Scarlett is plain to see for everyone, save Scarlett, and that in itself is the beauty of his character. Understanding Scarlett's nature with men he always dangles his affection right above her head in a way that she misses it completely even as he stands throwing it at her time and time again. Rhett propels the story in my mind and the times where he is not there are spent longing for his return. In the end despite some bad behavior I do think he is a gentlemen understanding the Southern notion of loyalty when the matters are most high.

Melanie- Melanie is the character that at the start of the book I merely tolerated and absolutely loved at the end. Melanie is the kindest sweetest girl you will ever met but at the start of the book that seems to be all she is. Weak physically and overly sweet and kind she lacked depth of character until a pivotal moment in the book which I won't say to spoil things. From that moment on you see Melanie's strength and fortitude of character lies beneath the surface of her calm demeanor and while not seen often when dire times come the strength she carries is immeasurable. Because the book is seen through Scarlett's eyes you don't even fully realize the beauty that is Melanie's character until the very end of the book. The loyalty and love she gives to the ones closets to her heart is a testament to the fact that those quiet and meek can carry a fire and toughness that outshines the rest.

Ashley- Ashley's character was one that I was quite puzzled at for a while. The object of Scarlett's love Ashley is a very quite unassuming person throughout the beginning of the book. Seen as the essential Southern boy with a head for books and literature he is the man of Scarlett's dreams. For much of the book I felt that this love of Ashley Scarlett had was simply in her own mind as Ashley's character seemed to not even really notice or care for her. One scene in the book, one of the most powerful and passionate in my mind, changed that view for me and made Ashley a character in the background so far for me spring into life. In the end Ashley is the character most closely tied to Old southern ways. After the war, he like the south, is unable to let go and adapt to the changing world around them. He lives in the old ways which no longer match up to the quickly changing world around him. I think Rhett said it best when he described Ashley as "A gentleman caught in a world he doesn't belong in trying to make the poor best of it by the rule's of the world that's gone" In the end there is nothing but pity for this lost man and the world he misses so dearly.

Lastly I conclude with some additional thoughts. Truly this book opened my eyes to the Civil War and the effects and ramifications it had on the people of the south. Not being from the South myself it was a very interesting glimpse into their lives seeing their value of honor, loyalty, and family above all else. While its been hundreds of years since this war and modern times have certainly changed us all I can now see the remnants of this world gone past. While much as changed some of its charm will never fade away.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Finds

I am in the midst of reading Gone with the Wind currently and without getting too much into detail (saving that for a review) I utterly captivated by Rhett Butler's character and can't get enough of him. Because of this I went out searching for more on him and found that recently another book was written, authorized by Margaret Mitchell's family, called Rhett Butler's People. I am dying to learn more about the man behind the mustache and witty words so this will probably be what I read next. I have read a few books like this, where another author tries to fill in the blanks and questions we are left with after the original author is gone. Though nothing can replace the original book if you read these with an open mind to another interpretation of characters you love they usually can be quite enjoyable.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday asks "What's the biggest book you read recently"
I would probably have to say Gone with the Wind which I am currently still in the midst of. Not only as it big in size, being well over a thousand pages, but its big in its name as its a Pulitzer Prize winning book that has captured generations selling well over 30 million copies as well as spawning an epic Academy Award winning movie staring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.

I am about half way through the book now but I think when I am done I will write up a little post on my thoughts.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The White Queen

I am dying to read this book so I enter every contest I see about it. S Krishna has a contest ending today at 11:59PM so if you are like me and still trying to get your hands on this book enter now!