The BIG Tiny

The Big Tiny: A Built-it-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams came across my First to Read account. Very rarely do a reserve a copy on F2R, but for this one I absolutely had to. I reserved my egalley and waited patiently for it to arrive in my inbox. Once it did, I got started and immediately knew that my love of tiny houses and spaces would grow exponentially while enjoying this memoir. Due out on Earth Day {I love that!!} this memoir is one to snatch up.

About this book:
Blue Rider Press // April 22, 2014
Dee William’s life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was all too suddenly reminded that life is short, time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restored—but, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxury—time—that would come with downsizing.

My thoughts:
I was absolutely in love with this memoir. It was inspiring and amusing. I immediately had the desire to purge and simplify my life. How Williams just took life by the horns was incredible- especially after being faced with heart problems. Who thinks about their heart and mortality during the young years of your 40s? Dee had to, and this was her result: time to reevaluate, simplify, and get back to loving life. She did this by building (yep- all on her own!.. how awesome is that?!) her own tiny house to live in and share the love. As her adventure of building the home, finding the home its own home base, and then the business of actually living in the home, Dee brings the reader close and invites us into her personal life and mind.
The Big Tiny is a well balanced book of the good and the bad to tiny house living- just like this memoir is a well balanced book with the ups and downs in her life. Williams shared with us and I truly did find it interesting. I liked that she seemed so "normal", yet here she is writing a memoir. She isn't a famous movie star or musician telling the sob story of her upbringing- she is a normal woman sharing her inspiring life story. There is more to Dee Williams than her tiny house reflects. After reading this, she is a rock star in my mind (as I'm sure she is the tiny house culture!) and she put a great memoir together.
By the way, I've always loved tiny spaces- cubby holes, window seats, campers, tents, treehouses- they have all been places of refuge for me. (you can see my love for tiny spaces on my "tiny space love"  pinterest board) Like Dee, crawling into this tiny spaces was comforting. I've dreamed the dream of living in a tiny house, and am glad I read this book because even though Williams shares the upside of a tiny house, she also shares the downsides.. and way too many downsides for me to tackle if I were to actually live in a tiny house. I can still dream of a tiny house- but only for recreating, not so much for full on living.

I high recommend this book to memoir lovers, tiny house fans, and anyone in need of a humorous and uplifting story.
On a side note, I *really* hope pictures are included in the final run of this book. I was dying to see images with every single page turn!

About the author:
Dee Williams is a teacher and sustainability advocate. She is the co-owner of Portland Alternative Dwellings (www.padtinyhouses.com), where she leads workshops focused on tiny houses, green building, and community design. Her story has been featured on Good Morning America and NBC Nightly News, and on NPR, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, and CBC. She has also been profiled or featured in hundreds of online blogs and articles, and in print media including Time, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel. Williams lives in Olympia, Washington, with an overly ambitious Australian shepherd, in the shadow of the house of dear friends.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received this egalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Image from Firsttoread.com, book information and author information from amazon.com


Netgalley Spring Cleaning

Over the weekend I did a little Netgalley Spring Cleaning. My to be read pile is enormous and my Kindle was getting cluttered. I decided to power through a few graphic novels from my Netgalley pile. Since they're quick reads, I'm just going to do a few sentence mini-reviews on each.... really, just my overall impressions on the books. All of these titles are also towards my Netgalley reading challenge.

47 Ronin by Mike Richardson & Stan Sakai
This wasn't a book that really interested me,  but it did encourage me to look up the movie, as well as the history. Beautiful book but just not my cup of tea. I do think that ya readers,  especially boys will enjoy this.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm Knights by Patrick Shand
Very cool concept. Loved the plot and the graphics are great. I'm interested in the next volume after reading this one. Well done and I also think my students would like this.

Sheltered Volume 1 by Ed Brisson & John Christmas
The men and women of Safe Haven have been preparing for any-and-all end of world scenarios for years. However, their bunkers, weapons and training can't save them from the one threat they never could have expected: Their own children.

Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English
This book was incredibly inspiring. The ideas are fresh and fun and the images are stunning. The recipes sound divine and I am excited to test them out with the approaching Spring/Summer season. We love hosting parties at our home and this book got me inspired to do more than just bbq with beers. I am also planning a wedding (June 2015) that will have this handmade vibe and many ideas will be incorporated into that thanks to this book. I'm highly recommending this to friends!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received all titles via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review


Broken: a mini-review

I read Broken by Elizabeth Pulford in December of last year. It was a remarkably unforgettable book.

About the book:
Running Press Kids // 8.27.13
Zara has one immediate and urgent goal, and it is to find her brother, Jem. She faces a few complications, though, not the least of which is searching for him in her subconscious while she is in a coma.
Zara’s coma has pulled her into the world of Jem’s favorite comic-book hero. But no matter how quickly Zara literally draws her own escape, she is taunted deeper into the fantastical darkness by the comic’s villain, Morven. All the while she is caught between the present with visits from friends and family in the hospital and the past by flashbacks of a traumatic event long ago forgotten.
The search for her brother may help Zara see the light, but in order to find him, she must face her innermost secrets first. In a multi-layered tale that intertwines comic-book/graphic novel elements with first-person narration, Elizabeth Pulford explores the dimensions of hope, love, loyalty, denial, and truth.

My thoughts:
The concept of the book is quite interesting. When it was originally pitched to me, I was excited to get it. Once the book came, I loved on the cover for a bit (it is irresdescent and shiny in person) then put it aside and kind of forgot about it. When I did pick it back up in December, I was quite unimpressed. Seems the idea and the cover were about all that struck me as good. The story didn't keep my attention and the characters feel flat. The redeeming quality was that the graphic novel / novel mash-up was neat. I liked the pictures and graphic novel aspects sprinkled into the novel. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to make this a book I'd recommend.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Image and book synopsis from Amazon.com


Miss Peregrine continues...

 Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children are back! I was so happy to open my mail and find this second book in the series by Ransom Riggs. Hollow City is as beautiful as it is magical.

About the book:
Quirk Books // 1.14.14
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

My thoughts:
Once again, Ransom Riggs delivers with the follow-up to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Hollow City picks up right where the Miss Peregrine's left off- and we are immediately thrown into the world of peculiardom. Suspenseful and somewhat frightening, Hollow City is a tale of hide and seek. Looking for answers and help for Miss Peregrine, Jacob and his peculiar friends stumble upon more loops, more peculiars, gypsys, more wights, and more hollowgast. They must survive their deepest fears in order to save their ymbryne. As they fight (and hide) their way through the story, the reader gets more insight into peculiar life and their history. The characters continue to grow and develop, as well as their long history- and not just of each character, but of the entire world of peculiars. Hollow City was even more interesting because of this. The hollowgast and wights are also much more prominent in this novel, as well as stronger. All of those factors lend Hollow City to be even more creepy and mysterious than Miss Peregrine's.
The images that are included this time are also once again stunning. Amazing trickery to these vintage photos add to the atmosphere of the novel.
Again, I must suggest that you buy a hardcopy of this book- the images are well worth it! Go grab this book.

If you're not yet convinced, check out the book trailer!:

About the author:
RANSOM RIGGS is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California film school and is a writer for mentalfloss.com. He lives in Los Angeles.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Book information, author information, and book trailer provided by Quirk Books.

LBR is featured!

Have you read the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer?! I loved Cinder (review found the here) and Scarlet (review found here). They were two books that I devoured and thoroughly enjoyed. I haven't gotten to the newest release in this series, Cress, but it is on the top of my TBR pile and I hope to get to it soon.

So, if you've read this series, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Also, I'm proud to share that my review of Scarlet has been mentioned in the paperback release of Scarlet! I am so honored!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Finally!! Pandemic!!!

YEARS. I have waited years for this novel to come out. Back in 2010, I read the first two books in this amazing series by Scott Sigler. Infected and Contagious were two of my favorite novels that year. (you can find my reviews here and here). They're both novels that I fondly looked back upon and patiently waited for the series completion with Pandemic. Scott Sigler himself actually commented on one of my posts and said Pandemic would be out Halloween of 2011- so I waited... and waited.. then time passed and I stopped frantically checking his website and only came back here and there. But, Pandemic was still in the back of my mind. During my wait for Pandemic, I read Ancestor by Scott Sigler and loved it. It kept me going while I waited!
Then, this year, it finally happened. Pandemic was released on January 21. I immediately put myself on the long wait-list for the ebook library loan. Then I journeyed back to the beginning... I reread Infected and Contagious and again rekindled my love affair with Scott Sigler's writing. I loved them both just as much as the first time around. They were both still just as creepy and just as engaging. Once I powered through them (again!) I began Pandemic. I started out on the ebook loan (knowing full well that I'd get the hardcover once I hit up a bookstore) and was immediately sucked in. Within a few days I returned my ebook in favor of the gorgeous hardcover. As I read on, things just kept connecting... back to Infected and Contagious of course, but also to Ancestor- a stand-alone novel that Sigler released in the summer of 2011. Characters and location crossed paths, as well as some hints at deeper connections. This thrilled me! I was so excited to meet up with characters from another novel of his, right in the middle of my favorite series!
Pandemic upheld the creepy vibe and the worlds imminent doom. All the key players were there- Murray, Montoya, Otto... I was missing Dew and Perry, but memories surfaced to keep my sorrow at bay. There are differences this time around- the infection has changed. It has morphed and been reawaken, thus beginning he pandemic. Finding a cure is necessary for human kinds survival. The infected also act differently. It has changed the way they behave- and not for the better. Things begin to get out of control. WAY out of control. The pandemic spreads and chaos ensues.

I cannot say enough about how great this novel is. Absolutely meeting the high bar that was set in Infected and followed through with Contagious, Pandemic is a phenomenal novel. If you haven't already read this series, it is time you got to it!!

...and just in case my reviews didn't entice you, check out this book trailer.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

ps: I also noticed a few things may just be left open for more... could it be that even though we're told this is the conclusion, that there is potential for just one more book?