Waiting on Wednesday: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Waiting on Wednesday: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme to highlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating, hosted by Breaking the Spine

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: June 17, 2014

Series: The Grisha #3


Short, Sweet and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Why I’m waiting:

I love this series and I can’t wait for the final book!  I really love the setting of these books.  It’s fantasy meets Russia and it’s so unique.

What books are you waiting for? Leave a link and I’ll come look!

My Google Diary for Edenbrooke

My Google Diary for Edenbrooke

My Google Diary for EdenbrookeEdenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson


When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.

From my review: 

If Jane Austen could write about scandalous things (in a proper manner of course) like highwaymen robbing you etc. then it would have come out like Edenbrooke.  The author, Julianne Donaldson, did a good job of making a Regency romance a little more modern.  The characters, settings, and manners were are all Regency but the plot had a more modern, quick pace which was really fun. Read more….

Bath, England

Edenbrooke is set in Bath, England.  I had the chance to visit there a few years ago and it’s beautiful.  It’s most famous for the Roman Baths there so I chose this picture of me at the Roman Baths while it was raining.


Pump Room

Of course he would suggest the social hub of Bath for another “chance” encounter. He knew my habits well.  I smiled politely and made a mental note to avoid taking tea at the Pump Room for the next week at least.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance Chapter 1

pump roomThe Pump Room is a restaurant where you can get some afternoon tea in the most charming place imaginable.  You can also try the spa water since it’s connected to the Roman Baths.

The official site for the Pump Room says “You can try the hot Spa water at the fountain in the Pump Room. It contains 43 minerals and has a rather unusual taste.”  I was too chicken to try the water while we were there and used the excuse that since I was pregnant these 43 minerals may or may not be a good idea.

My husband did try it and as he was choking on it a little said it tasted warm, salty and kind of like sulfur.  Sounds yum :)

People drink the spa water for the same reason they bathed in it – it’s believed to have healing properties.

Royal Crescent

Then I pulled Aunt Amelia toward the broad green lawn that separated the gravel path from the Royal Crescent. The building curved in a graceful half-circle of butter-golden stones, like a pair of outstretched arms ready for an embrace. Grandmother’s apartment within the Royal Crescent was among the finest Bath could offer. But luxury could not make up for the fact that Bath was town living at its worst. I missed my life in the country so desperately that I ached for it day and night.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance


This is me at the Royal Crescent.  Which one do you Marianne lived in?? :)

I wonder if the quote above is a Jane Austen reference because she, too, hated living in Bath and missed the country.


My dearest friend Louisa Wyndham has invited me to stay with her at her estate in the country. I understand it is very grand. It is called Edenbrooke and is situated in Kent.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance

Kent looks so charming.  I found this country house located in Kent which Winston Churchill lived in.

Rose and Crown Inn

I was even more relieved to find the unmistakable marks of an inn. “The Rose and Crown” hung on a rough-hewn wooden sign above the door.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance

The inn didn’t exist in the Regency era, but there is an inn called the Rose and Crown in Kent now in what used to be stables and a 16th century pub.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Trip Advisory says it’s an excellent bed and breakfast.


There’s an awesome Q&A with the author in the back of the book and one of the questions was who she could see playing the main characters if Edenbrooke became a film.

There is a young British actress named Imogen Poots who I can totally see as Marianne. My favorite leading men right now are Jake Gyllenhaal and James McAvoy. I would pay good money to see either of them play dreamy Philip.

- Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance


About Julianne Donaldson

Julianne Donaldson

Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing. She writes historical romance when she is not busy with her four young children and husband. Edenbrooke is her first novel.

Audiobook Review: Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Audiobook Review: Dad is Fat by Jim GaffiganDad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Published: May 7, 2013
Narrator: Jim Gaffigan
Audiobook Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
Genres: Audiobook, Humor, Non-fiction
Source: Library

The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s FatherhoodDad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.
4 Stars

Dad is Fat expands on Jim Gaffigan’s staple humor about kids and the challenges of being a parent.  I laughed out loud at most of this book.  As funny as the book is, I think it helped me look at life more honestly and realize that being a parent IS crazy and hard sometimes.  The ability to laugh about it and realize all parents aren’t perfect inspires me to do a little better and not let myself get bogged down in the sheer stress of it is sometimes.  I can laugh about my stress and let it go.

Failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent.

- Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat (pg 25)

I think another point he makes in this book is how funny kids are just from being themselves. One of my favorite things about Jim Gaffigan’s humor is that he can take situations that usually stress me out about kids being themselves and show me how funny it is.  Like this:

Children have a tendency to behave as poorly as the most poorly behaved kid in the room. The laws of physics dictate that if there is a kid screaming and running in the hallway of a hotel, all the other children will scream and run in the hallway of the hotel.

- Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat (pg 15)

The chapter that I laughed at the most was called “Vice President” where he compares dads to real vice presidents (like the enforcer role he sometimes has of Dick Cheney) and how dads different vice president roles function in the family.  The whole chapter is great but here’s my favorite quote:

As a dad, you are Vice President. You are part of the Executive Branch of the family, but you are the partner with the weaker authority. In your children’s eyes, you mostly fulfill a ceremonial role of attending pageants and ordering pizza. I’m never the first choice. My kids don’t even mask it, which I respect them for. “Let’s see, the crabby guy with the scratchy beard or that warm soft lady that tells us stories for eight hours?” It’s not even close.

- Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat (pg 36)

I wish I could share all my favorite quotes with you, but that would be half the book.  I listened to the audiobook, but then got the ebook from the library so I could highlight all the quotes that I loved.  So here’s the last quote that I want to share with you.  Jim is talking about how his kids wake up before the sun and how loud they are (which I can relate to) which makes this quote so hilarious to me.

The song goes, “Morning has broken,” and I’m pretty sure my children broke it. Like everything else they break, if they did break it, they’ll never admit it.

- Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat (p. 194)

Narrator Review: ★★★★★

Listening to the audiobook was just as much fun as listening to one of his standup routines.  He’s honest, sarcastic, funny and so entertaining to listen to.   The way he says things really adds to the humor.  I highly recommend the audiobook over the ebook.

Overall, it was a hilarious and entertaining read about being a parent and the funny things that kids do.

Content Rating: Mild, for a few minor swear words.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.  

About Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan was born in Elgin, Illinois and raised in Chesterton, Indiana. He attended La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana. He is the youngest of six children and often jokes about growing up in a large family. He attended Purdue University for one year, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. He graduated from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business in 1988. After graduating, Gaffigan moved to NYC to work in advertising, taking improv classes at night. His comedy career began when a friend bet him to do stand-up.

He is married to actress Jeannie Noth, with whom he has two daughters, Marre and Katie Louise, and three sons, Jack, Michael, and Patrick. The family of seven live in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Gaffigan has stated on stage, and elsewhere, that he is Catholic

Book Review: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Book Review: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Published: 1845
1276 pages
Genres: Adult Fiction, Classic
Source: Purchased

The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas' epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.
4 Stars

I was not expecting this classic novel about revenge to also be ironic, sarcastic, funny, witty, and based on a true story. The Count of Monte Cristo is about more than just revenge, especially in the unabridged edition that I read. As long as this story is, I really can’t see how you would abridge it without losing something.

A few of my favorite funny moments were when this love sick guy talks about dying for love and the drunk guy responds, ‘There’s love, or I don’t know it (pg. 34).’  I also thought it was hilarious when Albert is trying to hook up in Italy and finds that Italian women are faithful in their infidelity and so not at all interested in him.

I’m pretty sure that this is the funniest line in the whole novel:

Do you think that, if I did, I would lead you to the answer inch by inch, like a dramatist or a novelist?

- Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo (pg. 741).

There’s nothing quite as funny as an author making fun of themselves.

The irony that shows up every now and then could be summed up in this one perfect line:

No one likes a free box as much as a millionaire.

- Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo (p. 597)

Revenge shows up and not just from the Count.  When I saw this line I just couldn’t help hunting down a certain gif from the best movie ever.

“I am Giovanni Bertuccio! Your death is for my brother, your treasure for his widow: you can see that my revenge is more perfect than I could have hoped.”

- Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo p. 499


Every one talks about this plot being about revenge, but I found it interesting that the Count just kind of gives them a tiny, little nudge and they bring about their own destruction.  I like the introduction’s description of the Count as an early detective.  All the Count really did was uncover the truth for justice to come about.  Well, except for maybe the last revenge which was my favorite because it was very fitting and kind of funny.

Speaking of descriptions of the Count, I found the frequent comparison of him to a popular literary vampire hilarious. Vampires were popular in the 1820s.  Who knew.  I also found it interesting that there were numerous chapters and story lines where the Count of Monte Cristo was actually a side character.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that done before.

I found some of the themes and topics in this novel surprisingly modern.  Chapter 31 was all about getting high.  There’s a lesbian character that says to heck with marrying who her father says and runs away instead.  There’s commentary on sexism and how men can be elevated by scandal and women ruined by the same scandal.

As modern as the themes were, I did have a few issues with predictability and writing that drove me nuts.  It was obvious to me why a character got kidnapped which made it slightly tedious, but it was funny to see that characters reaction to it.  I think every character went pale every other page.  For shock, for illness, for fear, for kicks, for giggles etc.  And it was stretching it a little too much when a man who can’t move or speak could say “obey” with his eyes.  This roll of my eyes means “give me a break.”

Despite a few moments of bad writing (that could very well have been from the fact that this was a translation), I did enjoy the writing overall and it’s many witty moments.  The Count puts a pompous guy in his place with verbal sparring about noble titles that was perfect.  And when the Count takes a tour of some apartments owned by another pompous idiot, he describes it as “characterized by tedious ostentation and expensive bad taste (pg 537).”

Overall, it was a great classic novel about much more than revenge with modern themes, humor, wit, and was enjoyable to read even unabridged.

Content Rating: Mild, for a drug reference (hashish) and a scene describing his thoughts/feelings when high.

About Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas, père (French for "father", akin to Senior in English), born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, was a French writer, best known for his numerous historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world. Many of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne were serialized. Dumas also wrote plays and magazine articles, and was a prolific correspondent.

March Bookish Events and Wrap-Up

March Bookish Events and Wrap-Up


Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon

  • What: or 24 hours, we read books, post in our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day and win prizes. In recent years, this event has grown to encompass Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other channels as well!
  • Where: Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon Official Site
  • When: April 26, 2014

House of Ivy and Sorrow

House Of Ivy & Sorrow Launch Party!

What: Come join me to celebrate the release of my 3rd novel, House Of Ivy & Sorrow. There will be talking and presents and a signing. All my books will be available through The King’s English for purchase at the event.

Where: Pleasant Grove Library, 30 East Center, Pleasant Grove, Utah 84062

When: Wednesday, April 16 at 6:30pm – 9:00pm


Sleep No More

Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

What: Critically acclaimed best-selling author Aprilynne Pike will be at the Provo City Library to promote her new dark paranormal thriller Sleep No More.

Where: Provo City Library

When: Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 7:00PM - 8:00PM






Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia | Dangerous Creatures

  • WhatJoin co-authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl for a reading, and signing of their new young adult novel, Dangerous Creatures. A new Beautiful Creatures spinoff series featuring fan favorites Link and Ridley! Tickets are required to attend this event and are ONLY available with the purchase of a copy of Dangerous Creatures from The King’s English. ONE TICKET admits ONE PERSON to the signing line.
  • Where: The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 South 1500 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
  • When: Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Book Reviews

Let the Storm Break was so good! It was a great sequel.

Other Posts

If you missed it, check out my post “So I’m Going to be the Mother of 3 Boys” if for no other reason than there are Spongebob gifs.