Saturday, October 22, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Giveaway: Bookmarks!

What another great week of Operation #ReadSherlock!  I've gotten a little behind in my reading and watching for the event, but thankfully today is Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and I will be devoting the entire day to reading and all things literary.  In the meantime, I have another great giveaway for you and this time it is available internationally!

Hannah from the Etsy shop, simplywalkintomordor has these fabulous bookmarks, and I want a couple of you to have one of your own!  I will be purchasing one of these bookmarks for two lucky winners.  Winners will be notified and we will be then discuss the bookmark of their choosing.  The seller does have a bit of limited shipping availability, so be sure to check the shipping location requirements before entering to ensure your location is eligible.

To enter, simply fill out the form below.  This giveaway will be open internationally, limited to the shipping locations available from the vendor.  One entry per person, and two winners will be chosen.  The giveaway is open until Sunday, October 30 at 11:59 PM MST.

In case you missed it, don't forget to check out the giveaway of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from last week.  Entries are open through Sunday!

Spreading the Sherlock love all over the world!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: October 2016

It's that time of year again to spend an entire day (24 hours) reading thanks to Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!  I am so excited because this year I have nothing else planned.  I actually have a four day weekend, so I even have three more days to get all the stuff done around the house.  Absolutely no excuses!

I have so many books that I want to get to, as you can see from this crazy stack!

My priority for the morning will probably be to work on my #ReadSherlock selections.  From there, I will be dabbling depending on my mood.  I may pick up some graphic novels, read aloud with my kids, turn to short stories, work on a friend's manuscript, or read in my book club book that I was supposed to have done weeks ago!  I will also be listening to an audiobook or two throughout the day.  I am currently working on The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #2) and I have Messenger by Lois Lowry in queue.  I have no intention of actually reading all of these books, but I do look forward to chilling all day long, reading as much as I possibly can.  Oh, and I made this really cool tracker form for myself to keep track of all my reading for the day.

Actually, I have multiple copies because there will be three readers in my household this year!  My kids have also decided to really participate for the first time.  They just had the Scholastic Book Fair this week at school, and we visited the library today and came home with a huge stack of books.  Tomorrow, they will be putting their stack of books together.  We will be heading to the grocery store to get our snacks for the day.  We will be going to bed early, so we can get up bright and early and start reading!

I will be posting updates on Twitter and Instagram throughout the day.  I can't wait for the fun to begin!

Will you be participating in the readathon this weekend?  What's on your TBR list for the day?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Guest: The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes

I am very excited to introduce you to Kristen of We Be Reading today as she shares an AMAZING experience with you.  I will leave the details to her, so let's get to it!  Don't forget to check out the fun surprise at the very end! 


I was so very lucky that the opening of the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center happened during Read Sherlock month! I got to attend the center’s member preview day last Friday and now get to take all of you on a quick tour through this amazing interactive exhibit.


When you first enter and pass the employee in the deerstalker cap who gives you your detecting notebook, there is a room with background information -- mention of the first detective stories (Poe’s tales of C. Auguste Dupin), the coverage in the London press of major crimes (namely Jack the Ripper), and the state of detection and forensics at the time that Arthur Conan Doyle first imagined up Sherlock Holmes. There are pictures and paragraphs about Joseph Bell and other pioneering doctors and lots of forensic items like crushed skulls and preserved human skin with stab wounds. This exhibit is definitely not for the faint of heart! I was also thrilled to find, right there in the front, a couple of pages of the original draft of The Hound of the Baskervilles! Doyle had beautiful handwriting and it was amazing to see these pages.

Next there is a large area that looks like a Victorian street and it is where all of the attending detectives are able to learn about many of the different things that an investigator at the time would have needed to know about--microscopy, botany, poisons, ballistics--and also about the forms of communication and the police force at the time. There is even a pair of working telegraph stations where you can tap out a message to a friend at the other end and receive one back. The entire point of this room is to get detectives ready to use their notebooks and powers of deduction to investigate a real crime scene.

As we all know, the best way to get word of an insolvable crime is to sit in the study of Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street and wait for Inspector Lestrade to arrive! The room is fully stocked with poisons, weapons, books, and a tea tray, presumably prepared by Mrs. Hudson. Once you find out about the alleged murders from the nearby phonograph, you get to walk through various stations and use your newly-developed detecting skills to confirm or (more likely) debunk the findings of Lestrade and hopefully solve the crime. There are places to investigate all of the different types of physical evidence found at the scene. The kid and I were most impressed by the station that allowed you to produce different types of blood spatter. It was a difficult mystery and we weren’t entirely successful in solving it but it was incredibly fun!

Finally, there is a room with tons of Sherlockiana and props from the various recent movies and television shows. Because Elementary is my favorite, I made sure to get this picture of Sherlock’s clothes and his lock wall. I didn’t forget those of you who love BBC’s Sherlock though and so you get a bomb vest and a pink suitcase.

Overall, this was an incredibly fun exhibit and I would even consider going back, both to do better on my detecting and to spend more time reading and seeing all of the amazing background details throughout the exhibition. It will be here until January 28 of next year so if you happen to have a trip to Seattle planned, be sure to schedule a visit to the Pacific Science Center!

As you can imagine, there was an amazing gift shop at the end of the exhibit full of books and costumes and jewelry and more. I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of little things to share with one lucky post reader -- an I AM SHERLOCKED felt bookmark and an adorable little pin that says “The world’s only consulting detective”. To be entered to win (international and Tif entries are ok!) just leave a comment below about your favorite Sherlock actor and I’ll pick a winner at the end of the month.

I hope it was fun going through this exhibition with me. Thank you to Tif for the opportunity to share this with all of you!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Hub: Week Three & Link-Up

We are officially half-way through the month of #ReadSherlock!  Can you believe how fast time flies?!?  This week was a tad quieter than our previous weeks, but there was still so much goodness.  Let's take a look at what was and what is coming for the week.

Let's start with a couple of my FAVORITE PHOTOS from this week's Instagram Scavenger Hunt.

ICYMI:  It was a bit quiet here on the site this week, but here is what was shared.  Don't forget to link up throughout the week, and I will include links to your posts here as well.

The prompt for the INSTAGRAM SCAVENGER HUNT this week is Sidekicks/Partners.  Just like Sherlock Holmes is not complete without Dr. Watson, I want to see your pictures of things that come in pairs.  Get creative, share your pics, and tag it using our #ReadSherlock hashtag.

Now, for the discussions . . . this week's reading selection is THE VALLEY OF FEAR.  This is a selection that is not as popular as our previous selections, and one that I have not yet read.  I look forward to reading it this week, and will be curious to hear your thoughts as you read it as well.  Be sure to post your thoughts and comments as you read on social media using #ReadSherlock.

Last, but not least, we will be watching Warner Brothers' SHERLOCK HOLMES, featuring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Watson.  It has been a while since I have watched this one, so I will be pulling it out to watch for my own amusement later in the week.  Be watching the #ReadSherlock hashtag on Twitter to see when I get to it, and I encourage you to watch it along with me!  I'm thinking either Thursday or Friday night.  If you have a preference and/or want to join me, let me know!

That's it for the week!  Enjoy yet another week of Sherlock, and I look forward to chatting with you all throughout the week!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Giveaway: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Welcome back to Operation #ReadSherlock!  This week has been a bit quiet for the event, and I apologize that I did not bring you a little something extra this week featuring one of our favorite fictional characters.  I had planned to share one of my own discussions, but the week got a little away from me.  Instead, I will share that goodness with you later this month.  But for now, it is Friday and time for another giveaway!!

This week I bring you one of my favorite collections in one of my favorite editions -- Canterbury Classics Word Cloud Edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes!  I honestly do not even have my own copy of this version, but I want it so bad.  You can say I am going to be a bit jealous of the winner of this prize!

To enter, simply fill out the form below.  This giveaway will be open to US and Canada residents ONLY, though stay tuned for an international giveaway coming later this month.  One entry per person, and one winner will be chosen.  The giveaway is open until Sunday, October 23 at 11:59 PM MST.

In case you missed it, don't forget to check out the giveaway of the Moriarty journals from last week.  Entries are open through Sunday!

Keeping my fingers crossed for you Sherlockians!! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Hub: Week Two & Link-Up

The first week of Operation #ReadSherlock is complete, and it has been a fabulous time already!  Let's first start with a look at a few of my FAVORITE PHOTOS from the Instagram Scavenger Hunt, prompt Scarlet/Red . . .

ICYMI:  Let's also take a quick look back on the blog from what was posted this past week . . .
Don't forget to link up your own posts throughout the week as well!  I will mention a favorite or two in the weekly post next week.

The INSTAGRAM SCAVENGER HUNT is switching prompts this week, moving to Hounds/Dogs, in honor of our weekly read!  Be sure to share your pics and tag #ReadSherlock.

Now, let's move into the discussions . . . This week's selection is THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES.  It seems to me that this is one of the most well-known stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, though it was the third novel written by Doyle.  Maybe it is because of the supernatural element.  Maybe it is because it was the return of Holmes.  Either way, it is a popular one and I have yet to read it.  I will look forward to reading it this week and discovering the greatness myself for the first time!

Last week, I spoke about the first and second season of BBC's Sherlock, and this week we move into BBC's SHERLOCK SEASON THREE!  After the cliffhanger ending of Season Two, this was a season that I was highly anticipating to find out what happened next, and the season did not disappoint.  There were only three episodes within this season, and the first has to be one of my all-time favorites.  It explores a number of fun ideas explaining that crazy cliffhanger, incorporating the social media of our time, and lots of humor.  It them moved into a fun episode highlighting a strong female character (which I could talk hours about!).  But, it was the end of the season finale that left you sitting with your mouth agape, wondering what just happened.  I cannot wait to see what is coming in the fourth season, scheduled to air in the new year.

In addition to the third season this week, I also listed the BBC's SPECIAL:  THE ABOMINABLE BRIDE.  This episode appeared at the beginning of this year, as a one episode special set in Victorian times.  I really wondered how they were going to pull this episode off, and was pleasantly surprised to see them successfully pull it off via flashbacks experienced by Sherlock himself.  I look forward to hopefully viewing this episode again this week, and appreciating it even more the second time around.

With that, I leave you with the trailer of the upcoming BBC's SEASON FOUR.  It looks intense, just from Sherlock's physical appearance alone!  I cannot wait!

Who's excited with me for this one to premiere?!?  And, what else do you have to add about Sherlock this week?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Giveaway: Did You Miss Me?

Welcome back to Operation #ReadSherlock!  As promised, this month I am bringing Sherlock fans a whole range of exciting features, from discussions, guest posts, a scavenger hunt, and now, the first giveaway!!  I say the first giveaway because every Friday this month will feature a fun giveaway for all those Sherlock fans out there.

Today, I am excited to share these fun Moriarty lined journals with you!  Simply fill out the form below to enter.  This giveaway will be open to US and Canada residents ONLY, though stay tuned for an international giveaway coming later this month.  One entry per person, and two winners will be chosen.  The giveaway is open until Sunday, October 16 at 11:59 PM MST.

Best of luck to all the Sherlock fans out there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Guest: The Game: Books That Understand Sherlock Holmes Is a Real Person

Welcome back to Operation #ReadSherlock!  

Today, I am excited to introduce you to a special guest, Tasha of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, & Books.  She is not only a blogger of many blogs, but also a published author, writer for Book Riot, and a friend.  Please give her a warm welcome, and get that TBR list ready to grow!


The Game: Books That Understand Sherlock Holmes Is a Real Person

There are many famous fictional characters in the world, from Harry Potter to Jane Eyre, but there's only one whose fans, and even foes, treat him as real person: Sherlock Holmes. Sherlockians refer to this as "The Game," the idea or assumption that Conan Doyle was merely a literary front for the writings of Dr. Watson and that both Watson and Sherlock were, in fact, real people. This projection has found its way, circularly, into hundreds of works of fiction that operate under the same premise. If Sherlock Holmes was real, did he have children? What role did he play in the major events of the 19th and 20th centuries? Whom did he meet, and how were the other major characters of the Holmes stories involved? These are the questions that books operating under the rules of The Game attempt to answer.

The following are just a few must-read books where the world is maybe not better, but definitely more awesome, if only because Sherlock Holmes is really in it!

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

The premise: The modern-day descendants of Watson and Holmes, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, meet at boarding school, where it seems someone is determined to frame them for murder.

This book was darker than I expected–Holmes has some real problems, and the crimes are serious, real-world crimes with corresponding consequences–but despite that, it's never dour. Jamie's narration is entertaining and self-deprecating, and there's a ton of humor, not to mention numerous clever references to the original Holmes stories. If you love Sherlock you will enjoy this book!

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The premise: In a universe filled with alternate realities, the mysterious Invisible Library sends one of its spies, Irene, to retrieve a book. But when she arrives, she discovers the book is already stolen. To find it she'll need the help of a gentleman consulting detective.

Okay, this one is cheating a bit, because Holmes isn't in "the real world" (or at the very least, not our world), and he's not exactly Holmes. His name is Vale and, IIRC, he's an earl. But Cogman makes it clear that he's meant to be Holmes, or at the very least his dimension's real-life iteration of Holmes, and it's delightful to see the changes in the character that help him fit into this world. Also, something I only just noticed: the main character's name is Irene. Hmmmmmm.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

The premise: In WWI-era England, Sherlock Holmes is retired and living peaceably in Sussex. Then he meets 15-year-old orphan Mary Russell. Struck by her powers of observation, Holmes takes her on as his apprentice in the arts of detection.

The Mary Russell series is probably the most famous and widely-read series published in my lifetime that plays The Game. If you're a Sherlock fan and haven't read any of these books yet, you're doing life wrong. I adore Holmes in this series, not to mention the cameos from various characters like his brother, Mycroft, and Watson. I do feel like the mysteries could be more mysterious a lot of the time, and the novels often feel episodic, but otherwise this series is highly recommended.

Dust and Shadow by Lindsay Faye

The premise: Sherlock Holmes is in a race to solve the Ripper murders in 1888 London.

Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes go together like pudding and spoons. I mean, the world's most famous Victorian detective on the case of the most infamous unsolved series of murders in 19th century London? You know that's gotta happen. Naturally there are a ton–a literal ton, I am not joking–of Holmes/Ripper pastiches, but Faye's Dust and Shadow is probably the most well-known and faithful to the original Doyle stories of the bunch.

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon

The premise: In 1944, extremely aged Sherlock Holmes is living in the English countryside, his storied career as a detective a mere memory. Then he meets 9-year-old Linus, a German refugee whose parrot keeps spitting out series of numbers. Are they a Nazi code?

A very short book that isn't really in the style of Doyle at all, but is full of wit and presents a fascinating portrait of Holmes as an elderly gentleman confronting the horrors of the 20th century. In concept it's very similar to A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, which was adapted into the movie Mr. Holmes. But it's much more clever and true to the character of Holmes, I think. Also much shorter!

The Seven-Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer

The premise: Discovered and annotated by Nicholas Meyer, this is the long-lost account of Sherlock Holmes' collaboration with Sigmund Freud, and of his years during The Great Hiatus.

The writing style of this 1970s pastiche is a bit dated, and one wonders if Holmes REALLY needed to go to Vienna to solve any of these crimes (he didn't), but it's still a classic of The Game subgenre and worth reading just for the wackiness of it all. I mean, Freud, Holmes, and a pair of snowy noses? What's not to like?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

BOOK CHAT: September 2016 in Review

I interrupt the month of #ReadSherlock for a quick review of September.  I will make this short and sweet, so we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming for my special month filled with all things Sherlock!

The TOP POST for the month was #30Authors Presents Sara Dobie Bauer on The Book Thief.  No surprise that this one received both the most hits and the most comments.  It was a fun one to read, and I am so thankful that I got to participate in the event for the third year in a row!!

The TOP PIC for September was a HUGE accomplishment for me!!  It was the proof that I finally finished Atlas Shrugged.  I started reading this one in July 2015, and more than a year later alternating between print and audio, I finally completed this chunkster.  Was it worth it?  I haven't decided yet, but I am proud that I stuck with it for so long.

Reading for the month was a bit slow, but I was able to finish a handful of books.  The BOOKS READ for September were:

  1. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
  2. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
  3. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
  4. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Most months, I find it difficult to find a FAVORITE READ for the month.  September is NOT one of those months.  Hands down, my favorite read of the month was The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen.  Her books are so magical and I have yet to find one that I didn't like.

On the personal side, I was able to hold a garage sale as I had hoped.  I was able to make major progress on renovating the office with the help of my amazing husband.  I didn't get as much blogging, reading, and writing done as I had hoped, but I have made progress compared to previous months, so I will take it!

What's happening in OCTOBER?  In case you have not heard, I am hosting an event all month called Operation #ReadSherlock.  We are reading, writing, chatting, and viewing Sherlock.  Be sure to check out the link for all that has occurred so far.  You can also view the schedule here and the Instagram challenge here.  In addition to this fun, I am participating in the #FrightFall Readathon this week as well as Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon later in the month.  I'm hoping with all of this combined, I will be able to make a good dent in the progress I need to catch up on my yearly reading challenge.  Outside of the books, I plan to get my office completed and unpacked, and the most exciting news of all, to get started on the renovations for my library!!  Oh, and I'm attending a concert at the end of the month and I can't wait!  I'm feeling so good about what's to come!!

How was your month of September, both in and out of the books?  Do you have any big plans for October?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Operation #ReadSherlock Hub: Week One & Link-Up

Welcome to the first full week of Operation #ReadSherlock!  At the beginning of every week, I will be posting a quick reminder of what we are chatting about this week with a few of my own thoughts attached, and then I encourage you to share via the comments or linking up to posts on your own sites.  Along with each reminder, I will do a quick wrap-up of what has happened since the previous weekly wrap-up.  Essentially, the weekly posts will be the hub for the event, with a few highlights of items that may interest you throughout the week.  Without further ado, let's kick off the first week . . .

ICYMI:  I kicked off the month with a quick fandom vote, highlighting a few of the Sherlock favorites.  If you haven't already cast your vote, be sure to do so here.  I realized after the vote began that I probably should have voted for our favorite Dr. Watson, but I totally missed that one!

The INSTAGRAM SCAVENGER HUNT for this week is Scarlet/Red.  Be sure to share all your scarlet/red pics and tag them with a #ReadSherlock hashtag.  I may highlight a few of my favorites in next week's post!

Now, for the fun stuff . . . the discussions!  Let's start with A STUDY IN SCARLET!  This is the perfect story to begin with because it is the first appearance of the infamous Sherlock Holmes.  I originally read this story only a few years ago, and will be picking it up this week to read again.  As I read, I will be sharing my thoughts on social media (particularly Twitter) using the hashtag #ReadSherlock.

It seems only logical to move straight into the BBC's SHERLOCK SEASON ONE because the first episode of the series is adapted from A STUDY IN SCARLET, and features Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson.  The series premiered in 2010, and I had the pleasure of discovering it a couple of years later.  The two main actors originally were not large names, but have since been propelled into the spotlight; Cumberbatch appearing in blockbuster hits as THE HOBBIT, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, and the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE and Freeman appearing in THE HOBBIT and the TV series, FARGO.  The series comes to a cliff-hanger ending with a stand-off between the two partners and the villainous Moriarty.

I immediately fell in love with this show because I felt it had it all:  action, mystery, humor, and of course, the chemistry between two amazing actors that are pleasant on the eyes.  It was a show that both my husband and I could sit down and enjoy, not just once but multiple times.  Of course, I was going to move onto the second season!

In BBC's SHERLOCK SEASON TWO, we get to find out what happens in that cliff-hanger among the three men.  We are taken on a roller coaster ride that happens to include our selection for next week, THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES.  It's an eerie episode that is definitely fitting for the spooky season of October, and moved directly into one of my personal favorites of the entire series thus far . . . the season finale chronicling the end of Moriarty and as viewers speculated, Holmes himself.

For those that may have missed it, there is also a mini episode that premiered between the second and third seasons as a Christmas episode.  It's a short one, and you can check it out right here:

I personally did not see this one until recently, and I'm not sure what took me so long to find it.  It's rather an amusing short!

Alright, I think that is enough from me at this point.  As you read and/or watch this week, be sure to share your thoughts along the way on social media using #ReadSherlock.  Or, you can share your thoughts in the comments section below.  Or, you can share your thoughts on your blog and link up below.  It's your choice and it is on!

What is on your Sherlock mind this week?