The Nightingale

21853621The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Goodreads Summary: Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

My Thoughts: I love Kristin Hannah.  I have read almost all of her books, and every one of them has put me through it in the best way, but The Nightingale might take the cake.  I have been waiting to read this book for a long time, mostly because I know that World War II stories always make me uncomfortable.  They put me on edge and stress me out because I am constantly expecting that the worst things are going to happen, and they usually do.  It would be scary enough if it was all fiction, but since it’s all based in truth, it makes it that much harder to read.

My favorite thing about Hannah’s writing has always been her characters.  She has a way of creating people and relationships that affect me deeply, and she makes them so real that they haunt you long after you finish reading her books.  The Nightingale was no exception.  The two heroines of the novel, Vianne and Isabelle, are sisters who are opposites.  Vianne is meek and rule-abiding, and Isabelle is wild and impulsive.  Following their journeys throughout the war was very compelling.  Seeing how each of the women evolved while doing what they had to do to survive a war-torn France was both terrifying and beautiful.  What I loved about this book was the diversity shown in all of her characters.  She showed multiple sides of a horrible situation, and how different people handled it in their own ways.  I think the juxtaposition of Beck and Von Richter was the most powerful.  The way Hannah handled the scope of the entire war was very well done and easy to follow while still encompassing its large scale.  I also loved the flash forwards to 1995.  The mystery of the old woman intermixed with the rest of the story kept me guessing who she was until the very end, where I quickly became a mess of tears.  This book was touching, horrifying, thoroughly researched, and very well written.  I highly recommend it, but get ready for an emotional roller coaster and have a box of tissues handy.  You’ll need it.

5/5 Stars

Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start But Haven’t

I missed last weeks Top Ten Tuesday, because life happens, but here is my list for this week!  The theme from Broke and the Bookish was Top Ten Series I have been meaning to start, but haven’t.  I have so many books on my TBR list, and sometimes it can be hard to commit to a new series, especially since I am still in the middle of so many!  I will get around to them eventually…

1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

2. His Dark Materials Series by Philip Pullman

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

4. Time Quintet Series by Madeline L’Engle

5. Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

7. Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch

8. Cormoran’s Strike by Robert Galbraith

9. The Bridget Jones Series by Helen Fielding

10. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

What other series should I add to my list?  What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

Discussion Post: Abandoning Books

I very rarely abandon a book.  Once I start, I am usually in it for the long haul, even if it’s a slog to get through.  I have a bunch of books that I refuse to admit I have abandoned, always saying, “I’m gonna come back to it eventually…” and three years later I still haven’t picked it up again.  They become like a challenge, and I can’t admit defeat.  Something in me just wants to get through it to say that I have read it, even if I am not enjoying it.

Among all the craziness of work, auditioning, training, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, its crazy to waste my me-time reading something that I don’t love.  Obviously I know you can’t love every book, but there have been plenty of books that are just okay that I finish because they don’t take much out of me.  However; there are those books that I never have the desire or energy to read.  The ones I have to force myself to get through, when all I want is to start something new.  These are the books that I should throw into the Did-Not-Finish pile, and yet find so hard to let go. I give too many books the benefit of the doubt, and hold the hope that they will get better.  Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.  Mostly they don’t.  A lot of the time they are books that I feel obligated to like because they are classics or a current phenomenon.  I keep reading because I feel like I should love it, even if I have completely lost interest.  I keep reading because I WANT to love it.

Recently, I have been trying to tell myself that it’s okay to let it go.  I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I probably won’t go back to The Beautiful and Damned (oof, it was even hard for me to type that…) and it is OKAY.  There are plenty of other books that I will be obsessed with, and I don’t need to slog through the ones I don’t like just to say that I’ve read them.

Do you abandon books?  What makes you add a book to your DNF pile?  How do you know it’s time to give up on a story?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Books On My TBR List

Happy Top Ten Tuesday bookworms! This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is “10 Books from X Genre That I’ve Recently Added to my TBR List,” so of course I chose fantasy because it’s my favorite.

256683City of Bones by Cassandra Clare: This one has been on my list for a while, and has been staring at me from its spot on my shelf.  It has rave reviews and is now a TV show too.

 

 

32304242Trials of Magic by Thomas K. Carpenter: I found this one on goodreads and it sounded exactly like something I would love and it has over a 4 star rating! I added it immediately.

 

 

19161852The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison: This is one of my roommate’s favorite books and he keeps pushing me to read it, so I had to add it to the list.  Don’t worry Joey, I’ll get to it eventually! 🙂

 

 

7896527Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I am currently obsessed with Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and I want to read everything else she has written.

 

 

21416690The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman: A book about books? Count me in.  I first found this book while browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble, and now I’ve been seeing the series everywhere.

 

 

68428Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson: This one was recommended to me by my favorite elf from The Elf Shop, Erica, and I take her her opinions very seriously. I am excited to jump into this series!

 

 

20764879A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: I read the first book in this series, and have the second one waiting on my shelf!  I’ve also heard that this one is better than the first, which is always exciting.

 

 

30165203American Gods by Neil Gaiman: I had been meaning to read this before the TV show came out, but I didn’t get around to it in time.  I haven’t read any Gaiman and as a fantasy lover, I know that’s almost sacrilegious.

 

 

43763Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice: Another cult classic that I know I need to read.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Witching Hour, but I’ve been assured by multiple people that this one is worth it.

 

 

23174274Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard: The second book in the Red Queen Series.  I didn’t love Red Queen, but I enjoyed it enough to need to know what is going to happen next!

 

 

What do you think of my list? Have any more I should add? Let me know in the comments!

A Court of Mist and Fury

17927395A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Summary: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

*mini spoiler alert*

My Thoughts: WOW. I am still reeling from this book.  I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, but this one was infinitely better than that.  It almost feels like the first book was just the set-up for the real story in this one.  I liked the characters from the first book, but other than Feyre, I didn’t feel any strong connection to them, especially to Tamlin.  In A Court of Mist and Fury, I felt the complete opposite.  All of the secondary characters from the Night Court were so well developed and interesting that they could each lead their own books.  I cared deeply for all of them and loved every glimpse that Maas gave us into their backgrounds and histories.  I liked Rhys from the first time we met him, and now I can safely say that I am in love with him.  He is such a complex character, which was a great change from the one dimensional Tamlin, and his relationship with Feyre felt beautiful, real, and very healthy.   They had fabulous chemistry and the gradual build up and development of their love was perfect.  I was feeling happy, and a bit smug, that my instincts about Tamlin in the first book were correct. The world building in this one was also ten times better than A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I was able to fully grasp Prythian and the rules of the Fae, where they used to be a little murky.  I loved learning more of the history and understanding of the politics between courts.  The plot was consistently exciting, and flowed very well, with lots of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.  My emotions were on a roller coaster throughout the entire story, and that ending packs a punch.  I admit that I felt wrecked after I finished it for a solid chunk of time.  I cannot wait to dive into the third book.  Book Hangover for sure.

5/5 Stars

Book Hangover

May 2017 Wrap-Up

I can’t believe it’s already June! This year is speeding by.  My May has been full of weddings, work, and auditions! Real life got in the way a bit, but I still found some time to get my reading in! Thank you NYC subway…

Books Read:

Favorite Book of the Month:

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Books Purchased:

Currently Reading:

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May Reviews:

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Top Ten Tuesdays:

Top 10 Tuesday: Love at First Sight 5/2/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist 5/9/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Bad Ass Literary Moms 5/16/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Summer Lovin’ 5/23/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017 5/30/17

 

I have a few exciting things coming up in June, and I am ready to jump into it! Here’s to another great month my fellow bookworms 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For the 2nd Half of 2017

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish was “Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017!” I kind of struggled with this one a bit because I am in the middle of several older series, and haven’t been paying enough attention to new releases lately.  I still have a bunch to be excited about though!

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A Column of Fire by Ken Follett-September 2017: Ken Follett’s historical fiction are up there in my top favorite books of all time, so when I found out that my favorite books were getting a new addition, I freaked out a bit. I CANNOT WAIT for this book.

 

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One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake– September 19th, 2017: I was dying for this book the minute I finished Three Dark Crowns.  September 19th can’t come fast enough.

 

 

34037113The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman– October 10th, 2017: I love anything to do with witches, and I loved Practical Magic, so I am ready to find out more about the Owens family!

 

 

32708664Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkein and Christopher Tolkein– June 1st, 2017: It’s another trip into Middle Earth… Need I say more?

 

 

 

33368917The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory– August 8th, 2017: I really enjoy all of the Philippa Gregory books I have read, and I always look forward to her next one.

 

 

32076675The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder– June 6th, 2017: Who doesn’t love a dysfunctional family and a wedding? In the height of wedding season, I am so ready for a fun family dramedy.

 

 

32926258The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman-July 25th: The circus fascinates me, so when I found this book I was instantly intrigued.

 

 

 

30312855The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell– July 18th, 2017: I am constantly looking for new Fantasy series, and this one caught my eye immediately with its cover.

 

 

33607640The Address by Fiona Davis-August 1st, 2017: I am a sucker for flashback stories, and this one sounds like its right in the pocket for me.  I love the 1800’s and the 1980s, what could be better?

 

 

Doors Of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss– ????: One can only dream….

A Court of Thorns and Roses

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                A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Summary: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

My Thoughts: OK. There was so much hype about this series.  It has been plastered all over Instagram and the blogosphere for a while now, plus it was recommended to me by multiple friends.  I decided I couldn’t wait any longer, and I started it, despite the fact that description didn’t really call to me. I’m not gonna lie, it took me a while to actually become invested in the story.  For the first big chunk of it, I couldn’t get past the “Beauty and the Beast” vibe. Once I got over that, and deeper into the plot, I started to see what the hype was about.  The last half of the book is amazing, and made up for the slow beginning ten times over.  I almost missed my train stop because I was so into it!  Feyre grew on me throughout the book.  She is a bad-ass, and she doesn’t have any of the “holier than thou” attitude that I feel like a lot of YA heroines have.  She does what she has to do to survive and then she handles the consequences.  My biggest complaint about the book is Tamlin.  He is so vanilla, and I didn’t feel the passion that would inspire her to go to the lengths she goes to in the end.  I kept waiting for this all consuming love, and he was just boring.  I felt like a lot of their relationship development happened off the page, and we didn’t get to see enough of it for me to get into the meat of it.  On the other hand, I was immediately drawn to Rhysand.  I got him right away, and the more we learned about him, the more I liked him.  He definitely has something there under the surface, and they have undeniable chemistry.  From the first time we met him, he had my interest way more than Tamlin ever did.  I’m shipping them hard core.  I’m excited to get to the second book, because I think/hope that there will be a development there for them… Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and now I get the hype.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

4/5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Lovin

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been OBSESSED with the movie Grease. Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme from The Broke and the Bookish was a Summer Freebie, I thought what’s better than some “Summer Lovin’?” Here are some of my favorite love stories to heat up your summer!

7135858My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares:  A few summers ago, I devoured this book.  I have always been fascinated with past lives, and this book does a fantastic job of exploring it in a beautiful and romantic way.  The love story literally spans centuries, and is extremely poignant and magical.

 

10964Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:  For me, Jamie and Claire’s love can’t be beat.  James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser might be my favorite male fictional character of all time.  Although long, this book, and their love, is so engrossing that you won’t be able to put it down. Plus, there are plenty more books in the series, and the TV show, to keep you going after you’re done (although they’re not as good as the first one in my opinion).

138202Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty: I read this book when I was 16, and it was incredibly relatable and hilarious.  I followed the entire series, and aged with Jessica and Marcus which kept everything they were going through so relevant to me.  Their love story is real, and sweet, and a perfect mess.

 

18405Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: One of my favorite dysfunctional love stories, Gone With the Wind is a classic for a good reason.  It is a perfect summer read.  It’s epically long and beautiful, Scarlett is an amazingly complex anti-hero, and Rhett Butler is just downright sexy.

 

19448All-American Girl by Meg Cabot: This book gave me my first recognizable book hangover ever.  I fell in love with these characters, and their awkward teenage love blooming in the White House.  This book is one of the reason’s I am obsessed with Meg Cabot.

 

3975186True Colors by Kristin Hannah: If you want a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking romance, then this is the book you want.  It is very emotional, without being over the top, and is an example of Kristin Hannah at her finest.  I love all of her books, but this one might take the cake.

 

8667848A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: At first this book may seem like a grown-up Twilight, but it is actually a lot more complex and well written.  As someone who loves witches, I was instantly drawn into this book and its concept.  The relationship between Diana and Matthew feels really real among the fantasy of the world.

 

42156Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin: A little unconventional love triangle between a girl, her best friend, and her best friend’s fiance, Something Borrowed is light- hearted, romantic, and page turning.  It will give you all the feels, with lovable characters, and in my opinion, an even better sequel.

 

301082 Dead Until Dark: I am obsessed with The Sookie Stackhouse Series, aka Trublood. The books are different from the TV show, for those of you who are fans, and they are super easy and fun reads.  Sookie is awesome, and her romantic trysts are always very entertaining and steamy. (#TeamEric)

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Goodreads Summary:  Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

My Thoughts: This book was different from what I anticipated.  I thought it would be a light, “chick-lit,” book, and while it was a very easy and enjoyable read, I found it to be much deeper than I had expected.  It deals with a lot of important issues, and does it in a way that is both informative and sensitive, yet still entertaining.  Moriarty has a quick and witty style, and I appreciated that each character had their own distinctive voice within it.  I loved that the chapters were short and interspersed with the interviews of the rest of the community.  It really developed the mystery surrounding the “incident,” and also provided a great commentary on gossip and how it can affect everyone’s perception.  The three main characters, Madeline, Celeste, and Jane, seemed like real, flawed people, which made it easy to connect and sympathize with them.  They all are dealing with difficult and complicated issues, and I think that Moriarty did an amazing job of tackling them in a realistic way.  The plot was so intriguing, and the release of tiny bits of information kept me turning the page to find out more.  I did guess the big twist before the end, but it didn’t give me any less satisfaction when I got there.  I wanted to read this book after all the buzz around the TV show, and I am glad that I did.  I do admit that I pictured the actors while reading, despite the differences in description.  Watching the show after finishing the book, I have to say that I enjoyed the book more.  They added more drama for TV, which I understand, however; it lost the simplicity that I appreciated in the book.  Every little detail meant more, especially in Madeline’s relationship with her daughter and ex husband.  I also thought that the TV show weakened Jane’s character.  Her growth in the book is one of the most meaningful and beautiful developments of the story, and I didn’t feel like we got to see that in the show.  That said, if I had not read the book, I would have thought that the show was amazing.  Overall it was very well done, and the acting is fantastic.  This was my first time reading anything from Liane Moriarty, and I will definitely be checking out the rest of her work.

4/5 Stars