Discussion Posts

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #18

I joined Goodreads a few years ago, way before I started blogging, so my profile is kind of a mess.  I really want to clean it up so I can make better use of it.  I thought what a better way to do that than to join the Down the TBR Hole meme started by Lia @Lost In a Story! I am going to do it once a month instead of weekly, and hopefully make my Goodreads a pleasant place to be again.

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books

Decide: keep it or should it go?


The Ghost of Greenwhich Village by Lorna Graham

11323566In this charming fiction debut, a young woman moves to Manhattan in search of romance and excitement—only to find that her apartment is haunted by the ghost of a cantankerous Beat Generation writer in need of a rather huge favor.

For Eve Weldon, moving to Greenwich Village is a dream come true. She’s following in the bohemian footsteps of her mother, who lived there during the early sixties among a lively community of Beat artists and writers. But when Eve arrives, the only scribe she meets is a grumpy ghost named Donald, and the only writing she manages to do is for chirpy segments on a morning news program, Smell the Coffee. The hypercompetitive network environment is a far cry from the genial camaraderie of her mother’s literary scene, and Eve begins to wonder if the world she sought has faded from existence. But as she struggles to balance her new job, demands from Donald to help him complete his life’s work, a budding friendship with a legendary fashion designer, and a search for clues to her mother’s past, Eve begins to realize that community comes in many forms—and that the true magic of the Village is very much alive, though it may reveal itself in surprising ways.

My Thoughts: This sounds cute.  There was a time when I was younger that everything about New York City grabbed me.  I couldn’t wait to be there.  Now that I live here, the glamour has kind of worn off, even though I still love this glorious city, so my draw to the setting isn’t as big as it once was.  As cute as this book sounds, I know I probably won’t ever get around to reading it.  There are too many other books.  VERDICT: TOSS


The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon

When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring 9519064morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it.

Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying.

At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school’s students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.

With The Twisted Thread, Charlotte Bacon has crafted a gripping and suspenseful story in the tradition of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, one that pulls back the curtain on the lives of the young and privileged. 

My Thoughts: I’m not the most avid thriller reader, but I do love a good murder mystery and this one sounds right up my alley.   The limited reviews it has on Goodreads are pretty mixed though, so now I’m torn.  If anything it helped my find The Secret Society by Donna Tart which might be a better one to start with… VERDICT: KEEP (for now)


All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion by Lisa Appignanesi 

11816425Unruly, unpredictable—love is a maddening deity. In this insightful and eloquent meditation on that many-splendored thing, Lisa Appignanesi draws together psychology, literature, popular culture, and her own experiences in order to tangle with love’s paradoxes across the span of our lives. Beginning with the rose-tinted raptures of first love, she proceeds to love in marriage, triangulated love, jealousy and adultery, love in the family, and friendship. By illuminating the expectations, the joys and difficulties, and the cultural undercurrents that accompany each stage, Appignanesi raises provocative questions about love in the twenty-first century: Has the unbinding of obstacles to love emptied it of meaning? Do our desires for variety and experimentation result in increased anxiety? What gains and losses have come from greater openness and equality and the burgeoning sphere of virtual fantasy? As rewarding as it is captivating, All about Love will leave you a little wiser about the emotion that rules our lives.

My Thoughts: Was this 19 year old Lexie’s attempt to figure out her emotions? Perhaps.  Does this interest me at all anymore? Nope.  VERDICT: TOSS


The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression 4395chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

My Thoughts: This has been on my list for SO LONG.  Of Mice and Men and East of Eden are two of my favorite classic reads and I honestly don’t know why I haven’t tackled this one yet.  I finally have a copy so I’ll hopefully get around to this beast soon.  VERDICT: KEEP


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

37732Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She’s just moved from New York City to Farbook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends—Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret is happy to belong.

But none of them can believe Margaret doesn’t have religion, and that she isn’t going to the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don’t know is Margaret has her own very special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything—family, friends, even Moose Freed, her secret crush.

Margaret is funny and real, and her thoughts and feelings are oh-so-relatable—you’ll feel like she’s talking right to you, sharing her secrets with a friend.

My Thoughts: This is a classic.  I can’t believe I never read this book growing up and it feels like it is a must-read, even as an adult.  VERDICT: KEEP


There were a couple trickier ones in there for me today.  How do you think I did?  Are any of these books hidden gems that I should reconsider? Or any books that I’ve kept that you think aren’t worth the time? Let’s chat in the comments! 🙂

Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2019 Wrap-Up

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It’s the last month of the year!!  It is absolutely crazy how fast this year has flown by.  I am WAY behind on my reading goal for the year, and most likely will not hit my end goal of 100 books, but I’m going to try to get as close as possible.  I have some beach days coming my way soon and I am really looking forward to my favorite kind of reading time.  Let’s finish out 2020 with a bang!

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Books Read:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert ★★★★★

Something Wicked by Nicole M. Rubino ★★★★

The Wickerlight by Mary Watson ★★★★

The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi ★★

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black ★★★★

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin ★★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Currently Reading:

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Broadway Book Chat: Deanna Doyle from An American in Paris

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Challenge Updates

Goodreads Challenge: 62 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 8 of 50


November Reviews

The Beautiful by Renée AhdiehSomething Wicked by Nicole M. RubinoThe Wickerlight by Mary WatsonThe Weight Of A Soul by Elizabeth TammiRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

November Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: Books That Have An Autumn VibeCleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #17Would You Rather Book Edition TagTop 10 Tuesday: Changes In My Reading LifeThe Netgalley Book Tag


Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Deanna Doyle from An American In Paris

It's Liberation Day.

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and its ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and castmates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

Deanna Doyle

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Most recently seen as Lise in An American in Paris at Westchester Broadway Theatre

 www.deanna-doyle.com

instagram: @Deannadoyle8 


What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading What Alice Forgot. It is my first Liane Moriarty book, and I love it. It is smart, funny, sentimental, and I can’t put it down.

What is your favorite book series?

I have been looking for a book series to get into for a really long time. For such an avid reader, I can’t believe I don’t yet have one! I’ve tried several and haven’t been especially drawn to any, but I’m still determined to find one. The closest I’ve come is Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series. I enjoy them, but not enough to read through them back to back. I’d love to find something that I just can’t put down and have to go from one book to the next. Life goals.

Who is your favorite author?

As cliche as it may sound, I have to say Jane Austen. I would feel disloyal to say anyone else.

What book inspires you and why?

I’m reading a lot of books by Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who writes a lot of short books meant to inspire. He has a series (a series that I read!) of tiny inspirational books with titles such as How to Sit, How to Relax, How to Love, and How to Fight. They are sweet and insightful and great reminders of the beauty of life. Over the past year, I have always had at least one of his books checked out at the library, usually more. Right now 5 of the 17 books I have checked out from the library are his, and I am currently reading The Art of Communication.

Which literary character would you like to play?IMG_0001

Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables or Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have read about, who would it be and why?

When I was little I was obsessed with the Encyclopedia Brown books. I thought it would be cool to be friends with boy detective Leroy Brown so that I could help solve his cases.

What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?

One of my favorite books that I read this year is a book called Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. It was really beautiful, and I think it would make a lovely movie.

What is the next book on your reading list?

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing is next on my list. It’s a thriller. I’ve recently gotten into thrillers, but sometimes I can’t read them when I’m at home by myself, especially in the bathtub. That just seems too scary, so I often have to wait until my boyfriend comes home to indulge.

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

Yes! I have always loved to write and have thought that if I was not a performer then I would be a writer because they both fulfill my need for self-expression. A few months ago I finished the first draft of a novel and right now I am taking a break from it. Come January, I will revisit it with fresh eyes to write a second draft.

What is your favorite show you’ve been a part of and why?

A show that will always be close to my heart is Phantom of the Opera because it was my Broadway debut. I played Meg Giry and I really love that role.


I feature a new performer every month, so check back for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know.  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Shout out to the fabulous Deanna for sharing with us! 🙂

 

Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Classics Club Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

594139Summary: A classic novel of romantic suspense finds the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter entering the home of her mysterious and enigmatic new husband and learning the story of the house’s first mistress, to whom the sinister housekeeper is unnaturally devoted.


I cannot get over how much I loved this book.  The writing is absolutely stunning while still remaining incredibly relatable and easy to read.  The main character, Mrs. de Winter, whose first name we never learn (brilliant), often goes off on mental tangents that are so realistic and really create a beautiful picture of her character and mindset.   I couldn’t help but root for the second Mrs. de Winter and Maxim, especially the more we learn about the history of Manderly and its occupants.  The romantic gothic vibe of the book is delightfully sinister, without being too spooky for a scaredy-cat like me.  I think I expected it to be a little more supernatural than it was, which I was pleasantly surprised by.  The whole concept of Rebecca’s haunting presence being a character in itself, rather than her being an actual ghost, was so clever, real and insanely impactful.  I cannot wait to watch Hitchcock’s film adaptation and I definitely could see this as a book I will want to reread.  I highly recommend this one, especially for someone who is trying to get into more classics.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Weight Of A Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

43517326Summary: When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review*

Release Date: December 3, 2019

I wanted this Norse mythology retelling to be epic and unfortunately, it was just boring and disappointing.  It had such an interesting and exciting concept but it was poorly executed.  When Lena’s younger sister, Fressa, is found dead in the woods, she is ready to risk it all to bring back her soul.  What should have been an exciting quest just turned into a vague plot, with vague characters, and little action.  It felt like nothing happened for most of the book, and I found my self consistently bored while reading.  It seemed like there were two separate plots, the story of Lena and Fressa and the overarching scheme of the Gods.  They were meant to be woven together to create some mysterious plan, but for most of the book, they just seemed unrelated.  I wanted Lena to start to unravel and figure out the mystery and instead, we got almost no information or reveals until the very end which made it all very anticlimactic.   The situations in this book had the promise of creating some really dynamic characters, but none of them really had much personality or changed at all.  Even the penultimate reveal that should have been the realization of Lena’s character arc was taken away from her, and told TO her by another character, giving Lena no growth whatsoever, which made me think, “What was the point of this story?”  I did really enjoy the mythology and the world and wish that it would have gone deeper into it because that was the best thing about the book.  I’m sad that this one was so disappointing because I think it really had the makings to be a great story, but it just didn’t work.

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Tags

The Netgalley Book Tag

a baby shower for amelia

Hello my lovelies! Today’s book tag is The Netgalley Book Tag created by Kourtni Reads.  I saw it over at A Little Haze Book Blog and Emer said anyone who wants to do this tag was tagged by her, so I considered myself tagged 🙂

The rules are as follows:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you (Thanks Emer!)
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

Auto-Approved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

Kristin Hannah.  I have yet to be disappointed by any of her books and they are always beautifully character-driven.  Also Sarah J. Maas.  I love the worlds she creates and her characters are some of my absolute favorites.  I can’t wait to read her new book.

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on NetGalley?

The cover art usually draws me in initially, but what makes me request it is almost always the summary.  I will also request a book by an author I know I like or a book that I have heard a lot about.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

I do not review every book I read.  There are some books that I want to keep just for me.  I try to stay up to date with reviewing my ARC’s and am working on getting my Netgalley ratio up to 80% (I messed it up at the beginning when I was still figuring out how it worked).  I like to review new releases when I can and also review the classics I read for my Classics Club Challenge.

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

Hmmmmm… maybe a badge for reading more classics?  It might give me motivation to buckle down and get some more done.

Wish for It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

The next American Royals book by Katharine McGee.  I CANNOT wait.

NetGalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?

The last ARC I reviewed was The Wickerlight by Mary Watson and I am currently reading The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi.


I tag anyone who wants to do this tag and can’t help themselves from requesting too many books from Netgalley 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life

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Happy Top 10 Tuesday! This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Changes In My Reading Habits.  I couldn’t think of a full 10, so here are my 8 recent changes in my reading life.

  1. I am less of a mood reader now.  I am definitely more purposeful in my book choices because of my blog, and have stuck more to the YA/NA genre than I ever have before.
  2. I read more on a schedule than I ever have.  Granted, my schedule is still fairly lax, but I have really been trying to stick to a stricter schedule to make my blogging life easier and to meet release deadlines.
  3. I read in more places- I used to really only read in the bathtub or on the train, (unless a book was so good I couldn’t stop) and now I read before bed, just sitting on the couch, or standing in my kitchen while my food cooks.
  4. I’ve started to read more YA Contemporary Fiction again.  I loved it as a teen, but have gravitated away from it and focused more on Fantasy and Historical Fiction in general, and I’m coming back to it.
  5. I am more willing to DNF a book that I am not enjoying.  Now, don’t get crazy.  I still will mostly push through, but I’ve given up a couple more books than I normally would have.
  6. I don’t lose bookmarks anymore- I use the same ones for a LONG time and have received a few nice ones as gifts that I’ve managed to hold on to.
  7. I’m less stingy about buying new releases.  I am SUPER stingy with my money, but I’ve recently decided to invest in new releases and not feel guilty about it.  Especially since I rarely regret buying a book.
  8. I read more on my kindle than I used to.  Mostly due to ARCs and having been on the road for the better part of the last year.
Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Wickerlight by Mary Watson

41216247._SY475_Summary: Zara’s family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green.

Two months later, Laila’s death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house?

As Zara delves deeper into her sister’s secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review*

Release Date: 11/26/19


I didn’t learn until after I had already requested this book that it was the second in a series.  After some research, I learned that it could be read as a standalone so I decided to just go for it.  It definitely worked as a standalone and I could follow everything just as well as I could have for a first book in a series.  It felt more like a story set in the same world than a sequel, but the world-building was amazing and clear for having already been established in a prior novel.  I absolutely loved the system of magic and the Celtic druid influence.  The magic words were so unique and the conflict between the two feuding magical groups was very interesting.  The whole story had a dark, almost gothic, vibe and it really sucked me into its atmosphere.  The book shows a  vivid picture of how different people deal with grief and it was a very compelling weave in the story.  I liked Zara and her journey into the dark world of magic and mystery, but I really liked David.  His arc was so full and meaningful and I loved his relationships with his family, especially his brother Oisin.  I definitely want to go back and read the first book, The Wren Hunt, because there were a few characters and details that would have been fuller with the prior knowledge, and I also just want to experience more in this world.

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Tags

Would You Rather Book Edition Tag

a baby shower for amelia

Hello my lovelies! Today we’re here with a book tag that I found over at Fiction No Chaser, The Would You Rather Book Edition tag.  I love playing this game, so when I saw it turned into a book tag I knew I had to do it!

Read Only Trilogies or Standalones?

Trilogies for sure.  I love it when a story keeps going and I feel you can get in so much deeper.

Read Only Female or Male Authors?

Female.  Most of my favorite books and a lot of my favorite genres are written by women.

Shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?

Barnes & Noble.  There’s something special about picking out the book at the store and bringing it home.  There is a certain magic in it for me.

All Books Becomes Movies or TV Shows?

Ahhhh I think it depends on the book.  I’m gonna go with TV shows because the quality of TV is up to movie standards nowadays and you can expand more in multiple episodes than you can with one movie.

Read Five Pages Per Day or Five Books Per Week?

Oooof five books a week is a lot for me, but I would rather that than only five pages a day!

Be a Professional Reviewer or Author?

I would love to be a professional author.  I’ve always wanted to write something fictional, but inspiration hasn’t fully come to me yet.

Only Read Your Top Twenty Favourite Books Over and Over or Always Read New Ones That You Haven’t Read Before?

I would always read new ones as I am not a huge rereader anyways, but the thought of never being able to read Harry Potter again makes me sad.

Be a Librarian or Bookseller?

Bookseller!! I’ve had daydreams of owning my own bookstore/cafe.

Only Read Your Favourite Genre or Every Genre except Your Favourite?

This is a no brainer.  My favorite for sure.  I already don’t branch out much so I basically do this anyway hahaha

Only Read Physical Books or E-Books?

Physical.  I can only read so many books on my kindle before craving a physical book again.  It can put me in a reading slump if I read too much an on an e-reader.


Book Reviews

ARC Review: Something Wicked by Nicole M. Rubino

48190470Summary: A breakup and a car accident are no way to start your seventeenth birthday.

For Theo Montgomery, that is exactly how it began. Her bad luck turns worse when she returns home from a school dance to find her house on fire–with her parents still inside.

Following their deaths, Theo is sent to live with her estranged aunt in Salem, Massachusetts. If a new home and a new school aren’t enough to deal with, Theo discovers her aunt has a secret: she is a witch. And so is Theo.

Theo must learn keep her magic in check, lest the Town’s notorious witch hunters discover that magic has returned to the world after more than three hundred years. But how can she navigate a new school, new magical powers and avoid the witch hunters, when she finds herself enjoying the company of one?

Trystan de Lancre is a dangerous witch hunter, but that doesn’t keep Theo from wanting to discover more about him. Harboring secrets of his own, Trystan isn’t the only perilous force in Salem. Something has returned to the village; something that the witches believed to have been dead and buried long ago.

Salem’s dark past rises to haunt Theo and the present-day witches, unraveling a shocking revelation: the real cause of the Salem Witch Trials.


This book was awesome.  I loved every second of reading it and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.  Was the writing amazing? No, but it was so much fun and I really liked the characters, the story, and the vibe.  The plot was really entertaining and even though it was predictable at times, the twists were still totally satisfying.  The romance between Theo and Trystan was quick, but never felt rushed and I thought their chemistry was good and built up nicely.  I loved Theo’s Aunt Elizabeth and I can’t wait to learn more about her (I have a feeling something big is coming).  My one main concern about the book was the system of magic.  It was a bit muddy and since it is such a major component of the plot, I wish the boundaries and rules for it would have been clearer and stronger.  Because of that, I can’t give the book 5 stars, but I’m going to give it a strong 4 and I even had a slight book hangover after this one.  I cannot wait to see how the story continues!  If you like witches, I definitely recommend.

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