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June 2017 Wrap-Up

June has been a very busy and exciting month for me!  I’ve been in rehearsals for my next show, so I haven’t had as much time to read or blog as I would have liked, but I have read some really great books this month!

Books Read:

 

Favorite Book of the Month:

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Books Purchased/Received:

Currently Reading:

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June Reviews:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Blog Posts:

Discussion Post: Abandoning Books

Top 10 Tuesday: Fantasy Books on my TBR List 6/6/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t 6/20/17

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Have Read So Far in 2017 6/27/17

I am so looking forward to the month of July! I will be performing in Maine at the Ogunquit Playhouse, in a show that holds such a special place in my heart, with some of my most favorite people.  I can’t wait to read on the beach, live onstage every night, and eat all of the lobster rolls! Bring it on July! I’m ready for ya!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read in 2017 So Far

As June comes to an end, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday focuses on the best books I have read so far this year.  I have read a lot of fantasy and am in the middle of a few series as well.  Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this awesome meme every week!  Here are my top ten favorites (not necessarily in order).

28374007Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: I can not express enough love for this book.  It was a surprise find at Target, and I knew it was going to be up my alley right away.  It blew away any expectations that I had and I am counting down the days until the next book comes out! (9/19/17)

 

30253864Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls to Everything in Between by Lauren Graham: Lauren Graham is a huge idol for me.  She is such an incredible actor, and reading all of her stories about the business and her journey to get where she is today was very inspiring.  Not to mention that she is absolutely hilarious, and it feels like you’re talking to your best friend.  I love her.

6723017The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: This book gave me my first book hangover of the year.  It was hauntingly beautiful and I could not put it down.  Historical Fiction at its finest.  Check out my review here.

 

 

17927395A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: After reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, this book rocked my world!  It has been the best book in the series so far, and it gave me my second book hangover of the year.  I loved where she took the story, and the character development was exquisite.  You can read my review here (minor spoiler alert).

 

21853621The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: Kristin Hannah does it again.  As one of my consistent favorite authors, I always expect great things from Hannah, but this book really blew me away.  It is very emotional, and gave me a little anxiety (as WWII stories tend to do for me), but I was SO invested in these characters.  I definitely ugly cried at the end.  Click here to see my review.

 

140079Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris:  I am a huge fan of this series, and this one (Sookie Stackhouse #6) has been my favorite to date.  Sookie is so lovable, and I really liked where she went with the plot.  These books are always really quick reads, but I devoured this one even faster than normal.

 

19486412Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: I wanted to read this book before I watched the HBO show, and I was not disappointed.  I loved the way it was written, and I thought the tv show was a really good adaptation of it too.  See all of my thoughts here.

 

 

10507293The Selection by Kiera Cass: This whole series was like literary crack.  They are really quick YA reads, and I finished the whole trilogy in three days.  The story was addicting, and I was genuinely invested in the characters.  I had a minor book hangover after finishing the third book.

 

110896Dancer by Colum McCann: This book about Russian ballet dancer, Nureyev, was a beautifully written account of his life and career.  The prose was absolutely stunning, and painted such a complex picture of who this man was.

 

 

1Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling: Ok. It’s my 5th time re-reading it, but I couldn’t not include it on this list.  It’s my favorite.

 

 

 

What are your favorite books you’ve read so far this year? Let me know in the comments, I am always looking for new reads 🙂 Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Book Reviews

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.

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Top Ten Tuesday

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 Posts

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

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!

Book Reviews

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.

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Book Hangover