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August 2017 Wrap-Up

This year really is speeding by! I’ve had a busy August, finishing up Bullets Over Broadway in Maine, teaching dance at my home studio in Wisconsin, and then heading to Denver, Colorado where I have been rehearsing A Chorus Line.  It was also a great reading month for me, and I read 4 books I absolutely loved.

Books Read: 

Favorite Book of the Month:

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Books Acquired: 

Currently Reading: 35615310

August Reviews:

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Starswept by Mary Fan

August Posts:

Top 10 Tuesday: Book Recommendations for People Who Love Downton Abbey

Broadway Book Chat: Blaire Baker

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Books I Read in School

Blogger Recognition Award

 

 

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Blogger Recognition Award

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I was nominated for The Blogger Recognition Award by Ash at For The Love Of Books! Check out her blog for some really great reviews and posts!

Here are the rules for the award:

-Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
-Write a post to show your award.
-Give a brief story of how your blog started.
-Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
-Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
-Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.

The Beginning of Reading In The Wings:

I have been very fortunate in my acting career to have been working pretty consistently since I graduated college, but as a performer your work is never steady. You have to find ways to keep yourself creative and sane during those lulls between gigs. I have always loved reading, and it’s one of the things that helps me to escape the craziness of my career for a moment.  I was looking for something to fulfill me while working through the audition and “survival job” grind, and Reading In the Wings was born.  It gave me a creative outlet, and became something that I looked forward to working on, which helped me stay positive.  It recharged me when I’d come home frustrated from doing 2 auditions and then going to my day job and dealing with cranky customers.  It refreshed my love for theatre by making me noticeably happier in everyday life.  I am so thankful to my amazing roommates, Joey and Michael, and my boyfriend, Conor, for not laughing at me when I came home from work and said “I think I’m gonna start a blog about books.”  It really has turned into something I love and am proud of, and I can’t wait to see where it will go!

Two Pieces of Advice for New Bloggers:

1. Do not be afraid to share your blog with your real life people!  At first, I was so nervous to tell the people in my life that I had started a blog, and I stuck to the book blog community.  When I eventually shared it, the responses were overwhelmingly positive and supportive, and it has made it that much more rewarding and fun!

2. Don’t stress about trying to be original.  Just write what you want to write, and eventually you will find your voice, and figure out what works for you and your blog.

 

I nominate Rose at Tea With Rose’s Tomes, Arya at Fan Girl Arya, Elise at Roaming Reader, Breeny at Breeny’s Books, Maddie at Well-Read Twenty Something, Jodie at Read the Write Act, Sea at Sea Reads, Destiny at Howling Libraries, The Orangutan at The Orangutan Librarian, Aentee at Read at Midnight, Stuart at Always Trust in Books, Kris at Boston Book Reader, Sarah at Book Hooked Nook, Carissa at Carissa Reads It All, and Erin at A Redhead’s Rambling.

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read In School

Thinking back on my school days, I read a lot of books.  Some that I loved, and others that seemed like torture!  Since the new school year is approaching, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday from the marvelous The Broke and The Bookish is a Back to School Freebie.  I’ve decided to share my 10 favorite books (and a few honorable mentions) from elementary school through high school!

Elementary School:

1. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Middle School:

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

High School:

5. Slaughter-House-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

6. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

7. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

8. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

9. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

10. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Honorable Mentions:

 

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Blaire Baker

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!

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Blaire Baker

Most Recently Seen in Bullets Over Broadway at Ogunquit Playhouse

http://www.blairebaker.com

What are you currently reading?

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  This book is SO important and I think everyone should read it.  Her observations about the racial dynamics in American society from the point of view of an outsider are astounding.

What is your favorite book series?

As someone who stayed up through the night reading each time a new book came out, I have to give it to Harry Potter.

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Who is your favorite author?

Stephen King.  I started reading The Strand when I was 14 (I was a very morbid teenager apparently) and I got hooked into King’s characters and work.

What book inspires you?

Wild by Cheryl Strayed and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I love the outdoors and hiking, but I can’t even IMAGINE the physical and mental transformation Cheryl Strayed went through.  The Artist’s Way is the book I always go back to when I am feeling down and uninspired in my career.  It helps me rediscover my creativity and joy!

What literary character would you like to play?

Hadley Richardson in The Paris Wife. I love the Jazz Age, I love Paris, and I love Hadley.

What book is next on your reading list?

I’m finally going to attack my apartment and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

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

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern.  Her descriptions of the circus are so spectacular, I would love to see what that would look like fleshed out.

I will feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for 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! Thanks to Blaire for sharing with us! 🙂

 

Book Reviews

Love & Gelato Review

Goodreads Summary25756328“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

My Thoughts:  This book was very nostalgic for me.  It brought me back to when I was in high school and I LIVED for this type of story.  A teenage romance in Italy with a mysterious flashback story? What else could you possibly want?  When I first started reading, I wasn’t sure I was going to love this book.  It took me a while to get on board with the characters, and the writing seemed a little juvenile.  I was annoyed that Lina wouldn’t give Howard a chance and I was even more irritated at her friend, Addie, for not supporting her.  But then I thought back to when I was 16 and I would have felt the same way.  Once I got into the meat of the story, I admit that I was hooked.  I read the whole book in a few hours.  I was swept up into Lina’s journey, her relationships, and her mother’s secret past.  I thought that the unveiling of her mother’s story was done really well in the journal, and I just fell in love with Howard.  There were some twists that I expected, and others that I didn’t, which surprised me.  I thought it would be a predictable ending.  Lina was a very likable and relatable character.  I did get frustrated with her a few times, but I knew she’d figure it all out in the end.  I liked her love interest a lot.  It was a little insta-lovey, seeing as they only knew each other for a couple days, but with they way their relationship developed I was ok with it.  There was a great collection of minor characters as well.  I especially loved the different students at their school.  They created a great environment for Lina to fall in love with Italy. Speaking of Italy, Welch clearly did her research on her location.  I felt like I was there with Lina and her descriptions were very specific and beautiful.  This book definitely awakened my wanderlust, and I might have looked up flights to Italy after finishing…  In the end, I liked this book far more than I expected to.  It was such a cute, heart-warming story, and I haven’t read one of those in a long time.  I laughed, I cried, I had all the feels.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Book Recommendations for People Who Love Downton Abbey

I am SO excited that The Broke and Bookish are back with some new Top Ten Tuesday Topics!  I have recently been binge watching Downton Abbey and I am obsessed.  I love historical fiction and the turn of the century is my absolute favorite time period to read about and watch.  This weeks theme was “Ten Recommendations for….” so I decided to combine my latest obsession with my book obsession.  Here are my Top Ten Recommendations for People Who Love Downton Abbey!

215679No Angel by Penny Vincenzi:  The Spoils of Time is one of my all time favorite trilogies.  It is an epic family saga full of drama, romance, war, scandal, what more could you want?   My favorite thing about this book is the characters.  All of them were so flawed, and yet I fell madly in love with them and their relationships.  The first book, No Angel, was my favorite in the trilogy.

7315573Fall of Giants by Ken Follett:  Ken Follett, made a masterpiece out of this trilogy.  It follows 3 generations of families all over the world, and how their lives intertwine throughout the big events in history.  Fall of Giants follows the first generation during WWI.  The plot is engaging, the characters are complex, and following the links in the families is really exciting.

 

825508A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett: Another book by Ken Follett? Yes.  I love him, and this book is incredible.  The social politics and the drama alone are enough to make this book worth while.  Not to mention the characters are lovable (and despicable), the plot is fast paced, and the writing is super juicy.

 

6723017The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: This book gave me a huge book hangover! It had a darker, gothic tone, which I really enjoyed.  It kept me on the edge of my seat and awake way past my bed time.  You can read my full review here.

 

 

14935Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: If you’re in the mood for a classic, Downton lovers, Sense and Sensibility has all of the snark of Aunt Violet mixed with the beautiful writing of Jane Austen.  Find my full review here.

 

 

6867Atonement by Ian McEwan: This book is beautiful, tragic, and perfect for Downton fans.  It has a haunting story that will leave you frustrated (in a good way) and questioning every choice you make and the consequences. The movie is also really well done.

 

 

15701533The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig: Who doesn’t love a good flashback story?  With plenty of dark family secrets, this book will keep you reading and involved in Clementine and Addie’s lives until the very last page.  I got lost in this story on a vacation and I had to be pulled out of it and back to real life.

 

1254951The Luxe by Anna Godbersen: I have raved about this book before on my blog, but I really can’t say enough good things about it.  This is the book that made me fall in love with this time period and its social politics.  Years later, I still vividly remember how invested I was in these characters, and reading it backstage at my dance recital because I couldn’t wait to get home to find out what happened next.

 

9999107The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin:  This book didn’t have the most exciting plot, but the overall feel of it was very grand.  I found it interesting to see the dynamics between the American and the British aristocrats.  It reminds me of what it would have been like for Cora before the start of Downton. Coincidence, the heroine of this book is named Cora too.

 

3682A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: Now if you love Downton Abbey and Fantasy, then this is the book for you.  I absolutely LOVED this book.  The world created was so unique, and the dark gothic style worked really well.  This book was unlike anything else I’ve read, and the rest of the series continued to be just as good.

 

Book Reviews

Netgalley Review: Starswept by Mary Fan

34377743Goodreads Summary: Some melodies reach across the stars.

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

My Thoughts: I recently joined Netgalley, and Starswept was my first approved book! I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover.  When I read the description, I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous.  I usually stick to the fantasy side of the Sci-fi/Fantasy genre, but I was intrigued by the idea of this story.  A dystopian-future performing arts school? Sign me up!  From the first sentence, “They tell us not everyone deserves to matter.”,  I fully bought into Fan’s future world, and the more that was revealed, the more interested I became.  As a performer myself, I absolutely loved the idea of Papilio.  The arts world is cut-throat enough as it is, and the heightened competition was interesting and morbidly exciting.  It started off a little slow, but I was so invested in the world of Papilio that I didn’t care.  The world of the Adryil was also very intriguing.  Fan did an amazing job of building it and I found myself actually becoming afraid of them and the idea of their powers.  She created a great, sinister environment, that made me wonder “How did things get this way?”  I did find the characters a little sterile and bland, but it almost worked with the style of the story.  I wish we were shown more of the depth in their relationships though.  I didn’t feel the strong connection between Iris and Dámiul, and their relationship was a little too insta-love for me to fully support.  However; Fan’s writing style is absolutely gorgeous, and I found myself awed by certain sentences.  The ending was really exciting, fast-paced, and maybe open ended?  It definitely left room for a sequel.  Overall, I liked this book, and appreciated reading something really original and different.  The plot and the world building made for a very enjoyable and immersive read.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the chance to read this beautiful story!

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July 2017 Wrap-Up

I can’t believe it’s already August!  I spent July in beautiful Ogunquit, Maine with some of my favorite people in the world, doing a show that I am in love with.  What could be better?  I also got started on my Classics Challenge, and discovered some awesome new books on Netgalley.

Books read:

Favorite Book of the Month:

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Books Purchased/Received:

I found a bunch of Nancy Drew books at a thrift shop in Maine, and I had to buy them.  I also recently discovered NetGalley, and have been LOVING it.

Currently Reading:

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July Reviews:

Sense and Sensibility

A Court of Wings and Ruin

July Posts:

The Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

Broadway Book Chat: Bridget Elise Yingling

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Discussion Post: Reading Classics

The Classics Club

Happy reading friends! 🙂