Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can’t Believe I Read

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When I started blogging, I just wanted to be able to gush about books to the world.  I had no clue how much I would love it and how much I would love being a part of this amazing community.  When I was asked by a publisher to read and review my first book on my blog, I was flabbergasted.  I feel so honored to have had the opportunity to read all of these amazing books.  This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Books I Can’t Believe I Read, and I am dedicating it to all of the authors and publishers that I still can’t believe let me be a part of their magical worlds.  Thank you ❤

 

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Book Reviews · Reading Challenges

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman Review

22896Goodreads Summary: The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

My Thoughts:  I have wanted to read Practical Magic  for FOREVER.  I’ve always loved the movie, and when I found out it was based on a book, I immediately added it to my TBR.  I have to say that it was not at all what I was expecting.  It is very different from the film, which I figured it would be, but I was surprised at how much, and how difficult it was for me to let the film go.  Not only in the plot and characters, but in the atmosphere as well.  There aren’t chapters, more like sections, which at first was kind of strange to adjust to.  It kind of felt like a run-on sentence, but it was a really quick read.  The style is very exaggerated and satirical, which I surprisingly liked a lot.  There wasn’t that much magic either.  It was more of an underlying secret hum instead of a main focus.  I really did love the characters, Gillian especially, and their relationships.  The plot is more character-focused than action-based, with everyone being larger than life, and felt more like a narration of these people’s lives than a story.  Somehow, it was still engaging and worked.  I think I like the movie more than I liked the book, but they’re so different it almost isn’t a fair comparison.  If you’re looking for a great fantasy novel or the story of the movie, this isn’t it, but if you’re looking for a story about love, family, and growing up, Practical Magic is just the ticket.

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Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Mychal Phillips

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family. There is something special about theatre and it’s 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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Mychal Phillips

Currently Paulette in the International Tour of Legally Blonde

www.MychalPhillips.com

instagram: @girlnamedmych

What are you currently reading?

Hunger by Roxane Gay. I love a good memoir.

What is your favorite book series?

To go the classic route, I absolutely adores The Chronicles of Narnia growing up.  The world C.S. Lewis created is so magical to me, and I’d love to revisit those as an adult!  In a totally different vein, I just finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, and I am completely hooked now.  So that series is probably going to rank pretty high up there as well.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have a favorite, but I’ve been on a real Brene Brown kick lately.  She has a knack for speaking some TRUTHS exactly when and how I need to hear them.

What book inspires you and why?Untitled design

I recently read Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, and it challenged the way I think about racism. I love books that infiltrate your life in that way. I think about it on the train, at work, and in everyday conversation.  Also I couldn’t answer this question without mentioning both “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Total game changer books that I return to whenever I need a creative lift.

Which literary character would you like to play?

Hmm. Maybe Dagny in Atlas Shrugged. Or, like, if Dagny had a quirky best friend. That would be me.

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

I’d totally be friends with Paulette from Legally Blonde, who I’m playing now! She knows who she is and doesn’t apologize for it, and she is a loyal & loving friend. And she gets to own a French bulldog.

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

It already happened! I was thrilled when Matilda became a musical and I loved every second of it.

What is the next book on your reading list?

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

Where has your tour been?

We just spent 5 weeks in China! I had a blast but don’t need to see a dumpling again for a long while.

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! Huge thanks to Mychal for sharing with us! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Much About

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I have a freakishly good memory.  I can remember my first jazz dance from 3rd grade, I remember weird details about events and people, and I remember almost everything I read.  This week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Much About… I have memories from reading all of these books, but most of what I remember are the good feelings I got while reading them, not their details.

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


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Digital Fortress by Dan Brown


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The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho


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Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann


 

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini


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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


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Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut


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Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot


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Fishbowl by Sarah Mylnowski


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Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld


 

Do you guys remember everything you read?  What are some of your favorite book memories?

Book Reviews · Reading Challenges

Fracture by Nina Walker Review

36118876Amazon Summary: Broken by magic and murder, he’ll risk everything for revenge.

Prince Lucas is falling to pieces. He couldn’t save his mother, and now his father is hesitant to execute the man responsible for her death. Lucas only has Jessa, the last shred of light left in his dark world. But she’s conflicted.

What if he loses her too?

Jessa made a commitment. Her family, the resistance, even her own country is counting on her to succeed. She must be initiated and gain the trust of the king. She jumps headfirst into her alchemy trials, determined to impress the court. She knew the tests would be dangerous, but never expected they might reveal her secrets.

And what happened to her friend, Sasha, anyway?

The Color Alchemist Series continues with book two of four. An Amazon number one new release, Prism has captivated fans with its unique magic and swoon-worthy romance. Don’t stop the adventure, read Fracture today.

My Thoughts:  I am so in love with this series.  When I rejoined the world of The Color Alchemists with book two, it felt like coming home.  I didn’t realize how much I had missed these characters.  I am so invested in their lives, and Walker does a great job of developing them even more in this book.  Their relationships feel real and complicated, and gave me such a huge range of emotions.  I literally screamed at my book at one point.  We get the addition of Sasha’s perspective in this book, which was set up really well in the ending of the last one.  I loved learning more about the resistance and the rest of the world (Hey female American president!), and her love interests were really great.  There was a ton of action throughout, and the whole story was engaging and exciting.  Jessa and Lucas’s dynamic is both heart warming and frustrating at the same time.  Their relationship goes through a lot in this book, and I am anxious to see where it is going to go from here.  The more I learn about color magic, the more I love it.  I think it is a totally brilliant idea, is really well done, and continues to develop into a deeper system of magic.  I think I enjoyed Fracture even more than Prism… I cannot wait for book 3!

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Tags

The #NotAll Book Tag

 

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The fabulous Orangutan Librarian tagged me in the #NotAll Book Tag that she created, celebrating the exceptions to the rule, and I had SO much fun doing it. ❤

#NotAll Cover Changes– a cover change you actually liked

I honestly would not have picked up the first book cover off the shelf.  I think it played a major factor in why it has taken me so long to read it.

#NotAll Adaptations– an adaptation you love more than the book

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I was OBSESSED with this tv show.  I read the first book, liked it, but never continued on reading the rest, but I was hooked from day one with the show.  I still can’t believe it was cancelled and left us with such a big cliff hanger! BRING IT BACK!

#NotAllTropes– a trope you’ll never tire of seeing

I love me a good love triangle.  I don’t care what anyone says.  Even the bad ones.

#NotAllInstalove– you instaloved this couple

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Lina and Ren from Love & Gelato.  This relationship was just so cute, and even though they technically only knew each other for a couple days, their relationship still had a nice arc and felt believable.

#NotAllLoveTriangles– an example of a love triangle done well

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I adored this book.  It was a different perspective than we’re used to seeing in a love triangle and gave it a good twist.  I also sympathized with every member of this triangle.

#NotAllParents–bookish parents that, you know, PARENT!

ARTHUR AND MOLLY WEASLEY ❤

#NotAllVillains– a villain you love

Lucius Malfoy. I love him. Also Gaston. I have a type.

#NotAllChosenOnes– a chosen one you can get behind

Harry Potter. My one and only.

#NotAllHypedBooks– a book that lived up to the acclaim

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I’m obsessed. I literally cannot stop reading.  My book is open next to me as we speak.

#NotAll*Insert Favorite Genre Here*– a book you’re not keen on from your favorite genre

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This book had all the ingredients to be great, and unfortunately just fell short.

#NotAll*Insert Least Favorite Genre Here*– a book you liked from a genre you don’t often read

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This was so different from anything I normally read, and it is to this day one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

 

I tag Brilliant Book Review, Bionic Book Worm,  That Book Gal 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My 2018 Bookish Goals/Resolutions

TTT-Big2I have been making a lot of goals for my life this year.  I got a Passion Planner (which I am obsessed with btw), and it has been helping me stay focused and change my mindset to more positive thinking.  In addition to the goals for my daily life, I have also been keeping track of my goals for my blog.  Thanks to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, I get to showcase my Top Ten Bookish Goals/Resolutions for 2018!

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 1. My Goodreads Goal: 50 Books

Last year my goal was 35 books, and I surpassed it by 10.  This year I upped it to 50, 5 books more than I was able to read in 2017.  I wanted to give myself an attainable goal that still pushed me to read more.  So far, I am 2 books ahead of schedule.

2. Stick to my TBR (within reason)

My TBR shelf at home is ridiculously large, and never seems to shrink.  I really want to try to narrow it a bit this year so I have more room for new books.  I can do this better by actually sticking to list of books I need to get through and not buying new ones.  I am a mood reader though, so if something really strikes my fancy I’ll probably still go at it.

3. Get to an 80% on Netgalley

I try not to over-request on Netgalley, but since I have so many other things to read, and never enough time, my rating isn’t where I want it to be.  I’m slowly bringing it up lately, but I would love to get the the golden 80%.

4. Read 4 books per month

I usually read around this anyways, but it fluctuates every month.  I figured if I could set 4 as my minimum goal, my end goal of 50 books wouldn’t be too far out of reach.  This might be a little difficult once I start rehearsals for my next show, but we’ll take it as it comes.

5. Read 10 Classics for the Classic’s Club Challenge

I need to get a move on this Classics Club.  I have only read 2 of the 50, and in order to hit my 5 year goal, I need to read at least 10 classics from my list this year.

6. Finish the ABC Challenge

I am so excited about this challenge from Ginger Mom.  It’s one of the first challenges I have joined, and I really want to finish it.  You have to read 1 book for every letter of the alphabet! Check out my post here to follow my progress!

7. Finish the series that I am in the middle of

I have started so many series that I never got around to finishing.  I really want to finish some of the ones I have started. Ex. The Earth’s Children Series, Outlander, Sookie Stackhouse (although I really don’t want that one to be over..), etc.

8. Have more diversity in my genre choice

I read mostly Fantasy, with a few sprinkles of Historical Fiction and Contemporary.  There are so many other genres that I just have no experience with and would like to explore.  I really want to get into thriller/mystery books because I think I would enjoy them.  I also have a lot of people ask me for book recommendations that won’t like YA or Fantasy, and I always feel like my choices for them are limited.

9. Stick to my blogging schedule

I have finally created a blogging schedule that has been working well for me.  I post every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  I might have to adjust when I start my next show, but I want to stick to it as much as possible.

10. Read the books I have been putting off FOREVER

I have a couple books (The Alchemist being the biggest example) that have literally been sitting on my shelf for years, yet are still at the top of my wanting to read list.  I WILL read them this year.

What are your 2018 goals? Let me know in the comments! Happy reading! 🙂

Book Reviews

The Hazel Wood ARC by Melissa Albert

cover115302-mediumGoodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

*I received this ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review!*

Release Date: January 30th, 2018

My Thoughts: After seeing a million glowing reviews for this book, I could not wait to read it.  The day I started it I read about 40% of the book.  Right away I was drawn into Alice’s life and story.  The mystery of Althea Proserpine and her book of fairy tales was perfectly captivating and creepy, and I thought it was paced very well.  My favorite thing about this book was the language.  Alice’s funny and sarcastic voice felt very real and relatable, and I loved all of the specific real world references (the Harry Potter references being my favorite for obvious reasons).  The mix of reality and fantasy really enhanced the world and made the fantasy aspects more believable.  I also loved the language of the fairy tale stories themselves.  They were creepy, dark, and absolutely beautiful.  I wish I could read all of the Tales of the Hinterland, in addition to the few we got to experience within the story.  I loved all of the characters.  I adored Alice and Finch, and was pleasantly surprised at their relationship throughout the book.  It was really refreshing, different, and quite bittersweet.  I also loved all of “The Stories” from the Hinterland.  It was such a clever concept, and it was fun seeing them both in and out of their world.  All of Albert’s characters were very unique and specific, and I had very clear pictures of them in my mind.  While I was thoroughly engaged in the plot and the characters, I expected a lot more when they finally got to the Hinterland.  There was so much build up to this final destination, but the story went by so fast.  I would have loved to see more of it, and find out more details about how everything worked.  Not revealing everything about the Hinterland might have been an attempt to create a more mysterious atmosphere, but parts of it felt underdeveloped.  I really liked everything we were given, I just wanted more.  More time and more detail, especially with the ending.  It all seemed a little too easy.  I loved the idea, but it felt rushed through and could have been expanded.  I was engaged enough for it to go on a bit longer, and I wish we could have seen more of a fight.  This book started out really strong but kind of drifted away for me towards the end.  I was still hooked on the story, but after all the hype, my expectations were really high and I was left feeling a little underwhelmed.

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Reading Challenges

2018 A to Z Reading Challenge

img_20170922_204343_001000Ok. I’m not normally a reading challenge girl (I can’t handle the pressure), but when I saw this one from Ginger Mom, I knew I had to join.  It seemed fun and exciting, but actually doable.  The goal is to read and review one book for every letter of the alphabet, and every review is worth 1 point.  Each point is worth an entry to the Grand Prize at the end of the year, which is a $100 Amazon gift card! How awesome is that!? So here we go folks. The 2018 A to Z Challenge!

A

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

B

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

C

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

D

Daisy Jones by Mack Mama

E

Emma by Jane Austen

F

Fracture by Nina Walker

G

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

H

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I

The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest

J

K

L

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

M

Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

N

O

The Oathing Stone by JZN McCauley

P

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Q

R

The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory

S

Sorority by Genevieve Sly Crane

T

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

U

V

W

We Other by Sue Bentley

X

Y

Z

Who else is doing this challenge? Anyone have ideas for the harder letters? Let me know in the comments! Happy Reading!
Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2017

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As I excitedly get going on my TBR for 2018, I have to take a good look back at all the books I didn’t quite get to in 2017.  This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish helped me narrow down which books I am the most sad about having missed, and will definitely get to this year.  Here are the Top Ten Books I Meant to Read in 2017!

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The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

This one is killing me the most. I have been wanting to read it ever since I heard it was coming out, and because of my book buying ban, I haven’t had a chance to get it yet.  I WILL get it soon, and I will finally read it.


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The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

I fell in love with Kate Morton after reading The Forgotten Garden last year, and I ordered this on ThriftBooks immediately after finishing because I couldn’t wait to read another one of her books…. and I haven’t gotten to it UNTIL NOW! I just started reading, and after the first chapter I knew it was going to be magic.  Now I remember why I wanted another one of her books so badly.


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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I keep putting this off until I get through some of my other series, but I will FINALLY get to it this year.  Most likely sooner rather than later.  My roommate liked it more than ACOTAR, which I loved, so I’m excited.


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The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

I impulsively bought this book when I went for a different release because I HAD to have it.  I have a problem. Still haven’t read it, but I want to get to it before the feeling of “newness” wears off.  It keeps staring at me on my shelf.


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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

 I read A Darker Shade of Magic last April, and I was kind of indifferent about it.  Since everyone seems to love this series so much, I really want to try the second one and see if I can finally get on the band wagon.


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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I NEED this book.  I can’t wait to read it.  Another one affected by my book buying ban… Oh wallet why can’t you be fuller!?


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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I am all about this story, and I need some more non-fantasy books in my life right now.  This just sounds so up my alley.


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The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

I almost broke my book buying ban yesterday and got this… I have been captivated by this cover and summary ever since I first saw it, and it’s killing me not to own it.


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Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

This is one of my friend’s favorite books of all time, and I have been wanting to read it for a while.  I bought it last year to read for my Classics Club Challenge, and never got around to reading it.


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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I have no excuses for why I haven’t read this yet.  It has been on my TBR FOREVER.  It’s actually embarrassing that I haven’t read this yet. This is the year.  It’s happening.


 

Which books did you miss in 2017?

What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

Let me know in the comments! Happy reading booknerds 🙂