Book Reviews

Daisy Jones by Mack Mama ARC Review

37915702Goodreads Summary: DAISY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND.

Gorgeous temptress, Daisy Jones has the power to send men to prison for sexual relations with a minor. She is the epitome of a gold digger and raised to go after rich men by a bitter mother. Mama Jones mad at her fate in life taught Daisy the art of manipulation and how to scheme on her prey. She didn’t warn Daisy about letting her heart get in the way of business, forcing her to fall for a southern rapper and the CEO of a multi-million dollar empire. The story begins in Atlanta, Georgia, traveling to New York City, and enters the notorious crew, the OBG s a gumbo of women hustlers, killers, and drug dealers, who have earned a reputation in the streets for being beyond terrorist. And they’re connected to Daisy Jones, all of them wanting to get their “Daisy” on.

*I received an ARC in return for an honest review!*

Release Date: May 1st 2018

My Thoughts: I was definitely out of my comfort zone with this book.  Daisy Jones by Mack Mama immediately slams you into the lives of its characters.  We follow 16 year old Daisy as she goes through a tough life of hustling and gold digging.  Right away with the language, I knew who these characters were.  They were all larger than life personalities, and I knew I was in for a wild ride.  Boy, was this book extreme in every possible way!  The stakes were always high, and every situation escalated insanely fast (unbelievably so).  Nearly every scene was overly explicit, and some were hard to read.  There was so much crazy drama that it was like not being able to look away from a car wreck.  I could not believe the situations described in this book, and some of them actually had my jaw on the floor with their extremeness.  In between each scene, there were a bunch of jerky transitions that took me out of it, and the writing style seemed a little elementary to me.  It felt like every moment was put in for shock factor, and there was very little build up to support these actions.  There were a large amount of colorful characters, but none of them were likable and I couldn’t bring myself to root for any of them.  With so much focus on the events of each scene, I felt that there was little time for much character development or depth.  While the overly dramatic events kept me reading, my lack of emotional connection to the characters ruined it for me.  If you want a fast, explicit, and extremely wild ride, this book is for you, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Gabriela Perez

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 cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

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Gabriela Perez

Currently performing in One Thousand Nights and One Day Off-Broadway

www.gabbyperez.com

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s about how much of the decisions we think we’re making are actually just habitual loops we fall into, for better or for worse. It’s a bit scientific, but I find it totally applicable to being an artist. It’s made me examine the habits I immediately fall into when I start rehearsal, when I’m in the middle of a show, when I get an email with an important audition… it’s emotional triggers that I’m now aware of. The book is divided into three chapters: the self (which is the most applicable to actors), successful corporate and team environments, and social movements that used habits to create actual change. (Normally, I read memoirs or historical fiction, so this is new to me!)

What is your favorite book series?IMG_1933

It’s not really a series, but I love the set of three books by Khaled Hosseini: “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, “And the Mountains Echoed”, and “Kite Runner”. They all take place in similar settings with a similar vernacular. I felt so transported to that world.

Who is your favorite author?

There is no way I can choose one! But I’ve been very into Kate Morton and Liane Moriarty lately. I finished all of Moriarty’s books at my library branch. She writes relatable, hilarious women who are grappling with real-life issues. And so suspenseful!

What book inspires you and why?

I’ve been obsessed with As I Lay Dying since I first read it in high school. I love that there is no real protagonist. The entire thing is in first person from the perspective of dozens of characters. It made me realize that to some extent, every story is just one perspective. And the truth of what “really happened” is always some blurring of all those perspectives added together.

Which literary character would you love to play?

If there was a play made out of Rita Moreno’s memoir, I’d be in heaven. It’d have to be a biopic or one-woman show.

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

I’m about to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady this summer, and I’m already in love with her. She is so witty, and saucy and self-assured. She has a wonderful zest for life and sense of humor, but she also knows her own worth and won’t back down when she feels as though she’s being looked over or talked down to.

IMG_1936What book would you like to see made into a musical/play/movie?

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton would be such a beautiful movie period piece. I love movies that cross eras and decades.

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

This is such a tough question! Part of me wants to say the Anything Goes National Tour, simply because it was so fun and felt so exciting out of college. I made some incredible friends. But I’ve done more roles since then that have felt less like a communal experience with the cast, but have taught me so much about myself as an artist and the kind of work I want to be doing. I did Marian Paroo in The Music Man last summer, and it was thrilling to be able to play aspects of myself in that role. Many people think of her as being an ingenue, but she is strong-willed, hilarious, and a dreamer.

What are you currently working on?

One Thousand Nights and One Day off-Broadway. I’m playing several characters, one being “The Virgin Bride”. The show takes place in mythical Persia and modern-day NYC, so an ensemble of 8 of us play several characters, each across these stacked layers of time.

What book is next on your reading list?

Eastern Body, Western Mind… again, so new to me! Usually I get swept up in fiction. But this show I’m working on now has asked a lot of me spiritually: to be open, to be present, to trust that my own presence is enough. I’m hoping to learn more about the chakras and how I can apply that grounded energy to my own Western view of acting and living in NYC.


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 my beautiful forever friend Gabby for sharing with us! 🙂

Book Reviews · Reading Challenges

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest Review

25740412Goodreads Summary: A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.

My Thoughts:  I found this book when I went to Barnes and Noble for the release of another book, and since I am obsessed with witches, the title and cover caught my eye right away.  I looked it up on Goodreads, as you do, and saw that it had a TON of controversy, so of course I had to get it and see what all the fuss was about.  The minute I started it I was HOOKED.  I was immediately drawn into this fantasy world, and loved learning about all of the different races and cultures.  Each one has its own complete history and societal rules, and I wanted to learn more about all of them.  The world as a whole is very segregated and racist, with The University being a melting pot of all cultures.  While I can understand how someone might have an issue with the idea of such a racist society, it made sense in this case.  The whole point of the novel is our protagonist, Elloren, and her friends discovering that what they were raised to believe about people isn’t necessarily the truth.  One of my favorite scenes was Elloren and her brother trading rumors with a couple of Lupines about things they had heard about each other’s cultures, and realizing how wrong both sides were.  There were a lot of dynamic characters, and I felt that they were all really well developed.  Elloren could get a little whiny sometimes, but it made sense with her naiveté and her sheltered upbringing.  She had a great arc, and though it takes her a while to move past everything she was indoctrinated to believe, I thought that her arc felt natural and realistic.  There was also a ton of good sexual tension with her and her love interests, and who doesn’t love that?  I was completely absorbed in the plot, especially towards the end, and while it was slower moving at some points,  it was super character driven.  I fell in love with these characters and their magical world, and I can’t wait to see where they go from here after that cliff hanger ending.

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Tags

Disney Song Book Tag

I am, and always have been, a Disney fanatic.  I know all the songs by heart, and sing them fairly regularly.  There is something about Disney that just makes my heart happy.  I found this tag on The Thrifty Bibliophile, and had to give it a go.  Check out her answers too- she picked some good ones! 🙂

A Whole New World- Pick a book that made you see the world differently:

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is one of the best books I have ever read.  So inspiring, beautifully written, and about a mix of cultures that I had very little experience with.

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Cruella De Vil- Pick your favorite villain:

I’m gonna go with the character that I have the most hatred for, and that is William Hamleigh from Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

I Won’t Say I’m In Love- Pick a book you didn’t want to admit you loved:

Do I agree that these books are trash? Yes.  Did I still devour them? Absolutely.

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Gaston- Pick a character that you couldn’t stand:

First of all, I take offense because Gaston is my favorite, and I’m not so secretly in love with him…… and my answer to the question is Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I never liked him from day one.

Part of Your World- Pick a book set in a universe you wish you could live in:

Is there even a question? I literally cried at Harry Potter World….

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A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes- Describe what the book of your dreams would be like:

A historical-fiction fantasy romance with witches

Someday My Prince Will Come- Pick a book character you would marry if you could:

God I have so many book boyfriends.  Right now my current love is Chaol from Throne of Glass, but I’m only on Book 2 so we’ll see how that goes.

I See the Light- Pick a book that changed your life:

This book is everything, and I think everyone needs to read it.

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When You Wish Upon a Star- Pick a book you wish you could read for the first time:

One of my friends from my last show was reading them for the first time and my heart hurt with jealousy and excitement for her!!

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I Just Can’t Wait to be King: Pick a book with a monarchy:

I loved this book.  One of my biggest book disappointments to date was the ending of this trilogy.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Book Characters I Would Love to Play in a Movie

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Happy Top Ten Tuesday everyone!  This week’s theme from the fabulous That Artsy Reader Girl was a FREEBIE, so I decided to share 10 Book Characters That I Would Love to Play in a Movie (or play/musical, etc).  As an actor, I always like and relate most to characters that I could see myself playing, and in almost every book I read I find myself trying to figure out what my role would be.  Hey Hollywood! I’m available 🙂

Emma Woodhouse from Emma by Jane Austen

I am reading Emma right now, and I am just obsessed with her.  I love how feisty and stubborn she is.  Plus she is so good at throwing shade.

Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena is a bad ass, and such a complicated character.  I am only two books into the series, but I can’t wait to see what is next for her.

Evangeline Samos from Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Evangeline is hands down my favorite character from this series.  She has such an amazing arc and the more we find out about her life, the more complicated and amazing I find her.

Eris Dodd Radson from The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

I immediately connected with Eris while reading The Thousandth Floor.  Her journey from spoiled rich girl, to finding out who she really is was great, and would be fun to play.

Mor from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

As much as I love Feyre, I connect with Mor.  I love the duplicity she has to play outside of the Night Court, and her backstory is so complex.

Agatha Wellbelove from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Out of the friend group in Carry On, there was just something intriguing about Agatha wanting to be normal and having to deal with all of Simon’s magical problems.

Emmeline Hartford from The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

I get cast as the ditzy party girl a lot, so I knew immediately that I wanted to play Emmeline.  She is the catalyst for so much, and I think would such an interesting part to take on.

Adelaide from The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

I was not crazy about this book, but I really loved Adelaide.  The main reason I picked up the book was because she sounded like an a-typical heroine, and she was.  She was entitled and materialistic, but she had a good heart and was willing to grow throughout the novel.

Vivi Ann Grey from True Colors by Kristin Hannah

The emotional rollercoaster that Vivi Ann goes through in this book is insane.  It would be a huge challenge to play as an actress, and I love how deeply she feels and how strong her convictions are.

Daisy Peshkov from Winter of the World by Ken Follett

This trilogy is one of my favorites, and of all the characters throughout the generations, Daisy was the one I connected to most.  She has my favorite journey, and I just think she would be so much fun to play.

Reading Challenges

My New Book Buying Ban

Like most of you, my book shelf is quite literally overflowing with books I have yet to read.  I recently just made a ton of headway on my TBR by putting myself on a book buying ban from November- March (I know.  I don’t know how I did it either.)  There were a few little loopholes, like a couple of library trips, but for the most part I stuck to it and finally got through a lot of the books that have been sitting in my apartment for a while.  I really would like to get to the point where I actually need to buy a new book.  I decided to break my ban at the end of March, and bought one book at a train station after having a good audition… Once I broke it, all bets were off and I became a monster.  I could not stop buying books.  It culminated with me crying in Barnes and Noble because my boyfriend told me I couldn’t buy the PILE of books I had chosen… Yes. I am overdramatic.  After this incident, I have decided to put myself back on a ban, but I have figured out some new rules which should make it easier, and hopefully will curb the book buying binges that I have learned depriving myself leads to.

Lexie’s Book Buying Ban Rules

I must read ten books that I own before buying one new book.

Library books do not count towards the ten, but ARC and review requests do.

Anticipated new releases do not count in the ban.

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Wish me luck folks!

 

Tags

Do Re Mi Book Character Tag

I am a total theatre nerd, so when Adrianna from For the Love of Books tagged me in her new Do Re Mi Book Character Tag, I got so excited.  I have grown up loving The Sound of Music, I have several friends who are currently touring the US with the show, and I even modeled for some of the ads for the tour (even though I’m not in the show haha)!

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Do, a deer, a female deer – Name a book character with an animal sidekick!

I’m gonna go with Ayla from the Earth’s Children Series by Jean M. Auel.  She has both the lion cub, Baby, and the horse, Whinney, that she raises and they become her only companions for a while, and they help each other survive.

Re, a drop of golden sun – Name a book character who puts a smile on everyone’s faces, they just light everything up with their presence!

Fred and George Weasley.  I know I always use them, but they’re just my favorite!

Mi, a name I call myself – Name a book character with a name you always pronounce wrong or one you wish was pronounced differently! 

I’ve come to terms with it and pronounce it correctly now, but I struggled with Rhys from A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I originally pronounced it like “R-eyes” instead of “Rees” and I had to force myself for a while to pronounce it the right way once I found out.

Fa, a long, long way to run – Name a book character who is either forced or chooses to runaway from home.

Enzi from The Gwythienian by Savannah J. Goins

So, a needle pulling thread – Name a book character who’s a healer or puts people back together in some way, you know cuz sewing! (Just go with it!)

Caris from World Without End by Ken Follett.  I love her and her whole journey as a physician in a time when so little was known.

La, a note to follow Sew – Name a book character who’s a bit of a follower, but could totally be a leader with some encouragement!

Neville Longbottom.  He starts to get there towards the end of the series, and it always makes my heart happy.

Ti, a drink with jam and bread – Name a food that a book character made you want to eat and who that character is!

I really just want to eat all of the feasts at Hogwarts….

Thanks again to Adrianna for tagging me and creating this awesome tag! I tag:

Claire @Cup of Books

Kellie @Kellie’s Book Shelf

Alana @The Bookish Chick

Top Ten Tuesday

Books I Loved But Will Never Re-Read

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It’s Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Books I Loved But Will Never Re-Read.  This theme was fairly easy for me because, with the exception of Harry Potter, I very rarely re-read books, but I fall in love with so many.  Here are 10 books that I love but have absolutely no desire to re-read.

 

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Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

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Slaughter-House-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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East of Eden by John Steinbeck

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Atonement by Ian McEwan

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Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

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The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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The Confessions of Max Tivoli

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The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Book Reviews · Reading Challenges

Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie Review

34066636Goodreads Summary: What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

My Thoughts: I have been looking forward to reading this book ever since I saw the preview for the recent film adaptation.  I knew I had to read it before I saw the movie, and I finally did.  I have to say that I was slightly underwhelmed.  With this being one of the most famous mysteries of all time, I was expecting my mind to be blown.  The ending was great, and I honestly had no idea who the culprit was going to be until it was revealed, but the rest of the lead up was a little boring.  There didn’t seem to be an actual plot, just very by the book mystery solving.  It kept me far removed from the story, and while I was intrigued by figuring it out, I was pretty unconnected.  I’m fairly new to detective stories, if you don’t count Nancy Drew, but I feel like I was expecting a more immersive experience.  I also would have liked to have been able to figure it out a little more, but there was so much information that Poirot just knew, that came out of nowhere, that it was pretty much impossible to infer anything yourself.  I watched the film after reading it, and I enjoyed it (how could you not, that cast is incredible), but I was still underwhelmed.  I’m thinking that maybe this style of story telling just isn’t for me.

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Tags

Unique Blogger Award

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I am so happy to have been nominated for the Unique Blogger award by the lovely Erin at A Redhead’s Rambling.  I am a huge fan of her blog, and love that she’s a theatre geek like me 🙂  Make sure you check her out folks!

The Rules:

1) Share the link/s of the blogger/s who has/have shown love to you by nominating you.

2) Answer their questions.

3) In the spirit of spreading the love nominate 8-13 people for the same award.

4) Ask them 3 questions.

If you could be friends with one bookish character, who would you choose and why?

Mia Thermopolis.  She’s smart, funny, goofy, loves books, and is a loyal friend.

What three songs would you pick as the playlist to your life?

Work Bitch– Britney Spears, New York, New York– Frank Sinatra, and Slide– The Goo Goo Dolls

If you could only watch one film for the rest of your life, what would you pick and why?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (or Harry Potter 1-8 on a continuous loop if that counts…)

My Nominations:

Kate @Reading Through Infinity

Bree @Bree’s Books

Shane @The Blue Green Reader

Maisy @Hawthorn Book Reviews

Adrianna @For the Love of Books

My Questions
  1. If you could pick the brain of one author, who would it be and why?
  2. What is the first book that you fell in love with?
  3. If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, which would you choose?