Monthly Wrap-Ups

May 2018 Wrap-Up

MonthlyWrap - Up

And just like that, we’re half way through the year! It’s crazy!! May was a month of playing catch up for me and getting back into the swing of NYC life again.  Luckily, my new job gives me the opportunity to read a lot! This is my best month to date as far as reading goes (10 books), and I have had some amazing luck with these books.  So many great ones!  With my birthday approaching this weekend, I can only hope that the rest of the year is as good as the first half 🙂

Books Read:

 

 

 


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 31 of 50

A to Z Challenge: 12 of 26 (E and W)

Classics Club: 4 of 50


Broadway Book Chat: Elizabeth Dugas

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May Reviews

Emma by Jane AustenEverless by Sara Holland • Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza • We Other by Sue Bentley •

May Posts

• Top 10 Tuesday: Books With My Favorite Color on the Cover • Inspired by The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho • Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Disliked but Am Glad I Read • The Netflix Book Tag • Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I’d Want/Never Want to Live In •

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I’d Want/Never Want to Live In

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Happy Top Ten Tuesday everyone! This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Ten Bookish Worlds I’d Want to/Never Want to Live In.  There are so many worlds that I want to be a part of and some that I love, but would never want to live in.  Mainly I just want to be magic.

Worlds I Want to Live In:

Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Book Reviews · Reading Challenges

We Other by Sue Bentley Blog Tour

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We Other with quote V2Summary: Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.

When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie.  She is linked to a world where humans- ‘hot bloods’- are disposable entertainment.  Life on a run-down estate — her single mom’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend — become the least of Jess’s worries.



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

My Thoughts: There have been so many faerie books coming out recently, and I was excited to see the take on them in this book.  We Other started out really strong.  The opening grabbed me, and I loved the transition from the past into the present.  Our heroine, Jess, was a spunky and angsty teen, with too much responsibility on her shoulders, due to her mom’s drinking and abusive relationships.  I think her mom’s history, that we find out in pieces and flashbacks, was my favorite part of the story, and it was cool to put all the pieces together.  The introduction of Caleb and Ivy was a surprise, and the weaving and connecting of all the story lines was really well done.  Jess and Caleb’s relationship felt very inta-lovey to me, and I didn’t buy it 100%.  I liked each of their characters individually, but I didn’t feel a spark between them.  The plot was a little slow moving and anticlimactic, but it was easy to read.  The beginning and the end felt like two different books with where the narrative progressed, and this whole book felt like a set up for the next part of the story.  There were some good reveals, and some exciting moments, but overall it was pretty low-key.  The afterword definitely sets you up for a sequel, and I while I’m not dying for the next book, I would like to see how it turns out.

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Purchase We Other

Win a copy of We Other!

We Other blog tour giveaway

About the Author: Sue Bentley

Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age.  She worked for We Other - Sue author pic 5Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing.  She is the author of the worldwide, bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years.  She also writes for children and adults under various pen names.  A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the every day.  Her books have been translated into around 20 languages.  We Other is her first book for Young Adults. www.suebentley.co.uk

•Twitter: @Suebentleywords• Facebook: Sue Bentley Author •

• Instagram: @therealsuebentley• Goodreads: Sue Bentley Author 



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Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Elizabeth Dugas

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

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Elizabeth Dugas

Currently performing in The Beast in the Jungle

www.elizabethdugas.com

Instagram: @emdugas

What are you currently reading?

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman.  Thanks to my dear friend and cast mate, Leah Hoffman, who leant it to me!

What is your favorite book series?

The Baby-Sitter’s Club.  That probably sounds like a funny response with all of the amazing options out there, but I was a particularly avid reader as a child and I loved few things more than going to a used book store.  It was my personal mission to collect and read every single book from that series… I think I got pretty close actually (There are 131 by the way… and 122 in the spin-off Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister.)

Who is your favorite author?

Currently, Kristin Hannah. Her book, The Nightingale, was one that had me staying up all night because I just couldn’t put it down.  I also really like Gillian Flynn and shout out to E.B. White for writing my favorite childhood book, Charlotte’s Web.

What book inspires you and why?

Yes Please by Amy Poehler.  In the age of everyone writing self-help books, this one felt particularly real and unapologetically hilarious.  One stand out quote, that I found particularly applicable to people in our field:IMG_7433

“You have to care about your work, but not about the result.  You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.  I realize this is extremely difficult.  I am not saying I am particularly good at it.  I’m like you.  Or maybe you’re better at this than I am.”

Which literary character would you like to play?

Hermione Granger, one hundred percent! She’s strong, loyal, independent, super smart… the list goes on and on and I’m all for playing a badass female!

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

Lorna from Bullets Over Broadway! Though her track featured a mere one word line, “Hello!”, her subtext and ability to keep David and the play together were vital.  She also triggers my Type-A nerdy side and I’m now good friends with the girl that played her on Broadway (shoutout to Brittany Marcin Maschmeyer).  I’d also like to be friends with Edie Falco who played her in the movie so…. Lorna FOREVER!

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

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger…. Yes, it’s already a movie, and No, I’m not super into every movie getting a stage adaptation, but I think this would be so fun, and the costumes would be FABULOUS!

What is the next book on your reading list?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I know I’m super late to the game, but it’s one I really want to read before watching the TV series.

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

This is such a hard question, but I think I have to give it to The Beast in the Jungle for a couple reasons. 1) There’s something so special about being a part of creative process, and I’ve been lucky enough to work on two workshops of this production before finding a home at the Vineyard.  Which leads into 2) It’s incredibly inspiring to hear the audience’s response to the piece after being isolated with it in a studio for a year and a half.  And 3) It’s a story that needs to be told, and I feel everyone can relate to in one way or another.  I still get chills offstage every night watching the final scene featuring the brilliant Peter Friedman.

What show are you currently working on?

I am currently in The Beast in the Jungle at the Vineyard theatre.  Prior to that I was in Turandot at The Metropolitan Opera, playing an attendant and temptress… also known as Ballet Lady #18 (kidding….. kinda 🙂 )

Check out and buy tickets to see Elizabeth and the cast of The Beast in the Jungle!

Check out Elizabeth’s fundraising page for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and donate to this amazing cause here!

I 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 the wonderful Liz for sharing with us! 🙂 ❤

Book Reviews

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza Review

34705479Goodreads Summary: When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin–the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin–her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place?

A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.

My Thoughts:  This book was so much fun.  The writing style was easy, engaging, hilarious, and I devoured it.  It was a perfect satire of the health and wellness industry, and the pressure that is put on people today to be fit.  Living in NYC, in a business that is heavily centered on fitness, all of the characters were like people that I come across on a daily basis.   They were exaggeratedly ridiculous, while still maintaining truth.  I really liked and connected with the main character Janey.  All of her feelings were super relatable, and I felt for her situation.  Her best friend Beau, the catalyst for Janey’s fitness journey, was just the worst (in the best way).  While being manipulative and cruel, he still managed to be entertaining, and I completely understood their relationship.  I loved Ivy, and know a lot of friends who teach fitness who go through the same thing she does.  I felt that the plot definitely took a back seat to the characters in the novel, but it was a super quick and engaging read.  Everything happens pretty quickly, but it matches the high-stakes writing style.  Janey’s arc wasn’t super big, but I appreciated the subtle changes in her thinking and self-confidence.  It made her seem more real and I felt super satisfied with how it ended.  This book definitely gave me Devil Wears Prada vibes, and I think fans of Lauren Weisberger would enjoy this one too.  I’m for sure going to pick up Sykes and Piazza’s other book, The Knock-Off, soon and I am excited to see what else they come up with!

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Tags

The Netflix Book Tag

Happy Thursday everybody! It has been super rainy and gross here in NYC lately, so all I’ve been wanting to do is sit on my couch with my books and TV.  Kat at Life and Other Disasters did The Netflix Book Tag a little bit ago, and tagged anyone who likes Netflix.  I figured that since I love me some Netflix, this was the perfect time to tackle this tag!


Recently Watched: The last book you finished reading.

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Wow. I am still reeling from this book.  I saw people DYING over Obsidio, so I thought it was about time I saw what the fuss was about.  Holy shit. I’m deceased.  I can’t remember the last time that my heart raced so fast while reading a book.


Top Picks: A book that has been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.

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My good friend recommended this to me, and I definitely trust her opinions on books.  She knows my love fore fantasy runs deep, and she said this is a must read.


Recently Added: The last book you bought.

I am on strict Book Buying Ban rules, but luckily for me New Releases that I have been waiting eagerly for are not included 🙂


Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about. (2 You’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading.)

Books I’ve Read:

Books I Haven’t Read Yet:


Comedies: A funny book.

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One of my favorite series ever.  It just makes my heart so happy.


Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king.

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Miranda Priestly. Queen.


Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover.

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Watch it Again: A book or series that you want to re-read.

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I’m on my 5th re-read of the series.  I’ll never stop. NEVER.


Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone.

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I always rave about this book, but I seriously think everyone needs it in their lives.


Action Adventure: An action packed book.

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See above. Still dead.


New Releases: A book that just came out, or will be coming out soon, that you can’t wait to read.

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FINALLY!!!!


 

TAGS:

Tamika @Paperback & Flick Chick

Taylor @Taylor Talks Books

Adrianna @For the Luv of Books

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Disliked but Am Glad I Read

 

TTT-Big2Happy Top 10 Tuesday everybody! Well, in my case today we have a Top 8.  This theme from That Artsy Reader Girl was really difficult for me, because there are very few books that I don’t like, and the ones that I don’t like I’m not glad I read so….. here it goes!


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The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

I did not like this book, but I am glad that I read it if only to brag about having read the 1,207 page monstrosity.


 

37442Wicked by Gregory Maguire

This book was a STRUGGLE.  I’m glad I read it just because it’s the source material for the musical which I love so much.


 

10988Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

I loved the beginning of this series so much, and this book is where it started to lose me.  I love the characters so much that I did continue to the next book, but I still have not finished the whole series.


 

72978Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare

I know.  I’m an actor who doesn’t die over Shakespeare… I read this one in my college Shakespeare class, and while interesting, it was just not my cup of tea.  Super bloody and violent- just not my fave.  Although I’m glad as an actor that I have the knowledge of it now.


1078The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

I read this in middle school for english class, and I HATED it.  It was so hard to get through, but it’s on a bunch of Best Lists, so I guess I’m glad I can say I read it?


 

gatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I wanted to love this so much, and I actually do LOVE the story… I just struggle a bit with Fitzgerald’s prose.. I’ve tried another one, and it still didn’t do it for me… Not sure why.


 

17465453The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I love Elizabeth Gilbert, and while this book was really hard to get through, I still felt something when I finished it.


 

p and pPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

My first Austen.  I read it in high school for a book report and it wasn’t my fave.  I definitely want to give it another try though, because I have recently fallen in love with Austen, and I think this one deserves another shot.

Book Reviews

Everless by Sara Holland Review

32320661Goodreads Summary: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.


My Thoughts: I liked Everless.  Was it amazing? No, but it was an enjoyable YA Fantasy novel.  I’ve been excited to read this book ever since I first heard its premise.  The idea is so interesting, but unfortunately the execution just seemed a little under developed.  The origin story of The Sorceress and The Alchemist, which is supposed to explain how the blood-irons came to be, was confusing and didn’t feel fully completed or fleshed out with enough detail.  The first mention of it was confusing and hard to follow, and I just kind of accepted that it had happened somehow and moved on.  They keep coming back to the legend, so I was able to figure out a little more every time, but I still didn’t feel like I had a full grasp on it.  Background info aside, I did still enjoy the concept and the world of the story.  I felt very indifferent about most of the characters.  Jules was a very typical YA heroine, and her “love interest”, Roan, was super boring.  I did like Liam and Caro and thought they were interesting and a little more complex.  The plot of this book started off a bit slower, but MAN did it pick up towards the end.  The last few chapters were awesome and had a bunch of twists that I actually didn’t see coming, which surprised me because the rest of the book had been pretty predictable.  Overall, Everless was a quick and fun read, and after that ending I’m excited to see where the story goes from here!

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Discussion Posts

Inspired by The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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People have been telling me to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for years, and I always knew that I wanted to read it, but something made me put it off.  I finally read it, and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner.  It is such a heartwarming, thought provoking, and inspiring story.  As an actor, you always have people telling you that your dreams are crazy, or unrealistic, and sometimes it is hard to deal with.  I am very lucky to have the most supportive family, who have never once questioned my decision to become a performer.  One of my favorite quotes my mom tells me all the time is:

“If people aren’t laughing at your dreams, then they’re not big enough.”

The Alchemist just helped to reinforce that I am on the right path, and I think it is a book that everyone should read, regardless of where you are in life.  I know I am late to the party on this one, but I am so happy that I finally experienced the magic of this book.  While reading, I wrote down a few of the quotes that really resonated with me and I wanted to share them here.


“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”


“I’m like everyone else- I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not actually what does.”


“This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one.”


“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”


“The secret is here in the present.  If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it.  And if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.”


“You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny.  If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love.”


Do you have any quotes from this magical novel that spoke to you?  What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments ❤

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With My Favorite Color on the Cover

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Happy Top Ten Tuesday everybody!  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Books With My Favorite Color on the Cover.  My favorite color is red, and so many good covers make use of it 🙂 Here are a few of my faves.



The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Wesiberger • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab • The Elite by Kiera Cass • Petty Magic by Camille DeAngelis • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas • Rumors by Anna Godbersen • Paper Towns by John Green • The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman • The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston •



 

Have you read any of these? Which are your favorites? Let me know in the comments 🙂