Monthly Wrap-Ups

June 2018 Wrap-Up

MonthlyWrap - Up

This was a fun and hectic month!  I turned 26, and celebrated at high tea with my boyfriend, followed by drinks with friends.  I also have two great friends who got married this month, including my best friend since I was born, who is getting married today!  We’ve had a lot building up to this moment and I am so excited to be a part of her special day 🙂  I also read some pretty great books, as well as some duds.


Books Read:

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard 
by Lauren Kate 
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer 
You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero 
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 
Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch 
Caraval by Stephanie Garber 

Favorite Book of the Month:

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Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 38 of 50

A to Z Challenge: 12 of 26 (I kinda failed on this one this month)

Classics Club Challenge: 4 of 50


Broadway Book Chat: David Girolmo

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June Reviews

• Practicing Normal by Cara Sue AchterbergWar Storm by Victoria AveyardReview: Blackout (The Color Alchemist #3) by Nina Walker

June Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Decided to DNF (or Should Have) • The Spring Cleaning Book Tag • Top 10 Tuesday: Books That Awaken The Travel Bug In Me • Cleaning Up My TBR- Down the TBR Hole #1 • Top 10 Tuesday: Books to Read by the Pool — My Summer TBR • Mid-Year Freak Out Tag 2018 • Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Don’t Plan to Finish •

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Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: David Girolmo

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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David Girolmo

Currently performing as Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at The Fulton Theatre

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin.  This oddly named book was a recommendation from a friend who nearly cried telling me how much he loved it, and how many times he re-read it.  We’ll see…

 What is your favorite book series?

Man this is a tough one…  There are so many that I have loved over the years; from The Lord of the Rings books, to Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series, C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series, Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series, Harry Potter, The Dark Tower… Too many wonderful hours.  If I have to choose one, I’ll go with John Sanford’s Prey series and his principle character Lucas Davenport.  I don’t know how many he’s written (upwards of 30 by now)- but I’ve loved them all.  No wait!! It has to be the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin.  I lived and cried, and loved with this group of people Maupin created for years- re-reading each book like it was the first time.  Yep, that’s it.  Tales of the City.

Who is your favorite author?

I thought this one would be harder- but my immediate response is Stephen King, and I’ll stick with that.  I’ve been reading his work since his first published novel, and we’ve sortof grown up together.  Just finished his latest, The Outsider, and loved it.  Other favorite authors: John Irving, Peter Straub, Harlen Coben, Armistead Maupin, John Sandford, Craig Johnson, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury…

What book inspires you and why?

frollo

Do plays that I’ve read count as books?  There are so many plays I’ve read over the years that inspired me to be a better person/actor/friend/husband… When I was a kid (six or seven years old) I received a boxed edition of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh series for my birthday that I read over and over again.  I wanted so desperately for those stories to go on and on forever.  I was really bereft when I realized there were no more Pooh books, no more stories.  Maybe that’s why I love all these series: The characters go on as long as the author keeps writing.  I know I get inspired by characters who behave heroically.  I wish I were able to access the better angels of my nature when I read about people doing the right thing against all odds.

Which literary character would you like to play?

Ned Stark… Or Robin Hood… or Walt Longmire… or Iago… Because it would be a BLAST!! Ned Stark, Robin Hood, and Walt Longmire are men of character and virtue who behave heroically.  Iago is just as bad a guy as ever was written, and that would be too much fun!

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

Fred Graham/Petruchio from Kiss Me Kate.  Who had more fun than Petruchio? Or maybe Sweeney Todd/Benjamin Barker… maybe I could persuade him not to go back into that pie shop….

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

I’d like to see a musical version of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  I’ve seen a pretty badly realized BBC TV movie, and a very small scale play in Chicago.  This cries out for a musical.

What book is next on your reading list?

The Listener by Robert McCammon

What show are you currently working on and who do you play?

I’m currently in The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Fulton Theatre playing Claude Frollo.  The last show I did was Guys and Dolls playing Arvide Abernathy.  Two more disparate roles I could never have hoped for in the same season!

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

Probably Sondheim’s Follies because that’s where I met my favorite person in the world– my wife.


Check out David and the cast of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at The Fulton Theatre!

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 insanely talented David for sharing with us! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Don’t Plan to Finish

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I love nothing more than a good book series.  There are so many that I am in the middle of, or that I still need to start, and sometimes you have to give up on the luke warm ones to move on to the others.  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is 10 Series I Don’t Plan to Finish.  Here are my choices that I am un-hauling to make room for the other ones I want to read.

Fallen by Lauren Kate

I just read the first book in this series and was so underwhelmed.  I feel no urge to continue on.  Review to come.


We Other by Sue Bentley

I did a blog tour for this book and while I enjoyed it, I don’t think I’ll read the rest of the series because I have so many other higher priority books.


Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

I was obsessed with this series in high school, and I just kind of fell off after the first couple books.  Now it’s been so long that I don’t even remember what happened and I don’t care enough to review and keep going.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series) by Stieg Larsson

I liked these books more than I thought I would.  I read the first two and never continued on.  Once I found out that the original author died and someone else continued to write the series I lost interest.


Lives of the Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice

Hated the first book, definitely not going on.


Between the Lines Duology by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

I was so excited about this one, and I was underwhelmed unfortunately.  I don’t think I’ll go on to the second book.


Witching Savannah Series by J.D. Horn

I found this one on my kindle and it sounded so good.  It ended up being kind of meh and disappointing.


Matched by Ally Condie

I read the first two so long ago and remember liking them, but it’s been so long now and I’ve kind of moved on and don’t feel the need to finish.


The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

I LOVED the TV show based on this series and was devastated when it was cancelled.  I only read the first book which didn’t captivate me as much as the show.


The Odan Terridor Trilogy by Savannah J. Goins

I got this book sent to me as an ARC by the LOVELY Savannah J. Goins, and while there were some things I really enjoyed about this book, I don’t think I’ll continue on with the rest of the trilogy.


 

 

 

Book Reviews · Reading Challenges

Review: Blackout (The Color Alchemist #3) by Nina Walker

blackoutSummary: Trembling in the wake of devastating treachery, can the Loxely sisters finally bring down the Royals?

United in the cause of saving their kingdom and bringing their family back together, Jessa and Sasha will face their greatest tests yet. Jessa’s wedding is coming at her faster than she can stop it, but it’s Sasha who is running out of time. Things aren’t as they seem in the palace, and the one person who can save them is the one they’ll never trust again.

 


My Thoughts: I wish more people knew about this series because it really is fantastic.  At the end of Book 2, the world is kind of in shambles, and we pick up right where we left off.  Lucas and Jessa’s relationship is very strained (for good reason), and I started to get annoyed with Lucas and his not understanding her feelings.  It did taint my view of him for a while, but I came back around to him towards the end.  Sasha is my favorite character, and my love for her grows the more we see and learn about her.  I really enjoy the love triangle between her, Mastin, and Tristan.  I think it’s well done and understandable why she would be torn. *Cough Team Mastin Cough*.  We got a glimpse of West America in Book 2, but it was great to get a more in depth experience with it, and I love where we’re going with this plot line.  I still find the whole system of magic in this book very interesting. Jessa’s growing ability with purple alchemy makes it even more so –There are so many possibilities.  The villains in this series are despicable and I can’t wait for them to get theirs because I am getting frustrated with them and can’t take it anymore.  While I found this book a little slower moving than the others, there was still a ton of action and cliff hangers, and the ending was insane!  I can’t wait for Book 4!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Ups · Tags

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag 2018

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I did this tag last June (created by Ely and Chami at A Book So Fathomless), and have been seeing it pop up all over again.  I think it’s a great way to recap the first half of the year, so here we are! 🙂

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

It’s a tie right now between The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman and The House at Riverton by Kate Morton.  Both gave me such severe book hangovers that I was basically a zombie afterwords.


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018

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I’m loving this series so much.  I can’t wait to get to the next one, because I know I have so much to look forward to! AHH!


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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I love The Devil Wear’s Prada series, and I cannot wait to read the third installment.  Especially because it’s about Emily and she’s my favorite 🙂


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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Ahhhh there are so many I am excited about, but Kate Morton has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait for her new release The Clockmaker’s Daughter in October!


Biggest Disappointment

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Don’t get me wrong, this is still a great book, and I liked it, however; I had such high hopes and there was so much anticipation for this release and finale, and I was underwhelmed by the ending.


Biggest Surprise

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On the surface, this does not seem like a book I would like… and I’m obsessed with it.  I love fantasy, but I’ve never been a huge sci-fi person.  This book is INSANE and I lived for every second of it.


Favorite New Author

children

I fell in love with this book and her writing, and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us! 🙂


Newest Fictional Crush

Chaol from Throne of Glass


Newest Favorite Character

Leni Allbright from The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


Book That Made You Cry

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Blubbering MESS, per usual with Kristin Hannah.  LOVED this book.


Book That Made you Happy

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Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

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This series is incredible, and I love that it is expanding past the end of the book for the 2nd season.  Great writing and incredible acting. Way to go Hulu.


Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year So Far

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

I had so much fun with this one.


Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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What Books You Need to Read by the End of the Year

I have too many to name.  I do know that I need to finish the rest of the Throne of Glass series before the new one comes out this fall!  I have my Current TBR up and I update it regularly, so whenever I see a must read soon book I’ll add it to that list.


I tag anyone who hasn’t done this one yet and wants to 😉


Hope everyone is having a great year so far! Do you agree with my answers? Have you read any of the same books as me? Have any recommendations for me to add to my list? Let me know in the comments! 🙂 ❤ Happy reading bookworms!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books to Read by the Pool — My Summer TBR

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I used to love summer reading as a kid.  I would always look forward to the time when I’d have no school, lots of dance performances and trips, and time to read whatever I wanted.  Now that I’m an adult and summer vacation is a thing of the past, I may not feel that freedom anymore, but there is still something magical that I feel with books I read in the summer time.  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Books To Read By the Pool– My Summer TBR.  So without further ado, here are the first 10 books that I am hoping to tackle this summer!


292362991. Gemina by Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #2)

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


278832142. Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Caraval #1)

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.


260328253. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #1)

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


206134704. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #3)

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.


211048285. The Lake House by Kate Morton

A missing child.

June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t have. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever.

An abandoned house.

Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police. She retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall but soon finds herself at a loose end. Until one day, Sadie stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.

An unsolved mystery.

Meanwhile, in the attic writing room of her elegant Hampstead home, the formidable Alice Edevane, now an old lady, leads a life as neatly plotted as the bestselling detective novels she writes. Until a young police detective starts asking questions about her family’s past, seeking to resurrect the complex tangle of secrets Alice has spent her life trying to escape.


323330266. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.


5818117. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Dolls: red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight-for Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three women become best friends when they are young and struggling in New York City and then climb to the top of the entertainment industry-only to find that there is no place left to go but down-into the Valley of the Dolls.

 

 


323333388. Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.


363736479. When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada #3)

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Weisberger returns with a novel starring one of her favorite characters from The Devil Wears Prada—Emily Charlton, first assistant to Miranda Priestly, now a highly successful image consultant who’s just landed the client of a lifetime.

Welcome to Greenwich, CT, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor.

Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI—with a Suburban full of other people’s children.

Miriam is the link between them. Until recently she was a partner at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious law firms. But when Miriam moves to Greenwich and takes time off to spend with her children, she never could have predicted that being stay-at-home mom in an uber-wealthy town could have more pitfalls than a stressful legal career.

Emily, Karolina, and Miriam make an unlikely trio, but they desperately need each other. Together, they’ll navigate the social landmines of life in America’s favorite suburb on steroids, revealing the truths—and the lies—that simmer just below the glittering surface. With her signature biting style, Lauren Weisberger offers a dazzling look into another sexy, over-the-top world, where nothing is as it appears.


15110. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.

Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, ‘He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.


What books are on your summer reading list? Are you planning to read any of the same books as me? Let me know in the comments! Happy reading! 🙂

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Cleaning Up My TBR- Down the TBR Hole #1

I joined Goodreads a few years ago, way before I started blogging, so my profile is kind of a mess.  I really want to clean it up so I can make better use of it.  I thought what a better way to do that than to join the Down the TBR Hole meme started by Lia @Lost In a Story! I am going to do it once a month instead of weekly, and hopefully make my Goodreads a pleasant place to be again 🙂

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Down the TBR Hole #1

1953A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

My Thoughts: This book is on my Classics Club list, and I have always wanted to read such a classic piece of literature.  The premise sounds interesting to me too… Now to find out if I like Dickens. Verdict: KEEP


Moby Dick by Herman Melville153747

“It is the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ships’ cables and hawsers. A Polar wind blows through it, and birds of prey hover over it.”

So Melville wrote of his masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imagination in literary history. In part, Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopaedia of whaling lore and legend, the book can be seen as part of its author’s lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is also a profound inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.

My Thoughts: Ugh. This is hard already.  I feel like I HAVE to read it because it is one of the most famous books of all time, but it just sounds SO BORING and SO LONG.  This has always been one of those books that I would say “I’ll read it SOMEDAY…” Let’s be real though… I’m never gonna be in the mood for this.  (I feel the guilt already and may change my mind later…) Verdict: TOSS


929Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

My Thoughts: Ok, this book has been on my TBR ever since I saw my mom reading it when I was in middle school.  I just don’t feel a very drawn to it… I feel weird getting rid of it after so long but…. Verdict: TOSS


2187Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

My Thoughts: This one has been called EPIC in many cases, and has won a ton of awards.  Its been sitting on my shelf for years, and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet!  It is definitely different from what I normally read, so I think I’ve been waiting until I’m in the right mood for it… I just need to get on with it. Verdict: KEEP


10441The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down’s Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century – in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

My Thoughts: I added this book because my mom had read it and gave me her copy, but I probably would never have picked it out on my own.  While part of it intrigues me, there are so many other books that I want to prioritize. Verdict: TOSS


WOW.  This is A LOT more difficult than I thought it would be… It feels like I’m getting rid of my babies.  Hopefully it’ll get easier as we go because I’ve got 861 left to go… Oh boy…

What do you think of my choices?  Let me know in the comments 🙂
Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books That Awaken The Travel Bug In Me

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 I love to travel and I want to do so much more of it.  Part of the reason I love books so much is getting to experience other places from afar until I can get there myself.  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is Books That Awaken the Travel Bug in Me.


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Italy is at the top of my travel wish list!  This book had such vivid pictures of Italy that I even looked up flights to get there!


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Italy, India, and Bali.  This story was very inspiring to me and made me want to drop everything and travel.


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Russian history is so interesting, and I would love to visit and see it all first hand.


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I fell IN LOVE with Scotland when I read this book, and even more in love with it when I went.  I only got to spend 1 day there, and I definitely need to go back.


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I had never had any desire to go to Alaska until I read The Great Alone.  With the scenery being treated almost like a character in itself, I would love to experience the vast greatness of Alaska described in this beautiful novel.


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With all of the amazing countries in this trilogy, and all of their histories, of course I need to visit all of them someday.


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Ever since I became obsessed with Mary Kate and Ashley’s movie Our Lips are Sealed, I have been fascinated with Australia.  This book just magnified my desire to see it.


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One of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read, this book not only makes me want to go to Egypt and Spain, but also just travel in general.


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I love British history, and I fell in LOVE with London.  I want to go back so much it hurts.


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I love the atmosphere created in The Sookie Stackhouse novels, and whenever I read them, I get the strong desire to head down South.


Where do you want to travel?  What books awaken your wanderlust? Let me know in the comments.
Book Reviews

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard *Spoiler Free* Review

27188596Synopsis: Victory comes at a price.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

*Spoiler Free*

My Thoughts:  Being the conclusion to such a great series, I was so excited to read War Storm, almost to the point of nervousness.  After all this time, I wanted an amazing and epic finale and had high expectations.  It felt so good to be back with these characters that I have grown to love and invest in.  Just like in the previous books, I loved that Aveyard just jumps right in to the action at the start.  There were so many layers and plot lines, that I never had any idea where the story was going to go.  This book, while it does have some of the great battle scenes we’ve come to expect, focused a lot on the politics and the inner workings of each kingdom, which I thought was interesting.  I loved the involvement and development we got with Montfort- and how the relationships with them affected all the characters individually.  We got a ton of different perspectives in this book, more so than the others, and I thought they all worked really well in developing the plot, and never felt overwhelming or confusing.  It definitely made it more of an ensemble story than just Mare’s, which I think might have taken away some of it’s “umfph”.  Evangeline Samos is without a doubt my favorite character, and she has the best arc in this book, while the rest of the characters stay, more or less, the same.  There were several big events spread out throughout the book, and while I loved all of them, I sort of wish we would have had a bigger, stronger build up to the final confrontation.  While the last battle was exciting, it sort of felt anticlimactic and unsatisfying for the end of the series.  The very ending is left open, which also disappointed me a bit.  I like a strong, concrete ending, especially in a finale, and found this one to be a bit underwhelming.  Overall, I loved being back in the world of Red Queen and being back with these characters again, seeing where they all ended up.  I just wanted a slightly bigger and more explosive finale to what was a wonderful series.

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Tags

The Spring Cleaning Book Tag

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Spring cleaning… Something I really need to do in my apartment desperately… but I was tagged in The Spring Cleaning Book Tag by Reading with Jessica so for now, this will have to do 🙂

The Struggle of Getting Started: A book or series you struggle to begin because of its size

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This is always the first book that comes to mind for books that I have been meaning to read for ever, and the reason I haven’t gotten to it is because of its size and its intimidation factor… I’m planning on tackling it finally this year though!

Cleaning Out the Closet: A book or series you want to unhaul

This series has been on my TBR since MIDDLE SCHOOL, and I still have never read it.  It seemed so scandalous to my younger self, but now that I’m older, the desire to read it has disappeared. Bye!

Opening Windows and Letting Fresh Air In: A book that was refreshing

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This book is easily one of my favorites that I’ve read this year.  It just fills your heart with happiness and hope and it is so incredibly beautiful.

Washing Out The Sheets: A book with a scene you wish you could rewrite

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WORST ENDING EVER.  It still makes my blood boil to think about it.

Throwing Out Unnecessary Knick-Knacks: A book in a series you didn’t think was necessary

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As much as I loved coming back into Mia’s world, this book was unnecessary.  The original series ended so perfectly, and I think this one felt thrown on the end.

Polishing Doorknobs: A book that had a clean finish

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I absolutely adore Kate Morton and after the long journey of this story, the ending wrapped up everything very well and gave me a gigantic book hangover!

Reaching to Dust the Fan: A book that tried too hard to relay a certain message

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I ended up really liking and being haunted by this book.  I did think it tried too hard to shock with all of the explicit, sexual scenes that seemed unnecessary to me though.

The Tiring, Yet Satisfying Finish of Spring Cleaning: A book series that was tiring but satisfying to get through

I loved The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but it was not a quick and easy read.  Even now, I feel like I need to re-read them because I feel like I missed things, and that there is so much more information to be absorbed from this world.  I’ve recently been watching the movies, so its putting me in the mood to read them again.


I TAG:

A Cat, A Book, and A Cup of Tea

Lorraine Ambers

Books in Bloom