Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Classics Club Challenge: Persuasion by Jane Austen

31298657Summary: Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.


I loved this book.  I am a converted Austen fan and I think Persuasion is one of my favorites.  Anne is such a great character.  She is sweet, smart, and reasonable, and she deals with her crazy family with grace.  Her family is hilariously vain and annoying and I couldn’t help but laugh with them.  Austen is unparalleled for me in her sarcastic observations about society, and this book showcases them greatly in its supporting characters.  Anne’s relationship with Captain Wentworth is slow-burning and I loved their interactions and the build-up of their romance.  The story was short and sweet but so fully fleshed out and I was deeply invested in the characters.  The more Austen I read, the more I can’t decide which is my favorite.  I think this one is up there.

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Identity Crisis Tag

a baby shower for amelia

I am obsessed with taking quizzes.  My roommates and I sit in our living room and take quizzes together almost every day– they’re very important to us.  When I saw the Identity Crisis Tag over at one of my favorite book bloggers, The Orangutan Librarian, I knew I had to do it.


THE RULES ARE:

  1. Take all the quizzes down below and record your answers.
  2. NO CHEATING. You get one shot to take each quiz.
  3. Give credit to the creator Loretta @ The Laughing Listener or tag her on twitter @LaughnListener so she can see everyone’s answers!!
  4. Tag some friends to spread the fun!

*I only did the quizzes for the series that I’ve read just in case the others came with spoilers 🙂 The links to the quizzes are on the book titles.*


Red Queen

I GOT: Killorn

Did you forget about Kilorn? Well you shouldn’t have! He may not be the center of attention but he has stuck by Mare since day one and didn’t even hesitate to join the Scarlet Guard. Just like Kilorn, your loyalty and bravery are your most admirable qualities. Rise, Red as the Dawn!

This one surprised me!  I always liked Killorn though so I’m not mad about this one.  Loyal and brave? Not bad things to be at all.


Throne of Glass

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I GOT: Rowan and Asterin

You may come off as stand-offish at first, but once a new friend earns your loyalty, they have it for life. Not without good reason. You’ve been through your fair share of struggles and are careful to protect yourself from more.

I love both of these characters so I’m not mad about this one either.  I don’t necessarily agree with the result’s description though.


Hunger Games

I GOT: Katniss

You’re smart, talented, and fiercely independent. You may not mean to but everyone looks up to you. Not only have you got a fiery spirit but you have a big heart — your friends and family mean the world to you. Keep on being you.

Um. Yeah, I’ll take it.


Harry Potter

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I GOT: Fred Weasley

You’re the life of the party! You never take things too seriously and can diffuse tense situations with your sense of humor. You might not be top of your class, but your creativity and wit are the reasons for your success.

MY FAVORITE CHARACTER!! I wish I was as funny as the Weasley twins!


A Court of Thorns and Roses

I GOT: Feyre

A badass huntress in a small, grumpy package, you’re navigating your swift change from weak mortal to powerful High Fae. You’re slow to trust and even slower to forgive, but could your soulmate be waiting in the shadows if you’d risk letting your guard down?

Hmmm… I don’t really agree with this one at all for myself, but I’ll take it.


Twilight

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I GOT: Jessica Stanley

The friend that everyone needs in their life, you must be Jessica! Sure, humans might not get to have as much fun as vampires, but you’ll show ’em how it’s done. You’re ever so curious, ever so friendly, and a little bit crazy — who wouldn’t want you as a BFF?

Ok, this one is a little boring but I guess it could be worse?


The Cruel Prince

I GOT: Taryn

People may think you’re shy but you have secrets of your own. You have your own desires and will go after them, no matter what it takes.

I would agree with this one for sure.  She’s one of my favorite characters and I feel like I related to her while reading.


This was so much fun and I tag Flavia the Bibliophile, The Coycaterpiller Reads, and anyone who loves quizzes and books as much as I do!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Personality Traits I Love to See In Books

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl, is about our favorite character traits!  Here are ten of the traits that I love to read about. 🙂

  1. Confidence. I love it when characters exude confidence.  There is so much self-deprecation out there (a lot of which parades itself as “humbleness”), especially in YA, and when I can find a character who actually feels good about themselves it makes me happy.
  2. Bookish. As a bookworm myself, I love finding other bookish characters I can relate to.  I also love when there are bookish characters who don’t necessarily fit the “bookworm” stereotype- like Jess from Gilmore Girls.
  3. Goofballs.  Who doesn’t love humor?  I am always drawn to the funny characters.  My perfect examples are Fred and George Weasley.
  4. Unapologetic. This goes hand in hand with confidence, but when characters are unapologetic about who they are I think they make such interesting characters.  They’re true to themselves no matter what.  Celaena from Throne of Glass is exactly that.  She can be a complete badass while also loving to dress up and be super girly.
  5. Witty.  Quick, whip-smart dialogue really gets me.
  6. Ambitious.  This is a big one for me in real life too.  I love when characters want to work hard towards a bigger goal.  It makes their plot points more interesting as you’re really rooting for them to succeed.
  7. Morally Gray.  Probably my favorite type of character.  They are always more dimensional and get my feelings all confused- which is the best.
  8. Snarky/Sarcastic. There is something so satisfying about a great sarcastic comment.
  9. Resourceful.  Watching people figure out what they need to do to fix the problem, or get out of a tight spot is so fun.  When someone finds a way that I never would have thought of, it gets me excited.
  10. Big-Hearted. To me this is more than just kindness.  It’s generosity with their feelings and actions.  It is a deeper sense of caring for other people and a willingness to accept and grow from others.  To me, Hermione Granger is the perfect example of someone who is big-hearted.
What traits do your favorite characters exhibit? Let me know in the comments!
Book Reviews

BOOK HANGOVER: American Royals by Katharine McGee

40102928Summary: What if America had a royal family?

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.



I am a HUGE Katharine McGee fan, and American Royals has been my most anticipated release of the year.  Boy, it did NOT disappoint.  This book was amazing.  The concept was so genius and the execution was superb.  The setting was beautifully created with a great mix of familiar and brand new aspects of our modern world.  I loved how America having a monarchy instead of a democracy affected the rest of the world’s history as well as its own.  There were so many clever bits here to show us the development of the world and I was sincerely impressed by the thought and detail of this reimagining.  As we’ve come to expect from Katharine McGee, the story is told from multiple POV’s and they work together seamlessly to create a deliciously dramatic plot that I could not get enough of.  I loved every single one of these characters, from the prim and perfect future Queen Beatrice to the conniving social climber Daphne.  They were all so well crafted and real and I am dying to find out what is going to happen to them.  This book has easily been one of my favorite reads of the year and I very eagerly and anxiously await book two!

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Discussion Posts

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #16

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?


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

439288“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

My Thoughts: I saw this movie a long time ago and thought it was so good; therefore I immediately added the book to my TBR.  Years later, while I still think it is a great and influential story, I don’t really feel the draw to read the book anymore. VERDICT: TOSS


Entwined by Heather Dixon Wallwork

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing 8428195suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My Thoughts: For some reason, I am never drawn to Fairytale retellings, but I always love them when I read them.  The 12 Dancing Princesses is one of my faves, so this book definitely intrigues me.  I’m not dying to read it, but seeing as it has good reviews I’ll stay on the look out for it.  Plus that cover is GORGEOUS.  VERDICT: KEEP


Outside Wonderland by Lorna Jane Cook

8698531Alice, Griffin, and Dinah Stenen’s mother and father died tragically when they were quite young. The loss haunts them into adulthood. Alice is a stage actress in New York who can’t commit to a relationship. When she meets Ian she’s smitten, but suspects it’s Ian’s four-year-old son that really captivates her. Griffin and his longtime partner are settled into a contented domesticity, however Theo’s insistence that they adopt a child throws Griffin into a panic. When he refuses to cooperate, the crack in their relationship widens. Dinah, the youngest, has a short, passionate love affair that leaves her pregnant and alone when she discovers the father is engaged to someone else. The three look to each other for support during this rough period but they falter. What they don’t know is that their parents are watching them from a place outside time and space–worrying, reminiscing, and perhaps guiding their children as each makes their tentative way towards happiness. In luminous prose, Cook tells the story of these tender souls and a love that knows no boundaries.

My Thoughts: This story sounds potentially interesting and most likely emotional, but I am no longer drawn to this type of fiction.  This summary doesn’t really do anything for me. VERDICT: TOSS


A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be forgotten. 7656231

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need – a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become – her mark on this earth, her very existence – is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny – no matter how dark the consequences? 

My Thoughts: OOOh this book sounds really interesting and has such mixed reviews.  Kendare Blake’s goodreads review of it makes me want to read it though… I trust her opinions.  VERDICT: KEEP


Adored by Tilly Bagshawe

544522Sienna McMahon was born into glamour. The granddaughter of film legend (and ogre) Duke McMahon, she grows up amid Hollywood scandal and opulence. Determined to forge her own identity, she becomes first a successful supermodel, then an actress; but unhappiness and tragedy keep breaking through. Then, in the time-honored tradition of Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel, the love of a good man brings her happiness and fulfillment. 

My Thoughts: For some reason, I have ALWAYS wanted to read this book and I just never have.  I always keep it in the back of my mind as a book I want to read and never do anything about it.  I love a smutty, escapist, Hollywood drama so when my friend recommended this book to me years ago I couldn’t wait to read it…. So why haven’t I?? VERDICT: KEEP


What do you guys think of my decisions? Should I rethink any of them? Why? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Monthly Wrap-Ups

September 2019 Wrap-Up

MonthlyWrap - Up

September was a wacky month for me.  Since I finished Cats, I have spent this month readjusting to life in NYC and taking the time to recuperate from my injury.  I started getting back to auditioning, taking dance class, and catching up with all the friends that I have missed so much since I’ve been away.  I have also been able to read a ton (thank you subway) which has been really great!  I have a lot of fun things planned in the next coming months and I am so excited to see where life is going in this new chapter! 🙂

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Books Read:

The Exchange by M.F. Lorson ★★

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy ★★★

Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake ★★★★★

American Royals ★★★★★– BOOK HANGOVER

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston ★★★★★

Persuasion by Jane Austen ★★★★★

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Currently Reading:


Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 48 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 7 of 50 (YAY!! I FINALLY DID ONE!!!)


September Reviews

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams • The Exchange by M.F. Lorson • The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy •

September Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Liked That Are Outside My Comfort Zone • Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #15 • Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’m Avoiding On My TBR • The I Dare You Tag • Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR •


Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

42613944._SY475_Summary: In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  Thank you to Blink for giving me the opportunity!* 

Release Date: October 1st, 2019


I cannot get over how cool and unique the concept for this book was.  The power to see, take and transport someone else’s memories, an ability which only some people have, was fascinating.  What was even more fascinating was the use of those memories after they were taken from their owners, like the rich taking happy memories to feel those good emotions, absorbing the skills someone spent years perfecting or using painful memories as a means of torture.  The whole idea really brings to mind how important our memories are to who we become as people.  The system of magic was handled so well and played a huge part in the world-building.  I loved Etta, and the more we learned about her backstory the more I loved her.  We meet her at such an interesting point in her life, and it was interesting to watch her try to pick up the pieces of her mistakes and deal with her grief.  The plot in the first half of the book was entirely gripping and I couldn’t put it down.  The pacing of all the little reveals about the past and its ripples were incredibly well done.  There was a great and unexpected twist in the middle of the book but after that the action kind of lost its luster.  It felt rushed through and they had very little obstacles until the ending.  Her relationship with her love interest was sweet and a bit of a slow burn, but I wish they would have had more heat and tension between them so we could really feel the build-up.  The ending was was smart, but I wish it would have been a tad bit clearer so I could have fully embraced the effects of its cleverness.  I’m torn with what to rate this book because I am still completely awed by the concept and the exciting plot of the first half, but in the end, I was left a bit underwhelmed.  Because of that, I have to give it a high 3 stars.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

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Hi everyone! I’m back from a brief and unplanned hiatus as I had some technical difficulties with my computer last week.  Here we are with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl, Books On My Fall TBRI have a good mix of new releases and backlist books that I want to get through this fall, and I am so excited for the weather to cool down so I can snuggle in a big cozy sweater with my fall reads! 

New Releases

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

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The Wickerlight by Mary Watson

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The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

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The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

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Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

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Backlist Books

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Insatiable by Meg Cabot

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Exchange by M.F. Lorson

41039644._SY475_Summary: A time travel student exchange program goes awry when a group of 21st century teens discover love and friendship across time.

Ari hates the Institute and everything it stands for. But to save her father’s job, she’s agreed to help host a time traveling exchange student. She only has to behave for 3 months while he’s here, then off he goes back to 1903 where he came from. Easy peasy, right? There’s just one problem. The more time Ari spends with James the harder she falls for him.

Release Date: September 25th, 2019

 

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


This story is really cute, but I found that it was too ambitious for such a short book.  At roughly 200 pages, everything moves really quickly and doesn’t leave much room for anything other than the plot movement.  We didn’t really get any development in the characters or their relationships so while the plot was interesting and fun, I wasn’t able to get invested in it.  I really loved the plot and the whole concept, but time travel can be so tricky and there were too many holes left open.  The way the book ended made everything feel pointless because it didn’t answer any of the questions set up in the plot.  In short, the concept was great, but it needed a lot more development to become a fully fleshed out novel.

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Tags

The I Dare You Tag

a baby shower for amelia

Hi fellow bookworms! I found this tag over at Howling Libraries.  Destiny tagged everyone, so I considered myself tagged because this looked like a fun one!

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Probably one of my Harry Potter books- I’m not entirely positive though.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

My current read is The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy, my last read was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, and my next read will be Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake!

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I wouldn’t say hated, but I guess A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.  On paper I should have loved it, but it just didn’t hit the mark for me.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  I read about a quarter of it and keep telling myself I’ll go back, but in all honesty, I probably won’t.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

Whatever I have left unread.

6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

Wait till the end!!

7. Acknowledgments: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

I’ve actually gotten really into reading the acknowledgments lately.  I almost never finish a book without reading them now.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

A random Hogwarts student.  For sure.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person?)

The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen brings back extremely vivid memories of not being able to put it down, and literally bringing it with me backstage at my dance recital to continue reading until the last possible moment before I had to go onstage.  Probably my first serious time “reading in the wings.”

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Ummmm.. I can’t really think of any that interesting.  I did find a bunch of vintage Nancy Drew books at an antique store while doing a show in Maine!

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

I love giving book presents!

12. Which book has been with you most places?

Harry Potter for sure.  Especially now that I have the whole series on my Kindle.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Nope. To be fair, I didn’t re-read any of them so who’s to say?

14. Used or brand new?

Both.  I love both for different reasons.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

All of them.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Yes! I liked The Help better as a film.  The acting is just so spectacular and I thought the adaptation was so well done.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I have a couple friends who are usually pretty spot on with what I’ll like.  I’m looking at you Kaley, Joey, and Allison!

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  Stunning book.

I am going to follow in Destiny’s footsteps and tag everyone! 🙂