Book Reviews · The Classics Club

The Handmaid’s Tale Review

38447Goodreads Summary: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

My Thoughts: Wow. Just Wow.  I knew I would probably like this book with all the hype about the Hulu series, but it really blew me away.  It was different than I expected too.  I thought it would be a lot gorier.  While the whole concept is dark, the way Offred speaks with her matter of fact tone, and the way she relays the information in small, unorganized rambles, kept it feeling lighter but seemingly more sinister.  I absolutely loved the structure of the plot and timeline.  The small bits of information we got about the past, randomly interspersed with the current events, kept me turning the page.  I just had to know how the world got to be like it was.  I really appreciated the mundaneness of the story, as opposed to the epic fight we see in most dystopian novels.  It really made it feel real, and somehow more interesting.  I totally felt for Offred and the Handmaids, and while The Wives were so unlikable, as a woman, I felt for them too.  The whole society and way of life of The Republic of Gilead is disgusting, and yet makes for a very compelling story.  Reading about the situations these people were put in often made me sick to my stomach with my jaw on the floor.  It was appalling, and yet I could not stop reading.  I loved Moira and how her spirit helped Offred stay sane in her situation.  I was surprised that I actually liked the Commander.  I thought his behavior was a great juxtaposition to the villainy of men in Gilead, and made the reveal of who he most likely was and what he accomplished in his office, even more shocking.  The ending killed me.  I couldn’t believe that Atwood would leave us hanging like that, but it worked so well, and made me think back on everything I just read in a completely different light.  This book is absolutely brilliant, and I think it is a must read for everyone.

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Book Hangover

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Tags

This is My Truth Now Tag

Thanks to Abbey at Three Cats and a Girl I was tagged to answer these crazy fun questions in the ThisIsMyTruthNow tag created by Jay!  In addition to all the bookish things, Abbey has a section of recipes that all sound amazing!  Check them both out and give them some love! ❤

Rules

  • Create your own new post and call it “Tag: This-Is-My-Truth-Now” and be sure to include in your tags the words (without quotes) “ThisIsMyTruthNow Tag”
  • Include these rules when you copy/paste to your own post.
  • Be sure to thank the person that tagged you and include their responses at the bottom of your post, so someone can get to know them too. Tell everyone something interesting about the person who tagged you.
  • Include a link to my(Jay’s) original post mentioning this blog so we can see how many people choose to play along. Link to cut/paste is: ThisIsMyTruthNow
  • Choose 12 bloggers to tag and include a link to their latest post, so others can check them out and meet new people.
  • Answer all 12 questions in The Challenge Questions section, but replace the 12th question with your own new one around telling the truth or revealing something interesting about yourself — you can leave the existing if you can’t think of something. OR Complete the Dare at the end.
  • Be sure to copy/paste the “Truth or Dare” section at the end of this post. It’s important to the challenge — so you better carefully read it!
  • If you’ve haven’t been tagged, but you want to play along, you can totally jump on in and post responses to the tag on your blog.

 

This is My Truth Now

1. You’re on your way to a birthday dinner that your friends have thrown for you. When you arrive, your favorite author is having dinner by himself or herself and asks you to sit with them, before you even see your friends or they see you. You have two choices: (1) You can sit with the author, but can’t tell your friends that you’ve abandoned them for three hours, or (2) Meet your friends and lose the only chance you’ll ever have to talk with the author. Pick one or the other — no exceptions or communication to your friends to tell them about the author — and explain why:

I would definitely take the chance to spend time with my favorite author.  My friends know me, and would understand how important that would be to me.  Sounds like the best birthday present ever to me!

2. You’ve got an opportunity to spend a few hours alone “in your bedroom” with a character from any book you’ve previously read. The character tells you that (s)he would like to lock the door and spend some alone time with you. What book and character is it, and do you decide to enter the room and lock the door, or tell them you aren’t interested?

Jamie Fraser from Outlander, and absolutely.

3. If you could turn any male character from one of your favorite books into a female character (or change a female into a male) in the book or book series, which one and why?

Kvothe from Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  I just think it would be really cool and bad-ass for that character to be a woman, and I would like to see how it would influence the circumstances of the series.

4. What blogger currently on your follower’s list (meaning they follow you too) do you admire the most and why?

The Orangutan Librarian. This monkey has posts that are very insightful, but also hilarious.  I always look forward to reading their stuff.  There is always a comment back and I admire the involvement in the bookish community.

5. If you could change any one decision your favorite book character made, what would it be and why?

Harry going after Sirius in Order of the Phoenix.  I get it, but I really don’t think he had to die, and if Harry had just listened for once it probably could have been avoided.

6. If you could pick 1 character from a book and 1 character from a TV show you watch (that is NOT based on a book) to be in a relationship together, who would you choose, and why?

Buffy Summers and Eric Northman (Book Eric, not TV Eric).  I feel like Eric is a perfect mix of Angel and Spike, and he would be perfect for Buffy.

7. It’s your last day on Earth. As you are about to cross that final finish line, a mysterious shadow appears, giving you a choice: (1) You can go move forward to whatever comes next for you [based on your own spiritual or religious beliefs], or (2) you can become a character in a book series and exist permanently doing whatever that author chooses to do with you in the book. Which do you choose, and if it’s option 2, reveal the book and author.

I would go into the Harry Potter universe and let Ms. Rowling do with me as she pleases.

8. If you could steal a pet from someone in any book you’ve read but had to replace it with a friend’s pet (meaning they wouldn’t ever see their pet again), would you do it? If so, explain the who and why.

I don’t really feel that strong of a connection with literary pets, and I know my friends would be ugly crying without their pets, so I wouldn’t do it.

9. If you could turn someone from your real life into a character from a book, who from your life, who in the book and why? 

I am fortunate enough to have so many amazing people in my life, and I really value all of my relationships, so I wouldn’t replace anyone.

10. Post a picture of the cover of a book you read in 2000 and the book you are currently reading now. (Note: if you weren’t alive in 2000, pick the first book you ever read and tell everyone what year it was from).

11. Your favorite character (under 18) needs a place to stay for 3 months and asks you if (s)he could stay in your spare room (yes, you have one for the sake of this question). Who is it and what is the reason (s)he needs to stay with you?

Harry Potter is hunting horcruxes and needs a safe house. I got you.

12. What is one superpower/magic skill that a favorite character of your has that you wish you had as well? What character, what power/skill and why?(you can change this question when added to your blog, but please let me know your answer to this question in the comments below)

Besides just wanting to be a Wizard, I think having Nanny from Glass Sword’s power to change her physical form would be so cool and useful.

DARE:

If you choose not to accept the tag, you have to follow through on whatever dare the person who tags you chooses.

You must finish a series you are in the middle of before you can start anything else.  If you’re not currently in a series, you must start and finish a trilogy before reading anything else.

I tag:

Amanda @Peaks and Pages

Nina @NinasBookTalk

The Nerd @Nerd Narration

Amberry Books

Amanda @The Lexington Bookie

and anyone else who wants to play! Consider yourselves tagged! 🙂

Alright people! Let’s see your truths!

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read In 2017

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I can’t believe 2017 is almost over!  I have read so much more this year than I have been able to in the past, and that makes me happy! 🙂  Starting my blog was a huge part of that, and I found a bunch of books through blogging that I wouldn’t have read otherwise.  Thanks to this week’s theme from The Broke and The Bookish,  here are my Ten Favorite Books that I read in 2017 in no particular order.

38447The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

28374007Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

30253864Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

17927395A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

21853621The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

24921954The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

6723017The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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Prism by Nina Walker

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Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

 

Book Reviews

The Gwythienian by Savannah J. Goins Review

36327173Goodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Enzi Montgomery had worn the stone around her neck for years. It was set in a cheap metal fitting, nothing fancy. But it made her wonder if she was crazy. Sometimes, when she had it on, she could disappear. She couldn’t make it happen. It just worked on its own. But always at convenient times, like when she’d needed to hide again from Caleb. Maybe she’d only been imagining it; insomnia could do that to you. The nightmares had never left since that day seven years ago and she’d never really learned to cope with them. But what if she wasn’t crazy? When she finds out that someone else has been searching for the stone—someone from another world—she must decide what to do with it. Should she get rid of it? Or find out what other secrets it holds?

*A big thanks to Savannah J. Goins for this ARC in return for an honest review!*

*Mild spoilers ahead! Proceed with caution!*

My Thoughts: I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book.  After reading the first few chapters I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but Goins’ easy going and fast pace writing style made it an enjoyable read.  That being said, my biggest issue was that I found it difficult to connect to the characters.  I could not stand Enzi.  She was whiny and negative about herself and her life.  The scenes with her bullies actually made me laugh out loud because they seemed so unrealistic and unmotivated.  As the story progressed and we learned more about Enzi’s dark past and trauma (which I thought was handled really well), I grew to empathize with her more, but I still found it hard to want to root for her.  Despite my feelings about our protagonist, I became invested in the mystery surrounding her powers and her father.  The more we learned about the necklace and it’s connection with the other realms, the more interested I became.  Goins did a great job of developing the realms and their histories, and making us excited to learn more about each one.  The problem was that I became more interested in the other realms than I was with Odan Terridor and the Gwythienians, a race of talking dragons.  While I found the Gwythienian lore and customs intriguing, I felt no connection to them as a whole.  I’ve never had an affinity for dragons, and overcoming my traditional view of what a dragon is was difficult for me, and I think it hindered my ability to fully immerse myself into their world.  I appreciated the slow build in Enzi and Gaedyen, a Gwythienian’s, relationship.  I found their friendship really endearing and enjoyed their banter.  As their journey with the stone progressed, you could definitely see the powerful affect they had on each other’s character arcs and growth.  However; I did get a little weirded out when Enzi started to develop romantic feelings towards a dragon.  Despite its flaws, I  did enjoy the plot and mysteries of this story.  After the huge cliff-hanger ending, I am invested and want to know what the future holds for Enzi, Gaedyen and the fate of the realms.

Tags

Harry Potter Spells Tag

I am always excited for anything Harry Potter related, so when Danielle at The Introverted Book Nerd tagged me in the Harry Potter Spells Book Tag, I geeked out.  This tag and the graphics were created by Kimberlyfaye Reads, and I must say that these questions are fun.  I am going to do my best to not answer every one with Harry Potter, but I make no promises.

Accio

An upcoming release you wish you could get your hands on right now!

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I love everything Kristin Hannah writes, and I am excited for this next release on sale Feb. 6th!

Alohomora

Favorite series starter.

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I already failed in not answering Harry Potter, but come on.  There’s nothing better.

 

Cheering Charm

A book that gave you all the warm fuzzies.

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I loved this book so much more than I expected to.  It just made my heart happy.

Aguamenti

A book that made you ugly cry.

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Like uncontrollable sobs.

Expecto Patronum

Bookish hero or heroine you want around to protect you in real life.

Kvothe from Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Lumos

A book you intentionally spoiled for yourself.

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I really wanted to hold out until I read the book until I saw the movie….. But my friend’s wanted to watch it, so I gave in to peer pressure.

Imperio

A book you wish you could make everyone read because you loved it so much.

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IT’S JUST SO GOOD.

Engorgio

A book or series you wish never ended.

Harry Potter…. Although we’re still getting some new things which is exciting.  And the Sookie Stackhouse books.

Wingardium Leviosa

A book with an uplifting ending or message.

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This book is beautiful and all about the message.

Obliviate

A book you wish you could forget you ever read.

 

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This book was miserable.  I’ve been told the TV show is better, but I don’t even care to watch it.

Anapneo

An author whose books always get you out of a slump.

Harry Potter for life slumps.  Anything Meg Cabot for reading slumps.

Jelly-Legs Jinx

A swoon-worthy hero or heroine.

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

Aresto Momentum

A book that caused you to stop doing all other things until you finished it.

10507293I was shamelessly addicted to this series.

14 - Crucio

A book that was painful to read (for whatever reason) or broke you.

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Kristin Hannah once again.  WW2 books are always hard for me to read.

Rictumsempra

A book that had you laughing out loud.

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I just love her.

Expelliarmus

A book that made you want to send it (or your e-reader) flying.

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I am still pissed about this ending.  I think I actually did throw my book.

Portus

Bookish world you wish you could visit.

THE WIZARDING WORLD. DUH.

Stupefy

A book with a shocking twist or ending.

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I knew someone would die, but I was shocked.  Jaw on the floor.

AvadaKedavra

A character death that destroyed you.

Fred Weasley.

Finite Incantatem

Best series conclusion.

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I had a hard time picking a “BEST,” so here is one that I loved.  I remember being so mad when I started this, but it ended up being really touching and amazing.  It was a great way to end the series.

I tag Lena @The Printed Girl, Steph @ Lost: Purple Quill, Amberry Books, and anyone else who loves Harry Potter!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Fictional Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Its our favorite time of the week folks! Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit.  I decided to limit my options to just fictional places that I wish I could go to.

  1. Hogwarts from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  2. King’s Landing from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
  3. Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein
  4. The Capital from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. Kingsbridge, England from Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  6. Blackhurst Manor from The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  7. The Night Court from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  8. The University from Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  9. The Tower from The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  10. Genovia from The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

 

Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2017 Wrap-Up

This year is just speeding by!  I have my Christmas decorations up, and I am already getting into the holiday spirit.  November was an amazing month! I took a week long blogging break when I went to London and Edinburgh with my best friend and absolutely fell in LOVE.  I cannot wait to go back!

I had a great Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family, and I also made a pretty good dent on my ARC/TBR pile!  I am putting myself on a book buying ban so I can keep going and get through the books I already have!  I am SO excited to head home for the holidays to be with my family.  In the mean time, I am auditioning like crazy and snuggling up with a big cup of hot chocolate, my current read, and my Christmas tree 🙂

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Books Read:



Currently Reading:

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Broadway Book Chat: Melissa Weyn from The Sound of Music

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November Reviews:

Remember for Me by Diana Tarant Schmidt  •  Prism by Nina Walker

November Posts:

•  Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Books I Can’t Wait to Read With My Future Children  •  Top 10 Tuesday: Books I am Thankful For  •  Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Winter TBR  •  Fall For Books Tag  •

Tags

Fall For Books Tag

As my favorite season comes to an end, I figured it was the perfect time to do the Fall For Books Tag.  I was tagged by the lovely Abbey at Three Cats and a Girl!  I loved these questions and had so much fun answering them! Here we go!

One of the first books you fell in love with:

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A book you knew you were going to love from the first page:

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A book you didn’t think you’d love as much as you do:

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The character who will always have a place in your heart:

Jamie Fraser from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Character you love on the page, but would never want to meet in real life:

Bellatrix Lestrange and Cersei Lannister

Literary couple you will ship until the day you die:

Ron and Hermione.  Sookie and Eric.

An author whose writing style you fell in love with:

Kate Morton, Kristin Hannah, Meg Cabot, Ken Follett

A book recommended to you by a friend/family member that you quickly fell for too:

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Thanks Dad.

Piece of book-related merchandise that you had to own:

I have too much Harry Potter stuff.  Mugs, sweatshirts, jewelry, decorations… the list goes on.

I Tag:

Darque Dreamer Reads, 24hryabookblog, and Step Into A Book World

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

It’s Top Ten Tuesday folks! As the winter holidays are approaching, I am getting excited for snuggling up with a great book, some hot chocolate, and the light of my Christmas tree! This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is the Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR!  I am currently *attempting* a book buying ban, so one of my goals for this winter is to make a dent in my physical to be read pile!

38447The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: This is a book that has been on my TBR pile for a while.  After all the buzz about the Hulu series, I really want to read it now so I can watch.  I’m reading this one next.

 

 

12381269Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris: I have expressed my love for the Sookie Stackhouse series several times on here, and I am getting so sad that I only have a couple books left.

 

 

 

865The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Another book I have been waiting to tackle FOREVER, I feel like winter is the perfect time for the book that everyone says is life changing.

 

 

 

45032Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: I am a reluctant Austen fan.  I didn’t love Pride and Prejudice, but I did love Sense and Sensibility.  I have to get going on my classics challenge, and I am excited to see how Mansfield Park holds up to the rest.

 

 

16034235Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: This one was on my fall TBR too, and I didn’t quite get to it.  I have had a bunch of series going, so I’ve been putting off starting a new one until I can get some of those finished.  I’m really looking forward to this one though.

 

 

36118876Fracture by Nina Walker: I fell in love with the world of Prism, which I was given in return for an honest review, and now I am hooked and can’t wait to find out what happens next!

 

 

18114292The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway: I randomly purchased this book on Thriftbooks a while ago, and I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.  It sounds like it is right up my alley, and after going to London, I am itching for a London story to bring it back.

 

 

23174274Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard: I need to get going on this series.  I didn’t LOVE the first one, but I definitely want to see where it goes.  I borrowed the next two books from a friend, so now that I have them in my possession, I’m finally going to get it done.

 

 

39933How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster: I miss learning.  I always loved English class and analyzing literature, and now that I am doing the Classics Club, I feel like this book will enhance that experience for me.

 

 

25740412The Black Witch by Laurie Forest: Another book from my Fall TBR that I didn’t get around to.  I also didn’t get enough witches in my fall days, and I need my magic fix.

 

Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Melissa Weyn

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and castmates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

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Melissa Weyn

Currently touring the U.S. with The Sound of Music

http://www.melissaweyn.com

instagram: @melweyn

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Rupi Kaur’s new book, The Sun and Her Flowers.  She is one of my favorite poets, along with Nayyirah Waheed.

What is your favorite book series?

My favorite book series is Harry Potter…. I mean, duh.

Who is your favorite author?

My favorite author…. That’s tough.  I would have to say Lois Lowry.  She was the first author who made me want to read more when I was younger.

What book inspires you and why?

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells is one of my all time favorites.  Her candidness about her upbringing is captivating.  It motivates me to carve through life’s turbulence, no matter the circumstance, and strive to be a better human.  It also inspires me to take a true look at my life and humbles me.  We take so much for granted sometimes– I am overflowing with things to be thankful for.

Which literary character would you like to play?

I would love to play Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women in a play or musical adaptation of some sort.  I have loved that book since I was little, and I just relate to her fire.  Her spirit is so well depicted and just glorious.

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

I would love to see The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah be turned into a movie.  That book wrecked me in the best way.  It’s about two sisters in France in World War II, and the roles they play as women in the war.  Hannah’s writing is like a painting and I think it would be a beautiful movie.

Where is your favorite place you have visited on tour?

Vancouver is FOR SURE my fave so far.

What is the next book on your reading list?

I honestly think I am going to re-read the Harry Potter series.  Being on tour, I feel like it’s the perfect bus read!  I also want to read All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  I’ve had multiple people tell me it’s a MUST.

Catch Melissa and the rest of the cast of The Sound of Music on tour around the US!

http://thesoundofmusicontour.com/

I will feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thanks to my beautiful and loving friend Melissa for sharing with us!  She’s the real deal y’all. ❤