Book Reviews

Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

12283261Summary: Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.
And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.
A romantic and charming story, this companion novel to Off the Page will make every reader believe in the fantastical power of fairy tales.


My Thoughts:  I’ve read a few Jodi Picoult books, some which I loved and others that I didn’t, so I was open to seeing her take on a YA novel.  I am in love with the concept of this book.  I think it is so creative and smart, and I could not wait to see what they did with it.  Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

First of all, it was definitely a YOUNG adult book- it felt more pre-teen to me than YA.  The writing style and characters felt pretty juvenile.  With such an amazing concept, I was so excited to see the world building in the book within the book, Between the Lines.  I couldn’t wait to see the difference between the story told on the page and what happens when the book is closed, and sadly we didn’t get that much detail and what we did get seemed really cheesy.  Even the love between Delilah and Oliver felt like more of a sweet, crush like relationship, despite their declarations of deep and true love.  It makes sense that it was this way since they were technically characters in children’s fairy tale book, but I think because I was expecting a slightly more mature vibe, I had trouble fully getting on board.  While I enjoyed the plot of trying to get Oliver out of the book, the reasoning behind some of the attempts didn’t fully make sense to me, or it wasn’t explained enough.  The ending was really frustrating.  Without spoiling it, I didn’t think the choice made was fair to all parties involved, but hey, they’re (kind of selfish) teenagers.  Overall, I loved the concept and just wished for more out of it.  It had so much potential, and I think it fell flat.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: Wrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee

35795906Summary: Everything in Emma’s life has always gone according to her very careful plans. But things take a turn toward the unexpected when she falls in love for the first time with the one person in the world who’s off-limits–her new foster brother, the gorgeous and tormented Dylan McAndrews.

Meanwhile, Emma’s AP English class is reading Wuthering Heights, and she’s been assigned to mimic Bronte’s style in an epistolary format. With no one to confide in, she’s got a lot to write about. Emma and Dylan try to constrain their romance to the page–for fear of threatening Dylan’s chances of being adopted into another home. But the strength of first love is all-consuming, and they soon get enveloped in a passionate, secretive relationship with a very uncertain outcome.

*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review*

Release Date: July 17th, 2018


My Thoughts: I love a modern re-imagining, so when Tiffany Brownlee approached me about reading her new book, Wrong in All the Right Ways, I was excited to see her take on a classic like Wuthering Heights.  Now, having not read Wuthering Heights yet, (it has been on my list FOREVER), I may have missed a few things, but I knew the story enough to understand the comparison.

This book was a super quick and easy read.  It started off strong and I liked the voice of our main character, Emma.  When we are introduced to her new foster brother, Dylan, there is instant chemistry between the two and it got me super excited for all the secret forbidden love moments- unfortunately it didn’t continue in that direction.  Their relationship quickly turned toxic, with both of them being complete morons.  I spent the majority of the book screaming at them, mostly at Emma, for all of the stupid decisions they were making, and not understanding how they could possibly think that they were doing the right thing to help their situation.  While the plot kept me engaged, a few of the major scenes felt a little disjointed and over dramatic and they came out of nowhere.  My favorite characters were Emma’s best friend, Karmin, and Karmin’s twin brother, Keegan (#teamKeegan).   Karmin provided great comic relief and was a surprisingly good friend to Emma (even though their friendship also came out of nowhere), and I liked Keegan A LOT more than Dylan.  Overall, this book was a quick read, but lacked the swoon-worthy love story that I was hoping for, and left me feeling kind of weird.

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Tags

The Summer Reading Tag

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I found this tag on Life and Other Disasters, and I thought it looked like fun.  Since the weather here in NYC right now is sunny and HOT, I am in a perfect summer mood and all I want is to be outside reading my book in a bathing suit.

Lemonade: pick a book that started off bitter but got better

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The first 100 pages(ish) of Outlander are a DRUDGE, but once you get past that first part, it picks up and is amazing.


Golden Sun: pick a book that made you smile beyond compare

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This book just fills my heart ❤


Tropical Flowers: pick a book set in a foreign country

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I want to go to Ireland SO BADLY, and this book just increased that need.


Tree Shade: pick a book in which a mysterious or shady character was first introduced

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DENNA.  I am obsessed with her.  She might by one of my favorite characters of all time.  She is the epitome of a mysterious/shady character, and I hope that SOMEDAY (come on Pat, you’re killing us) we will find out what she’s all about.


Beach Sand: pick a book that was grainy, and the plot barely developed

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I just recently finished the ARC of Wrong in All the Right Ways, and while it was an easy and fast read, I didn’t feel like the plot was too strong, and some of the scenes felt a little disjointed to me.  Full review to come.


Green Grass: pick a character(s) that was full of life, making you smile

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My loves.  Fred and George.  By now, everyone probably already knows how obsessed I am with them, but let’s give them another shout out ❤


Watermelon: pick a book that had some juicy secrets

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I’m reading this right now, and these secrets are killing me.  I NEED TO KNOW THE ANSWERS!


Sun Hat: pick a book that had a vast, big universe/setting

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I’m only two books into this series and already the world is huge.  I’ve heard it just keeps getting bigger and I can’t wait to see where it goes.


BBQ: pick a book in which a character is portrayed as a hunk

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Rhys.  Need I say more?


Summer Fun: I tag anyone who loves to read outside in the sun ❤

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 So Far

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It’s our favorite time of the week, Top 10 Tuesday!  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl got me really excited: The Ten Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 So Far.  I have read some really good ones, and I’m pumped to share my 10 favorites with you all! So in no particular order:

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

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Emma by Jane Austen

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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Fracture by Nina Walker

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What are your favorite books you’ve read so far this year? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to my list! 🙂

Book Reviews

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

6487308Summary: What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .


 

My Thoughts: I was expecting so much more from this book.  I’ve heard such great things, and it left me completely underwhelmed.  The concept is very intriguing — a teenage girl gets sent to reform school where she falls in love with one of the mythical fallen angels.  Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, it fell really flat for me.

Kate created a great atmosphere in this novel that was dark, creepy, and engaging, but that’s kind of where it stopped.  The plot was almost nonexistent.. just a lot of Luce yearning for a boy she doesn’t really know, and everyone keeping information from her that should have been revealed way sooner.  I was constantly frustrated at the slow pace and lack of justification.  I get that Luce and Daniel knew each other in their past lives, but I still would have liked to see more of a connection and some sort of development or growth with them to justify the slow pace of their relationship.  I didn’t really feel anything between them, other than being told that they had a connection- there wasn’t any real heat or chemistry.  Cam, the other guy vying for Luce’s affections, was super creepy, and while I think he was supposed to be charming, he just came across as overbearing and gross.  I liked her friends, Arriane and Gabbe, but Penn was my favorite character.  She was probably the most developed character in the book, but even she was pretty one note.  “The Shadows,” that follow Luce around are explained, but to me it didn’t fully make sense.  In fact all of the explanations in this book felt very surface level.  The school seemed unrealistic and I still don’t quite understand how they all ended up there.  Is the school involved and aware of the angel situation or is it just supposed to be an actual reform school?  There was one pretty good twist towards the end, but the rest was predictable and boring.  I love the concept and atmosphere, and think it could have been a really cool and romantic story if only it had more development in its characters and plot.

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Tags

Cleaning Up My TBR- Down The TBR Hole #2

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 #2

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank48855

Anne Frank’s extraordinary diary, written in the Amsterdam attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, has become a world classic and a timeless testament to the human spirit. Now, in a new edition enriched by many passages originally withheld by her father, we meet an Anne more real, more human, and more vital than ever. Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl—stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life. She imparts her deeply secret world of soul-searching and hungering for affection, rebellious clashes with her mother, romance and newly discovered sexuality, and wry, candid observations of her companions. Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years. Her story is that of every teenager, lived out in conditions few teenagers have ever known.

My Thoughts: Ahhh another one I feel like I HAVE to read… but I really don’t want to.  I actually feel like a bad person for not having any desire to read this one.  I also feel like I know the story well enough without having to read it. Verdict: Toss


compassThe Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.

A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman’s award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

My Thoughts: I’ve had this on my list forever because it’s famous and not really because it appeals to me.  My roommate just started reading this series and he was underwhelmed by it, which just makes this decision easier for me. Verdict: TOSS


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger14050

A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn’t stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing. 

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

My Thoughts: I did a bad thing with this one and saw the movie before I read the book.. I absolutely love this movie and the story.  It brings me to tears every time.  But now that I know the story and how it ends, my desire to read the book as dwindled… Maybe if I run out of things to read? Verdict: TOSS


137791Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she’s directed, her mother gets described as a “tap-dancing child abuser.” Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for.GG

My Thoughts: Someone gave this to me so long ago, I can’t even remember where I got it from.  While I love a good family dysfunction story, I’ve read a bunch of bad reviews for it, and I know there are other stories I want to read more. Verdict: TOSS


Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner14748.jpg

Weiner’s witty, original, fast-moving debut features a lovable heroine, a solid cast, snappy dialogue and a poignant take on life’s priorities.

For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She’s even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body. 

But the day she opens up a national women’s magazine and sees the words “Loving a Larger Woman” above her ex-boyfriend’s byline, Cannie is plunged into misery…and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.

My Thoughts: I am a  fan of Jennifer Weiner, and this sounds like an easy and fun summer beach read.  I haven’t been reading as much “Chick-Lit” as I used to, but this one still sounds entertaining. Verdict: KEEP


I was able to be a little more cut throat on this round!  What do you think of my choices? Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

 

Book Reviews

Review: Sorority by Genevieve Sly Crane

36374015Summary: Prep meets Girls in White Dresses in Genevieve Sly Crane’s deliciously addictive, voyeuristic exploration of female friendship and coming of age that will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about what happens in a sorority house.

Twinsets and pearls, secrets and kinship, rituals that hold sisters together in a sacred bond of everlasting trust. Certain chaste images spring to mind when one thinks of sororities. But make no mistake: these women are not braiding each other’s hair and having pillow fights—not by a long shot.

What Genevieve Sly Crane has conjured in these pages is a blunt, in your face look behind the closed doors of a house full of contemporary women—and there are no holds barred. These women have issues: self-inflicted, family inflicted, sister-to-sister inflicted—and it is all on the page. At the center of this swirl is Margot: the sister who died in the house, and each chapter is told from the points of view of the women who orbit her death and have their own reactions to it.

With a keen sense of character and elegant, observant prose, Crane details the undercurrents of tension in a world where perfection comes at a cost and the best things in life are painful—if not impossible—to acquire: Beauty. A mother’s love. And friendship… or at least the appearance of it. Woven throughout are glimmers of the classical myths that undercut the lives of women in Greek life. After all, the Greek goddesses did cause their fair share of destruction.


My Thoughts: As a proud sorority alum *Shout out to my Chi Omega sisters*, I am always drawn to books about greek life.  I found this while browsing at the library and had to pick it up.  It was VERY different than I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it.

I first have to say a disclaimer: The sorority and women depicted in this book were NOTHING like my experience with greek life… but that didn’t stop me from getting invested in these vibrant characters.  While this isn’t really a true representation of my experience as a sorority girl, (I was never hazed or bullied by the older girls in the house), I still found myself laughing at so many things/situations that I recognized and had lived through.  At first, I was annoyed at the negative (and in my experience unrealistic) picture that Crane paints of sorority women, but I quickly let that go when I became completely immersed in the stories being told.  This book isn’t a novel in the typical sense, with a linear plot, but more of a group of snap shots into the lives of very different women who are all connected by one thing, their sisterhood.  Each sister had a very interesting story to tell, all in beautiful and stark prose that still felt unique to each woman.  These characters were REAL.  None of them are really likable, and sometimes they’re downright horrible people, and yet I found myself relating to each one in some way and wanting more for them.  Crane was not afraid to tackle some big issues like eating disorders, rape, bullying, family disfunction, death etc. and show the reality of the different ways people, but especially women, cope with them.  This book went beyond my expectations and I am glad it was different than what I had expected.  It was thought provoking, sad, funny, and haunting, and I will definitely remember these characters for a long time.

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Book Hangover

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 •

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?

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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.