Book Reviews

ARC Review: Murder at Macbeth by Samantha Armstrong

45300231Summary: WHOSE DEADLY SECRET HAS TAKEN CENTRE STAGE?

When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates.

But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady?

As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit.

Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…

Set against the backdrop of a gritty London theatre production of Macbeth, this compelling novel explores a dark world of mystery and intrigue. All is not as it seems…

A hugely gripping police procedural full of unpredictable twists and suspense, Murder at Macbeth will captivate you from the very first page and keep you guessing right until the end.

With an intriguing plot and distinctive characters, this English murder mystery is a compelling whodunnit which is perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins, Karin Slaughter and LJ Ross.

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


My Thoughts: As a theatre actress and obsessive Criminal Minds/ Law and Order SVU fan, I was so excited to read this book even though it is not my usual genre to read.   In this one, an actress accidentally stabs herself onstage when a prop dagger is switched for a real one and her castmates are the only suspects.  While I love watching them on tv, I do have to admit that police procedurals are not the most exciting thing for me to unravel in book form.  While the plot was interesting and held my attention, I found myself bored by the format (which I don’t think was the author’s fault, but rather my own personal genre preference).  There were some nice, more narrative-like, flashbacks that broke up the investigation and really helped build the tension and mystery which I was pleased with.  I had no idea who the culprit was going to be and was kept guessing until the last moments, but I never felt like I could fully invest myself in the story or its and therefore was underwhelmed at the conclusion.  I think that readers who enjoy this type of genre and format would really get into this one, and I’m glad I gave it a go, but the genre just not my cup of tea.

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The Reader Problems Book Tag

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Hey bookish friends! I found this tag on StephenWrites and thought it looked like a fun one to do.  Not sure who the original creator is, but if anyone knows please let me know so I can give credit where the credit is due 🙂


You have 20,000 books on your TBR, how do you decide what to read next?

I am such a mood reader and I just kind of decide in the moment what I’m feeling.  If I’m not in the mood for a book I feel like it can really inhibit what I end up thinking about it.  There are several books that I have read when not in the mood that I think if I had read under different circumstances I would have enjoyed a lot more.  However; lately, I’ve been trying to stay on top of my ARC’s, so if I have a release deadline coming up, I usually will read that book next- unless it really goes against the mood I’m in because I do want to give them all a fair chance.

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?

I RARELY DNF.  I feel like I have already invested the time to get that far and it would be a waste to not see it all the way through.

The end of the year is coming and you’re behind on your reading challenge. Do you try to catch up? And if so, how?

I will always try.  I’m falling really behind on my challenge this year (staying on top of my reading while on tour is a lot harder than I had anticipated), but that doesn’t stop me from trying to catch up.  I will try to read some shorter, easy read books, or maybe a play here and there to try to make up some ground.

The covers of a series you love do not match, how do you cope?

It honestly doesn’t bother me too much.  I think one day when I am able to have a library in my dream house I will try to get full matching series, but right now it isn’t a big deal.

Everyone and their mother loves a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?

If I can find another blogger who feels the same way, amazing.  But usually, I just vent to my roommate or boyfriend.

You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying. How do you deal?

Oh, I’ve definitely cried in public while reading a book (several times on the subway).  I’ll try to hold it in, but honestly, I have no shame.

The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?

No, but I might look up a summary of what happened in the first one as a refresher.

You do not want anyone to borrow your books, how do you politely say no when someone asks?

Ugh I hate lending people books.  I have a very select few who I trust to actually give me my books back. (Looking at you Joey, Allison, Kristen, and Kaley)

You have picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?

I will take a break from reading all together *GASP* for a day or two.  Or reread Harry Potter. That usually works.

There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read. How many do you end up buying?

This is one of the hardest parts of being on tour for me.  There have been so many new releases that I have been wanting to buy, but with such limited space in my luggage, I’ve really had to limit myself.  I’ve been reading a lot more on my kindle, and have made a rule for myself to read more of the books that I have with me before buying new ones.  It’s really hard though, especially when I get to see all these amazing book stores across the country and want to buy a book in every one…

After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read, how long do they sit on your shelf before you read them?

It depends… Probably a while.  It is extremely rare for me to buy a book when I’m not already in the middle of something, so I usually wait until I finish my current read, but I also usually buy more than one book at a time so it could be a while.  The goal would be to finish everything I have to read so I ACTUALLY need to buy a new book, but I don’t think that is very attainable…

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Book Characters That Remind Me of Myself

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Hey fellow bookworms! This week’s topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is Book Characters That Remind Me of Myself.  This topic is surprisingly hard for me because I’m having a hard time drawing a distinction between characters that actually remind me of myself and characters I that would be cast as, or would like to play as an actor.  So here are 10 characters that I related to for a mix of reasons.

1. Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena Sardothien is one of my favorite characters of all time.  I related to her immediately.  She loves so fiercely but can also be selfish and impulsive.  She has unapologetic self-esteem, which I find so refreshing in a fantasy heroine.  I also share her love for the finer things in life with no shame.

2. Shane from Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

When I was reading this book, I really felt like she was speaking my thoughts.  Shane’s love for books and pop culture really resonated with me.

3. Elloren Gardner from The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

I definitely relate to Elloren’s journey of moving to the big city and opening her mind to so many new experiences and ways of thinking.

4. Franny from Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Franny is an actress trying to make it in NYC…. that’s literally my life and daily joy/struggles.

5. Celia Lytton from The Spoils of Time Trilogy by Penny Vincenzi

I relate to Celia’s passion for literature and her family.  She will do what it takes to get what she wants.

6. Elizabeth from The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

I remember reading this series and feeling like I was Elizabeth.  I connected with her storyline and always feel like I would have been just like her if I lived in that time period.

7. Lara Jean from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters really struck home for me and my own sisters.  She is also a bookish, hopeless romantic just like me.

8. Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Mia’s thoughts were my own at one point, I swear.  I felt like I was her when reading those books.

9. Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Like Marianne, I definitely lead with my heart and emotions and face the consequences later.

10. Scarlett from Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Like Scarlett, I am a rule follower and I hate defying authority.  I also have a fierce love and protective sense over my younger sisters.

Monthly Wrap-Ups

May 2019 Wrap-Up

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After a pretty solid March in one place, my tour has been on the move every week in a new city.  We played a bunch of cities in California (Sacramento, Costa Mesa, and San Diego), headed up to Denver, CO (where dancing a mile above sea level was no joke), and rounded out the month in Tuscon, AZ.  Because of this crazy schedule, my reading has been a little slower, but I did manage to read some gems.  I’m excited about the new releases coming out in May, and can’t wait to see what else this month has in store.

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Books Read:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë ★★★★

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer★★★★★

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio ★★★★★

Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi★★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 18 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 6 of 50 (I FINALLY read another one!)


April Reviews

• Lovestruck by Kate Watson • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë Review • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer Review • Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

April Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: Outrageous Things I’ve Done for Books • Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #10 • Top 10 Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads • Game of Thrones Book TagTop 10 Tuesday: The First 10 Books I Reviewed •


Book Reviews

ARC Review: Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

41147279Summary: From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

Release Date: May 7th, 2019
*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Christine Riccio, and Netgalley!*

My Thoughts: WOW.  I am obsessed with this book.  From the first Harry Potter reference, I knew I was going to love it.  Riccio’s writing style and Shane’s voice are absolutely hilarious and there were times when I felt like she was inside my brain.  Shane is a totally lovable and entirely relatable character.  All of her bookish fandom and pop culture references killed me, and I just loved the way her mind worked.  I was rooting for her to come into herself the whole time and I loved watching as she figured out what she truly wanted.  As someone who fell in love with London on my own travels, I was so excited to be transported back and was definitely living through Shane’s study abroad experience.  Her flatmates were such a great grouping of characters who all had their unique, fun quirks.  Babe with her Disney obsession and aspiring actor, Atticus, were my favorites.  Then there was Pilot Penn, Shane’s crush.  Their dynamic and chemistry were fantastic and while there were moments that he made me mad, I totally understood the conflict.  I think my favorite thing about this book was reading their witty, flirtatious banter.  There were several swoon-worthy moments that had my stomach all fluttery.  The big twist in the middle of the book caught me totally off guard and seeing it play out was so exciting.  As you can tell, I just really loved this book and I have very little, if any, negative comments.  From the romance to the friendships, to the wanderlust, and finally discovering who you are meant to be, this book knocked it out of the park and I can’t wait to see what Riccio does next.

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Book Hangover

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: The First 10 Books I Reviewed

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When I started out book blogging, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  All I knew was that I wanted to write about books.  I started checking out some other book blogs and fumbled my way through the first couple of months reviewing whatever books I was reading at the time.  This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is the First Ten Books I Reviewed.  Looking these over I feel like I have definitely grown as a blogger since writing these, but I’m still proud of them all the same.


The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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Strange Medicine by Mike Russell

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Starswept by Mary Fan

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

TTT-Big2I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but here in San Diego, it’s supposed to be rainy and cloudy all day- which just happens to be a perfect fit for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl: Rainy Day Reads.  I personally love rainy days, especially when I have the time to curl up with a good book and just relax.  Here are 10 picks that I think are perfect for a rainy day.

What kind of books do you like to read on a rainy day? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

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Last 10 Books Tag

a baby shower for amelia

Hello fellow bookworms!  I have really been struggling to make time to blog lately.  I thought it would be easier since Cats is in Los Angeles for so long, but I have been super busy with events, interviews, the show, and exploring the city with my cast mates.  It has been a while since I’ve done a book tag, and I figured this could be a nice way to jump start my blogging again.  I found this one at Pace, Amore, Libre, and thought it looked like a fun one to do!


What was the last book you DNF’d?

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I really don’t DNF often, so I guess the last book I DNF’d was in Spring 2018 and it was an ARC called The Torcian Chronicles by P.J. Reed.  I just couldn’t power through it no matter how hard I tried.  My eyes would glaze over.

Last book you reread?

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

Last book you bought?

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Last book you said you read but didn’t?

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Ummmm… I don’t ever do this… Probably The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in 10th grade?

Last book you wrote in the margins of?

I would never.

Last book you got signed?

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Last book you lost?

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Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks.  I never got to finish it.

Last book you had to replace?

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  My original copy was falling apart.

Last book you had an argument over?

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hmmmm… Probably the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas.  My friends and I all have different favorites.

Last book you couldn’t get a hold of?

I don’t really have an answer for this one…. I’ve had to wait for a few to come in from the library.. but only because I didn’t want to buy them…

Monthly Wrap-Ups

February 2019 Wrap-Up

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Hello everyone! It’s already March and that is crazy!! My tour has been chugging along, and we’re finally in Los Angeles for the next month.  It has been harder to blog on tour than I had expected, and I ended up taking a bit of an unexpected hiatus and missed a few more posts than I would have liked.  However, I have still been reading a good amount and trying to keep up as much as possible.

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Books Read:

The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick ★★★★

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton★★★

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman★★★★

P.S. I Still Love you by Jenny Han★★★★★

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han★★★★★

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

I can’t decide which one of these books I liked better, but they’re both incredible.


Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 10 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 4 of 50 (I suck… but I WILL read Wuthering Heights this month)


Broadway Book Chat: Keri Rene Fuller

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February Reviews:

• Furyborn by Claire LegrandARC-The Woman in the Lake by Nicola CornickARC-The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton 


February Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: New Releases I’m On The Fence About • Cleaning Up My TBR- Down the TBR Hole #8 • Top 10 Tuesday: My Favorite Book Couples from 2018 • Top 10 Tuesday: Hidden Gems With Less Than 2,000 Goodreads Ratings •


Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Keri René Fuller from Cats

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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!

Keri René Fuller

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Currently playing Grizabella in the North American Tour of Cats

www.kerirenefuller.com

instagram: @krfuller13

What are you currently reading?

I just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! I haven’t started another book yet, but I brought Wuthering Heights, so that will be my next one.

What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter.  Hands down.

Who is your favorite author?

Haruki Murakami, if I had to pick just one. I love the way he weaves words together to create a story. He has such an imagination and every story is a journey.

What book inspires you and why?

This will not be a popular opinion to anyone who has read it because it is a rather dark story, but I remember reading My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent and being so inspired to live and love nature, as well as make sure my hands and love were always extended towards anyone who has dealt with abuse.

Which literary character would you like to play?

Wow…that’s a hard one. I remember Blanche DeBois from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams…she is such an intricately flawed character and so full of faults and confusions, plus so emotionally guarded and injured that she would be such a trip to play.

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

I have played a lotttt of loners haha, so any of those character would be good, because we all need friends in this world. But if I had to choose, I would probably say Jenna

Hunterson in WAITRESS because she has a great sense of humor and is a strong woman who blazes her own path even despite the mistakes she makes.

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

I would love to see So B. It by Sarah Weeks be made into a play or a (better) movie. I feel like the mother/daughter dynamic in that book is so strong and intricate that it would touch a lot of people’s lives.

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

I would love to be able to write a book, but I feel like if I were able to sit down and put something together that it would be more of an informational book or a guide type. As much as I love diving into worlds other people create, I am not the best at conjuring up those worlds myself.

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

When I played Rose in DOGFIGHT, I knew I would never play such a complex character again in the near future. The strength and fragility, the anger and forgiveness she feels and the way she speaks her mind and wears her heart on her sleeve blow me away…it was such a gift to walk in her shoes.

What show are you currently in/what was the last show you were in and who did you play?

I am Grizabella in the North American Tour of CATS! The last show I did was WAITRESS on Broadway where I played a Pantry Person and understudied Jenna Hunterson.

See Keri (and yours truly) around the US in Cats! Click here for tickets and tour stops!

I feature a new performer every month, so check back in March for our next guest! I would really love some suggestions for new 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! Shout out to my wonderful friend, cast mate, and sometimes roomie, Keri for sharing with us ❤