January 3

2018 Bookish Challenges

January 3, 2018

2017 was an awesome reading year for me! I read over 100 books (112 to be exact), which well exceeds my usual book consumption….by quite a bit. Although 2017 was a great reading year, I was taking a break from blogging at the beginning of the year, and so I only participated in the Goodreads Challenge (which I knocked out of the park). Thinking ahead to 2018, I am hoping to keep up my reading streak, but also blog more than I did in 2017. With that in mind, here are the challenges that I am ready to take on (mind you I am still debating some as I begin typing this :)):

The Goodreads Challenge 

It is so simple, yet it is probably my favorite challenge of the year because so many of my non-blogging friends and family participate. You pick a number of books you’d like to read for the year, and you go for it. This was the first year EVER that I hit 100 books, but I feel like I need to keep the streak going so 100 books it is!

Beat the Backlist (Hosted by Novel Knight Book Reviewsbeat the backlist

I have so many freaking books on my shelves and on my Kindle that I need to read. I am such a sucker for Kindle Daily Deals, and I have put a ban on myself for this year because I already have too many. I also have so many advance copies of books from ALA and other sources that I have yet to read (some are even 2018 releases that I’ve had for 6 months or more). This challenge assigns you to a team and you just read whatever backlist books you want. My goal (and yes it is lofty but it still will not even make a dent) is to read at least 1 physical book and 2 ebooks per month from what I already own.

Commenting 365 Challenge (Hosted by Read Write Love 28


This is a challenge to keep me more actively engaged in blogging this year. I’m not going to set any hard limits on how many times I am going to blog per week or per month, but I am going to commit to checking out new blogs and commenting on them (and hoping that maybe I’ll get a few new visitors to my blog). I hope to visit a wide variety of blogs, and meet lots of new people.

Book to Movie Challenge (Hosted by Gather Together and Read

book to movie 2018

Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner recently did a post about 42 books that will be movies in 2018. At the time, I thought it would be a fun challenge to read the book before these popular movies come out (knowing that I already had a head start having read a few of them). Then I came across this challenge from Gather Together and Read, and I knew I was in. I’m setting the bar low because I pretty much stink at keeping up on movies, so I am going to be open to book to movie adaptations from previous years. My goal is: Level 3a: read 1-3 books from any release year, watch 1-3 movies from any release year.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge (Hosted by Doing Dewey


I don’t read nearly as much nonfiction as I do fiction, but I have definitely read some good nonfiction over the years. I also adore Katie and love following her blog. I have several nonfiction books on my Kindle so I am hoping to tie this one in with my Beat The Backlist Challenge. My goal is to read 12 nonfiction books, roughly one per month (I fully acknowledge that there will be months with 0 and months with more).

Library Love Challenge (Hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasure and Brooke Blogslibrary love challenge

If you know me at all, you know I am a HUGE fan of my local library! Well over half of my books from 2017 came from Palatine Public Library, and I cannot say enough about the resources and customer service that they offer. I will support my library in any way that I can, and this challenge is one easy way to do so. I think I’m going for the gusto on this one: Library Card on Fire 60+ books!! Wish me luck.

Audiobook Challenge (Hosted by Hot Listens and Caffeinated Book ReviewerAudiobook-Challeng-2018

One of the reasons that I think I was able to complete so many more books this year is that I added audiobooks to my rotation. I listen to them in the car, while I’m cleaning or cooking, or just when I am doing any sort of mindless work. I’ve learned that certain books work better for me on audio than others, mainly thrillers and memoirs. I do listen to quite a few Young Adult and Middle Grade reads as well. My goal is the Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) which is 10-15 books.

So I totes want to do the Michael Jackson Reading Challenge, but at this point in time, it feels a bit overwhelming to plan out. I just have to give it a shout out though, because seriously….how freaking awesome! Let me know if you are going to do this one!

Also, a huge shout out to Nicole from Feed Your Fiction Addiction who compiled a list of all 2018 challenges, which is quite a huge undertaking. It is such an awesome resource that so many of us appreciate. Thanks, Nicole!!

I will be adding a page to my sidebar to track my progress on this monster pile of challenges. Feel free to check in on me anytime to see how I am doing:

What are your reading goals for 2018?

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January 1

December 2017 Wrap Up

January 1, 2018

December was a wild ride. It started out fast and busy, but things slowed way down following Christmas (and I was able to get lots of extra reading in). Here are the highlights from the month:

Dec personal

  • We kicked off the first of December with my annual work holiday party. There were not quite as many people in attendance as usual, but it is always a good time with good stories to be had by those who were there 😉
  • My friend Andrea hosted a My Favorite Things Party based on the concept of Oprah’s My Favorite Things. There were only four of us there, and we each brought the same gift (our favorite thing of 2017) to share with each person. It was tons of fun to see what everyone would bring, and I do hope it becomes an annual tradition. Andrea also made tons of desserts that were DELICIOUS and added to the whole fun of the evening.
  • December is definitely a time for friendly gatherings, and this month was no exception. I watched Bad Moms with some coworkers one evening, attended a holiday party that my friend Margaret threw, went to my friend Shannon’s After Christmas PJ party, and spent a little time with my friend Janet and her family who were home for the holidays from Belgium. They all had different vibes, but they were all super fun and a great chance to bond with my friends.
  • I have a surprising number of friends with December birthdays. I wasn’t able to celebrate them all, but I hope I at least acknowledged all of them….December gets so crazy so I’m not totally sure this happened. My friend Kristy turned 40, and she wanted to do an Escape Room. I’ve never done one before, and they are definitely morhett birthday 2017re tricky then I anticipated, but it was definitely a good time!
  • My nephew celebrated his 9th birthday and we celebrated with a fun party complete with a doughnut tower cake followed by one of his hockey games. They don’t come much sweeter and funnier than this guy!
  • I took my first hand lettering class at the Paper Source, and it will not be my last. We were able to bring in our own snacks and wine, and our instructor was delightful. I highly recommend the experience!
  • Christmas was an awesome time with family featuring lots of good food, amazing gifts, quality time with some of my favorite people as well as Star Wars. We saw the newest movie in 4D on Christmas Day. It wasn’t the best Star Wars movie ever (and keep in mind I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan), and you can totally skip the 4D. It sounded good in theory, but we were all done with the moving seats by the end!
  • My niece is still into going shopping for her birthday and Christmas instead of me buying her gifts. I keep making the most of it, because I know it will not last forever, but it is one of my favorite things to do all year. She selected Chipotle for lunch this time around.
  • My friends Meghan and Maura and I have a tradition of going out for an amazing dinner and cocktails on the evening of New Years. This was our third year! We are home before midnight, but it is an awesome way to end the year. This year we went to Wildfire, and had some amazing steaks and martinis! YUM!

Dec readingblogging

dec misc

  • I filled y’all in last month on the start of My 13 Beverages of Christmas Challenge. Well…I knew I could nail that one, and nail it I did. I earned two shirts by Christmas Eve. Thanks Tuscan Market for the good times! #goals 13 beverages of xmas
  • I help facilitate the 4th and 5th grade book club at school, and the last several weeks we read Dash by Kirby Larson, which focuses on the Japanese internment here in American during World War II. The kids loved the book, and as a wrap-up, my friend Sharon came to talk about her parents’ experiences at an internment camp. I’ve heard her presentation before, and it is always fascinating and a great learning experience for me. The kids also learned so much by speakibaby lit booksng with her!
  • I love to gift books to all the little favorites in my life. This year I came across BabyLit books for babies/toddlers that feature learning concepts (ex: counting, shapes, Spanish, etc.) in the context of classic books that we all know and love. There are soooooo many options, and they were very well received as gifts. I thought they were pretty cute!
  • One of the gifts I was most hoping to get this year was the Qardio scale. It is a smart scale that tracks so much more than weight, and it automatically connects to the app on your phone. I have already set it up and I’m totally in love (other than the numbers it is showing). I’ll have to let you know what I think a few weeks from now.

What were some of the exciting things that happened to you this month?

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December 26

Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Releases I Can’t Wait For

December 26, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they select a topic every week, and the rest of us get to make Top Ten lists based on that topic. This week’s topic: Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018. Most of the books at the top of my list are from authors that I have read before that I have loved. Some of these do not even have covers yet, but I’m still so excited that I’m including them here. Here’s what I can’t wait for (click on the book title to be taken to the Goodreads description):

Young Adult Selections:

There Will Be Other Summers by Benjamin Alire Saenz: I LOVED Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and this novel is the follow up to that. If you haven’t yet read Aristotle and Dante, listen to the audio as it is narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda!

Puddin by Julie Murphy:  I LOVED Dumplin’ and all it’s Dolly Parton references. This one is the follow up to Dumplin, and I’m beyond excited to immerse myself in this world again!

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli: Becky is quickly becoming one of my very favorite authors. The way she is able to capture the feelings and experiences of her characters is unmatched by any other author. I loved Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and this book is a follow up with Leah from that novel.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: Another one with no cover that I am totally excited for. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was one of my favorites of 2017, and I’m thrilled for the next one in the series which features strong female characters!

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis: One of my all time favorite authors Jennifer Niven has been promoting this book like crazy, and anything that Jennifer says I am going to listen to. I enjoy coming-of-age stories that feature a diverse main character.

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter: Although they are lighter fare, I enjoy reading Carter’s books of spies and teenagers. I love the unique settings and plotlines. I’m not sure if this one is a stand alone or the start of a new series, but I am in regardless. Anytime you mention the Secret Service, I am most likely in…..I have a slight obsession!

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera: Two of my favorite authors teaming up to write this one? Of course I am in! I don’t even know much about the plot, but it doesn’t matter….I’m sure it’s going to be a win!

Fiction Selections:

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian: If you’ve followed this blog for anytime at all, you know that Bohjalian is almost a guarantee read for me as soon as it’s released. This one features a dead body, a hungover flight attendant, and a good mystery. I can’t wait!

Still Me by Jojo Moyes: Although I didn’t love After You nearly as much as Me Before You, Still Me is a MUST read for me. I hope that it compares to the first book in the series. I loved the character of Louisa, and I can’t wait to see what she is up to now.

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin: Benjamin is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and this one about early female Hollywood superstars is definitely intriguing to me. I hope it compares to the rest of her novels.

What books are you looking forward to in 2018? What should I add to my list?

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December 12

Top Ten Tuesday: My Best of 2017

December 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they select a topic every week, and the rest of us get to make Top Ten lists based on that topic. This week’s topic: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017. I read more books this year than in any other year prior. With over 100 to choose from, there is no way I can keep this list to 10. Not all of these were published in 2017, but if it’s a favorite, I need to share it with you! Here is what I most recommend for you (click on the book title to be taken to the Goodreads link):

Middle Grade Favorites:

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate: A great lesson on racial and cultural acceptance. This one warmed my heart!

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner: The story of a girl who learns of her sister’s heroin addiction and what it means for her and her family. So age appropriate, so real, and just so good!

The Sixty Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone: I love the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Miniatures Room is one of my favorites. You set a MG mystery/fantasy here, and I am definitely in on reading it!

Young Adult Favorites:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: One of the most important books I read this year that epitomizes this time in our country’s history. A teen girl witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend by a police officer. I cannot recommend this one enough!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: A great coming of age story about a boy who is coming to terms with his sexuality. What made this a home run was the fact that this audio book was narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Set in the 18th century, this coming of age story had a totally unique premise! I loved following the adventures and growth of Percy and Monty as well as all the European settings!

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena: I keep thinking about this one even though I finished it this summer. I loved the characters and setting, but even more I loved all of the life messages that were included.

Fiction Favorites:

The Mothers by Brit Bennett: This debut novel made me feel all sorts of emotions. Well written, vividly descriptive, this one will tug at your heart strings!

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips: I will never look at a zoo the same way again. You will read this thriller in no time at all. A page turner at its best!

The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman: This is another one that has stayed with me long after I finished it. I loved the characters, but the character of Helen may be one of my favorite characters of all time. This multigenerational novel is a definite winner!

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal: Based on the title of this book, you might expect something that is completely different from what it actually was. Part mystery, part romance, part contemporary, with themes of diversity, cultural acceptance, feminism, grief, and more. The characters were well-developed, and I would love to hear more about them in the future.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: A longtime classic that I just read for this first time this year. I have a bit of an obsession for Plath, and I want to read more of her writing and learn more about her life.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford: I am a huge fan of Jamie Ford, and his newest novel does not disappoint. The story of a boy who is raffled off at the 1909 Seattle World’s Fair who ends up living in a brothel. Tell me you are not intrigued!

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward: I almost didn’t include this one, because it has made so many “Best of” lists this year, but there is a reason for that. The character development, the depiction of rural life both past and present, even the somewhat paranormal elements all make for an outstanding and well written novel.

Nonfiction Favorites:

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah: I learned so much about South African history and life, and Noah is magical narrator to listen to if you check out the audio version!

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond: This book was such an eye opener on poverty, homelessness, and trying to live in this country when the odds are stacked against you. It definitely made me look at poverty in a new way.

What were your favorite books this year?

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November 30

November 2017 Wrap Up

November 30, 2017

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a monthly wrap up. I’m actually excited to put this together, because it has been so long since I’ve shared glimpses of my life with all of you. Here is what I am grateful for this month:

nov personal highlights

  • We celebrated a friend’s 40th birthday with a Three’s Company themThree's_Companyed party (which is also turning 40 this year). This is a great theme for a party if you are looking for one. We had themed apps (Reagle Beagles, Jack Dipper), a Three’s Company drink (vodka, cranberry, and pineapple), and we played a fun Three’s Company drinking game while watching old episodes of the show.
  • The following weekend, I celebrated another friend’s birthday party. This event was more low key but did involve holiday crafts and Hallmark holiday movies….things you can never go wrong with.
  • I went birthday shopping with my niece, which has become my favorite tradition with her. She is now 12 so I am making the most of these shopping trips because I know that soon she will probably choose the cash over shopping with her old aunt.
  • Thanksgiving this year was a low key affair with just myself, my parents, and my brother and his family. We watched football, stuffed ourselves silly, and played a couple of rounds of Clue (which I happened to win one round of).
  • Since I am in a new home this year, I was able to get a live Christmas tree for the first time in 12 years! It was so exciting to go through the process of selecting the tree and getting it all set up. I also had access to all of my holiday decorations that I’ve had stored at my parents house for years. This move has had many benefits, and the tree and decorations are high on that list.
  • My friends and I usually spend a day over Thanksgiving weekend kicking off the 12 Beers of Xmas at a local establishment. As a non-beer drinker, I’m never able to earn the free shirt for finishing……until this year. A different local establishment is doing 13 Beverages of Xmas which includes wine. This should be a slam dunk for me to finish before Christmas Eve! I’m so excited!

nov reading blogging

nov misc tidbits

  • I want to share so much about some of the gifts I’m going to be giving this year, but it might ruin it for the random friend who checks out my blog. I guess I’ll have to do it at the end of December….you just won’t be able to order these as gifts yourself. Maybe I’ll do a separate post at another time……still thinking on this one!
  • Someone at work started a Healthy Habits Challenge that started near the beginning of November and is running until December 20th. At first I was like no freaking way. But…..the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to do it. If nothing else, I hope to keep myself from gaining loads of weight at this time of year. I haven’t rocked out the exercise part as much as I wanted, but I have done well with the eating and losing weight piece.

What were the highlights of your month? Let me know what is going on with you!

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November 28

Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter TBR

November 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they select a topic every week, and the rest of us get to make Top Ten lists based on that topic. This week’s topic: Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR. With cold weather making me want to hunker down, and a little extra time off of work, this is the time of year when I can get more then a typical amount of reading done. Here’s what I am most looking forward to (click on the book title to be taken to the Goodreads link):


I made a 2017 New Year’s resolution to finish the Harry Potter series, and I am only 2 books away from finishing the original series. I currently have a bunch of library books in my possession, but I’m going to need to prioritize these two books to meet my goal!


I’d like to think that I will read all of these before I need to return them, but the odds of that and finishing Harry Potter are slim. I guess we will see what strikes my fancy in the next few weeks!

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe: I am always drawn to books set during World War II, and this book looks like it is right up my alley…the story of a young teen who keeps the magic of books alive while in a concentration camp and at great personal risk to herself.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: This YA diverse romance has been getting rave reviews. It looks like a lighter read, and I can’t wait to dive in.

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: A teen has to make some hard decisions about her schooling so that she can care for her step brother who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Along the way, she begins to develop feelings for the same girl her brother is in love with.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware: I recently listened to The Woman in Cabin 10 on audio and enjoyed it. I knew I would read this one at some point. I love a good thriller, and I hope this one does not disappoint.


I am very much a mood reader so I never make definite reading plans. Here are some books that are possibilities, but I am sure that I will also be reading books not on this list. We will have to wait and see what the winter holds :)

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine: This debut thriller has gotten RAVE reviews, and I currently have the book on hold at the library. I can’t wait for the hold to come in, because this one sounds like a winner.

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker: Another thriller that’s gotten great reviews. Apparently I am on some sort of thriller kick? This one is about two sisters who go missing, and what happens when one of them returns years later without the other one.


Mosquitoland by David Arnold: A girl takes a Greyhound to visit her biological mother who is sick, and she meets a host of characters along the way. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Arnold, and I love his personality, his love of music, and his Instagram account. I always love to read authors who have touched me in some way with what they’ve said.

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven: I love Jennifer Niven….what more can I say. I’ve heard good things about this book, and I can’t believe I haven’t already read it!

Any guesses as to how many of these I will actually read? It’s hard to know!

What do you plan on reading this winter?

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November 5

Nonfiction November 2017

It’s that time of year. As we begin to hunker down under the blankets as the cold weather becomes the norm, it’s time to pull out those nonfiction books that we always mean to get to but never do. Although I am on a strong and successful fiction run, here are a few titles that are on my radar for this month:

Books Already Started But Haven’t Finished:

When I am on a trip, I love to buy a book that represents something significant about the area I’m visiting. I’m not sure what it means that both of these books are “trip souvenirs”, and I haven’t finished them!

deep down dark cover1 dead in attic

Deep Down Dark: This is the book I brought home from Chile this last summer. Although it is an in depth and fascinating look at the Chilean mining disaster, a fiction book always seems to be diverting my attention.

1 Dead in Attic: I brought this book back from a New Orleans trip a few years ago. I was drawn in by the individual stories of Hurricane Katrina at the time, but again, I think fiction drew me away. I’d love to finish it up this month!

Books On My Shelves:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: I’ve heard so many great things about this book about an African American woman who is used in the name of science without her consent. I’ve been told that I will love it, but I still haven’t quite gotten to it!

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War: I have always been drawn to Karen Abbott’s writing. She always reads more like fiction than nonfiction to me. I think the size of this one keeps me from reading about how women acted as spies in the Civil War.

Books on My EReader:

I am such a sucker for the daily deals on Kindle. I have so many books that will take me years to get to, but here are some that may come up this month:

Men We Reaped: I just finished a Jesmyn Ward novel, and her writing is stunning. I am intrigued by this memoir in which she discusses losing 5 men in her life in a short period of time.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family: The story of a transgender girl and how her identical twin and the rest of her family cope with the changes the occur in Nicole.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House: I totally want to hear more about Barack Obama, his days before his presidency, what it was like in his White House. This book gets great reviews and is supposed to be quite entertaining!

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World: Who doesn’t want to gain some insight and wisdom from the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu? I know I’m open to the possibilities!

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House: I am so curious about what life is like in the White House behind closed doors. I love knowing details about the inner workings as well as the ins and outs of relationships that exist.

Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing: A collection of writing from both men and women behind bars and how they struggle to keep their humanity.

I could add even more books to this list, but this is a good sampling. I can’t possibly read all of these, but these are probably the most likely candidates. I will keep you all posted!

What are you going to read for Nonfiction November? Anything you think I’m missing out on that should be a must read for me?

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June 21

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Reads of 2016 So Far

June 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they select a topic every week, and the rest of us get to make Top Ten lists based on that topic. This week’s topic: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year. I decided to feature my favorites reads of the year so far….not necessarily those released in 2016.

Middle Grade Reads:

George by Alex Gino – Such a great introduction to transgenderism for middle grade students. I love how this one can teach us so much.

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley – An extremely heartwarming read with hints of fantasy. I love the message sent about love and family connections.

Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin – I cannot put into words how much I adored this book. I bought this one for my niece and ended up reading it before I gave it to her (how was I supposed to know that flipping through it quickly would read to a quick read of under 2 hours). It features a main character with Asperger’s Syndrome, family dysfunction, a dog as a prominent character, and a happy ending. What more can you ask for?

Young Adult Reads:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – A delightful read the promotes LGBTQ understanding. Simply a heart-warming coming-of-age novel.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman – Although I didn’t love this one quite as much as If She Stays (the first book in the series), I still loved the developing lives and love story of Mia and Adam. I found myself frustrated at points, but overall an enjoyable read.

Adult Fiction:

Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney – I just finished this one a few days ago, and I loved it so much more than I expected to. Amazing writing, strong character development, recent historical events used as a backdrop – I was drawn in the entire time. I’m planning to post a review soon!

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – This one I finished last night (I know…..it’s been an awesome week for reading). An excellent thriller that is face-paced and quick to read.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica – I love Kubica’s writing and the ultimate twists and turns of her plots. This one did not disappoint, and I can’t wait to read her next book.

Adult Nonfiction:

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari –  Although this one can get dry at points with research and facts, Ansari is HILARIOUS and you will learn lots of interesting tidbits throughout. I listened to the audio on this one, and I highly recommend it as it is read by Ansari himself.

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold – This was an emotionally gut-wrenching book by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters. It can be unsettling, eye-opening, and informative all at once.

What books have you read this year that have topped your favorites list? I’m always looking for good recommendations!

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February 16

Top Ten Tuesday: Books and Music

February 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they select a topic every week, and the rest of us get to make Top Ten lists based on that topic. This week’s topic: This week is all about music & books! I love books that have incorporate music as a major theme is some way. Many possibilities were offered for this one, but I’ve decided to just give you the music-related books I have my eye on reading with the hope that you guys will point me in the right direction as to what I need to read soon!

Books I Already Own But Haven’t Read:

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff – Sam’s friend Hayden is dead and he uses his friend’s playlist for clues as to the reasons behind his death. I’ve met Falkoff in person, and I also want to support her by trying out this very intriguing-sounding novel.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – I’ve heard great things about this book, and I could check another book off of my list for the Clean My Reader Challenge as well. I also love the idea of two women on a country music road tour. How fun!

King Dork by Frank Portman – Another author I met and adored for his quirkiness. Catcher in the Rye references as the basis of several mysteries AND rock and roll. What more can you ask for in a book?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – I’ve heard so many good things about this book, and I totally want to check it out but just haven’t gotten to it yet. Maybe soon?

Books I Need to Get My Hands On

Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer – You have probably already heard me talk about this one! The title and cover sucked me in right away. A girl who thinks Kurt Cobain is her father and is still alive…..I feel this book call my name every time I see or read about it!

2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino – A 9 year old who wants to make her debut at a famous jazz club after her mother dies. Intriguing, but I have definitely heard mixed review on this one. What did you think?

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat – A teen turns to her beloved music to cope through the difficult times her family is enduring. This one isn’t calling my name as much as some of the others, but it is getting solid reviews.

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan – A boy and a girl meet during a performance of a church choir. Their families intertwine before tragedy strikes. I haven’t heard much about this one, but I do have some interest.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – A bookworm and clarinet-playing band geek struggles to cope with the loss of her sister. I’ve heard so many great things about Nelson’s writing, but I have yet to read any of it!

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – No list highlighting books and music would be complete without High Fidelity. I’m not sure why I haven’t read this one yet!

Tell me what you think! Which book is a must read? What can I skip? Anything missing you think I should add?

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February 13

Book Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

February 13, 2016

From Goodreads:
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

This book has been on the bestseller list forever, and it made sooooooo many “Best of 2015” lists that I knew I wanted to check it out. After waiting forever for my hold to come in from the library, here are my thoughts:

On the Plus Side:

  • Groff has a beautiful style of writing. If you enjoy language above all else, then you will appreciate her style.
  • I loved the home featured in the second half of the book. I could totally see myself living in a house like Lotto and Mathilde’s.

On the Minus Side:

  • I found this book to have a VERY slow start, and the action never really picked up for me. If you are a fan of language and writing, then maybe you will appreciate this novel more, but I need some action…..something to keep me hooked on a book.
  • Most of the characters were truly annoying and I found it difficult to really connect with any of them….maybe Rachel, but she was a relatively minor character.
  • I had heard that the second half is much better than the first, which is why I hung in there on this book, but alas this was not true. This book was pretty boring from start to finish.
  • The end wrapped up a little too tidily for me (which if you know my reading style is a pet peeve of mine). I didn’t find it believable or enjoyable.

This book has WAY more hype than it deserves. In my opinion, there are far better books out there for you to enjoy (just peruse some of my other reviews to find something that will meet your needs). I am a little frustrated that I wasted so much time on this one!

Have you read Fates and Furies? What did you think?

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