December 20

My Favorite Reads of 2015

December 20, 2015

I thought I had hit a bad streak of non-blogging back in October, but I have just surpassed that with 3 weeks of nonblogging this month. It’s not that I wasn’t inspired – I simply just had too many other things to do! Winter break is now here, and I’m hoping to not only catch up, but get some posts done ahead of time for January! Wish me luck! Anyway, today I’m here to share my top reads of 2015 with you. These books were not necessarily published in 2015 – they were just the ones I read this year that I liked the most.

Adult Fiction

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I was so moved by this book, and I was equally disappointed with its sequel After You.

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur – Suanne was a new author for me this year, and I fell in love with the beauty and rawness of her writing. I also enjoyed the companion to this novel Give Me Your Answer True, and I will soon be starting her book that will be released in January Here to Stay.

Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer – I was lucky enough to win this gem in a giveaway, and I am so glad! I was not that familiar with Palmer before this, and I am now a huge fan. I love her characters, setting, and story development.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – This is one of my favorite, heartwarming, easy-to-read books possibly of all time. I am still trying to get to the sequel!

Adult Nonfiction

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed – Oh my goodness….there are not enough words to describe my love for this one! After borrowing it from the library, I had to go ahead and buy myself a copy. I think that EVERYONE should pick this one up!

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – If you need a good laugh, then this is the book for you. I laughed out loud often while reading this one, and I love Brosh’s honesty and openness throughout!

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton – I am a huge HONY fan, and I check it out daily on Facebook. This book is the best of the best stories, and it will have you feeling all sorts of emotions along the way!

Young Adult

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – I think this is my favorite fiction read of 2015. I loved the characters and storyline, but I was really singing its praises because of the awareness it raises of mental health issues.

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg – I so enjoyed this very diverse read. Such great characters and settings. I was a bit surprised how much I adored this one.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman – This one is my dystopian shout out for the year. I loved the concept that Shusterman developed, and the writing was well done. I am still trying to get my hands on the audio of the next book in the series.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – This was another audio read for me, and it left me shattered. You will need a box of Kleenex for this one without a doubt, but it is so, so good. I will be completing a review of this one soon!

Middle Grade/Children’s

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling – I know that I am so late to the game on the Harry Potter mania, but I now get it, and I am so on board with the rest of you. I am going to be reading book #4 over my break.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – I was a little late picking this one up as well. I love the empathy and disability awareness that is highlighted in this one. Such a great book for kids to read!

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko – Historical fiction with a character with autism before autism was autism. This book was so good in so many ways, and I loved that it was set on Alcatraz!

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper – Another historical fiction read that I was moved by. If you are looking for a book on civil rights, then this would be an excellent choice.

As you can see, my reading is all over the place, and that’s what I like! There are so many amazing books in this world, and I don’t want to limit myself in any way. There are many runner-ups to this list if you want to talk more!

What were your favorite reads of 2015?

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November 27

Nonfiction November: More Mini Reviews

November 27, 2015

nonfiction november2015I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed Nonfiction November more than I even expected. I do enjoy nonfiction on occasion, but I found myself exploring far more books in this genre than I would typically. Today, I’m going to share more mini reviews on a couple of shorter, easier reads that I took on.

Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay

My curiosity was piqued when my friend Meghan added this book to her Goodreads
TBR list. When it was on the “Popular Pick” shelf at the library, I knew I had to pick it up. Jason Gay has lived through significant ordeals, and he shares his experiences with humor and wit. You will be inspired by his down-to-earth, no nonsense approach to life, and you will laugh quite a bit a long the way. At times, I felt that the humor was a bit forced, but overall this is an enjoyable and very quick read.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may have caught my review last spring on Humans of New York. I follow the page daily on Facebook, and I am a huge fan of the style, stories, and pictures that Stanton shares. When I heard another collection was being released, I put it on hold at the library right away (and I still had to wait because others beat me to the punch). As much as I enjoyed that last compilation, I loved this one even more. The stories shared were usually brief, and they often made impactful statements that stuck with me. If you are not familiar with HONY, then you MUST check it out in some form, whether it’s a book, Facebook, or the blog. I just love the snapshots into the lives of a huge variety of people. It makes you realize that we never really know what someone we pass on the street is going through. Check this one out soon!

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

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November 1

Nonfiction November

November 1, 2015

I’m so excited to be participating in Nonfiction November this year. This event is cohosted by 4 different blogs, but the blog that is cohosting that I follow is Doing Dewey. I’m going to attempt to read more nonfiction this month, as well as post on the weekly topics that coincide with this year’s event. Last year, I made a very feeble attempt to participate, completing only 1 nonfiction read the entire month. This year, I’m hoping to get four under my belt in between my other reading.

Here are the books that are on my radar that I’m planning to choose from (since I’m such a mood reader, I like to have options):

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – It’s hard to believe, but I don’t think I’ve ever read this one. I bought a paperback copy at a Scholastic sale, and I’m looking forward to reading this classic.

The Cruel Country by Judith Ortiz Cofer – I won a copy of this memoir from the author, and I’m definitely intrigued. It has been getting some solid reviews, and I’m anticipating good things.

Humans of New York Stories by Brandon Stanton – I follow Humans of New York on Facebook and love the variety of stories that are shared. When I read Humans of New York this last spring, my only complaint was that it didn’t include the stories that I’ve come to love on Facebook, and now here it is! I’m on the hold list at the library for this one, so I’m pretty confident that I’ll get to this particular read.

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed – I love all things Cheryl Strayed, and I LOVE quotes – this book could not be more perfect for me! I also have this gem on hold at the library.

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin – I’ve heard that this book is a highly entertaining look at a life that very few of us will ever glimpse (but I’ve also heard reports that some of the stories included are greatly exaggerated).

On Writing by Charles Bukowski – I’m trying to get back into a writing groove, and I thought that I might find some inspiration here.

Gorge: My Journey Up Mount Kilimanjaro At 300 Pounds by Kara Richardson Whitely – I am definitely intrigued with this one, and Cheryl Strayed gives it rave reviews. I like books that can inspire me in some way that I need to be inspired in.

Two Awesome Hours by Josh Davis – I like reading the occasional book on how to be more organized and/or efficient. This looks like a quick read, and I might give it a try.

Any recommendations on where to start? What are you planning on reading for Nonfiction November?

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April 4

Book Review – Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton

April 4, 2015

From Goodreads:
A beautiful, heartfelt, funny and inspiring collection of photographs capturing the spirit of a city

In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton set out on an ambitious project: to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called “Humans of New York,” in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.

Humans of New York is the book inspired by the Internet sensation. With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York.

Surprising and moving, Humans of New York is a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of the city.

I always love to see the HONY posts on Facebook. I love the variety of pictures, and I especially love the stories that accompany the pictures. I never knew the story of the man behind the posts, and now that I do, I am even more impressed by what Stanton has created. Stanton left the financial field to become a photographer, and this inspiration, along with his dedication, led to one of the most popular features out there today.

The book is more photograph-oriented than the Facebook page, which features lengthier stories about the photographs. As a person who loves background stories and learning about people, I was a little bummed that the book did not include more of this. However, I did still love the book, and I highly recommend checking it out! The pictures are stunning, the tidbits are interesting, and you will learn so much along the way. This book would make the perfect coffee table book and conversation piece in any home!

Do you follow Humans of New York in social media? What did you think of the book?

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