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):

HARRY POTTER SERIES

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!

LIBRARY BOOKS CURRENTLY IN MY POSSESSION

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.

OTHER 2017 RELEASES THAT ARE POSSIBILITIES

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.

BOOKS I’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ FOR AWHILE

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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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 10

Top Ten Tuesday: Movies I Need To See

November 10, 2015

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: Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch. For those of you who know me well, I am dreadfully behind in keeping up with movies. It’s just not something I’ve been good at for quite some time. It’s not that I’m not interested, it’s just that there always seems to be something else I want or need to do. With that in mind, here are the movies, I still HAVE to see:

wild moviebook thief movie

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – I can never say enough how much this book impacted me. I can’t even believe I haven’t seen the movie yet. Hopefully soon!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – One of my all time favorite books. It’s a travesty that I haven’t taken the time to watch this yet!

kite runner movielovely bones

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Although it’s not my favorite book by Hosseini, I was definitely moved by it. I think it would be extremely difficult to watch this one on the big screen!

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – This book haunted me for months after I read it. I can’t even imagine what I would be like after watching the movie.

sister's keeper movie


memoirs of geisha movieMy Sister’s Keeper
by Jodi Picoult – I haven’t read too much by Picoult, but I definitely was into this particular novel of hers. I think it would make for a very strong, but emotional movie. Why is it that the best movies are often gut wrenching?

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – This isn’t one of my favorite reads of all time, but I am intrigued with the concept and lifestyle of a geisha. I’m curious how it would play out on the big screen.

maze runner movieThe Ggiver movieiver by Lois Lowry – I’m embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t actually read this one, but based on the recommendations of trusted readers, I know I will. I definitely want to read the book before I check it out though!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t looooove it. I still want to catch the movie if I get a chance though.

harry potter movie

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – I’ve only read through Book 3 at this point, and I’ve only seen through Movie 1. I have all of the mmockingjay movieovies on my DVR so I hope to catch them during the doldrums of winter this year!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – I’m happy to say that I’m not horribly behind on this movie series! Maybe I can catch up in enough time to catch the newest one in an actual theater!

What book to movie adaptations are you wanting to see?

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November 5

#PotterBinge

November 5, 2015

What is the Potter Binge you ask? The Harry Potter Readalong is a fabulous PotterBingeevent being hosted by The Estella Society where a bunch of people can join together to read or reread some or all of the Harry Potter books from November 1-January 31. My favorite part of this event is the use of #potterbinge as you post your thoughts on social media. For some reason it is just so catchy for me!

Most of you know that I had not read the Harry Potter books prior to this year. So far this year, I’ve listened to the first three on audio (that Jim Dale is an AMAZING narrator), but I’ve stalled at the 4th book (the audio is just too long for the limited amount of time I’m in my car). I decided this was the perfect opportunity to get back on track and read the last 4 books (although I’m also in the midst of Nonfiction November so I might put some of this reading off until December and January). My 10 year old niece has also recently discovered the Potter love, and I want to be able to chat with her about the books as she finished them.

From playbuzz.com
From playbuzz.com

I’m really excited to join a group that is reading the infamous series at the same time I am. I’m just hoping to not encounter too many spoilers along the way (although I’m already aware of several – there’s no way these days to not hear about Harry and his friends). I hope you join in on the fun – I’d love to chat with you!

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September 8

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Need to Finish

September 8, 2015

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: TenFinished Series I Have YET to Finish. I’ve included series that I have started as well as those I haven’t. Check out my interesting mix!

Series I’ve Already Started:

harry potter series

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – If you follow my blog regularly, you know that I started the Harry Potter series for the first time this year! I am so on board with fanfare now! I’ve made it through the first 3 books, and I’m lanne of green gables seriesooking forward to reading the rest!

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I read the first two books years ago when they were given to me as a gift bunwind seriesy friend Carrie. I enjoyed them, and I’d like to reread the first 2 and complete the series at some point.

gregor seriesUnwind by Neal Shusterman – I listened to Unwind earlier this year, and I highly enjoyed it. I loved the unique concept, and I can’t wait to discover how everything will progress.

Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins – I’ve read the first book, Gregor the Overlander several times at work with the kids. I would like to know what eventually happens with Gregor and his family.

Series I Have Yet to Start:

Shopaholic bshopaholic seriesy Sophie Kinsella – I’ve heard so much about this series, and sometimes I enjoy a nice light read that this one appears to offer. For some reason, I’ve just not quite gotten there yet. Maybe someday….

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – I’ve chronicles of narniaalways wanted to read this series, and I was even given the whole series as a gift years ago. I told myself that this was the year, but I’m not totally sure that it will happen.

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry – I still can’t believe I haven’t read The Ggiver seriesiver yet. My OTSP Secret Sister Missie even gifted me a copy, and I’ve heard all of the rave review. Seriously….the first book will happen soon!

heather wells seriesThe Heather Wells Series by Meg Cabot – I have yet to read anything by Meg Cabot, and this series seems like it would be right up my alley. It also seems like another series that would be a light and easy read.

Divided We Fall Trilogy by Trent Reedy – If you follow my blog, you know that I am a huge fan of Trent Reedy as a person…..so warm and genuine. I want to support him in any way that I can. Although this trilogy might not usually be on my radar, I want to check it out after hearing so much of what Reedy has said about it.

diary of wimpy kid seriesDiary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney – My niece is totally into this series right now, and I know several students who are reading averse who love these books. I want to see what all of the hype is all about!

What series do you need to still read?

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July 28

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

July 28, 2015

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: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (love reading, are writers, work at a bookstore, etc.). I absolutely love books that feature characters who love to read (or novels that have a bookish twist of some sort). This was a fun list to put together!

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series – I love that Hermione was always doing lots of extra reading with a strong love for knowledge.

 Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars – One of the big events of the book is when the couple travels to meet the author of a novel that they both identified with, a desire I can truly understand!

Cath (and Levi) from Fangirl – I’m currently in the middle of this audiobook, and I’m loving it. Cath is a huge fan of the Simon Snow series of novels, and Levi grows to be a fan of Cath’s fan fiction spinoffs of Simon Snow. I adore when a book can bring a couple closer together!

Jam Gallahue in Belzhar – Jam becomes friends with a close knit group during her Special Topics in English class as they read the works of Sylvia Plath.

A.J. Fikry from The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Actually there are so many characters that end up as bookworms in this lovely novel. I also adore the setting in a bookstore in a small seaside town.

Anna Wyatt from Girl Before a Mirror – OK, so Anna is not a huge book nerd necessarily but the novel takes place at a Romance Writer’s Convention…..how could I not include this gem on a bookish list!

Don Tillman from The Rosie Project – One of my favorite parts of this amazing summer read was all of the pop culture references (both books and movies). I thought it was so sweet the way Don used books to help him learn how to navigate various social situations.

Cheryl Strayed in Wild – This might be cheating a bit since this one is a nonfiction book, but I loved how books figured so prominently in Strayed’s journey. It’s a part of the novel I will not forget!

Catherine Warner in Bookends – I read this book eons ago, but I loved how Catherine gave up her job to pursue her dream of opening a book store!

Cornelia Brown in Love Walked In – OK, true confessions time. I read this one awhile ago as well, and I believe that Cornelia makes all sorts of bookish references throughout the novel, but I’m not totally sure. Regardless, this is a charming little novel that would make a good summer read.

Who are your favorite book nerds?

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June 30

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10 Books So Far This Year

June 30, 2015

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’ve Read So Far In 2015. Here are my faves so far (click on the book title to be taken to my review for each one):

Adult Fiction

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – One of only three 5 star reads this year. I can’t wait for the sequel in September.

Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur – Laqueur is a new author for me this year, and I am so glad I have found her. Her writing is so amazingly beautiful.

Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer – A heartwarming read that is perfect for summer!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – Another heartwarming read with a strong bookish theme.

Young Adult Fiction

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – I’m now a Shusterman fan, and this book gives his readers a glimpse into his personal life and his son’s struggles with mental illness.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman – I enjoyed the unique concept of this one, and the action will keep you engaged.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Another 5 star read that I keep recommending to others. This is a must read for everyone!

Children’s Fiction

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I’m officially on the bandwagon and in love with Harry and the gang.

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper – A great book on the civil rights movement written from the perspective of a ten year old girl.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – A great book that helps children appreciate differences.

What are your favorite books so far this year?

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May 28

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

May 28, 2015

From Goodreads.com:
Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney’s ghoulish predictions seriously? 

I just can’t get enough of Harry and the gang these days! Here’s what I thought of Book #3:

On the Plus Side:

  • Rowling is just a master at developing her characters. Not only do we learn more about the old favorites, but we are introduced to some new favorites as well (some of who are surprising favorites).
  • I love that we learn more about the history of Harry’s parents, what their schooling looked like, who their friends were, what life was like. Even though his parents aren’t actual characters, Rowling makes you feel as if you know them intimately.
  • I loved that we were given access to a glimpse of the personal lives of some of the professors. It was nice getting to know them on a professional level, but they are such deeper characters knowing that they like to hang out and drink sometimes.
  • Oh the suspense. There are times when I just cannot move through the novel fast enough!
  • Just when you think you are familiar with the world of Hogwarts, Rowling manages to introduce something new.
  • I loved the addition of different classes to their schooling – it makes you think about the classes that you would like to take if you went to school there. I can’t decide if I would love or hate Divination :).

On the Minus Side:

I really don’t have any complaints about this one. I really enjoyed the story, and I’m upset that Book #4 is not available at the library right now! I want to keep going!

How do you think Book #3 compared to the previous two?

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May 12

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Authors I Have to Meet

May 12, 2015

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: 10 Authors I REALLY Want to Meet. This one was pretty easy for me. I have been fortunate enough to meet many of my faves already, and I know who I still need to meet. Here are my Top Ten:

garth stein

 Garth Stein

I was introduced to Stein with my book club while reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. I have enjoyed every book I’ve read by Stein, and I will be diving into A Sudden Light this week. I tried to go see him last summer, but traffic unfortunately kept me from getting there! Ummmm, and how adorable is he?

neal shusterman

Neal Shusterman

I have recently become a big Shusterman fan. I read Unwind based on the recommendation of a friend, and I loved the concept of it. Then I recently finished Challenger Deep, and I fell in love. I missed a chance to meet him recently because of my book club, but I won’t miss him for anything next time!

cheryl strayed

Cheryl Strayed

I fell in love with Strayed when I read Wild, and then I quickly devoured everything she had written. I am longing for a new release of some sort, and maybe then I’ll have the opportunity to meet her!

J.K. Rowlingjk rowling

Who doesn’t want to meet the iconic author of the Harry Potter series? Now that I am 3 books into the series, I am officially a fan. I would love to talk to Rowling and hear more about her journey as an author.

jojo moyesJojo Moyes

I read Me Before You when a friend lent it to me, and I look forward to reading more by Moyes. I just heard she has a sequel to Me Before You, titled After You, coming out in September and I cannot wait!

Sue Monk Kidd

sue monk kidd

My love for Sue Monk Kidd began with The Secret Life of Bees (which I need to go back and reread), and I have adored everything of hers that I have read since. I still haven’t gotten to The Invention of Wings, but it is near the top of my list!

jennifer nivenJennifer Niven

I’m sure you’ve all heard me rave about All the Bright Places. It is one of my all time favorite reads! I love following Niven on social media, because she is so gracious and appreciative of her fans, and she lets them know that every day. I can’t wait to read more of her writing.

Liza Palmerliza palmer

I was recently introduced to Palmer’s work when I won Girl Before a Mirror in a contest. I loved the book, and I have since read Nowhere But Home, which was also a good, easy read.  I love Palmer’s characters, setting, and writing.

Suanne Laqueur

suanne laqueur

Another giveaway helped me to discover the writing of Laqueur. I was able to get to know her a little more through social media, and she is so warm, approachable, and gracious. Her new book Give Me Your Answer True is coming out in June and I can’t wait!

Jamie Fordjamie ford

I read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet for my book club, and I love how Ford is able to intertwine so much history with such engaging characters. I love his style, and I would love to hear him speak more about his own personal history and his life as an author.

Which authors would you like to meet?

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May 11

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

May 11, 2015

From Goodreads:
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects…Harry Potter himself. 

As soon as I finished Book 1, I ran to the library to get Book 2 that night. I’m definitely caught up in the Harry magic, and I now get what all of the hype is about. I get excited to have a long car ride right now, because then I can listen to more of the book as I drive. Here are my thoughts on Book 2:

The Things I Love:

  • Rowling continues to develop her amazing world. Hogwarts is an unbelievably magical place that I so wish I could visit.
  • I still love the characters that Rowling has developed (although this time around I sometimes thought that Harry and Ron were not the best decision makers/problem solvers/kids with the most common sense. Sometimes they made decisions that were simply stupid in this particular book).
  • I love how Rowling kept me guessing as to who the bad guy was right up until the end. That’s pretty impressive for a children’s book.
  • I so love how the Weasley family embraces Harry and treats him as a member of their family. It warms my heart every time the plot shifts in that direction.
  • I listened to the audio version of this one as well, and I just need to make note that I still think the narrator is awesome!

What Wasn’t As Good About Book 2:

  • I thought the character of Ginny could have been a little more well developed. Other than her crush on Harry, you don’t really have a sense of who she is yet. I want her to be hanging out with the rest of the gang, and I’m hoping that happens down the road.
  • Some of the choices of Harry and Ron were a little frustrating to me, but it did further the plot.

How do you think Book 2 compares to the rest of the series?

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