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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January 26

Top Ten Tuesday: Happy Hour Hangouts

January 26, 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: Freebie!!!! I sometimes struggle with coming up with a topic when the whole wide world of books is available to me. For those of you who know me, I love happy hour. It’s just a nice time to chill out with friends (and sometimes meet new friends along the way). So…..after much thought, I decided to give you my list of authors I’d love to go to Happy Hour with! Here’s who I’d enjoy getting to know a little better over cocktails:

Happy Hour YA

Alexandra Sirowy – I was able to spend some time with Alexandra at Anderson’s YA Literature Conference in October of 2015, and I enjoyed the time I spent with her. She has a very unique background that I would love to hear more about!

Trent Reedy – I met Trent at the Anderson’s YA Literature Conference in October of 2014, and he is truly one of the kindest, most down-to-earth guys I’ve met. I was so touched with his personal story, and I enjoy following him on Facebook. I’m hoping our paths will cross again someday at some point.

James Klise – Another author I met at the Anderson’s conference in 2014. James gave me so much encouragement with my writing, and he will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve had the chance to see him again at an event since he is a local Chicago author. I would love to chat more with him about working with kids, writing, and books in general!

Jennifer Niven – As you know, I soooooooo loved All the Bright Places. I follow Jennifer on Facebook, and I just love her appreciation of her fans, her love of her cats, her awesome bookish office, and so much more. I’d love to get to know her in person!

Happy Hour

David Arnold – Truth time – I haven’t yet read Mosquitoland despite the rave reviews and the autographed copy that calls my name every time I walk by it. But…….David was such a pleasure to meet at Anderson’s 2015, but even more…..he is a musician who lives in Nashville! I also love following him on Instagram. His love for his family is so clear!

Bill Konigsberg – I also met Bill at an Anderson’s YA Lit Conference in 2015, and I LOVED his novel The Porcupine of Truth. He is such an amazing voice for LGBT teens everywhere, and he is such a down-to-earth guy. I’d love to get to know hiHappy Hour Adultm a little more!

Liza Palmer – Liza’s writing speaks to my soul, and I just want to get to know her more. When I’m reading her writing, I sometimes feel like she is in my head! I’ve loved both Girl Before a Mirror and Nowhere But Home, and I look forward to reading more of her in 2016.

Suanne Laqueur – I’ve gotten to know Suanne a little over the last year while I read and reviewed her books. I think her writing is simply stunning, and I love how she is so open about her own personal mental health struggles. I would love to sit down and have a drink with her sometime and just connect on a more personal level!

Cheryl Strayed – Wild was such a powerful read for me, and I love the honesty and frankness with which Cheryl conducts her whole life. She is a powerful voice for so many people, and I truly believe she is making a difference in this world with her writing.

Renee Rosen – One of my very favorite authors of all time, and she happens to be local. I became familiar with Renee on a fluke while going to see another author at an event. I immediately fell in love with Renee, her writing, and just her way of interacting with her fans. I think she is awesome, and I’d love to hang out with her more often!!

Who would you like to go to Happy Hour with?

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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 17

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Book Quotes of 2015

November 17, 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 Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So. As you know, I am a HUGE fan of quotes. I have a special notebook just for the fabulous quotes I come across so this was a fun TTT for me to do! I selected the quotes that have had the biggest impact on me so far this year:

“You are your most valuable asset. Don’t forget that. You are the best thing you have.”

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

“In choosing to be good, cautious, and efficient, I talked myself right out of amazing.”

Girl Before A Mirror by Liza Palmer

“Your hope lies in accepting your life as it now lies before you, forever changed. If you can do that, the peace you seek will follow.”

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“Choose the path of love and not fear. The choice you make out of love will always be the right one.”

Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone

“Perhaps I have chosen to be stuck here. Because we all choose our fate, whether or not we admit it.”

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

“Sometimes bravery is just doin’ what you gotta do.”

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper

“Beauty comes from within, but first you must bloom. Live beautifully, my love, and flourish.”

“The Spark” from Propose to Me by Ellyse Roberts

“How could he have imagined love was anything but a force which made you your most authentic being.”

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

“You get to make your life.”

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

“…things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully.”

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I love quotes so PLEASE share some of your favorites below!

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November 12

Nonfiction November: Fiction/Nonfiction Pairings

November 12, 2015

nonfiction november2015It’s week 2 of Nonfiction November. I haven’t done a ton of nonfiction reading yet, but I should finish up a book in a day or two that will free up lots of nonfiction time for me. In the meantime, let’s chat about fiction/nonfiction pairings. Whether you are a fan of fiction that is looking to read a bit more nonfiction, or a fan of nonfiction that is looking to read a bit more fiction, below are some recommendations to help you out. I’ve included quite a wide range, so you should be able to find a little something that appeals to you!

 

NFF pairing 1

Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center – Both books feature a strong female embarking on an enormous physical challenge in an attempt to regroup and move forward in life in a more positive way. I was inspired by both books, and I could totally see myself doing something like this someday!

NFF pairing 2

Columbine by Dave Cullen and We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – I haven’t actually had the chance to read Columbine yet, but I’ve heard great things. It’s near the top of my TBR, but I am a bit overwhelmed by the size. We Need to Talk About Kevin gives a very interesting perspective into the life of a family of a school shooter.

NFF pairing 3

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen and Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail – Both books provide a different twist on typical books set during the Holocaust. Each of these features a relationship involving a Nazi officer in the context of its story.

NFF pairing 7

You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen and The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus – Although these books aren’t on my list of all time favorite reads, they both give you a glimpse into the less-than-glamorous side of the life of nannying for a wealthy family.

NFF pairing 8

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall – I’ve always been intrigued by polygamy and the fundamental Mormon faith. These are very different books, but give you a peek into what that lifestyle might look like.

NFF pairing 6

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman and Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – True Notebooks had a strong impact on me and the way I view juvenile offenders. Saint Anything is a fictional account of one family’s difficulty coming to terms with a teen that has to go to prison. Both make you take a deeper look at the circumstances that surround tragedies such as these.

NFF pairing 5

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott and What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen – I was fascinated by Sin in the Second City and the lives of enormous wealth that madams could build for themselves. One of the infamous Chicago frequents to the brothel featured in the book was Marshall Field Jr, and his habit is mentioned in What the Lady Wants. I love how both books featured Chicago history and famous Chicagoans.

NFF pairing 4

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Hurry Down Sunshine features a father’s struggle as he goes through the diagnosis and acceptance of his daughter’s mental health issues. All the Bright Places is my favorite read of 2015 so far and also features the struggle of a teen that’s dealing with his own mental health issues. Both books bring so much awareness to mental health issues and the struggles that those suffering face.

What fiction/nonfiction pairing would you recommend? Have you read any of the above pairings? What did you think if you did?

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October 13

Top Ten Tuesday: Author Duos I Want To See Together

October 13, 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 Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together. This was a fun one to think about, and I can’t wait to see what other bloggers have come up with!

Renee Rosen and Sara Gruen

I’ve seen Renee and Sara appear together at a book event, and I have discovered that they are writing partners. I think both of them are extremely detail oriented, and it would be interesting to see what they could write together.

Chris Bohjalian and Jamie Ford

I have learned new facts from reading both of these authors, and I feel like they have similar styles in terms of their ability to teach through great character voices. I think together they could create an outstanding novel.

Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins

Both of these women are queens at suspense novels with unreliable female narrators. I can only imagine what their dark imaginations could come up with when combined.

Neal Shusterman and Suzanne Collins

Two of my favorite dystopian authors! I’d be curious what other worlds their combined creativity could develop.

Jojo Moyes and Jennifer Niven

Moyes and Niven wrote my favorite reads of 2015 so far, and I can’t even imagine the mind-blowing talent they would have combined. I bet I may never recover from a read like that!

Meg Wolitzer and Garth Stein

I’ve only read one book by Wolitzer, her YA debut Belzhar. Similar to Stein, she takes what could be a common storyline and gives it a special, somewhat supernatural twist. I’d be curious to see what they two of them could produce together.

Liza Palmer and Katherine Center

I loved all the quotes that I put in my quote notebook from both of these authors, and I would love to see them develop a contemporary novel together. I imagine it would be entertaining, funny, and touching all at the same time.

Billie Letts and Fannie Flagg

I always love a good novel set in the South, whether contemporary or historical fiction. These two ladies are two of my favorite Southern writers so why not have them write together.

Mary Kubica and James Klise

These authors are excellent at writing mystery novels, and I like to think about what twists and turns they could plot as a team.

Suanne Laqueur and Hanya Yanagihara

Both of these women are amazingly beautiful writers that tap into the dark depths of despair that people can fall into. A joint effort between the two could continue to bring so much awareness to mental health issues while sharing an amazing story.

What two authors would you like to see write a book together?

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August 18

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto Check-Outs

August 18, 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 Of Your Auto-buy Authors (no matter the genre or what it’s about…you’ll buy it from these authors!). If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I don’t like to spend money on books, and I make use of my library whenever possible. Therefore, I’ve altered my topic to Auto-Checkout Authors. Here’s who I can’t wait to read (click on their name to be taken to their professional website):

Auto Checkouts collage 1

 

Garth Stein – Ever since I’ve read Racing in the Rain, I’ve made sure to catch up on all of Stein’s work, and I definitely catch his new releases. Although his most recent A Sudden Light wasn’t my favorite, he will still be a pre-release hold at the library for me!

Jennifer Niven – Even though Niven is a new discovery for me with All the Bright Places (my so-far favorite read of 2015), I plan to catch up on my backlist for her, and I will definitely be checking out any new releases that I can.

Cheryl StrayedWild spoke to me when I needed it, and I read everything I could find by Strayed after that. It’s been awhile since she’s had anything new published, but I am waiting patiently.

Neal Shusterman – He is a new-to-me author this year, and I have loved both Unwind and Challenger Deep. I’m hoping to wrap up the Unwind series in the next few months sometime.

Liza Palmer – I am soooooooo glad that I won a contest for Palmer’s most recent release for Girl Before a Mirror, which then led me to Nowhere But Home. I’m not sure I would have discovered her otherwise. I absolutely adore Palmer’s writing style, characters, and setting, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

Auto Checkout Collage2

 

Suanne Laqueur – Suanne is also new to me this year, and I came across her work through another contest win (I’ve gotten so lucky on winning entries). I loved The Man I Love, and I was so excited to get a review copy of Give Me Your Answer True. Her writing is exquisite, and you don’t want to miss out on her powerful novels.

Khaled Hosseini – I have been so moved by the stories in all three of his novels, and I can’t imagine myself getting tired of what he produces. His most recent And the Mountains Echoed was not my favorite work, but I still enjoyed it.

Renee Rosen – If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know how much I adore Rosen, both her writing and her as a person. Not only will I read anything she writes, but I will also seek out any book event in the area that I can find. She is a master at taking her thorough research of a time period and blending it seamlessly into an engrossing storyline. I can’t wait for the release of White Collar Girl this fall. In the meantime, make sure you check out Dollface and What the Lady Wants.

Mary Kubica – Kubica has just made this list in the last couple of weeks following my read of The Good Girl. What a great suspense novel. I’m hoping to catch her very new release Pretty Baby soon!

Gillian Flynn – Another master of suspense that I look forward to reading. It’s been awhile since I’ve read something by her, and I need to get a fix soon!

Which authors can you not miss?

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August 9

Quick Quotes – All the Bright Places

 

quick quotesAugust 9, 2015

Check out my new feature – Quick Quotes! I provide you with several quotes from one of my favorite books with the hope that it will give you more of a feel for the book, inspiring you to pick up the book yourself! Today I am featuring one of my all-time favorite books – All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Niven is currently writing the screenplay for this movie adaptation, and I figured it was the perfect time to talk you into reading the book. My quote notebook got quite the workout during this read, and now I’m going to share my favorites with you! I have found that different quotes strike you more depending on your life circumstances, but I hope that you enjoy these as much as I did.

ATBP quote1

ATBP quote2

ATBP quote3

ATBP quote4

ATBPquote5

What is your favorite quote from All the Bright Places?

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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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June 2

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’d Like to See As Movies

June 2, 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’d Love To See As Movies/Tv Shows. Wow! There are so many books I wouldn’t mind seeing as movies. I decided to go with the books that I’ve read most recently:

 

Young Adult Selections:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – This is one of my all time favorite reads, and I’d love to see it as a movie. I think this has been optioned, and hopefully we’ll all be able to see it soon!

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – Another teen book dealing with mental health issues that I think would make a great movie and would shed more light on an important topic.

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau – I’d love to see this world come alive on the big screen. There is a movie option on this one as well.

Historical Fiction Selections:

Dollface by Renee Rosen – This novel is set during a time period that would be fun to see in a movie. I think the story and the characters would draw in any audience.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline – I learned so much when I read this book, and I think it would be great for others to learn about this period of history through a movie.

Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail – I thought this book put a different spin on the typical World War II story, and I’d love to see it play out on the big screen.

Contemporary Adult Selections:

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer – The characters and setting in this book were so engaging, and I think this could end up being the next big screen hit.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – This is another book with great characters and a great setting that would be sure to get great movie reviews.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I so loved this story, and I think it would be quite the tear jerker for the audience who would be watching.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – This would be an excellent suspense movie sure to draw big crowds.

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

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