Waiting on Wednesday: Spotlight on Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick.  I know I just said last week when I spotlighted Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast As I Can that I’m normally not really all that into books written by celebrities, but what are the odds that two of my favorite actresses would both have books coming out this fall?  I’m excited about this book because I think in addition to being a fantastic actress, Anna Kendrick is also one of the funniest celebrities out there.  I especially love following her on twitter because you just never know what she’s going to come up with next, but it’s always a guaranteed laugh and I have the same expectations for Scrappy Little Nobody.

Scrappy Little Nobody

by Anna Kendrick

scrappy little nobody

Publication Date: November 15, 2016

From Amazon:

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet After

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Characters I’d Name A Child/Dog/Cat/Car/Etc. After.  I decided to to go with pets even though the topic is bittersweet for me since my 13-year old beloved Golden Retriever passed away last year.  I’m still heartbroken about the loss, but I’m a huge dog person — truly can’t imagine not having one in my home — so I hope to get another dog someday, hopefully sooner than later.

I’m a cat person too though so meet Ninja.  (I guess you can tell from how he got his name based on how hard it was for me to get a photo of his whole face, haha!)

Anyway, on to my list! I then to think of these names only in terms of cats and dogs since those are the only types of pets I ever own, but feel free to think of them in terms of your pet of choice 🙂

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Top Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet After

 

1. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird

I think it would be quite fitting to name a pet after my favorite character from my all-time favorite book.  I think it would make for a great dog name.  If I ever get another Golden Retriever pup, I would seriously consider naming it Scout.  Come to think of it, Atticus would be a pretty cool name for a cat or dog too.  Or maybe I should change Ninja’s name to Boo Radley? I’m kind of kidding on that one, but this book has some great possibilities. 🙂

2. Simon from Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

I think Simon would be a cool name for either a cat or a dog.  If I had read this book before Ninja came into my life, I probably would have named him Simon.

3. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff is another of my favorite literary characters, plus I also love the Heathcliff the Cat cartoons.  I actually even remember having a Heathcliff lunchbox when I was in elementary school, so needless to say, I’d be cool with naming a cat or dog after Heathcliff.

4. Minerva (after Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series)

I think naming a cat Minerva would be a fabulous way to pay homage to one of my favorite characters from the Harry Potter series.

5. Sansa (after Sansa Stark from “A Song of Fire and Ice” – the Game of Thrones series)

If I get a new dog and it’s a girl, I think Sansa would be a lovely name.

6. Rhett after Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind

I have no idea why, but I always picture this as a perfect dog name for an Irish Setter.  The mind works in mysterious ways…

7. Oliver from Oliver Twist

Another of my favorite characters and I could see this being a great name for a dog or cat, although I imagine we would all end up calling him Ollie for short.

8. Levi from Fangirl

I think this would be a great name for dog and, if memory serves, I think Cath even occasionally described Levi as being like a Golden Retriever.

9. Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma

I can’t decide if this would be a better name for a cat or a dog, but I love the character and the name.

10. Dickens after Charles Dickens

Yes, I’m cheating on the last one and going with a favorite author because I seem to have forgotten nearly all of the names of the characters in every book I’ve ever read. I think Dickens would be a fantastic name for a new kitten.

 

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Question:  So what fictional characters would you consider naming a pet after?  Would any of my choices make your list?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday: Spotlight on Talking as Fast as I Can

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between).  Okay, so I don’t normally much many celebrity-authored books. They’re, generally speaking, just not my thing.  I’m making an exception for this one, however, because I ADORE Lauren Graham. I loved her as the fast talking Lorelai in Gilmore Girls and I thought she was equally amazing as Sarah Braverman in Parenthood.  Between this book coming out and the Gilmore Girls revival coming to Netflix in November as well, I’m just over-the-moon excited!

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)

by Lauren Graham

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Publication Date: November 29, 2016

From Amazon:

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge onProject Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top 10 Books Recommended to Me by Fellow Readers

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is All About Books You Read Because of Recommendation (Ten Books I’ve Read Because Of Another  Blogger (Or Book Person) or Ten Books I Read On Recommendation From People Outside Of This Community or you could talk about recommendations of books you read from other sources — a magazine, a podcast, a “because you read this” algorithm.)


After consistently being disappointed by so many books on all of those ‘Books You Must Read’, ‘Most Anticipated Books’ etc. buzz lists, I’m becoming more and more convinced that my best source for great book finds are, in fact, the recommendations that I get from fellow bookworms.  Between school, work, various TV and movie fandoms, and now the book blogging community, I’ve met a lot of readers in my day and can rarely think of a time when I’ve been disappointed in a book someone has recommended to me because they thought I would enjoy it.

The books on my list this week are actually all books that I’m pretty sure would have never even made it onto my radar if not for a recommendation by a fellow reader and now they are some of my all-time favorite reads.

Top Ten Books Recommended to Me by Fellow Readers

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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This book is probably one of my favorite recommendations from the book blogging community. I had never even heard of Sarah J. Maas prior to starting my blog but kept hearing about her on blog after blog that I visited. Once I realized it was a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, I had to read it and fell in love. And from what I’m hearing around the blogosphere, the second book in the series is even better than this one so that will be something to look forward to, hopefully before the end of the year 🙂

Goodreads Synopsis: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.   (Read more…)

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2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Cinder is honestly a book I probably would have never picked up if not for the praise that I’ve seen heaped on it by my fellow book bloggers.  I mean, Cinderella as a Cyborg?  At first glance, not really my thing.  But I trust my fellow bloggers and decided to go for it anyway. I actually just read this book last week and I’m so glad that I did too because this book was AMAZING!  Seriously. Hands down one of my favorites of the year.

Goodreads Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.  (Read more…)

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3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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Yet another book I probably never would have given a second glance if not for the book blogging community.  I’m very late to the party in reading V.E. Schwab but immediately fell in love with her writing style and her characters when I read ADSOM.  I’m now seeing a lot of praise for both the second book in this series as well as This Savage Song so thanks to you guys and your amazing recs, my TBR is filling up with V.E. Schwab goodness.

Goodreads Synopsis: Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.   (Read more…)

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4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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I love it when I join a TV or movie fandom and come across fellow bookworms.  Since we have similar tastes in film and/or TV, I’m always open to accepting book recommendations from them as well, which is how I came to read and love Ready Player One.  Again, a book I probably never would have chosen on my one but am so thrilled that I took my friend’s advice and gave it a try because it was riveting.

Goodreads Synopsis:  In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.   (Read more…)

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5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Two completely different kinds of books, but the same friend who recommended Ready Player One to me also recommended The Book Thief.  After reading this book, which has become one of my all-time favorites, I’ve sworn that no matter what book this friend recommends to me, I’m darn well going to read it because she has incredible taste in books.

Goodreads Synopsis:   It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.  (Read more…)

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6. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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Another recommendation from a TV fandom friend that ended up being an awesome read.

Goodsreads Synopsis:  A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism. (Read more…)

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7. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

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I feel so very fortunate to come from a family of readers and especially to have a younger sister who loves to read as much as I do.  We book swap all the time and some of my all-time favorite books are ones that she has recommended to me, with The Snow Child topping the list.  A truly magical read.  Eowyn Ivey has a new book out now that I can’t wait to get my hands on because I loved this one so much.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.   (Read more…)

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8. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

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I taught English for a number of years after I first graduated from college and became great friends with a fellow teacher.  She and I share a love of historical fiction and so I read The Kitchen House on her recommendation.  I was unfamiliar with Kathleen Grissom but fell in love with the characters in this book and in its sequel which came out earlier this year, Glory Above Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House.

Goodreads Synopsis:  When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.  (Read more…)

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9. City of Thieves by David Benioff

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City of Thieves was actually recommended to me by a clerk at the local bookstore a few years ago.  In the store, there is a big display full of staff recommendations and I always stop and browse the selections to see if there’s anything of interest. I was eyeing this book because I thought the cover was intriguing and the employee who had selected the book for the display came over and started telling me about it.  Within a few minutes he had me so intrigued that I just had to read it. It’s a fascinating read so I highly recommend it if you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly of the WWII era.

Goodreads Synopsis:  From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.   (Read more…)

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10. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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This was recommended to me by a friend when I was in a reading slump and told them I wanted to read something ‘deep and profound’.  I thought it fit the bill perfectly and that it was just an all around fascinating read.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.  (Read more…)

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Question:  So what are some great books that have been recommended to you by others?   Have you read any of these?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday: Spotlight on ‘Given to the Sea’

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis.  I’m waiting for this one because it just sounds like it’s going to be such an original storyline as well as a huge adrenaline rush as the characters fight to survive.

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis

given to the sea

Publication Date: April 11, 2017

From Goodreads:

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Fictional Characters I Love to Hate

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is All About the Villains – (top ten favorite/most compelling villains in books, top ten of the most vile villains/bad guys in books, top ten villains I secretly (or not so secretly) love, favorite TV villains, favorite comic book villains, ten “villains” of contemporary lit. My list is a bit of a hodge podge in the sense that although these are my favorite villains from literature, I also love the movie versions of each book, which is why I used the movie photos for my visuals.  It’s also a hodge podge in that I spread my villains out across various genres.  These are characters I love to hate from all walks of literature – from the creepy and the conniving to the ruthless and the roguish.  And let’s, of course, not forget that pink nightmare from the Harry Potter series, haha!

Top Ten Fictional Characters I Love to Hate

 

1. Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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2. Delores Umbridge, also from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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3. Iago from Othello by William Shakespeare

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4. Edmund from King Lear by William Shakespeare

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5. Sauron from The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien

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6. President Snow from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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7. The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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8. Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

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9. George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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10. Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith

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Question:  So who are your favorite literary baddies?   Would any of my favorites make your list?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is The Blazing Star by Imani Josey.  The absolutely gorgeous cover is what first caught my eye with this book, and then once I read the blurb, I knew I just had to read it.  It just sounds like it’s going to be such a fascinating read.

The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

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Publication Date: December 6, 2016

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

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Here’s an excerpt from The Blazing Star from Imani Josey’s website:

“His words ran together, muffling as if underwater. Enunciate, I wanted to tell him—we had that kind of relationship—but my mouth was the driest sand. My heart raced as needling ripples spread across my palm, tiny pinpricks followed by pulsating heat.

My classmates watched Mr. Pomey, oblivious to my discomfort as the scarab’s shine amplified to painful brilliance, its blue like gleaming waves crashing overtop each other. And in this blazing sheen the tiny figures on the scarab, the ancient hieroglyphs, became comprehensible script. To my beloved, the blessings of Amun, I read, as that uncomfortable heat ignited me from the inside out.”

From The Blazing Star, Chapter One- Lightning Strikes

Source:  www.imanijosey.com

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I’m Planning to Read this Fall

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List.  My list is a mix of books that I already own and need to finally get off of my TBR pile, plus some upcoming releases that I’m planning to acquire and read as well.  My goal is to get the five older books off my list first and then reward myself with the five new releases, but we’ll see how that goes. 😉

Top Ten Books I’m Planning to Read This Fall 

 

1. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

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I’m a huge fan of Maria Semple and her novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette so I was thrilled to hear that she has a new book coming out in October.  Her writing is just so fresh and fun and this will certainly be a book that I’ll read as soon as I can get my hands on it!

Goodreads Synopsis: The new novel from Maria Semple, author of bestselling Where’d You Go, Bernadette and writer for hit US TV shows Ellen and Saturday Night Live. Meet Eleanor Flood, who wakes up one day determined to be her best self.

Eleanor Flood is going to clean up her act, only change into yoga clothes for yoga, which today she will actually attend, and be a better version of herself. But then, as it always does, life happens. Eleanor’s husband is missing, and their son, Timby, is wearing eye shadow to school and getting into fashion battles on the playground. (It’s true that it’s Eleanor’s fault: She did put makeup in his Christmas stocking.) Just when it seems like things can’t get weirder or more in the way of Eleanor’s personal transformation, a graphic memoir called The Flood Sisters surfaces, and the dramatic story it tells reveals long-buried secrets and a sister to whom Eleanor never speaks.

With all the artistic madness, genius plotting, and bold social observation that made Bernadette a hit, TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious and heart filled day-in-the-life romp filtered through Maria Semple’s brilliant eyes.   (Read more…)

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2. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

born-to-run

As I shared in last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, and while I don’t typically read much in the way of celebrity memoirs, there’s just something about Springsteen that makes me want to read about his life in his own words.  Born to Run actually comes out today, so I’m asking for it as a birthday gift because my birthday is next month. 🙂

Goodreads Synopsis:  “Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.”
—Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of Born to Run

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.  Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.

He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.  (Read more…)

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3. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

holding up the universe

I fell in love with Jennifer Niven’s writing and storytelling abilities when I read All the Bright Places, so I am so looking forward to the release of her latest book Holding Up the Universe, which sounds just as fantastic.

Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are—and seeing them right back..  (Read more…)

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4. Swing Time by Zadie Smith

swing time

Doesn’t this book sound amazing? I would be excited to read it even if I wasn’t already a big fan of Zadie Smith.  This one comes out on November 15th, so I’m hoping to have knocked  out a few of my older reads and reward myself with Swing Time.

Goodreads Synopsis:  An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from north west London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty.

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.   (Read more…)

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5. Transcendent by Katelyn Detweiler

transcendent

I just received a copy of this book from the publisher and am really looking forward to reading it. I have to admit I’m a little nervous about the bombing Disney World part since that’s one of my favorite places in the world, but it still sounds like a powerful read so we’ll see how it goes.

Goodreads Synopsis:  A beautiful work of magical realism, a story about a girl in the real world who is called upon to be a hero.

When terrorists bomb Disney World, seventeen-year-old Iris Spero is as horrified as anyone else. Then a stranger shows up on her stoop in Brooklyn, revealing a secret about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Iris’s birth, and throwing her entire identity into question. Everything she thought she knew about her parents, and about herself, is a lie.

Suddenly, the press is confronting Iris with the wild notion that she might be “special.” More than just special: she could be the miracle the world now so desperately needs. Families all across the grieving nation are pinning their hopes on Iris like she is some kind of saint or savior. She’s no longer sure whom she can trust—except for Zane, a homeless boy who long ago abandoned any kind of hope. She knows she can’t possibly be the glorified person everyone wants her to be… but she also can’t go back to being safe and anonymous. When nobody knows her but they all want a piece of her, who is Iris Spero now? And how can she—one teenage girl—possibly heal a broken world? (Read more…)

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6. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

sweetbitter

Sweetbitter was on a lot of the must-read book lists earlier this year and it sounded pretty interesting and is set in NYC, my favorite city in the world, so I had picked it up with the intention of reading it this summer.  I got distracted by other books though, as we bookworms often do, and forgot I even had it until recently. I started it last night actually and so far it’s a good read.

Goodsreads Synopsis:  A lush, raw, thrilling novel of the senses about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant.

“Let’s say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge…”

This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning first novel. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, she’s come to New York to look for a life she can’t define, except as a burning drive to become someone, to belong somewhere. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a “backwaiter,” on duty and off. Her appetites—for food, wine, knowledge, and every kind of experience—are awakened. And she’s pulled into the magnetic thrall of two other servers—a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman she latches onto with an orphan’s ardor.

These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story of discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment. . (Read more…)

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7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder

Over the summer, I picked up The Lunar Chronicles cheap at a local book fair.  I haven’t started reading them yet because I had a few ARCs I needed to get through first for review purposes, but I really can’t wait to start this series. It sounds so cool. Plus, once I get through them, I plan to reward myself with Melissa’s newest release, Heartless, which sounds absolutely amazing!

Goodreads Synopsis:  Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.   (Read more…)

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8. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

girl in pieces

I just picked this book up a week or so ago and am trying to hold off until I get a few of the older books on my TBR taken care of, but I REALLY want to read it soon. It just sounds like it’s going to be such a powerful and moving read.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.   Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.  (Read more…)

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9. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

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I keep hearing that this is a hilarious read, so I’m planning to read it once I get through Girl in Pieces since that one sounds like it’s going to be so gut-wrenching.

Goodreads Synopsis:  The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.  (Read more…)

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10. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

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This bad boy has been on my TBR pile for far too long.  I adore this series but the books are so huge that I just keep shoving them aside in favor of shorter, less daunting reads.  I may not make it by fall, but winter is coming!  (Yes, I went there, haha).  Anyway, I am determined to finish this book before the end of the year.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Here is the third volume in George R.R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. Together, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.  (Read more…)

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Question:  So what books are you looking forward to reading this fall?   Are yours all new releases or are you looking to clean out some oldies as well?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

‘This or That’ Book Tag

 this-or-that-book-tag

This is the first book tag I’ve ever been nominated to do, so thanks so much to the very kind Birdie Bookworm for tagging me and thanks to Ayunda at Tea & Paperbacks for creating this tag.  I had fun answering these questions and hope that you’ll all enjoy learning a little more about my bookish habits and preferences :).  Okay, here we go…

The Rules of the Tag:

 

  1. Mention the creator of the tag.
  2. Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  3. Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do them if you want to .
  4. Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

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The Questions:

 

1.  Reading on the couch or reading on the bed?

My favorite reading spot is actually a comfy chair that I have in my office/library, but my bed is a close second.  Any place where I can be comfortable and where it’s quiet.  The TV and video game systems are too big of a distraction if I try to read on the couch.

2.  Male main character or female main character?

While I definitely enjoy books with both, I’d have to say that as a female, I probably best relate to female main characters.  Looking at my TBR stack, I’d hazard a guess that 75% of the time when I choose a book, I go for one that has a female protagonist.

3.  Sweet snacks or salty snack while reading?

I’ve never met a snack that I didn’t like, haha, but if I have to choose, I’d probably go with something sweet because I am a chocolate fiend.  M&Ms of all varieties, but especially the Peanut, Pretzel, and Crispy ones, are my go-to snack food when I’m reading.

4.   Trilogies or quartets?

I’m sitting here trying to think if I have ever read an actual quartet and drawing a blank on every book series I’ve ever read.  Honestly though, I think I prefer trilogies.  It seems like a good number of books to fully develop a storyline without ending up with too much ‘filler’ material.  With very rare exception, I start to get bored if a series goes beyond 3 books.

5.   First person point of view or third person point of view?

I like both, but I’d say my preference is first person as it feels more personal. I will say though that I am getting a bit tired of the trend of having the first person unreliable narrator because I do prefer a narrator I can trust.

6.  Reading at night or reading in the morning?

I don’t think I’ve read in the morning since I was in college and desperately trying to finish a book in time for  class.  Reading is something that I do to relax and to help me fall asleep, so I’m definitely going to say reading at night is my favorite.

7.  Libraries or bookstores?

If there’s a book I want to read but don’t think I’ll be interested in owning, I’ll definitely go check it out from the library. I also love the Overdrive feature where you can check out e-books from the library.  That said, however, I am a big fan of bookstores.  I love to own copies of books that I enjoy and I love the atmosphere of bookstores, especially the local independent shops as opposed to the bigger chains

8.  Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

Looking at my list of all-time favorite books, I’m going to say my preference is books that make me cry.  I’m not sure what it says about me, but I find heartbreaking reads to be more powerful and to resonate more with me more so than funny books do. I still love a good humorous read though.

9.  Black book covers or white book covers?

Hmmm, I can’t really say I have a real preference on this one since I tend to buy paperbacks and those nearly always have bright covers.  I will say though that one of my favorite books that I own is a black leather-bound collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories with gold writing on it. That book is beautiful, so if I have to pick, I’ll say black.

10.  Character driven stories or plot driven stories?

I’m going to say character driven stories because for me, no matter how good an overall storyline may be, I need a character that I can follow along with – watch them grow, agree or disagree with their actions and motivations, etc.

 

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Nominees:

 

If they haven’t already done it, I’d like to tag the following bloggers, and I’d also like to continue the trend of reserving my other 5 tags for anyone else who would like to complete it.  If you choose to do it,  post your link below so I can read your answers 🙂

  1.  Musings of a Literary Wanderer
  2. Chrissi Reads
  3. A Haven for Book Lovers
  4. Rebel Mommy Book Blog
  5. jbelkbooks

Waiting on Wednesday – Swing Time by Zadie Smith

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is Swing Time by Zadie Smith.  I’m super excited about this one mainly because of how much I loved her debut novel White Teeth and because I tend to always enjoy books that explore roots and how we are shaped by where we came from. I also love books about friendships so this one just seems all around like a good fit for me. 🙂

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

swing time

Publication Date: November 15, 2016

From Amazon:

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from north west London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty.

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

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Check out this advanced praise for Swing Time!

“Agile and discerning…With homage to dance as a unifying force, arresting observations…exceptionally diverse and magnetizing characters, and lashing satire, Swing Time is an acidly funny, fluently global, and head-spinning novel about the quest for meaning, exaltation, and love…This tale of friendship lost and found is going to be big.”—Booklist (starred)

“The narrative moves deftly and absorbingly between its increasingly tense coming-of-age story and the adult life of the sympathetic if naïve and sometimes troubling narrator…A rich and sensitive drama highly recommended for all readers.”—Library Journal (starred)

“A keen, controlled novel about dance and blackness steps onto a stage of cultural land mines…Smith is dazzling in her specificity, evoking predicaments, worldviews, and personalities with a camera-vivid precision…Moving, funny, and grave, this novel parses race and global politics with Fred Astaire’s or Michael Jackson’s grace.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“As ever, Smith plies her signature humor and sensitivity as she traces the contours of race and lived experience.”—ELLE.com’s Must-Read Books for Fall

“[A] powerful and complex novel…Rich and absorbing, especially when it highlights Smith’s ever-brilliant perspective on pop culture.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂