Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on Girls in the Moon

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 Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally.  Aside from the blurb, which makes it sounds like it’s going to be a beautiful coming of age story, what really sold me on this book is all of the advance praise it has received from authors I admire.

Girls in the Moon

by Janet McNally

girls-in-the-moon-th

Publication Date:  November 29, 2016

From Amazon:

Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth.

Her mother, Meg, ex-rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister Luna, indie rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the co-founder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and maybe even to continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months.

This soul-searching, authentic debut weaves together Phoebe’s story with scenes from the romance between Meg and Kieran that started it all—leaving behind a heartfelt reflection on family, fame, and finding your own way.

Check out this Advance Praise for Girls in the Moon!

 

“McNally is a polished storyteller, her prose alive with vivid descriptions, the excitement of romance, and an artist’s yearning to create.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Girls in the Moon is a beautiful, heartfelt novel about following your own path and finding your voice. Janet McNally’s stunning debut is a lush, lyrical paean to mothers, daughters, sisters, and the music that weaves them together.” (Kathleen Glasgow, author of Girl in Pieces)

“In her luminous prose, Janet McNally renders the moments—quiet and loud, in the spotlight and in the dark—that shape us and wound us and make us fully human.” (Nina LaCour, award-winning author of Everything Leads to You)

“A powerful story of secrets, sisters, mothers and daughters-of a family fractured and pieced back together across time, with love, pain, passion, and music. GIRLS IN THE MOON will stay with you like a song you can’t get out of your mind.” (Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be)

“With lush, lyrical prose and nuanced storytelling, Girls in the Moon is a gorgeous coming-of-age story that sings of sisterhood, secrets, and the ties that both bind and bond us.” (Jessi Kirby, author of Things We Know by Heart)

“Laced through with drumbeats and heartbeats, GIRLS IN THE MOON is pure indie rock and even purer poetry. A luminous story of love, art, yearning, and connection.” (Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King)

“Sophisticated, dreamy, and gorgeously written, Girls in the Moon is like spending a summer night reminiscing with old friends.” (Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl From Everywhere)

“McNally’s first novel shows an appreciation of poetic phrasing, as well as plenty of musical references. Recommend this introspective novel to readers who enjoy stories about music and musicians.” (Booklist)

“Narrator Phoebe excels at capturing a moment’s emotional nuances… her reflections on independence and acceptance of people’s flaws are genuine. Understated but astute narration makes this family snapshot a worthy read.” (Kirkus)

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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. 🙂

Ten Books I’ve Added to my To-Be-Read List Lately

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is  Ten Books I’ve Added to my To-Be-Read List Lately.  This was a pretty easy topic for me since I’m quite literally adding new books to my TBR list pretty much every day.  The ten I have selected made it on to my TBR for a variety of reasons – some are based on blogger reviews I’ve read, others because I’ve received ARCs to review, and still others for random reasons like maybe a gorgeous cover caught my eye.

Ten Books I’ve Added to my To-Be-Read List Lately

1. Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

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This one made it onto my list because I’ve read several great reviews from bloggers who have read ARCs.  It sounds amazing!

Goodreads Synopsis: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.  (Read more…)

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2. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

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This one made it on to my list as part of my birthday haul (which I, note to self, really need to hurry up and do a post on since my birthday was last month).  I saw this on sale and gifted it to myself, mainly because I LOVE the cover.

Goodreads Synopsis:  I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.  I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.   (Read more…)

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3. Timekeeper by Tara Sim

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Another addition to the list based on some great blogger reviews.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.   (Read more…)

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4. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

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A friend from college was telling me about this book and it just sounded so good that I had to add it to my list.

Goodreads Synopsis:  High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.   (Read more…)

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5. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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The beautiful cover is what caught my eye on this book, but I have been meaning to read more of Adichie’s books anyway because Americanah was so good.  I also added We Should All Be Feminists and Purple Hibiscus.

Goodreads Synopsis:  With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war. (Read more…)

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6. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

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Don’t laugh but I added this one to my list after my last Gilmore Girls rewatch. 🙂

Goodsreads Synopsis:  This sublime collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century’s most quotable authors. (Read more…)

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7. Iceling by Sasha Stephenson

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This book is on my list because I recently received an e-ARC from the First to Read program.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Lorna’s adopted sister, Callie, is part of a mysterious group of non-lingual teens, Icelings, born on a remote Arctic island, who may not be entirely human. Now Callie wants to go home.

Seventeen-year-old Lorna loves her adoptive sister, Callie. But Callie can’t say “I love you” back. In fact, Callie can’t say anything at all.

Because Callie is an Iceling—one of hundreds of teens who were discovered sixteen years ago on a remote Arctic island, all of them lacking the ability to speak or understand any known human language.

Mysterious and panicked events lead to the two sisters embarking on a journey to the north, and now Lorna starts to see that there’s a lot more to Callie’s origin story than she’d been led to believe. Little does she know what’s in store, and that she’s about to uncover the terrifying secret about who—and what—Callie really is.  (Read more…)

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8. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

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I recently received an e-ARC from Netgalley and this one also piqued my interest because of the praise from Anthony Doerr.

Goodreads Synopsis:  A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.  (Read more…)

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9. A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

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I loved Orphan Train so when I saw Baker Kline had a new book coming out, it had to go on the list.

Goodreads Synopsis:  From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.”

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.  (Read more…)

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10. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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That creepy cover is what got this book onto my list.

Goodreads Synopsis:  The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.  It wants the truth. (Read more…)

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Question:  Have you read any of these titles? What have you added to your TBR lately?

The Versatile Blogger Award Tag

the-versatile-blogger-award

 

I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.  It took me so long to complete the tag that I actually ended up nominated by three of my fellow bloggers, so huge thanks to A Blog Of One’s OwnPages Bound Together, and Swooning Over Fictional Men for the nominations! 🙂

 

Rules of the Tag:

 

-Show the award on your blog

-Thank the person who has nominated you

-Share 7 different facts about you

-Nominate 15 different blogs of your choice

-Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination

 

7 Facts About Me:

 

1.  I’ve lived in the state of Virginia all my life.  Sometimes I think about moving elsewhere, but ultimately I really like the moderate climate and the proximity to both the ocean and the mountains.

Virginia in Autumn

Virginia in Autumn

2.  One of my favorite hobbies aside from reading is wine tasting. We have over 250 wineries here in Virginia and lots of wine trails, so I love to do girls’ weekends with my mom and sister and go and sample as many of the local wines as we can.  This past summer I enjoyed frozen wine slushies for the first time and became completely obsessed with them. Sooo good!

3.  Another hobby of mine is photography. I’m more into travel photography than anything else — I took well over 1,000 pics when I went to Europe last summer!  Even though I love photography, however, I haven’t tried Bookstagram yet and don’t know if I ever will. I can’t decide if it’s my thing or not. Sometimes it’s all I can do to get my books read and reviewed, so I fear that adding in another component to keep track of would be too much for me. I do enjoy other bloggers’ photography though 🙂

London, August 2015

London, August 2015

4.  I have quite an obsession with all things Disney. It started with Eeyore when I was a small child, but I honestly really can’t think of a single Disney movie or character that I don’t love. Even the Disney villains are awesome!

5. I’m not a morning person, but I’m not really a night owl either. I guess I’m more of a mid-afternoon/early evening kind of gal, haha.  Mornings are the worst for me though. Seriously. Don’t even think about speaking to me until I’ve had my coffee.  You’re taking your life into your own hands otherwise 😉

6. I’m a huge sports fan. I love football, baseball, and soccer. When it comes to professional sports, in football I root for the Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens and in baseball, I root for the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals.  For soccer, although I do enjoy watching the English Premier League teams play, I primarily just root for my son’s soccer team 🙂

spring-soccer-2016-003

7.  I want to live a healthy lifestyle but have a hard time committing to any kind of diet or exercise routine that would help me to achieve this goal.  I’m constantly disappointed and frustrated by myself in this regard.

 

My Nominees:

(If you haven’t already done it)

1.  Angela at Musings of a Literary Wanderer

2. Grace at Rebel Mommy Book Blog

3. Verushka at pop.edit.lit

4. Greg at Book Haven

5. Eva at All Books Considered

6. Lindsey at Lindsey Reads

7. Megan at Bookslayer Reads

8. Melissa at Book Nerd Momo

9. Resh at The Book Satchel

10. Katie at Girl About Library

11. Olivia at The Candid Cover

12. Jordan at Forever Lost in Literature

13. Diana at A Haven for Book Lovers

14. Loreen at Coffee and Cats

15. Alisia at 4thhouseontheleft

Waiting on Wednesday: Spotlight on ‘The Girl Before’ by J.P. Delaney

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 Girl Before by J. P. Delaney.  I enjoy a good psychological thriller and this book just sounds like it’s going to be filled twists and turns that keep me guessing from start to finish.  I keep saying that I’m tired of books that are in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, but I think The Girl Before sounds like it has potential to revive my interest. We’ll see… 🙂

The Girl Before

by J. P. Delaney

girl before

Publication Date: January 24, 2017

From Goodreads:

In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma:  Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane:  After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Check out this Advance Praise for The Girl Before!

“Dazzling, startling, and above all cunning—a pitch-perfect novel of psychological suspense.“ —Lee Child

“Riveting! One of the most compelling page-turners I’ve read in years. Twisty, turny, and with an ending not to be missed!“ —Lisa Gardner

“I was instantly gripped and held captivated by the pace and elegant writing. I devoured it.” —Peter James

The Girl Before is a cat-and-mouse game that toys with our expectations and twists our sympathies. At times almost unbearably suspenseful, it keeps us guessing from the first page to the very last. Don’t miss it.” —Joseph Finder

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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 to Read if your Book Club likes Strong Female Characters

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 To Read If Your Book Club Likes ______ (if your book club likes historical fiction, inspiring stories, YA books, non-fiction, controversial books to debate about, or pick a specific book)

Okay, so let me start out by saying that I have FAILED at every book club I have ever tried to join.  At least where I live, it seems that the main staple in every book club is Chick Lit and that’s just not an area of fiction that really interests me at all.  So, inevitably, I join a book club, get bored, and eventually stop showing up.

What does interest me regardless of genre, however, are strong female characters. If I ran a book club, literally every title I selected would feature a badass female protagonist.  Someone who is strong, complex, fierce, stubborn, and someone who is not caught up in love triangles or squares or whatever the latest trend is.  So my top ten list for this week focuses on ten books featuring badass female characters that I would choose for my own book club.  I chose from several different genres and tried to choose books about women who I considered strong for a variety of reasons and whose experiences differ greatly from one another.  There are tons more that I could easily choose, but for this list, I specifically tried to pick titles I imagined would generate interesting discussion at an actual book club meeting.  Enjoy!

Top Ten Book Club Reads Featuring Strong Female Characters

 

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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Goodreads Synopsis: Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.  (Read more…)

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2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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Goodreads Synopsis: The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.   (Read more…)

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3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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Goodreads Synopsis:  The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa..   (Read more…)

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4. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

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Goodreads Synopsis:  It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women — of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.  (Read more…)

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5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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Goodreads Synopsis:  The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence. (Read more…)

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6. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

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Goodsreads Synopsis:  When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.  (Read more…)

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7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.  (Read more…)

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8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.   (Read more…)

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9. Room by Emma Donoghue

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Goodreads Synopsis: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.  (Read more…)

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10. Cinder by Marissa Myers

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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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I realized when I got to the bottom of my list that I didn’t have any nonfiction titles, so I’m throwing in this bonus selection.  I chose Hillary’s autobiography, because love her or hate her, I think everyone will agree that she is the badass of all badasses in the political world!

11. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Hillary Rodham Clinton is known to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Yet few beyond her close friends and family have ever heard her account of her extraordinary journey. She writes with candor, humor and passion about her upbringing in suburban, middle-class America in the 1950s and her transformation from Goldwater Girl to student activist to controversial First Lady.

Living History is her revealing memoir of life through the White House years. It is also her chronicle of living history with Bill Clinton, a thirty-year adventure in love and politics that survives personal betrayal, relentless partisan investigations and constant public scrutiny.

Hillary Rodham Clinton came of age during a time of tumultuous social and political change in America. Like many women of her generation, she grew up with choices and opportunities unknown to her mother or grandmother. She charted her own course through unexplored terrain — responding to the changing times and her own internal compass — and became an emblem for some and a lightning rod for others. Wife, mother, lawyer, advocate and international icon, she has lived through America’s great political wars, from Watergate to Whitewater.

The only First Lady to play a major role in shaping domestic legislation, Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled tirelessly around the country to champion health care, expand economic and educational opportunity and promote the needs of children and families, and she crisscrossed the globe on behalf of women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She redefined the position of First Lady and helped save the presidency from an unconstitutional, politically motivated impeachment. Intimate, powerful and inspiring, Living History captures the essence of one of the most remarkable women of our time and the challenging process by which she came to define herself and find her own voice — as a woman and as a formidable figure in American politics.  (Read more…)

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Question:  Have you read any of these titles? What are your favorite reads that feature strong female characters?

Waiting on Wednesday: Spotlight on The Upside of Unrequited

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 Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.  I think everyone who read and fell in love with Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is chomping at the bit to get their hands on Albertalli’s next book and from the blurb, it sounds like it’s going to be an equally charming, relatable, and entertaining read.  Wish I didn’t have to wait six months though!

The Upside of Unrequited

by Becky Albertalli

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Publication Date: April 17, 2017

From Goodreads:

From the award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda comes a funny, authentic novel about sisterhood, love, and identity.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.  There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.  Right?

Check out this Advance Praise for The Upside of Unrequited!

“Heart-fluttering, honest, and hilarious. I can’t stop hugging this book.” —Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss

“I have such a crush on this book! Not only is this one a must read, but it’s a must re-read.” —Julie Murphy, New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

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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 About Witches

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Halloween Related Freebie:  ten scary books, favorite horror novels, non-scary books to get you in the Halloween/fall mood, bookish halloween costumes, scariest covers), scary books on my TBR, etc.

I love Halloween so I really love this week’s topic! Next to Christmas, Halloween is probably my favorite holiday.  I loved dressing up and trick-or-treating when I was a kid, and as an adult, I love taking my son out trick-or-treating and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters who come to our door.  My birthday is also in late October and so my parties were often Halloween-themed.  Just thinking about Halloween therefore brings back lots of fun memories.

For my top ten list, I decided to share 10 of my favorite books that feature witches.  Some are scary, some are funny, and some are geared towards children, while others are clearly not.  Some are about good witches, while others are about wicked ones. And while it goes without saying that the Harry Potter series features some of my favorite witches of all time,  since I’ve featured that series in several of my recent top 10 lists, I’ve decided to share some books that I haven’t shared before. Enjoy!

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Top Ten Books About Witches

1. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

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Goodreads Synopsis:  The bestselling author of Second Nature, Illumination Night and Turtle Moon now offers her most fascinating and tantalizingly accomplished novel yet — a winning tale that amply confirms Alice Hoffman’s reputation not only as a genius of the vivid scene and unforgettable character but as one of America’s most captivating storytellers.

When the beautiful and precocious sisters Sally and Gillian Owens are orphaned at a young age, they are taken to a small Massachusetts town to be raised by their eccentric aunts, who happen to dwell in the darkest, eeriest house in town. As they become more aware of their aunts’ mysterious and sometimes frightening powers — and as their own powers begin to surface — the sisters grow determined to escape their strange upbringing by blending into “normal” society.

But both find that they cannot elude their magic-filled past. And when trouble strikes — in the form of a menacing backyard ghost — the sisters must not only reunite three generations of Owens women but embrace their magic as a gift — and their key to a future of love and passion. Funny, haunting, and shamelessly romantic, Practical Magic is bewitching entertainment — Alice Hoffman at her spectacular best.  (Read more…)

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2. The Witches by Roald Dahl

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Goodreads Synopsis:  This is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. Real witches don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you’re face to face with one? Well, if you don’t know yet you’d better find out quickly-because there’s nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she’ll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them. Ronald Dahl has done it again! Winner of the 1983 Whitbread Award, the judges’ decision was unanimous: “funny, wise, deliciously disgusting, a real book for children. From the first paragraph to the last, we felt we were in the hands of a master”.   (Read more…)

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3. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.   (Read more…)

 

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4. A Discovery of Witches (from The All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

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Goodreads 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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5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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Goodreads Synopsis:  “I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history,” Arthur Miller wrote of his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller’s drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town’s most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.

Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “witch-hunts” in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing, “Political opposition… is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence.”  (Read more…)

 

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6. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

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Goodsreads Synopsis:  From the author of the highly addictive and bestselling Blue Bloods series, with almost 3 million copies sold, comes a new novel, Melissa de la Cruz’s first for adults, featuring a family of formidable and beguiling witches.

The three Beauchamp women-Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid-live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret-they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there’s Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it’s time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.  (Read more…)

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7. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

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Goodreads Synopsis:  On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking. And the witching hour begins…

Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches – a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being.

A hypnotic novel of witchcraft and the occult across four centuries, by the spellbinding, bestselling author of The Vampire Chronicles.  (Read more…)

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8. Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Daughters of the Witching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family sustained by love as they try to survive the hysteria of a witch-hunt.

Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic.  When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.

Sharratt interweaves well-researched historical details of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hillis a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation.   (Read more…)

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9. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives’ stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, and on occasion, her young sailor friend Nat. But when Kit’s friendship with the “witch” is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger. She herself is accused of witchcraft!  (Read more…)

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10. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy, and she’s making an awful mess of it. She’s always getting her spells wrong and she can’t even ride a broomstick without crashing it. Will she ever make a real witch?  (Read more…)

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Question:  Do you have any favorite reads about witches?   Have you read any of these? What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?

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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

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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. 🙂