Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Favorite Childhood Books

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 Rewind, which is an opportunity to go back and complete a Top 10 topic that I had previously missed or a topic that I really want to revisit.

I’m feeling nostalgic this week so I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some of my favorite books from when I was a kid. I even found the covers from the exact editions that I read when I was little, which made me even more nostalgic and of course totally showed my age, haha!

Books were such a big part of my childhood that I probably could have easily done a top 50 or even a top 100 favorites list.  I vividly remember that all of the books on my list either made me laugh or made me cry, brought magic into my life, or perhaps they encouraged my love of animals.  And of course, they all helped to instill in me a lifelong love of books and reading.  In fact, just thinking of many of these stories brings back wonderful memories of reading with my parents when I was a very small child.  Those memories are some of my most cherished times with my parents, which is another reason why I make it a point to read to my own son every night.  I want him to have those same kinds of memories of his time spent reading with me.

Now, on to my list…

My Top Ten Favorite Childhood Books

 

1. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey

01
Goodreads Synopsis: One of the original 12 Little Golden Books, The Poky Little Puppy has sold nearly 15 million copies since 1942, making it one of the most popular children’s books of all time. Now this curious little puppy is ready to win the hearts and minds of a new generation of kids. (Read more…)

2. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

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Goodreads Synopsis: ‘They say Aslan is on the move. Perhaps he has already landed,’ whispered the Beaver. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delightful strain of music had just floated by. And Lucy got that feeling when you realize it’s the beginning of summer. So, deep in the bewitched land of Narnia, the adventure begins. (Read more…)

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

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Goodreads Synopsis: Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life! (Read more…)

4. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

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Goodreads Synopsis: Life with his little brother, Fudge, makes Peter Hatcher feel like a fourth grade nothing. Whether Fudge is throwing a temper tantrum in a shoe store, smearing mashed potatoes on the walls at Hamburger Heaven, or trying to fly, he’s never far from trouble. He’s an almost three-year-old terror who gets away with everything, and Peter’s had it up to here! When Fudge walks off with Dribble, Peter’s pet turtle, it’s the last straw. Peter has put up with Fudge for too long. Way too long! How can he get his parents to pay attention to him for a change? (Read more…)

5. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

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Goodreads Synopsis: A.A. Milne’s Pooh stories need no introduction; they have been loved by generations of children and their parents ever since they were first published in 1926.

In his autobiography, Milne wrote: ‘The animals in the stories came for the most part from the nursery. My collaborator [his wife] had already given them individual voices, their owner by constant affection had given them the twist in their features which denotes character, and Shepard drew them, as one might say, from the living model.’ (Read more…)

6. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

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Goodreads Synopsis: Ramona Quimby is the youngest of all the famous characters in Mrs. Cleary’s wonderful Henry Huggins stories. She is also far and away the most deadly. Readers of the earlier books will remember that Ramona has always been a menace to Beezus, her older sister, to Henry, and to his dog Ribsy. It is not that Ramona deliberately sets out to make trouble for other people. She simply has more imagination than is healthy for any one person. (Read more…)

7. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

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Goodreads Synopsis: Wilbur was lovingly raised by a girl named Fern. But now he’s a barn pig. He’s bored and lonely – until he meets Charlotte, the beautiful grey spider who also lives in the barn.

Charlotte thinks of a wonderful way to save Wilbur from a pig’s unhappy fate. Her clever plan will delight you, in this famous story. (Read more…)

8. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

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Goodreads Synopsis: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.

The incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves children good or bad and never scolds but has positive cures for Answer-Backers, Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders, and other boys and girls with strange habits. (Read more…)

9. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Goodreads Synopsis: Meet Laura Ingalls . . . the little girl who would grow up to write the Little House books. Pa Ingalls decides to sell the little log house, and the family sets out for Indian country! They travel from Wisconsin to Kansas and there, finally, Pa builds their little house on the prairie. Sometimes farm life is difficult, even dangerous, but Laura and the family are kept busy and are happy with the promise of their new life on the prairie.
Laura and her family journey west by covered wagon, only to find they are in Indian territory and must move on. (Read more…)

10. Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe

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Goodreads Synopsis: It looked like an ordinary bunny to Harold. But Harold was a dog by profession, so his judgement wasn’t reliable-as he was the first to admit. But Chester, Harold’s good friend and house-mate, was a very well-read cat and he knew there was something strange about Bunnicula. For one thing, he seemed to have fangs. And the odd markings on his back looked a little like a cape. But when Chester started finding white vegetables drained dry, with two fang marks in them, he was sure Bunnicula was a vampire bunny.

So it was up to Chester-with Harold’s help- to alert the members of their household before another carrot was lost. Because as Chester warned, “Today vegetables, tomorrow the world!” (Read more…)

 

And a bonus one just because Beverly Cleary’s books were such a huge part of my childhood…

11. Socks by Beverly Cleary

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Goodreads Synopsis: Socks is the name of the newest character to be created by Beverly Cleary. He is a young tabby cat with four white paws, and he lives happily with a young married couple, Marilyn and Bill Bricker. The center of the Bricker household, Socks rules it affectionately but firmly.

Into this loving home, however, comes another pet. This creature has a small, wrinkled, furless face, and Mr. and Mrs. Bricker spend an inordinate amount of time trying to burp it. Its arrival fills Socks with jealousy and a terrible anxiety. How the rivalry between Socks and Charles William, the Bricker baby, turns into an alliance makes a domestic drama both touching and funny.

Although her story is about a cat and faithful to his point of view in every detail, Mrs. Cleary demonstrates with it the emotional upheaval experienced by a child who must learn to share his parents. As young readers come to understand Socks and his problems, they will gain a new understanding of themselves. But, most of all, they will laugh. (Read more…)

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So, were any of these books favorites of yours as well?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday: Behold the Dreamers

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:

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

behold dreamers

Publication Date: August 23, 2016

From Amazon:

A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.

Named one of BuzzFeed’s “Incredible New Books You Need to Read This Summer”

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Advance praise for Behold the Dreamers:

“Imbolo Mbue would be a formidable storyteller anywhere, in any language. It’s our good luck that she and her stories are American.”—Jonathan Franzen, National Book Award-winning author of Purity and Freedom

“Dazzling, fast-paced, and exquisitely written, Behold the Dreamers is one of those rare novels that will change the way you see the world. Imbolo Mbue is a breathtaking talent.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“Who is this Imbolo Mbue and where has she been hiding? Her writing is startlingly beautiful, thoughtful, and both timely and timeless. She’s taking on everything from family to the Great Recession to immigration while deftly reminding us what it means to truly believe in ‘the American dream.’”—Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn

“It’s rare that a book is so fascinating, so emotionally compelling, and so beautiful that I literally can’t put it down. I picked Behold the Dreamers up one evening before bed. I turned the last page at dawn. It ruined the next day for me—I wasn’t much good for anything but a nap—but it was worth every lost hour.”—Ayelet Waldman, New York Times bestselling author of Love and Treasure

“A beautiful book about one African couple starting a new life in a new land, Behold the Dreamers will teach you as much about the promise and pitfalls of life in the United States as about the immigrants who come here in search of the so-called American dream.”—Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique’s Journey and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Among the spate of novels forged in the crucible of the previous decade, Mbue’s impressive debut deserves a singular place. . . . Realistic, tragic, and still remarkably kind to all its characters, this is a special book.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

* * * * *

I’m excited about this one because it just sounds like it’s going to be a such a powerful and emotional read. The blurb on Goodreads recommends it to fans of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland, which were both excellent books.

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 I’d Rush to Buy if Given a Fully Loaded Gift Card

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 You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card.   This has probably been the easiest Top Ten Tuesday for me to do since I started participating because I ALWAYS have a long list of books that I’d buy if money were not an issue. A list I might add that is inspired by all of the wonderful reviews and recommendations of my fellow book bloggers. 🙂

Top Ten Books I’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed Me A Fully Loaded Gift Card

 

1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

01
Goodreads Synopsis: A riveting kaleidoscopic debut novel and the beginning of a major career: Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is a novel about race, history, ancestry, love and time, charting the course of two sisters torn apart in 18th century Africa through to the present day.

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising “half-caste” children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle’s women’s dungeon, before being shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. (Read more…)

2. And I Darken by Kiersten White

02
Goodreads Synopsis: This vividly rendered novel reads like HBO’s Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story’s atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters. Fans of Victoria Aveyard’s THE RED QUEEN, Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won’t want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in a trilogy. (Read more…)

3. This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

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Goodreads Synopsis: Synopsis: There’s no such thing as safe. Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be. August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided. Their city is crumbling. Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something. But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which? (Read more…)

4. Redemption Road by John Hart

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Goodreads Synopsis: From the bestselling and prize-winning author of The Last Child and Iron House comes this long-awaited new thriller that will appeal to all fans of Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane.

Elizabeth Black is a hero. She is a cop who single-handedly rescued a young girl from a locked cellar and shot two brutal kidnappers dead. But she’s also a cop with a secret. And she’s not the only one…Set in an America of desperate small towns and uneasy and remote landscapes, REDEMPTION ROAD has all of John Hart’s trademark evocation of the abandoned and the derelict and sense of place. With descriptions so chilling and a story so full of twists and turns you cannot stop reading, it marks a new high point in the writing of this very talented author. (Read more…)

5. Falling by Jane Green

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Goodreads Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House,Jemima J, and Summer Secrets presents a novel about the pleasure and meaning of finding a home—and family—where you least expect them…

When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either. (Read more…)

6. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

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Goodreads Synopsis: For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong. (Read more…)

7. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

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Goodreads Synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful and haunting novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…(Read more…)

8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

harry potter
Goodreads Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. (Read more…)

9. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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Goodreads Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two. (Read more…)

10. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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Goodreads Synopsis: Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free. Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. (Read more…)

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So, my fellow book lovers, what books would you rush out and buy if someone were kind enough to hand you a fully loaded gift card? And OMG, doesn’t just the thought of a fully loaded gift card to go book shopping with just give you warm fuzzies?

Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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:

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

girl in pieces

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

From Amazon:

For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes a novel Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything, calls “a haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.”

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do 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 girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

Advance Praise for Girl in Pieces:

“Equal parts keen-eyed empathy, stark candor, and terrible beauty. This book is why we read stories: to experience what it’s like to survive the unsurvivable; to find light in the darkest night.”-Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King.

“Raw, visceral, and starkly beautiful, with writing that is at times transcendent in its brilliance. . . . An unforgettable story of trauma and resilience.”–Kerry Kletter, author of The First Time She Drowned.

“A breathtakingly written book about pain and hard-won healing . . . I want every girl to read Girl In Pieces.”-Kara Thomas, author of The Darkest Corners.

“A Girl, Interrupted for a new generation….The story of the mad girl is ultimately a story about being a girl in a mad world, how it breaks us into pieces and how we glue ourselves back together.”—Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me.

“Dark, frank, and tender, Girl in Pieces keeps the reader electrified for its entire journey. You’re so uncertain if Charlie will heal, so fully immersed in hoping she does.”—Michelle Wildgen, author of Bread and Butter and You’re Not You.

“Girl in Pieces has the breath of life; every character in it is fully alive. Charlie Davis’ complexities are drawn with great understanding and subtlety.”-Charles Baxter, author of National Book Award finalist The Feast of Love.

“Charlie Davis has been damaged and abused after several years of living on the streets, but she is fiercely resilient. Though it will appeal to readers of Ellen Foster, Speak, and Girl, Interrupted, Girl in Pieces is an entirely original work, compulsively readable and deeply human.”-Julie Schumacher, author the New York Times bestseller Dear Committee Members.

“In Glasgow’s riveting debut novel, readers are pulled close to Charlie’s raw, authentic emotions as she strains to make a jagged path through her new life. Love and trust prove difficult, and Charlie’s judgment is not well honed, but her will to survive is glorious.”—Booklist, Starred review.

“Heartbreaking and thick with emotion,…[Girl in Pieces is] for avid fans of Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places or Susanna Kaysen’s Girl Interrupted.”-SLJ.

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I’m excited about this one because it just sounds like it’s going to be such an intense read. I’m also stoked because of the advanced reviews that state it’s a great book for those who are fans of All the Bright Places and Girl Interrupted, since those are two books that I absolutely loved!

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 Things Books Have Made Me Want to Do after Reading Them

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 Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them.   What a great topic, although I felt a little lame because although inspired to do all of these things, there are very few of them that I have actually done. There’s still time though! 🙂

Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

 

1. Learn How to Ride a Horse

01

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

2. Take a ride down the Mississippi River

02

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

3. Learn Archery

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

4. Move to New York City

04

Here is New York by E.B. White

04a

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

5. Travel to Italy

05

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

beautiful ruins

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

6. Climb up the Bell Tower at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

06

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

7. Start a Blog

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Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

8. Become a Teacher and Inspire Young People

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Dead Poets Society by N. H. Kleinbaum

9. Become an Attorney

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

10. Find a group of best friends and never let them go

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The Group by Mary McCarthy

You may be wondering which of these I’ve actually done? Well, I’ve ridden a horse, traveled to Italy, started a blog, climbed up the bell tower at Notre Dame, taught young people, and I’ve thankfully found myself a group of best friends that are like family to me. I have shot a bow and arrow once, but I won’t go so far as to say I’ve learned archery, haha.

So what have books inspired you to want to do or learn?

Waiting on Wednesday – Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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:

Heartless by Marissa

heartless

Publication Date: November 8, 2016

From Amazon:

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland―the infamous Queen of Hearts―she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

* * * * *

Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite childhood stories, so I’m excited for Heartless because I love the idea of getting a possible backstory on the infamous Queen of Hearts.

I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday. Is anyone else excited for Heartless?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books Set Outside the U.S.

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 Set Outside the U.S. I think this is a great topic because even though I definitely enjoy books that are set all over the world, I do tend to gravitate to those set in the U.S. I’m looking forward to seeing what titles my fellow bloggers suggest.

My Top 10 Books Set Outside the U.S.

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

1. A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki. (Setting: Japan and Cortes Island, British Colombia (Canada).

Goodreads Synopsis: In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

2. Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter. (Setting: Edinburgh, Scotland, Porto Vergogna, Italy, and some U.S.)

Goodreads Synopsis: The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

3. Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes. (Setting: Tuscany, Italy).

Goodreads Synopsis: Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.

4. White Dog Fell from the Sky – Eleanor Morse. (Setting: Africa).

Goodreads Synopsis: Eleanor Morse’s rich and intimate portrait of Botswana, and of three people whose intertwined lives are at once tragic and remarkable, is an absorbing and deeply moving story.

In apartheid South Africa in 1976, medical student Isaac Muthethe is forced to flee his country after witnessing a friend murdered by white members of the South African Defense Force. He is smuggled into Botswana, where he is hired as a gardener by a young American woman, Alice Mendelssohn, who has abandoned her Ph.D. studies to follow her husband to Africa. When Isaac goes missing and Alice goes searching for him, what she finds will change her life and inextricably bind her to this sunburned, beautiful land.

Like the African terrain that Alice loves, Morse’s novel is alternately austere and lush, spare and lyrical. She is a writer of great and wide-ranging gifts.

5. Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese. (Setting: Ethiopia).

Goodreads Synopsis: A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel — an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics — their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him — nearly destroying him — Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.

An unforgettable journey into one man’s remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.

6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson. (Setting: Sweden).

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.

7. The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah. (Setting: France).

Goodreds Synopsis: In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

8. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. (Setting: Paris, France).

Goodreads Synopsis: WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

9. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden. (Setting: Japan).

Goodreads Synopsis: A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon. (Setting: England).

Goodreads Synopsis: Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

Waiting on Wednesday – Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

caraval th

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

From Amazon:

“A spellbinding tale of sisterhood, love, and betrayal.”
―Sabaa Tahir, New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes

How far would you go to save your sister?

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

* * * * *

I’m excited about this one because some of the advanced reviews compare it to Erin Morganstern’s The Night Circus, which is one of my favorite books! I think I’ve applied for every ARC giveaway on the internet in hopes of winning so I don’t have to wait until January to read Caraval, haha. 🙂

I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Facts About Me

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 Facts About Me (bookish or just general about you facts or ten facts about you as a blogger…whatever you want).

Ten Facts About Me

1. I’m the Queen of the Socially Awkward. Seriously, if they handed out a crown for that, it would be mine!

2. I have an 8 year old son named Ian, whom I adore. It is also my mission in life to make him as much of a bookworm as I am. We’re reading the Harry Potter series together now and he’s obsessed with it, so I think I’m off to a good start 🙂

3. I love all things Disney and Eeyore is my favorite.

Credit:  Disney

Credit: Disney

4. I don’t know how I find the time for it considering my obsession with books, but I’m also addicted to TV. Some of my favorite shows right now are The 100, Once Upon a Time, and Pretty Little Liars. Favorites that aren’t on the air anymore: CSI, Lost, Gilmore Girls, and China Beach.

5. I’m a left-handed Libra.

6. I’m a huge Star Wars fan! I adore all of the movies, particularly the original triology and The Force Awakens, and my favorite characters are Han and Chewbacca. As you can imagine, I was over the moon when Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise and can’t wait to head back to Disney World once the new Star Wars Land addition is complete.

Credit:  LucasFilms

Credit: LucasFilms

7. I’m very political. I keep it off my blog and off of my blog’s twitter, but I spend probably way too much time on my personal twitter account raging against that orange clown, Donald Trump.

8. Music is my life. I have to listen to music at almost all times. Like my taste in books, my taste in music is very eclectic. Classic rock, especially Bruce Springsteen, is my favorite, but you’re equally likely to find me listening to alternative, rap, or even to someone as quintessentially pop as Taylor Swift.

Credit:  BruceSpringsteen.net

Credit: BruceSpringsteen.net

9. I love to travel. To date, my favorite cities are New York City and Venice, Italy.

10. I love Broadway musicals. Thank goodness for the TKTS discount ticket booth in Times Square. I hit that up every time I go to NYC so that I can catch a few shows. So far my favorite musicals are Wicked, The Lion King, Motown, and Book of Mormon.

Credit:  Wicked.com

Credit: Wicked.com

Waiting on Wednesday – The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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:

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

underground railroad th

Publication Date: September 13, 2016

From Amazon:

From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

* * * * *

I’ve always been a big fan of historical fiction and all of the advanced reviews I’ve read about The Underground Railroad have me very excited to get my hands on this book. Just give them a read yourself and see how incredible this book sounds!

Posted on Amazon:

“Nothing, not one thing or activity, can replace the experience of a good read—being transported to a different land, a different realm, through words and language. I just finished an advance copy of Colson Whitehead’s new novel, The Underground Railroad. Every now and then a book comes along that reaches the marrow of your bones, settles in, and stays forever. This is one. It’s a tour de force, and I don’t say that lightly.”
— Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine

“Whitehead, whose eclectic body of work encompasses novels playing fast and loose with ‘real life,’ both past and present, fires his most daring change-up yet. . . . Imagine a runaway slave novel written with Joseph Heller’s deadpan voice leasing both Frederick Douglass’ grim realities and H.P. Lovecraft’s rococo fantasies…and that’s when you begin to understand how startlingly original this book is. Whitehead continues the African-American artists’ inquiry into race mythology and history with rousing audacity and razor-sharp ingenuity; he is now assuredly a writer of the first rank.”
–Kirkus (starred review)

“[S]pellbinding and ferocious…. The story is literature at its finest and history at its most barbaric. Would that this novel were required reading for every American citizen.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday?