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Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookstore Bucket List -10 Bookstores I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Bookstores/Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit.  I could only think of one library, the New York Public Library, so I decided to go with bookstores.  I’ve pretty much never met a bookstore that I didn’t want to wander through, but the bookshops below are what I would call my Bookstore Bucket List.  I’d really love to visit all of these some day.

 

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10 Bookstores I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

 

1. SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY, PARIS

 

 

Isn’t this the cutest shop?  I really blew this one too because I was in Paris

just a couple of years ago and forgot all about this gem.  Oh well, it’s an excuse to go back some day, right?

 

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2. THE STRAND, NEW YORK CITY

 

 

I actually have visited The Strand before but it was a rushed shopping excursion, so I’d love to go back.

Why?  18 MILES OF BOOKS! Oh and lots of fabulous author events.

 

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3.  THE LAST BOOKSTORE, LOS ANGELES

 

 

Another fail on my part because I’ve been to L.A. twice and didn’t know this bookstore existed until after my trips.

They sell new and used books and they also sell vinyl records. And how amazing is that book arch?!

 

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4. POLITICS AND PROSE, WASHINGTON D.C.

 

 

This one is actually pretty doable since I live in Virginia, but what appeals to me about this bookstore is that it has a great mix of literary and political events. Alan Greenspan, for example, is speaking there on October 16th and Tahereh Mafi has an event there the next evening.  Plus, you just never know who you might run into while you’re browsing. You might turn the corner one day and find one of the Obamas shopping for a new read.

 

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5. LIBRERIA ACQUA ALTA – VENICE

 

So much failing on my part because, again, I have traveled to Venice, Italy but because we were only there for a day, bookstore visiting was just not in the cards.  If I ever make it back to this incredible city, I will make time to visit this shop.  The store’s name means “Book Store of High Water” and, accordingly, they store many of their books in bathtubs, boats, and other waterproof basins.

 

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6. LIVRARIA LELLO E IRMAO, PORTUGAL

 

How beautiful is that? This is a bookstore where I could actually see myself wandering around

and gawking at the beautiful building rather than browsing the book offerings.

 

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7. BART’S BOOKS, OJAI, CALIFORNIA

 

I don’t even know exactly where in California this bookstore is, but it advertises itself as the largest outdoor bookstore in the world.

The idea of an outdoor bookstore intrigues me so I’d definitely be interested in visiting if my California travels happened to take me anywhere near it.

 

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8. BARTER BOOKS, UK

 

 

This is another shop where I just think the architecture is so cool.  Barter Books is also supposed to be one of the

largest secondhand bookshops in Britain so I bet a bookworm could score some pretty great deals here.

 

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9. THREE LIVES & CO., NEW YORK CITY

 

 

Three Lives & Co. is a neighborhood bookstore located in Greenwich Village.

It has been around since 1968 and I just love how wonderfully old fashioned it looks.

If I ever visited, I could see myself not wanting to leave.

 

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10. THE BOOK ESCAPE, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

 

This is one I’ve been meaning to visit since Baltimore is only a couple of hours away from me, but I just haven’t quite made it yet.

It just looks like such a cute shop and I hear they have a great selection of used and rare books.

 

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Question:  What are some shops on your Bookstore Bucket List?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Big Books Gathering Dust on my Shelves Waiting for Me to Read Them

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is actually Top Ten Longest Books I’ve Ever Read, but I’ve already done a post like that recently and haven’t read any longer books since then, so I tweaked the topic a bit to focus on big books I own but haven’t read yet.  Today I’m sharing a list of 10 Big Books Gathering Dust on my Shelves Waiting for Me to Read Them.  Some of these, like IQ84, have been sitting on my shelves for years and I just keep bypassing them for shorter and less daunting reads.  Others, like the Maas books, are newer additions that I’m excited to get to, but still tend to side eye and skip over in favor of shorter reads.

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10 Big Books Gathering Dust on my Shelves

Waiting for Me to Read Them

 

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami  (1,157 pages)

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R. R. Martin  (1,051 pages)

THE BEAR AND THE DRAGON by Tom Clancy  (1,028 pages)

A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara  (814 pages)

EMPIRE OF STORMS by Sarah J. Maas  (693 pages)

THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by Philppa Gregory  (661 pages)

QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas  (645 pages)

THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco  (535 pages)

MUSE OF NIGHTMARES by Laini Taylor  (514 pages)

THUNDERHEAD by Neal Shusterman  (504 pages)

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What are some big books sitting on your shelves waiting to be read?

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Authors I’d Love to Meet.  I remember doing a similar topic last year, but the great thing about being addicted to books is that I’m always discovering more authors that I’d love to meet.  I’m always interested in meeting authors that I think I could not only chat with about their books, but that (assuming I didn’t just sit there and flail speechlessly because I’m meeting my favorites), I could also have real conversations with about what’s going on in the world socially, politically, etc. and how real world events shape what they’re writing about at any given moment.  For those who are interested, here’s my list of authors from last year:  Top Top Authors I’m Dying to Meet.

And below are ten more authors that I think would be equally fascinating to meet someday…

 

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10 Authors I’d Love to Meet

 

1. ALICE HOFFMAN

Alice Hoffman is the author of Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, Faithful, and many more, and she has been a favorite of mine for years. Her prose is so lyrical, yet so natural and effortless at the same time.  I’d love to talk to her about where she gets her inspiration from for the magical stories she writes.

 

“Books may well be the only true magic.”

 

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2. LIANE MORIARTY

LIane Moriarty is the author of the best selling Big Little Lies, which has also been made into a very popular TV series on HBO.  I’d love to chat with her about her success.  Did she ever imagine that she would basically become a household name when she was writing Big Little Lies?

 

“The good thing about writing a novel is that you’re creating an imaginary world and can take a break when you need to.”

 

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3. LEIGH BARDUGO

Leigh Bardugo is the author of two of my favorites series, the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows duology.  I’d love to talk to her about how she came up with the whole idea of the Grishaverse, as well as her writing process.

 

“I think the first trick to writing a feminist work is to write plenty of women.  That way you get to write characters, instead of worrying about paradigms.”

 

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4. MICHELLE OBAMA

I just adore Michelle Obama.  She’s so intelligent and an all around class act, and I’m beyond excited that her book is coming out soon.  I’d love to meet her not just because of her status as a former First Lady, but just because I think she would be so fascinating to talk to about pretty much any topic.

 

“Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience.  Don’t be afraid to fail.”

 

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5. GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

I think it would be somewhat intimidating to meet George R. R. Martin, but I’d still love to, mainly because I’d love to ask him about his process and if he ever has regrets about killing off some of his characters.

“I have a huge emotional attachment to characters I’ve created, especially the viewpoint characters.”

 

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6. TOMI ADEYEMI

Tomi Adeyemi is the author of the immensely popular Children of Blood and Bone novel.  I’d love to meet her and talk about what comes next for the characters I fell in love with in the first book of this series.

 

“I want a little black girl to pick up my book one day and see herself as the star.  I want her to know that she’s beautiful and she matters, and she can have a crazy magical adventure even if an ignorant part of the world tells her she can never be Hermione Granger.”

 

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7. BECKY ALBERTALLI

I’d love to meet Becky to thank her for writing wonderful books filled with some of the most relatable characters I’ve ever come across.  I can’t wait to read her upcoming collaboration with Adam Silvera.

 

“People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows and maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.” (Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda)

 

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8. KATHERINE ARDEN

Katherine Arden is the author of one of my favorite series, The Winternight Trilogy.  I’d love to talk to her about her inspiration for this series and to see if she would give me a sneak peek of the final book, which I’m dying to get my hands on but it doesn’t come out until January 2019.

 

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.” (The Girl in the Tower)

 

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9. DAN BROWN

Credit: Dan Courter

 

I’d love to meet Dan Brown, mainly just to see how many more ideas he has for Robert Langdon books or if he’ll be introducing a new series anytime soon.

 

“I’m fascinated by power, especially veiled power.  Shadow power. The National Security Agency. The National Reconnaissance Office. Opus Dei.  The idea that everything happens for reasons we’re not quite seeing.”

 

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10. RICK RIORDAN

I’d love to meet Rick Riordan to thank him for writing books that have made my son love reading.

 

“Being a hero doesn’t mean you are invincible.  It means you are brave enough to stand up and do what’s right.”

 

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Question:  So there’s my 10.  What authors are you dying to meet?  Would any of mine make your list?

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books I’m Planning to Read This Fall

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Books On My Fall 2018 TBR.  As you’ll be able to tell from my list, one of my main goals this fall is to keep up with all of the series that I’m currently reading.  Nearly all of my favorite series have new installments coming out in the next few weeks and I’m determined not to fall behind on them.  In addition to series reading, I also have some anticipated 2018 reads such as Seafire, Sadie, Circe, and Spinning Silver that I haven’t made time for yet but that I’m determined to get to before the end of 2018.

 

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Top 10 Books I’m Planning to Read This Fall

 

1. MUSE OF NIGHTMARES by Laini Taylor

(Find out what it’s about…)

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2. WILDCARD by Marie Lu

(Find out what it’s about…)

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3.  THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY by Mackenzi Lee

(Find out what it’s about…)

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4. ESCAPING FROM HOUDINI by Kerri Maniscalco

(Find out what it’s about…)

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5. VENGEFUL by V.E. Schwab

(Find out what it’s about…)

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6. SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker

(Find out what it’s about…)

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7. SADIE by Courtney Summers

(Find out what it’s about…)

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8. CIRCE by Madeline Miller

(Find out what it’s about…)

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9. SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik

(Find out what it’s about…)

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10. THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER by Kate Morton

(Find out what it’s about…)

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Question:  What books are you planning to read this fall?  Are any of my titles on your list?

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Hidden Gems: 10 Wonderful Books That Deserve More Love

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Hidden Gems (which books haven’t been talked about as much or haven’t been marketed as strongly that you think deserve some recognition?).  I found this topic somewhat difficult, not because there aren’t plenty of books out there that don’t deserve more recognition, but more because I have a hard time deciding what makes a book underrated.  For my purposes, I used my Goodreads shelf and selected books I loved that have so far received less than 3,000 reviews.  That probably still sounds high, but when I think about all of the super hyped books that have over 100,000 reviews already, I think 3,000 is a good number to go with.  Some are newer releases so it remains to be seen how high their review numbers will climb, but most of these have been out for at least a year now.

 

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Hidden Gems: 10 Wonderful Books That Deserve More Love

 

STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Goodreads Synopsis:  Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

 

ZENN DIAGRAM by Wendy Brant

Goodreads Synopsis:  The more I touch someone, the more I can see and understand, and the more I think I can help. But that’s my mistake. I can’t help. You can’t fix people like you can solve a math problem.

Math genius. Freak of nature. Loner.

Eva Walker has literally one friend—if you don’t count her quadruplet three-year-old-siblings—and it’s not even because she’s a math nerd. No, Eva is a loner out of necessity, because everyone and everything around her is an emotional minefield. All she has to do is touch someone, or their shirt, or their cell phone, and she can read all their secrets, their insecurities, their fears.

Sure, Eva’s “gift” comes in handy when she’s tutoring math and she can learn where people are struggling just by touching their calculators. For the most part, though, it’s safer to keep her hands to herself. Until she meets six-foot-three, cute-without-trying Zenn Bennett, who makes that nearly impossible.

Zenn’s jacket gives Eva such a dark and violent vision that you’d think not touching him would be easy. But sometimes you have to take a risk…

 

HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake

Goodreads Synopsis:  All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

 

I STOP SOMEWHERE by T.E. Carter

Goodreads Synopsis:  Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

 

THE MERMAID by Christina Henry

Goodreads Synopsks:  From the author of Lost Boy comes a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea for love and later finds herself in P.T. Barnum’s American Museum as the real Fiji mermaid. However, leaving the museum may be harder than leaving the sea ever was.

Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn’t bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.

P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he’d heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.

Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he’s determined to hold on to his mermaid.

 

THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS by Ashely Woodfolk

Goodreads Synopsis:  Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

 

THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON by Katherine Locke

Goodreads Synopsis:  When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

 

LITTLE BIG LOVE by Katy Regan

Goodreads Synopsis:   About a Boy meets Parenthood in this smart, big-hearted love story about a family for whom everything changed one night, a decade ago, and the young boy who unites them all.

Told through the eyes of Zac, Juliet, and grandfather Mick, Little Big Love is a layered, heartfelt, utterly satisfying story about family, love, and the secrets that can define who we are.

 

NOTHING LEFT TO BURN by Heather Ezell

Goodreads Synopsis:  The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she’s been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it’s time to evacuate.

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey–and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks’s dark past come to light, Audrey can’t help but wonder if there’s danger in the pull she feels–both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.

 

LETTING GO OF GRAVITY by Meg Leder

Goodreads Synopsis:  Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.

Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful.  Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.

Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.

And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got leukemia. Parker didn’t.

But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology—which is why the anxiety she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis.

Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time.

That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.

 

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Question:  What are some books that you think deserve more love?

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Bingeworthy TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Bingeworthy TV Shows/Amazing Movies (The new fall TV season is starting up this month, so let’s talk about what shows everyone should watch when they’re not reading!)

I guess what will become pretty obvious right away by looking at my list is that I’m major Netflix and Chill kind of girl.  I don’t have many shows at all that I actively watch on cable or network TV.  The only exceptions to that right now are The Good Place, The 100, and Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which I do watch as they air on NBC, the CW and ABC, respectively.

You’ll also see that there are a lot of comedies on my list.  Like reading, TV is an escape for me so when I binge, I tend to binge shows that are going to make me laugh and forget about whatever has made me feel like I need an escape.  There’s also a healthy dose of science fiction in there too, again because I find it an escape from reality.

Netflix is perfect for me because just as I’m a mood reader, I’m also a mood television viewer.  And there are endless shows on Netflix to fit my every mood.  Below are some of my current favorites for bingewatching.

 

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Top 10 Bingeworthy TV Shows

 

 

WHEN I’M IN THE MOOD FOR COMEDY:

 

 

 

GRACE and FRANKIE

Synopsis:  For as long as they can recall, Grace and Frankie have been rivals. Their one-upmanship comes crashing to a halt, however, when they learn that their husbands have fallen in love with each other and want to get married. As everything around the ladies is coming apart, the only thing they can really rely on is each other. This Netflix original re-teams Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (“9 to 5”) as Grace and Frankie, respectively, bringing their chemistry to the small screen. It’s a casting reunion on a grand scale, as Tomlin is reunited with her co-star from “The West Wing,” Martin Sheen, who plays Grace’s husband, Robert. And Fonda is back with Sam Waterston, her co-star from “The Newsroom,” who plays Frankie’s husband, Sol.

 

 

 

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT

Synopsis:  Rescued after 15 years in a cult, Kimmy Schmidt decides to reclaim her life by venturing to New York, where she experiences everyday life with wide-eyed enthusiasm. On a whim, she rents a room from Titus, a gay wannabe Broadway actor, who makes ends meet as a street performer in Times Square. The unlikely pair find they’re well-suited to help each other out, with Titus reintroducing Kimmy to modern life, and her providing him with the inspiration that you should never give up. Together they’ll make it through whatever life throws at them.

 

 

 

ONE DAY AT A TIME

Synopsis: This Netflix-original comedy-drama is inspired by Norman Lear’s 1975 series of the same name. This time around, the series follows the life of Penelope, a newly single Army veteran, and her Cuban-American family, as they navigate the ups and downs of life. Now a nurse, Penelope is raising two strong-willed children. When faced with challenges, Penelope turns to her “old-school” mother, and her building manager, who has become an invaluable confidant. The series offers a contemporary take on what life looks like in both good and bad times, and how loved ones can help make it all worthwhile.

 

 

 

THE GOOD PLACE

Synopsis:  When Eleanor Shellstrop finds herself in the afterlife, she’s both relieved and surprised that she’s made it into the Good Place. But it doesn’t take long for Eleanor to realize she’s there by mistake. She hides in plain sight from the Good Place’s architect Michael and his all-knowing assistant Janet. Her seemingly perfect neighbors Tahani and Jianyu and open-hearted soul mate Chidi help her realize that it’s never too late. With the help of her new friends — and a few enemies — Eleanor becomes determined to shed her old way of life in hopes of discovering a new one in the afterlife.

 

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WHEN I’M IN THE MOOD FOR SOMETHING OVER THE TOP

 

SHAMELESS

Synopsis:  Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy stars as Frank Gallagher, a single father of six who spends much of his free time drinking at bars. The Gallagher children — led by oldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum), who takes on much of the child-rearing responsibility due to her mother’s absence — manage to raise themselves in spite of Frank’s lack of parenting and unusual parenting style when he does choose to act like a father. The drama is an adaptation of the BAFTA Award-winning British show of the same name.

 

 

 

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

Synopsis:  Piper Chapman is a public relations executive with a career and a fiance when her past suddenly catches up to her. In her mid-30s she is sentenced to spend time in a minimum-security women’s prison in Connecticut for her association with a drug runner 10 years earlier. This Netflix original series is based on the book of the same title. Forced to trade power suits for prison orange, Chapman makes her way through the corrections system and adjusts to life behind bars, making friends with the many eccentric, unusual and unexpected people she meets.

 

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WHEN I’M IN THE MOOD FOR SCIENCE FICTION & BADASS CHARACTERS

 

 

MARVEL:  AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Synopsis: Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, reprising his role from “The Avengers” and “Iron Man” ) heads an elite team of fellow agents with the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division), as they investigate strange occurrences around the globe. Its members — each of whom brings a specialty to the group — work with Coulson to protect those who cannot protect themselves from extraordinary and inconceivable threats, including a formidable group known as Hydra.

 

 

 

THE 100

Synopsis:  When nuclear Armageddon destroys civilization on Earth, the only survivors are those on the 12 international space stations in orbit at the time. Three generations later, the 4,000 survivors living on a space ark of linked stations see their resources dwindle and face draconian measures established to ensure humanity’s future. Desperately looking for a solution, the ark’s leaders send 100 juvenile prisoners back to the planet to test its habitability. Having always lived in space, the exiles find the planet fascinating and terrifying, but with the fate of the human race in their hands, they must forge a path into the unknown.

 

 

 

LOST IN SPACE

Synopsis:  “Danger, Will Robinson!” The rest of the Robinson clan should be on the lookout for danger, as well, because they are facing challenging times. It’s 30 years in the future and the family has been chosen to start a new life in a space colony. On the way to what they believe will be a better world, the Robinsons’ ship is abruptly thrown off course and they are thrown into a dangerous alien environment. Now light-years from their original destination, they must forge new alliances and work together to survive. Stranded with the Robinsons are unsettlingly charismatic Dr. Smith and inadvertently charming Don West, two outsiders who are thrown together by circumstance and a mutual knack for deception.

 

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WHEN I’M FEELING NOSTALGIC FOR MY SCHOOL DAYS

 

 

GILMORE GIRLS

Synopsis:  Set in a storybook Connecticut town populated by an eclectic mix of dreamers, artists and everyday folk, this multigenerational drama about family and friendship centres around Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory. Lorelai owns the town’s bed-and-breakfast, the Dragonfly Inn, with best friend/chef Sookie, and contends with weekly dinners with eccentric, well-off parents Richard and Emily Gilmore (who always have something to say about their daughter’s life). After high school, Rory attends Yale University but frequently returns to Stars Hollow to visit her mom.

 

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What are some your favorite bingeworthy TV shows?  Do we share any favorites?

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books I Would Have Loved as Required Reading When I was in High School

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Back to School/Learning Freebie (in honor of school starting back up soon, come up with your own topic that fits the theme of school or learning! Books that take place at school/boarding school/during study abroad, books you read in school, textbooks you liked/didn’t like, non-fiction books you loved or want to read, etc.).

When I think about back to school, the first thing that pops into my head is Required Reading.  Now I have to say that I was lucky.  Even though I don’t like for anyone to require me to do anything, and I was even stubborn about that as a teen than I am now, I can honestly say that I actually enjoyed almost every book that I had to read for school.  There were a few snooze fests for sure, but by and large, many of my required readings ended up becoming favorites.  That said, however, I’m pretty sure I was in the minority on this and that for most students, required reading is nothing more than an eye-roll fest.   And I can’t say that I blame them.  At least when I was in school anyway, most of the required readings were written by what we called DWMs (Dead White Males) and even though they were well written, the material was dated and rarely felt relevant.  I never understood why schools didn’t choose more modern reads that students could better relate to.  Shouldn’t they be fostering a love of reading rather than making it such a chore for most kids?  Can’t you just as easily teach about literary themes and devices with books that students might actually relate to?

Anyway, mini rant over…but it did get me thinking.  If I wasn’t the book lover that I am, what are some books that I still would have  ended up really enjoying if I had been required to read them in school?  You’ll notice that my list is mostly filled with what I hope would be powerful and unforgettable reads, mainly contemporaries that would be more relevant and relatable than say something set in Victorian England.  I also tried to throw in some historical fiction, nonfiction, and even a little fantasy (Why don’t kids read more fantasy in school anyway?).  And yes, I did put one DWM on my list with Tolkien, but I’ve known several young people, my nephew included, who wanted to become writers after reading Tolkien so I’m going to consider his works timeless.

 

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10 Books I Would Have Loved as Required Reading When I was in High School

 

 

CONTEMPORARIES

 

  

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:  Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

 

 

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

 

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley:  This is a love story.  It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.  It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.  Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

 

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone:  Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

 

FANTASY

 

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling:  Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

 

 

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien:  One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

 

 

HISTORICAL FICTION

 

    

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi:  A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.

 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein:  Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:  Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

 

 

NONFICTION

 

I Am Malala:  The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai:  I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

 

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What are some books you would have loved to have as required reading when you were in high school?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Will Bust You Out of a Reading Slump

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump.  Ugh, reading slumps are the absolute worst.  I’m so thankful that I don’t often fall into them, but when I do, it can be pure misery.  Because I hate slumps so much, I’m more than happy to recommend what I consider to be slump busting reads.  One of the most effective ways I’ve been able to pull myself out of a slump is to switch up what genre I’m reading.  That variety helps me a lot, so I’m going to recommend a few books from different categories and because I want to be as helpful as possible to anyone who is slumping, I’m even going to give you a few more than ten recommendations. 🙂 (All synopses are taken from Goodreads.)

 

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Books That Will Bust You Out of a Reading Slump

CONTEMPORARIES

 

    

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli:  Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:  Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang:  A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

 

FANTASY

 

   

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling:  Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab:  Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas:  Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

MYSTERIES/THRILLERS

   

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty:  Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn:  Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

 

UNSUB by Meg Gardiner:  A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

HISTORICAL FICTION

 

   

 

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn:  In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini:  “It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.” 

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah:  In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.

France, 1939.  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.

 

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What are some books you would recommend as slump busters?

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Amazing Book Bloggers That Should Be on Your Radar

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites.  This is such a hard topic for me, mainly because there are WAY more than ten book blogs that I love visiting.  I could probably easily make this Top 50 Tuesday, haha!

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, mainly because my desktop computer died last night and while it’s being (hopefully) repaired, I’m trying to type this post on a laptop.  I don’t know if it’s my old eyes or my clumsy fingers, but it is taking me forever. The way I’m typing you would think this was my first time ever using a computer before, haha!

Anyway, back on topic…what the bloggers on my list all have in common is that they not only consistently put out great content, but they’re also just lovely people.  I enjoy chatting with all of them about our love of books, other interests we happen to share, and just about life in general sometimes.  Some I’ve known since I first started blogging, while others are new friends that I’m really enjoying getting to know better.  Have I mentioned lately how wonderful the book blogging community is?

 

 

10 Amazing Book Bloggers That Should Be on Your Radar

 

  • Du Livre.  I love visiting Amber’s blog because her reviews are always so honest and thoughtful.  I also love her First Thoughts features where she shares her first impressions of whatever book she’s currently reading.  Those posts are always fun to read.

 

  • Aimee, Always.  Aimee’s blog is beautifully designed, and I just love how her personality shines through on every post, especially those enthusiastic book reviews.

 

  • POP.EDIT.LIT. I love reading Verushka’s posts because although she reads a pretty wide variety of books, she has a special interest in thrillers so this is where I go when I’m on the hunt for exciting new thrillers to add to my TBR.  I also love that she reviews a lot of books from Australian authors, many of whom I hadn’t heard of before reading about them on POP.EDIT.LIT.

 

  • Musings of a Literary Wanderer.  Angela and I started blogging around the same time so we were newbies together 🙂  I really enjoy visiting her blog for many reasons, with one of them being that she and I both love books that feature dual time lines. I can always count on her for great dual time line recs.  In addition to her well written and thoughtful reviews, another highlight of Angela’s blog is that she is an avid hiker and she often shares photos from her adventures.  I love that variety in her content.

 

  • Greg’s Book Haven.  There’s so much to love about Greg’s blog that I hardly know where to begin.  Greg and I share a love of Star Wars and George R.R. Martin books so when I a need a Star Wars or Game of Thrones fix, his blog is my first stop.  Greg also has the most entertaining new feature called Movies That Suck where he reviews absolutely horrible movies so that you don’t have to spend your time watching them.  It reminds me of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which I’ve always loved, so this feature is a real treat for me each week.  Greg, of course, posts excellent book reviews on a wide variety of books, and he also posts tons of fabulous cult covers and artwork.  And if you’re lucky, sometimes he’ll even share some of his own fiction writing projects.

 

  • We Live and Breathe Books.  Sam’s blog is my go-to when I want to get new YA contemporary recommendations.  If Sam reads it and loves it, it’s almost a guarantee that I’m going to love it as well.  I’ve lost track of how many new favorite authors I’ve discovered while visiting this blog.  In addition to the reviews on the site, I’m also a big fan of the discussion posts, which are always so thought provoking.  Oh and if all of that isn’t enough, the absolutely fabulous sloth blog design is a must-see. It makes me smile every time I visit. 🙂

 

  • Read All The Things.  Aj’s blog has become a favorite of mine because she reads and reviews a wide variety of books, basically anything from new releases all the way back to Newbery classics from my childhood.  I also love visiting because she has such a fun sense of humor.  I’m always entertained when I read Aj’s words, especially when she’s giving little anecdotes from her life.

 

  • Metaphors and Moonlight.  If you’re into great fantasy, science fiction, and supernatural creatures galore, Kristen’s blog is one that should definitely be on your radar.  She has introduced me to many wonderful books and series that I probably would never have known about if I hadn’t read her reviews and recommendations.

 

  • Rebel Mommy Book Blog.  If you’re into contemporary authors like Colleen Hoover, Morgan Matson, Kasie West, and Harlan Coben, you should definitely make Grace’s blog a regular stop during your internet travels.  You’re sure to pick up some great recs every time you visit.

 

  • Book Reviews By Di.  Di is one of my go-to blogs for YA fantasy reads.  I love the vibrant design of her blog and her reviews are always so well written.  If you’re into bookstagram, you should also check out her feed there.  I’m just discovering bookstagram, but she’s already one of my favorites there as well.

 

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Who are some of your favorite book bloggers?  

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Book Mash-Ups That I’d Love to See

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Books You’d Mash Together (pick two books you think would make an epic story if combined).  As per usual, as soon as I started thinking about this topic, I promptly forgot everything about every book I’ve ever read and just sat there drawing a blank.  After a while though, I came up with a few mashups that I thought would make for entertaining reads.

 

 

10 Book Mash-Ups That I’d Love to See

 

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1.  A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab   +   TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo

 

                        

 

Lila Bard and Princess Lira in the same book, with a little Kell and Elian thrown into the mix.  Enough said!

 

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2. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli   +   FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

 

                     

 

I think my favorite fanboy and my favorite fangirl would end up being great friends if they were to ever meet.

 

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3.  SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo   +   CRESS/THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer

 

                     

 

Mainly just because I want to watch Carswell Thorne drive Kaz and her team up the wall, haha!

 

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4.  STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerris Maniscalco   +   THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

                     

 

I’d love to see Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell try to match wits with Sherlock and Watson.

 

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5.  WARCROSS by Marie Lu   +   READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

 

                     

 

Virtual reality to the extreme!

 

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6. THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzi Lee   +   HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA by Kerri Maniscalco

 

                     

 

Mainly because I think it would be great fun to watch Audrey Rose and Felicity work together.

 

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7.  SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo   +   ARTEMIS by Andy Weir

 

                     

 

The ultimate heist story!

 

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8.  A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas   +   SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo

 

                     

 

I think it would be epic to see Rhys and his team join in the battle to take down The Darkling!

 

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9.  LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT by Becky Albertalli   +   NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR by Aminah Mae Safi

 

                     

 

Mainly just because I think Leah would really shake things up with Lulu’s circle of friends if she was in the mix.

 

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10.  NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff   +   THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black

 

                     

 

I personally think that Mia and Jude would make a pretty killer team, literally!

 

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Question:  What are some book mash-ups that you would love to see?