Posts

Top Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet After

top ten tuesday

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

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

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

    cat-01   cat-02   cat-03

Top Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet After

 

1. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird

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

2. Simon from Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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

3. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights

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

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

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

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

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

6. Rhett after Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind

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

7. Oliver from Oliver Twist

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

8. Levi from Fangirl

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

9. Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma

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

10. Dickens after Charles Dickens

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

 

* * * * * *

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

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

top ten tuesday

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

Top Ten Books I’m Planning to Read This Fall 

 

1. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

today will be different thumb

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

2. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

born-to-run

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

3. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

holding up the universe

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

4. Swing Time by Zadie Smith

swing time

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

5. Transcendent by Katelyn Detweiler

transcendent

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

6. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

sweetbitter

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder

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

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

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

* * * * *

8. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

girl in pieces

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

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

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

* * * * *

9. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

06

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

03

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

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

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

* * * * * *

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Fantasy Reads

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 ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre.  I had a hard time with this topic because I have an impossible time trying to narrow down to my all-time favorites when it comes to books.  I decided to go with Fantasy mainly because that’s the genre I’m just really getting into which meant fewer titles for me to waffle back and forth between, haha! I’ve not tried to divide this out into subgenres or anything fancy like that. Maybe I’ll do that some day when I have more titles under my belt to choose from.

As of this moment, this is my Top 10 All Time Favorite Fantasy Reads.  Quite a few of these are favorites from when I was a kid that have really stuck with me over the years, but there are also several  newer favorites though as I’ve been delving more and more into Fantasy lately.  If you have some MUST READ fantasy titles you think I might like, post them in the comments below because I’m always looking for new fantasy novels to read and you guys always give me the BEST recs. 🙂

Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Fantasy Reads 

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

01

Goodreads Synopsis: Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!   (Read more…)

* * * * *

2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

05

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.

They opened a door and entered a world–Narnia–the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Lucy is the first to stumble through the back of the enormous wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old country house, discovering the magic world beyond. At first, no one believes her. But soon Edmund, Peter and Susan, too, discover the magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. And in the blink of an eye, they are changed forever.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

3. The Once and Future King by T. H. White

06

Goodreads Synopsis:  Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values. A future that would see him crowned and known for all time as Arthur, King of the Britons.

During Arthur’s reign, the kingdom of Camelot was founded to cast enlightenment on the Dark Ages, while the knights of the Round Table embarked on many a noble quest. But Merlyn foresaw the treachery that awaited his liege: the forbidden love between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot, the wicked plots of Arthur’s half-sister Morgause, and the hatred she fostered in Mordred that would bring an end to the king’s dreams for Britain–and to the king himself.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R. Tolkien

02

Goodreads Synopsis:  Frodo Baggins knew the Ringwraiths were searching for him—and the Ring of Power he bore that would enable Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and his faithful servant Sam to carry the Ring to where it could be destroyed—in the very center of Sauron’s dark kingdom.   (Read more…)

* * * * *

5. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

game of thrones

Goodreads Synopsis: Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne. (Read more…)

* * * * *

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

08

Goodsreads Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages. (Read more…)

* * * * *

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

03

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

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

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

* * * * *

8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

07

Goodreads Synopsis:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

04

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

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

* * * * *

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

10

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

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

* * * * * *

Question:  Are any of these fantasy reads your favorites too?   What was your TTT topic this week?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Top Ten TV Series that will make me choose TV over Books

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a celebration of the return of fall television:  “In honor of Fall TV, do a TV-themed topic! Top ten favorite TV shows of all time, ten new shows coming out this Fall that are on my radar, TV shows I wish never got cancelled, TV shows I would recommend to book characters, books I wish would be TV shows, ten favorite shows from the late 90’s or early 2000’s, ten TV shows for every fantasy lover, etc.”

I actually don’t watch TV nearly as much as I used to. I think I’ve gotten burned out on all of the spinoffs, reboots, etc. that seem to flood the networks these days.  There are, however, several TV series that I do adore, so much so that even if I’m in the middle of reading a great book, if I happen to see that any of these shows are on TV (and OMG, especially if there’s a marathon!), I’ll drop the book I’m reading like a hot potato and will sit and binge watch for hours.

So, without further ado, I bring you…

Top Ten TV Series that will make me choose TV over Books 

 

1. CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation

01

I’m a forensics junkie and also a huge fan of Marg Helgenberger, so this series (well, the first 12 seasons anyway) has always been TV gold for me.  I can follow the evidence and binge watch this series for hours on end. And to be clear, I’m talking about the original CSI here, not the spinoffs.  I had little to no interest in those.

IMDB Synopsis: An elite team of police forensic evidence investigation experts work their cases in Las Vegas.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

2. China Beach

02

I honestly think this series about the Vietnam War is one of the best written TV series of all time. Plus it’s filled with strong female characters, led by the stellar Dana Delany and Marg Helgenbeger.

IMDB Synopsis:  A drama series set at an American base during the Vietnam War. Rather than focusing on the battle scenes that made up most other portrayals of the war, this show looked at the everyday lives of the people sent to serve their country. The doctors, nurses, soldiers and even USO entertainers stationed at the base must try to come to terms with the horrors and stresses of the war around them. Not all of them succeed..  (Read more…)

* * * * *

3. Parenthood

03

Such a wonderful and relatable show about family. It tugged at my heartstrings every week and usually left me in tears because the episodes were so powerful.  I was heartbroken when the series ended.

IMDB Synopsis: A family tree with Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille Braverman (Bonnie Bedelia) serving as the patriarch and matriarch. After forty-six years of marriage, they’ve managed to keep their foundation intact by burying their problems underneath the surface for the sake of their now-adult children. Adam (Peter Krause) is the first-born and the ripest apple the tree has to offer. He runs a shoe company, has a supportive wife, two children (boy and girl) and a beautiful home to share with them. He’s a dog short of “The American Dream”. Sarah (Lauren Graham), is the unstable daughter returning home at thirty-eight years of age with her rebellious daughter and sensitive son to live with Zeek and Camille. Crosby (Dax Shepard), is a happy-go-lucky bachelor living in the now, on a docked boat. He has no idea that his frivolous life is about to change tremendously. Then there is Julia (Erika Christensen). She is the bread-winning shot-calling lawyer, whose husband mans the stay-at-home-dad duties….  (Read more…)

* * * * *

4. Gilmore Girls

04

OMG, I can’t even express how much I love this show.  As can be seen by my choice of Parenthood above, I’m obviously a big Lauren Graham fan, but it’s Rory who steals my heart in this series.  Rory, the uber bookworm, is probably the TV character that I best relate to out of all of the shows I’ve ever watched. I love all of the secondary characters like Luke, Sookie, Jackson, and Lane.  And Stars Hollow is just the cutest little town ever.  Just thinking about this show make me smile.

IMDB Synopsis:  A drama centering around the relationship between a thirtysomething single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut.   (Read more…)

* * * * *

5. Lost

05

I was so completely obsessed with this show when it was on the air. Every episode was just such a mind blowing experience and I loved sitting there like “OMG, WTF just happened?!”  Plus, I am a huge Josh Holloway fan so the fact that his character was a roguish bookworm definitely helped feed my addiction.

IMDB Synopsis: Life is laid bare as a group of plane crash survivors find themselves stranded on a remote Pacific island. The trauma of the crash soon becomes overshadowed by the island itself, where unseen creatures stalk the jungle, paranormal happenings abound and astonishing coincidences reveal themselves. In this unique environment emotions swell as the survivors battle their inner and outer demons, and strive to live together – so that they won’t die alone.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

6. Friends

06

Do I even need to say anything here?  Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love this show?  Just as I am a sucker for a great book about friendships, I am equally a sucker for a great TV show about friendships.

IMDB Synopsis: Rachel Green, Ross Geller, Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing and Phoebe Buffay are all friends, living off of one another in the heart of New York City. Over the course of ten years, this average group of buddies goes through massive mayhem, family trouble, past and future romances, fights, laughs, tears and surprises as they learn what it really means to be a friend.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

7. Golden Girls

07

Truly one of the best comedy shows ever written.  I’d liken it to Sex and the City but with senior citizens.  Just one of those shows that will make you laugh until you have tears rolling down your face.

IMDB Synopsis:  The Golden Girls is based on the lives and interactions of four older women whom have all been divorced/widowed, and are now roommates. Dorothy’s main goal during the series is to find a companion she can relate to while her mother Sophia adds her comical outlook and frequents “Picture This” stories. Rose’s St. Olaf-ness makes her a little corny but lovable. One thing that changes nearly every episode is whom Blanche is courting.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

8. Once Upon a Time

08

My love for this one has waned a bit in recent season as some of my favorite characters have either taken a backseat to an endless progression of guest stars or else have been abruptly killed off, but the early season of Once Upon a Time are still definitely some of my favorite TV moments to watch.

IMDB Synopsis:  For Emma Swan, life has been anything but a happy ending. But when she’s reunited with Henry – the son she gave up for adoption ten years ago – on the night of her 28th birthday, everything changes. The now 10-year-old Henry is in desperate need of Emma’s help because he believes from reading a book of fairytales that she’s the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming – who sent her away from the Enchanted Forest to be protected from a curse that was enacted by the Evil Queen. Emma initially refuses to believe a word of Henry’s story but soon finds that his hometown of Storybrooke, Maine is more than it seems. Because it’s in Storybrooke that all of the classic characters we know are frozen in time with no memories of their former selves – except for the Evil Queen, who is Storybrooke’s mayor and Henry’s adoptive mother Regina Mills. Now, as the epic “Final Battle” for the future of both worlds approaches, Emma will have to accept her destiny and uncover the mystery behind a place … (Read more…)

* * * * *

9. Game of Thrones

09

Seriously one of the most epic shows ever to have been put on TV and deserving of all of the numerous awards it has won over the years.  I’m always half afraid to like any of the characters since they get whacked so often, but I still do have some favorites since the show is full of kick ass women like Aria and Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister, and Brienne of Tarth.

IMDB Synopsis: In the mythical continent of Westeros, several powerful families fight for control of the Seven Kingdoms. As conflict erupts in the kingdoms of men, an ancient enemy rises once again to threaten them all. Meanwhile, the last heirs of a recently usurped dynasty plot to take back their homeland from across the Narrow Sea. (Read more…)

* * * * *

10. Orange is the New Black

10

God bless Netflix and this show!  OITNB offers a raw and often hilarious, although sometimes heart-breakingly serious, look at life in a women’s prison. I truly can’t get enough of the show and am currently on pins and needles waiting for the new season after the huge cliffhanger we were left with at the end of the last season.  Write fast, film fast, Netflix!

IMDB Synopsis:  The story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money to her drug-dealing girlfriend.  (Read more…)

I’m throwing in 2 extra shows because these are two shows I’ve just started watching but instantly became infatuated with.  Consider them honorable mentions on my top 10 list 🙂

* * * * *

11. Pretty Little Liars

11

This show is such a guilty pleasure of mine. I spend half the time I’m watching it complaining about how lame and over the top it is, and yet I faithfully tune in for every episode and was so sad to hear that Season 7 will be its last.  Go figure, haha.

IMDB Synopsis:  Set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, the series follows the lives of four girls, Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields, and Spencer Hastings, whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their leader, Alison DiLaurentis. One year later, the estranged friends are reunited as they begin receiving messages from a mysterious figure named “A”, who threatens to expose their deepest secrets, including ones they thought only Alison knew. At first, they think it’s Alison herself, but after her body is found, the girls realize that someone else is planning on ruining their perfect lives.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

12. The 100

12

This show is a fairly new obsession of mine. I’ve never read the books but have heard that this is one of those rare cases where the TV show might actually be better than the books. I’ll read them some day and make my own determination on that, but I do love this show. Another one filled with kickass female characters.

IMDB Synopsis:  The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors are the residents of twelve space stations in Earth’s orbit prior to the war. The space stations banded together to form a single massive station named “The Ark”, where about 2,400 people live. Resources are scarce and all crimes no matter their nature or severity are punishable by death (“floating”) unless the perpetrator is under 18 years of age. After the Ark’s life support systems are found to be critically failing, one hundred juvenile prisoners are declared “expendable” and sent to the surface in a last ditch attempt to determine if Earth is habitable again. The teens arrive on a beautiful planet they’ve only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. However they discover that not all humanity was wiped out. There are people on Earth who survived the war, called “grounders” by the 100.  (Read more…)

* * * * * *

Question:  Are any of these shows favorites of yours?  What shows will actually make you put your books down and binge watch TV?  What was your TTT topic this week?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Top 10 Books that have been on my TBR pile for way too long

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 That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet.

Oh boy, this one is embarrassing.  Not that I have been blogging for all that long, but I will confess now that some of these books have been in my TBR pile for a LONG time.  I’m talking years!  I actually keep looking at a few of them thinking I should just ditch them and thin out the TBR, but they have such great reviews that I don’t want to miss out.  I don’t really even have a good excuse as to why I haven’t tackled them yet except that I keep getting distracted by newer purchases and these just keep getting shifted further and further down the pile.

Now, on to my list…

Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf (Or TBR) From Before I Started Blogging That I STILL Haven’t Read Yet

 

1. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Hall #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

10

Goodreads Synopsis:  For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.  Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.  Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

2. A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by George R. R. Martin

03

Goodreads Synopsis:  Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

3. IQ84 by Haruki Murakami

01

Goodreads Synopsis:  The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.  A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.  As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

4. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

02

Goodreads Synopsis:  An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.  Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.  Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.   (Read more…)

* * * * *

5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

04

Goodreads Synopsis:  Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she’s been killed in a terrible accident.  Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible.  He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same. (Read more…)

* * * * *

6. The Giver by Lois Lowry

07
Goodreads Synopsis:  The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

7. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

05

Goodreads Synopsis:  “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, drama, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

8. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

09

Goodreads Synopsis: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. Here is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

9. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

06

Goodreads Synopsis:  Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.  Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.   (Read more…)

* * * * *

10. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

08

Goodreads Synopsis: “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license…records my first name simply as Cal.”  So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.  (Read more…)

* * * * * *

Question:  Have you read any of these aging titles in my TBR pile?  Are they worth hanging on to or should I purge the pile?  And what books have been in your TBR pile for way too long?    I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Top 10 Books Set in New York City

take a walk

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc).  I selected for my ‘X Setting’ my favorite city in the whole world, NEW YORK CITY! Oh, the sights, the sounds, the diversity, the endless possibilities for entertainment and culture!  I don’t even have the words to convey how much I adore New York City, but if I were ever to win the lottery, one of the first things I would do is get myself an apartment in the Big Apple.

To tie my love of NYC to books, let me just say that I have been known to buy books that I know absolutely NOTHING about aside from the fact that they are set in New York.  That said, below is my current list of Top 10 Favorite Books Set in NYC, subject to change as I have several potentially amazing books in my TBR that are also set in New York.

My Top Ten Favorite Books Set in New York City

 

1. Jazz by Toni Morrison

04

Goodreads Synopsis:  In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.

Jazz is the story of a triangle of passion, jealousy, murder, and redemption, of sex and spirituality, of slavery and liberation, of country and city, of being male and female, African American, and above all of being human. Like the music of its title, it is a dazzlingly lyric play on elemental themes, as soaring and daring as a Charlie Parker solo, as heartbreakingly powerful as the blues. It is Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison at her best.  (Read more…)

2. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

03

Goodreads Synopsis:  Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952.  A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.  The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood”, and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be.  The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.  (Read more…)

 

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

07

Goodreads Synopsis:  A profoundly moving novel, and an honest and true one. It cuts right to the heart of life … If you miss A Tree Grows in Brooklyn you will deny yourself a rich experience … It is a poignant and deeply understanding story of childhood and family relationships. The Nolans lived in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from 1902 until 1919 … Their daughter Francie and their son Neely knew more than their fair share of the privations and sufferings that are the lot of a great city’s poor. Primarily this is Francie’s book. She is a superb feat of characterization, an imaginative, alert, resourceful child. And Francie’s growing up and beginnings of wisdom are the substance of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  (Read more…)

 

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

02

Goodreads Synopsis:  The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.  The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.   (Read more…)

 

5. The Chosen by Chaim Potok

10

Goodreads Synopsis: It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again….  (Read more…)

 

6.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

06

Goodreads Synopsis:  It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, Holly Golightly. Pursued by Mafia gangsters and playboy millionaires, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock department’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.  (Read more…)

7. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

05

Goodreads Synopsis:  It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.  As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.  (Read more…)

8. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

08

Goodreads Synopsis:  Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and he works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to head-on collision with America’s greatest dream—and its worst nightmare—American Psycho is bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognize but do not wish to confront.  (Read more…)

9. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

09

Goodreads Synopsis:  Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.  (Read more…)

10. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

01

Goodreads Synopsis:  “…the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.  (Read more…)

* * * * * *

Do you have any favorite books that are set in New York City?

 If so, I’d love to hear from you, especially since I’m always looking for new NYC-based reads 🙂

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

04
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

03
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

02
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

07
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

06
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

05
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

08
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

10
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

11
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

09
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…)

* * * * * *

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

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

03
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

04
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

05
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

06
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

07
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

09
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

10
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…)

* * * * * *

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?

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

03

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

07

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

8. Become a Teacher and Inspire Young People

08

Dead Poets Society by N. H. Kleinbaum

9. Become an Attorney

09

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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

10

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?

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.