Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday: My Dear Hamilton

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Lauren Kamoie
Pub. Date: April 3, 2018



Goodreads says, "From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.  A general’s daughter…  Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.  A founding father’s wife... But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness. The last surviving light of the Revolution… When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…"

I really enjoyed Dray and Kamoie's last novel, America's First Daughter, so I am excited to see what they come up with regarding the story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. What do you guys think? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Pages: 290
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Dutton
Source: Library
Other Books By Author: The Fault in Our Stars,


Goodreads says, "Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.  Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.   In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship." 



Aza Holmes battles her demons everyday and often times finds her thoughts spiraling and taking over her mind.  Her childhood friend's father (who happens to be a billionaire), goes missing and there is a reward for anyone who can locate his whereabouts.  Aza, and her charismatic best friend Daisy, decide to try to find her childhood friend, Davis, and try to earn the reward.  But Aza suffers from anxiety and can be filled with worry. Throughout the story her issues will ultimately hold her back.  With a push from Daisy, she contacts Davis, hoping they will be able to find his father and get the $100,000 reward, but they come to find that his father disappeared during fraud investigations.  On the bright side, there are sparks between Davis and Aza, but will Aza allow herself to open up and more importantly will they find Davis's father?  John Green's Turtles All the Way Down is such a smart read that his fans will truly appreciate.

Aza is such a great character and very similar to Green's previous characters. She's smart, engages in witty dialogue, thoughtful, and worries more often than not.  What sets Aza apart from Green's other characters is her battle with anxiety and her overpowering thoughts.  In Turtles All the Way Down readers are privy to Aza's worries and her obsessive thoughts on infection, life, and just about everything.  I didn't think I'd be able to identify with Aza in the very least, but surprisingly, I could.  I mean haven't we all irrationally worried in our lives? I know I have and I could appreciate Aza's struggle.  I think many teenagers will be able to identify with her as well and I wish more characters were like this in young adult literature. She felt very real and very authentic.


The mystery of where Davis's father didn't really compel me to continue reading as much as the character development in Turtles All the Way Down. John Green is just so darn good at creating such smart, quirky characters that you truly care about. I loved the friendship between Daisy and Aza, their conversations, and Daisy's Star Wars fan fiction. Things aren't always easy between the two girls, but I enjoyed their friendship.  I also appreciated the budding relationship between Davis and Aza and how they reconnected. They both have dealt with a lot in life.


John Green is such a brilliant writer. Sometimes it hurts to read his work because it's just so-so-so good. I want to marinate in his writing. Seriously. Some lines truly stayed with me and I was, once again, blown away by his eloquence and the way he is able to capture things. Here are a few of my favorite lines:

“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn't matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.” 
“I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.” 
“Your now is not your forever.”  
Turtles All the Way Down is one of the smartest YA reads that I've encountered in quite sometime. It's about so much more than finding Davis's father or Aza and Daisy, but rather an examination of mental illness and how it impacts teenagers today. It's about friendship, learning to accept shortcomings, and tackling our down demons head on. While it wasn't my favorite of Green's novels, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and will read anything John Green writes.



Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (56)



Waiting on Wednesday: Finding Felicity
Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn




Coming up on the blog, I'll be sharing my thoughts on Turtles All the Way Down by the ah-may-zing John Green. Although it wasn't my favorite of Green's novels, I still was blown away by his character development and writing style. He's brilliant.  I'll also be sharing the children's books that we've been reading, because there have been a lot!





 

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson - Thanks to Harper Collins
The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon - Thanks to Mira and NetGalley



Everywhere You Want to Be by Christina June - Thanks to Blink






A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for visiting. This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Authors I Read in 2017

I've read so many great books by debut authors this year as well as new-to-me authors. Here are a few that standout:


 

1. J.R. Ward
2.  Julie Garwood
3.  Angie Thomas


 

4. Lisa Jewell
5.  Sandhya Menon
6.  Laura Dave



 

7.  Brigid Kemmerer
8.  Ann Patchett
9.  Kristy Woodson Harvey



  

10.  Karen White
11. A.J. Finn
12.  Mary Alice Monroe

Who are some debut authors that you read this past year or new-to-you authors? I'm so glad I went outside of my comfort zone and checked out some of these authors! This post is inspired by one of The Broke and The Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday's topic.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Finding Felicity

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade
Pub. Date: March 20, 2018


Goodreads says,"Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.  But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy. Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself."

Guys, there's something you should know about me. I am obsessed with the show Felicity. I own all the DVDs and I absolutely LOVE it. I am so excited to check out this book! What do you guys think?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Pages: 448
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "What did she see? It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside. Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers. But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?




Dr. Anna Fox used to be a well-respected child psychologist, but now she is home bound and suffering from agoraphobia. She spends her days helping others online who suffer from the same issues, all while drinking too much wine, popping too many pills, watching old movies, and spying on her neighbors.  Her townhouse faces her neighbors' houses, so she is given a front-row seat to just about everyone's business.  To complicate matters further, her husband and daughter have moved out, but we aren't sure why. Anna wasn't always this way though. This is all thanks to an accident she had and slowly readers learn more about why her husband has moved out and what exactly happened to her.  Slowly we put together the pieces of the puzzle all while learning more and more about her neighbors. One day Anna spies on her neighbors, hears a blood-curdling scream and witnesses what she believes is a major crime at her new neighbors, the Russells.  But who is going to believe her, especially with the amount of alcohol she drinks? A.J Finn's debut, The Woman in the Window, is an edge of of your seat read that is reminiscent of some of the other psychological thrillers I've read int the past, but nonetheless, it's an entertaining ride.

I wanted to like Anna, I did, but she is such a hot mess in The Woman in the Window. She's the quintessential unreliable narrator that we often see in psychological thrillers. You know the type....self-medicating, drinking too much, bored, suffering from some type of post-traumatic stress, and has a mess of a life. Can we even believe her version of reality? Should we? Although she annoyed the heck out of me with her pill-popping and excessive drinking, I was still really interested in her. What happened to her to make her not leave her house for months, suffer panic attacks when she tries, and pretty much become one of her patients? I really wanted to understand what she went through and why not only her life fell apart, but her marriage too.


The Woman in the Window felt really, really familiar in that it possesses some of the same qualities that Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train had, but I didn't let that bother me too much. Once I got past some of the similarities, I was able to just enjoy the thrilling ride.  The thing that sets The Woman in the Window apart from the others is its Hitchcock/film noir vibe. Anna is a classic film buff who likes the old thrillers and is watching and referring to them constantly, so the book took on that kind of vibe also, which I really enjoyed. Plus, there is a plot twist that I didn't see coming, so that was an unexpected surprise. I also didn't expect so much action during the second half of the novel. It definitely held my interest and kept me guessing.


From what I hear, The Woman in the Window has already sold the screen rights and plans to turn it into a movie are underway. While I don't think it's as compelling as Gone Girl, I still think as far as psychological thrillers go, it was decent and entertaining. If you love curling up with a thriller in the winter, definitely give this one a try.



Monday, January 8, 2018

8th Blogoversary and an International Giveaway!


I can't believe I am typing this, but then again, I am not surprised. It's been 8 years since I wrote my first post. Books have always been a constant in my life, so I'm not surprised that they still are a priority.  With two little kids running around, it's been a bit more challenging to make time to read, but if it's important to you, you'll do it, right? 

Plus, I think it's important, more than ever, to carve out time for what sets our souls on fire...for what really gets us excited. And for me that has always been books.

These past 8 years have been so fantastic. Here are some highlights:



Meeting Sarah Dessen (one of my favorite authors)

  • Met many great authors including one of my favorites, Sarah Dessen!!!
  • Worked with various publishers, 
  • Had my reviews published in a magazine

Interviewing Jenny Han (squee!)

  • Interviewed MY FAVORITE AUTHOR (JENNY HAN!) in front of a live audience (still pinching myself!)
  • Celebrated over 1 million hits
  • Partnered with various podcasts, companies, and websites like zulily

My display for Independent Bookstore Day
  • Was a featured blogger at Independent Bookstore Day
  • Went to cocktail hour at Highclere Castle and met Lady Fiona Carnarvon, author of Downton Abbey books 
  • Received so many ARCs which I am very, very grateful for. 
  • Made some great bookish friends and found a wonderful community
It all started as a professional development activity when I was teaching and has really grown from there. It's become part of who I am.

I am so thankful for all the comments and support. It means the world to me! To thank all my loyal readers, I am hosting an international giveaway for $20 worth of books of your choice from the Book Depository. Please make sure the Book Depository ships to your location and please refer to my giveaway rules.


a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Again, thank you for 8 great years. It's been an incredible adventure.


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