Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Confessions

I definitely had more plans to read more this month, but I got completely sucked into The Killing and Outlander.  Anyone else a fan of these shows?

I had a great September and am in a state of disbelief that it's over.  We've had some warm days this month (yay!) and I hope it continues. I'm not really ready to say goodbye to sunshine just yet.  Here's what I've read this month:

Books Read in September:
1.  Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - 4 out of 5 stars
2.  Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White - 4 out of 5 stars
3.  Made For You by Melissa Marr - 4 out of 5 stars
4.  Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini - 4 out of 5 stars
5.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- 4.5 out of 5 stars
6.  Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper - 3.5 out of 5 stars (Review to come)
7.  An American Duchess by Sharon Page - 3.5 out of 5 stars (Review to come)

Did Not Finish:
Winterspell by Claire Legrand - It pains me to say this, because I wanted to love this Nutcracker retelling, but I wasn't feeling it at all. It wasn't working for me and I wasn't invested. Let me know your thoughts if you read this book!

Picture taken at Linvilla Orchards - Media, PA
1. Favorite BookGone Girl by Gillian Flynn is most definitely my favorite book that I read this month.  There are no words. 

2.  Biggest SurpriseQueen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - I really enjoyed this high fantasy and I think it will translate well to the big screen.

3.  Biggest Disappointment: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper had all the ingredients for me to fall in love with it (historical details, an island, witches, a romance), but I must admit it didn't "wow" me.  I'll be posting my review soon!

4.  Favorite Part of September: We took our little guy to one of my favorite farms. Every fall, they transform the farm to Pumpkinland, which was a blast. I loved letting him pick out pumpkins, visit the farm animals, play at the  playground, and eat an outdoor lunch. It was the perfect fall day!

5.  Favorite Post:  My latest obsession: Outlander - I am definitely going to miss this TV show…I can't believe we have to wait till April for the rest of season one…..whhhhattt??!

Thanks for visiting! Let me know what book was your favorite that you read this month. Any recommendations? 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

This week's topic is books that were hard for me to read.  I chose to go with books that made me a bit uncomfortable as I was reading them or books that took me out of my comfort zone, because they dealt with serious issues or had characters that were abrasive.  Either way, some of these books are on my favorite list for sure!

1.  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - Don't get me wrong. I love this book, but there were some major cringe-worthy moments and I definitely put this book down a few times. If you read this book, you know what I am talking about. Nonetheless, it's one of my top ten favorite books.

2.  Dreamland by Sarah Dessen - This story is about abuse and it really broke my heart.

3.  Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell - I enjoyed this book, but the main character is an extremely ignorant person, so I had a hard time with a few of her comments regarding people with disabilities.

4.  Tempting Fate by Jane Green - I also enjoyed this book, but it deals with cheating. Sometimes that's a tough pill to swallow; however, that didn't deter me from enjoying this beach read!

5.  Undone by Cat Clarke - Gosh, I loved this book, but it was sad as it deals with suicide. I definitely sobbed. Many times.

6.  The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - This book broke my heart. Cue all the tears.

7.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I also loved this book, but it was so deeply disturbing and I sort of loathed both main characters.

8.  The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - I absolutely love Anne's diary. Her words are so profound and moving. It truly makes me sad to think about what she and her family went through, along with many other Jewish people living during that time.

9.  The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - There are zombies. Need I say more? I really don't read many "horror" books, so this one scared the pants off me.

10.  Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams- This is such a well-written story, but the main character's home life is a sad one as a parent has a mental illness. Some parts were definitely tough to read.

So, which books were hard for you to read? Let me know what you think of my list!  This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Pages: 395
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: May 24, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?"
Nick and Amy Dunne have been married for five years and at first glance they seem to live a happy, normal life.  At the beginning of the marriage they lived in Brooklyn, but they both lost their jobs and then Nick's parents got sick, so they decided to move back to his small town on the Mississippi to take care of them.  While living back in his hometown, Nick decided to open a bar, with Amy's family money, and runs it with his twin sister, Margo, or "Go" as he likes to call her.  He is also teaching classes at the local university and seems relatively happy, except Amy really hasn't really become fully acclimated to the mid-western lifestyle as she doesn't have a job or many friends.  On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy is abducted from their home and the house is left in a state of disarray.  As the police investigation ensues, Nick is looking like a prime suspect, but many, many secrets abound in Gillian Flynn's brilliant and runaway best seller, Gone Girl.

I finally decided to pick up Gone Girl, because I wanted to read it before the movie came out and, boy, I am glad I did. I was completely absorbed in the story despite the fact that I really didn't like Nick or Amy.  I can't say I was rooting for either character as they are both kind of despicable, but I wanted answers and Flynn kept me hanging on.  Of course, I immediately felt for Amy, uprooted from her New York life, and Nick didn't even seem to really care that she was missing, but the more and more readers learn about Amy, through her diary entries, I knew that she wasn't who she was pretending to be. In fact, I was wondering if both Nick and Amy were unreliable narrators. I didn't know who to trust, which, in turn, made me completely engrossed in this tale.

It's really tough to write a review for Gone Girl, because I don't want to reveal anything, but let's just say Flynn is a master storyteller. I had such envy for the way she confuses her readers, how she makes a reader second guess himself, and then throws a wrench in any newly formed theories surrounding Amy's disappearance.  In sum, I really enjoyed Flynn's writing style and her ability to twist a story, to write unreliable narrators, and to keep readers engaged.  

This story gutted me. Seriously. I finished Gone Girl and just kept saying, "Wow."  I was blown away and it did leave a bad taste in my mouth as it's not exactly the happiest story, but if you like psychological thrillers, murder mysteries and unreliable narrators that will keep you guessing, you must pick up a copy of this book.  The only reason I didn't give it five stars was the fact that I found it as a depressing glimpse into a dysfunctional marriage.  Nonetheless, I still highly recommend it and if you haven't read it already, check out my giveaway for a $25 Visa gift card and the movie-tie-in edition of Gone Girl.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Latest Obsession: Outlander

I sporadically post about my latest obsessions… Veronica MarsThe Lizzie Bennet Diaries, The White Queen, and now Outlander.

Guys, you knew it was coming….a post in which I profess my love for Outlander, the new TV show on Starz. The mid-season finale is this Saturday (say it isn't so!!!) and I am completely smitten with this show.  

Sam Heughan/Jamie (Source)
Like any good bookworm, I was at first really nervous about how the Outlander series would translate to TV.  Would they include all the parts I love? Would they capture the beauty of Scotland? Would they make the time travel look cheesy? Would it be believable? Would Sam Heughan portray my book boyfriend perfectly or would he not live up to my version of Jamie?  The questions abound.

Now that we are halfway through season one, I am happy, so happy with the portrayal.  Ronald D. Moore did a fantastic job. The music (love the opening credits especially!), the costumes, the sets, and the way it is filmed are all spectacular.  And the acting….all well done, especially Tobias Menzies.  He's definitely a great actor and made Black Jack come to life in a way that I didn't even know was possible.

And yes, there are some moments that are in the Outlander TV show that are NOT in the book.  People are always asking me how I feel about that and people seem to get their panties in a bunch over a slight change or addition. I, on the other hand, don't mind the additions if it adds and gives depth to the story and characters.  So, without giving too much away, yes, there are added scenes/plot lines, but I can say they are done very well…so far!

There are some cringe-worthy moments in Outlander, the book, and I am wondering how they will be portrayed, especially the scenes towards the end of season one, but I think they are going to be able to handle it well.  The brutal violence that I have encountered so far (poor Jamie!) did make me turn my head and cringe, but it wasn't to the point where I had to turn off my TV.

*swoon* Source
And let's talk about the wedding. Yes, the #OutlanderWedding. It had its own hashtag and people that weren't even viewers of the TV show or fans of the book were posting about it on Tumblr and Twitter.  I am loving that Outlander is capturing that much attention. I mean the above GIF is pretty swoon-worthy, right?  Last week's episode was pretty steamy. 

Claire's Wedding Dress - loved it!  (Source)
So, are you guys fans of the Outlander TV show, too? Have your read the books? How do you feel about the show and what did you think of the wedding?  Do you have any issues with casting or additions to the plot? And if you are a super fan, like me, is it everything you've hoped for? Let me know what you think!

Happy Friday,

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gone Girl Giveaway

I am so very excited to share this giveaway with you guys today! I read Gone Girl last week (review will be up soon!) and was completely blown away. It took me forever to get around to reading the book, but I am so glad I finally did. I can't wait to see the movie, which is in theaters October 3rd.  Anyone else excited, too? I think the casting is spot on!

If you haven't read the book and want to learn more about the movie, here's a summary:

"Directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn – unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?"

To learn more about the Gone Girl film, check out the official website, Facebook, Twitter, and the really awesome Pinterest page, which I posted about last week.  Also, watch the movie trailer below. It has me so excited to see this book on the big screen.  


Thanks to 20th Century Fox, I am giving away a $25 Visa Gift Card to see the Gone Girl movie in theaters and a movie-tie-in edition of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  The giveaway is open to US readers only and the deadline is October 3rd. Please refer to my giveaway rules. Thanks for visiting and good luck!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Witch Hunter

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

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Pub. Date: June 2, 2015

Goodreads says, "Elizabeth Grey is one of the king's best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. When she's accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to die at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that's been laid upon him. As she's thrust into the world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and all-too-handsome healers, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, and of love and hate."
Yes, to ghosts, witches, pirates (yay!), and healers. Yes to it all! What do you guys think? 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List

So, this week are sharing our fall TBR list this week and I have to say mine is all over the place. I've got some spooky young adult reads, historical fiction for adults, contemporary young adult fiction, and even middle grade fiction. 

1.  The King's Curse (The Cousins' War #6) - Guys, I love this series and will read anything Philippa Gregory writes, except that weird Wideacre series. Not that.  Anyway, this series is highly recommended for fans of historical fiction.

2.  The Swap by Megan Shull - I haven't read a middle grade book in quite sometime and this one seems adorable.

3.  Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae - This one is left over from my summer reading list and any book that takes place in Rome is a must-read for me!

4.  Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot - This is one of my most anticipated reads for fall 2014.  I mean look at that cover!  And early readers are saying it's very Gatsby, which I love!

5.  Cure for Dreaming by Kat Winters- This one needs to be read around Halloween!

6.  Compulsion by Martina Boone - This book is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. The cover is hands down one of my favorites of 2014, if not the favorite and the premise sounds right up my alley. Southern plantations? Curses? Sign me up.

7.  Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon - I am dying to continue with this awesome series, but the books are so darn long. I just need to find time!

8.  Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig - I love Gone with the Wind so very much and am looking forward to reading a story from Mammy's perspective.

9.  Suspicion by Alexandra Monir - I love Monir's first book, Timeless, so I am excited to check out her latest read. It's a fresh twist on the classic Rebecca.

10.  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - I finally got my hands on a copy and am looking forward to reading this one in early fall. I loved Anna and the French Kiss big time, so I am hoping this doesn't disappoint.

What do you think of my list? Let me know which books are on your fall TBR pile. This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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