Friday, October 20, 2017

My Latest Obsession: The Last Kingdom

It's been awhile since I last shared My Latest Obsession. So, what has been soaking up a lot of my reading time and my attention? The BBC's The Last Kingdom, which is now on Netflix.  

It's based on a series of books by Bernard Cornwell called The Saxon Stories. Have any of you read it?  Here's my top five reasons why you should check out The Last Kingdom on Netflix.

1.  Uhtred of Bebbanburg - If you like your heroes very Jamie Fraser-esque, he fits the bill. While he isn't a perfect hero by any means, he is tough, impulsive, loyal to family, fierce and a heck of a lot of fun. His character is played by Alexander Dreymon, and well, he's pretty hot.  

2.  The Time Period - The setting of 9th century AD when England is broken down into various kingdoms is a really interesting time and dangerous too.  The Anglo-Saxons are attacked the Danes (Vikings), but the Kingdom of Wessex remains steadfast.  There's a lot of violence, but also politics. If you enjoy British history or the TV show Vikings, you will enjoy this time period.

3.  Loyalties Are Tested - While I mentioned that Uhtred is loyal, his loyalties are constantly being tested. You see he is a Saxon nobleman, but as a child he was kidnapped by the Danes. As time goes by, he essentially becomes one of them, so now he is really part of two words. Does he care about his ancestry or does he care about the people who have become like family to him? What is his true identity? Is he a pagan or a Christian? All of these questions come into play in The Last Kingdom.

4.  King Alfred - The King of Wessex is a very compelling character and has some of the best lines.  “When a man dies,” he says, “if nothing is written, he is soon forgotten.”   He is juxtaposed by the Danes way of life where people don't know how to read or write and die by their sword.

5.  No Fantasy - I think that many people might watch the first two episodes and think that it is very similar to Game of Thrones, but there are no fantasy elements in The Last Kingdom. It's all about England's history and life before it was unified. I love that it bring history to life so well and makes it so very compelling without dragons and zombies.

My only wish for the show is that there were more strong females. There are a few, but none that get a lot of focus.  I wish some of the more powerful women had more screen time!

Are you a fan of this show? Have you heard of the books? Let me know what you think and if you'll check out this show on Netflix. Season three will come out next year!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: This Love Story Will Self-Destruct

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

This Love Story Will Self-Destruct by Leslie Cohen
Pub. Date: January 23, 2018

Goodreads says, "This is the classic tale of boy meets girl: Girl…goes home with someone else. Meet Eve. She’s a dreamer, a feeler, a careening well of sensitivities who can’t quite keep her feet on the ground, or steer clear of trouble. She’s a laugher, a crier, a quirky and quick-witted bleeding-heart-worrier. Meet Ben. He’s an engineer, an expert at leveling floors who likes order, structure, and straight lines. He doesn’t opine, he doesn’t ruminate, he doesn’t simmer until he boils over. So naturally, when the two first cross paths, sparks don’t exactly fly. But then they meet again. And again. And then, finally, they find themselves with a deep yet fragile connection that will change the course of their relationship—possibly forever. Follow Eve and Ben as they navigate their twenties on a winding journey through first jobs, first dates, and first breakups; through first reunions, first betrayals and, maybe, first love. This is When Harry Met Sally reimagined; a charming tale told from two unapologetically original points of view. With an acerbic edge and heartwarming humor, debut novelist Leslie Cohen takes us on a tour of what life looks like when it doesn’t go according to plan, and explores the complexity, chaos, and comedy in finding a relationship built to last."

Guys, there's something you should know about me. I am a die hard fan of When Harry Met Sally. It's one of my favorite movies EVER and this book sounds very similar. What do you guys think? 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Pages: 240
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: St. Martins
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Alex & Eliza, Blue Bloods
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother. Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?"

Darcy Fitzwilliam is one of the most successful women in Manhattan.  Her life is perfect except for the fact that she isn't in love.  Sure, she has a "sort of" boyfriend, but he isn't someone she truly loves. Does she even have time for a real relationship? Another Christmas is here and she plans on staying in the city and not visiting her family once again, but this year she gets a call that her mother has suffered a heart attack. Darcy decides to return home to Ohio and spend Christmas with her family and although this should be no big deal, it's stressful for Darcy, because she is returning home to all the people she left behind and some people she'd rather forget about.  Her parents always throw a Christmas party and while there she is reunited with Luke Bennet and the rest of his boring and average brothers. While indulging in one too many eggnogs at the Christmas party, she makes out with Luke and her current "sort of" boyfriend finds out. Cue all the drama.  On top of it, Darcy must make amends with her family as her absence as created a major hole in their family's world.  Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is a quick and cute Christmas read; it's a fun, modern twist on the classic.

I have to admit I really didn't like Darcy too much in Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe. She's one of those super successful and very superficial businesswomen from New York City. She sort of felt like a cliche to me, but once she was back home in Ohio, I started to like her more.  Darcy made some stupid decisions, but I think that was part of the fun.  After all, we know where the story is heading as there are no surprises, but it was still an enjoyable ride.

Luke Bennet is no Elizabeth Bennet by any means, but I did like his character more than Darcy.  He has his own baggage and relationship with Charlotte, so it was fun trying to figure out how that would play out. The gender swap of Luke Bennet being the "Elizabeth" in the story is also a clever adaptation.

If you are looking for a cute holiday story that is light, quick, and a twist on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, definitely give Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe a try this winter. It's not my favorite Austen retelling by any means, but it's still a great way to spend a lazy weekend.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stacking the Shelves and Giveaway Winners (49)

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

This week I'll be sharing my thoughts on Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz. de la Cruz, in the past, has been hit or miss with me, but I'm happy to report that I enjoyed this book. It would be perfect for the holiday season as it's a really light and quick read. I thought it was a fun modern twist! 

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan - Thanks to Disney-Hyperion
As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner - Thanks to Berkley

The winner of The Next Together goes to....

Susan L.

Congrats! I hope you enjoy the book!

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, October 12, 2017

Giveaway: A Far, Far Better Thing to Do

Guys, when I came across A Far, Far Better Thing To Do: A Lit Lover's Activity Book by Joelle Herr, I knew it was for me. I mean a match made in heaven, right? I've been having so much fun completing the different activities and reading some of the fun facts. There's 65 different activities that range from puzzles, crosswords, mazes, word searches, coloring pages, quizzes, matching and even some creative prompts.  I love that this book includes classics that book nerds and former English majors like myself would fangirl over, such as Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Dracula, Oliver Twist, Moby Dick and so many more!

One of my favorite activities from the book is the opening lines matching quiz, which truly tested my knowledge of famous opening lines. I especially liked the Sense & Sensibility coloring page, the Charles Dickens crossword and the literary BFFs quiz.  It was fun to test my knowledge of all things literary; there's something here for every bookworm!

A Far, Far Better Thing To Do: A Lit Lover's Activity Book is an absolutely perfect gift for the book lover in your life.  It would make for a fantastic holiday gift as well.  I know I will be gifting this book to a few of my favorite book lovers this holiday season.

Thanks to Running Press, I am giving away one copy of A Far, Far Better Thing To Do to a fellow US book nerd. The deadline is October 21st and please refer to my giveaway rules.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Favorite Picture Books For Fall

Fall is a great time to get cozy and read with your kids.  I love reading books about the beauty of the fall season and not necessarily about all things spooky or Halloween, but rather focus on the leaves, the crisp air, apples, and of course pumpkins.  Here are my favorite picture books that highlight the beauty of the fall season.


1.  A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton
2.  Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber


3.  Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
4.  Leaves by David Ezra Stein

5. Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
6. Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by Stan and Jan Berenstain

7.  Secrets of the Apple Tree by Carron Brown
8.  It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

9.  Biscuit Visits the Farm by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
10.  We're Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger

Want To Read:

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne F. Rockwell
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins


Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson
Autumn is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray
Leaf Man by Lori Ehlert

What are some your favorite picture books that you like to read in the fall? Have read any of these?  Let me know what you think!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Pages: 380
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?  Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways." 

Dimple Shah is a very smart eighteen year old from California who, although comes from a very traditional Indian-American family, wants a very different life for herself than her parents have planned for her.  You see, her parents have always wanted an arranged marriage for her with a nice Indian boy, but Dimple has other plans. She is talented with coding and computers and in turn, has been invited to San Francisco State's Insomnia Con, which is a six week competitive program.  Surprisingly, her parents support her decision to go, but when she finds out why, she is not only mad, but extremely disappointed in them.  Rishi Patel is also an Indian-American, but he's a romantic at heart. His parents tell him that his future wife is also going to the summer program at San Francisco State, so this obviously gets him excited as he is more of a traditional young adult.  But he is very smart as well and plans to go to MIT, so he has goals for himself and his future--it's not just about marriage.  Things take an unexpected turn when not only Dimple finds out her parents' plan, but also when she is assigned to work with Rishi on a major project.   Will sparks fly, disaster strike, and hilarity ensue or all of the above?  When Dimple Met Rishi is a delightful young adult read that is smart, funny, and heartwarming.

Dimple is a young adult that so many females can relate to. She is expected to live a certain way thanks to her conservative parents and I think many young adults can relate to this. Dimple has goals, is smart and has so much to offer. She wants more than to just be a wife. You don't have to come from an Indian-American family to appreciate her struggle with this as many young adults feel smothered by their parents' expectations. But what about what Dimple wants? I really liked her and there were so many times that When Dimple Met Rishi made me laugh out loud. The humor in this story was so unexpected, but very much appreciated.

Rishi is a swoon worthy guy in When Dimple Met Rishi. Although I couldn't necessarily relate to his obsession with tradition to the point where he was carrying about his grandmother's ring, I could still respect his values and where he was coming from. He also has decisions to make about his life and many teens will find it relatable. He's a good guy and one that I ended up, obviously, wanting Dimple with. But that's the beauty of this story. Readers know where it's ultimately heading, but it's the journey to get there that is so heartwarming and fun.

When Dimple Met Rishi is like watching your favorite romantic comedy. It was just what I needed and would be perfect to curl up with this fall.

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