Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite New-To-Me Authors

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, created by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, is all about authors we read for the first time in 2014! This was actually a fun and easy post for me since I read a whole bunch of “new to me” authors this year, and I got to meet some of them too! :)

Top Ten “New To Me” Authors in 2014

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Meeting Rainbow Rowell at YALL Fest was DEFINITELY one of my highlights from 2014!!

Rainbow Rowell – By far my favorite author of the year. I read Attachments back in January after seeing so many recommendations from fellow bloggers. I LOVED IT. I know it came out a few years ago, but I talked about that book to all of my friends because it was so wonderful. Since then I’ve read Fangirl and Landline, and I’ve decided that I prefer Rainbow Rowell’s adult fiction to her YA fiction, but I’m still waiting to read Eleanor & Park :)
Veronica Roth – This year I also read the Divergent series. It wasn’t my favorite series, but I did like the world Veronica Roth created (and I really liked the first movie!).
Lauren Morrill – My second favorite author I discovered this year! She wrote Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs and if I could give her an award it would be for prettiest book covers one & two.
Ann Brashares – This year I read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and I especially loved the most recent 5th book. When I met Ann Brashares at YALL Fest (and totally fangirled), I got to chat with her a bit about it and she was really happy to know that I enjoyed the last book since so many people don’t want to read it because it’s sad. I had her sign a copy of her new book, The Here and Now (which also has a gorgeous cover), and I’m excited to read it soon!
Louisa May Alcott – I still don’t know why I waited so long to read Little Women, but I’m so glad I finally did this year! I’m looking forward to reading Alcott’s other novels as well.
Morgan Matson – After hearing so many good things about Since You’ve Been Gone, my book club voted to read this earlier this summer and we all fell in love! Since then I’ve read all of Matson’s other novels, I’ve laughed & cried, and now I can’t wait for her to publish more!
Jennifer E. Smith – It is very rare for me to read a book by an author, not really like it, and then decide to give out a second chance and read another of his/her novels. I’m glad I did this with Jennifer E. Smith. I read The Geography of You and Me a few months ago and felt “Ehh” about it. But then I checked out This Is What Happy Looks Like on audiobook and I actually rather enjoyed it. I think I’ll give The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight a chance next.
Cindi Madsen – I won a copy of Madsen’s Falling For Her Fiancé a couple of months ago and adored it! I speed read it and then bought the two sequels and finished them in roughly two days. If you like clean, funny, romances, Cindi Madsen writes some pretty great ones :)
Harper Lee – I was never assigned to read To Kill A Mockingbird, but maybe that’s a good thing, because when I finally felt like reading it this year, I loved it. I wrote all about my feelings on the novel here.
Huntley Fitzpatrick – I had been eyeing My Life Next Door for months and maybe it was delayed gratification, but I loved that book so much more than I thought I would. It’s definitely not all that it seems; it’s better :)

What are some authors you read for the first time this year? I’d love some recommendations!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Movies I’m Looking Forward to in 2015

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This week’s meme, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the top ten books we’re looking forward to reading in 2015. I feel like I’ve already talked about most of the books I’m wanting to read next year, so I decided to put a little twist on this week’s topic and make it:

Top Ten Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2015

IMG_0254Cinderella (March 17, 2015)

Ok, this movie looks incredibly cheesy. And frankly, Richard Madden looks kinda creepy in his stills. But Claire Danes as Lady Tremaine?? Yes, please!

IMG_0258Insurgent (March 20, 2015)

I enjoyed the Divergent series, but I liked the first movie even better, and that never happens. I’m hoping it continues to be that way with the movies. This movie comes out on my husband’s birthday; I hope he won’t mind dinner & a movie that night ;)

IMG_0255The Age of Adaline (April 28, 2015)

I haven’t heard much about this movie, honestly, but I love stories that involve aging (or in this case, the lack thereof). To me, it’s up there with time travel on the list of interesting sci-fi topics.

IMG_0257Avengers: The Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015)

The only thing I am not looking forward to about this movie is the lack of Loki (*cries*). Hopefully there will be plenty of Tony Stark-Thor banter to make up for Loki’s absence.

IMG_0252Jurassic World (June 12, 2015)

Do I even need to elaborate on this one? NO, but I’m going to anyway. How do I explain my love of Jurassic Park? If you know me in real life, you know I love all things dino, including dino DNA. I am upset that Sam Neill isn’t in this one (I love Dr. Grant), but Chris Pratt is leading so I think Jurassic World will be different, but just as entertaining as its predecessors.

IMG_0256Inside Out (June 19, 2015)

Pixar rarely disappoints, and I don’t think that’ll happen with Inside Out either. The premise sounds amazing and it features the voice talents of Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith, and Lewis Black.

IMG_0260The Fantastic Four (August 7, 2015)

I know the first Fantastic Four series bombed, but I secretly liked it, probably just because I love super heroes and that was back in the early days of Marvel cinema. This new cast looks promising, so hopefully the movie is good!

IMG_0262The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (September 18, 2015)

I STILL have not read this series! But I did see James Dashner at YALL fest last month and I completely admired how funny and down to earth he is. I’ve been following his movie set photos on Twitter and I can’t wait to read the books and see the sequel next summer.

IMG_0261The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (November 20, 2015)

I haven’t even seen Mockingjay Part 1 yet (I knowww), but the final installment in the Hunger Games series is of course on my list of most anticipated 2015 movies. I’m prepared for the tears & the ending! I think so at least…

IMG_0259Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (December 18, 2015)

You know when this movie comes out? The same day as my 3rd wedding anniversary. My husband has had our date night planned since they announced the release date nearly 2 years ago.

I know tons of fans are skeptical about JJ Abrams, but I am not. I loved his new Star Trek movies, even though they looked more like Star Wars, but that only helps his case.

BONUS

IMG_0253Goosebumps (August 7, 2015)

I obsessed over the Goosebumps books when I was in elementary school! Some of those stories still creep me out (Stay Out of the Basement? The Haunted Mask?). Hopefully this movie is just as scary! Or at least I hope it does the books justice.

 

What are some films and books you’re most looking forward to next year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Totally Want To Be For Halloween!

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about Halloween! Last year I shared with you all my Top Ten picks for Halloween reading and today I’m talking about ten characters I’d love to dress up as. Some of these characters I have already impersonated before, as the pictures will show, but I love them so much I wouldn’t mind wearing those costumes again!

Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Be For Halloween

lolaLola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins- Anybody who’s read this book knows how awesome it would be to dress up as Lola. I mean, she dressed up as Marie Antoinette for a school dance! Lola never wears the same outfit twice and each one is her own special creation that reflects her mood for that day. The thing I’d love most about dressing up as Lola would be wearing a really cool wig!

ginnyGinny Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Ginny is my favorite HP character (welllll…that’s kind of a lie, because Sirius is also my favorite, but Ginny is the HP character who I’d most want to be). After years and years of wanting a reason to dress up as Ginny, my friends and I finally agreed on dressing up for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. It was a super simple costume, but I totally felt like Ginny all night :) I even had my wand from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to make my costume complete. My two best friends dressed up as Luna Lovegood and Dobby! It was so much fun.

TangledRapunzel from Tangled – I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my biggest dreams is for my husband and I to cosplay Flynn Rider & Rapunzel. We both already feel so much like these characters, and Tangled is one of our favorite movies of all time…all that’s missing is for us to actually be Flynn & Rapunzel! Sure we could go buy costumes but we want to do it BIG. One day we’ll throw an epic Disney costume party (or we’ll go to Comic Con) and I will finally get to be Rapunzel :) (Side note: we did have a Disney costume party this summer, which I will be blogging about soon, and we got to dress up as two of our other favorite Disney/bookish characters which was so much fun!!)

robinhoodRobin Hood – Another of my favorite characters whom I’ve already dressed up as, but I’d do it again because it was a blast, was Robin Hood! This photo is back from 2008, when I went to a British Invasion party. The costume I used in this photo was actually from a Peter Pan costume…they are very similar if you think about it. The rest of the costume was simple, and my favorite part was the bow & arrow (although I did love wearing those green tights with my suede boots)! My brother and I would take turn hitting each other with the suction-cupped arrows for months after Halloween.

poeEdgar Allan Poe – My brother actually suggested this costume idea, and I agreed that it would be really fun! It’s fitting, too, since I live an hour from Baltimore, the city where he died & which named its NFL team in his honor. If I dressed up as Poe, I would go around quoting some of his creepier lines and see how long it would take for people to figure out who I was. I think Michael Sheen makes an excellent Poe impersonator in this photo :)

catinthehatThings 1 & 2 from Dr. Suess’s The Cat in the Hat – Ok, one more costume that I’ve already done. I’m repeating myself a lot, but being Things 1 & 2 is so much fun. My two best friends and I did The Cat in the Hat one year and to stay in character we just went around terrorizing everybody. 15 minutes into the party and we were ready for bed. Next time I’ll jump around less ;)

DIVERGENTTris from Divergent by Veronica Roth – I think the coolest thing about the Divergent world is the factions. I knew right away that if I was in Tris’s world, I would also be a Divergent, and I would have also most likely picked Dauntless. I love the characters’ boldness, and their outfits, and their tattoos! My husband also loves them–he thinks Four’s tattoos are awesome as well. This would be a really simple last-minute costume to do: black shirt, black pants, black shoes, and a cool bird tattoo.

willywonkaWilly Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – Willy Wonka is a total nut job, but it sure would be fun to dress up like him for Halloween. Either Johnny Depp or Gene Wilder’s version would be cool, as long as I get to wear a velvet suit jacket and carry around a cane. And you can bet that I’d bring a big bag of Wonka candy to give to all of my friends.

musketeersD’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas – I think this would be an awesome group costume idea. Cool hats, mustaches, and swords! Plus, I really like wearing tights. D’Artagnan has always been my favorite, but I wouldn’t mind being any of the Musketeers.

poisonivyPoison Ivy from the Batman comics – Sometimes villains make the best costumes, don’t they? I have always loved Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Poison Ivy, probably because of her outfits, honestly. Clearly, I have a thing for tights, but I also love dressing up as redheaded characters. If I ever go to a Superheroes vs. Villains party, I will most likely go as Poison Ivy :)

There are ten characters I’d love to dress up as for Halloween! Did you like any of my choices? Which character would you choose?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Inspire Me

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by the lovely ladies of The Broke and The Bookish) is pretty open! Basically, we pick ten characters who do something. So I thought all day about a characteristic that I’d really like to examine a bit more closely, and finally at 11pm my time, it came to me!

Top Ten Characters Who Inspire Me

  1. Emma Woodhouse (from Pemberley Digital’s Emma Approved– A far more likeable modern version of my least favorite Jane Austen heroine, this Emma is all about the self-empowerment! She’s constantly encouraging (and sometimes forcing) every woman she meets to be the best they can be, without being someone they’re not. The most inspiring thing about Emma is that she’s always persistent when it comes to achieving a goal; nothing is impossible with hard work and the right attitude.
  2. Anne Shirley (from the Anne of Green Gables series) – Of course I would have to include my favorite fictional character in this list. I adore Anne’s creativity, open-mindedness, and her wild imagination. One of my favorite things she did was create a short-story club with her friends, where they would get together to share and critique their stories with each other. Plus she headed up I don’t know how many clubs and improvement projects. Definitely an over-achiever and take-charge kind of woman!
  3. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë’s beloved heroine) – Although I in no way envy Jane Eyre’s life, I do admire and respect many of her wonderful qualities. The ones that inspire me the most are her unfailing talent to forgive those who hurt her the most, her unfaltering senses of morality and self-respect, and her revolutionary ability of knowing what she deserved out of life. For a mid-19th century lower class orphan, Jane Eyre never believed she didn’t deserve happiness, but she certainly wouldn’t sacrifice her self-respect to obtain it. She’s also extremely good-hearted and patient.
  4. Beatrice “Tris” Prior (from the Divergent series) – I’m late in joining the Divergent fan club, but I am happy to admit that I finally read the novels (just so I could see the movie–I’m one of those “I always read the book” first type of gals)! Although this isn’t my favorite series, as I felt there were many things missing from the novels, I did love all the strong female characters! I definitely respect this trend going on at the moment. I related a lot to Tris: I know without a doubt that I would be a Divergent just like her, and I also would choose the Dauntless faction. My current mantra is “be brave,” and I owe it all to Tris’s bravery for giving me the courage to conquer some of the difficult tasks I’ve had to face lately.
  5. Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) – Where to begin?! Atticus Finch is essentially the perfect parent. He’s intelligent, wise, patient, honorable, good, virtuous, AND he has a sense of humor. He leads by example and encourages his children to love and respect people, not the way the world would tell them to, but they way they deserve to be loved and respected. He doesn’t hide the ugliness of the world from his children, but he gradually opens their eyes to it in doses they can handle and come to terms with. Atticus Finch inspires me not only to be an inspiring parent one day, but he inspires me to be a good person each and every day.
  6. Scout Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) – I couldn’t pick just one member of the Finch clan. Scout is one of my all-time favorite narrators. I love her young and innocent perspective of the world because it is so inspiring. She sees through the hard and calloused exteriors of people to their real, vulnerable hearts. Scout lives during a time of extreme social and racial prejudices, issues that would generally anger and disgust me, but through the pure and unblemished eyes of Scout, I finished this novel completely awestruck and inspired to find people I could treat as nicely as Scout and her father and brother did.
  7. Joanna Robbins (from Karen Witemeyer’s Stealing the Preacher) – I enjoy reading Christian Historical Romances from time to time, but I’ll admit they’re usually pretty cheesy. Karen Witemeyer is my favorite author in that genre, though, and it’s because she creates plot lines that aren’t cheesy, and her characters are so strong and inspiring that I feel uplifted for quite some time after reading her books. A quality that I admired about one of her heroines, Joanna Robbins, was accepting our physical appearances as God-given and something we shouldn’t feel ashamed about. Joanna herself wasn’t too keen on her red hair. Now I have red hair but I’ve always loved it so I must be the odd carrot-top out ;) But there are plenty of other things about my appearance that I don’t like, and I felt inspired by what Joanna said when she found herself downcast about her unusual hair color; she reminds herself that it is a gift from God: “Don’t despise it because it is different. See the beauty in His gift.”
  8. Esther (from The Bible) – If you ask most Christian women who their favorite woman of the Bible is, most likely they will say Esther. But if you know her story you will understand why. Esther is bold, courageous, and full of faith, and in many ways she would be the perfect heroine in a YA dystopian novel. She risks her life to protect her family and to do the right thing, and in a dire situation she summons the bravery to speak one of the most inspirational lines in the Bible: “If I perish, I perish.” It just makes me want to run into battle to defend all the things I believe in!
  9. Anne Elliot (from Jane Austen’s Persuasion) – I seem to take a liking to literary heroines named Anne ;) This Anne is probably my favorite Austen heroine. I know most people would choose Elizabeth Bennet, and although I myself take after Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey, good-hearted and pure Ms. Elliot just inspires me so much! She has a subtle yet much appreciated talent of bringing out the best in others (kind of like Emma, whom I mentioned at the top of this list, but not so much in-your-face), and there’s not a mean or malicious bone in her body. She thinks the best of everyone and is constantly looking for ways to serve others. Plus, she’s the type of person you would want near you in a crisis; she’ll be completely calm and manage to get everything done while the rest of the world freaks out or faints.
  10. Ginny Weasley (from the Harry Potter series) – My favorite Weasley :) I always admired Ginny’s strong will and fearless attitude. We don’t see much of her early on in the series, but in the last few books she becomes quite popular among the Dumbledore’s Army crowd, mainly because “she’s a beast,” as my old Cross Country pals would have said. I’d be afraid to face her in a battle or Quidditch game, but I’d love teaming up with her because I know she’d help me to be brave and bold when I’d naturally want to back down. Also, and spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t read Harry Potter, but I don’t care what J.K. Rowling said recently; Harry belongs with Ginny, just like she wrote it, and not with Hermione.

There you have it! Which characters inspire you the most? Does anyone from my list make yours as well? I kept this list to literary characters, but there are plenty of screen characters who inspire me as well!

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring Reading

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about our Spring To-Be-Read pile! This was a nice post, because it made me think about all that I want and need to read within the next few months (and by need I’m referring to books I’m currently borrowing from the library). I hope some of my TBR books spark your interest as well!

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  • Divergent by Veronica Roth: I received this from my sister as a Christmas present and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it yet! I don’t know what I’m waiting for, honestly!
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass: (Clearly I’ve grouped this first section of books as young adult dystopian sci-fi, aka one of my favorite genres) This is one I will be reading within the next week, as it is due back to the library very soon!
  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry: Another book I will be reading within the week, I recently discovered that Lois Lowry wrote a couple of companion novels/sequels to The Giver. So I have no doubt I’ll love this read.

tbr2

  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks: I didn’t have time to finish reading this library checkout before coming back to France after Christmas, so I bought it on my Kindle, where it is still sitting unfinished.
  • Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham: Yet another book I currently have checked out! Seriously, I have a problem. I’ve heard many good things about this book and it was on my holds list for months–excited to start it soon!
  • Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik: A modern Pride and Prejudice adaptation that I’ve been wanting to read since participating in Austen in August last summer. Lately I’ve been on a Lizzie Bennet Diaries craze, so this should fit in perfectly :)
  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom: I love Mitch Albom’s novels. They’re always so thought-provoking and typically uplifting, although I usually cry during some point.

tbr3

  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: Ahh, I feel like Peter Pan and Springtime just go hand in hand. They both represent youth and nature and everything I love to reflect on.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: This is a classic that has been on my TBR list for years. I feel ashamed to admit that I’ve never read it, despite the fact that I love the film!
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: The first Austen novel that I ever read. Tonight I watched the most recent BBC adaptation and my love for Marianne and Colonel Brandon just makes me want to read the book all over again! Jane Austen is perfect for spring…and summer…and definitely autumn. Who am I kidding? It’s the perfect reading for any season :)

 

What novels are on your To-Be-Read list this spring? Do we have any books in common?