Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is about books I’ve started reading without knowing what they’re about beforehand. This is something I rarely do. Normally I read a book’s synopsis and several reviews before committing to read a book (my reading time is that valuable to me!), but I was able to find some pleasantly surprising impulse reads to share with you today, as well as a few disappointing ones.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – I started reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s final novel a few months after I finished North and South. I didn’t know anything about it, not even that Gaskell never finished it! But if you’ve seen my review of it you know that I loved this novel, and the miniseries. I’m still dying to know how Gaskell would have finished it, though.

meanttobe

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill – I can honestly say that this is the novel that got me into Young Adult literature a few years ago. I found it through the digital library while searching for similar books to Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments. Both book are now two of my favorites.

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I actually thought this was another book when I picked it up. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t know anything about Me Before You before I started reading it because I may not have wanted to put myself through so many heart wrenching emotions (who am I kidding? I love when stories make me cry!).

Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen – Jane Austen has been my favorite author for a long time, but I hadn’t known anything about Persuasion when I randomly decided to read it while on a road trip a few years ago. It’s one of those books that was incredibly hard for me to put down. I didn’t want to be antisocial sine I was on a trip with a lot of friends, but I definitely spent a lot of time reading (and daydreaming) about Persuasion for the beginning of that trip. I love that a 200 year-old book can still have that affect!

thewonderofallthings

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott – This is a book I happened to se on a shelf at the library and decided to check it out even though I had never heard of it before. I think I liked the cover. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator’s voice bothered me at times, but surprisingly that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. I still think about the ending sometimes, actually.

5290225_origThe Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare – I had an awesome 8th grade English teacher who introduced me to Shakespeare. We read Hamlet and As You Like It, the latter of which we also got to see performed at our local performing arts center. After falling in love with the Bard I decided to read something on my own and randomly picked up The Taming of the Shrew, and that’s when I also found out that it’s the inspiration for 10 Things I Hate About You. I need to reread the play now that I can understand it better. I hope I still like it!

510yzqD6ukL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_ The Princess Bride by William Goldman – I had seen the Princess Bridge movie when I was younger but only remembered that it had a happy ending. When I was a teenager I picked the book up at Barnes and Noble and it was one of those rare occurrences when I actually began reading it as soon as I got home. I was completely shocked by it though, because I thought it had a happy ending and then Wesley DIES. Of course it really does have a happy ending, but I was beginning to think the movie had deceived me.

Here are 3 disappointing books I happened to read on a whim…

15793306Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell – Originally I was looking for Upstairs Downstairs when I came across this memoir at the library. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it was the basis for one of the love stories on Downton Abbey, I really couldn’t get into this book.

15815333The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – I saw this book at the library one day and remembered that I had added it to my TBR a couple of years ago, but I couldn’t remember why. Sadly I could not enjoy Wolitzer’s writing style and this book became a DNF after 75 pages.

Judge_and_Jury_by_James_PattersonJudge and Jury by James Patterson – Someone gave me a few books to borrow while I was living in France and this was one of them. It was probably my first crime novel and definitely the first book I’ve read by James Patterson. I was really into Judge and Jury until I reached the ending. I did not like the way Patterson wrapped up everything. It was very anti-climatic.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh

toptentuesdayAhh, it feels good to be blogging! I have had an extremely busy month and finding the time (and in some cases, the desire) to blog was nearly impossible. But I’m back today for a fun Top Ten Tuesday all about books that have made me laugh.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir – Do I talk about this book too much on my blog? Probably, but it’s all well-deserved praise! Astronaut Mark Watney, this book’s narrator, is extremely sarcastic and witty. Several times during my reading of this book I had to put it down to laugh or immediately find my husband to read excerpts to.

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Another book that I love to gush about! Rainbow Rowell’s humor is perfect for dorks like me. Half of this book is composed of witty email exchanges between BFFs Jennifer and Beth. Their sarcastic rants will make you want to joke around with your own best friend.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – I recently reread this book for the umpteenth time and even though I know the story by heart, I still laugh at the smart alecky dialogue between the characters. My favorite example from Azkaban is when the Marauder’s Map insults Professor Snape!

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – The last thing I expected when I started to read this book was to find myself dying of laughter. But Will and Lou are absolutely hilarious. It probably has something to do with the fact that they’re British and love to tease and insult each other.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – “It’s been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.” Oh, Mr. Collins, you are so stupid.

earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff are so ridiculous sometimes, it’s almost impossible not to laugh. Especially when they argue about muffins.
Earnest

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Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery – I have always loved how dramatic Anne Shirley is, with her graveyards of buried hopes and dreams and her dyed green hair. Some people find her theatrics annoying, but not me :)

robinhood

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle – I can’t imagine a version of Robin Hood that isn’t funny. He always has the perfect comeback, and even when someone bests him he still finds a way to laugh about the situation. I laughed a few times while reading this book, but the 1938 movie version makes me laugh the most. It’s my favorite adaptation of the Robin Hood legend.

muchado

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare – My favorite Shakespearean comedy! Beatrice and Benedick make me laugh so much, especially the scene where they’re tricked into thinking the other one is in love with them. Since it’s Poetry Month AND currently Shakespeare week, I think it’s the perfect time to watch the movie adaptations of this play, and laugh and laugh about this scene:
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Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand – I’m sure this play is extremely cleverer in it’s original French, but unfortunately I’m not quite skilled enough to be able to understand all the puns. It’s still pretty funny to read in English, however, and I also enjoyed the Gerard Depardieu film version. Just imagine Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night but Viola is replaced by a French man with an enormous nose (that’s a really bad summary but you get the idea).

Thanks for reading! Have you laughed while reading any of these books? 

End of the Year Bookish Survey

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Number Of Books You Read: 48
Number of Re-Reads: 6
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult (26)best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2015? Not including rereads (which rules out Harry Potter and Persuasion), I’d have to say The Martian.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Legend by Marie Lu. I really didn’t connect with this book at all.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015? I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith since her books tend to be hits or misses for me.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015? Either The Martian or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

5. Best series you started in 2015? I finally started The Lunar Chronicles (still waiting to read Winter)!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? Emery Lord!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I don’t typically read those types of supernatural novels, so I was surprised at how quickly I got into this one.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? It’s not action-packed, but the book I had the hardest time putting down was Me Before You.

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Persuasion or Open Road Summer.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015? I really love this new edition of Anne of Avonlea.

11. Most memorable character of 2015? Mark Watney from The Martian.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? Again, Me Before You.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? Cinder by Marissa Meyer or The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? “You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.” – The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I read this book early in the year and this quote stuck with me for a few months. I would recite it to myself whenever I was going through a scary or challenging situation.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015? Shortest: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde; Longest: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most: Me Before You.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR: Aidan and Clare from Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between ALTHOUGH Matt and Reagan from Open Road Summer are also up there!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff’s brotherly jests and rivalry in The Importance of Being Earnest was really fun to read.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (previously read North and South).

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: The Martian! I read so many good reviews last year and in 2014 that this quickly became a Must-Read for me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? Probably Thorne from Cress. He’s like a cross between Flynn Rider and Han Solo <3

23. Best 2015 debut you read? I didn’t read any 2015 debuts (I don’t usually read debuts until at least a year later, like Open Road Summer for example).

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Probably the futuristic sci-fi world in The Lunar Chronicles.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014? I cried about three times during the last few chapters of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014? The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman was pretty unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t like this book, even though I know it’s a classic sci-fi novel that a lot of readers enjoy. I enjoyed the world building and some of the more action-packed chapters, but I felt like this book would never end and maybe it was the narrator (I listened to the audiobook version), but by the end I was so annoyed and ready to be done with Ender’s Game.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? I made a new online friend this year whom I was actually able to meet a few months ago! I really enjoy reading Alise’s reviews on Read.Write.Repeat and I’m so happy to be friends with another NC blogger :)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? Probably my review for Wives and Daughters because it includes a clip of the ending to the miniseries :)

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? Where I’ve Been, where I discussed depression and pregnancy. It was a post that took me months to contemplate and write, but it meant so much to receive support and encouragement from my friends and readers.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Broke and the Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa event is one of my favorite bookish events!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014? Getting over my months-long reading slump. I went THREE MONTHS without reading a book or writing a review. It was one of the most depressing times of my life, and it’s mostly attributed to early pregnancy hormones.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I’d Want With Me On a Desert Island

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? This post about Classic Alice, a literary-inspired web series.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Fandom bookmarks and jewelry! This year I’m also contemplating signing up for an OwlCrate or Fandom of the Month Club subscription.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I didn’t set any reading challenges for 2015, but I was able to read almost 50 books, which is impressive considering I went through a 3-month reading drought.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? I just started reading Winter by Marissa Meyer so I can finally finish The Lunar Chronicles series.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? I think Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira. It’s been on my To-Read list for a couple of months now.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? Read and review all the ARCs that have been piling up on my Kindle. It’s a weight on my shoulders and I feel like I can’t enjoy books that I’ve purchased until I review the ones I needed to last year.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: I haven’t read any 2016 releases yet! Any recommendations for me?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Reads of 2015

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2015 is almost over and that means it’s time for me to reflect on all the wonderful books I’ve read this year! I’ll probably have another post up in a couple of weeks highlighting all my bookish thoughts from the year, but for now let me leave you with the best books I read over the past 12 months! These are all 5-star reads for me :)

Top Ten Reads of 2015

earnest

“A trivial comedy for serious people.” The Importance of Being Earnest is an absolute joy to watch/listen to/read (it’s a play though, so the best way to experience it is out loud). The characters are charming, witty, and hilarious. I chuckled and smiled to myself so many times while listening to a performance of this Oscar Wilde play.

mara dyer

This is one of those novels that kept me up at night because I HAD to know what happened next. Parts of Mara Dyer’s story are creepy, other parts are really suspenseful, and the characters are funny and interesting and blushingly romantic (Hello, Noah!). I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so much I bought a copy for myself right after returning the library version I had checked out.

Jurassic Park

Do-do-do-do-dooo. I’m a 90s kid so of course I love Jurassic Park (the film). I wanted to be Alan Grant when I grew up. I finally read the book this past summer and wow! Despite the heavy scientific and theoretical language, I flew through it. The story was altered a bit for the screen, but the underlying themes remain and the characters are relatively the same (except for John Hammond, who is not a lovable grandfather figure in the book).

Wives and Daughters

The only disappointing thing about Wives and Daughters is that Elizabeth Gaskell passed away before she could finish writing it! There were probably only a few chapters missing, so most of the story is there and it’s very enjoyable. We just have to imagine for ourself how the happy ending would have played out.

Cress

I finally read The Lunar Chronicles series this year (except for the final book, Winter, because I’m still on the hold list at the library) and Cress, although not my favorite character, is my favorite of the series so far. I loved following all of the characters, especially Thorne because he’s like Han Solo meets Flynn Rider so of course I loved him. There was also a lot of action and things happening in the novel that made it really fun for me to read right after having my son.

Me Before You

So many tears! But also, lots of smiles and happy feelings. Me Before You kind of wrecked me. It deals with sensitive subject matter that I won’t talk about here because of spoilers, but I wouldn’t recommend it to all readers. I decided to read it after finding out a movie is being made with Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. Now I don’t know if I want to even see the movie because I’m not sure if I can handle all those heart wrenching feelings again.

Persuasion

This is the only reread on this list. I also reread Sense and Sensibility and the first three Harry Potter novels (all of which are 5-star reads for me), but Persuasion is rather dear to my heart. It’s not my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice is hard to beat, although Persuasion comes very close), but Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine and who doesn’t love Captain Wentworth?

The Martian

I can’t rave enough about The Martian. The movie was great and the actors were all perfectly casted, but it’s still not as phenomenal as the book. Andy Weir’s writing style just blew me away. Anyone who can write 3/4 of a book in journal format and still make it a laugh-out-loud page turner definitely deserves all the praise. This novel is Macgyver meets Castaway on Mars and it’s hilarious.

openroadsummer

Swooooon. This is without doubt the most romantic book I read this year, but it will also make you want to hug your BFF and forgive the last person you had a fight with. I loved how real all the characters seemed; they all had issues, especially Reagan, and it was easy to find something to relate to. I only wish I had read Open Road Summer sooner!

Hello Goodbye

just finished Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between a couple of days ago and I am still dying to write a review. I was incredibly surprised by how much I loved this book. It started out cute but the premise of Aidan and Clare thinking about breaking up just because they were going to different colleges didn’t quite make sense to me until the end, and by that point I had already cried a few times (and anytime a book makes me feel something that much, I always give it 5-stars!).

What were your favorite reads from this year?

November Highlights!

I cannot believe it’s already December. Back when I was pregnant I felt like the year was dragging on but now I’m feeling like I just wrote my post about October and now the year is a few short weeks from being over. Thinking back to where I was a year ago, I can’t believe so much has happened in just twelve months!

November was my first full month as a new mom. It’s been hard. Babies are a lot of work, in case no one has ever told you. Even if you have been told before, you won’t believe it until you actually have your own infant attached to you for what feels like every hour of the day. But that’s ok, babies still bring you so much joy even while they’re sucking out all your energy (the sleep deprivation has made me a  little sarcastic lately…).

Anyway: highlights!

I read 5 books (and DNF 1)

Trouble With Destiny openroadsummer Me Before You The Truth About Forever LifeIntended

Most Popular Post:

October Highlights
Ever After’s Château de Hautefort (I can’t wait to go back one day!)

What I Watched:

BrooklynNineNine

Yeah, we binged watch this whole show between the last week of October and the end of November. After all the stress from having a baby and Thanksgiving and family visiting, this was the perfect way to relax and have a few (actually, a lot of) laughs.

Favorite character? Probably Terry, although Boyle is hilarious and I really love Jake, too.

What I Listened To:

James Morrison.jpg

I started listening to a James Morrison station on iTunes Radio last month and it’s pretty much all I listen to nowadays. Probably because his songs are relaxing and they actually went really well with the books I was reading last month.

Highlights:

  • Killian’s 1 Monthiversary! – I can’t believe my little sweet cheeks is already a month old (technically he’s 6 weeks now).
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  • Thanksgiving – We had an interesting Thanksgiving week. Killian was sick and we ended up having to postpone our actual Thanksgiving meal until Saturday. But my parents and both of my siblings were here with us so it was fun having family time :)
  • Reading some quality books – I read some books that made me cry from laughing and others that made me cry so hard it was more like sobbing (I’m looking at you, Me Before You). But I only read one book that I didn’t like, and I didn’t finish it because I just don’t have time for books I’m not into!
  • Decorating for Christmas! – We have to take down our tree before we go to France for 2 weeks (fire hazard), so we were anxious to get it up as soon as we could after Thanksgiving. We finally got to break out the Christmas ornaments we used for our wedding decorations 4 years ago, but most of our ornaments ended up being Hallmark ones that my mom and sister gift us in bulk every year. We love them :)
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Looking Forward in December:

  • The Broke and Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa Event!! – I’ve purchased just about everything for my Secret Santa, I just need to run to Target and buy some chocolately goodies. I’m really excited to find out who my own Secret Santa is!
  • GOING TO FRANCE FOR CHRISTMAS! – It’s been about 16 months since we left France, and 3 years since we’ve had Christmas in France! Yeah, it’ll be hard flying with a newborn, but the fondue and raclette and family time will be totally worth it. Plus, my sister-in-law just had a baby this week so I have a new niece to meet!
  • Seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 3 years ago we find out that the newest Star Wars movie is being released on our 4th wedding anniversary, so Matt decided a long time ago what we would be doing to celebrate. I’m nervous about having someone watch Killian for those few hours, though. It’s too soon to leave him!

Who else is excited about Star Wars?? I’ve already decided I like Kylo Ren, even though he’s on the Dark Side and we don’t know anything about him. The mystery makes him cooler :)