Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2014 Reads

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the best books we read in 2014! I am very happy that my Top Ten is filled with so many classics! It’s not surprising, because I love classics and they usually fill up about half of what I read, but this year I read so many young adult books that I wasn’t able to read as many classics as usual. I guess this just means that I picked a few really good classics ;)

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

robinhood secondchancesummer muchado sisterhoodeverlasting littlewomen

10. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, my love <3 Your tricks and mischievous ways never fail to entertain me :)
9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: This book made me bawl like a baby, and only the best books can make me do that. This was the third Morgan Matson book I read, and before that I was already convinced that I’d preorder her future books because they’re that good.
8. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Usually I prefer Shakespearean tragedies, but Much Ado was so funny and suspenseful that I found myself really enjoying it despite its “shallowness.” The recent film version is great as well.
7. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: I just read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series for the first time this summer, and I loved the four sisters so much! When I went to read this 5th, more adult book, I knew it was going to be a lot different from its predecessors. It’s darker and sadder, but also so much fuller than the other four books. Several chapters made me cry, but not just out of sadness. There’s one scene in particular involving my two favorite characters that is giving me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it <3
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The beloved March family! I so wish I had read this book as a young adult. It would have gone well with Anne of Green Gables, but in any case I loved it so much when I read it earlier this year. And of course, the Winona Rider/Christian Bale movie is spot-on. I could watch that all day, AND it’s a Christmas movie so that means I will be watching it soon!

 

tokillamockingbird sinceyouvebeengone meanttobe NorthandSouth attachments

 

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is one of those classics that is usually assigned in school, but it wasn’t for me, and after reading it I totally wish it had been! But maybe not, actually, because there’s always that dreaded assigned reading curse that can destroy books for us =P It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book will touch your heart.
4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This book is perfect for summer reading. It made my heart smile with giddy happiness and it’s a Morgan Matson book so obviously it’s amazing.
3. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill: This book was so cute! I seriously could not put it down. I love books that mix in multiple communications platforms, and this one deals a lot with texting mishaps. Plus, if you love travelling, especially to the UK, you’ll love this one. The whole book takes place in London and Lauren Morrill makes you feel like you’re actually there. I’ve been dying to see all the places that were mentioned in the book ever since I read it.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I just finished this book a few days ago and I am still on the book hangover. Some people might think it’s weird to rave about a book that’s been around for over 150 years, but right now all I want to do is rave about North and South. The last time I felt like this was when I read Jane Eyre for the first time last September. My best friends can attest to it, I talked their heads off about that book (but I even converted my BFF into liking it after she HATED the movie!).
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: This has been my favorite read of the year so far. I’ve talked about it so many times, I don’t know what else to say besides IT’S WONDERFUL!

 

There you have it! That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, actually. I rated all of these books 5/5, and there were around 6 other books I also gave a 5 star rating this year. It’s been a good reading year for me :)

 

What has been your favorite read of the year?
Advertisements

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

IMG_2491

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!

25 Things Update!

25thyearEarlier this year I posted a list of 25 things I wanted to do in the year before my 26th birthday. I feel like I’m a little behind, and there are already a few entries on the list that I know I won’t be able to cross off this year, but that’s ok. The whole point of this list was to give me some fun goals for the year and I’m already very pleased with the fun things I’ve been able to do so far.

Over the past several months I have been able to cross off some things from my list that I never got around to posting about! I feel bad about that because I could have easily made individual posts for these things and shared with you more pictures. But sometimes a shorter update is better :)

Here are four things I crossed off earlier this year that I never got around to posting about!

#12 Swim in the Mediterranean

Before we left France we took a day trip down to St. Cyr, which is about an hour east of Marseille. The water was so clear and blue, I can totally see why so many people like to vacation in the south of France. The beach was really crowded, there were even people waiting for other people to get up so they could take their spots. The weather was beautiful and although we had to drive three hours there and back, it was such a lovely day. I would have really regretted living in France for two and a half years and never getting to see the Mediterranean.

IMG_5475
IMG_5490
IMG_5496

#14 Join a club

Several months ago my blogging friend Regina @ The Sunflower Pages mentioned that she wanted to start an online book club focusing on Young Adult books and I immediately jumped on board! I love reading books with other people, and the fact that it’s an online club was even better for me since I was living abroad at the time. Now that I’m back in the States it’s still nice chatting with people from all over the place.

bookclub

So far we’ve read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (LOVED IT), If I Stay by Gayle Forman (just in time for the movie),  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall. Right now we’re reading Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard.

#20 Attend a masked ball or period-era ball or maybe just a really elaborately themed party

In June we had to say goodbye to our Grenoble community, and it was even more bittersweet than I thought it would be because they threw us a Disney costume party! It was so well done between the decorations, the food, the games, and of course the costumes :)

IMG_4677

Matt and I as Peter Pan and Wendy :)

Disney Party

Winnie the Pooh and Mickey & Minnie Mouse cakes!

Disney Party

My friend Laure (Minnie) who drove down from Lyon to see me, and my American friends Joy and Lisa who planned the party :)

Disney Party

My wonderful friend Dalene who was one of my closest friends in Grenoble. I miss her so much!

#21 FIND A NEW JOB

This was one of the biggest things on my list, and in my October Highlights post I shared with you that I had an interview in the beginning of November. Well…I GOT THE JOB! I started last Wednesday so this week is my first full week. So far, I love it! It’s a very small office (there are 4 of us), but that makes everything so much more personal. The job itself is low-stress and relaxed, which is a nice change of pace. I’m very excited for this new direction I’m taking, and I’m also looking forward to my husband finding a job so we can find a place to live & finally be able to settle down and unpack our wedding gifts (they’ve been in their original boxes in my parents’ basement for nearly 3 YEARS because we moved to France right after getting married).

Thank you to everyone who prayed for me, encouraged me, and gave me interview advice! I am so so thankful :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Wish Could Have Their Own Book

toptentuesdayThis was such a hard post to write! I have no idea why, but I spent so much time wracking my brain trying to think of characters I’d want to see more of. I even had to ask my husband for suggestions ;) But I could only come up with nine! So you’ll have to give me suggestions for a tenth one…

Characters I Wish Could Have Their Own Book (or Spin-Off):

Sloane from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – Firstly, I loved this book. It’s probably the second best book I’ve read all year (the first being Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments). Right after I finished it, though, I started thinking about how cool it would to read a sequel or a companion novel told through Sloane’s POV. We don’t see much of Sloane in the book, but we do get to see how interesting and conflicted she is. I would love to know what happens with her after the book ends.

Little John from The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle – This book is actually told through the 3rd person, but it obviously follows Robin Hood’s adventures, and the adventures of his Merry Men after they join the gang. I’ve always had a soft spot for Little John, and I’d like to see what could become of him after the band goes their separate ways.

Captain Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen – I know there are already books from his POV, but I haven’t read any yet. I really want to though!

Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – I know I’m not the only one who’d love to read about Neville’s adventures after Hogwarts. I feel like his story was only just starting to begin when Deathly Hallows ended.

Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Another HP character for this list (she’s also my favorite). I’d love to have a story told from Ginny’s POV during her 6th year at Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were off hunting horcruxes but we know Ginny was fighting off Death Eaters with the remainder of Dumbledore’s Army. There’s so much potential for a companion novel here!

Bailey from Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares – This happens to be my favorite book from the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I loved how the Sisterhood’s stories were resolved, but I think it would be wonderful to know what happens to the next generation. It would be kind of fitting with the original origin of the Sisterhood.

Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I would love to read a prequel to The Hunger Games when we get to discover all of Haymitch’s back story. A lot of it was shortly covered in Catching Fire, but I want more!!!

Lucien from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – Another one of Morgan Matson’s characters for this list! She has awesome characters. Lucien is a very minor character, but he was so sweet and interesting! If you’ve read the book you know how his story is kind of just cut off, and I’d like to know what happens after his weekend with Amy and Roger.

Flynn Rider from Tangled – I can’t tell if I’d want to see a sequel with more of Flynn’s adventures or if I’d want to see one that involves his and Rapunzel’s (future) children. But I know there is plenty of potential for a Tangled sequel…Disney’s just making us wait =P (to be fair they did give us the Happily Ever After short)

Ok, which character would YOU like to see have his/her own sequel? Books, television, movies…which fictional character would you like to see more of?

Top Ten (Thurs)day: Summer Reads

toptentuesdayThis post was meant for Tuesday, but I have been pretty busy this week between my job wrapping up, taking a day trip to Lyon (fun!), and watching 3 matches of the World Cup every night, so Top Ten Tuesday has become Top Ten Thursday for me this week :)

Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR List:

 Here are the books that I’ve already started and hope to finish this summer :)

robinhoodThe Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle – I have always been a big Robin Hood fan, I even dressed up as Robin Hood once for a British-themed costume party, and last month we went and saw a Robin Hood musical that’s touring France at the moment (it was really cool!). So since then I’ve been on a bit of a Robin Hood kick and I’m in the process of reading Howard Pyle’s version of my favorite legend :)

littlemenLittle Men by Louisa May Alcott – I read Little Women last month (review still on the way) and loved it! I knew the story since I grew up watching the 1994 film version, but the book was so much better. So after I finished it I started reading the sequel, Little Men, but I’m still in the beginning chapters. The reason for that is because I started the book below…

lesmisLes Misérables by Victor Hugo – About a month and a half ago I posted on Twitter about how Les Misérables was a book that had been on my TBR/Classics Club list for a while, but because it intimidated me so much I had been procrastinating on reading it. Well, someone else had been feeling a little similar to me, and so we decided to read it together this month :) I really had been wanting to read it in French, but this book is massive, and I am maybe 2% finished with it right now. We’ll see if I can persevere in le français, or if I’ll have to switch to English.

Books I want to start this summer! (Click on the titles for the Goodreads links)

heartandsoulHeart & Soul by Lee Strauss – Lee Strauss (sometimes Elle Strauss) is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. I’ve read two of her other series, Clockwise (a YA time traveling series) and Perception (a YA futuristic sci-fi series), and loved them both. So last week when I saw she was giving out ARC copies of her new novel, Heart & Soul, in exchange for reviews, I jumped on board :) I hope to be reading this one within the next couple of days so check back for my thoughts!

ifistayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman – I recently saw the trailer for this upcoming book-made-film and instantly became intrigued. It looks like a major tear jerker, but I love stories that make me cry (it’s a powerful emotion) so I can’t wait to delve into this one.

secondchancesummerSecond Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – I’m in an online book club, and last week we read Morgan Matson’s most recent book Since You’ve Been Gone, and I fell in love with her writing style. That book had me laughing, sighing, and even holding back tears. So now her other novels Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour are now on my TBR list, SCS being a hopeful summer read since, you know, summer is in the title ;)

openroadsummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord – Another book with the word summer in the title, this book seems similar to Since You’ve Been Gone, and I’ve heard some good things about it, so I’m excited about reading it for myself. I’m thinking a Kindle download to keep me occupied on our 8 hour drive to the west of France next month.

journeyJourney to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne – Two French novels on my Summer TBR list! I plan on reading this one next month. For those of you who actually know me, you know that I have a lot of national pride for my two countries. I am glued to the television watching the Olympics and now the World Cup, cheering on the U.S. and France, and for both national holidays I like to celebrate by doing American and French things. Last year for Bastille Day I read Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days to celebrate. This year, my husband and I are going to read Journey to the Center of the Earth (hopefully in French!). We both love Verne’s novels, and the fact that my husband likes to read his books really says something since Matt doesn’t really like to read anything ;)

senseandsensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen –  I put this book on my previous Top Ten Tuesday post about Spring Reads, but I didn’t get a chance to read it. I read Northanger Abbey instead, since that was the only Austen novel I still hadn’t read. I haven’t picked up Sense and Sensibility since high school, though, so I think I’ll be reading it later this month when all the Austen in August events reappear :) In any case, every season is a good season to read Jane Austen.

northandsouthNorth and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – I read this book for my Victorian Lit class in college, but after watching the miniseries a couple of years ago, I’ve been wanting to reread it (and then rewatch the miniseries because it’s so good). Also, knowing me, if I read any Jane Austen novel, I’ll immediately be stuck in a Regency/Victorian reading pit (a pit of lace and ribbons and chivalry, that is), and I’ll be looking for some more classic female masterpieces to read.

What are some books on your Summer To-Be-Read list? Do you have any other suggestions for my list?