Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2017 (But Didn’t)

Happy Tuesday!! As you have probably noticed by now, I’m pretty awful at sticking to TBR lists. Whenever I make one for a specific month, season, or read-a-thon I inevitably end up scrapping the entire thing and just reading whatever seems appealing in that moment. As a result, there are SO MANY books that I mean to read in 2017 but didn’t find the time to do so. Fortunately, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic focuses on just that! Here are just a few of the books I meant to read in 2017 but didn’t:

 

 

What books were you hoping to read in 2017? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter 2017 TBR

Happy Tuesday!! I think it’s now safe to say that winter is pretty much here, meaning that it’s time to start thinking about winter TBR lists. I’m awful at sticking to TBRs– especially since I have so much to read for course work already– but I would really love to read at least a few of the titles on my list while I’m home for winter break. I know for a fact that I definitely won’t be able to read all of these! Nevertheless, here are ten books that I would love to read this winter: 

What books are you hoping to read this winter? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Rapid Fire Book Tag

Got some tea and a snack or two? Buckle up, because this Rapid Fire Book Tag is a long one! Thanks so much to Heather @ Book and Words for tagging me!!

Question 1 : E-Book or Physical Book?

Physical book!! I can’t even remember the last time I read an ebook.

Question 2 : Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback!! They’re easier to hold, lighter to carry, fit easily on bookshelves, and you don’t have to worry about pesky dust jackets.

Question 3 : Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Online shopping for the cheaper prices, but in-store book shopping for the overall experiences and lovely bookish smells.

Question 4 : Trilogies or Series?

Hmm…. this is a tough one! I think I’ll go with series to avoid the second-book slump that a lot of trilogies tend to have. (Except for Lord of the Rings because I absolutely love The Two Towers!)

Question 5 : Heroes or Villains?

Heroes!! I’m a sucker for an underdog story, though I do enjoy books with anti-heroes. My favorite anti-hero to mention is Victor from Vicious by V.E. Schwab. He’s such a complex, interesting character to read about because you never know what he’s going to do next.

Question 6 : A book you want everyone to read?

If you branch out and read one book you wouldn’t normally read this summer, definitely read Sartoris by William Faulkner. This is possibly my favorite Faulkner book I’ve read so far, which surprised me because it isn’t one that’s usually discussed or read in English classes. It might not be as popular as The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying, but in my opinion it is just as fascinating, poignant, well-written, and brilliant!

Question 7 : Recommend an underrated book?

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, look no further than Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This story about a woman who relives parts of her life over and over again in different ways is sure to have you on the edge of your seat!

Question 8 : The last book you finished?

Just this morning I finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was SO SAD, but I enjoyed it much more than I initially thought I would.

Question 9 :The Last Book(s) You Bought?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Question 10 : Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

Usually I’m pretty good about using actual bookmarks, but occasionally I do use receipts, sticky notes, and even string (!!) as placeholders.

Question 11 : Used Books: Yes or No?

YES!! I love used books because a) they’re cheap and b) sometimes they have fun notes and annotations from previous owners in them. Also, who can resist than old book smell?

Question 12 : Top Three Favourite Genres?

Right now my top three favorite genres are classic literature, fantasy, and science fiction.

Question 13 : Borrow or Buy?

Buy!! (As long as my wallet is able.)

Question 14 : Characters or Plot?

Characters!! In general I tend to find character-driven novels a lot more interesting and captivating than novels mostly motivated by plot. Part of me thinks this is because it can be really difficult to write a plot without holes and with a satisfying ending. William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, and Melina Marchetta are some writers who write excellent character-driven novels. 

Question 15 : Long or Short Books?

Long books!! There’s nothing like the feeling of finally finishing a tome after hours upon hours dedicated to reading. It’s so satisfying!

Question 16 : Long or Short Chapters?

Short!! I tend to read books with short chapters so much more quickly than books with long chapters because it’s easy to say, “Oh, just one more quick chapter before I go to bed…”

Question 17 : Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Question 18 : Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry?

Laugh!! I usually try to avoid sad books (and movies!) at all costs. Who wants to be sad when they can read something that will make their day brighter?

Question 19 : Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Oooh, this is tough! Though I love reading books about fictional worlds (Harry Potter, LOTR, etc.), lately I’ve been reading many more books set in our world. I think some of the most interesting and captivating stories mix the two. For instance, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez takes place in our world but adds in magical elements from legends and myths that make it fantastical. 

Question 20 : Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes!! I love how much you can get done while listening to audio books– exercising, doing laundry, washing dishes, knitting, etc. My favorite audio books are ones narrated by the authors who wrote the books themselves, such as Neil Gaiman.

Question 21 : Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Yes, though I certainly won’t hold an ugly cover against a book if the content inside is amazing ❤

Question 22 : Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

Book to movie adaptations! I’m the worst with staying up to date with TV series, so I would much rather watch a single movie and be in the know already.

Question 23 : A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

The Shining by Stephen King. I watched the movie before reading the book and was so disappointed to find that some of my favorite scenes aren’t even in the novel!

Question 24 : Series or Standalone’s?

Stand-alones!! I love reading classic literature, and most of the books in this genre are standalone.

Thanks again to Heather for tagging me!!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Writers I Would Love to Meet

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is one that I could talk about forever. After all, who doesn’t want to meet all of their favorite authors? As per usual, I’ve done the difficult job of narrowing it down to just ten writers. In no particular order, they are:

What writers would you love to meet? What authors have you met? What do you think of the authors on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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School Book Tag

Today I’m here with the School Book Tag! (It might be Friday, but you can bet that I’ll be doing homework all weekend.) I’ve always been one of those students who loves school, despite the fact that I often complain about homework and actually didn’t like my high school very much. I loved school because I love learning, even though the system of doing so isn’t always effectively designed or executed.

Anyways, you can imagine how excited I was when I realized this book tag exists. Thanks so much to Jamie @ Book Pandamonium for tagging me!!

1. Math- Which book left your head spinning in circles?

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Not only is this book complicated and a bit confusing, but the plot itself is cyclical in the way it loops back and around through history and the main character’s past. There are so many alternative story lines that it can be rather difficult to keep a tight hold on the actual truth– if an actual truth even exists in this novel. Nevertheless, I highly recommend it!

2. English- Which book do you think has beautiful written expression?

Because I’m a sucker for beautiful writing, there are countless books that I could highlight here. Recently I read George Watsky’s How to Ruin Everything and was taken aback by the writing style. Sometimes lyrical, sometimes punchy, this collection of essays carries the undeniable mark of an articulate spoken word artist and rapper.

3. Physics- Who is your favorite scientifically minded character?

Definitely mathematician Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. He’s smart, he’s funny, and his refreshing common sense is the only ray of light amidst many of the impulsive, money-hungry characters. (Besides, he’s played by Jeff Goldblum in the film– he gets instant bonus points for that!).

4. Chemistry- Who is your favorite literary couple?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta are my favorite literary couple ever. I feel like I mention this book in nearly every book tag I post, but I’m not apologizing! (It’s a sign that you should probably read it ASAP!)

5. Biology- Who is your favorite book character?

My favorite book character… ever?!?! I don’t know if I can pick a definitive single favorite character, but the first one that comes to mind is Jane from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Her independence, solitude, and determination are qualities that really resonate with me (I’m also quite jealous of her sense of humor and ability to come up with snappy comebacks on the spot).

6. French- What is your favorite foreign book?

Over the summer I read the English translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and unexpectedly fell in love with the ethereal writing, the sprawling narrative arc, and the endlessly cyclical nature of the plot.

7. Art- Have you ever judged a book by its cover, even if you weren’t meant to?!

Absolutely. For instance, I love the cover design of The Girls by Emma Cline, but the story itself really disappointed me. I think it had a lot of potential to be suspenseful, exciting, and eye-opening, but it simply fell flat and failed to dig below the surface of anything substantial.

8. History- What was the last historical book you read?

When Everything Changed by Gail Collins. This was actually a graduation gift from my high school AP United States History teacher and I finally got around to reading it over winter break. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an engaging, comprehensive, and well-written account of the history of modern American women from a refreshing perspective.

9. Geography- Which literary destination would you really like to visit? 

Stepping away from the rather obvious answers (Hogwarts! The Shire!), I’m going to say Cabeswater from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This enchanting and mysterious setting has never failed to set my imagination into overdrive.

10. Drama- What’s a book that you think has a lot of over-dramatic hype?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Though I did enjoy this book, I don’t quite feel as though it warranted the explosion of praise that surrounded it at the peak of its popularity. It’s suspenseful and has some surprising twists, but I don’t think it’s anything extraordinary. #sorrynotsorry

Thanks again to Jamie for tagging me!

What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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The Captain America Book Tag

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A while ago I saw the Captain America Book Tag on Bookmark Lit and even though I wasn’t specifically tagged I knew I would have to do it eventually. Captain America is by far my favorite Marvel Avenger and the fact that this tag blends this amazing hero with books makes me want to give Morgan @ Gone with the Words, the creator of this book tag, a standing ovation.

Without further ado, let’s start the tag!

Great ExpectationsSteve Rogers/Captain America: a book with a big character transformation

Pip from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is just one of the many characters in this classic novel that undergoes a massive amount of character development over the course of the story. They don’t call it a bildungsroman for nothing!

18405Peggy Carter: a book with a strong female protagonist

If it’s a strong, independent, determined, headstrong female protagonist you want, then look no further than Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Though she can be stubborn, rash, and melodramatic, there’s no doubting her incredible strength in the face of poverty, death, and heartbreak.

The Raven King by Maggie StiefvaterBucky Barnes: a book with your ultimate BROTP

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is oozing with BROTPs galore. You can always count on Maggie Stiefvater to write adorable, relatable, and enviable friendships in general. (Honestly, just one of countless reasons to read this fantastic series!)

looking for alaskaHowling Commandos: a book with squad goals

Miles’ eclectic group of friends has always been one of the many reasons why I love Looking for Alaska by John Green. They have so much fun with their wacky adventures and it’s clear that they really care for and support one another, as all good friends should.

pride and prejudice cover 2Red Skull: a book with a cliché plot

I’m not going to lie: at this point, so many people have copied her that the plot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice seems pretty cliché nowadays. Of course, we can’t really blame her for this– it has been centuries since it was written, after all!

23732096-2Natasha Romanoff: a book with a snarky side character

Nancy from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North & Erica Henderson is the ultimate snark side character. She’s smart, has a hilarious dry sense of humor, and is always ready with a quick quip or two to liven things up.

When We CollidedSam Wilson: a book with a friendship meet cute.

When We Collided by Emery Lord is filled with adorable moments, but one of the cutest is when John and Vivi first meet at the pottery shop. Their cuteness is even multiplied by the inclusion of Jonah’s little sister in the scene. It doesn’t get more adorable than that!

more than this coverWinter Soldier: a book with a great twist (plot twist or retelling)

How could I not highlight the amazing plot twist of More Than This by Patrick Ness? I still remember the shock I felt when I first read it, even though it was a few years ago now. I never saw it coming!

gone coverI’m Just A Kid from Brooklyn: a book with a memorable setting/character backstory

Nearly all of the characters in the Gone series by Michael Grant have interesting, surprising, and complex backstories. Considering how many characters are introduced throughout these six books, that’s quite a feat!

matched coverDo You Two…. Fondue?: a book with a love triangle

SO. MANY. LOVE. TRIANGLES. There are a million books to choose from, but I’ll go with Matched by Ally Condie. I’m just going to be honest with you all: this love triangle was really annoying and simply bothersome. Like with most love triangles, there’s just so much drama involved!

life after life coverYou’ve Been Asleep, Cap: a book you love with a dual timeline/time travel

I’m not really sure what to call the twisting and turning timeline of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson…. Time travel? Multiple perspectives? Rewriting history? Whatever you’d like to call it, I’ve never read a novel that plays with time quite like this one does.

jellicoe road coverTil The End Of The Line: a book with the OTP to end all OTPs

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta are my favorite OTP, if I had to choose just one. If you haven’t read this book already, what are you waiting for?! ❤

IlluminaeI Had A Date: a book with a cliffhanger

I remember finishing Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and immediately wanting to read a sequel. The ending was way more intense and fast-paced than expected, especially considering the experimental format of the book itself. If you want a book that will leave you hanging, I definitely recommend this one!

fangirl coverI Understood That Reference: a book with a pop culture reference

The first book that popped into my mind when I read this prompt was predictably Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Though the pop culture reference in this book is fictional, Simon Snow resembles a popular magical series about wizards closely enough that I feel like it mirrors an actual reference.

What are your answers to these prompts? What do you think about the books I’ve mentioned? Who is your favorite superhero? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gem Books

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Happy Tuesday! I’m really excited about this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme because we’re sharing our Top Ten Hidden Gem Books– who isn’t excited to talk about fantastic books that deserve more praise? There are so many amazing books out there that deserve a larger audience and that aren’t talked about or read often enough. Narrowing down this list to only ten books was not easy, but I did it! In no particular order, here are ten hidden gem books that I highly recommend:

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What are some of your favorite books that deserve more time in the spotlight? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Read On A Whim

Books I Read On A Whim-2This is my first Top Ten Tuesday in quite some time, and it feels so great to be back on the weekly grind! This week I’ll be showcasing the Top Ten Books I’ve Read On A Whim, although there are many more than ten that I could highlight. Working in a library for two years and spending a lot of time perusing bookstore shelves are two surefire ways to end up reading numerous books on a whim. Some of these spontaneous picks have been better than others, but here are ten of my most recent memorable ones:

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What are the best books that you’ve read on a whim? What do you think of the ones I’ve read? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases I Meant to Read But Didn’t

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There are always those pesky books that, no matter how hard we try, we just never quite manage to read as quickly as we would have liked. There are so many books that I wanted to read in 2015, but there’s only so much time in one year! Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is 2015 Releases I Meant to Read But Didn’t, here are ten of the books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

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What 2015 releases did you mean to read but never got a chance to? What do you think of the books on my list? Which ones should I read ASAP? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

Book Review: LIFE AFTER LIFE

life after life coverAuthor: Kate Atkinson

Number of Pages: 544

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books

Release Date: January 1, 2013

“On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.”

– Goodreads.com

This book is unlike any other that I have read before. It’s blend of endless combinations: historical fiction and time travel, light and dark, calm and chaotic, straight forward and bewilderingly open to interpretation. I read Life After Life purely based on a recommendation from someone, and I am so grateful that they told me about it! This novel truly is a fascinating, captivating, and thought-provoking reading experience.

Some of my favorite parts of this novel were when Atkinson was simply discussing the average, everyday lives of the Todd family. All of the members of Ursula’s family have such distinct personalities that it’s hard to imagine they’re all fictional. They seem like they could be based off of real people, and perhaps they are. The characters overall were great, which is sort of rare in a book so driven by plot. Each one has history and depth, and you come to have empathy even for characters who are “bad” people because you can see with clarity that they are so incredibly human.

The cyclical plot structure actually enhanced the character development in this case, particularly in regard to how Ursula gradually realizes what happens when she dies and how she has the potential to change things. The theme of reincarnation is my favorite aspect of this novel, because it’s something that you rarely see in historical fiction novels. It’s challenging enough to write a story based on a historical event in another time period, let alone one that incorporates elements of reincarnation! I loved the anticipation that this plot structure builds, and I give Atkinson all the credit in the world for embarking on such an undertaking of writing Life After Life this way.

That being said, I did have some issues with this novel. The middle third of the book seemed slow, dragged out, and kind of irrelevant. I wish there had been more of an emphasis on Hitler and World War II, because it doesn’t really start to focus on those ideas until about two-thirds or maybe even three-fourths of the way into the book. Because of this the ending sort of seems to come out of nowhere- but trust me, you’ll want to keep reading until the end because it’s SO MIND BLOWING. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days and days after I finished reading it. Honestly, I’m still thinking about it even though I finished it weeks ago.

Overall, despite my few complaints I couldn’t help but love this clever, brilliantly written story. Life After Life is an impressive work that readers will not soon forget.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes!!

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Are there any other books by Kate Atkinson that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY