Friday, June 26, 2015

16 Titles To Add to Your Summer Reading List

Summer has arrived, and with that comes the determination to build the ultimate summer reading list. There's something about summer that makes me want to tackle all the books — perhaps because of the sunny weather and desire to travel. I asked a bunch of ladies if they'd be interested in sharing their favorite summer reads with you all, so here they are today! I also decided to chime in to make things even :p


1. Dirty Rush by Taylor Bell
My best friends in college were in a sorority, so I always wondered what that was like, and well ... Dirty Rush answered that question. It's a great, quick read for the beach, and it's not just for people in or affiliated with those in the Greek system!

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I love books that keep me on the edge of my seat, and The Girl On The Train was definitely one of those. Such a quick read, so it would be perfect for the beach or a plane ride.

3. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
In this vivid anthology, neurologist Oliver Sacks examines case studies of hallucinations: a woman who "sees" Kermit the Frog in her left field of vision after brain surgery; a man with Parkinson's who "feels" peach fuzz on the surface of any item he touches; and Sacks' own (somewhat controversial) experiences with visions and misperceptions. Hallucinations is a nonfiction page-turner and a must-read for anyone interested in the human mind.

4. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
The immediate subject of this collection of essays is California during the 1960's, but Didion's sharp, self-aware prose reveals insights about one's own surroundings and experiences. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a powerful read for women in their twenties and aspiring writers. Two of my favorite essays are "On Self-Respect" and "On Keeping a Notebook."



5. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I don't always get through the entire series every summer, but because I usually have a lot of big cleaning or organizing projects to do, I love listening to these books on audio while I work. The narrator, Jim Dale (for the US edition), is the best storyteller I've ever heard! Between him and my favorite stories of all time, work is a breeze, and I find myself wishing I had more projects to do so I can keep listening!

6. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Another favorite summer read of mine is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I reread it at least once a year, and the story is more enjoyable each time. I *love* historical novels, and this one has the best main characters ever. It's technically a book written for adults, but Cassandra is actually a teenager, and it has a very strong YA feel. Along with Austen's novels, this is the most enjoyable "character driven" novel I've ever read, and I can't get enough of it!

7. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
This is the perfect summer read! Imagine laying out on the beach and listening to the ocean as you read a love story. Everybody enjoys a good modern romance.

8. Katwalk by Maria Murnane
This book is a favorite of mine because of the storyline. Do you ever feel like picking up and starting over from scratch? That's kind of what happens to the main character. She travels alone and ends up discovering her true potential during her journey in a new place. If you're still finding yourself, try reading this book.



9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
When I think of favorite summer time reads, I always think contemporary. I'm not exactly sure why that is but that is what my mind jumps to when I think sunny weather! Open Road Summer was one of my favorites of 2014 and I still love it! It showcases such a strong friendship and so perfectly captures what it means to be a best friend. I adore seeing such fantastic friendships in books so Dee and Reagan's just spoke to me. It's also perfect for summer because you get to travel along with them on Dee's concert tour stops over the summer and the country music aspect is so well done! And of course I can't forget Matt Finch, the sweetest, most adorable guy ever. All this combined for such a great summery book!

10. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
If you're going on vacation in the summer or going to be on the beach, I always think of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. It sounds like an innocent spring break trip to Aruba so perfect to read while you're also on vacation right? ;) It's one of my favorite YA thrillers, it will take you for a hell of a ride! It kept me guessing the whole time.

11. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
This is a sweet, ultimate escape of a romance — with believable characters and an achingly tense plot. I also felt for Kate's dilemma, which is a refreshing one for a heroine of a romance. This book is absolutely perfect for swooning in the sun!

12. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I just read this book, and loved it so absolutely I had to share it for Amaris' post. It's a take on Beauty and the Beast, with a complex magical system and a brilliant, strong heroine. The story has so many surprises too — it kept me glued to the pages. This book has everything really — it's perfect for any season!



13. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Besides just being my favorite summer read, this is my all time favorite book! I love the comical relationships between main character Remy and her girlfriends and Remy's love interest, Dexter, is oh so swoony!

14. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
There's something about journeys and traveling that reminds me of summer time! I love this book since protagonist Allyson visits London, Paris, as well as Amsterdam and she discovers much about who she is and wants to become!

15. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Although Meant to Be takes place over spring break, it is certainly a book perfect for the summer time. It's cute, fun, a touch quirky AND it's set in London. LONDON, the place where cute British boys reside. Don't judge the cheesy title and cover — it's worth a read!

16. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Summer means time to relax (at least in my strange brain), and what better way to do so than with a hilarious memoir? No complicated plot lines or unnecessary drama, and yes, something you WILL be laughing your way through.

Alexa mentioned to me that Ginger (from GReads!) has been doing something similar for the past two years, so pop on over to her blog for more suggestions. I hope you were able to find something new to read this summer! BIG thank you to all the ladies who were willing to share :)

What was the last book you added to your summer TBR list?
Are you planning to re-read any of your favorite summer books soon?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Book 1 in the A Wicked Thing series

Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover // 352 pages

Filed under: retellings
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
Any book having to do with fairy tales is automatically placed on my “to read” list, and A Wicked Thing was no exception. I waited very patiently for this book to come out and once it did, I read it the second I brought it home from the library. I’ve seen a ton of authors take elements of fairy tales and incorporate them into their stories (for example, Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles) but continuing a fairy tale is something new to me.

A Wicked Thing takes place right after Aurora (or Sleeping Beauty, as we may be more familiar with) wakes up from “true love’s kiss.” Society has been waiting for her to rise and rule the kingdom, but she has no direction and doesn’t know whom to trust. She knows her story ends with “happily ever after,” but she sure doesn’t feel like that’s happening for her.

I guess all the hype that accompanies fairy tales (I’m looking at you, Disney) placed my expectations for A Wicked Thing fairly high. I was hoping for lots of action, plotting, and risky decision-making … but not much happened. Aurora is, unfortunately, locked in a room for the majority of this story and spends that time complaining about her situation. I understand she has absolutely no experience with what she’s dealing with, but she never does anything about it. People try to control her actions, and she doesn’t question it!

The few characters that Aurora interacts with seem either intentionally mysterious or underdeveloped. Are they good or are they evil? Or are they just poorly represented? (I may never know.) It didn’t really bother me that much, but it was hard to get a sense of who the characters are when things are tossed into the air like that.

Although I was a bit disappointed by the direction of the plot, I read through the story pretty quickly. It was still interesting enough for me to continue following Aurora and see what path she chooses to take. I can see the sequel having potential, but I’m not sure I will pick it up.


Are you a fan of fairy tale retellings? (If yes, please tell me your favorites!)

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Weekend Line-Up #3: Daughter of Deep Silence, Orphan Black, and Walk the Moon


The Weekend Line-Up is a mash-up of all the things I plan to read/watch/listen to during my upcoming weekend. This feature will pop up randomly, like that top in your closet you forgot you bought a month ago.

Hi everyone! I am really thankful to not have to work on Fridays this summer. I have been spoiled all throughout college by only having classes four days a week, so the transition to working 40 hours a week for the previous two months was extremely tiring. Three-day weekends mean tons of time to explore, so I'm hoping to visit a museum some time in the next few days. But it also means free time to relax and catch up on entertainment :p

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
I found this while browsing The Strand (in Manhattan) last week and am really excited to read it. Plotting and revenge are two things I would be absolutely terrible at, but there’s something about it (when executed well) that interests me. Good things have been said about Ryan’s zombie novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, so I’m hoping Daughter of Deep Silence is just as enjoyable. There hasn't been a lot of buzz about this one, so I'm glad I get to experience it with no expectations.

Orphan Black (Season 1)
I haven't watched a show in ages, so I thought I would start something that a ton of people have been raving about. I've been digging science fiction recently — hopefully this is what I'm looking for! I have no doubt I'll fall into the black hole (a.k.a. spend the whole day on my bed, in my pajamas, clicking "Next Episode" until I've completed them all ...)

Talking is Hard • Walk the Moon
Ever since I came across Walk the Moon on Pandora last fall, I have been meaning to give their entire 2014 album a listen. I do love Shut Up and Dance though, and I was that girl who put it on repeat for days ... so it is TIME to do that with another one of their songs! Hehe. I guess I would describe their sound as indie pop rock? Like 80's or 90's music. If you like listening to Walk the Moon, which similar artists would you recommend?

What are you hoping to read or watch this weekend? Are you into Orphan Black or Walk the Moon? What's the last show you binge-watched?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

May 2015 Recap


May was quite the month! I accepted an offer to intern at a publishing house in New York, moved out of the apartment I shared with three other girls, and said goodbye to the job I started in the beginning of April. There were a lot of things going on, but I was able to set aside time to be with friends and enjoy the time I had left before I flew across the country for the summer.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • I have a friend who hosts a festival every year, and I helped out this time around by running a free gift-wrapping booth. There weren’t a ton of people who bought things, but it was great just being there and seeing/hearing all the talents on stage whenever I had the chance to move around.
  • My family and I don’t always get together often, but all five of us (plus my boyfriend) were able to celebrate Mother’s Day at a nice restaurant. These rare occasions make it all the more special!
  • Spending time with Melissa (a friend from PRESCHOOL!) is also very rare. We both had a free day so we decided to have dinner and hit up our usual dessert place. She’s also a reader, which has been GREAT because I’ve been recommending books to her — I’m fairly sure she loved Open Road Summer and Anna and the French Kiss!
  • On my last Sunday at home, my boyfriend drove an hour to see me and share a nice dinner by the bay. We like to have fancy days once in a while :)

•••

WHAT I READ

Liked: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Was Okay With: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Number of books and pages read in May: 2 // 559 pages
Number of books and pages read in 2015: 24 // 6772 pages

•••

POSTS I PARTICULARLY LOVED WRITING
  • Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (Book Talk) - This took me a while to compile because I had so much to say but I wanted to be somewhat coherent. I finished this in one sitting and it was such a great book. LOVED the trilogy!

•••

SONGS ON REPEAT

Did you do anything exciting in May? What was your favorite book of the month? Do you have any plans for the rest of June?
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