Reading Challenge, The Great American Read

PBS’s The Great American Read

american read

So if you saw my post about the National Book Festival, then you know I found out all about the Great American Read there. I had heard of it before, but didn’t really know what it was, and I can’t believe it took me this long to check it out.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, you’re going to want to check it out: https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/home/

PBS hosts the event. The first show aired in May, and there will be seven more shows starting on Septemeber 11th. PBS created a list of the top 100 books Americans love after conducting surveys.

There are so many great books on the list! Some I’ve read, some are on my TBR list, and a few were books I’d never heard of.  Each day until the end of October, you can cast one vote for your favorite book(s).

If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram, then you’ve may have guessed my first vote went to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This book has been a great inspiration in my life, so I had to cast my first vote for this novel. But there are a few other books I’ll have to vote for too – The Outsiders, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, Frankenstein, and Charlotte’s Web – to name a few.

Also, since I’ve only read 30 of the 100 books, I’m planning to read several more before the finale airs. I’m starting with books in the YA genre since that’s my favored genre, both to read and write.

Here are the books I’m starting with:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Hachet by Gary Paulsen

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

What about you? Are you participating in the Great Read? What book(s) are you voting for? Are you reading any books from the 100? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Worlds I Want to Visit/Not Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Today’s theme is bookish worlds you want to live in/not live in. It’s hard for me to say I’d actually want to live in another world, but there are some I’d certainly want to visit, as well as some I’d want to avoid. 🙂

book worlds

Here are my picks:

1. Narnia (The Chronicles of  Narnia) – This is one place I’d love to visit! Aslan and magical creatures – need I say more?

2. Hogwarts (Harry Potter) – Who wouldn’t want to learn how to do magic? 🙂

3. The Lunar Chronicles World – A futuristic world with lots of cool tech? Yes, please!

4. Wonderland – There are so many versions of this world (Heartless, Queen of Hearts, Alice and Wonderland, Once Upon A Time, to name a few.) All of them seem like interesting places, and it would be pretty fun to attend a mad tea party.

5. Neverland – Again a lot of versions of this world – Wendy Darling, Never Ever, Once Upon A Time, Peter Pan – and they all have a few things in common: flying capability, mermaids and pirates. Anyone who loves fairytales would love to visit such a place.

And a few worlds I wouldn’t want to visit….

6.The world of The Winner’s Kiss – While I enjoyed the story, I certainly wouldn’t want to visit. All that war, prejudice, and slavery – No thank-you!

7. The world of The Selection – Another read I really enjoyed, but not a place I’d want to visit. Too much poverty and uncertainty. Although the lavish dresses would be cool to see.

8. The world of The Hunger Games – I think it’s obvious to anyone who’s read the book why you wouldn’t want to live here. You might literally have to fight for your life by killing your friends.

9. The World of Divergent – Too much conformity in this world. I wouldn’t appreciate being lumped into a specific group and destined to do the same thing for the rest of my life.

10. Morganville (The Morganville Vampires) While interesting to read about, this is another place where you have to do too much fighting to stay alive. And if you manage to stay alive, you could end up enslaved to a vampire. I don’t think so!

What about you? Is there a bookish world you’d like to visit? How about one you wouldn’t want to visit? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Fairytale retellings

 

ttt fairytales

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Today’s topic is a freebie, so I decided to go with my top ten fairytale retellings, because I love a good retelling. 🙂

1. The Lunar Chronicles – by Marissa Meyer. If you aren’t familiar with the Lunar Chronicles, you need to check this series out now! There are four books – Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White).

2. Wendy Darling – by Colleen Oakes. This is also a series – three books: Stars, Seas, and Shadow. And as implied by the title, it’s a retelling of Peter Pan from Wendy’s perspective.

3. Heartless – by Marissa Meyer. This is not a happily ever after tale. This is the story of how the Queen of Hearts became the queen of hearts. I could’nt put it down, and I loved all the nods to the original Alice in Wonderland story.

4. Queen of Hearts series – by Colleen Oakes. Another origin story about the Queen of Hearts, with three books: Queen of Hearts, Blood of Wonderland, and War of the Cards.

5. The Forbidden Wish – by Jessica Khoury. This is an Aladdin retelling with a twist – the genie is a girl.

6. A Whole New World – by Liz Braswell. Another Aladdin retelling. This is a Disney book, so it starts out just like the Disney movie, but then veers off into it’s own story. Loved it!

7. Princess at The Midnight Ball – by Jessica Day George. A retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses.

8. Beauty – by Robin McKinley. This is one of my favorites and it’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

9. Cloaked – by Alex Flinn. A retelling of The Princess and the Frog.

10. Sweetly – by Jackson Pearce. A retelling of Hansel and Gretel.

I made a shelf with all these books on Goodreads and you can check it out here. Also, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads. 🙂

What’s your favorite fairytale retelling? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books set in other countries

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

This week’s topic is: books set in another country. I live in the US, so these books are all set in countries other than the US.

I read a lot of fantasy where the story takes place in a made up land, so I had to think about this one a little. Here’s what I came up with:

top five

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer, set in China, or at least a futuristic version of China.

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, set in France

3. Cress by Marissa Meyer, set in Egypt

One of the reasons I love The Lunar Chronicles so much is because they happen in so many different places.

4. Hunted by Meagan Spooner, set in Russia

5. Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Untitled design (4)

6. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, set in England

7. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, set in Romania

I love this series for so many reasons – the mystery, the romance, the Victorian era… I can hardly wait for the final two books.

8. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury, set in Arabia/Persia

9. A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston, set in Arabia/Persia

10. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George, set in Romania

 

What’s your favorite book set in a country other than your own? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday Favorite Book Quotes

Today, I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I love this idea. It’s such a great way to connect with other book nerds, so I’m going to try to participate most weeks. 🙂 Today’s theme is book quotes.

book quotes

At first, I wasn’t sure how many book quotes I knew, but after some research I realized I knew more than I thought. I included quotes from some classics and some from favorite recent reads. Hope you enjoy!

1. “I want to do something splendid…something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it and mean to astonish you all someday.”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women                                                                                                    (This speech Jo gives about her dreams is one of the reasons I love her so much, and I had to include something from Little Women since it’s been such a longtime favorite.)

2. “I promise, I will not let you die without being kissed.”
― Marissa Meyer, Cress                                                                                                                          (Cress and Thorne are my favorite couple from The Lunar Chronicles.)

3. “As the poets say, stories are truth told through lies.”
― Jessica Khoury, The Forbidden Wish

4. “I am confident, I am capable, and I will not wait to be rescued by a woodsman or a hunter.”
― Jackson Pearce, Sisters Red

5. “I said: “He cannot be so bad if he loves roses so much.”
“But he is a Beast,” said Father helplessly.
I saw that he was weakening, and wishing only to comfort him I said, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?”
― Robin McKinley, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

6. “Mirrors only show us what we are. Books show us what we can be.”
― Jennifer Donnelly, Beauty and The Beast: Lost in a Book                                                         (I loved this book and it’s so quotable, I had to include a few from it.)

7. “Isn’t that what a good story does? It pulls you in and never lets you go.”
― Jennifer Donnelly,  Beauty and The Beast: Lost in a Book

8. “Reading became my sanctuary,” Belle continued. “I found so much in those books. I found histories that inspired me. Poems that delighted me. Novels that challenged me…” Belle paused, suddenly self-conscious. She looked down at her hands, and in a wistful voice, said, “What I really found, though, was myself.”
― Jennifer Donnelly, Beauty and The Beast: Lost in a Book

9. “Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”
― Kerri Maniscalco, Stalking Jack the Ripper

10. “For there are no limits to the stars, their numbers infinite. Which is precisely why I measure my love for you by the stars. An amount too boundless to count.”
― Kerri Maniscalco, Hunting Prince Dracula

 

What are some of your favorite book quotes? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Beauty and the Beast Series, Reading Challenge

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in A Book

I just have to say – I loved this book! The perfect companion to the new movie, it takes places after Belle has come to the castle and been rescued from the wolves, but  before Belle and the Beast have their dance.

The Beast has just given Belle the library, and she finds a magical book there. It’s a book she can actually step into and become a part of the book’s world. The book, called Nevermore, is written by  Comtesse des Terres De Morts, a countess who befriends Belle once she enters Nevermore. The countess shows Belle exciting things – marvelous parties, the highlights of Paris, and a life of luxury. But Belle has to wonder, is it real? And is it really better than her life with the Beast and his servants?

This book expounded on some of the things I loved about the new movie. There was a little more about Belle’s past and a little more about the Beast’s past. I also loved the way it handled love – it’s sometimes hard and unglamorous, but when it’s real it’s worth it. It was an enchanting read, and also a deeper read than it first appeared to be.

If you love the Beauty and the Beast story, you’ll enjoy this book. And if you really loved the new Beauty and the Beast movie, this book is a must read! It fits with the movie so perfectly, adding a bit more to Belle and the Beast’s story.

Up next in the Beauty and the Beast reading challenge is, As Old As Time by Liz Braswell. If you haven’t finished Lost in A Book yet, no problem. You can always come back to share in the discussion here once you have. If you haven’t finished the book, you might not want to look at the discussions, there could be spoilers there. 🙂

And as promised, a few discussions questions. Share your answers in the comments!

What did you think of the Love/Death dichotomy?

Death said that Love was even more ferocious that Death herself was. Do you think that’s true, and why?

Why do you think the Beast had such a hard time having talking with Belle the way she wanted him to? Do you think this made him a bad friend?

What do you think is the best way to tell if a friend is true or not?

And, of course, what was your favorite part of the book?

Book Reviews

Some Favorite Reads

One question I am often asked, “What is your favorite book?” For an avid reader, that is a difficult question to answer. There are so many wonderful books, that it is hard to choose just one or even two or three. After thinking about this for awhile, I finally chose five books that are not necessarily my only favorites, but are books that impacted me in some way. So here they are:

  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I already talked about this book once in my “Why I Write” post here. This book was one of the first classics I ever read and is partially responsible for inspiring me to become a writer.
  2. Sinister Paradise by Carolyn Keene. This is a Nancy Drew Files mystery, a series which was written after the original mystery books. I enjoyed the original series as well, but the Files upped the game by involving murder and more romance. Nancy was also older. I could have picked any of these books, because I loved all of the Nancy Drew books, although I distinctly remember this book because it was one of the books that I owned, and thus read a few times. My love of mystery novels came from reading so many Nancy Drew books, and I always tried to figure out who the killer was before Nancy.
  3. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. I was actually in college before I read this children’s classic, but it had such heart and wild horses, that I instantly loved it. In fact, once I read it, I knew I had to visit the islands (Chincoteague and Assateague) where the story takes place. The islands were so beautiful, that I had my wedding on the beach of Assateague.
  4. Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse. This is a story about the boy who brings vinegar to Jesus at his crucifixion, and his life is changed forever by the events he sees. It was a touching story, one I could not put down, and it was the first book I remember that made me cry.
  5. Beauty by Robin McKinley. This was the first fairytale retelling I ever read. A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it captivated me and began my love of fairytale retellings. It’s a magical story that takes you to another time and place.

Hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite books. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite from the list!