Favorite Books of 2017*

(*and yes at this point I am aware that we are already well into 2018)

I hate the question “What is your favorite book?” (as I assume many avid readers do). There are just so many great books out there that it is literally impossible to pick just one favorite- and to be fair I feel the same way about “what’s your favorite song?” Too many choices and too many reasons why one is great at a certain for a certain person and why another one could be equally great in a different time/place.

Regardless of my dislike for the question I did take some time to browse through my Goodreads books from 2017 and pick out my Top Ten reads of last year (well sort of top ten some of them are series which can’t really be separated from the whole- yes I could probably pick a favorite if I really, really wanted to but why put that kind of pressure on myself if I don’t have to?) So without further preamble ramblings my favorite books of 2017 (in no particular order):

The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan

This was a fantastic series! It follows Isabella, a fascinating woman, throughout her life in a Victorian-esque world where she attempts to follow her passion for dragons- specifically studying them through a scientific lens (aka exploring the natural history of dragons- hello title reference!)- even though it is nearly impossible for a young woman to be taken seriously in the scientific community, even supposing she is able to pursue science in the first place rather than just caring for the home (as is expected of most women of noble birth). Nevertheless, Isabella is not one to simply let opportunity pass her by and these books chronicle this delightful woman’s various adventures around the world as she follows her scientific passions encountering a host of interesting characters and of course the ever impressive and wildly diverse dragons!

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.” (pg. 3)

I loved this book, read more about it here.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Now most folks have probably heard of this book or at least the movie adaptation by this point but just in case you still don’t know what it is about: Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars, everyone thinks he’s dead, and now he has to figure out how to survive until someone can a) figure out that he is still alive and b) come rescue him from a desert wasteland of a planet. Weir’s account of this misadventure is humorous and engrossing as he toggles between Watney’s survival experiences and the perspective of all the folks on Earth trying to figure out how to retrieve the stranded astronaut.

 

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Adored these books! A science-fiction young adult series told via a collection of various documents (official files, transcripts, etc.) the series begins with an attack on an illegal mining operation located on a rather isolated planet. It then follows a group of fleeing survivors as they attempt to make contact with the “core planets” (aka civilization) for assistance before the ship following them blasts everyone to smithereens and before an unseen threat annihilates them all from another direction. This is a fast-paced story excellently told through a very different format than most books but also done very, very well, it had me on the edge of seat every single time while also hitting some deep-seated fears I wasn’t even aware I had. Side note: don’t let the size intimidate you, yes they are big books but the format of the story telling makes them quick reads and honestly once you get into it the story is so engrossing you’ll likely be devouring them (at least I did 🙂 ).

(The final book in the trilogy was released in March 2018 so I’ve included it here for completeness sake though obviously I didn’t read it in 2017– it was a great conclusion to the series although I didn’t feel like I got to know/care about the main characters in Obsidio nearly as much as the main characters from the previous two books, but still an excellent read)

True to You by Becky Wade

Alright so this one falls into the guilty pleasure realm of I enjoy a sweet, somewhat cheesy romance every once in a while. True to You is the tale of Nora, a genealogist, and John, who runs a private security firm. Their paths cross when John hires Nora to track down his birth family, a search that begins due to him being recently diagnosed with an inherited medical disorder. It is a sweet love story with an additional mystery element and it just an all around delight to read.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Another popular book that had been adapted into a movie, Everything, Everything is the story of a teenage girl who was born without a functioning immune system and is thus essentially trapped inside her house. When a new family moves in next door she manages to befriend the teenage boy and suddenly starts to question whether it is better to remain safe but never really experience anything or if taking a risk, even for a short time, is what really makes life worth living.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman

I absolutely adored this book! It was so funny and whimsical wrapped up with a bit of intrigue as you follow Elsa as she delivers her grandmother’s apology letters. Over the course of the book you explore the different relationships she and her grandmother have with the other tenants of the building and even the members of their own family. The cast is full of endearing, curmudgeonly, and just all-around excellent characters who populate Elsa’s world.

The Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny

This is a series of murder mysteries following Inspector Armand Gamache an officer of the Surete de Quebec and largely centers around one small town in Quebec that sees a shocking number of murders. These are charming stories that seem rather reminiscent of Agatha Christie- largely in that they are more traditional murder mysteries than the psychological thriller-type mystery that seems more prevalent lately.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Fascinating book that follows one family as they try eating only locally sourced foods for an entire year. It includes recipes and articles from the author’s husband who is actually a professor of agriculture. Definitely made me think more about how to eat in a way that is more ecologically friendly with the added benefit of helping local farmers.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

This was an adorable YA story following a shy/introverted teenager who is secretly the creator of a very popular webcomic and of course shenanigans ensue when she meets and befriends a new classmate who just happens to be the most popular writer of fan fiction based on her comic series. This was a fun romp that I just couldn’t put down and ended up finishing in about one day. Highly recommended for anyone who loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (especially if you enjoyed Fangirl but wanted less Simon Snow stuff).

Happy Reading!
~ ❤ ~ MegRose

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A Tale for the Time Being

taletimebeing

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.” (pg. 3)

A Tale for the Time Being is a beautiful and heart-wrenching story following two women connected by a diary. Naoko Yasutani was sixteen years old when she sat down to write about her great-grandmother’s life (it spanned 104 years and quite frankly sounds fascinating), this was to be her final task/project before she took her own life.  Nearly a decade later, Ruth discovers this diary along with a few other papers and trinkets washed up on the beach of an island off the coast of Vancouver, Canada- presumably the beginning of debris from the Japanese tsunami that happened a couple years previously.

As the story progresses we follow Ruth as she learns about Naoko’s life and tries to discover the girl’s ultimate fate, only to find no mention of her anywhere.  A lovely story with a hint of mystery and the mystical woven in as two women separated by time and distance wrestle with questions of loneliness and their connection to the world.

“Both life and death manifest in every moment of existence. Our human body appears and disappears moment by moment, without cease, and this ceaseless arising and passing away is what we experience as time and being. They are not separate. They are one thing, and in even a fraction of a second, we have the opportunity to choose, and to turn the course of our action either toward the attainment of truth or away from it. Each instant is utterly critical to the whole world.” (pg. 324)

Thanks for stopping by!
~ ❤ ~ MegRose

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Taylor Swift Book Tag

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So every once in a while I end up going down a BookTube rabbit hole of “tag” videos. In case someone is unfamiliar with any of those things I just said, let me explain: BookTube= YouTube videos about books (aka the best YouTube 😉 ) and “tag” videos are when the creator is given a series of prompts usually with an overall theme and then selects books that fit the various categories.

One of these “tags” that I recently rediscovered is the Taylor Swift Book Tag (which you probably already figured out from the title of this post). This is a bunch of prompts based off of Taylor Swift songs, which I find fun regardless of how you feel about her/her music, and no you don’t have to listen to the songs to understand the book choices- I explain it for you (and link to music videos in case you also want to listen to songs)!

I really enjoy these sorts of things and may do more of them because it gives me a framework for talking about books I’ve read in the past and not just my current reads/to be reads.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together– pick a book or series that you were pretty sure you were in love with, but then wanted to break up with

We’ll just go with the obvious one here- the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I was obsessed with these books end of high school/early college, but honestly after I devoured the series I never had any desire to go back and read them again and there wasn’t anything about them that stuck with me.

 

 

Red– pick a book with a red cover

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke- I adore this cover so very much plus this is a fabulous story. It is like every book lover’s dream and nightmare rolled into one, it is beautiful and I love it.

 

 

The Best Day– pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic

The obvious choice here is Harry Potter, because who doesn’t feel nostalgic about Harry Potter. But the books that actually make the most nostalgic is the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I love these books and it always feels like coming home when I pick one up for a re-read. What isn’t to love about an adventure story set in a medieval abbey with mice, otters, badgers, hedgehogs, etc. as the main characters.

 

 

Love Story– pick a book with a forbidden love

Alexia Tarrabotti and Conall Maccon from The Parasol Protectorate Series. Honestly one of my favorite book couples, I just love how they interact with each other, the biting wit, and the frustrated love- it is just a joy to read (even if sometimes their temperaments lead to unnecessary issues between them- seriously just chill and talk to each other once in a while it can do wonders for any relationship). But there are some fairly obvious reasons they shouldn’t be together according to the laws of this universe which also ends up causing problems at various points during this series.

Quick warning: although I adore this series there are a few somewhat sexually explicit scenes in Soulless (the first book of the series), they are fairly easily skipped over and it is never that graphic again in subsequent books, but just heads up if that is something that bothers you.

I Knew You Were Trouble– pick a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love

Mogget from the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix. I know that he is technically an evil (or at least a chaotic neutral) character but he is a fabulous character and he usually manifests as a cat which just makes him adorable (an endearment he would hate so much). Also if you listen to the audiobooks narrated by Tim Curry his Mogget voice is just fantastic- his entire narration is excellent but especially his Mogget.

 

Honorable mention: Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare- he is pretty fabulous in every sense of the word

 

 

Innocent– pick a book someone ruined the ending for

Mockingjay by Susan Collins. This is somewhat my own fault, I waited so long to read this series that by the time I got around to Mockingjay there were spoilers all over the internet. Confession time: I still haven’t read it and now I don’t really remember much about Catching Fire so I’d have to re-read that first but who knows when that will be.

 

Everything Has Changed– pick a character from a book who goes through extensive character development

Taran from the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. This whole series was a runner up for the nostalgia series but Taran goes through so much development throughout the series it couldn’t not be my choice here. In The Book of Three (the first book in the series) Taran is just a whiny kid who thinks he knows so much more than he does- leading to a whole lot of issues. By the end of the series he has grown so much as a character throughout the series (especially in Taran Wanderer) that he truly feels like a worthy hero.

You Belong With Me– pick your most anticipated book release

Cheating here a little bit just because I’m terrible at keeping up with new book releases but I’m excited for the illustrated Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban coming out this fall. It’s been so exciting to in a way revisit the joy and anticipation from the first time the Harry Potter books came out- but now with more pictures and British-isms that weren’t in the American editions first time around!

 

Forever and Always– pick your favorite book couple

Cath and Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. There are so many things about Cath that I identify with and so many things about Levi that make him the most lovable character ever.

 

 

 

 

Teardrops On My Guitar– pick a book that made you cry a lot

The first book that ever made me cry, and forever my selection for tearjerker books is Dana’s Valley by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. I read it in middle school and this book just killed me- it was beautiful and wonderfully written but it destroyed me and I literally can’t read it again.

 

Shake it Off– a book you love so much you just shake off the haters

Whole genre for this one. My “guilty pleasure” is inspirational romances- especially those with a bit of suspense. Yes, they are often called “fluffy” and “not very intellectual”- but I love them. Writers in this genre I recommend: Susan May Warren (Montana Rescue and Team Hope are some of my favorite series by her), Dee Henderson (love the O’Malley’s series), Karen Witemeyer, Dani Pettrey, and Julie Lessman.

 

Blank Space– most over-hyped book or series that didn’t work for you

Death at Pemberley by PD James. Look I adore Jane Austen and I tend to enjoy murder mysteries, so the two of them together should be good right? Wrong- this book failed for me on so many levels. It felt like there was almost nothing of the Bennet sisters in this book and it was ridiculously repetitive. The most interesting parts were the very beginning, when the death initially occurred and the ending when the story of what actually happened finally came out, the middle was just a constant rehashing of the same details over and over and over again without any actual detective work occurring. In fact the only reason the full story comes out is because of
some death bed confession- not because anyone else actually
figured it out.

Invisible– an under-hyped book or series that deserves the spotlight

Anything in the Tortall series by Tamora Pierce (Wild Magic is one of my favorites)- if you haven’t read any of her books, please do they are spectacular. If you need convincing beyond the synopsis on the back of the book, I love this post by Mark Reads about the first chapter of Alanna: The First Adventure (the very beginning of the Tortall books)- it doesn’t really spoil anything and I just love his enthusiasm (warnings for a little bit of language- in the post not the books themselves).

 

The Story of Us– a couple that should end up together

I generally tend to end up rooting for the couple that does get together in the end or end up being fairly ambivalent about any romantic pairings that occur (*cough* Grisha trilogy *cough*). But I’m still working my way through the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and at this point I’d really like to see Celaena and Chaol end up together but I’ve only actually read through part of the second book so we’ll have to see if that changes any.

 

That’s all for my first “tag” post! Let me know what you think about my picks, tag videos/posts in general, or if you’ve ever done this tag feel free to link below I’d love to read about/watch your favorites! Also tell me if you’d like me to do more tags in the future- though I probably won’t need prompting but it might come sooner if you say you like it!

As always thank you for stopping by!
~ ❤ ~ MegRose

 

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Summer Book Challenge

Hello! The Book Challenge by Erin is starting up again over on Facebook running from July 1st to October 31st (rules and various other nitty gritty details can be found at the link). As with the previous challenge I will (attempt to) update monthly (or at least regularly) over on Instagram (@inkyscroll if you want to follow me!). Without further ado (and one last set of parentheses) my preliminary list for the various categories:

Freebie- just going to go with the flow on this one, especially since my list always has multiple changes anyways

Book that starts with a “B”- Bonk by Mary Roach (319 pgs)

Book with a mostly yellow cover- either Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (528 pgs) or Middlemarch by George Elliot (912 pgs) (depends on how ambitious I’m feeling)

Book with a picture of an animal on the cover- Enslaved by Ducks by Bob Tarte (308 pgs)

Book published in 2017- either The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (464 pgs) or Beartown by Fredrik Backman (432 pgs) (though this choice will probably depend mostly on what’s available at my local library)

Book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (480 pgs)

Banned Book- The Absolutely True-Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (229 pgs)

Fictional Book about Mental Illness- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (240 pgs)

Book with a non-human main character- Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (262 pgs)

Book based on a Disney movie or that a Disney movie was based off of- The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (320 pgs)

Good luck to all participating!
And as always thanks for stopping by!
~ ❤ ~ Meg

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Book Challenge Wrap Up

Hello!

So the book challenge by Erin over on Facebook completed at the end of April and the next one starts up at the beginning of July. Before getting into my preliminary list for the next challenge I thought it might be nice to post a wrap up here, however, since I did a little bit of a summary as I went  over on Instagram I’m mostly just reposting those here along with the categories that each book fulfilled. If you follow me on Instagram sorry this is a bit repetitive, if you don’t yet follow me feel free to find me @inkyscroll!

January Books:

Book with six word in the title: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (422 pgs, 5 stars)

Book by a favorite author: Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (242 pgs, 3.5 stars)

February Books:

A book with time travel: Timeline by Michael Crichton (489 pgs, 3.5 stars)

A book that starts with a “W”: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (464 pgs, 3 stars)

Freebie: Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan (352 pgs, 4 stars)

March Books:

Book with homonym in the title: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (311 pgs, 3.5 stars)

Book set in your home state (Michigan): Bootstrapper by Mardi Jo Link (272 pgs, 3 stars)

Whoops, meant to post this awhile ago but here is my final wrap up from the Facebook #bookchallenge These were both very good books (even if silent spring took me forever to get through- it was good just dense). With silent spring I would be interested in finding a recent work that maybe addresses what has changed since Rachel Carson's book (new legislation/regulations, more information about the long term effects of the chemicals, etc)- so if any of you are aware of a book or something that is "silent spring 30 years later" or something let me know! Shadow of the wind was also a great book- it was an interesting mystery with complex characters and heartrending tales. Highly recommend! Calendar artwork by talented @karenhallionart #bookstagram #silentspring #shadowofthewind #books

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April Books:

Book with a (mostly) green cover: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (378 pgs, 3.5 stars)

Book on the Rory Gilmore reading challenge: Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (487 pgs, 4 stars)

 

I didn’t quite finish the challenge, the category of genre I don’t normally read didn’t work out- stupid political biographies- but the next one starts early July and I’m ready to give it a go!

Thanks for stopping by!
~ ❤ ~ MegRose

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Book Challenge 2017

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While working to revive this blog I’m starting off with the new year with yet another book challenge! Book Challenge by Erin is being hosted over on Facebook and the (very basic) rules are as follows (more detailed rules/guidelines can be found here):

  • Challenge is from January 1st- April 30th, 2017.
  • Books should be at least 200 pages long (audio books are fine too!).
  • Books can only be used once per category.

Now for the fun preliminary list (that isn’t very preliminary since it is already Jan. 2nd but no one ever said I was prompt):

crown-midnight

5 points: Freebie- Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (448 pgs)

wuthering-heights

10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “W”- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (385 pgs)

devil-white-city

10 points: Read a book with six words in the title- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (464 pgs)

silent-spring

15 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) green cover- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (400 pgs)

brave new world

20 points: Read a book with a homonym in the title (Helpful link: https://www.cooper.com/alan/homonym_list.html)- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (259 pgs)

sleeping-murder

20 points: Read a book by your favorite author. Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (217 pgs)

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25 points: Read a book set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live. (Helpful links: US-  https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1152882-where-we-ve-been-master-list, International- https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1152745-where-we-ve-been-previous-years-master-list) – The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes (340 pgs)

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30 points: Read a “Rory Gilmore” book. The character of Rory from the Gilmore Girls was shown reading over 300 different books throughout the series.  Choose one of them from this helpful link:  https://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/all-339-books-referenced-in-gilmore-girls – Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (512 pgs)

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30 points: Read a book from a genre that you’ve never read (or rarely read)- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (818 pgs)

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35 points: Read a book with time travel. (Helpful link:  https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/4018.The_Best_Time_Travel_Books_of_All_Time) – 11/22/63 by Stephen King (1120 pgs) or Timeline by Michael Crichton (480 pgs) – we’ll have to see how ambitious I feel especially if I actually manage to tackle the Hamilton biography

I’m going to try to update as I go either on the Facebook group or my Instagram @inkyscroll (possibly both), so if you want to follow along please check over that a ways.

Thanks for stopping by my little blog! 

~ ❤ ~ Meg Rose

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Webseries Wednesday/Poe Party Reading Challenge

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Edgar Allen Poe’s Murder Mystery Invite Only
Casual Dinner Party/Gala for Friends Potluck

Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Invite Only Casual Dinner Party/Gala for Friends Potluck is a lovely new webseries by the folks of Shipwrecked Comedy. Essentially, Poe decides to host a dinner party inviting over various popular authors (with a very fluid timeline- no these people were not all contemporaries of each other). Over the course of the evening however the authors are killed off one by one while the survivors race about trying to figure out who is targeting the guests and why. All of the episodes have been posted so I highly recommend taking a moment (or about 123 moments- 140 if you include the prologues) to binge watch it because Poe Party is excellent.

Since Poe Party includes so many famous classical authors, many of whom I haven’t actually read any of their works I decided to do my own little Poe Party Reading Challenge. Basically over the next year I’d like to acquaint myself with works from each of the guests/authors featured in the series. Though this is mostly a challenge for myself anyone is welcome to join me and read whatever you would like to from the following people!

poe_portrait sean-poe

Edgar Allan Poe– The Bells, The Masque of the Red Death, The Purloined Letter, A Descent into the Maelstrom, The Oval Portrait, Spirits of the Dead, Mesmeric Revelation, The Cask of Amontillado, The Sleeper, Annabel Lee, The Tell-Tale Heart, Lenore, The Raven

Note: These works of Poe’s were selected based on the fact they are the episode titles for Poe Party, with the exception of Lenore and The Raven– but seeing as Lenore was a guest at the party and The Raven is probably Poe’s most famous work they get included also.

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Ernest Hemingway- The Sun Also Rises or For Whom the Bell Tolls

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Charlotte Brontë- Villette or if you’ve never read anything by Brontë before then please start with Jane Eyre it is wonderful!

hg-wells blake-wells

H.G. Wells- War of the Worlds or The Time Machine

emily-dickinson sarah-dickinson

Emily Dickinson- I recently picked up Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As she preserved them edited by Cristanne Miller, so I’m pretty much planning to work through that but any collection of Dickinson’s poems obviously works just fine.

george-eliot-picture-portrait lauren-eliot

George Eliot- Middlemarch

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Agatha Christie- goodness I have so many of her books on my TBR shelf (including an autobiography) but I’ll probably shoot for Sleeping Murder or Taken at the Flood

mary-shelley melissa-shelley whitney-shelley

Mary Shelley- Frankenstein

Regarding the pictures: Whitney Avalon played Mary Shelley at the party but Melissa Hunter was originally slated to fill the role and I just thought her poster image was so cool that I still wanted it included.

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Fyodor Dostoevsky- The Idiot or Crime and Punishment

oscar-wilde tom-wilde

Oscar Wilde- The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Louisa May Alcott- An Old-Fashioned Girl, again if you’ve never read anything by Alcott start with Little Women, it is a charming tale.

Bonus Prologues: 

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Mark Twain- The Prince and the Pauper or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

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J.M. Barrie- The Little White Bird or Peter Pan (if you haven’t read it yet)

ralph_waldo_emerson_cph-3b20760brian-emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson- Nature

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Leo Tolstoy- War and Peace or The Cossacks (and if you’ve never read Tolstoy Anna Karenina is always a good option)

Bonus Cameos {Here there be spoilers}:

Continue reading

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

guernsey society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Audiobook narrated by: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden,
Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and Juliet Mills

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.” ~Isola Pribby, pg. 53

Charming, utterly charming. That’s the first description to pop into my head while listening to this tale. Told via a series of letters, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society follows author Juliet Ashton as she corresponds and gets to know a group of people living in the channel islands. Taking place shortly after the end of World War II, Juliet begins to collect the islander’s recollections from the German occupation- revolving mostly around the society formed because of the German presence and one woman’s quick thinking.

Shaffer and Barrows introduce a cast of characters who are diverse, eccentric, and utterly charming. I was hooked early and simply devoured the story. Proper accolades must also be given to the wonderful cast of audiobook narraters who further enhanced each character’s voice. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone- read it, you won’t regret it.

~ ❤ ~ MegRose

fault in our stars book quote

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Summer 2015 Reading Challenge Round Up

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The Semi-Charmed Summer 2015 Book Challenge has come to an end (yes it ended in August and yes the Winter 2015 Book Challenge just ended as well- what’s your point?). I finished the challenge this time around, reading 12 books in 4 months that fit into the various categories! You can see my wrap-up for the first half of the challenge here, this post will cover the second half. so without further ado here is (some of) what I read this summer:

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5 points: Freebie!- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (456 pages, 4 stars) 
25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages.- The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (528 pages, 4 stars)
Bonus: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (472 pgs, 4 stars)

I read the entire Unbecoming of Mara Dyer trilogy and luckily I could fit 2/3 into challenge categories. This was a gripping tale that follows Mara Dyer after a horrible tragedy forces her family to move and various odd/unnatural/supernatural things start happening  around/to her. Delving a bit into mental health issues but with a supernatural/conspiracy twist it is an engrossing tale, but I’m still not sure how I felt about the ending and the way Michelle Hodkin wrapped things up. If any of you have read this series let me know your thoughts in the comments; and if you haven’t read the books I do recommend them even if I’m iffy on the ending- so you should go read them and then lend your opinion.

9781594745263

10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!) – Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (248 pages, 5 stars)

I LOVED Horrorstör! If you had asked me a year ago whether or not I liked creepy thriller/horror stories the answer would have been an emphatic No. But some of my recent reads have led me to question that stance, maybe it’s just horror movies I don’t like… Regardless, Horrorstör takes place in a large Ikea-type store that is plagued by broken/damaged merchandise with no logical explanation. Three employees are recruited to patrol the store late at night but what they find is nothing short of terrifying. It is a great book but also creepy so maybe avoid reading in the dark, late at night, and inside buildings. The book is designed to look like an Ikea catalog which just adds an extra element of enjoyment.

northanger abbey

10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years.- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (251 pages, 4 stars)

Probably the most overlooked/underrated of Austen’s novels, Northanger Abbey was born of a revision of the first novel Austen ever wrote (unpublished) and is generally considered something of a parody/satire on Gothic novels and “unsophisticated romances” that were popular in the late 1700sNorthanger follows Catherine Morland as she navigates new friendships and relationships while on a journey to Bath. During which she also needs to come to terms with her “obsession” with gothic romances that begin to impact her perception of situations and people a little too much. Although, the novel certainly won’t usurper Persuasion or Pride and Prejudice in my Austen affections it was still an enjoyable novel- and is much more subdued with a steadier Catherine than what is portrayed in the 2007 movie.

dark prophecy

15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title.- Child of the Dark Prophecy by T.A. Barron (434 pgs, 4 stars)

Since I am such a procrastinator, I don’t actually remember much about my thoughts/feelings on Child of the Dark Prophecy. I do know that I enjoyed it but it also does not really work as a stand-alone book, so I sort of need to finish up the series before I can give an honest opinion overall… (Would also help if I wrote this closer to when I actually read the book- it’s a work in progress, ok?). Anywho, the book follows Tamwyn, Scree, and Elli as they seek to save Avalon from a drought- while dealing with the fact that one of them is destined to save all Avalon as Merlin’s one true heir and another is fated to destroy the world.

sabriel 2

25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.- Sabriel by Garth Nix (491 pages, 5 stars) Audiobook read by Tim Curry

This is yet another book that has been on my TBR shelf for years- I was so excited to finally sit down and read it! Sabriel is a lovely story that follows a young necromancer on a search to find her missing father- encountering various dangers and characters along the way. I would probably give the story itself 4/5 stars but once you have Tim Curry narrating it really can’t get anything less than 5/5. The tale of this world continues in Lirael and Abhorsen which I did read and enjoyed even more than Sabriel- highly recommend this series! (Especially with the Tim Curry audiobook narration!)
Side note: I adored Mogget and now have an intense desire to get a gray or white kitten, just so I can have my own Mogget-cat 😉

13 tale

30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (406 pages, 4 stars)

I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would, it was especially interesting how much the author addressed sibling relationships (though to be fair some of the sibling relationships were incredibly twisted and not at all a role model of familial harmony- or even a generally functioning family). Along with biographer Margaret Lea we learn about the strange family and upbringing of author Vida Winter, while also exploring Margaret’s own troubled family history. A tale of mystery and “gothic strangeness” it is a very intriguing story recommended especially for anyone who enjoys weird family dynamics, mysterious circumstances, and surprise endings.

And there’s the Summer 2015 Round-Up, better late than never! Right? (Just nod your head in agreement 😉 )

Thanks for stopping by!

~ ❤ ~ MegRose

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Winter 2015 Reading Challenge

SCWBC15

It’s that time of year again! The Semi-Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge is here! With new categories and thus new books to explore! Here are this season’s categories and my planned reading list (which if you’ve been following along at all is highly subject to change but I still like to have a bit of plan going in).– And yes, I realize this challenge actually started Nov.1 but due to my participation in NaNoWriMo I’m a bit behind in posting this, and it’s my blog so…


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451F slow regard

5 points: Read a book that has between 100 and 200 pages. – Might go for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (159 pgs), which is a re-read. Or The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss (159 pgs).

weird internet

Done- 10 points: Read a debut book by any author. (The book does not have to be a 2015 debut.)- You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day (272 pgs, 5 stars).

name star

Done- 10 points: Read a book that does not take place in your current country of residence.– So anything not set in the US is free-game, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (set in London, England) (372 pgs, 5 stars)

immortal life life life winter

10 points: Read a book that someone else has already used for the challenge. — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher Kristen @ See You in a PorridgeNow that we’re through the first month I’ve got a few contenders including The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (381 pgs), Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (525 pgs), and Winter by Marissa Meyer (832 pgs) – or many other options if I choose to go for a re-read including Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (412 pgs), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (435 pgs), Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (288 pgs), etc.

cuckoo

15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym (e.g. Robert Galbraith, Sara Poole, J.D. Robb, Franklin W. Dixon, Mark Twain, etc.). — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher Megan M.– I might end up going with The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling, 455 pgs).

wise man fear

In Progress- 15 points: Read a book with “boy,” “girl,” “man” or “woman” in the title (or the plural of these words).The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (1120 pgs)

tithe inkspell merlin bonk

15 points: Read a book with a one-word title (e.g. Attachments, Americanah, Uglies, Wild, etc.).– Multiple options for this one as I try to decrease my TBR bookshelf: Tithe by Holly Black (331 pgs), Inkspell by Cornelia Funke (635 pgs), Merlin by Stephen Lawhead (445 pgs), or Bonk by Mary Roach (319 pgs).

genghis khan

In Progress- 20 points: Read a book with a person’s first and last name in the title (e.g. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle). – Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford (312 pgs)

restaurant universe

20 points: Read a food-themed book. — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher Jamie @ Whatever I Think Of!Possibly The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (256 pgs)- that totally counts as a food-themed book, right?

bury my heart art racing rain

20 points: Read a book with a verb in the title. (For any grammar nerds out there, I mean “verb” in the most general sense, so gerunds count. For non-grammar-inclined people, just use any book that appears to have a verb in the title!)Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown (481 pgs) or The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (336 pgs).

asylum asylum 2

30 points: Read two books with the same title (by different authors). — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher bevchen @ Confuzzledom.Asylum by Madeleine Roux (336 pgs) and Asylum by Jeanette de Beauvior (320 pgs).

astronaut's guide cosmos martian life universe everything

30 points: Read a nonfiction book and a fiction book about the same subject (e.g. a biography and historical fiction novel about the same person; two books about a specific war or event; a nonfiction book about autism and a novel with a character who has autism, etc. The possibilities are endless!).– My topic is Space. For non-fiction I’m looking at either An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield (320 pgs) or Cosmos by Carl Sagan (396 pgs). For the fiction option I’ll most likely read The Martian by Andy Weir (400 pgs) or Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams (240 pgs).

So there it is, my (somewhat) preliminary list for this season’s book challenge! Let me know in the comments if you’re also participating or if you have suggestions for the categories or thoughts on the books listed above or anything else you might want to say (hellos are always welcome 😉 )!!

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

~ ❤ ~ Meg

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