Lets Talk · Uncategorized

Lets Talk | Posting Update & Blog Changes

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Hey everyone, this post is going to be a little different than my normal. In the next few months there are going to be quite a few changes in my life, hopefully all for the better. Since I will be busier because I am working towards something that is a huge goal of mine. I am going to be cutting back on my blogging from 3 times a week to 2. Maybe this will temporary or last forever, only time will tell. But, I wanted to just talk about it a bit and explain why there is a sudden change in my posting.

I have been blogging for some time and I have met some amazing people and I really love talking to everyone. I have found such awesome books since blogging and really opened my eyes to a lot. I don’t want to lose that connection and experience because I am working towards something else, but I need to be realistic.

Chances are this new project is going to take a ton of my time and I will be stressed out of my mind. Who knows if I will even have much time to read, I really hope I do. Anyway, when I decided a change needed to be made I posted a poll on my twitter and on my instagram to have your input.

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So, according to my twitter poll, the most popular choice was Sunday/Wednesday and the same went for my instagram poll as well. So over the next few weeks I will slowly start to make a change to this new posting schedule. Thanks for all the input who saw the polls and voted, it really helped.

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Thanks for reading! I hope in the next few months I will get to share really exciting news with all of you.

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Goals

Reading Goals | Mid-Year Check-In

Reading Challenge

In March I did a quarter of the year check in on my goals to see if I was either on track or falling behind. Since seeing everyone post their mid-year check-ins, I thought it might once again be a good time to revisit my own goals to see if I am on track.

Top Five Book I Want to Read in 2017

At the start of the year I picked 5 books off of my TBR I wanted to get to this year the most. You can find the post here. I am happy to say I achieved this goal I have read every book I picked. You can find a review of most of those books in my #TBRTakeDown Wrap Up. Since I did so well with this I think I want to add another 5. So here are my new choices.

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

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Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 1, 1884-1933 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

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Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

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Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

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Giving Up on Series/Books I Am Not Enjoying

Check! If feels so good to just let go of a book I am not enjoying.

Becoming a More Critical Review/Reader

This is more of a reflective goal than a goal you can actively seek such as page count or books read, but I felt it was important for me to become more critical. In the past where I have read if a book made me happy it was automatically 5 starts even if it was not my favorite. I have to say that this year I have become less of a passive reader and have taken time to reflect on my reading THEN rate/review the book.

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Get to 0 by 2018

This goal is something I am having trouble with. At the start of the year I had 26 books on my TBR, which was great for me because it was well over 100 in the past. Currently, I have 34, but I have read 46 books so far this year. In theory I have read more than the books that were in my TBR, but I am not sure what happened. There are to many good book sales plus I went on vacation and picked up about 5-6 books. I think I am going to go on a Book Buying Ban or Read 5 to Get 1. I really crave the idea of walking into a bookstore of library and picking up a book and reading it then and there without adding it to a pile.

Post On My Blog at Least Twice a Month

Check!

Organize My Goodreads Shelves

Check! You can see all of my Goodreads shelves on my post  TAG | The Goodreads Tag.

Goodreads Reading Goal

I set this years goal at 50, which I do every year. I am very much on track having read 46 books so far this year.


How is your reading year going?

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Reviews

Review | The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

Book Review

The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

18302455If someone asked me to describe this book I would say it is poetic, passionate, and fast paced. It went by way to quickly for my liking, I wanted it to never end. In this historical fiction novel you follow the lives of  Freddie, Isabella, and Oskar against the backdrop of  in Italy during World War II. What I enjoyed the most is that their personalities are distinct, they do not feel generic at all. Isabella is a strong individual, she puts herself in so much danger to help others as well as project art. I went to art school for a few years and for me personally art is culture. It is a way to show how a group or individual feels, but also shows what they see around them. Art is very important. Freddie is a pilot during the war. His does gruesome work and is faced with danger often. During this time he bonds very well with his crew mates and you experience his point of view of the bombing, which I found interesting to read. Oskar, whose story is not really described in the description so I wont say much, but he is also a very distinct character who has a very important non-passive role in this book. I felt that this novel described a lot of the various roles citizens could have taken during the war.

I could easily go on about this, I honestly REALLY enjoyed this. It has all of the elements of a historical fiction that I look for. It takes place during an active time in history, the characters are involved in the events in different ways, and I genuinely connected with these characters. For me a bonus of this book was that it took place outside of Germany, France, and Britain. For me personally I had not read a WWII historical fiction that took place in Italy so it caught my eye even more than a historical fiction normally would. Over all I would say if you enjoy historical fiction, art, WWII related books, and you enjoy reading about characters that feel like real people you need to pick this up. I give this book an easy 5 stars!

Description

In 1937 Freddie (English), Isabella (Italian) and Oskar (a German Jew) become friends at an art school in Florence where they are taught by the dictatorial but magus-like Maestro and his sinister fascist assistant Fosco. When war arrives Freddie returns to England to become the pilot of a Lancaster bomber. Oskar, now a dancer, has moved to Paris where he escapes the 1942 roundup of Jews and arrives in Italy with his young daughter Esme. Isabella remains in Florence where she continues to paint. Until she is called upon by Maestro to forge an old master painting, apparently at the behest of the Führer himself, and as a result is seen as a Nazi collaborator by her neighbours.
The murderous skies over Germany and a war-torn Italy in the grip of Nazi occupation provide the setting for this novel about the love of a separated husband and his wife and the love of a man for his young daughter. Freddie and Oskar both hope to find their way back to Florence. But Florence’s heritage of preserving the identity and continuity of the past has never before been so under threat.


Book Information

Publisher: Cheyne Walk

Publication Date: (This edition) July 06, 2017

List Price: $13.99

ISBN: 9780993286308

Pages: 490 pages


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TBR

Bookish Bingo | Summer 2017

Reading Challenge

So I was reading some blogs and came across Summer Bookish Bingo. The creator is Bekka from Pretty Deadly Reviews. You can click her name to find the original post if you want some more details. When I saw the newest bingo board I knew I had to take part, it seems like fun. It is also a bonus that it adds some motivation too.

The Bingo Board

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Rules

Lasts the months of June, July, and August.

Get as many Bingos as you can (any directions counts)

One square per book.

*Bekka is very helpful and has a list of books that could count for each square if you need some inspiration.*

Planned Books

I decided to first use the books I have on my TBR, then if I read all of those I can get some books from the library that would fall into the other categories. If you have a book recommendation that would fall into any of these categories, please share!

  • Royalty – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • Ace RepTBD
  • Over 5 Years Old – IT by Stephen King
  • Thriller – The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Read Cover – The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • Latinx MCTBD
  • A Book About Fandom –  TBD
  • Sci-Fi – TBD
  • LGBTQ+ – The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • Summer Release – TBD
  • While Cover – The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
  • Family Drama – First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Blue Cover – Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  • On Your TBR Forever – Hiding Places by Diane Wyshogrod
  • Revolution and RebellionTBD 
  • A Sequel – A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
  • Name in the Title – Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
  • A Book With A MapTBD
  • Author from Another ContinentTBD
  • Flowers on the Cover – The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins
  • TravelTBD
  • Outside of your Comfort ZoneTBD
  • RomanceTBD
  • Award WinningTBD

What books could you recommend to replace my TBD?

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TBR

June TBR: 2017

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This month my TBR is going to be small. I have been in a very odd reading mood as of late. I want to read everything so I keep reading about 20% of a book and then picking up something else.  So I am keeping this short so I can keep that up, but hopefully actually finish a few of my books.

The Circle

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I have been hearing all the hype around The Circle coming out with a movie adaptation with Emma Watson, but I want to read the book before I see the movie. The little blurb from goodreads sound interesting so I want to get to it sooner rather than later.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. – goodreads

IT

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I am about 26% through this massive tome, it is over 1000 pages. I started reading this in May and have been loving it so I want to finish it up very soon. I can’t wait for the new adaptation to come out later this year. Now I just need to find someone to watch a scary movie with or I will have to wait even longer for it to come out on DVD.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. – goodreads

A Court of Mist and Fury

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I also started to read this beautiful book in May so I want to finish it so I can finally crack open my copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I have been falling behind and I don’t want to be spoiled. I keep having to scroll through my instagram and twitter feed quickly every time I see one of the characters names out of fear.

Quote from A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 1) : Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price. -goodreads

So, you have seen the books I am going to read. Have you read them? If so let me know what you though. Happy reading!

What are you reading this month?

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Wrap Up

May 2017 | WRAP UP

Wrap Up

I can’t believe that May is almost over,  but it seems to be true so I thought it was a good time to share the books I finished this month. I have to say that this month overall was pretty average, but there were a few gems!

FIVE STARS:

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I LOVED this book. It was a perfect mixture of history, horror, and science fiction. It follows a high school teacher who is shown a portal into the past. His goal is to stop the JFK assignation. Once again Stephen King has written an amazing book. I will say this monster of a book is over 1,000 pages, but I got through it very quickly. I find him to write in a way that is easy to read and his stories are very gripping.

FOUR STARS:

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A Single Man was a very enjoyable read. I read through it very quickly and I found I was invested in the main character quite quickly. The ending had me thinking  a lot. It follows a man named George following the lost of his partner. There is also a movie adaptation and I plan on watching it very soon.

THREE STARS

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I wrote an entire review for this book you can find that here:Not Quite The Classics by Colin Mochrie. Over all I enjoyed this book and I plan on revisiting in the future. I found myself laughing and very much enjoying most of these short stories.

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This was a great read about the Russian Revolution. I read it quite quickly and I found it very informative. I will say because it is such a large topic there is a lot of facts crammed in. I wrote a review you can find it here:REVIEW: A Short History of the Russian Revolution by Geoffrey Swain

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Notorious RBG was an interesting read. I will say this is a great read about law, women’s rights, and a strong individual. I wrote a bit more about this book in my May book haul, which you can find here: Book Haul: May 2017. Over all if you are interested in law, women’s and social rights, or just want to learn about a Justice this is a good read.


I am happy to say I did not have any two or one star reads this month! I hope you reading was amazing this month!

What was your favorite read this month?


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Reviews

Not Quite The Classics by Colin Mochrie

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Not Quite The Classics by Colin Mochrie

23330786This little book is a collection of short stories by improve/comedian/actor Colin Mochrie. Every story in here is a little twist on classic literature. Some of the classics he “plays” with include Sherlock Holmes (my favorite), Shakespeare plays, A Tale of Two Cities, and many more.

Now, I can break this book into two sections, stories based off the classics I have read and then ones I have not read. The short stories that were based on classics I was familiar with were amazing! I was laughing and engrossed right away. It was like revisiting the book with a little quirk. He was able to peg the characters personalities, but also change them in an appropriate way that did his little retelling without taking anything away. You can tell he put in effort while writing this.

Now, for the short stories that were based upon classics I was unfamiliar with. They were well written and were funny as well. Even though I enjoyed them I feel like I did not get as much or missed some subtle jokes. So if you do pick up this book you can easily read these short stories and enjoy them, even laugh out loud. Don’t let the fact you did not read the original get in the way. I plan on eventually reading most of the ones used in this collection and plan on rereading this as I complete them.

Over all I would recommend this book for those who enjoy classic literature, retellings, and funny books. It is a wonderful short book to break up reading more serious, intense reads, but also longer books as well. I gave this a 3 out of 5 stars. It was great and I really think as I reread this I will update the score to go higher.


Book Information

Publisher: Diversion Publishing

Publication Date: November 6th 2012

List Price: $14.99

ISBN: 9781626814554

Pages: 194 pages


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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Bookstore Travels

A few weeks ago I drove a few hours to Princeton University and walk around the historic campus and downtown. To my amazement when we were walking around the downtown I found a cute little bookstore that I HAD to go into. Let’s just say I spent an hour in here easily.

The Bookstore: Labyrinth Books 

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What cause my eye first about this bookstore was the fact that they had 6 or 7 tables out front piled high with books. Not only were there so many outside they were ALL on sale! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE when books are on sale. It means I can buy more and not feel as guilty about spending money on them.

When I finally combed through all of the sale books I headed inside dragging my friend along. The inside was bright and beautiful. There were books on two floors. There were displays by subjects, new releases, ancient texts, and classics. What I liked the most was the wide range of non-fiction that I don’t normally find in my local bookstores. So jealous of people who live a reasonable distance away from this place. Here are a few pictures I was able to take inside the shop.


After spending about an hour in this store I ended up leaving with three gorgeous books. Still so sad I have to travel hours to get to this place!

The Haul:

 


I think I want to plan some more day trips to far off bookstores. On a side note, this campus is just as beautiful as the bookshop!

What is your favorite bookstore you love to visit?

 

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Hauls

Birthday Book Haul!

Book Haul

Some of you may have know, but my birthday was a few days ago and I was lucky enough to get a few books for my birthday this year. Normally my family and friends just pick out gift cards from Barns and Noble or Amazon so I can pick some stuff for myself, which is great. But, it is very nice when someone picks a book or books out just for you. Here are the books friends and family got me this year.

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The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

The first book my Mom picked up for me is The Invention of Nature because she knows I enjoy science, nature, and non-fiction. Even though in my picture you can only see the spine, click the title to look at the actual cover. It is absolutely beautiful. Not only does it have a beautiful cover, I read the description (below) and it sounds really interesting. I cannot wait to eventually pick it up and read it.

Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.

– via goodreads


The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

This is the second of three books my Mom picked up for me. I have been really into suspense/thriller reads as of late. Once again I read the description and was very happy with this pick. There is a great mixture of mystery and history. I am very excited to see what unfolds in this book.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

– via goodreads


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This is the last book my Mom picked out for me. I read The Goldfinch and generally liked it overall, but found faults with it. You can read a little bit more of my review in my post  #TBRTakeDown: Wrap Up. Anyway, my mom picked this up because I have mentioned I have wanted to try another book by her. This one is much shorter so I am more confident this book will not have the same large flaws, fingers crossed!

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

– via goodreads


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

One of my best friends picked this up for me because I LOVED The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I was so happy when I finally got it open. My friend loves to wrap presents in a way that makes it very difficult to open so she can watch people struggle. She put it in a box, surrounded it by two bags, and then wrapped it completely in duct tape. I was not allowed to use scissors. Anyway, I was so excited to get it open AND it to be this book.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

– via goodreads


A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

My wonderful boyfriend bought me a personalized autograph copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I am so grateful and excited! I am so worried to actually read this because I don’t want to ruin it. I may put in a call to the library and carry that one around instead.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court.

– via goodreads


I am so happy with the book I received for my birthday and I wanted to once again thank all of you who wished me a happy birthday. It meant so much to me. Have a great day and happy reading!

What book would you pick to read out of the ones mentioned?

 

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Reviews

REVIEW: A Short History of the Russian Revolution by Geoffrey Swain

Book Review

I wanted to start off by saying that I received an ebook copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for my honest review.


A Short History of the Russian Revolution discusses the Russian Revolution that ended the Tsarist monarchy and ushers in the communist regime in Russia during 1917. Now I will 30897399say that someone can easily write a 1000 page book on this topic so when I requested this I knew that some things would be missing. When I did finally get to reading it I laughed a bit when the author himself said, “much has to be left out” because this is such a complex period of history.
I will say that Geoffrey Swain did a good job summing up such a complex event(s). For someone who does not know a lot about the Russian Revolution they will benefit a lot from reading this. Swain knows his topic well, he discusses a wide range of related events and organizations which I find important. A historical event did not happen in a vacuum, society prior to the event let to the Russian Revolution and it impacted a lot of events, policies, and individuals following it as well. I will say that this book is very academic, since this is a short history it is jammed packed with facts. So if you are looking for a non-fiction account that reads like a novel this is not for you. This is more of something you would read if you are interested in learning about the event or need a good resources for research. I wish I had read something like this years ago when I took a class dealing with this topic. On another note I really enjoyed was the short timeline in the beginning of the book. It really showed a quick summary before getting into details.

Overall, I think that this is a good book. I ended up giving it a 3.5/5 stars. This is a great book for those who are studying the Russian Revolution, have a serious interest, an introduction to the topic, and a good resource for research, but it is not something I feel many individuals will pick up a read “for the fun of it”. But, to restate what I have said, this really is a well written “short” history of the Russian Revolution.


Book Information

Publisher: I. B. Tauris & Company

Publication Date: March 30th 2017

List Price: Varies – $10.60 on Kindle $29.00 on Nook

ISBN: 9781780767925

Pages: 256 pages


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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30897399-a-short-history-of-the-russian-revolution