Book Reviews: YA All Day

And I’m back with even more Young Adult titles! Somehow, there’s been an explosion of good, contemporary realistic fiction, and I’m not sad about it. Some subject matter has been quite heavy, but other books have been like candy. I basically spent the first half of the year reading young adult because my work life is so busy that time of year. I needed to read books that revolved around story, were quick page-turners, and provided some level of comfort. Sometimes, those great big literary novels are draining, and to be frank, if I’m not finishing books, then I’m not reading much.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean lives her life a bit on the periphery. She’s the middle sister of a capable, organized older sister, Margot and the active, affectionate little sister, Kitty. Lara Jean is trying to navigate high school, driving, and maintaining the house in Margot’s absence at college. But life throws her a wrench when letters she has written to the boys she has loved, meant for her eyes only, like diary entries, end up in the mail and out into the hands of those particular boys. What I loved about this story was Lara Jean’s relationship to her sisters, her very teen self, and the realizations she comes to without having much guidance. The sequel P.S. I Still Love You was just released and I’m waiting for the library to let me have my hands on a copy. 4/5

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Jam has been sent to a school for students dealing with issues of mental health and depression. Jam has been dealing with the death of her boyfriend, and has not been able to snap out of her funk. She needs to be away from home where the isolated environment will help her heal. One of her classes is Special Topics in English, an advanced and exclusive class with only five students total. The class is competitive to get into, and students are hand-picked by their teacher. The class is studying The Bell Jar and other works by Sylvia Plath. In their studies and through journals, Jam and her fellow students are able to face their experiences and start to deal with the world around them. Wolitzer has made a name as a popular literary author for adults, but I’ve heard mixed reviews from the people I trust with books. This story was ok, but I couldn’t connect with Jam. It mostly made me want to read The Bell Jar again, and explore more of Plath’s work.  2.5/5

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is categorized as the school freak. Violet Markey lost her sister in a terrible car accident and doesn’t know how to go on. When they meet at the top of the school bell tower, they both stop each other from demise, without saying much. They end up working together on a year-long assignment for geography class, and go one little adventures throughout Indiana. Finch is out there and is drawing Violet out of her shell, but he is beginning to internalize. This book was lovely and heart-breaking. It portrays mental illness with subtlety and gives you as sense of what it is like to be inside someone’s head when they’re dealing with it. This book brought me to tears, and was an excellent example of the best in Young Adult novels. 4.5/5

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Paige is a little lost. Her boyfriend died in a freak accident last year, and she has been labeled “The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died,” but she is determined to start living in the now and to come back to reality for this school year. She decides that she is going to pursue Ryan Chase, a popular nice guy who is now available. She also decides she is going to join a club. That club ends up being the Quiz Bowl, and Ryan’s cousin, Max is on the team, back in public school after a stint at the private school in town. He’s sweet and nerdy and likes Tagalongs more than Thin Mints. With the help of her best girl friends and her grandmother, Paige reclaims her year, and maybe even figures out that boy situation. This one tug at my heartstrings. I really identified with Paige. I once was on the Quiz Bowl with a cute, nerdy boy, too, and you can guess how that turned out. 😉 I love her relationship with her grandma, because I also had a very close relationship with mine. I just got her, and loved every second of this book. Plus, I know the author and I can’t resist plugging a fellow Weddingbee, especially one who writes so well. 4/5

Whew! That’s a wrap on my YA book reviews so far. Thanks for hanging with me!

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Book Reviews: Just One Day Duet and a Little Something Extra

My coworker saw that I was reading Where She Went, she suggested some other Gayle Forman titles. I was a little hesitant because I didn’t just love the previous two books, but after reading a description, I went for it.

Just One Day

Alison has always been a good girl. She doesn’t stray far from the line. While in Stratford-upon-Avon on a graduation gift European tour, she starts to break her rules. When Willem offers to escort her to Paris for just one day before she goes home, she jumps at the chance. Their day is extraordinary, seeing more than the typical tourist sights, wandering, getting lost and even into a little bit of trouble. But the two never discuss much of their personal lives, not even their last names. In fact, Willem only knows Alison by the nickname he gave her: Lulu. So when the two are separated after their exhilarating day, the door seems closed. Alison heads off to college wondering about so much and feeling stuck, depressed, and unable to move forward with the life she had perfectly planned. With the help of William Shakespeare and some new friends, she re-discovers her sense of adventure and decides to make things happen, whether those things bring her closure or not. I enjoyed this book. There were moments when I was really frustrated with Alison and her attitude, but also moments when I remember how hard that first year of college felt and could relate with her. I also really enjoyed the travel in the story, and the adventure that comes with not having a plan. There is also a sense of mystery in this story that was lacking in the If I Stay series. 3.5/5

Just One Year

Again, Forman writes the second book from the male’s perspective. Willem was escaping something when he got swept away with Lulu. Just postponing one more day would not hurt. But apparently, it hurt quite a lot. Willem returns to Amsterdam, his home. But his home is dramatically altered and has been for two years. He finds his friends again, and tries to resume life. But he just can’t get Lulu out of his mind. A girl has never entranced him like that. He’s never had a problem with the ladies. Willem spends that year looking for his Lulu, no small feat without her real name. Not only is he dealing with the loss of Lulu, but also the shift in his family. When Willem exhausts everything he can think of, he starts to be productive again, with the help of William Shakespeare. Again, I thought this story was better than the first in the duet. Willem is dealing with some very real griefs and hurts. There is also a fair amount of travel in this book, going all the way to India and back. And again, resolution is just so nice, so I have to give more points to the end of the story than the beginning. 4/5

Just One Night

This novella concludes the series, with not just Alison and Willem’s perspectives, but all the other players as well, their friends and family who helped them cope and search for each other. And we also get to find out what they both think they will do now that they have found each other with only just one night left. 4/5

Book Reviews: If I Stay Duet

I found myself in possession of a Kindle, which I had been trying to hold off on forever. But this great opportunity presented itself, and I couldn’t resist. The best part of having a Kindle for me is taking advantage of the library’s e-book collection. We don’t live near the great library system where I was a patron anymore, but I can easily log in and request the electronic version of these books. I can also ask for multiple books and not worry about their many due dates and scheduling a trip to return the books to meet all the due dates. And downloading them is very easy with Amazon. It doesn’t require any kind of special software or updates. It’s just easy. I’ve had the Kindle since February and have read at least ten books in this fashion and haven’t bought very many books since.

With all that said, one of the genres I have been tearing through in e-book form is Young Adult. Several titles are being released each month, both by seasoned authors and by newcomers and they’ve been so good! I have quite a few to talk about, so I’m going to try and break them up over the next few posts. First up is the popular If I Stay duet by Gayle Forman, a veteran in the YA genre.

If I Stay

Mia Hall is seventeen, and has just barely survived a terrible car crash that has taken her parents and younger brother. As she lies unconscious in the hospital, her extended family and boyfriend, Adam, wait with bated breath to see if she will wake up. As this is happening, Mia is in a state where she is able to see her those around her, and decide whether she will fight to live to be with the people who love her on Earth or die and go with the people she loved the most. She travels to places in her memory with her family, her grandparents and Adam, and we learn what kind of ordinary and simultaneously amazing life Mia led. Music plays a big role in the story as Mia is a cellist, Adam is a guitarist, and her parents were rockers. The story was engaging and even though I knew where it was going, I liked having a back story and peeling back the layers of Mia. There were moments that felt trite and slightly out of place, but I still liked it. 3/5

Where She Went

Adam Wilde has been living the musician’s dream. He’s made it. He’s about to start the international leg of tour with his band. He is in a relationship with a Hollywood starlet, and he basically gets what he wants. But he is riddled with anxiety. He can’t handle the press and the screaming fans and the constant talk about what he is doing. After a dark period of mourning his relationship with Mia, he just can’t go back to that place. It’s been a few years since the accident, and Adam accounts what happened after Mia woke up, but only from what he knows. It takes him three years to find out the rest of the story after Mia packed up and went to Julliard without much of a goodbye. Now, on this night in New York, before she goes to Tokyo and he goes to London, they have the chance to open up to each other and find love again.

I have to say I enjoyed reading from Adam’s perspective more than I did from Mia’s. I also really like resolution, which this book gives us. I would rate this one similarly, but give it a smidge more for feeling like a complete story. 3.5/5

Have you read these stories? How do you feel about the flip in perspective? Is that a device you enjoy in general? Or would you rather just hear from one person the whole time?

Book Reviews: The Legend Series

I recently finished the Legend series by Marie Lu. Since I got all these books so close together, I wanted to review them individually and as a series.

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Legend

Right from the beginning, this book caught my attention. The story alternates between two perspectives. Day is an outlaw, living in the streets of a Los Angeles in the distant future. He has run away from his family who live in the poor sector and their home has been marked as having the plague. June Iparis is a star pupil training to be a soldier of the Republic. Her brother is a captain in the army, and they live a comfortable life in the Ruby sector, with their dog, Ollie. When June’s brother is murdered at a crime scene involving Day, their two lives are forever changed and forever linked. June begins working for the Republic and is determined to take Day down, but in meeting Day, her eyes are opened to the Republic’s crimes and how they have affected her family. I loved the back and forth in this story. I also liked the imagery of Los Angeles. I could picture familiar streets that I have often visited. This was an enjoyable read with a lot of quick action. Lu says she was inspired by the relationship between Jean Valjean and Javert in Les Miserables and that led her to write Legend. I could certainly see that connection, and I quickly moved on to Prodigy. 4/5

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Prodigy

June and Day’s story continues as they face a new Elector Primo of the Republic. The Patriots have tasked Day with a huge task in exchange for helping Day’s family. June factors into the plan as a respected darling of the Republic. What they find out leads to more back and forth between the two, and a rift they may not be able to overcome. I don’t know how to talk about this book without giving away much of what happened in Legend. I like that we learn more about the plague, about the Republic’s structure, and a little about the world immediately outside of the Republic. This one moved a little slower for me, but I still enjoyed it. The relationship between June and Day really develops in this story. There’s a little more humor, as well. 3/5

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Champion

Day and June have gone their separate ways, but a specific situation has called them back together. Day is assimilating to status, and June is making sure that she can keep Day happy when she asks him to do something she knows he absolutely will not agree to. The world expands a bit further, as we get to find out more about the war and the world beyond North America. Much like Legend, this book is action-packed, with so much happening in just a few days time. I thought this story was the perfect end to the trilogy and ended so perfectly well. I will leave it at that. 4/5

As far as dystopian trilogies go, I think I might have to declare this one a top contender. I can’t decide if I like it more than The Hunger Games yet. They are neck and neck. I definitely like it more than Divergent. The back and forth makes perfect sense. Right away, we have two established voices. They are very different, but their relationship and understanding of each other develops so wonderfully and is continuous throughout the three books. I’m glad I could read them back to back, because there wasn’t a need for a break between them. I’ve heard this is being made into a movie franchise. The characters are very distinct, and I can’t see anyone out in the film industry playing June and Day. Maybe Hailee Stanfield as June, but that’s it as far as current stars go. My hope is that this film becomes an opportunity to launch some newcomers.

Are you over the dystopian trilogy? Or are you still lapping it up like I am?

A Literary Blast from the Past

I grew up as a reader. I read a variety of books, but a couple of series kept me reading regularly.

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The Dear America series

Oh, these books! I read as many of these books as I could get my hands on from the ages of eleven to fourteen. I’m pretty sure my love for historical fiction comes from these diaries of young women living through specific points in history. I loved the diary aspect of it, because the girls felt relatable. Book Riot just posted an article about Dear America, and it prompted me to write this very post. I also loved the Royal Diaries spinoff series which was based on the lives of young women in royal history. I can probably attribute these books for why I keep journals and write as much as I can. Some of my favorites in this series were: The Winter of Red Snow, pictured above about the winter at Valley Forge; When Will this Cruel War be Over?, a Civil War diary; and Dreams in the Golden Country, a turn-of-the-century immigrant’s story, featuring the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

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The Baby-Sitters Club series

Taking it back even further, I think I was in the second grade when I first picked up a BSC book. It was not Kristy’s Great Idea. I don’t know that I actually would have continued if I started with Kristy. I think I read a Claudia book first, and then I read a few Mallory books. Claudia is obviously the coolest original BSC member, and I related a lot to the bookworm big sister that was Mallory. I realize that most of the series was written by ghost writers and that each book followed a formula. It was easy to figure out how to skip most of the first two chapters, considering they were just intros and an explanation of the club. I think I read about 100 of these books, including some of the Summer Specials. These books were like episodes of Full House. I just couldn’t get enough. I remember when we used to go to the library or the bookstore, there would be a whole shelf unit of BSC books. Now, I think there is only one shelf with a few of the original stories introducing the first four girls and a couple of subsequent stories. It’s a little sad and definitely less 80s-tastic, but I’m glad some of them still exist.

I was also a fan of Madeline, Amelia Bedelia, and a few novels, such as Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. What did you love to read as a kid?

Jump Into the Summer Read!

Sometimes to get back into reading, I just need to read some feel-good, straight-to-the-heart, can’t-put-down, read-in-one-day books. Some of these books worked wonderfully, and some didn’t really work at all.

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Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

I really enjoyed American Wife by Sittenfeld, which I read a couple of years ago, so I thought I’d listen to Prep on my commute into work. It’s always one of those books waiting on the notable paperback table. At least, it used to be. I haven’t worked in a bookstore for quite some time now! Lee Fiora is attending Ault, a boarding school in Massachusetts. She’s on scholarship from South Bend, Indiana, and couldn’t be more out of her element. The story follows Lee from freshman year to graduation. Truth be told, I really did not enjoy this one. Lee is insufferable as a completely insecure teen and passes up on so many opportunities for very little reason. She seems to harbor a resentment against herself and her situation, even though she put herself in that school and nobody seems to care. She’s constantly embarrassed, second-guessing herself, and doesn’t seem to grow out of it. The climax of the book is her being even more of a jerk and I was really disappointed, because I was waiting for a big coming-of-age moment, but there wasn’t one. Sure. The whole thing captures teen angst, but setting it in a boarding school really does more to speak to differences in economic class than anything. Lee is constantly over-analyzing every interaction, saying no to every chance to hang out, and spending so much time thinking about those things that she doesn’t even do well in the competitive school. This was so disappointing, and I might say something I regret if I continue. 1/5

Phew. Let’s move on, shall we?

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I think Rainbow Rowell is an author that I could read everyday. I really enjoyed Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, Rowell’s two YA novels, but Attachments was released a couple of years ago as her debut novel. I finally got my hands on it from the library, and went to town. Lincoln has been hired to work at night, monitoring office emails near the turn of the millennium (Y2K throwback!). He is supposed to make sure that personal emails are not sent, and has to send warnings and “flag suspicious emails” when he comes across them. But he just can’t seem to stop the day-long, back and forth emails between Beth and Jennifer. He also can’t stop reading them. He’s fallen in love with Beth, but doesn’t know what to do about it. He’s still stuck in the heartbreak of his last relationship, works the graveyard shift, lives with his mom, and knows every detail that Beth has decided to divulge to her friend at work. “Hey. How ya’ doin’? So I saw in your email that your boyfriend is a jerk. Dinner sometime next week?” I don’t think so. Lincoln is such a sweet guy. He’s considerate, working to improve his life, and goes out of his way to help people out. He’s a guy you fall in love with. If you can give him a chance. I loved this book! It’s so heartwarming and too good to put down. 4/5

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Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

I am so so excited to share this book with you! Emery Lord’s debut YA novel is a perfect way to kickstart your summer reading. Reagan is a little rough around the edges and she’s looking to get away from it all when she boards a tour bus with her best friend, Dee, who happens to be a very popular young country musician. So, it starts off sounding like a Disney special we’ve seen once or twice, right? Wrong. Right away, Reagan and Dee prove to be spitfires who love each other fiercely and have more than a little snark to share when it comes to the craziness around them. When publicity gets a little rough for Dee, Matt Finch is asked to come aboard as an opening act, and Reagan’s feathers get a little ruffled. This was supposed to be her summer with Dee. And she didn’t expect to be so thrown by Matt, in a good way. Reagan marches all over the country in her stilettos with Matt and Dee working to bring down that barrier she’s stood behind for so long. This is a great read, especially for the girl who fiercely loves her girl friends and for the girl whose heart might need a little melting. Side note: I kind of know the author of this book. So, I’ve linked reviews from other people of this book to prove how awesome it is! I can’t wait to see more from Ms. Lord in the future. 4/5

What are you looking forward to reading this summer?

Book Reviews: Two Teen-Fics and a Memoir

Just because it’s not raining doesn’t mean I can’t have a rainy reading day. And it’s been nice to mix things up a bit with some buzz-worthy YA novels and a popular memoir.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell has made quite a name for herself in the YA circle with two books released last year. I also have to say, that YA, in general, is having a real heyday with great titles being released regularly. I knew I’d have to check some out. Fangirl is the story of Cath who has been obsessed, or engulfed, in the Simon Snow series since its release when she was a pre-teen. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I’m sure a lot of us can relate. Cath doesn’t just read the books and create memes. She also writes a very popular fanfic that has gained a huge following. But now, she’s in college at a big school a few hours away from home. Her twin sister is embracing college life, while Cath doesn’t even know where the dining hall is. She worries about her father, and she can’t get rid of her roommate’s best friend, who eats her granola bars and waits for her to let him in, even though he’s never read a Simon Snow book. He’s only watched the movies (gasp). Slowly, Cath starts to come out of her shell, but it takes some rough transitions to get there. I totally remember being overwhelmed by college, even though I went to a small school. I didn’t have a roommate, I was nervous about making friends, and I was straight-laced. I mean, that just screams party, right? Rowell tells such a relatable story about the challenges of a first-time college student, and the difficulty of making yourself known in the real world. I loved it. 4/5

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I immediately picked up Eleanor & Park after reading Fangirl. Eleanor is new. She’s tall, has big, curly red hair, and manages to put together outfits that attract a lot of attention. Park has always been there. He’s quiet and lays low, trying very much not to attract attention, and his safety lies in the fact that he’s a kid from the neighborhood- a kid everyone knows. When Park lets Eleanor sit next to him on the bus, they start a silent friendship, that buds into a first love. Eleanor’s never experienced someone being so kind. She has to fend for herself, even though that means often leaving her younger brothers and sister behind. And Park has to open up and defend Eleanor to everyone because she doesn’t look or act like any girl out there. Their love is so full and sweet and emotional. Rowell completely captured the angst of teenage love, and the struggles of being different. This isn’t just a simple story of teenage love. Every step feels complicated and difficult. But it’s really tender, and I felt like my heart grew a size, and I may have shed a tear or two. It’s so good! 4.5/5

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This has been on my TBR list for a long time. I tried reading it when it came out, and I couldn’t get into it, so I thought I’d table it for a little while. Cheryl Strayed lost her mother at 22 to a quick and brutal battle with cancer. She went on to ruin her marriage, get involved in drugs, and decide to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, on her own. Most of the story-telling is Strayed’s day-to-day on the trail, the difficulties of carrying your life on your back, and the fears that can get you when you’re hiking alone. But it also flashes back to the complicated moments in Strayed’s history, her abusive father, her family’s small house in the woods, and the dissolution of her marriage to her best friend. Along the way, she loses things, gains friends, and struggles to keep money in her pocket, especially in the face of a Snapple lemonade. I will admit that I am not outdoorsy. I didn’t know how much I could relate to this story. I literally cringed at some of the tales. But I can appreciate when anyone takes on a challenge and opens up to some soul-searching. I was surprised at the many negative reviews, chastising the author for messing up her marriage and taking on a risky journey with little experience. But I don’t think that Strayed is naive in her telling of these things. She makes it pretty clear that there were problems with her actions. Also, this is not a wilderness guide. This is one young woman’s story of her own re-emergence, her own discovery, and forgiveness. She’s really open and honest and brutal about things she’s experienced. And it was a good read. 3.5/5

What are you reading?

20 Books to Read in Your 20s: The Ayestria Abridged Edition

I have been asked to put together a list of 20 Books to Read in Your 20s. I feel so honored that someone would ask me my opinion on this, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed at the thought of it. Firstly, I know I can’t speak to all of literary history, so I have chosen to stay with mostly contemporary books. Secondly, I am not done with my 20s, but I’ve been really lucky to read lots of great literature, and I love to pass on good books, especially the ones that stay with you for quite a while. They may not be all the best books, but they stirred emotion in me, either laughter, tears, or thought. Thirdly, I am not the first nor the last to make a list of this kind, so please take what you want from my list and others and just enjoy reading. I hope you enjoy my list and take from it what you can.

The list is in no particular order.

  1. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  4. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg*
  5. Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown*
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  7. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  8. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
  9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  10. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling*
  11. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  12. Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor*
  13. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  14. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  15. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  16. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  17. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  18. My Life in France by Julia Child*
  19. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  20. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Happy reading!

* Non-fiction titles

Book Reviews: Popular Reads

So, I totally fell off the boat when it came to the 30 Day Book Challenge. I mostly got bored, and if I was bored, then surely you would be bored as well. I finally finished all my work traveling last week, and I have gotten back into my reading routine, and want to review all these books, especially because these ones seem to be popular choices.

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant is the third and final book in the Divergent trilogy. I was highly anticipating this book as I ripped through Divergent and Insurgent so quickly. The finale of the series fell a little flat. I think it was a little confusing, and highlighted how complicated a rebellion can be. Where do your loyalties lie? What are the best strategies to serve everyone well? Who becomes a leader? And lastly, what sacrifices are you willing to make? This last book was told from both Tris and Four’s perspectives, which was a little nicer than in the previous books, because I do think Four is a good character. It wasn’t my favorite book of the series, but I thought it ended better than Mockingjay ended The Hunger Games trilogy. 3/5

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I am a little late to this party, as many people have loved and read this book about a young foster girl in WWII Germany. I will confess that I tried to read this book a few years ago, but couldn’t seem to get into it. With a friend’s suggestion, I decided to pick it up again, and I really loved it this time! It reminded me a lot of Number the Stars, one of my favorite childhood books. The story is told from Death’s perspective as he has acquired Liesel Meminger’s life story and feels the need to tell it. Liesel has come to live with the Hubermanns, a couple whose own children have grown, but have room in their hearts and home for one little girl. With her adoptive father, Liesel learns to read, and becomes good friends with one young Rudy Steiner, who takes her on a quite a lot of adventures in their small town. Despite the Nazi propaganda and the requirements to join the Party placed on them, the Hubermanns and the Steiners still stand with integrity and for what they believe in. Their resolve carries them through a good part of the war, but unfortunately, not everyone survives unscathed. At times, the narration is heart-breaking, because Death lets us know what’s coming before it happens, but  it’s told so well. And even though, it’s a young-adult book, the writing and vocabulary are sophisticated and appeal to many adults as well. I’m giving this one a big stamp of approval. 4/5

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Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin writes some great stories for women. It was easy to kick back and relax to Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof. But as a young newlywed, I couldn’t really get behind Love the One You’re With. I know break-ups can be hard and messy, and marriage isn’t really a walk in the park, either, but I didn’t feel the need for them both to collide in this book. Ellen is newly married to Andy, a sweet gentleman who has shown her nothing but kindness and love, and who happens to be her best friend’s brother. But the day she runs into Leo, her most significant ex, a flame for him rekindles that she thought had been extinguished years ago. The book proceeds as an ode to her Andy and her conflicts about her feelings for Leo, and some bad rabbit hole situations that seem a little too deep to dig out of. I’m not that down with infidelity, like at all, so it wasn’t that fun of a read for me, but I will admit that the first hundred pages sucked me in. I blame that one on the plane and the need to read something other than SkyMall. 2/5

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

OMG. LOVE. LOVE! Go read this now! This has been sitting on my shelf for years! And it wasn’t until my recent forays into a mini-book club that I decided to finally read it. Honestly, I almost wish I could erase it all and read it all again for the first time, and I haven’t felt that way about a book in a long time. Two young illusionists are trained to compete with each other and their arena becomes Le Cirque des Reves, the Circus of Dreams, that only holds court at night. It’s not as simple as standing on one stage throwing charms at each other. These two, Marco and Celia, hold the circus together, enhance it, and are always tenuously attached because of its existence. When the two meet and fall in love, they must find a way to outsmart the game, to live their lives together in peace, and to keep the circus going for the adoring fans who have come to lead their lives by the Circus. Basically, it’s like Water for Elephants meets The Prestige meets Pride and Prejudice. If you love any of those stories, you will love The Night Circus. 5/5

As a side note- I have started reading Harry Potter again. I just finished The Sorcerer’s Stone, and I am just so happy and in love with the series all over again. Now if I can get my hands on a warm butterbeer, my winter will be made.

What are you reading this fall?

30 Day Book Challenge Day 4

Day 4- Favorite book of your favorite series

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling

image via bn.com

image via bn.com

This is my favorite book of the series for lots of reasons. It’s the first one where we learn of witches and wizards from other nations. We learn that there are other schools for training witches and wizards. Dobby comes back! I love riddles, so all the clues in the Triwizard Tournament are fun and interesting, not to mention the challenges themselves. And I think that this is the last book where the fun and humor is balanced with the darkness of Voldemort’s reemergence. These are just a few of the reasons I love this one most.

Which is your favorite in the HP series?