Top Ten Strong Female Characters

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Girl. Each week there is a different topic. This week’s topic is a character freebie so I decided to go with Strong Female Characters. Check out the links to go to the first book in each series (except for Queen of Shadows and Outlander) to read more about these characters. Queen of Shadows and Dragonfly in Amber are the first books that my selected character appears in those series.

184905851800649626114463The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)29774026. sy475

22866528962906. sy475 23395680. sy475 84901125364


Who are some of your favorite strong female characters?”

Top Ten Childhood Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these posts but I have so many anticipated releases for the rest of the year that this one came pretty easy to me. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Girl. Each week there is a different topic. This week’s topic is Childhood Favorites.

Picture_20190702_192103350.jpg

I love this week’s topic. I devoured books when I was a child, even more than I do now. I loved going to the library to pick out new books. And over the years I’ve gradually been collecting the books I loved to read when I was growing up. Here is a stack of ten of my favorite books that I read when I was growing up.

314232 814060. sy475 39988 29449040. sx318

  • Dove and Sword by Nancy Garden – This was one of my absolute favorites, in case you couldn’t tell from how worn the spine is haha. I think this was one of my first purchases from the Scholastic Book Fair. I actually found a hardcover copy at Half Price Books a few years ago so I have that as my back up if/when this copy falls apart. This book is about Joan of Arc from the perspective of a childhood friend who went along on Joan’s journey. I think I read it at least 4 times.
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – This entire series holds a special place in my heart as well as the movies. I feel such a kinship with Anne Shirley and love her story so much.
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl – This one is kind of representative of several of Roald Dahl’s books, but this one is definitely my favorite one that he wrote.
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – This series also holds a special place in my heart. I’ve also been able to visit at least one of the places where Laura Ingalls lived.

84981 1182881 1192774. sy475 6586951

  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt – I’ve always loved this story and really need to find a copy that doesn’t have the movie cover on it. I liked the movie for what it was but I just generally don’t like movie cover editions of books.
  • Save Queen of Sheba by Louise Moeri – This was a book I first read with my 4th grade class and loved. I still remember parts of it pretty vividly although I haven’t read it in a long time.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – Everyone loves The Giver, and while I enjoyed it too, it’s not my favorite she’s written. This book is. I’ve lost count of how many times I read this book and count it as one of the reasons why I love WWII history so much.
  • Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech – I loved a lot of her books – Walk Two Moons, Chasing Redbird – but this one was probably my favorite. And totally funny story but since we were so young, my friends and I pronounced “Chaos” as “Ch-ouse” haha. We still get a kick out of it when we talk about that book.

472286 20981075

  • A Journey to the New World  by Kathryn Lasky – This one is representing the entire Dear America series. I freaking loved these books so much and couldn’t get enough of them. I still am working on collecting as many as I can get my hands on.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – One of my all time favorite classics. I always identified most with Jo with a splash of the other three sisters.

Also, shout out to some other books I loved while I was growing up – Goosebumps, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Sideways Stories From Wayside School, and the Boxcar Children.

What were some of your favorite childhood reads?

Month In Review: June 2019

monthinreview

How is June over already?! This whole year is going way too fast. I haven’t had as much time for reading this year but I’m hoping to fit in more during the second half of the year than I did the first. This month I started reading ARCs again which is throwing my TBR a little bit but the review copies I read were pretty great so I’m glad I started fitting them in again. I also finally finished my 3rd read through of The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon which is book 5 of the Outlander series. Most of the books I read in June were review copies actually. In addition to reading some really good books this month, I also had a pretty great book haul. I’m really excited to read all of the books that I got. I’m not sure when I’ll read them because… never ending TBR… but they will be read at some point this year.

  • June 2019 Books Read: 6
  • 2019 Books Read: 51
  • June 2019 Pages Read: 3,443
  • 2019 Pages Read: 19,973

Books Read In June

  • Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
  • We Were Killers Once by Becky Masterman (eARC)
  • Everything by Jennifer Weiner (eARC)
  • The Summer Country by Lauren Willig (review copy)
  • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (re-read)
  • Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin (eARC)

Picture_20190628_211841321.jpg

Book Haul

  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
  • Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • The Darkest Time of Night by Jeffrey Finley
  • The Dark Above by Jeffrey Finley
  • DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

And now for a little check-in for my year-to-date stats. I like to keep track of all kinds of different things including genre and format. So far this year my most read genre is historical fiction which is making up 32% of the books I’ve read so far this year. The past few years I’ve been pretty heavy on the YA books but this year 88% of the books I’ve read so far have been adult books. On average I read 109 pages every day which is pretty great considering there are days I don’t read at all. I’m really looking forward to seeing how those numbers change as we go through the rest of the year.

What books did you read in June? Any new favorites or books you’d like to recommend?

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

33391463. sy475 Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

Published May 15, 2018 by Ballantine Books

368 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Carl Louis Feldman is an old man who was once a celebrated photographer. That was before he was tried for the murder of a young woman and acquitted. before his admission to a care home for dementia. Now his daughter has come to see him, to take him on a trip. Only she’s not his daughter and, if she has her way, he’s not coming back . . .

Because Carl’s past has finally caught up with him. The young woman driving the car is convinced her passenger is guilty, and that he’s killed, other young women. Including her sister Rachel. Now they’re following the trail of his photographs, his clues, his alleged crimes. To see if he remembers any of it. Confesses to any of it. To discover what really happened to Rachel. Has Carl truly forgotten what he did or is he just pretending? Perhaps he’s guilty of nothing and she’s the liar. Either way in driving him into the Texan wilderness she’s taking a terrible risk. For if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s alone in the most dangerous place of all . . .

Review: So it took me a little while to get around to reading this one but better late than never, right? I really loved this author’s other book Black-Eyed Susans so was really looking forward to reading this one. I really love the whole vigilante kind of journey so this seemed like it was going to be great. While it did have it’s good moments that totally weirded me out like a good mystery should, the rest of it was a little bland. I felt like there was too much that Grace was internalizing and it got a little old after awhile. The story felt like it had a fast pace and I guess it did timeline-wise but it was still just slow for me. I did really enjoy how the author included photos that fit in with the story. That was a nice touch. I kind of went back and forth on what to rate this one but I’m going to go with a 3 because it did have it’s moments that got to me.

3 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig

41454042The Summer Country by Lauren Willig

Published June 4, 2019 by William Morrow

480 Pages

Goodreads Summary: The New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping, dramatic Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

1854. From Bristol to Barbados. . . .

Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous merchant clan—merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheiritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned.

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins? Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills—so eager that they invite Emily and her cousins to stay with them indefinitely? Emily finds herself bewitched by the beauty of the island even as she’s drawn into the personalities and politics of forty years before: a tangled history of clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

When family secrets begin to unravel and the harsh truth of history becomes more and more plain, Emily must challenge everything she thought she knew about her family, their legacy . . . and herself.

Review: I read and really enjoyed Lauren Willig’s book The English Wife last year so I was excited that I got a review copy of her most recent novel, The Summer Country, from the publisher for review. I’ve really been in the mood for historical fiction this year so it came at the perfect time too. The book alternates between 1854 and 1812-1816. Emily arrives in Barbados in 1854 to claim the plantation her grandfather left her. While there, she meets Mrs. Davenant who grew up and owns the neighboring plantation. As Emily gets the lay of the land and learns more about her plantation, Peverills, we as readers learn more about the past and who Emily really is. As the story continues, more and more is revealed that tie the past in with Emily’s present. There were a few twists that I did not see coming but completely made the story great. The writing was incredibly vivid which made it really easy to envision everything from the scenery to the characters to the major events that occurred. There were some really great characters in this book. I loved the banter between Emily and Nathaniel. My heart broke for Charles and Jenny. Because of the setting and time, you may have already guessed but I will say that this book does involve slavery so be prepared for that. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and will definitely be on the lookout to read more from Lauren Willig in the future.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.