Top 5 Wednesday: Books I read before bookish social media

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

August 23rd: Books from Before You Joined ________
— These are some of your favorite books from before you joined the online book community, whether that be booktube, goodreads, blogs, bookstagram, twitter, tumblr, etc. 

 

This was one of those topics I knew was going to be sooo easy, but when I started to come up with my list, every book I read before 2010 (I joined goodreads in 2010, and that was probably about the time I started checking out book blogs and the like, too) vanished from my head :/

But I finally came up with 5, so, here we go…


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The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath–
I can’t remember exactly when I read this, but it was definitely before I joined goodreads. I think I read it sometime between age 16 & 20, and I’m really looking forward to re-reading it sometime soon(ish).

 

 

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Digital Fortress by Dan Brown– Ok, so I really could have listed any of the four books that came before The Lost Symbol because I read them in high school, but I went with Digital Fortress because I remember really loving it at the time and enjoying people saying things like, “Wait, the Da Vinci Code guy wrote other books?”

 

 

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The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares– I remember seeing the first book around when I was in middle school, but I didn’t actually get to start the series until high school when the nearest library finally got the first two books. I absolutely loved this series. So many emotions 😥

 

 

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White Oleander by Janet Fitch– I read this when I was 13-15 and was head over heels about it. I barely remember much of it now, but I remember it being dark, depressing, and very well-written. (I really need to re-read this a much more critical adult and see how I feel about it.)

 

 

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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray– This. Trilogy. ❤ I still haven’t encountered many people (online or off) who’ve read it, but I became obsessed after the first book and I’ve probably read it at least half a dozen times. It’s just awesome and I recommend it all the time.

 


What are some of your favorite books from before you found the bookish corners of the internet?

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Poetry Tuesday: August 22nd

My internet is up again, sort of, finally, so I’m trying to work on blogs posts for this week.

I’m still not sure if Poetry Tuesday is going to be a regular thing or if I’ll do away with it at some point, but, for now…

 

5 A.M.

I’ve got last night’s thumbprints
under my eyes–
the evidence of another fight
I lost.

There’s dog hair in my coffee–
third time this week–
but the strongest brew
isn’t enough to hold me up
on its own right now.

The clock is slow again,
and I think,
It’s too bad I can’t fix
my own slow-moving parts
with a new battery
and turn of a dial,
to set things right,
to be good as new again.

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ISPs suck; I’m a cat whisperer: an update

My home internet has been down since sometime between 10am and 5pm Saturday, so my posting schedule is not happening this week 😡 My ISP is sooo great.

In other non-bookish news, I’m a cat mom. Again. We found two abandoned (or lost) kittens late last week. They’re somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks old, so they need a lot of care. Thankfully I’ve done this a few times over the last 12 years, so I know the drill. They’d been crying for over 24 hours when we found the first one and we thought the second one had died because we couldn’t hear it for a while. Finally, one night I heard it clear enough to get an idea of where it was and husband found it. Both of them pretty much instantly attached to me and they’re doing great so far.

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Harry Potter Moment of the Week: August 17th

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This weekly meme was created by Uncorked Thoughts and is now hosted by Lunar Rainbows.

The topic this week is: Favorite Hogwarts Founder. Or whichever one fascinates you the most.


I’m stepping out of my house (Ravenclaw) for this one and going with Helga Hufflepuff.

She wanted to let anyone into Hogwarts, regardless of their bloodline and (if I remember correctly) didn’t really worry about any specific traits for people in her house, with the exception of people willing to work hard. The Sorting Hat also describes ‘puffs as “just and loyal,” so I feel like she made her house (basically) the “safe” house. Not easy, but the house where you could feel safe because you could just be you, and others would have your back. Or something like that.

Anyway, I feel like Helga Hufflepuff didn’t get enough attention in the books, and I would love to read an in depth biography of all the founders, but I’m most curious about her.


Which one would you pick?

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Top 5 Wednesday: August 16th

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

August 16th: Characters’ Fitness Routines You Want
— This can be interpreted a bunch of different ways! Fitness comes in many different packages. This can be about characters who are super fast, strong, agile, good at dancing, good at climbing, athletes, or foodies! Whatever it means to you. This is inspired by those routines you see in magazines for actors, but with more of an open mind and less body shaming 🙂

 

I really thought this would be an easy topic, but it turned out to be a bit of a challenge. I ended up going with 4 book characters, and one TV show character. In no particular order…


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George or Fred Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling– Why? Because I always wanted to be a Beater. I knew I’d suck as a Seeker, probably as a Keeper, and I don’t fancy being a Chaser (although it would be my second choice of positions if I got to try out for Quidditch). But being a Beater? Heck yeah!

 

 

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Inej Ghafa from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo– I have all the grace of a drunken hippo at this point, but I’d love to be able to move like Inej. (I actually used to be stealthy, and an agile, balance beam loving, climb ALL the things! kind of kid, but then I broke stuff and now I’m an old lady.) Plus, all the knives!

 

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Delilah Bard from the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab– I’m not even sure what to say about this one because there’s several aspects to Lila and her physical abilities. Plus, again, knives! (Apparently I have a thing for characters with knives, idk.)

 

 

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Almost anyone from Camp Half Blood from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan– Learning to fight, chariot races, capture the flag, and so much more! (I would die so fast probably.)

 

 

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Sookie St. James from Gilmore Girls– Does constant bustling around a busy professional kitchen, wielding cast iron skillets, whipping things by hand, etc. count for fitness? I love to cook and I would love to be on Sookie’s level. Plus, even though Michel will never admit it, she kicked his ass at arm wrestling.

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Poetry Tuesday: August 15th

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Ho-ly craaaap :O It’s been two freaking months since I did a Poetry Tuesday. I was never sure if I wanted to do it weekly, anyway, but eesh. I thought I’d at least put out one a month :/

This week, I’ve been wanting to write out my feelings about the awful things happening (threat of nuclear war, Charlottesville, etc.), but I just can’t. So, I tackled a much smaller issue that’s been bothering me for a while.

 

We’re just smashing keyboards

You
don’t know
what
the poet
was thinking,
feeling,
intending,
or
the message
they
were sending
when
they broke
those
l i n e s.

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Must Read Mondays: August 14th

must-read-mondays

Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.


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cover; links to goodreads

When I read it: July 2014 and June 2016

Genres: YA; contemporary; romance

Recommended for: This is probably  the only contemporary I’ve liked enough to recommend to lots of people. I’d suggest it for older high school/early college students, especially if you have anxiety and/or are into things like fan fiction.

Trigger warnings: alcoholism/alcohol abuse (I think); mental illness. Let me know if I should add to this, please!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


What it’s about:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


Eeeek, I’m so late posting this!

I’m not a great lover of contemporaries, so finding one that I actually adored was kind of a surprise for me. I got the Kindle edition of this back in ’14 because it was on sale and I’d never read any of Rainbow Rowell’s books before, and ended up loving it so much I bought the special edition hardcover.

Even though I don’t have a twin and I didn’t have the typical college experience, I related to this book (especially Cath) so much, and I wish this book had been out when I was younger.

Now, I recommend this a lot to people, even people who–like me–don’t really get into contemporary novels ever/very often.

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First Lines Fridays: August 11th

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!

 


Fairies will not be rushed. I know this now; know I must be patient. 


 

 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

 

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The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

 

32600721What it’s about:

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


This was another goodreads giveaway win for me, and I’m so excited! I’ve always been fascinated by the Cottingley fairies story, and I’ve read a lot about it online over the years.

(I was actually supposed to start this last month and review it for release day on the 1st of August, but the unexpected ER visit and surgery kind of threw off my reading schedule :/ )

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Book Review: Escapism: Words + Photos by Candice Lee

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cover; links to goodreads

Genres: poetry; photography

Why I read it: I won a copy in a goodreads giveaway. Also, poetry.

Who I’d recommend it to: This one is tough, but I would probably recommend it to someone going through a breakup.

 

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

 

 


What it’s about:

This is a story about love and loss. This full-color book is a collection of poems and landscape photographs–all written, shot, and arranged by the author. 
Composed in the style of a memoir, she shares her experiences through words and photos. This window into her emotions reveals the dark side of love as it narrates the journey through relationships, friendships, it’s-complicated-ships, and self-identity. But really, it’s a story about finding beauty in pain through growth.

Note from the author:
“Everybody hurts. But not everyone is willing to share their pain from weak moments. It’s difficult to put it all out there. I believe, these are the moments that mark beginnings of transformation. I hope this book helps people feel a little less lonely and a little more inspired. We all feel it.”


Review:

I love the photography in this book! The cover caught my eye first because it’s basically a minimalist cover, but it’s a photograph, and I think it’s perfect for this collection of poetry. It set the tone and fit nicely. Most of the photographs are in full color, which was a nice surprise. Photography–especially nature photography, which is what’s in this book–is kind of a passion of mine.

The poetry itself didn’t blow me away or really make me feel like I’d hoped it would. I liked a good chunk of it, and even loved a couple of poems, but I think I would have gotten more out of this if I’d had it after a breakup.

I hate reviewing poetry like this because you can tell it’s so personal to the poet, but, because it’s so personal, not all if it will work for everyone else. I know from my own piles of old notebooks full of poetry that post-breakup poetry can get repetitive (trying to get your feelings out and heal can take a while, and a lot of revisiting certain topics/themes/ideas), and this collection had some repetition that eventually caused my interest to wane a little.

Reading this felt like reading things the poet had written to the people who caused the heartache, which, in a way, I think it was. But it felt so intimate, almost like I was peeking into a diary. The poetry wasn’t general, exploring heartbreak broadly, but quite specific. I think that’s why I had such a difficult time relating to it.

So, I did like this poetry book, but I was definitely not the target audience. Still, I did highlight a few parts that spoke to me. The photographs were beautiful, and I loved them. I can see myself recommending this collection to someone still dealing with a broken heart, or trying to move on from a relationship.

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Top 5 Wednesday: 2nd Book Was the Best

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

August 9th: Second Book is Best
–We’ve talked about series that went downhill, and series that are worth it, but which series were best in the middle?

 

Ugh, I almost didn’t even do this topic because I couldn’t think of any books. I’m not 100% sure I’m happy with my choices, but oh well. In no particular order…


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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo– Ok, I gave both books in this duology 5/5 stars, but I think I enjoyed Crooked Kingdom just a tiny bit more. (My review of both books here)

 

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins– I read this trilogy ages ago, so I actually don’t remember too much about each book, but I do remember not totally loving Mockingjay, and on goodreads I said I liked this better than The Hunger Games, so…

 

 

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New Moon by Stephenie Meyers– A friend convinced me to read the Twilight Saga and I never understood the appeal. I pretty much hated everything about the whole series (sorry, fans!), but I gave this one 2/5 stars instead of 1/5 stars like the rest. (Actually, I think The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was the best book related to this series.)

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Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater– I think I gave this entire series 5/5 stars, but this one was my actual favorite. I loved it, and if I could only re-read one book in the series, I’d pick this one.

 

 

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 (vol. 2): No Future for You
by Brian K. Vaughan & Joss Whedon (illustrated by Georges Jeanty & Cliff Richards)– Ok, this one might be cheating because I stopped reading this series after volume 2. I just wasn’t loving it, and I heard really bad things about later volumes. But, I liked this one more than volume 1, so here we are.

 


Are there any middle books you liked best?

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