Adult · Books · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade · Young Adult

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Fall Covers/Themes

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is another fun one: Ten Books with Fall Covers/Themes. Since I am obsessed with all things Halloween at the moment, all I can say in response to this week’s theme is YAY.

Don’t worry, there is nothing pertaining to pumpkin spice anything on this list.

Top Ten Books with Fall Covers/Themes

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Cemeteries are one of my favorite places to visit this time of year.

To Kill a Mockingburd by Harper Lee – I confess that I dislike this book, but the cover of this particular version feels very Fall-y to me with with colors and the tree.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackon – Creepy family and a black cat. Perfect for a Halloween read!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – The colors on this one reminds me of the leaves changing from green to orange to brown. (Obviously, the themes of the series itself are perfectly suited for Fall reading.)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving – I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory.

The Books of Elsewhere series by Jaqueline West – The series is an appropriate one as most of it takes place during Fall and around Halloween. Pus, magic, talking cats, witches, people trapped in paintings…

The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass – I actually know nothing about this book, but I’ve seen it pop up on the blogosphere and the cover is appropriate.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I love the creepy covers on these books.

Dracula by Bram Stoker – There’s no such thing as October without vampires.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – This one is a cozy, gothic-mystery to curl up with in the evenings.

Books · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade

Top Ten Tuesday: Books From the 90s

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and The Bookish) is a throwback freebie. Because you can never have too much of a good thing, I would like to pay homage to some of my favorite books that I read in the 90s. (Keep in mind that I was a youngin’ in the 90s and that my tastes weren’t quite as refined as they are now.)

*Straps on platform shoes* Ready? Here we go.

Top Ten Books From the 90s

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – As one of my favorite book series of all time, obviously this one is going to be at the top of the list.

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews – This one came out several years prior to the 90s, but I didn’t discover it until sometime in middle school. A big old mansion, mean grandmother, kids locked in the attic, brother-sister incest. This one is totally appropriate for kids of all ages. 😛

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney – This one was another favorite in middle school. The made-for-tv movie wasn’t quite as good though.

The Prom Queen (Fear Street)  and The Halloween Party (Fear Street) by R.L. Stine – I was a big fan of the Fear Street books around 5-6th grade. I’m pretty sure I read the entire series. These are just a couple of the ones I still remember reading.

Kristy’s Great Idea (Babysitter’s Club) by Ann M. Martin – Because what girl in the 90s didn’t want to be part of the babysitter’s club!?

Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar – Cute and funny. I would still recommend these to kids today.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Such a classic. I still love this one.

The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka – Goofy spins on classic fairy tales. This one always made me chuckle.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – Chocolate. Oompa Loompas. Enough said.

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What were some of your favorite books that you read in the 90s? 

 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

Book Review: Wendy Darling (Shadow)

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Wendy finds herself once again in Neverland, back in the arms of the maniacal Peter Pan. This time, however, things are different. No longer under the influence of Peter’s illusions, she’s there for one reason only: To stop him.

Working with Peter’s arch-enemy, Captain Hook, Wendy has some dangerous and seemingly impossible tasks ahead of her. It’s a cruel game she’s playing, complete with pirates, mermaids, fairies, and ancient evils as old as Neverland itself. Even more complicated is the fact that Booth, her childhood sweetheart, the boy she actually loves, gets captured and thrown in the mix. 

War has arrived. Can Wendy stop it in time to save the lives of her brothers, Booth, and everyone in Neverland? 

First and foremost, I’m going to start this review with a confession: I burst into tears upon finishing this book. It was all just so perfect and so beautiful. 😩 I adored this series so much that I honestly never wanted it to end.

At first, I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not Booth’s appearance would enhance the story. Surprisingly, it did. I really liked Booth’s character and his relationship with Wendy, plus the maturity that it added to the story. (This one may not be appropriate for younger readers.)

All of the relationships throughout this story are wonderfully complex. Most interesting are Peter’s relationships with Tink and the Lost Boys. I feel like Oakes really made a statement here in showcasing how dangerous relationships can get when you became enamored with the wrong type of person. Peter’s mind games are sick and twisted, yet he’s charismatic enough that everyone falls in love with him. At times, you forget that you’re even reading about a “boy” and not some abusive cult leader.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Wendy visits the Forsaken Garden. The imagery in this scene is so real and downright eerie that it sent shivers up my spine.

I was worried about the ending of the story, as there is always the chance of re-tellings to get all “fairy tale” on you. I didn’t feel like that was the case here. I felt like the author created the perfect ending to this truly amazing story. Whether you’re a fan of re-tellings or not, I highly recommend this series.

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction

Book Review: Wendy Darling (Seas)

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

After her near brush with death at the hands of Peter Pan, Wendy finds herself aboard the ‘Sudden Night,’ the pirate ship sailed by the notorious Captain Hook. Aboard the ship, Wendy finds herself in situations she never expected. She rubs elbows with mutinous pirates, harlots, mermaids, and Indian princesses. She becomes part of the elaborate game between Peter and Hook, only this time around Wendy is in cahoots with Hook. Worried about both of her brothers’ safety and the fate of Neverland, Wendy has to figure out a way to stop Peter and get back home before it’s too late. 

This was a fantastic sequel to the first book in the Wendy Darling series. I love the flow of Oake’s writing style and the way she makes you feel like you’re there right alongside the characters. I think this is technically a YA book, but it doesn’t feel like it because the characters and the subject matter are so mature.

I love how different this version of Peter Pan is from the original, child-friendly Disney version. In Oake’s twisted spin Peter is a sadistic, manipulative leader, obsessed with exerting control and power over everyone around him. His relationship with the Lost Boys, Tink, and Wendy are cruel and abusive. A far cry from the fun-loving boy who refused to grow up in the original tale.

It was interesting to see how Wendy’s relationship with the pirates, particularly Hook, develops throughout the story. I found the bond between her and Hook far more compelling than the one between her and Peter in the first book. It was also interesting to see how Wendy’s character evolves throughout the book and how much maturing she does, due to all the harsh things she’s seen and terrible choices she has to make.

I would love to say more about the particular details and events of this book that I enjoyed, but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. I am looking forward to reading the next book, which should be arriving tomorrow. (I’m not stalking the tracking page or anything…)

 

Books · Classics · Favorites · Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday: Back to School Edition

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is “Back to School.” There are some different variations of this going around: Favorite Books Read in Middle School, Books That Should Be Required in School, Classics I Read in High School, etc. I think my list of books that I read in school that I disliked far surpasses the number ten, so I’m going to go with an easier option here.

Some of these books are still favorites of mine to this day. Others I haven’t read since high school, but they were enjoyable at the time, especially compared to some of the other books I was forced to read. (Have any of you read Tess of the D’Urbervilles? UGH.)

Top Ten Books I Read In High School

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 

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Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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Night by Elie Wiesel

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Beowulf

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Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton

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Inferno by Dante Alighieri

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The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

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Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Adult · Books · Favorites · Fiction · Mystery

Kiersten’s Favorites: Pt 3

We had a bit of a rough night last night. After getting home from work I had to rush my dog to the emergency vet. To make a long story short, his arthritis was causing him a significant amount of pain. 😥 Thankfully, he’s doing a bit better today now that his meds have kicked in. (I, however, am a tired mess, as I got up practically every hour to check on him and make sure he was okay.)

*yawns*

I could use some happiness today, so I am going to do another favorites post, as it’s been a while. (Feel free to check out Part 1 and Part 2.)

  1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – I’ve been in love with Rebecca since I read it back in high school for summer reading. In a way, it reminds me of another favorite, Jane Eyre, in that it’s a filled with gothic themes of suspense, mystery, and romance. I used to have dreams about living in Manderlay.
  2. The Other Boelyn Girl by Philippa Gregory –  This book was the one that made me so obsessed with historical fiction throughout college. (Prior to that I assumed that historical fiction novels would be about as exciting as reading a history textbook.) The descriptive detail of the clothing (omg, the clothing!), the scenery, and the people of the court were enough to keep me hooked. Philippa Gregory really knows how to take history and really make it come to life.
  3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – Seriously, who didn’t love this book? It’s short, but kept me interested from the very first page. It’s basically Clue in book form.
  4. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – Part historical fiction, part dark mystery, this book has the whole package. It’s basically an updated, exotic version of Dracula with more history thrown in.

 

 

Blogging · Books · Favorites · Fiction · Uncategorized

Shelf Evolution

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While perusing my beloved bookshelves last night I noticed how many different kinds of books I’ve collected over the years. The majority of them are either fantasy or classic literature, but there’s a smattering of everything else mixed in. Some are books that I will continue to read over and over again; others I will probably never revisit, even though I enjoyed them at one time.

I love seeing diversity on a person’s bookshelves because it gives you a glimpse into how they’ve changed over time. My own shelves are a reflection of this.

I enjoyed the usual suspects as a young girl: Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Amelia Bedelia, The Berenstain Bears, Fairy Tales (the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen), Roald Dahl…to name a few.

By late elementary/early middle school I was interested in mystery/horror type books. That was when I discovered R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series, Face on the Milk Carton, and Flowers in the Attic. My mother was a fan of Sandra Brown and Mary Higgins Clark at the time, so I read whatever books were laying around the house. Middle school was also when I first discovered the Harry Potter books.

I didn’t really read much “young adult” in high school. Truthfully, I don’t even remember there being a YA section at the bookstore back then. (Wow, that sentence makes me sound like an old fart, doesn’t it?) There probably was one somewhere, but I never really looked for it. I had a more varied taste in literature by this time, which school probably influenced somewhat. That was when I started reading classic novels, Shakespeare, and Poe. I also read whatever the big sellers were at the time – James Patterson, Mitch Albom, Nicholas Sparks, and Dan Brown. (All of which make me cringe now.)

College was when my tastes started leaning towards what they are now. I fell in love with historical fiction and fantasy. (My exposure to fantasy had been limited prior to this. Had I discovered the genre earlier I believe I would have been hooked.) I rediscovered fairy tales and the modern re-tellings of them, which over the past 2-3 years has opened my eyes to the world of young adult literature. Authors like Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Brooks, Sarah Maas, and Colleen Oakes have found their way onto my shelves and I know they won’t be leaving any time soon.

Some people keep the same tastes in books throughout their lives. Then there are people whose tastes are constantly changing. To me, it seems pretty indicative of what we are going through in our lives at the time. I used to read mysteries because I was bored with life and was looking for more thrill/excitement. Historical fiction helped teach me about the world during a time when I was looking for more culture. (I didn’t have the money to travel.) Now, with all the ups and down I’ve been experiencing the past few years, fantasy helps me escape from reality when it’s just too heavy.

Even though my preferences have changed over the years, one thing has always remained constant: Books have been there for me, as a friend and form of therapy when I’ve needed it. Sometimes, even when I don’t realize I need it.

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How have your book preferences changed over the years?