Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eight Authors I Own The Most Books From

I'm once again linking up with The Broke and The Bookish for TTT. Link up and join along!!!

Eight Authors I Own The Most Books From

1. J.K. Rowling: I bought each of the Harry Potter books as they came out and I even got one early when a friend traveled to London which was a huge deal! I also have all of her newest non-Harry books except for Silkworm (which may not count because of the pen name and whatnot but we all know the truth) which I will acquire soon. 

2. Diana Gabaldon: Outlander is one of my all-time favorite series and while I don't own all of them yet, I will. But they have to be in the same format (with the exception of my signed 20th anniversary edition of Outlander) so I have to wait for them to come out. 

3. Stephen King: I read a lot of King but I'm working my way through his back catalog so I've still got plenty more to read. 

4. Charlaine Harris: I bought the box set of the first 6 or so of the True Blood series. The series has seriously dropped off but I will continue to read/buy them because my OCD takes over and the paperbacks are dirt cheap so I can justify it. 

5. Jodi Picoult:  Who doesn't love a good cry?!?! Own a lot but haven't read half. Working on it. 

6. Nora Roberts: When I need a good, easy, romantic story, Nora is my go-to. Not the best literature that was ever written but Nora is my homegirl. 

7. James Patterson: Once again, if I need a quick, thriller read, James is it. He co-writes a book every month or so so I doubt I'll ever run out. 

8. Nicholas Sparks: James and Nicholas have their formulas for their books that become repetitive if you read too many of them. They have similar themes and characters in a lot of their books and while that annoys me, I can always count on the quality being consistent. 

Ok. I know this isn't an official Top Ten Tuesday since I only came up with 8 but these were the first ones I could definitely think of. I probably own multiples in a series but I haven't read them yet so I didn't count them. A ton of these books are e-books or hand-me-downs but the majority of 1, 2, and 4, do actually sit on my grandfather's bookshelf which I thoroughly enjoy admiring regularly. E-books are convenient but I will never give up my love for real dead-tree books. 

Which authors have you read the most from?

Monday, July 28, 2014


Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4)Title: Inferno
Author: Dan Brown
Series: Robert Langdon #4
Read: July 15, 2014

Summary: In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered. goodreads

Review: I feel like people either really enjoy Brown or they love to hate him. Personally, I fall in the former category. I think I've read all of this books at this point and I've enjoyed the Robert Langdon series. My favorite part of his books is that the conspiracy have a sense of reality to them. Yes, it's a far stretch most of the time, but his information that backs up these crazy stories is legit and it makes it seem like it may possibly happen someday, maybe. (Ok, I know it won't but I like that it could.)

This book just like the Da Vinci Code is set in Italy but this time, we visit my beloved Florence. I have to say, the reason I enjoyed this book so much was because of the setting. I studied abroad in college and after my program was over, my mom, a friend, and I spent a week in Florence/Tuscany and I absolutely fell in love. I enjoyed being able to remember what the various landmarks actually looked like and it helped me imagine the events more vividly. Always a plus!

I also enjoyed that Langdon was a little out of his element in this book after catching a case of amnesia. One of the possible annoying things about Langdon is that he knows everything about everything. I'm sure at times, this can be very cool, but there are also times where it's just enough already. So the fact that there was a huge space of time that he couldn't account for really got to him and made him a little more human rather than the all-knowing historian.

Overall, this book moved quickly and was filled with some great history, art, and conspiracies. If you are a Brown fan, you'll enjoy it. If not, stay away. Duh. But if you've never read Brown, while I wouldn't suggest starting here, if you did, you might find yourself hooked.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Girl You Left Behind

So I've finally read Jojo Moyes and now I understand what all the hype is about and I'm hooked for life! 

The Girl You Left Behind
Title: The Girl You Left Behind

Author: Jojo Moyes
Read: July 12, 2014

Summary: What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most - whatever the cost. goodreads

Review: We start this story in 1916 France. I fell in love with Sophie and her family very quickly which I think is easy to do when you see how smart, tough, and fiesty she is. When she goes toe to toe with the Kommandant in one of the first scenes, how could you not love her? I also really enjoyed a glimpse into life in France during WWI and how their little village was surviving. Just as I was getting attached to the characters, what do you know??? We jump to present day London with a completely new set of characters.

I've seen this type of story line absolutely crumble and fall on numerous occasions but Moyes did a beautiful job of connecting the character of Liv with the reader as much as she did with Sophie. If I had to chose, I couldn't pick one over the other which is a sign of great character development. In dual narratives, sometimes one of the characters gets lost which is very disappointing, but let me tell you, Moyes did not disappoint and I loved how these stories were interwoven and I cared about the outcome of each. Very well written! (Not that she requires my opinion, many better bloggers have given her this credit way before me!)

*Definitely going to explore Moyes' back catalog...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters I would Want with Me on a Deserted Island

Top Ten Five Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island 

1. Jamie Fraser from Outlander: Yes, I love my husband but he isn't a book character so all bets are off and I would pick this ginger over anyone else. Not to mention his sexy, manliness and his swoon-worthy accent (which is obviously the main reason for my pick. That man can ravish a woman with the best of them!), but he was a Highlander. Dude would know how to survive, keep warm, and pass the time ;-)

2. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter: First of all, she knows everything about everything. Second of all, she can do some serious spells that could keep us alive and fight off angry animals. And last but definitely not least, we know the bitch would bring great books. 

3. Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora: Once again, the magic factor plays a part. I'm all about survival, people. But I also like his snark  so our days would be filled with witty banter.

4. Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind: You can say a lot about Scarlett but you have to give her credit for one thing, girl is a survivor. If she could make it through the war with Tara intact, I think she'd help me survive an island. Plus, when we are bored, we can sit in the corner and talk shit like classy southern belles do. 

5. Verity from Code Name Verity: Once again, this is one tough chick. I think she would help me survive anything that came our way and plus, she's an awesome best friend and everyone needs one of those. 

I'm going to stop there because these are the first ones that really jumped out at me and I'm not going to fill up a list with second-tier characters because, who wants to bring second choice people with you to a deserted island?!?! Not this girl. So here are my 5 solid characters!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ya-Ya Sisterhood Double Review

If you read my monthly goal posts (not like in the World Cup. It's over, let the soccer futbol references go) or follow my currently reading shelf, you will know that I have recently read Rebecca Wells' books based on the Ya-Ya sisterhood. I really felt that reading Little Altars Everywhere goes along with ready Divine Secrets so I've lumped them together into one post. I figure I'll mention a little on each book then compare and contrast at the end. Sound good?

Little Altars EverywhereTitle: Little Altars Everywhere

Author: Rebecca Wells
Read: July 5, 2014

Summary: Little Altars Everywhere is a national best-seller, a companion to Rebecca Wells' celebrated novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Originally published in 1992, Little Altars introduces Sidda, Vivi, the rest of the spirited Walker clan, and the indomitable Ya-Yas.

Told in alternating voices of Vivi and her husband, Big Shep, along with Sidda, her siblings Little Shep, Lulu, Baylor, and Cheney and Willetta — the black couple who impact the Walkers' lives in ways they never fully comprehend — Little Altars embraces nearly thirty years of life on the plantation in Thorton, Louisiana, where the cloying air of the bayou and a web of family secrets at once shelter, trap and define an utterly original community of souls.

Who can resist such cadences of Sidda Walker and her flamboyant, secretive mother, ViVi? Here the young Sidda — a precocious reader and an eloquent observer of the fault lines that divide her family — leads us on a mischievous adventures at Our Lady of Divine Compassion parochial school and beyond. A Catholic girl of pristine manners, devotion, and provocative ideas, Sidda is the very essence of childhood joy and sorrow.

In a series of luminous reminiscences, we also hear Little Shep's stories of his eccentric grandmother, Lulu's matter-of-fact account of her shoplifting skills, and Baylor's memories of Vivi and her friends, the Ya-Yas.

Beneath the humor and tight-knit bonds of family and friendship lie the undercurrents of alcoholism, abuse, and violence. The overlapping recollections of how the Walkers' charming life uncoils to convey their heart-breaking confusion are oat once unsettling and familiar. Wells creates an unforgettable portrait of the eccentric cast of characters and exposes their poignant and funny attempts to keep reality at arm's length. Through our laughter we feel their inevitable pain, with a glimmer of hope for forgiveness and healing.

An arresting combination of colloquialism, poetry, and grace, Little Altars Everywhere is an insightful, piercing and unflinching evocation of childhood, a loving tribute to the transformative power of faith, and a thoroughly fresh chronicle of a family that is as haunted as it is blessed. goodreads

Review: I saw the Secrets movie way before I read any of these books so I was really looking forward to learning more about the characters and this book definitely provided that. This was a book told from various points of view that was charming at times, unexpectedly dark at others, and completely heartbreaking as well. I enjoyed getting to see the world through these various characters lives and how events that happened to them shaped the way they grew up and how they interacted with their family. Overall, the book was enjoyable but it didn't wow me as expected and really disappointed me at times, which I will get to later.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Title: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Author: Rebecca Wells
Read: July 12, 2014

Summary: When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she's directed, her mother gets described as a "tap-dancing child abuser." Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for. goodreads

Review: Now, this is the book I was looking for which I didn't find in Little Altars. This is the book for the movie I fell in love with and wanted to read to help me connect better with Sidda and Vivi. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed! This has become one of my very favorite books. I loved the way the story was told through memories of different people and the Ya-Ya scrapbook. The friendship the Ya-Ya's have is something to be coveted and admired. The family ties and tangles that are described in this book are common for the time period (as well as often relevant today) and could have happened to anyone. And my absolute favorite part, Wells nailed the complicated relationship between a mother and a daughter. This book tugged on every one of my heartstrings. I hurt with Sidda, I was confused with Connor, and empathized with Vivi. I loved every part of this book!

Now for my comparisons of the books. I'm going to talk candidly about these books as if you have read them, which may open this to a discussion so I'm going to warn now, 


I think all of the characters were relatively consistent throughout the two books with one main exception: Vivi!!!!! In Little Altars (LAE from here on out) , Vivi was made into a monster and even a child molester. WTF?!?!?!?!?! I so wish I had read Ya-Yas (YY from here on out) first, if only to get that image out of my head. Since I didn't, I chose to ignore it as best I could and focus on the Vivi from Ya-Yas who was extremely flawed but still a human who was trying to do her best. I hated her in LAE. She didn't have any redeeming qualities. She was a drunk who traumatized her children and was a poor mother. 

That being said, in YY, her flaws were out there in the open and while she made bad parenting decisions and was an alcoholic, it was clear that these were coping skills for the traumas she had growing up and she was always trying to do better. She had great parenting moments, even if they happened few and far between, and she is one of the most loyal people there has ever been. The fact that she can have the relationships she has with the Ya-Yas speaks volumes for her and her ability to connect and show love. And I love that the girls love her despite all of her faults and flaws. I thought this character was so well done and perfectly developed that I become pissed the more I think about how butchered she was in LAE. Supposedly there is a third book that I'm obviously going to have to check out because I need more validation for Vivi. 

Please tell me someone has read these books or at least YY, because I need to discuss. Comments, thoughts, feels? Anyone?!?!?!

Friday, July 18, 2014


Gated (Gated, #1)Title: Gated
Author: Amy Christine Parker
Series: Gated #1
Read: July 3, 2014

Summary: A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.

Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike. goodreads

Review: This book came out of the blue and I'm so glad it did! For some reason, I thought this was a dystopian thriller. I'm not sure where I got that idea but it colored the first half of the book for me in a completely different way than if I would have know the whole thing was a crazy cult to begin with. When I was introduced to Lyla and her family, I really thought the "end was coming." The "breathren" were a stretch but I thought it was some sci-fi thriller thing and just went with it. Yes, the community sounded a little cult-ish but it didn't hit me that we were dealing with full-on Jonestown, drink the kool-aid, cult.

When the community is visited by "outsiders," we quickly learn the real world still exists and they don't know the world is coming to an end. As Lyla starts to see some of the cracks in Pioneer's teachings and beliefs, we start to understand how crazy this cult is. And if there is one thing I love, it's crazy cults! I think the psychology behind them is so interesting and the indoctrination is so creative. It's super creepy but I love that stuff.

So not only did I enjoy the premise of the story but I thought the plot was well developed and I enjoyed how we learned more and more that the real world still existed. I wonder what other people think the story is going in and how that affects how they view the various characters and their beliefs. I'm glad I thought this was dystopian because it helped me align with Lyla and I was learning the truth right along with her. Well done and I look forward to the next one!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

It's been a really long time since I've participated in TTT hosted by The Broke and The Bookish but this is a topic I can easily participate in. 

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

Before we begin, I should share that I love my DVR. If I have free time, I'm either reading a book or watching my DVR. I don't believe in live TV and I think commercials are a waste of time. If I'm going to watch TV, I'm going to do it efficiently. That being said, I have a lot of favorite shows I record so here we go (in no particular order)!

1. Scandal
Oh, I love me some Olivia Pope. I binge watched this show the week before my wedding during any down time I could grab (while doing a lovely puzzle) and I was hooked. The plots are scandalous and the characters are flawless (you know, other than all the rules they break and people they kill.) I'm hoping the next season lives up to it's predecessors. Can I get a shout out from fellow gladiators?

2. Nashville
I love the lead female characters in this show not to mention the fabulous country music. Even if you don't understand  like country music, I can guarentee you'll find one on here you can relate to. Some of my favorites are Fade Into You and Black Roses.

3. All of the Real Housewives and all of their spin off shows
I'm a trashy, reality TV junkie!!! And the housewives have my heart. The only one I never got into was Atlanta because I discovered it after a couple of seasons and didn't have all the history which annoyed me. But other than that, give me all things housewives!

4. Southern Charm
Really, Bravo can do no wrong in my eyes but this show was absolutely phenomenal!!! It's set in good ole Charleston, SC and let me tell you, it's a huuuuuge controversy down her and I absolutely love it! Everyone knows somebody on the show or knows somebody who knows somebody on the show. The South has been buzzing since this gem aired and I can't get enough! 

5. The Real World
I may be the only human alive who admits to watches this and I can't get enough. I also love the spin-off The Challenge but I'll just link these two together. This is one of those reality shows that still rings a little realistic because the situations are so ridiculous sometimes. It may be Hills-fake but I still love it. 

6. Orange is the New Black
I haven't read this book yet but it's on my TBR and I'm a little worried it won't compare to this hilarious/touching show. I didn't see this one coming, Netflix but thank you!

7. Keeping up with the Kardashians (how about that throw back pic?)
I told you I love trashy reality TV. Now, I'm not dumb enough to think any part of this is reality but I can't get enough of this crazy fam. That being said, I utterly despise Kim and Kayne and get easily annoyed with Kris. But I'm obsessed with Khloe, Kourtney, Lord Disick, and Rob. They should have a show of just them because they are freaking hilarious together. Love it. Not ashamed. 

Now for some of my favorites that are no longer on TV and break my heart

8.Veronica Mars
Obsessed!!! I'm so sad this show fell off at the end and is no longer on but my life was complete with the movie. I'm in love with Logan Echols (can't explain it, can't even try) and I'm so glad they came back to wrap up him and Veronica's story line. Thanks, Kickstarter!

9. The O.C. 
This was probably the first show that I ever watched religiously. If I missed an episode because my siblings wouldn't change the channel I had a major meltdown. Luckily, in college, watching this show was a weekly event prior to going out so I didn't have to worry about siblings with sub par taste. Love Ryan and Seth!

10. Laguna Beach (The Real O.C.)
This is where my love of reality TV started. What teenage girl didn't want to be friends with LC (and secretly frenemies with Kristen)? And the meta-episode where they were watching The O.C.!??!?! Oh, I couldn't get enough!

There are all my guilty pleasures for all of my readers to see. Are you judging really hard right now? Any you would like to share with me or reminisce on?