#TopTenTuesday: Top Ten Books To Read for Winter

Who thinks that cold weather, tea, maybe a piece of chocolate cake, a fire, and a good book is the perfect combo?? That’s why we’re all probably going to get a lot of reading done this winter. I’m EXCITED!

anigif_enhanced-buzz-5175-1390795268-5This week, we’re sharing the Top Ten Books on My Winter To Be Read List. I’ve got a mixture of new releases as well as some books that have been on my TBR for awhile.

toptentuesday2

NEW RELEASES

fairest2

Fairest: January, 2015

As you read in my list for last week–I’m really excited about Fairest!

red queen

Red Queen: February, 2015

There’s already a lot of talk about Red Queen, so February can’t arrive fast enough. This cover is definitely intriguing.

cold legacy

A Cold Legacy: January, 2015

I loved The Madman’s Daughter and I’m currently reading Her Dark Curiosity. In my opinion, Megan Shepherd can do no wrong, so I’m quite excited about the third book in the trilogy.

last time

The Last Time We Say Goodbye: February, 2015

This story looks like it will be a bit sad, but from what I have read on GoodReads, I think this story, though about loss and grief, will be one I definitely pick up.

winner's crime

The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Curse #2): March, 2015

As you know, this book was on my list for last week, so OF COURSE it’s on my Winter TBR!!

OTHER BOOKS I MUST READ

undertow

Undertow by K.R. Conway

I just met this author last week, and though I don’t always pick up YA paranormal on my own, the reviews on GoodReads as well as what K.R. Conway said about her book, means that I have to read this! The second book is also out, which is fantastic, and the third will be out soon. I’m excited! One reviewer said that this is “Dawson’s Creek meets Jaws and The Goonies…” 

So, that’s a pretty cool combo, wouldn’t you say?

yes

 

twinmaker

Twinmaker by Sean Williams

This is the first in a series, and I own this book, so it’s going on my Winter TBR–especially because the second one is now out. A good science fiction YA is not to be passed up for the winter.

we are not ourselves

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Sure, this is 620 pages, but an epic story of the American Century?? You know how much I LOVE historical fiction, so I really want to tackle this one. Maybe in the midst of a snow storm….

i shall be near paperback-coverI Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

This is another book I own that is historical fiction that I am dying to read, and it’s by an author from Northern California. And that makes me excited. So on the Winter TBR it goes.

green glass house4,203,200_

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

This looks like an enchanting middle grade novel that I just discovered on GoodReads. Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, gave it 5 stars, and I take note of that…

What’s on your Winter TBR?? Which of these do you think I should begin first?? So many choices…it’s almost too much!!

tumblr_muu68xvneP1r20o22o1_500

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—check out their blog and join in the TOP TEN TUESDAY FUN!

Here’s what they have to say about Top Ten Tuesday: “Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :)”

Advertisements

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want to Re-Read

toptentuesday2

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—you can check out their blog here.

This week, it’s the Top Ten Books I Want to Re-Read! Some of these are favorites, and they’re books I will probably be re-reading until kingdom come. They are from a mixture of genres—children’s, young adult, and adult, so enjoy…

anne box set

1. Anne of Green Gables Series

Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books of all times, and I never get tired of L.M. Montgomery’s series about Anne Shirley. There’s always something new I take away with every reading. With the approach of fall, I think I might have to pick up with Anne of Windy Poplars right away though (the fourth in the series).

little house 4,203,200_

2. Little House on the Prairie Series

I have the yellow boxed set of these books and have been planning a re-read FOREVER! It’s time I sat down with Little House in the Big Woods and started.

the-time-travelers-wife image

3. The Time Traveler’s Wife

Another one of my favorites, and a well-loved fantasy I never get tired of.  Definitely easy to pick this as one of my top ten.

symmetry

4. Her Fearful Symmetry

I didn’t like this title as much as Time Traveler’s Wife, and there were very strong reactions to this one, but ever since I finished it, I have known I would need to read it again. There were points in the story I found myself asking: What just happened? Why did she do that? How can this be? In order to get some answers, perhaps a re-read is in order.

castle

5. I Capture the Castle

Another one of my favorites—the book and the film! I adore Dodie Smith’s style in this book. There are laugh aloud moments that no fan of Anne of Green Gables should miss. A classic that will always be on my favorites shelf and is such a fun one to read!

bridge

6. The Invisible Bridge

I love historical fiction, and I read a lot of it. This one, set during WWII, is so good! If you haven’t read it, please check it out! I haven’t re-read it since the first time I finished it, so it’s about time I enjoyed it again. Loved it.

Historiancover

7. The Historian

The suspense and intrigue in this one is fantastic. Some readers loved this, and other didn’t like it so much. I couldn’t put it down and ate the book up over several days. I especially enjoyed the geography covered in the book—it also might make you do a bit of research on Vlad the Impaler. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out.

hitty

8. Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

This was a favorite of mine as a young reader, and a book I’ve been longing to return to again. I have several paperback copies of this one, and it’s definitely a classic of children’s literature that earns a spot in my top ten re-reads.

mutual

9. Our Mutual Friend

I love Charles Dickens, and though there are other novels I’m equally in love with, I have been wanting to read this one again. I have a fond memory of reading this for a 19th century British lit. undergraduate course, and I remember our discussion was so enthralling and my reading of it was so enjoyable, I am definitely ready for a re-read.

woman in white

10. The Woman in White

I admit it. I’m a fan of Wilkie Collins’s sensationalist fiction. I first read The Woman in White while studying in London for the first time, and I remember not leaving my room in South Kensington for a few days. I accidentally stumbled up on the book at a bookstore on Charing Cross Road, picked it up, and have been thankful for this serendipitous book meeting that came my way one London afternoon. I also have the graphic novel of The Woman in White, and never get tired of the story.

Are any of these on your re-read list? How did you come up with your titles? How many of these do you think I’ll get to in the next three months??

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real)

tuscany-nature-italy-2

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—check out their fabulous blog if you haven’t yet.

Here’s what they have to say about Top Ten Tuesday: “Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :)”

toptentuesday2This week, we’re looking at the top ten places I want to visit because of books! That’s a fantastic one for me because many of you know…I LOVE TO TRAVEL! And it is true that I have traveled many places because I first “encountered” that place because of a book. I wanted to stick to places I haven’t been yet (though I know I could have included ones I have!), and this was actually a little difficult for me because I have been lucky enough to travel to so many places…including PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, which is where one of my favorite books of all times, Anne of Green Gables, it set. Needless to say, I had so much fun compiling this list for this week’s #TOPTENTUESDAY.

the-night-circus1

  1. The Night Circus (The Night Circus)

This is completely fictional and I suppose it is a place that “travels” and is not in a set geographical location, but I would love to visit the official “Night Circus.” It would be amazing and enchanting–and all the delicious food described in the book is reason enough to visit.

guernsey

  1. The Island of Guernsey In Britain (The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society)

After reading this book and learning about the history of the island, especially during World War II, I am definitely planning a visit here.

windfallen

  1. The English Coast (Windfallen)

Seaside towns in England?? Though I lived several times in England, I still haven’t explored enough of its coast, so this is on my list for a future upcoming trip. I read this book earlier this year, so especially appreciated Moyes’s descriptions of the seaside.

lost-thing-cover-459x620

4.  The Place where the Lost Thing Ends Up (The Lost Thing)

If you haven’t read this gorgeous picturebook by Australian Author/Illustrator, Shaun Tan, you really should. There is a short animated film of the book. There’s a place where all the “lost things” end up, and it’s an utterly whimsical space that I certainly would want to visit. You’ll notice the space is in utter contrast to the drab world that the protagonist inhabits.

tiger lily

  1. Neverland (Tiger Lily)

Who doesn’t want to travel to Neverland and meet Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, Tink, and Tiger Lily?

enchapril1

  1. Tuscany in an Italian Castle (The Enchanted April)

I have traveled to Italy multiple times but I haven’t explored the Tuscan countryside nor have I stayed in a castle like the one the group stays in in the book, The Enchanted April. This is on my list to do, and those of you that know me know much I love this film and soundtrack!

narnia

  1. Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia)

You better believe I’m putting Narnia on this list because I wouldn’t miss a trip to this extraordinary land for the world!

Historiancover

  1. Romania (The Historian)

I love Central and Eastern Europe, but haven’t yet been to Romania. I read this book years ago, shortly after it came out, and it reminded me that I still need to explore this part of the world. I’ll definitely avoid vampires though.

inkheart

  1. Inkworld (Inkheart)

I would love to visit Inkworld!! Maybe Cornelia Funke and Disney can work on a theme park together…..

all_the_light

10. The Brittany Coast of France (All the Light We Cannot See)

If you haven’t read this new historical novel set during WWII, and you enjoy that kind of fiction, do check this one out. I’ve been to France, but not to Brittany, and not on its coast. The descriptions in this gorgeous book are enough to motivate me to plan a trip.

So many fabulous places to go!! Were any of these on your list? Where are you planning a trip that has been inspired by a book? I love this subject so do share in the comments!!

 

 

A Journey of the Heart: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

“He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simply because the person living it had been doing so for a long time.

Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human” (p. 180-181).

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012)

Suggested age range: 16 and up (Black Swan, 357 pages)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Personal Copy

Genre: Contemporary Realism

harold frye

The Book: Harold Fry’s life is about to change after he receives a letter from an old friend, Queenie Hennessy. This letter informs him that Queenie is dying of cancer, and she writes to say goodbye to Harold. Out he goes to post a response back, but his walk doesn’t end at the mailbox. Instead, he continues walking, intent upon completing his pilgrimage from one end of England to the next, in hopes of saving his friend. What follows is the story of Harold’s journey, but it is much more than a physical journey. As Harold meets a variety of characters and adventures along the way, he reflects on the past, and this in turn affects his present. For just as his interactions affect those he encounters, he is affected by those he meets along the way. The story is a moving narrative of Harold’s journey of the heart–a journey that ends up changing many more than just Harold.

Spirituality in Harold Fry: Harold’s decision to embark on this impossible walk from the south of England to the north certainly reflects his spirituality, for there is hope inside of Harold that one small act can have a significant effect on a situation. Harold doesn’t claim to be religious, but I think his  story is rife with spiritual moments. As he gets deeper into the pilgrimage, his perspective on the people around him becomes deeper and compassionate. Harold experiences significant connectedness with people and animals alike, and this adds another spiritual aspect to the story. There’s too much to discuss in detail here, but let’s just say the topic of spirituality in fiction would be an amazing area of discussion with this book!

Who Should Read This Book: This is a book that will appeal to a wide range of readers. Though Harold is older, he is a protagonist that even young readers would be drawn to, at least I think, from my own reading experience. I wanted to know about his friendship with Queenie—what was it that was so significant about their relationship? Also, what happened between Harold and his son? His journey, which includes flashbacks and reflections on his life, unfolds throughout the narrative, leaving clues here and there so the reader can piece together a fuller picture of the character of Harold Frye. And it’s a character the reader is certainly sad to say goodbye to after the last page is turned.

The Final Word: By all means, go and read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. This novel has received rave reviews from many sources, and I’m surprised it took me so long to read it myself. It was during a recent trip to London, while browsing in a bookstore, that I realized this book was perfect for my life in that moment. I was on a pilgrimage of sorts, of my own, so this story fell into my lap at the perfect time! I read it on planes, on trains, and while listening to live jazz one afternoon outdoors in Jerusalem. It’s a rich story, and one with loads of memorable quotes—so have a notepad ready to jot those down. You’ll definitely want to go back and read them again. Be warned–you may need tissue!

 

Books as Connection in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (2008)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shakker and Annie Barrows (2008)

(The Dial Press, 278 pages)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Personal Copy

Genre: Historical Fiction

guernsey

The Book: It’s 1946, World War II has ended, and Juliet Ashton is seeking ideas for her next book project. When she receives a letter from a man who lives on the British Island, Guernsey, everything changes. Dawsey is simply looking for a book recommendation from Juliet, but when he begins to write about the book club formed during the Nazi occupation of his island, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Juliet realizes this may just be the topic of her next book! She is drawn into the world of Guernsey and the heroic actions its inhabitants took during the war. Told through a series of letters between Juliet, her friends, and the members of society, this novel is a true gem. Illuminating the power of art, compassion, and the ways in which literature brings people together, this book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is one to be savored again and again!

Spirituality in The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society: This story is rich in spiritual themes and says a lot about the human condition and how we as people reach out to others in the darkest of times. I was especially interested in the character of Elizabeth, one of the women living on Guernsey, who does what is right, even in the face of great sacrifice. The way the people of Guernsey connect with one another and even their German occupiers highlights their spirituality—and this is certainly an aspect of the book that would make for rich and satisfying discussions.

Who Should Read This Book: If you enjoy historical fiction, you should read this book. If you want a story that will make you laugh and transport you to Britain during a significant point in its history, you should read this book.

The Final Word: This is my first review of a book for adults (and what does that really mean, anyways?) on the blog, and I am absolutely ecstatic that it’s this one. I bought a used copy of this at a library book sale and had been planning to read it for ages. During a recent holiday, I took the book along with me, and there were times when I just couldn’t put it down. Told through a series of letter, and some telegrams, I appreciated the different voices of the characters that came through their messages. Yes, there are incredibly happy parts and there are also sad parts. One can expect this with a novel that takes place just after World War II. But this book is worth it, in every way. Strongly recommended for reading groups!