TBR Thursday: Magic for Liars

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As most of the books that make it to my TBR list lately, I found out about Magic for Liars by listening to a podcast.  Described as a Harry Potter for adults with a murder mystery twist, I’d like to know who is going to go ahead and take my money because I will not be finishing summer with out this book in my hands.  Really any book that you can describe as Harry-Potter-esque will more than likely be bought by me (and most millennials) without much of a second thought.  And mysteries just make great reads in the summer time, though this may also be a great book for October.  Either way I will be reading this before 2019 ends!

Magic for Liars doesn’t come out until June 4th, which is the bad news.  The good news is my birthday is on the 15th, if anyone wanted to get me anything.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

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Shadow of the Storm: Book Review

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“There will be times when there is nothing you can do but survive, to place one foot after the other into the driving rain.” 
― Connilyn Cossette, Shadow of the Storm

Title:  Shadow of the Storm

Series: Out of Egypt Series

Author:  Connilyn Cossette

Publish Date:  October 18th, 2016

Reading Format:  Kindle Book

Goodreads Summary: 

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

Review:

Connilynn Cossette has become a favorite author of mine over the past few years.  I love that she focuses on Biblical fiction, and her ability to tell a story about women from so long ago that can still feel relevant today.  I have enjoyed her Out of Egypt Series and have finally concluded it after unknowingly reading the books out of order.  (I accidentally read the 3rd book first before knowing it was the final book in the series. Oops!)

Shadow of the Storm is my favorite of the trilogy.  I found Shira’s story to be the most moving to me of the three, but that might have been because I felt like I was reading this book at the exact time I needed to.  You know what I mean?  Have you ever opened a book and knowing this is exactly what you needed for the mood or life moment you are in?  This was definitely it for me!

It had been almost two years since I read the 1st book, Counted with the Stars, in the fall of 2017.  I wasn’t sure if I would remember too much, but it wasn’t too hard to recall Shira and Kiya’s adventures from before.  In this book Shira is the main character this time around and it is set at the base of Mount Sinai, where the Hebrews resided for 1 year following their exodus from Egypt.  Having grown up hearing and reading the biblical stories of Moses and the Israelites exodus to the promise land, I always find Biblical fiction so fascinating.  It seems to feel in the blanks a bit about what daily life would have been like and give more detail to the bigger picture.

Much like the other 2 books, Shadow of the Storm is filled with a lot of action and drama with an overarching love story. The story lines can fill like they follow a specific pattern in each book, but each story feels different and unique without feeling like a been-there-done-that plot line.

If your looking for a historical fiction novel that isn’t set in World War II then I would suggest checking out this series.  As a fellow lover of historical fiction, reading a time period not set between 1936-1945 has helped me not to burnout in my reading life and enter into a book slump.

And as a trigger warning to some who may chose to read this, Shira does have a traumatic event in her past that makes her uncomfortable around men.  You may want to research further before deciding to read if you are sensitive to certain themes.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

April 2019 Wrap Up

Here is what I read in April!

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I didn’t read as much as I have been this year but I’m still on track to make my goal in 2019.  Of the three books I read in April I think my favorite was Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  That was my first time reading one of her novels and I’m sure I’ll continue to read her books over time.

What did you read in April?

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Save the Date Book Review

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Title: Save the Date

Author: Morgan Matson

Publish Date: June 5th, 2018

Reading Format: Hardback

Summary:

Charlie is the youngest of 5 kids. Her mom is a famous comic strip writer and illustrator who is currently about to end her famous comic based off of the family’s life. And her older sister Linnie is getting married at the family home they all grew up in before their parents sell it. Let’s just say the few days leading up the the wedding isn’t as smooth sailing as the Grant family would like it to be, and Charlie is there in the middle of all of it.

Review:

Before I get into my review completely let me start off by saying something a little about myself that will be beneficial to understand my feelings about Save the Date. I am an only child. The only siblings I have are two stepsisters but I by no means do I understand what living in a large family is like. With all that now out of the way, let’s get into it.

Charlie Grant is about to graduate from high school and head to college in the fall. But before her school year wraps up, Linnie, the oldest daughter of the Grant children, is about to get married. She has decided to marry her long time boyfriend in the backyard of the house she grew up in before their parents sell it. This means that all the other siblings, including an estranged brother, and many relatives and friends are all headed to the Grant household for the weekend. As you can imagine all sorts of problems spring up along the way.

One of the biggest hang ups that Charlie has through out the book is that she doesn’t know how to move forward in life. She is stuck in the past and the only thing she is focused on all weekend is that the family will all be together again under one roof. To her it is about recreating how everything use to be and trying to prevent some of the biggest changes coming her way. Such as, her parents choosing to sell the home she has only ever known and her mother ending the comic strip about the families life. She is also internally torn about college. Charlie has technically chosen to stay at home and attend the local college her dad teaches at, even though she has been accepted to may other schools around the country including Northwestern University in Chicago.

While the story line about the wedding is how the book is marketed, the larger story line, or rather the real story line, is about the Grants. Charlie is a little immature for my taste, but she did grow on me by the end of the book. I loved Bill (aka Billiam, not his real name just something one of the characters call him) he seems like the nerdy male lead that has been missing in some of the books I’ve been reading lately. The book very much reminds me of Father of the Bride. So if you like that movie then Save the Date would be a book I would suggest you check out. It would also make a great book to add to your summer reading list.

Rating:

3 out of 5

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Lady Midnight Book Review

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“You belong where you’re loved.” 
― Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight

Title: Lady Midnight

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Dark Artifices

Publish Date: March 8th, 2016

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Review:

At this point I’m all in when it comes to the world of the Shadowhunters and everything Cassandra Clare wants to give us. I’ll probably read every book she publishes, but I’m not so sure that The Dark Artifices series is my favorite. It might actually be my least favorite of the three series so far, however, it was still a 4 star read for me. This is obviously because Cassandra’s writing is quite good. She makes a world unlike any other and her characters will make you fall madly in love with them (aka Jim Carstairs). With all of that said Emma and Julian are a too tragic for me personally. Both are orphaned and carry a heavy weight of losing their parents in such violent ways. Julian is forced to live with the guilt of how his parents died (I won’t spoil how if you haven’t read The Immortal Instrument series yet) and become the unofficial father to his four younger siblings.

Lady Midnight is a heavy book. I’ve already read the second book in the series so I know it only gets heavier down the road. Though I would expect no less from the author. Tragedy is her forte.

At the moment I have not completed the series. I think I’m going to need to take a little time before I jump into Queen of Darkness.

Rating:

4 out of 5

Do you read Cassandra Clare’s books? Which was your favorite series?

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Crazy Rich Asians Book Review

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“You love your children so much, you do everything to try to protect them, and they don’t even appreciate it.” 
― Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians

Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Series: Crazy Rich Asians

Publish Date: June 11th, 2013

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:

Rachel’s life with Nick seems pretty normal until she agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with him and his family. She is unprepared for the world Nick comes from and the extravagant life his family lives.

Review:

I have yet to watch the movie for Crazy Rich Asians. I wanted to see it the moment it came out, but for some reason I have it in my head that I needed to read the book first. At the moment I’m glad I’ve read Crazy Rich Asians first, although I haven’t seen the movie yet so the feeling may be short lived. I think the main reason that I’m glad I read it is that this book is so much more than a girl who discovers her boyfriend’s life is different than she knew it to be. Crazy Rich Asians is about family. About it dynamics and the relationship between parents and their children.

I think my biggest take away is that I don’t know that I would necessarily paint Eleanor (Nick’s mother) as the antagonist of the book. She does some wrong things certainly, but the reasoning isn’t as black and white as it may seem. Nick is after all her only child and she has existed in the Crazy Rich Asian world a lot longer than her son or his girlfriend ever has. Eleanor understands the pressures associated with it and I think that is what clouds her judgement about Nick and Rachel the most. She is only trying to protect her son and make sure he has an amazing life ahead of him. If anything Eleanor ‘s flaws are what is most displayed in this novel, but I would not describe her as an evil villain by any means.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? Did you like it? Or do you plan on reading it? Please let me know in the comments.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

March 2019 Wrap Up

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I originally thought I hadn’t managed to read that much this month, but I would say that 4 books isn’t that bad. Reading Ms. Marvel created a first time experience for me as this was my first comic book. I loved it! Kamala is certainly going down as my new favorite super hero.

I was also able to reread Anne of Green Gables. This is my all time favorite book and I always love revisiting Anne and her world every few years. I hope to go through the entire series that L.M. Montgomery created later this year.

The Heartbreakers was a spontaneous pick in March. I was scrolling through Scribd (the Netflix of ebooks and audiobooks) one day looking for something to read and this caught my eye. My guilty pleasure reads are mindless teen romances. The Heartbreakers fit the bill and was the fastest read for March.

I listened to Five Feet Apart on audio and liked it. I mostly listened to it because it was released as a movie this past month and decided to give it a try. Five Feet Apart is only 5 hours long on audio and I was able to listen to it in an afternoon while I did a few other things.

Comment below what you read in March. What was your favorite and what was your least favorite?

Happy Reading,

Meghan

My Reading Goals for 2019

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely New Year’s Eve and have enjoyed your time with family and friends over this past holiday season. I personally have to work today. Booo! But I thought I would share my 5 goals for my reading life in 2019.

First I would like to achieve my forever goal of reading 50 books in one year. I’ve never gotten beyond 41 in the past 3 years I have done the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I hope to at least get as closely as possible and have been collecting as many books and audio books as I can over the past several weeks.

My second goal is to read from my shelves more, both physically and from my Kindle shelf. I own many books like anyone else does that runs a book blog, but I’m not good at reading what I already own. I like to call it the “Oooh something shiny” problem, where I pick a book I already own only to immediately replace it with a book I find in a store. Thus, something shiny. It’s a costly habit I would very much like to break.

My third goal could seem counter productive to my second one (depending entirely on how you view it), however, I hope to concentrate more on what is on my TBR list already. Now I do tend to add more and more books nearly everyday to it, but the beauty of using something like Goodreads is I can sort my TBR from oldest to newest. Therefore, whatever I place on my list 5 years ago can show up first rather than the three new books I placed there this morning. It should help me to cross off items from my TBR and make more room for new ones.

I want to expand on the genres I read from. If you read my last post, My Top 10 Reads of 2018, then you’ll know that 2018 was the year of the Middle Grade novels. The genre I have chosen for this year is Biographies and Memoirs. I don’t read much nonfiction in general, other than the occasional historical book; but mostly I like my fiction novels because I like to escape when I read. I hope to find some pleasure in reading about other people’s lives and will continue to read them for years to come.

My last goal for 2019 is to find my perfect reading spot. Right now I read in two places, my bed on evenings and weekends and at my desk at work on my lunch break. I would love to have a place perfect for me that feels peaceful with as little distraction as possible. As it stands now, I’m constantly diverted from reading either by my iPad, TV, or the sounds of the office during my lunch hour. I’d even enjoy reading outside more, but it is January and Georgia is at the moment experience consistently rainy weather. So being outside will probably me more reserved for Spring and the later half of Fall.

That is my reading goals for the new year. I’d love to know if you have any, so please share in the comments below!

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Top 10 Reads of 2018

I can’t believe this is the last day of 2018 already! I don’t know what happened to this year, but I feel like it ended faster than any other.

But what better way to recap the year than to list my 10 favorite books I read in 2018. This year I felt like I discovered many different things about myself as a reader, such as: I fell in love with Middle Grade fiction and learned that just because a book or book series is really popular doesn’t mean I will like it.

I feel like I had a pretty good reading year. I reached my reading goal of 40 (after lowering it from 45 when I realized I wasn’t going to make it). I also discovered new podcasts that focus on books and reading, which inevitably expanded my TBR list even further. And I hope all of this will motivate me to reach my reading goal in 2019. So without wasting anymore time here is my favorite reads in 2018.


10.

I found a guilty pleasure read in 2018, or should I say I found many. But the one that sticks out the most to me is Snow in Love. The title is cheesy and the plot is predictable, but I fell in love with YA Romances just as quickly as the main characters do. And who knew that you could find ones specifically focused around the winter season. I thought they only revolved around the summer time but I was clearly wrong. Also reading these at the beginning of the year really gave me a head start in my reading challenge and out of the winter blues.

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9.

This is the first of a few Middle Grade novels to make my top 10. Rick Riordan has written so many books that sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Originally I was going to continue on with the Percy Jackson series, but I read the first book at least seven years ago and was sure I would be lost just picking up where I left off without rereading from the beginning. The Sword of Summer was a kindle deal one day and so I figured that it was destined to be the next book by Riordan that I should read. This book was very funny and I laughed out loud a few times along the way. If you like Norse Mythology and Rick Riordan I would highly suggest this book.

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8.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab is a YA Fantasy/Dystopia novel that I couldn’t put down once I started. It was fast paced and gave me all the feels toward the end. I haven’t read Victoria Schwab before This Savage Song, but I would love to read more novels by her in the future.

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7.

Where do I begin with Pride and Prejudice? First I’ll start with I’m sorry to myself that it took me so long to read it. I love a love story and Pride and Prejudice is one of the all time greatest love stories out there. But now I can say I have read it and as soon as I finished I knew this would be a book that I will read at least once a year going forward.

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6.

If there is any author I have heard the most in 2018 it would be Louise Penny. Up until this year I had never heard of the mystery author, but decided to give in. Still Life is the first in a very long series that centers around a French Canadian Detective named Gamache. I believe that one of her books will always make it on my list to read in the fall.

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5.

Whimsical is the best way I would describe Caraval. It’s how I like my fantasies best. Magical and full of wonder. I enjoyed Caraval so much I pre-ordered the second book, Legendary, in the series at the beginning of 2018. I don’t usually pre-order many things, but I wanted to go back into the world of Caraval as soon as I was able.

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4.

Classics were a new category for me to dive into this past year. There are many I feel I have missed out on as a kid and I’m trying to catch up on most of them now. The Chronicles of Narnia has been at the top of my TBR list for a long time. I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and it was everything I wanted it to be and more. I plan to read them slowly, so I’m taking my time and putting off reading the next book in the series for as long as possible.

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3.

I didn’t get into the whole Hamilton craze. In fact, if a song were to come on from the musical I wouldn’t know a single word from it. Reading a book, however, from the fictionalized point of view from his wife, Eliza Hamilton, is one way to get me interested. My Dear Hamilton is the second book by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. There other novel was America’s First Daughter about Patsy Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter. Each book tells the tale of how America came to be established through the eyes of the women who witnessed it and influenced it. My Dear Hamilton gives me a great appreciation for all that Eliza Hamilton went through to make sure her husband didn’t die in vein.

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2.

Lemons, oh Lemons. The heart of this book is exceptional. I wasn’t expecting it at all when I bought it. I thought it would just be about two kids spending their summer vacation hunting down Bigfoot, but I was so wrong. If there is any book I were to give to everyone it would be Lemons.

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1.

I seem to always find my favorite book each year at the very end. Nevermoor did not disprove that theory. Morrigan Crow was one of, if not my favorite character this year. It is such a fantastic book that even though it is classified as being Middle Grade I believe everyone of all ages would fall love with Nevermoor.

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Well that concludes my final post for 2018. I’m excited to see what books I’ll get my hands on in 2019, and I hope to be able to read much more than I have ever done before. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve. And be careful!

Happy Reading,

Meghan