Top Ten Books That Have Been on My Shelf…Since Before I Started Blogging

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, by Broke and the Bookish, dirt’s coming out, and some bookish secrets exposed. While I haven’t been blogging very long, many of the books below have been on my shelves since college or before and I STILL haven’t read them! I really do intend on reading them – some I’ve even purchased and repurchased (multiple times) after moving clean-outs. Perhaps next year’s reading challenge should be more shelf – focused?


Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas

This is NOT going to be a list of classic novels, but this lesser known novel by Dumas has been on my TBR since High School. HIGH SCHOOL! I first read The Three Musketeers during my freshman year and have reread the beloved story several times since, but each time I pick up the sequel, something always comes up.


Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

McCann’s ambitious novel is a story of the century, weaving together disparate tales of city life, full of promise and desperation, connected by the hopeful inspiration felt by all after Philippe Petite’s daring tight rope walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. After watching The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I absolutely need to read this book!


Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver

I only just realized this book existed a couple years ago, and it’s been on my TBR (and shelf) ever since. After reading The Bean Trees in High School, I’d love to see where life takes Taylor and Turtle next.


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

While known for its humor, Catch-22 is also well known for its reading difficulty – most reviewers give up about a third of the way in. I really want to like it, but I’m nervous I might be among the many on this one…. which is why it’s still on the TBR.


Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie

An amazing biography on one of the most amazing women of history – one day I’ll finally get through its 600 plus pages.


Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

I was first introduced to the genius of Tom Robbins in college.Ever since, I’ve limited myself to one new read a year (you only get a first reading once!). I think this one’s next!

White Oleander by Janet Fitch 
and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Both have been on my TBR since High School….and I’ve completely lost count of how many times I’ve repurchased copies of both…. One day!

Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani
and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I bought a Kindle version of both…and then quit reading from Kindle for some time. Now that I’ve got it back out, I’m ready to read these beautiful and harrowing tales.

What have you still not read?


Top Ten Books Set at a Boarding School

With school quickly approaching and my exponential love for all things YA, of course my pick for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday setting theme, brought to you by Broke and the Bookish, is boarding school! I’ve started a few new series recently, spanning from YA contemporary to mysteries to thrillers, all YA and all at a boarding school.

Now, I’ve never been to boarding school, but the one aspect of all the books I’ve read set at one have one thing in common. Freedom. Freedom to move about, freedom to set your own rules (within reason), freedom to be your own person away from parental expectations… The characters I’ve met are ten times more mature than I was at their age, living mini adult lives while still abiding to a curfew.


A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

In Cavallaro’s series, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes meet in the most unsuspecting of places, an American prep school. Both on the run from gossip and family tensions, their past catches up to them as someone frames the duo for murder. A great YA twist on a classic story!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

Is it even possible to curate a list of boarding school novels and not include at least one of the Harry Potter books?? Written by Jack Thorne, based on the novels by J. K. Rowling, the Cursed Child follows the friendship between Harry’s son Albus and Draco’s son Scorpius.


A World Without You by Beth Revis

A World Without You explores the dichotomy between perception and reality. Seventeen year old Bo believes he attends a school for those with special abilities in order to learn control over his power, the ability to travel in time. In reality, Bo is enrolled to a school for children with special needs. Desperate to save his lost girlfriend, Bo will have to decide to face reality or succumb to his psychosis.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Breaking news: Every Heart a Doorway is going to be a series!!! Like everyone else at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, Nancy has been ripped from her magical home and her doorway gone, maybe forever. When tragedy strikes, their refuge under Eleanor’s care is put in jeopardy and their search for home more perilous than ever.


The Girls by Emma Cline

 In The Girls, Evie Boyd is a lost girl. Emotionally abandoned by her family and without a friend to lean on, Evie is easily mesmerized by an older group of girls living at a Manson Family style cult. With a newfound freedom to choose her own path, Evie will struggle with the decision to either stay or return home. Her story ends as she ultimately returns to boarding school, but her experiences with the cult will leave you absolutely haunted.


Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

It’s been years since I’ve read Prep, but it has made a lasting impression. Lee Flora leaves the familiarity and happiness of South Bend, Indiana to join the ranks of elite students at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. Between her intense friendships and almost relationships, Lee’s story explores the world of adolescence and the difficult choices that shape who we are, and who we’ll become.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The original tale of  boarding school, this list would be nothing without Jane Eyre! Her formative years are spend at Lowood School, a morally strict charity school for young girls. Full of yearning and self respect, Jane settles for nothing in her search for a life of her own.


A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Set at a boarding school during World War II, A Separate Peace follows the friendship of Gene and Phineas as they come of age in the most harrowing of times. A high school must-read and an American classic, this is not one to miss.


A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sara Crewe is an amazingly imaginative and blessed child, but when her father is tragically killed in action, her life becomes anything but a fairy tale. Now penniless and desperate, she’s banished to the attic at her school and forced to work as a servant. But always hopeful, she’ll find a fortune in friendship.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This has been on my TBR for a while now. Kathy, Ruth and Tommy have grown up together at the exclusive Hailsham boarding school in the English countryside. Between the mysterious façade of the school and the dangerous relationships they forge, only by looking back will they understand how special they truly are.

What books are on your list?





A Little Update…

After weeks of prep and packing, our move is finally over!! 

And all of my books are unpacked! 

It’s still a work in progress, but it’s coming along beautifully. And I still have plenty of room for more books! 


Top Ten Books I’d Buy THIS Second…

What would you buy if someone suddenly gave you a gift card to your favorite bookstore!? This might seem an easy question, but believe me, it’s not! I’m already quite the kid in the candy store when it’s my own money, but the second I get a gift card, my measly list goes out the window and I grab all the books I’ve been waiting, and waiting to buy. Most are books I’ve already read that I know I’ll read again, some are simply for the beautiful cover design, and of course, there’d be a few books bought on a whim (those aisle ends are always right on point!). What would you buy??

For more book lists and Top Ten Tuesday posts, visit Broke and the Bookish.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Not only a beautiful book cover, the story is one of the best I’ve ever read. Beautifully written, with unique and heartfelt characters, this will be a novel I’ll read again and again.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Hands down, the best series I’ve read this year. Wait, make that ever. Thank you Sarah J. Maas for opening my eyes to the wonderful world of fantasy and new adult genres.


The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

While not my favorite novel, the cover is gorgeous, especially the spine!


We, the Drowned by Carsten Jenson

I just cannot make it through the audio version, with a dreamy narration and too many characters to count, and at 688 pages to boot, I’m going to need my own copy. Not to mention, the cover is absolutely amazing!!


Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Another WWII novel that’s been on my TBR for way too long! Plus, it’s rumored to be  series in the making… I’d have to buy it!


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

One of my favorite reads from last year and an insta-classic. You bet it’s on my list!


The Major Works of Charles Dickens

This has been on my list forever! Dickens will always be one of my favorite (if not most favorite) author. His stories are beautiful and timeless, especially A Tale of Two Cities.


The Hike by Drew Magary

This novel is strange and unique, and I’m sure I’d see it on the new shelf and grab it the second I walked in the door.


The Muse by Jessie Burton

Possibly one of the most anticipated novels of the summer, I’m still waiting for my local library to acquire its copies…and even then I’m pretty far down on the wait list. I really should just buy a copy already!

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Links To Love

It’s finally Friday!! After another long weekend, it’ll be nice to have a couple days to  finish off our packing and moving check list. There’s so much left to do!!

July has been incredibly fun and stressful at the same time, meaning more reading, more reality TV, and even more late-night YouTube viewing.

Here’s what I’ve been loving this month:

The Bachelorette is Ending!

With the end of the Bachelorette comes the “Tell All” episode – not always my favorite, but man, so much drama this season! I was so excited to see one of my old favorites, Wells, join the Here to Make Friends podcast to give the inside scoop on everything that happened behind the scenes in the mansion. Who else is Team Robby!?

What an Awesome Idea!

A loving husband posted an album of his wife’s handiwork on Reddit this month – showing off her amazing Book Stairs!! While she didn’t start the trend, her new “shelf” is right on point with many beloved fantasy novels.

New Obsession:

I am in love with Aloe Juice! It’s amazing and delicious, and seriously my new favorite trend. Especially with all the health benefits, you’d be crazy not to try it! I love Aloe King’s mango flavor!

New Recipes:

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for fall! Summer is nice and all, but I’m ready for some cozy-weather comfort food. This month I’ve been making Chicken and Rice soup and a copy-cat recipe for Boston Market’s Squash Casserole. Yum!!

On the YouTube:

I absolutely LOVE Houston based beauty vlogger, Leighann Says. Her style is similar to my own and she’ll never lead you astray with her recommendations or reviews. Her new look is one of my new favorites, and using almost ALL Wet N’ Wild!

What have you been loving lately?


Weekly Reads: Week 29

**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for my most recent reads. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z.**

We’re moving! We still have another 2 weeks, but packing is already in full force.

These guys are really going to miss each other!

This week’s Weekly Reads will be a little bit of a catch up post. I’ve been on a reading spree lately, and they’ve all been amazing!!

Luckily I still found a little time over the weekend to catch up on some reading, and finally finished a book I’m still not sure what to make of – Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt. I’m planning on posting a stand alone review on this one – there’s a lot to break down and plenty to discuss! Have you read it? What was your opinion of it?


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane is the magical fairy tale ending we all wish could have been for the real Lady Jane Grey, a girl used by family and foe in a political game she couldn’t escape. In the novel, Lady Jane, best friend and play-mate  to young King Edward, is set to marry Lord Gilford Dudley, the son of the King’s adviser. Under the impression her betrothed is nothing but a callous womanizer, she’ll soon find out he’s anything but, well, a steed. Yes, her husband is a horse. In this version of Grey’s life, the kingdom is not battling matters of religion, but matters of the body. The Edians (pronounced Ethians) can magically shape-shift into an animal – take King Henry VIII for instance, he can turn into a lion! Whether a curse or a gift, no one is certain, but those known as the Verites (who can’t shape-shift) are certainly not going to stand by and wait for an answer. Caught between a war of country and moral right, Lady Jane must navigate the trials of marriage and hypocrisy to save the kingdom from itself.

“He pretended to stretch his arms, in order to shift even closer to her. (this isn’t in the history books, of course, but we’d like to point out that this was the first time a young man had ever tried that particular arm-stretch move on a young woman. Edward was the inventor of the arm stretch, a tactic that teenage boys have been using for centuries).”

“Who on Earth could feel comfortable enough to sleep in a room with no books?”

A little bit of YA, a little bit of fantasy and historical fiction, and a whole lot of comedy – My Lady Jane is an amazing read! I listened to the audio version of the novel – by far, one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to yet, just perfectly performed. The middle-grade, kind of cheesy, humor sets a perfect tone for a story of young people trying to find their way in life and love. A true pleasure and so much fun to read, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud the entire way through!  Lady Jane is whip-smart and a total bibliophile, but easily overcome by emotions, making her an easy target for political manipulation. Little do her enemies know she’s also incredibly brave, unafraid to face unbeknownst dangers and the most challenging of feats, i.e. being married to a horse. While Gilford is another stand-out character, my favorite by far is Edward! I love his story and character development, giving a relatably funny voice to a too-often forgotten figure of history. Romance, comedy, fantastical beings, there’s nothing you won’t love about My Lady Jane!

Rating: 4 Stars      Goodreads      Amazon


Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Vinegar Girl is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s heralded The Taming of the Shrew. Kate is stuck in a rut. After being thrown out of college for disagreeing with a professor, she’s spent the last few years caring for her younger sister and crazy-scientist dad. While her sister, Bunny, is bubbly, happy-go-lucky, and an absolute charmer, Kate is rough around the edges, a little sullen, and awkward. So, when her father’s lab assistant’s visa is about to expire, it’s only natural they ask her to wed – who else is going to marry her?

“Beware against the sweet person, for sugar has no nutrition.”

Vinegar Girl was one of my most anticipated reads for the summer – and boy, did it disappoint. Boring from the start, the story was fuddled with lack-luster characters with little ambition. We’re obviously supposed to admire Kate – she’s so smart, she’s just misunderstood, she’s unique…but I don’t buy it. She leaves college after insulting an esteemed academic in the most unprofessional manner, and we’re just supposed to agree it’s all his fault her life is messed up?? She’s trapped herself in a rut, running the household and coddling an insane scientist with his own delusions while settling for a job at an elementary school as a teaching assistant (a job she got via a family member). She’s lost all her ambition, and while her relationship with Pyotr (the strange and equally awkward, very Russian, research assistant) does develop somewhat naturally, she’s only settled for the easy way out, once again. Instead of pushing the boundaries of life, or finding her own way, she finds Pyotr’s way, she agrees, she doesn’t question, and she does as she’s told. Perhaps it does work out for her in the end, but she could have chosen so much more if she tried. Granted I’ve never actually read The Taming of the Shrew, but it is a modern retelling after all!

Rating: 3 Stars      Goodreads      Amazon


The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown

Sharing the heartbreaking and shocking details of one of the most difficult times in American history, The Great American Dust Bowl is the perfect mix of art and education. It’s illustrations are detailed, horrifying, and beautiful, giving the reader a more personal learning experience by visually outlining each difficulty overcome during the Dirty Thirties – from the health hazards to the devastation of the land. I was quite surprised to learn how far-reaching the effects of the Dust Bowl, spanning not just across the Great Plains but the entire U.S. to even the East Coast! For history lovers and illustrative readers alike, this is not one to miss!

Rating: 4 Stars      Goodreads      Amazon

What have you been reading lately?

**This post contains affiliate links. All reviews are of my own opinion. Thank you for supporting my love of reading!**

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Shelfspiration: Finding the Perfect Feel-Better Read

Recently, I’ve taken on more than I could chew. Between work, blogging, getting ready to move, and just general life annoyances – it was time to take a break! I felt my time was better spent this week just reading and letting myself relax a bit more than usual. So, after quite a few novels and a couple coloring books, I finally feel inspired to blog again!

The following recommendations are for anyone going through a tough time right now. Be it too much stress, a break-up, or all the crazy things going on in the world  – we can all use a little shelfspiration from time to time! I realize the perfect feel-better read is different for everyone – take my best friend and me for instance, she wants something happy that will make her laugh, while I like to start out with a tear jerker and work my way to the humor. We all find inspiration from different places! I hope you’ll find one or two titles that will make you smile or make your day a little brighter while you read.:)

Pure Inspiration – Feel the Power!

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

I am absolutely loving her spirit! Not just for the curvy girls like myself, Shrill perfectly encompasses what it is to be a woman. From body issues to love and heartbreak, she covers it all sharing uproarious personal stories that will have you laughing in no time!

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I’m going to use first names here, after reading Wild and listening to her podcast, Dear Sugar, for so long, I feel like I kind of know her – Cheryl is an amazing writer who brought herself back to life with the help of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,659 mile long trail across California. Her story is nothing short of amazing. If she can win life, so can we!

For Laughter:

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

This novel is a perfect mix of middle grade humor, historical fiction, and YA fantasy. A strange mix, yes, but it totally works! Their retelling of Lady Jane Grey might not be entirely true, but it is definitely entertaining. Told more like a fairy tale, Lady Jane will rise against the conspiracy to save herself and those she loves dear, all while married to a horse. (You seriously have to read this book!)

Anything by Tom Robbins

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – Tom Robbins is an absolute literary genius! He’s been one of my favorite writers for several years now, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. He writes between the lines of philosophy and satire that will have you thinking and laughing all the while. Try out Still Life with Woodpecker for a healthy dose of weird, humor, and romance.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Yes, he’s stuck on Mars, but the man is absolutely hysterical! Between the science, near-deaths, and crazy McGyver moves, Watney’s still able to find the humor in his situation. If he can beat the odds and still laugh about it – so can we!

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gayman

I’m currently listening to the audio version, and it was definitely the way to go. Hilarious and down-right ridiculous, this novel is the perfect feel-better novel for me. With the end of the world approaching and a misplaced Antichrist – things are going to get weird!

If You Need a Good Cry:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

I remember reading this with a box of tissues…and then I immediately watched the movie via Amazon to cry even more. If you need a good cry, need to get all the emotions out to move on, this is a safe bet.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The DVD release date is set for August 30th – you can pretty much guarantee that’s when I’ll be reading this book.

For Distraction:

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Set in a utopia called the Tearling, Kelsea Raleigh must risk it all to claim her kingdom, but once crowned Queen, she’ll inadvertently declare war on the sorceress queen of Mortmesne. Full of intrigue, daring betrayals, treacherous battles, and mystical jewels, The Queen of the Tearling will definitely distract you from your troubles as you try to piece together the mystery that is the Tearling! Bonus: no major romances in the first book!

For Comfort:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

What’s better than an old childhood favorite to make you feel better!? Every time I read from this series, it’s like coming home to a big hug!

What are your feel-better reads?