Monday, September 21, 2015

Books Lately // Literary Ladies Final Summer Linkup

August just FLEW by! Wow, and we are halfway through September!

So far I have been doing a lot of bridal show prep for September, so I didn't have as much time for reading, but I did manage to finish the literary ladies summer reading challenge! Whoop whoop! Thanks for breaking me out of my reading rut girls!

Here's what I read since my last post:

1) Elixir by Hilary Duff

I had originally put Hilary Duff's book True on my list under the celebrity category. I realized after discussing in comments that I really needed to re-read the first two books in the trilogy first. So I re-read Elixir, and purchased the other two books used to read soon. :) Elixir follows Clea a 17 year old, travel photographer / politician's daughter. She comes home from a trip and begins to edit her photos realizing that a mysterious man is in EVERY picture that she took. She looks back through older pictures and he is in those as well. She then starts having extremely realistic dreams about this guy, and in each one she is a different woman. Each dream takes place in a different time period / place as well. From 1920's Chicago to Renaissance Italy. Clea then vows to figure out exactly what is going on, and who this guy is. It's an interesting story, and it ends on a cliffhanger. I remember enjoying the second one as well, so I am excited to read it again and finally finish the series. This is by no means great literature, but I really like this book. It combines travel with the YA fantasy/romance genre. That's pretty spot on for me.

2) Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

I have seen this book all over pinterest, and now goodreads (beyond obsessed!) for quite a while.... but once I started hearing what people thought of it I knew I needed to read it soon! I got it on e-reader library loan, and I read it in just two evenings. I could not put it down! The story takes place in regency England (Jane Austen time period) and centers around Marianne, a young woman who's mother has recently died, and consequently her father has gone to France. Marianne is stuck in Bath with her grandmother and tiresome suitors (the description on this guy... visible cringing and squirming on my part!), while her older twin sister is in London being introduced into society. She gets and invitation to visit her sister and her friends at an estate in the country. Marianne gladly accepts, and her grandmother vows to give her her inheritance, provided she can become a proper young lady during her visit. On the carriage ride over, a terrifying encounter has them stopping at an inn where Marianne meets a mysterious and arrogant man. Though he may not be as arrogant as he seems... and interesting mix of Mr. Darcy & Mr. Wickham. I'm not Austen obsessed, I love them, but I haven't really read any other regency set pieces... but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Go get it, now! :)

3) The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help has been out, and popular, for quite a few years now. I finally picked it up at a thrift store this year. I figured if I was going to read something about Kickass Females, this would be a great one right? Well, it is. I love historical fiction, and I LOVE this book! It follows two African American maids, and one young wealthy white woman during the 1960's in Mississippi. It is written from the perspective of each of the three, and follows them as the two tell their stories about being maids in white households and the other records, edits, and sends the stories away in hopes of publishing them, and sparking change. For some reason, I especially love reading books that take place during the civil rights movement. This one was no different, and it really opened my eyes to how the relations were, especially in the upper class South at that time. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn about American history a little more, or to anyone who enjoys a well spun piece of historical based fiction. This book is really wonderful, it left me feeling both wrecked and hopeful. That's talent.

4) The Selection by Kiera Cass

 I have heard the premise of this series described as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. I have to say after reading the first book that's pretty accurate, but certainly more The Bachelor. :) I half wondered ahead of time if they were meant to battle to the death over the prince. Baha, not so much. This book was really easy to read, fluffy... if you will. But, I read it in less than 7 hours... so it's plenty intriguing. I'm excited to finish the trilogy, and also to read The Heir... because... I do want to know what is going to happen. Sorta spoiler below... 

Was anybody else like, "OH NO HE DIDN'T!!" when Maxon stationed Aspen outside of her room?! Gah.

5) The Elite by Kiera Cass

Well, after reading the first book in a day, I had to go buy the other two. I stayed up later the next night and finished the Elite... #cantstopwontstop Ok, so the second installment is a lot more twisty-turny, which is good. The first, while entertaining, was fairly predictable. Now I'm wondering how things will end up, and what else will happen that I don't expect. Not getting enough sleep though, so we'll see about reading The One... in one day... haha

6) The One by Kiera Cass

So... I definitely started this book the day after I finished The Elite... and I successfully did not stay up all night finishing it. That said, I did read a lot of it, and I still stayed up pretty late.... BUT sleep is good. :) I finished this the next weekend. I have to say that this one definitely focused a lot more on the dystopian society than the other two. Less fluff for sure. Maxon and America were driving me bonkers though, it's just like, "SAY WHAT YOU ACTUALLY FEEL!" - I kinda hate that. KC and I are unusually good communicators, so it's probably a personal issue. baha As I continued to read, in the rising action, I was so over them acting like children. I get it, it makes it more dramatic for readers, but they were a hot mess. Interesting series, will probably read the next one at some point.

(COMPLETED!) Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge:

I manged to finish the challenge! I shifted some things around, re-read one, and changed a lot of them, so here we go!

1. A YA book (mandatory!) - check

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

2. Non US Author  (mandatory!) - check

The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

3. A book that was recommended by a blogger  (mandatory!) -check

The Kitchen House by 
4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more - check
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 

5. A book with a kickass female character - check

Etta - Gerald Kolpan  The Help by Kathryn Stockett    

6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show) - check

Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter

7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoir if neither of those are your jam. - check

True - Hilary Duff - I loved the other two. :)  Elixir by Hilary Duff - I had to re-read so I could finish the series!

8. A book with a one word title. - check

Son - Lois Lowery  Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

9. A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge! - check

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins  Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

10. A book about Summer, with Summer in the title, or in any way related to Summer because this is a Summer challenge! -check 

Summer - Edith Wharton  Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen - My initial pick was too short!

Currently Reading:

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
- for Plucky's bookclub! I am determined to participate in the discussion this time! :)

Have you guys read any of these books?

Did you participate in the Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge? Did you finish?

Did you read The Selection Series? What did you think?

I just want to give a big, huge, thank you to Kristen, Kari, and Kay. Without this reading challenge, I would still be stuck in a non-reading, less engaged, life rut. Seriously, this was MUCH needed. :) :)



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Thank you for reading! I love seeing your sweet comments and visiting your lovely blogs! XO