The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry

★★★★★ 5/5

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This haunting story centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he’s given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. – Goodreads

 

 

 


Fiction/Classic / Can be read easily, hard to put it down

It is hard to believe that I am just reading this book at 21 years old, especially since it was such a hit in some high school classes I always managed to avoid reading it – and wow, do I ever regret it!

The whole setting and idea of the society within this story is amazing enough, it is creative, manageable, and well structured. I loved hearing about the transitions children go through each year, and it was amazing to read this and have the citizens act so naturally with it because for their society it is all they know.

And then that’s when you have your twist. I do not want to spoil this book because it really is amazing and I suggest each and every one of you read it. The story really made me appreciate the good and the bad of what we experience in our lives and you get to explore your own morals and beliefs while you are held in suspense about the character’s choice of action.

"Life here is so orderly, so predictable - so painless. It's what they've
chosen."
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Top 3 of Summer 2017

As of today it is officially the first day of Fall which means we sadly have to say goodbye to Summer. I had an amazing summer, and also read some amazin books.

As of today, I have read 40 Books

I still have 3 more months of reading to go, but I wanted to share my top 3 favorite books that I read in the span from june – today. Honestly, this year I have read so many great books. Almost every review I’m throwing out 4 and 5 stars, but I just can’t help it, my reading list this year has been on fire. With careful consideration, here are my top 3 reads of the summer:

3. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (review here)

2. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom  (review here)

1. IT- Stephen King (review here)

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What were your favorite reads of the summer?

Tuesdays With Morrie (1997) by Mitch Albom

★★★★★ 5/5

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetMaybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neuron disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live. – Goodreads



Memoir/Inspirational / Quick read can be read in one sitting, and should be read over and over.

Okay, I loved this read. It was so sweet and enjoyable, Morrie was really an amazing man with a lot to offer to the world. This is a great way for a man to be remembered and I am so proud of Mitch for writing this.

These kinds of reads are so important to me. This read reminded me of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch which I also really enjoyed and have been meaning to re-read. As a 21 year old newly graduated university student, life advice is crucial to me. This is the age where things get confusing because you are trying to evaluate where you are in life and figuring out where you want to be and how to get there. I always say to myself “if I knew then what I know now” and these books can give you that in real time. Learning from others is key to our growth, and having the opportunities to hear the life lessons of wiser and more experienced people can really contribute to your own growth and possibly impact the way you live the rest of you life.

This was an enjoyable book and the set up was perfect. The chapter titles, the transitions between flashbacks and “lectures”, and the overall short and sweetness of the book makes it that much more valuable. It is a well written book with a lot to offer, I encourage everyone to read it, and then maybe read it twice.

"He was intent on proving that the word 'dying' was not synonymous with
'useless'."
"The world, I discovered, was not all that interested. I wandered around my 
early twenties, paying rent and reading classifieds and wondering why the 
lights were not turning green for me."
"I felt as if time were suddenly precious, water going down an open drain,
and I could not move quickly enough."
"'Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but 
you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you yet you know it 
shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you 
should never take anything for granted.'"
"'So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep,
 even when they're busy doing things they think are important.'"
"'And in addition to all the miseries, the young are not wise. They 
have very little understanding about life. Who wants to live every day
when you don't know what's going on?'"
"'Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth.'"
"Death ends a life not a relationship."

 

 

 

 

 

Whiskey Words & a Shovel I (2017) by R.H. Sin

★★★★☆ 4/5

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetWhiskey, Words, and a Shovel, Vol. 1, is about reclaiming your power on the path to a healthy relationship. It is a testament to choosing to love yourself, even if it means heartbreak.
Originally released in 2015, this re-release packs the same punch as the first version, but makes an even greater connection with the soul of the reader. Each piece has been re-seen and revamped to reflect the author’s continuing journey with his partner, Samantha King, without whom this book would not exist. Samantha is the muse, the “she” the writer speaks of; she is every woman who has felt like she wasn’t good enough, and every woman who struggles to find love. – Goodreads


Poetry/ Can be read in a short sitting – a good book to turn to when you’re feeling emotional

absolutely loved this read. I am picky when it comes to poetry, but I was hooked to r.h. Sin the first poem I read.

I will definitely be reading the other Whisky Words & a Shovel installments in the near future.

The blunt poetry was raw and real, I have been going through some struggles myself recently and reading the poems definitely influenced me to be real with my emotions and think more deeply about my life.

It is hard to give a 5 star rating to poetry especially an installment with so many segments because you can’t love them all and you can’t relate to them all. However, the ones I could relate to made this read worth it and I will absolutely be rereading it during anytime I am emotional or feeling vulnerable.

Here are my favorites (in alphabetical order):

after ruins.
a tweet.
blind and confused.
body talk.
can't be life.
connections.
easier but difficult.
from start to finish again.
his issue, not yours.
just be.
limitations imitations.
my own value.
open your eyes.
the control.
the death of an indie.
the good man.
the lines.
the reasons why.
the whiskey fights.
true colors.

IT (1987) by Stephen King

UPDATE I have finally finished reading IT about a week before the movie premieres and I cannot contain my excitement.


★★★★★ 5/5

IMG_2834To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .
The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.
  – Goodreads


Horror/Thriller/Fantasy – a lengthy read, but worth every word.

There is no denying this is the best book I have ever read. I am usually picky about long books, but this book required every detail and was executed perfectly. I never wanted it to end.

The main characters being the seven kids; Bill, Ben, Beverly, Eddie, Mike, Richie, and Stan. My favorites were definitely Bill and Eddie, my least favorite being Richie (Beep, Beep).

Stephen King’s writing style is just as enjoyable as the story itself, I loved how gracefully he transitioned from the present setting to the memories. The aspect of the adults remembering everything slowly instead of all at once and presenting this as memories added to the suspense and the foreshadowing.

What makes Stephen King so amazing is that he has all these creative ideas and a wild imagination and he can really create a visual image that is equally as amazing as it is terrifying.

Of course, I can’t say too much because I want to keep my reviews spoiler free, but EVERYONE has to read this masterpiece. I am going to watch the old film before the movie release on September 8th!

"I'm doing the Mashed Potatoes all over it and I got a broken arm!"
"In nightmares we can think the worst. That's what they're for, I guess."
"There was blood ... blood everywhere ... and her father didn't see it."

 

The Nest (2015) by Kevin Oppell

★★★★☆ 4/5

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered. – Goodreads


Horror/Fiction/YA – read on Kobo Ereader

Writing a good review for this read was a little difficult because I only use my Kobo when I am at the gym during cardio sessions! This should-be quick read probably lasted close to a month for me, but regardless I loved it.

This read has sometimes been referred to as a children’s book, other times a young adult. In my personal opinion, to really grasp the subjects in this book the reader would need to be old or mature enough to understand the pressure placed on a family in circumstances where a family member is sick.

It is hard to give an honest review without spoiling anything, so I will sum it up with saying the reason this book was so great was that it kept the “supernatural” horror alive and real, while simultaneously addressing the natural horrors that can be encountered in life and managed to tie them together. Two forms of horror working as one keeps the reader on edge and curious right up until the very last word, and the fear even continues to linger afterwards.

"But maybe Vanessa was right, and all those other people were broken 
too in their own ways, maybe we all spent too much time pretending
we weren't."

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) by Oscar Wilde

★★★☆☆ 3/5

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.” -Goodreads


Classics/Fiction/Horror – can be read in a few days

Written in Old English language, this read was not only entertaining for the story, the brilliant quotes worded beautifully are reason enough to give this book a try. Lord Henry had many wise words about life, I couldn’t even pick a favorite quote.

I was tempted to give it 4 stars, however there was a stretch in the book where I was very confused and missed a significant amount of time. I was still able to understand the general plot of the story, but it did impact my rating of the book. I’m sure if I reread this book I would be able to appreciate it much more.

REGARDLESS – IT IS A MASTERPIECE. 

I definitely had the homosexual vibe from Basil which contributed to the controversy over this book.

In the book Basil keeps emphasizing that he feels he have put too much of himself into the portrait he painted of Dorian, this could be Oscar Wilde’s metaphor for how he has put much of himself into this book when he references that each character is semi autobiographical

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.”

"Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul."
"Youth is one thing worth having."
"Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the
caveman had known had to laugh, History would have been different."

 

 

 

A Man Called Ove (2012) by Fredrik Backman

★★★★☆ 4/5

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. -Goodreads


Fiction/ <500 Pages / Can be read in about a week 

This book was on the top of my TBR for a very long time, you can imagine my disappointment when I started this book and I didn’t think it was for me – but, I was very wrong.

Ove comes off as a bitter old man, however readers get to learn about what has happened throughout his life and how he feels, and it really influences you to be more open minded when perceiving Ove.

There was such great character development and I fell in love with the story very quickly. One minute I would be crying and the next I would be laughing out loud.

This read was great because it reminds the reader that everyone has a history which has shaped them into who they are today. Ove’s actions and perceptions are heavily based upon the influence of the important people he had in his life.

"Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than one 
eighty-five; the blood can't quite make it all the way up to the brain."

"And she was colour. All the colour he had."

The Bell Jar (1963) by Sylvia Plath

★★★★☆ 4/5

This read was beautifully heartbreaking, you can feel the emotion all the way through.

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Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche.  -Goodreads

 


Classics / <300 pages / Can be read in a couple of days

Fun Fact: When The Bell Jar was originally published the author used the pseudonym Victoria Lewis.

What I personally held onto throughout this book is it deals with mental illness and depression, however it shows that even people who you would say have it “good” can still live unfulfilled lives. It also makes the point that sometimes the severity of an event that drives people to go under does not necessarily have to register as a severe event to everyone. A situation that is no big deal to you may be the breaking point for someone else.

This book is said to be semi-autobiographical, Sylvia Plath struggled with depression herself and sadly committed suicide in 1963.

"The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own
silence"
"There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know 
many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die or so nervous I can't sleep,
or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so
far and then I say 'I'll go take a hot bath.'"

 

 

 

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

★★★★☆ 4/5

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After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbor and friend, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s succinct and powerful prose hints at the destruction and tragedy that awaits. – Goodreads

 


Classics / Fiction / <200 pages / Can be read in a day

You have probably seen this book all over your social feeds, and the hype is well deserved. I loved the story and I loved the writing. However, I could not give it 5 stars because I found the ending happened so quickly.

I wish I had read this long before now, it is a great read and I will definitely be reading more of his work.

The main story is clear and interesting, however I found I need to re-read it to understand more of the relationships and personal conflicts occurring in this book. I was so interested in Gatsby I ignored Nick and I would like to try again in order to understand him.

"'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool- that's the best thing a girl can be 
in this world, a beautiful little fool.'"