To Kill a Mockingbird vs. Where the Crawdads Sing

While I was reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something very familiar about it. It nagged and nagged at me until it finally hit me: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

This book had huge To Kill A Mockingbird vibes. I literally caught a vibe, so I thought it was only fitting that I write a post about both of these outstanding novels.

The last time I did a two-for-one, it was for The Maidens and The Silent Patient. I referred to it as killing two birds with one stone. Obviously, considering the circumstances of today’s post, I would like to clarify that the two birds being hit with stone are not mockingbirds. ‘Tis a sin, you know.

Without further ado, please enjoy my inner musings.

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

Let’s refresh our memories because if you’re like me, then you haven’t read this book since 7th grade.

Lee’s story takes place in the fictional southern town of Maycomb, Alabama during the years 1933-1935. Our narrator is the young and adorable Scout Finch – I believe she is seven years old when the book starts. So young, and so very naive.

Long story short, Scout Finch discovers racism and prejudice in her small town of Maycomb after one of the black residents, Tom Robinson, is falsely accused of committing a crime against a white woman. Scout’s dad, Atticus Finch, agrees to defend Tom in the trial, which creates a lot of discord among the residents. As all this trial craziness is happening, Scout and her brother Jem discover that their reclusive and mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, is just a nice and normal dude, and not some evil boogeyman (kids, am I right?).

The ending of this book hits you as hard as your sibling hits you when you’re annoying them. Just kidding, it hits you way harder: Tom Robinson is convicted by an all-white jury for a crime he didn’t commit, even though Atticus Finch had hard evidence that Robinson was innocent. It’s very disappointing, but also not totally surprising.

This book is considered classic literature. Every middle schooler across the country has read this book, and that will probably be the case for many, many more years to come.

Where the Crawdads Sing By Delia Owens

She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.

Delia Owens, Where The Crawdads Sing

If Boo Radley were to have his own spinoff or pre-qual novel, I would imagine it looking a lot like Where the Crawdads Sing.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village in North Carolina. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until one of those young men, Chase Andrews, is found dead.

Where the Crawdads Sing spans multiple years, from 1952 to 1969. The chapters alternate between Kya’s life leading up to the trial and the trial itself. You’ll go back and forth, wondering if Kya is innocent or guilty, and that question won’t really be answered until you read the very last page.

This book is a coming-of-age story set with beautiful descriptions of nature. I know this book will become classic literature, and it could easily become the “To Kill A Mockingbird” for high school students (if it hasn’t already).

Just Read Them

If you like To Kill A Mockingbird then I think it’s safe to say that you’ll probably enjoy Where the Crawdads Sing too. Both books have themes of prejudice, loss of innocence, and justice vs. law.

I would especially like to emphasize the loss of innocence and prejudice in both of these books. Kya is very misunderstood, like Boo Radley, and she loses her innocence very early in life because of abandonment, and even more when she realizes that the town she lives in doesn’t accept her. I would consider her an honorary mockingbird.

Either way, you need to stop what you’re doing and read both books. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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15 Memes Only Book Addicts will Appreciate

The last time I went into a bookstore I came out with a large pile of books and very little money. ‘Tis the way of a bookaholic, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you’re a bookaholic like me, you’ll enjoy the 15 book memes below. If you find no enjoyment in reading this, you’re probably not addicted to books or reading. If that’s the case, then your bank account thanks you.

Book addicts unite!! Enjoy 🙂
















Let me know which book meme is your favorite in the comments.

Happy reading!

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Just Read Fable if You are Able

The Lark. the place my mother’s story ended. And in many ways, the place where mine began.

Adrienne Young, Fable

There’s nothing more comforting than drinking a hot cup of tea in front of a roaring fire and reading a good book. That was me back in December reading the first installment of the Fable series.

I hadn’t read a YA book in quite a bit, so reading Fable sort of felt like coming home. These are the kinds of books that really got me into reading. You have a strong female protagonist, a handsome love interest, and of course an array of interesting side characters. This is a formula that cannot and has not disappointed me (yet).

Book Description

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

*Brought to you by Goodreads

Just Read It

Imagine this: You’re 14 years old and you’ve just witnessed your mother die in a horrible shipwreck, on a ship that you considered your home. Thankfully – depending on how you look at it – you make it out of the shipwreck alive, along with your only living parent. You’re grieving, but you aren’t alone. Until your father stops your boat at a sketchy island that’s notorious for being a horrible place to live. He takes a knife, cuts a weird diagram on your forearm (ouch), gives you some rules to follow, and says, “Find me later if you ever survive this incredibly dangerous place – byyyyeeeeeee.”

I’d be really mad at my dad if he did that to me. Like Animal from The Muppets mad.

Of course, Fable is also mad at her father. Unlucky for her, she gets four long years of barely scraping by to fume over it. She lets the tragedy of being abandoned by her father fuel her motivation for leaving the island and finding him so that she can claim her rightful spot on his crew.

And after those four miserable years, Fable finally finds refuge on The Marigold, with the handsome helmsman West and his crew of misfits. Together the crew works with Fable to find her father. Like any good YA fantasy book, the crew runs into many problems on their journey through the Narrows. We’ve got rival traders, unrequited love, and daddy issues. We also come to find out that West’s pants are on fire big time. You’ll probably know that the moment you meet him in the book.

Is this book predictable? Yes. Is that bad? I don’t think so. It’s kind of nice to read a book and not have to overthink everything. It’s like re-reading a complex book or re-watching your favorite show. It’s comforting. It also boosts my self-esteem when I predict a plot twist.

My final and most important thought from reading this book is that it gives off HUGE Pirates of the Caribbean vibes. I’m not just saying that because both primarily take place on a ship, but I also kind of am. There are other reasons I think they’re similar, but that’s a different post.

So, if you are not a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, or any other pirate or sea-dominating book and or film, then the chances of you enjoying this book are slim. If none of that bothers you then you should definitely stop reading this post and start reading Fable, but only if you are able.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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Prepare to Get Lost in The Midnight Library

Never underestimate the big importance of small things.

Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

I’m not a big library person. I know that sounds weird coming from someone who writes about books, but I have good reasons for buying books instead of borrowing them. There’s no pressure for me to finish reading a book by a certain date, I can underline my favorite quotes, and of course write things like, “OMG,” and “WTF,” in the margins of the pages when I come across plot twists. I simply cannot do any of this with a library book.

Also, I’m really good at losing things, so either way, I’d end up paying for the book by paying late fees, or for a replacement. That’s why, for now, I’m sticking to my kindle, local book store, and BOTM subscription.

The reason I even have libraries on my mind is that I just finished reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I think if I had a librarian like Mrs. Elm growing up, then I probably would have a much deeper connection to my local library and to libraries in general.

No matter! If you decide to pick this book up then you should prepare to get lost (in a good way).

Book Description

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe, there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

(Brought to you by Goodreads)

Just Read It

Any book that deals with the construct of time, parallel universes, and/or the afterlife is an automatic win for me. There’s no doubt that I will spend hours wondering about all of the things I can’t wrap my head around. Since The Midnight Library contained all of those crazy elements, you could say I was entrapped by the magic of it all.

I think that’s the best way to describe this book: magical.

Haig reminds us that no matter who you are, or what you’ve done in your life, you play a bigger role in the universe than you could ever imagine. It can be hard to see what kind of impact you have on someone else’s life when you’re stuck in your own head.

This is the struggle for Nora Seed – she doesn’t believe that she’s necessary. She believes she’s taking up space and that she has not made any impact on anyone in her life, so she attempts to end it. Instead of dying, Nora finds herself somewhere between life and death. She wakes up in the Midnight Library, where she gets to try on different lives, like the main character of a movie trying on different clothes during a classic fashion show montage.

Each book in the library holds a different version of Nora’s life, had she made different decisions. Nora’s Midnight Library spirit guide is her old childhood librarian, Mrs. Elm, who she held near and dear to her heart growing up. Mrs. Elm helps Nora pick different books (or lives) to try out.

The more versions of Nora’s life Nora lives out, the more she begins to realize how altering a tiny decision has, not just in her life, but in the lives of the people around her. And even though she said no to being an Olympic swimmer, singing in a band, or saving the world as a glaciologist, she realizes that her life – the one she once thought was worthless and unimpactful – was actually full of endless possibilities.

This book reminds us not to dwell on the past but to stay in the present and embrace everything life has to offer us. See the potential that your life has because it has a lot of it.

This book was a winner! While it might make you overthink everything about existence, it’s still a fast read, so don’t give it a second thought.

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Once There Were Wolves Will Have You Howling for More

This is the thing, isn’t it? This is the fear they live with now. The children in us long for monsters to take forms we understand. They want to fear the wolves because they don’t want to fear each other.

Charlotte McConaghy, Once There Were Wolves

Ah, Neature.

There’s nothing quite like experiencing the great outdoors. Me, I like to experience it from a distance. For example, If I’m going to go camping, then I want to be in a camper (or not camping at all). I’m not sleeping on the forest floor with nothing but a flimsy tent to protect me. I’m also not wandering off any hiking trails because that’s an easy way to get lost and die from the elements.

I am almost the exact opposite of Inti Flynn, the main character of my new read, Once There Were Wolves. This exceptionally nature-filled novel was written by Charlotte McConaghy.

Reading this book was like a breath of fresh air, and I have a feeling that every person who reads it will be howling for more.

Book Description

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.

Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?

Propulsive and spell-binding, Charlotte McConaghy’s Once There Were Wolves is the unforgettable story of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves—if she isn’t consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.

(Brought to you by Goodreads)

Just Read It

Hey, look, neature! That’s pretty neat.

I honestly can’t get this book out of my mind. There was something quite wild about it, and that’s not just because it was set in the wilderness of Scotland. This book breathes nature in such a way that it makes you want to get out of your house and wander the woods like a weirdo. Maybe hug a tree or two. It definitely opens your eyes to conservation and rewilding, if said eyes aren’t already open to that.

McConaghy’s descriptions read like beautiful poetry. This isn’t a book that you can just skim through. You have to read it nice and slow, but that shouldn’t be a problem because the words are just so dang majestical.

Don’t even get me started on Inti Flynn. This girl is a big-time BAMF. In all the ways a person can be a BAMF. She takes care of her sister who is emotionally scarred from a terrible incident that happened in Alaska, an incident that badly affected Inti too. She is in charge of rewilding Scotland by releasing – yes, you guessed it – wolves into some of the parks. Let’s just say the locals don’t take a liking to Inti and her colleagues, which doesn’t make her job any easier. It doesn’t matter how bad it gets, she doesn’t give up on her wolfy mission.

Also, kind of a spoiler, but I have to mention it – she gives birth in the freaking woods leaning against a tree, catches the baby by the ankle, and then bites the umbilical cord apart. You got that? BITES it. Like a crazy warrior woman. This happens in the dead of winter, people. She and the baby are huddled together against a tree, practically freezing to death, when a wolf pack encounters them, and huddles around them until help comes, which saves their lives.

Just WOW.

To top it off, Inti kind of has a cool superpower. It’s actually just Mirror Touch Synesthesia, which is a condition that causes a person to feel a sensation of touch when they see someone else being touched. For Inti, it doesn’t just happen with people, it’s animals too, which explains her freakish obsession and love for wolves.

If you’re worried this book will be too nature-filled for you, please worry no more. There’s plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep your attention.

If you aren’t a fan of neature now, you will be by the time you finish reading this book. Do yourself a favor and just read it, mmkay?

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22 Book Quotes That’ll Inspire You

One of my favorite things about reading a new book is underlining all of my favorite quotes. There is something very satisfying about underlining a good quote. It lets you hold onto the words for just a little bit longer, just letting your mind soak it all in. It’s how I get a lot of my inspiration. Who doesn’t love to be inspired?

Since I aspire to be inspired, and aspire to inspire others, I’m sharing 22 inspiring book quotes that will most definitely inspire you. I also wanted to see how many times I could fit the word ‘inspire’ into one post (title included).

I hope these inspiring book quotes inspire you to feel inspired to accomplish all of the things that have led you to seek out inspiration in the first place.

Figure out what your gift is, Edward Adler, and then blow that shit up.

Ann Napolitano, Dear Edward

You all listen now, this is a real lesson in life. Yes, we got stuck, but what’d we girls do? We made it fun, we laughed. That’s what sisters and girlfriends are all about. Sticking together even in the mud, ‘specially in mud.’

Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up.

Veronica Roth, Divergent

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

G.K. Chesterton, Coraline

You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

‘The thing about growing up with Fred and George,’ said Ginny thoughtfully, ‘is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got the nerve.’

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.

C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

You can’t live your life for other people. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.

Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. Aim to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it. Work hard at it. And don’t give a second thought when people mock it or ridicule it. Most gossip is envy in disguise.

Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

That was the first time her grandfather leaned down and whispered, ‘Be Brave,’ into her ear. And then, ‘Or pretend to be. It’s all the same.’

Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds

Where there’s life, there’s hope

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Standing on the fringes of life…offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

When you get up every day, I want you to remind yourself that tomorrow will be better than today. That you are a person of value. That you are important.

Abi Dare, The Girl with the Louding Voice

It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

If you want something different, the only person holding you back is you. What is it you love to do?

Sarah Penner, The Lost Apothecary

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

I hope you found some inspiration whilst reading these inspiring book quotes. Feel free to let me know in the comments what your favorite inspiring book (or non-book) quotes are. I’m always looking to be inspired!

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The Silent Patient vs. The Maidens

Today I’m going to mix things up a bit. What’s that saying? Ah, yes. I’m going to kill two birds with one stone; if those birds were books and the stone, this post.

I’m reviewing The Silent Patient and The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. I actually read The Silent Patient last year and never got around to writing a post about it, so this is one part genius and the other part procrastination.

These books proved to be highly exciting, and if you’re a fan of the thriller genre, then you’re going to need to add these to your TBR list stat.

The Silent Patient

Perhaps some of us are simply born evil, and despite our best efforts we remain that way.

Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient is about a silent patient, which goes to show how accurate the title is. Alicia Berenson refuses to speak after killing her husband in cold blood. Enter Theo Faber, a specially trained psychotherapist, who starts a new job at The Grove Psychiatric Facility to find out what the whole world is dying to know: why Alicia Berenson killed her husband and why she refuses to speak since that fateful night.

The more Theo digs into Alicia’s past, the more he realizes that nothing is what it seems. He begins to discover that maybe Alicia isn’t as crazy as the whole world has been led to believe. As more information is revealed you’ll begin to think that maybe there’s a reason for her madness….

This book shook me like an earthquake shakes the ground. From the moment Theo Faber enters The Grove until the very last page, you will be hooked. We’ve got alternating perspectives of Theo and Alicia. A crazy person’s perspective vs. a not-so-crazy person’s perspective. In one chapter you’re reading about Theo’s investigation into the murder and his therapy sessions with Alicia. In the next, you’re learning about Alicia’s life leading up to when she shoots her husband.

If it isn’t obvious already, this book has twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe and if you aren’t shocked by the insane ending then you are probably an insane person, or really good at solving mysteries.

The Silent Patient was Alex Michaelides’ debut novel, and it’s a gem you shouldn’t deprive yourself of.

The Maidens

After all, everyone’s entitled to be the hero of their own story. So I must be permitted to be the hero of mine. Even though I’m not. I’m the villain.

Alex Michaelides, The Maidens

This time our story begins when Mariana, a recently widowed psychotherapist, goes to Cambridge after her niece’s best friend is found murdered on campus. While originally there to offer Zoe emotional support, Mariana becomes invested in solving the murder. And when she suspects Edward Fosca, a popular and handsome professor at Cambridge, of being the murderer, she’s met with a lot of skepticism. I mean, how could a handsome man with a lot of influence be a murderer? It’s unheard of!

Her accusations are valid considering Fosca is the advisor to a secret society of female students on campus known as the Maidens. A group that Zoe’s BFF was a part of. It’s also discovered that Zoe’s best friend received a lot of special attention from Fosca.

Also, keep in mind that Mariana has recently lost the love of her life, so it becomes a struggle for her to keep Zoe’s spirits high whilst grieving her late husband. There are definitely moments where you’ll be thinking Mariana should get some psychotherapy for herself.

This book focuses on Mariana’s perspective with a few chapters of random journal entries sprinkled throughout. It’s not made entirely clear who the author of these journal entries is, but it’s definitely assumed that their Fosca’s. I’m not saying it’s not Edward Fosca, but I’m also not saying it’s not him either. It could be him, but it could also not be him.

The ending is definitely shocking with a pinch of disturbingly sad. I imagine you’ll be quite confused and quietly sad upon reading the last few chapters of this book. You may even need five to ten minutes to stare blankly at the wall.

Just Read Them

It’s clear that Michaelides has a lot of interest in greek mythology and crazy people, and I’m here for it. I say to you sir, keep writing books and I’ll keep reading those books. While some might believe The Silent Patient is superior, I believe both were well-written and executed. Therefore, I grant them the “Just Read It” stamp of approval.

*Side Note: I would highly suggest that you read The Silent Patient before reading The Maidens. Theo makes a guest appearance in Mariana’s storyline which you’ll appreciate even more by reading The Silent Patient first. Just sayin’.

Happy reading, book nerds!

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10 Books That’ll Bring Early 2000s Tweens All the Nostalgia

My love for reading began in my tweens, so I felt reminiscing on the books that brought me into the literary world was long overdue. Thinking about these books reminds me of all those Scholastic Book Fairs I’d attend at my middle school.

Oh, those were the days.

I’d usually end up snatching money from my parents the morning of and then spend every penny I had on books and useless things like giant erasers. A lot of the junk I bought at Scholastic Book Fairs just ended up in the junk drawer of my desk at home. I think this is where my love for shopping truly began. Also, my lack of reasoning when making purchases.

Anyway, some of these books I was forced to read and others I read for my own enjoyment. No matter, each book on this list 100% brought me all the tween nostalgia. If you were a tween in the early 2000s like me, then you’ll probs remember at least one of these books.

1. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

I think I bought this book because of the cute little chicky on the cover. Good choice on my part because this book ended up being one of my favorite reads. I loved the back in forth between Bryce and Juli.

Side note: the movie is currently on Netflix.

2. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

When I first picked this book out at my school’s Scholastic Book Fair, I was very confused. Donde esta title of the book?! This obviously intrigued me and I had no choice but to buy it.

It’s basically another book about a weirdo girl attracting the attention of a cool kid who was scared to show his interest. Apparently, she’s so weird that she just can’t be defined.

3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

If you’ve ever watched the show Alone on the History Channel, then you’ve basically read Hatchet.

And if the first Hatchet book isn’t enough for you – like you need more survival stories – then check out Hatchet 2. The boy gets stranded in the woods for a SECOND time. You literally have to have the worst luck in the world to be put in that situation. TWICE.

Poor hatchet boy.

4. Holes by Louis Sachar

Dig it up, oh, oh (dig it). Dig it up, oh, oh (ohh). Dig it up, oh, oh (dig it). Dig it up, oh, oh (ohhhh). Two suits, two tokens in hand, I got no respect ’cause I’m the new man. Got my shovel, shoes full of sand, check out the tag–the name’s Caveman, uhh.

You’ve got to go dig those hooooooooooooles.

The movie was better than the book – that’s all I’m going to say.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was 100% forced to read this book in middle school, but it didn’t end up being the punishment that most school kids assume when forced to read a book for class.

Also, I’m a sucker for a good dystopia book, so there was no way I was not going to enjoy reading this one.

6. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

There are about a million books in the Princess Diaries series and I only managed to read the first one. For those who haven’t read this book, you should know that it is vastly, vastly different from the movie. I also like this movie waaaaay better than the book.

7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Woof. This book was super intense and very eye-opening. I’m sure most, if not all tween girls in the early 2000s read this one. It was the first book I read that discussed the trauma of sexual assault. Definitely a tough read, but an important one.

8. TTYL by Lauren Myracle

This whole book is set up like an aim/text conversation between three besties. It was the first of its kind and deeply beloved by young tween girls such as myself.

Teen Magazine even reviewed this book and stated it was “changing the way you read.” Right you are, Teen Magazine, right you are.

9. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I’m not even slightly embarrassed by how obsessed I was with this book series. No shame. I was Team Edward all the way (still am).

I was so Team Edward that upon realizing Edward was not in most of book two, I refused to finish reading the book. Yes, that’s right. I read New Moon long after finishing the last book in the series.

Once I matured I decided I could handle the emotional trauma of Edward’s absence and finished the book. Turns out, New Moon was pretty good.

10. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

I think I’m saving the best for last here. I mean, this book is a classic. It’s beyond classic. And let’s not forget about the movie. Talk about perfection!

There’s nothing I loved more than the irony of the main character (the girl on the milk carton) being lactose intolerant. I’m now wondering if her ‘parents’, aka kidnappers, somehow made her lactose intolerant to prevent her from seeing her own missing face. Hmmm….

Feel free to share what books you remember most from your tween days in the comments below 🙂

Happy reading!

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The Alchemy Thief Will Steal Your Heart

I’ve got a new book for you hungry hungry readers and it’s a good one (per usual).

The Alchemy Thief, by R.A. Denny, is a book that will take you by surprise in the best way possible.

I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. I was a wee bit skeptical but opted for keeping an open mind and I’m glad I did. Because WOW. Wow, R.A. Denny. You wrote a pretty awesome story, and it’s pretty obvious that you did your research.

I dare to even say that this book stole my heart.

Book Description

2019: A young woman finds a relic engraved with a mysterious symbol off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Terrorists in Morocco steal a 17th-century book engraved with the same symbol. As the woman struggles to unravel the secrets behind the symbol, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined.

1657: Transported back in time, she meets the alchemist, John Winthrop, Jr. who is plotting to lure the greatest scientific minds to the New World. But the more she learns, the more she fears for the lives of the loved ones she left behind.

In a stunning twist of fate, a modern terrorist has traveled into the past, where he has become a Barbary Corsair. He has plans of his own. And he will stop at nothing to succeed.

(Brought to you by Amazon)

It’s a book about a book

This book centers around a book, which I low-key love. We’re taken to Morocco in 2019 where a young boy and his mother are plotting to steal a book from a museum and hand it over to the Islamic State. After craziness ensues the mom sadly detonates a suicide bomb so that her son can get away with the book in question.

The son, Ayoub, hands the book to the Islamic State not really knowing why they even want it. He does take a small bodkin hidden in the spine before handing it over. A bodkin that coincidentally transports Ayoub back in time to the year 1647. Lucky for Ayoub, he gets adopted by some pirates and adapts well to that lifestyle. The only reason he wants to go back to the modern-day is so he can gather all of the AK-47s and bring them back to the 17th century and become super powerful and dangerous. Oof.

The question of what the Islamic State will do with the book Ayoub stole is brought up throughout this twisty and turny story. We know this book contains some super secrets about a powerful weapon or weapons. I think it’s safe to say that one of those weapons is time travel.

Time-traveling fun

Then we have the lovely Experience/Peri Fuller who ends up finding a bodkin in the shallows of the ocean in Martha’s Vineyard. Can you guess? She also gets taken back in time. Except she ends up in New England/early America in the year 1657. Ten years after Ayoub. That means Ayoub is a few years older than Peri when she travels to the 17th century.

She settles in with Thomas Mayhew’s colony, who also happens to be her 7th or so great-grandfather. She has this crazy family reunion with the Mayhew family, which would be great if she wasn’t trapped in the 1600s.

A lot of the Pilgrim/Puritan/Native American history that I remember from school consists solely of the mistreatment of Native Americans and the puritans/pilgrims causing that mistreatment. It’s not a secret that early settlers of America were no bueno in a lot of ways, but where there are a-holes there are also decent people. I would consider the Mayhews to be decent people. Were they perfect? No. But they were known to be the most respectful settlers toward Native Americans in Early America.

The Wampanoag Native Americans and the Mayhew colony seemed to have a courteous relationship. Mayhew had minister children who spent a lot of time preaching the word o’ God to a lot of the Native Americans in their vicinity. In this story, you see a lot of Native Americans who do convert. You also see plenty who refuse to convert and just go about their lives with no evil or hatred coming from the Mayhew’s side.

Love is in the air

I mean so far this book kind of has it all. How could romance not be included? Our young Peri forms a strong love connection with Daniel who is Native American and a Christian convert. He also happens to be a co-writer (along with John Winthrop) of the secret weapon book that Ayoub steals for the Islamic State.

Daniel helps Peri become an apprentice for John Winthrop and that’s where she learns more about the book Winthrop is writing and the alchemy it contains. He also saves Peri’s life when some townspeople catch her on her cell phone and call her out for being a witch. Woof.

That was a real issue for ladies in the 17th century. Not the having a phone part, but being called out for being a witch.

Honestly, their relationship is adorable and I really enjoyed seeing their love blossom. Ah, love!

Just Read It

The Alchemy Thief had me saying “What?!” as I flipped through its pages, not entirely believing what I was reading. I went into this story not knowing a lot about Puritan and early American history and knowing nothing about Moroccan history. There’s nothing I love more than enjoying a good plot line and learning new things.

If you’re looking for a new fantasy book then I insist that you give this book a lil read. I think you’ll enjoy it.

And while it might seem like I discussed every aspect of this book, I really didn’t. There is so much I didn’t cover.

The book comes out July 16 (tomorrow), and you can find it on Amazon.

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5 Reasons You Must Read Malibu Rising on the Beach

That is the thing about the water, it is not yours to control. You are at the mercy of nature. That’s what makes surfing feel like more than a sport: It requires destiny to be on your side, the ocean must favor you.

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Malibu Rising

Obviously, you can read whatever book you want on the beach, but I have to say there are better ones to read than others. Malibu Rising, written by the lovely Taylor Jenkins Reid, is a clear beach read winner.

You see, I didn’t know that when I started it so unfortunately I didn’t get that opportunity, which is why I’m here today imploring you to get this book and read it on the beach. Learn from me.

Check out the lengthy description below and then enjoy the 5 Reasons You Must Read Malibu Rising on the Beach.

Book Description

Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer, and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promises she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind.

(Brought to you by Goodreads)

1. It’s basically a big party…on the beach

My golden rule is if the setting of the book takes place on the beach, then you too must read the book on the beach. It allows you to get into the character’s state of mind.

The day starts at 7 am and goes into the wee hours of the next morning, each chapter detailing out the hour for each sibling. If you think I’m exaggerating about the book taking place on the beach then I do insist you read it and see for yourself. There are a limited number of scenes that don’t take place on the beach, and even then the beach is across the street.

2. There is a lot of sibling bonding (on the beach)

Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit have all been through some trauma, and that is what has tide 😉 them together. Nina kind of acts as their pseudo-mama and from the way she is constantly checking on her siblings, you can see that she would do anything for them.

These four peas in a pod are what I like to call “friblings” they are siblings, yes, but they are also best friends. Despite a few tiffs, there doesn’t seem to be anything that could break them apart.

3. There is lots and lots of surfing

The one thing that truly united the Riva siblings was surfing. From a young age when their father abandoned them and then when their mother passed, it seemed surfing was their only escape. For most of the sibs, it’s more than a hobby, it’s a way of life.

Reading about them surfing almost made me want to surf myself. Seeing as I live in the midwest, I don’t really see that happening.

4. It’s a very fast read…perfect for the beach

Taylor Jenkins Reid does an incredible job of writing complex plots while still making the book an easy and fast read. I didn’t know anyone could be so talented, yet, here we are.

I think it helps that you get so many different perspectives from all of these characters and it just hooks you in. Each character is interesting and you keep wanting to know more from their perspective.

The whole plot of this book takes place in 24 hours. Along with some chapters that outline the origin of June and Mick Riva’s relationship, which allows us to see how the siblings became who they are.

5. There’s a lot of juicy drama

This book is filled with all the juicy drama you could ever want in a book. It’ll be so juicy that you’ll want to drink it.

When you have a party filled with high and drunk people (including famous people), plus all the side drama coming from the Riva family’s personal lives, you get a big hot mess. This also ends with a giant fire, so I don’t think the mess could get any hotter. Don’t worry, it’s a good hot mess (except the fire isn’t great).

Just Read It

While I aimed to make this post light-hearted and didn’t go into a deep analysis (this is a beach read after all) there is a lot more depth to this book than meets the eye. I highly suggest you read this book, not just for the juicy drama, but for all of the beautiful character developments and plot twists. There is a lot to unpack there.

If you’re ever interested in making this your next book club read then you can check out some awesome guides that I found:

  1. Reading Group Guide
  2. Book Club Chat

As I said, there really is a lot to discuss with this book. Don’t miss out on a fantastic read.

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