Top Ten Tuesday: 11/24


Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For

  1. Jessie’s Girls: Muscle Building Edition by Jessie Hilgenberg | This is an e-book, but it still counts. I discovered Jessie Hilgenberg on Instagram and saw the amazing progress her “followers” were experiencing on her programs. I bit the bullet and bought it, and I haven’t looked back. It has completely changed the way I look at training and nutrition. The road to emotional healing and loving myself is going to take a while, but this is a great start.
  2. Harry Potter by JK Rowling | Duh. I remember picking up The Sorcerer’s Stone at the Library, waaaay back in the day. I read it and made my parents read it. Then we read The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire. It took a while, as I was about 12, but I remember waiting at Barnes & Noble for the midnight release of The Order of the Phoenix. It completely transformed me into an avid reader and really brought my family together.
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden | I read this in high school, and it was my first historical fiction piece I’d ever read. Though fictional, I felt that it really opened my eyes to the cultural differences that women face around the world and ultimately made me much more open to picking up historical fiction in the future.
  4. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin | I read this my sophomore year of college, and it was truly (and embarrassingly) the first “adult” fiction I’d ever picked up. Prior to it, I’d been too scared to venture outside of the YA section at the library. Why? Because I felt I wasn’t “smart enough” to read adult fiction. Dumb, right? I’m over it now!
  5. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer | This was my first venture in to the world of non-fiction, which I had always assumed would be boring as hell. Newsflash: it wasn’t. It did make me realize that my romanticized notions of being an outdoorsy girl were ludicrous, though.

6. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton | My first science fiction novel. It’s the only book I’ve read more than twice. Dare I say it’s my favorite?

7. Meg Cabot — the whole lot of them | I can’t choose just one Meg Cabot book to add to this list—really, it was all of them growing up that made me feel like I understood life in school (I was homeschooled). I definitely lived vicariously through her characters.

8. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler | This was an assigned reading in my Eastern Civilizations class, but it really opened my eyes to a new culture that fascinated me. Ever since reading it, China has been on my list of places I would love to travel to (it also made me desperately want to join the Peace Corps).

9. AP Style Guide | Never would have made it through school without it.

10. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini | Another eye opener, another piece of art. There’s a definite theme in this post—books are portals to other worlds, sometimes fictitious, sometimes real life. These books have given me the gift learning about and understanding another culture different than my own until I can travel there myself.



Top Ten Tuesday: 2/24




Blair1. Hermione Granger – the Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling DUH. It’s HERMIONE. If there ever was a badass heroine in literature, it’s her.

2. Yelena – the Study Series by Maria V. SnyderIf you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that I’m OBSESSED with the Study Series, so Yelena is a very obvious choice for me.

3. Blair Waldorf – Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl is hands down my favorite TV series (it’s surprisingly taken Sex and the City’s spot in my world) and Blair Waldorf is such a strong female character. While she’s manipulative and sometimes crazy, she’s still my absolute favorite. She is definitely the heroine of her own life.

4. Katniss Everdeen – the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.  I recently watched Mockingjay Part 1 and while I didn’t think it was good as the others, it’s a strong reminder of how heroic Katniss is.

5. Annie Walker – Covert AffairsI had to throw her in. My husband and I binge-watched Covert Affairs over the span of December and I am totally in (platonic) love with Annie Walker. When I was little, I wanted to be in the FBI when I grew up, and while Annie is in the CIA so it’s different, I love living vicariously through her.

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tumblr_mcbzqwLt0Y1qekaheo1_r2_5006. Dr. Temperance Brennan – Bones and Temperance Brennan Series by Kathy ReichsI love Temperance on TV and in the books—though I would say they’re completely different characters, personality-wise. However, both are resilient, kick-ass, and smart…I love that!

7. Agent Carter – Agent Carter. We’ve been watching our fill of the new short series, Agent Carter. I haven’t read the comics, but I’m definitely digging the TV version of her. In a male dominant profession (you know, being a spy and special agent), she’s constantly battling (and beating) gender stereotypes.

8. Alanna – Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce When I first read The Song of the Lioness series, I was completely captivated by Alanna. A total badass lady, she passes as a boy to fulfill her dreams of becoming a knight.

9. Avry – Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder. After rereading Fire Study, I think I’ve realized that the Healer series is my favorite Snyder series…primarily because of Avry, who is selfless and strong.

10. Hermione – Harry Potter by JK Rowling. There is no way I could have possibly left Hermione off of this list. Being the poofy brown haired nerd-child back in the day, I could seriously relate to Hermione. She helped me learn to be proud of my book smarts. (I don’t even care that she’s on here twice!)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke & the Bookish. Check out more Top Ten features on their site. 

Top Ten Tuesday: 2/3



Top Ten CRIME/MYSTERY/THRILLER Books WE Can’t Believe WE Haven’t READ/Want To Read

322631. The Rizzoli & Isles Series by Tess Gerritsen – I’ve heard great things, have loved the episodes I’ve seen…I just haven’t had the time to really get into them.

2.  The rest of the Bones/Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs – I’ve read the first six or seven books, but keep getting distracted. I love them and definitely want to read the rest.

3. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – I loved The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons. Loved them. I haven’t picked up the latest, though. Might need to reread the first two.

4. State of Fear by Michael Crichton – I am a huge Crichton fan, and I have yet to pick this one up. I try to read a Crichton book a year, so maybe this is The One.

5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – I watched the movie, which completely turned me off from ever wanting to read the book. That being said, it tops nearly every Thriller list on Goodreads’ Listopia, so perhaps I should give a second chance.

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Room6. The Shining by Stephen King – when I was younger (like middle school aged which is horrible, I know), I LOVED Stephen King. I read Pet Sematary, Carrie, Salem’s Lot and a bunch more but never got around to The Shining. It’s very intriguing to me, so it’s probably about time.

7. Room by Emma Donoghue – when Room first came out 5 (!) years ago, it was pretty popular and I always meant to read it but have yet to do so.

8. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – this came out almost 10 years ago, and I keep seeing it everywhere recently. I’m taking it as a sign that I need to read it!

9. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris – I used to watch this movie over and over when I was younger, and I’ve read Red Dragon which is the first in the Hannibal Lecter series, so this is next on the list!

10. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – JK Rowling wrote this under a pseudonym. That’s reason enough for me to read it, and I’m very surprised I haven’t yet.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke & the Bookish. Check out more Top Ten features on their site. 

Thirty Day Book Challenge: Day 30

Day 30 (aka the last day!): Your favorite book of all time

6Asking me to choose a favorite book is like asking me to choose with arm or leg I’d rather lop off, or if I’d rather give up macaroni and cheese or Nutella for the rest of my life. You simply can’t make these decisions, it’s just cruel!

So, I will cheat. I will cheat and choose a series, because I cannot choose just one.

Drumroll, folks? Harry Potter. Yep, I am a diehard Harry Potter fan and I absolutely choose it as my favorite book(s). Do I care how “mainstream” this is? Hell no. I read the second Harry Potter book when it was released and lived my childhood years waiting for the next to release. My childhood was over when the last book was released, and I cried like a baby during the last chapter of the book, simply because it was over.

Can words do justice the number of times I’ve dressed up as a Harry Potter character for a book or premiere, the number of hours of sleep I’ve lost from staying up late reading HP, how many wishes I made on stars and candles that I would receive my letter on my birthday? I’ve eaten a vomit-flavored Bertie Botts jelly bean, flung around a replica of Harry’s wand, listened to Jim Dale’s voice for hours, and wished with every fiber of my being that J.K. Rowling is indeed a squib, who is actually truly detailing the life of Harry Potter to spite those who made fun of her and kicked her out.

Harry Potter was my childhood, and will always be my favorite.


1472878HOW CAN I ANSWER THIS?! It’s probably the hardest question in the entire world. My favorite books change often, it depends on my mood and what I’m wanting to read, or the person that I’m recommending them to. I feel like my favorite is constantly changing because I read new ones and love them so much…

I guess if I absolutely HAD to choose, it would either be Firefly Lane or The Things We Do For Love, both by Kristin Hannah. Each of these stand out in my mind and are books that I think about often and remember well.

Firefly Lane will always hold that special spot in my heart, the first adult book my best friend and I bonded over, the book that feels like it’s been ripped from our lives and the book that I will never, ever get tired of reading.

The Things We Do For Love sticks in my mind because it feels… so comforting and so hopeful. It reminds me that no matter what you go through, the things that are meant to be, will be. That things fall into place when you’re least expecting them but need them most.

I love them both for different but similar reasons, and it’s impossible for me to choose between them.


Happy Thanksgiving: Books We Are Thankful For

Books we're

To many people, a book is just a book. To us, a book has the power to change a life, a perspective, a bad day into a good one, a regular moment into an extraordinary one. A book has the power to transport you to another place, another person’s life, another time. In the spirit of thankfulness, we would like to highlight the books that we are most thankful for.

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The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

6I wouldn’t be doing my list justice if I didn’t mention Harry Potter. I first picked up Harry Potter from my local library in 1999. I was almost ten and actually believed that my American Hogwarts letter would come in the next year. After finishing the first book, I immediately ran out (just kidding—my mom drove me) to the library to pick up the Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. By the time I’d finished, my entire family was hooked on the book. My first midnight release party at Barnes and Noble was for the Chamber of Secrets—that’s right—my mom let me stay up past midnight.

As a homeschooled kid who lived in the country, friends were sparse. Books, on the other hand, were numerous, and my only rule at the library was that if I couldn’t physically carry the stack, I had to put some back. I grew very strong for such a nerdy child. Harry Potter was the first real series that I became an obsessive fangirl with, and I continue to hold that status today.

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler

94053This book gave me the travel bug, and a love of learning about other cultures. I read this during my sophomore year of college; I was in an Eastern Civilizations class, and this was an assigned reading. I read it in a week. It was truly the first nonfiction book I read that I really, really felt a connection to. It made me want to join the Peace Corps for several years before I decided against it. I haven’t re-read it since that class, but I think I ought to.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I read Life As We Knew It for a Teen’s Choice Award committee I was involved in for the library (because I wasn’t nerdy enough in high school, being on yearbook, newspaper, and showing chickens in 4-H). It’s about a girl who is trying to survive with her family when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth, creating disaster and devastation all over the globe. It made me realize how unprepared we all would be in that situation, and that we need to stop taking our way of life for granted.

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60510The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder

I know I sound like a broken record here, but seriously. THESE BOOKS. I feel like before I (finally) read Poison Study, I was kind of at a stagnant place with reading. I would read all of these books and while I liked them, I wouldn’t get as sucked in as I remember getting when I was younger and I couldn’t figure out why. Reading this series has completely changed that and renewed my hope in books, renewed that hunger for reading that I’ve always had and that had somehow dwindled over the past years. So thankful Lauren recommended the series, and so thankful that I finally started reading it.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah1472878

I can’t NOT put this book on here. I read it and recognized the similarities between Kate & Tully’s lives and mine & my best friend’s and immediately made her read it. We’ve both read it numerous times since then and it’s just as good the 2nd and 3rd times as it is the 1st.

hpThe Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

We moved around a lot when I was growing up, and I remember before I made any friends in my newest neighborhood, I would spend all of my free time reading these books. I even made my mom buy me all of them because the library closest to our house always had an insane wait list for them. HP and all of this friends (and foes) got me through starting new schools, making new friends, and dealing with the angsty teenage feels that we all go through. As I got older, the series became a way to bond with my younger brother and brought us closer than we ever would have been without them. Hogwarts and Harry, every character and every setting, JK Rowling herself… they’re all lifesavers and I will forever be grateful for it all.


Thirty Day Book Challenge: Day 19

Day Nineteen: Favorite book turned into a movie

10412Though the movie wasn’t really based on the book, as the book is laid out in a self-help format,  I loved He’s Just Not That Into You. The book was like my field guide in college—if a boy didn’t text or call me, I assumed He Wasn’t That Into Me. If a guy was busy, I assumed He Wasn’t That Into Me. This book taught me not to put up with BS and to move on—because I am beautiful, awesome, etc. Granted, the book wasn’t that awesome. Once I stop analyzing boys so much and just let it flow, I could actually figure out if someone was into me, because people are humans and they give signs.

But I love the movie. I love how they took the Rules from the book and inserted them into several different characters and relationships. If a guy is into you, he will call. If a guy is into you, he won’t cheat on you. If a guy is into you, he’ll do everything within his power to marry you and move mountains to be with you. And the list goes on. Shallow material, but I love it.


5Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is my FAVORITE Harry Potter book and my favorite movie. I feel like it was so well done!! Obviously there are changes, that comes with any book-turned-movie, but it was just so… brilliant.

I watch the movies over and over, but this is the only book of the series that I’ve ever read more than once. All of the scenes are so amazing, the way that Patronuses were done, the entire setting of Hogsmeade was perfect. I just love it. It was also the introduction of one of my favorite characters, Sirius Black, so of course that helps!


Thirty Day Book Challenge: Day 17

Day Seventeen: Favorite quote from your favorite book

“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”
Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto



““You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban