Month: May 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Beach Reads

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It is the Top Ten Tuesday I was born to write a blog post about, guys:
top 10 beach reads

I am a huge fan of the beach read. The sun on my skin, the salt in the air, and becoming lost in the words of an easy read that I don’t have to remember. Although, even a beach read, if well written, will be remembered.

These are the 10 beach reads most particularly enjoyed.

#1 Princess Daisy

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Judith Krantz’s Princess Daisy is my ultimate beach read. It primarily details the early life of Princess Marguerite Alexandrovna Valensky, affectionately known as “Princess Daisy.” Born into a life of royalty and luxury, her family has a couple of secrets that are probably darker than the average bear’s. Fleeing her family for the sake of her own safety and sense of ethics, Princess Daisy works to make a life and a living on her own, while masquerading as someone who still has the money and privileges with which she was born in the presence of people who still know her as the Princess.

Full of scandal, intrigue, and a healthy dose of sex, this beach read is a pleasurable saga to read during a leisurely week.

#2 My Best Friend’s Exorcism

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Grady Hendrix’s novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism is one of my new favorite beach reads. This novel is a must-read for anyone who has a fondness for teenage ’80s movies and horror movies. Think John Hughes meets Linda Blair and everyone is covered in split-pea soup.

I already wrote a blog post about this book, so I will abstain from going on about this book ad nauseam here. Suffice to say, I think Grady Hendrix is a genius, and that you should read this book.

#3 Britt-Marie was Here

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Fredrik Backman’s Britt-Marie Was Here is, quite simply, a novel that you can read anywhere. It’s lovely, the characters are perfect, and you. Should. Read. It.

Or re-read it, it you’ve already read it once.

#4 Anna and the French Kiss

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Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss is a great escape. Join Anna Perkins, a sassy teen from Atlanta, as she is forced to go a Parisian boarding school.

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I know… hard life, right?

I admit, this novel definitely has some privileged white-girl shit going on. But if there is a time to envelope yourself in a world of privilege and money, it is probably while you are sunbathing and reading on the beach. Also, this novel has a realistic teenage protagonist and presents one of the sweetest, most realistic love stories you will ever read.

Live in Paris for the duration of a novel, and fall in love with Etienne.

#5 The School for Good and Evil

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Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil is an addictive, engaging read. Riffing off of the fairy tales that we know and love so well, this novel details the friendship between Agatha and Sophie as the two girls navigate their first year at the school for good and evil, which teaches fairy tale protagonists and antagonists how to navigate their way through a fairy tale.

A quick, enjoyable read that will question the way that you think about fairy tales, I highly recommend reading this novel this summer.

#6 Practical Magic

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Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic is one of those rare novels that not only includes magic as a plot element, but feels magical while you are reading it. It somehow manages to write a saga detailing the family of two sisters who are witches in a way that feels realistic, although the things happening in the novel are very unlikely to occur in reality. For a saga, the novel is not very many pages, but those pages are highly enjoyable and highly recommended.

#7 The Secret Keeper

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Kate Morton has written a few novels, but I can only comment on The Secret KeeperLaurel Nicolson’s mother Dorothy has been hiding a dark secret, stemming from the times of WWII (spoiler alert: Dorothy was not a Nazi). This novel has fame, riches, love, and secrets. Perfect for a summer beach read.

#8 Keeping the Moon

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You can’t have a good beach read list without Sarah Dessen. While you can pretty much read any Sarah Dessen novel and receive my stamp of approval, Keeping the Moon is perhaps the most fitting example to list separately since it literally takes place at the beach and details a summer of transformation. A YA novel full of change, hope, and transformation, this novel can (and should) be read by everyone, and summer just happens to be a great time to remember to do so.

#9 Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

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Christopher Moore’s novel Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story is as funny as the title suggests. Jody and Thomas are two average Americans, until they discover and become embroiled in the vampire underworld. Escaping into the twisted, funny mind of Christopher Moore’s San Francisco is highly entertaining and recommended.

#10 Gossip Girl

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Before it was a scathing and addictive television show, Gossip Girl #1 was a scathing and addictive book series, written by the talented Cecily von Ziegesar. This novel is pure escapism – rich kids engaging in shenanigans, all detailed by the anonymous “gossip girl” on her website. What I found intriguing while reading was not the similarities between the TV show and the novel, but what the TV show chose to distort or leave out. The characters are much more complex in the novel, which is less moralistic than the television show was (at least in the first novel, which is the only one I read).

Highly recommended if you want to spend some time with young, rich kids who never get in enough trouble.

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Those are my top 10 beach reads. What are yours? Please share in the comments below! It is always nice to have a good beach read on hand for those times you just need to escape and want something light to read.

Beach picture: By No machine-readable author provided. Seano1~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
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Happy Happy Blog Birthday!

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I set up this blog 1 year ago. I have been lucky enough to have many people stop by, take a peek. A very few of you have left comments, a handful more have left “like”s, and some have lurked without leaving any notice at all (I can only hope you don’t hate my writing, but if you do… #cestlavie).

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Happy blog birthday!

If you have enjoyed anything about this blog, and stumble across this post, please leave me a comment to let me know what you enjoy, if there’s something you would like to see more of (or see at all, if you have a suggestion that I have yet to implement), or even just a note that you’ve stopped by. Everyone likes to feel special on their (blog) birthday, and I would not only feel special if you leave a comment, I would genuinely enjoy to read your thoughts.

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Leaving comments #likeaboss

I Want Pancakes

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If you don’t like Psych, then we probably can’t be friends. #tvmarathon #ilovepsych

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Picked Up on A Whim

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, courtesy of the imaginative The Broke and the Bookish, is:

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For the purposes of this post, I am going to recount the last 10 books that I picked up on a whim, rather than 10 books I picked up on a whim and really enjoyed. I am not including advanced reader copies, or books that I picked up on  a whim from an author that I know I enjoy or about whom I have heard spoken highly.

We will begin with the book I am currently reading, The Book Class, by Louis Auchincloss.

book classI picked this book up at the library. The title caught my eye, I took a brief glance at the inside front cover, and thought the novel might be a good read. So far, I am enjoying it. Narrator Christopher Gates looks at pivotal moments in the lives of the women in his mother’s book club, a group of women whom he generally admired and who had a great influence on his life. These women are rich, cultured, and intelligent. So far, I am greatly enjoying it.

Next up, is Gigi Pandian’s The Accidental Alchemist.
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accidental alchemist

Another library read, about which I have already written a blog post. In summary, it was okay. Not my favorite mystery, but not absolutely terrible.

Another recent whimsical choice was Immaculate, by Katelyn Detweiler.

immaculate

A book that I chose on a whim, because I thought it might be an interesting read. About a modern-day immaculate conception for a regular teenage girl in high school, this book is as religion-heavy as you might expect. It is not necessarily a terrible novel, but it is not very well written, I skimmed rather than read it, and not only would I not read it again, I also would not recommend it.

Another whimsical choice this year was Echo Shea’s Light a Candle For the Beast: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling: A Dark Fairy Tales Novella.

light a candle for the beast

This novella is an inexpensive e-book available on Amazon, and I did not like itBUT I was in the minority. Browsing through Goodreads reviews will show you that the majority of readers really enjoy this dark re-telling of Beauty and the Beast.

A book I purchased on a whim for my e-reader was Rachel Higginson’s The Rush (The Siren Series Book 1).

the rush

As long-time readers of my blog are aware, I tried to get a mutual reading and group discussion going for this novel via multiple blog posts (see link 1, link 2, link 3, and link 4), which was not successful, although the multiple blog posts did make it abundantly clear that I was not a fan of this book.

Another whimsical e-book read was Confiscating Charlie: A Singular Obsession Novelette, by Lucy Leroux.

Confiscating Charlie

A short erotica story about stepsiblings that seems like it’s supposed to be about a sweet, somewhat invisible, but beautiful girl taming her wild stepbrother through the power of wild sex, this story feels like one that will appeal to those who have fetishes about nearly incestual relationships in which the woman needs to be “protected.” Those fetishes are not mine, so this story did not exactly suit me, but it’s definitely not a terrible story, and if those fetishes are yours, you should give it a read.

Then, there is Season of the Witch, by Natasha Mostert.

season of the witch

This book was entertaining and slightly preachy (in a manner that I found hilarious). This book is sort of like a terrible, completely unaware soap opera that is fun to make fun of. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Another erotica recently purchased without much insight is Selena Kitt’s This Time, Baby: A Stepbrother Romance (First Time With My Stepbrother).

this time, baby

This short story had a female protagonist who was supposed to be a “sexy tease,” but whom I found to be one of the most annoying women, ever. To each his own; just don’t “flirt” with me that way if you want to get laid.

Dani Ripper’s Promise You Won’t Tell? (A Dani Ripper Novel Book 2) is a novel that I selected to read on my iPhone.

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This novel had promise, but the writing did not live up to that promise. The beginning drew me in, but the plot quickly turned into something that was predictable, and reading this novella turned into a chore. Sadly, I do not recommend. Although, this novella is the second in a series, and perhaps the first novella is much better.

We will finish with How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life, by Mameve Medwed.

how elizbeth barrett browning saved

This novel is another one that I really enjoyed. This novel details a time in Abby Randolph’s life when she takes advantage of the opportunities that she stumbles across to slowly change her life into one in which she is empowered and fulfilled. I highly recommend this novel, particularly if you are in the midst of some hard times.

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That’s 10!

Those are the 10 books I recently purchased on a whim. What about you? Please share your recent whimsical book purchases with me in the comments (and feel free to share a link to your Top 10 Tuesday post, if you have written one as well)!

We Got the Read!

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This book comes out on May 17th!

It has horror, and it is funny!

Eighties mentions make it retro,

Help you go back in time…

We got the read!

We got the read!

We got the read!

Yeah, you’ve gotta read…

[Author’s note: Lyrics to be read to the ’80s classic “We’ve Got the Beat” by the Go-Gos]

[Author’s note 2: These lyrics are the sole creation of author Bambi Quim, and therefore are not actually quoting anyone.]

My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix, comes out Tuesday, May 17th. And you should read it.

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It’s SO good, you guys.

An homage to the ’80s, in general, as well as horror movies, in particular, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is funny, whimsical, and wonderful. Narrated by Abby Rivers, the story details her friendship with Gretchen Lang, which began in fourth grade at a roller disco party, spending a particular amount of time detailing the trial of that friendship in high school, when Gretchen is possessed.

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Where friendships are forged, and glittery balls litter the walls with sparkles

If you are a John Hughes fan (ignoring She’s Having a Baby, which is just awful), if you know who Tiffany, Flock of Seagulls, and Duran Duran are, if you understand the difference between ’80s Madonna and ’90s Madonna (and have maybe even seen Desperately Seeking Susan), or can sing along with the undeniably fabulous rap scene from Teen Witch, you not only should read this book. You need to read this book.

I adored this book, guys. The writing is fairly decent, but it is the references, the slang, and the warm feelings created by evoking an earlier time and an authentic friendship between Abby and Gretchen that makes this book a must-read.

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#mustread #clearyourschedule

So now that you all know you need to read this book, tell me your favorite ’80s movie, music, or book, in the comments! Then, schedule your Tuesday to make sure you can snag a copy of My Best Friend’s Exorcism.

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#readme #topthat
Roller skates: ManekiNeko at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

My Mother’s Day Read

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On Sunday, I decided to read Tig Notaro’s I’m Just a Person. In retrospect, my timing may have been slightly off. While I knew who Tig Notaro was prior to reading this (by which, I mean, I have seen her in some movies and television shows and have a favorable impression of her), I was actually not as aware of the recent events in her life. It’s on the back of the book, so I feel like I’m not spoiling anything when I tell you that this memoir details a period in which Tig became ill, her mother died, and then she discovered she had cancer, amongst other things.

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While the book was an odd choice for mother’s day, I would definitely not say it is a bad book. I really enjoyed Tig’s clean, honest writing. And her subject matter is something that all of us can relate to. In Tig’s words:

-Tig Notaro, i'm just a person

Who has not felt this way, at one time or another?

Tig discusses some of life’s tougher moments in an honest, funny, and endearing way. This memoir is short, but an enjoyable read.

Having said that, I feel that I may have enjoyed the memoir more than many who have been listenening to Tig’s comedy recently would. Much of this memoir feels like it is recycling material used in comedy sketches. As someone who has not been watching Tig’s stand-up, this reading was entertaining – but the jokes were all fresh. I am not certain that people who have been avid followers of Tig’s stand-up over the last few years would derive as much enjoyment from the memoir as I did.

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All the feels. #reading

Because, though I chose to read a memoir that begins with the death of a mother on mother’s day, I did enjoy reading this memoir. I definitely recommend it, and feel that this memoir might be one to which I will return numerous times. I read an ARC, but it is slated for release next month.

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Look at that face. Don’t you want to read this book now, too?

Have you read it? Or are you looking forward to it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Sex Ed – A Novella on Sex in the Fifties

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I recently received an ARC of Educating His Bride, and erotica novella written by Cara Bristol, from Netgalley.

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To be honest, reader, at first I didn’t like it. The protagonist makes claims of unfairness and talks of being in love with no evidence.

 

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Mm…kay

The newly married “Meggie” (awful nickname) pleasantly remembers a Honeymoon to visit the streets on the Monopoly Board in Atlantic City.

 

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That’s weird; also, stay off my streets, bitch!

There are a few instances throughout the story, particularly in the beginning, in which it is a little too obvious that the author has done her homework.

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EXPOSITION! It all feels like EXPOSITION!

And the main male character basically admits that what he loves about his wife is that she is somehow the embodiment of the madonna whore complex:

Despite the kink, she retained an aura of innocence. He loved that about her.

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Yet as the story continues, it portrays an increasingly complicated portrait of women in the fifties, and the way that they view themselves and they are viewed by men. In the end, feminist ideas have been liberally sprinkled throughout the narrative in a way that shows why women in the fifties may have been feeling unrest (although no mention is made of the “happy pills” many of them were consequently prescribed by doctors, and which arguably helped delay the feminist movement a couple of decades). Many of the female characters within the narrative have been embarrassed, some have been mistreated, yet the novel ends on the note that it is okay to be comfortable with yourself sexually and that, regardless of what other people may think, important to feel safe and loved in your relationship.

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Which, in the fifties, often meant married…

This novella is erotica, as I have mentioned previously, and has overt sexual scenes as well as themes of “discipline.” As such, if you find either of these things offensive, I suggest refraining from reading. If, on the other hand, you have a liking for the professor seducing/teaching the student type situations, I recommend this novella. Despite some of its’ early problems, I have a positive impression of the novella, overall. In particular, the ending was very well done. And while a story that starts off well and ends on a bland or distasteful note is severely disappointing, a story that has a bit of a rocky start and ends on a great note can be worth a read.