July Reading Recap

I’m officially at 18 of 30 books for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, putting me 1 book ahead of schedule. I really don’t know how people read 100 books a year! This month, I read:

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading the sequel. I could pretty much tell where the book was going but it was still a page-turner. I know there was some controversy surrounding both the film and the movie (which I haven’t seen yet) – I’m wondering what others thought about the book?


Wool by Hugh Howey: Okay, this doesn’t really count as a book but…I’m counting it anyway. This short story is the first of five in the Silo Series. Mankind lives in a giant silo because the air outside is toxic. People can look outside via a camera feed but the lenses have to be cleaned…which involves going outside (aka a death sentence, which is why they make criminals do it.) Sheriff Holston has doubts about whether the air outside is actually toxic but to know for sure he has to go outside. This story left me with so.many.questions. So I’ll be reading the next installment asap!


Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: I can’t recall why I wanted to read this but it was on my to-read list and was affordable on Amazon Kindle so there ya go. (I think maybe a friend recommended it?) It reminded me a little of Twilight but focused on werewolves instead of vampires. The average rating on Goodreads is 3.78 and people seem to really love it or really hate it. It’s just not my cup of tea.

That’s it for July! If you do a monthly recap on what you’ve read, feel free to post a link in the comments section!

Tuesday Talks – Unhauling books?


It’s time for Tuesday Talks! If you would like to participate, you can join the Goodreads Group to see all of the monthly topics!

This week’s topic: Do you unhaul books and if so, how often?

I typically do an annual unhauling of books in the spring – which is also when I clean out my closets!

Reasons I unhual each year:

  • To make room for more books!
  • To get rid of books I wasn’t crazy about (I like to keep physical copies of books I really love)
  • Multiple copies of books thanks to friends/family gifts

Some years I have a ton of books to give away and other years I hardly have any; it really just depends. I usually donate the books to my library (many libraries have a “friends” bookstore that will sell your unwanted titles.)

How often do you “spring clean” your bookshelves?

Top 5 Wednesday – Recent Additions to Wish List


This week’s T5W topic: Most Recent Additions to Your Wish List!

Since I haven’t ready any of these yet, I’ll keep this post short and sweet 🙂

everything i never told you

1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – A recommendation from my mom.

promise not to tell

2. Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon – This was on sale on Amazon so I grabbed it – her books are good if you’re in the mood for something a bit creepy.

after you
3. After You by Jojo Moyes – I just finished Me Before You and this is the sequel.

station eleven
4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – I read a lot of good reviews for this book so I’m looking forward to this one!

5. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – I can’t remember where I read about this but I’m assuming it was mentioned in a fellow blogger’s post.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books set ouside the U.S.


Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s Top Ten Tuesday time! Click the link to see future topics and join in the fun!

This week’s topic: Ten Books Set Outside of the U.S. I’m going to attempt to list books I haven’t discussed in previous posts! Or haven’t discussed multiple times, anyway 🙂


1. The Lost City of Z by David Grann (The Amazon) – This is a non-fiction book about a British explorer who disappeared in the 1920s while searching for an ancient lost city in the Amazon. I thought this book was completely fascinating. It also made me want to avoid the Amazon.


2. We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Phillip Gourevitch (Rwanda) – Another non-fiction title, this award-winning book is about the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The author interviewed survivors and shares their tales. Needless to say, this is not an easy read.


3. City of Thieves by David Benioff (Russia) – I absolutely loved this historical fiction novel. It takes place during WWII as two young men are on a desperate search for eggs. It manages to be both funny and heartbreaking. I really loved these two characters.

4. The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (England) – Another non-fiction book (I’m sensing a theme here). For a period of time I was really fascinated with Henry VIII and this book goes into pretty great detail ( 650+ pages!)

5. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana) – This is a really fun series about a woman named Precious Romotswe who starts her own detective agency. Each book has a different mystery and the secondary characters are really great too! I think HBO made this into a TV series but I never had the opportunity to see it.

all the light
6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (France and Germany) – This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction last year. The writing is just beautiful. It took me a while to get used to the back-and-forth style but it’s really a great book.

7. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (England) – This was Kate Morton’s first novel and I really enjoyed it (her other books are also good!) It has a murder mystery, a little romance, an old manor, and a lot of secrets. I highly recommend it!

thirteenth tale
8. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (England) – Apparently I enjoy novels set in England about family secrets and fancy houses. Unlike Morton’s novel, however, this one has a supernatural aspect to it. I really enjoyed this book. In fact, writing this makes me want to read it again!

9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (France) – This is technically a children’s book but even adults will enjoy it (I did!) This is an illustrated historical fiction book that was inspired by the true story of filmmaker Georges Melies. If you enjoy old films you will particularly like this, I think. The movie is good as well!

10. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Iran) – This is an autobiographical graphic novel about the author’s childhood in Iran. Even if you don’t typically read graphic novels, give this one a shot! It’s fantastic.

What is your favorite book set outside the U.S.?

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Facts About Me!


It’s Top Ten Tuesday time! This is open to everyone so click the link to join in!

This week’s topic: Ten Facts about Me

I’ve decided to go with bookish facts about myself so here we go!

  1. I work in a public library – I’ve always enjoyed libraries so it’s a perfect place for me!
  2. I’m an archivist – I collect, organize, and preserve primary source documents including diaries, organizational records, letters, etc. It’s really fun! (Yes, Diane Kruger plays an archivist in National Treasure. No, I’ve never helped anyone try to steal the Declaration of Independence.)
  3. I have a B.A. in English – The degree is technically called “Language, Literature, and Writing.” I got to read SO MANY great books in these classes!
  4. I enjoy all genres of books – I will give just about anything a change – YA, NA, historical fiction, romance, literary fiction, etc. If it has a good story, I’m in!
  5. I have a M.A. in Information Science (focusing on Archives and Library Science) – Fun fact: Did you know a master’s in library science – or something similar – is required to be a librarian?
  6. Working as a bookseller at Borders was one of my favorite jobs – I did this for four years during my undergrad and spent way too much of my paycheck on books!
  7. Working customer service at a publishing company was one of my least favorite jobs – People don’t enjoy calling call centers. People don’t enjoy working in call centers. It makes for an all-around unpleasant experience.
  8. I would love to be a travel writer – Traveling is one of my favorite things; I would love to get paid to write about my travels.
  9. I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was in my 20s – I’m pretty obsess with HP and can’t wait to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter one day!
  10. I love book-related goodies – Candles, shirts, cell phone cases – I can’t get enough!

I’d love to learn more about the various bloggers I interact with so I’m looking forward to seeing your posts!

Library of Congress Fun Facts!


I’ve just returned from a great vacation to D.C. and Virginia Beach and thought it would be fun to posts some book-related stuff from my travels!
Above you will see pictures from my visit to the National Archives and Library of Congress (the LOC building is amazing!)
Here are five “fun facts” about the Library of Congress:

  • Established by an 1800 act of Congress, the LOC is the oldest cultural institution in the country!
  • The Library of Congress is the largest library in the United States
  • The Library acquires approximately 15,000 new items every day.
  • It holds the largest collection of maps in the entire world!
  • The Library of Congress has collected and digitally archived every public tweet on Twitter since 2006 (that is a LOT of tweets!)

As with many institutions open to the public – there is a gift shop. I had to buy a few things, of course! (LOC magnet, Jane Austen coffee mug, and White House Christmas Ornament shown above.)

While I’m mostly discussing the Library of Congress, I highly recommend the National Archives as well (no photography allowed inside, which is why I have no pictures to share). Just be ready for some really long lines since everyone wants to see the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution, which are all on display.

Other trip highlights included the Smithsonian American History Museum, running into Congressman John Lewis at Ted’s Bulletin, Colonial Williamsburg, and a whole bunch of beach time!

Have you been to D.C. or Virginia Beach? What was your favorite part of the trip?

Top Ten Tuesday – Under 2,000 Ratings


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic – Top Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads.

Oh man, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be! Which means I need to read more indie titles so I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else listed! Here we go..

good kings

1. Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum – 1,447 Ratings – I’m really surprised that this doesn’t have more ratings. I wrote about this book in an earlier post so I won’t say much more than it’s worth a read!

stand up

2. A Girl Could Stand Up by Leslie Marshall – 244 Ratings – I can’t recall how I stumbled upon this book but I remember being drawn to its title. Here is a section of the blurb:

Elray Mayhew loses her parents on her sixth birthday at an amusement park going through the Tunnel of Love. The boat the three of them are in is leaking and Barkely and Jack’s feet are on the wet floor so that when the electrical moon falls from the ceiling and into their laps, they are electrocuted. Elray survives intact except for a crescent shaped scar on her right underarm. In following years she can touch the scar and communicate with them, receiving instructions, or offbeat and amusing comments, in their distinctive voices.

Elray, orphaned, is now in the custody of two uncles, brothers each of Barkley and Jack. Harwood is a macho, heavily-drinking photographer who travels about the world on assignments. Aunt Ajax, as he prefers to be called, is a cross-dressing gay man who gives up his fringe existence in New York to come to Washington, move into Barkley and Jack’s old house in the Cleveland Park, and throw himself full throttle into motherhood, albeit, at times, a misguided version of it.

If you enjoy coming of age stories and lots of quirkiness, give this a go!


3. Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal – 804 Ratings – Charity Girl is a fiction novel set during WWI when thousands of women suspected of having STDs were detained in treatment facilities. I wasn’t aware of this actual event in history so I found this book quite interesting.

Outside - High Resolution

4. Outside by Nicole Sewell – 19 Ratings – Shout out to my pal Nicole Sewell! Check out her book! Here is the blurb:

15-year-old Alaina Roberts can count on one hand the number of times she’s left Shiloh, a cult compound in the North Georgia mountains. After being found beaten in a shed during an FBI raid, she’s forced to leave the only home she’s ever known and live among the sinners she’s been raised to fear. At first, she does her best to resist the influences of her Aunt Beth and Cousin Holly, worried that their kindness is a deception meant to lead her astray. But when she learns the truth about Shiloh and its leaders during court supervised visits with her mother, things get far more complicated.


5. The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day – 1,138 Ratings – I enjoy reading books about circus life for some reason. This is a book of short stories – each story involves someone with a connection to an Indiana circus. I really enjoyed it!


6. Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork – 1,762 Ratings – I absolutely loved this book as a kid! I had the opportunity to visit Monet’s garden and this kept popping into my head as I explored. Really lovely book.

ugly princess

7. The Ugly Princess by Henderson Smith – 259 Ratings – I read this not too long ago and thought it was a nice twist on the fairy tale princess story. Here’s a section of the blurb:

What would you give up to be beautiful? I don’t mean attractive, or pretty or any other term you could conjure up to describe that thing most women seek to be or most men seek to be with. I mean staggeringly beautiful, men falling at your feet with hopeless adoration as they gaze upon you dumbfounded. That beautiful. I could become that beautiful if I chose, but only with a steep price. Would you pay the price?


8. Outsiders by Tammy Ferebee – 72 Ratings – Another indie read! I wrote about this in a previous Goodreads Recap post, if interested. A fun YA read that is part sci-fi part romance.


9. Unclaimed by Laurie Wetzel – 112 Ratings – This wasn’t really my cup of tea BUT if you’re looking for a paranormal angels/demons YA book give this a shot, it has a 4.21 rating on Goodreads!


10. Shizzle, Inc. by Ana Spoke – 74 Ratings – I read this in June and thought it was really funny! Here’s the blurb:

Debt is always negative, no matter how positively you try to look at it. Fifteen minutes of fame is all Isa Maxwell needs to solve her financial woes and win back Brad, the love of her life. Trouble is she doesn’t have a talent needed to get discovered, become a celebrity, or “show Brad” what he’s missing. She doesn’t even have enough self-awareness to understand what is happening around her. What she does have, however, is determination and sheer luck. When Isa literally lands on her butt in a billionaire’s office, she also accidentally lands the job of her dreams. She soars up the corporate ladder and is offered opportunities to change the corporate marketing strategy and renegotiate a major merger. Not a small feat for someone who doesn’t know what “marketing strategy” or “merger” mean to begin with. Meanwhile, she seems to attract attention of new love interests – a hot cop, a mysterious neighbor, the billionaire himself, and even her best girl Tara. Life’s a dream. Until it turns into a nightmare. Can Isa survive the tough world of corporate intrigue and constant looming bodily harm? Or will her persistence cause the end of Shizzle, Inc and possibly her life?

This book is categorized as Satire and I think the word I’d use to describe this is…zany. Spoke also has a really great blog! If you are an indie author, she goes into great detail about what promotional tools have (and haven’t) worked for her so give that a look!

If you’re participating in Top Ten Tuesday, feel free to put a link to your list in the comments section, I’m really curious about what everyone listed!