Friday Five: Short Summer Reads

Summer is almost here!! Now is the time to get those summer reading lists going! I personally like conquering long books in the summer but sometimes you find yourself in a hammock all day and just need something short to read and fully escape into, and so for today’s Friday Five, in going to tell you some of my favorite short summer reads!

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

While this book is so popular, it really is my ultimate summer read. I love to sit on a porch with a drink and read this book on a hot summer day. I don’t know what it is about the story that brings out the summer in me, maybe it’s the drama, maybe it’s the heat, but I can’t resist reading it at some point during the summer.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This one would be a great hammock read. It brings you on an adventure, and it does it quickly. Plus, it has the “summer night” feel to it.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I first read this book in the middle of the summer on a hot train from Spain to Belgium, so I can personally confirm that it does well in heat. It’s a short, very funny book, that will make you want to travel in space.

4. The Alchamist by Paulo Coelho

This is for those who like to think while they relax. This book deals with life questions, and dives into philosophy and theology from time to time. However, it doesn’t dive to far, so it is still an enjoyable quick read for your summer day.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

For most of you this would be a re-read (if you went through the U.S. public school system), but it is a good one to re-visit. I remember the first time I reread this book and it was a completely different book then the one I remembered. While it’s not exactly a pleasant book, it is thought provoking and fascinating.

 

What short summer reads do you recommend? I love adding to this list!

Friday Five: Lit. Moms

Mothers in literature are more rare than one would expect, yet, when a good one comes along, man is she good. Here are a few quotes in literature about the mother’s who are out of this world. Happy Mother’s day to all those stellar moms out there!

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“The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlid here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

 “She was of the stuff of which great men’s mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, hated at tea parties, feared in shops, and loved at crises.”

Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”

 —Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“What must I do, Mother, what must I do to make a different world for her? How do I start?”

“The secret lies in the reading and the writing. You are able to read. Every day you must read one page from some good book to your child. Every day this must be until the child learns to read. Then she must read every day, I know this is the secret.”

“I will read,” promised Katie. “What is a good book?”

 — Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”

 — Agatha Christie, The Hound of Death

Friday Five: Travel Quotes

I’m driving out to Colorado today! My best friend is getting married in June, so a girls weekend in the mountains is a must before she says “I Do” 🙂

I have a severe travel bug right now, so this trip comes at a perfect time, but usually when the travel bug hits I have to settle it down with travel quotes and pictures of beautiful places. Here are some of my favorites:

“I’m not sure what I’ll do, but–well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.” 

-St. Augustine of Hippo

“I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.” 

– John Green

Rome, Italy. Taken in February, 2015.

“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the edge of the wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.” 

 -J.R.R. Tolkien

“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventure…” 

-Lewis Carroll 

Happy Friday, everyone!

Mystery Blogger Award!

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I got nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Kayla and Neko over at the Books, Boxes, & Baubles blog! Thank you so much for the tag, your blog is awesome, and everyone should go check it out! This award was created by Okoto Enigma’s Blog, which also rocks!

Ok, so the rules of this tag are:
  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

 

3 Things About Me
  1. I’m a travel junkie! My money goes to plane tickets, and my heart goes to maps, picture perfect hikes, and pubs all over the world.
  2. I have 8 siblings (I’m number 3), 3 nephews, 2 nieces, and 30 first cousins…safe to say it’s a party when we are all together.
  3. I was the Cheshire Cat in my high school production of Alice in Wonderland, even though I only tried out for the part of a flower…it must be because of my cat-like features 😉

 

Kayla and Neko’s Questions:

1. Least favorite book you have read and why?

I don’t know what my all-time least favorite book is, but my least favorite book I’ve read recently is Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Basically the whole book was a bust for me. I couldn’t get into the plot, couldn’t get captivated by the characters, and I found it rather overblown.

2. Favorite genre and why?

How can one choose?!?!?!?! I really do read a wide range of genre’s, but I guess if I had to read one genre for the rest of my life, it would be historical fiction. There is such a wide range of topics that could be covered, and WWII books happen to be some of my favorite.

3. Should hamsters be allowed to rule the world?

You know, this is a tough one. I was inclined to say yes right away, but then I did some good hard thinking, and I don’t think hamsters should be allowed to rule the world. Don’t get me wrong, hamsters are super cute, but have you ever seen an angry hamster? It’s not a pretty sight. I mean, in some cases Hamsters are known to fight to the death and even eat other hamsters. Now, as rulers, they may not force cannibalism upon their subjects, but then again, they just might. It’s always the little animals that you underestimate, and you never know when they might turn on you.

4. What’s your passion outside of books?

I would have to say I’m most passionate about sports. My dad played football in college, and he raised us not only to love sports, but to understand them. One of my fondest daddy/daughter dates was to a college hockey game, but I don’t think he knew how passionate I would become for the sport (I’m actually watching a hockey playoff game while I’m writing this).

5. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Well, I want to go everywhere, so this is tough. I recently went to New Zealand, and I’m kind of obsessed with that country now and I would love to go back. But right now Iceland is next on my list. I don’t know when I’m going to go yet, but I hope it’s my next big trip.

 

My questions are:
  1. If you could jump into any book as a side character, what one would you choose?
  2. Desert Island: 1 book, 1 movie, and 1 song, what do you choose?
  3. You have to spend the rest of you life either talking in third person or only in questions, which do you choose?
  4. What is your favorite non-fiction book?
  5. What is your dream job?

 

I nominate:

Jillian @ onedayireadjaneeyre

Phantom Paper 

Reads & Reels

Hedgehog Book Reviews

Bionic Book Worm

Please don’t feel obligated to do this tag if you don’t want to, but I would love to see your answers!

 

My most popular post(s):

Theme post: Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Books

Review: The Screwtape Letters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Five: Series I Gave Up On

I’m sticking with the series theme for another week. Two weeks ago I wrote about series I want to start, the week before that was about series I need to finish, and now this week I’m doing series I gave up on.

I really don’t like giving up on series, that’s why I’m pretty picky when it comes to starting a new one. With that being said, sometimes you just have to cut something loose.

A lot of these are pretty popular series, and at first I really couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like them, but then I just came to terms that we all have different tastes in books and we can’t be expected to like every book ever written. Once I accepted that, it became easier for me to admit that some series I just don’t like and it’s o.k. to stop reading them in the middle. Most of these series I try to at least start the second book, because historically the second book of a series tends to be my favorite, then if by the second I still can’t get into it, I drop it. Seems pretty fair, right?

Ok, here we go!

1. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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I really liked the first one in this series, but halfway through the second something came up and I stopped reading, and then had absolutely no desire to pick back up. It definitely didn’t capture me as much as the first did, which is a shame. (I’m not giving up on Follett, however, as I just started The Fall of Giants, and I really like it so far).

2.The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Claire

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I was very happy to finish the first book of this series, and I didn’t make it past the first chapter of the second. It wasn’t anything major, I just wasn’t entertained. I was pretty disappointed because I had heard so many good reviews about these books and I was so excited to start a big series.

 

3. Frank McCourt Series

Angela’s Ashes is one of the saddest books I have ever read, yet I really loved it with all my heart. When I heard there was a second book, ‘Tis, I was very excited, yet when I started ‘Tis I kept getting flashbacks of Angela’s Ashes, and I did not want to relive that book with every sentence I read, so I stopped.

4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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I may have set my record for eye rolls while reading this book. I think the main character was my problem–something about her just irked me. This was another one that was all over my Instagram and blog, that I thought for sure I would like it. After this book I actually took a break from YA for a little bit because I thought maybe it wasn’t the book, but more the genre that I wasn’t thrilled about anymore…I still don’t really know the answer.

 

5. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

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The first book was decent, a little strange, but not bad, however when it was done, I was also done. It was an interesting premise, but ultimately I was satisfied with the ending. There are just some stories that you don’t need to continue.

 

 

I think that wraps up my series friday posts for the time being. Are there any here I should give a second try?

Friday Five: Dad’s Favorites

My father passed away 6 years ago, but today, April 14th, would have been his 56th birthday. In honor of him, I’m go away from a book theme for my Friday Five today, and I’m going to talk about some of his favorites (I will include one bookish item on the list).

So, Happy Birthday Daddio, I miss you dearly.

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Yeah. My Dad was cool. 

Dad’s Favorites:

1. The Eagles

My dad was a 70’s Rock guy, and the Eagles were his number one. He was always proud of his kids when an Eagle’s song came on and we could properly identify not only the artist but also the title.

Desperado

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin’ you
Can hurt you somehow

Don’t you draw the queen of diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet

Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can’t get

Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home
And freedom, oh freedom well, that’s just some people talkin’
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you (let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you before it’s too late

2. The Godfather 

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My dad wasn’t only a 70’s rock guy, he was also a 70’s movie guy. When I was little I think I knew more lines from 70’s movies than I did from current movies. I remember when I was a freshman in high school I got my dad the box set of The Godfather for Christmas, and since then we always made it a point to watch the movies around Christmas time, and he always claimed it was one of the best movies ever made, and I have to agree.

3.Vince Flynn

My dad wasn’t a huge reader, but he always made it a point to read aloud to us kids every night–it’s one of my fondest memories of him, and is a huge reason why I’m such an avid reader today. However, one author he really liked was Vince Flynn, who wrote over a dozen political thriller novels before he died in 2013–2 years after my dad. My dad didn’t only like him because he was a talented story teller, but he had a personal connection to him because they went to high school together. While they hadn’t spoken much after high school, they did correspond while my dad was sick and Vince was writing books like a madman, and my dad treasured their communication.

4. Puzzles

Another habit/skill/passion, what-have-you, that I picked up from my father was that of puzzles. I become obsessed and it’s really all I think about until I finish it–he was the same way. It was a New Years Eve tradition of ours to do a puzzle, but as I got older our puzzles grew larger and more difficult, so it changed from a New Years Eve tradition to a Christmas break tradition. I remember multiple nights where I would wake up in the middle of the night and sneak out to work on the puzzle and my dad would be there already. Still today Christmas break doesn’t feel right unless I have a puzzle to work on.

5. Guinness & Danny Boy

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My first Guinness in Ireland, which I drank in honor of my Daddio
Ahh the Irishman at heart! My Dad was very proud of his Irish heritage and he encouraged his children to learn about where they came from. He was third generation Irish-American, and while he had never made it to the Emerald Island, his heart was there and his eyes smiled when he had a Guinness or sang Danny Boy, his favorite Irish ballad.

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling,
It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow,
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow,
It’s I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow,—
Oh Danny boy, Oh Danny Boy, I love you so!

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye’ll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an “Avé” there for me;

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
and I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!

Love you, Daddio.

 

Friday Five: Book Series I haven’t finished, but need to

Happy Friday!! On the final day of March I’m going to talk about things that never actually had a finale for me. When it comes to book series, I really try to start what I’ve finished, however some just slip through the cracks even though they deserve to be finished. So today on Friday Five I’m going to highlight those series I really should finish, and hopefully this list will keep me accountable.

  1. Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
    • I really liked the first Divergent book and then I started school again and had to read loads of philosophy, theology and english books and I just didn’t get around to it.
  2. Kristen Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
    • I loved the first book of this series, but for some reason I cannot recall, never finished the second. I really enjoy Scandenavian Literature and Sigrid Undset is one of the best, so I really need to go back and read the rest of this series.
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    • Loved the first book, but the copy of the second one was checked out when I wanted it and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it, but I definitely will.
  4. The Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum
    • I think I need to start this one all over again. I read The Bourne Identity a long time ago and while I remember liking it, and it not being like the movie, I don’t remember really anything else, but it’s a series I want to read, for sure.
  5. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
    • I’ve read the first two of this trilogy and I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t just finish it right away–it’s always harder to go back to things. This series is great but it is loaded with philosophy. I think my brain just needed a break after the second one and that break turned into two years…oops. Even though I haven’t read all of them, I really do recommend this series to everyone. The books can be read as stand-alone novels and they are essentially Narnia for adults (but in space).

 

Hopefully I get to these soon, I hate having unfinished business 😉

Are there any series you guys need to finish? Or any you recommend I pick up?

Friday Five: Books everyone has read but me

Happy Friday!

Today on Friday Five I’m going to tell you about five books that everyone has read but me, or at least it feels like everyone has read them.

I’m not going to talk about classics that everyone should read, because there are so many it’s impossible to keep up, but instead I’m just going to mention the new(ish) books I haven’t read. Yes, there are still so many and I can’t keep up, but there are still a few that stand out as the ones everyone reads.

Some of these books I haven’t read because I honestly had no interest in reading them, but some I haven’t read simply because I didn’t want to read what everyone else was reading…yeah, I’m stubborn.

Feel free to comment about what a horrible human I am for not reading these books, and I will respond by saying “yeah, I know, I’m the worst.” 😉

1. The Twilight Saga

This one probably falls under both reasons I mentioned before: I didn’t want to read it because it looked completely uninteresting to me, and I didn’t want to read it because every girl in my high school was reading it and I was at the end of the table like “so, which Musketeer would you pick? I’m personally an Athos type of girl, but I see the appeal for the other three too…” so…yeah, it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. Also, after seeing the first movie, I was pretty thankful I never did. 

2. The Da Vinci Code

I believe this one was pretty big when I was in middle school, and at that point it seemed like an adult book and I really didn’t have any interest in it. When I did start reading “adult” books, I was more interested in the classics then the books popular a few years back. I still don’t have much of a desire to read it, even though it is considered one of the best books of 21st century.

3. The Fault in Our Stars

This was one I definitely didn’t read because everyone else was reading it. Also, I have a problem with stories that make you sad for the sake of being sad, and this one seemed like that kind of book. I’m sure it’s pretty good, and I know a lot of people who really like it, but I’m really can’t see myself reading it. 

4.  Gone Girl

This one I’m probably going to read…eventually. I was in Europe the year this was really popular, and I just never got around to it…I was more concerned with buying wine and cheese in the south of France. However, the story seems so creepily cool, and I really want to see the movie, but I need to read the book before I do, or else there really won’t be any point because all the twists would be spoiled. So, eventually.

5.  Harry Potter Series

AHHH STONE ME NOW!! I know, I know, this is a mortal sin in book world, but yes, I confess, I have never read the Harry Potter Series! Dumbledore is rolling in his grave at my horrible act (too soon?). Anyway, I’ll explain my reasoning to you. So in third grade the first HP came out and my 3rd grade teacher read it aloud to my class. I thought it was good, but honestly I didn’t think it was the best thing in the universe. When I was in 4th grade, my father read The Hobbit to me and my siblings and that became my life. Seriously. In 5th and 6th grade Lord of the Rings took over my life, and then the movies came out, and it became more of my life (yeah, I’m a proud Tolkien nerd). By then the “which is better” arguments began to emerge from the shadows and I chose my side and stuck to it. From then on, I had zero interest in Harry Potter, but all my friends did, which made me even less interested (remember the stubborn part I mentioned earlier?). Even when the movies came out I had no desire to watch them. Then the Christmas break of my freshman year of college, I had the desire to watch them–so I did–all of them (except the last two because they hadn’t come out yet). Ok, I liked them, but I still wasn’t obsessed. They were entertaining, but, in my humble and uneducated opinion, I felt like they got worse as they went on. Later in college I had a roommate who was OBSESSED with HP–therefore we had four things constantly playing in our apartment: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Supernatural, or Sherlock…needless to say our grades suffered that year. With the information that was infused into my brain from her or the movies, I can now say that I know as much as a lazy HP fan, and I’m pretty satisfied with that. I feel like I should read them, for the sake of literature or whatever, but it’s such a huge undertaking, and honestly, I’d rather read a Russian book…it would probably take the same amount of time ;). 

So, there you have it, my friday five of book failures. Am I shunned from the book world?

Friday Five: Books with Irish Characters 

Happy St. Patrick’s day! 

Oh, I love this feast day! A few years ago I wrote this blog post (on a totally different blog) about my favorite quotes from Irish authors, and this year I decided to highlight some of my favorite books with Irish themes or characters.

Irish characters are some of my favorite, not only because I see my heritage in them, but mostly because through all their struggles and hardships, the Irish always find joy in whatever they do. 

Irish themes are similar. They express pain and loss, but also joy and hope. 
1. The Bantry Bay Series by Hilda Van Stockum

This series was my favorite as a child, and I think it helped stir my love of travel and adventure. These books, The Cottage at Bantry Bay, Francie on the Run, and Pegeen, are so much fun. They are about a poor family in Bantry Bay, Ireland, and mainly follow the mischief of the young twins, Francie and Liam. 
These books take you all over Ireland and bring in the culture, folklore, and characteristics of the land and the people of the wonderful island. I highly recommend this one to be read aloud with your family, or even alone, if you want a spark of Irish magic. 

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 

Francie Nolan is a child of an Irish-American man and a Austrian-American woman. Her Father brings his culture into their lives through his lively spirit and his joy. Frankie’s fondest memories of her father revolve around his songs–his Irish ballads he would sing as he came home and again as she sat with him in their small apartment. 

This book is an amazing story of a family living in Brooklyn in hard times. I recommend this book to anyone, and I even think this book should be read at all different stages of life, because the themes and messages can be reached by all. (Disclaimer: you may be singing Irish songs, especially Molly Malone, for weeks after reading this novel.)

3. Ireland by Frank Delaney

This book is lovely. It follows a storyteller who wanders around Ireland and trades stories for a meal and a bed for the night. Each chapter in the book switches from being about the teller and the story he is telling. In doing so the reader is able to become attached to a character all while hearing a dozen folktails from Ireland.

Again I recommend this story to anyone. It’s a little slow at time, but due to the way it’s set up, you can pick it up whenever, read a couple chapters, and be content. 

4. Dubliners by James Joyce

This collection of short stories brings to life the ordinary people of Dublin town. There is nothing extraordinary about these stories, but that is what makes them so precious. As someone who has only spent a short time in Dublin, it is so special to be transported into the homes of the Irish people whom I have longed to be apart of my whole life. 

5. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt 

This book is talked about so much, you almost think it’s overrated. Well, I think it is and it isn’t. I think it is in the sense that I don’t think it’s one of the most important books of the 20th century, as some may claim, but I think it’s not because it really is a good book. It is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, and at times I had to put it down because it was too hard to read, but at other times the story was so compelling that I had to keep reading. I put it on this list because, like I stated before, even in all the suffering that happens in this book, there is an underlying sense of hope and joy, which is so characteristically Irish. 

*Bonus: my favorite Irish movie

The Secret of Roan Inish

Growing up I thought everyone knew this movie, but in high school and college, much to my dismay, I found out no one knew this movie. 

This book takes place mainly on the western coast of Ireland, but also out on the Island of Roan Inish. The story follows a young girl, Fiona, as she tries to get her family to move back to their home on Roan Inish. This movie has humor, folklore, beautiful scenery, and lovely Irish charm. It’s definitely a great one to get from your library this St. Patrick’s Day weekend 🙂