Friday Five: Linkin Park

My heart hurts. Yesterday, Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, took his life. I don’t think I’ve ever cried because of a celebrity death, but this one brought me to tears….yes, I’m 26 and crying about a rockstar, but Chester (and Linkin Park) are different than most celebrities.

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This news is devastating, not only for the music world, but for everyone. Chester was known for his humility and his kindness, and for this to happen shows how powerful depression and mental illness can be, and please, if you are struggling, please go talk to someone, because you matter and you are loved.

Chester was rock of Linkin Park. Most of the lyrics were written by him, and I would argue that they are the most poetic lyrics of any rock band ever. They never just rocked for rocking sake, they always had a message and meaning to their songs, which is why so many people connected to them, and their fan base was so strong.

I was a teenager when their first cd, Hybrid Theory, came out, and they have been my favorite band since. Yes, my music tastes have changed like crazy since my early teens, but Linkin Park has always been there. Why? It all goes back to the lyrics and the passion. LP made people feel wanted and important. They took teenage angst and gave it meaning. They gave all the weird, mixed up emotions not only validation, but understanding. I did not have hard teenage years, but like every teenager I felt misunderstood–LP calmed those feelings.

The saddest part about all of this is that Chester’s words changed people, they fixed people, they improved people, they healed people, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t heal him.

Today, I’m just going to share some excerpts from my favorite band. Some will be old, some will be new, all will be amazing.

Rest in Peace, Chester, the world is better because you were in it.

“Leave Out All the Rest”

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“Castle of Glass”

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“Shadow of the Day”

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“Iridescent”

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“Battle Symphony”

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“Runaway”

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“The Messenger”

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“One More Light”

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Friday Five: Summer Reading List

It’s officially Summer!! Let’s get reading!

I have quite a few summer review books to read, but aside from those, there are a few I’m planning to read or listen to on my own. Here are my top 5 most anticipated reads for summer 2017. (summaries via GoodReads).


1.Laurus by Evgenij Vodolazkin

It is the late fifteenth century and a village healer in Russia is powerless to help his beloved as she dies in childbirth, unwed and without having received communion. Devastated and desperate, he sets out on a journey in search of redemption. But this is no ordinary journey: it is one that spans ages and countries, and which brings him face-to-face with a host of unforgettable, eccentric characters and legendary creatures from the strangest medieval bestiaries. Laurus’s travels take him from the Middle Ages to the Plague of 1771, where as a holy fool he displays miraculous healing powers, to the political upheavals of the late-twentieth century. At each transformative stage of his journey he becomes more revered by the church and the people, until he decides, one day, to return to his home village to lead the life of a monastic hermit – not realizing that it is here that he will face his most difficult trial yet.


Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice and faith, from one of Russia’s most exciting and critically acclaimed novelists.

2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

3. The Gathering Storm by Sir Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was not only a statesman and leader of historic proportions, he also possessed substantial literary talents. These two factors combine to make The Gathering Storma unique work. The first volume of Churchill’s memoirs, this selection is broken into two parts. The first, From War to War,consists of Churchill’s critical observations on the settlement of World War I and its place in the causes of the Second World War. The second volume contains letters and memoranda from the British government–of which Churchill was part–as the country plunged unprepared into war. This stands as the best of history: written as it was made, by the man who made it.

4. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon – all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

 

This isn’t all the books on my summer reading list, and I may not get to all of them, but these five are the one’s that intrigue me the most and I can’t wait to crack them open!

What’s on your reading list this summer?

Friday Five: Stellar Dads in Literature

Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers out there!

Since my own father passed away six years ago, this day is rather bittersweet. Bitter in the fact that I miss him more than ever on days like this, but sweet because I love thinking of all the wonderful qualities he had as a father (I also make it a point to watch his favorite movies, drink Guinness, and eat double fudge brownies, which all help making it sweet). My dad also instilled my love for fiction, especially my love for Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and the older I get the more I find out that his favorite authors and books are quickly becoming my own as well.

It’s usually difficult to find excellent father’s in literature, but there are a few who stick out to me as exceptional.

1.Jean Valjean, Les Miserables 

 

OK, I may or may not be watching Les Mis while writing this, but regardless Jean ValJean is definitely a badass father figure. First of all, he is initially jailed for taking care of his sister and her children, which shows he is completely selfless when it comes to his family. Secondly, he risks going back to jail or killed to save Cosette, and thirdly, he devotes the rest of his life caring for Cosette and ultimately gives up his life for her continued happiness (oh and saves her boy from getting killed in the barricades)…he’s a badass and needs to be forever praised.

2. Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

He may be one of the best known father’s in literature, and rightly so. Atticus Finch shows the power of mind and virtue, and he instills in on his children. He leads by example and by word. He is a strict parent, but he answers disobedience with discipline, not anger. He allows his children to make their own discussions, but makes sure they understand the consequences that come with their choices. He really is a powerful father and is a great example on how to raise honorable children.

3. Hans Hubermann, The Book Thief

I sincerely believe that Liesel, the protagonist of The Book Thief, would have lost all hope and joy had it not been for her adoptive father, Hans. He not only taught her to read, which became her favorite activity, but he also showed her more kindness than anyone ever had. In a world full of hatred, he was a shining light, and is a constant source of positive encouragement for Liesel.

4. Matthew Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables

Similar to Hans Hubermann, Matthew Cuthbert is a source of pure kindness. He is a gentle, quiet soul who, oddly enough, is exactly what the spirited young orphan girl needed when she had no one else to turn to. He takes Anne under his wing and while he never tries to change her, he offers her a stable arm to lean on, something she had never before experienced.

5. Mr. Bennett, Pride and Prejudice 

Does he have a name? I honestly don’t remember. Anyway, he is a great father, especially considering the fact that he only had daughters, and an over-the-top wife…it must have been challenging to be outnumbered all the time! I really feel bad for him ;). He seemed to understand the women in his household more than they understood themselves. He was consistently patient, understanding and is always there to offer sound judgement, all while maintaining a touch of humor in his attitude.

Bonus:

Guido, Life is Beautiful (Original title, La Vita e Bella)

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If you have not watched this movie, you really need to put it at the top of your watch list. It is the most tragically beautiful story of a Jewish family in WWII. The mother and the boy are lovely and charming, but what really makes this story memorable it the father. He is spectacular. I don’t want to spoil it for any of you who haven’t seen it, because you really really should watch it. I weep like a child when I watch it and it never fails to move me.

 

What father’s in literature would go on your list? Happy Friday and again Happy Father’s Day to all you dads!

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?