Alphabet Series: Z (The end!)

Okay guys. This is it. The last post. Again, I have no books that start with Z in my memory, so I found one. I cannot read a book based in the World War II again right now (just read Secrets of A Charmed Life), so I’m shelving this for later. It sounds amazing though. I will say some of the reviews on Goodreads say the writing is super choppy, so there is that warning.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinskis’ villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.

Okay guys. That’s it! Let me know if you have read this and like it or are interested in it.

What next for my blog? What would you like to see?


Alphabet Series: Y

Again, I had no books that began with Y (that I can remember and have been put on my Goodreads).  So I searched. And I found this. Now I really want to read it. I love historical fiction!

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

An unforgettable tale of a brave young woman during the plague in 17th century England from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of  March  and  The Secret Chord  coming from Viking in October 2015 

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.”

Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing “an inspiring heroine” (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.

Let me know if you like it, have read it or are interested in it!

Alphabet Series: X

It’s almost over… So X is a hard letter for a book title. I have not read this one, but after searching through several books I thought it sounded very interesting. I have read the Autobiography of Malcolm X (I almost just used it for this)

X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Kekla Magoon (Goodreads Author)

Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.

I am Malcolm.
I am my father’s son. But to be my father’s son means that they will always come for me.

They will always come for me, and I will always succumb.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s nothing but a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer.

But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.

X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

Let me know if you have read it and liked it!

Alphabet Series: W

Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job into Your Dream Career by Lauren Berger

The essential book every workplace novice needs—a smart, practical, and fun guide to help them navigate the minefield of personalities, learn to work with their boss, identify priorities, and ultimately kick butt at their first job.

It’s a challenging time to be young and new in the workplace. Your parents can’t help—the rules have all changed, and faster than guide books can keep up. In Welcome to the Real World, career expert and entrepreneur Lauren Berger arms a new generation of workers like you with the tools you need to succeed. She feels your pain. She’s been in your shoes. Just a few years ago, she was you.

In a world defined by uncertainty, she argues you need to be bold, take risks, and understand your value. She shows you how to think of your job as a link that will eventually connect you to the opportunity of your dreams. It’s time to get comfortable getting uncomfortable, she advises. Her essential handbook tells you everything you should know to make the most of your first on-the-job experience, including how to:

Think about “The Big Picture” Deal with rejection Effectively manage your time Navigate “sticky situations” in the office and communicate with different personality types Embrace entrepreneurship regardless of position, rank, or title Organize your financial situation and personal life Get promoted and (one day) take your boss’ job!

I read this book in one of my last grad classes. The book is incredibly helpful for anyone fixing to be looking for a job, or in what they feel is a first job on their career path. I recommend it for everyone, and not just college grads. It could be very useful for high schoolers as well. It is not just a recipe book, or something droning on and on.  The tone is great, the conversations go from funny to serious in a good way, and it offers wonderful advice.

Alphabet Series: V

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Goodreads Author)

Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

I read this for my final English class. It can be a very inspiring story if you read it at the right time. Also, it is not your typical book. A whole section is powerpoint slides.  It is very though provoking!


Alphabet Series: U

Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber (Bloody Jack #3)

(I have very few books with U to pick from)

After leaving the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston—under dire circumstances, of course—Jacky Faber boards a whaling ship bound for London, where she hopes to find her beloved Jaimy. But things don’t go as planned, and soon Jacky is off on a wild misadventure at sea.”

Bloody Jack – #1:

Life as a ship’s boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.
There’s only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life–if only she doesn’t get caught. . . .”

This is a very good book series.  It is finished, and there are 12 or 13 I think. The very first one, Bloody Jack, is written as she would speak and that can be hard to read for grammar people. It was hard for me. The cool thing about the series is that as it goes on, and she learns more, the writing/grammar improves.  The stories are always fun. The series was beginning to get a bit repetitive but he finished. And sadly the author passed away 😦

Alphabet Series: S/T

(I’m behind! Sorry!)

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (Goodreads Author)

She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden–one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…”

I probably have mentioned this one lately, but its just wonderful.  We just read it for my book club.  It has the best written description of the Blitz I have ever read in fiction.  The story itself was also wonderful, with some beautiful quotes.  The quotes and the descriptions were two of the things we talked about the most.

“Fear is worse than pain, I think. Pain is centralized, identifiable, and wanes as you wait. Fear is a heaviness you can’t wriggle out from under. You must simply find the will to stand with it and start walking. Fear does not start to fade until you take the step that you think you can’t.”

I have to mention:

Sandry’s Book (Circle of Magic #1) by Tamora Pierce

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

And many, many more…

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise — she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story.

Both women will have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets… and the ghosts that haunt them still.”

This book was wonderful. I will probably be running a give away for a copy of this on my blog in the next week or so!  It has an excellent twist to the plot, and I enjoyed it.

Have to mention:

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Terrier (Beka Cooper) by Tamora Pierce

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Alphabet Series: Red Rising

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown — My Review

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie.

That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought. Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Break the chains.
Live for more.

I LOVE THIS SERIES SO MUCH. Like, really. Go read it now!  The best thing about recommending these books is that the trilogy is finished. You do not have to wait.  The better news is that he is working on more books in this world but following a different character.

There were so many things I loved about this invested in the characters and the world. You want to pull your hair out. It’s intense.  I had to stop reading the second one fo ra few days because I was just about to go insane.

Go read!  They are fast paced, fun, creative and interesting.  They even have their own language/cuss words such as “Bloodydamn”

Alphabet Series: Q

Quidditch Through the Ages (Hogwarts Library)

“Did you know that: there are 700 ways of committing a foul in Quidditch? The game first began to evolve on Queerditch Marsh – What Bumphing is? That Puddlemere United is oldest team in the Britain and Ireland league (founded 1163). All this information and much more could be yours once you have read this book: this is all you could ever need to know about the history, the rules – and the breaking of the rules – of the noble wizarding sport of Quidditch”

Sooooo. This is the only book I can recall reading that starts with a Q. To be fair though, I love the Hogwarts Library. If you have not read them, it is fun. And quick.  But it adds so many fun details to a world we love.  Not to mention “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is being turned into a three movie series. There is even a new awesome hardback collection in which all three of these books come together.

Alphabet Series: P books!

Okay, so I think I’m over the lessons I learned. Instead, Books! I have a few to share this time.

A Classic (And my favorite book of all time):

Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners–one of the most popular novels of all time–that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.”

Oh, how I love, love, love this book.  I’ve reread it many times. I need to reread it soon. Several of the movies are pretty good as well.  JUST READ IT. (Sense and Sensibility ties with this book.  It will be my S book. Because it is also awesome. Plus Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant are in the best movie version)

A Series

Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce

“Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight.

Books in order: First Test, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight”

I love Tamora Pierce. I discovered her in high school. She has several books out. The great thing is that many of them connect together. You don’t have to read them all, but the characters are in the same world, and interact and it makes it just that much better. She has several scheduled to come out, of which I am eagerly awaiting.  All of her books are FANTASTIC!  There are two different sets, basically – one world with magic, and the other still with magic but a different kind.  The other series with magic is the Circle Series and wonderful.

I actually emailed her in when I was in high school and she emailed back with advice 🙂

Standalone Awesomeness

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

“Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest–to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.”

I love Salem, and Salem history. So this book was fascinating to me. It is very well written, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  She will be at the Bookfest this Saturday in Bowling Green. I met her last year and she is very nice!