Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

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Title: Anne of Green Gables

Author: L. M. Montgomery

Published: 1908

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary: When the Cuthberts decide they would like to take in an orphan boy to help with the farm work, they are surprised to find a skinny red-headed girl at their door. Anne Shirley is a spunky and sensitive orphan who is doing her best to fit into a world that hasn’t always been kind to her, and now she needs to prove to the Cuthberts that she is someone they should keep.

Why I Am Recommending: Why haven’t I read this book sooner? I would actually like to pointedly ask my sisters, both of whom grew up reading and enjoying this book, why they didn’t force me to read Anne of Green Gables sooner. It wasn’t until I recently watched Netflix’s adaptation “Anne with an E,” that I finally understood why so many have loved the story. This timeless book is a delight. It is full of luscious description and the bright world that Montgomery creates through the sweet eyes of Anne. Anne is a great character. She is complex and interesting with a mind and mouth going a mile a minute. I was sometimes in awe at the writing Montgomery put into the character of Anne Shirley and her ongoing stream of consciousness. The setting of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island is rich and full of beautiful landscapes, which are easy to imagine through the words on the page. Anne is a multi-dimensional character whose monologues showcase how the world has treated her. Sometimes her point of view is heartbreaking, while other times it makes me rethink my tendency toward cynicism. I have actually noticed myself looking at nature and life and wondering how Anne may have viewed something or described it. I bought the whole 8-book set and I am looking forward to see what else Montgomery has in store for Anne and how she evolves her free-spirited nature into young adulthood. A big recommendation from me, but I suspect most have read this by now!

TBR: What’s on Deck for June 2017

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My TBR (To Be Read) List is getting unruly. There are 128 books sitting out there waiting to be picked as my next read. Some have been sitting there since 2012! I have a goal this year to pay more attention to the version of myself who deemed a book worthy of being placed on my TBR List. As such, I am going to prioritize what is out there on my TBR each month. Here is what I hope to get to in June.

Newly Added TBR Picks (< 1 year): 

1. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: Being billed as a YA “You’ve Got Mail” is a sure fire way to make it to the top of my TBR pile. Date added: May 22, 2017

2. The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes: All of Jojo Moyes’ books have been getting the cover redesigns to fall in line with her trademark look and so they have been resurfacing in the new releases section I scour. I was attracted to the hot pink cover – I am not ashamed to admit it, but having Jojo Moyes as author and a historical fiction flashback approach made me decide this was going to be a priority book to read. Date added: May 13, 2017

3. Learning to Breathe by Karen White: I read a Karen White novel a while ago that I enjoyed and have always intended to go back. When her name caught my eye on a recent bookstore stroll, this book in particular spoke to me. This story follows a woman whose heartbreak is tested when her lost love returns to town. The description involves meddling sisters, historic movie theaters, and war time love letters – yes, please! Date added: May 13, 2017

4. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: One of my favorite authors lately, I have enjoyed her other books, especially this one. This book is about a marriage on the brink and a plan to discover what each of them wants. I am slightly afraid of this in-depth, honest look at marriage, but TJR never lets me down. Date added: July 12, 2016

Long Ago Added TBR Picks (> 1 year):

1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: I think I might be the last person on earth who hasn’t read this memoir. One of my friends has been recommending this book to me for years, stating it to be her very favorite book. And while her enthusiastic stamp of approval should have been enough to get me to open the book (which is sitting on my shelf), I was always afraid that it would be too depressing. The recent preview for the movie version coming out is helping me get over that and I have big plans to finally read this one. Date added: August 24, 2012 – I believe this is the very first book I ever put on my Good Reads “Want to Read” shelf!

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath & the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Published: May 2015

Rating: ★★★★


Summary: Each dawn, the young, cruel Caliph Khalid executes his newest bride. No bride has lived to see a second dawn. Shahrzad’s best friend was one of these young brides and she vows to avenge the senseless murder by volunteering as the Caliph’s next bride.

Why I Am Recommending:  I immediately liked this book. Ahdieh describes such a beautiful world full of fragrant flowers, spiced foods, and colorful clothing. I loved her writing and found it to be like unwrapping a decadent dessert. Shahrzad (Shazi) is a great character. She is a strong, independent female with a strong devotion to those she loves. She is also a story-teller, and I was swept up in them along side Khalid. Khalid is another great character. He is misunderstood, brooding, and sensitive, and I loved getting to know him. I completely relished the tension of Shazi and Khalid’s complicated relationship. I wouldn’t change a thing about the pacing or Ahdieh’s approach in telling this story. I will be diving directly into the second installment!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Published: May 2012

Rating: ★★★★


Summary: When Taylor’s dad gets a grim prognosis, the family uproots themselves for the summer to spend it together at their lake house in the Poconos. Taylor has to face how she left things when she was last at the lake house 5 summers ago while she and her family come to terms with reality.

Why I Am Recommending: As the weather has turned warmer, I was drawn to a book about summer vacation. It was a bonus that this book was set in a locale not too far from my home, which made it easier for me to envision the characters and the setting. I found this story to be really heart warming. The heartbreaking situation Taylor’s family was in plucked at my heart strings and fully engaged my tear ducts. This book had everything I love, first love and emotionality. There were great characters throughout the book and I really felt like I understood Taylor. Her relationship with her dad was very sweet and I liked seeing her relationship develop with her siblings. Morgan Matson does a great job nailing what I remember being that age to be like. Her books always fill me with nostalgia, and this book is no different. 

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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Title: The Sea of Tranquility

Author: Katja Millay

Published: November 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


Summary: Nastya leaves home and moves in with her aunt to escape the trauma and pressure at home after a terrifying experience that eventually results in her choice to stop speaking. Moving to a new town and a new school is a chance for her to reinvent herself, but how long will the facade be able to last?

Why I Am Recommending: I wasn’t instantly in love with this novel. I found the lead character, Nastya, to be sort of annoying. As I read further and gained some insight into her past, I began to forgive her for her hard exterior and instead understood why she felt the need for its existence. Millay did a nice job with pacing the story and the development of her relationships. There were some truly sweet aspects of this book, which I felt most especially on the very last pages of the read. This was a solid story that was satisfying and heartwarming along with a depth of story that kept my brain engaged.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: December 2010

Rating: ★★★★


Summary: Anna is plucked from her comfortable life in Atlanta to attend a boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school, courtesy of her successful author father. Feeling like she has been dealt the worst at first, Anna comes to make an interesting group of friends and a new crush in the City of Light.

Why I Am Recommending: This book is such a fun read! I would put it into my “cotton-candy” category of delicious, easy, romantic reads. I actually did not read this book, but rather listened to it as an audiobook….twice. Kim Mai Guest is the narrator and she does a fantastic job of providing the voice to an emotional, angsty, teenager. I enjoyed stepping into this experience along with Anna and experiencing Paris through her eyes. The characters in this story are quirky and likable and all add humor and insight to Anna’s story. I found myself laughing out loud and sighing with hearts in my eyes right alongside Anna. Such a great read, or in my case, listen. Again–the audiobook is fantastic and I don’t know that I would do this book any other way.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published: September 2013

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary: Cath is in her first year of college, living separately from her twin sister and her fragile dad for the first time. Although some things remain the same, such as her intense fandom for the Simon Snow series and her popular fan fiction blog, she isn’t sure she can handle all of the change that is the college experience.

Why I Am Recommending: This was a delightful read that took me right back to college and the perils of dating during that time of your life. College is a great time to begin the process of finding yourself and Cath is trying to figure out who she is, especially independent from her twin sister. This story had a heavy does of nostalgia for me and I also found it to be very heartwarming, which is a typical description of my experience with Rainbow Rowell thus far. This book also has the bonus of a book within a book as you get to enjoy excerpts from Simon Snow.