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Archive for June, 2015

Vacation Reads

Posted by Caitie F on June 29, 2015

Wednesday morning, I leave for vacation. So of course I have already finished making my book stack. And it is a little ridiculous.

Some of these are for work. Some are for the reading challenges I am doing. Some are just for fun!


Can’t wait until I am on a beach reading!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR List

Posted by Caitie F on June 17, 2015

I can’t believe I missed this week! I don’t care, I am posting a day late because this is my favorite. Thanks to the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting!

I actually read 5/10 from my spring list, which for me is pretty good.

I have a vacation coming up, so I may take many of these with me.

1. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume


The list at the library is long, but I hope I can get to it this summer.

2. A New Hope by Robyn Carr

new hop

I love this series and can’t wait to read the next one!

3. More Than This by Patrick Ness

more than

Not sure how I have gone so long without reading this book or anything by Patrick Ness

4. Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

where I

This looks like a perfect fun and fast read for the summer

5. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

go set

Because duh.

6. Mr. Mercedes


I love Stephen King and I have heard this one is amazing

7. Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray


The cover copy for this book just makes it sound so heartbreaking and thoughtful

8. Demon Seed by Dean Koontz


It is in two of my challenges and just looks like it could be really good

9. Lead by Kylie Scott


I didn’t get to it in the spring, but want to read it soon!

10. Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

don't even

Another fun book that looks perfect for summer.

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Adult Mini Reviews in June

Posted by Caitie F on June 12, 2015

I want to share mini reviews for all the books i have read in the past 2 months. I am breaking it into posts based on age level. Here are the adult titles:

Title: Single, Carefree, Mellowsingle
Author: Katherine Heiny
Hardcover: 240 pages
Pub Date: Feb 2015
Publisher:  Knopf
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Single, Carefree, Mellow is that rare and wonderful thing: a debut that is superbly accomplished, endlessly entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny.

Maya is in love with both her boyfriend and her boss. Sadie’s lover calls her as he drives to meet his wife at marriage counseling. Gwen pines for her roommate, a man who will hold her hand but then tells her that her palm is sweaty. And Sasha agrees to have a drink with her married lover’s wife and then immediately regrets it. These are the women of Single, Carefree, Mellow, and in these eleven sublime stories they are grappling with unwelcome houseguests, disastrous birthday parties, needy but loyal friends, and all manner of love, secrets, and betrayal.

In snappy, glittering prose that is both utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. Maya, who appears in the title story and again in various states of love, forms the spine of this linked collection, and shows us through her moments of pleasure, loss, deceit, and kindness just how fickle the human heart can be


Like most short story collections, these can be hit or miss, but mostly, they hit and hit big. These characters are not perfect, but even when they do “bad’ things they are not portrayed as villains. It will make you want more from Katherine Heiny  because she is brilliant.

Title: Life After LifeLifeAfter
Author: Kate Atkinson
Hardcover: 544 pages
Pub Date: Apr 2013
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual.

For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.


Why did it take me so long to read this book? It was SO good. It took a few chapters to get into the format, but in the end, it was brilliantly written, structured, and the story was incredible. I keep saying “oh I am done with WWII books” and it turns out, I’m not. If you haven’t read this one and have any interest in historical fiction, pick it up!

Title: Fairytale of New York Fairytale
Author: Miranda Dickinson
eBook: 400 pages
Pub Date: Nov 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

happy-ever-afters made in Manhattan? Find out in this gorgeous debut, perfect for cold winter nights. Once upon a time an English girl went to New York to live out her very own fairytale! Florist Rosie Duncan’s life couldn’t be better, she has a flourishing business on New York’s Upper West Side and fantastic friends. Moving to Manhattan feels like the best decision she ever made. Even though at the time, it was her escape route from heartbreak …For the past six years Rosie has kept her heart under lock and key, despite the protests of her closest friends – charming, commitment-phobic Ed, unlucky in love Marnie and the one-woman tornado that is Celia.

Then a blossoming friendship with publishing hot-shot Nate begins to shake Rosie’s resolve at the same time as her brother arrives in the Big Apple, hiding a secret. But a chance meeting brings Rosie face to face with her past, unravelling the mystery behind her arrival in New York. Rosie is forced to confront questions she has long been trying to ignore, including will she ever get her very own happy-ever-after? A sparkling, romantic comedy about an English girl who finds herself in the city where dreams can come true – or so she thinks!


I think this was recommended on an episode of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, so i had high expectations since Linda Holmes is amazing. And I liked it – I just wanted a little more romance in it. The main character was great and I loved everything else that was going on, i just wish the romantic parts happened a little earlier. That said, I am totally going ot read more books by her because it was lovely and exactly what I was looking for at the time.

Title: Fall of Giants Fall
Author: Ken Follett
Hardcover: 985 pages
Pub Date: Sept 2010
Publisher: Dutton
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution. In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, “Fall Of Giants” moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.


Wow this book is long. It took me a very long time to read it, but it was SO good. The only reason why I only gave it four stars is because I skimmed about 20 pages and I always say if I could skim at all, it doesn’t get 5 stars.

But it was close. I learned more about WWI from reading this book than in high school or college. The characters were engaging and the writing was amazing. I will read more in the series, but I need to take a break from such long books.

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YA Mini Reviews in June

Posted by Caitie F on June 6, 2015

I want to share mini reviews for all the books i have read in the past 2 months. I am breaking it into posts based on age level. The first is YA:

Title: The Assassin’s Bladeassassins
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 430 pages
Pub Date: Jan 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassins’ Guild and taught her the skills she needed to survive.

Arobynn’s enemies stretch far and wide – from Adarlan’s rooftops and its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate – and cut her heart in two forever…


These novellas are absolutely wonderful Seeing Celaena before the events in the series is amazing. It made me love her – and all of her friends – even more. If you haven’t read this series yet, you need to.

Title: All the Rageall the rage
Author:  Courtney Summers
Hardcover: 321 pages
Pub Date: Apr 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.


This is one of those books that I want every single teenager and parent to read. It is amazingly written and these character will imprint onto your heart. I read this over a month ago and I think about it at least once a week. One of the best YA books iI have ever read.

Title: Saint Anythingsaint anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Hardcover: 432 pages
Pub Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.


Sarah Dessen’s latest is one of the least “Sarah Dessen-y” books she has written, and I don’t mean that as a negative thing. There is a little too much going on, but the main character is absolutely wonderful and it was so easy to jump into her world. It is perfect for everyone who has ever felt like they were invisible as a teenager, something I could really relate to.

Title: Code Name Veritycode name
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Paperback: 441 pages
Pub Date: Feb 2012
Publisher: Egmont
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine – and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France – an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team


Wow wow wow. This book! I saw all the hype and thought “oh, another WWII historical fiction. meh”. Yeah, this is unlike any WWII historical fiction and is brilliant. IF you haven’t read this yet, read it. I shouldn’t have waited so long.

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A Day of Celebrating Uniqueness

Posted by Caitie F on June 5, 2015

Yesterday I went to two middle schools to participate in a day for the entire sixth grade called Celebrating Uniqueness Day. It is a day where regular school stops and they spend a day learning about people with disabilities. There really made sure to have a wide range of people speaking. It is a day I wish every school did and if any teachers are reading this and want to know more about bringing it to their school, just send me an email and I can get you in touch with the organizer.

I spoke to one or two classes at a time and told my story. I had a student introduce me who also let the kids know that I am partially blind. I told them my story – what happened, my struggles then and now, about the people who helped me, and even gave them a demonstration of how much vision I lost. I told the story ten times in one day, which was a lot.

What I noticed the most throughout was these kids. They were extremely well-behaved. Only one class had kids talking and not paying attention, and that was at the end of the day. Other than that, they paid attention, participated, and asked really great questions. Several kids asked if I was bullied growing up (yep). They asked if I drive (no, I can, but don’t want to put others in dangers because of my limited vision). They asked really smart questions like if it ran in my family that let me talk about the genetic disorder I have and one student asked if it had an impact on who Iam. They also asked very much kids questions like “Does it hurt?” “Did you still play sports after?” “Why is it another color?”. The teachers also asked questions, and not just when the kids didn’t have any. There was not a single disrespectful question the entire day.

By being a school that takes time to have a day like this, the kids have been taught early on that people who are disabled aren’t weird or the other. They are so open-minded and I am sure that is because of the teachers and atmosphere of the school.

The other interesting thing is that in preparing for this, yesterday, and after I was told so many times ‘You are so inspiring” by both adults and kids. I always just say thank you, but it is something that i am never comfortable with. I didn’t set out to be inspiring. This thing happened to me and I have a disorder and I just deal with it the only way I can. Talking about it ten times was emotionally draining. This is heavy, hard to talk about stuff, even if I can keep a sense of humor about it. I don’t want to talk about it for a while (a big reason i wrote this post because so many people want to know how it went). I don’t want to even think about it, which is impossible.

I don’t really have a point – I am so glad that the school invited me and if they do again next year, I will go. I am glad a school has a day like this and I hope that more start to.

Some days though, I don’t want to celebrate my uniqueness, I just want to pretend it doesn’t exist and have the world do the same.

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