Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Review: Marley & Me

I am not one for sad dog stories. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried violently after watching Eight Below. After watching Hachi, I was angry at my parents for bringing home such a movie. Don't even get me started on Old Yeller.

However, Marley and Me was the one "sad" dog movie I could watch and enjoy, despite shedding tears at the end. I figured I would try the book, as well. I'm thrilled I did.

Yes, this book is about "the world's worst dog," a dog that was kicked out of obedience school and ate an 18K gold necklace. But this isn't just a dog story. It's about a family, about love, and loyalty. It's about learning to work through the trials and tears life brings you, and always finding the joy in a day.

John Grogan cleverly takes us through Marley's life and the experiences he and his wife went through starting their own marriage and family, making you feel as though you're right there with them. I laughed, I cried, and I walked away unable to stop thinking of the book.

I never thought I'd be able to pick a favorite book, but Marley & Me might just be my answer.

5/5 stars

Advisory: This book contains a little bit of language, and Grogan is fairly open and honest about marital relations as good chunk of the book deals with the Grogans attempting to start a family; some of it is also emotionally heavy. It might be a bit much for younger readers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2016 Book Shelf : Non-Fiction

Last time I posted my 2016 Book Shelf of fiction books. Now I'm sharing the nonfiction books I plan to read this year. I use to hate nonfiction, but I think you get to a certain age where reading at least some is necessary! 

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

I've read a few chapters of this and as an introvert, I love it. Time to finish.

The Annotated Jane Eyre

I received this book a couple birthdays ago. I'm ashamed I still haven't finished it, so I'm determined to complete reading it this year! (That isn't saying anything for the quality of the book; only that I'm easily distracted and time got split by moving!)

Jane's Fame

Another book given to me a long time ago that I haven't read, which is ridiculous considering how much I love Jane Austen. Plus, that cover is so lovely I could cry. 

Yes, Please

Amy Poehler is a brilliant comedian, and I had started listening to her audiobook version and was completely enthralled, until, you guessed it, something else in life came along. Alas, I exited out of the audiobook and never got back to it. I'll be dedicating an afternoon sometime soon to finish this memoir. 

Living the Invisible Disability

If you've kept up with the blog for a while, you'll know I've suffered a TBI and struggle with depression. I often avoid reading personal accounts of people with similar experiences because it makes me very emotional, but I'm also encouraged hearing stories where others have triumphed. This has been recommended several times, so I believe it's about time I read it. 

Lost in my Mind

Another story detailing the life of someone recovering from TBI and moving on in their life.

Costume Design 101

I adore researching about costume design; my favorite part of behind the scenes features on movies is when the costume department speaks of how they studied characters and came up with the ideas for the beautiful costumes on their shows. A career I've always been interested in, and while I don't necessarily expect to follow through with this dream, it's always good to have more information on your interests. 

Word Painting

I've been told in the past that dialogue is my strong point; whether that is true or not, I KNOW my weak point is descriptive writing. I'm curious as to what this book will cover.

Surprised by Joy

C.S. Lewis is a hero to me, and I'm anxious to find a copy of this partial autobiography.

On Writing

I started this a while back and never finished, but I fell in love with the writing style, stories, and tips. This is a must-read this year! 

If You Want to Write

I've heard this is a must-read for writers. Have you read it?

The Criminal Mind

Thank you, crime TV shows, for making me fascinated in criminal and forensic psychology. This will be perfect for a certain story idea I have been mulling over. 

There you have it. A short list of nonfiction books to read in 2016. These two lists are only the beginning; head over to my new Goodreads page to find an even bigger list! (Profile not complete as the site is giving me some trouble, but you can still find my ever growing 2016 reading list.) I've decided to try reading 100 books this year and have joined K.M. Weiland's Reading Challenge. I might fail miserably, but it's a good challenge!

What's YOUR reading goal for 2016?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Book Shelf : Fiction

I didn't read as much in 2015 (at least the first half of the year) as I usual do, and there were a fair amount of books I started and never finished. So instead of reviewing favorite books of last year, I'm going to share what books are on my agenda for this year. I'm separating these into two posts for fiction/pleasure and technical/biography books (which can be for pleasure as well, of course*).


I started Hamlet last year when I bought tickets for my friend and me to see a screening of the National Theatre Live production of Hamlet. I struggle with verse format and King James' language, so it's been rather slow-going, but I've enjoyed the book and intend to finish it this month.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay

I've listened to the audiobook of the first Hunger Games and greatly enjoyed that. Catching Fire is next and once I see the Mockingjay movies, I'll finish. 

Stella Bain

I saw this book on sale in Barnes and Noble and it basically jumped into my hands. I adore the cover and the plot really intrigued me, especially as I enjoy stories set during the World Wars. 


I feel like I should've read this a long time ago. A story about a quiet, anxious girl who adores reading and writes fan fiction and stresses about making it in the real world? I didn't know they wrote a biography about me... 

A Share in Death

As I'm getting more interested in writing crime-related, mystery genres, it's about time I started reading them! 

Sherlock: Volume 2

And always, there's the classic... I read the first volume quite a while ago now.  Love me some Sherlock!

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

This was probably one of my favorite Christmas gifts this year. I love poetry, but I'm very selective of whom I read. Emily Dickinson has always been a favorite, so to add this to my library made my soul happy. 

The Shock of Night

I grew up reading Christian fiction, but I've never read it in the form of fantasy. I'm not sure how strong the Christian themes are in this book, but I'm still interested how the author will combine the two. 


Christian fiction, Arthurian-inspired, seemingly strong female lead... Sounds like a fun time! 

ReRead: The Chronicles of Narnia

Ah, Narnia. My favorite books. I haven't reread these in quite a few years, so I want to get back to them this year, maybe in between my other reads!

There are so many others I'm longing to read, but for now, these are the basics that I want to check off my list. (I was going to include the rest of the Harry Potter series, but I finished the last two books before I even finished writing this post! I love finding a new series I can't put down.)

What books are on YOUR list this year? 
Everyone share your ideas in the comments!