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Park Avenue Summer: A Spotlight.

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  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • Publish Date: April 30, 2019

Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada as Renée Rosen draws readers into the glamorous New York City of 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine, where a brazen new editor-in-chief–Helen Gurley Brown–shocks America and saves a dying publication by daring to talk to women about all things off-limits…

New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss, who leaves her small midwestern town to chase her big-city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for the first female editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.

Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, and confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands. When someone tries to pull Alice into a scheme to sabotage her boss, she is more determined than ever to help Helen succeed.

While pressure mounts at the magazine, Alice struggles not to lose sight of her own dreams as she’s swept up into a glamorous world of five-star dinners, lavish parties, and men who are certainly no good.  Because if Helen Gurley Brown has taught her anything, it’s that a woman can demand to have it all.

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|| Amazon || Indie Bound || Barnes & Noble ||

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Renee Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction. Her novels include Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her most recent novel is Park Avenue Summer (April 30, 2019 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).

Renee is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of The American University in Washington DC.  She now lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new novel, The Social Graces, a story about Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age. (Coming in 2020 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).

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Dear 15-Year-Old Me. [A Tag!]

•  Post the tag and image above.

•  Mention the creators of the tag and link back to their blog.

This tag was created by Everyday Magic With Jubilee and Mom Life With Chiari. You can click on the highlighted names to check out more inspirational posts from their blogs. Make sure to tag them in your post so that they can read your letters of encouragement.

•  Thank whoever nominated you and link back to their blog: Jubilee!! Thank you so much, doll!

•  Nominate 5 other bloggers that you love and notify them by commenting on their latest blog post.

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Often times we may wish that we could go back in time and give our former selves advice and words of wisdom. If you could go back in time, what would you advise or encouragement would you give to yourself?

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Dear 15 year old me,

1. Don’t be hard on yourself because …

The world is a crazy place. Everything seems to be falling apart and high school is confusing. The sheltered world you knew is no longer that idyllic place, but you will find your voice. You will find your identity–your own, not the one you think you should be. Don’t let the pressure put on you by your peers make you try things, like that cigarette. Put it down, you asthmatic fool! Shut off the news and focus on your schoolwork. Things will get better.

2. The relationship you’re in ….

(I wasn’t in one! So I’ll touch on my friends.)

Some of them will last. Other ones will not. Hold on to those who stick around because they are the ones who matter. When you find your circle, hold on to them too. They will bring out the best in you. They’ll make you laugh, lift you up, pull you out of the depths of your despair. They’ll inspire you. But you have to find them and you will when you least expect it.

If it doesn’t work out, don’t stress and for the love of cheez-whiz, don’t accept them back. If they stabbed you in the back once, you know they’re gonna do it again. It’s high school! Drama reigns.

3. You will get through this because …

You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You will find your inner strength and again, you will find your voice. When you do, you’ll be unstoppable. Stop worrying about what other people think and focus on the things that matter.

Read often, listen to music, do everything that helps you unwind. Play video games with your cousin and hang with family.

4. Don’t get caught up in thinking …

…about the news. About anything that isn’t school. It scares you and it isn’t helping you with your schoolwork and that needs a lot of attention. You’ll regret being lackadaisical about it when you get to 11th and 12th grade. Trust me.

Also, when your guidance counselor tells you that you’ll never get into college, ignore him. He was a creep and even though you won’t finish, you are not stupid. You just have limitations. It’s okay. You have learning disabilities but it doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

5. These experiences will help you learn …

that you can overcome anything. You will learn about who you are and what your limits are. You’re going to go through a transformation this year, not physically, but mentally. There’s going to be a toughness but don’t be afraid to let your guard down. Cry, let it out. Write. You can face it all.

halloween_dividers_23I’d like to mention that I turned 15 two days before September 11th. So, the news was pretty horrific and terrifying. I didn’t understand what was going on and it really, really shook me to my core. I had just started high school and there was so much in my head. Ugh. I get tensed up just thinking about it now!
halloween_dividers_23Tagging…
Krystin Rachel
Erik McManus | Breakeven Books
Elaine Howlin
Carries Book Reviews
Brianna the Bookworm

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Totally Should’ve Book Tag

I got tagged in this a few days ago and I had honestly forgotten! Fortunately, I went through my notifications and I found it. I had a greate deal of fun answering the questions posed to me and I hope you enjoy my answers. This is the Totally Should’ve Book Tag created by EmmmaBooks. I was tagged by Jess at Comfort Reads. Thank you, lovely! ❤

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1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel.

giphy1I think Gone With The Wind needed a sequel that was penned by Margaret Mitchell. Not the follow up by Alexandra Ripely or the other ones. Sadly, Ms. Mitchell died after being struck by a car. I don’t know if she would have written one, but I always wanted one and would have paid whatever for it! .

 

2. Totally should’ve had a spin off series

 

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I would absolutely love another Harry Potter series! This is a given. I’d like a series based on the Marauders or a real series featuring Newt and the gang. I guess the films will have to do and fan fiction for the rest.

3. An author who totally should write more books

I’d love to see Ann Rinaldi write some books geared to adults. I loved her books as a kid and whilst I reread them now, I would love to see more of them.

4. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

Hrm. I think Harry and Hermione should have ended up together. I never saw Ron and Mione working. I also rooted for Luna and Neville.

5. Totally should’ve ended differently

I still think Jo and Laurie should have ended up together in Little Women. Sorry, not sorry.

6. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

I still hold out hope for more Miss Peregrine films…but done properly!

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

Hrm…I think the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy by Sally Christie should have a series. Trust me, there is enough in those books for more than three seasons. The French Court, intrigue, sex, rivals, the fashion…

8. Totally should’ve had only one point of view

I can’t say, honestly. If there’s more than one point of view, there’s a reason for it.

9. Totally should’ve had a cover change

The Discovery of Witches trilogy. Those covers are sort of plain to me, considering how indepth the story is.

10. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

Hrm. I liked the Harry Potter original covers that they had over in Britain.

11. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

50 Shades. Hey, you had to know I was going to throw shade at some point.

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Happy Release Day to Diane Chamberlain!

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  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
  • Publish Date: October 2, 2018

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New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a thrilling, mind-bending novel about one mother’s journey to save her child.

When Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam war, receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970, and she is told that nothing can be done to help her child. But her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her that perhaps there is a way to save her baby. What he suggests is something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage she never knew existed. Something that will mean an unimaginable leap of faith on Carly’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

The Dream Daughter is a rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

Praise for The Dream Daughter:

“Chamberlain writes with supernatural gifts…fate, destiny, chance and hope combine for a heady and breathless wonder of a read.” ―Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

“Can a story be both mind-bending and heartfelt? In Diane Chamberlain’s hands, it can. The Dream Daughter will hold readers in anxious suspense until the last satisfying page.” ―Therese Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z

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Author

DIANE CHAMBERLAIN is the internationally bestselling author of more than twenty novels, including The Dream Daughter, Necessary Lies, and The Silent Sister. She lives in North Carolina with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie.

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The Witch of Willow Hall (Spotlight!)

I am so excited about this book. It sounds absolutely divine and a perfect Autumn read. Now, if one of these characters could make it feel like autumn here in Florida…

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  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Graydon House; Original edition
  • Publish Date: October 2, 2018

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…


IndieBound ||  Amazon (US)  ||  Barnes&Noble ||  Books-A-Million

“Hester Fox’s THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL offers a fascinating location, a great plot with history and twists, and characters that live and breathe. I love the novel, and will be looking forward to all new works by this talented author!” –Heather Graham, New York Times bestselling author

“Beautifully written, skillfully plotted, and filled with quiet terror, readers will devour this absorbing, Gothic tale of romance and suspense. Perfect for fans of Simone St James and Kate Morton.” — Anna Lee Huber, the national bestselling author of the historical Lady Darby Mysteries

“Beautifully written, with an intriguing plot full of suspense and mystery, The Witch of Willow Hall will cast a spell over every reader.” — Lisa Hall, author of Tell Me No Lies and Between You and Me

“I was entranced by this intriguing and spellbinding novel with its messages of love and loyalty and being true to who you really are. I hope Hester Fox goes on to write many more such novels–I for one will be buying them.” — Kathleen McGurl, author of The Girl from Ballymor

“With its sense of creeping menace and chilling undertones, this compelling story had me gripped from the first page. The vividly drawn characters cast their spell so convincingly, I couldn’t stop reading until I discovered what happened to them. A wonderful debut novel.”–Linda Finlay, author of The Flower Seller

 Hester comes to writing from a background in museum work and historical archaeology. She loves the Gothic, the lurid, the dark…so long as the ending is a happy one. She has never seen a ghost, though she remains hopeful.

Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband. THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL is her first novel.

You can visit her here!

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You guys! It’s my birthday on Sunday! I’ll be 32(!!!!) this year and I thought I’d do a fun list today. This particular one is going to do with the books I may get this weekend when I hit up Books-A-Million. I also have a wishlist on Amazon, not that I think anyone will send anything, but it’s goals. =)

Of course, I may abandon this list–because I will see something else that I want more. But we’ll see!

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I’m starting with this because I absolutely adore Pooh Bear. My nickname is actually Rissy-The-Pooh. I have no shame in it because as the bear himself says, “I am short, fat, and ok with that.” I’ve never read the original Pooh stories and I want to correct that and…I just really can’t let go of some childhood loves.  What is adulthood anyway? To quote Walt Disney, “Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” 

So hell yes to Pooh Bear! ❤

 

 

Most people know I love comics and Catwoman is one of my favorites. I even liked the 2004 movie with Halle Berry. I know I’m in the rarity there, but I didn’t hate it. So needless to say, I was very excited to see this book coming out. I have the Diana/Wonder Woman one in this series, so I’m excited for this one. And hello, Sarah J. Maas! 

Sizzling with action and suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author SARAH J. MAAS delivers a coming-of-age Selina Kyle who will steal readers’ hearts in a new, highly anticipated YA blockbuster: CATWOMAN

When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has.

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever–she may be Batwing’s undoing.

In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that’s closest to her heart?

I have a special place in my heart for The Little Mermaid. Why is that? Because The Little Mermaid was the first movie I ever saw in theatres. My mom says I was in my booster seat, a little bag of popcorn and I sat in awe the whole time. If I wanted more popcorn, I just held my bag out towards them cause my family were sharing a bucket. My eyes did not leave the screen, even though I was afraid of Ursula, lol. So, I definitely love the story. The classic version, the Disney version, retellings. 

 

Think you know the story of The Little Mermaid? Think again… This is a book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding. Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world-building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans.


I’ve been dying to get my hands on this one, but I haven’t been able to grab it thus far. The wait list at my library is obscene and I’m kind of done waiting. Historical Fiction AND zombies? Hell yeah, let’s go!

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland’s stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar–a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania–derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities–and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


I’m keeping my thoughts on the current administration off of here (though, if you look at my Twitter, you’ll get a good view), but I can say I loved Obama and Biden. Even if you don’t like their politics, their bromance is the stuff of legend. So, here they are and I am definitely picking this one up. It looks like one that’ll have me cheering them on, laughing and just loving them more than I already do. 

For everyone nostalgic for the Obama/Biden administration, HOPE NEVER DIES re-casts the president and vice-president as amateur sleuths in a quirky mystery-adventure.

He’s an honest man in a city of thieves. He has no patience for guff, foolishness, or malarkey. He is United States Vice President Joe Biden. And when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident–leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues–“Amtrak Joe” unwittingly finds himself in the role of a private investigator. To crack the case (and uncover a drug-smuggling ring hiding in plain sight), he’ll team up with the only man he’s ever fully trusted–the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Wilmington, Delaware, where enemies lurk around every corner. And if they’re not careful, the blood on the tracks may be their own.

This quirky, comic mystery begins six months after the 2016 presidential election, as Obama and Biden are struggling to define their post-White House identities–and question what truly remains of their legendary bromance. Published as a trade paperback original and designed to echo tough-guy thrillers (think JACK REACHER, LETHAL WEAPON, TRUE DETECTIVE), HOPE NEVER DIES is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fanfiction–and a terrific beach read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs in Washington, DC.


I’m pretty certain that most people are surprised when I say I want to read a biography since I don’t read them all that frequently. However, Tiffany Haddish makes me laugh and I think it’s time I pick up this book!

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money–as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman–to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny–it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.

By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is–humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.

Because it’s a boxed set, I’m marking this as just one item, lol. I’ve heard about this series for quite some time and I admit, I am very curious about it. So, I’ll be checking it out for sure. I hear it’s witchcraft and history and I love both of those themes.

Book one of the New York Times-bestselling All Souls trilogy–“a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People)

Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar’s depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life.

The #1 New York Times-bestselling sequel to A Discovery of Witches, book two of the All Souls Trilogy–“as enchanting, engrossing, and impossible to put down as its predecessor” (Miami Herald)

J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice–only a few writers capture the imagination the way that Deborah Harkness has with her New York Times-bestselling All Souls trilogy. A Discovery of Witches introduces reluctant witch Diana Bishop, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and the battle for a lost, enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches‘ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different–and vastly more dangerous–journey.

The #1 New York Times bestselling series finale and sequel to A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night

Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. In The Book of Life,  Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present–facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches–with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

This isn’t available as a boxed set yet, but I plan to pick up the paperbacks if I can. I’ve been intrigued for awhile and after reading reviews and hearing friends flail over them, I think it’s time I join the fandom.

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC:

Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Officially he serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador. Unofficially he’s a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

A GATHERING OF SHADOWS:

Four months have passed since the events of Darker Shade. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games-an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries-a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port. But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned—meaning that another London must fall.

A CONJURING OF LIGHT:

The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire. Who will crumble? Who will rise? And who will take control?

 

Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

 

And lastly…(Because I don’t have nearly enough Harry Potter things!)

Discover the wands of your favorite Harry Potter characters.

In the Harry Potter films, each wand is as unique as the witch or wizard who wields it. From Hermione Granger’s elegant, vine-wrapped wand to the bone-inlaid wands of the Death Eaters, each was designed and crafted by the filmmakers to reflect its owner’s identity.

Harry Potter: The Wand Collection is a visual guide to these magical wands, their makers, and the characters who mastered them. Profiles of each wand feature stunning new photography of the original props, wand statistics, insights from the cast and crew, and other filmmaking secrets from the Warner Bros. archive.

This collectible volume is an ideal resource for both wand-wielding veteran fans seeking to learn the history behind these beloved items and a new generation just beginning their journey into the wizarding world.

Do you guys have any suggestions for me? Let me know in comments! xx

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#WCW: Patriotic Edition.

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Happy Independence Day to all of my fellow American readers! Despite how we may be feeling about the news and such lately, there have been many who came before us who faced great odds and instilled the spirit that this nation is known for. Now, we all know the men. So I decided to put a shine on the great American women.

I’m going to feature several books with heroines/figures, some real and some fictional, who I think are truly those who embodied the American spirit. So I hope you enjoy what I post. ❤

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These three books are amongst my favorites. Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie teamed up to write the first of these two whilst Susan Holloway Scott wrote I, Eliza Hamilton. America’s First Daughter is about Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Patsy. My Dear Hamilton and I, Eliza Hamilton (obviously) is about Eliza Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s wife. Both were dynamic women, ahead of their time. Can you imagine having Thomas Jefferson as a father and Alexander Hamilton as your husband? They didn’t have it easy, to be certain. They both had to endure a great deal of sorrow in their lives all while the American Revolution was occurring. Truly brilliant reads.

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These three books feature ladies of color, each American. Phyllis Wheatley was born in West Africa but brought to America as a very young child; she was emancipated after she published a book of poetry. The Wheatley family was progressive, educating her and allowing her to travel to England, where she was the toast of the town. She didn’t have to work much; instead, she wrote. For her time, she was way ahead. She died at the age of 31, however, before she could publish a second novel.

This and ‘Meet Addy‘, both introduced me into historical fiction. Ann Rinaldi is a truly fantastic author, history at the time sort of bored me and she made it come alive; she made it vibrant for me. Meet Addy introduced the dangers of slavery and escape to me. I know that they toned down the suffering of the family, but there was a scene, if I remember correctly, where she was made to eat worms. I list her here because it really opened my young eyes.

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker tells the story of Elizabeth Keckley, most famously known for being Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, as the title says. A slave who saved and bought her own freedom, she was accepted in most Northern circles for her skills. She was put out of favor, however, when she wrote a book about her relationship with Mary.

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I included these because both of them were much talked about, stylish First Ladies. Mary Todd Lincoln is one of my favorite figures, even though I find most portrayals of her irritating. They portray her as a madwoman and it’s likely that she was bipolar. People seldom show her any sympathy. But she also lost three of her sons, saw her husband killed in front of her and her surviving son had her locked up in an asylum. Mary’s life, which is discussed in this book from childhood to post-widowhood, was a bit sad.

I felt the same about Jackie, feeling that same sympathy for her, though recently revelations seem to have shown her to be rather shrewd and playing a bit with public perception. Regardless, in a world where men ran supreme, Jackie made her mark all the while dealing with her own demons–and Kennedy ones too.

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Thrifty Shopper.

If you’re a voracious reader like I am, odds are, you’re probably always hoping to find a bargain of some sort. Sure, some just borrow books. And others pay regular price, but some of us are on a fixed income so that isn’t always an option. That said, we look for bargains and all of that good stuff. Where I live, there are no bookstores. When I visit Books-A-Million, it’s about 40 minutes away. It’s a pain in the backside. Well, today as I was browsing on Facebook, I discovered a hidden gem. I was wrong. There IS a bookstore. It’s very little and the books aren’t new, but most of you know by now that I don’t care about that. Besides, a little scuff here and there reveals a well-loved book.

I thought I’d talk about it here because I basically fell in love.

This is the Little Red Schoolhouse Bookstore. It’s located in Spring Hill, Florida, which is where I live. It’s sponsored by the Friends of the Library of Hernando Co. They had just put things up on Facebook about it today, despite it being here 30 years. They were having a sale on books and I figured, oh hey, what the heck? I mean, if they had some, awesome! If they didn’t, bummer! Guys. I was not disappointed.

Firstly, look at this adorable building. Aesthetics, guys. I’m a sucker for a cute building.

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And then when you go inside…

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Hello!

I went with $15. I didn’t know what all I would get, but I definitely got my money’s worth. I even came home with $5. Ready for this?

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(My phone sucks when it comes to pictures, I’m so sorry, ya’ll.) 

That’s 12 books. If you filled a bag with books, it was $5. Well, I filled two. (I thought it’d be a lot more!!)

The point of my post is that you guys should look in your respective areas and see if you have something like this. Not only do you support your local library system, you walk away with a pile of books that will bring you a lot of joy. Betty, the lovely woman behind the desk, is there with her two adorable Cairn terriers. (Toto dogs!) She’s a delight to talk to and very passionate about the place. She said they’re looking for volunteers and I plan to sign up. I think it’d be a wonderful opportunity for me and I’d like to be helping. It was funny to see books I’ve donated to the library in circulation too! (I knew one was mine because my name was in it. lol.)

Libraries are such gems and are highly underappreciated, I think. They’re staples in the community and if ever we were to get rid of them, it would be a huge loss. As it is, a lot of them are enduring budget cuts. So, not to be preachy, but please, please, support your libraries. They are wonderful institutions.

I also highly recommend, if you have trouble affording books, to enter giveaways. Become friends on Facebook with your favorite authors. Follow their pages and see when they’re giving a book away. Enter on Goodreads. Shop at betterworldbooks.com or thriftbooks.com; the books are gently used and some are old library books. They’re in good condition though.

Here’s a little video I found about The Little Red Schoolhouse.

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Uncommon Type: Tom Hanks!

Happy Release Day to the one and only, Tom Hanks! The two-time Oscar-award winner is releasing his very first book, a collection of short stories.

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1101946156_bA collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!

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Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

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0000001740673_p0_v1_s260x185TOM HANKS has been an actor, screenwriter, director and, through Playtone, a producer.  His writing has appeared in The New York TimesVanity Fair, and The New Yorker.  This is his first collection of fiction.

 

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I’m Back!!

 

What is up, everyone? 😀 The Quirky Lady is back and ready to review! It’s been a long while, I know. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back where I was, seeing as I have lost all of my followers. The unfortunate deletions did a number on me here and I lost my inspiration and inclination. Thus, I took a long break. I am hoping to get back to business though, I hope you’ll all join me once again. I am also opening up to more genres than historical fiction, so please feel free to reach out to me!  (Erotica is the same–not accepting.)

Since the last time I was here, I am now in a new decade! I observed my 30th birthday and as usual, I went to my favorite store…

And I just went on Wednesday too! My Uncle came up to visit and brought me to the store. SO thrilled. You can imagine who isn’t too thrilled. My poor bookshelf. I have no room on it as it is, so I’m being forced to be creative until I can get a new one or a bigger one. It’s kind of fun to experiment, however, to see how I can fit them all in. I almost view it as being a form of Tetris. (Which is my favorite game!)

What do you guys do when your bookshelf is getting too full? Do you buy another shelf? Donate some old ones to make room for new? Or do you look on Pintereste for some new interesting solutions. I’ve been eyeballing ‘invisible’ shelves but I’m not quite sure if that’d work in my room. I’m going to figure something out because earlier this year I donated a  lot of books to the local DAWN center, where domestic violence victims stay. I would have given them to Goodwill but I thought this was a far more pleasant thing. I also donated to my local

library. 🙂

What have you guys been reading? I’m always up for new suggestions and I’d love to hear what you’re all reading. Please stay tuned as I get set up again, finding new subscribers, new friends, old friends and so forth. As I said, I’m also looking for new books to review. I’ve found myself enjoying YA fiction, but I do ponder, am I too old for it? Or is it silly to wonder such a thing if I’m enjoying what I’m reading? This is my struggle, ya’ll. Haha.

I’m going to keep it short, but stay tuned to this space!

Take care! xx