Top Five Wednesday: Books I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! In the spirit of the holiday, today’s Top Five Wednesday is about books you’re thankful for whatever reason, big or small.

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han– I love the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series as a whole, but I am most thankful for Always and Forever, Lara Jean because I felt I could relate to Lara Jean the most in this section of the trilogy. Obviously Lara Jean would be best friends already for the fact that we love baking, but I could relate to Lara Jean’s anxieties over college and her relationships. I’m also grateful for the cozy feelings this series gives me.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I think many of my fellow bloggers will have Fangirl on their list because most of us can relate to Cath for her love of fandom and her anxiety. As much as I relate to Cath in those senses, Fangirl also holds a special place in my heart for helping re-amp my love for reading and YA books back in 2015.

 Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys– I remember reading Between Shades of Gray when I was sick and stayed home from school for a few days. In short, I learned something more important by staying home and reading the book than what I would have in school. I’m thankful for Between Shades of Gray and Ruta Sepetys because I learned about the horrors that people living in the Baltic States experienced during and after World War II. I’m also super thankful for this reading experience because Between Shades of Gray was my first Ruta Sepetys’s book, and she quickly became one of my favorite authors. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins– In this case, I am thankful for Anna and the French Kiss’s cover change, because if it weren’t for that, there’s a 99% I wouldn’t have picked up this book and the rest of the series.

Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl by Barbara Parks– Forever grateful for this book, Barbara Parks, and my kindergarten teacher who read this book during story time. Thanks for kick starting my love for reading.

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

 

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Fall-Themed Q & A

In order to feel a bit more festive for Thanksgiving, today I’ll be doing the Fall-Themed Q & A. I am a huge Christmas fan (reminder that I must do a Christmas or winter Q & A as well!) and the holiday season for me begins on November 1st ,my Spotify Christmas playlist ready to go. As much as I love Christmas, I do love the fall and Thanksgiving, and I see Thanksgiving as the last major fall event. The Fall-Themed Q & A was hosted by The Blended Blog and I was inspired to do this post by Kristin of Super Space Chick.

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Favorite fall sweet treat?

Banana bread! I just starting making banana bread this year and it’s become one of my go-to things to bake. If you’re looking to make your recipe a bit healthier, substitute butter with applesauce!

Red, yellow, or green apples?

Green apples forever! I like red apples as well, but Granny Smiths are my absolute favorite. If I’m looking for something sweet, I love dipping green apples in caramel.

Favorite fall sport?

I love going for walks and runs in the fall because the weather isn’t too hot or too cold.

Best drink for fall?

If I want a festive drink, my go-to is apple cider and I love drinking it with Thanksgiving dinner. I also enjoy the fall for feeling that I can really embrace drinking tea and hot chocolate.

Favorite fall activity?

Spending time outside, whether I’m reading, running, or picking pumpkins

Must have fall purchase?

Cardigans! I recently bought a green cardigan from Forever 21 and I’ve been wearing it at least once a week. I’m really impressed with its quality.

Pumpkins: pick your own or store-bought?

Pick your own!

Real or fake pumpkins?

Real

Favorite Halloween costume?

I was really happy with my costume this year—I dressed up as “You Belong With Me” Taylor Swift. I love home-made costumes over store-bought ones, and one of my all-time favorite costumes was being a scarecrow, put together by my mom.

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College football or NFL?

I don’t really watch football, but I’ll go with NFL. If there’s two days that I watch football, it’s Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday.

Fall or Halloween décor?

Halloween décor. I think Halloween décor is really fun, and if you can often implement fall decorations into Halloween, like mums and of course pumpkins.

Raking Leaves or no leaves to rake?

No leaves to rake since I’m at school.

Favorite soup?

Not a soup fan in the least bit.

Favorite fall candle scent?

Apple-cinnamon.

Love or hate pumpkin spice?

Not the biggest fan of pumpkin flavoring in general, so a no-go for me.

Short booties or tall boots?

I love both, but having an athletic build, I often have trouble finding boots that will fit over my calf muscles, so short boots for me!

Favorite Halloween candy?

Ah this is probably the hardest question on here! This year I went through my sister’s Halloween candy for Twix, but I also love Kit Kats and Hershey’s Cookies and Cream.

PSL? Yes or No?

Confession time: I’ve never had a pumpkin spice latte and since I don’t like pumpkin, I think I won’t be trying one for a while.

Hayride or Corn Maze?

Hayride.

Favorite Fall TV Show?

This fall I’ve been keeping up with Riverdale and Season 16 of Project Runway, and I actually enjoyed the first half of season 3 of Fuller House.

My Experience Seeing Waitress the Musical

There are only a few shows on my Broadway bucket list, and Waitress was of course one of them. I’ve wanted to see the show since Sara Bareilles and Jessie Mueller’s performance of “She Used to Be Mine” at the 2016 Tony Awards, so when I had the opportunity to see the show last Tuesday, it was easy as pie to say yes! It’s a musical featuring baking, for crying out loud, my inner Lara Jean Song was screaming!

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I went to the show with a friend and we had little over an hour to kill before the show, so we decided to walk around Times Square and the theatre district, which meant that we were obligated to walk past Hamilton: An American Musical, which also meant going into the Hamilton merchandise shop. AND I’M VERY PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT I RESTRAINED MYSELF FROM BUYING ANYTHING—I kept reminding myself that Christmas is near, despite my NEED for a “Wait for It” mug.

We made it to the theatre a half hour before the show began and that left me plenty of time to buy some Waitress merchandise. I ended up picking up a really cute Waitress mug, and I’m still debating if I’m going to display it on my bookshelf or use it for tea and hot chocolate.waitressmug

Waitress is currently on a national tour in the US right now, but if you see the show at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City, don’t worry about where you sit! While the theater sits around 1000 people, it’s on the smaller side. I sat a few rows back in the center mezzanine and could see everything perfectly!

In short, Waitress was absolutely amazing. I loved how pie was incorporated throughout the set, even though they made me crave something sweet- thank gosh Thanksgiving is this week! I was super lucky to be able to see Jason Mraz as Dr. Pomatter in his ten-week engagement with the show. I never really listened to the Waitress original cast recording prior to the show but now I couldn’t imagine anyone else as Dr. Pomatter. Stephanie Torns played Jenna and she was absolutely perfect, I was so impressed with her singing. While the show is very emotional, there were many comedic moments. As much as I loved Jenna and Dr. Pomatter, the side characters stole the show for me, including Dawn, Becky, Ogie, and Joe. I admit that it takes a lot for me to cry when it comes to books, TV, or musicals, but I was broken during the last five minutes of the show, as there was just such a heartwarming (and a bit heart-breaking) of an ending. My favorite songs from the show include “Opening Up”, “Bad Idea”, and “She Used to be Mine” .

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Waitress was my fourth Broadway show and aside from Hamilton, it was the best Broadway show I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend seeing it if you have the opportunity to and I would love to see it again one day!

Have you seen Waitress the Musical? Share in the comments!

Review: A Short History of the Girl Next Door

Summary: If high school freshman Matt Wainwright’s life were a movie, things would be going a lot more smoothly. He would be able to dedicate more time to the amazingness that is Mr. Ellis’s English class, writing poetry and analyzing fart scenes. He’d be a varsity starter on the school basketball team. He’d be able to confess his true feelings for his best friend, Tabby. But as much as Matt’s mind acts like it’s a film director, Matt’s life is far from a movie in this debut, emotion-filled novel from Jared Reck.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Cover Lust?: Yes! I want a print for my wall please!

My Thoughts:

A Short History of the Girl Next Door was a really refreshing young-adult read for a multitude of reasons. I often don’t read books told from a male point-of-view and I enjoyed Matt’s narration. We get to really know Matt and our other characters before anything too climatic happens. I will say without going into too spoilery of details that there is a tragic turning point within the novel, which caught me off guard. I figured something ‘big’ would happen, as the book’s blurb hints at, but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting- kudos to Jared Reck for leaving me unsuspecting! I alsofound A Short of History of the Girl Next Door to be the perfect length- the finished copy clocks around 270 pages- and by no means would I shorten or extend its length.

A huge reason why I gave A Short History of the Girl Next Door a 5 out of 5 stars is because I had such an incredible experience reading it. I read the book over one weekend, and it felt great to be able to read a book over 2 days—I might’ve ignored some finals prep by doing so, but I haven’t been able to do this since the summer! I just found myself so invested in the story that I didn’t want to put it down. I also received an ARC copy of A Short History of the Girl Next Door at Book Con 2017, and let me tell you, this is one of the nicest ARC/paperback copies I own—the book just feels nice to feel, guys! Anyways….

Overall, I loved A Short History of the Girl Next Door for its incorporation of family, friendship, love, school, sports, everyday life, and tragedy. It’s a lot to unpack and Jared Reck does an amazing job of pulling it off. You really get a feel for the characters and find yourself laughing and crying alongside them. I often don’t cry when I read, but one particular conversation between Matt and Mr. Ellis brought tears to my eyes. A Short History of the Girl Next Door is a book I could easily see being implemented into high school English classes, especially for first-year students. I think it’s a very well written, coming-of-age novel with a lot of great moments for analysis, as well as aspects that young-adults could readily relate to.

Have you read A Short History of the Girl Next Door? Share in the comments!

 

What I Read in High School Part 1

I’ve been slowly reorganizing my bookshelves when I’ve been home on weekends, and   I’ve come across a lot of the books that I read in high school. As I look back, I didn’t realize how MANY books I was able to read between my English and History classes. I’m going to be splitting my high school reads into two parts—today’s post recapping the books I read during my freshmen and sophomore year, while the second will recap the books I read during junior and senior year. I may or may not be forgetting some books along the way, or just ignoring the fact that I  read Romeo and Juliet in high school.

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Freshmen year:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson– I had to read Speak for summer work before freshmen year and it made me a bit more exciting for high school because it was a required reading book that I actually enjoyed.

Animal Farm by George Orwell- I read this for my Global Studies summer reading, and this book sticks in my memory because it was the first political satire book that I’ve ever read, not to mention the talking animals.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow- My class was split into groups based on our reading levels and my group was assigned The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. All I remember is having to make a movie poster that was not so cleverly a sky and a girl falling.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger– I read the first chapter, the last chapter, and Sparknotes.

Sophomore year:

The Crucible by Arthur MillerThe Crucible was hands-down my favorite book of sophomore year, and I’m still really proud of my final paper for the play.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury– I would love to reread F451 in the near future, especially since my sister recently read it for the same honors class I took.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey– I remember feeling that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was (is) one of the most out-there books that I ever read for school.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- I read The Great Gatsby a year after the 2013 film adaption came out aka the period of time where everyone was obsessed with 1920s-themed costumes and parties. I enjoyed Gatsby (my paper focused on a lot of its T. S. Elliot influences), but didn’t necessarily understand all the hype. I do hold my copy close to my heart, as I’m very proud of all my annotations and highlighting.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry-My class hada lot of fun acting this play.

1984 by George Orwell– I read 1984 for my sophomore year research paper, where I compared the totalitarian state set in the novel to World War II-era governments and The Hunger Games (sounds a bit out there but it worked!).

What books did you read in high school? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Nostalgic Book Boyfriends

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Today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about one of my favorite bookish feelings—swooning over book characters. The topic comes with a bit of a flash to the past, as I’ll be talking about characters I swooned over when I was younger. A girl is never too young for book boyfriends!

Gayle Hawthorne from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins– #teamgaleforever

Brian McBrian from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares– Brian stole both mine and Tibby’s hearts. If you’re looking for a series about friendship and full of feels pick up The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants ASAP!

Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K.Rowling– Let’s be honest, this is a nostalgic book boyfriend that will forever continue to exist.nevilletfw

Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green– I read The Fault in Our Stars back in the seventh or eighth grade— I consider myself a book hipster for reading this one BEFORE any film adaptation news came out- and Augustus Waters stole my heart form the get-go. I’m able to relive my relationship with him every time I watch TFIOS, which is actually one of my favorite book to movie adaptations!

Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins– Okay, so if I can’t have Gale, I’ll gladly take Finnick please!

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.

 

Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Traditionally here on Fangirl Fury, I like to give you guys a quick summary of the book I’m reviewing. However, I find that its best to go into Turtles All the Way Down without knowing too much. I found that in its preliminary hype days it was promoted for its billionaire-gone-missing mystery element, but that’s definitely not the entirety of Aza’s story. While Turtles All the Way Down highlights friendships, family, romance, and the life of the American teenager, it most of all sheds light on mental health and what it’s like to live with mental illness.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

There are three things I am most definitely proud of myself for doing when it came to Turtles All the Way Down:

  1. I bought a signed copy of the book (bonus points for supporting my local indie bookstore)
  2. I AVOIDED SPOILERS! Almost all of the bloggers that I follow on social media have read Turtles All the Way Down before me, and kudos to me for not clicking on John Green’s reddit for questions and answers about the book
  3. I read the book within a month of its release! Yes, I read throughout the busy-ness that is my university life , but I thought I would pick up Turtles All the Way Down during winter break where I could really devote time to reading it. But after picking up a copy and seeing many positive reviews, I knew I had to read the book ASAP.

Since it was my goal to avoid spoilers while reading, I am going to keep my thoughts on the book as spoiler-free as possible! As you might be able to tell from my 5 out of 5 star rating, I absolutely loved Turtles All the Way Down. I really like John Green as an author (there’s only two of his books that I haven’t been crazy about) and as a person. Like many, I am so happy that he has a new book out in the world.

Like I said above, Turtles All the Way Down incorporates a variety of elements, but the most important of them all is the focus on Aza’s mental health. Aza lives in fear that she’ll contract C. diff and this fear affects how she goes about her life and routines. One of the most successful aspects of Turtles All the Way Down is how through Aza’s narration, we are able to experience what it’s like to live with mental illness. I think what really aided this aspect was how real Aza’s life feels: she’s a high school student (there are many moments in the book where she’s texting her friends or actually doing schoolwork), she has a great female-to-female friendship with her Chuck E. Cheese employee of a best friend, Daisy, and the two spend many nights at Applebee’s talking about school and Star Wars (let’s be honest, I was sold on this book once I read that Applebee’s was Daisy and Aza’s go-to spot). We do have the whole billionaire-gone-missing element and Davis, but I thought that side of the storyline provided a nice juxtaposition between Aza and Davis. Yes, they come from different class backgrounds, but they often share similar feelings. Also, sidenote of appreciation for Davis’s blog and Daisy’s fan fiction!

While it may seem a bit mundane considering how large of a role mental health plays in the book, my favorite aspect overall was the fact that Aza’s last name is Holmes. AND SHE’S SORT’VE SOLVING A MYSTERY, SHE’S SHERLOCK HOLMES!! I haven’t read too many interviews with John Green about the book, but I really want to know if her last name had this intention.

I think The Fault in Our Stars will always be my favorite John Green book, but Turtles All the Way Down is definitely in my top 3 favorites of his. Have you read Turtles All the Way Down? Share in the comments!