Best of 2018…

                                                                              The Best of 2018!!!

Hi all!!! 

I can’t believe that we are already at the end of 2018! It feels like this year has been extraordinarily long, but has gone by in a flash at the same time, if that makes sense. This year has certainly seen its share of highs and lows, but I hope that your year in books has been one of the highlights! Despite reading quite a bit less than I did last year, thanks to a marked uptick in work and several reading slumps, I can say that my literary journey was definitely a high note of the year. I read so many wonderful books this year from many, many wonderful authors- from old favorites to debuts. It was very difficult to narrow down my favorite reads of the year, so much so that I had to choose a fiction a non-fiction as I couldn’t decide between the final two! So, without further ado- my favorite books of 2018: 

                                Favorite Fiction of 2018: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

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This book, the first in a new series by the amazing author of The Girl from Everywhere duology (another favorite of mine!), was released at the end of September of this year. It is a hefty book at a little over 500 pages (hardback edition), but I got so absorbed in it and it read so quickly that I read it while on a weekend trip. The world building was so phenomenal and the writing so lyrical (literally at times!), that it was easy to get swept away in the novel. I loved the strong female lead, and that this was an own voices novel so the writing was true to the character. This is technically YA Fantasy, but anyone who is a fan of well written fantasy would enjoy this. You can find the full review here: For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire, Book 1)

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Muse-Fire-Heidi-Heilig/dp/0062380818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546224730&sr=8-1&keywords=for+a+muse+of+fire

                            Favorite Non-Fiction of 2018: Becoming by Michelle Obama

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After the review that was posted yesterday, this may come as no surprise, but this is definitely the bet non-fiction that I read this year. This memoir was published in mid November, and I read it while I was on vacation. It took me a bit to write my review, because there was so much that I wanted to say about it, but I didn’t want to just summarize the entire book. I find Michelle Obama so inspirational, and this book made her even more so. She was open, witty, honest, funny, and relatable. This book left me with a feeling of hope. If you’re looking to add more memoirs to your reading list this year and haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it! Find my initial review here: Becoming

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Michelle-Obama/dp/1524763136/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546225152&sr=8-1&keywords=becoming+michelle+obama

I hope that you guys enjoy these as much as I did! What were your favorite reads of 2018? Anything that I should check out? I’ll be spending the next couple of days attempting to get together some semblance of a reading list for the first part of 2019. There are some exciting new books coming out this year!!

I wish you all an amazing new year!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Becoming

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Author: Michelle Obama

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 448

Publisher: Crown Publishing

I don’t think that I need to tell anyone who the author of this memoir is. Michelle Obama, a brilliant, beautiful former first lady, but she is so much more. She is a wife, mother, Princeton and Harvard Law graduate; a very accomplished woman well before she ever in the public eye as the First Lady of the United States. Inside this memoir, Mrs. Obama opens up her world and tells the readers of her life experiences, both good and bad, and how they molded her in to the woman that she is today. 

I have long admired Michelle Obama as a woman of intellect, grace, and integrity. I can truly say, after reading her memoir, that I admire her even more. She opened up in this book about her whole life. We learn about her upbringing in Chicago, where she was encouraged to use her intelligence to move forward and make a difference. She speaks about her married life, which hasn’t always been roses and butterflies but they worked through it and it is real. She tells us, of course, about their time in politics and the White House and the highs and lows of that life. And we learn what her life is beginning to look like now, as she is settling in to “normal” life again. 

I loved this memoir, because Michelle Obama was so real in it. She told her truth in no uncertain terms. She was raw, honest, witty, poignant, funny, and relatable. There were criticisms of those who followed she and President Obama, but they were measured and not unwarranted or nasty. She made me feel that it was ok if “leaning in” didn’t necessarily work to get me where I needed to be, and I had to go a different route. She, overall, left me with a feeling of hope- not false hope- but hope that we can become more. 

Off the Grid

Hi all!!

Are you all getting excited for the Thanksgiving holiday?! I’m going to have a house full of family and friends here tomorrow, and I am making so much food! I love to feed people, so I’m really happy to have everyone coming to dinner. We’ll also be joining the mad shopping crowds afterwards, so that should be a blast!

I’m heading out in to the woods for a week beginning this weekend, to decompress for a bit. I’ll have limited, if any, internet access and I am really looking forward to it. Sometimes it’s nice to go a bit off the grid! I’m taking my kindle, a few books, and my MacBook to format some reviews for when I return.

I have at least one review that will post while I’m gone, and I’m going to try to get another written up before I go. I wanted to give you guys a peak at a couple of the things I’ll be reading while I’m away, though!

First is one that I have really been looking forward to since I heard it was coming out:

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I think she is so brilliant and inspiring, and I can not wait to see what she has to say in this memoir!

Next:

Marshmallows and Mistletoe by Marianne Rice

New out from the lovely lady who made me enjoy contemporary romance is this holiday story. This looks like it will fit right in with those cozy, feel good holiday reads that I was wanting, so I’m excited for this one as well!

There are, of course, several others going with me, but these I’m very excited to talk to you about when I return. What are your holiday plans?! Anything exciting?! I hope that you all have a lovely holiday and a great week ahead!

Always-

T

The Secrets of My Life

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Author: Caitlyn Jenner

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Pages: 336

 

Most of us have known Caitlyn Jenner as Bruce Jenner for many, many years. Bruce Jenner is an Olympic hero, a one-time greatest athlete in the world. He then became the father in one of the most famous (whether you love them, or love to hate them) families in America, if not the developed world. Bruce had a secret, though. He was living a lie. He was living with Gender Dysphoria. A very real psychological illness wherein the person feels that they were born in to the wrong gender’s body. To put it simply: Bruce was born to be Caitlyn. It wasn’t that simple, though. It took him over sixty years to finally become her, the woman that he was meant to be. In this amazing memoir, Caitlyn details her livelong journey and her struggles to become her authentic self, and everything that entailed.

I’ve wanted to read this memoir since Caitlyn published it, but I wanted to wait until I was in the right place to read it. When I felt that my mindset was correct, and I finally sat down with it, I devoured this amazing book in no time. It was beautiful, heart-breaking, emotional, poignant, funny at times, and overall- brave. I think that this is the book that everyone who wants to see what Gender Dysphoria looks like needs to read. Caitlyn is honest about everything that she did, both wrong and right, and everything that she went through in becoming who she ultimately is. I am so glad that she wrote this, and I am so glad that I read it. This is not just another “Kardashian” ploy or money-making scheme. It is a beautifully written memoir, that I believe would be helpful to anyone that is interested in the subject of Gender Dysphoria. Thank you, Caitlyn.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

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Author: Amy Schumer

Genre: Memoir/Humor

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 336

 

Amy Schumer has built her career on being honest- hilariously, brutally, honest- and I, and so many others, love her for that. She says the things that many think and won’t say, and she doesn’t sugarcoat it. This book is that, and so very much more. It had everything that I was hoping for out of a book written by Schumer. It had the stories of sex, drugs, drinking, and family drama delivered with her signature humor, sarcasm, and wit. What it had that I wasn’t expecting, though, was her being honest in a very different way about the subjects that have touched and affected her life: date rape, domestic violence, gun violence, body shaming, and her father’s MS diagnosis. It was very touching, and humanizing, to see her speak out on these topics in such an authentic way. This book was well written, in that it balanced the serious topics out with humor, so it didn’t become too heavy to read. It was very interesting to learn more about Schumer and her life, up to this point. I was a fan before, and I am even more so of one now!

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare

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Author: Gabourey Sidibe

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 256

 

Gabourey Sidibe got her big break starring in the title role as Precious in the film Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Since then, she has gone on to several other roles on television shows such as American Horror Story, and most recently, Empire. She certainly didn’t start out as a star, though. Gabby, as she is known to her fans, came from humble beginnings in Brooklyn. The daughter of a polygamous, African immigrant father and a mother who began as a teacher (and then went on to support her children by becoming a subway singer), Gabby sis not exactly have it easy growing up. Once on her own, it was not exactly any easier. Case in point: When she was discovered, Gabby was working at a phone sex talking company.

This memoir is, I think, the best one that I have read thus far this year. Sidibe is refreshingly honest, irreverent, hysterical, and says things that we would all like to say at times, but just can’t bring ourselves to. She doesn’t hold back when she talks about the “hard topics”, such as her relationship with her father, her family in Africa, being treated differently because of the way that she looks, weight, depression, anxiety, and more. There is something in there for everyone, and she makes you feel a little less alone while making you literally laugh out loud. Honestly, Gabourey is the kind of woman that every woman needs in her life. I want her to be my friend, too!

Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

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Author: Mike Massimino

Genre: Memoir/Biography

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Pages: 336

 

Mike Massimino, or “Mass” as he is known to many, had a childhood dream: to be an astronaut. He wanted to go to space. He grew up on Long Island, when that wasn’t really a popular dream to have where he was from. Nevertheless, he worked hard and made his way to Columbia and MIT. He then proceeded to fail his first PhD exam, and be repeatedly rejected by the astronaut program. This is where that New York grit came in to play. He didn’t give up, became an astronaut, went to space, and wrote us his riveting memoir about it all.

            I absolutely loved this book! It was so interesting to learn about his journey to becoming an astronaut, and then his time working with NASA. He answered so many questions, and I learned so much from this memoir. I did listen to this book on audio, and I definitely think that this should be listened to (even if you read it in print first)! Massimino’s tone and inflection really made it all the more enjoyable. This is a must read, if you are a fan of science, space exploration, or just great memoirs!