Top Ten Tuesday: Back To School

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


This week’s topic is:  Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related. For mine, I’m posting the Top Ten Books for Every High School Kid, but in no particular order.

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Every student should have to read this book from an analytical point of view. Talk about the themes as they pertain to the time in which it was written and Twain’s life.
  2. CarmillaCarmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. I remember trying to get through Dracula by Bram Stoker in high school and slogging through every page. Carmilla should be read, in my opinion, before Dracula because 1.) It’s the definitive and basic tale of vampires and 2.) It’s shorter and easier to read. I was turned off by Dracula for about ten years before I read it in college and loved it. I now consider it one of my favorite books.
  3. Something from the Lost Generation and please, let’s skip The Great Gastby for pete’s sake. I’d personally pick something from Hemingway like The Old Man and the Sea or A Farewell to Arms or my personal favorite, A Moveable Feast. There are so many great novels by any of the Lost Generation authors that it doesn’t always have to be Gatsby.
  4. HurstonTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Gosh! I loved this novel. I think it’s more important to learn about this author, her life, and all the things she said and believed than it would be to read her novels, but the novel is a great place to start.
  5. Poe’s collected works. Haha. Joking. But more than just The Raven. It seems like that’s all that’s ever assigned. Memorize the freaking Raven. How about The Cask of Amontillado? Or The Black Cat? Poe was a prolific writer. Pick something out of the ordinary.
  6. , 7., 8., 9., & 10.  Writing guidebooks. The APA should be one of them. High school students are sent off to college and out into the world without the proper tools and knowledge for writing. I have papers and statistics for this, but I’m too lazy to find them on my computer. College certainly isn’t for everyone, but chances are, you are going to run across at least one instance in your life where you have to write something on a professional level; you should know what you’re doing. Also, a book on how to read critically should be one of the five.



Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Community


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Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days by Will Bashor


Title:  Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days

Author:  Will Bashor

Publisher:  Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Pages:  312

Genre:  Nonfiction, history, French history

Setting:  Paris, France

Source:    Net Galley

Publication Date:  December 1, 2016


This compelling book begins on the 2nd of August 1793, the day Marie Antoinette was torn from her family’s arms and escorted from the Temple to the Conciergerie, a thick-walled fortress turned prison. It was also known as the “waiting room for the guillotine” because prisoners only spent a day or two here before their conviction and subsequent execution. The ex-queen surely knew her days were numbered, but she could never have known that two and a half months would pass before she would finally stand trial and be convicted of the most ungodly charges.

Will Bashor traces the final days of the prisoner registered only as Widow Capet, No. 280, a time that was a cruel mixture of grandeur, humiliation, and terror. Marie Antoinette’s reign amidst the splendors of the court of Versailles is a familiar story, but her final imprisonment in a fetid, dank dungeon is a little-known coda to a once-charmed life. Her seventy-six days in this terrifying prison can only be described as the darkest and most horrific of the fallen queen’s life, vividly recaptured in this richly researched history.

From Me:

I’ve read a few novels over the years about Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution, both fiction and nonfiction. I find this period of history fascinating. The story of the end of the French monarchy and the Reign of Terror is both interesting, compelling, and to me, unfinished. People have their opinions of what led up to the Revolution, who was to blame, how it could’ve been avoided, who was right, who was wrong, but as with most major historical events, there is no end all, be all definitive answer to any of this. That might be what keeps my interest and why I continue to seek out books about this time in France’s history.

Will Bashor takes a unique look at Marie Antoinette’s life. In all the books I’ve read thus far, and I’m by no means saying I’ve read a significant amount, they’ve always started in her childhood and what led her to becoming France’s final queen. Bashor takes his readers directly to Marie’s imprisonment, the final days of her life.

One might wonder how interesting a book could be when the entire thing takes place in prison, but a lot occurred during those days of confinement. There was the famous Carnation Plot and the heart-wrenching separation of Marie Antoinette from her children and her sister-in-law just to touch on a couple highlights. Bashor relates, in detail, what Marie’s daily life was like in prison and how it evolved during her somewhat elongated stay in the infamous waiting room of the guillotine, to the end and her trial and execution.

While this book is a work of nonfiction, Bashor writes like a novelist and the book reads as such. It’s moving, frightening, and edge-of-your seat writing, despite knowing Marie’s fate.

Every time I read a book about Marie Antoinette, I always hope that something will happen to change her fate, lol. Maybe one of the numerous plots to rescue her will finally succeed!! Maybe her milksop of a husband will finally grow a backbone and they will all escape their fate. I’m always sad when the book ends with the guillotine’s blade and Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days was no exception.

4 Hearts

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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Book Review


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What I’m Reading: Aug 24, 2016

I mentioned in my last post that I am currently reading five different books. I’ll tackle them in the order in which I started reading them.

Weekly What I'm Reading

  1. The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin. My husband picked this book up in a bookshop in Oxford, England. It was one of those deals where the book is wrapped in plain brown paper with a brief synopsis tagged on the front of it. It was a fun way to buy a book in Oxford. The book isn’t bad. The dry English humor is great and it’s a very whodunit kinda book. From the beginning, however, it didn’t really grab me and pull me in. It’s just a little too cold and removed for my taste. I’m finishing it because we freaking bought it in OXFORD!
  2. Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie by Will Bashor. I had a really good rhythm going with this book. Sometimes, nonfiction history books can be hard to get into and to stay into them. Not really the case here. It’s well-written, interesting, and contains information that I didn’t previously know and it’s presented from a unique perspective. However, this book was interrupted by visiting family and I just haven’t gotten back to it. I only have a couple more chapters to go too. It’s irritating me.

  3. Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb. The jury is out on this one. I’ve picked it up and put it down a couple times. It’s not grabbing me, but everyone I know has told me that Hobb is awesome and a must read author so I’m not giving up yet. I’m only on page 57. It’s not quite time to dnf this book yet. I want to love it!
  4. The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I’m reading this because I read and loved his other book, which I reviewed previously. Honestly though, this novel reads a bit slower and it’s definitely not a I-can’t-put -it-down kinda book. It’s not a bad book. I’m meeting interesting characters and getting to know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’m thinking this book just has a steadier pace than some.
  5. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. So, it should be pretty obvious why I’m reading this one. The Sherlockian makes TONS of references to Conan Doyle’s writing, oddly enough (heheh), and I had been wanting to read this book for some time. I tried to resist starting yet another book, but I’m weak. I am LOVING it. Seriously, I was worried that it’d be slow and bogged down with 19th century English writing but it’s not! It’s exciting and a book that I am having a hard time turning off (I downloaded it to my Nook since it’s in the public domain.). The writing it snappy and the characters are complex. The story itself leaves you guessing. At least it did me. I just got into part two last night and have no idea where Conan Doyle is going with those first few chapters. Is there a point to the second part? One of the booktubers I follow said she skipped it. I dunno. Anyway, I loved the first part and can’t wait to read more of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Do any of these interest you or have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading?

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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Weekly Reading


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2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge Update

If I was going to say that I track my reading, I would say that I do so on Goodreads. I wish I was more disciplined about tracking my reading. In 2014, I had a reading journal. It was a journal that was specifically for reading and books. Looking back, I was pretty good about keeping it up to date. Maybe I need another one for 2017.

Anyway, I do my best to keep Goodreads up to date with what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and my TBR. As for my TBR, I added a category, “need to buy” so that my husband can look at my Goodreads account and see what books I want but don’t actually own for holidays and such. I also use this for myself when I’m out buying books and can’t remember if I’ve bought one or another. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten to remove that “shelf” occasionally and have found duplicate copies of books on my shelf. Oops.

2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge

As for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I did not complete my goal last year, ending the challenge at 62 of 75 books read. In 2014, I did complete my goal at 63 of 60 books. For 2016, I set a goal of 65 books thinking that would be a good compromise between 2014 and 2015. Looking at my progress thus far, I’m behind!! ARGH! As of this writing, I am at 34 of 65 books and Goodreads estimates that I am SEVEN books behind schedule.

In my defense, it’s been a somewhat eventful year. I had the semester from hell at the beginning of the year. Then my dad passed away in March. I’m still dealing with that. My husband and I had our anniversary trip to Europe in May. We’ve had family down to visit twice; once at the end of May and then again earlier this month. It really hasn’t left me a lot of time for reading. I’m actually currently reading five books, lol. I’ll leave the deets of that for another post.

I think I might fill out my reading numbers with a few graphic novels. They count!

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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Reading Roundup


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This Week in Reading…Sort of

I have family visiting from Ohio this week, so the only reading that I get to do is in bed after everyone has gone to bed themselves, lol. This is making my current read take me an exceptionally long time to get through.


The good thing about the family being here is that I’m getting to share my books with them. Both my sister and her husband have borrowed books off of our shelves to read while they’re here and I love that! I also had a show and tell last night of my favorite books, ones I’ve had signed, and some of my more unusual novels. I kinda went on and on until I noticed the glassy-eyed looks I was getting and realized I’m a bit more enthusiastic about books than “normal” people, lol.

On the flip side, in addition to not having time to read, I also don’t have time to blog, read blogs, or comment. I’m trying, but it’s not going very well.

How’s your week going so far?

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Posted by on August 5, 2016 in Weekly Reading


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Top Ten Tuesday – Aug 2, 2016


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is:  Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card.

  1. Ody-C 1
  2. The Blind Assassain
  3. Sherlock Holmes
  4. Nighingale
  5. Madd Adam
  6. 16131484
  7. The Last Star
  8. Child of God
  9. Aragon-Weir
  10. Apollo

Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Community, Fun Bookishness


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Pokemon Go Book Tag

I saw this floating around the blogosphere and tracked it back to its origins at Read at Midnight. I’m not going to tag anyone because I’m coming into this rather late-ish and I don’t know who’s already done it. But feel free to participate if you haven’t already. The graphics can be found on the original post.


I’ve been reading since my earliest memories and don’t recall any of my very first books. In elementary school, however, I couldn’t get enough of Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and Nancy Drew books. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret had such a big influence on me, even now as an adult.


I’ve read this book so many times. In middle school, high school, and for both my undergrad and graduate school classes. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I love this book so much that I did an in depth study of it for my last class. I’ve probably written at least three different papers on this book.


I can’t think of any book that I lost interest in because of its popularity. I can think of some books that I didn’t read because of hearing about them constantly like anything by John Green, Jojo Moyes, or Liane Moriarty. But I never had any interest in his books to begin with. By the way, this graphic should’ve had the rattata’s instead of the zubats. Those freaking rats are everywhere.


Hmm. This for this one, I guess I would say just about any romance that I’ve ever read that I liked. I like romances for their ease of reading and for the escapism aspect, but let’s face it. They’re basically all the same.


There aren’t any series I haven’t started because of how large it is. The bigger, the better I’m thinking.


So, this one means because it creeped me out and not just because I couldn’t put it down. Honestly, I don’t read a lot of thriller/suspense/horror-type books. I don’t read Stephen King anymore and most books in this genre(s) are cheesy. Please, if you know of one that is well-written, moves at a good pace, and creeped the hell out you, feel free to leave a comment with a rec.


I have no answer for this.


Any of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books. I zip right through these, usually in one sitting because I can’t put them down. They’re face-paced, hilarious, feel-good reads.


This is a hard one. I can’t think of any series of books that I’ve read that even had spinoffs except for Harry Potter and I refuse to read any of those. I guess J.D. Robb’s In Death series could count because she’s written quite a few novellas for this series and I’ve read most of them. Honestly though, I didn’t really like any of them. Shortened versions of my favorite books are more frustrating than enjoyable.


I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the Hunger Games. I didn’t think it’d be my cup of tea. From that, I was definitely shocked that I liked the Divergent series at all because everyone said it was a knockoff of Hunger Games. Not so. I liked and enjoyed both series.


Oh goodness. I’m not really sure here.


There aren’t any collector’s editions of books I wish that I owned. There are, however, first editions of books that I wish I had. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Moveable Feast, Lord of the Flies, and a few others.


Ugh! This tag should be easier! I can’t think of anything modern, but I’ve been wanting to read A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


I don’t really have auto-buy authors so much as I have auto-buy series. Like Stephanie Plum and In Death. I guess you could say Alison Weir though.


This is an easy one!! Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. We, the fans, wait FORever for each book to be released. FORever!! They’re always worth the wait and they’re always long books, but I still read them in a couple days, lol. Seriously though, I think Gabaldon takes the longest of any authors for whom I am a fan, to write books.

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Posted by on August 1, 2016 in book tag, Community, Fun Bookishness


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