What Makes Me Happy

I was tagged by Alex at coffeeloving bookaholic for this tag a couple of weeks ago. Going into a new school year, I definitely need to focus on the happy, so this is great timing!

5 Things That Make You Happy!

  1. My family
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    I have the best family. My son is so filled with joy and fun, and every day he impresses me with his increasing wealth of knowledge. I’m having so much fun sharing my love of books with him! I have the best husband in the world, who takes such good care of me and our family. I don’t know what I would do without him. Family is the most important thing to me, and I’m lucky to have such a great one.
  2. Is books too obvious?
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    Because, well, obviously. But they do! It’s so nice to have a chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy, stressful day and join the world of my latest book. To leave behind my own struggles and cares for ones that I know will resolve in a couple of hundred pages! To learn more about myself and what it means to be human. To have adventure, and true love, and MAGIC.
  3. Music
    I actually studied music in college. Music has always been a huge part of my life. It’s rare to find me doing anything without music on in the background, and one of my favorite parts of the day is driving home with the music turned all the way up and singing along.
  4. Brooklyn 99
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    We don’t watch a lot of TV at our house, with the exception of college football in the fall. (GO FROGS!) But we never miss an episode of Brooklyn 99. There has never been a show that has made me laugh out loud like this. Except Arrested Development, obviously. Andy Sandburg is such a lovable goofball, and the whole cast is genius together. Every character is my favorite. I like to think of myself as a mix of Amy and Rosa.
  5. Animals
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    Any animal, really. They don’t even have to be cute. I’ve often said that I love animals better than people. I especially love my pets, Percy (cat) and Petey (dog). Percy will always be my first baby.

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Review: Paper Towns

downloadPaper Towns by John Green

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew… 


Of all John Green’s books, Paper Towns has been my favorite. This is probably because the main character, Quentin, reminds me strongly of myself, and his other main characters have always irked me. But the concept of the book was also distinctly more interesting to me. It is written almost as a mystery novel, and I found myself fascinated by the unraveling of Margo’s clues. The themes were also themes I think are important for young adults to understand. The idea that everyone is a human being just like you seems on the surface so obvious, but when you really stop to think about it, is so profound. We are all interconnected, each individual as complex and unfathomable as the next. As Quentin finally learns, you can’t be mad at anyone for being who they are. But I especially intrigued by the idea of Margo as a paper girl. She puts on an act of what she wants everyone to see, the whole time hiding the complex person she really is, and hating the life she is leading. How many young girls can relate to Margo! I hope she gives them hope, and helps them understand that they just need to be themselves.

The only thing I didn’t particularly care for about this book was the large amount of swearing and underage drinking. Now, I understand that John writes about real people, and that real teenage boys swear and have an unhealthy fascination with their sexual organs. But I feel that when writing for young adults you become a role model. Especially when it comes to teen drinking, an extremely unhealthy activity (no matter how much we want to ignore that fact), YA authors should be presenting a better example. And as much as I love John Green as a human being, I feel that all of his books fail to provide this positive role model that our youth so badly needs.

Review: The Tiger’s Wife

8366402The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆


In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.

But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weeklytrips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.


I’m not sure what to think of The Tiger’s Wife. On the one hand, the story was lovely and intriguing. The way the stories branched off into sub-stories and wound their way back may have seemed unnecessary to some readers, but since that’s how I think it matched me perfectly. But on the other hand, I’m not really sure what the POINT of this book was.

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Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

2967752The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆


We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building’s tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence. 

Then there’s Paloma, a twelve-year-old genius. She is the daughter of a tedious parliamentarian, a talented and startlingly lucid child who has decided to end her life on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue behaving as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. 

Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma’s trust and to see through Renée’s timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.


The first 250 pages of The Elegance of the Hedgehog reminded me of the first part of Life of Pi in that it’s primarily concerned with philosophy rather than narrative. The biggest differences being that Pi is precocious and lovable, Yann Martel uses stories to describe his philosophy, and the overall message of Life of Pi is positive and uplifting.

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Review: A Study in Scarlet Women

28588390A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Series: Lady Sherlock
Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Fiction
Maturity Level: 3+
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆


With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind. 


I am sad to say that A Study in Scarlet Women did NOT meet my expectations for a Sherlock gender-bender. It read more like a semi-romance historical mystery than a sleuth novel.

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Wow, 200 Followers!!!

WOW!!!!!!You guys are amazing. When I started this blog back in May it never occurred to me that I would have 200 followers by the time school started again. What a fun, exciting adventure this has been!

I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to follow, read, like, and comment on my little blog. It means so much to me that there are people out there listening to what I have to say. And, I admit, I am really excited to have made a couple of friends. It is so nice to finally have people to talk to about my books.

I am especially thankful to those of you who are continuing to read my blog even though I don’t currently have time to return the favor. Today is the first day of school for me (YIKES!), and so things are more than a little busy. But I’m hoping that in a month or so I’ll be back in the groove and reading your blogs again.

Seriously, y’all are awesome.

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Black Cat Blue Sea Award

“This award is for bloggers who strive to write for everybody, and no matter how many viewers they get, make an impact on a reader. This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee. It should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it, and it doesn’t mean that they must have hundreds of followers and likes.”

Awwwwww!!! Thanks to the lovely Darque Dreamer Reads for nominating me for this award a few weeks ago. It means a lot to me that she thinks I make an impact on readers. (Don’t tell, I’m not writing for everybody. I’m writing for me. Shhhhhhh!)

(Seriously though, I really do hope I make an impact, because I am lying when I say I write just for me!) Continue reading