Book Review: The Girl with All the Gifts

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

4/5

This was an incredible book, but I have a feeling this will be a fairly short and vague review, mainly because I want anyone else who goes into this to have very little idea of the plot and concept! That's the author's intention, and any description you see on Goodreads or Amazon is left intentionally vague. I had some idea of the basic premise going in, but I had no clue whatsoever where the story was going or how it would progress.

The original premise, and the one you'll see in blurbs, is that Melanie, a young girl, is the star pupil in a very unique class. Each day she is strapped into a chair, and wheeled at gunpoint into a classroom, where she and the other students are taught lessons by various teachers, her favorite of which is Miss Justineau.

It's a thriller, part psychological, and part dark and gruesome. I had no idea what to expect, or where the book would end, but I wasn't disappointed at all. The characters in this book start out very surface level, but develop incredibly over the course of the book. Though there are only about six characters for most of this book, those that are included are all fully formed, emotionally complex and felt startling real. This is a character and action-heavy novel that delves into the human psyche, the choices we make, and what it means to be fully human.

It's also scientific, haunting and very suspenseful. In the middle portion of the book, I did sometimes get overwhelmed and lost in what seemed like an excess of scientific fact dumping. One main character is a scientist and most of the chapters told from her perspective went way over my head because a lot of the terminology and concepts were incredibly complex. I don't know how much the reader was intended to understand, but I hope the answer is not much. I understood the overall ideas, but the specifics were lost on me and made it harder to read those particular chapters.

And lastly, let me just say....the ending...it's insane. When I first finished it, I couldn't decide if I loved or hated the ending. But after taking a step back and getting some breathing room from the book, I could see how amazing it was. I never saw it coming, but it was expertly done and such a perfect conclusion.

So while I had a few slight issues with this one, I thought that overall it was excellent and a suspenseful masterpiece. It is unlike anything I've ever read or ever will read. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Cover: 3.7/5
Suspense: 4.5/5
Characters: 10/10

Page Count: 460
Bonus: If you read this in the next month or two, you'll be prepared to see the movie adaptation when it comes out in September!

(this photo is from my own Instagram account!)

Books About Books for People Who Love Books

This post is pure and simple: recommendations for books about books or books that include many mentions of books or references to books or lots of characters who like to read. Essentially, books for people who love to read, and love even more to read about books.



1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A clear and obvious choice, and one of my favorite books of all-time. This stunning novel follows a young girl in Hitler-controlled Germany, who moves in with a foster family, finds a new best friend and discovers a love of the written word at a time when it's not safe to read. It's heartbreaking and amazing and full of books. This book is as close to perfection as it gets.
My Rating: 5/5





2. Harry Potter (Chamber of Secrets and Half Blood Prince, in particular) by J.K. Rowling
All of the Harry Potter books include plenty of reading and books, from the Monster Book of Monsters, to spell books and secret messages. However, the second and sixth installments in the series in particular strike me as more book-focused. In Chamber of Secrets, books and an enchanted diary are at the center of the mystery, and in the Half-Blood Prince, Harry becomes obsessed with a potions textbook, which is a catalyst for many of the major events of the story. But of course, this entire series is perfection and always worth reading.
My Rating: 5/5



3. November 9 by Colleen Hoover
In November 9 (my favorite Colleen Hoover book--it's so great) two strangers meet and immediately hit it off. They spend only one day together (November 9! Gasp!), but they feel an intense connection, and decide to meet up each year on the same day, with no contact in between. As the years go on, the characters develop, and plenty of romance, humor and drama goes down. The entire time, Ben, the male protagonist, is working on writing a book about their November 9 experiences. So the book itself doesn't involve a lot of books, but the fact that the main character is writing about their encounters is a huge part of the novel and makes for an overall amazing story.
My Rating: 5/5



4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is one of Rainbow Rowell's most popular books, and though it isn't my favorite of hers, I still loved it and it's definitely very book themed! The protagonist is Cath, a new college student who has always been obsessed with a series of books following a group of wizards and their adventures (think Harry Potter parody). She writes fan fiction about the characters and all the things she wants them to do, and has a huge following online. This book has a very familiar feeling, particularly for those of us who grew up obsessed with Harry Potter and everything about it. It's also a growing up, coming of age story, and has plenty of humor and romance too, like any Rainbow Rowell book. Definitely worth reading.
My Rating: 4.5/5





5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This modern classic takes place in the early 1960s in Mississippi and follows several main characters navigating issues of family, relationships and racism. The novel delves into the lives of wealthy white families, and the black maids they employ to clean their houses, cook their meals, and raise their children. It focuses in particular on two maids and one young white writer, who work together to create and publish a book that exposes the experiences of "the help" in Southern communities and homes. It's funny, dramatic, moving and incredible. Another that will always have a place on my favorites list.
My Rating: 5/5





6. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Books featuring bookstores are automatically awesome to me. This one features A.J. Fikry, a bookstore owner, whose life has recently gone majorly downhill. He's a quirky, cynical and endearing person, and the various other characters are all wonderful as well. It's not a particularly deep or insightful book, but it's totally amazing in it's own way. This one will leave you laughing, crying, and feeling your faith in the world restored. It also has tons of references to books and authors, which makes it extra special.
My Rating: 5/5






7. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This is a funny, sweet, tiny little novel that will warm your book-loving heart. Dash and Lily are two teenagers living in New York, both lovers of words and stories. Lily decides to leave a red notebook on a bookstore shelf, filled with dares for whomever picks it up. Dash finds it and starts following Lily's whirlwind of tasks. The characters are highly intelligent and fascinating, and their language (while not completely realistic for teenagers) completely endeared them to me. These are people I'd want to meet, and adventures I'd like to go on.
My Rating: 5/5


8. Me & Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter
This charming, lighthearted book follows a young woman named Emily who chooses to go on a Jane Austen themed European adventure, rather than join her friends on a party-heavy trip to Mexico. She's a hardcore Austenite and Darcy fangirl, who never expects that she'll meet a real life Darcy during her trip. The characters in this book are funny and quirky. It's a simple, fun book, with enough Jane Austen knowledge and references included to make any book lover happy.
My Rating: 4.5/5




9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
It's been a very very long time since I read this book, but I still remember that I loved it. Cornelia Funke is without a doubt one of my favorite childhood authors (Dragon Rider is still cherished to me), and this book is a classic. This is the first sentence of its Goodreads description:
"Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service."
Ummm, that's amazing. I hope that sold you, because I don't think I could possibly do a better job of explaining.
My Rating: Can't actually be sure; this was before I used Goodreads. Maybe 4 or 4.5/5?



10. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
This is one of my most recent reads, and I've been talking about it a lot (see more info in a post below). But this book, written by 3 authors, and told from 3 viewpoints, is one of my favorites of the year so far. It's hilarious and adventurous and romantic and just so fun. It's a historical retelling and reshaping of the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was queen of England for 9 days, centuries ago. Jane, one of the 3 main protagonists, has an intense passion for books, which fills the story with tons of bookish references, and gives the reader that feeling of companionship that can only form between a book lover and a book loving main character.
My Rating: 4.5/5



Other bookish book suggestions from my to-read list (even though I can't tell you if I liked them, other people definitely have!):

  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
  • The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

4.5/5 









This unique fantasy book is a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling, following an independent female protagonist named Feyre. I adore Beauty and the Beast--it's one of my favorite movies of all time and has some of the best characters imaginable. Reading a book with characters and action loosely based on such an amazing story was awesome for me. The parallels between the two brought me a lot of joy, and I was actually incredibly impressed by the poignant differences between the two as well. For example, Belle in the Disney classic is a huge book lover. However, in this novel, a huge aspect of the story and the character of Feyre is that she's illiterate, and instead prefers hunting and painting. I found this striking opposition between the two to be an intelligent and thoughtful decision on the part of Sarah J. Maas.

This book has a lot to offer. It's an incredible world-building experience, a very action and character-driven introduction to a series that I can't wait to continue on with. The fantasy elements are extremely unique and enchanting, but also incredibly dark at times. Maas combines just the right amounts of lightness and beautiful magic, with equal parts intensity and terror. There are haunting monsters, a mysterious, brutal villainess, and some truly dark moments throughout. There is also light, romance and joy in equal shares.

This is a book that examines familial relationships as well as physical and romantic relationships. I loved the non-traditional aspects of Feyre's family life. Her father and sisters weren't typical characters at all--they weren't a perfect loving family. But Feyre's continued dedication to a family that didn't support her as much as they should displayed more about her character than about theirs. It was yet another tactic for depicting her dedication, courage and independent spirit.

This book is definitely heavy handed on the romance and sometimes-brutal violence. Some critics of this book disliked those aspects of it. However, I had no problem with them, and thought that Maas did an amazing job at never holding back in this book. She went all in on every aspect of it, and I'm extremely glad that she did. I will caution that I definitely would consider this book more adult than young adult. The violence, language and erotic content make it a little more mature than a typical young adult book.

One of my only complaints, and the main reason that I rated this book half a star below perfect, was what I felt to be a lack of suspense or shock at the conclusion of the book. In many other books, Harry Potter and Red Queen being the first that come to mind, I felt severe anxiety and intensity in the final portions of the books. They had me on the edge of my seat, extremely attached to the characters and their plights. However, in this book, while the climax was incredible and suspenseful, it didn't do as much for me as some of those others did. I never felt that breathlessness or felt like I absolutely couldn't stop reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the book's climax and resolution, but still felt a tiny bit more could have been done at some point to make me feel that reader's panic that I actually love.

All in all, though, I adored this book. I've heard absolutely incredible things about the next book in the series, which I recently started reading. I can't wait to continue to be sucked into this world and it's constant intrigue.

Cover: 5/5
Steamy Romance Factor: 4.5/5
World-Building: 4/5


{I've decided to start featuring beautiful bookstagram photos in my blog posts! The lovely photo above comes from @empireofthrones. Check out her account!)



A Charming List I Discovered in My Bedroom and Revamped for this Post

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Things That Make Me Happy:


1. Creative epiphanies
2. Thoughtful movies
3. Unexpected people
4. Exotic instruments
5. Tall buildings
6. Tiny, brick buildings
7. Familiar feelings
8. Cold apple cider
9. Uncontrollable laughter
10. New places
11. Waterfalls and fountains
12. Beautiful photography
13. Passports
14. Old-fashioned hats
15. Discoveries
16. Eating outside
17. A soft breeze
18. Vintage jazz
19. Long, fall walks
20. 67 degrees
21. Harry Potter references
22. Kind strangers
23. Seashells
24. New stories
25. Candles burning
26. A warm blanket on a cold day
27. Otters
28. Ocean waves
29. Delicious food
30. Good news
31. Books
32. Flowers & plants
33. The surface of a peaceful pool
34. Adventures
35. The people I love



















Poem: Train People

Train People

There's the man with twenty pens
clipped around the collar of his shirt,
a colorful plastic necklace with a
chain of t-shirt fabric.

There's the man in the wheelchair
taking up the entire aisle,
his bright pink hair and layers of sweaters
are only two of the factors drawing
so many perplexed glances.

Then the people clutching cats,
and the ones who just stare,
blankly, menacingly or dazedly,
who are there, it seems,
to keep you always wondering
about the thoughts of strangers.

These creatures of the train...
the men trying to to secretly snap pictures
of that girl's ass and the dirty homeless
men wrestling and screaming insults
next to the frightened girls and the kind gentleman
who watches out for them.
Those loud words and flying fists become the perfect
backdrop for the blur of city outside the window
that keeps a watchful eye on every inhabitant,
even through the greasy train windows.

June Wrap-Up

Monday, July 11, 2016

Yes, June ended 11 days ago. I apologize for the lateness, but I just decided it might be fun to do a super brief, list-style post outlining everything I read in June and what I rated each book! I read a lot more than expected last month, and I'm hoping to continue that trend and read a lot this month as well!

(p.s. if you're on Goodreads, follow me here!)

1. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
4.5/5
Genre: YA historical fiction
Goodreads link

2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
*reread!*
5/5
Genre: Middle-grade fantasy
Goodreads link

3. You by Caroline Kepnes
2.7/5
Genre: Suspense/thriller
Goodreads link

4. Jackaby by William Ritter
4/5
Genre: Mystery/fantasy
Goodreads link

5. Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover
*novella for Maybe Someday*
Genre: New Adult
4/5
Goodreads link

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
4.5/5
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads link

7. Rat Queens, Volume 3 by Kurtis J. Wiebe
3.5/5
Genre: Comic/graphic novel and fantasy/adventure
Goodreads link

8. Greetings from Utopia Park by Claire Hoffman
3.5/5
Genre: Memoir
Goodreads link


What I Plan to Finish or Read in July:
1. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (reread)
2. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
3. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
4. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
5. Beastly Bones by William Ritter
6. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (reread)
8. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
9. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
10. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Phew! Ambitious. We'll see what happens.

Book Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

4.5/5

I imagine that the amount of research Anne Blankman did for this book is insane. While it is primarily a work of fiction, it also incorporates an overwhelming amount of factual information, and a large percentage of the characters were actually alive and working alongside Hitler during the first half of the 20th century. The book itself centers a fictional protagonist named Gretchen, who has always been something of a beloved niece or pet to Hitler himself, her father having been close with Hitler before his death. Gretchen has always believed everything the Party told her - both it's ideals and the fact that her father died to save the life of Adolf Hitler. She suffers at home, with her father gone, a sadistic and abusive older brother, and a mother who chooses to ignore his horrifying actions. Early in the story she meets a young Jewish reporter named Daniel who makes her completely question every teaching Hitler's Party has been brainwashing her with for her entire life. Together, they work to uncover the truth of what actually happened to Gretchen's father, while she's also changing her mind about the ideas she's always upheld as unfailing truths.

This book was so fascinating to me. I've always loved reading books told from the opposite perspective of a war that the United States fought in. In history classes you're constantly fed facts and information and opinions about the Americans' involvement in WWII or any major conflict. What you hear far less often are stories and perspectives from the "enemy" side. In this case, a glimpse into the inner workings of Hitler's Party, and the ways it shaped and mystified the story were incredible for me as a reader.

This book had mystery, history, suspense and romance, all in hearty and equal portions. I was, as I said, very impressed by Blankman's obvious research and dedication to telling a story that melded truth and fiction so seamlessly. Even the characters who were created by the author felt real and vivid, and reading about real members of Hitler's inner circle just added a layer of depth and intensity to the book. Reading about the time period shortly before the dawn of WWII from a German perspective enhanced the horror of the actions that we as readers already know were soon to come.

My complaints about this book were few. At times, the use of real German street names/locations/titles became a bit confusing for me as a reader. I totally respect the use of authentic names, but as a non-German speaking reader, it was much harder for me to maintain and recall smaller details in an unfamiliar language. The only other concern I had (or at least that I can remember) was that I would've preferred more in some places. For example, more information on Daniel and Gretchen's investigation, more backstory for Daniel, more lead up to the romantic moments. Everything was excellent in these regards, but I would have been totally okay with a longer book that just had more significant moments/information/etc included.

Overall, this book captivated me and I loved it. Historical fiction isn't always my favorite genre, but if it was all like this, I'd read even more of it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to picking up the next book in the series very soon.

Pages: 401

Cover: 4/5
Intrigue: 4.5/5
Mystery: 4/5
My Adoration for Daniel Cohen: 5/5 

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17668473-prisoner-of-night-and-fog?ac=1&from_search=true

Perfect Summer Reads

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I can personally read any book at any time of the year, and enjoy it just the same. However, I do notice that in the summertime, myself and plenty of other readers out there start to gravitate towards certain books--books that we can picture reading at a pool or a beach or a cabin, even if we aren't going to any of those places, and even if that's a super vague and subjective description. For me, summer book recommendations fit best into three categories:

1. Fluffy, love-filled, funny, charming *beach* books
2. Intelligent, captivating, moving, illuminating *cabin/wilderness/alone time* books
3. Dark, intense, suspenseful, gripping *poolside* books

Why do I put these in such specific locations? Couldn't tell you--my reader mind just feels this way. [But do feel free to take these summer reads anywhere; the above descriptions are just suggestions!]

*Light, Funny and Romantic*

1. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
One of my most recent reads, and already one of my favorites of the year, this book is absolutely hilarious, unique and refreshing. It takes the little known story of Lady Jane Grey and turns it completely on it's head in the best way.
My Rating: 4.5/5



2. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
I talk about this book constantly! Just trust me and read it. It's the perfect summer book--light, humorous, romantic and written entirely in letters!
My Rating: 5/5




3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This book is one of the most unique contemporary love stories ever. A girl who is allergic to everything and never leaves her house meets someone who actually makes her want a life outside of the small space she's always been in.
My Rating: 4.5/5



4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
This book is everything. It has everything. It's amazing. The story of 1999, two hilarious best friends, and the man hired to read their emails who ends up loving one of them.
My Rating: 5/5





5. The Selection by Kiera Cass
This highly popular young adult series is so beach-ready it's crazy. The covers are gorgeous (I know this doesn't technically matter, but it's still important), and it's the perfect combination of adventure, romance, drama, and the hilarious antics of teenage girls.
My Rating: 4.7/5



6. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
An adorable love story told from every possible perspective. Seriously, aside from normal POV's like the friends and classmates of the two soon-to-be lovers, it also includes short chapters from the perspective of benches and squirrels and trees. It's odd and off-beat, but also very charming and amusing.
My Rating: 4.5/5



7. From Notting Hill with Love...Actually by Ali McNamara
Plenty of cliches to be found here, but sometimes you might just need a little cutesy rom-com book in the summer. I feel you. This one is definitely worth a quick read and you could probably finish it in a day or two by the pool.
My Rating: 3.5/5







*Modern, Stimulating, and Intelligent*

1. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
This book is epistolary, comprised entirely of the hilarious and zany letters written by a college professor to various scholarship committees and organizations. The protagonist, Jason Fitger, is facing a variety of issues in his personal and professional life.  As a result, he's bitter and fed up with life, both of which come through in the unintentional humor of his letters.
My Rating: 4/5



2. Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
This is one of Ellen's autobiographies, and it (like her) is very funny. If you're a fan of the talk show host or humorous memoirs in general, I recommend this one for a charming, amusing, heartwarming summer read.
My Rating: 4/5




3. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
This is a beautiful, contemporary young adult book with gorgeous prose and striking characters. The book follows several characters with very different lives and locations, whose lives intersect in the most unexpected of ways. It's a complex, moving story.
My Rating: 4/5




4. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Eagan
This book is crazy and all over the place, but it also has a certain alluring quality that made me thoroughly enjoy it. It's built of short story-like chapters, and follows various characters, all tied together by the theme of music. The timeline is constantly changing, the characters are constantly changing...it's a crazy ride and it's excellent.
My Rating: 4/5




5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Oh, this book is amazing. The characters are incredible, and the prose is captivating. It's adventurous, but also deep and intelligent, and deals with themes of family bonds and racism in an incredible way.
My Rating: 5/5




*Dark, Mysterious and Captivating*

1. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Usually, if I'm talking about Gillian Flynn, I'm talking about Dark Places, but her shorter book, Sharp Objects, is also great. Like all of her books, it's a psychological thriller, with boatloads of suspense. This book starts out slower, but builds to an awesome, creepy climax.
My Rating: 4.5/5




2. Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe
I've talked about this comic/graphic novel before, and I'll keep talking about it! It's a great first volume, and follows a group of four badass lady heroines, fighting monsters (and their own personal turmoil) for money. It's funny, violent and totally awesome.
My Rating: 5/5





3. Most Evil by Steve Hodel
I don't talk about this genre as much, but I'm a big fan of true crime, and this is a great example of the genre and what it has to offer. In this book, Hodel, a long-time homicide detective, presents his evidence and argument that his father was a serial killer responsible for the Black Dahlia murder, Zodiac killings, and other infamous crimes. While his evidence is far from conclusive, it is extremely fascinating to read his opinions and criminal science and investigation into these decades-old crimes, no matter if I ultimately believe his claims.
My Rating: 4/5




4. Jackaby by William Ritter
(For more information on this book, see my full review a few posts below!) This is a murder mystery novel set in New England in the 1800s, following a young woman named Abigail Rook, who begins working for a zany Holmes-esque detective, who also has the ability to "see" non-human creatures, one of whom is a prime murder suspect.
My Rating: 4/5




5. The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff and Tessa Gratton
This is a unique collection of varied short stories by three excellent writers. Each story is it's own bizarre, magical, enticing entity, and that makes the collection so worthwhile. It's experimental and bold, and I totally loved this book.
My Rating: 5/5




6. Legend by Marie Lu
This is the first book in the extremely popular young adult trilogy. There are probably tons of better ways to describe these books, but the best one coming to mind for me is "readable". These books are insanely readable, and can be devoured in no time. They're full of action, mysteries and betrayal.
My Rating: 5/5





7. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
In this dark book, the main character Violet has the ability to sense of the echoes of dead bodies--specifically those that have been murdered.  This doesn't bother her much until a serial killer begins claiming lives in her town, and Violet is the first one to discover each body. It's intense and interesting, and has a super glorious cover.
My Rating: 4/5

My Top 10 of Just About Everything

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I love making lists! I do it all the time for my own relaxation, returning to happy memories, and planning for the future. So I've done a variety here, none of which are in any particular order, and all of which are probably missing many possible items. Regardless, please enjoy this glimpse into my life and listing obsession.



Top 10 Favorite Books (10 is nowhere near enough to list all my favorites, so this list is far from complete):
  1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (yes, I know this is technically 7 books, but it's my list and I make the rules!)
  2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  4. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
  5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  6. The Lunar Chronicles Series (yes, another series, but it's okay--it counts as 1 in my mind)
  7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  8. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  9. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 
  1. Rain Man
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. Spy
  4. Beauty and the Beast
  5. Speed
  6. The Usual Suspects
  7. The Shawshank Redemption
  8. Home Alone
  9. Bridesmaids
  10. Love Actually


Top 10 Places I Want to Visit:
  1. Ireland
  2. Greece
  3. Tahiti
  4. Belize
  5. Hawaii
  6. Singapore
  7. South Africa/Kenya
  8. Luxembourg
  9. England
  10. Austria
  11. Is "everywhere" an acceptable #11?


Top 10 Books I Want to Read ASAP (this list could be 300 long, if I had enough time for that):
  1. The Girls by Emma Cline
  2. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Beastly Bones by William Ritter
  6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  7. Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
  8. Rook by Sharon Cameron
  9. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
  10. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard


10 Favorite Places I've Been:
  1. Peru!
  2. Southern France
  3. Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, Mexico
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Positano, Italy
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Vancouver
  8. Rome and Florence, Italy
  9. Barcelona, Spain
  10. Florida Keys

10 Favorite Adventures/Experiences I've Had:
  1. Skydiving
  2. Ziplining in Mexico, and across the river from Georgia to Alabama
  3. Snorkeling in Mexico, Florida and Puerto Rico
  4. Swimming with dolphins in the Florida Keys
  5. Cliff Jumping in Central Wisconsin and Canada
  6. Seeing Wicked on and off Broadway
  7. Meeting some of my favorite authors at NerdCon
  8. Sandboarding and riding in dune buggies in Peru
  9. Whitewater Rafting in Central Wisconsin
  10. Swimming in a waterfall pool and sliding down a waterfall in Canada

Top 10 Bucket List Items:

  1. Swim in Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls
  2. Turn a school bus into a traveling party home and go on an epic road trip with friends/cousins
  3. Backpack Europe
  4. Adopt a rescue dog
  5. Go to a masquerade ball
  6. Pet and play with an otter (and then steal it and keep it as a pet)
  7. Visit Irish castles and cliffs
  8. Visit every place where Harry Potter filming was done
  9. Write a book and have it published
  10. Work at a bookshop


Top 10 People I'd Like to Meet (both living and dead):

  1. Morgan Freeman (an encounter I would use to record Morgan Freeman saying inspirational quotes so I could play them back for daily inspiration)
  2. Jean Webster (author of Daddy Long Legs, one of my favorite books ever)
  3. Emma Watson
  4. My Nana (technically I have met her, but I was a baby when she passed away and I'd love to meet her as an adult)
  5. Martin Luther King Jr. 
  6. FDR
  7. Robert Downey Jr.
  8. J.K. Rowling
  9. Hermione Granger, Sirius Black, and Fred and George Weasley (the real ones. This list clearly doesn't have to be realistic)
  10. The owner of a private island and a lot of money, so we can be friends and I can live on that island



10 Things I Wish I Was Good At:
  1. Acting
  2. Juggling
  3. Dancing
  4. Having Lots of Money
  5. Ribbon Twirling (is that what it's called...?)
  6. Dolphin Training
  7. Trapeze Artistry
  8. Controlling water with my mind
  9. Tackle Football (arguably the least realistic one on this list)
  10. Spontaneous Teleportation


 
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