Monthly Wrap-Ups

2018 Year in Review

img_0612

2018 was a really different type of reading year for me. Prior to this year, my reading experiences have mostly been a solitary affair. I have always been a big reader, but other than college, I never really shared my thoughts or opinions on what I read. At least, not beyond my own reading journal. I am so glad that this year I decided to break out of my comfort zone and start blogging. It has really meant a lot to me to have this small space online and to be able to connect with all of you amazing and thoughtful readers and writers. I love hearing your opinions and seeing what you are reading. I can’t wait to see where your reading adventures take you in 2019!

img_3068In reviewing my 2018 reading, my choices were all over the place. From Fantasy to Mystery, Romance and Historical Fiction, I read a little bit of everything. I read a ton of YA Fantasy this year. Besides reading Harry Potter as a teenager, this is the first time I have read so much fantasy. My daughter has been really into reading the last few years and this is her favorite genre. So, I really wanted to share those books with her. It was really fun reading The Throne of Glass, The Shadow and Bone, and The Infernal Devices series with her. My personal favorite in this genre was The Arc of the Scythe (Scythe and Thunderhead) by Neal Shusterman. My Daughter and I also visited the YA’ll West Festival together this year which was an amazing experience. The level of commitment that YA fans have is staggering!

I also read a lot of Literary/Historical Fiction this year: The Immortalists, Alias Grace, The Witches of New York, The Silence of the Girls, and The Heart’s Invisible Furies. My Mystery selections also went really well this year: Lethal White, The Last Time I Lied, and Final Girls. Riley Sager is one of my new favorite mystery authors. As far as romance goes, I read Roomies, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and London Belongs to Me. Roomies being my favorite romance of the year.

Well, without further ado, here are my top five reads of 2018: (click on the titles to read my full review for each)

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The Heart’s Invisible Furies – Literary Fiction/Historical Fiction:

This was hands down, my favorite book of the year. This book is a thought-provoking, insightful, heartwarming, and bittersweet story of one man, Cyril Avery. As a baby, Cyril is put up for adoption by Catherine Goggin, a young girl who is kicked out of her small parish, country town in Ireland for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Cyril is taken in by a wealthy couple, who have very little time for him and barely notice his existence. He discovers at an early age that he is gay and his relationship with his best friend, Julian Woodbead, proves to be a complicated one. Over the course of the novel, while in the midst of trying to understand his sexuality, and also find real love, Cyril has to navigate the hypocrisy of Irish society at this time (late 1940s-1980s). In his search for identity and meaning, Cyril’s life, just like all of our lives, is filled with moments of blissful happiness and moments of sorrow and loss. However, there are so many moments in this book that come full circle that it leaves you with a feeling of rightness, despite the heartbreak that you witness. The title couldn’t be more perfect. We all carry around burdens, pain, loss, and injustice that become etched on our hearts. These are our “furies,” and as heartbreaking as they may be, they are also part of what makes this life so beautiful.

 

Processed with VSCO with al1 preset

The Silence of the Girls – Literary Fiction/Historical Fiction:

Barker does something pretty brilliant in this book- she manages to simultaneously celebrate The Iliad (the original source of this story) and challenge it. Her challenge comes in the form of perspective because her story brings to light the thoughts/feelings/struggles/triumphs of the women in this story- who both A) played a crucial role in the politics and the emotion of the story, and B) whose perspectives were woefully left out of the original. However, her book also celebrates the Iliad. She gives you a sense of the majesty of this story and the complexity of its heroes. I honestly can’t say enough about how much I loved this book- it was a breath of fresh air, it was moving, emotional, honest, and beautifully written. If you’re a fan of Greek Mythology/retellings, you should definitely check this out.

img_2958-1Book of Dust– by Philip Pullman – Fantasy:

Philip Pullman is a master craftsman of the slow spun tale. His rich, building, lyrical style is so comforting that it draws you into a parallel universe. The protagonist, Malcolm, is such as smart and likable boy that you can’t help root for him as he gets caught up in this world of political intrigue, scholarship, and magic. If you are a fan of Narnia or Harry Potter, you would definitely enjoy this.

 

3d2832c7-d396-4ed9-9eec-26ae1753cab5Thunderhead– YA Fantasy:

I really loved Scythe, but Thunderhead takes the loose threads from book #1 and spins them into a whole new world of intrigue, danger, and suspense, with some really cool philosophical questions underlining the whole plot. While book #1 focuses on the Scythedom and Rowan and Citra’s place within it, book #2 continues this journey, but with more connection to the Thunderhead- the vast, all-knowing, God-like “server,” that monitors the world. Instead of being privy to the journals of the Scythes, we now get the journals/thoughts of the Thunderhead. The actions of the Scythes and Rowan, woven together with the thoughts of the all-seeing Thunderhead, created a brilliant contrast. If you’re a fan of YA dystopian, do yourself a big favor and read this series. The next book in the series, Toll, comes out in 2019.

 

0d838b18-8cfb-4c17-ad8c-2407b575136cLethal White– Detective/Mystery:

The same attention to detail and suspense that Rowling gives us in HP, works so well in her detective series. Every tiny detail is crafted to come together at the perfect moment, and suddenly, all of the pieces fit together and it is so satisfying. I have loved every Cormoran Strike novel so far, Cuckoo’s Calling being my favorite, but Lethal White was so much more intricate than the other 3 novels. Unlike all of the other Strike novels, we are not dealing with one crime in Lethal White. There is policial corruption, blackmail, and a repressed memory that, for the majority of the book, we’re not even sure is real). The length was completely welcome for me. I wanted to stay with Strike and Robin as long as I could and continue to take in all of the minute details of the case as they unfolded. I would have welcomed another 500 pages if it meant staying with these two a little longer.

Overall, a great year in books for me. Thank you all for being here and sharing with me. Stay tuned for my 2019 reading goals/TBR coming up in a day or so. Happy New Year, everyone! 

Click here: @somewhereinpages to find me on Instagram and here:  erinrossi to find me on Goodreads. 

Happy Reading!

Advertisements
Monthly Wrap-Ups

November Wrap-Up

Happy December, Everyone! Time is flying by and now it is full speed ahead into Christmas. November was such a great reading month for me. I managed to read 4 books total, but I didn’t have a lot of time to write up individual reviews throughout the month. So, I thought I would do a monthly wrap-up with 4 mini-reviews. So here goes:

Roomies by Christina Lauren ✰✰✰✰

I was in the mood for something lighthearted and fun over the Thanksgiving weekend and Roomies was a perfect choice. It definitely indulged my weepy romantic side, but it was also really well written. The characterization of both Holland and Calvin was so unique and really gave a sense of the whole person, not just who they were in terms of the relationship and the plot. I loved that the authors included all of their embarrassing moments – including Holland’s obsession with her “hot subway busker,” and Calvin’s marriage lies to his family back home in Ireland. These were all very real and relatable moments. My only complaint here was that I never really questioned either character’s motives in the same way they questioned each other. So it was a little frustrating at times to watch the two of them essentially make up things to be upset about. But overall, this was a perfect feel-good romantic comedy with really adorable characters.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren ✰✰✰✰

img_1016Ok, full disclosure, I read Roomies so fast that I needed another feelgood romance to finish out the long Thanksgiving weekend. Since I loved Roomies so much, I picked up Josh and Hazel. This was a really cute “friends to lovers” troupe with a fun twist. Ok, Hazel herself is really the twist. She was so unlike any female lead character I’ve read. She is unapologetically over-the-top, loud, blunt, free, and absolutely amazing! I loved that even though she’d been told time and time again that she was “too weird” or “too crazy” she never changed. She never altered herself in any way or attempted to please anyone but herself. For that, I give Christina Lauren a big high five. Hazel’s personality contrasted so well with Josh’s uptight demeanor and they made such a funny pair of opposites. I also really loved the Portland vibes. Having lived there for two years, I can definitely see someone like Hazel being happy and thriving in this amazing city. Thanks for keeping Portland weird Christina Lauren.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager ✰✰✰✰

The second I read that this book took place at a creepy summer camp in upstate New York where a mysterious crime once took place, I was all in. Emma is a prominent New York artist who returns to the summer camp she attended at age 13 to confront the unsolved disappearance of her 3 cabin roommates 15 years prior. Once Emma actually arrives back at the camp, she starts to uncover cryptic clues and messages left by the girls. She has to unravel these clues in order to finally figuring out what happened to them. This novel was so fast paced and kept me guessing the entire time. It led me on a wild goose chase. Emma herself is constantly following different leads and theories, and I was following right along with her. Every time I thought I had it figured out, a new clue appeared and it was right back to square one. With about 5 pages left in the book, I thought everything was nicely wrapped up. I was completely wrong! Another crazy plot twist left me stunned. This was a perfect mystery with a crazy fun plot twist! My only complaint was that at times there was this weird time warp happening- where things happened exactly as they did in the past. Even down to what the camp served for dinner. I am not sure if all of this was intentional, but it took away from the believability at times.

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay ✰✰✰✰

After Halloween, I was really feeling the witchy vibes. Although the plot took a little while to pick-up for me, I loved the mood of this book. Witch grimoires, talking ravens, crafting spells, reading tea leaves- all of this created such an irresistible mood. The 1880s (Gilded Age) New York was the perfect setting for this story- gas lamps, horse-drawn carriages, bowler hats, parasols, plus the growing urbanization of the city. Adelaide, Beatrice, and Eleanor, our witches, are powerful women, but still, have to hide their talents for fear of persecution. With the start of Women’s Suffrage at this time, their little tea shop becomes a safe haven for all women seeking change. The overall message of the story was a really powerful one about what women can accomplish when they come together.

So that is my November Wrap-Up! Here’s to some more cozy holiday reads in December! Happy reading! 

-Erin

Follow me on Instagram and Goodreads 

Monthly Wrap-Ups

May Wrap-Up/June TBR

May Wrap-up: Books, Music, Movies/TV…(ya know, the important stuff)

May was all about the ACOTAR Series for me. I have been wanted to read it for awhile now and I’m so glad I finally got around it. I love all of these characters so much. I was also able to read the ARC for Stephanie Garber’s new book, Legendary (Caraval #2). I really enjoyed this book, too, maybe even more than the first. Check out my reviews of all four of my May reads below:

Books:

Click on the title to read my reviews for each:

A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (by far my favorite in the series)

A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Legendary (Caraval #2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

June TBR:

Here is what’s on my radar for June:

  • A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.1 novella)
  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • Thunderhead (Scythe #2) – Super excited for this since Scythe was amazing!
  • Darkest Minds
  • Tower of Dawn (ToG #6) – Even Though Choal is not my favorite, I want to read this before the final ToG comes out in Oct.

Music:

This month I have fallen in love with Billie Eilish! Some of her songs are more on the pop side, but she also has an amazing variety of music. Her voice is ethereal and sultry, I just love her! For more information on Billie Eilish or to check out her music: click here 👉🏻 Billie Eilish

Watched:

I honestly didn’t watch much this month since I was so engrossed in the ACOTAR series. I did manage to catch up on The Handmaid’s Tale. This show continues to blow me away. It’s frightening and intriguing. You can’t help but ask yourself if this could actually happen. The scariest scenes for me are the moments from “before” where we see the slow poisoning of society. These moments give me chills. Of all the book to film/television adaptations that I have seen, this has to be one of the best!


May was a great month of entertainment for me! Here’s to an even better June!!

Happy Reading! And watching/listening 🙂

You can also find me on Instagram& Goodreads

Monthly Wrap-Ups

March Wrap-Up

What I read, watched and listened to in the month of March! Books, Music, Movies/TV…ya know, the important stuff

Read: I’ve been on a big YA fantasy kick lately and I just devoured the Throne of Glass Series. I loved this series. It’s started off a little slow in the first two books, but books 3, 4, 5 were just so much fun! I did also manage to get in one Historical Fiction novel this month. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin.

Click on the title to read my reviews for each:

Hire of Fire (ToG #3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Queen of Shadows (ToG #4) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Empire of Storms (ToG #5) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The American Heiress ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Listened To:

Matisyahu – I have loved Matisyahu since his first album, Youth. I love his inspirational, mellow vibe and his new album is just as amazing! My favorite song on the album is “Step out into the Light”

Greatest Showman Soundtrack: I have yet to see the film, but I can’t get enough of the soundtrack. It’s not a traditionally Broadway sound, it’s really a mixture of all genres of music. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Hamilton. My Favorite song on the album is, “The Other Side.”

I am also on Spotify and I love to create and share playlists. Click on my username below to find my Spotify profile.

Erin Rossi

Watched:

Movies: Call Me By Your Name, I-Tonya, and Murder on the Orient Express – All three of these movies were so well done.

Call me By Your Name was a gorgeous story that really shows how people come into your life and change you and shape you, even if they are not meant to stay in your life forever. The lush setting and relaxed feel of the movie were so beautiful. It made me want to jump on a plane to Italy.

I-Tonya: This was such a creative spin on a story that a lot of us saw unfold through the eyes of the media. But the movie does a great job of showing how this is really a story and a person that we don’t know at all. It did a great job of staying authentic to both the media’s version of the events and to Tonya as a person, and as an athlete.

Murder on the Orient Express: I read this book a while ago and I felt that the movie did a great job of capturing the story. A few details of the book were changed here and there, but it really stayed true to the story, the setting, and feel of this detective drama. The actors were amazing and the cinematography was beautiful. Even though I knew the end, I was still excited to see how it all unfolded in the film.

TV: The Alienist on TNT- This was really the only TV I watched this month, but that’s ok because it was amazing! I love the American Gilded Age and it was so interesting to think about the origins of psychiatry in solving crimes. I would highly recommend this show to everyone, especially those that enjoy period dramas and crime dramas.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on any and all of the above!

Here’s to a new month! Happy April!

Come find me on Instagram and Goodreads