Hamilton The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Title: Hamilton The Revolution

Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Publisher: Grand Central 2016

Genre: Nonfiction – Theater

Pages: 288

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsguar –  Bestseller from 2016; I Love Libraries

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Finally got this from the library! And it was so worth the wait! For three days, I was completely engrossed in this book. Reading and rereading the libretto and essays. I loved catching the little nuances in the lines of the songs. Things I never noticed just listening to the cast recording. And it was great to hear the story of how the show came together over many years and many different iterations. My favorite essay was the one discussing the staging and progression of the four songs in Act II dealing with Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds. Fascinating! My stagecraft background definitely came into play while reading that essay. Such a great book for fans of the show.

 

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

Title: The Girl with All the Gifts

Author: M.R. Carey

Publisher: Orbit Books 2014

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 409

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Pseudonym; I Love Libraries

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Our book club selection for March and it was my pick! The main character is a zombie, or is she? The central question is very intriguing. I love books that raise interesting questions and this one centers on a big one. What does it take to be human? My favorite parts of the book were the interactions between Melanie and Ms. Justineau. Their conversations add so much to the book. Instead of just a zombie book, we get an interesting examination of the human condition. Plus I loved the explanation of what caused the zombies. The reasoning was much more plausible than most zombie origin stories. Overall I really enjoyed the book.

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

Title: A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #2)

Author: Jodi Taylor

Publisher: Night Shade Books 2013

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 307

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Involving travel; I Love Libraries

In the sequel to Just One Damned Thing After Another, Max and company visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches. But they must also confront an enemy intent on destroying St. Mary’s—an enemy willing, if necessary, to destroy history itself to do it.

Another great installment of the Chronicles of St. Mary’s, although I must say I was worried with the first 25 pages. The entire sequence with Jack the Ripper was extremely unsettling and very open-ended. I hope they revisit the unanswered questions later in the series. Beyond that, I really dove into the book and didn’t come up for air until I had finished. Max is just a great main character: flawed yet likable. I couldn’t wait to see where the historians visited next. The sequence dealing with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was perfect! Can’t wait to pick up the next volume.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s:

  • #0.5 The Very First Damned Thing
  • #1 Just One Damned Thing After Another
  • #2 A Symphony of Echoes
  • #2.5 When A Child is Born
  • #3 A Second Chance
  • #3.5 Roman Holiday
  • #4 A Trail Through Time
  • #4.5 Christmas Present
  • #5 No Time Like the Past
  • #6 What Could Possibly Go Wrong
  • #6.5 Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings
  • #7 Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  • #7.5 The Great St. Mary’s Day Out
  • #7.6 My Name is Markham
  • #8 And the Rest is History

Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier

Title: Bruning Bright

Author: Tracy Chevalier

Publisher: Plume 2008

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 327

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Read Your Book Shelf; Popsugar – Used Book Sale

In the waning days of eighteenth-century London, poet, artist, and printer William Blake works in obscurity as England is rocked by the shock waves of the French Revolution. Next door, the Kellaway family has just moved in, and country boy Jem Kellaway strikes up a tentative friendship with street-savvy Maggie Butterfield. As their stories intertwine with Blake’s, the two children navigate the confusing and exhilarating path to adolescence, and inspire the poet to create the work that enshrined his genius.

I have enjoyed some of Chevalier’s other books, but this one ultimately fell flat. I didn’t find the characters all that interesting. The plot seemed to be nonexistent. The story just didn’t go anywhere and I was bored for most of the pages. The other real redeeming portion of the book were the sections depicting London in 1792. I found myself drawn into the city at a time of great upheaval. The writing comes alive in those passages. Otherwise I was just bored.

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs

Title: Tales of the Peculiar

Author: Ransom Riggs

Publisher: Syndrigast Publications 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 160

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – With pictures; I Love Libraries

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—the collection of fairy tales known to hide information about the peculiar world, including clues to the locations of time loops—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Cute little collection stories briefly mentioned or alluded to in the Miss Peregrine series. I loved the little asides and commentary from Millard. My favorite story was the first story “The Splendid Cannibals.” It was such a weird story, but I loved it. Overall a good collection of stories.

Miss Peregrine:

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Title: A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1)

Author: Sherry Thomas

Publisher: Berkley 2016

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 323

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – First in a series; I Love Libraries

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.

A delightful retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. I love how Thomas turned the character on it’s head and made Holmes a disgraced society woman. Mrs. Watson is great as Holmes’ partner and in some ways benefactor. Plus we get an interesting array of side characters. I’m excited for the next book in the series to be released this fall. Best of all we get a tantalizing mention of Moriarty… I can’t wait to see where this all leads!

Lady Sherlock

  • #1 A Study in Scarlet Women
  • #2 (Fall 2017)

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Title: Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1)

Author: Jodi Taylor

Publisher: Night Shade Books 2013

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 336

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsguar – Set in two different time periods; New to Me

At St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, the historians don’t just study the past, they revisit it.

Behind the strait-laced façade of a conventional academic institution, the secret of time travel is being used for ground-breaking and daring historical research taking the historians on a rollercoaster ride through history: from the destruction of Pompeii to the Normandy trenches; from the Great Fire of London to Bronze Age Troy and even to the time of the dinosaurs…

Meanwhile, within at St Mary’s itself, there are power struggles and intrigues worthy of a book in themselves.

A friend told me I had to read this one and lent me her copy. She was right! This was such a fun adventure story. I loved the main character of Max, but all the side characters were also great. I fell right into the fun storyline in the first chapter and almost couldn’t put the book down to sleep. The pace is fast and the twists and turns just keep coming. There are some pretty far out happenings, but the way this book is written, I didn’t stop to shake my head at the crazy. I was fully immersed in the world. So much fun and a great needed escape from the events of the past few days. Now I need the second book.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s:

  • #0.5 The Very First Damned Thing
  • #1 Just One Damned Thing After Another
  • #2 A Symphony of Echoes
  • #2.5 When A Child is Born
  • #3 A Second Chance
  • #3.5 Roman Holiday
  • #4 A Trail Through Time
  • #4.5 Christmas Present
  • #5 No Time Like the Past
  • #6 What Could Possibly Go Wrong
  • #6.5 Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings
  • #7 Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  • #7.5 The Great St. Mary’s Day Out
  • #7.6 My Name is Markham
  • #8 And the Rest is History

A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron

Title: A Flaw in the Blood

Author: Stephanie Barron

Publisher: Bantam 2008

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 289

Rating: 2/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Read Your Book Shelf; Popsugar — On my TBR for too long

The acclaimed author of the bestselling Jane Austen mysteries brings rich historical immediacy to an enthralling new suspense novel centered around Queen Victoria’s troubled court…and a secret so dangerous, it could topple thrones.

Totally struck out with this one. My first sign of trouble was that a blurb from Booklist compared it to Carlos Ruiz Zafon. His writing is gorgeous. This writing is mediocre. I didn’t get the same feel for a world as I do in Zafon’s novels. Beyond that, I hated the switching from 3rd person narration from Fitzgerald to 1st person narration from Victoria. The transitions were abrupt and very annoying. The storyline wasn’t very interesting or intriguing. I was bored with the novel. Definitely not worth my time.

Buffering by Hannah Hart

Title: Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded

Author: Hannah Hart

Publisher: Day Street Books 2016

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 272

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Popsugar – Librarian Recommendation

By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.

Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah’s wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.

Picked this up before Christmas from the librarian recommendation pile. Originally the ARC was offered as free book for Labor Day. I love watching Drunk Kitchen and was very interested in learning more about her personal life. After reading, I had to take a bit of time to digest everything. Hart unpacks a ton of hard topics within a very short book. I was floored by the amount of stuff she has had to deal with in her fairly short life. Somehow Hart injects a bit of humor into these sometimes dreary stories. I feel like this book is in the vein of Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. And I absolutely loved Lawson’s book. I don’t think Hart has quite the same self-depreciating humor, but she has a few great messages through this book. A very interesting read!

The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Title: The Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

Publisher: Pottermore 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 320

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Popsugar – Multiple Authors

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

I am very conflicted about this one. I was very excited to read this as I loved the original Harry Potter series. And so I finally started reading, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Most of the storyline is just a rehashing of the original Harry Potter series. Albus is just experiencing the same angst as his father. And it’s super boring… The good parts of the play revolved around Scorpius and Draco. I would have loved to read more about their complicated relationship. I think Draco’s growth throughout the original series and beyond is fascinating. I would have loved to read that play. Unfortunately, that’s not the story we got. Therefore, I give this one 3 stars.