This weeks topic really speaks to me because I’ve come a long way when it comes to taking book recommendations from people. I used to be super picky about what I read (5 years ago I’d never touch a YA book, now it’s about all I read). I used to only read from certain genre’s (mystery and fiction) and would never venture outside my comfort zone. Now I’m a sponge. I take everything into consideration and from almost anyone, customers in the store to Twitter peeps online and everyone in-between. Here are ten books I’ve recently read and loved.
11/22/63 Stephen King: A very long book but one of the best I’ve ever read, I love the historical aspect too!
I am terrible at sticking to TBR lists but I do like to try to read seasonally. Makes me feel festive! The books on my fall TBR are a mixture of (mostly) upcoming arcs, books I own, and books I’ve gotten at the library, all in the spooky/supernatural/fantasy vein for the most part. Quite a few of them work for Fall Bookish Bingo too!
This topic is a new way to talk about underrated books in a more technical way, especially when underrated is subjective. The way I did this — in my Goodreads read list, I added a column for # of ratings, then sorted them by that!
I’ve wanted to explain to you all for awhile why I love WWE so much (I’m catching up on the Ten Reasons I Love X prompt!). I never thought I’d be someone who likes wrestling and it was barely on my radar until 3 years ago. I’d read while my husband watched but I started peeking at the screen and got wrapped up in the spectacle. Before I knew it, I was asking Chris to show me his favorite childhood matches and now I watch WWE almost every day! Also I’m really trying to lure you in with the first point on my list ;) Without further ado, here are the Top Ten Reasons I Love The WWE.
Real life YA fairytale romance
The story of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H is like a YA rom com come to life. Steph’s father Vince is the owner of WWE and she herself is a fourth generation wrestling promoter. Like her brother Shane, she started working for the company behind the scenes at an early age doing reception work, television production, and creative work.
This is where she met Paul Levesque aka Triple H, one of the rising stars of WWE at the time. She had a huge crush on him but her father forbade her from dating any wrestlers; Vince didn’t want to cause locker room problems or get his daughter’s heart broken and Triple H was dating someone else at the time, which led to a messy love triangle. But then in 1999 she was put into tv storylines which led to an onscreen storyline marriage with Triple H a year later…. which then blossomed into real life romance! They began secretly dating in 2000- fake dating for the win!!!!!! When it finally came out, her mother Linda was supportive but Vince was pissed and the locker room was mad because they thought Triple H was getting special treatment (he wasn’t, presumably. He was just that damn good.). I learned most of this from Triple H’s fantastic documentary Thy Kingdom Come.
Longer story short, they got “married”, “divorced”, “back together”, etc all on tv (oh the drama)… there was backstabbing and family drama for their characters, all while getting married in real life in 2003. They’ve been married for 13 years now and have 3 daughters and are truly the power couple of the WWE.
Triple H is a 14 time champion, creator of NXT, and the Executive VP of Talent, Live Events, and Creative. He’s always had a deep passion for the business side of pro wrestling, which is one reason he and Vince got on so well to begin with. Stephanie is the Chief Brand Officer, a former Women’s Champion, and they both still appear on tv in storylines and wrestle occasionally as part of the villainous Authority. They’ve still got it ;)
I LOOOOOOVE everything about their real and “WWE” relationship! And I ship them SO hard, especially when you watch older shows. You can tell how in love they are and how much everyone respects their business sense (even if people don’t always like them). As Stephanie’s twitter bio says, “I play a bad guy on tv.” There are quite a few wrestling couples (which makes sense with the lifestyle and all the travel), but Steph and Triple H are the original power couple andthe ultimate YA love story come to life.
“Wrestling is fake.”
I’ll be the first person to tell you, wrestling fans know that WWE is scripted. And we don’t care. That’s different from fake by the way ;) Do you know what else is choreographed and scripted? Movie fight scenes. Broadway dance numbers. Reality tv. It’s no different from any of those. Just because the outcome is predetermined doesn’t mean the action is fake. These athletes train 24/7 to stay in the best shape and to continually learn the business of wrestling. They go through continuous athletic training, public speaking, and acting classes; they hone their craft in a myriad of ways and put their bodies through so much.
The best rivalries have amazing chemistry- you have to trust the other person implicitly because these manuevers ARE dangerous. They have to be executed perfectly; many wrestlers have gotten concussions, broken bones, and torn ACLs. It’s like a dance. You want to feel the intensity and emotion, and you can tell when two wrestlers don’t have chemistry.
Year round sport
Monday Night RAW, the flagship 3 hour live show on USA Network, is actually the longest running television program in history– it’s been live on air once a week for over 30 years! There is also SmackDown on Tuesday nights, non-televised shows all over the country and world every week, and pay-per-view specials once a month. There’s no off season in wrestling! It’s all week long, 52 weeks a year, which is pretty awesome especially in the summer when I’m waiting for basketball and football to start again.
Holy s*** athletic moments
I’ve watched these men and women do some truly spectacular stunts, for lack of a better word. The beauty of their movements is really cool to watch; the best wrestlers are fluid, moving from move to move, corner to corner. Locking up, beating down, jumping off and twisting like divers. Sometimes you see a move that puts all of their athletic talent in sharp focus and it takes your breath away. And that’s besides all the surprise RKOs, Rock Bottoms, and Super Kicks.
Figuring out storylines
It appeals to the nerd in me and my puzzle solving/clue gathering brain. Sometimes things go off script, and there are surprises. That’s what makes it so much fun! It’s sports ENTERTAINMENT. There are good guys (babyfaces) and bad guys (heels), and people can turn at any time. It’s FUN to try and guess what will happen next, based on your knowledge of the athletes, their rivalries, patterns in the past, gossip in the news, what would be the most exciting/crazy/awesome outcome. I’ve gotten very good at predicting over the past 3 years ;) And storylines come into play because sometimes athletes do need a break (see Year Round Sport). Sometimes they are genuinely injured, sometimes they’re written out of the story, and then comes the anticipation of when they’ll come back!
possibly the greatest storyline since I’ve started watching. This promo video encapsulates the WWE perfectly and the match 2 years ago was amazing!! I’m really sad Daniel Bryan had to retire this year for medical reasons :(
There’s something for everyone
recognize anyone in this picture? :)
“WWE combines all these different genres [action, romance, comedy]… and culminates in live action.”
Do you like reality tv drama? There is LOTS of drama. Do you like sports? These are some of the best athletes in the world: former Olympic champions, NFL stars, models, dancers, soccer players, body builders, national champion college wrestlers. Do you like humor and biting wit? You’ll hear some of the smartest, sickest burns and in-ring promos. I guarantee you, you can find something to like about the WWE even if you don’t think you like wrestling (which is what I used to think!).
The roster is wonderfully diverse is a multitude of ways, including type of character and personality, as well as physically. Some superstars are quiet and intense, others are boisterous and funny, or serious, or goofy, or flashy, on and on and on. Some have cutting wit, others rely on their in-ring skills. One of my favorites has a PhD in biology and a YouTube gaming channel! It takes a lot to make it to the main roster and stand out, and there is a potential favorite for everyone here.
Women’s Division/Total Divas
Maybe my favorite part of the WWE is the women’s division. I started really watching right when Total Divas began airing and it got me so invested! These women were so much more than I expected and it was a great introduction to their lives and wrestling careers. I loved the Bella Twins and Paige, and the new crop of talent is extraordinary.
The #DivasRevolution last year kickstarted this amazing movement: we’re getting more matches, longer matches, more storylines, and some of the best female superstars since the late 90s. Bayley and Sasha Banks put on a 30 minute Iron Woman match and headlined an NXT pay per view, which had never been done before. And as of April this year, it’s no longer the Divas Title: it’s the Women’s Title, which is so cool. It won’t be long before they’re headlining the biggest event of the year: Wrestlemania.
The WWE Network, which launched in 2014, is possibly the greatest thing ever for old and new fans alike. It’s basically wrestling Netflix, a streaming service that encompasses every single pay per view special in addition to original programming. There are prank shows, interviews, podcast specials, Total Divas reruns (which airs on E! Network), and Breaking Ground, which is a behind the scenes look at their training division NXT.
You can search by year, by event (Wrestlemania, Money in the Bank, etc), or by favorite wrestler. If you love The Rock as an actor or a person (his Instagram is hilarious and inspiring), WAIT til you see him in a WWE ring. I didn’t get to see The Rock in his prime but I’ve seen allllllll his greatest moments by now and there are a lot! It’s really awesome to be able to catch up on the Attitude Era and other things I’ve missed.
Giving back to the community/fan interaction
WWE really encourages their employees and talent to give back to the community in a number of ways. They participate in anti-bully rallies at schools, reading events, hospital visits, leadership conferences, etc. I actually got to work on the Wrestlemania Reading Challenge and We Give Books events! And John Cena has granted over 500 Make A Wishes, more than double of any other celebrity. They meet with fans before shows, take selfies, and interact on twitter and IG. They’re always connected to the WWE Universe, as the fans are called, and it’s really cool. It makes them seem approachable.
Bonus fact:Abraham Lincoln was a skilled wrestler and trash talker, going 300-1 in his pre-presidential career. He’s even enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame!
Thanks so much for checking out my post! Have you ever been surprised by a hobby you didn’t expect to like? What appeals to you most about WWE? Let me know!
“Girls—their vulnerability, strength, and passion to belong—are at the heart of this stunning first novel for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad.” The cover alone caught my attention but after reading the description I knew I had to add it to my TBR list.
Set during the Second World War, Julianne Westcott has a great life full of silk ball gowns, plenty of money and prominent men looking to court her. But when she discovers she has a brother who has been institutionalized since birth, her entire life shatters and her family falls apart. When I first discovered this book I checked Goodreads for reviews, out of 57 ratings and 45 reviews this book has an average of 4.77 stars. If you like historical romance, you must check this one out!
Emily Giffin has been a go to author for me for years mostly because of her portrayal of relationships. Her new novel is about sisters torn apart by a tragedy and when the anniversary of that tragedy approaches they must come together and overcome their differences.
Gayle Forman’s first novel for adults and it sounds pretty damn good. Here is the first line in the description:
“Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention–meet Maribeth Klein.”
I’m in, I’ve definitely been there before and I can’t wait to see how this book comes together.
A contemporary YA about a teen who spends most of her time online writing fan fic. I have heard mixed reviews on this one but it stands pretty solid on Goodreads with a 3.68 rating and since it showed up in my May Uppercase Box I’ll give it a try.
Though I haven’t read anything else by Paula Stokes, I think this one sounds pretty interesting, a girl who believes she has the worse luck ever. “From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.”
A story about a curious girl who starts looking into her fathers death and discovers it wasn’t an accident. While investigating she discovers a tree that only produces fruit when she tells it a lie and that fruit, in turn, delivers a truth which may be the only way she discovers the truth about her fathers death. Sounds interesting!
I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book! A story of Frankie Presto, the best guitar player who ever lived and the lives he touched. I’m told it’s an emotional roller coaster and you get completely sucked into the story and become one with the characters.
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan– it’s so hard to remember whether I was reading book blogs at this point; I might have been? In any case, I saw the original cover online and loved the idea of a dream boy being real, so I found it at a library nearish me and drove to get it. BEST DECISION. It’s a really fantastic trilogy.
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough– one of my best finds!! I drove to the library in the next county to pick up Unspoken and when I was there, I found this on the shelves. It looked so intriguing and creepy, and the tagline really got me! It is by far my favorite horror book, I can’t believe I managed to read it at night.
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima– this has to be one of the first YA books I read when I started really reading YA. I remember finding it in Barnes & Noble and being intrigued by the cover/synopsis. And no one at the store could tell me anything about it! Luckily I took the chance because it’s an awesome series.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis– another one of my first YAs (December 2011-January 2012 is when I really started digging in). I found the cover with the running girl at Barnes & Noble and promptly got the sequel from the library because I loved it so much!
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton– I picked this up and put it back a few times actually! I loved the cover but wasn’t completely sold on the synopsis. Luckily for me, I bought it on a summer trip with my family and discovered a new favorite author.
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill– I specifically remember reading a MTB review on Christina’s blog and knew that I had to finally try YA contemporary. Plus that cover!! Pastel, pretty London. I might have bought it for those two reasons alone ;)
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli– this is another favorite that I purchased solely based on the overwhelming number of great reviews from trusted bloggers/friends. Hype gets to me sometimes but I think this was early enough where it just made it sound super appealing instead. And it was!! So glad I made a rash purchase for once :)
Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman– 100% picked this up because Kate Morton, my very favorite author, blurbed it; pretty sure I saw it on an endcap in Target! If a book is blurbed by her or “for fans of Kate Morton”, I will read it.
Wandering through the bookstore: whether you’re looking for something specific or simply browsing the shelves, it’s a special kind of delight to wander through an awesome bookstore, discovering new books and running your hands over old favorites. And maybe making a purchase or two ;)
Receiving bookmail: most of my bookmail is in the form of preorders I’ve purchased for myself but once in awhile I’ll receive a coveted arc or a surprise from a friend. Any kind of bookmail is good bookmail!
When a book lives up to its amazing premise in every way possible: Bonus if it’s a book you feel like was written just for you! A “Morgan book” so to speak :)
Uninterrupted reading time: There is nothing better than a rainy day when you can stay cozy with blankets and a good book inside. I love reading by the pool or at the beach on a warm, sunny day too!
Talking about books with friends: it is SO much fun to be able to gush about books with other bookworms! I love talking with Twitter acquaintances when I see them reading a favorite, or getting recommendations from a friend, or mutually flailing about some awesome reading experience. There’s always something to talk about when you read a lot!
Reading at home on rainy days: There’s not better mood for reading than overcast and rainy days. Sorry/not sorry Summer/sunny day readers!! lol
Finding and acquiring foreign editions of books I love: A lot of times I find British and Australian editions of books I love that are STUNNING and I auto-buy them quicker than you can say, well, anything really. lol
When someone loves a book you recommend: There really isn’t a bigger high for any bookish person. NONE. If you end up loving a book someone rec’d you, TELL THEM. You’ll make their day/week/month/year. :)
Book mail: I don’t think book mail could ever get old. It’s such a great thing to come home to after a day full of BLAH work.
Seeing my long distance bookish friends: I mean, is there anything sweeter than being among MY PEOPLE?! No, there isn’t. (Sidenote: SEE Y’ALL AT BEA!! Will you be there??)
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan – If you can, LISTEN TO THIS AUDIOBOOK. I first read it and really liked it, but it wasn’t until I re-read it through audio that I realized its genius, and that genius lies in the words written by Rachel and David. They made me laugh out loud so much!
Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead – The only non-contemporary on this whole list! This whole series has a cast of characters that I came to love because of their sense of humor. Richelle Mead just knocked it out of the park with this series. The love story is also really, really great.
What are some books that have made you chuckle? Did any of these?
I listen to audiobooks while I work, and this year I’ve actually listened to more books than I’ve read, which is super interesting to me. One thing I really enjoy doing is re-reading my favorite books on audiobook! It’s also a great way to refresh the story before reading the next book. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite re-reads I’ve listened to in case it’s something you’d like to try. :)
The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, read by Jennifer Ehle – This series has different narrators for each book, and Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl!) narrates the second book, but I really enjoy Jennifer Ehle’s narration of the first one a lot! She brings my love, Will Herondale, to life and totally gives him the perfect amount of charm and sarcasm.
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, read by Davina Porter – This is one that many have enjoyed and one I will be starting soon! I’ve been wanting to re-read this series for a while and I think audio will be the way to go.
Do you listen to audiobooks? What are some of your favorites?
Ok, so I had to scroll a bit to find my most recent five star reads. In fact, these are books I read between September 2015 and now! It’s crazy to me that I don’t have more in these last six months… I have a lot of four stars though. Anyway, here are my picks:
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams – The fact that I rated this a 5 star is surprising even to me because I was really leery about reading it. It was the ending that got me though, I’m pretty sure I was actually biting my nails.
Winter by Marissa Meyer – I was a little late getting into this series, the only book I had to wait to be released was this one, and it was totally worth it. To finally be able to get to know Winter was awesome, but to finally see the end of Levana was even better. I didn’t want this series to end so that was hard but the way it ended was SO good!
Illuminae by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristof – THIS BOOK THOUGH! I literally stumbled on this book at BEA last year, I kept seeing it in the Penguin Random House booth; stacks and stacks of them, everywhere. I walked by it several times and finally grabbed one simply because I thought if they were pushing it so hard something about it must be good. I’ve heard a lot of authors boast about how their book is “like nothing you’ve ever read before” but this one is FOR REAL! (Full review)
Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – I looked back at my Goodreads status updates on this book, one of the last ones I posted is “ Oh Gods NOOO! What the hell!” One of my favorite things about this series is how it all feels like one huge story, yes yes I know there are 4 books but it really doesn’t feel like it, it’s like a really long movie, or like you and your bestie are catching up on life. I know some people don’t like how much Aelin has changed, they don’t think she is “herself”, it’s because she isn’t! The character growth in these novels are amazing and I find it refreshing. I really could go on and on about this book but I won’t but I absolutely loved it.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – Out of all the books in the Raven Cycle, this is the only one I rated with 5 stars (all the others got 4). Ronan can actually remove things from his dreams…how awesome would that be? I think this one is my favorite in the series because it answers some of my questions from The Raven Boys and it literally left me with my mouth hanging open.
Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) By Deborah Harness – This is one of the only books I have reread again and again. I read it a few months after it came out, then made everyone else I know read it too. Witches, daemons, vampires and the love story….swoon!
Ready Player One Ernest Cline – Okay, so it hasn’t been that long since i’ve read this book but I really don’t gush about it as often as I should, really. I want to live in the OASIS, I should have gone to high school in the Oasis, it’s an introverts dream!
Rook by Sharon Cameron – Sophia Bellamy is not who you think she is, or is she? GAH, I love this book so much. There is a new revolution taking place where Paris used to be, and if you oppose it, you will meet your death. That is unless you are lucky enough to be rescued by the mysterious Red Rook
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – Afterworlds is a book about a writer writing a book. No wait, it works really! It’s told in alternating stories between Darcy, the writer and Lizzy, Darcy’s main character. I loved this book because you get to follow Darcy through her real life while tagging along with Lizzy in one of the most epic adventures ever. I really didn’t want this book to end.
In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French – Tana French, and this entire series, easily falls into my all time favorite category. Set in Dublin, Detective Rob Ryan must investigate a murder case involving a 12 year old girl, but here’s the thing, 20 years earlier, detective Ryan was found in those same woods covered in blood with no memory of what happened to him or his missing friends. It’s SO GOOD!
11/22/63 by Stephen King – I first read this book in the summer of 2013 and for a long time, it was all I talked about. I was so taken aback by the characters, the writing, the settings…everything really. The size of the book is a bit daunting (842 pages) but it really didn’t feel like it at all. I’m planning a re-read this summer before I binge the show.
The Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Steadman – Oh this book! Tom and Isabel are lighthouse keepers on a remote island. After years and years of trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, one washes up on the island with it’s deceased father. They keep the child as their own, but at what cost? I ugly cried reading this before ugly crying was a thing.
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – This was the first “letter” novel I’ve ever read. Juliet is looking for her next book subject, she finds just that in a letter from a man she’s never met. I think it’s cute, charming and romantic. A fun quick read.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – I love this book for so many reasons. The dog as the narrator, the race car driving dad, the father daughter dynamic and the dog humor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sad as hell but is also very good!
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb – Do you have that one character that came into your life when your were a teenager and just stuck with you, even now? Delores Price is mine. I related with Delores in several ways growing up. This is a coming of age book with a pretty messed up story, though I should caution, it’s not for the faint of heart.
The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey: I just started this actually and it’s great! I took a chance on NetGalley, drawn in by young princesses, castle towers, and secret sinister woods. I think this will delight MG fantasy fans.
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: You thought I was going to leave this book off my list, didn’t you? I wanted to showcase some other books but rest assured, it is #1 on my spring TBR! 7 weeks and counting…
I’ve always loved the idea of pairing songs to books, so I was really excited about this topic. I’ve had Halsey on repeat these days, and I think I could probably find a book to pair with every one of her songs. lol So she’ll be mentioned a few times, I hope you don’t mind.