Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

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This is a book that I have wanted to read for a very long time but was afraid to because of the subject matter it dealt with. But I am honestly very glad that I finally got to it as it not only gave me perspective and vantage point from someone dealing with such a horrible incident but I connected with the main character in such a strong way and I really felt for her, which is something I haven’t done for a book character in a very long time. Before I continue on with my review, I want to bring to attention that this story deals with heavy topics such as rape, depression, and bullying. If these are a trigger for anyone, I would advise that you not read this book or review until you feel that you are ready.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

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The title of this post should be something more like “A Book I Bought in High School Because I Used to Read Twilight“. I bought this book on a whim a couple of years back due to my appreciation of “undead lovers” (those were indeed dark days) and never ended up reading it. I was somehow under the impression that Darcy was the zombie and Elizabeth ends up falling for him but of course I was proven wrong and put the book aside until I had an interest to read it again. Then finally, seven years later, that fateful day came when I was hankering for a classic to read. I have recently made a 2015 resolution to spend less money buying books and therefore have severely cut down on my stash of classics available at my disposal. I decided to give this another go as I assumed it couldn’t be too far off from the original story. I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice before but I have watched most adaptations of it and am very well acquainted with the plot.

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The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

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I finally decided to dive into this book after seven years of it sitting on my shelf. I purchased this book back when I was in high school right after the movie came out in 2006. The movie is probably one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures. As a teenager, I was a self-proclaimed tomboy and detested anything “girly” or glamourous, but the film made it to my favorites list and became something I could re-watch from time to time. I adored that the main character, Andrea, goes into an industry that she has negative preconceived notions about and comes out with wider eyes and more knowledge than she anticipated on receiving. I was casually reminded of this book on New Years when I was looking for a book to read and having nothing else catch my eye. I started reading the style immediately captured my attention and I couldn’t put it down.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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Growing up, this was one of my favorite books. Before I could even read chapter books, my uncle bought me a couple of books on tape. I can’t recall any of the others, but this one really stuck out to me. I was enamored with it and listened to it day in and day out. Now at the ripe age of 22, I still have a slight obsession, various Wonderland paraphernalia, and four different copies of this dreamy little book, this edition being my fourth. The moment I saw this edition, I knew I had to have it. But I held off for a couple of years, telling myself I didn’t need it because “I already have three copies!”. And now finally, finally, I have it in my possession and am so glad that I do because this edition is beautiful.

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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This is sadly, one of those books that I would not have known about had it not been for the movie. Following the movie’s release in 2011 and its subsequent four Academy Awards, I watched it and absolutely loved it. I’m not big on historical fiction, especially since history was one of my worst subject in school, but the heart of the story won me over. I had been apprehensive on reading the book as it is around 400 pages but due to recent discussion of racial prejudices in present day, I decided it would be appropriate to finally pick it up.

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Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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This book was by far the best book that I have read this year. It far exceeded my expectations as I had expected it to be something that only struck my fancy but this story was a whirlwind of an adventure, both captivating and exhilarating. The narrative follows Scott McGrath, an investigative reporter who, 5 years ago, went after legendary horror film director Stanley Cordova, after being tipped off about unsettling practices in Cordova’s home life. Cordova, being a secretive man, has no information about his personal life revealed to the general public and no one even seems to know what he looks like. All the people who have worked on his films have been made to sign a contract in which they are forbidden to talk about their experiences working with him. McGrath, in his efforts to reveal some kind of hidden truth behind the mysterious director, effectively ruins his career as his claims turn out to be falsified. Fast forward to present day when sudden news has been announced: Ashley Cordova, the 24 year old daughter of Stanley Cordova, has committed suicide. McGrath, unbelieving that it is a simple suicide, begins to dig into his old case files once more, heading deeper into the mysterious and terrifying pit known as Cordova.

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A Series of Unfortunate Events Vol. 1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

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I recently picked up this hardcover copy on BookOutlet.com during their Black Friday sale as it was super cheap and I had a $10 voucher. I already own the entire series but have a couple volumes which are in paperback from Scholastic book orders (remember those?) and decided to try to get the whole set in matching hardcover. This series was one of my favorites growing up and I decided that this new addition to my bookshelves deemed itself a reread as I was curious to return to this dismal world.

Not only are the plot and writing unique and resonant, the book itself is designed beautifully with the text accompanied by beautiful illustrations by the wonderfully talented Brett Helquist.

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