[Princess of the Midnight Ball]: A Review

Happy weekend, everyone! We are having a blast with my sister in town for the weekend. We are showing her all our favorite Dallas places and eating about 5 meals a dayūüėČ

Today I am here with a review of Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. This book was recommended to me by my sister-in-law. I have been meaning to read it for a month now so I bumped it up on my TBR and finished it last week.

This novel is a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses fairy tale. That story has always been one of my favorites so I was excited to experience it with a new twist. What is it about fairy tale retellings that makes them so magical to read? I love them!

Initial Thoughts:

  • This book is an easy read. In fact, it’s shelved in the juvenile fiction at my library. I think it would be a great book for girls from about age 10. It does have an evil and violent villain so be aware of that for kids. While it may be geared for a younger audience, this book can be enjoyed by anyone, especially fairy tale lovers.
  • George’s style reminds me of Shannon Hale and Kate DiCamillo–two of my favorite storytellers.The story is fun, exciting, and simple.
  • I want to read more retellings of the 12 dancing princesses now. Any suggestions?


Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George retells the story of the 12 dancing princesses. It begins with the end of a war and a young retired soldier named Galen comes to work in the palace gardens. Rumors abound about the princesses who wear out their dancing shoes every third night but won’t say where they go. Galen meets the oldest princess, Rose, in the garden when she falls into a fountain, and he begins to fall in love with her from that moment. The king decides to invite eligible princes to the castle to discover the princesses secret. But no one can stay awake to follow them and all the princes die soon after leaving. Meanwhile, the princesses begin dancing every night but they cannot speak of their curse to anyone. With the kingdom at the brink of civil war, Galen offers to help¬†the princesses. With the assistance¬†of a wizard, an old woman, and an invisibility cloak, he seeks to free the princess from their curse and end the power of the evil King Under Stone.

Galen has courage, heart, and wisdom; I immediately like him. He wants to solve the mystery of the sisters dancing because he wants to help them–not for the reward. He is also humble and respectful which I think are both noble characteristics. The ways he follows the sisters and works to free them are clever and fun. I was glad to see him find happiness and family at the end of the novel.

I really enjoyed the different personalities of the princesses.¬†Each is named after a particular flower (Rose,¬†Lily, Jonquil, Hyacinth, Violet, Daisy, Poppy, Iris, Lilac, Orchid, Pansy, and Petunia) which I thought was quite clever. They all enjoy different things–music, walking, praying, dressing up, and reading. I was impressed with the ways that George created the interactions between the princesses without getting them all confused. There are a lot of main characters! And because of that, some are less developed. However, I recently learned there are two more books in the series that focus on different sisters so hopefully that allows for more character development.

In this story, we get to know Rose quite well. She is intelligent, brave, and strong. She wants to protect those she loves–even if she is a bit clumsy to fall headfirst into a fountain ;)¬†I enjoyed reading about her growing relationship with Galen and¬†how she noticed him at the Midnight Ball. If this novel was written for adults, I think we would have gotten even more character development in Rose. We would have learned more about her past and more complexities in her present.

The storytelling was both a¬†strength and a¬†weakness of this novel. On the one hand, I enjoyed the added complexity to the original fairy tale and the plot driven prose was exciting to read (and quick too). On the other hand, there were details that were not entirely explained like why Galen knit a chain for the gate or more details about¬†cousin Heinrich’s experiences in the war. I would have liked more details and the book isn’t too long so it could have been extended to include them. I would have liked to learn more about the kingdoms in the story and some of their interactions. Overall, though, the storytelling and setting are charming and enjoyable.


I recommend this book if you are looking for a light, clever story that you can finish in only a few days. It does not have the depth or intensity of other fantasy novels or romances. But I don’t think it is supposed to. The story is artful and true to the original fairy tale. The characters are likable and noble. And the ending is happily ever after.¬†Overall, an enjoyable read. I definitely want to read more by Jessica Day George in future.

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What Jessica Day George books do you recommend? 
And any 12 dancing princesses retellings you recommend?


[War and Peace, Book 11]: A Review

I am so excited to review book 11 of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy today. First, because this is the last long book of the novel. And second, because finishing this book makes me feel like I’m almost done with the novel. THIS. IS. HUGE. I feel like the books are running together a bit in my mind. So excuse the shorter response here. I don’t want to repeat myself too much.

Reading War and Peace is something I have talked about doing for years but to actually be almost done is crazy!


Book 11 focuses mostly on the Rostov family as they prepare to leave Moscow in light of the French taking the city. Their days are filled with packing their most important belongings, loading them into carts, and then unloading them so wounded Russian soldiers (including Prince Andrew) can also ride with them. Meanwhile, Pierre is having a bit of a midlife crisis as he leaves his home and decided to do something drastic–namely kill Napoleon or die trying. His wife, Helene, has joined the Catholic church and has decided to remarry, although they are not divorced. We also get added details about the military campaign from both the Russian and French side.

I really enjoyed Tolstoy’s discussion of the pivotal role of the battle of Borodino in the ultimate end of the war. He writes quite eloquently about the ways the generals, battles, and the decision to evacuate Moscow change the course of the war. I found his commentary quite interesting. He talks about the ways that deserting Moscow helped the Russians win the war with Napoleon. That was an interesting way to interpret the events. Having taken several classes as a graduate student about history and memory and truth, I really enjoyed Tolstoy’s words on those subjects.

My favorite character in this book was actually Natasha Rostov. I am impressed by the spiritual and emotional journey she has gone on in this book and in the full novel. A lot of time has past and she had changed quite a bit as well. My favorite scene of this book was the final few chapters where she is reunited with Prince Andrew and asks his forgiveness. I appreciated the way they are able to reconcile and she can find redemption in his eyes.

Pierre was a fascinating character to observe in this book. He experiences the horrors of the battle field, returns to his Freemason beliefs, and ultimately come to several extreme conclusions about right and wrong. I disagree with many of his choices. And I worry about his sanity. But his journey is another fascinating one from the beginning of the novel.

Themes I am enjoying/pondering:

  • What is the purpose of war? How do the decisions of generals truly affect the course of war? How does God play a role in the outcomes of wars and in history? So many interesting ideas about these questions in this chapter.
  • How can one find redemption and forgiveness? I’m think of Natasha and of Pierre in these ideas.
  • How is history written? How can we find truth in history written by imperfect people?

Things that are tricky and/or confusing:

  • Keeping all the military ranks and the military characters straight. There are a lot of characters and I don’t always remember their connections.
  • I want to learn more about this desertion of Moscow. It’s really a strange idea to leave your homes and belongings to the enemy. But it helps them win the war (so says Tolstoy).

Although this novel is long and complex, I can’t say that it should be shorter. It’s in a class unlike I have read before. I keep saying this, but it really is a masterpiece.

Looking forward to the last several books!


Top 5 Wednesday: As Seen on TV (I Hope)

I am excited to post again this week with Top 5 Wednesday! T5W is a weekly meme is hosted by Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes.  You can visit the Goodreads T5W group for more info. I decided to pick an old topic again for this week’s post. This was an easy list to make: Books You Want to See as TV Shows.


I think books should be miniseries. That way they can include so many more details than in movies. Plus, then you would avoid the overdone 2 movies for the final book. The only series that did that well is Harry Potter. Anyways, I hope you enjoy my list. I’ll be over here daydreaming about these miniseriesūüôā

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern // There are so many incredible moments in the book that would be amazing on a screen. But it would have to be a series because there are too many important details to include.

The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale // I would love to see all four of these books as movies. But I would love to see¬†The Goose Girl first. The storytelling is amazing. I’m also intrigued by how they would create the different languages in the book on the screen.

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass // I love this series so much. It would be a beautiful girly movie that I would just love.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows // I hear this amazing book is being turned into a movie! I can’t wait!

Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull // I am actually surprised these books haven’t been made into movies yet. They would be awesome!

What books do you want to see on TV or in a movie?



Top 10 Tuesday: I’d name my dog after you

Welcome back to Top 10 Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic is a fun and unique one: Ten Characters I’d Name A Child/Dog/Cat/Car/Etc.

Naming our kids is too sacred and difficult an experience to have much of a set plan of what we will name them. So I decided to go for one of the more lighthearted twist on this week’s theme….10 characters I would name a dog¬†after.¬†I think this was fun! Enjoy!

Dobby from Harry Potter // He is the most loyal friend anyone could ask for. And he saves the lives of Harry and his friends. Plus everyone loves him.

Winter from The Lunar Chronicles // This dog would be the most loyal and kindest animal.

George from Curious George // How cute would a dog named George be? I bet that dog would also be pretty mischievous tooūüôā

St John Rivers from Jane Eyre // I think it would fun to name a dog Rivers after the religious fanatic missionary of Jane Eyre. I think that name is really cute for a dog, actually.

Josie Pie from Anne of Green Gables // Doesn’t this sound so cute? Of course, the actual character is rather vile. But I think the dog could be cuteūüôā

Hagrid from Harry Potter // I picture a dog named Hagrid being a bulldog or Great Dane. Something that Hagrid himself would love.

Poppet and Widget¬†from The Night Circus // For some reason, I think this is perfect. Poppet and Widget are such interesting characters. I think it would be fun to name some¬†puppies¬†after them–they are¬†cute, and they are smart.

Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird // No explanation needed. Love this character and the name.

Corduroy // This is a favorite bedtime story at our house right now. I think it would be such a sweet dog name too.

Honey from Matilda // Naming a dog after sweet Miss Honey would be cute!

Jemima from The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck // One of my favorite Beatrix Potter tales. This dog would have to be quirky and a bit naive. But it would also be so endearingūüôā

What are some characters you would name a dog after?

[With Every Breath]: A Review

Today is a lazy Monday. Or at least it should be. I think we are kind of in denial about our weekend being over! Suddenly, I am like 3 books behind in my reviews. So I am here playing a bit of catch up this afternoon (even if I want to just take a nap!).

Today I am reviewing With Every Breath¬†by Elizabeth Camden. This is the first book I have read by her, and I really enjoyed it. Camden creates an intriguing and satisfying story amidst a complex historical backdrop. And there’s a bit of romanceūüôā

Initial Thoughts:

  • This book¬†was a unique read for me because of its historical period set in¬†the early 1890s in¬†Washington DC. I have not read any books from this time period before. But I obviously should read more!
  • I loved learning more about this time and experiencing the world Camden creates.¬†In fact, this book peaked my interest in the time period and in the search for a tuberculosis vaccine so much that I actually did a bit of research after finishing it.
  • I want to live in this book for a little while–specifically in Kate’s family’s boarding house. I could almost taste her mother’s cooking and hear the lively conversation as I read.


With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden chronicles the story of Kate Livingston who takes a job searching for the cure for tuberculous from her former arch nemesis, Trevor McDonough. The two were fierce competitors in school where Trevor beat Kate for a scholarship to college. Now 10 years later, Trevor seeks out Kate to help with his research. Kate begins work with her usual intensity and competitive spirit. But she is unprepared for the difficulties of the job and the fear of death that haunts every person who falls to the disease. As she gets to know Trevor more, she finds herself falling in love with him. But Trevor holds many dark secrets of his own. Can Kate discover more about Trevor? And will his ultimate secret tear them apart?

Kate is an inquisitive and fascinating protagonist. She has depth and drive and ambition. She is kind and works hard. She is the type of woman that I aspire to be. Although she has fears and has known terrible grief in her life, she continues to work hard and fight for what she wants. I love that Trevor sought her out because he knows how competitive she is. He appreciates her value and her strengths. Kate reminds me of myself in her firm desire to uncover the secrets of Trevor’s past. I laughed as she continued to press him for answers and to do all sorts of research he didn’t know about. She won’t take no for an answer. Perhaps my favorite part of Kate is her ability to move past her history with Trevor and fall in love with him.

Trevor is an intriguing and complex character. He is not your stereotypical romantic hero. In fact, he tries to be the opposite. He focuses almost exclusively on his work. He doesn’t try to make friends. He hides dark secrets from his past. And yet, Kate influences him to change. He comes to her parents house for dinner to make some allies. He confides in her. And he even falls in love with her too. I really enjoyed reading about Trevor’s journey and how he overcame difficult obstacles. Another beautifully written character!

I love that we get inside the heads of both Trevor and Kate. I loved getting similar scenes from each of them. The dual perspective was fresh and easy to follow. Camden wrote both perspectives well and creates an engaging story because of those perspectives. The reader knows more than either character does. And that makes the story more dramatic and engaging. I rooted for both of them and wanted them to both have their happily ever afters.

This novel is a love story but it is also a mystery. Both elements of the story are beautifully interwoven to create a compelling novel. I was surprised at the depth of the story. This is not just a love story (which I also love to readūüôā ). Don’t get me wrong, I love the romance in this story. Kate and Trevor are a beautiful couple with depth and complexity. They really understand what love means and what it takes to make love last. But I loved that we got even more than that. This novel is a mystery and a drama finding a cure for tuberculosis and discovering who is trying to stop them. I was impressed by the ways Camden creates tension and uncertainty alongside the hope and passion. This novel takes readers on a unique ride through so many¬†emotions and experiences. I loved the ride.

The romance is beautiful in this novel. One of my favorite lines is from Trevor and it is totally swoon-worthyūüôā

“Do you know how long I’ve wanted you? You’re like sunlight and water and air to me. ¬†All you need to do is walk across my line of sight and my whole world lights up.”

With Every Breath, page 238

If I have one qualm with this novel, it would be the ending. I felt like the book was a bit too long for the story. The climax for me was the solving of the mystery surrounding the blackmailer. I thought everything would wrap up right there. But we had several more chapters before Trevor and Kate finally could commit to each other. I appreciate that Kate had to go on a particular religious journey to commit to Trevor. But I would have liked that to resolve quicker in the novel. I did love the epilogue. I always love seeing where the characters end up in a few years.

I always appreciate authors who can seamlessly interweave religion into their stories. I think this is hard to do without sounding preachy or creating a disjointed story. Camden does this quite well. God and religion are a part of this story but do not overpower it. In fact, it is God that drives this story for both Trevor and Kate. I think that is a profound lesson for any reader-God is the best source of direction in our lives.

I think some of the best quotes from the novel come in connection with God. And they also tie in well with the title. With every breath could reference a multitude of ideas. But for me, it connected with the idea of hard work–finding a cure with every breath. And also being strong enough to love someone–with every breath–through any trial.

“‘Dreams are hard,’ he said. ‘You work toward them, struggle and sacrifice, but that doesn’t always mean you will get there. I used to believe if I wanted something badly enough, I was destined to win it so long as I never gave up trying. Now I’m not so sure.'”

“There’s no shame in grieving. It’s normal. Grief freshens our perspective on life; it helps us appreciate the blessings we’ve been showered with.”

“Surely it was a blessing that no one could see into the future.”

With Every Breath, pages 76, 116,153 & 241

And my favorite quote came near the end of the novel when Kate realizes that if she puts her trust in God, anything is possible. A great reminder for me.

How could Kate possibly understand what was in the mind of God? God never asked her to understand Him. He asked her to trust Him.”

With Every Breath, page

Overall, a great historical fiction novel with the right balance of history and romance. This novel has only gotten me excited to read more from Elizabeth Camden! I have a few of her books on reserve at the library nowūüôā

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What are some of your favorite Elizabeth Camden books?
What other historical fiction books do I need to try?

[The Cautious Maiden]: Review and Giveaway!

I am honored to be a part of the blog tour for The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall. Details about an awesome giveaway are at the bottom of this post. Thank you to Dawn for the eARC of The Cautious Maiden! I read this book in June 2016 in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

This novel is the fourth book in the amazing Everstone Chronicles. When I had this series recommended to me earlier this year, I immediately fell in love with the beautiful stories and characters. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

As I told my friend Carrie (who introduced me to this series), I was dying over every moment from the first page of The Cautious Maiden. I decided before I even started reading it that I would love it. And I absolutely did.

I am a picky romance reader. I always hope I know how they will end. I want the hero to fall in love with the heroine and live happily ever after. I want there to be beautiful kisses and romantic moments. But I want it to be clean and uplifting too. I want romances to teach me something not just give me a million kisses. Dawn does all of this and more. She is incredible at creating stories that surprise, shock, and satisfy me. The Cautious Maiden is a lovely story and a beautiful romance.

Initial thoughts:

  • How does this series keep getting better? Seriously! I find myself cheering for every¬†protagonist and every love story.
  • I love how different this book is from the previous books. All the characters in the Everstone Chronicles have their trials¬†and have made mistakes, but the difficulties and past mistakes that Violet and Vance must overcome are on a grander scale which makes their redemption all the sweeter.
  • Oh boy, can Dawn write a beautiful kiss or what? Seriously, swooning over every one!


The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall follows the story of Violet Hawthorne, whom we first met in The Captive Imposter as the receptionist at the front desk of Everston.¬†At the start of this novel, Violet’s reputation is compromised in several ways by her brother–the illusive Ezra Hawthorne. He cuts off her beautiful hair and has lost her in a poker game to the evil Rowen Steele. Surprisingly, it is the reforming Vance Everstone who comes to her rescue in both situations, including proposing to Violet to save their mutual reputations. Violet goes with Vance to his family’s home in Boston and they begin to plan their wedding and future together. But Violet always thought she would marry for love. And Vance has never been in love. While they find themselves becoming more attracted to one another, Rowen Steele is sighted in Boston and Vance’s past keeps hindering their relationship. Can they truly be happy and even fall in love?

Violet is a unique heroine in the Everstone Chronicles because she is not brought up in high society or an heiress to a large fortune. She is a gentleman’s daughter but now works at the Everston hotel. I think that makes her more relatable and more likable. I wanted her to find happiness because of all the hard things she’s had to go through. From her parents both dying to her brother’s shady lifestyle, Violet has lost a lot. And perhaps it is because all those losses were fairly recent that it feels like she has nothing and no one to support her. And yet, she holds fast to her faith and¬†works towards her dreams. I love that Violet overcomes her trials and seeks a better life for herself. But also that she is nervous about fitting in and wants to make a good impression. She is a very real character.

Vance is potentially my favorite hero of the series. (Ok, that is really hard to decide because now I am thinking of how sweet Nathan is to Amaryllis or how devoted Lawry has always been to Meredyth or how protective Dexter is of Estella. That’s it. I give up. Impossible to pick a favorite when they are all so dreamy!) What I love most about Vance is his incredible journey to find redemption and true love. He is a beautiful example of how someone can change. And what a romantic he is! I love the way he fights to be pure and true to Violet and how he falls in love with her. It’s just so beautiful!

Violet and Vance’s¬†love story is genuine, passionate, and beautiful. They want to be better for each other. They tell each other about their deepest dreams and their worst mistakes. They fight about silly and about important things. They talk and get to know one another. And best of all, they fall in love. I really loved seeing Vance become a true gentleman when he is with Violet. I could tell early in the story that he was falling in love with her just by how he treated her. I also love that they both work to be honest with each other–at least they try to tell the truth. I appreciate how their relationship develops from friendship to a passionate romance.

A few of my favorite romantic quotes are a must here. I especially love anything Vance says that is about love. Can you blame me?

“Because I could never deserve you, Violet.”

“I needed to marry you because I couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing you again, having you live your life apart from me. It made me realize that I loved you, Violet. I have for months.”

The Cautious Maiden, ebook

Can we talk about the absolutely swoonworthy kisses in this novel? I was on the edge of my seat for almost half the book waiting for their first kiss. I appreciate how careful Vance was with Violet, but I was dying waiting for it! Wow, did it live up to my expectations! My heart is pounding a bit faster just thinking about the beautiful moment by the Everwood front door. But the kissing just kept getting better. I love that Vance always holds Violet’s honor in high regard and keeps her reputation pure–even if he wants to do more. Finally, he has learned some self control! What a difference from The Bound Heart. If anything, I would have loved a little more at the end of the novel when finally they are together and safe. One final, beautiful kiss would have been the cherry on topūüôā

My favorite romance line of the book and perhaps the series:

“He finally brought his lips against mine, and I finally, truly knew what melting was like.”

The Cautious Maiden, ebook

As with the other novels in the series, this book is full of action. From the first page, we have unexpected events ranging from apparently scandelous to terrifyingly dark. We are constantly on a roller coaster of emotions in this book. Will Rowen Steele show up? Is Vance in love with Violet? Will they kiss? Will they actually get married? So many questions and emotions. And I loved it. I reread a good portion of the book a second time just to experience the action (especially the romance) again. I don’t understand all the twists like why exactly Ezra cut Violet’s hair off. But I am impressed by all Dawn includes in a 300 page novel with it all feeling cohesive.

The ending of this novel was the most exciting and fast-paced yet. At first, I thought it was too fast paced. So much happens in the last 50 pages or so. It is a bit overwhelming at first. However, as I thought more about it, I can appreciate the¬†¬†crazy ending. It’s a climax to a novel that has so many moving parts–Vance and Violet’s changing relationship to Violet’s search for a true home to Rowen Steele coming for Violet. There are a lot of plots to sort out in the end of the novel. I won’t give away all the crazy twists and turns here. But just know that I am quite¬†happy¬†with how it ends.ūüôā

I love the theme of redemption that runs through this novel. Certainly, Vance is the obviously character in need of and seeking redemption from his past. I love that he has made Christ a central part of his life. But I also love that Violet also has to learn how to find redemption through Christ. While her sins are quite a bit less intense than Vance’s, she still isn’t perfect. And she learns to ask for forgiveness and to judge others less. I think those are great morals for readers as well.

One of my favorite quotes from the novel is about purity and self control which ties in well with this idea of redemption. And I totally agree with it.

“Staying pure had nothing to do with good intentions, or knowing what was right. It took so much self-control and accountability and precaution.”

The Cautious Maiden, ebook

This book met all my rather high expectations as Dawn creates yet another beautiful, moving, and action-packed romance in Gilded Age America. Overall, I cannot recommend this book and the full series highly enough! These books have quickly become some of my favorites. They are beautifully written, include unforgettable romance, and boost intelligent and intriguing characters.

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Check out my reviews of The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, and The Captive Imposter.
More importantly, read this incredible series for yourself.

There are two giveaways happening with the release of The Cautious Maiden.

Dawn has put together two darling prize packs to celebrate the release of The Cautious Maiden.¬†Follow this link to enter the giveaways! I definitely haveūüôā

[Me Before You]: A Review

Today was a gorgeous day in Dallas. And I spent a good part of it reading. Perfect!

I am back today with a review of Me Before You which I finished last week. I think I needed several days to digest this novel before writing a review. I fell in love, felt their heartache, and wished for their love to overcome any obstacle. What a beautiful, heartbreaking romance.

I decided when I first saw the preview for the movie that I wanted to read the book first and then see the movie. I am really glad I did that. It allowed me to experience the story for the first time in the book. The same day I finished the novel, I started watching all the movie trailers. And it looks just about perfect! Now, I am so excited to watch the movie with my sister next week!

I had basically no idea what this novel was about before I picked it up. But it sure took me for an emotional ride. This novel is not for everyone. It tackles some intense social issues that might not be for everyone. But it also gives us a beautiful love story and deep, vivid characters.

This was a novel that I wanted to read constantly. I didn’t want to do anything else. ¬†I love when a book captivates me so much that I want to just live in it for a while.


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is the unlikely love story of Louisa (Lou) Clark and Will Traynor. When Lou loses her job, she takes a position as a caretaker for Will–a man who is a paraplegic after an accident¬†two years ago. At first, Will is angry and depressed about his situation. Lou tries to cheer him up but he doesn’t seem to take her seriously. When Lou finds out that Will has an extreme plan for his life, she decides to show him what life can offer. Over several months, she seeks to show Will the beauties and adventures that life has to offer. And he shows her that the world is bigger than their tiny English village. Of course, they fall in love. But Moyes asks the poignant question:¬†What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Lou is immediately likable. She’s quirky and a little ditsy–but I loved her for her quirks and for her deep passion for life. She is comfortable with who she is–faults and eccentricities. I love that she doesn’t back down from Will’s rudeness. I love that she loves her bumblebee tights. I love that she’s never been anywhere and that she’s okay with it. But I love that she fights for her family and for those she loves, especially Will. He changes her in the best ways.

Will is a really intriguing character. He really made me think about issues I don’t usually contemplate. At first, I was appalled by what he wanted to do. But I am not paralyzed¬†in a life I never wanted to live. I haven’t lost my ability to travel or work or be with the person I love. I don’t know how I would react to an accident like. I like to think I would find ways to cope and adapt to my new life. But I’m not sure. I love the ways Lou is able to change him. She helps him see the beauty and fun in the world. She helps him live.


This love story is one of the most beautifully tragic romances I have ever read. Moyes creates such a compelling love story between two people that only meet because of fate.¬†From the first moment they met, I wanted Lou and Will to fall in love. I wanted them to change each other’s lives. And they did. One of my favorite aspects of their love story is how Lou and Will build each other up. Yes, they are snarky and sarcastic with each other. But ultimately, they help each other live more fully and love more deeply. They help each other see the world in a new way and reach for more in life. But throughout the story, I had a nagging fear of what could happen–a fear that love might not be enough.

I don’t want to give away the ending. This is an ending that each reader needs to experience for themselves. I will admit that¬†I love and I hate the ending.¬†It is an ending that still has me pondering why it ended this way and how it fits into the story.

Jojo Moyes’ beautiful style and compelling writing are as good as¬†Rainbow Rowell and Nina George. It is the writing that drew me into the story and kept me hooked throughout the novel. Her style paints the world in a new way–as a place of limitless possibility in the everyday and the extraordinary. She creates characters that are alive. They could be your next door neighbor or your cousin or your best friend.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the title means: Me Before You. First, I think it gives us a taste of what these characters, especially Lou, are like before they meet each other. Lou is timid and limits herself before she meets Will. She doesn’t travel; she¬†hasn’t been to college; and she lets her past control her future. With¬†Will, she sees more of the world and changes what she wants to do with her life. In many ways, Lou also changes Will. She helps him see that the world is worth living in even after his accident. But, this title also could allude to the way each of them thinks. Can they put the other’s desires ahead of their own? Or is what they want most important?

So many lovely quotes in this novel about love, life, and purpose. Here are some of my favorites.

Overall, I really enjoyed Me Before You. The intensity of some of the themes was outside my comfort zone. And I am still undecided on that ending. But such a beautifully written, captivating story. Can’t wait to watch the movie!

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What do you think of Me Before You? 


Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite First Sentences

I am excited to post again this week with Top 5 Wednesday!¬†T5W is a weekly meme is hosted by Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes.¬† You can visit the Goodreads T5W group¬†for more info. I decided to pick¬†an old topic for this week’s post. When I saw¬†Favorite First Sentences, I knew I had to post about it!

I hope you enjoy some of my favorite first lines.


I love these quotes because they are varied and memorable and begin some of my favorite novels. I have put these quotes in no particular order.

89aa771f067a072521f7a439bf7f1a3bPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

005The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

tumblr_nydu15cotj1twp9o6o1_1280Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

the-circus-arrives-without-warning-no-announcements-precede-it-it-is-simply-there-when-yesterday-it-quote-1The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

eustace-1The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

661792A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

What are some of your favorite first lines in literature?



Top 10 Tuesday: Books Because of Bloggers

Hi everyone! Welcome back to a new week of Top 10 Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic is all about recommendations so I decided to focus on…Ten Books I’ve Read Because Of Another Blogger.

I am super excited about this topic! I get so many great recommendations from fellow bloggers. Thanks for blogging about such great books!

I decided to break this up into books I have read and books on my TBR because of fellow bloggers. I don’t include bloggers that recommended them because I don’t always remember. So I will say it here. Thank you for recommendations! Enjoy!

I have read…

The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall // One of my favorite historical romance series now. Check out my reviews of The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, and The Captive Imposter. Look for my review of The Cautious Maiden later this week!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer // I first heard about this series by reading reviews of Cinder on book blogs. Love this fast paced sci-fi series! See my review of Cinder here.

With Every Breathe by Elizabeth Camden // Once I got hooked on historical romance, I couldn’t get enough! Just finished this historical novel set in Washington DC in the 1890s. Review coming soon!

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron // Kristy has become one of my favorite authors. She creates such beautiful stories with unique and poignant details. Highly recommend both Hidden Masterpiece novels! Check out my reviews of The Butterfly and the Violin and A Sparrow in Terezin.

Fangirl and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell // Fangirl was my first Rainbow Rowell novel and it was a good one. When I reviewed it, everyone said I had to read Eleanor and Park. And they were right! Thanks for introducing me to the incredible language and raw beauty of her novels! See my reviews of Fangirl and Eleanor and Park.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han // This was one of my very first recommendations when I starting blogging. It’s a sweet story but definitely a high school style romance. My review is here.

Now on my TBR…

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes // Really looking forward to this novel that travels over time and place to unravel a story of two women and the importance of stories. Sounds amazing!

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro // This modern day twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories sounds clever and fun!

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri // I just picked up this Pulitzer Prize winner at a local book sale this past weekend. Really looking forward to experiencing this one.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas // So many people recommend anything by Sarah J Maas. I really do want to check out her books soon!

What are some of your favorite books recommended by blogging friends?

Book Haul This Weekend

Last week, I hit 300 followers here on Greenish Bookshelf! Wow, thank you so much! I am honored that so many bookish friends enjoy my blog. I appreciate every comment, every like, and every book recommendationūüôā

My husband asked what I would like to do to celebrate 300 followers. I didn’t even hesitate in answering I wanted to go to the book sale at our library this weekend.¬†I have been looking forward to this for several weeks. And wow was it impressive!

The room was full of tables with labels. Every table was covered with books and piles of books sat underneath them as well. It was book heaven!

I immediately walked to the “classics” table and found so many great classics. I had to tell myself that buying another beautiful copy of Jane Eyre was unnecessary (I have 3!). Then I wandered the full room lingering longer at the paperback fiction table where I found more books than I could carry.

The best part?! Every book was only $1!!!

Here’s my haul this weekend. Can’t wait to read these!


Some classics:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

A few Pulitzer Prize Winners:
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Man Booker Prize Winner:
Life of Pi by Yann Martel

And several New York Times Bestsellers:
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake/

Now the hard question. Which should I read first?

Dallas area friends–do you have any favorite book sales? We’re addicted now!