IRL: The Books of the Resistance 2017

So, the political situation in the USA is a bit…tense right now.  Many people are angry and scared.  Many people have also started turning to books to help them understand what is happening, what might come next, and how to fight back.

The most popular book right now is 1984 by George Orwell.  You see people quoting it all over facebook and comment sections, and Amazon is now actually backordered on the paperback because of the sudden demand!

While I am happy that people are reading, I think that this situation calls for even more books to be pushed into the spotlight.  More dystopian novels that show a possible bleak future, more history books that show us what the signs are that lead down the darkest of paths, and more history showing the fights that we’ve fought before, whether they were focused on sex, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

So, here is a beginning list of what we should all be reading right now.  Books speak to our situation.  Books that teach us where we come from.  Books about the people who have fought these fights before.  Books that can inspire us in our efforts to fight back.

If you have any suggestions for books that should be added, please leave a comment!

Reading List of the Resistance

  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
  • The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis by Patrick Kingsley
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany by William L. Shirer
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Parting the Waters: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement 1954-63 by Taylor Branch
  • Virtual Light by William Gibson
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  • The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstader
  • Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
  • Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Stay strong!



IRL-Update on Why There Haven’t Been Many Updates

Hello, readers!

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, updates on the blog have been a bit…sparse in the past couple of months.  There are a few reasons for this.

  1. I went back to work and also started playing hockey, so those take up quite a bit of time.
  2. My reading pace started to far outpace my review writing pace, which means that I couldn’t remember much about a book by the time I got around to reviewing it!
  3. I started this blog out at too ambitious of a pace.  I can’t believe that I was posting between 4-7 times a week in the beginning!

So, it’s a new year (and I can say that because it’s still January), so I’ve decided to get back into the swing of things over here at my blog.

So I don’t get so overwhelmed, I’ve decided to cut back a bit on the posting.  I promise to post at least 2 reviews a month.  This probably doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’ve discovered that I need to set sensible goals for myself that I can actually achieve without stressing myself out, especially since this blog is supposed to be a fun place for me to share my bookish thoughts and reviews.

Thank you, to all of my readers who have stuck with me throughout this review drought.

I will be posting again so!

–Rina B.


Book+Giveaway: My Brown-Eyed Earl (The Wayward Wallflowers #1) by Anna Bennett

Genre: MF Historical Romance, Explicit

Title: My Brown-Eyed Earl

Author: Anna Bennett

Release Date: 4 October 2016



William Ryder, Earl of Castleton, is at the end of his noble rope. Not only has he broken ties with his longtime mistress, his mother has publicly announced her wish for him to marry a suitable young lady―if only to help him raise the twins left in his care. Hiring a governess should solve some of Will’s problems…but when he meets the candidate in question, he finds himself in an entirely new predicament.

Miss Margaret Lacey is brainy, beautiful, and, once upon a time, Will’s betrothed. But she bowed out of the engagement―and, since then, has never been the same. A tragic accident robbed her of everything, and now, at age twenty-three, her marital prospects are slim to none. Penniless but not without pride, Meg convinces the vexingly handsome Will to hire her for the job. What neither of them could have expected from this arrangement, however, is an attraction that burns stronger than ever. Are these two lost souls finally ready to be schooled in the art of love?

What I Liked:

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Blog Tour: My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett — Excerpt and Giveaway!


I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennet.  This book grabbed me with its amazing and hilarious title, and I immediately knew that it was something that I had to read.  The book was just released on October 4, and I am currently about 50% through so far and loving it!  This is a great debut novel, and I can’t wait until the rest of this series is published!  This post with give you a summary as well as an excerpt from early on in the novel, but the best bit is that this post ends with a giveaway to win 1 of 2 copies of this beautiful new romance.

My Brown Eyed Earl.jpg

My Brown-Eyed Earl

By Anna Bennett

Miss Margaret Lacey is brainy and beautiful, but she’s also penniless, and at the ripe old age of twenty-three society has declared her a spinster. For her part, Meg is less concerned with her empty dance card than with her empty bank account. She resolves to make her own way as a governess but discovers her new employer is the Earl of Castleton—the vexingly handsome man she rejected one fateful day, eight years ago.

William Ryder has never forgotten Meg, the elusive girl next door who claimed she’d rather shave her head than marry him. Now she’s the governess, but Will plans to teach her a few lessons of his own. As stolen kisses lead to passionate nights, Will and Meg just might find true love where they least expect it…


Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Will leaned forward on his elbows and pinched the bridge of his nose. Somehow, in the space of a week, his highly ordered, luxurious life had fallen apart.

First, Marina, the beautiful widow he’d been seeing, hinted that she wanted more than the mutually pleasurable arrangement they’d agreed to, forcing Will to break things off with her.

Next, his recently deceased cousin’s mistress showed up on Will’s doorstep with the twin girls, threatening to leave them at an orphanage unless he took them in.

And then last night, he attended a dinner party in honor of his mother’s birthday. In front of a dozen guests, she announced her sole wish: that her son marry before she turned fifty—in exactly one year. After choking on his wine, Will promised to give the matter some thought.

Then he had gone directly to his club and drunk him- self into oblivion.

Jesus. He stood, ran his hands through his hair, and checked his reflection in a mirror between a pair of book- cases. Gibson was right—he looked like hell.

Bad enough to scare off a potential governess.

He swiped the cravat off his chair, slung it around his neck, hastily tied it in some semblance of a knot, and but- toned his jacket. There was nothing to be done about the stubble on his chin or the faint imprint the desk blotter had left on his cheek, so he threw back the rest of his coffee and congratulated himself. Within the hour he’d have a governess to manage the twins, and at least one aspect of his life would be set to rights.

Gibson was already shuffling down the corridor. “My lord,” he intoned from the doorway, “may I present Miss Lacey.”

Will blinked. Lacey . . . it was a common name. Surely the potential governess couldn’t be—

She glided into the study and cast a wary look his way.

“Good afternoon, Lord Castleton. It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

Dear God. It was her. The vicar’s daughter who thought she was too damned good for him. Standing in his study, cloaked in a drab dress that might have been lilac once but now more closely resembled gray. No ribbons adorned her brown hair. No ringlets framed her face. In fact, the only decoration she wore was the light smattering of freckles across her nose.

The butler raised his bushy brows. “I was not aware that you were already acquainted.”

“Thank you, Gibson. That will be all.”

The butler left reluctantly, closing the door behind him. Miss Lacey pressed her lips together as though she longed to say something and silence herself at the same time. From what he recalled of her tongue, it was best kept under lock and key.

“What on earth are you doing here?” Will demanded.

“Applying for the governess position. I assumed you knew.”

“No,” he said curtly.

“I see.” She glanced over her shoulder at the door. “Per- haps it would be better if I—”

“Be seated, Miss Lacey.” He inclined his head toward the armchair in front of his desk.

She hesitated, and for a moment he thought she’d refuse. But then she walked toward the chair, looked at the seat, and froze. Just as stubborn as he remembered, unbiddable as ever.

He bristled. “Perhaps you’d prefer to remain standing for the entire interview?”

“No. It’s only . . .”

“You object to meeting in my study?”

She narrowed eyes that were not quite green, but not quite brown either. “No, but I hoped to avoid sitting on this.” In one, fluid motion she leaned over the chair, picked up a pink, lace-edged scrap of satin between her thumb and index finger, and dangled it in front of his face.

Lord Castleton snatched the frilly handkerchief from Meg’s hand. He started to stuff it in his pocket, apparently thought better of it, and shoved it into a desk drawer. “Let me assure you, Miss Lacey. Nothing untoward has occurred here in my study.”

Perhaps not. But something untoward had definitely occurred somewhere.

Meg sat in the chair in front of his desk, glad she no longer had to rely on her shaking legs for support. “I’m certain that’s none of my concern.”

“I’m glad we agree.”

She was curious, though. If her parents had had their way, the man who was now sitting across from her and cursing under his breath would have been her husband. Difficult as it was to fathom, she would have been his countess, probably blessed with a couple of children at this point.

The sight of him now, sporting rumpled clothes, a scowling face, and a foul mood, made her think she had dodged a rather nasty bullet.


I have TWO copies of My Brown-Eyed Earl to giveaway to a couple of lucky followers.  Follow this link to enter: CLOSED

InMyOpinion: Harry Potter Books From My Least to Most Favorite

Like many people (especially twenty-somethings like me), Harry Potter changed my life.  Once upon a time, I did NOT like to read.  My family despaired of me, but even though I had  a good reading ability, I just couldn’t find any books that I really connected with (besides Pokémon chapter books, which were way too easy and also crap).

When I was 11-years-old, my mom bought me a paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at a school bookfair.  “I’ve heard this is pretty good,” she said, handing me the book.

I didn’t read it.

I remember, maybe a month later, picking up the book and reading the first page by the light of a Nikelodeon light up pen.  It was boring, so I closed the book and put it aside.

I honestly don’t really remember reading Harry Potter for the first time.  I mean, obviously, I read it and fell in love, but I don’t have any clear memories of experiencing the wizarding world for the first time.  After, I kept pestering my mom for the sequel.  Eventually, she gave in and even decided to read the first book for herself.  She became a fan, too.

The rest is history.  I read books 4-7 on their release days.  I saw/own the movies, a ton of merchandise, costumes, a wand, etc.  I almost started crying when I walked into Diagon Alley at Universal Studios in Florida.


But, as with every series, I have a favorite book and a least favorite.  The rest fall somewhere in between, and I’ve discovered that some of my opinions are controversial.

So…here’s my list of Harry Potter books from my least favorite to my favorite.  (Please keep in mind that I do love all of these books.  Even a book at #7 on this list is within my 10 favorite books of all time.)

Here we go…

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Book: Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA Fantasy

Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: 1 August 2009



For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

What I Liked:

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