Looking for an answer? Hamilton probably has one.

I think some of you have figured out by now that I am a bit of a fangirl. I try to keep it under wraps on Hidden Staircase, but I know it comes out. I mean, Benedict Cumberbatch does show up frequently in my Top Ten Tuesdays. (And other posts.) I had to gush a little bit when I first started watching Pretty Little Liars last year. (All caught up and STILL loving that show, btw.)

Anyway, I’ve got a new obsession. This time, it’s the theater. (I love musicals.) You may already know what I’m talking about – Hamilton: An American Musical. That’s right. The hip-hop story of one of our nation’s founding fathers. (I blame my favorite pop-culture artist Karen Hallion on this one. She did a few drawings that focused on Hamilton and that got me curious. And now I have more of her shirt designs that I simply must buy.)

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Hamilton_TheRevolutionI’ve got the soundtrack and listen to it all the time. I mean all the time. I’m surprised my husband hasn’t kicked me out of the house yet. And I bought Hamilton: The Revolution (review coming soon!) which is fantastic. Full of beautiful pictures and tons of notes from Lin-Manuel Miranda on his lyrics. Every time I listen to it I hear something new, or learn about something new. Sometimes I’ll hear something and think, I wonder if that’s true? Or I wonder what that’s all about? So I do some research on whatever my question is, and the answers are fascinating.

For instance: did you know that when we first started electing U.S. Presidents, the person who came in second became Vice President?

“It’s crazy that the guy who comes in second becomes vice president.”

Yes! That is crazy. Can you imagine campaigning against each other and then serving in office together? And did you know that the Twelfth Amendment that changed this actually calls for electors to cast half their votes for president and the other half for vice president? It’s only in “modern elections” (still don’t have an answer to when exactly this started) that candidates select a running-mate, thus sending all the votes to the two people running on the same ticket.

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Maybe you did know this. Maybe you paid more attention in history class. But I am completely fascinated. I’ve become a total Hamilton fangirl.

I’ve listened to the soundtrack so many times that I’m starting to know the lyrics. So well in fact that occasionally they pop into my head as a response to something someone says. And I realized…

Hamilton really does have an answer for (almost) everything.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.

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Only the Hunted Run – A mini review.

Only the Hunted Run (Sully Carter)

By Neely Tucker

Rating: 4/5 Stairs

OnlytheHuntedRunOnly the Hunted Run wastes no time getting started, dropping the reader right in the middle of a shooting at the U.S. Capitol. Sully Carter happens to be in the building when the shooting starts. Being a newspaper reporter, instead of evacuating, he pursues the shooter and the story.

You know I don’t like to give too much away, so I’ll stop the book description there. We follow Sully throughout the book as he digs deeper into the story, trying to determine who the shooter was and their motivation for the crime. The novel is fast paced, and took a few turns I wasn’t expecting along the way. It started out so quickly, I was hooked from page one. I liked that Sully is a reporter, giving him a different perspective and motivation for his inquiries than you see in a typical detective mystery.

When I started this book, I did not realize that it is the third in the Sully Carter series. I had no problem jumping in with book three. Mr. Tucker did a good job letting me know any background information about the characters that was important, and I didn’t realize it was part of a series until I had completed the book and hit the acknowledgments section.

Overall a fun summer thriller. It did get a little graphic on a few parts, and made me squirm a bit from the description. But otherwise it was a page turner with great characters.

Thanks to First to Read for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

TTT: Set Aside, But Not Forgotten.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (TTT) brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

So this week’s topic is eerily similar to a freebie topic I did two weeks ago:

Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet

Two weeks ago, I did a list of books I just HAD to buy and still hadn’t read yet. And almost all ten of these ALSO work for this list. I guess I should have looked ahead at the list of topics before I picked my freebie. Well, you live and you learn.

So, what to do this week? I could pick another ten books. My TBR is so long, I could easily find ten books on there that I added before I started blogging last year. But instead, I think I’m going to just tweak the topic just a bit.

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The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door

By Shari Lapena

Rating 4/5 Stairs

I had no idea what to expect from this book. All I had was this description from First to Read:

A chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

CoupleNextDoorSo I figured it would be something about an affair going on between two couples who lived next door to each other. I was wrong on that score.

The book opens with Anne and Marco are next door at Cynthia and Graham’s for a birthday dinner party, while Anne and Marco’s six-month-old baby is left unattended in their house. OK, they were right next door and they had the baby monitor, and they were checking on the baby every 30 minutes. And I do know people who have done this before. So I tried not to parent-shame as I read this part. But right away I new this was not going to end well.

Anne and Marco arrive home very drunk to an empty house. The baby is missing. Panic ensues. And then the secrets start coming out.

Ms. Lapena weaves an interesting, page turning tale. Told in third person, the narrators shift primarily between Anne, Marco, and Detective Rasbach’s perspectives. As I read, my theory kept changing. Anne killed the baby and got rid of the body. No. Anne killed the baby and then Marco found her and removed the body. No, Anne loves her baby. She really was kidnapped. Wait, it had to have been one of the parents, didn’t it? Round and round I went. The more I read, the more my theory shifted and changed.

This was a fun thriller to read. I had no idea what turn Ms. Lapena would throw in next. She gives just enough information to twist the story along another path, but not necessarily towards the end point. As soon as you think you know what’s going on, she tosses another wrench in the works. I definitely recommend this one if you enjoy the suspense/thriller genre.

Many thanks to First to Read for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

TTT: The Perfect Setting for Bookworms

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (TTT) brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday here at Hidden Staircase! This week is another open topic.

Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc)

I find it funny that it specifically says books set in England. That is always the first thing that pops into my head! But in an effort to keep my Top Ten lists feeling fresh and fancy free, I will not be selecting England for my list this week. Instead, I thought it would be more fun to pick a place that ALL of us bookworms adore…Is there any place better than a room full of books? Whether a library or a bookstore?

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