Winter Book Haul!

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Winter is my favorite time to cozy up and discovery great literature. The weather is (usually) colder, there's more down time during the holidays and one of my favorite things to do during this time is explore new places I haven't gone too and discover new reads. 


Autumn 2015 Playlist

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Music is one of my favorite things on the planet, and it's probably yours too. I'm always on the hunt for amazing music and in the past month, I've discovered and listened to some amazing artists and records. I wanted to share my discoveries with you so that you can enjoy something new too!



How To Survive The Miami Book Fair! (+ Tips and Tricks)

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Hey everyone! I had a fantastic response to my Book Expo America Tips and Tricks so I decided to continue my series and go local! This year in my hometown of Miami, it's the annual Miami Book Fair where hundreds of prominent authors attend and for a book lover like me, it's book heaven. 


The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials: Book + Movie Comparison Review

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Title: The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Director: Jake Schreier
Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★★★★ (8/10)

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From IMDB


After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.




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My Review: 

New Listens // October 2015 Playlist

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Music is one of my favorite things on the planet, and it's probably yours too. I'm always on the hunt for amazing music and in the past month, I've discovered and listened to some amazing artists and records. I wanted to share my discoveries with you so that you can enjoy something new too!


Book Review: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

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Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Release Date: August 18th 2015
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Source: Sent by Publisher
Rating: ★★★
+Add to Goodreads


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It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.


But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
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My Review: 



New Listens // September 2015 Playlist

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New Autumn listens! 


Author Interview: Nicola Yoon

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Here at Reads By Amanda, we love authors. How could you not? From our favorite series, books, moments, scenes and characters, there's a writer who created all those moments and decided it had to be written down and shared with the world.

Click on to read my interview with Nicola Yoon! 



New Listens July/August 2015 Playlist

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Late summer music discoveries. 


Taking A Break // Self Care Tips

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Hey everyone! This summer has been incredibly transformative and illuminating for me. It's always vital to see how you grow throughout your life, whether you want to measure it in days, weeks, months, or years. 


Book Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

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Title: Seveneves

Author: Neal Stephenson
Release Date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Source: William Morrow 
Rating: ★★★
+Add to Goodreads


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An exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.

What would happen if the world were ending?


A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.


But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .



Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
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My Review: 


What's In My Bag | Summer Edition

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I can't believe it's already August! As the weather changes, so does my essentials for each season. Check out what I can't live without this summer!

Beauty Review: Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray

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I mentioned this in my haircare routine, but I am obsessed with sea salt sprays. My hair is thick and tends to fall stick straight with no real texture through it. I love sea salt sprays because it adds the perfect texture and loose wave to my hair without having to do any work with my hair. 



Week XVII Orly Nail Lacquer in Glowstick

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Neon goodness for the summer.

Minimalism: How To Easily Declutter Your Space

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Easy tips and tricks to clean out your space and embrace minimal living! 


Paper Towns: Book + Movie Comparison Review

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Title: Paper Towns 
Director: Jake Schreier
Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★★★★ (9/10)

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From IMDB


A young man and his friends embark upon the road trip of their lives to find the missing girl next door.



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My Review: 


Book Review: Paper Towns

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Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Release Date: September 22nd 2009
Publisher: Speak
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★★
+Add to Goodreads

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Who is the real Margo?


Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...
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My Review: 

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Author: Marie Kondo
Release Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★★
+Add to Goodreads

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This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.


Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?


Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 



With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
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My Review: 


My Hair Care Routine | How To Style Short Hair

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Hey all! I recently cut my hair a few weeks ago for the summer and I thought I would share some tips to styling short hair! 

Comic Review: Storm #3

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Title: Storm #3 (Storm (2014) #3)
Author: Greg Pak, Matteo Buffagni (Illustrator),  David Yardin (Cover artist)
Release Date:  September 24th 2014
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
+Add to Goodreads

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Long ago, after she was worshipped as a goddess on the plains of Africa, Storm was stripped of her mutant powers and fell into deep depression. A brilliant inventor named Forge came to her rescue and nursed her back to health, showing her that she is so much more than her superhuman abilities. And a romance blossomed between them. But it was a love made to be broken. Now, years later, Storm has the powers and stature of a goddess once more, and she is reunited with Forge. But what does fate have in store for the pair this time? 

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My Review: 


Chill // Summer Vibes 2015 Playlist

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Second summer playlist of the year! Have a listen! 

Summer Sorbet Recipe!

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I don't know about you, but this summer feels like the hottest so far. The blazing heat feels like it's setting a new record and I'm always looking for new ways to stay cool.

2015 Summer Makeup Look!

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Hey everyone! Summer is here again and I wanted to show you an easy and sophisticated makeup look that will last you through the hot summer months. 

Skin Care Review: Lush Dark Angels

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Dark Angels are made with charcoal and black sugar and promises to "gently exfoliate and absorb excess oils to leave dull, oily or acne-prone skin feeling fresh and matte."

Bookshelf Tour!

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I've had tons of requests for a tour of my bookshelf/how I store my books! Click on to see my complete bookshelf tour! 


Summer 2015 Playlist

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Hot weather and sunny skies, say hello to summer! 


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Book + Movie Comparison Review

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Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Screenplay by: Jesse Andrews 
Release Date: June 12, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★★★★ (8/10)

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From IMDB


High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.



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My Review: 

Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author:  Jesse Andrews
Release Date: March 1st 2012
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Source: Bought  
Rating: ★★★
+Add to Goodreads
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Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.


Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.


Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.



And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.


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My Review: 


Book Review: Everything, Everything

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Title: Everything, Everything 

Author: Nicola Yoon
Release Date: September 1st 2015 
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Sent by publisher 
Rating: ★★★★★
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This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.


My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.


But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.


Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. 



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My Review: 


Week XVI Deborah Lippmann Like Dreamers Do

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Deborah Lippmann is a nail polish brand I've had my eye on for a while, and finally had a change to try it out. Like Dreamers Do is part of Deborah Lippmann's Spring 2015 Whisper Collection.



Skin Care Review: Lush Herbalism Cleanser

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As I stated in my last Lush product review, I've been a fan of Lush products for a long time now, and today I'm going to do a review on Lush's Herbalism face and body cleanser.



Book Review: Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite

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Title: Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite
Author:  Suki Kim 
Release Date:  October 14th 2014 
Publisher: Crown
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
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A haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea's ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il's reign


Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has accepted a job teaching English. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them to write, all under the watchful eye of the regime. 


Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don't know or choose to ignore that Suki doesn't share their faith. As the weeks pass, she is mystified by how easily her students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the same time, they offer Suki tantalizing glimpses of their private selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that have not yet been extinguished. She in turn begins to hint at the existence of a world beyond their own—at such exotic activities as surfing the Internet or traveling freely and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. But when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.



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My Review: 


How To Survive Book Expo America! (+ Tips and Tricks)

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Last week, I attended BEA a.k.a. Book Expo America, the largest publishing event in the nation. BEA is a publishing industry event for bloggers, publishers, librarians, authors and retailers. 


It's where you get to see which books are going to be the big titles for the fall and the next year and the opportunity to read these titles months before they go to print. 


Read more, I know you want too



Week XVI Avon Speed Dry Nail Enamel In Strawberry

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Hot bright summer colors! 

Comic Review: Genius #3

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Title: Genius #3 (Genius #3)
Author:  Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman, Afua Richardson (Ilustrator)
Release Date: August 20, 2014
Publisher: Image
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★

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GENIUS: ISSUES 1-5, WEEKLY THROUGHOUT AUGUST The Winner of Top Cow's Pilot Season makes its triumphant return to print! What if the greatest military mind of our generation was born to a people who are already supremely conditioned to wage war, who know nothing but violence since birth, and must continually adapt to new predators in order to survive? What if the second coming of Alexander the Great, of Genghis Khan, of Napoleon, of Patton...what if it was a teenaged girl from South Central, L.A. named Destiny? And what if she decides to secede three blocks of the ‘Hood from the Union? Who is going to take it back from her and her army of gangbangers? Who CAN? From writers MARC BERNARDIN and ADAM FREEMAN (Alphas, X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler, The Authority, The Highwaymen) and rising-star artist AFUA RICHARDSON comes a harrowing, action-packed tale of a city that declares war on a brilliant young woman pushed to the edge.

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My Review: 

Spring 2015 Playlist!

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First playlist of the year! 


SheaMoisture SuperFruit Hair Masque Review!

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SheaMoisture SuperFruit Hair Masque ($12.99) is a deep conditioning mask that according to the brand itself, "contains powerful antioxidant properties that support and protect aging hair for the effect of UV exposure and other environmental aggressors and nourishing oils hydrate and smooth coarse hair.



Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

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Title: The Martian
Author:  Andy Weir
Release Date: February 11th 2014
Publisher: Crown
Source: Giveaway 
Rating: ★★★

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
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My Review:

Comic Review: Saga Issue #26

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Title: Saga #26
Author: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
Release Date: March 4, 2015
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★★

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Gwendolyn's quest takes an interesting turn.

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My Review:

Comic Review: Saga Issue #25

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Title: Saga #25
Author: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
Release Date: February 4th 2015 
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★★

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Saga is back, as is almost the entire cast! And as thanks to retailers and readers for helping our audience continue to grow every new arc, Fiona Staples created an amazing wraparound cover for this action-packed issue.
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My Review: 

SheaMoisture Haul!

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I was wandering around my local drugstore the other day and later, I found that I brought quite a bit of SheaMoisture products home with me so I thought I would share my haul with you all! 


Week XV China Glaze Shocking Pink

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February is still in full swing and I have days of chillier weather so it's always a great excuse to bust out chunkier knits and scarfs for early spring. 

Book Review: Cleopatra: A Life

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Title: Cleopatra: A Life
Author: Stacy Schiff 
Release Date: November 1st 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★
+Add to Goodreads
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Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately, she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.


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My Review: 

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