Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Heidi – This is My Book Shelf Blog | The Test by Sylvain Neuval

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! This month I had the extremely kind and amazing Heidi pick my book, you can find her over at This is My Book Shelf Blog. As the title states, Heidi picked The Test by Sylvain Neuvel. Thank you so much for helping me out and picking this book for me!


One Sentence Review

A very intense book that messes with your mind and really makes you think about human psychology.

Description

Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.

Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.

When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.
How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice? –goodread.com


What I Liked

First and foremost, this book is nothing short of intense. It really pulls you in at the start being calm and you think you know what you are getting into, but you really don’t. Everything in a moment got turned upside down and I don’t want to say more than that.

This book is nothing short of amazing for a few reasons, but yes this is going to be a gush review. Sorry, not sorry. This really makes you think about human resilience, human psychology, and what society wants from its citizens. I am writing this review a few days after reading it and I keep thinking about things that characters say and do. Everything in this short novella has a point to it and it is really written to make you think. Even in this short story it has so much to it, it does not fee3l like the author was cutting corners or rushing the reader in the slightest.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, I can’t think of a thing I disliked about it personally, but I can see some readers having a difficult time reading this story (spoilers ahead) so here are some trigger warning; murder, brutal violence, terrorism, and racism. I am not the end all be all for trigger warnings, look more into them from other readers before reading this book because they might have picked up on other triggers that I have personally missed.

Overall

Overall, this was a very impactful book to me because it really makes you think about human nature, society, and a laundry list of other things such as prejudices and racism that are ingrained in society. I feel like this little story really packs so much into it that it shows the talent of the author. This will be a story I reread again I feel like and it will have a place on my bookshelf for the years to come.


Next month I am reading a book picked by the wonderful Maggie from the blog Storme Read a Lot. They have wonderfully well written reviews and other awesome posts. Also, their twitter is just as wonderful!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Hauls

Book of the Month | September 2020

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of my subscription of BOTM. This month I am happy to say I actually picked two books for my box and both just sound amazing! I honestly had a really hard time between all the awesome choices. One good things was they had Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson and if I had not bought it the day before I would have picked that one so I was able to pick another as well as a book from a previous month. Now, on to my picks and why I chose them!


Descriptions

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut. -goodreads

The Shadows by Alex North

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again… -goodreads


Why I Picked These Books

When it comes to Transcendant Kingdom, I picked it because I have been really enjoying hard hitting emotional reads as of late. This book really tells the story of a woman who is spending her life trying to find a way to help her family while they suffer from mental illness, addiction, and loss. I think it will also explore the pressure this puts on Gifty and her struggles that come from this. Not only does this book peak my interest, so does the author. I have heard such wonderful things about this authors outstanding gift when it comes to writings and I just felt like I needed to pick up a book by them.

The second book I picked, The Shadows, was added to my book because I have been into true crime and horror a lot lately and this seemed like a fictional combination of these. On top of that, I have heard promising things about this authors works and I have not read anything by them before.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Does this book sound interesting to you?

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Reviews

Book Review | One by One by Ruth Ware

*Book given via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

One by One

Description: 

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?


What I Liked

First and foremost, Ware has once again shown her talent when it comes to creating an atmosphere perfect for a thriller. Again and again Ware has proven that she can in a short time make you feel as if you are in the story along with the characters. You get suspicious of people right away and you feel trapped right along side them on the mountain top chalet. This has always been my favorite aspects when it comes to reading one of her novels, I fall right into the world because she builds it up perfectly. Another thing I really liked was the fact that the feeling I felt while reading One by One are the same feeling I had when I read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

Additionally, I really liked the tech company that was created and used throughout this novel. No only was it used to give structor to the story, it was fun to see a made up company and product that seems like it could really be on the app store. I thought using this company really brings it into modern times and ensures it does not feel like the story takes place long ago. It also lends itself to creating very interesting dynamics that are a key component to this story. The suspicion and high tensions within this story, it really lends itself to the narrative. It leads to emotions getting higher and higher and leads to hidden, deep distrust to come to the surface.


What I Didn’t Like

The only downside was I felt one of the two narrators, I was so happy there were only two main voices in this story, read someone what juvenile from time to time though not consistently. So, it really was not anything that ruined the story or pulled me out of it in anyway. Which, for a thriller to be effective needs to really keep you in the narrative, and this really does.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this thriller. The setting was amazing, the atmosphere was palpable, the characters were interesting as well as their dynamics, and the story fully pulled me in. Once again Ware has proven to be an amazing writer and continues to be one of my auto-buy authors. Even though I received this book for free, I am going to go pick up another on publication day. If you want a good secluded thriller that appears to be a dream come true at first, but turns into a horror, I feel like this is one you should certainly look into.

4stars

Author Links

Ruth Ware

Book Information

Publication Date: September 8th 2020

Publisher:  Scout Press

List Price: $27.99

ISBN:  978-1501188817

Pages: 384 pages


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TBR

To Be Read | #AnimalCrossingReadathon

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to a very last minuet post. I was scrolling through twitter the other day and came across the Animal Crossing Readathon hosted by @ambooklife, @medusareads and @paperbackjedi over on twitter from March 9th-20th. I am very much looking forward to this game so I wanted to give it a shot! If you wanted to check out the twitter account for this readathon you can see that here: @acrossingread Now on to my TBR!


Prompts

Image

Resetti: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

K.K. Slider: Audiobook of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Able Sisters: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Tom Nook: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Animal Crossing Gamecube: Leaving Open


Thankfully a lot of the books that were already on my monthly TBR for challenges and such fit into this readathon, which never happens to me. The only prompt I am at a loss for is Animal Crossing Gamecube. I am not sure if I want to reread something or read a the book I have had sitting on my shelf the longest. But, I figure I have time to make a decision and it will allow my mood reading a choice in the matter.


Are you excited about Animal Crossing?

Are you taking part in this readathon?

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Hauls

Blogmas | Book Haul | November & December 2019

BookHaul12:17

Hello and welcome to my my book haul for both November and December. I fell a bit behind with my haul last month so I decided to just put everything together. I don’t want to ramble too much, so here are the books I picked up in one way or another!


I received A Christmas Carol through Coffee and a Classic Box, which I have been subscribed too for months at this point. The Queen of Nothing I picked up at Barns and Nobel it is a signed edition because I could not resist.  Bonhoeffer is actually my mothers and I wanted to read it for a while so I am borrowing it from her because she is very supportive in my reading habit. Last, but not least is Gwendy’s Magic Feather which was a pre-order and a sequel to Gwendy’s Magic Box.

Great Goddesses is my latest purchase, I feel like Nikita Gill is one of the few poets I auto buy their works. I decided to pick up two of Shakespeare’s plays for a project I am working on for next year, I decided on Midsummers Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. You should hear about that project very soon if you have not already. The Light Between Oceans is actually from my library, but I borrowed it this month for my book from Australia read, Bury What You Cannot Take is also for for that challenge, but takes place in China. Last in this pile is The Glittering Hour, this was my BOTM pick for December, if you want to see why I picked this one you can see my post here:BOTM Unboxing | December 2019.

My Best Friends’s Exorcism I picked up from a library sale, I know a lot of people were reading it during Halloween this year so I wanted to give it a go. I finally caved and picked up Alexander Hamilton that inspired the play. I also have my BOTM from November, if you want to know my reasonings you can see that here: BOTM Unboxing | November 2019.

Lastly I have The Morrigan, which is tales of a Celtic Goddess, I have always loved lure and myths so I wanted to explore more. I also picked up a book called Muse with the Moon, which is almost like a reflection activity book that has specific prompts during a particular phase of the moon. You all will be seeing that a lot, I am thinking about starting a series with what I put in that book each month until it is full.


What was your most recently acquired book?

Do any of these books sit on your shelf or have you read them already?

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TBR

TBR | November 2019

ToBeRead12:17

Hello and welcome to my TBR for the 11th month of the year! I cannot believe how quickly this year is now going since we are in the home stretch. This month I was thinking I was going to really keep an eye on my reading challenges, but I wanted to read so much I had to go to twitter and ask for some volunteers to send me some numbers so I could narrow my TBR down in addition to reading a book that was on my post Lists | Top 5 Books I Want to Read Before 2020. Anyway, on the to TBR!


I am going to go a little out of order here, but Middlemarch was the only book on this list I picked for myself. It is the last classic on my shelf and I honestly am very much in a classic reading mood. It is also one of the five books I want to read before 2019 comes to an end. I picked this book up on a whim at a local independent bookstore because I never read any of Eliot’s works and I felt like I would really enjoy this one.

Next up is The Bone Season, which is number 27 on my TBR. This number was picked by Rosie, you can check out her blog by clicking here. I am really happy that this number was picked because I picked this book up in October, but I didn’t get a chance to read it and I was bummed out.

The next number that was picked was number 10 by Katerina, you can find her tweet below. Number 10 was It Would Be Night in Caracas, which I was given when I went to BookCon earlier this year. I am excited to have this on my TBR because the story sounds so interesting.

The next number is 25, picked by Emma, you can check out her blog by clicking the link here. Number 25 is Nothing to See Here, which was my Book of the Month from last month, so I guess Emma is trying to get me to catch up on those books. I am excited to get to this one though, I mean the cover has an illustration of a person on fire… I need to know why!

The next book I am going to be reading this month is The Toll with Reg, Jenna, and Amy as part of our buddy reading group. I am so excited to be reading the final book in the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman. All of us have pretty much loved this series since we read the first one together.

Well, there you have it the 5 books I am planning on reading in the month of November. I want to take a moment to thank everyone who sent me numbers, but there was no way I would have been able to read 16 books this month. I wish I could though!


What books are you planning to read this month?

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?

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Hauls

Read 5, Buy 1 | September 2019 Fail

Read 5 Buy 1

Hello and welcome to my admittance of my Read 5, Buy 1 failure. This past month I have read a lot, but I had the itch to buy a bunch of books as well. I felt so bad about this, I actually did a bit of an unhaul so my TBR didn’t grow to much and I might even unhaul some more. I feel like I am in a spot where my reading tastes are changing again so a lot of the things on my shelf are not calling to me quite so much. Anyway, here are the books I read and the books I added to my Owned TBR.


Read 2

 

 

 


Books Added 2

-Gifted-


OWNED TBR COUNT

35 books!

Thankfully, only up 2 books from last month, so not totally horrific. I do think an unhaul is going to be in my near future though. Like I said earlier in the post my reading tastes are shifting and some of the titles are just not doing it for me anymore.


What’s the last book you added to your TBR?

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Reviews

REVIEW | If, Then by Kate Hope Day

BookReview12:17

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

If, Then Description: 

The residents of a sleepy mountain town are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality in this dazzling debut that combines the family-driven suspense of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere with the inventive storytelling of The Immortalists.

In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny’s own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.

At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.

Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies—the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.

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What I Liked

This was a very fast paced read that had you flying through the lives if the four propionate characters. I have been reading a lot of big novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, so reading such a fast paced book, that didn’t feel rushed was wonderful and just what I needed.

I also enjoyed how this was a science fiction novel that wasn’t too out there. It just blurred the lines between alternate realities and did so in a really interesting way. As I was reading this I was almost getting NOS4A2 vibes in this respect. It was just a little science fiction that really lit up the story. It takes a skilled writer to just take something small and build a story like this surrounding it.

The writing in this novel was done really well. It takes talent in my eyes to be able to create a story that shifts so much between characters, time, and in some cases reality as the characters know it. If I had tried to do such a thing there would be plot holes left and right. Additionally, her writing style is very enjoyable to a point I will be looking into her future books, I hope she writes more.


What I Didn’t Like

Personally for me I did not get fully attached to any of the characters. This does not mean they were poorly written or anything like that. I just think because there were four main characters and the story flew by so quickly I didn’t really get a chance to connect with them. The characters themselves were interesting, especially since they seemed to be “battling” and experiencing such different things in their lives.


Overall Thoughts

This is a very intriguing and interesting book. The premise of this book reminded me of a combination of books I already enjoyed, while it was all her own. The book flew by, but I can also see how that can be a disservice to this story. Overall, it was a good read in my eyes, I was entertained and I wanted to know what would happen next so I kept turning the pages.  If you want a fast paced read that is a little out of the ordinary and has you thinking about alternate realities/dimensions I suggest this book to you.

4stars

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Author Links

Kate Hope Day

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Book Information

Publication Date: March 12th 2019

Publisher: Random House

List Price: $26.00

ISBN: 9780525511229

Pages: 272 pages

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TBR

March TBR | 2019

ToBeRead12:17

Hello everyone, it is a new month. That means I write another TBR that I may or may not stick too. Last month I did not stick to my TBR in the slightest because I was on the verge of going into a book slump and I decided to be a full fledge mood reader instead of reading a mixture of mood and set TBR. Anyway, I feel much better in regards to the possible slump so I wanted to try something new. I decided to post a few polls to twitter to have you, my wonderful readers, to pick my TBR!

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The Last Hours by Minette Walters

The Last Hours (Black Death, #1)

This book has been on my TBR since July of 2018 and it is about time I get to this book. The main reason I ended up with this book was because I got it as an ARC at bookcon. I explained the types of books I liked and I was given this as a recommendation. As soon as they said historical fiction and black plague I said “I’ll take that”. That does not speak well for my interests, but who cares. It sounds perfect.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Neverworld Wake

This book I am picking up because it was picked by my friend Jenna for our buddy reading group to read this month. I am excited to read this with Jenna, Amy, and Reg and talk about this thriller. As soon as I looked up the description I was so happy about her choice and I put a hold on it through my library at once.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

This was another book I put on the poll on twitter to have others help me pick my TBR. I really loved the first book in the series and I am really hoping to enjoy this one as well. I am also really happy that this one won because I feel like I am reading a lot of big books as of late and this small book I think will break them up wonderfully.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree

I preorederd this book months ago and I really want to get to it sooner rather than later. I am excited for this adult fantasy from an author I have really enjoyed over the years. Also, how can anyone go wrong with a fantasy with dragons?!

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What are you reading this month?

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Hauls

Book Haul | January & February 2019

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So, this year I restarted by read 5, buy 1 and so far it has been going really well last month I didn’t really haul many books so I decided to combine January and February. I will say that the challenge is going really nicely. My owned TBR is currently sitting at 37 books, which I am very proud of. I am well on my way to get into the teens, which is my ultimate goal. Anyway, I am going to stop blabbing on and on and get to the book!

-Pre Read 5, Buy 1-

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

So I love Holly Black and I really enjoyed reading the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince. I had this book preordered and it was placed before the new year and also because I was really excited about it I needed to preordered it. Anyway, I am really excited to get to it in the near future.


-Post Read 5, Buy 1-

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black

I decided to pick this up for Black History Month… oops I read it in January because I could not wait and I really liked it. If you want to see my full review of it please go to my Monthly Wrap Up | January 2019 it was really enjoyable  and I really do suggest it.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

So, I have been eyeing starting this series for some time and I finally decided to pick it up. I have been wanting to get more into adult fantasy and right and left people have said to give Robin Hobb a try and I read the description and it sounds really interesting.

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Early Riser

So this book is from my Book of the Month | February 2019 post I did a few weeks ago. Like I said in the post, this book is a science fiction read nothing like I have read before. It reminded me of a recent movie with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence where they wake up in space and everyone else is asleep. On top of that I would really like to hibernate sometimes so I can live through the characters lol.

 

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Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? Which one would you read first?

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