Hauls

Someone Picks My Books | Aunt Edition & Series Return!

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Hello and welcome to a very exciting post. I am so happy to be bringing back a series I had on my blog over a year ago. Due to a lot of things going on in my life I needed to put it aside, but I am thrilled to be starting it again. This time around I am planning on doing this once a month, where the person picks a book for me and then I read it and review it all in one post.


Since I knew I wanted to restart this series, I decided to start it with a book my aunt has been trying to get my to read for the past few months, even today as of writing this I saw her and she asked if I had read it yet. The answer was no and she gave me a look that said “READ IT ALREADY YOU WILL LOVE IT”. Truth is, she knows my taste in books, ours are pretty similar so I should have read it already, but this gives me the kick in the butt I needed. Anyway, that book is Where the Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens.


Book Description

“For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.” –goodreads.com


So, am I am writing this I just finished this book and I have to say I absolutely love it. This is actually my first 5 star read of 2020, which is super exciting. I am also going to take this time to apologies about the gush fest this post has now turned into.

First thing I really liked was the choice of time period. While it does have a wide range and is told by jumping back and forth, I think the time period was a great choice for a few reasons. The first being alluding to civil rights and Jim Crow laws. There were a few time in this book that I just teared up or flat out cried at. The second aspect being the hard topic of abuse. I feel like the author did a good job of handling such a hard topic. It didn’t shy away from it, it was a hard honest look at it. I really liked that the author didn’t just comment on one social issue, but a few.

On top of the commentary on the U.S. and relationships during this range of time, I really liked how much of nature was a center role of this novel. I love nature, I love just going on long walks in the woods and watching the animals so I connected just a bit with the main character. I can see why the marsh was so important to her. The book really made the marsh tangible, the writing was poetic and the world really came to life. I could easily picture the shacks and the surrounding area with little little delay. This was also true of the characters.

The characters created by Delia Owens were just wow. The complexity and the detail that went into many of the characters showed. It has been a long time since I have read a book where I have cared so deeply for so many of the characters. I want to name so many of my favorites, but I fear I might spoil something so I am going to resist.

While, I did love this book and give it 5 stars, like I said earlier there are tough topics within this book. This includes abuse (physical and sexual), of a few kinds attempted and fulfilled. As said by the description Kya is abandoned in the marsh and is by herself for so long, but this is not the only thing that is done to Kya. While she is a strong character and very bright, she goes through a lot, things one human being, let alone a child should go through.

Overall I felt that this was a beautiful and surprising read. I really recommend it anyone who would not have a trouble with the topics within this book. It is beautifully written and you just fall into the story and have a hard time climbing out. I am so happy that my aunt recommended me this book, I am going to be asking her for more in the future. I will also be reading more from this author.


I am so happy to be bringing this series back to my blog with a bit of an update. I am going to be reading, reviewing, and discussing a book recommended to me every month for the year. For February I have the wonderful Reg over at Bookish in Bed picking my book and I am truly excited about it.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it or do you think you would enjoy it?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Updated Annotating Kit

Let's Talk

Hello everyone! A few / a lot of *months* ago (sorry) I posted a poll on twitter to see if anyone was interested in an update on my current essentials for reading, reviewing, and annotating my books. I will say I was not really anticipating a yes, but it seems like it is something that at least a few people wanted to see. So, without more rambling, let’s get to business!


For a reference moving forward, in my previous post, my essentials were: bookmark, mini notebook, 2 mechanical pencils and post-it tabs. If you want some more detail, you can find that here: Writing | My Reading/Review Kit. I didn’t really have specific pencils or anything, but just whatever was available and I already had.

Over the course of nearly a year and a half I feel like a lot has changed when it has come to my review essentials. I feel like I whittled what I carry around and use because I carry so much around for my work. Since I am always carrying around a ton of things, I really tried to not add more, mainly to ensure I don’t break my back. While obviously a few pens and a mini notebook aren’t heavy, but every little thing adds up. Anyway, here are the things I carry around with me now.

My go to writing implement is no longer a pencil, but a pen. I came into the problem where things were getting smudged and I getting graphite everywhere! I now use a Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pen in the color Salmon. It is a light pink in color, which is a perfect combination of grabbing my attention when I go back to look at my notes, but not enough to be to distracting if I was to reread.

A few of the other things to go are my mini notebook, bookmark, and post it tabs. I realized that the mini notebook was not essential and with the lighter color pen I was able to write my notes in the margin or use a notecard, which I was inspired by Waving Fiction’s post, Why I Use Notecards in My Books. But, I only use a notecard in some books, where I realize I am writing a bit too much to fit on a margin. I do note the page number for my notes if I do use a notecard so I can refer back to a quite if my note doesn’t make sense when I look over them.

The last thing I want to mention is a little addition to my essentials and this would be a mini ruler. I was driving myself crazy with lines that went crooked or I accidentally wrote in the middle of a line, so I picked up a ruler. Now, the one I got is metal, but has cork on the underside so I don’t feel like it could hurt my book any, which is great. The best part is I carry it around anyway because I use one in my bujo too! If you want to check my bujo out, you can look at my spreads and such here: Projects: Bullet Journal.

Thanks so much for reading about my annotating supplies, I know it isn’t as much as it used to be, but this is what works for me! I also hope that this little explanation helps you find what works for you on your reviewing and annotating journey!


Do you have any annotation go to supplies?

Do you write in your books or on something else?

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Reviews

Book Review | Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale

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*Book given by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman
Description: 

“So while the assumption when I was born was that I was or would grow up to be a neurotypical heterosexual boy, that whole idea didn’t really pan out long term.”

In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.

Charting the ups and downs of being autistic and on the LGBT spectrum with searing honesty and humour, this is an empowering, life-affirming read for anyone who’s felt they don’t fit in. –goodreads.com

 

 


What I Liked

I have to say, I feel honored by being let into the authors life. This book is very raw, real, and powerful. Her writing pulled me in nearly right away and when I read this, I needed to keep on reading it. This book was really insightful and really gave me an understanding of the trials and tribulations of their live with being transgender as well as having been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

On top of sharing their story, the writing was wonderfully and refreshingly honest. This book faces all of their experiences both positive and negative. The author faces these in writing this story and I give the author a lot of credit for being so open. There were times where I was angry on her behalf at how she was treated. I also cheered with her for every victory she shared. I was very much pulled into the story.

I really don’t want to say much more about this book, I really feel like it is best read without knowing too much about it. I will say, there are very difficult topics discussed in the book, transphobia, suicide, depression, bullying, addiction, assault. So, if these topics or similar topics bother you unfortunately this book might be difficult to read. Please read other reviews and make your own decision, you are the only one who can make this choice for you.


What I Didn’t Like

At times the writing itself was a bit all over the place, but this is more a personal feeling than anything. I can see a lot of people not being bothered by it.


Overall Thoughts

Honestly, I think this is a very powerful book. It is brutally honest, insightful, and I think it is a great book to read to not only learn about the trans community or the autism community, but the life experiences of a very strong person. I recommend picking this book up either from the library, online or your local bookstore.

4stars


Author Links


Twitter: LaurakBuzz

Book Information

Publication Date: July 18th 2019

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

List Price: $18.95

ISBN: 9781785925870

Pages: 192 pages

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Reviews

Book Review | A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

A Constellation of Roses
Description: 

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots. –goodreads.com

 


What I Liked

I would like to start off with something some might not see as a positive, but this was one emotional book. It felt like a roller coaster, but in a really good way. It did not feel like a soap opera. This book follows a young girl named Trix who has had a very hard life. She was stealing to survive and life, she really didn’t trust anyone but 2 friends, one who liked like her and another who was in jail.

This book starts off right away and slowly you see the world build and Trix. She is a really complex character with a ton of development, which I loved. I was rooting for her the entire time and I just wanted her to begin to trust people and connect with her family. The author wrote her in an amazing way. The world she built was believable, and tangible even though there was a few magical elements tossed in. I had genuine emotional reactions to a few of the events in the book, I don’t want to get too specific, but I cried and I wanted to smack a few characters in the face. On the other hand there were some I just wanted to hug and celebrate with when things went right. I will note that even the side characters of sort made an impression on me.

Another thing I really enjoyed the book was the little magical element. This element was woven into the story is such a believable way. It is subtle and well thought out due to the diversity of magic help by some of the characters. These little gifts are listed in the books description and I knew they were coming up, but I really loved how they fit into the characters personalities and were presented.

Honestly, I could go on and on, this is pretty much a gushfest and I am totally okay with that because this book earned it.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. I loved every page of this book. It was beautifully written and constructed. This, I do not say often.


Overall Thoughts

I thought this was an amazing read, it could easily be one of my top books of the year. As I have said the author is very talented. Her writing is well balanced and easily creates a world and characters that the reader can fall into with out a problem. I was engaged in the story from page one and I wanted more when it was over. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

5stars


Author Links

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Book Information

Publication Date: November 5th 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062747105

Pages: 336 pages

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | November 2019

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So, this month was really a bad reading month, not because I read bad books, but I barely read. I have no idea what has happened to me, but I have not been interested in a lot of the books on my shelf and more interested in other things I have been putting off for a long time. While I am very happy with exploring those parts of me, I miss reading and the adventurers. Anyway, here are the very limited books I read this month and my thoughts with a bonus of what I am currently reading.


Read 2
It Would Be Night in CaracasIt Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this novel from BookCon 2019 for free from the publisher.

This was such a powerful read. It was raw, it was powerful, and it told a very important story. It is filled with heart breaking content, it was an emotional roller coaster. I was sad, angry, and outraged so many times while reading this. The story is really one that needs to be shared because so many people around the world live in these conditions, whether it would be one aspects of the story or all.

The writing goes back and forth through a timeline of a young girl living in Venezuela during very uneasy times. She is faced with that seems like impossible circumstances. I read this book in a single day because I needed to know how Adelaida’s story ended. I will say that this is not for every reader if you find human suffering, violence, and tense situations unbearable to read about.

View all my reviews


Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

View full review here: Book Review | Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

“Overall, I really have to say I enjoyed this book. I really like the twist on the fairytale of declined marriage proposal where someone turns into a monster. I also really like the writing style and the main character and her protrayed as an ogre. I feel like the author did an amazing job merging the idea of the ogre with such a dedicated, self assured character. In my eyes if you read and were interested by the description you should give this book a try. It is an interesting story in a really interesting world created by a talented writer.”

View all my reviews


The Long TakeThe Long Take by Robin Robertson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say that this is one of the better books shortlisted for the Man Book Prize in 2018. I really enjoyed the format being utilized, it really set the feeling of the story for me. This book really talks about a very difficult topic that many have to deal with PTSD and having known someone who suffered with it first hand, I feel like the author did a great job portraying how it can affect some people. PTSD affects many, but can affect each person differently.

This book really had a feel to it that I think sticks to a reader, I feel like I will bee thinking about it for sometime. It is encompassing and consuming in a way. I also like how the author portrays the internal feelings struggles of the main character to the external society/city. It was veery interesting to read. There are many dark topics in this novel/poem, so if PTSD, drug use, and other dark themes are something that can bother you, I would stay away. If that is not the case it is a powerful read for sure.

View all my reviews


Currently Reading 2

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore, so far I am really enjoying this historical fiction cute love story. I am currently at 43% and I can see this being a 4 or 5 stars at this point. I can see that the author knows about the time period and the writing style is wonderful.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, since this is the 5th book in the series I am not going to say too much, but I am enjoying how I am just dropped right back into the world without missing a beat or too long of a reintroduction. I am only one chapter in, but since I have read this far, you can see that I enjoy the writing, even though it can be graphic at times. 

Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen, this I am not far in at all, 6% total, so I don’t have much of an option either way. I will say that I am excited to continue so that is a good sign. I will also say that I think this story is going to get dark, but I feel like it will be really powerful as well. 

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, I am only 4% into this one. This is an ebook of mine so I wont be making my way through it too quickly, but from what I have read so far the author has really made an impression on me. The writing is beautiful and I am already kinda attached to the main character


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 34

Backlist TBR: 0


What was your favorite book you read this past month?

Did anything you read surprise you?

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Reviews

Book Review | Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)Description: 

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre. Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

I want to start off by saying I have not read Ella Enchanted, which I know many love. This is my first time reading a book set in this world and also by this author, so please keep that in mind. I will say, I found Gail Carson Levine writing enjoyable. It flowed nicely and when I did pick up the book to read I was pulled in a usually for long chunks of time. The world is one you fall into.

Outside of Levine’s writing style I really enjoyed the world she created as well as the characters. When it came to the main character, Evie, I really liked how she wrote a character that was very much herself. While this book has a beauty and the beast type feeling with a marriage proposal leads to someone being turned into a monster. I felt that Evie turning down her proposal due to her dedication to healing much more interesting and compelling instead of just being interested in physical appearance. I found it to be a really interesting turn on the idea. It also added a lot to the characters personality in my eyes.

While Evie is young, she has a passion, and at times she read a bit older due to this. Even after she is cursed the fairy, she has graphic thoughts, which come with being an ogre. The other side of the coin is that at times she does very much read like a young girl, which makes sense. At times this could be jarring, but it never took me out of the story too much. It was more like, “Oh, right”.

When it came to the idea of what an Ogre is I really like the way Levine handled it. I feel like she could have taken the same route as shriek and hidden a lot of the cruel side of an ogre. In Shrek an idea of what an orge was more lent itself as a cover to keep humans away. Instead I feel like Levine showed the more traditional, at least in my eyes, view of an ogre. Where they like to eat humans or are overly hairy among other grotesque things. I appreciated the author being more aligned to this idea.


What I Didn’t Like

While I did read this book in only a few sittings, I will say that there were points in the book that dragged. Nothing that was too bad, but they were there. On top of that, as I stated earlier, there were times where the main character acted older than she was and this could be a tad bit jarring if you are sensitive to that. This point really comes down to preference.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really have to say I enjoyed this book. I really like the twist on the fairytale of declined marriage proposal where someone turns into a  monster. I also really like the writing style and the main character and her protrayed as an ogre. I feel like the author did an amazing job merging the idea of the ogre with such a dedicated, self assured character. In my eyes if you read and were interested by the description you should give this book a try. It is an interesting story in a really interesting world created by a talented writer.

4stars


Author Links

Gail Carson Levine


Book Information

Publication Date:  October 16th 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062561213

Pages: 352 pages

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | Spookathon/October 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

Hello and welcome! This month I decided to put my readathon wrap up and my monthly wrap up together for a couple of reasons. The first being I didn’t want to post two wrap ups so close together and the second is that I don’t think I would have had enough in my posts on their own. But, either way I am going to fill you in on all of the reads I have read this month for general reading and readathon reading!


-Spookathon-

  1. Read a thriller– The Institute by Stephen King
  2. Read a book with red on the cover– Mapping the Interior, might I add this is a beautiful cover and an amazing story?
  3. Read a book with a spooky word in the title– Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Stories
  4. Read a book with a spooky setting – The Institute by Stephen King
  5. Read something you wouldn’t normally read– Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, not halloween like at all so I wouldn’t normally read it this time of the year.

I might have used a few books to cover more than one prompt, but I did it! Not against the rules in my opinion!


Read 2
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (Images of America: Pennsylvania)Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell by Robert W. Sands Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite nonfiction series of sorts and this one was no exception. Images used and their accompanying descriptions and stories added to a wonderfully framed narrative of both Independence Hall and the Library Bell.

View all my reviews


Mapping the InteriorMapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such an eerie atmospheric read, I can really see why it is compared to The Haunting of Hill House, but it is very much its own unique story as well. Even though this was such a sort story, I was attached to the main character very early on. Since this is so short I don’t want to say much, but if you enjoy horror I think you will really enjoy this.

View all my reviews


The InstituteThe Institute by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another wonderful King novel. It is different from his other works, but it is just as creepy. It did not take me too long to feel for the young main characters. The horrors that they saw and had to live through is just heart wrenching. There were quite a few times my heart sunk when I thought something bad was going to happen or if I thought something wasn’t going to work out.

I don’t want to say to much because I feel like this novel is best read when you don’t know too much. It is well written and the plot is a roller coaster and unique. I also felt true emotion while reading this.

View all my reviews


Moby-Dick: or, The WhaleMoby-Dick: or, The Whale by Herman Melville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a very dense book, it was not 100% what I expected. I felt like it was going to be more of a tall tale, but it ended up being so much more explanatory of the progress of whaling. At times I just wanted it to get to the action, if that makes sense.

Other than this I can see why this book is a classic, it is an interesting tale, but keep in mind it is a product of its time.

View all my reviews


Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other StoriesStrange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really love the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so I was really excited to read some more by this author. I was really happy with my reread, I enjoyed the story as much as I have in the past. The other short stories varied, but overall I enjoyed them as well. If you enjoy Jekyll and Hyde, I think you will enjoy the rest of these stories.

View all my reviews


Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 33

Backlist TBR: 0

I FINALLY FINISHED ALL OF THE BOOK I BOUGHT BEFORE 2019 STARTED!


Did you have any 5 star read this month?

Were you surprised by anything you read?

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Reviews

Blog Tour Review | A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

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Before I get started with this review, which I am terribly excited about,  I wanted to state that I was gifted a copy of the book to review and be part of this amazing tour. Also, please check out all of the stops!


A Knife in the Fog Description

September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another “crime story.” Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.

Once there, he is offered one month’s employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a “consultant” in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell–Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes–agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.

Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.

Purchase links:

Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/2xMjcbV

Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/2JGprn3

Indiebound (US): https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781633884861

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What I Liked

A Knife in the Fog is truly a wonderful atmospheric historical fiction murder mystery book that mixed the perfect amount of fact and fiction.

One of the most notable things about this book was the fact that it felt very accurate to the time period that was being written about. Not only does Harper take one of literatures well known figures, Arthur Conan Doyle, he embodies the time period. You can tell that author has done his research. He knows the use of language at the time well, clothing, customs, and social hierarchy. It is far from a haphazard combination of these vague ideas, which for me is a huge deal. In addition to being well versed in the time period, he is also very knowledgable about the Jack the Ripper case. This knowledge is essential since our three main characters are on the hunt for this vicious murderer.

While the author fuses fiction with the real life case of Jack the Ripper he also pulls from real world individuals such as, Professor Joseph Bell and Miss Margaret Harkness. In doing this it really brings this story to life for me. The characters were wonderfully written and had very distinct personalities. Professor Bell, the inspiration of Sherlock Holmes, was very much observant, interesting, and not afraid to speak his mind. Miss Harkness was a strong woman who was not afraid to do what she needed to do to tell her stories as well as help with this investigation. She was truly a wonderful strong character in this novel and I loved how bold she was.

Throughout the story the character acted true to themselves as different obstacles were presented to them. Between walking the unsafe streets, helping people in need, going to the police station, and murder scenes I was truly entertained by the story and plot. I laughed when they called themselves the Three Musketeers because I was actually thinking that were like the three musketeers before they said it themselves. Three great characters taking a very dangerous and risky mystery with some humor tossed in for good measure.


What I Didn’t Like

At times there were events that happened for the sake of happening to showcase something. But, it wasn’t out of character. It still felt like it belonged in the story and it didn’t take away from the story. But, a few things happened in the story were I was felt like it was kinda random just to show us something that needed to be established. While it might have felt random, the information gathered was needed and none of them were unenjoyable.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I was very happy to find out that this is the first book in a series because I would be able to have another adventure this these characters, but also with this authors writing. I cannot stress this enough, this author does a wonderful job at building a very real atmosphere with what seems like minimal effort and that for me is a mark of a good writer. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, mystery, murder mysteries, or if you have an interest in the Jack the Ripper stories or Arthur Conan Doyle.

4stars

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About the Author: Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over 37 years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some 200 autopsies, 20 of which were forensic. 

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand MagazineFlash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author. 

Queen’s Gambit, the upcoming sequel to A Knife in the Fog will be released in September 2019.

ONLINE LINKS:

Website: www.bharperauthor.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bharperauthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bharperauthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bharperauthor

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Book Information

Publication Date: October 2nd 2018

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

List Price: $15.95

ISBN: 9781633884861

Pages: 288 pages

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | July 2019

Middle Mark

I feel like my reading was dragging so much this first half of the month. I had a lot going on and I was pretty stressed out that I didn’t really want to read, which says a lot since that is normal what I do when I want to destress. Anyway, I did manage to read some and I found myself kicking myself for not reading some of them sooner. Also, I am doing better in the stress department so the rest of the month will hopefully will be better reading wise. Here are the books I have read the first half of the month.


Read 2

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This held true to the little blurb on the cover, “Grisly World of Victorian Medicine”. This book goes into great detail into what victorian medicine was, so if medical talk and such bother you, stay away from the book. If you would love to learn more about the progression of science and medicine, please read this.

Lindsay Fitzharris I think does a great job turning this non-fiction topic into a narrative. It read very nicely and flows. I never felt bogged down by fact and stats, even though I learned a ton. The way she broke the novel into chapters also made a lot of sense and were natural breaking points, not that I stopped I read this in one sitting.

I also appreciated that the end notes were organized by not just in order, but labeled by chapter as well. The only thing I wished was that were labeled by a number or letter and not just by the page number since there can be three or more from a single page and I had to flip back and forth from the chapter to the end note to make sure I was looking at the correct source.

Overall, I recommend this book if medicine, history, victorian era and science are something you are interested in, I actually already have this going to a friend of mine.

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War and PeaceWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am finally getting to this review, thanks for waiting!

I have to say, this novel is long, but It not one that can be read slowly. If you take your time details will begin to fall away and it may leave you lost and confused. It is helpful while reading to have a list of characters, I know I needed mine.

I have previously read works by this author, such as Anna Karenina, and loved it more and more as time passed. I found myself thinking about the characters and empathizing and realizing more and more. I really don’t think that will be the case with War and Peace. While I did enjoy reading this and I do not regret it in the slightest, I just feel like I wont think about this book again. I could very well be wrong.

At times I was bored and kept saying, “alright get on with it already” while other times I was laughing so hard at something or very really engrossed. This book was a bit all over the place in that sense for me, that is why I decided to give it 3 stars.

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Mort (Discworld, #4)Mort by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am kind of mad it took me so long to read a book by Terry Pratchett. The sense of humor, characters, and world are so unique and fun. His take on the character of death is really interesting and I found that even though that this is a story about Death, I laughed a bunch. Mort is a really fun and interesting character as well, it is interesting to think about how a human would react to the situation and choices he was given. It really make you think. I really enjoyed this story and I will be continuing to read the death books within the Discworld series. I don’t really know what else to say because I loved this story and if you enjoy fantasy and a good laugh, I feel like you will really enjoy this.

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The Two Dead GirlsThe Two Dead Girls by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The feeling of this book is really haunting. Part one has really set the tone of this serial (6 parts). It depicts a pretty horrendous crime so you know what type of people our narrator is dealing with, but I am thankful that he has not shared more than he has needed to. I really am enjoying the narrators voice, it is oddly calm, but I can tell something big is going to be shown to me. I am going to be jumping into part 2 as soon as I can.

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Currently Reading 2

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)

I just started reading this book last night since I somehow managed to finish two books yesterday, woohoo! I have not started a new series in sometime so I am in a way excited to be reading this, but also not looking forward to the wait  for the next book.  So far I am enjoying the world that I have seen so far. Like I said, I started this book pretty late last night so I am not very far in, but so far so good and I don’t see that changing unless something ridiculous happens.

 


What are you currently reading?

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Reviews

REVIEW | Women Talking by Miriam Toews

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

Women Talking
Description:

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women—all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in—have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

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What I Liked

The main reason I wanted to read this book was because it was based upon real events. I enjoy reading non-ficiton and historical fiction and I felt like this book would be enjoyable. This book tackles dark events dealing with an established religious group and how the women must either come to terms with the status quo or make changes. As you can see from the description the status quo is not something I think many of us would want to endure.

I really enjoyed that the author did put this struggle into words and I feel like it could be applied to many other situations. While this story very dark and very extreme in its content, if you are triggered by rape or the discussion of it please do not read it boils down to women in a very bad situation determining if it is worth living with the devil you know, or chancing it with the devil you don’t know in a world you don’t understand. In other words,  you can either endure traumatic treatment and stay with what you know and fear, or go off and try to get away for your hope of a safe situation in a world you have no idea how to navigate. On top of that the fear of what might happen if you are not successful. Obviously, every situation is different and each needs to be thought of on its own merits, but I can appreciate that this author was willing to have a discussion about this.


What I Didn’t Like

I didn’t like how slow paced this book was. I kind of had to push myself through it. I am not sure if this is because I was expecting a lot to happen based upon the description, but I felt that for the size of the book it was a slow mover. At times I felt it was rambling and I would grow bored.


Overall Thoughts

I feel like this was a good topic to discuss and should continue to be discussed. The topic was interesting for sure. I just don’t know if the topic was enough for me to fully enjoy this book. For me personally I do not enjoy slow moving books that are more talk than action. So, I feel like if you enjoy that type of writing style, you would easily like this book more than I did. 3stars

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Author Links

Miriam Toews

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Book Information

Publication Date: April 2nd 2019

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

List Price: $24.99

ISBN: 9781635572582

Pages: 216 pages

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