Hauls

Haul | Bookseller Picks My Books

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So last month I posted Haul | Boyfriend Picks My Books which was a ton of fun. I thought it would be fun to continue having other people pick out my books. This month I decided to go to my local independent bookstore and see if I could ask someone to pick out a few books for me to add to my TBR. Without further ado, here is what happened!

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So I ended up going on a nice Saturday morning before I had to do anything. I stopped a little coffee shop and got a nice iced mocha, a recent favorite of mine. I walked the few blocks to my local bookstore.

Now with my previous _____ Picks My Books it was my boyfriend. I was comfortable enough to give him rules. I was about to walk up to a stranger and ask them to help me, I couldn’t give them rules. To me doing this sounded rude so I decided to ask them if they could recommend two of their favorite books.

Now, I will admit I am very shy person. I tend to get other people to ask questions for me when it is appropriate or put in a takeout order for me. So me going up to a stranger and asking them to do this was a big deal. I ended up taking a large sip of my drink and opening the door, causing the bell dinging away. I was greeted right away and ended up loosing my nerve.

I ended up looking up and down the shelves for about 15 min. before the nicest woman in the world came up and asked me if she could help me. I ended up finally asking, “Actually, would you be able to recommend two books that you really liked?” Without any delay she smiled and said she had just the thing. She went to the back of the store and pulled out two books. I bought them without hesitation, as she checked me out she gushed about both of them and gave me mini reviews.
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The Books 

She ended up giving me Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Everything, Everything I have heard so much about in the past. I have heard both good and bad things, so I am curious what I will end up thinking. The Second pick I never heard of and I kind of like that. What I think is best about this “series” is that it is getting me a bit out of my comfort zone. When I read the description when I got home I was intrigued and I will admit I put a hold on the audiobook at my local library since it is so long.

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything

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.

goodreads.com

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett  

The Pillars of the EarthEverything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time the twelfth century; the place feudal England; and the subject the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.

The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.

goodreads.com

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Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them?

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Wrap Up

WRAP UP | February 2018

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Can you believe another month has passed? I still have trouble not putting 2017 on everything. Anyway I have to say that this month has been a great month. For some reason I had such drive to improve things in my life and it has made me so much happier. If you have previously read my decluttering blog posts, you know I was trying to simplify my life and get rid of the things I don’t need. Well, I kinda fell off the wagon half way through and I ended up getting the drive back to continue and it has made me happier. If you want to check those out you can find them here: Decluttering | The Start of it AllDecluttering | Daily ClothingDecluttering | My Books.

Anyway, with that I actually ended up reading more. I am not sure, but clearing things out got the cobwebs out of my head and I read nearly every day this month, I am proud to say I only didn’t read one day. A personal record, I think in March I want to try a 30 day reading challenge.

Anyway, without anymore delay here is my February wrap up!

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Books I Finished

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Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)

I absolutely fell in love with this Manga, I have been eating it up ever since.  I love the fact I am learning about some Japanese culture and how the story line deals with good in evil in such a way that makes you question, is a person good or bad based upon their thoughts behind their actions or is the outcome of their actions define them. I ended up giving this volume 4 stars.

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Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

 by Reni Eddo-Lodge

This was an absolutely amazing read. I am so happy I picked it up on a whim. It was written so well and it was so informative. I can easily say I learned so much while reading this book. Another thing I liked about this book was the fact that this book discussed race outside of the United States. Most books that discuss race are written about the U.S., but reading about the history of race issues in the U.K. was enlightening. As I said in my very short goodreads review, this book will stay with me for a very long time. I gave this book 5 stars, easily.

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The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I have to say that this book is not for me, but I can see why people like it. I would suggest that you click the title (it goes to goodreads) and read some more on it to see if it is something up your alley. I do have The Muse by Jessie Burton and I hear more positive things about this book of hers so I am going to give it a try. I will say Jessie Burton’s writing itself was not the problem, just the story line was not for me. I hope that makes sense.

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The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

From the first pages I was so drawn into this novel. As in Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s writing is grand. She writes characters you can actually hate, but seem so real. She has the ability to create made up characters seem so lifelike, it really is a talent. Another talent of her is making me go “WAIT WHAT?!” when I read her books. So many unexpected things happened in this book I have to say I lost count of the amount of times I was shocked. Since I was reading this in a readalong with some wonderful ladies it took a great deal of self control not to read ahead. I ended up giving this story 4 stars.

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Prater Violet

Prater Violet by Christopher Isherwood

This is the third book I have read by Christopher Isherwood and his works continue to impress me. His writing is relaxed even though a bunch happens. This novel has to do with a young writer, fictionalized Isherwood being hired to help write a Vienna based movie with an Austrian director just as WWII begins. Even though you have the story revolving the film industry at the time, you also see a lot of the history seep into the story itself. I ended up giving this story a very strong 4 stars.

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Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence (Death Note, #2)

Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba and

Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)

As you can see I was not joking when I said I enjoyed this manga. I ended up reading this very soon after finishing Vol. 1 and I read it in one sitting. Since this is a second book I don’t want to give to much details so I don’t spoil anything. I will link to the goodreads page though if you want to know more. I ended up giving this 4 stars.

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I am Still Reading

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I am so close to finishing this amazing book, but I ran out of time near the end of the month and I honestly wanted to savor this book. It is well written and it has made me take time to think and reflect upon some of the events that happen in this books.  I will be finishing this in the near future and I will be picking up more of her books. I already put in a few requests at my local library.

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Christine by Stephen King

This month I started reading my next Stephen King Book, but I ran out of time to read it. Darn February only having 28 days. This classic Stephen King book has been on my radar for a very long time and I am so happy to finally be reading it. Even before I started reading Stephen King I knew about him and this car. I don’t want to say more for fear of spoiling a few things. Just know I am enjoy this book and I plan on finishing it soon.
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What was your favorite read of February?

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Annotating My Bookshelves

Annotating My Bookshelf | I

BOOKSHELVES

Have you ever gotten into a blogging slump, where you have a hard time coming up with ideas? I felt like I had writers block, the dreaded thing no writer wants. So of course being me I went to good and searched blogging ideas to look for inspiration. I came across broke by books where she had some ideas listed. One of the ideas she had on her list was annotating your books/bookshelf. I was not sure what she meant by this exactly, but I though more about it the more I liked it.

So I decided to take a picture of one of the cubes of one of my two bookshelves and annotate them with the first thought that pops into my head. If you like this please let me know and I will continue. This was actually a lot of fun to make.

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The Books

Eating Mindfully by Susan Albers

The Old Farmers Almanac 2018

Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

*All links go to their goodreads pages.

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Do you have any thoughts on these books?

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Hauls

Haul | February 2018

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This month I have to say I found a ton of awesome books. All of them I am very excited about and I cannot wait to read them. Some of these books are from my Haul | Boyfriend Picks My Books and others were recommended to me by friends or strangers who I ran into at the bookstore. If you have read any of these please let me know what you thought of them. Also, are any of these on your TBR as well?

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The Books

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?

Fearless, gripping, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today’s globalized world.

The Fandom by Anna Day

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands …

A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

Hiddensee recreates the backstory of the Nutcracker, reimaging how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how it magically guided an ailing little girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a snowy Christmas Eve. It also brings to life the mysterious godfather Drosselmeier—the ominous, canny, one-eyed toymaker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s ballet—who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.

But Hiddensee is not just a retelling of a classic story. Maguire discovers in the flowering of German Romanticism a migrating strain of a Hellenic mystery-cult, and ponders a profound question: how a person who is abused by life, short-changed and challenged, can access secrets that benefit the disadvantaged and powerless. Ultimately, Hiddensee, offers a message of hope. If the compromised Godfather Drosselmeier can bring an enchanted Nutcracker to a young girl in distress, perhaps everyone, however lonely or marginalized on the eve of a winter holiday, has something precious to share.

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata (Illustrator), Pookie Rolf (Translator)

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami, a death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal… or his life?

Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note’s powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily, Light’s father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father’s files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn’t know?

By Gaslight by Steven Price

London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men’s futures — a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London in search of her; what he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. What follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and seance halls. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.

The Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett

Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time the twelfth century; the place feudal England; and the subject the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.

The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.

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What book(s) did you add to your TBR recently?

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Wrap Up

Currently Reading | February 2018

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Hello everyone, I hope this blog post finds you on a good day. I know that as I write this I have a weekend full of reading ahead of me and I am so excited about it. So since I am going to be doing a ton of reading I thought I would share the books I am currently reading and hopefully will finish very soon.

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Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (Illustrator)

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Since this is the third volume in the series I don’t really want to get into to much detail, but I am loving this series. If you read my Haul | Boyfriend Picks My Books you will see that my amazing boyfriend picked this out for me. Safe to say that he picked a winner. This manga takes a look at Japanese culture and walks the line of what is right and what is wrong. I find it very intriguing and I keep finishing these volumes in one sitting.

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I have been eyeballing this book for what seems like forever. Every time I went into the store I would pick it up and then put it down. I am never sure why, but in my most recent trip to an independent bookstore I finally picked it up. I am only about 30 pages or so into this book, but I am very much enjoying it. I am happy I finally did pick it up, her writing style is great. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. Divider

As you can see I have some great books, at least in my opinion, to read this weekend.

Have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading?

I would love to know!

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Tags

TAG | Valentine’s Day Book

TagTimel12:17Hello Everyone! Today I am coming to your computer, tablet, or phone with a holiday themed tag. I was tagged by the lovely Amy over at  Tomes with Tea, you really need to check her out. Thank-you again!

The Rules

1. Link back to this post and mention Taiwo @ Stuffed Shelves as the creator of this tag.

2. Link back to the person who tagged you and thank them!

3. Answer the questions (of course!)

4. You can use Taiwo’s graphic if you want but please mention them as the person who made it.

5. Tag 5-10 other bloggers.

The Questions

1. What book(s) have you been given as a gift that you loved?
I have to say that the best bookish gift I have gotten would be Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. If you have been around my blog, you know I LOVE this book/series. My aunt gave me a copy when I was very young and I fell in love with the story and characters. To this day if I am upset I start to read this classic and I instantly feel better.

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2. What book(s) would you like to give as a gift to someone else?
If I were to give a book gift it would be personalized for that person. In the past I have given my bf nice copies/collectors editions of his favorite manga. I have given my mom non-fiction books about World War II. But, if I had to say a single book that I could recommend generally to a bunch of people it would have to be Jackaby by William Ritter. Many say it is a mixture of Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. If it is fun read that is the start of a series. The books are short, but packed. I have not once been disappointed by any of the books in that series.

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3. If you could gift a random person any bookish item, what would it be?
I would give everyone a bookish mug. Everyone can use a mug, specially with a sassy saying taken from the pages of a book. (I didn’t want to steal Amy’s idea, but darn her answer is great!)

4. If you could gift a random person any non-bookish item, what would it be?
If I had to gift someone a non-bookish item I would give them a comfortable blanket. I don’t know one person who has complained about having a plush and soft blanket before.


5. What do you say when a person gives you a gift you don’t like?
It honestly depends on who it is and how close I am to them. I know for me I would want someone to tell me if they do not like something so I can give them a receipt and they can return it and get something better. I also know that some people don’t ask or say anything so I always gift with a gift receipt. That way no one is put in this situation. Let’s just say if I am close to that person I am going to say something. 

6. Mention a book based around Valentine’s Day.
AI honestly don’t know a single one… oops. 

7. Mention any two tips for blogging as a gift to other bloggers and to those who may want to start a blog.

  • Never write about anything you are not interested in. It is your blog fill it with things you love. 
  • Never force yourself to write, I have seen great bloggers burn out because they turned something that was a fun way to communicate into “work”. Find what works for you, but make sure to never over pressure yourself. Just because someone else is doing something does not mean it is right for you.

8. Link to some posts by other bloggers that you loved or were very helpful.
I could go on forever, but I would have to say the most helpful and fun blog posts I have found have been:

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Now, I know that Valentine’s Day is now over, but these questions are great. I tag anyone to continue this past the holiday!

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Reviews

REVIEW | Don’t Forget Me by Victoria Stevens

BookReview12:17

Don't Forget Me* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Description

Seventeen-year-old Hazel Clarke is no stranger to heartbreaks, and being sent to live with a father she’s never met is the latest in a string of them. Even the beauty of eastern Australia isn’t enough to take her mind off her mother and the life she had to leave behind in England. But when Hazel meets the friendly, kindhearted Red and his elusive twin, Luca, she begins the slow process of piecing together a new life—and realizes she isn’t the only one struggling with loss. As friendships deepen and love finds its way in, Hazel also learns that when you truly love someone, they are always in your heart.

This sparkling debut novel is a touching testament to coming of age, falling in love, and finding home in unexpected places.

What I Liked

Nearly from the beginning I felt connected to the characters. I wanted everything to work out perfectly for all of them. For me, if a book causes me to have this type of connection it has well written characters. I recently read a book and I felt nearly nothing for the characters and it made reading it dull and boring even with all the excitement happening with the plot. Another thing that I truly loved about this book was not only how I connected with the characters, but how they connected with one another. Both friendship wise and family wise I enjoyed reading about their relationships, they seemed real and they never felt like they were forced.

I have to say another positive for me was that it took place in Australia. I rarely have seen a book that takes place here and it truly was refreshing. I found that this was maybe an unintentional thing, or I may be making a connection out of no where. But, Australia is such a beautiful and natural place. In my mind it is a place of sunshine and full of life. Britain from what I understand is a place where it can be rainy for a good amount of the place, even though it is beautiful. Having the main character  move from a  place that is known to be rainy and dreary to a place that I have perceived as bright and lively kinda mirrors the growth of Hazel.

What I Didn’t Like

There really wasn’t anything I can pinpoint that I did not like about this book. At times it dragged, but not for a noticeable amount of time.

Overall Thoughts

Overall this was an enjoyable read. I throughly enjoyed reading it and like I said earlier I was invented in Hazel’s story as well as her friends. If you see anything in the description I think you will enjoy this read as well. It is well written and has genuine relationships and growth.

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Book Information

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)

Publication Date: February 13th 2018

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780374305604

Pages: 360 pages

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I want to note that I received this book from Netgalley for this review. My review is honest and all thoughts are my own.

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Hauls

Haul | Boyfriend Picks My Books

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I don’t know about you, but lately I have seen a lot of youtubers having their husbands or their significant others in videos and I am loving it. I love seeing the support and love they share. It just makes me happy. They are always adorable, funny, and they always pick books for their significant other that they normally would not read or put off reading. This got me thinking.

I am a very avid reader, my boyfriend on the other hand is not. While he often takes me to the bookstore and spends time with me there, he never gets a book for himself. If he has I honestly don’t remember. Anyway, since seeing all those videos and such I became curious… what would my boyfriend pick out for me?

I was thinking about following suit and having him pick books from my owned tbr, but I started to think. I did not want to limit his choices because I wanted to see what he would pick when given an entire store. Also, if I had him pick from my owned tbr I wouldn’t be able to add to it. Lets be honest, I just wanted more books. lol. DividerSo about a month ago my boyfriend and I went to the bookstore and I gave him these guidelines.

  1. You can pick 2-3 books
  2. I have one veto

Then off he went walking through the store. I was very excited to see what he would pick, but at the same time I was anxious. Like I said previously my boyfriend is not much of a reader, but very supportive of my reading. When he is reading he is usually reading manga. When he has read in the past he enjoyed both The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z by Max Brooks.

With this in mind, he could either give me a book he loved or in the genre, try to find a book he think I might like, or both. It could go in any direction.

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The First Pick

By Gaslight by Steven Price

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London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men’s futures — a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London in search of her; what he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. What follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and seance halls. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.

Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly written, Steven Price’s By Gaslight is a riveting, atmospheric portrait of two men on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, the novel is a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

Second Pick

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

Death Note: Black Edition, Vol. 1

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects–and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life?

Third Pick

Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker

Gregory Maguire returns with an inventive novel inspired by a timeless holiday legend, intertwining the story of the famous Nutcracker with the life of the mysterious toy maker named Drosselmeier who carves him.

Hiddensee: An island of white sandy beaches, salt marshes, steep cliffs, and pine forests north of Berlin in the Baltic Sea, an island that is an enchanting bohemian retreat and home to a large artists’ colony—a wellspring of inspiration for the Romantic imagination . . .

Having brought his legions of devoted readers to Oz in Wickedand to Wonderland in After Alice, Maguire now takes us to the realms of the Brothers Grimm and E. T. A. Hoffmann—the enchanted Black Forest of Bavaria and the salons of Munich. Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann’s mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier—the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s fairy tale ballet—who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.

But Hiddensee is not just a retelling of a classic story. Maguire discovers in the flowering of German Romanticism ties to Hellenic mystery-cults—a fascination with death and the afterlife—and ponders a profound question: How can a person who is abused by life, shortchanged and challenged, nevertheless access secrets that benefit the disadvantaged and powerless? Ultimately, Hiddensee offers a message of hope. If the compromised Godfather Drosselmeier can bring an enchanted Nutcracker to a young girl in distress on a dark winter evening, perhaps everyone, however lonely or marginalized, has something precious to share.

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I am so happy with the books that my boyfriend picked. I have read Vol. 1 and I am loving not only the story line, but the artwork as well. The story is something that really makes you think about what is right and what is wrong, but is also makes you think; “What would I do if this happened to me?” By Gaslight gives off Sherlock Holmes vibes, which is great because I love that detective, both the current BBC version and the classic novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire was a book I kept picking up and putting down, so I was extremely happy when he picked it up. I have to say he did a great job, I couldn’t be happier. He is even saying that he has ideas for next time too. So maybe there will be a part two, who knows?Divider

What do you think of his choices?

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Reviews

REVIEW | Live Lagom by Anna Brones

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Live Lagom: Balanced Living, the Swedish WayI want to note that I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. My review is honest and all thoughts are my own.

Description

An inviting exploration of “the new hygge“: the Swedish concept of lagom–finding balance in moderation–featuring inspiration and practical advice on how to find a happy medium in life, home, work, and health.

Following the cultural phenomena of fika and hygge, the allure of Scandinavian culture and tradition continues in the Swedish concept of lagom. From home design and work-life balance, to personal well-being and environmental sustainability, author Anna Brones presents valuable Swedish-inspired tips and actionable ways to create a more intentional, healthy lifestyle. Instead of thinking about how we can work less, lagom teaches us to think about how we can work better. Lagom at home is about finding balance between aesthetics and function, focusing on simplicity, light, and open spaces. Health and wellness in lagom is a holistic approach for the body and mind–including connecting more in person, caring for self, managing stress, keeping active, and embacing enjoyment in daily routine. Live Lagom inspires us to slow down and find happiness in everyday balance.

What I Liked

First off I want to say that this book is set up and organized in a wonderful way. It has chapters based off of home , work, environment, and many more. It  is great because if you ever feel like you need a refresher in a given area after your initial read you can go right to that. I think it is great because it facilitates the opportunity to work on only what you need to work on and focusing on that instead of having a very broad topic that makes it difficult for the reader to apply is to a specific part of their life.

Another thing I liked about this book was the fact that it was realistic. The book gave practical advice and was to the point. No where in this book did I find ideas or tips that were far out there. It is created in a way that people will actually be able to adapt it into their daily lives at their own pace. Another bonus is that the information was portrayed in a way that read nicely. There was not time while reading this that I wanted to put it down because I was bored, hated the writing, or felt it was too fake/cheesy. This book found the perfect between life/lifestyle advice and being meaningful.

What I Didn’t Like

One fault I did find with this book was that at times I felt like the book made this transition seem easier than it actually is. Changing your lifestyle and finding a balance takes a lot of work and dedication. That is why I stress that this is at your own pace. Take small or big steps to transition into the lifestyle you want. It is your journey, you determine the best way for you.

Overall Thoughts

I think that Live Lagom by Anna Brones is a great introduction to balanced Swedish living. There are little tips, facts, recipes, and great visuals to give you a true sense of what she is talking about. It gives great insight into how you can evolve the different aspects of your life. Overall I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I know that this book is one I will be keeping and referencing from time to time.

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Book Information

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Publication Date: December 26th 2017

List Price: $16.00

ISBN: 9780399581342

Pages: 224 pages

More Info

Author Bio

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TBR

February TBR | 2018

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This month since it is a mere 28 days, I am making my TBR very short. There is also a book I know I am going to read, but I must keep it a secret. Don’t be mad, but you will learn all about it soon. I tried something new recently and I cannot wait to share it with you.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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My buddy read I am participating in is continuing into February, but can I just say that this books is amazing? Thanks again Amy from Tomes with Tea, Regina from Bookish in Bed and  Jenna from J.K. I’m Exploring! for reading this book with me. It has been so much fun.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

Don’t Forget Me by Victoria Stevens

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This comes out February 13th, I received an ARC to review so I plan on getting to this and finishing it the first week of February. From the description I am very excited to pick it up and get to it.

Seventeen-year-old Hazel Clarke is no stranger to heartbreaks, and being sent to live with a father she’s never met is the latest in a string of them. Even the beauty of eastern Australia isn’t enough to take her mind off her mother and the life she had to leave behind in England. But when Hazel meets the friendly, kindhearted Red and his elusive twin, Luca, she begins the slow process of piecing together a new life—and realizes she isn’t the only one struggling with loss. As friendships deepen and love finds its way in, Hazel also learns that when you truly love someone, they are always in your heart.

This sparkling debut novel is a touching testament to coming of age, falling in love, and finding home in unexpected places.

The Fandom by Anna Day

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This month I plan on reading The Fandom to get ready for the first ever #CroneBookClub. For more information please go to Jenn’s post with all the details: Crone Bloggers Book Club.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands …

A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.

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