Hauls & Unboxings

Books I Bought at an Indie Bookshop While Visiting Family

Hello and welcome to a very specifically themed book haul. I have not done a standalone book haul in a while, but I recently traveled a bit to spend time safely with family in the middle of the woods. Side note, being in the middle of the woods and away from huge crowds of people did wonders for my reading. You can see this in my post called, Books I Took On Vacation and Did I finish Them?. Anyway, when I was there I decided to stop at an independent bookstore to support them, but also buy some books that take place in the general vicinity or state I was in. That way when I miss my family or want to trick my brain into thinking I am somewhere else relaxing I can pick of one of these books/souvenirs.

The Books

Wild! Weird! Wonderful! Maine. by Earl Brechlin, is a nonfiction book that accounts the “out there” history of Maine from ghost stories to aliens, Inventors to interesting people. It just sounded like a fun look at the legends, myths, and the not so known facts and stories about Maine.

The House at Lobster Cove by Jane Goodrich, this historical fiction novel follows a wealthy man named George Nixon Black who wasn’t very social, but liked in a house known by many. It seems like while it is know by many, the house was not visited often by others. This story seems to lift the veil of this mans private life in this beautiful house.

The Field House: A Writer’s Life Lost and Found on an Island in Maine by Robin Clifford Wood, is a nonfiction novel following the life of an author by the name of Rachel Field. She was a very prolific author who won tons of awards, but her name has been lost to history. The author of this book takes a look at her life and her home to get to know Field’s.

Writing on Stone: Scenes from a Maine Island Life by Peter Ralston, his nonficiton novel takes a look at Gott’s Island and its history, but also the story of a family. At least to the best of my knowledge from the description.

A Haunting Fog by Heidi Martin Washburn, is a fictional novel that follows Madelyn Davis during a tough time in her life. It is affecting her in every where to the point her boss tells her to take a break. During this break Madelyn becomes a caregiver of an older women who has secrets of her own and mystery begins to unfold.

I am really looking forward to all of these books for different reasons, but each one just sounds like a story I can easily fall into depending on my mood. Darn being a mood reader! I really do like how I picked up a wide range of books, fiction and nonfiction so I can explore Maine in various ways while I remember the memories I shared with my family while in that state. Also, helping support indie bookstores is another huge bonus!

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | JJ Clapton | The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Someone Picks My Books where I ask for volunteers to pick a random book for me to read and see if I like it just as much as they did. This past May I had the wonderful JJ Clapton, who you can find over on twitter as @JJClaptonWrites as well on her website jjclapton.com. Yes, I am sorry I am late to posting this because I have been rethinking my blog a bit, but this series is one I truly love and wont to continue into the future. Anyway, I really excited to share my thoughts on this adventure of a book!

Description

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.
There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality. –goodreads

What I Liked

First and foremost, I absolutely adored the imaginative aspect of this book. I mean, the ideas of book characters jumping off the pages is something a lot of us book lovers say as a figure of speech and most likely has been around for a while. The thing is, the author actually made this figure of speech seem like a reality and created a whole book around it, amazingly I might add.

This book opened up the readers in such a great manner it was a mixture of explaining and showing that was balanced really well. I felt like the author explained just enough that the reader isn’t lost, but we are thrown right into the action of the story. The writing really was just wonderful throughout. The plot was well done, the atmosphere was great, and when I read it felt like I was falling into the book just as much as the characters in this story were coming to life because of Charley’s abilities.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t think of a single thing I did not enjoy about this book.

Overall

If you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. It was imaginative and unlike anything I have read personally and on top of that was executed amazingly. I was honestly shocked to see that this was the authors first book, but very happy too see that they have others out and another one in the works. This review was hard to write because all I wanted to do was gush about it and say, how much I loved it. I will say that there are a few scenes in the book that depict a few dark things that could be triggering to some such as violence, if curious here is a list of trigger warnings. If this is something that does not affect you, I highly suggest giving this book a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I could not be more ecstatic that JJ Clapton picked it for me to read!

Up Next

The next installment that is coming very soon was picked by the wonderful Whitney, who you can find on both twitter as @whitreadslit and over on her blog, whitreadslit.com. She is a very kind individual and her content is amazing!

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

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Reviews

Book Review | Trading Secrets by Rachael Eckles

*Book given by BOOK PUBLICITY SERVICES in exchange for an honest review*

Trading Secrets

Description:

William Anson is done with relationships, thanks. He’s starting the second year of his medicine degree single, focused, and ready to mingle with purely platonic intentions.

Celeste Donovan, a high-powered finance executive, seems to have it all–the penthouse apartment, the supermodel physique with a mathematician mind, and a trail of beautiful men she has loved and left behind.

But when her boyfriend Theodore is killed in a mysterious accident, she discovers Omar, her abusive ex she had hoped would never resurface, is behind his death.

Now she’s caught in a game of cat and mouse, trying to anticipate Omar’s next move, as she realizes he will stop at nothing to get to her. She sets out alone on a whirlwind journey to entrap him, determined to put an end to Omar’s destruction.

Soon Celeste is thrust in the middle of the largest financial scandal in decades. This time, however, powerful government officials are in bed with some of the world’s most dangerous men.

When she discovers that those she thought she knew best are involved in a secret society warring with Omar and his coconspirators, she must decide how far she will go to avenge Theodore’s death and whether she is willing to risk her own life to save everyone she loves.


What I Liked

One of the most prominent aspect of this novel was how fast paced it was. There was one thing after another and this can be a good thing for a novel because it keeps you as a reader engaged. There was no lull feeling in the middle of the book that many novels seem to suffer from. While this novel had a lot going on it wasn’t all just fluff and filler. It was all meaningful to the plot and moved the story along.

Another thing I took note of was the fact the author was not afraid to talk about graphic things, so just to give fair warning about some of those difficult topics, this book includes rape and abuse. A topic that is very much a tough topic that has unfortunately touched the lives of too many. The author left in these details to really get you to understand the feelings of the main character and understand their motives for their actions. I feel like without that Celeste might have come across as a very different character.


What I Didn’t Like

While I really liked the fast paced aspect of this book, I did feel that it was a tad bit over the top from time to time. It felt very unrealistic. For me this took me out of the story from time to time, but not for long. To be honest this might not be an issue for others. I think this dislike it a personal taste issue more than an issue with the book itself.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I thought this roller-coaster of a book was enjoyable. I read it quickly, never hit a lull in the story telling, and I found myself engaged in the plot and characters more than I thought I would. I feel like if this book is something that you are intrigued by after reading the description and the difficult and graphic content is not something that will bother you, I suggest giving this book a chance.


Author Links

Rachael Eckles

Book Information

Publication Date: May 2, 2020

Publisher: APHRODITE BOOKS LLC

List Price: $17.00

ISBN: 978-1734901818

Pages: 318 pages


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To Be Read

To Be Read | May 2021

Hello and welcome to my May TBR! This month I am going to be keeping my TBR on the smaller size to hopefully give me the opportunity to do some mood reading, which really helped out the second half of April.


The Books

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, I have been reading The Discovery of Witches series on my ereader and really enjoying it. I ended up walking into my local indie bookshop and I was talking about really enjoying it and the seller recommended this book to me. It is a historical fiction, but all about sisters joining the suffragist movement with a twist of witchcraft from my understanding.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, I have heard nothing but great things about this book and I came across it being on sale on a recent trip to the bookstore, so I thought it was the best time to pick it up and give it a go. I am really interested in this because it is multigenerational from my understanding and is historical fiction.

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, I picked this book up on a total whim if I am being honest. I saw a youtuber I enjoy watching get this book and they were so excited about it I just couldn’t help myself. I have no idea what it is about, but I feel like that it is kinda fun and will make it all the more interesting when I read it this month.

The Agonist by Shastra Deo, not pictured, I am reading this book digitally. This is a collection of poems by an author who was born in Fiji. Reading the blurb and reviews I have come across say that it is beautifully written as well as being food for thought and conversation.

What do you plan on reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | March 2021

Hello and welcome to my March edition of my monthly wrap up, I am sad to say that this month has not been the best reading wise, but I am hoping that April will knock this month out of the park. I am happy that I was able to finish a total of three books, one of which was a tome. Anyway, on to the books I read this month!

Royal Assassin: The Illustrated Edition (Farseer Trilogy, #2)Royal Assassin: The Illustrated Edition by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am still very much enjoying my first read through of this series and my first jump into the world of Robin Hobb, I have the next one sitting next to me ready to go!

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The Unexpected Joy of the OrdinaryThe Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am going to be posting a dedicated review for this book, but over all I liked it! Keep an eye out for the review for some of my specific thoughts.

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I managed to read a total of 3 books, 1,280 pages.2 of those books were fiction and the remaining book was nonfiction. I read 1 audiobook, 1 hard cover and 1 soft cover books. I have 1 4 star read, 1 3 star read and 1 2 star read this month.

What was your favorite book you read this month?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | February 2021

Hello and welcome to a bit of a book haul for February. This month was really great for my book buying and I am thrilled about that. I love when I read more books than add to my TBR. But, because I picked up so few books, I am really, really happy about the ones I did decide to add to my shelves. Anyway, here are the books I decided to add!


The Last Negros at Harvard by Jeanna Ellsworth and Kent Garrett, I picked this up at my local bookstore, but I had heard about it on twitter and thought it was a very interesting story. I really want to know the experiences of these very brave and intelligent men who attended Harvard during a time described as “between integration and affirmative action” in the description.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel, this was my BOTM pick for February. It follow a very young family who have traveled from to the US from Bogotá and stay longer than their visa allows because they want what is best for their family. It follows them as they move from place to place and the stress and hardships that follow.

What Would Frida Do? by Arianna Davis, I am going to be honest here, I don’t know too much about Frida and I saw this on BOTM so I decided to add it to my box this month. This is a nonfiction book about the artist and I have heard that you can really read the passion the author has for this prominent figure. It seems to not just talk about her art, but her life as a whole.

Dark Archives by Megan Rosenbloom, I have had this book on my to buy list for a very long time and I finally came across it in the bookstore so I picked it up. This is a grim book, but I find it to be a very interesting topic. This book dives into the history of books bound in human skin. The author, who is a librarian, goes through the myths and legends and uses science to see if the books that are claimed to have been bound in human skin, really are.

This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch, I picked up this thriller for a series on my blog called, Someone Picks My Books. I don’t want to say too much, but I did post the review for this book already so you can find that here, Someone Picks My Books | Nicky from @cre8ive_nicky | This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch.


What book have you recently added to your shelves from the library or the store?

What book have you recently read?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | March 2021

Hello and welcome to my March TBR list! I cannot believe I am already planning my reading for March, I still feel like February just begun and I have a ton of time to keep reading my February TBR. Nope, not the case at all. I will have to move a few books from February to March since I just ran out of time…oops! Anyway, this month quite a few of the books I don’t quite have a physical copies for so they are not in the picture. Some are ebooks and another is a preorder I can’t wait to get my hands on.


The Books

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, ebook not pictured. This is a book for my read a shortlist challenge for 2021, if you want to see the details you can see that in my post called, Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist 2021. I am excited to get to this one because it was awarded the International Booker Prize so I have high hopes especially since I have enjoyed the other books on this list so far.

The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray, audiobook not pictured. I am really excited to get to this book, I have not read a book quite like this one is described in some time and I think it will be very refreshing and uplifting.

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb, pre-ordered not pictured. This is the book I currently and waiting for release day, which is early on in March. This will be the third book I have read by Hobb this year and I am really enjoying her style of writing and the world she has created.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, pictured. I started this tome in February and I really want to continue and finish it up over the next month. As always I am curious as to what Clair and Jamie will be getting into. I am actually crocheting a few Outlander inspired things as I read this book, which has really added to the fun.

Dead Blonds and Bad Mothers by Sady Doyle, pictured. I have had this non-fiction on my shelf for a bit and I am really feeling the urge to read it now. The second part of this title is “Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power”, I mean that alone just draws me in.

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, pictured. I am reading this with Jenna this month so we can discuss it as we read, which I think will be really good and spark some very good discussions on systematic racism.


What do you plan on reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | February 2021

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reading check in! I am off to a wonderful start this month because I took part in the 24 in 48 Readathon that book place over the weekend of the 6th. I have really enjoyed a majority of what I have read, so I am excited to share a few of them with you. Without more of a delay, here are the books that I read!


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking GlassAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found I enjoyed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland much more than Through the Looking Glass. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland seemed more like a fantastical tale and adventures. The second, while still seemed like an adventure, it didn’t have the same feel or appeal.

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Sister OutsiderSister Outsider by Audre Lorde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This author really has a way with words. Their writing was beautiful and I really enjoyed this collection of essays. Her voice was unique, which I really enjoyed. I would really like to read more of her poetry because I feel like I would really enjoy it. The content of these essays revolve around many topics such as friendship, race, and sexuality.

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White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of ColorWhite Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very interesting book, it examines our history and todays society in quite a few countries. It really examines the faults of feminism as a movement and as well as how white women use tears to hide and “protect” themselves instead of having meaningful conversations and a have a refusal to be uncomfortable. This not only is in response to just one minority, but a look at white women’s response and their role in racism when dealing with POC.

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Hurricane SeasonHurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting read. The murder of the witch is told through the POV of multiple people. With each perspective you learn more about the past and the murder itself. I liked how it also was a social commentary with a mixture of a thriller.

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other AstonishmentsWorld of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this was a very unique way to organize a memoir. Throughout the book the author takes a plant or animal and relates it to a personal part in their life, both childhood and more current. While also doing that you learned about the animals or plants. I will say, if you know a lot about animals it starts to drag a bit and I would have loved to hear more about the authors life.

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Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout HistoryLady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I felt that this was a really well done book. It talked about quite a few women from different countries and time periods. They even mentioned some more that lacked accounts that they really wished there was more on so they could add them to this collection. Not only did this book talk about these serial killers, it also talked about how society viewed them with bias. They were not seen the same way as their male counter parts. Some were even allowed to go free because they were pretty or using their role as a mother to gain sympathy. It was also well organized and it read more like a narrative than a lecture.

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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, I am currently 46% though this reread and I am really enjoying it. For me this was one of my favorite books a year or two ago and honestly, it is still one of my all time favorite reads. The dynamics in this book are just great and I can’t wait to continue

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent, I am current 30% through this thriller. I am reading it with Reg and Jenna, we have all read books by Liz Nugent together in the past and have loved her stuff. This one so far is living up the hype for me. I will say, it does not led itself to an audiobook though. I think if you do listen to the audiobook have the physical book in front of you because it jumps around in time and it can be a bit confusing.



What have you read so far this month or what are you currently reading?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | January 2021

Hello and welcome to my January book haul. This past month or two I ended up being gifted quite a few books that I am very grateful for and would like to share with everyone to see if you have read them and if you have any thoughts on them. Following this month I am going back to my Read 5, Buy 1 Challenge since I made it down to 0 books last year and now I am in the 30s again. Ooops. Anyway, here are the books I most recently added to my TBR!


Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, I am honestly not 100% sure what this book is about if I am being honest. Any insight would be really helpful. I received this as a gift from a family member and I have seen a lot of people mention it over the past few years. But, I kind of avoided all of the reviews etc.

Lady Killers by Tori Telfer, I was gifted this really interesting book by Heidi you can find her on twitter as @TIMbookshelf or over on her blog This is My Bookshelf Blog. She really is vey sweet and kind and I am so happy she picked this book off of my wishlist because I have been in such a nonfiction mood. It moved pretty quickly to the top of my TBR. This non-fiction book discusses various lady killers throughout history.

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad, recommended by Amy who you can find on twitter as @SalieriSin and over on her blog The Book Siren. I was so happy when I saw a book from the list of books I compiled from a thread of nonfiction recommendations on twitter. I scooped this one up no questions asked. This book discusses how feminism is actually white feminism and does not include black women and women of color in their fight for equality. It does this by going throughout history to modern times and across many continents from my understanding.

Sons of Cain by Peter Vronsky, Once again I wanted a nonfiction and I was in my bookstore. I ended up coming across this book that talks about the history of serial killers and how we actually started using that title. It is almost like a historiography on how we view these individuals and also goes into what their crimes are. This is a perfect read for me because I love to see how a topic has been viewed over a period of time and how that view has changed and reading and watching true crime.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, this is a classic that has been on my list for some time and I saw this edition on sale so I decided to finally pick it up. I have never read any of Woolf other works from my memory, so this could be very interesting to see if I enjoy her writing style or not. I also find it interesting that this novel follows a singular person over a singular day while they are trying to set up for a party.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I was gifted this book by Reg who you can find on twitter as @BookishinBed or on her blog that goes by the same name, Bookish In Bed. I was so delighted when this showed up in my box. Taylor Jenkins Reid has quickly become one of my favorite authors and this is one of her books that I have yet to read so I am super thankful!

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, this book I picked up at my local bookstore as well and saw the beautiful cover and then I read the description and I needed to have it! I love when a “cover buy” is more than just a cover buy. This 100 pages or so is a collection of non-fiction essays surrounding the author and focuses on the natural world that surrounds us.

The Unwanted by Michael Dobbs, This non-fiction novel was recommended by local bookstore owner in my area. I did not have a lot of nonfiction on my shelf and I was in the mood for some so I asked the owner to recommend me one and this is the novel they picked. This is about a small own where many were trying to seek asylum to aviod the Nazi party in World War One. I think it is going to be a very well done book, but heart breaking because it focuses on how these people were stuck trying to get the proper paperwork that would literally save their lives and the bureaucracy they had to deal with.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas, I was gifted this book by Misty who you can find on twitter as @mistymichelle30 or over at her blog entitled, Misty’s Book Space. She sent me a message in early January to ask if I have read this book yet and I let her know that I have not and she was super kind and sweet to send this to me. So, I can check out more of this series.


What books have you recently added to your TBR or taken out from your library?

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Reviews

Book Review | The Road to Woop Woop and Other Stories by Eugen Bacon

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

The Road to Woop Woop, and Other Stories

Description:

The Road to Woop Woop is a lush collection of literary speculative stories that lauds the untraditional, the extraordinary, the strange, the peculiar, the unusual that exist within and on the borders of normalcy. These tales refuse to be easily categorized, and that’s a good thing: they are dirges that cross genres in astounding ways.

Over 20 provocative tales, with seven original to this collection, and previous works, including: “A Pining,” shortlisted, Bridport Prize; “A Case of Seeing,” honorable mention, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award; “Mahuika,” highly commended, Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards; “Swimming with Daddy,” shortlisted, Alan Marshall Short Story Prize. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

This is one of the most interesting short story collections I have read. Each story is so different than the last and are so distinctive from one another and at times down right quirky. While there were some stories I enjoyed more than others, I really was drawn into these stories. They were out there, but in a wonderful way.

I really loved how unique these tales were, they were a combination of creepy, but thought provoking at the same time. I have a habit of putting down a short story collection between each story and taking forever to get back to it. Bacon’s writing pulled me in and I read quite a few each sitting and easily came back to it. I really wanted to see where the next tale would take us. Like I said each was so unique so it felt like I was going on an adventure with each one I read, but also a surprise.


What I Didn’t Like

As with all short story collections where are just some tales I don’t enjoy, but honestly there were not many I did not enjoy in this collection.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed this collection of horror/fantasy tales. They were imaginative, unique, and inviting as well as making you scared or creeped out. I felt myself reflecting on a deeper meaning of these tales often and it was exciting to read something that made me think on top of enjoying it. If you enjoy horror and want a collection of tales, I think you should look into it and see if it is right for you. I certainly enjoyed it and will be reading more from this author.


Author Links

Eugen Bacon

Book Information

Publication Date: December 1, 2020

Publisher: Meerkat Press

List Price: $16.95

ISBN:  9781946154316

Pages: 192 pages


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