Hello and welcome to another unboxing of Coffee and a Classic! I am so excited about this months box, because it is a book I loved and wanted to reread in the future. I don’t want to type too much and ruin the surprise so I am just going to be jumping into the unboxing and then gush about why I really loved this book.
Here is the first thing I saw when I opened the box. I loved this color of blue that popped out at me. Also, I saw a really beautiful cover peaking through. It gave me 1920s/Great Gatsby vibes I am not sure why now that I know the book.
I opened it up and I saw that it was a hand printed kitchen towel with the quote “All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow”― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina. Which, I love this quote the only bummer is that my kitchen is not this color, but if it was this would be on display somewhere. The other items I picked out was a ribbon bookmark, which is cute and goes with the book for sure. I have never used a ribbon bookmark so using this will be a new experience. Another goodie I got was a hand poured candle, I did not LOVE the smell of this personally, but my friend did so I gave it to them. It is apparently very fragrant and burns nicely.
Now, here is the coffee and the classic! This month the book is Anna Karenina. I read this book last year and I have to say at first I gave it only 3 stars. Since reading it I keep moving the rating up because I always think back to this book and I realize how relatable this classic is even today, which is hard to come by. The characters were also just so out there at times and it was just a blast to read and I realized more and more after putting it down. I normally have the opposite experience with a classic, I like it less or I don’t ever think about it again. This months coffee smelled so yummy, I cannot wait to have a cup of it. I just wanted to finish up my coffee from last month before jumping into this one.
Now, can we just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this edition. It is much a beautiful cream color and the details are just magnificent. I am so excited to reread this book with this edition. I am going to feel like such a fancy reader with a ribbon bookmark.
What did you think of this book box?
Have you ever read Anna Karenina? If you haven’t I recommend you give it a try!
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!
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.
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, 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.
About the Author: 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 Magazine, Flash 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.
Welcome to part two of my continuation of my mid-year check in! Earlier I did a whole post talking about my top 5 books I have read so far this year. Now, it is time to talk about the bottom 5 books I have read this year. If you would like to see my top 5 you. can find that. here:Let’s Talk | Top 5 Books I Have Read So Far This Year. Anyway, I don’t want to do too much. of an introduction, but the books I mentioned just didn’t do. it. for me personally for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean they are a bad book or that you can’t like them. I just didn’t and thankfully most of these were library books.
There is only a single “book” I gave so far this year and that would be a work by Shakespeare. Since I first read some of his works back in high school, I did not enjoy them in the slightest. I thought that this feeling was mainly due to teachers in the past making me read a bunch of them. Turns out, I still don’t like the plays all that much. Maybe it would be different if I saw one of them preformed, but I just thought it was WAY too dramatic.
So far there is only one book I have given two stars and this would be The Woman in the Dark. I was just bored by it and I don’t really think it has anything to do with the book. I just read a lot of thrillers and this one never really surprised me or kept my interest. I think It was just predictable because I read so many of them. The writing itself was good and the author is talented, just the plot of me was meh.
The fact that I need to list any three star reads is great in my eyes. That means I have not read a lot of books that I didn’t enjoy. I am finally getting better at finding books I am more likely to enjoy. But, while these books are not bad at all, they are at the lower end of my rating scale.
War and Peace was good, just I was not that drawn into the lives of the people I was reading about. These stories are very character driven in my opinion and if you are not feeling the characters you most likely wont enjoy it very much.
This month I decided I would give a new book box a try. I have tried many in the past and only one to this point has been one I have kept for over a year. The others were wonderful, but I no longer read a lot of YA so I was on the hunt for a book box that fits my current reading habits. With my youtube and blog searches I came across this lovely box called Coffee and a Classic.
If you know me I love classic literature, I find it a wonderful way to look into the past without reading non-ficiton, which I also love. On top of that, you get some delicious coffee to sip while you read. An entire experience!
Now, this box has a few customizable things going for it as well. You can pick coffee or tea, and the type of classic you would want to read. They have children’s classic, classic literature, and then a non-fiction classic. Which, I love that they give the subscribers so much choice in the box. On top of that you can can pick from starter ($29.99) or standard (40.99). Which, if you want to know more please check out their website. www.coffeeandaclassic.com.
Anyway, I picked the classic literature starter box here is what I got this month!
Can I just say I am a sucker for cute simplistic packaging? This logo is just so cute and I love it. I also loved how everything was packaged in a box that was appropriate in size. Everything fit safely and snuggly inside nothing was shifting all over and there was unneeded stuff.
I am so excited to try this coffee, I am also so happy that it happens to be themes as a Grand Adventure because I am currently rereading The Fellowship of the Ring and I feel like it would fit in perfectly. On top of that it smells heavily.
Here are the two bookish goodies I got this month. The first are two absorbent car coasters. I feel like these people are spying on me because I said a few weeks ago I needed some of these and I was on the look out for them. Looks like I don’t need to keep searching. The second is a beautiful lined notebook, which is in a beautiful blue color. I love that both of these have artwork that actual applies to the book that is in this book instead of just something generic. You can see the thought that goes into this.
Last, but certainly not least we have the bookmark and the book. Can I just say I love that they send a bookmark with a book. I never understood when book boxes never came with a bookmark. Anyway, this bookmark is made of Sassafras and features art pertaining to the book. I have never had a wooden bookmark that I can remember, but I love the feel of this. Then, we have the classic! I am happy to say I have not read this classic, but I have heard quote a lot about it. I am excited to dive into this, sip my coffee, and maybe take some notes.
I have to say I am really happy with this book box. The items inside are usable and not just knickknacks and all have to do with the book that was sent not just a generic theme. I can see the hard work that was put into this and I want to say well done. I am going to continue on with this box!
June was a very crazy month for me, I am so I am very surprised at how much I ended up reading this month. I was expecting to read maybe only 4 books, but I ended up reading much more than that.
I will say this month I was very bad about sticking to my TBR, June TBR | 2019, I ended up only reading 1 book on that list until the 24th of the month. Then, I kinda tried to binge the rest of the list. The main reason I did not do to well with sticking my my TBR was my mood reading and the books that became available from my library. Library books always take precedence with me because I can’t keep them and I might not be able to extend my time with it if someone else is in line.
Anyway, I overall liked a lot of the books I read this month, but below is some more details about the books themselves and my thoughts.
I really liked the time period this was set in and how it was true to that time period. It showed the hardships that African Americans faced and the horrible treatments that were thrust upon them. I enjoyed the writing style and the theme of bees throughout the story.
I think I have come to realize though, that I do not like stories about young girls who lose their mothers at a young age. I think it is because I have read it so many times or what, but I am just not in the mood or enjoy stories with that plot line.
I have not read a lot of books or comics or anything in a while that dealt with HS aged people. But, I am very happy that I read this. I started reading this as a preview from the publisher on their website, when the preview ended I needed more and got it from my library that thankfully had it. I finished it in one sitting.
The story line was heart wrenching, but heart warming at others. I loved that the characters were raw at times, but the issues that were hinted at and full on explored are real issues that are dealt with every day. I really enjoyed reading this.
On top of the storyline/plot being amazing, the art work was beautiful. I enjoy the style that is used and the color pallet and use of color to highlight certain aspects of the story. You can clearly see a lot of time and hard work went into this graphic novel.
When I first started to read this I started to feel like I was mislead by the title of this book, but that quickly turned around for me when I was about 70 odd pages in. This story had me really engaged for a few reasons. The first being the time period, how can you not want to hear a story about a rock and roll group in the 1970? The second being the format of this novel.
I didn’t know that this was set up as an interview the entire book and I think it really lent itself to the story. I feel like the story would not have been as powerful and I would not have felt as much as I did if it was written another way. Also, if you are into audiobooks, I think this is one of the best I have ever listened to. They have an entire cast and it makes the voices so much more distinct, even through they would be without the audio.
This story talks about a lot of different struggles and it really is a roller coaster, but not the one you would expect from a rock group.
I am kind of struggling to pin point why this book didn’t blow me out of the water. I think the main reason is because I was able to predict a lot of what happened from very early in the book. I think once I made an assumption and it started to be proven correct I was just kinda meh about it.
I think if you have not read a lot of thrillers this is a great place to start. It is shocking and has quite layers to it. The writing style itself is good and it flowed for sure. One thing I really liked is the fact that I was debating throughout that maybe this is actually happening or it isn’t happening at all. What is reality?
* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*
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.
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.
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.
This month has been a really interesting reading month for me. I feel like my reading was all over the place, but at the same time not. I have read a lot of non-fiction or very large books the past few weeks, with only a sprinkling of thrillers from a buddy read and a novel from one of my 2019 reading challenges.
I am not quite sure why I tended to read a lot about Russian history or Russian influenced books, but I think I was really craving non-fiction and historical fiction. As to the big books, I think I have been in a mood to just pick up a book and just dedicate myself to reading it and really absorbing it, not just reading something and flying through it. Either way, I am really happy with the books I have read this month, without more of my ramblings and reflection, here are the books I read!
This was a wonderfully written non-fiction account of the daughter of one of the worlds most notorious men. It was really enlightening to read about her relationship with her father for a few reasons. The first being it really gave insight into Soviet Russian elite, which to me seemed to not be so different with how the elite lived under the tsars, and how Stalin was as a husband and a father.
I also liked how this novel tracked her life following the death of her father and beyond. I think it was a very good nod to her because it seemed like she tried hard to be seen as her own person and this novel really does just that.
As I said earlier, this is well written. The style of writing is story like with a great deal of information, I think this is great for those who want to read more non-fiction but are intimidated by books being to “academic”. In addition to this, the organization and execution of this biography is wonderful. The flow was very natural and I never felt like I was jumping around in her story, even though we cover an entire lifetime in a single book.
This book also inspired me to look into Svetlana’s own books about her story and also read more from this author.
This was a very thought out thriller and I can really appreciate that. I just wish one aspect of the story was more explored throughout the novel. While this was a well planned thriller, it is by no means bad, but it also isn’t one of my top ones.
The story will keep you on your toes and just like the dust jacket says, if you think you can guess the ending. I think your guess most likely will be wrong.
I am still surprised I was able to finish this book in a single month, but I am so happy that I read it. While it was long, I was not once bored and I never wanted to skip a particular part.
Overall, I really liked the wide array of characters in this novel. I was expecting to get them all confused and turned around, but they are so distinct and their motives for their actions are always true to them so I did not have a problem keeping them all straight. There were characters in here that I cried for and I cheered for. There were those I did not care for in the slightest. It really is interesting to see all the different ways humans deal with something like this.
I really enjoy this type of story from king, it is a mixture of ghosts, monsters, but also human nature and what it could be. Making is just enough real to make you uneasy. Also, whenever anyone sneezed I got anxious. I had to laugh at myself a bit, but according to the Stephen King subreddit, I am not the only one who this happened to.
Hello everyone, it has been some time since I posted a bookhaul. I didn’t realize it has been two months until I ran out of room on my cart where I put the books I need to haul officially. Then, I realized I put some on my shelves without actually hauling them… oops. It turns out I acquired more books that I thought I did between treating myself and my birthday this month. The good news is I already read some of the books I hauled and some are replacement copies. So my overall TBR isn’t being completely bogged down.
Literary Witches by Taisia Kitaiskaia, birthday gift and read.
You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman, unread.
If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley, unread.
Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides, unread.
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston, Thank-you Reg! Unread.
Blaze by Richard Bachman aka Stephen King, unread.
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, replacement copy and gift
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien, replacement copy and gift.
The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick, unread.
Peace and Turmoil by Elliot Brooks, unread.
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan, gift and unread.
The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer, unread.
Classic Penguin by various editors, read.
The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects by John Tingey, read.
The Things I Would Tell You edited by Sabrina Mahfouz, read.
Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill, read.
Ask Baba Yaga by Taisia Kitaiskaia, birthday gift and read.
So over the past two months I acquired 17 books, not to bad for a birthday month and for such a long period of time. Plus, I already read 8 of them already.
Have you read any of these books? Which one should I read first?
What book have you acquired or borrowed this month?
So I have been blown away at my progress with the OWLs Readathon so far. I am not complaining in anyway, but I had no idea I would have read so much already. I think taking part in the Magical All Nighter really helped me make a lot of progress as well. Anyway, I am going to hurry and tell you the OWLs I have passed, ones I am working on, and the ones I still need for my profession of choice. Then, underneath will be my mini reviews. Also, if you have no idea what I am talking about, you can read about the readathon and my goals here: April TBR | OWLs Magical Readathon 2019.
I really enjoyed the wide array of perspectives that were present in this book. Not did the editor bring together a wonderful collection of writings, the writings were created by an assortment of women of different ages as well. I felt like that created a very interesting dynamic in the writing, but also illustrated that deep feelings can be felt at any age. I felt passion and many deep emotions while reading this book. All the writers are very talented. I think my favorite, if I had to pick, would be Islamic Tinder by Triska Hamid.
On top of the quality of writing, I also enjoyed that there were different forms of writing present; short stories, poetry, and plays as well.
This is the second collection I am reading from this author, I am happy to say that I still love her work. Her theme throughout this book was wonderfully represented, but I also liked how the classic fairytales were shifted to tell a unique story as well. The illustrations throughout were very complimentary as well. If the description interests you or you want to try a collection of poems and stories I highly recommend.
My favorites were Lost Boy, The Step Mothers Tale, Shoemakers Son.
From the title you can tell that this book deals with the very difficult topic of suicide. If any discussion of this topic is a trigger for you, I do not recommend you picking it up. If this is not a triggering topic, I highly suggest you read it.
Having personally dealt with a family member who has gone through this, I went into this book a bit worried that it would handle the topic badly. I was very pleasantly surprised that it handled not only the girls well, but also those left behind very well. I don’t really want to say much about the story itself, but I thought the writing was well done, the characters done well, and I was very much enthralled by the plot.
This is a page turner with twists I did not expect. I read this in one sitting and I will be looking out to read more from this author in the future. If you want a fast paced family centric thriller I highly suggest this one.
This was a really wonderful science fiction novella. I will openly admit I teared up at the end, which surprised me because I did not expect to become attached to any of the characters in the slightest. The novella is so short I expected it to be a good story, but not one that made me feel. This was a very interesting idea and done very well. But, please know this is not a horror, it is science fiction.
This was a well written and feel good fun story of a man who wanted to test the mail system. He ended up being known for this hobby and being one of the “fathers” of mail. The story was fun to read and I found it very interesting and fast paced. The images thorugh the book were beautifully copied added and great detail could be seen.
If you like reading about “oddities” and want a fast paced and interesting non-fiction to read, I highly suggest.
I will say I was drawn to this at first because I collect postcards from around the world, but I feel like anyone would enjoy reading this. It truly is about a man following his hobby and having fun.
I just started reading the third book in the Wayward Children series, I don’t want to say too much for fear I will spoil something, but I am excited to continue with this series and see what world we are taken to next. The book will cover the requirement for Potions, my last required OWL for Herbology.
So, this year I restarted by read 5, buy 1 and so far it has been going really well last month I didn’t really haul many books so I decided to combine January and February. I will say that the challenge is going really nicely. My owned TBR is currently sitting at 37 books, which I am very proud of. I am well on my way to get into the teens, which is my ultimate goal. Anyway, I am going to stop blabbing on and on and get to the book!
So I love Holly Black and I really enjoyed reading the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince. I had this book preordered and it was placed before the new year and also because I was really excited about it I needed to preordered it. Anyway, I am really excited to get to it in the near future.
I decided to pick this up for Black History Month… oops I read it in January because I could not wait and I really liked it. If you want to see my full review of it please go to my Monthly Wrap Up | January 2019 it was really enjoyable and I really do suggest it.
So, I have been eyeing starting this series for some time and I finally decided to pick it up. I have been wanting to get more into adult fantasy and right and left people have said to give Robin Hobb a try and I read the description and it sounds really interesting.
So this book is from my Book of the Month | February 2019 post I did a few weeks ago. Like I said in the post, this book is a science fiction read nothing like I have read before. It reminded me of a recent movie with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence where they wake up in space and everyone else is asleep. On top of that I would really like to hibernate sometimes so I can live through the characters lol.
Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? Which one would you read first?