Wrap Up

Middle Mark | May 2019

Middle Mark

So, this month I am reading big books, but also reading some smaller books in-between to keep up my momentum. I always need to pause a big book and finish a quick read or I end up getting bogged down, am I the only one who feels this way from time to time?

Anyway, this Middle Mark is mainly going to be a few of the small books, hopfully my monthly wrap up will have some of the larger books. Fingers crossed.

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Read 2

Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday TroublesAsk Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles by Taisia Kitaiskaia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very adorable and helpful book. This advice centered book is a mixture of fun, thoughtfulness, and folklore. I plan on reading more from this author because the writing was lyrical, but not annoying. The advice was useful, but not full of itself.

I see myself picking it up again from time to time.

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Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women WritersLiterary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers by Taisia Kitaiskaia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very cute and quick read. I really enjoyed how each section was set up. A little story create by the author, a little non-fiction blurb about the “literary witch” and then recommenced reading for each one. This truly is a wonderful celebration of women writers from a wide array of backgrounds and time.

This little blurb and short little story really gets you in the mood to explore these women and it is so wonderful that she gives you 3 or more recommendations. On top of that the illustrator, Katy Horon, has a wonderful style and you can see how individualized and meaningful each of the pieces are.

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Currently Reading 2

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan

Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

I picked up this novel while at my local indie bookstore. I am ashamed to say and admit I never knew Stalin has a daughter. I honestly just through he was so evil that I cannot fathom that he could be a father. I am currently about 74 pages into the book and I think is he is a horrible husband, horrible person, and I think he was a messed up dad already. Mainly because of foreshadowing and some comments here and there, but I am interested in seeing just how low he goes in his personal life.


The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand

I have finally started this huge book, I am not too far into it, but I can already see why it is a beloved book of his. It has a very interesting start and I normally don’t like apocalyptic  dystopian writings, mainly because YA was/is just pushed them way to much for me, but I will say that this one seems very different and I am curious to see how he pictures a world after our world collapses.

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What are you currently reading?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | #OWLsReadathon2019 Update

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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.

-Passed-

  • Charms
  • Herbology
  • Care of Magical Creatures
  • Muggle Studies
  • Transfiguration

-In Progress-

  • Potions

-Magical All Nighter-

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Read 2

The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women WriteThe Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write by Sabrina Mahfouz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your SoulFierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

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The Virgin SuicidesThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

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My Sister, the Serial KillerMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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ElevationElevation by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

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The Englishman who Posted Himself and Other Curious ObjectsThe Englishman who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects by John Tingey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

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Currently Reading 2

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)

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.

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | May 2018

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Another month as passed and I read a ton of books. I have no idea how I found the time to read 15 books. I think the reason I read so much it because of my Read 5 Buy 1 challenge I have been doing.  With such a high book count this month I am able to buy 3 books. Woohoo! So far it has been a win for me, I am spending less money on books and reading some great ones I might not have gotten to. Now, some of them I LOVED and others were just okay, but overall I am happy with the books I read this month.

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Books I Finished

Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto

This was a heart breaking non-fiction. It told the story of a social worker that aided many jewish children during WWII. She was able to take them out of the ghettos and get them into homes and teach them how to pass as christians so they would be able to survive in Nazi Germany. The toils and close calls that this woman went through, I just could not believe. She was so brave, intelligent, and compassionate. I highly recommend this book.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

The Female Persuasion

I was looking forward to this book coming out in May, but what got me to pick it up this month was the fact that it was the first book of the Barns and Nobel book club. I will admit I was a bit bored with it, I think I would have liked it more if I did not read so much about feminism or books with feminist themes. I have read this story before and done better. It is bad? No. Is it the best? No. If you are interested I would suggest getting it from the library.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe

You may not know this about me but I LOVE myths about Gods and Goddess. I grew up reading and learning about both greek and roman myths so when Book of the Month had this as a pick I knew I needed to have it. I ended up reading this in a single day and I loved it. It was great hearing about Circe, I have never read a story from her point of view. The writing was great, the story was great, the subject was great. Did I mention that this was great?

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

So I have been hearing about this classic horror story a lot over the years, but I finally ended up picking it up this month and reading it. When I got it I realized it was so small. I was surprised, how could such a small novel be so scary? Well, now I know why Stephen King and his son both rave about it. This is one of my top horror novels of all time. The writing is was magnificent, the characters were interesting, the methods used to pull the reader in were mesmerizing. I very much suggest reading this if you like horror, even just a little bit.

My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris

My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel

This was a funny book my friend got me for my birthday, it was funny and since there are multiple ways to read it I may pick it up again in the future. Who knows?

Storm of the Century by Stephen King

Storm of the Century: An Original Screenplay

When I was younger I used to travel to see family where this movie was filmed. I figured it was time to read the screen play and then watch the movie. I have to admit it was fun to watch the movie because I actually recognized a lot of the places in the movie. It also made it even more creepy since it made it so real.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi

This was such a cute story! I don’t know why I waited so long to read this, but I am so glad that I finally did. I loved Dimple as a character, she was smart, dedicated, and just all around wonderful. I did realize I was so invested until the ending, I cried a bit. I normally don’t usually actually cry when I read books, so I was surprised.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Sleeping Beauties

This was a really good novel. I could not even figure out who wrote what characters or chapters. Their writing blended together so well. They story itself was just mind blowing. Leave it to Stephen King and Owen King to open your eyes and really make you think about the world with a horror novel. The scariest things are sometime the most real.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None

I love Agatha Christie, her mysteries are “classic”, “typical” mysteries that I actually enjoy. Normally I get bored of others, but her I can read through very quickly, in fact I read this in a single day. It was very interesting and I loved  the theme to it. It was eerie and creepy. It also left me guessing until the end.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Every Exquisite Thing

I read this along withAmy from Tomes with Tea, Regina from Bookish in Bed and  Jenna from J.K. I’m Exploring! . Overall I felt that the story was average. I loved some parts of it, but others were just okay. I really cannot pinpoint any particular problem with this book, but nothing stood out. If you have read this I would really like to hear your thoughts on it.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Cleopatra: A Life

Earlier I read The Witches by Stacy Schiff and I loved that book so much. So I went out and picked up another book by her. Now I did look at the ratings of this book so I kinda knew what I was getting into. It was rated lower than The Witches, but not by much. I have to say I agree with the rating it has on goodreads. It is not bad, but it is nothing like The Witches. While I picked up this book to learn about Cleopatra, I ended up learning more about the people around her I feel like. She does open up with saying how there is not much on her, but I don’t know. I was left not totally satisfied. I still 1000% suggest The Witches by her. Still one of my top non-fiction reads.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men

I don’t know why, but I had the urge to read a book that I read in high school. I think for two reasons. The first being, I didn’t really remember the story. The second being that I remember really liking it and I was curious to see if I still did. As it turns out I do still enjoy this novel.

The End of Watch by Stephen King

End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3)

This is the final installment of the Bill Hodges trilogy. I will say the first half of the book moved a little too slowly for me, but the second half took turns I had not expected. Also, while the ending nearly killed me. It would not have been a Stephen King book with any other. Over all I really enjoyed this series. If horror is not something you enjoy but you like thrillers I highly suggest it.

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

The Red Pony

This was not really a classic I enjoyed that much. I felt it was boring and I was not interested in the slightest. Thankfully it was only 100 pages and I stuck it out.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

I ended up absoultly loving this book, if you have not seen my full review on it you can find it here: REVIEW | The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware I go into detail on my thoughts about this book.

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I am Still Reading

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth

You can see details about both of these books here: Currently Reading | April 2018.

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What was the best book you read this month?

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

BookReview12:17

The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child MurdererDescription

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read. In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

The first thing I noticed while reading this novel is that Kate Summerscale is very thorough. Her knowledge of not just the crime itself, the perpetrator, and his family, but of the town and the time period are easily noticed. She goes into detail of the events of the town and the economic and social conditions that not only put our child murderer and his family in, but may have even contributed to it. Some of the information she shares in this book you know she had to look long and hard for it.

Another things I liked about this book was the content of the book. Now, I enjoy non-fiction very much and enjoy a book mystery. But, this book was different. It deals with the life of a child murderer. Someone who at a very young age decided to kill one of his parents. To me that both intrigues me as well as worries me. A child is meant to me innocent and this action/situation is the farthest things from innocent. Due to this the entire time I read this novel it was both almost morbid, but very thought provoking. It made me think about many topics, but I don’t want to list them because that might be considered a spoiler. I rather not spoil this book for anyone.

The last thing that really stood out to me was the ending of this book, it was an unexpected turn I was not expecting. While a majority of this book made me uncomfortable due to the subject the ending made me think even more about human nature and how and if people can change. Many non-fiction authors tend to stop at the “big” event, sometimes that is a disservice. I really appreciated that fact that Summerscale no only covered and researched the murder and trial, but continued and expanded beyond the “main” event.

What I Didn’t Like

One thing that can be seen as a negative with this book is that it contains a lot of background information. For some people this can be a downside to the book. I personally did not have a problem with this because I loved learning about the town, culture, and other events happening at the time. But, I recognize that for some this is not what they signed up for when they picked up a book about a child murderer.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. I think Summerscale did a wonderful job researching and telling the story of Robert Coombes and his brother. Throughout I was interested and I often found myself thinking about the book once I put it down. For me that makes a good non-fiction read. I would say if you enjoy non-fiction, true crime, or reading about morbid topics this book is for you. I just would keep in mind that you will also be learning about the time period etc., but I feel it is needed to understand the environment the Coombes boys lived in. I ended up giving this story novel 4 stars.

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Author Links

Kate Summerscale

http://www.katesummerscale.com

Book Information

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: July 12th 2016

List Price: $28.00

ISBN:  9781594205781

Pages: 378 pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | With Ballet in My Soul by Eva Maze

Book Review

cropped-iconw1.jpg*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Description

A life spanning close to 100 years is noteworthy, if only because of its longevity. The rich life of a woman committed to a professional vision ahead of its time, filled with glamour, excitement, and adventure, is truly remarkable. Narrated in her own words, this is the story of such a woman, Eva Maze, who, from the time she left Romania as a teenager in 1939, dreamed of being a ballet dancer, and through a series a circumstances, became instead one of the most successful theatrical impresarios in Europe – with a career spanning more than 40 years.

What I Liked

Eva’s memoir is a mesmerizing story of overcoming difficult situations and making the best of them. Not only do you get to learn about an impressive individual you get to see her throughout her life. While many memoirs are accompanied by photos Eva goes above and beyond by providing many images from different times in her life. It made the story more personal because there was so many, but because they were placed throughout the text. I often read non-fiction and memoir and the images are bunched up eight in the middle of the book and the context is lost. Another thing I liked about this novel is the fact that you almost instantly feel a connection to this amazing woman. She doesn’t talk at your, but explains her life as if you are sitting with her at a table drinking some tea or coffee.

What I Didn’t Like

One thing I did not like was that I could not relate to wanting to be a performer or dancer as much as Eva. While this is not fault at all by the author or her story I can tell for my reading if I had an interest in this I would have enjoyed the story even more. Even though I am not interesting in performing or dance I enjoyed Eva’s story because her story is a wonderful one.

Overall Thoughts

I thought this was a wonderful written memoir. I can tell a lot of thought and heart when into it. This is a story of a strong and inspiring woman who have lived through so many modern historical events. You see things through her eyes and while she tells you her story you feel like her friend. Her story shows that no matter what happens in your life, you can still succeed. I would say if you want to read about an inspiring woman, read memoir, or you enjoy reading about ballet you should pick up this book. I want to say thank-you Eva for sharing your story, it was amazing to read it.


Book Information

Publisher: Moonstone Press LLC

Publication Date:April 1st 2017

List Price: $24.95 (Amazon.com)

ISBN: 9780983498384

Pages: 200 pages


*You may have noticed that I have not added a star rating to my review. I did this on purpose. I want to remove the star ratings from my reviews and focus on discussing the things I like and things I didn’t instead of trying to force my opinions into a box.

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