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.

View all my reviews


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.

View all my reviews


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.

View all my reviews


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.

View all my reviews


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.

View all my reviews


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.

View all my reviews


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.

View all my reviews


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.

View all my reviews
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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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What are you currently reading?

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Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | March 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

The second half of this reading month was a bit slower than the first half. The main reason is I was super tired and had no down time until the last week of the month. Since then I have picked up some new yarns to crochet and listened to a few audiobooks.

This month, even though the second half was a bit much, I read more than I have in February, where I read only 4 books. This month I was able to read 5 books, yay progress! Plus, one of them was The Count of Monte Cristo, so I feel like I read A LOT, especially if I look at it page wise. Now, on to the books!

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Read 2

Neverworld WakeNeverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before I started to read this book, I love the idea of this book. Now that I have read it I can happily say the execution of this story was wonderful. The author is a very talented writer and did a great job with this novel. The authors were interesting and their personalities were interesting. The shenanigans the characters went through were sometimes so out of this world, which for the idea of this book, that makes a lot of sense.

I really enjoyed the mixture of thriller and science fiction. The intertwining of these two generous was done masterfully in my option. Her writing had me hooked on this book, I needed to know what happened next.

View all my reviews


The Thing Around Your NeckThe Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second work I have read by Chimamanda and I really enjoyed this collection of stories. Each story revolves around a women that is forced to face unfortunate situations in both Africa and the United States. The theme of family, identity, and culture intertwines each of them.

Her writing is beautiful, the struggles broke my heart, and the internal and eternal struggle these women had to face were eye opening.

I will be reading more from her in the future.

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Middle Mark Books 2

If you want to read about the books I read in the first half of March in more detail, you can find those here: Middle Mark | March 2019.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire, 5 stars

If, Then by Kate Hope Day, 4 stars – received from publisher

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, 4 stars

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Currently Reading 2

The Things I Would Tell You: British Mu…

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

I am currently about 22% through this book as of writing this late on the 30th of March. I picked this up on a whim at my local bookstore because I had a coupon and gift card. I previously have heard about it. The title alone sounds like these are short stories and poems that are meant to truly share their experiences, their feelings, hopes and dream, but also their fears. As of right now each ones of the poems and stories are powerful in their own way and I cannot wait to read more after I finish typing this up.

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Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 41

Current Backlist TBR: 18

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What book did you read and love this month?

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Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | February 2019

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After reading so many books in January I was bound to read less this month for two reasons. World became really, really busy and I was overwhelmed and the month is only 28 days long. Three more days I feel like I would have read more, but oh well there is always next month.

Even though I did not feel like I read a ton, I did manage to read 4 books, so a book a week is not bad at all. Three of those books were taken right off of my TBR while the fourth was one I reread. So, not to shabby over all. Without more rambling and me wishing I was able to read more, here are the books I read this month!

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In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at YorktownIn the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One thing I really liked about this was not only did it talk about Yorktown, it talked about what was going on right before and where the major players had their heads at. It explained things very well and had quite a few maps to help visually explain what was going on. This is a great addition if you ask me.

Being a history major I knew quite a bit of the information going into this book, but I did learn some new things and more details about the battle itself. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the battle or in the revolution. Beginner and those who know a bit of the details.

View all my reviews


Save the DateSave the Date by Morgan Matson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed how over the top this book is. The main character was a little in a lala land and idealized everything and at times I found it really annoying from time to time. I feel like she needed some tough love sooner rather than later when it came to living her own life in the real world.

I loved that the setting was at a wedding, I thought it was a really good setting. I laughed at some of the events and can I just say I loved the puppy waffle. The comedic timing of the puppy was spot on as well as his mischievous time.

Overall, this was a really good contemporary that broke up the heavy reading I have been reading as of late. I read through it very quickly when I did pick it up.

View all my reviews

 

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Middle Mark Books 2

I didn’t want to just rewrite my review, but if you want to know the details of my thoughts on these books please see my post, Middle Mark | February 2019. 

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Divider 2What is your favorite book you read this month? Have you read any of the books I have mentioned?What are you planning on reading next?

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Lets Talk

Lets Talk | Five Star Predictions

LetsTalk12:17

So, for readers there is nothing better than a 5 start book. As I read more and more I have been able to determine if I will like a book, but I find it harder to predict a 5 star read. So, I wanted to flex that muscle a little and really take a hard look at my TBR and see if I can predict some 5 star reads.

When I rate a book 5 stars it means a few things. First, the plot and characters were really enjoyable. It was not completely predictable and flowed nicely. Characters were not annoying or if they character has a fault it is to display a particular lesson or commenting on something else through their writing. I have to find myself surprised, angry, happy, excited, elated in combination or separate. The characters need to be distinct. But, overall I need to enjoy the ride, then entire ride.

5stars

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My Predictions

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

After reading this description I knew I needed to have this book. It seems like a mixture of magical realism and science? Also, kind of a sad future we may be heading for? It seems like a warning letter to what we as a planet to become and honestly, I just really love the idea of this book so much.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

I picked this as a Book of the Month book late last year and I vividly remember it being the second description I read and knowing right away that I needed to have it. It tells a story of women throughout history who have done so much for the world, but have remained silent, it seems like a historical fiction of sorts.

Bringing Down the Colonel by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "Powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

I got this book as a gift and I love it so much. I have heard whispers of this case, but I am very excited to learn more about it. Since it is was one of the first major cases of a women coming forward and saying she was assaulted by a man in power. It seems like it will be a very hard hitting factual book.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

I will be 100% honest here. I am basing this off of the cover. I know, don’t judge a book by the cover, but the vibe I am getting from the cover has me really excited. Also, to be fair I would not have bought this book if it was not part of my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist. But, I am very happy I did because the description is interesting as well.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

I really loved the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince, and I have love quite a few of Holly Blacks novels in the past. So, I think it is safe to say that I will love this one as well.

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What was your last 5 star read? What do you think about my predictions?

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Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | January 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

Well, here I am to share my first monthly wrap up of 2019. It seems like this month has gone slow, but also thrown by for me. I saw my first snow fall of the season, started playing around with programming and painting once again. I feel refreshed as well as have a drive I have not had in some time. I am not sure why the new year sparked this in me, but it has and I am happy about it.

So, as before, some of these books have been previously shown in Middle Mark | January 2019, but I wanted to post a comprehensive wrap-up. If you wish to skip over the books I already talked about I have no problem with that, but I have quite a few more books I read because I ended up reading 11 books.

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Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic

A Journey Through a History of Magic by The British Library

4stars

This is a beautiful book, it details so much of the history of magic that influenced Harry Potter’s world as well as a peek into early drafts, edits, and early doodles of the book. Even though I went to the exhibit I still read through this book cover to cover and really enjoyed it. (Originally found here).

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover

5stars

I absolutely loved this book, I was raw, emotional, and heartbreaking. If you are looking to read a memoir I highly suggest you pick it up. The writing is amazing, there is something about this book that just appalls you, but also inspires you due to the life that Tara Westover has lived. (Originally found here).

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

3stars

Best for beginners and those who are not happy with their current bullet journals. If you already have a bullet journal you are happy with you can pass on this book.

For those who are beginners this is a great way to learn about the process and find out what a bujo actually is. It is well organized and I like the take what works for you and leave the rest mentality of the book. (Originally found here).

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

3stars

I have read and reread quite a few Sherlock stories. I will admit at this point some stories I will continue to rereading, but others I will never pick up again for one reason or another. Mainly because I did not enjoy the  the thrill of the story. It is a wonderful collection to have. (Originally found here).

Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World

Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World by Pic Candle

4stars

I recently wrote an entire review of this book, you can find that here: REVIEW | Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World by Pic Candle / Zainab Khan. But, I will say overall I think this is a really fun drawing book. I think it gives great practice when it comes to learning to draw basic shapes and developing better hand control while drawing. While some of the tutorials take up jumps in the steps as stated before, you can figure it out with some time. As with anything new you are learning with practice, you improve. If you are looking to learn to draw or just want to play around, I think this is an adorable option for you. (Originally found here).

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

The Familiars

5stars

I wrote an entire review of this book, but I will sum it up here. I really enjoyed this novel. I loved how period accurate it was and how the author used real names from the year that this is taking place. I also enjoy how she embodied the time period, but also exposed the issues that and pointed out how unfair the system was towards particular people. It is safe to say that I am preordering this novel. (Originally found here REVIEW | The Familiars by Stacey Halls)

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

3stars

Overall, this was a really good short eerie short story. I can see why it is a classic that people talk about time and time again. But, it also did not wow me like other eerie stories  I have read in the past.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

5stars

This was an amazing read, I am kinda mad at myself for putting it off so the last few months. I really loved the conversation that book brings to the forefront. How it shows a different perspective that I really appreciate being shared with me. I also loved how I could relate tot the it me period this book takes place in. I remember the walkmans, start of the iPods and I really relate to the high prices text messages and minuets used to be. I feel like the mixture of highly relatable aspects as well as seeing a new perspective really  made this such a wonderful book. I highly suggest you picking this up. I feel like I am not articulating myself quite right, but I loved this book.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies: Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them

4stars

I really enjoyed the fact that this book had so many voices and talked on so many topics. There was a mixture of playlists, lists, essays, poetry, interviews and more. It was a wonderful read that allowed me to read the thoughts of some people I know, but also expose me to others I will now be looking into their work.

Another thing I loved was the continued reading section where books are recommended and also a section to workout your own thoughts on feminism. This book doesn’t just talk at you, it starts a conversation. (Originally found here).

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

4stars

I really loved how this seemed to be more of an anthropological look at death as apposed to her other book. I really enjoyed how she explored how cultures within the US and around the world pay respect to their loved ones with no judgement. It really is eye opening how we are all the same species, but we have our own ways we pay respect to those we love. It is comforting that we can all find a way to honor those who came before us. I hope to see more writings by her because I have enjoyed both of her books immensely. (Originally found here).

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

5stars

I found this book to be a mixture of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and something else I cannot quite place at this time. I really liked how this book was written, it flowed really nicely and the voices of the characters were clear and definite. The way that the author was able to weave this jumping time frame is masterful! Also, I was surprised quite a few times while reading it. The ending really shocked me and I loved the twist it took. (Originally found here).

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black

4stars

This book is such an adventure, it starts with a young boy, age 11. Sadly, he is a slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados run by two brothers. The author wrote a beautiful book that shows the ugly that is slavery. It talks about awful psychological games played by owners and the bad treatment many had to endure unfairly. I also like how the author showed abolitionists and aspects of the underground railroad. The dangers of faced by those who escaped and freed those who did not belong to them. I also really enjoyed the science, art, and almost steampunk elements. I am honestly not doing this book justice, but I will say it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and it is well deserved. I also have to agree with the quote on the front of my book calling it a masterpiece.  (Originally found here).

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Hauls

Book Haul |Boxing Day 2018

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So, this will post likely be the last huge haul you will see for some time. I tend to stay away from the website bookoutlet, but boxing day always pulls me in. It is not that the website is bad or anything like that. I just tend to buy more books than I need or ones that are not really on my radar and then months pass and I end up unhauling them. I try not to do that so my wallet is a bit happier. But, every year on boxing day, day after Christmas, I put in an order of books that have piled up in my cart that I have had my eye on for some time. Without more of a delay, here are the books I picked up on Boxing day! Divider

DividerThe Books

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent’s startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue a child from a superstitious community.
Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheal, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nora just as rumors begin to spread that Micheal is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.

Set in a lost world bound by its own laws, THE GOOD PEOPLE is Hannah Kent’s startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers. -goodreads

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. -goodreads

Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson

London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit: for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go. Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air. But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as a cloak for his crimes.

All across London, women were going missing–poor women, forgotten women. Their disappearances caused little alarm, but each of them had one thing in common: they had the misfortune of meeting a quiet, unassuming man, John Reginald Christie, who invited them back to his decrepit Notting Hill flat during that dark winter. They never left.

The eventual arrest of the “Beast of Rillington Place” caused a media frenzy: were there more bodies buried in the walls, under the floorboards, in the back garden of this house of horrors? Was it the fog that had caused Christie to suddenly snap? And what role had he played in the notorious double murder that had happened in that same apartment building not three years before–a murder for which another, possibly innocent, man was sent to the gallows?

The Great Smog of 1952 remains the deadliest air pollution disaster in world history, and John Reginald Christie is still one of the most unfathomable serial killers of modern times. Journalist Kate Winkler Dawson braids these strands together into a taut, compulsively readable true crime thriller about a man who changed the fate of the death penalty in the UK, and an environmental catastrophe with implications that still echo today. -goodreads

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet

A journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today—guided by the owner himself.

Bestselling author Daniel Tammet (Thinking in Numbers) is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life and able to explain what is happening inside his head.

He sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him the most unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.

Fascinating and inspiring, Born on a Blue Day explores what it’s like to be special and gives us an insight into what makes us all human—our minds.  -goodreads

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.– goodreads

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians. -goodreads 

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences. -goodreads

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Lists & Recommendations

Lists | Top 9 Books I Want to Read in 2019

Lists

So every year there are always a few books I am really excited to read. I make it a semi-goal to read them by the end of the year because I have a very good feeling I am going to like them all very much. While a lot of people have been posting the 19 books I want to read, I am going to keep mine at 9 because I don’t want to just throw some books in that I am not nearly positive I will love. So, where are the books I really want to read in 2019!

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange TreeThis is a book I am very much interested in. I have read a few of Shannon’s books in the past and I really enjoy her creativity and her writing. When I found out she was writing a standalone I was very much excited. Between the teasers and cryptic tweets from her as well as the mention of forbidden magic, I was pulled in and I preordered the book.

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the “powerless” Woman Who Took on Washington by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

So, this is a little sneak peak or a throw back to my Christmas Haul. I am unsure of when I am actually going to post this so it could go either way. Anyway, I received this from someone at work and I have to say they really surprised me by picking a book I love the sound of. This is a nonfiction account of one of the first women to sue someone of power during the gilded age in the USA. I am curious to see how this topic is handled and if it becomes biased.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

This is another book I have preordered and I am excited to get it in the new year. I have always liked Holly Black and I read the first book in this series a few months ago. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would and decided I was going to jump into this continuation. I want to know how two characters in particular deal with one another. I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan

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

This is a novel I picked up in my local independent bookstore. I just happened to be roaming and I came across it. This book has a bit of buzz around it and I read the description and I am very much interesting in learning more about the daughter of one of histories more notorious figures. It seems to be pretty straightforward and I am judging on its size is going to be very detailed.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker's Daughter

I picked this up from Book of the Month a few months ago and I really want to get to it. It seems like a mix between a historical fiction and a thriller and I am excited about it. I mean, I love history and I have been really enjoying thrillers, how can I not like this book? On top of that I have been hearing quite a few wonderful things about it.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

So this book has a very interesting dejcitption. There is mentions of scientists, near death experiences, strangers, and talking trees. While that seems all over the place, it kind of is, but when you read the entire description it sounds a lot better. Anyway, I picked this up on a whim mainly because it sounds like it has to do with nature and protecting the last of the forests on Earth. Plus, how can you not be pulled in when all those things are mentioned in the same description?

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

This is a kinda historical fiction, at least I think it is. It talks about women throughout history doing this they feel they need to for one reason or another. While this is not nonfiction I have heard that they author has done a very good job of bringing a lot of the feelings and events that plagued women during various time periods. I am keen on reading this very soon and I have heard great things.

The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson

The Bird's Nest

This is the next Shirley Jackson I really want to read. Last year I have discovered her works and I have enjoyed all and some I absolutely loved! This book seems to follow a girl who is gaining more and more personalities that are more and more extreme. I am unsure if this will be about mental illness or not since the author writes horror and its could be possessions, but I am very curious to find out how Jackson is going to shape this story.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Murder mystery, Freaky Friday, and thriller all mixed into one has me very interested. The description of the book just says there are 8 days and 8 witnesses and the. main character needs to figure out who the killer is by reliving the day over and over again, but from different bodies. I am think this is very clever and interesting way to write a murder mystery/thriller and I am really excited to see how it was executed.

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What book do you want to read this year?

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Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | December 2018

Monthly Wrap Up

The last wrap up of 2018, I just cannot believe it. Soon I will be starting my reading back at 0 and trying to reach my yearly goals. But, I have to say I ended the year on such a high-note I think 2019 is going to be a wonderful reading year. I read a lot of books I have been meaning to and some I absolutely loved. I also made it to a point where I have read all of the book I have owned for over a year. I have never been to that point before so I am very excited about it and I am going to do my best to keep it that way. So, without more of a delay I am going to share the books I read this month. Some of these books were featured in my post, Middle Mark | December 2018, so some of these are a recap.

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Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Small Fry

4stars

The first book I read this month was Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Overall I really liked this book more than I thought I would. If you want a more detailed review you can find that here: Let’s Talk |Fall Book Recommendation Test & Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs Review

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Faithful

4stars

Alice Hoffman has never disappointed me.I have previously read Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic by her this year and I loved the books. This book was no different, her focus was on family, but in a different way this time around. I was really invested in this story, so much in fact I read this in a single day. It was great breaking at times and other times I smiled as I read. It really was a beautiful emotional rollercoaster.

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Lisey's Story

I have to admit I did not fully read this book. I ended up DNFing this about 20% through. It was not a bad book, it just was one I was not really feeling so I did not want to push myself all the way through it. It was an interesting story set up and such. I ended up passing this book on to my friends daughter who is getting into horror.

A Meeting by the River by Christopher Isherwood

A Meeting by the River2stars

This is the 4th Christopher Isherwood book I have read over the years and this one was eh. While, it is not my favorite of his works, my favorite is Christopher and His Kind, I still enjoyed the writing and the ride he puts you on. If you have ever read one of his books you will know that his writing style is unique. You feel like you are drifting along on a ride watching the main character.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

If We Were Villains

5stars

So I read this as a buddy read with some amazing ladies and I have to admit I ended up finishing it earlier than planned. The first reason being is the writing and how it is organized. I really enjoyed how the story flowed and the sections had some very good cliffhangers so I had no choice but to continue. I really enjoyed how detailed this was and how the story is told between two time periods. I highly suggest this thriller/mystery to everyone. A lot of people compare this to The Secret History, but I think I actually prefer this book over that one. Controversial? Maybe, but it is true.

Down There on a Visit by Christopher Isherwood

Down There on a Visit

4stars

I finally read Down There on a Visit and I did enjoy it overall. As I have said 1000 times, his writing style is so enjoyable I think he could write about anything and I would enjoy it to some extent. I really enjoyed how this was broken down into sections based off of the main characters life. Also, this wrap up proves the point that you will not always love every book by an author you love and that is okay.

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks

5starsI absolutely loved this book! It was hilarious and at times just made me shake my head. It is fun learning about some of the funny and creepy things that happen to librarians while working. The regulars, the weird interactions, hilarious things said by children. I loved how this was organized by topic and the introductions to each section really added to it as well. If this author came out with another book I would pick it up without thinking.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls

4stars

I really loved how this book was set up in the past and more presents. It was a thriller/ghost story that went throughout time and if you know me anything with some ghosts is a win. The writing was so rich I was able to visualize everything with ease. I really enjoyed the fictional history the author created, it really felt genuine and not forced. I also enjoyed the time periods she used in telling this story, it added a lot to the plot, but also gives a nod to the strides our society has taken to be more understanding, but also why we need to continue to be more understanding. The only reason this did not get 5 stars was because I was one thing coming, but the rest of it was a complete surprise.

Fresh Ink: An Anthology

Fresh Ink: An Anthology

2stars

I really just think anthologies in general are just not for me. I am always disappointed because I want more. The mix of medium and the stories that were written well, but they are just too short.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves

4starsI cannot believe I have finished this book! I was totally thinking this read would follow me into 2019, but I pulled a late night because this book serious hooked me. I totally understand why this is considered a favorite by many. I may or may not have read the last 300 pages in one sitting. This is a very interesting horror book that is is more creepy than outright scary. It seems like it is more a mind game than anything else. I really enjoyed how this unorthodox book was put together and how it was more than one story. It was refreshing to read something so different. I will mention I tried to read this when I was in middle school, when it first came out. I am glad I never finished it then, because I know I would not have appreciated it as much. There are layers and layers and you need to dissect this book a little bit.

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery and Other Stories

4stars

I finally read The Lottery and Other Stories and I am so happy that I did. I read right through this collection in a single day. There is something about Jackson’s writing that is just hypnotizing to me. While most of these stories are very short, some only 3 pages. She packs a lot into those 3 pages. Her writing always has layers and leaves you thinking. I highly suggest this if you enjoy reading short stories that at times are creepy or just a little jabs at society in the 1950s.

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome

3stars

I felt like Under the Dome was the adult version of Lord of the Flies. I read Lord of the Flies when I was in high school and I HATED it. I can’t pinpoint why I hated it, but I was so bored by it and I just couldn’t get into any of it. Under the Dome I could get into though. Right off the bat big things happen that just hook you and the way that the cut off from society was well done, even thought it was really out there. I will say there were some points where I was bored and I just wanted to find out what was happening with another group of characters. For that reason I drifted in and out of caring about the story.

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Hauls

Book Haul | December 2018

BookHaul12:17

So, the last month of the year between buying myself goodies and others being so wonderful and gifting my books has led to me having the largest haul since bookcon in June of this year. So, it is safe to say I will be doing a lot of reading in the new future. I don’t want to ramble on because I have quite a few books here, but I will say some I have been wanting a while and a few were gems I just happen to learn about fairly recently and felt like I needed to have them.

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Gifts

Brining Down the Colonel by Patrica Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

This book was a huge surprise! I got it from one of my friends as an early present and I have to say she picked a great one. This book follows the events that were considered scandalous at the time. A young women was accusing a Colonel of sexual assault. This book talks about how it was received and what happened. I am really curious to see the social ramifications at the time since it seems to mirror a lot of what we see today.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sit Arthur Conan Doyle

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

I absolutely love Sherlock Holmes and I had the complete collection in a collection of ripped paperbacks. Well, I am luck to receive this fo-leather bound editions for Christmas. It was a wonderful gift and I am so happy with the upgrade. From what I have seen about this edition it seems to be chronological, but time will tell as I make my way through it.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo

This is a book I have been hearing a ton about this year. I think there was a read-along going on on twitter and I know I have been talking to my friend Jenna about reading this in the future. I asked for the book so I would be ready to go, but I did not expect this beautiful edition. It is bright and beautiful, even the sprayed edges are gold and it has a ribbon bookmark. I am going to love reading this.

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The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

The Far Field

This was my December Book of the Month pick, I am really curious to see how this book plays out. I did not really look at the description before picking up the book apart from it being set in Asia. I want to read more books from around the world in the upcoming year so I thought this would be a wonderful way to start the journey.

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan

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

This is a non-fiction novel I have been hearing a ton about in the last few months. While I was in school I studied the Russian Revolution among a few other topics and when I heard such good things about this I thought I would expand my own edition by learning about the family of one of the most notorious Soviet Russian leaders. You always hear about the person or the people living under their reign, but to learn about their daughter, that is something new to me. So, I am very excited to jump into this book.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

This was a book I knew I needed to get since I am doing a bit of a challenge in the new year, Reading Goals |Reading a Shortlist. This was the first book on the list I came across in the wild to I scooped it up to take home with me. I have heard some wonderful things from those I trust when it comes to book reviews so I think I will end up very impressed.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies: Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them

I  originally saw this book in a post by Amy, where she explored her favorite bookshop and I felt like I needed to have it. I ended up putting in an order for it and then I actually picked it up on the way to my friends wedding. Let’s just say, they know my love of books and would have understand if I was a few moments late. lol. I really like that this explores the meaning of the word feminism and how this word means so many different things to each person.

Milkman: A Novel by Anna Burns

Milkman

So, this was another book from my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist list and I saw it when I ran into the store to pick up the previous book. Since it was on sale I grabbed it without thinking about it and added it to my order. I am so exited to now have two books on the list to start off the year. I feel like this is going to be a very atmospheric book and I hope I am correct.

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House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves

4stars

I cannot believe I have finished this book! I was totally thinking this read would follow me into 2019, but I pulled a late night because this book serious hooked me. I totally understand why this is considered a favorite by many. I may or may not have read the last 300 pages in one sitting. This is a very interesting horror book that is is more creepy than outright scary. It seems like it is more a mind game than anything else. I really enjoyed how this unorthodox book was put together and how it was more than one story. It was refreshing to read something so different. I will mention I tried to read this when I was in middle school, when it first came out. I am glad I never finished it then, because I know I would not have appreciated it as much. There are layers and layers and you need to dissect this book a little bit.

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What was the last book you acquired?

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