Hauls

Someone Picks My Books | Aunt Edition & Series Return!

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Hello and welcome to a very exciting post. I am so happy to be bringing back a series I had on my blog over a year ago. Due to a lot of things going on in my life I needed to put it aside, but I am thrilled to be starting it again. This time around I am planning on doing this once a month, where the person picks a book for me and then I read it and review it all in one post.


Since I knew I wanted to restart this series, I decided to start it with a book my aunt has been trying to get my to read for the past few months, even today as of writing this I saw her and she asked if I had read it yet. The answer was no and she gave me a look that said “READ IT ALREADY YOU WILL LOVE IT”. Truth is, she knows my taste in books, ours are pretty similar so I should have read it already, but this gives me the kick in the butt I needed. Anyway, that book is Where the Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens.


Book Description

“For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.” –goodreads.com


So, am I am writing this I just finished this book and I have to say I absolutely love it. This is actually my first 5 star read of 2020, which is super exciting. I am also going to take this time to apologies about the gush fest this post has now turned into.

First thing I really liked was the choice of time period. While it does have a wide range and is told by jumping back and forth, I think the time period was a great choice for a few reasons. The first being alluding to civil rights and Jim Crow laws. There were a few time in this book that I just teared up or flat out cried at. The second aspect being the hard topic of abuse. I feel like the author did a good job of handling such a hard topic. It didn’t shy away from it, it was a hard honest look at it. I really liked that the author didn’t just comment on one social issue, but a few.

On top of the commentary on the U.S. and relationships during this range of time, I really liked how much of nature was a center role of this novel. I love nature, I love just going on long walks in the woods and watching the animals so I connected just a bit with the main character. I can see why the marsh was so important to her. The book really made the marsh tangible, the writing was poetic and the world really came to life. I could easily picture the shacks and the surrounding area with little little delay. This was also true of the characters.

The characters created by Delia Owens were just wow. The complexity and the detail that went into many of the characters showed. It has been a long time since I have read a book where I have cared so deeply for so many of the characters. I want to name so many of my favorites, but I fear I might spoil something so I am going to resist.

While, I did love this book and give it 5 stars, like I said earlier there are tough topics within this book. This includes abuse (physical and sexual), of a few kinds attempted and fulfilled. As said by the description Kya is abandoned in the marsh and is by herself for so long, but this is not the only thing that is done to Kya. While she is a strong character and very bright, she goes through a lot, things one human being, let alone a child should go through.

Overall I felt that this was a beautiful and surprising read. I really recommend it anyone who would not have a trouble with the topics within this book. It is beautifully written and you just fall into the story and have a hard time climbing out. I am so happy that my aunt recommended me this book, I am going to be asking her for more in the future. I will also be reading more from this author.


I am so happy to be bringing this series back to my blog with a bit of an update. I am going to be reading, reviewing, and discussing a book recommended to me every month for the year. For February I have the wonderful Reg over at Bookish in Bed picking my book and I am truly excited about it.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it or do you think you would enjoy it?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | January 2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to the first Middle Mark post of 2020! I cannot believe that we are already halfway through the month. If you are new here, Middle Mark is where I talk about the books I read the first half of the month with mini reviews and what I am currently reading.

I have to say, I am starting 2020 on a really good note. I have been doing a ton of reading and I have been so inspired to just keep going. I have read a wide array of genres from graphic novels to Russian classic literature and nonfiction of mythology. I am truly all over the place with my mood reading and I am embracing it fully. Now, without more rambling, on to the books!


Read 2

Crime And PunishmentCrime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Going into this novel I new it was well known, but had no idea what it was about. Having now finished it I will say I did not expect such a start to the novel. With that surprise out of the way I really enjoyed how the novel explores guilt and morality. It was a very interesting read and I did not feel like there was too much fluff in it. The ending was a bit much, but it was nice to see as well. Overall, a good book to start off 2020.

View all my reviews


The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and MightThe Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very good insight into the Celtic goddess who I previously knew nothing about. This book was well written and broke down the subject matter very nicely. I really like the history aspect of this book, the main reason behind picking it up, but it was a lot more. I love reading about individual experiences and thoughts on her as well.

View all my reviews


The Dutch HouseThe Dutch House by Ann Patchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a story filled with family grief, journey, and things coming full circle. It is written beautifully and the characters for the most part were interesting. I will say I did not enjoy the story of the mother for some reason and I was angered at the whole college situation, but I don’t want to say more than that. I don’t want to spoil anything. I can see why so many people love this book, it was good, but I feel like some things were too perfect if that makes any sense.

View all my reviews


Revised Widow's Weeds and Weeping Veils : Mourning Rituals in 19th Century AmericaRevised Widow’s Weeds and Weeping Veils : Mourning Rituals in 19th Century America by Bernadette Loeffel-Atkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fascinating read. While today this is not an easy topic to discuss it is interesting to explorer just how much mourning played in the lives of humans only a few hundred years ago. This small book covers quite a bit from clothing, food, home decor, and more. It goes into symbolism, ways to remember loved ones, I honestly could keep going. It is apparent that the author is knowledgeable.

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MythosMythos by Stephen Fry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is such a wonderful retelling of the classic Greek Myths. While I am very familiar with a lot of these stories, the random comments and little additions of Fry make them magnificent. This is well organized and Fry tells these in a way a Greek Myth beginner can easily jump into the tails. I highly recombined this collection of tails of you are interested in it, even slightly. The humor is spot on.

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Farmhand, Vol. 1: Reap What Was SownFarmhand, Vol. 1: Reap What Was Sown by Rob Guillory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A dark and imaginative science fiction tale. For me, this was a very original graphic novel that explore a medical break through and its impact on a family. The plot line was great and the art was beautiful. I really am enjoying how they are exploring different aspects of how this breakthrough could impact this family, this world, and their relationships with each other and others. Like I said, this a dark one and I can see it getting even more grim. I can’t wait to jump into the next volume.

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Farmhand, Vol. 2: Thorne in the FleshFarmhand, Vol. 2: Thorne in the Flesh by Rob Guillory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am very glad that I had the second volume ready to go after reading the first and this did not disappoint. The plot continues to be interesting and imaginative and thee artwork continues to really lend itself to the story. The story has gotten a bit more dark and family relationships continue to evolve. I am excitedly and impatiently waiting for the release of Vol.3. I can easily say this graphic novel series is one of my favorite I have read.

View all my reviews


Currently Reading 2

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, 39%

The Wicked King by Holly Black, 28%

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, 3%


What was the last book you finished? What book are you currently reading?

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Reviews

Book Review | Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale

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*Book given by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman
Description: 

“So while the assumption when I was born was that I was or would grow up to be a neurotypical heterosexual boy, that whole idea didn’t really pan out long term.”

In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.

Charting the ups and downs of being autistic and on the LGBT spectrum with searing honesty and humour, this is an empowering, life-affirming read for anyone who’s felt they don’t fit in. –goodreads.com

 

 


What I Liked

I have to say, I feel honored by being let into the authors life. This book is very raw, real, and powerful. Her writing pulled me in nearly right away and when I read this, I needed to keep on reading it. This book was really insightful and really gave me an understanding of the trials and tribulations of their live with being transgender as well as having been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

On top of sharing their story, the writing was wonderfully and refreshingly honest. This book faces all of their experiences both positive and negative. The author faces these in writing this story and I give the author a lot of credit for being so open. There were times where I was angry on her behalf at how she was treated. I also cheered with her for every victory she shared. I was very much pulled into the story.

I really don’t want to say much more about this book, I really feel like it is best read without knowing too much about it. I will say, there are very difficult topics discussed in the book, transphobia, suicide, depression, bullying, addiction, assault. So, if these topics or similar topics bother you unfortunately this book might be difficult to read. Please read other reviews and make your own decision, you are the only one who can make this choice for you.


What I Didn’t Like

At times the writing itself was a bit all over the place, but this is more a personal feeling than anything. I can see a lot of people not being bothered by it.


Overall Thoughts

Honestly, I think this is a very powerful book. It is brutally honest, insightful, and I think it is a great book to read to not only learn about the trans community or the autism community, but the life experiences of a very strong person. I recommend picking this book up either from the library, online or your local bookstore.

4stars


Author Links


Twitter: LaurakBuzz

Book Information

Publication Date: July 18th 2019

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

List Price: $18.95

ISBN: 9781785925870

Pages: 192 pages

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Lets Talk

Blogmas | Let’s Talk | What I Want From Blogging

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Hello and welcome to this little discussion post! Since it is nearing the end of the year and my wordpress renewal went through I wanted to take this time and reflect on what I truly want from blogging and to check in and see if my motivation for it has changed since I started writing and posting on here.


So, when I first started blogging I was still in college and I had a very different way of life. A lot of the people I went to school with loved to read, but no longer really had the time to read due to our heavy reading loads. My degree was reading and critique heavy, so it is understandable that a lot of my peers didn’t want to pick up a book over reading a text and determining if it biased and how and if sources are right and so on. I on the other hand went to books to relax and still read a decent amount, but not as much as I do now.

I started to blog because I saw other book blogs online and I wanted to jump in on the conversation. I wanted to chat and gush about books I loved and hear what others had to say about their favorite reads of the year, month or in general. I feel like this is why a lot of us started our book blogs, if I am wrong please feel free to correct me.

Now, many years later and out of college my life has changed a lot. I actually have more time to read if I feel like it, I don’t pressure myself to read. If book blogging every did that to me I would honestly walk away. Reading in my hobby and how I enjoy my time, if anything stops that from happening outside of the dreaded book slump, Hello November 2019 Slump I am looking at you, I would stop. Now, I still am here to talk books and hear about others gush about books. I still want to talk to bloggers, I even started a twitter since I started blogging and I am on there all the time.

But, the question is, do I want more? The honest answer is yes. I would love to start a book club or a podcast of sorts. I feel like these would support my overall goal for blogging, connecting and talking books with awesome people. I know reading a blog is not always doable and bookclubs and podcasts are a wonderful alternate option. I also want to have more discussion posts like this, sometimes just reading information about what a person is reading or doing isn’t always inviting to comment on, but preficit it by saying “Let’S Talk”, it seems way more inviting.

Overall, I just want to find new ways to connect to you, my readers and fellow book lovers.


If you blog what do you want out of blogging? Have you ever blogged?

Do you still blog or have you stopped? If you stopped what were the reasons? 

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Reviews

Book Review | A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

A Constellation of Roses
Description: 

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots. –goodreads.com

 


What I Liked

I would like to start off with something some might not see as a positive, but this was one emotional book. It felt like a roller coaster, but in a really good way. It did not feel like a soap opera. This book follows a young girl named Trix who has had a very hard life. She was stealing to survive and life, she really didn’t trust anyone but 2 friends, one who liked like her and another who was in jail.

This book starts off right away and slowly you see the world build and Trix. She is a really complex character with a ton of development, which I loved. I was rooting for her the entire time and I just wanted her to begin to trust people and connect with her family. The author wrote her in an amazing way. The world she built was believable, and tangible even though there was a few magical elements tossed in. I had genuine emotional reactions to a few of the events in the book, I don’t want to get too specific, but I cried and I wanted to smack a few characters in the face. On the other hand there were some I just wanted to hug and celebrate with when things went right. I will note that even the side characters of sort made an impression on me.

Another thing I really enjoyed the book was the little magical element. This element was woven into the story is such a believable way. It is subtle and well thought out due to the diversity of magic help by some of the characters. These little gifts are listed in the books description and I knew they were coming up, but I really loved how they fit into the characters personalities and were presented.

Honestly, I could go on and on, this is pretty much a gushfest and I am totally okay with that because this book earned it.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. I loved every page of this book. It was beautifully written and constructed. This, I do not say often.


Overall Thoughts

I thought this was an amazing read, it could easily be one of my top books of the year. As I have said the author is very talented. Her writing is well balanced and easily creates a world and characters that the reader can fall into with out a problem. I was engaged in the story from page one and I wanted more when it was over. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

5stars


Author Links

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Book Information

Publication Date: November 5th 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062747105

Pages: 336 pages

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Reviews

Book Review | Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)Description: 

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre. Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

I want to start off by saying I have not read Ella Enchanted, which I know many love. This is my first time reading a book set in this world and also by this author, so please keep that in mind. I will say, I found Gail Carson Levine writing enjoyable. It flowed nicely and when I did pick up the book to read I was pulled in a usually for long chunks of time. The world is one you fall into.

Outside of Levine’s writing style I really enjoyed the world she created as well as the characters. When it came to the main character, Evie, I really liked how she wrote a character that was very much herself. While this book has a beauty and the beast type feeling with a marriage proposal leads to someone being turned into a monster. I felt that Evie turning down her proposal due to her dedication to healing much more interesting and compelling instead of just being interested in physical appearance. I found it to be a really interesting turn on the idea. It also added a lot to the characters personality in my eyes.

While Evie is young, she has a passion, and at times she read a bit older due to this. Even after she is cursed the fairy, she has graphic thoughts, which come with being an ogre. The other side of the coin is that at times she does very much read like a young girl, which makes sense. At times this could be jarring, but it never took me out of the story too much. It was more like, “Oh, right”.

When it came to the idea of what an Ogre is I really like the way Levine handled it. I feel like she could have taken the same route as shriek and hidden a lot of the cruel side of an ogre. In Shrek an idea of what an orge was more lent itself as a cover to keep humans away. Instead I feel like Levine showed the more traditional, at least in my eyes, view of an ogre. Where they like to eat humans or are overly hairy among other grotesque things. I appreciated the author being more aligned to this idea.


What I Didn’t Like

While I did read this book in only a few sittings, I will say that there were points in the book that dragged. Nothing that was too bad, but they were there. On top of that, as I stated earlier, there were times where the main character acted older than she was and this could be a tad bit jarring if you are sensitive to that. This point really comes down to preference.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really have to say I enjoyed this book. I really like the twist on the fairytale of declined marriage proposal where someone turns into a  monster. I also really like the writing style and the main character and her protrayed as an ogre. I feel like the author did an amazing job merging the idea of the ogre with such a dedicated, self assured character. In my eyes if you read and were interested by the description you should give this book a try. It is an interesting story in a really interesting world created by a talented writer.

4stars


Author Links

Gail Carson Levine


Book Information

Publication Date:  October 16th 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062561213

Pages: 352 pages

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | Spookathon/October 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

Hello and welcome! This month I decided to put my readathon wrap up and my monthly wrap up together for a couple of reasons. The first being I didn’t want to post two wrap ups so close together and the second is that I don’t think I would have had enough in my posts on their own. But, either way I am going to fill you in on all of the reads I have read this month for general reading and readathon reading!


-Spookathon-

  1. Read a thriller– The Institute by Stephen King
  2. Read a book with red on the cover– Mapping the Interior, might I add this is a beautiful cover and an amazing story?
  3. Read a book with a spooky word in the title– Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Stories
  4. Read a book with a spooky setting – The Institute by Stephen King
  5. Read something you wouldn’t normally read– Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, not halloween like at all so I wouldn’t normally read it this time of the year.

I might have used a few books to cover more than one prompt, but I did it! Not against the rules in my opinion!


Read 2
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (Images of America: Pennsylvania)Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell by Robert W. Sands Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite nonfiction series of sorts and this one was no exception. Images used and their accompanying descriptions and stories added to a wonderfully framed narrative of both Independence Hall and the Library Bell.

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Mapping the InteriorMapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such an eerie atmospheric read, I can really see why it is compared to The Haunting of Hill House, but it is very much its own unique story as well. Even though this was such a sort story, I was attached to the main character very early on. Since this is so short I don’t want to say much, but if you enjoy horror I think you will really enjoy this.

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The InstituteThe Institute by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another wonderful King novel. It is different from his other works, but it is just as creepy. It did not take me too long to feel for the young main characters. The horrors that they saw and had to live through is just heart wrenching. There were quite a few times my heart sunk when I thought something bad was going to happen or if I thought something wasn’t going to work out.

I don’t want to say to much because I feel like this novel is best read when you don’t know too much. It is well written and the plot is a roller coaster and unique. I also felt true emotion while reading this.

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Moby-Dick: or, The WhaleMoby-Dick: or, The Whale by Herman Melville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a very dense book, it was not 100% what I expected. I felt like it was going to be more of a tall tale, but it ended up being so much more explanatory of the progress of whaling. At times I just wanted it to get to the action, if that makes sense.

Other than this I can see why this book is a classic, it is an interesting tale, but keep in mind it is a product of its time.

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Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other StoriesStrange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really love the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so I was really excited to read some more by this author. I was really happy with my reread, I enjoyed the story as much as I have in the past. The other short stories varied, but overall I enjoyed them as well. If you enjoy Jekyll and Hyde, I think you will enjoy the rest of these stories.

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Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 33

Backlist TBR: 0

I FINALLY FINISHED ALL OF THE BOOK I BOUGHT BEFORE 2019 STARTED!


Did you have any 5 star read this month?

Were you surprised by anything you read?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | September 2019

Middle Mark

Hello again and welcome to my Middle Mark post where I give mini reviews of the books I have read in the first half of the month. This one is actually going to include a book I finished on the last day of August as well since I didn’t finish it in time for my wrap up post. Anyway, here are the books I have read so far in September!


Read 2

The Turn of the KeyThe Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*

This is my parcial overall review, if you want to see all of my thoughts please see my post: REVIEW | The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Overall, I think this is a fantastic thriller. It has the atmosphere, the setting, an unreliable narrator, and wonderful characters in addition to a wonderful plot. If you enjoy thrillers or any of the things I mentioned in this post, I really think you should give it a try. I will also add, that I liked it so much I bought a final copy of this book so I can tell more people about it.

View all my reviews


Tin ManTin Man by Sarah Winman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tin Man was a story I kept walking away from and coming back to. I unhauled it thinking it couldn’t live up to its description only to buy it again a year later and actually reading it within the month after purchasing it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this story. It is a mixture of heart breaking and heart warming. I really liked how the author touched on some pretty hard topics and it had a bit of a historical fiction feel to it and gave me a look into society only a few decades ago. I have to say, this book gave me the bug to view more of van Gogh’s work as well.

I feel like if you like the description, this book will not disappoint you.

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The Tea Dragon SocietyThe Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very cute graphic novel with a very sweet message to it. On top of the wonderfully cute story, the illustration style was beautiful and just perfect for this story. If you enjoy happy feeling, cute, and wholesome stories I feel like you would really enjoy this graphic novel. The only downside was I think it was kinda rushed and I would have loved to know more about the lessons and the society.

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The Salt PathThe Salt Path by Raynor Winn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up last month and read it already, I don’t know who I am anymore. Anyway, the main reason I read it so quickly is due to the fact that this was such an interesting sounding memoir. I have to say I really enjoyed learning about Raynor and Moth and their journey and following along with the hard time and the victories.

While I did like this book and I feel like it is a beautiful memoir and I am glad I read it. I just felt that the last 4th for some reason dragged for me. It might be the pacing or my mood changed in general, but I did enjoy this book and if you like nature, adventure, and want to read a memoir I suggest it.

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Coffey's HandsCoffey’s Hands by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This 3rd one was emotional as hell. I was sad, horrified and completely irate at times. Since this is the 3rd one, that is all I am going to say. Well, maybe I will tell you to read this.

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Aquicorn CoveAquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very cute graphic novel with a very good message. Also, when I call it cute I am referring to both the illustrations, but also the story. While it does have a dark element I found myself thinking or saying awe. Wonderful graphic novel.

View all my reviews


Currently Reading 2

Coffey on the MileCoffey on the Mile (The Green Mile #6) by Stephen King. I am currently working my way through my serialized editions of The Green Mile. I am really enjoying my experience so far, but this is the last one so I am really excited to finish because I am curious about how the ending will go. 

Also, can I just point out that this is cute mouse on the cover, if you have read any of this you will know the significance of this adorable critter.


What has been your favorite read so far this month?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | My First Month Using Scribd

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So, I finally decided to give the service Scribd another try. I think back in the day when it first started I did a free trial and canceled it within a day. At the time they did not have the books I was trying or enjoying so at the time it was not worth paying for. As of late I have been seeing more and more of it and I thought a great deal of time has passed it might be worth giving it another try. On top of seeing it talked about a lot I also was motived by the NEWTs Readathon taking place and I was going out of town for a few weeks. Traveling with huge books is not really fun or easy to do so I thought that giving this digital service a try might help.

I will say I did have reservation mixed with my hope of the improvement of the choices from this service. I continue to hear stories of people being limited without really being told why they were being limited. They make it kinda clear that you can have unlimited listening or reading, but then why are there limits? When do you hit these limits? There is no real answer that anyone has come across. I was just kinda worried I would be on vacation then all of a sudden in the middle of a book, I loose access to it. I was also worried that this service still didn’t really carry the books that I am currently reading and I would not be using it after a month because none of my current TBR are on there or the same availability as my library that I can use for free. Anyway, worries aside I gave it a try and here is my experience after using the service for one month.


-My Experience-

So, during this experiment of sorts I accessed both audiobook and ebooks. I enjoy both of these formats and they are great for traveling and being on the go. I am going to discuss my experience by talking about each format on their own.

First, let’s talk about the audiobooks. I first used Scribd mainly on my desktop computer I wanted to save the app and room on my phone for when I was traveling. Anyway, I really liked the interface for the audiobook on desktop. It was set up pretty cleanly and everything was clear without being walked through it, at least for me. Another major thing I was the look out for was the speed I would be able to access the audiobook at. I tend to listen to audiobooks at 2x or 3x speed, it depends on the narrator and pace of the reading to begin with. I also took advantage of the sleep timer a few times when I was listening at night incase I were to drift to bed.

The only thing I think that could make this interface better would be if there was a preview or label that popped up if you hovered over a control. I learned by playing along with a book I didn’t really care to much about keeping my place, but if I was in the middle of a book and hit the go back to start of chapter button when I really only wanted to go back 15 seconds or 30 seconds. Also, labeling how many seconds it jumps back or forward, it would be wonderful. So, I guess I would say there are two things that can be improved upon.

-The App-

On top of using the desktop interface, I also used the ISO app. I have to say, there were a few things that I liked and some things that I didn’t like.

I will start with the things I liked, first and foremost of which is that I can download an audiobook for on the go and not have to worry about data usage or being in a low service area interrupting my listening.  For me personally, it is a must if I am going to be listening to the book on go. Another notable thing I enjoy is the bookmark aspect, incase I lost my spot by hitting a button on accident. I am notorious for doing this, so whenever I pause or put an audiobook down, I always mark my spot.

When looking at the app as a whole instead of just at the listening screen, it looks like you have access to pretty much everything. You can look at recommended books, explore, and search for your next read. You can easily find your saved list with the bottom navigation and a nifty thing I noticed is that you can hit a button and only see the books on your saved list that you already downloaded to streamline listening.

With all things, there were some negatives with this app. The first and honestly the most annoying was the fact that it randomly paused multiple times. At first I thought it had to do with it being a new chapter and maybe it was a way to make sure the reader didn’t fall asleep or space out while listening. Sadly, this was not the case. It just stoped on me in the middle of  chapters. It was very annoying and I had to keep putting aside what I was doing to get my phone, open the app all the way and hit play again. This happened 3 times within the first chapter of American Gods… a book I had downloaded on my phones. So it was not due to lack of service or anything like that. The second thing that annoyed me was that on the app the max speed you can listen at is 2x speed… on the desktop you can listen at 3x speed, which is a speed I utilize often.  While I can make due with 2x speed, I am just confused as to why on one interface the max speed is different than the other.


-Items “Taken Out”-

Thunderhead ebook

Supermarket Audiobook

American Gods Audiobook

Endless Night Audiobook


-Final Thoughts-

At this point in time, I can easily see the value in a service like this. If someones library is not well stocked with the types of literature someones likes or if their library has a fee that is maybe more than this service it is a wonderful resource. Also, if owning audiobooks is not something you are interested in, this is a very good alternative to other popular audiobook sites, such as audible. The main thing you need to make sure of it that this service has the audiobooks you are interested in. Otherwise it is not worth it in the slightest.

While this service can make some improvements, some of which I stated in this post, for me at this point in time it is worth continuing to give it a go, but I still have questions/concerns. Mainly with what the true limits are on the accounts that some people run into. I have done some research and I have found that users can run into problems if they are signed into too many browsers or devices. I was kind of concerned to be signed into the app and desktop, but I have not run into any problems at this time.

I also don’t have a firm understanding of what saved is. Does that mean I “checked them out” or just for future reference? Does that mean I have access and it is reserved in a way? I have heard stories of other users saving ebooks or audiobooks, then go to listen to them and are told they are not available. So, it is kind of confusing.

Long post short, I am going to continue to give this service a try and see if it is a good alternative for me and my reading habits when supplementing my all of a sudden limited library digital resources.


Do you use Scribd? What do you love about it? Have you run into any problems using this service?

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

The Turn of the Key
Description:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is. –goodreads


What I Liked

Ruth Ware for me has been one of my favorite thriller writers. She has mastered the art of building a world and atmosphere that the reader is just pulled into. In fact, I was so enthralled with this novel, I read it in a single day. It kept me from the first page till the last.

The main part that pulled me in, apart from the atmosphere, was the characters she created. I really was interested in the people she wrote into being.  I always felt like they were hiding something, there was just something I couldn’t understand, even though their character was very distinct and in a lot of cases had a lot of interaction with one another so you have a good handle on their voices. Especially for the main character, I had to say I really loved how Ware decided to tell this story. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think the method really added to it. Not only did I feel like these flushed out characters feel like there was something just under the surface, the way they interacted with one another was interesting.

On top of the development of the characters and the great atmosphere, I have to say the location of the novel I thought was just a wonderful choice, I don’t want to say more because I think others will really enjoy it coming to life as you read.

As for the plot there were a few things I saw coming and a few things I did not see coming. For me that is a true sign of a good thriller. While, I read a lot of thrillers I can say with some confidence that I have gotten quite good at being able to predict what is going to happen. So, if it can surprise me not once, but multiple times, the author has done a very good job.

Also, I must add, this is one of the best unreliable narrators I have seen in some time.


What I Didn’t Like

Uh, nothing. I honestly loved it from front cover to back cover. Ruth Ware truly has a talent and I feel like with every one of her book she continue to get better and better.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a fantastic thriller. It has the atmosphere, the setting, an unreliable narrator, and wonderful characters in addition to a wonderful plot. If you enjoy thrillers or any of the things I mentioned in this post, I really think you should give it a try. I will also add, that I liked it so much I bought a final copy of this book so I can tell more people about it.

5stars


Author Links

Ruth Ware

Website: ruthware.com
Facebook: @ruthwarewriter
Instagram: @ruthwarewriter

Book Information

Publication Date: August 6th 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: $27.99

ISBN: 9781501188770

Pages: 337 pages

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