Reviews

REVIEW | Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach

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* I received this book from the author’s publicist for free in exchange for an honest review.*Gazelle in the Shadows

Description

In the mid 90s, Elizabeth Booth is a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University. With some travel and work already under her belt, she excels at her studies and is sent to Damascus to immerse herself in the language. Taken aback by the generosity and kindness of the people there, she easy slips into a life in the ancient city. She has friends, her studies, and even a handsome boyfriend. But things aren’t always what they seem. Soon, in a world where mistrust and disloyalty are commonplace, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a web of lies, betrayals, and even murder involving MI6, deadly terrorist factions, and the shadowy Syrian secret police. – goodreads.com

 

What I Liked

One thing I first noticed about this book was the main character. Now this may sound like a really dumb statement given it is the main character, but bare with me. When you first meet the main character she is kinda annoying and just very short cited. She doesn’t really think too far into the future. I will say I really liked when she grew as a character. She started using her head and really started to evaluate what was truly important to her.

Another thing I liked was the fact that the author pulled from her own life experiences and mixed it with fiction. You can really tell in her writing that she was not just researching places and doing her homework. Her experiences really bleed through the pages and it makes the atmosphere more realistic. Sometimes you can just tell when someone just researches, the story isn’t bad, but it is just flat. This was not flat.

 

What I Didn’t Like

Like I said earlier the main character was really annoying. At times I found myself saying “What are you doing?!”, it was bad. For me it is really hard to tolerate. But, as you can see from the previous section this was address via character growth, thankfully. It was just a bit difficult to deal with at first.

Overall Thoughts

Overall I think this was an enjoyable read. There was suspense, adventure, and at times violence. Once again the character growth is great and you see her grow from a pretty much clueless individual into someone who really starts to value the things in her life.  I also liked that this was not a thriller once again set en Europe of North America. It was really enjoyable having another setting.  I think if the description intrigues you in anyway it is worth checking out.

4stars

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Author Links

Michelle Peach

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Book Information

Publication Date: April 20th 2018

List Price: $11.50

ISBN: 9780692112762

Pages: 316 pages

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Wrap Up

Weeks in Review | November 11th-November 17th

a week in review

Wow, another week has passed, I can hardly believe it. I feel like since November has started the year is going faster and faster. This week I was only able to finish one book, but I made good progress in my buddy read and I did end up DNFing another book. Not because it was a bad book, but because I didn’t really feel like reading it currently. So I don’t want to mention it because I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it. Without further wait, here are my stats and reading wrap up from the pervious week.

Pages Read: 426 pages

Time Read: 4 hours

Reading Speed: 93 pages and hour

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The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

I absolutely loved this book! When I first started reading this book, I did find it enjoyable, but I did not expect it to be a 5 star read for me. While it was interesting the first few parts of the book were missing that spark that Practical Magic had. The by part 3 I was really dedicated to this book. I teared up, I felt for this family greatly. Then the ending came and I saw what Alice Hoffman did and I gasped “WHAT!?” when I realized who these characters were and answered so many questions that I had when I read Practical Magic is a wonderful show and not tell kind of manner. If you loved Practical Magic I highly recommend reading this, it does the story justice in my eyes. If you never read Practical Magic, you can start with this novel if you want a wonderful witch and magic filled read.

5stars

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A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

A Noise Downstairs

I finally am caught up with this buddy read. So far I am on the fence as to what I think about it, but I am excited to see what happens next. The cliffhanger that I felt off on makes me want to read ahead, but I am going to control myself for the time being.

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Books Added

The Witch Elm by Tana French

The Witch Elm

I have been hearing an awful or about Tana French and more specifically about The Witch Elm. I don’t know if it was because of all the witch talk around Halloween or just that it is a great book, but either way it caught my interest. Funnily enough I went to a few bookstores to find this book, so I am far from the only one interested in it.

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are. “-goodreads.com 

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Posts from the Week

Let’s Talk | TBR Jar Experiment

TAG | The Literary Dinner Part

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What was the last book you read?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

BOOKSTORE TRAVELS

Blog

Hello Everyone, I just wanted to share my most recent trip to the bookstore. So for this bookstore adventure I decided to stick a little closer to home and go to The Strand in NYC.

Here is a little show on my walk over to the store. Looking at the traffic makes me happy I am a walker. I have always preferred to walk to places if I can, I feel like I get to see more and I have an opportunity to take a side trip if something catches my eye.

Here is the outside of The Strand, if you have not heard about this bookstore it has the tagline “18 miles of books”. It has new, used, and out of print books so there is something for everyone.

Here is a picture I took in a one of the bookstore nooks. I did not take many pictures because it was very busy that day and I wanted to respect the privacy of others. I did end up spending about an hour and a half in the store. Most of that time I was just scanning the shelves to find something that caught my eye.

Book Haul:

EVERYMAN’S LIBRARY POCKET POETS: EMERSON

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Lately I have been getting into poetry and this pretty little edition caught my eye so I decided to take it home with me.

MISERY BY STEPHEN KING

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I am a very avid Stephen King reader. I easily read a Stephen King book a month. This edition has been one I have kept my eye out for so when I saw it I added it to my pile.

11/22/63 BY STEPHEN KING

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This is a book I have read already, but I borrowed it from the library. I enjoyed it so much I decided I wanted a copy of my own as long as it was not so much. I ended up finding this in the standard size for only $10.00, even though the same edition next to it was $20.00. So I added it to my heavy pile of books.


I hope you enjoyed my little bookstore adventure!

What book should I add to my lookout list?

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Hauls

Birthday Book Haul!

Book Haul

Some of you may have know, but my birthday was a few days ago and I was lucky enough to get a few books for my birthday this year. Normally my family and friends just pick out gift cards from Barns and Noble or Amazon so I can pick some stuff for myself, which is great. But, it is very nice when someone picks a book or books out just for you. Here are the books friends and family got me this year.

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The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

The first book my Mom picked up for me is The Invention of Nature because she knows I enjoy science, nature, and non-fiction. Even though in my picture you can only see the spine, click the title to look at the actual cover. It is absolutely beautiful. Not only does it have a beautiful cover, I read the description (below) and it sounds really interesting. I cannot wait to eventually pick it up and read it.

Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.

– via goodreads


The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

This is the second of three books my Mom picked up for me. I have been really into suspense/thriller reads as of late. Once again I read the description and was very happy with this pick. There is a great mixture of mystery and history. I am very excited to see what unfolds in this book.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

– via goodreads


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This is the last book my Mom picked out for me. I read The Goldfinch and generally liked it overall, but found faults with it. You can read a little bit more of my review in my post  #TBRTakeDown: Wrap Up. Anyway, my mom picked this up because I have mentioned I have wanted to try another book by her. This one is much shorter so I am more confident this book will not have the same large flaws, fingers crossed!

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

– via goodreads


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

One of my best friends picked this up for me because I LOVED The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I was so happy when I finally got it open. My friend loves to wrap presents in a way that makes it very difficult to open so she can watch people struggle. She put it in a box, surrounded it by two bags, and then wrapped it completely in duct tape. I was not allowed to use scissors. Anyway, I was so excited to get it open AND it to be this book.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

– via goodreads


A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

My wonderful boyfriend bought me a personalized autograph copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I am so grateful and excited! I am so worried to actually read this because I don’t want to ruin it. I may put in a call to the library and carry that one around instead.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court.

– via goodreads


I am so happy with the book I received for my birthday and I wanted to once again thank all of you who wished me a happy birthday. It meant so much to me. Have a great day and happy reading!

What book would you pick to read out of the ones mentioned?

 

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TBR

March TBR: 2017

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This month I decided to give a TBR a try. While this list only has 4 books on it, one of them is well over 1,000 pages, by definition a tome. So I decided to keep this list short and sweet, listing the books I am most excited to read. If you are interested I have linked all books to their goodread pages. There you will find a summary and some reviews. Happy reading!

It by Stephen King (Horror)

Patient H.M. : A Story of Memory, Madness and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich (Non-fiction)

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven (Young Adult)

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon (Young Adult)


What are you reading this month?

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Bookstagram Reflection: January

 

I cannot believe the first month of 2017 is already behind us. It seemed like it flew right past me. Anyway, I wanted to take this time and reflect on the pictures I have taken on instagram over the past month. Man, were my tastes all over the place! I had graphic novels, horrors, classics, thrillers, and some non-fiction books. Some of my photos were full of color while others were in black and white. I think my instagram page is like my taste in books, all over the place.

Below I have added two of my favorite of the month. One is an old edition of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and the other is The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. Now comes the reflection part of the post.


Little Women

What I liked:

There are a few things about this picture that make me enjoy it. The first is that I love this book. I first read this book when I was a little girl and have reread it numerous times throughout my life. Even though so much has changed for me I still enjoy the story and it continues to resinate with me. Second, I love the worn look of the book as well as the natural look of the wooden chair. This makes me want to add some more natural elements into my photos.

What I did not like:

One thing I did not like about this picture is the color. For me it feels like the blue of the book is fighting with the deep brown of the chair. To me the main focus is the book not the chair.


The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

What I liked:

What I love the most about this picture is the intensity of the red and blue of the book. Even though my eyes are torn between looking at both of these colors they are both on the main focus of the photograph. The contrast of the color saturated book and white simple background works well in my eyes.

What I did not like:

When I took this photo it was boring. There was minimal challenge in balancing the photo.  I don’t know, I guess I just like a little bit of a challenge. I enjoy setting up and staging photographs that are dynamic, but not overwhelming.


Thanks for reading my little self reflection. From time to time I personally think it is important for me to look at the past to make the future better.

What are some things you love seeing in bookstagram pictures?

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TBR

#ReadThemAllThon TBR Pile

 

 

ReadThemAllThon

This read-a-thon runs from August 14th – September 4th, an entire 3 weeks to read some glorious books.

For more info on the Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon go to readingatmidnight’s original post. Here you will find more info on CP and leveling your pokemon.

Chosen Pokemon: Abra 10 CP

A three stage pokemon which means at 150 CP he will turn into Kadabra and at 400 CP will evolve into Alakazam.

 

TBR Pile:

ReadThemAllThon-Badge01-Boulder

For the Boulder Badge I plan on reading Night from the Night Trilogy by Elie Wiesel. I am going to extend this and read the entire trilogy because of I have this bind up.

352 pages, potential +35CP.
ReadThemAllThon-Badge02-Cascader

For the Cascade Badge I am going to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because from what I hear it leaves many readers teary eyed.

400 pages, potential 40 CP

ReadThemAllThon-Badge03-Thunder

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard is one of the most hyped books that is still on my TBR list so I plan on reading this to earn the Thunder Badge. I hope it lives up to the expectations.

416 pages, potential 41 CP

ReadThemAllThon-Badge04-Rainbow

To gain the Rainbow Badge I plan on reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I have heard a lot of good things about it and I can’t wait to get to it.

320 pages, potential 32 CP

ReadThemAllThon-Badge05-Soul

For the Soul Badge I plan on reading Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, I mean it had a huge engagement ring and is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice how can it not be an epic romance?

512 pages, potential 51 CPReadThemAllThon-Badge06-Marsh

For the Marsh Badge I plan on reading The Shining by Stephen King one of the most supernatural ghost stories I have on my TBR. When I was younger this was actually my favorite movie, it still is high on my list, but I never read the book. So I think it is finally time.

464 pages, potential of 46 CP

ReadThemAllThon-Badge07-Flame

For the Flame Badge I plan on reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, the sequel to The Shining. How can I not read both?

560 pages, potential of 56 CPReadThemAllThon-Badge08-Earth

For the Earth Badge I plan on reading Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin, I know this is an alternate history type book, but I am pretty it is an apocalyptic type setting.

400 pages, potential of 40 CP

Potential Points If I Finish ALL Books (includes completed book bonus) = 501 CP


 

All I know is I am very excited that I will be able to participate in this read-a-thon after all. I mean it combines reading and Pokemon, how can anyone not be excited?

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on participating? Let me know down below!

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Reviews

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

bag_of_bones_10th This is the first Stephen King Novel I have ever read, but I am very familiar with movies based off of his work. I saw this when I was in my local bookshop and decided it was time to read some of his work.

Bag of Bones follows an author named Mike Noonan four years after the unexpected death of his wife. At the start of the book Mike is having nightmares about a lakeside cabin he owns, but has not visited in a long time. He decides to face his fears and returns. He ends up at odds with a millionaire and receives strange messages from ghosts that haunt the town. As times passes he discovers a deadly secret as he gets more involved with a widow and her young daughter.

Over all I really enjoyed Bag of Bones, I already went out to purchase another one of Stephen King’s novels. I thought the supernatural aspect was done in a very interesting way and I found the reason for the haunting and the mystery to be very powerful. You find yourself sympathetic to those who have passed as well as Mike and those he cares about. Mike Noonan’s journey was well done. The relationships he grows and losses, the way he investigates, and his over all personality was well done. What I did not fully enjoy was that that reason he was “seeing” some particular dealing with the young girl was not fully explained, but it mostly explained in my option. This is not something major and is easily looked over and does not hold up the story in anyway.

I ended up giving this novel a 5 out of 5 stars! I really enjoyed the rawness of his writing, he isn’t afraid to be callous or hold back, which I find refreshing. I am very glad I picked up this book and like I said I already picked up another one of his works. If you enjoy reading ghost stories, interesting character development, and a good mystery I would say pick this up right away.

 

Happy Reading!

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TBR

August 2016 | TBR

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Where did the Summer go? I can’t believe that it is already August and I am building my TBR. This month my goal is to get through some monsters I have on my shelf before work gets overwhelming for me and only short and sweet novels  keep me sane. I plan on reading 5 books in total. Who knows if I will stick to this, but right now it is my plan.

  1. The Shining by Stephen King
  2. Sleep Doctor by Stephen King
  3. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. The Silver Witch by Paula Brockton
  5. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I am going on a bit of a vacation so I am packing at least two of these bad boys into my bag. What are you reading this month?

Uncategorized

Bookish Photo: July 31st, 2016