TBR

March TBR | 2019

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Hello everyone, it is a new month. That means I write another TBR that I may or may not stick too. Last month I did not stick to my TBR in the slightest because I was on the verge of going into a book slump and I decided to be a full fledge mood reader instead of reading a mixture of mood and set TBR. Anyway, I feel much better in regards to the possible slump so I wanted to try something new. I decided to post a few polls to twitter to have you, my wonderful readers, to pick my TBR!

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The Last Hours by Minette Walters

The Last Hours (Black Death, #1)

This book has been on my TBR since July of 2018 and it is about time I get to this book. The main reason I ended up with this book was because I got it as an ARC at bookcon. I explained the types of books I liked and I was given this as a recommendation. As soon as they said historical fiction and black plague I said “I’ll take that”. That does not speak well for my interests, but who cares. It sounds perfect.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Neverworld Wake

This book I am picking up because it was picked by my friend Jenna for our buddy reading group to read this month. I am excited to read this with Jenna, Amy, and Reg and talk about this thriller. As soon as I looked up the description I was so happy about her choice and I put a hold on it through my library at once.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

This was another book I put on the poll on twitter to have others help me pick my TBR. I really loved the first book in the series and I am really hoping to enjoy this one as well. I am also really happy that this one won because I feel like I am reading a lot of big books as of late and this small book I think will break them up wonderfully.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree

I preorederd this book months ago and I really want to get to it sooner rather than later. I am excited for this adult fantasy from an author I have really enjoyed over the years. Also, how can anyone go wrong with a fantasy with dragons?!

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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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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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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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Hauls

Weeks in Review | November 4th-November 10th

a week in review

So, I am still trying to get back in the habit of writing here, it is funny how 2 weeks without a computer gets you so out of wack. I should be picking up my new one within the next week, fingers crossed. While I am waiting for that and I was able to borrow one temporarily I thought I would continue on sharing what I read this week, what I acquired, some stats and what I have written.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I ended up liking this book so much more than I thought I would. I normally rarely read about celebrities or actors I like in real life, so I always thought, “Why would I care about one that didn’t even exist?”. Well, I have to say that this book proved that point wrong. Within the first chapter I was already hooked. They methods used by the author to tell Evelyn Hugo’s story were wonderful and made it feel so tangible. Not only did the author tell an addicting story of this woman, but she told a story of so much more than that. That is the part of the story I did not expect and loved. The author did some great things with this book and I highly recommend.

5stars

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

So, since I have been slowly collecting these Hufflepuff editions I have been wanting to reread these stories all over again and tab them up. Well, this week I finally did it because I stopped myself from feeling guilty about rereading when I have so many others I need to get to on my shelf. I am so glad that I stopped caring and did. This story continues to be a 5 star read.

5stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)

So, not only did I reread one of the Harry Potter books, I reread this one as well. I read them both in two days and it was magical. I wish I had more time this week to continue. I think I will go for one a month at least in the next few so I can tab more of my books up. Then when more Hufflepuff editions come out I can transfer them.

5stars

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

If you have been around for any point on my blog you will know I love Little Women with all of my heart. This pasty summer I was lucky enough to visit the house in which it was written. While I was there I picked up this book and I finally read it for Nonfiction November. I found a lot of this book to be wonderful, I learned a lot about Louisa and her family even though I have read about her in the past. Part 2 and 3 are better considered a historiography of the story and how it was viewed as a book throughout time, which I loved! I think some parts I could have done without, but overall I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about this story and the women who penned it.

4stars

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

I happened to put this on hold at my library after watching an interview of these two. While I have been a fan of both of these humans for years I never really read much about them. When it became available I picked it up and dived right in. I really liked the way this book is told as if it is a conversation. You get true picture of their relationship and their personalities. It gives the story life and it made me fly right thorough it. I you are interesting in either one of these humans I highly suggest picking up this comedic memoir.

4stars

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The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

I have had this book on hold at my library since I read Practical Magic a few months ago. So far I am really enjoying this prequel and I am already mad because I am emotional about the events that have happened already. How does Alice Hoffman get me like this every time I read one of her books? Once again it is a magical story of a family that you can’t held but love and root for.

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

A Noise DownstairsI am barely into this book because I am a horribly buddy-reader this week. I have read about 9% and I am already curious to see where this novel goes. I have no doubt that this is going to be a wild book that will cause me to gasp in shock a few times.

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Books Added

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker's Daughter
I decided to pick up this novel because I have been hearing so many great things about it. I also feel like I am going to want a larger read for the winter time. I loved that this teased a but of a mystery, but also the fact that it is set in the past and I love a good historical fiction.

“My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?” –goodreads.com

Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing by Lauren Beukes

Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing

I came across this author a few years ago when I was either reading about Stephen Kings recommended books/authors or when I was looking at his twitter feed, sadly I cannot remember. Since then I have read 2 of her books and wow, they are a trip. She is a gift author and when I saw this edition on sale I knew I needed to get my hands on it. She is a great thriller writer and I feel like she is not talked about enough at times.

“A Punk Lolita fighter-pilot rescues Tokyo from a marauding art installation. A young architect’s life is derailed by an inquisitive girl who happens to be a ghost. Loyalty to a favorite product can be addictive when it gets under your skin.

In her edgy and satiric debut collection, award-winning South African author Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls) never holds back. Ranging from Johannesburg to outer space, Beukes is a fierce and captivating presence in the literary landscape.” –goodreads.com

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

For Better and Worse

This was my Book of the Month pick of November, the reason I picked this book out of all the others was simply the description. How can I not want to read about a couple that plans the perfect murder and not want to read that happens and ensues from there? Also, I was curious to see how the author portrays their son who sadly is a victim of an awful crime.

Till death do us part

When they fell in love back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke joked that they were so brilliant, together they could plan the perfect murder. After fifteen rocky years of marriage, they had better hope they’re right.

Their young son Jacob’s principal is accused of molesting a troubled student. It’s a horrifying situation—and the poison spreads rapidly. One night before bed, Jacob tells Natalie he is a victim, too. In that moment, her concept of justice changes forever. Natalie decides the predator must die.

To shelter Jacob from the trauma of a trial, Natalie concocts an elaborate murder plot and Will becomes her unwilling partner. The Clarkes are about to find out what happens when your life partner becomes your accomplice—and your alibi. “-goodreads.com 

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Hauls

Book Haul |September & October 2018

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So I have been a bit slow with sharing what books I have been adding to my TBR and collection. So I thought it was time to do a bit of a haul. When I looked back I realized that I have not done one since about August. So I am combining the months of September and October. Over this time I have added some YA, non-fiction, thrillers, and historical fictions into my life. Without more of a delay, here are the books.

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Novels

In the Hurricane’s Eye by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown

This was my Book of the Month pick for October, Nonfiction is not a category that is always present in the picks so I as soon as I saw it I picked on it right away and added it to my box. Yorktown has been a famous battle for many years and I hear it mentioned a lot, but I sadly cannot say I know what happened there in any great detail. I do know that it was something that was thought to be impossible and for that amount of coordination to happen during that time period was unheard of, sadly they did not have GPS or cell phones. I am excited to finally learn more detailed about this miraculous battle.

“Here is the story of the remarkable year leading up to the siege of Yorktown. It sets Washington against his traitorous nemesis Benedict Arnold and places him in impossible situations and constant acrimonious negotiation with his French allies, along with his young protégé, the Marquis de Lafayette and his energetic general Nathanael Greene. In a narrative that moves from the ship-crowded waters off Newport, Rhode Island, to a wooded hillside near North Carolina’s Guilford Courthouse, to the Dutch storehouses on the Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, Philbrick narrates the pivotal naval battle that brought the end of America’s long, elusive path to independence. It was an improbable triumph made possible by Washington’s brilliant strategy, leadership, and revolutionary use of sea power.” – goodreads.com

The Silence of Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

This was my Book of the Month pick for September. I was very interesting in this retelling, historical fiction if you will, of the impact of war on women. Throughout history women have been impacts by the wars and political upheaval. These women were were caught in the middle or right in the center of it. I thought it would be an interesting view point, in addition, I am interested in Greek myths and also history. While this is not a nonfiction read, it does pull from history and I am curious to see how she depicts how women were affected.

“The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman: Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war’s outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.

When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and coolly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis’s people, but also of the ancient world at large.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war–the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead–all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis’s perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker’s latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives–and it is nothing short of magnificent.” –goodreads.com

Into a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood

I was so surprised when I was able to find this at the used bookstore by me. This was the last Ruth Ware book that I needed to read to be able to officially say that I have read every one that has been published. She really is one of my favorite authors and she does deliver a thriller. This one was very interesting since she made it feel more like a play than her other works, like we were watching one unfold. I love this.

“Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.” –goodreads.com

The Dark Tower I : The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

The main reason why  I ended up picking up this book was because I found it at a used bookstore and I thought for the price of $3 it was worth a try. I was very skeptical about it, but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. I really thought it was going to be more like a western, but it really wasn’t. I am really glad I gave it a try and I think in the future I will be getting this series from the library.

“A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.” –goodreads.com

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

So, I picked up this book mainly because I wanted to take part in the BN book club that happens quarterly. I really enjoy going to those discussions and hearing all the different view points, that are respectful. I have read about 150 pages of this book and I really was enjoying it. I thought the style was interesting and it was well executed. Sadly, I ended up loosing the book! Since then I have placed a hold at my local library and I hope to have my hands on it soon.

“The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.” –goodreads.com

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

This month I finally decided to pick up A Very Large Expanse of Sea for a few reasons. The first being when I watched the interview of Mafi talking about this book I could feel her passion about its message very clearly in her words. I could also see that she put some of herself in the characters and I loved that as well. The second part being that I really have been wanting to hear a story like this and I am very happy to have it.

“It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.” –goodreads.com

 

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The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by King, Furth, David, Lee and Isanove

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

I will admit, I mainly picked this up to compare it to the novel. I thought it would be something interesting to do on top of reading a graphic novel. As of late I have finished my more “fluffy” less intense reads on my shelf. So I wanted to add a few more to my shelves. I came across this at a discounted rate so I am very pleased.

“‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ With those words, millions of readers were introduced to Stephen King’s Roland ‘ an implacable gunslinger in search of the enigmatic Dark Tower, powering his way through a dangerous land filled with ancient technology and deadly magic. Now, in a comic book personally overseen by King himself, Roland’s past is revealed! Sumptuously drawn by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove, adapted by long-time Stephen King expert, Robin Furth (author of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: A Concordance), and scripted by New York Times Bestseller Peter David, this series delves in depth into Roland’s origins ‘ the perfect introduction to this incredibly realized world; while long-time fans will thrill to adventures merely hinted at in the novels. Be there for the very beginning of a modern classic of fantasy literature!” –goodreads.com

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home by King, Furth, David, Lee and Isanove

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home

Would you believe me if I said that I also got Vol. 2 on discount as well. I really had a lot of luck with finding discounted books this past two months and I could not be more excited about it. I figured while I have not read Vol. 1 yet, in case I did it was better to get it now.

“The second collection of the best-selling comic-book series, inspired by Stephen King’s epic The Dark Tower! Gunslinger Roland Deschain has seen the death of his lover Susan Delgado. And the Big Coffin Hunters who burned her at the stake are now in pursuit of Roland and his ka-tet Cuthbert and Alain. The friends are forced to flee into the desert with the deadly posse in hot pursuit….and Roland is in a coma! Don’t miss the next chapter in the saga of the Gunslinger whose quest for the Dark Tower will shake the foundation of reality itself!” –goodreads.com

The Dark Tower: Treachery by King, Furth, David, Lee and Isanove

The Dark Tower: Treachery

Surprise! I found Vol. 3 on discount as well, for all three I paid less than the original price. I would call that a win. Once again I am taking a huge shot on this and I am curious to see how they relate to the novel series or if they follow the story line at all. I do know that I am happy to take the chance on these graphic novels.

“The ka-tet of Roland, Alain, and Cuthbert have returned safely to their home in Gilead. But all is not well. Roland has kept the evil Maerlyn’s Grapefruit and has become obsessed with peering into its pinkish depths despite the deadly toll it’s taken on his health. And what the young gunslinger sees brings him the darkest of nightmares. Meanwhile, Roland’s father has led a posse in search of those who threatened his son’s life in Hambry – John Farson and the Big Coffin Hunters. And in this encounter, Stephen Deschain’s life may be forfeit.” –goodreads.com

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Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach

Gazelle in the Shadows

I was approached by the authors publicist to get a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I accepted this book because I was interested in the thriller aspect that is given in the description.  I am happy to tell you that I just finished this book and I will be posting a review in the near future.

“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

Caleb’s Window by John J. Siefring

Caleb's Window

This book I am really excited about sharing with you. I was approached by the author to read and give an honest review his book. I accepted this because the story seemed like a wonderful coming of age story, but also the story of a family taking changes. I am about halfway thought this book currently and as soon as I am finished I will have a review up for all of you.

“Born in the village of Easkey, Ireland just before World War II, Cara Brannan dreams of becoming a nurse and starting a new life in America. Her mother, an Irish suffragette, encourages Cara to set goals and be fiercely independent. She moves to Dublin and begins nurses training at Saint John’s Hospital, forging friendships and encountering obstacles as a young single woman. Then she meets Aiden Whyte. Like-minded, Cara and Aiden join forces, marry, and journey to the States as newlyweds.

Welcoming their son Caleb into the world, Cara embraces motherhood. As a new mother and nurse in New York City, she struggles, facing class conflict, gender and career barriers, as well as loneliness. Cara endures because of her strength of character, compassion, and an irrepressible joy of life.

As Caleb comes of age, it’s his turn to carve out a place for himself during the late 1960s—a time of turbulence, protest, and incredible change. He finds New York to be a challenge but filled with opportunity.

Caleb’s Window will quietly move into your heart and mind, remaining long after you turn the final page.” –goodreads.com

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What was the last book you acquired?

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Wrap Up

Weeks in Review | October 21st – November 3rd

a week in review

So, I must apologies for kind of falling off the planet, but sadly my computer broke and I had no other device to go to to write up my daily posts. I would like to say that I am very proud of myself for sticking with #blogoween for 22 days, that is something I have never done and I am amazed that I was able to stick with it for that long of a time frame.

Since I was not spending so much time on the internet, I did some reading and did a few things I have been putting off for some time. So, a blessing in disguise I would say. So, with all the updating and the explanations out of the way, here are the books I ended up reading in the second half of October and the first few days of November.

Books I Finished

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

So I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. It was interesting and thankfully it held off on the love interest. I am going to be holding off on reading the next book in the series though. I am letting a few people I trust read it first to tell me if a love interest is going to be part of the main plot or a big part of the story. I truly hope it is not because I really enjoyed the version of our world that was created by the author. It is different from what I have read in the past and it is refreshing.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood

I can finally say I have read every single Ruth Ware books published to date. I cannot say that for most authors, but she truly is one of my favorites. I really loved the atmosphere of this book and how twisted it truly was. While I was able to guess the ending in a way, it did not unfold like I thought it would, if that makes sense. Her writing is remarkable and I highly suggest checking her out if you like thrillers or thinking about trying out the genre.

 

A Delusion of Satan by Frances Hill

A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials

I absolute hated this book and I am so upset by it. The writing had so much of the authors opinion in it and it could be very misleading if this is the only book you have read on the Salem Witch Trials. I also did not like how the end note were set up. In the back of the book it lists the chapters then what sources were used. That is not how end notes work. Which sources was used for which topic? This makes it very hard to go back and read the authors sources to compare and do your  own research. There are so many better books on this topic that I recommend. I really wanted to like this book, I had such high hopes. I read a view by Jon, and I have to say I agree with him on a lot of his points and I wish I could have explained myself as clearly.

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

So this one is going to be kinda hard to explain. I lost this book, I have no idea where it went and I have no idea where it could have been left. I searched every room in my house, my car, and a few of my friends houses that I bought it to. I still cannot locate it. I ended up putting it on hold from my library so I could finish it. Due to this I was unable to go to the BN Book Club meeting, which was a bit of a bummer. What I did read of it I was enjoying very much so. The style of story telling was a very good choice in my eyes and I am curious to see where it goes. I hope I don’t have to wait to long to get it from the library.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I have to say I am very surprised by this book. I normally do not like books like this, that follow a fiction movie star around and learn about their lives. To me that was normally boring and had no points, why do I want to learn about a made up celebrity. I barely even read biography about people I do admire, regrettably. Well, this book changed my opinion. The way this book it set up it is really so much more than learning about Evelyn Hugo and I really admire and love that. I am currently sitting at 50% complete and I know I am going to be finishing this book very soon after writing this blog post.

 

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NEXT BOOK

Searching for the Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World by John Man

Searching for the Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World

Next I am going to picking up this non-fiction account of a man who is trying to find the true source of the famed Amazon women warriors that have been mentioned n some very historical texts. I have been interested in this topic since I was a young girl and it was funnily right after reading a collection of some old Wonder Woman comics. I wanted to find out more about these strong women and for some reason in my mind she was one of them. Anyway, I cannot wait to read this and hear about his findings.

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Books Added

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

This month I finally decided to pick up A Very Large Expanse of Sea for a few reasons. The first being when I watched the interview of Mafi talking about this book I could feel her passion about its message very clearly in her words. I could also see that she put some of herself in the characters and I loved that as well. The second part being that I really have been wanting to hear a story like this and I am very happy to have it.

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What did you recently read?

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Wrap Up

A Week in Review | October 14th -October 20th

a week in review

This ween in October, I started a few books, but I didn’t really finish any and that is alright with me. I have a lot going on and I had a lot of late nights working on projects and such so getting any reading is wonderful.

Books I Finished

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact

I just wanted to update you from last week on this book. I was not enjoy it at all and I really did not like some aspects of this book in its use of slut shaming even if it was not “serious” I just didn’t think it did anything to further the plot and there were better ways a high school age individual could have been immature and worded things. I DNF’ed this and unhauled it.

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Currently I am about 75% way through this book and I am still enjoying it. I am curious to see what happen to the two main characters and how the story ends. I was thinking about this when I started reading the book, but more so now. I really hope a love interest doesn’t become the main focus of this book or it will honestly most likely ruin it for me. I think that is one of the main reasons why I stoped reading so much YA, if I wanted romance I would read a romance novel.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

So I have about 2 more days to finish this book and I am only about 70 some odd pages in to this. I am enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would originally. I am really glad that Hank decided to write an adult book because I feel like if it was YA the story would have been a lot different and I really like how the characters are in their early twenties and have graduated college or university. I always love reading about people in this age group.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood

So my library audiobook became available for this book and I was so excited I could not wait to jump in a read it. So I have been listening to it every change I have gotten since. I am really loving the atmosphere of this book and the cast of characters. As I am reading this I feel like I am just waiting for the shoe to drop and find out what actually happened in the dark, dark wood. I can’t wait to finish this, but I will also be sad to see this book end. Ruth Ware is one of my favorite authors and I will have no more unread books of hers.

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NEXT BOOK

I just want to focus on finishing the books I have started at this point in the month honestly. lol.

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What did you read this week?

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Lists & Recommendations

#Blogoween | Top 5 Thriller Books

Blogoween

Prompt:

Friday 19th: Top 5 Thriller Books
Which 5 Thriller books do you love and why?

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

Lying in Wait

Lying in Wait is one of my favorite thriller I have read this year. Even though you know who the murderer is as soon as you pick up this book. You are still surprised why what happened in this novel. The characters are rich and their personalities are distinct. The human nature that is explored in this domestic thriller are just jaw dropping. I wrote an entire review on this novel, REVIEW | Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Ruth Ware is an amazing author, of all the books I read by her only one was not a 5 star read. The Death of Mrs. Westaway was atmospheric and in a way reminded me of Shirley Jackson. It tells the story of a young women who is desperate for money and ends up in a very interesting situation. You question what is and is not real and you absolutely feel for the character. It is surprising and wonderfully written from page one to the end. I wrote an entire review, you can read it here: REVIEW | The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Unraveling Oliver

Unraveling Oliver is the novel that started my love of Liz Nugent. Her writing is just mesmerizing. This novel was shocking and showed a disturbing side that can be hidden inside human nature. I also loved the rich characters that were in here, which some were horrible people with no redeemable characteristics, others were just amazing with their compassion. This is really an amazing thriller and I know I will be rereading this book in he future.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The Grownup

This super short thriller is one of my favorites for a few reasons. The first being it really knocked you off your feet. This short story went into a direction I did not believe, I did not think that type of surprise would be possible with so few pages. The second reason is because it is the perfect size. It is a bite sized thriller and I think it is perfect to read if you are thinking about getting into this genre of books.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 was the first real thriller I can remember reading and it made me very much excited to read more. While this is not the only Ruth Ware on this list, it is something special. Not only does this book have a very interesting setting, on a boat in international waters, it also has some interesting characters. While I read this novel I got Clue vibes, the entire time I was trying to think of the murder weapon and who committed the crime. Also, the ending made me so excited because I truly started to feel for a character I did not think I would care about. For an author to change my few as much as she did, was amazing.

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* I received The Death of Mrs. Westaway and Lying in Wait from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What is your favorite thriller?

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