Wrap Up

Wrap Up | June 2019

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June was a very crazy month for me, I am so I am very surprised at how much I ended up reading this month. I was expecting to read maybe only 4 books, but I ended up reading much more than that.

I will say this month I was very bad about sticking to my TBR, June TBR | 2019, I ended up only reading 1 book on that list until the 24th of the month. Then, I kinda tried to binge the rest of the list. The main reason I did not do to well with sticking my my TBR was my mood reading and the books that became available from my library. Library books always take precedence with me because I can’t keep them and I might not be able to extend my time with it if someone else is in line.

Anyway, I overall liked a lot of the books I read this month, but below is some more details about the books themselves and my thoughts.

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Read 2

The Secret Life of BeesThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked the time period this was set in and how it was true to that time period. It showed the hardships that African Americans faced and the horrible treatments that were thrust upon them. I enjoyed the writing style and the theme of bees throughout the story.

I think I have come to realize though, that I do not like stories about young girls who lose their mothers at a young age. I think it is because I have read it so many times or what, but I am just not in the mood or enjoy stories with that plot line.

View all my reviews


Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with MeLaura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not read a lot of books or comics or anything in a while that dealt with HS aged people. But, I am very happy that I read this. I started reading this as a preview from the publisher on their website, when the preview ended I needed more and got it from my library that thankfully had it. I finished it in one sitting.

The story line was heart wrenching, but heart warming at others. I loved that the characters were raw at times, but the issues that were hinted at and full on explored are real issues that are dealt with every day. I really enjoyed reading this.

On top of the storyline/plot being amazing, the art work was beautiful. I enjoy the style that is used and the color pallet and use of color to highlight certain aspects of the story. You can clearly see a lot of time and hard work went into this graphic novel.

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Daisy Jones & The SixDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first started to read this I started to feel like I was mislead by the title of this book, but that quickly turned around for me when I was about 70 odd pages in. This story had me really engaged for a few reasons. The first being the time period, how can you not want to hear a story about a rock and roll group in the 1970? The second being the format of this novel.

I didn’t know that this was set up as an interview the entire book and I think it really lent itself to the story. I feel like the story would not have been as powerful and I would not have felt as much as I did if it was written another way. Also, if you are into audiobooks, I think this is one of the best I have ever listened to. They have an entire cast and it makes the voices so much more distinct, even through they would be without the audio.

This story talks about a lot of different struggles and it really is a roller coaster, but not the one you would expect from a rock group.

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The Woman in the DarkThe Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am kind of struggling to pin point why this book didn’t blow me out of the water. I think the main reason is because I was able to predict a lot of what happened from very early in the book. I think once I made an assumption and it started to be proven correct I was just kinda meh about it.

I think if you have not read a lot of thrillers this is a great place to start. It is shocking and has quite layers to it. The writing style itself is good and it flowed for sure. One thing I really liked is the fact that I was debating throughout that maybe this is actually happening or it isn’t happening at all. What is reality?

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Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I still don’t like Shakespeare, I am not sure why I keep trying at this point.

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The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great reread and adventure! Not really much to say other than I love this book and this story. It is filled with quirky wonderful characters and takes place in a very imaginative world.

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Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 45

Backlist TBR: 6

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What was your favorite book you read this month?

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TBR

June TBR | 2019

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Hello everyone and happy June, the halfway mark in the year. So weird saying that, but it seems to be true we are officially halfway through 2019. This month is shaping up to be the month of rereads. Half of my tbr is rereading two of my favorite series and the other half are standalone novels from two new to me authors. I think I am going to really enjoy myself this month!


-The Books

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

  • This is one of my rereads, I read this 4 or 5 years ago for the first time and with Tolkien the movie coming out it has really made me want to reread and jump into his world.

The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer

  • This was my Book of the Month pick, I was pulled toward it because it is based off of the life of Varian Fry who tried to save the lives of Jews during WWII.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

  • Do I really need to explain myself with this one? I miss the magic and I want to go back to Hogwarts!

The Women in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

  • This is the June buddy read for Amy, Jenna, Reg and myself. I am very excited to jump into this haunting thriller I happened to come across in the bookstore a week and and half ago.

-TBR Jar Pick-

This month I actually had my boyfriend pick my TBR jar pick and he did not disappoint! He picked The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer, which I already talked about above. I am really excited to jump into this tome and I think it is going to give me some hope in humanity and I feel like it might also be an emotional roller coaster. He picked very well indeed.


What are you reading this month?

Have you read any of these books before or are they on your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | May 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

This month has been a really interesting reading month for me. I feel like my reading was all over the place, but at the same time not. I have read a lot of non-fiction or very large books the past few weeks, with only a sprinkling of thrillers from a buddy read and a novel from one of my 2019 reading challenges.

I am not quite sure why I tended to read a lot about Russian history or Russian influenced books, but I think I was really craving non-fiction and historical fiction. As to the big books, I think I have been in a mood to just pick up a book and just dedicate myself to reading it and really absorbing it, not just reading something and flying through it. Either way, I am really happy with the books I have read this month, without more of my ramblings and reflection, here are the books I read!

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Read 2
Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana AlliluyevaStalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a wonderfully written non-fiction account of the daughter of one of the worlds most notorious men. It was really enlightening to read about her relationship with her father for a few reasons. The first being it really gave insight into Soviet Russian elite, which to me seemed to not be so different with how the elite lived under the tsars, and how Stalin was as a husband and a father.

I also liked how this novel tracked her life following the death of her father and beyond. I think it was a very good nod to her because it seemed like she tried hard to be seen as her own person and this novel really does just that.

As I said earlier, this is well written. The style of writing is story like with a great deal of information, I think this is great for those who want to read more non-fiction but are intimidated by books being to “academic”. In addition to this, the organization and execution of this biography is wonderful. The flow was very natural and I never felt like I was jumping around in her story, even though we cover an entire lifetime in a single book.

This book also inspired me to look into Svetlana’s own books about her story and also read more from this author.

View all my reviews


BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her story in her own words. If you have any interest, I highly recommend.

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Behind Her EyesBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very thought out thriller and I can really appreciate that. I just wish one aspect of the story was more explored throughout the novel. While this was a well planned thriller, it is by no means bad, but it also isn’t one of my top ones.

The story will keep you on your toes and just like the dust jacket says, if you think you can guess the ending. I think your guess most likely will be wrong.

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The StandThe Stand by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am still surprised I was able to finish this book in a single month, but I am so happy that I read it. While it was long, I was not once bored and I never wanted to skip a particular part.

Overall, I really liked the wide array of characters in this novel. I was expecting to get them all confused and turned around, but they are so distinct and their motives for their actions are always true to them so I did not have a problem keeping them all straight. There were characters in here that I cried for and I cheered for. There were those I did not care for in the slightest. It really is interesting to see all the different ways humans deal with something like this.

I really enjoy this type of story from king, it is a mixture of ghosts, monsters, but also human nature and what it could be. Making is just enough real to make you uneasy. Also, whenever anyone sneezed I got anxious. I had to laugh at myself a bit, but according to the Stephen King subreddit, I am not the only one who this happened to.

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Middle Mark Books 2

If you want to read my review of the following books, please see my post; Middle Mark | May 2019.

Ask Baba Yaga by Taisia Kitaiskaia, Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Literary Witches by Taisia Kitaiskaia, Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 38

Current Backlist TBR: 9Divider 2

What was your favorite book you read this month?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | #OWLsReadathon2019 Update

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So I have been blown away at my progress with the OWLs Readathon so far. I am not complaining in anyway, but I had no idea I would have read so much already. I think taking part in the Magical All Nighter really helped me make a lot of progress as well. Anyway, I am going to hurry and tell you the OWLs I have passed, ones I am working on, and the ones I still need for my profession of choice. Then, underneath will be my mini reviews. Also, if you have no idea what I am talking about, you can read about the readathon and my goals here: April TBR | OWLs Magical Readathon 2019.

-Passed-

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

-In Progress-

  • Potions

-Magical All Nighter-

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Read 2

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the wide array of perspectives that were present in this book. Not did the editor bring together a wonderful collection of writings, the writings were created by an assortment of women of different ages as well. I felt like that created a very interesting dynamic in the writing, but also illustrated that deep feelings can be felt at any age. I felt passion and many deep emotions while reading this book. All the writers are very talented. I think my favorite, if I had to pick, would be Islamic Tinder by Triska Hamid.

On top of the quality of writing, I also enjoyed that there were different forms of writing present; short stories, poetry, and plays as well.

View all my reviews


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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second collection I am reading from this author, I am happy to say that I still love her work. Her theme throughout this book was wonderfully represented, but I also liked how the classic fairytales were shifted to tell a unique story as well. The illustrations throughout were very complimentary as well. If the description interests you or you want to try a collection of poems and stories I highly recommend.

My favorites were Lost Boy, The Step Mothers Tale, Shoemakers Son.

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The Virgin SuicidesThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the title you can tell that this book deals with the very difficult topic of suicide. If any discussion of this topic is a trigger for you, I do not recommend you picking it up. If this is not a triggering topic, I highly suggest you read it.

Having personally dealt with a family member who has gone through this, I went into this book a bit worried that it would handle the topic badly. I was very pleasantly surprised that it handled not only the girls well, but also those left behind very well. I don’t really want to say much about the story itself, but I thought the writing was well done, the characters done well, and I was very much enthralled by the plot.

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a page turner with twists I did not expect. I read this in one sitting and I will be looking out to read more from this author in the future. If you want a fast paced family centric thriller I highly suggest this one.

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ElevationElevation by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really wonderful science fiction novella. I will openly admit I teared up at the end, which surprised me because I did not expect to become attached to any of the characters in the slightest. The novella is so short I expected it to be a good story, but not one that made me feel. This was a very interesting idea and done very well. But, please know this is not a horror, it is science fiction.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a well written and feel good fun story of a man who wanted to test the mail system. He ended up being known for this hobby and being one of the “fathers” of mail. The story was fun to read and I found it very interesting and fast paced. The images thorugh the book were beautifully copied added and great detail could be seen.

If you like reading about “oddities” and want a fast paced and interesting non-fiction to read, I highly suggest.

I will say I was drawn to this at first because I collect postcards from around the world, but I feel like anyone would enjoy reading this. It truly is about a man following his hobby and having fun.

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Currently Reading 2

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)

I just started reading the third book in the Wayward Children series, I don’t want to say too much for fear I will spoil something, but I am excited to continue with this series and see what world we are taken to next. The book will cover the requirement for Potions, my last required OWL for Herbology.

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What are you currently reading?

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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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What are you reading this month?

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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.

DividerBooks I Finished

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.

DividerBooks I Finished

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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