Lists & Recommendations

Blogmas | Let’s Talk | Best Books Of 2019

LetsTalk12:17This year I have read some pretty amazing books, I have found quite a few new favorite authors, series and stand alone novels that I really want to share with everyone. At the point of writing this, I have read 103 books this year, a lot more than I thought I would. So it was difficult to narrow down my choices down to 5, but I did manage to keep this list under 10, so that’s good. Anyway, on to thee top books I read in 2019! P.S. my favorite book of 2019 is at the bottom of the list, as they say, “Last, but not least!”


Mort (Discworld, #4)Mort by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am kind of mad it took me so long to read a book by Terry Pratchett. The sense of humor, characters, and world are so unique and fun. His take on the character of death is really interesting and I found that even though that this is a story about Death, I laughed a bunch. Mort is a really fun and interesting character as well, it is interesting to think about how a human would react to the situation and choices he was given. It really make you think. I really enjoyed this story and I will be continuing to read the death books within the Discworld series. I don’t really know what else to say because I loved this story and if you enjoy fantasy and a good laugh, I feel like you will really enjoy this.

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Red, White & Royal BlueRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book made me laugh, tear up, grunt in frustration, and even sing some Panic at the Disco. This was a really enjoyable novel that is in fantasy land, but also showcases the hard discussions that people sometimes have to make. I was rooting the entire time for our main characters and for reelection.

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Smashed: Junji Ito Story CollectionSmashed: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I had found this sooner. It is just the right mixture of good imagery and scary plots to fly through. Each story stands out on its own, even the few that are related. I can say that I really enjoyed each of the short stories in this collection, which never happens for me. I normally hate or dislike at least one. Some of these are gory so if you don’t like seeing blood, I would not recommend. I will be picking up more of his work in the near future. I am so happy I found some horror manga.

TW: Suicide
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The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon, #1)The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very cute graphic novel with a very sweet message to it. On top of the wonderfully cute story, the illustration style was beautiful and just perfect for this story. If you enjoy happy feeling, cute, and wholesome stories I feel like you would really enjoy this graphic novel. The only downside was I think it was kinda rushed and I would have loved to know more about the lessons and the society.
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The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleThe 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.
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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.
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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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The Colorado KidThe Colorado Kid by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to say this work is very different from what King normally writes, but I enjoyed it so much. I think it was a combination of where I read this book and just the way it was presented. I feel like I will be thinking about The Colorado Kid trying to picture Stephenie today. Anyway, I am glad King look at those news clippings and thought of this story. It really is interesting and makes you think.
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Favorite Book of 2019!

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I had read this sooner. The characters were fun, the story thought provoking in a way, and all around a great read I read within 3 days. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the works of the two authors, but also someone looking for an end of the world story with some interesting characters.

Update: as the end of 2019 has come to an end, I have realized that I have read this book two times this year and I often want to read it a third. It truly has a great friendship, a wonderfully inventive storyline, and great humor. This is my favorite book I have read in 2019.
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What was your favorite read or reads of 2019?

Do you have a book you think I should read next year?

Are any of these books on your list?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Top 5 Books I Have Read So Far This Year

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I was watching youtube, as one does and I recently subscribed to a booktuber called Katie Wismer. Her newest video, at the time of writing this, popped up into my feed and I loved this little addition to a midyear check in. Last month I went over all of my goal. updates and such in my post called Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 Mid-Year Check In, but after watching her video I thought it would be fun to share my favorite and least favorite reads so far this year. I am going to start with  a gush fest, I hope you don’t mind!


-The Books-

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I mainly read this because I was hearing so many great things. Then after I picked it up my boyfriend happened to watch the first episode of the Prime series and said I would really liked it. So, I decided to read this and it has easily become a favorite for me. I read this in two days. If I didn’t have work it would have been a single day.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This was such a well planned out and very well organized thriller it was able to surprise me so many times along the way. The description I think sells it sort because the plot is so much more. I don’t want to say too much, but wow. I have to say I am really lucky to have been given an ARC for a book that ended up being 5 stars. It is wonderful when that happens.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

This was such a cute LGBTQ+ graphic novel. I actually read a free sample from the publisher on their website and I read the sample then walked into the library because I needed to know what happened next. The artwork and the words were both beautiful. Sadly not pictured because it was from the library.

Elevation by Stephen King

This is a wonderfully weird novella from King. It was not horror, but more science fiction and I loved that! Even with its short size I became connected to the characters and felt for them. I will admit I teared up at a particular point. This was a very unique story and I will reread it again.

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

Now, there is not much to say about this high fantasy novel/series that has yet to be said. I am started a reread of this series and I am enjoying the adventure so much. I can’t  wait to continue and maybe implement a hobbit style eating habit along the way. The world, the language, and the songs created by JRR Tolkien are all amazing and so detailed it feels so real.


What has been your favorite read of 2019 so far?

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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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Lists & Recommendations

#Blogoween | Top 5 Non-Horror Halloween Movies

Blogoween

Prompt:

Thursday 18th: Top 5 Non-Horror Halloween Movies
Which are your 5 favourite Halloween movies that aren’t horrors?

Nightmare Before Christmas

Image result for Nightmare Before Christmas

This has always been one of my favorite Halloween/Christmas movies. I think I “borrowed” it from my friend for nearly 3 years and watched it at least 100 times. I say borrow because I would return it ever weekend and then ask to borrow it again. But, the amount that I had it I pretty much owned it at that point. It has wonderful animation, great songs, and can be creepy without being scary. Also, look at the cover of the movie, does the Pumpkin King not look epic?

Halloweentown

Image result for halloweentown

Halloweentown is a very interesting Disney movie. As you can see from the cover it comes across as lively and bubbly. There are bright colors and grandma is smiling bright as can be. While the town is just beautiful and those who like in halloween times are just as bright and fun. Bad things start to happen, this is a wonderful movie that will get you into the spirt and excited for the holiday.

Hocus Pocus

Image result for hocus pocus

I am pretty sure at this point Hocus Pocus is a cult classic. I mean you cannot enter into fall without hearing about the Sanderson Sisters. I really do enjoy this movie. I like that it starts with a tale from long in MA past. There is town folklore that was even created for this movie, which adds even more to the feeling of Halloween. I enjoy that there are times of humor, worry, and surprise. I also enjoy that there are more than just witches in this movie.

Tower of Terror

Image result for Tower of Terror movie cover

While Tower of Terror is not traditionally a Halloween movie, I really like watching it this time of year. It has ghosts, creepy histories, and an abandoned hotel. There are missing individuals and a party that keeps reliving the past. It has ghost investigators, but also has some good humor and can be heartfelt as well. It is a great one to watch this time of year.

Corpse Bride

Image result for corpse bride

This love story has amazing animation and a great atmosphere that is perfect for Halloween. It is dark and eerie. There are ghosts, talking corpses, and a few misunderstands. There is crime, murder, and a sad story. All of these aspects really make it something I gravitate towards this time of the year. Also, another bonus is the fact that it is set in the past. That always makes things more interesting to me.

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What non-horror Halloween movie is your favorite?

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Lists & Recommendations

Lists | Lowest Rated Books on My TBR

Lists

Hello and welcome to the second post this week dealing with my TBR. On Tuesday I talked about the 5 highest rated books on my TBR, now lets talk about the lowest rated books on my TBR. I think I am more curious to see this outcome mainly because I am curious if they are actually rated low or just on the low side of average.

For me anything under 2.7 is rated low on Goodreads, anything more than this in my eyes is average, enjoyable, and I could easily see myself liking. Obviously, there are books that go outside of this guideline, but this is a general view. Now, to the books!

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The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

The Honey Farm
Rating: 3.38
I picked this book up during the original OWLs readathon and I ended up putting it on hold because I did not see myself finishing it in time. So part of my me sees why this is rated on the lower side, but it is still rated very well for being the lowest rated book.
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After the Fireworks: Three Novellas by Aldous Huxley

After the Fireworks: Three Novellas

Rating: 3.45

This classic is a combination of novellas by Aldous Huxley. I have noticed that story collections tend to be rated lower than ones that stand alone so I can see why this might be rated lower. Also, this is written by a man that passed away in the 1960s many older books happen to be rated lower as well. So with those two things stacked against it I can say that having that rating is still very good.

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Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Gerald's Game

Rating: 3.48

I actually got this book as a present so I never really looked at the description if I am to be honest. I did like the cover and since I tend to enjoy his works I am hoping I end up liking this one as well. Fingers crossed!

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The Tommyknockers by Stephen King

The Tommyknockers

Rating: 3.5

So, this one I had a good feeling would be on this list. The main reason being is because Stephen King himself said it was not his best work and that he felt like it went on too long. When he wrote this novel he was deep into addiction. While I am curious to see if it is as bad as he says, I am worried. Divider

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

Rating: 3.61

So this book is rated nearly a 4, should I even say this is rated low? Either way, I am very happy to see that it is rated nearly a 4 since I picked it as my Book of the Month pick a few months ago. As soon as I read the description I knew I needed to have it.

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Over all my lowest rated books on my TBR aren’t actually that low and it has not deterred me from wanted to keep these books on my TBR in the slightest.

What book have you rated the lowest?

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Lists & Recommendations

Lists| Highest Rated Books on My TBR

Lists

So, this weeks posts are going to be pretty basic and written very far in advance. As it turns out as you are reading this I am preparing to go away or I am already away on vacation. I am lucky enough to be able to go on vacation for the first time in YEARS, but I did not want to leave you guys without content so this week I am going to talk about my TBR and the books on it.

Today’s post is going to be listing the 5 top rated books that I have on my owned TBR. I am excited to see which ones are rated the highest.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Rating: 4.7

This is a second book in a series, so I am not going to post the description here because I rather not spoil anything. I have read this in part already, but I need to finish it up ASAP before I forget everything that has happened.

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

Rating: 4.47

I read the first chapter of this a while ago in a try a chapter post, Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter April 2018 and I loved the first chapter so I can see why it rated so highly.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Rating: 4.37

I keep hearing awesome things about this novel and when I saw that audible was having a sale I picked this up for what felt like a steal. I am very happy to see that it is rated so highly and I hope to get to it in the near future. I think we should start a count on how many times I say, “I hope to get to this soon” or phrases along those lines.

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East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden

Rating: 4.36

I read this many, many years ago and I remember liking it. Sadly, I do not remember anything that happened because it was so long ago and it was for study instead of for enjoyment. I have realized a lot of books I have read in a school setting I don’t remember as long as when I read things for pleasure. Divider

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand

Rating: 4.34

This monster of a novel, I mean it is a Stephen King novel what else should I expect? I bought this many a few months ago and I am reading his books in order I acquire them. Since I have quite a few I need to get to I will not read this until most likely next year. I am excited to see that it is rated so highly.

DividerWhat is the highest rated book on your TBR?

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Lists & Recommendations

Recommendations | Classic Literature

Recs

So if you have seen my most recent Week in Review, A Week in Review | July 9th – July 15th, you will know that I have been reading, and enjoying, Anna Karenina. I have been wanting to read this large classic for what seems like years and I finally had enjoy guts to take on this 1000+ page Russian Classic. Now with reading this it had me thinking a lot about classics and why I like them. For me I find them more “domestic”, they talk more about home life or about individuals. There is less of a major plot element and it is character driven. Also, I love history and I love reading a book from another period because it really give you a look into the lives of those who live there. These are the books that were popular, this is what people read in their free time if they had any.

So I thought, hey why don’t I share some of my favorite classics? So here I am today to share my 5 favorite classics.

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A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet

I really do love any of the Sherlock novels and short stories I have read. I love how not only does this give a peak into the time period, but it also takes a bit of a look at human nature and really makes you think, “Wow, are we really this predictable?” Also, who is not down to read a murder mystery?


A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange

So, this book is a weird one. It is more of a modern classic and is so vile that it was actually outlawed in multiple countries. Trigger warnings: rape, violence, language, and more that I cannot remember. The reason why I like it is because it make you think about the fact that we see individuals who do these horrible things as monsters, but we cannot forget they are human. I feel that sometimes when we say someone is a monster that we also forget they are an evil human, we need to remember that someone of the same species is capable of doing this horrible things. In some way I feel saying someone is a monster allows us to compartmentalize this behavior as something that cannot happen in the human world, but it does. I hope that makes sense.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

Now back onto a more happy novel/series is Little Women, this is my all time favorite book and series. I loved this family since I was a young, young girl. It taught me that it was okay to love books and learning, it was also to do things that were “not lady like”. It also showed  me that war broke up families, but hope kept them together. It taught me about death in a respectful and unthreatening way. It is so odd to have a book that taught you so much, but at the time you don’t really notice it. At the time it was just me following a family through their lives.


The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White

I loved that this book seemed to be a ghost story, but also told a story of love and honesty. While this book is over 600 pages I few through this, but a fun way to read this is to read it like when it was originally published as a serialized book in a news paper. Due to this interesting way of publication there are many cliff hangers and a lot of action when though you are following someones live. I was gripped from the start of the book until the end.


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray

This is a very short classic that not only teaches you about morals and perception, it is also a bit of a scary story. Since originally reading this I have read it a few times and each time I find more symbolism than the last. The writing is blunt, but beautiful.

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What is your favorite classic?

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T5W | July 5th|Books Without Romance

Blog

In the past I have never done Top 5 Wednesday, but this week I decided to give it a shot. This week the prompt asks us to list the top five books without romance or have a tiny bit of romance. I went to the Top 5 Wednesday goodreads group to get this weeks prompt. You can also find all of the prompts for this upcoming month.

Jackaby by William Ritter

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I cannot speak more highly of a book/series. I love Jackaby and all the other cast of characters. Now, this book has some lingering eyes, but it barely even in the book. I will say there are a lot of people who want to see some of the characters shipped, but there is no romance in this book. Just  glorious supernatural adventure.

Sabriel by Garth Nix

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Sabriel is way to busy trying to save her father Mage Abhorsen in the Old Kingdom. She is dealing with free magic and a companion that might not actually be on her side to worry about a true romance.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

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This books is a wonderful story. Honestly a must read in my opinion.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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This is one of my favorite books. A high fantasy adventure following Bilbo Baggins. There is magic, orcs, elves, an angry dragon and much more…apart from romance.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

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This books main focus is on Jonas and his internal struggle becoming Receiver of Memory. Being given this role causes him to question the society he has grown up in.


Can you think of any other books without romance?

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