Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | January 2021

Hello and welcome to my January book haul. This past month or two I ended up being gifted quite a few books that I am very grateful for and would like to share with everyone to see if you have read them and if you have any thoughts on them. Following this month I am going back to my Read 5, Buy 1 Challenge since I made it down to 0 books last year and now I am in the 30s again. Ooops. Anyway, here are the books I most recently added to my TBR!


Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, I am honestly not 100% sure what this book is about if I am being honest. Any insight would be really helpful. I received this as a gift from a family member and I have seen a lot of people mention it over the past few years. But, I kind of avoided all of the reviews etc.

Lady Killers by Tori Telfer, I was gifted this really interesting book by Heidi you can find her on twitter as @TIMbookshelf or over on her blog This is My Bookshelf Blog. She really is vey sweet and kind and I am so happy she picked this book off of my wishlist because I have been in such a nonfiction mood. It moved pretty quickly to the top of my TBR. This non-fiction book discusses various lady killers throughout history.

White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad, recommended by Amy who you can find on twitter as @SalieriSin and over on her blog The Book Siren. I was so happy when I saw a book from the list of books I compiled from a thread of nonfiction recommendations on twitter. I scooped this one up no questions asked. This book discusses how feminism is actually white feminism and does not include black women and women of color in their fight for equality. It does this by going throughout history to modern times and across many continents from my understanding.

Sons of Cain by Peter Vronsky, Once again I wanted a nonfiction and I was in my bookstore. I ended up coming across this book that talks about the history of serial killers and how we actually started using that title. It is almost like a historiography on how we view these individuals and also goes into what their crimes are. This is a perfect read for me because I love to see how a topic has been viewed over a period of time and how that view has changed and reading and watching true crime.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, this is a classic that has been on my list for some time and I saw this edition on sale so I decided to finally pick it up. I have never read any of Woolf other works from my memory, so this could be very interesting to see if I enjoy her writing style or not. I also find it interesting that this novel follows a singular person over a singular day while they are trying to set up for a party.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I was gifted this book by Reg who you can find on twitter as @BookishinBed or on her blog that goes by the same name, Bookish In Bed. I was so delighted when this showed up in my box. Taylor Jenkins Reid has quickly become one of my favorite authors and this is one of her books that I have yet to read so I am super thankful!

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, this book I picked up at my local bookstore as well and saw the beautiful cover and then I read the description and I needed to have it! I love when a “cover buy” is more than just a cover buy. This 100 pages or so is a collection of non-fiction essays surrounding the author and focuses on the natural world that surrounds us.

The Unwanted by Michael Dobbs, This non-fiction novel was recommended by local bookstore owner in my area. I did not have a lot of nonfiction on my shelf and I was in the mood for some so I asked the owner to recommend me one and this is the novel they picked. This is about a small own where many were trying to seek asylum to aviod the Nazi party in World War One. I think it is going to be a very well done book, but heart breaking because it focuses on how these people were stuck trying to get the proper paperwork that would literally save their lives and the bureaucracy they had to deal with.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas, I was gifted this book by Misty who you can find on twitter as @mistymichelle30 or over at her blog entitled, Misty’s Book Space. She sent me a message in early January to ask if I have read this book yet and I let her know that I have not and she was super kind and sweet to send this to me. So, I can check out more of this series.


What books have you recently added to your TBR or taken out from your library?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Storme Reads a Lot | I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! This month I had the wonderful Maggie from Storme Reads a Lot pick my read. Not only do they have a great blog, they also have a great twitter feed you can follow @hybibliophiliac. Now, this month I read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, a true crime novel that was a great pick for October!


Picture of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on a cover.

One Sentence Review

A very well written account of the crimes of the Golden State Killer, but also a good deal about the late author.

Description

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

This book was a really good account of the crimes of the notorious serial killer known as The Golden State Killer. If you enjoy true crime, chances are you have heard about the things this man has done, but I will say that this the most in depth look at the crimes that I have read. You can see how much research the late author put into these events, but also looking into possibilities and theories. She did her own interviews and even made suggestions to officers.

Another thing that stands out to me when I was reading this novel was the fact that the story was so gripping. For me, it was gripping because it showed the horrors that humans alone can create. Now, when this was written, the Golden State Killer was not found yet, but this book is credited with keeping this, then unsolved case, in the public eye because of the way it is written. While it is a filled with horrific crimes and the horrible deeds done by this individual, I know I kept reading because I needed to know more. I wanted to know more because I wanted this person caught and I wanted to see what clues there were, even though the person responsible, at the time of my reading, was arrested and charged. I could only imagine readings this before that event.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, I thought this was only going to be about the Golden State Killer, but this book has a lot about the author. In some way I thought it really added to the book, going over how she researched and such. At times though, it seemed like there was a memoir spread out in the book. I really did enjoy that content, but I feel like it would have been more enjoyable for me personally if it was part one of the book and the Golden State Killer was in another. The book jumped so much for me personally, but I really liked all the content.

Overall

Overall, I thought this was a very engrossing read. As I said early this is a story not just about the Garden State Killer, but also about the late author. It is touching to hear the love that those who finished this book for her held, but also the dedication to the author passion. Brining this criminal to justice. If you enjoy true crime I feel like this could be a very enjoyable read.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Olivia who you can find on twitter as @oliviascatastro or on her youtube channel Olivia’s Catastrophe. I can’t wait for you to see what she picked for me!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my monthly TBR post. This month I am going to be keeping my TBR small and simple, especially since I now only have about 10 books on my owned TBR and my goal this month is to get it down to 5 books, I really hope I am able to do this! Anyway, here are the books I am planning on reading this month.



Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coats, I have been hearing about this book quite a lot over the last few months and I happened to come across this on discount at my local bookshop and I decided to pick it up. I will be honest, I don’t know too much about it, but I am quite excited to see what everyone has been talking about.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, this is a horror novel that was picked for me by the service TBR. I have read a short story by this author before and enjoyed it so I am looking forward to seeing if I will continue to enjoy his works.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, this book was picked for me to read by Maggie from Storme Reads a Lot for my Someone Picks my Books series I have here on my blog. I am really excited to take a deep dive into such a propionate ex-cold case.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I have not read this classic horror before, but I have watched so many adaptations and retellings that I feel like I could tell you what it is about. But, I decided for Halloween this year I am going to read this classic horror novel and put to the test how much of the story I actually know.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, I started reading this earlier in September, but my schedule got in the way of me reading this tome all the way through. I am about 50% through at the time of writing this so it should not take me too long to finish this tale.


What are you planning on reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | September 2020

Welcome to my September wrap up, where I am going to be sharing all of the books I have read over the last month. This month I was so surprised that I have kept up my reading momentum and even got my physical TBR down to 10 books! I had some winners and some not so great reads, but overall a really good month!


Conjure WomenConjure Women by Afia Atakora
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a wonderful read that not only followed generations within a family, but also talked about how these generations were affected by slavery in the US. The plot, characters, and the whole novel were so well written and I was pulled in by the magic within the book, but also the magic of the writing.

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The Death of Vivek OjiThe Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful and heart breaking read that I read far too quickly. This is such a talented author, they were able to craft such a wonderfully heart wrenching novel about a family ties and LGBTQ+ treatment. This story from the first page pulled me in and I don’t cry often when I read. but this book had me tearing up. I don’t want to say too much because I feel like this book has a larger impact if you go in knowing less.

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The TestThe Test by Sylvain Neuvel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Overall, this was a very impactful book to me because it really makes you think about human nature, society, and a laundry list of other things such as prejudices and racism that are ingrained in society. I feel like this little story really packs so much into it that it shows the talent of the author. This will be a story I reread again I feel like and it will have a place on my bookshelf for the years to come.

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Stay with MeStay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story has so many layers to it and it ended up being so much more than I though it would be. This story had be filled with joy, sadness and anger. There are aspects of history mixed in with a the exploration of the marriage of Yejide and Akin. Yejide was such an interesting and compelling character, I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. I could feel her hurt, her joy, and so much more.

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am going to be writing a whole post dedicated to this book in the near future, but I really was enthralled with this book and I can’t wait to see the documentary.

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EmmaEmma by .Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I enjoyed this classic. It is not my favorite Austen novel, but I was pulled into the story despite how annoying and aggravating Emma can be.

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Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 0


Reading Stats

What was your favorite book this month?

Mine was The Hunger by Alma Katsu or Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin. 

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

BookReview12:17

The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child MurdererDescription

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read. In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

The first thing I noticed while reading this novel is that Kate Summerscale is very thorough. Her knowledge of not just the crime itself, the perpetrator, and his family, but of the town and the time period are easily noticed. She goes into detail of the events of the town and the economic and social conditions that not only put our child murderer and his family in, but may have even contributed to it. Some of the information she shares in this book you know she had to look long and hard for it.

Another things I liked about this book was the content of the book. Now, I enjoy non-fiction very much and enjoy a book mystery. But, this book was different. It deals with the life of a child murderer. Someone who at a very young age decided to kill one of his parents. To me that both intrigues me as well as worries me. A child is meant to me innocent and this action/situation is the farthest things from innocent. Due to this the entire time I read this novel it was both almost morbid, but very thought provoking. It made me think about many topics, but I don’t want to list them because that might be considered a spoiler. I rather not spoil this book for anyone.

The last thing that really stood out to me was the ending of this book, it was an unexpected turn I was not expecting. While a majority of this book made me uncomfortable due to the subject the ending made me think even more about human nature and how and if people can change. Many non-fiction authors tend to stop at the “big” event, sometimes that is a disservice. I really appreciated that fact that Summerscale no only covered and researched the murder and trial, but continued and expanded beyond the “main” event.

What I Didn’t Like

One thing that can be seen as a negative with this book is that it contains a lot of background information. For some people this can be a downside to the book. I personally did not have a problem with this because I loved learning about the town, culture, and other events happening at the time. But, I recognize that for some this is not what they signed up for when they picked up a book about a child murderer.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. I think Summerscale did a wonderful job researching and telling the story of Robert Coombes and his brother. Throughout I was interested and I often found myself thinking about the book once I put it down. For me that makes a good non-fiction read. I would say if you enjoy non-fiction, true crime, or reading about morbid topics this book is for you. I just would keep in mind that you will also be learning about the time period etc., but I feel it is needed to understand the environment the Coombes boys lived in. I ended up giving this story novel 4 stars.

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Author Links

Kate Summerscale

http://www.katesummerscale.com

Book Information

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: July 12th 2016

List Price: $28.00

ISBN:  9781594205781

Pages: 378 pages

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