Contemporary-A-Thon Wrap-Up!!!

As some of you may know, if you have been following me, last week I participated in my second Contemporary-A-Thon. Essentially this is a week long readathon dedicated to reading Contemporary books. There were 7-challenges this round but, as always, you can double up on challenges, so you do no necessarily need to read 7-books over the course of the week.

For the first time ever, I has a successful readathon. I completed all 7-challenges and even stuck to my original 4-book TBR. 

Without further ado, let’s get into the books that I read and what challenges they met:

1. The first book I finished was Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch. This is a YA book that involves a strained sibling relationship, a couple of broken hearts and road-trip through Ireland. This book was 303-pages and I ended up giving it 3.5-stars. This helped me complete two challenges: read a book in a non-traditional format (I listened to this on audiobook) and read a book with a picture on the spine.

2. The second book I finished was They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Again, this was a YA book that followed two boys on their ‘death’ days as they learn how to live. This was such a moving story. Silvera’s writing is top-notch and definitely known to break hearts. This book was 373-pages, I read it in under 24-hours by reading both the audiobook and hard copy versions, and I gave it a full 5-stars. Additionally, I added this book to my all-time ‘favorites’ shelf on Goodreads. This completed two challenges: read a dark or taboo contemporary (story about death) and book you planned to read in 2018 and never got around to.

3. The next book I finished was Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo. This was an ARC-copy as the book actually doesn’t release until March 5, 2019. Basically a story about a girl really struggling to find her place in the world after the loss of her sister and suffering severe bullying at school. This was a very tough story to read. I didn’t end up giving it a star rating as I was so all over the place on how I felt about it. This was 352-pages long and I used it to complete two challenges: read your most recently acquired contemporary (I received this from the publisher a couple of days before the readathon started) and read a book with blurple (blue or purple) on the cover (this book had a lot of purple on it).

4. Finally, the last book I completed was Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. This is a YA book about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality and trying to navigate relations with her family as she doesn’t want to do with her life what they want her to do with it. There’s a lot of drama in this one. This book is 304-pages long, one of the shortest of my week, but it took me the longest to read. This was the first book I began for the readathon and the last book I finished. I found it to be a tad boring and really had to force myself to complete it. Something about the writing style just didn’t mesh with me. I ended up giving this one 3-stars and frankly, the last star was mainly for the diversity which I really liked and appreciated. I am looking forward to Kann’s next book releasing later this year. I am just hoping her writing has evolved a bit since this one. I used this book to complete one challenge: read a diverse contemporary.

So that sums it up! My first ever successful readathon. I completed all 4-books on my designated TBR, which is a minor miracle if I am being honest as I rarely stick to a TBR, and read 1,332-pages for the week. This put me a little behind with some of my other reading but I am trying not to get stressed about the amount of ARCs I have to read over the coming weeks! Also me:

Did you participate in Contemporary-A-Thon? How did it go for you? If you didn’t, what did you read last week? I want to know! Comment below or reach out to me through any of my social media outlets.

Cheers & Happy Reading~

 

Contemporary-A-Thon TBR

Hi all! It is time for another round of Contemporary-A-Thon hosted by a great group of gals over on BookTube. I will link all of their announcement videos at the end of this post, if you would like to check them out and hopefully join us in the fun!

There are 7 challenges in this round and you can double up on challenges so you don’t necessarily have to complete 7 books. Although, honestly, that would be great and I do have B-plan books in addition to the ones listed below. I am going to put the books I am currently reading on hold for the duration of the Readathon and read exclusively the books on this TBR.

The dates of the Readathon are from Monday, February 11th, running through Sunday, February 17th. Without further ado, let’s get into the challenges and thus my TBR for next week:

  1. Read your most recently acquired ContemporaryFor this challenge I am going to be reading Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Candlewick Press, so a big thank you to them. This sounds like a hard-hitting story following Angie as she struggles to live beyond the negativity of her surroundings. This book also involves an RV road trip. I am definitely down for that!
  2. Read a book with blurple (blue or purple) on the cover – For this, see above, because I am counting Fat Angie for this challenge as well!
  3. Read a diverse ContemporaryFor this I am planning to read Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. This story follows, Alice, a black asexual girl, as she works her way through a surprising summer friendship. This book also features one of my favorite book covers of 2018. It’s gorgeous. I had this on my TBR last year for Pride Month but never ended up getting to it. I am really looking forward to this one!
  4. Read a dark or taboo Contemporary – Someone grab the tissues because for this challenge I am planning to read Adam Silvera’s, They Both Die At The End. This futuristic YA-Contemporary imagines a world where a company, Death-Cast, lets people know the day they are going to die. When Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio get their Death-Cast calls they both decide to seek a new friend for their ‘death day’. Using the app, Last Friend, they find each other and set out on one last adventure. I know this book is going to crush me but it has been sitting on my shelves for way to long and I need to get it read. My eyes fill up with tears just thinking about it.
  5. Read a Contemporary you meant to read in 2018 but didn’t get to – For this challenge I am going to double-up and count either Let’s Talk About Love or They Both Die at the End. Both of those books made it onto monthly TBRs last year but never ended up being read. Let me tell you, they are excited for the opportunity!
  6. Read a Contemporary in a non-traditional format – For this I am going to listen to the audiobook of Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch. I just read Love & Gelato by Welch last month and absolutely adored the humor and the topics of family and love that it touched upon. I am really looking forward to this one as it is set in Ireland, which if you know me, you know I am pretty much obsessed with.
  7. Read a Contemporary with a picture on the spine – Again for this one, I get to double up. The hardcover edition of Love & Luck, which I do own, has a completely adorable little shamrock on the side with leaves configured of heart images. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever and I thought of it right away when they announced this challenge!

Alright you guys, that is it! That wraps up my Contemporary-A-Thon February 2019 TBR. Are you participating in Contemporary-A-Thon? If so, are any of these books on your TBR? What books are you including to go with what challenges? I really want to know. Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Also, guys, don’t forget to watch the BookTube Announcement videos linked below! Give the videos a like and be sure to subscribe. These four are seriously some of my favorite BookTubers ever. They are constantly uploading new, fun content and I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Julie @ Pages and Pens

Chelsea @ chelseadolling reads

Natasha @ myreadingisodd

Melanie @ meltotheany

Cheers y’all & Happy Reading~

January 2019: Wrap-Up

Just like that, the first month of 2019 has come and gone. I am so happy with my reading for this month. I actually set a new personal record and completed 17 books! This is just insane to me. I was one book short of completing my TBR Challenge for the month, as well, but I will write more about that in a separate post.

Without further ado, let’s get into the books I read this month:

  1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – This Adult Thiller received a full 5-stars from me for keeping me at the edge of my seat!
  2. The Witch of Willow Hall  by Hester Fox – This Adult Historical Fiction brought me all I wanted in creepy, gothic atmosphere, 4.5-stars!
  3. The Wicker King by K. Ancrum – I read this YA Contemporary with the Dragons & Tea Book Club on Goodreads. We completed it in 5-days. I found it original and hard-hitting and ended up giving it a full 5-stars.
  4. Blood of Wonderland (Queen of Hearts Saga #2) by Colleen Oakes – I read this book to complete my ‘read a sequel’ challenge for the month. I thought this was a great continuation to this YA Fantasy series which tells the origin story of the Queen of Hearts; full 5-stars.
  5. White Stag (Permafrost #1) by Kara Barbieri – I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, Wednesday Books, and took part in the ‘Blog Tour’ to help celebrate its publication. This is the start to an all-new YA Fantasy series involving goblins and a goblin king. Overall, I found it interesting and ended up giving it 3.5-stars.
  6. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch – This YA Contemporary set in Italy follows 16-y.o. Lina as she tries to navigate the world after the devastating death of her mother. Even though that sounds very sad, this was actually a funny and heart-warming story about found friendships and love. I gave this a full 5-stars as well.
  7. She Lies in Wait (DCI Jonah Sheens #1) by Gytha Lodge – I received this Adult Crime Thriller as an ARC from the publisher, Random House Books, and really enjoyed reading it. I would definitely continue on with this series. I gave this book 4-stars.
  8. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King – My favorite author. A short-story collection I am kicking myself for not picking up earlier. This is now my all-time favorite short-story collection full of tales of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Absolutely horrific! 5-full DARK stars.
  9. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee – I received this Middle Grade Space adventure as an ARC from the publisher, Rick Riordan Presents, an imprint of Disney Books. I had so much fun reading this story. One of my favorites of the month! 5-out-of-this-world stars.
  10. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – This YA Horror took me the longest to read. Not really because of the story. The story was really unique and I was surprised, pleasantly, by how dark it was. This book is a chuncker though – 450 pages in the hardcover format. I gave this one 4.5-stars.
  11. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon – I listened to the audiobook for this Adult Horror novel. It was such a great experience. Walking my dog at night, listening to this, with no light but from my headlamp, in the cold of winter on a desolate island. It doesn’t get more atmospheric that that. I loved the mysterious horror elements of this. Just the whole vibe was really cool and well-done. I look forward to reading other books from this author; 4-stars.
  12. The Lonely Dead by April Henry – I received this book as an ARC from the publisher, Henry Holt and Co. Unfortunately, this book and I did not get along. We were scratching and biting and pulling each others hair. Nope. Just did not work for me; 2-stars.
  13. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy #1) by Michelle Hodkin – This was one of my TBR jar picks for the month of January. This is a YA Paranormal Romance. There was mystery in this. There was a lot of witty dialogue and a male lead to totally swoon over. I hella enjoyed this one and was so happy that I finally read it; 4.5-stars!
  14. Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson – I am so happy that I finally picked up this YA Mystery. Set at a boarding school in rural Vermont, this book literally checked all of my boxes. I loved this so much and actually just received the long-awaited sequel, The Vanishing Stair, in the mail today! This one received a full 5-star review from me.
  15. Hell: The Possession and Exorcism of Cassie Stevens by Tom Lewis – I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This book was hella creepy and actually had an interesting take on possession. Unlike any other possession stories I have ever read, this one is told mainly from the perspective of the person who is possessed. I thought it was really a fun little read overall; 3.5-stars. Thank you, Tom!
  16. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1) by Alexander Bracken – This Middle Grade adventure was steeped with creepy, Halloweenie vibes and I adored it. The sequel is being released next Tuesday, February 5th, and I have an ARC from the publisher, Disney Book Group. Starting that one tonight and really looking forward to continuing on with this story; 4-stars.
  17. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff – I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Park Row Books, and am so glad that I got the opportunity to read this early. What a book! This Adult Historical Fiction novel tells the tale of a group of female spies during WWII. Told in 3-perspectives this book drew me in from the very beginning and never let go. Vivid, poignant and heartbreaking, I would recommend this book to all; full 5-stars!

That is it, folks! That wraps up my month. Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite book of the month or least favorite? I want to know. Leave a comment below or you may contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading~

 

2019 Monthly TBR Challenge & Happy New Year

Happy New Year’s Eve bookworms! Cheers to a festive and happy new year! I am so ready for 2019~

Inspired by a recent video that I watched on the channel, Hailey in Bookland ((click on the channel name to view her January TBR)), I have decided I am going to institute a monthly TBR challenge.

Basically, this involves 5 challenges I need to complete every month. This will be in addition to any ARCs I will be reading for a particular month. The 5 challenges are as follows:

  1. Read a book that was released in 2018
  2. Read a new release from the current month
  3. Read a new release from the next month (I can use any ARC for this)
  4. Read a sequel to a series you have started but haven’t finished
  5. TBR Jar picks

*A note on the TBR Jar picks: Today I created my first ever TBR jar. I wrote down on scrapes of paper pretty much all the books that I own on my ‘unread’ shelf ((over 250)) and put them into a decorative box. Every month I will be pulling 3 random slips from the box and trying to read two out of the three. I just selected my three books to choose from in January and they are as follows:

  • An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson- YA Fantasy released in September 2017.
  • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston- YA Fantasy Retelling released in October 2015.
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin- YA Paranormal Romance/Horror released in September 2011.

I haven’t quite decided yet which 2 of the 3 selected I am going to read yet but I am leaning towards, An Enchantment of Ravens and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I will certainly keep you posted on that. Every month I am going to try to complete all of the challenges listed above and I am hoping this will help me keep focused, as well as helping to clean up my backlist a little bit.

Thank you so much for sticking with me over the course of 2018! I completed 139-books this year and am absolutely blown away by that number. Looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish in 2019. Best wishes to you all and happy reading~

 

What’s on my Christmas List? ((Part I))

Welcome Bookworms to the first installment of what’s on my Christmas list and why it should be on yours! I thought I would choose a few books off my Christmas list and go over them a wee bit. All anticipated books that I just haven’t gotten to this year but would love to add them to my shelves.

  • The Window by Amelia Brunskill – This is the story of Anna & Jess. Identical twins who may look alike but are different in many ways. They are very close however and tell each other everything, or so Jess believed. When Anna falls to her death sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess isn’t so sure she knew her twin as well as she thought. She sets out to discover her twin’s secrets but may regret that once all is said in done. This YA Thriller released in April of this year and just sounds like a very compelling plot to me. I believe I first heard this talked about on Chelsea Palmer’s channel on Booktube. I have wanted to read it ever since!
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend – This is the 2nd book in the Nevermoor series, a middle grade series reminiscent of Harry Potter. I have the 1st book in the series and although I haven’t read it yet, I just know I am going to absolutely love it when I do and will want the second one to read right away. All talk I have heard of this series is absolutely glowing and I can’t wait to start it. Anything involving kids, a magic competition, a magic school, I will buy, I will read and I will tell you what I think about it! Yes, please, I want this book!
  • The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician Book #2) by Lisa Maxwell – As with Wundersmith, this is the 2nd book in a series I haven’t started yet but know I will love. The reason I haven’t read The Last Magician yet is because I was waiting for this 2nd book to come out. This is a YA Fantasy novel that is full of magic and involves one of my favorite tropes: time-travel. I believe it begins in modern-day NYC and then travels back to 1902-NYC. It sounds incredible and gets very solid reviews on Goodreads & Booktube. I am ready for this one!
  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James – This YA Scifi Thriller follows Romy Silvers, who finds herself alone on the spaceship, Infinity, after her parents’ tragic deaths. She tries to make the best of her horrible situation and wait out her rescue by a nearby ship, Eternity. She even starts exchanging messages with that ship’s Captain, the mysterious J. As the Eternity gets closer however, Romy thinks something may be amiss. This sounds soooooo good. I love me some ‘lost in space’ adventures and this one has a really compelling synopsis. From what I have heard it is pretty stellar scifi and I def want to check it out for myself.
  • These Rebel Waves (Steam Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch – Pirates. Need I say more? Yes, you want me to say more? Okay, here goes. Words that jumped out at me from the synopsis include: Soldier, oppressor, Council, dangerous, outlaws, magic plants, black market, abduction, heretic, forbidden, shocking and conspiracy. I’m like…
  • Kill Creek by Scott Thomas – This book has been cluttering up my Instagram feed since last Halloween and it is high time I find out what all the fuss is about. A haunted house tale that follows a horror author who gets invited to spend Halloween night at said house. Three other authors join him on that fated night and what starts out as a fun adventure soon turns into a fight for survival. Yep, that definitely sounds like something I would enjoy. Plus the cover is bloody fantastic. I need this beauty on my shelves!

Those are just a few of the many, many books stacking out my Christmas list this year. Have you read any of these? What books are you asking for this holiday? I want to know. Leave a comment below or contact me on any of my social media outlets.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

November Wrap-Up/December TBR

Happy December 1st Geeks & Gals! ‘Tis the season for bookish goodness…but isn’t that all year round, really? Today I thought I would quickly go through my November Wrap-Up and let you know my December reading plans and TBR.

For November I successfully completed 11 books, which although still great, is down from an epic 16 books completed in October. I believe I reviewed all of the books I completed in November previously so I will just go through a quick run-down with star ratings:

  1. Abandoned (Max Revere series)                              4 stars
  2. The Lying Woods (ARC)                                              5 stars
  3. A Study in Charlotte (audio)                                     3 stars
  4. Winterhouse (middle grade ARC)                           4.5 stars
  5. My Sister, the Serial Killer (ARC)                             3.5 stars
  6. Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower series)                5 stars
  7. This is Our Story                                                          5 stars
  8. Strange Grace                                                               4 stars
  9. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (ARC)      5 stars
  10. Love a’la Mode (ARC)                                                  5 stars
  11. The Lying Game (audio)                                             4 stars

As you can tell by the star ratings listed above, I had a pretty stellar reading month. There were no books that I did not enjoy. The lowest star rating of 3, A Study in Charlotte, was still a fun book it just didn’t WOW me like some of the others. The book I would say that had the largest impact on me for the month of November was probably, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It was just such a unique Adult Mystery/Thriller. I had never read anything like it before. It was so confusing, pretty much the whole way through, but so insanely addicting, I had to keep reading!

Moving on to December – I have big plans this month. Firstly, I am participating in two readalongs this month with book friends from Instagram. The first is the #manxcarpooltochristmasland where I will be rereading Joe Hill’s fantastic Holiday Horror novel, NOS4A2. I read NOS4A2 for the first time last December and loved it soooooo much that I even bought a copy of it for my sister for Christmas. Initially I read it on my kindle but have since bought a hard copy for myself and the plan is to annotate it this time round. Really looking forward to jumping back into that twisted tale!

Second, I am participating in the #ChristmasinZephyr readalong where we will be reading Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. This is a coming-of-age story that follows young, Cory Mackenson, and his friends and family living in the small town of Zephyr, Alabama. I have heard so many wonderful things about this book, in fact it is a few of my book friends all-time favorite novels, so I am really excited to check it out. I have also heard it compared to Stephen King’s short story, The Body, which I love so I have a strong feeling this will be a 5-star book for me. *Side Note: The Body was adapted into a fabulous movie called, Stand By Me, which if you haven’t watched it yet, you should.

In addition to the two readalongs, I am not overloading myself with too many other commitments. I would like to get at least halfway through, Song of Susannah, which is the sixth book in King’s Dark Tower series. I want to stretch it out a bit because I only have one book left after this one. The last thing I want to focus on is a techy scifi book called, Killing Adam, that was sent to me by the author, Earik Beann. He was so gracious to send me a copy in exchange for an honest review. The premise sounds very interesting and I can’t wait to get started with it. It is fairly short so I don’t think I should have a problem getting through it by the New Year release date.

Currently, I have read 128 books for the year. I would be VERY happy if I could get to 135. That would feel like a HUGE victory for me, considering my initial goal was 62 which I then bumped to 72 and again bumped to 92. I have definitely exceeded my expectations.

I do have a lot of great plans for 2019, which include hopefully finally starting by BookTube channel! I just need to do some more research, studying, learning how to edit, etc., before I get going with that. I will do a 2019 Goals post closer to the end of the year so stay tuned for that. What books are you hoping to finish before the end of the year? Have you already set your reading goals for 2019? I want to hear about it! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

 

Friday Reads: Currently Reading

TGIF bookworms! I hope everyone is having a successful week. It has been a hectic one for me but nevertheless I have made some progress on some of my current reads. I thought I would take a moment to update you all on what I am currently reading and my thoughts so far. As many of you know, I am an unapologetic multi-volume reader. I generally read between 6 and 10 books at a time. As of this moment, I am working on 8 books, they are as follows:

1. The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston – This YA Mystery book is set to release next Tuesday, November 13th. I was provided an early galley copy from Disney-Hyperion. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Some of you may recognize Elston’s name from her 2016 release, This is Our Story (spoiler alert: which I am also currently reading). The Lying Woods follows teenage protagonist, Owen Foster, in the aftermath of his Father being exposed as a white-collar criminal. Mr. Foster steals millions of dollars from his company, the employees, shareholders, etc., and leaves Owen and his mother behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. People in the town are furious, they believe Owen’s Mom knew what he was doing and they begin threatening her and Owen. Forced to leave his posh private school when they can no longer afford the tuition, Owen returns to his hometown public school and is humiliated daily by other students whose parents were victims of Mr. Foster’s theft. Owen vows to learn more about his Dad and hopes to find at least a portion of the money to return it to those it was stolen from. I am currently 68% through with this book and am absolutely loving it. Elston’s writing is smooth and organic. The way this is formatted, portions from Owen’s perspective and portions from the perspective of his father as a teenager, is unique and I am enjoying the insights into his father’s life. I am planning to finish this one in the next couple of days and would highly recommend this to fans of YA Mystery and/or YA Contemporary.

2. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – This very short Adult Thriller novel is part slasher book, part satire. Set in Nigeria, this story follows Korede, a nurse, who is bitter about always being the one who has to pick up after her little ((and beautiful)) sister, Ayoola, who is, you guessed it, a serial killer! When we first meet Korede she is helping Ayoola with her latest ‘mess’. Later she marvels at how her perfectly cute sister seems to feel no remorse after what she does. I actually just started this today, so am not too far in, so far I am liking Korede’s voice and I am excited to see where exactly this is going to go. Published by Doubleday Books, this is set to release on November 20, 2018.

3. Abandoned (Max Revere #5) by Allison Brennan – Investigative reporter, Max Revere, sets out to solve a cold case very near and dear to her heart, the disappearance of her mother, Martha Revere. Abandoned by her Mom around the age of 9 or 10, Max was left in the care of her very wealthy grandparents. Now aged 32 and a successful television personality and author who investigates cold cases, Max is finally ready to uncover the truth. There is so much going on in this book: family drama, small town secrets, art theft and forgery, con-men and women – it is so good! Lately I have been dedicating a lot of time to this and am about 75% of the way through. This is actually the first book I have read in the Max Revere series and I don’t think that has diminished my enjoyment for this book at all. You could definitely pick this up as a stand-alone novel if you wanted. I can say after reading this much, I am interested in reading the other books in the series. I actually received this as an ARC from the publisher, Minotaur Books, but ran out of time to read it before its August 14, 2018 release date. I am really glad I kept it on my TBR list though and picked it up now. I usually do enjoy thrillers where the protagonist is a journalist but this one is especially well done in my opinion.

4. Winterhouse by Ben Guterson – Orphan Elizabeth Somers is being raised by her absolutely dreadful Aunt & Uncle in London. Seriously, these people could give the Dursleys a run for their money. One winter break, they inform Elizabeth that she is going to stay at the Winterhouse Hotel without them. This seems very mysterious as Elizabeth knows there is no way they can afford to send her to the lavish Winterhouse. Without much choice however, she heads off and gets herself checked in for a two-week holiday. The people at the hotel were definitely expecting her and strange things start happening pretty much right away. This Middle Grade novel is absolutely enchanting and delightful. There is so much mystery surrounding Elizabeth’s stay and the Winterhouse hotel itself. There are riddles and mysteries aplenty. I am really enjoying this one and am sad I put it off this long! I received this as an ARC from Henry Holt & Co., but as sometimes happens, I didn’t get around to it prior to its January 2, 2018 release date and then just kept putting it off. ((I am getting better at this, I promise!)) This book gives me total Matilda meets the Series of Unfortunate Events vibes and I would definitely recommend it for all Middle Grade readers over the holiday season! BONUS: There are super cute and creative illustrations throughout!

5. Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton – This YA Fantasy is horrific and beautiful at the same time. The writing in this has such a deep magical quality that I feel like I am reading an old school fairytale. Set in the town of Three Graces, that once made a pact with the devil, young men must sacrifice themselves anytime the Slaughter Moon rises by ‘running’ into the Devil’s Woods. The sacrifice of the best young man among them guarantees the safety and prosperity of the entire town. No one gets sick, crops are healthy and full, animals stay plump and provide a rich bounty, and so on and so on, until one day, the Slaughter Moon rises early. Rhun Sayer has always been assumed to be the next one among them to run into the Woods but his two closest friends, Mairwen and Arthur have other plans in mind. This book has some deep levels of exploration into different types of relationships and gender identity that are unique and so far ((I am 45% through)) very well done. This is a ‘cool’ book, to put it mildly, and I am really glad I picked it up in the Fall, as the Autumnal vibes are on point!

6. This is Our Story by Ashley Elston – Another YA Mystery penned by Ashley Elston, this follows our protagonist, Kate Marino, a senior in high school and an intern with her local DAs office. The current case is that of four wealthy young men, dubbed The River Point Boys, who went on a hunting trip…well, actually, five boys went on the hunting trip but only four came back. They’re the talk of the town and the biggest case to hit the DAs desk probably ever. Kate becomes immersed in the investigation , she knew one of the boys and desperately wants to find out what happened and why. But the boys, and their wealthy parents, are covering for one another and won’t go down without a fight. When a secret is revealed, what Kate thought she knew is turned on its head and she is left reeling. With well formed characters and taut prose, Elston is proving why she is one of my latest ‘autobuy’ authors. If you love YA & Mysteries, do yourself a favor and pick up one of the books written about here…or both!

7. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia – This is one of the oldest books on this list, published in 2014, that I have actually owned for about three years and randomly decided to pick up. I bought it originally because it follows an oddball cast of characters at a Statewide Music event set in a large old hotel reminiscent of The Overlook Hotel from The Shining. The best kids in the state in orchestra, band and chorus, come together for a weekend long cram session of rehearsals and performances to prove who is the best of the best. This is an odd fact about me but I love stories that involve classical music in anyway. Strange I know. Blame it on my years playing violin and piano. I have been really pleasantly surprised by this book. There is a lot of mystery and thrillery vibes to this and it reads just like a Wes Anderson film. The ‘voice’ of the book is smart, unique and definitely keeps me turning the pages. I am glad that I finally decided to give this one a go!

8. Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower #5) by Stephen King – My journey to the Tower continue with this, the 5th installment, in King’s epic fantasy The Dark Tower series. Roland and his ka-tet are still following the path of the beam and piecing together pieces of the puzzle of how best to protect the rose and the tower from the forces of evil. Spanning different times, worlds, cultures, lifestyles, storylines from other King’s work, this series is vast enough to literally boggle the mind. How the heck did he come up with ALL OF THIS whilst also writing so many other damn novels? It’s bloody brilliant and I’m obsessed with it all. I have 80 pages left in the 960 page tome and cannot wait to immediately pick up Book #6, Song of Susannah! There is not too much I can say about this book that anyone who hasn’t read the first four books in the series would understand, so just know this, reading this series has been such an enjoyable journey for me and I cannot wait to wrap it up and then read it all again someday!

That’s it folks! Those are the eight books that I am currently reading. What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these or plan to read any of these? I want to know! Feel free to leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

 

 

November TBR

Happy November bookish friends! I’m a little late with this post as it is currently November 5th but better late than never. October was a phenomenal reading month for me. I completed 16 books which is a new personal record! ((proud moment))

For November, although I have been tempted by a couple of different readathons, readalongs, etc., I have decided not to take any on. I am just going to read what suits my mood at the time. This being said I do have three arcs I am planning to read this month, one of which I have started already, and a few other things high on my priority list which I am counting as my ‘November TBR’ (to be read).

First up is The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston. This is an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) that I received from Disney Hyperion, so thank you so much to them! This is one of my most anticipated books of the year as I am a fan of Elston’s writing. It is a YA Thriller and set to release on November 13th. This story follows Owen Foster who is disgraced after his father, a successful business owner, steals millions from his company and flees, leaving Owen and his mother behind. Owen has to leave his posh boarding school, as they can no longer afford tuition, and return to the public school in his hometown. His father’s theft affected many people in the town and Owen’s presence is not received well. So far I am really enjoying it and am anxious to see where it is all going. I call it a Thriller but thus far it reads more like a Contemporary. One interesting aspect is there are flashbacks to when Owen’s parents first meet and start dating; I like this as it is a unique take for a YA story. I think it will provide a lot of information as to his father’s motivations regarding the current scandal.

Next up for ARCs will be, My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite, described as “Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.” Thank you to Doubleday Books for providing me with early access to this one. This book is set to release on November 20th and should be good to keep those Spooktober vibes going! It is also fairly short, coming in at just 240-pages, so I anticipate being able to get through it quickly.

My last of the November ARCs is, Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil, by Hamish McKenzie. This is a nonfiction book and I think the subtitle sums up pretty well what this book is about. Elon Musk is a fascinating human being, someone I follow and look up to quite a bit. I am really looking forward to reading this and learning a bit more about the company and the disruption it has caused. This book is set to release on November 27th and is published by Dutton Books. ((Thank you, Dutton Books!))

So, these are the three November ARCs that I need to read this month. Some other books that I have on my radar that may get picked up this month, in no particular order, are: Renegades by Marissa Meyer, Senile Squad by Chris Legrow, Song of Susannah, Book VI of The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King, Elevation by Stephen King, Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward and Furyborn by Claire Legrand.

What books are you most looking forward to reading this month? Are you participating in any challenges, readalongs or readathons? If so, I want to hear about it/them – leave a comment below or contact me through social media!

Cheers & Happy reading!

Spookathon Update – Day #3

Hi bookworms! Since it is day 3 of Spookathon, I thought I would provide a quick update on my reading stats thus far. As I had initially anticipated, I have had to switch up my TBR for the week a tiny bit. Basically, I want to be able to complete all 5 challenges but realized after day 1 that I would never be able to get to 5 physical books. Because of this, I decided to pick up an audiobook to complete one of the challenges.

I chose, The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, to complete the ‘read a thriller’ challenge. If you read my earlier ‘Spookathon TBR’ post, you may remember that initially I had wanted to read Baby Teeth by Zoji Stage. However, that is NOT happening. I just won’t have the time. Now, I did read another Ruth Ware book a few weeks ago, The Woman in Cabin 10 which I rated 3.5-stars. While there were moments I did really like, there were also a lot that were mediocre at best for me. The Death of Mrs. Westaway is her latest book having released in May of this year and I have heard a lot of good things about it.

As I felt with The Woman in Cabin 10, this one also started out a little slow for me but I am over 1/4 of the way in now and it is really starting to pick up. In this one, our main character, Hal (short for Harriet) receives a mysterious letter that her Grandmother has passed and she is set to inherit a vast sum of money. Problem being, they have the wrong Harriet Westaway, as both of Hal’s Grandparents passed away years ago. Being in dire straights financially, Hal decides to take the risk, to travel to the funeral and attempt to impersonate this other Harriet Westaway. I am just to the portion of the book where, the funeral being over, she has traveled back to the manor house and is just meeting with all of the remaining family. Lucky enough for her, the woman whose daughter she is supposed to be is dead and was estranged from her family anyway so no one is yet privy to her deception.

Yeah, so I am liking it so far and cannot wait to see where it ends up. I have about 10-hours left on the audio so a lot of book left to go. We’ll see. I am predicting at least a 4-star for this one, perhaps and hopefully, higher.

I am also currently reading, Stalking Jack the Ripper, by Kerri Maniscalco. This I had on my original tbr to meet the challenge, ‘read a book not set in our time period’. As this book takes place in Victorian London during the time of the infamous Jack the Ripper killings (1888), it perfectly meets that prompt. As luck would have it, and unbeknownst to me prior to opening the book, this also completes the ‘read a book with pictures in it’ challenge, as it has creepy old photos of London, crime scenes, medical abnormalities, etc. I am always a fan of killing two birds with one stone so I was very pleased to make this discovery. I started Stalking Jack the Ripper on Monday and have just over 50-pages left so may actually be finishing it tonight!

Tomorrow the plan is to start The Wicked Deep, by Shea Ernshaw, to complete the ‘read a book with a spooky word in the title’. On Friday or Saturday, I will start Toil and Trouble: 15 Stories of Women & Witchcraft, which will complete the ‘read a book with purple on the cover’ as well as being the ‘group book’ for the readathon. I know there is no way I will finish Toil & Trouble by the time the readathon ends on Sunday but I am going to give it the old college try anyway.

That’s it for now fellow worms! What are you all reading this week? Leave a comment below or contact me on any of my social media platforms – links to the right>>>>

Cheers and happy reading!

Status Update: The Passage by Justin Cronin

This morning I reached the 50% mark on my reading of The Passage by Justin Cronin. I am reading this book along with my book buds, The Floatin’ Troopers group, from Bookstagram (the bookish subculture within Instagram). This is a long novel which had been recommended to me by a number of different book people whose opinions I respect. The paperback copy I am reading is 784 pages of fairly small font; quite an undertaking. We slated this book as our May/June read as we figured it would probably take a while for everyone to get through.

Up until this morning I have been listening to the audiobook version along with reading a hard copy. This has allowed me to progress fairly quickly so far through it. Unfortunately, my 2-week library loan expired this morning and someone else had a hold on it so now I am down to just my paperback copy.

The Passage is a post-apocalyptic survival story of epic proportions. It is actually a trilogy – I am little surprised by that, as I feel like the story could be wrapped up concisely in this one book…where is this story going to go? I am so curious. I am not sure I will end up reading them back-to-back as I may need a break after this one.

It reminds me very much of The Stand by Stephen King, which if you have been following me at all, you may know is my all time favorite book which I recommend to everyone! The ultimate good versus evil tale. This story, The Passage, starts off in a fairly similar vein – we all know the story – government experiment gone awry and the rest of mankind pays the price. Similar to The Stand, this story follows the survivors tales in the aftermath of the big event – in this case the time is called ‘AV’ which I am assuming means ‘after virus’. There is a lot of character development in this story and I love to see the converging story lines.

As luck with have it, news just dropped this week that FOX has greenlighted a television series adaptation of this story. However, I have heard that one of my favorite characters from the book, Alicia, is not going to be in the series. I don’t really understand how that is possible since she is one of the main characters in the story who affects a lot of other storylines…seems strange but I will definitely give the show a shot when it is released.

Do you enjoy reading post-apocalyptic fiction? If so, what are some books you would recommend in the genre? Have you read this series? What did you think of it? I would love to hear!  Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! Cheers~