January Haul

I am not a big purveyor of shoes, bags or clothes even. I prefer to get a few things that I truly like and wear a lot and spend the extra money on other things. Like Books!!! I never understood how people don’t own any books or even frequent the library. Blows my mind there are people walking around don’t have anything to do with books. I don’t remember a time where I didn’t own books. My own collection has grown and shrunk as I have moved or gotten rid of books that I will not read again. I own a few different editions of books I truly love like We Have always Lived at the Castle or The Wildwood Trilogy which I own digitally. I wave my book nerd/geek flag high.

Books that I purchased in January:

-Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen V Campbell

– Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

– Hero’s and Villains by Angela Carter

– The Book Collector by Alice Thompson

– Caraval by Stephen Garber

– Grimms Tales by Philip Pullman

– Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

– We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Penguin Orange Collection)

– The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm translated and edited by Jack Zipes

– The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (UK edition)

– The Wildwood Trilogy by Colin Meloy

– The Whiz Mob and the Gernadine Kid has By Colin Meloy

This may seem like a lot but I had some Christmas and Birthday money which I choose as always to spend on books.

Books that I got from the Library in January: (sorry I know I owe you money for the late fine)

– Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

Concord Free Press which I am planning on giving to a friend when I have finished the book:

– Another Way to Fall by Brian Evenson and Paul Tremblay

I am not going to list my ARCs in my hauls as I feel that it is a privilege to read an ARC. I write up a review for them and will be including them in my monthly wrap up.

Any questions about any of the books in my haul contact me I am always happy to talk about books.

Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig

Old on to your hats folks you are going on a wild ride. Stories that are fast paced and exciting make for easy and fun reads. There is a frantic energy in some books, it is like the story is straining out of the pages to get read and enjoyed. I started reading high octane books when I was a student which meant hours of travel and waiting. I found that these types of books made the time go by faster. I haven’t really read a high octane book in a while so when the opportunity to read Unclean Spirits came up I jumped at the chance.

Summary: Cason is on a race to find out who killed his boss and took away his family.

What I liked: HOLY SHIT! From the first page to the last page you are running. I enjoyed Wendig’s writing style. It is fast paced and that is just what I needed for a Saturday. The characters are fleshed out and enjoyable. I cared about what happened to Cason and his friends (well all except one). You know who I am talking about Mr. Wendig. It was descriptive without being pedantically descriptive. Overall just a super fun read.

What I didn’t like: This has NOTHING to do with the story and does not effect my rating, Wendig killed off one of my favorite characters. It was one of those moments when the word NO escapes from a reader’s lips.

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: BUY this book if you enjoy: myths, fast paced action, great writing style and like able characters.

Release Date: February 13th, 2018.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for providing me a review copy for my honest opinion.

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

I’ve sat here for about an hour trying to think of a blurb for this post. I still have nothing. So I am just going to ramble. I am lucky to come from a diverse and wonderful family. When I say diverse I truly mean diverse. We are both the rainbow family with family members from many different ethnic backgrounds and the family who doesn’t care who you choose to love as long as you love yourself and are happy. Didn’t everyone have a African American Uncle or a gay Aunt or a cousin with Down’s Syndrome. As adult I now know that isn’t the case. But growing up that was normal and still continues to be my normal. For me Long Black Veil wasn’t so much of a thriller but rather a story of acceptance with a murder thrown in. Not just acceptance of who you are from yourself but acceptance from others. But I could be wrong however, that is my interpretation.

Summary: A disappearance comes back to haunt a group of friends 35 years later.

What I liked: I enjoyed Boylan’s writing style. She easily transitions between flashbacks and present day. Also she is very clever in her use of points of view, switching easily from third person to first person POV when writing as Judith. (I am not telling you guys who Judith is, read the book). I can understand why Boylan would use that tact when writing as Judith. There are many different threads through the story which Boylan ties up very neatly in the end.

What I didn’t like: The only thing I could have done without is the descriptions of the places the story takes place in. I remembered how the mansion Bagatelle looked when it was described in the beginning of the book and the two other descriptions pointed out the same things. For me it was just a bit tedious. I did not find this so much of a thriller or a mystery. That angle as a plot device did not really work for me in the story.

Star Rating: 4.5

My thoughts: I had a hard time writing this review. I wanted to talk a lot about the story and the way in which it was written and why I have the interpretation that I do, but to do that I would have to give away a lot of the story. Here is the thing with this book. I didn’t care about the murder and what not…I cared about what was going on in Judith’s life. I know that may sound odd but that to me was the suspense, not who did it.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and Broadway Books for sending me a copy of the book to review.

The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

For Christmas when I was a child I received the book The Velveteen Rabbit. Now, this book came with a rabbit. After my father read me the story I loved on my rabbit as much and as hard as I could. In my childish mind I truly thought that if I loved him enough that he would turn real and would go hopping after the real rabbits. After reading The Merry Spinster maybe I shouldn’t have.

Summary: A collection of beloved children’s tales and other tales with devilishly dark twists.

What I liked: I appreciate a new spin on old stories. I read a lot of retellings many of them stay with the original premise of the story; where the characters and the world they inhabit is modernized. However; I was very pleasantly surprised when I read this collection of delectable stories. I liked the way Ortberg played with the characters in ways I personally hadn’t read before. Her take on the Velveteen Rabbit was great.

What I didn’t like: I really liked the majority of stories in The Merry Spinster, I could relate the retellings to the original stories. There were only a couple of stories that I didn’t really care for. With that being said that is due to the fact that I didn’t have that touchstone of the original story to refer back to. But that isn’t anything against the author but rather on me.

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My thoughts: I really enjoyed Ortberg’s writing style. Instead of writing in the classical sense it was more like she was telling you a story around a log fire.

Release Date: March 13th, 2018

I would like to thank NetGalley and Henry Holt for providing an advanced reader’s copy for my honest review.

Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood

I read Lolita when I was about 16. Although, Nabakov’s writing was beautiful the book made me feel very uncomfortable. Just the idea that a grown man could harbor those feelings to a prepubescent girl was revolting. I am not naive I understood about child predators etc. but to have it right there on the page was disconcerting. But I read it from cover to cover. However, I did not know at the time that Nabakov used a true life crime as a sort of muse of some sort.

Summary: Rust and Stardust is the reimagined story of the characters which inspired Nabakov while he was writing Lolita. This is not a biography of Sally Horner and Frank LaSalle, but it is the internal dialog of Sally and the people that she comes into contact with over the 21 months that she was being held.

What I liked: I love the way Greenwood allowed each character a voice. Each “chapter” is narrated by a different character. You get to hear their inner dialog about Sally/Florence and their feelings after coming into contact with Sally and Frank. The pacing in this book is perfect and it is well written. There are some parts that may make people uncomfortable but Greenwood deals with these harsh realities of Sally Horner’s life tastefully.

What I didn’t like: There isn’t anything I didn’t like about this book.

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: Even though Rust and Stardust is dealing with some pretty heavy subjects you aren’t mired in sadness while reading the book. I am glad that Greenwood didn’t gloss over how Sally’s mother would have felt at her homecoming and her feelings toward some of the people she had met. But all in all she had such a short life that was filled with sadness that one is hard pressed to find any joy; Greenwood amazingly finds some small and brilliant signs of joy in this story.

Release Date: August 7th, 2018

I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read the advanced readers copy for my honest review.

The Rending and The Nest By Kaethe Schwehn

Dystopian fiction abounds with many different types of stories. Whether it is zombies or some random illness that befalls the entire population. My point being is there are a million different ways of telling a dystopian story. So it is always nice to read a dystopian novel that brings a little something different to the mix.

Summary: A global event, which is not named, occurs and a large majority of the Earths population disappears. The few humans have banded together in different habitations to try to continue civilization among mysterious piles of garbage.

What I liked: I enjoyed The Rending and the Nest. The characters are likable and well written. The story was interesting and a little mysterious because the reader is never told what happened to the rest of society. I also enjoy the fact that this story was not just about survival, there are some pretty interesting themes throughout the story; redemption, loss and forgiveness stood out in my mind.

What I didn’t like: The story started to go a bit stagnate for me about three quarters of a way through the book. The introduction and side trip to the zoo felt a little rushed. I felt like I was in a fun house and was being pulled along instead of being allowed to meander.

Star Rating: 4

My thoughts: This was a enjoyable read but I feel like maybe the author was pushing to finish the story. The first three quarters of the book meandered and I was enjoying the characters and the world building. Then it was like, you were off to the races.

Release Date: February 29th, 2018

I would like to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury the opportunity to read an advanced copy for review. I would also like to thank Sara New over at Bloomsbury for providing a digital copy of the cover art work.

Top 5 Books of 2017

2017 was a good reading year for me. I didn’t read a lot of new releases last year. I also read some pretty horrible zombie novellas but they had their place. The books in my top 5 are stories that stayed with me all year.  Without further ado here is my top 5:

5. Madame Bovary By Flaubert – This was the first time I had read Madame Bovary and I got to tell you this book is extremely relevant in todays society. It occurs to me as I talk with friends or surf around on the internet people fill voids in their life with stuff. A good chunk of the stuff does not belong to them but rather their creditors. For me the story mirrors a lot of the people I know.

4. Deathless By Catherynne Valente – I loved Deathless. It was one of those stories that swept you off your feet and transported you to the world of Koschei and Marya. The imagery that Valente used throughout the story was amazing. The scenes of Russia during the war were heartbreaking but beautifully written. It also dredges up the idea that as society moves forward the old myths and folklore don’t always necessarily move forward and they die. I keep hoping some night a domovaya comes out from behind my stove.

3. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset – This book is epic literally. Originally there were three books in the trilogy; however they were combined in to one large tome by Penguin Classics. The books follow Kristin and her journey from being a girl to an old women. This book basically kicked off my love of Norwegian literature. I went on to buy some of the other books by Sigrid Undset. Kristin story is sad at times and happy at times.

2. Ready Player One By Ernest Cline – I was a kid in the 80’s. I grew up during the technological boom so video games hold a special place in my heart. Ready Player One made me nostalgic with all the pop references. It is a fast pace read with so many pop culture references I felt like the book was written for me. Once I found out that Will Wheaton narrated the audiobook I had to listen to that as well.

1. The Bear and the Nightingale By Katherine Arden – If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you will know how much I love The Bear and the Nightingale. I gush about this book and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new book to read. I picked up The Bear and the Nightingale after a book hangover from Deathless. Reading it was like being wrapped in a warm and cozy blanket. Katherine’s style of writing is beautiful and flowing. As with Deathless the theme of losing old ways isn’t necessarily a good thing.

I highly suggest picking up any of these wonderful stories. They may open up a new genre for you or just leave you with a happy feeling.

The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Fairytale retellings have been some of my favorite books in the past couple of years. I don’t think this year is going to be the exception. Normally, I would write a blurb about books or stories but honestly there is nothing I can say besides when The Hawkman is released please read it. I feel very privileged to be sent the E-Galley for The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge.

Summary: A man who society is believed to be beyond redemption and less then human is brought back to life by a dying woman. A retelling of The Bearskin by those infamous Grimm Brothers.

What I liked: I didn’t just like this story. I loved it. The characters are fleshed out and their backstories are full and rich. The characters are deep and fleshed out. They are whole people that as a reader I truly cared about. This is due to the beauty in which LaForge writes. The cover art is beautiful and relevant to the story.

What I didn’t like: Nothing, I can honestly say that this amazingly haunting book ticks all boxes and there isn’t anything I didn’t like.

Star Rating: 5 and then some.

My thoughts: I knew I was going to love this book when I started reading it. I finished in two sittings and was left with a full heart and big smile. So in my book bliss I sent out a tweet saying I just finished and I had one word Wow. There are few authors I can say that I fan girl over but when Jane Reosenberg LaForge sent out a retweet and starting following me I might have squeed a little bit. I can’t do this beautiful book justice. I received a digital ark and I will be buying this bad boy when it comes out.

Released: June 5th, 2018

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Amberjack Publishing for sending me a Advanced Review Copy. But mostly thank Ms. LaForge for writing such a beautiful book.

Restless Souls by Dan Sheehan

I was a teenager during the Bosianan war. Snippets heard on the evening news from the living room about bombing and the humanitarian crisis that was occurring in the war torn area. But I don’t remember hearing about the human side. The side which haunts people. The side that people aren’t able to forget. What happens to survivors when they aren’t able to forget? This is the narrative that is explored in Restless Souls by Dan Sheehan.

Summary: Three childhood friends are on a journey of self discovery and healing. I can’t provide anymore in the summary without really spoiling the pilot of the story.

What I liked: There are so many elements to this story I liked. In places it was funny and light hearted and I found my self laughing along with Karl, Baz and Tom. There are also other places where Sheehan just rips your heart out. The love and loyalty for Tom and the Baz and Karl shows is heartwarming. I also enjoyed the twist at the end which makes you as a reader think about what you would have done?

What I didn’t like: The beginning was a bit slow for me. The story really didn’t get going until you were about 50ish percent through the book.

Star Rating: 4

My thoughts: I don’t read a lot of books about war or war survivors. Sheehan did a great job at setting up a second point of view in the portions of the Sarajevo narration.

Release Date: April 10th, 2018.

I want to thank Edelweiss and Ig Publishing for providing a review copy of the novel.

Why Reading?

My family was large by todays standards.  My brothers and sisters were much older then I was, by the time I was in first grade I was basically an only child. Therefore; I spent a lot of time on my own and my love of reading blossomed from there. My first reading memory was sitting on the floor in the dining room reading the Tawny Scrawny Lion by Kathryn Jackson I must have been in Kindergarten. I still love the story of those generous and cunning rabbits.

Tawny Scrawny

I felt so grown up sitting on the floor with my back pressed against the wall with my book. I have other wonderful memories of trawling through a bookstore with my dad and coming home with this beautiful book.


The Magical Rainbow Man and the Journey  of Love I can’t tell you how many times I read this book. The illustrations are beautiful and to me it was magical. I have wonderful memories of these books. These books were my friends. Reading filled the hours of dinners out with my parents, car rides and other events. After reading Pipi Longstocking I was going to run away with my books and doll to Villa Villekulla. I got as far as the backyard but it was an adventure just like Pipi would have taken. When asked what my favorite hobby was I always said reading. There is a meme that I always find funny, I was the kid that got in trouble for reading in school. I would hide my book in my desk and would read during lessons especially on library day.

During my pre-teen and teenage years, it wasn’t cool to be a reader, but I wore my nerd badge proud. Yeah I was that girl in your English class that ACTUALLY did the assigned reading and participated in the class discussions. I shared my heartbreaks and triumphs of Jr. High and High School with Ann Rice, Stephen King and VC Andrews. Later in my high school career Poe, Russell and Shelly. They seemed to speak to my teenage self.

As I got older my relationship with reading didn’t change. I believe that it intensified as I matured. Looking back I always had a book with me and I still do. Family gatherings would find me in a room or a chair somewhere away from my very loud extended family. Reading  gave me just enough downtime to rest up from all the socializing going on around me. Books offered solace through a divorce, family deaths, breakups and the stress of being a young parent. I’ve read in hospital waiting rooms, airports, funeral homes, lawyers offices, trains and buses. Books have been my constant friend and companions. The stories they hold have walked beside me through my entire life.

So I guess the question should be instead why not reading?