My blog is about the books I'm reading, the independent bookstores I visit, the author and book events I attend, and any bookish related things I come across in the months and years to come!
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare (Cirque du Freak #1) by Darren Shan
Things become more interesting when Darren decides to steal Mr. Crepsley's poisonous spider. Darren must hide/keep the spider secret from his family as they would never let him keep the spider. Darren works with spider in gaining its trust and training it to do tricks. But, of course, Steve stops by for a visit with Darren who now has to explain why he's been avoiding Steve... Darren shows Steve the poisonous spider... And wouldn't you know it, Steve is bitten by the spider and is rushed to the hospital unconscious.
In the tradition of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, New York Times best-seller Cirque du Freak is the first title in the popular Saga of Darren Shan series.
Darren Shan and his best friend, Steve, get tickets to the Cirque du Freak, a wonderfully gothic freak show featuring weird, frightening half human/half animals who interact terrifyingly with the audience. In the midst of the excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognizes that one of the performers - Mr. Crepsley - is a vampire!
Steve confronts the vampire after the show finishes - but his motives are surprising! In the shadows of a crumbling theater, a horrified Darren eavesdrops on his friend and the vampire, and is witness to a monstrous, disturbing plea. As if by destiny, Darren is pulled to Mr. Crepsley and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires.
This is Darren’s story.
The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian
Below is the plot summary for The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian from Amazon:
Set in 1920s Mississippi, this debut Southern novel weaves a beautiful and harrowing story of two teenage girls cast in an unlikely partnership through murder—perfect for readers of Where the Crawdads Sing and If the Creek Don't Rise.
Ada promised herself she would never go back to the Trace, to her hard life on the swamp and her harsh father. But now, after running away to Baton Rouge and briefly knowing a different kind of life, she finds herself with nowhere to go but back home. And she knows there will be a price to pay with her father.
Matilda, daughter of a sharecropper, is from the other side of the Trace. Doing what she can to protect her family from the whims and demands of some particularly callous locals is an ongoing struggle. She forms a plan to go north, to pack up the secrets she's holding about her life in the South and hang them on the line for all to see in Ohio.
As the two girls are drawn deeper into a dangerous world of bootleggers and moral corruption, they must come to terms with the complexities of their tenuous bond and a hidden past that links them in ways that could cost them their lives.
I am giving The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.
Until my next post, happy reading!
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Top Ten Tuesday - Freebie - My Favorite New To Me Authors of 2021
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Top Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
I have come across several new to me authors this year and have read some wonderful books in the process... And by new to me, I mean either I'd never heard or read anything by the author before OR as in the case of Ursula K. Le Guin, I'd heard of the author before, but had never read any of their books until this year.
Monday, September 27, 2021
Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness #2) by Laura Kaye
Two hearts in the darkness…
Makenna James and Caden Grayson have been inseparable since the scorching night they were trapped in a pitch-black elevator. But they're not strangers anymore, and Makenna hopes that night put them on the path to forever. All that stands in the way is introducing her tattooed, pierced, and scarred boyfriend to her father and over-protective brothers.
Must fight for love in the light…
Haunted by a childhood tragedy and the loss of his family, Caden never thought he’d find the kind of red-hot love he shares with Makenna. But the deeper he falls, the more he fears the devastation sure to come when he loses her, too. When secrets are revealed and the past threatens the present, Caden questions whether Makenna deserves more than he can give. Maybe they’re just too different—and he’s far too damaged—after all…
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Banned Books Week 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Describe Yourself Book Tag
If you decide to participate in the 'Describe Yourself Book Tag', leave me a link in the comments section so that I can check out your post.
Here are my answers to the 'Describe Yourself Book Tag' as follows:
Describe yourself: Becoming by Michelle Obama
How do you feel: Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto
Describe where you currently live: Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
Your favorite form of transportation: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
Your best friend is: Pack of Two by Caroline Knapp
You and your friends are: The Girls by Lori Lansens
What’s the weather like: Out Came The Sun by Mariel Hemingway
You fear: The Witches by Roald Dahl
What is the best advice you have to give: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Thought for the day: Only Time Will Tell by Jeffery Archer
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
I absolutely adore the 1991 film adaptation of the novel, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, and have watched the film quite a few times over the years. I've wanted to read The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim ever since watching the film adaptation of this novel, but never did until now for various reasons.
So finally, almost 30 years after watching the film adaptation of The Enchanted April for the first time, I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim and narrated by Nadia May.
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim was first published almost a century ago in 1922. It's a good classic, historical fiction novel. But frankly, I enjoyed the movie adaptation a bit more than I did the novel... There's only been a couple of times where I've enjoyed the movie version more than the novel itself and this was definitely one of those times.
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim starts off well enough and even ends well enough, but the middle of the novel has its ups and downs for me... On the one hand, I enjoyed reading about what each of the four female main characters was thinking in more detail as they arrive and begin to unwind during their month long vacation/stay at a medieval castle in Italy.
Each main of the four main character couldn't be more different from the other in terms of age and class... Being female, English, and their shared need to leave the dreary weather of London, England seemed to be their only common thread at the start of the novel. The insights to each woman's inner thoughts gave readers an enlightening perspective to their personal desires/thoughts and a glimpse of what a woman's life was like during this time period. But learning about their inner thoughts became too much after a while. I wish some of it had been pared down a bit quite frankly.
I enjoyed the interactions between the characters in The Enchanted April and learning about where they were staying the most. Plus, seeing the transformation of each of the main characters by the novel's ending was also an added perk.
Listening time for The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim is 8 hours, 13 minutes. The narration for this novel was decent enough.
Below is the plot summary for The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim from Audible:
Four very diverse women, all seeking revitalization and escape from the dreary February rains of 1920s London, rent the small medieval castle of San Salvatore, nestled high above the bay of Portofino, Italy. Arriving at San Salvatore, they find it awash with the scent of flowers, its olive groves terracing down to the sun-warmed sea.
Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Arbuthnot are glad to leave their insipid duties and unresponsive husbands behind; the elderly Mrs. Fisher wishes only to sit in the sun and replay her youthful memories; and the bewitchingly beautiful Lady Caroline Dester desires to have seclusion from all adoring suitors. A month of blissful privacy at San Salvatore promises to be the remedy each of them is looking for. Amid the canopies of fragrant wisteria, in the sweet sunshine and melodious silence, four lives are transformed and resuscitated by the magic of San Salvatore.
I am giving The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim 3 stars out of 5 stars.
Until my next post, happy reading!!
Monday, September 20, 2021
First Edition Copy of 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley Sells for $1.17 Million Dollars at Auction!!
Wow, simply wow, at the sheer fact that a first edition copy of Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, sells for $1.17 million dollars at auction.
I learned about the recent auction through an online article from CNN titled, First edition copy of 'Frankenstein' sells for over $1 million at auction by Kaanita Iyer. In the article, Kaanita Iyer wrote the following:
Christie's, which hosted the auction, estimated the book would go for $200,000 to $300,000. But by selling for nearly four to six times as much, the book set a record for the highest price paid for a published work by a woman, according to Fine Books Magazine.
I think it's pretty cool that Frankenstein set the record for the highest price paid for a published work written by a woman.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer
Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer is a book that has been on my reading wishlist for quite a while. I listened to the unabridged audio version of Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer, which was narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen.I am a fan of true crime and in 2019, I thoroughly enjoyed Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman... However, the focus of this nonfiction book was on male serial killers, not women serial killers. In fact, the only female serial killer I knew a little about at the time was Aileen Wuornos.
I am happy that I finally listened to Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer as it focuses on several women serial killers (15+) throughout history and from different countries around the world. All of the women serial killers discussed in Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer were ones I'd never heard of before. The writing for Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer was good and I enjoyed the flow of this book. The narration was decent as well.
Below is the summary for Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer from Audible:
When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are likely Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, and Kate Bender?
The narrative we're comfortable with is one where women are the victims of violent crime - not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally male that, in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared that there are no female serial killers. Inspired by Telfer's Jezebel column of the same name, Lady Killers disputes that claim and offers 14 gruesome examples as evidence.
Although largely forgotten by history, female serial killers rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite. Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different female serial killer and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media as well as the stereotypes and sexist clichés that inevitably surround her.
I am giving Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer 4 stars out of 5 stars.
Until my next post, happy reading!!
Monday, September 13, 2021
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
I'd put off reading Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu for various reasons... I was mildly concerned that Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu wouldn't live up to the hype because it had won the 2020 National Book Award and also because so many people seemed to be talking about this novel last year.
Curiosity got the better of me though, so I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu and narrated by Joel de la Fuente earlier this month.
I enjoyed Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu much more than I expected I would. This novel is written like a screenplay, which made it all the more unique.
I must also add that listening to Joel de la Fuente narrate Interior Chinatown was a true pleasure... In fact, I may have liked Interior Chinatown just that much more as an audiobook than I would probably have if I had simply read this novel instead.
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu is a satire that focuses on the stereotypes that befall Asian Americans in a way new and engaging way that makes one think about "race, pop culture, immigration, and assimilation." If you like satire, then this novel is a good one.
Listening time for Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu is 4 hours, 20 minutes.
Below is the plot summary for Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu from Audible:
A 2020 National Book Award Winner
"One of the funniest books of the year...a delicious, ambitious Hollywood satire." (The Washington Post)
From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.
Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy - the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that’s what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.
Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.
I am giving Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.
Until my next post, happy reading!
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway and the author narrates her memoir.
Listening time for Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway is 9 hours, 7 minutes.
In general, I enjoy reading or listening to memoirs, and listening to Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway was no exception.
However, I must admit that I was surprised to find myself listening to Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway this month as I'd never really been that interested in Mariel Hemingway's life in the slightest. I am not even sure I've ever seen any of the movies she has acted in over the course of her life. But for whatever reason the subtitle of Mariel Hemingway's memoir caught my attention and had me intrigued, so decided to give her memoir a go.
Surprisingly, I found Mariel Hemingway's memoir to be excellent overall. I enjoyed learning about most aspects of her life, although some areas of her life were not as interesting as other areas. I think the best take away for me was how well written and organized Mariel Hemingway's memoir was. She also devotes an appendix to resources for drug/alcohol addiction, mental health resources, eating disorders, and lifestyle health at the end of her memoir.Below is a summary for Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway from Audible:
A moving, compelling memoir about growing up and escaping the tragic legacy of mental illness, suicide, addiction, and depression in one of America's most famous families: the Hemingways.
She opens her eyes. The room is dark. She hears yelling, smashed plates, and wishes it was all a terrible dream. But it isn't. This is what it was like growing up as a Hemingway. In this deeply moving, searingly honest new memoir, actress and mental health icon Mariel Hemingway shares in candid detail the story of her troubled childhood in a famous family haunted by depression, alcoholism, illness, and suicide. Born just a few months after her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, shot himself, it was Mariel's mission as a girl to escape the desperate cycle of severe mental health issues that had plagued generations of her family. Surrounded by a family tortured by alcoholism (Mariel's parents), depression (her sister, Margaux), suicide (her grandfather and four other members of her family), schizophrenia (her sister, Muffet), and cancer (her mother), it was all the young Mariel could do to keep her head. In a compassionate voice, she reveals her painful struggle to stay sane as the youngest child in her family, coping with the chaos by becoming obsessive about her food, schedule, and organization.
The twisted legacy of her family has never quite let go of Mariel, but in this memoir she opens up about her claustrophobic marriage, her faltering acting career, and her turning to spiritual healers and charlatans for solace. Mariel has ultimately written a story of triumph about learning to overcome her family's demons and developing love and deep compassion for them. At last she can tell the true story of the tragedies and troubles of the Hemingway family, and she delivers an audiobook that beckons comparisons with Mary Karr and Jeanette Walls.
I am giving Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.
Until my next post, happy reading!