Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Book Discussion: Reading Books You Normally Wouldn't

 


Hello, Readers! I hope everyone is doing well and reading lots of exciting things. I was conversing with a friend regarding book discussions (in general, not my posts specifically.) She mentioned that she enjoys conversations because it convinces her to read books she wouldn't have read otherwise. I thought that was an exciting idea for a topic, and I won't be finishing a book any time soon, so here we are. (Thanks, Kathie, for the random comment that started this!)

I'm curious to know, what are some books you have been introduced to by discussing them with others? Did you end up reading it, and if so, did you enjoy it? What was the turning point in the discussion that made you decide to read it? 

Book Discussion

Looking back through my list of books I've read, I think the one that most stands out as something I wouldn't have picked for myself would be When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi. I am really not a non-fiction reader. I read to be entertained and get out of my head for a little bit. As a result, I don't really gravitate towards memoirs. How this book came into my life was actually really weird. I don't know if anyone remembers a few years ago on Facebook; posting book gifting chains was a big thing. How it worked was the first person would make the post, and the first person to comment would send them a book. I don't think it was usually disclosed what book would be sent or why in the post. Anyway, a random friend of a friend I didn't know sent me When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi during one of those chains.

There wasn't really a discussion on my part because of how I came to have the book. However, the person who sent it provided an index card with a note explaining that this was her favorite book. The message made it seem really enlightening and like an absolute must-read. The added bonus of being gifted the book made the decision to read it really easy.

I'm happy that I did read When Breath Becomes Air. Even though it was sad, I found it really inspiring. It's definitely not something I would have even considered if I was picking out a book for myself. I really don't even go through the non-fiction sections if I'm in a book store. I did have the blog back when this happened, so if you want to see my full review on it, you can here. I read this back in 2016, so it's hard telling how bad the post is. I don't typically go back and re-edit or reread my own posts (or haven't lately, at least.) 


Tell me in the comments what your book(s) that you picked up because of a discussion and your thoughts! I love seeing the comments, and who knows, maybe we'll all add to our book lists!



Friday, June 10, 2022

Book Review: Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

 

Goodreads Summary: The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid, live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.
With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.
Goodreads Ratings: 3.52 stars with over 19,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Witches, Paranormal, Fiction, Romance, Magic, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural
Goodreads Challenge: 15/48
2022 Reading Challenge: #44 Read a book that a movie/show you've watched is based on but have yet to read (example: Watched The Hobbit, but never read the Hobbit) ( Find the entire challenge here)


Book Review:

Hello, readers! I hope everyone is doing well. I just finished up a Buffy the Vampire binge with Tress. We finished up season three. I'm excited to start in on Angel's spinoff. Also, fun news. Tress is coming out to visit during our birthday week in July. I'm very excited, and we have a fun thing planned for our respective blogs. Stay tuned!

Okay, so on to Witches of East End. I watched the show a few years ago and loved it. I'm super bummed that there were only two seasons. As usually with adaptations, the book is better, and there was a lot in the show that wasn't in the book and vice versa. I'm curious to read the other two books to see if any of the show stuff was from the rest of the series. 

I was instantly drawn to this book. I think a lot of that was I already felt so familiar with the characters because of the show. The book itself is actually pretty short. I think it's around 270 pages. There was a lot of story crammed into those few pages with a connection to Norse Mythology that I didn't expect. It was interesting but felt a little misplaced. I think it was mainly because the ending, where a lot of it is, was so rushed. There was so much buildup to the weird toxicity that was going on in the town, then the last 60 pages just felt too cleanly wrapped up. It was more tell than show, so it felt like I was just getting a recap.

I really enjoyed the magic aspect of Witches of East End. I liked how Joanna, Freya, and Ingrid had their own magic brand. I thought there was a lot of really good explaining of what they could do. I think their magic and Freya's relationships were the first book's focus. I'm curious to see if their magical talents grow in the rest of the series.

Overall, I really liked this book. The only reason I haven't already dived into book two is that I've bought a lot of books lately and am trying to be good. Plus, I've got a ton of categories on the challenge still. If you like paranormal and witchy books, I'd recommend this one unless you don't want to read sex scenes. It's a quick read, enjoyable, with many details on the actual magic system. 





Sunday, June 5, 2022

Book Review: Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

 


Goodreads Summary: Willie Sutton was born in the Irish slums of Brooklyn in 1901, and he came of age at a time when banks were out of control. Sutton saw only one way out and only one way to win the girl of his dreams. So began the career of America's most successful bank robber. During three decades, Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List. But the public rooted for the criminal who never fired a shot, and when Sutton was finally caught for good, crowds at the jail chanted his name.
In J.R. Moehringer's retelling, it was more than need or rage that drove Sutton. It was his first love. And when he finally walked free--a surprise pardon on Christmas Eve, 1969--he immediately set out to find her.
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction, 
Goodreads Challenge: 14/48
2022 Reading Challenge: #54 Read a book by an author using Initials as part of their name (Find the entire challenge here.) 


Book Review:

Hello, readers. I hope everyone is doing well. I wanted to attempt to try and get this blog post out before I lose what little energy I have. So, I'm just going to keep this relatively short and sweet. Some day, I'll get back to the more frequent lengthier posts. I just don't know when that will be.

Anyways, I picked up Sutton not that long ago. I had thought of using it for another category (famous criminal), but I don't think we ended up putting it on the list. That or it's something I thought of for next year's challenge. Either way, I thought it sounded interesting, and I'm glad there was a place for it on the list. 

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer follows famous bank robber Willie Sutton, who was infamous during the Great Depression. I don't really recall hearing much about him in History. Growing up in Indiana, the main famous criminal I learned about was Dillinger. I thought Willie's story was interesting, but it was hard to get into initially. It wasn't so much the story but the way it was written. The formatting is very odd. There are no quotations to designate who said what, so the dialogue all runs together. Willie also talks about himself in the third person a lot. However, once I got used to the writing style, I didn't want to put it down. 

I'm not sure how historically accurate the story is. I did some digging after I finished it and couldn't find much on Bess. So I'm not sure how involved in Willie's life she really was after the first arrest. The crimes, escapes, and some other details of Willie's life told in Sutton seem pretty accurate based on what I was reading on Wikipedia and the FBI's page on him. Part of the fun of reading Historical Fiction is researching after I'm done to see what was true and created for the story. Nerd. I know.

If J.R. Moehringer's description of Willie Sutton is even close to what he really was, I can see why people rooted for him to win. He was very charismatic and seemed to want to do the right thing, but also just wanted to survive. He seemed incredibly intelligent, and I appreciated that he didn't want to hurt anyone. I also liked that he was an avid reader. 

Overall, once I got past my issues with the style, I really enjoyed the book. It depicted Willie's early life, his crimes, and the potential for what happened after he was released from prison. If you like Historical Fiction depicting the Great depression and True Crime, I'd definitely recommend it. 






Tuesday, May 31, 2022

2022 Reading Challenge Update January- May

 


Hello, Readers! I hope everyone is doing well. The end of the month seemed like a good time to do the first reading challenge update of 2022. I'm disappointed with my reading totals thus far in the year. I would have thought that with finishing my Master's in January that I'd be excited to read more for fun, but it's been one thing after another since Christmas. Because of that, I just haven't been in a reading mood. I'm hoping to get back into reading here soon. On the bright side, my husband and I are mostly recovered from Covid. I have some lingering issues, but definitely on the mend finally. 

There are a lot of books I've read this year that don't have blog posts associated with them. I've also given up on updating Storygraph. I'll try to do an update on there eventually. There's a lot of updating I do for my blog posts (write the post, figure out where to put it on the challenge, write a Goodreads review, and share posts on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook), so I'm kind of regretting adding one more thing to that list. Sorry I've been a lazy and neglectful blogger. 

According to Goodreads, I'm at 13 books for the year. I'm definitely behind, and I may update my total. I genuinely don't think I will get to the 48 books that I set. Currently, I'm working on two books. I've been trying to have one physical book and one kindle book going simultaneously. The physical book is Under The Dome by Stephen King. Thee kindle book is Sutton by J.R. Moehringer.



 Challenge


Level 1: Book of the Month Club


1 Read a book under $5: The Druid by Jeff Wheeler

2 Read a book that is under 350 pages: The Humans by Matt Haig 

3 Read a book that was recommended to you

4 Read a newly published book (within a year): The Egyptian Mystery by Emily Organ

5 Read a book that has a type of plant or flower in the title

6 Read a book because of the cover

7. Read a book about a mythical creature.: All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter

8 Read a book that takes place in the future

9 Read a book by an author that's new to you

10 Read a book from NPR's top 50 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of the past decade: https://www.npr.org/2021/08/18/1027159166/best-books-science-fiction-fantasy-past-decade: The Brass City by S.A. Chakraborty

11 A book by an author whose first or last name has 5 letters: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

12 Free Space! (Pick any book)

Level 2: Casual Reader Club


13 Read a book published 5 years ago

14 Read a Speculative Fiction

15 Read the first book in a duology

16 Read the second book in a duology

17 A book that was published when you were 5 years old

18 Read a book by an author named Alex, Alexander, Alexandra (or variant): Lore by Alexandra Bracken

19 Read a book about Zombies

20 Read a book with a black cover: The Octonumi Fosbit Files Prologue by Trevor Alan Foris

21 Read a book from AbeBooks.com's list of 100 (fiction) books to read in a lifetime: https://www.abebooks.com/books/100-book-to-read-in-lifetime/

22 Read a book with the word City in the title

23 Read a book about a musician (non-fiction or fiction)

24 Free Space! (Pick any book)

Level 3: Dedicated Reader Club


25 A book with a title that has 5 letters

26 Read a book published by Macmillan (or subsidiary)

27 Read a book with a title that doesn't start with an article (A, An, The): Helen of Troy by Margaret George

28 Read a book you recently acquired: The Lobotomist's Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff

29 Read a book that's been on your TBR for over a year

30 Read a Revenge Story

31 Read a book by Philippa Gregory

32 Read a book that takes place on an island

33 Read a book that does not have a person (or people) on the cover

34 A book that you intended to read on last year's challenge

35 Read a Psychological Thriller: The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

36 Free Space! (Pick any book)

Level 4: Speed Reader Club


37 Read a book over 500 pages: The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

38 Read a book that starts with the letter Z (or has Z in the title)

39 Read a book that takes place around your favorite holiday

40 A book with 5 objects on the cover

41 Read a book with the word Wisdom in the title

42 Read a Dystopian

43 Read a book by an author with the same name as one of your parents (Biological, Step, Adopted)

44 Read a book that a movie/show you've watched is based on but have yet to read (example: Watched The Hobbit, but never read the Hobbit)

45 Read a book about a Saint (non-Fiction or Fiction)

46 Read any book from the Men's Health most popular book list https://www.menshealth.com/entertainment/g37473997/most-popular-book-by-year/?utm_source=facebook_arb&utm_medium=cpm&utm_campaign=arb_fb_mnh_m_i_g37473997&fbclid=IwAR22Eb95uWUC2FVY_Bdn0CtG3KV8-6-IxwnfABCIZ25fMHLM0Tw4Mee2M2U

47 Read a book published in a year that was important to you: To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

48 Free Space! (Pick any book)

Level 5: Overachiever Club


49 Read the 5th book in a series or an author's 5th novel

50 Read a True Crime book

51 Read a book by Georges Simenon (or one of his Pen Names)

52 A book with the number 5 in the title

53 Read a book that takes place in Russia

54 Read a book by an author using initials as part of their name

55 Read a book that has a title in the form of a question

56 Read a banned book from this banned book list https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/decade2019

57 A book with at least 5 prominent characters

58 Read a book that Linz read previously http://linzthebookworm.blogspot.com/p/reviews-z.html

59 Read a book that Tress read previously https://songstress7.wordpress.com/category/reading/

60 Free Space! (Pick any book)

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Book Review: All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter

 

Goodreads Summary: Long ago, Miren O'Malley's family prospered due to a deal struck with the Mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren's grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren's freedom.

A spellbinding tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, and creatures of myth and the sea; of strong women and the men who seek to control them. 
Goodreads Ratings: 4.03 stars with over 3,700 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Horror, Gothic, Mythology, Mermaids, Historical Fiction, Fairy Tales
Goodreads Challenge: 13/48
2022 Reading Challenge: #7 Read a book about a mythical creature (see the entire challenge here)

Book Review:

Hello, Readers! I hope everyone is doing well and reading lots of exciting things. I'm just going to jump right into the review since I posted life update nonsense the other day. This pick was a random thing for me as I've been trying to stay more towards Kindle Unlimited or what I already have on my kindle. All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter really stood out to me. When I picked out All the Murmuring Bones, I needed something dark and witchy. This book absolutely fulfilled that need.

The story tells about a family who becomes powerful due to an agreement with the Merfolk. It then gets into the tale of Miren, who's the last of the O'Malley's. The beginning was a little hard for me to get into. There is a lot of scenery description before it gets into Merin's portion of the story. Once she is introduced, however, it's a lot easier to follow. 

All the Murmuring Bones reads like a gothic fairy tale, which I enjoyed. The story definitely discusses mermaids, and it shows the mermaids through old family lore passed on from one generation to the next. However, at the heart of it is what all that amounts to for Merin when she's the last of the true O'Malley's. It's a fascinating explanation of generational expectations and the pressures of them. The story builds and ultimately allows Merin to grow and decide who she wants to be regardless of the family's expectations.

The family secrets that Merin is trying to escape from are really dark. Part of me feels like there could have been more detail surrounding how Merin felt about these secrets. She's definitely appalled by them, but I feel like the way she's on the run, and the reasons behind it overshadow having to grow up with this knowledge. I expected more emotion regarding all the big reveals, but it felt a little glazed over? I hope that makes sense. 

There is part of the story where Merin comes to find a long-lost uncle (spoilers, sorry.) This section of the story seems so incredibly familiar to me, and I can not place why. I don't know if this stems from a fairy tale or if another book had something similar, but it felt incredibly familiar. This may bother me until I figure it out. The rest of the story seemed entirely new to me; it's just this one setting in the story that feels like deja vu. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. I liked Merin as the main character. When she started figuring out who she was, I thought she was pretty badass. Her decisions and the way she acted about those decisions seemed a little out of character if you compare it to the beginning of her story, but I liked it. I would definitely recommend it if you want gothic fairy tales, paranormal creatures, and main characters who just don't give a shit about other people's expectations. There's also some magic and maybe some murder.





Sunday, May 22, 2022

Book Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

 

Goodreads Summary: Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
Goodreads Rating: 3.81 stars with over 54,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal
Goodreads Challenge: 12/48
2022 Reading Challenge: #18 Read a book by an author named Alex, Alexander, Alexandra (or variant) (Find the entire challenge here)

Book Review: 

Hello, Readers! I hope everyone is doing well. I'm finally back to do a book review. I feel like 2022 has been non-stop, and I've definitely not been able to dedicate nearly as much time to reading or blogging as I'd like. Hopefully, all shenanigans are coming to a close, though. The husband and I have been fighting off Covid for the past week, so here's to hoping no more of that. He brought it home from work and decided to share the wealth. Luckily he's feeling much better. I've been having a more challenging time with it because I have a shitty immune system anyways, and well turns out that severe upper respiratory infections plus asthma is not a fun time. I was able to get a prescription for some meds and am back on an inhaler, so I'm starting to feel better. I'm mostly just exhausted. I'll attempt to do a recap of the year so far later this week or next weekend, but I'm not going to make any promises. 

I finished Lore a few days ago, but I was not really feeling like doing a blog post because of the nonsense with my health. There's a lot I can't really remember, so I'll just give a quick rundown of my thoughts, and then hopefully, with the following posts, I'll start getting back to the more detailed thoughts. 

Overall, I really liked Lore. It felt like The Percy Jackson books and The Hunger Games books had a book offspring, which was the result. I thought the premise was engaging with the various houses of heroes hunting multiple gods. I did think it was a little confusing to remember the houses and who was a god and who wasn't. 

I liked the relationship between Lore and Castor. I liked how she was kind of feral and just in survival mode and how he was a beacon of goodness for her. That, combined with being a friends-to-lovers trope, really resonated with me. There wasn't a love triangle or any unnecessary drama between them. There were some really sweet and romantic comments that I liked. There were also some moments from some of their friends who ended up in a relationship that was pretty great. (Trying to not give out spoilers.)

It was definitely not all romance. There's a lot of action, and it can get pretty gory in places. The mythology incorporated into the story was fun, and I like how Lore had to interact with the different Gods/Goddesses. At the center of the story is Lore, the crappy things she had to deal with growing up, and how she got past them to fulfill her destiny. I had planned to try and type out a little bit more about Lore, but my energy is waning. So, I'll leave it at if you like YA and are fans of Percy Jackson and Hunger Games; definitely give this a shot. 





Monday, May 9, 2022

Bookshelf Tour: Physical Books and Kindle Books!

Hello Readers! I hope everyone is doing well, and if you are a mother, had a happy Mother's Day. The husband's aunt and uncle (who we haven't seen in forever) were in the area this past week. We spent a lot of the weekend with them, which was lovely. I did manage to finish a book at some point, either last week or this weekend. I don't really remember when it was. I've been attempting to do a blog post all weekend, but it's just been busy. At this point, a lot of the details are fuzzy for me, so I'll just give a quick couple of thoughts.

The book I read was The Druid by Jeff Wheeler. I slated it for #1 on the 2022 Reading Challenge for a book under $5. It was an Amazon First Reads, so I felt like this counts. It was a shorter story, but I loved it. I thought it had an interesting magic system, and I rated it four stars on Goodreads. I only gave it four stars because there was a lot of the magic system and world that I felt needed to be better defined. I did find out that Jeff has a TON of other books, so now I'm struggling not to binge read those as I want to stick with the challenge. 

I've wanted to do this kind of post for a while now. Since I've had to move a lot, usually the first thing to get sold or donated is my physical books, as they are a pain to move. This is why I mostly gravitate towards Kindle books, don't really do the Book Haul posts anymore, and don't update those posts with what I've read. My husband and I bought our first house back in September. Shortly after Christmas, my husband and his best friend put up a couple of shelves for me in the cutouts near the fireplace. So, in pictures, here's a look at my books. I've also included the screenshots of my Kindle bookshelf, both read and unread. 

I am going to need more bookshelves at some point. My husband has taken up a hobby of going to garage sales and thrift stores and buying used video games. Do you know what else those have? Books. I have acquired so many books. The military-esq stuff is my husband's books. The rest are mine. My current organization system is by height. I try to keep the books in a series together, but there is otherwise no organization. It stresses me out if the books are not by height.








And now on to the chaos that is my Kindle, not including any Kindle Unlimited books I'm currently renting.


















So those are my bookshelves. Let me know in the comments if you think there's something I should absolutely read!