Fall Reading – 2019

Fall is almost here! I will be continuing to read for my Reading the Classics Challenge and my 2019 Focus on Authors Challenge. Titles are mostly based on giveaways and book club picks. What are y’all reading this fall? Any reads you are most looking forward to? Here is my list:

Book Club Reads

  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danieleweski
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

NetGalley Reads

  • Manhunters by Steve Murphy & Javier F. Pena
  • Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes
  • One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski
  • A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell
  • The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver
  • Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

Bookish First

  • The Trouble with Christmas by Amy Andrews

Readalongs

  • Dune by Frank Herbert

2019 Focus on Authors

  • The Body by Stephen King
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  • We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Other

  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand- audiobook
  • The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich – audiobook
  • The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – audiobook
  • The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott – audiobook
  • The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone – audiobook
  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport – audiobook
  • The End of Procrastination by Petr Ludwig – audiobook
  • American Predator by Maureen Callahan – audiobook
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – audiobook
  • His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet – audiobook
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – audiobook
  • Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham – audiobook
  • Force of Nature by Jane Harper – book
  • Love Big by Rozella Haydee White – book


HAPPY FALL!!!!

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WWW Wednesdays – September 18, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’ve made some good progress with my Stephen King reads this month (A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I have so many thoughts and opinions about what I’ve read so soon, that I can barely contain myself and wait until the final review I will make at the end of the month.

Currently Reading

See how I am trying to balance out my horror reads with a little Christmas romance thrown in the mix?!

Finished Reading

Focus on Authors Challenge: Christine by Stephen King – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Focus on Authors Challenge: Apt Pupil by Stephen King – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Click on the title of the book for my full review. All Stephen King reads will be reviewed at the end of September.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading this week? Leave a comment and/or your WWW links below!

HAPPY READING!!!

Book Review: Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered

ssdgmTitle: Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered
Author: Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
Genre: Memoir, True Crime
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages: 304
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: September 16, 2019

Goodreads Description: The highly anticipated first book by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder!

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.

My Review: Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are rocking the podcast world with their true crime/comedy podcast, My Favorite Murder. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you should! As in the podcast, Karen and Georgia use some of their clever sayings (like “buy your own shit”, “you’re in a cult, call your dad” and “stay out of the forest”) to continue to open up to their fans about topics that they and so many others have struggled with like alcoholism, family grief, eating disorders, and difficult relationships to name a few. It is vulnerable and real. When I wasn’t laughing to the point of tears, I was nodding yes Yes YES!

Of course, they also dive into their love of true crime. As a girl who also grew up in the 80s, I too can relate to the section where Karen and Georgia talk about what it means to be latchkey kids. I wasn’t so much left at home alone, as I was left outside. It wasn’t until boys were disappearing from my neighborhood that my mom stopped allowing us to ride our bikes anywhere we wanted. Within a couple months, Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested within a few miles of our house. When a story like that dominates your childhood, it is no wonder that I became fascinated with true crime. Karen and Georgia, along with the My Favorite Murder family, have made me and thousands of others around the world feel that it is okay to like true crime. This book covers some of the key advice they have given to Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, including my favorites of ALWAYS trust your instincts and FUCK POLITENESS!

I adored this book. For audiobook listeners, you will get a special treat by hearing the occasional soothing/sexy voice of Paul Giamatti. SSDGM, Murderinos!

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

WWW Wednesdays – September 11, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’ve started my month of reading Stephen King for my Focus on Authors Challenge. I have only ever read Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption prior to this month. What are your favorite Stephen King reads?

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson – audiobook = ♦ ♦
Focus on Authors Challenge: 
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Focus on Authors Challenge: On Writing by Stephen King – book/audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
IRL Book Club: Recollections of Things to Come by Elena Garro – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

*Some titles have links to my review. All Stephen King reads will be reviewed at the end of September.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? Tell me what you are reading or post your WWW link in the comments!

HAPPY READING!!!

Reading Rainbow Rowell – August 2019

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to become more familiar with works by different authors by featuring a different author every month (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I read Rainbow Rowell books as my August author. I had enjoyed her Eleanor & Park book a few years back and was excited about reading some more of her YA novels. Unfortunately, due to an adventurous vacation for the first half of August, I only managed to read 2 Rowell books this month, thinking they would be fun summer reads.

1429820340604Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: October 2015
Pages: 522
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Book One of the Simon Snow series
Where I got the book: Library Libby App
Date finished reading: August 25, 2019

Goodreads Description: Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦

9781250073808_39862Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Pages: 483
Format Read: ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon Kindle
Date finished reading: September 7, 2019

Goodreads Description: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

My Review: In the past I have been able to read at least three books by my designated author of the month. This month I was unable to do that, and I really truly believe that it wasn’t just because I took a vacation, but that these books did not interest me enough to keep me engaged. I had pretty high expectations, since I enjoyed Eleanor and Park, but Carry On and Fangirl were not on that same level in my opinion. I chose Carry On and Fangirl, because they are somewhat connected. Carry On is about the adventures of Simon and Baz in a fantasy world, and Fangirl is revolves around Cath, who write Simon and Baz fanfiction. Technically I believe Carry On is Cath’s fanfiction. I should have picked more different books I think. I disliked Carry On a lot actually. Giving it a rating of 3-stars is actually very generous for me. This book felt a lot like Harry Potter but without the character or plot development. I really had no idea what was happening and didn’t care much about Simon and Baz. I liked that the author explored a romantic relationship between Simon and Baz, but that was about all I liked. I did like Fangirl a bit more, because I cared what happened to the main character, Cath, and felt invested in what happened to her family and how her romantic life progressed. However, I felt the author was trying to say that Cath was only writing (and a bit obsessed with) Simon and Baz fanfiction, as a way to escape her real life. I don’t write or read much fanfiction, but I don’t necessarily buy into the fact that those who read and write fanfiction are just using those worlds to escape their own.

This was an attempt to add a bit more fantasy and YA into my reading life, but it didn’t really do much for me. I think I will just have to take a break from both genres for a bit.

My Overall Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ¼

Book Review: Book Girl

BOOKGIRLTitle: Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life
Author: Sarah Clarkson
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Pages: 288
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: August 31, 2019

Goodreads Description: When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle’s delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast?

If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl.

Books were always Sarah Clarkson’s delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie children of Narnia, and the wise Austen heroines, she discovered reading early on as a daily gift, a way of encountering the world in all its wonder. But what she came to realize as an adult was just how powerfully books had shaped her as a woman to live a story within that world, to be a lifelong learner, to grasp hope in struggle, and to create and act with courage.

She’s convinced that books can do the same for you.

Join Sarah in exploring the reading life as a gift and an adventure, one meant to enrich, broaden, and delight you in each season of your life as a woman. In Book Girl, you’ll discover:
how reading can strengthen your spiritual life and deepen your faith,
why a journey through classic literature might be just what you need (and where to begin),
how stories form your sense of identity,
how Sarah’s parents raised her to be a reader–and what you can do to cultivate a love of reading in the growing readers around you, and
20+ annotated book lists, including some old favorites and many new discoveries.
Whether you’ve long considered yourself a reader or have dreams of becoming one, Book Girl will draw you into the life-giving journey of becoming a woman who reads and lives well.

My Review: I really wanted to love this book. What book lover doesn’t appreciate hearing about someone else’s love of books?!

The author made some fantastic points about how reading is knowledge, but that reading should also be for enjoyment purposes. I’m a little jealous of the author’s upbringing – that reading was encouraged. I did not come from a family of readers. They often were confused on why I enjoyed reading so much.

The author gives excellent advice on how to make your reading life more enjoyable too, including doing book discussions and participating in book clubs. She also recommends keeping a book journal or even writing down your favorite quotes. These suggestions are all good ones to make you truly appreciate literature and reading in general.

However, I felt that there was quite a lot of repetition throughout the book. While I love lists and especially book lists, the author’s lists seemed a bit narrow. Yes, I understand that the author went to Oxford, especially after she mentioned it the 50th time, so having an appreciation for C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien is understandable, but they are not the only authors out there. There are so many amazing authors that should have been included. At one point she mentions a book that takes place in North Africa, but it was from the perspective of a missionary not from a local. She did briefly mention Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but there should have been a lot more authors of color included in her lists.

Unfortunately, because of those reasons, this was an overall disappointing read for me.

My Rating: ♦ ♦

WWW Wednesdays – August 28, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I got back into my reading groove this last week. This is mostly thanks to the Bout of Books readathon. It helped me focus my free time on reading. I managed to make progress on both my Focus on Authors and my Reading the Classics challenges.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

IRL Readalong: East of Eden by John Steinbeck – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Focus on Authors: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦
The Home Edit by Clea Shearer – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? Tell me what you are reading or post your WWW link in the comments!

HAPPY READING!!!