WWW Wednesdays – April 15, 2020

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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 had my first vitual book club meeting last night. There were 8 of us total. It went really well and was a lot of fun. We were all drinking different adult beverages and had a lively discussion.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Dopesick by Beth Macy – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Virtual Book Club: Black December by Scott Hunter – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦

Reading Next

Hope everyone is doing well! What have y’all been reading? Please feel free to comment on these books and/or post your WWW link below!

Stay safe and healthy and Read On!!!

Spring Reading – 2020

Spring is here! I think we can all agree that this will be an interesting spring. I will be continuing to read for my Reading the Classics Challenge. I am also picking away at the books on my bookshelf. Titles are mostly based on giveaways and book club picks. What are y’all reading this winter? Any reads you are most looking forward to? Here is my list:

Book Club Reads

  • Black December by Scott Hunter
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • The Story of Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

NetGalley Reads

  • The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman
  • Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
  • Miss Iceland by Audur Ava Olafsdottir
  • Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella
  • The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor
  • My Greek Island Summer by Mandy Baggot

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon

  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • Stuart Little by E.B. White
  • Copenhagen by Michael Frayn
  • Different Seasons by Stephen King
  • Sandition by Jane Austen
  • Tess of D’Urbervilles

Readalongs

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Book Jar Picks

  • Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Other

  • The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha – audiobook
  • The Joy of Missing Out by Tonya Dalton – audiobook
  • The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich – audiobook
  • Murder with Mirrors by Agatha Christie – book
  • The Hidden by Heather Graham – book
  • Dopesick by Beth Macy – audiobook
  • Quiet by Susan Cain – audiobook
  • 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B Peterson – audiobook
  • Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow – audiobook
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – book
  • The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston – book
  • The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – book

STAY HEALTHY & READ!!!!

Book Review: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

7-1-2-deaths-of-evelyn-hardcastleTitle: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle 
Author: Stuart Turton
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: February 8, 2018
Pages: 432
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon Kindle
Date finished reading: January 14, 2020

Goodreads Description: “Gosford Park” meets “Groundhog Day” by way of Agatha Christie – the most inventive story you’ll read this year.

Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

My Review: Note: This review may include some spoilers! This book was picked by a member of my book club for our group to read. It had been on my TBR for more than a year, so I was excited to finally pick it up.

7 ½ Deaths has a strong beginning. The reader is immediately thrown into an intense situation. A few members of my book club were disappointed that it started with the main character having amnesia, as the concept of an unreliable narrator seems to be overdone lately. However, what I found interesting about the main character having amnesia was that he didn’t just seem to not know the people or scene around him, but he didn’t even recognize his own body. That made me think that maybe it was not his own body. And that my friends was the first of a few twists and turns in this book. The main character is forced to relive the same day 8 times in 8 different bodies to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle.

This book definitely had an Agatha Christie feel (house full of suspicious characters where a murder takes place) mixed with a bit of the fantastical like in the Netflix series Black Mirror. If you read any interviews or bios about the author, he is a huge video gamer, and this book felt very much like video game, where you have 8 lives to complete the mission.

I desperately wanted the answers to all my many questions like: Why was the main character, Aidan, being forced to solve this mystery? Who is Aidan, since he is not any of the bodies that he inhabits? Who does murder Evelyn Hardcastle? Is she murdered? With this need to have my questions answered, I read through to the very end, but I cannot say that I enjoyed the trip. There were so many characters (most of them not very redeemable characters) and the time hopping got a bit frustrating at times. One book club member dislikes time travel in books due to causality issues. I feel that there were a few of those issues in this book. About halfway through the book I really stopped caring about what was happening. I just wanted to get to the end. Even Aidan, in one of the end scenes, states, “Everything is a clutter – too many days, too many conversations.” He is not wrong.

By the time I got to the end, I was not quite sure how I wanted the mystery to play out or if I even cared. There were some twists at the end that I did not see coming, but that did not make up for the effort it took to get there. This book while incredibly unique is very involved and was just felt very meh to me.

Those who have read this, how did you feel about this book? How did you feel about the ending – particularly about Anna and Aidan leaving the past in the past and deciding to have a future together?

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Winter Reading – 2019

Winter is almost here! I will be continuing to read for my Reading the Classics Challenge, and I have created a Book Jar project to help me read more books off my bookshelf. Other titles on this list are mostly based on giveaways and book club picks. What are y’all reading this winter? Any reads you are most looking forward to? Here is my list:

Book Club Reads

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

NetGalley Reads

  • The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler
  • The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
  • The Empty Bed by Nina Sadowsky

Goodreads Giveaway

  • The Tenant by Katrine Engberg

Reading the Classics

  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Readalongs

  • Dune by Frank Herbert

Book Jar Picks

  • Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Other

  • Dear Girls by Ali Wong – audiobook
  • The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott – audiobook
  • The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman – audiobook
  • The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich – audiobook
  • The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – audiobook
  • His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet – audiobook
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – audiobook
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell – audiobook
  • Spark Joy by Marie Kondo – audiobook
  • Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – book
  • Furious Hours by Casey Cep – book
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – book


HAPPY WINTER!!!!

Book Club Review: Adam Bede

adam bedeTitle: Adam Bede
Author: George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Genre: Classics
Publisher: William Blackwood & Sons
Publication Date: 1859
Pages: 624
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Hoopla app
Date finished reading: October 2, 2019

Goodreads Description: Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly respected scholar of her time.
The story’s plot follows four characters’ rural lives in the fictional community of Hayslope—a rural, pastoral and close-knit community in 1799. The novel revolves around a love triangle between beautiful but self-absorbed Hetty Sorrel, Captain Arthur Donnithorne, the young squire who seduces her, Adam Bede, her unacknowledged suitor, and Dinah Morris, Hetty’s cousin, a fervent, virtuous and beautiful Methodist lay preacher.

My Review: Adam Bede was elected as our October read for the Classics book club that I participate in. This was my first time reading anything by George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans). I did like her writing. However, this story did not grip me at all. While the descriptions were beautiful at the beginning, and I could truly picture what this rural area and life there was like, it was slow moving for the first half of the book. There were some interesting characters, but in my opinion Adam Bede was a supporting character and should not have the honor of the title of this book. I also had a few other issues with this story, which too would be covered in the book club discussion.

Discussion kicked off by talking about the possibilities for why Adam Bede was chosen as the title of this story. There was a belief among some individuals that some of the female characters were stronger characters, like Hetty and Dinah. It was mentioned that maybe the Adam Bede was chosen as the title as it would be more appealing to both male and female readers of that time period. A more popular feeling that there was more depth to Adam Bede than the other characters – that the reader can see a very obvious transformation and growth in this character that you don’t see in the other characters. Adam began as a proud man, suffered from a tragic heartbreak and transitioned into a humble character. While I personally understand this explanation, in my opinion this does not make this character more interesting.

Dinah, however, was a strong character as someone who was radically progressive in her vocation as a Methodist preacher, especially for that time period. She might have represented what the author may have wanted from religion – no judgments just kindness to everyone equally. Hetty may be the most shallow of the characters, but she also created the disruption of this less than exciting story. Those two characters were my favorite.

I cannot help but defend Hetty a little bit, as I am sure that most people (including some members of my book club) think she is a complete drama queen of a character. I feel that while her mother was a very strong and intelligent woman, she and her husband did not necessarily instill those qualities on Hetty but brought her up to always look nice and be in search of a good husband. She was young, naive and seemed to care solely about wealth and nice things, which I think was necessary to show the contrast between Hetty and Dinah. Plus, Hetty’s character sure livened up the story, and I wish the reader could have had more of a glimpse into her thoughts after her life was spared.

There were a couple of unique things to note. The first was that much of Hetty and Arthur’s romance is left up to the imagination of the reader. If you didn’t guess, then you were very surprised by the pregnancy revelation. The second was how Hetty managed to hide her pregnancy from her family and Adam into the eighth month. That part was a bit unbelievable to me, though I have heard stories about that actually happening.

In book club, we only briefly discussed the character of Seth, Adam’s brother. I found this character very disappointing. I disliked how the author made this character so compliant to the wishes of his brother. Yes, I believed Seth loved his brother, but Seth showed no emotion when Adam confessed his love for Dinah, who was the woman that Seth had been in love with. He just accepted that match. The author would have the reader believe he was content being Dinah’s brother-in-law. Adam went crazy with jealously when he found out that Hetty, whom Adam loved, was romantically involved with Arthur. Shouldn’t Seth have had a bit of those same feelings? I guess I find the Biblical Cain and Abel representation much more realistic. Those Biblical characters were referenced in John Steinbeck’s epic East of Eden, which I just recently enjoyed reading. I admit after that Adam Bede was a bit of a drag to me.

Opinions were pretty split in my book club regarding George Eliot’s first novel. While I was one that did not enjoy it very much, I enjoyed the writing enough to still want to try reading something else by her – maybe Middlemarch or Silas Marner.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ½

 

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

  • Adam Bede by George Eliot
  • 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!!!!

Book Club Review: The Power

the-power-naomi-aldermanTitle: The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 27, 2016
Pages: 341
Format Read: ebook/audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon & Library Libby app
Date finished reading: July 9, 2019

Goodreads Description: In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.

My Review: This is a great book that led to an interesting book club discussion. The book club I’m in liked this book but did not love it. The women in the group admitted that we all made the assumption that once women became more powerful than men due to their supernatural powers, we believed the world would be a nicer, kinder place and were a bit disappointed that that was not the case in this story. However, this led to a great discussion related to human nature. Everyone seemed to have a different favorite character, so this book did not lack great characters.

However, not everyone in the group enjoyed the fact that this was a book within a book. I thought it was a unique format, but it was discussed that all it was was a ploy to emphasize points that were already clear in the story – that it did not add to the storyline. Also, I want to stress that there is a huge trigger warning for graphic violence and sexual abuse. That is always something that I find difficult to read about.

Overall, it was a great book club choice!

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

Book Club Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

 

WWW Wednesdays – June 12, 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 spent the last week trying to complete some books for readalongs and an IRL book club that I just attended. However, I am very much looking forward to diving into some Agatha Christie books, as she is my June Focus on Authors selection. I’ve been an Agatha Christie fan, since I was a kid.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

HP Litsy Buddy Read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I left book club on Monday evening and immediately started watching the Good Omens series on Amazon Prime. I’m really enjoying it so far!

Reading Next

Have you read Agatha Christie? If so, what is your favorite Agatha Christie? Feel free to comment below and leave me a link to your WWW post if you have one.

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – May 15, 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 managed to make some progress on my Spring Reading List and just started started my Kurt Vonnegut reads (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). Wishing I had more time to read this week, but I am having house renovations done, and family coming to visit, so it is busy busy busy. However, I’m still trying to put some effort into participating in Bout of Books 25. Are you doing this?

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

NetGalley ARC: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Parkland by Dave Cullen – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: In the Woods by Tana French – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*I’m a bit behind on reviews, but if there is a review, you can click on the title. I enjoyed the books over the last week.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading now? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t already visited them.

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – May 8, 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’m back after a little R&R getaway! I managed to read at the beach a bit to make some progress on my Spring Reading List and complete my April Margaret Atwood reads (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I’ve started my Kurt Vonnegut reads now.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Focus on Authors: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – audiobook/book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ¾
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Great Books Book Club: The Moon & the Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham – ebook = ♦ ♦
Made to Stick by Chip Heath – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ¾
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Click on the title of the book for my full review. Will have a review of Made to Stick up soon.*

Reading Next

Have you ever read anything by Kurt Vonnegut? Which Vonnegut would you recommend? What are y’all reading now? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t already visited them.

HAPPY READING!!!