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 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

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!!!

WWW Wednesdays – July 31, 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 spent much of the last week watching my niece and nephew, who kept me too busy and exhausted to being able to read much. I don’t know how you mothers out there find time or energy to read.

I’m about to head out in two days on my final summer vacation trip of the year. Ireland & Northern Ireland here I come! (This should explain my choice to read Frank Delaney’s Ireland.) In preparation for the trip, I have plenty of Kindle books downloaded and managed to decide on one physical book I will take with me and leave behind when I am finished. Normally I find that accommodations tend to have a little library I can donate to. Plus, who am I kidding, I will definitely be visiting bookstores while I am there and will most likely buy at least one more book. I’m packing an extra bag in case I get carried away.

Currently Reading


Finished Reading
9780061829772_p0_v1_s260x420

Ireland by Frank Delaney (definitely helped me look forward to my upcoming adventures) – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦

Reading Next

I’m about to finish my month of reading Bill Bryson and will be moving on to reading Rainbow Rowell soon (Focus on Authors Challenge). I’m switching from some nonfiction to YA, so it should be a different reading experience for sure.

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

HAPPY READING!!!

Book Review: The Book Charmer

42202000Title: The Book Charmer
Author: Karen Hawkins
Genre: Literary, Magical Realism
Publisher: Gallery Book (Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Pages: 368
Format Read: book & ebook
Standalone or series: Book 1 of Dove Pond series
Where I got the book: BookishFirst (book) & NetGalley (ebook)
Date finished reading: July 23, 2019

Goodreads Description: New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. Prepare to fall under its spell.

My Review: I was fortunate enough to receive two ARC copies of this book. I received an ebook from NetGalley so am using this as my first review for the NetGalley #Reviewathon. I received a physical copy from BookishFirst, which I look forward to passing along to someone in my book club, which meets soon.

This is a sweet story filled with likable characters. The town of Dove Pond reminds me a bit of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, where everyone knows everything about everyone, but unfortunately does not have a Taylor to keep the city running – until Grace moves to Dove Pond.

Grace moves to Dove Pond to afford to take care of her foster mom, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and her niece, whose mother passed away from a drug overdose. It is only natural that Grace is struggling with these new responsibilities. Throughout the story, the reader can see the everyday difficulties of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. On a personal note, as someone who watched a family member struggle with this disease, I found those moments in the book very realistic. With all these responsibilities and a stressful city clerks job, Grace is convinced by other members of the town to help organize the town’s Apple Festival, which will also hopefully save the town from financial ruin.

There is a bit of magical realism in this story that adds a some fun and intrigue to the plot. Mama G seems to be able to read people’s thoughts. The Dove family is known to have certain powers. Ava Dove has an amazing green thumb and with the plants she grows, she creates teas that help people, depending on their needs. Sarah Dove’s power is that books talk to her. The books let her know when they will be useful to someone. Sarah has a special connection with a book about Dove Pond that insists that Grace will place an important role in Dove Pond. While the book does not tell Sarah exactly know what that role is, she befriends Grace and encourages her but can she convince Grace to stay in Dove Pond?

I enjoyed this enchanting read. It was a bit repetitious at times, but the plot still managed to flow, and I enjoyed the character interaction immensely. I feel this story possessed a lot of great lessons in hope, love, compassion and the importance/power of relationships.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

WWW Wednesdays – July 24, 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.

Over the weekend, I participated in the 24in48 Readathon. I loved every moment of reading I managed to squeeze into my the weekend! Did you participate? How did you do?

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Focus on Authors Challenge: The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
NetGalley & Bookish First ARC: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins – ebook/book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ (click on the title for my full review)

Excerpt from the audiobook addition of Dreams from My Father of Barack Obama’s speech while running for US State Senator:

“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America, a latina America, an asian America. There’s the United States of America.”

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? Please feel free to share your WWW posts or tell me how your 24in48 Readathon went if you participated.

HAPPY READING!!!