Book Review: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Rating:  ★★★1/2

I enjoyed most of this humongous book a lot more than I normally enjoy what I would rate as a three star read- so I gave it an extra half star.  I don’t know if I’ve ever said this before- I think I have my ratings broken down on my about me page, but for me: three stars is what I think of as “safe to skip”.  1 or 2 stars is a recommendation to avoid and 4 and 5 stars is recommended to read.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend skipping Imaginary Friend, especially if you were looking forward to it, but I was a little disappointed with this.

I want to start by saying the first 60% or so is really pretty good.  I loved the picture we were painted of Christopher and Kate Reese and their lives together.  I loved how we got to know the town and all the little folks populating it.  It actually reminded me a lot of one of my favorite authors, Stephen King, in that way.

Here’s another way it reminded me of one specific book by King, what started out feeling like Under the Dome with a less evil villain, ended up feeling like The Stand with a scarier villain than Randall Flagg and a whole lot more confusion.  There’s a heavy dose of religion and Catholic guilt in this book, and it frustrated me, because I wasn’t prepared for it to be included.  As someone who doesn’t identify with any particular religion, it just isn’t my favorite way to present a classic good vs. evil story.  

I was around the 500 page mark or so, thinking the ending was coming soon, wondering what in the heck was populating those last 200 pages.  Well.  The end.  The climax.  The climax is 200 pages long.

It was confusing and it bounced around a lot (multiple POVs) and at times I wasn’t sure if the characters were actually experiencing the events of the book or if it was all in their imagination.  I was frustrated with my inability to pay attention to the events, distracted by the amounts of symbolism and questioning the meaning of the whole story.  It just wasn’t what I want in horror.  I think that’s why the term “literary horror” is one we don’t often see.

The author uses baby teeth as a recurring theme, and while it’s probably the ultimate symbol for childhood lost, or adulthood gained, I wasn’t sure it was entirely necessary, and it felt like an odd choice.  I mean, who really describes a tree house ladder as looking like baby teeth?  I do think there were some other interesting events that were meant to be metaphoric, that provided plenty of food for thought, but I won’t spoil them here.

I did like the pacing.  It’s 700 pages but most chapters were only a couple pages long.  This is 100% my favorite way to structure a book.  It makes me feel accomplished because I’m reading so “fast” and it’s easy to pick up and put down.  I realize this is a silly thing to get hung up on, but I just find reading a book like that much more satisfying.

On another positive note, there was no way I ever would have guessed the ending, so be wary of spoilers as you read reviews for this one.  The book does reference some child death’s, though I don’t recall any of them being too graphic, just a heads up for people who are sensitive to that.

Overall this is a long book that reads quickly and would make for good, creepy October read.

Imaginary Friend releases on October 1, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

 

 

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The Seven Heavenly Virtues Book Tag

This tag was originally created by Ola G and Piotrek at Re-enchantment Of The World as a new spin on The Seven Deadly Sins Book Tag.  Thank you to Lashaan at Bookidote for tagging me!

Chastity

Which author/book/series do you wish you had never read?

Listen.  It’s rare that I one star a book.  I picked it up because something about it interested me.  It’s so rare there are only four books out of four hundred on GoodReads I’ve listed as one star.  Even my DNFs I usually give three stars to because I’m more likely to DNF something that’s simply boring me rather than something I straight up hated.  (I guess I am sometimes fueled by rage in my reading…)  So here are three that I did in fact finish (or at least skimmed to the end) and wish I could get back the hours of my life I wasted on them.

Blindness by Jose Saramago – I realize this is supposed to be literary and ooo SYMBOLISM!!! But OMG GIVE ME A BREAK GUY.  This book is ludicrous, the symbolism is obvious, the portrayal of the wife, sickening… I just wouldn’t even recommend this to my least favorite person.  And don’t even get me started on the lack of punctuation.

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James – I won’t even lie about it.  I read it.  I held a funeral for the brain cells I lost in the process.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich – I read this book in it’s entirety, and it’s probably the least deserving read here, but the ending was rage inducing enough to make me retroactively hate the whole book.

Temperance

Which book/series did you find so good, that you didn’t want to read it all at once, and you read it in doses just to make the pleasure last longer?

Uhh yeah.  It just occurred to me that I don’t actually embody any of these seven heavenly virtues…  I just don’t practice that level of self control.  If I love something, I love it til death do us part:

Elmyra

And if it’s a series, forget it. I’m not reading anything else until I’ve finished the whole thing.

So instead, here are three books I loved enough to read more than once:

Under the Dome by Stephen King – I know I’m a broken record with this one.  I’ve read it three times.  I don’t care if the ending sucked.  Which by the way I found totally reasonable (hasn’t every kid who remembers the year 2000 played The Sims and devised 7,293 ways to kill them?).  Anyway, it’s not about the end.  It’s about small town dictators and all the little people that overthrew him.

The Green Mile also by Stephen King – I’ve read it twice.  When people tell me they haven’t read Stephen King, this is usually my go-to recommendation.  Because if you don’t like it, chances are you aren’t human and we probably can’t be friends.  Ha.  Just kidding.

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer – Okay so I’ve technically only read this one once so far, but I plan to reread it later in the year.  (Like closer to when book four comes out, because I’m so going to fangirl all over that ish.)

Charity

Which book/series/author do you tirelessly push to others, telling them about it or even giving away spare copies bought for that reason?

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.  Within five seconds of meeting someone, I will casually mention Vikings, segue into the related Last Kingdom Netflix show, and then insist that they read this book, because the show is good, but also the show is doing it wrong, and they should really read the book.  It’s scary really, how often I manage to do this.

Diligence

Which series/author do you follow no matter what happens and how long you have to wait?

Yes I understand these are “complete”.  There’s still prequels and novellas, and all kinds of stuff De Castell could do with the Greatcoats, and I’ll be over here.  Waiting.  And watching the clock.  And waiting.

On a more serious note- most of my favorite authors put out a book at least once a year so there aren’t many I have to worry about waiting on.

Patience

Is there an author/book/series you’ve read that improved with time the most, starting out unpromising, but ultimately proving rewarding?

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy was a really frustrating read for me.  I had trouble following the dialogue, the brutality was unspeakable, and the ending, supremely unsatisfying.

Despite that, I read (rather, listened to) The Road a few months later because I couldn’t get Blood Meridian out of my head, and very much enjoyed it.

My next planned read by McCarthy is All the Pretty Horses.  I don’t know why.  Seems romantic.  I’m sure he’ll find a way to ruin it with brains spilled over cow dung and a lack of quotation marks but I’m willing to give it a try.

Kindness

Which author would you consider your role-model in the hassle of everyday life?

SK

Because it’s my dream to be blocked on twitter by @POTUS.  At least once.  #LifeGoals

Humility

Which book/series/author do you find the most under-rated?

tmato_jk

The Moon and the Other by John Kessel – Of the books I’ve ever rated 5 stars (okay, technically I gave it 4.5) this book has less than 1,000 ratings and it’s not because it’s brand new.  I think the issue is this one is harder to find.  If you have an opportunity to read it, please do.  Life on the moon is brilliantly imagined, the writing feels literary without being obtuse, and it provided a lot of food for thought.

And that’s it!  I know there weren’t many new books to look at here, if you’ve read any of my Top Ten Tuesday posts, but I still had a lot of fun with this!  I’m not going to tag anyone- mostly because I can’t keep straight who’s done what tags, but if you’d like to participate, please consider yourself tagged.  I’d love to read your answers!

 

Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King

Before I get to that review I know you’re simply dying to read- I just wanted to note that I know I haven’t been as consistent in keeping up with the comments not only on my blog but just generally following what all of you are doing.

Remember back in June when I was unemployed?  It only lasted a month (it’s a good thing, but also an exhausting thing).  I am now commuting an additional hour each day to and from work, getting home an hour later than I used to, and rushing to get the dog walked and dinner on the table and the kid ready for bed.

So please forgive me!  I am trying to keep up with everyone still.  Don’t feel obligated to reply to my flurry of comments on last week’s posts.  I know I can be kind of obnoxious returning to comment again and again, but the conversations about books is why I blog. Sure I love the reviewing and stuff- but I honestly just don’t have enough people in my day-to-day life to chat books with, which is why I come and bug all of you :).  On to other things.

The Institute by Stephen King

Rating:  ★★★★

I added myself to the library waitlist for this back in April.  Not kidding.  And by then I’d already been checking to see if I could add myself for a few months.  That’s how long I’ve been waiting.

Anyway- while it wasn’t the epic I’ve been wanting to read since the last time I read Under the Dome, it was still thoroughly enjoyable and well worth reading.  The opening was perfect.  We meet one of the side characters, Tim Jamieson, as he finds his way to the small town of Dupray, South Carolina.  Slowly, we are introduced to some of the background characters.

It was everything I love about King’s characters, the subtle detailing that brings them to life.  The homeless woman who follows conspiracy theories and wears a sombrero, the motel owner who’s too nosy for his own good, the brothers who no one can tell apart and run the convenience store… it never ceases to amaze me how he can paint a full portrait in just a few lines and make the world feel as populated and colorful as the one we live in.

I was so enchanted by these opening chapters and feeling like I was going to get exactly what I’d been hoping for, it was really jarring to switch to Luke’s POV and not see Jamieson again for another 300 pages or so.  I just kept thinking, yeah, but what’s going on in Dupray?  Surely there’s a reason we were introduced to Jamieson so early?

But sadly it wasn’t.  And I think I was so taken with Jamieson as a character and Dupray as the setting that it detracted a little from my enjoyment of Luke and his friends.

A heads up to all the parents out there- this novel focuses heavily on kids, and nevermind happy endings, they don’t have happy stories, period.  What they are put through is horrible.  I think it was made more tolerable by the very fantastic premise, feeling like it was a far departure from reality, but it was still difficult at times.

The pacing was pretty quick, with shortish chapters, and I was never really bored at any point in time.  I made the mistake of thinking I knew how it would end, and I was terribly, horribly, wrong.  I wish I had let my expectations go a bit, so that I would have felt more of the suspense.

WARNING: If you are uber sensitive to spoilers- I recommend stopping here.  I won’t actually talk about plot or events, but more themes and ideas.

 

The ending was pretty shocking, and I don’t often say that of a King book.  Usually I have an idea… good wins out over evil… the villains are served their just desserts…

This ending is much more ambiguous- but it was ambiguous in a good way that made me think.  I know what physically happened to all of the characters, I don’t feel like I’m left wondering about where they’re headed.  But I was given a lot to think about.  Right vs. Wrong.  Moral and Immoral.  How one weighs the greater good against the rights and freedoms of a few.

All in all – this felt like classic King while also feeling like something new.  I enjoyed it for the most part even if it won’t go down as an all time favorite.  If you like King, this is definitely worth checking out!

The Institute can be found on GoodReads or ordered on Amazon.

 

Book Review: A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan

A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan

Rating:  ★★★1/2

This is my first experience with Anthony Ryan. I don’t expect it to be the last. This novella isn’t bad, but it’s one of those times where honestly, I just wanted more. I wanted to know more about the world, more about Pilgrim and his intrepid band of… Pilgrims..

In A Pilgrimage of Swords, we follow a man called Pilgrim and his cursed sword on a trip across the wastelands to make a prayer to the Mad God.  It’s a very difficult and dangerous journey, and few are ever known to have come back from it alive.

The reader understands that Pilgrim has a dark past, but as we travel we also come to understand that Pilgrim isn’t a bad guy, he’s trying to do right by the people he believes are innocent.  His character is a lot of fun.  He has a few lines that made me laugh out loud.

However, I just felt like there wasn’t enough “room” in this short book (128 pages) to get the details I really wanted. I felt like we were skipping from locale to locale without really knowing why or developing the characters enough to really care about them.

As the book goes on, we do get snippets of information here and there about why each of the pilgrims has embarked on this journey, and by the end of it I did care about a few of them.  Still, it was a little frustrating when I could see there was easily enough story here to explore a full length novel about the characters and this world, and felt like this novella was a tease.

The ending was really fantastic though, and the action scenes were exciting and well written.  If Ryan decided to write a full length novel about Pilgrim, I’d definitely pick it up, and the ending seems to leave that possibility open.

I do think it’s worth picking up as it can be read in just a couple hours. Thank you to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for review.

A Pilgrimage of Swords releases on September 30, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: Escaping ExodusEscaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

Author:  Nicky Drayden

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 368 Pages

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Blurb: Escaping Exodus is a story of a young woman named Seske Kaleigh, heir to the command of a biological, city-size starship carved up from the insides of a spacefaring beast. Her clan has just now culled their latest ship and the workers are busy stripping down the bonework for building materials, rerouting the circulatory system for mass transit, and preparing the cavernous creature for the onslaught of the general populous still in stasis. It’s all a part of the cycle her clan had instituted centuries ago—excavate the new beast, expand into its barely-living carcass, extinguish its resources over the course of a decade, then escape in a highly coordinated exodus back into stasis until they cull the next beast from the diminishing herd.

And of course there wouldn’t be much of a story if things didn’t go terribly, terribly wrong.

Why I’m Excited For It: First I want to thank Acqua di more @ Acquadimore Books for bringing this one to my attention!  I hadn’t heard of it before.

Nicky Drayden is an author I’ve been meaning to try for awhile, and somehow just haven’t gotten around to reading yet. As soon as I saw it and heard “biological spaceships” I knew this had to be the one I read first.

I love books set on spaceships, especially when they are city sized, which to me says that there enough people living there that it’s possible to remain totally anonymous and not know every single living creature onboard.

I’m also super curious about “the beast” they are excavating.  Like – what kind of space monster has this crew dug up?

Escaping Exodus can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon if you’re as excited about it as I am!

What about you?  What new books are you most excited about?  Leave me a link below so I can check it out!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I own and have thus far ignored.

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Top Ten Tuesday was 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.

This week’s topic: Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why, comes to us from Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea and I think it’s a great topic because I have SO MANY OF THEM.

The Name of the Wind Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – Full disclosure: I’ve started the audiobook of this at least two times that I remember.  I think I need to eye read it, but honestly I made it halfway the second time and I still wasn’t seeing the appeal.  I think it’s incredibly slow paced and it didn’t feel like there was a lot of plot.  Also – someone tell me again why this trilogy isn’t finished yet?  What is Rothfuss waiting for?

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch 1

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch – I’m avoiding this for two reasons. 1) I have the paperback, and it’s 700 pages long with tiny text and it’s going to hurt my hands to keep holding this open for extended periods of time. 2) I’m terrified I won’t love it, because everything I know about it says it should be a home run.

The Wish Granter Ravenspire 2 by CJ Redwine

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2) by C.J. Redwine – I bought this without ever reading the first book because it’s a Rumpelstiltsken retelling- and it’s one of my favorite (grim) fairy tales. Then the first one came available through my library, and I decided maybe I should just begin at the beginning.  The Shadow Queen turned out to be full of tropes I hate and flat characters with corny dialogue that made my skin crawl (I’m sorry).  Anyway, I still want to read it, because I own it, but it might take me a year… or 10.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White

The Once and Future King by T.H. White – I really, really, want to read, what is not the original King Arthur, but certainly a King Arthur classic.  But it was written in the 50s and I’m really nervous the pacing will be slow, or the language dense… ugh.  I need to get over it.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Half A King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie – I bought this before I really knew who Joe Abercrombie was (I was just starting to get into SFF and learning about GoodReads okay?!).  By the time I realized Abercrombie was really well known for his First Law series… I was a little nervous about why I never saw anyone mentioning Shattered Sea…

Wonder Woman Warbringer DC Icons 1 by Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo – I love Six of Crows as much as any regular devourer of YA.  However, when I later tracked back to read the Grisha trilogy, I was sort of baffled it was written by the same author.  It’s not that they are bad books, they just feel so… generic.  And it’s made me drag my feet on reading this.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson – Have you seen it?!  It’s like 900 pages long!  Also – I’ve come to the conclusion that Stephenson is a lot smarter than I am.. and that makes me nervous.

The Drawing of Three by Stephen King

The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King – I love King.. so I feel qualified to say… The Gunslinger was kind of boring.  I’ve heard these books get better with time, and I already own this one… but I haven’t been in any rush to get to it.

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) by George R.R. Martin – I read A Game of Thrones about 1.5 years ago.  And I actually did enjoy it, but I’m nervous that with the time that’s passed and the complexity of these books and this world.. that I won’t remember enough to enjoy it…

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erickson 1

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) by Steven Erikson – Another read that’s been classified as “difficult.”  But I want to love it so bad!  But what if I can’t figure it out?!

I have probably a hundred others I could add to this list, but that’s ten!  What about you?  What books have you been avoiding?

 

 

 

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January releases tomorrow!!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow

Rating:  ★★★★1/2

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this. I was a little bit skeptical because I don’t always have the best track record with YA.  I do think the title is a little misleading.  I originally thought the blurb was misleading too, but looking back I see it’s pretty accurate.  However, if you are going into this expecting a portal fantasy and a girl who travels to a bunch of different fantasy lands… that’s not this book.  It doesn’t need to be that book.  It’s great as it is.

The beginning is fairly slow and requires a lot of patience.  As I said above, if you’re like me, and expecting January to find a door and begin adventuring.. it doesn’t happen for a very long time.  Initially, this is a lot of backstory, building the character of our protagonist and those around her, setting up little dominoes so Harrow can knock them all down brilliantly in the end.

However, once we finally reach the part where we start reading The Ten Thousand Doors (maybe starting at the second chapter) I was sucked into the story and could not put it down. In the middle of the book, this secondary story became compelling much more quickly than the first story, and at times I was frustrated with the direction January’s story was taking.  By the time we reach the end of The Ten Thousand Doors (the book within the book) I was completely hooked by January and Bad, and cared a lot about her as a fictional character.

You’ll likely see the twist coming from a mile away (I did) but that somehow didn’t make that twist any less perfect. It felt like it was where the story needed to go. Beyond that, there were plenty more surprises in store to keep the reader guessing and turning the page.

This is still a grand story, cleverly told.   Each little point in time, each character, has a neat little pin placed in it, no one and nothing forgotten. This book gave me something I feel like I’ve been missing all year, and that is closure. I don’t have any questions, I know what happened to all the characters. The ending is perfect.

The writing in this story beautiful, lyrical, magical. The tone can be very grim at times. January’s race (which is not white, at a time when persons of color in the US and elsewhere were widely unwelcome, to put it mildly) plays an important part in the story, and she is reminded of it constantly. Aside from her race, there are characters in the story who use and abuse her (mentally, verbally, and physically on occasion). To them, she is not a person, she is very much a thing.  It’s heartbreaking and at times I just wanted to scream at the page.  Thank goodness for Jane.

Even though the reader is only given glimpses of other worlds, worlds with leopard people and worlds filled with monsters, I loved how the magic was incorporated into the story. I think this particular magic will appeal to anyone who reads.  Adding to that, there are little trinkets from different worlds incorporated throughout the book, all with their own unique abilities and their parts to play.  It’s this level of detail in the book, the way items are mentioned and forgotten and pulled back in, purposes revealed that I loved so much.

I highly recommend this book to readers of any age.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January releases tomorrow, September 10! So add it to your GoodReads TBR or head on over to Amazon to check it out!

Book Review: The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden

The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden

Rating:  ★★★1/2

3.5 stars really from me. I enjoyed this much more than I usually enjoy my 3 star reads and I read the bulk of it in just two days. I never really considered quitting, and I do sometimes have that thought for my 3 star reads.

The Hive is a book about the dangers of social media taken to the extreme. Sometime in the not so distant future it is decided that people should be held accountable for absolutely everything they do online. When a person turns 13, they are given a social media identity that belongs only to them. Everything they say can be liked or condemned. If you receive enough condemn votes, you become subject to Hive justice.

Once that happens, people are alerted to the perpetrator’s presence via phone notifications, along with a picture of the perpetrator and the level of justice the Hive is allowed to inflict (1-5). The people who endorse the Hive form a mob and hunt down the condemned. At level 1 the punishment is small, but surely humiliating, at level 5 punishment is more severe and the humiliation less likely to fade away quietly.

It’s an interesting concept, and the mobs we see in this book are pretty terrifying. Mobs quickly escalate out of control and even people who normally make sound choices can get sucked in.

There were some technical issues with The Hive that I was able to look past, but I can see being an issue for other readers. For starters – the protagonist, despite how smart she is (or how smart we are told she is), she makes a lot of dumb choices. The antagonists are all painfully obvious to the reader while Cassie remains totally oblivious. Some of the situations and their subsequent resolutions are just a little too convenient to be believable in terms of the plot, and a lot Cassie’s abilities as a hacker seem really far fetched.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, and in fact, once Cassie finds herself in hot water, I was up late reading this book until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. I just had to see where the book was going next, and it kept me pretty sucked in until the end.

The characters are all pretty fun, if a little flat. Although Cassie, the MC, is fairly unlikeable (and the thing she says that gets her in trouble is horrible– cringe inducing really). She spends a lot of the early pages disliking everyone and everything, generally being as tiresome as moody teenagers can be. I don’t know that she becomes any more likable as the book goes on, but she does at least become tolerable.

The book includes, at the end of some chapters, different posts (what I want to say here is Tweets, but technically in the book they’re from a platform called BLINQ) from some of the characters in the book as well as posts from non-characters.  I really enjoyed the addition of them and thought they added a lot to feeling what was going on in the wider world, as well as upping the ante for Cassie, who we know will be subject to their justice.

Aside from the earlier issues I mentioned, the ending seems a little anticlimactic. Throughout the book the action and the intrigue are building and building, and then the resolution is so mind boggling simple that it ended up feeling unbelievable.

Regardless, I did enjoy it and read through it all pretty quickly.  If you like the concept at all I think this book is well worth picking up.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

The Hive released on September 3, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or ordered on Amazon.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Outside My Comfort Zone

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Top Ten Tuesday was 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.

This week’s topic is books I enjoyed outside my comfort zone, but I covered that here not too long ago.  Instead I put together a list of ten books on my TBR outside my comfort zone.  They all fall into the realm of non-fiction, since it’s probably the furthest outside my comfort zone I can go.

The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs by Tristan Gooley

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley – I added this and meant to read it last year for the Pop Sugar Challenge.  I never got around to this particular book but would still like to read it.

Bunk by Kevin Young

Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries and Phonies by Kevin Young – Another one I added for a forgotten prompt on Pop Sugar.  It sounds like an interesting discussion of the connection between power, fake news and race.

The Last Good Heist by Tim White

The Last Good Heist by Tim White, Randall Richard and Wayne Worcester – A true crime book about a heist in which thieves stole from a secret bank utilized by La Cosa Nostra.  I added this because I actually own it (through a purchase my mother made on her Kindle).  It seems to have some ties to my very tiny state of Rhode Island and sounds interesting.

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – If people have only read one book by Stephen King, it always seems to be this one.  I’m not even sure it counts as outside my comfort zone.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – I grew up listening to The Boss.  His music always makes me really nostalgic, and I’d love to read more about him.  Also- thanks to my mother, I already sort of own it.  (Also – I’m dying to see that new movie, Blinded by the Light with the probably awesome sound track.  Has anyone seen it?)

The Lie by William Dameron

The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out by William Dameron – I got to see William Dameron speak earlier in the year about his path to publishing, and would love to read his book also.  Again- I own it… just need to read it…

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris – It’s Neil Patrick Harris!  It’s gotta be funny right?  Or at least interesting?

The Vikings by Robert Ferguson

The Vikings: A History by Robert Ferguson – I’m really getting tired of reminding myself how many books I own and haven’t read.  I love history, but I especially love all things Vikings.

A Brief History of the Vikings by Jonathan Clements

A Brief History of the Vikings: The Last Pagans or the First Modern Europeans? by Jonathan Clements – See Above.

Always I am Caesar by W. Jeffrey Tatum

Always I am Caesar by W. Jeffrey Tatum – Julius Caesar is probably one of the most interesting historical figures, to me.  Tyrant, dictator, genius.  Love, loss, betrayal… Just so much real life drama there.  I own this one too (for years… sigh).

And that’s all 10!  Which books are outside your comfort zone?

Month in Review: August 2019

Books read: 9 for August, 68 for the year

Pages read: 3,663 out of 21,723

Average rating: 3.78

Female Authors: 6 out of 33 for the year

Favorite Read:

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

Tough call between this and last month’s Inland, but as I run a Sci Fi & Fantasy blog I’ll defer to the Fantasy book.  The hype is real for Kel Kade’s Fate of the Fallen.  My review is all written… it’ll just be another month or so before anyone sees it.  (I’m sorry.)

Translated Books Read:

I read three translated books this month!  Go me!

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup – A chilling Nordic thriller that would make for a great fall read!

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – A highly awarded Japanese dystopian that feels very dreamlike.

Qualityland by Mark-Uwe Kling – Review to come on this one- but if you have a chance to read it and enjoy the kind of humor found in A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this one is well worth picking up.  No other book this year made me laugh so much!

ARCs Read:

The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden – Review also to come on this one.  Not my favorite book this month but it flew by and I enjoyed it more than not.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger – Turned out to be a little disappointing but not bad. I may just not be the right audience for this book.

Other reads completed this month:

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova – A slightly disappointing first entry into a series.  Still haven’t decided if I’ll continue.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I’VE FINALLY READ IT!  And I see what all the hype is about. Loved this book, even if the ending isn’t quite what I hoped for.

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace – An exciting sci-fi thriller!

ARCs received:

Followers by Megan Angelo – A neat sounding (dystopian?) about internet celebrities.

The Bear by Andrew Krivak – I don’t even know what this one is about (a dad and a daughter on a distant planet I think?).  Truth: I requested it because I love the cover.

Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling – I had never even heard of this when I requested it, but I am so glad I took the risk.  A really funny and hugely relevant novel about the dangers of big business.  (Did I mention it was funny?)

eGalley’s Approved:

Follow Me To Ground by Sue Rainsford – This isn’t the sort of book I usually request, but some of my most favorite books this year have trended towards the literary side of things, and I’m looking forward to giving this a try!

A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan – This novella is being released but Subterranean Press. I recently enjoyed Atmosphaera Incognita as an intro to Neal Stephenson, so I’m hoping this works as an into to Ryan.

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer – *insert gif of excited, screaming, crying tears of joy child here*.  I’m really excited for another book that sheds light on Borne’s world.

The Resisters by Gish Jen – I technically got approved for this in July- but I’ve been waiting for it to have a cover to talk about it.  And look at that cover!  I’m hoping for a literary, dystopian, mind bending, feminist, masterpiece.

Giveaways Won:

Overthrow by Caleb Crain

Overthrow by Caleb Crain – I mentioned this on my mythothon post not too long ago- but part of the reason I added it there was because I had just won it on GoodReads!

Currently reading:

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie – I’d been hoping this would be something I could blast through in a couple days and… eesh.  Was I ever wrong.  The writing style reminds me a lot of Cormac McCarthy’s mind numbing run on sentences in Blood Meridian.  I’m probably going to start something else and just try to read a chapter a day.

Planned reads for August:

In addition to my September Mythothon reads, these are… erm… a few of the others I hope to get to.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht – A dark villain story that I’m super excited for!

The Institute by Stephen King – Releases on my birthday.  Couldn’t ask for a better birthday present.

A Hero Born by Jin Yong – This was a wish I had granted months ago, and I love historical fantasy.  Fingers crossed the translation is tolerable.

How was August for you?