Year in Review: 2019 Wrap Up

Hello friends!  It’s good to be back after a small hiatus.  Honestly I didn’t mean to disappear from the blogosphere but between the chaos of Christmas with a small child in the house and family visiting from out of state, I simply haven’t had time for blogging or even reading.

But they’re back home now and I’m excited to get back to some semblance of normalcy, even if that means vacation is pretty much over.  So before we get much into 2020 I figured I’d start with some stats for 2019!

Books Read: 122

Novels: 78

Novellas: 10

Graphic Novels: 8

Short Fiction: 20

DNF: 6

Pages Read: 36,000 – ish.  I wasn’t counting my short fiction reads for quite awhile.  GoodReads is factoring in all my DNFs.  This is my best guess.  *shrugs*

Genres Read: (Not including graphic novels and short stories, of which they were mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy.)

Science Fiction: 35 (37%)

Fantasy: 34 (36%)

Thriller: 8 (9%)

Horror: 7 (8%)

Historical Fiction: 6 (6%)

Classics: 2 (2%)

Western: 1 (1%)

Mystery: 1 (1%)

Authors Read: (An extra author has been factored in since one book was cowritten.)

Women: 51 (42%)

Men: 68 (55%)

Queer / Non-Binary: 4  (3%)

Top Reads: I gave 7 books a 4.5 star rating and up in 2019.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky – I went for the Vikings I stayed for the love story.  I know it wasn’t for everyone, but it still stands out as one of my top five for the year.

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley – A contemporary retelling of Beowulf with a despicable female lead.  Pretty much my favorite kind of book.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – A crazy military science fantasy with lots of terms I don’t understand and a sociopathic ghost for a main character.  Don’t overthink it.  Just go with it.

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade – I know not all my blogging buddies loved this as much as I did- but the humor just hit all the right notes for me and I loved feeling like I don’t know how it’s all going to end.

Inland by Tea Obreht – A Western that subverts all tropes and expectations.  I blame the camel.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I loved this- part coming of age, part romance, a little adventure, and all so very relevant.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia – Tuesday was that rare character that I could see a little of myself in.  I loved her friends and the Boston setting and treasure hunt aspect of the book too.

As an added bonus I just realized that all my favorite reads this year were written by women!  Which will be great motivation for me to read more of them next year.

Biggest Disappointments: These aren’t necessarily the books I rated the lowest this year, but books I had high hopes for and just didn’t live up to my too high expectations.

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald – It’s only because I love McDonald and his Luna series so much that I was so disappointed with this.  It’s hard to say how I would have felt about it without having those expectations in the first place.

The Blade Itself and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – There are a lot of “Fantasy Greats” I have yet to read, Sanderson, Rothfuss (well, lets just say I’ve never finished a Rothfuss book), Pratchett, Hobb… the list goes on.  Of all those, I honestly expected to love Abercrombie the most.  His name has become synonymous with the term grimdark.  I was expecting Mark Lawrence meets Vikings and instead I got… something else.  #SorryNotSorry #ItsNotMeItsYou

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer – Much like McDonald above, I expect a lot out of VanderMeer.  Unfortunately I wasn’t aware he decided to take it in a whole new direction with Dead Astronauts, and it just didn’t work for me.

The Stand by Stephen King – It’s a sad year when even my favorite author can’t cheer me up.  King, despite being my favorite, has always been hit or miss.  It’s bound to happen when an author publishes 2+ books a year.  I wanted to love this like I loved Under the Dome, but ultimately the villain was kind of silly and the horror was a little lacking.

Most Read Authors:

Brian K. Vaughan – I read 6 books from the Saga series.  I’m not sure Vaughan really counts since they’re graphic novels and relatively easy to read, but I also didn’t want to leave him out because I love his stuff!

Ian McDonald – I read his two new novellas, The Menace from Farside and Time Was, as well as the final book in the Luna series, Moon Rising.

Stephen King – Always makes it onto my most read list, just because he has so much backlog.  I read The Institute, Pet Sematary, and The Stand.

For the rest of these authors I read two books each.

Most Popular Post:

The Need by Helen Phillips

The Need by Helen Phillips – As much as I’d like to pretend it’s my super awesome writing skills people are reading in this post, mostly they are just here to ask about the ending of this book.  It’s cool.  I even updated my review with a spoilery interpretation of the ending in response.  Someone even kindly thanked me for it even though my interpretation sucks and doesn’t explain anything at all.

My Personal Favorite Post:

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday: My First Ten Reviews – In which I re-reviewed the first ten books I reviewed in gifs.

Ugh.  I think that’s it.  I’m tired of stats.  The best thing about 2019 was all the wonderful new bookish friends I’ve made.  The blog turned one back in August and I totally forgot to celebrate.  Oh well.  I wouldn’t be here at all if I hadn’t met all of you and my year was better for it.  I’m looking forward to all our bookish adventures together in 2020!

How was your 2019?

Book Haul

Last week I had a super hectic week with a couple late weekdays.  I had to travel to a job fair in the small, but quaint town of Westerly, RI.  After work I wandered High Street for a bit looking for my favorite… a used book shop.

Westerly RI High St

The above photo is probably 60 years old at this point, but the truth is, High Street doesn’t look much different today.  Anyway- in my wandering I discovered Rereads Book Shop!

ReReads Book Shop Westerly, RI

I think this place is every book lovers dream.  Between the historic building and the shelves literally overflowing with books- I could not have been happier.

Rereads Book Shop 2At one point I thought I was sitting on an ottoman and looked down and realized half of my seat was actually a stack of books.  I realize that may not appeal to everyone- but as someone who lives with a lot of clutter in her life already, a shop with furniture made of books suits me just fine.  Anyway, the owner, Jill was great, and even took some time out of her day to chat with me about my favorite topic, Science Fiction and Fantasy.  She let me know most paperbacks were buy 2 get 1 (my favorite kind of sale) and showed me where to find everything I was looking for.

I took 6 books off her hands with no problem at all, ReReads Book Shop 3and the truth is I could easily spend an entire Sunday there on a treasure hunt.  If you ever happen to find yourself in Westerly, stop in and say hi to Jill.  Word on the street (by which I mean her fabulous Yelp reviews) is that she stays open late to cater to all us late night, have to get out of work first book worms.

 

So without further adieu, here are the six books I finally decided on:

First – can I just say I’ve been looking for this set FOREVER.  No book store I’ve been to, new or used, ever seems to have the whole set.  Needless to say I took all three: The Winter King, Enemy of God, and Excalibur.

And I grabbed these two- because I haven’t read them yet: Insomnia and Skeleton Crew.

The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence

And I stumbled across a copy of The Liar’s Key as I was sitting on a stack of books, which I grabbed, because even though I haven’t started this series yet, I already own the first book and I’m sure I’ll want it in the future.

Book Review: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

This is my first experience with Lauren Beukes.  The blurbs on all of her books sound super exciting, but this particular book would not have been my first choice if my library had had some of her other books readily available (Moxyland is the one I really want to read).

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Rating:  ★★★

Blurb (from GoodReads): In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. Curtis stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.

I wanted to read this based on the time period (yes to all things Capone era Chicago) and the idea of Kirby stalking her killer back.  I was hoping for something more like Peppermint:

Jennifer Garner in Peppermint

I wanted a thrilling cat and mouse game.  What I got was:

Ace Ventura Detective Gif

Except Kirby is not really as entertaining as Ace Ventura.  When the blurb says “hunting him back,” what it means is, she ‘digs through cold case police files, interviews victim’s families, and tries to establish a pattern.’  She is not literally hunting him.

The format this book follows reminds me a lot of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes.  The identity of the killer is known from page one.  The issue is Harper Curtis isn’t really as compelling a villain as Brady Hartsfield.  His chapters weren’t all that exciting.  You already know what his goal is.  He doesn’t do much to surprise you. There’s no mystery to solve.

And without there being a mystery to solve- there’s not much else to sell this story.  The House and the time travel pieces felt gimmicky.  *Possible mild spoiler* The Shining Girls are just normal girls.  They aren’t magic.  They aren’t destined to save the world.  Killing them is not prevent some all important wonderful thing from happening.  Without there being anything significant about them, the House just feels like a gimmick so that Beukes can dazzle us all with the circle she draws in the timeline.

Stephen Colbert Slow Clap Gif

Listen- the timeline thing is nifty.  Really, Beukes did a great job with it.  But when it didn’t serve any greater purpose in the story I was left asking myself what the point of it was.  Nothing about the House is really explained.  There are no rules.  Neither of the two (three?) MCs are particularly compelling.

Almost every other character was far more interesting.  The Shining Girls.  Kirby’s mother Rachel… I sighed with relief every time one of their chapters popped up.  I particularly adored Alice’s story, but they just weren’t enough.

I think I’d have appreciated this more as a science fiction mystery than a science fiction thriller.  I like it when books keep me guessing.  When Kirby starts discovering clues and putting the pieces together, I would have loved to have been kept guessing about these different clues.  How they fit together, what the answer is.  Have the House and the time travel aspect be some crazy weird twist that was revealed closer to the end than in the beginning.

It’s not a bad book by any means.  The writing was great.  And while Harper Curtis is not going to go down as one of my most memorable villains of all time, he’s pretty creepy.  There are a couple chapters that will make you cringe.  Sometimes genre benders work.  They feel fresh and new and exciting.  In this case the book waffled too much.  It wanted to be a thriller, it wanted to be time travel, it wanted to be an amateur detective story with the protagonist solving the clues, and the overall effect fell a little flat for me.

Anyway, I intend to try some of Beukes other work and hope for better results.  I can see that she’s smart, and technically a great writer, I just hope the rest of the blurbs aren’t as misleading as this one was.

The Shining Girls can be found on GoodReads and Amazon.

 

Book Review: One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

I did it!  I finally read something else by Mark Lawrence!  Don’t ask why it took so long.  I don’t have a good answer for you.

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

Rating:  ★★★1/2

Blurb (from GoodReads): In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

I don’t know how I feel about this blurb… I picked this up free as part of Kindle’s First Reads program.  The selling point for me was the author.  For some authors, it just doesn’t matter what they write, you’ll read it anyway.  And despite the lack of Lawrence books in my read pile- I admire him as an author and as a person.  He was one of the first authors I followed on both GoodReads and Twitter.  He’s always helping out other self pub’d authors, and just generally seems like a good guy.

Anyway- onto the book.  I’ll start by saying I have no idea how D&D is played.  I (now) know it involves dice and a game master and the occasional prop, but I had a hard time picturing everything else. Is there a game board?  Who writes the snippets everyone reads?  It was kind of neat but I spent a lot of time going: huh? what? why?  I think D&D fans will get a lot more out of this book than I did.

Onto the science- anytime quantum mechanics/physics/mathematics was brought up, I tuned out.  It’s so far beyond anything I’m able to twist my head around, I couldn’t even begin to fathom it.  Much like the D&D stuff, I think people who have some understanding of it, will get more out of this than I did.

One Word Kill is super dark.  Do not mistake the protagonists being teenagers to mean that this is a YA book.  I think it’s anything but, and a lot of the topics here are things I tend to avoid in my reading when the setting is not historical or fantastical (drugs, terminal illness, gangs).  The antagonist is deranged and any time he came up I found myself cringing/shivering/shuddering.

I adored the characters and their relationships with each other.  They feel like real (smart) every day teens, just trying to get through their day without losing their lunch money or embarrassing themselves.  I think I found Simon the most relatable- he’s introverted, smart and straightforward in his dealings, but there was something to love about the whole gang.  They all had their own struggles, and one refreshing thing was that the parents are all pretty supportive of their kids.

The plot is twisting and turning, amping up the crazy with every chapter.  I’m not going to say much about it- because it’s better experienced first hand.  But I will say I did feel like there were some plot holes here and there.  The book is super quick (200 pages) so it’s possible I needed to be reading more between the lines than I was, but I’m not entirely sure that was the case.  I almost wonder if the book could have used a few more pages to make everything really come together and feel complete.

That being said I was totally shattered by the ending, and it’s always good when a book can make me feel something.  I am curious to see what this is all leading toward, so I will definitely be continuing with the series!

One Word Kill can be found on GoodReads and Amazon.

Sunday Short Fiction Review: The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 4 Edited by Neil Clarke

A couple quick reviews for some short fiction I read this week.  All of these were found in the following anthology.

The Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 4 Edited by Neil Clarke

“When We Were Starless” by Simone Heller: 3.5 stars.  Really unique take on the post apocalyptic landscape. While the setting sounded just how I always picture that kind of setting (crumpled glass, fallen steel, random detritus), descriptions of the non-human characters and tech were frustratingly vague.  I would have loved to have just a little more time to explore.

“Intervention” by Kelly Robson: 3 stars.  Loved Jules’s character- but not much else.  Jules leaves her comfy job on the moon to manage a creche.  We pick up toward the end of her creche career to see what fate has in store for her.  This was okay.  I thought it was a little boring. The prevailing attitude towards children throughout the solar system I found somewhat unbelievable (in that literally every occupied planet finds children deplorable).  It vaguely reminded me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in that regard.

“All the Time We’ve Left to Spend” by Alyssa Wong: 5 Star read.  Honestly- I was almost as blown away by this short story as I was by The Lady Astronaut of Mars.  Wong made me care about the character, but also let the mystery unfold naturally which kept me engaged. I found myself wondering what else she has written. Cool world building and cultural elements too.

“Domestic Violence” by Madeline Ashby: 5 Stars.  This is exactly the kind of story I love- cool tech, women who can fend for themselves and others. Not at all what I expected from the title.  I will say I had guessed the ending- but I really didn’t care.  The journey was still a blast.

“Ten Landscapes of Nili Fossae” by Ian McDonald: 3 stars. I apologize, I couldn’t find a link to this story.  This is about the theoretical first painting on Mars.  To be honest I really didn’t get it.  I am someone who is super straight forward and logical and likes reason.  So abstract art and general ambiguity are not really my things.  Therefore this story was also not my thing.  It felt like an homage to art and artists everywhere.  Which is great, they deserve it, it just wasn’t my kind of story.

That’s it for this week!  I will definitely be checking out other work by Alyssa Wong and Madeline Ashby (although I’ve heard lukewarm things about Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach).  I’m slowly working my way through these and plan to have a few to post every week.

Have you read any good short fiction lately?

Weekly Wrap Up: June 2 – 8

I don’t usually do a weekly wrap up post- and don’t really plan to make it a habit, but it was a busy week for me and I had some things I wanted to share!

Blood Eye Raven 1 by Giles Kristian

First, I did my first ever guest post for Andrew at On My Book Shelf and covered the historical fiction Viking novel: Blood Eye (Raven #1) by Giles Kristian.  Unfortunately the book itself was kind of a dud, but I had a lot of fun working with Andrew.  On My Book Shelf covers a wide range of topics from writing prompts to favorite quotes, and books reviews from fantasy and historical fiction to thrillers and manga.  He’s got lots of fun, unique content and a little something for everyone, so stop by and say hello!

Books I DNF’d:

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley: I’m going to qualify this by saying, Queen of Kings is not a bad book.  I’m guessing it’s a solid three star read.  It’s just not what I wanted right now.  I read The Mere Wife a few months ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  I thought the premise (Cleopatra possessed by a god and out for revenge) would provide an excellent opportunity for Headley to give me another ferocious and fully realized female character.  Maybe Cleo becomes that eventually, but I read about 30% of the book, and it was a lot of Cleopatra bemoaning her fate and missing Antony and not taking any real discernible action.  Add to that a whiny Caesar Augustus, and I just wanted to move on.  I will maybe revisit in the future, but for now my curiosity is sated.

Books I Finished:

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Reviews to come!

Books Reviewed:

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: 3 Stars – Not as surprising or shocking as I would hope for in a thriller.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney: 4 Stars – A super fun roller coaster of a ride that I think most readers would enjoy.  A little far fetched in its conclusion, but hey, we’re talking fiction here.  Who cares?

Lists:

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Reads

Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples and Characters in Fiction

Book Hauls:

Barnes & Noble Memorial Day Sale Book Haul

And that’s my week!  I feel pretty accomplished this week.  Hoping next week will be just as great!

 

Providence Book Festival

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 6.40.05 PM

Renaissance Hotel Providence Book Fesitval

The small city of Providence, RI held it’s first book festival this weekend, presented by LiteraryArts RI (LARI).  It was staged at the very beautiful Renaissance Hotel.  I have never been to a book festival or ComicCon so I was unsure what to expect.

 

The list of authors and guest speakers was released fairly late.  If it had been released earlier I might have been better prepared.  They did, amazingly, have a couple of speculative fiction authors there, M.T. Anderson, author of Feed, was a keynote speaker (on opening night I think), as well as Lara Elena Donnelly, author of Amberlough, which was nominated for the Nebula in 2017.  While I did see Lara signing books and sitting in on some of the panels, generally looking humble and way too cool to ever talk to me (though I’m confident she would have, and done it graciously), I was too shy to approach her myself because I hadn’t read her book yet.  (Please Providence Book Festival- release your author lists earlier next year.  Also- please let there be a next year!)  There were also a couple of pretty recognizable YA Fantasy authors present, among them Julie Dao, promoting her Rise of the Empress series, starting with Forest of a Thousand Lanterns.

 

image6

I did get to see Theodora Goss reading her newest book, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, sequel to The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.  I found Ms. Goss absolutely enchanting in the way she read.  I don’t know if she narrates her own audiobooks, but if she does, go with audio!  Her passion and enthusiasm for her work was infectious, and definitely encouraged me to move The Strange Case farther up my TBR.

Again- I would have loved to say hello- but I felt weird.  (Don’t ask- I’m the most socially awkward human being you’ve never met.)  For future reference- do you guys have tips for this situation?  Have you said hello to an author you recognize but whose book you haven’t read yet?

Anyway- I attended as more than a blogger and reader, but as an aspiring writer myself.  I listened to two panels where debut authors were given an opportunity to speak about their paths to publication.  The first panel, moderated by Vanessa Lillie, a local author whose book Little Voices is being published by Thomas & Mercer this fall, was a definite  highlight.  I could have listened to them banter about publishing all day.

 

Vanessa Lillie Little Voices William Dameron The Lie Susan Bernhard Winter Loon James Charlesworth The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill

From left to right: James Charlesworth, Susan Bernhard, William Dameron, Vanessa Lillie)

In case any of you are also aspiring authors, the big message they delivered was not to give up, keep editing your work, keep revising your query letter.  You do not need a huge social media presence or previous publication history to get published.  Susan mentioned that it was only after 99 rejections, that she finally found an agent.  She was burnt out on rejection and sent that last query letter, the winning one, on a whim. (Okay, she actually equated it to wanting a punch in the face, but you get the point.)

The second panel I listened to was more of an open discussion format, with a separate group of four authors answering audience 

Abby Fabiaschi I Liked My Life Maura Roosevelt Baby of the Family Marlene Adelstein Sophie Last Seen Molly Dektar The Ash Family

From left to right: Molly Dektar, Abby Fabiaschi, Maura Roosevelt, Marlene Adelstein

questions.  It was an all female panel ranging in experience from freshly graduated with an MFA to well established freelance editor.  These ladies had some fantastic advice as well, but the point that particularly resonated with me, stated by Maura Roosevelt, author of Baby of the Family, was that authors have to be cooperative and collaborative.  They all felt strongly that their novels had been changed for the better by their respective agents and editors.  

Takeaways for first time festival goers:  If time allows, be prepared by reading a few books by some of the speakers!  My biggest regret was that I felt like it would be rude of me to approach an author whose book I hadn’t read.  I would have liked to ask Ms. Donnelly in particular what she thought of Tor or what it was like to work with them since I’m such a big fan of their books.

Plan for the panels you want to attend, and research their locations if possible.  The Renaissance, while gorgeous, was not a great location for the size of this festival.  It was spread across three floors, so I found myself spending a lot of time on the elevator.  For one 40 minute block I found I hadn’t planned what I wanted to see, and later regretted what I saw (not that it was bad, none of them were, I just felt I would have benefitted more from a different speaker).

Finally- be prepared for people to try and sell you stuff.  Maybe that seems self explanatory, but I actually really wasn’t prepared for that.  I went in with a writer’s mindset.  I was there for information, with no intention of buying anything.  I did not expect to have tables of authors pitching their books to me.  And hey- hustlers gotta hustle.  No harm done.  I just wished I’d been better prepared.

Overall- I thought it was a great festival.  I learned a lot, but most of all, it motivated me to really put the passion back into my work as I wade through tedious line by line revisions and rewrites for a book I’ve probably read a hundred times.

How about you?  Have you attended a book festival before?  Do you have any pro-tips to share with me?

I am not being paid to promote any authors mentioned here, but I wanted to direct you to the GoodReads page for each of the fabulous panel authors I mentioned above. Their books really do sound excellent, and I think at least a few of you might find them interesting.

James Charlesworth, The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill:  Described by Charlesworth as: four siblings plot to kill their jerk dad after he becomes fabulously wealthy.  As described by GoodReads: “a literary suspense novel about the decline and consequence of patriarchal society. It is also an intricate family saga of aspiration and betrayal.”

William Dameron, The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing Coming Out: I’ll also throw a shout out to his fabulous essay (that landed him this publishing deal) “After 264 Haircuts, A Marriage Ends“.  From GoodReads: “A candid memoir of denial, stolen identities, betrayal, faking it, and coming out.”

Susan Bernhard, Winter Loon: From GoodReads: “A haunting debut novel about family and sacrifice, Winter Loon reminds us of how great a burden the past can be, the toll it exacts, and the freedom that comes from letting it go.”

Vanessa Lillie, Little Voices: Quote from the agent, Victoria Sanders: “a new mother suffering from postpartum psychosis while reeling from the brutal murder of a close friend.”  The “Little Voices” in her head are helping her to solve the mystery.

Molly Dektar, The Ash Family: From GoodReads: “When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.”

Abby Fabiaschi, I Liked My Life: As described by Abby, a wife and mother commits suicide, and leaves her teenage daughter trying to put together the why of it.  She assured us that, despite the dark premise, it’s got plenty of dark humor to break it up.

Maura Roosevelt, Baby of the Family:  My take on the book: Wealthy father dies, leaving all of his fortune to his youngest son.  Siblings who can’t adult are brought together by his death.  From GoodReads: “Weaving together multiple perspectives to create a portrait of an American family, and an American dream gone awry, Baby of the Family is a book about family secrets–how they define us, bind us together, and threaten to blow us (and more) apart.”

Marlene Adelstein, Sophie Last Seen:  From GoodReads: “Six years ago, ten-year-old Sophie Albright disappeared from a shopping mall. Her mother, Jesse, is left in a self-destructive limbo..With help from…a private detective on the trail of another missing girl, Jesse may finally get some closure, one way or the other.”

The Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery Blogger Award

This is my first time getting to do one of these posts- thank you to Bailey @ The Book Stack for the nomination!  Stop by and say hello if you haven’t connected with her yet.

What’s the Mystery Blogger Award?

It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma

The Rules

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Me

  • MTV is my uber-guilty pleasure.  Seriously- when people badmouth reality TV, I will be the first to tell you it’s all scripted trash, but, I also can’t. stop. watching.  I’m currently watching the 74th Annual Hunger Games The Challenge: War of the Worlds (and missing Johnny Bananas and CT terribly, but good riddance to Bear).
  • I once attended Johnson & Wales University for Equestrian Business Management.  I lived on a farm in Ohio- my aunt’s, not a random farm- the year prior and practiced dressage on a horse named Goober.  He was a gorgeous half-arabian gelding, and definitely a Goober.  Sometimes I feel bad I dropped out, but other times I feel like I dodged a bullet.  No idea what I was expecting to do with that degree.
  • At least once I day, I feel the need to arm myself with a tinfoil hat.  Okay, I don’t really wear a tinfoil hat, but seriously…  Google Home and Alexa are pretty much my worst nightmares (I’m still waiting for SK to write this story).

Alexa meme

Bailey’s Questions

What book have you been wanting to read, but keep putting off?

SO MANY!  I have 138 books on my “owned-but-haven’t-read” shelf in GoodReads.  Most notable on the list: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell, War of the Wolf, also by Bernard Cornwell, and 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  All favorite authors.  Definitely afraid of expecting too much.

Do you dog-ear your pages and write in your books, or do you try to keep them pristine?

It depends on the book honestly.  If I bought it new in hardcover, or got it from the library I try to keep it pristine.  If I bought it used (which are my favorite kinds, because it feels like sharing the love between readers) dog eared pages are okay.  Writing in a book is a huge no-no for me regardless.  Feels like blasphemy.  (I’m cringing thinking about it right now.)

What do you do when you find yourself in a reading slump?

This actually happened to me not too long ago.  (Look at the November/December months on my blog- really not a lot going on.)  First, I read like the opening five chapters of everything I own.  Briefly considered re-reading a favorite (and didn’t), did change genres entirely, changed format (audio vs. ebook, etc.), and finally just settled on reading shorter fiction for most of January.  Tor’s free short fiction newsletter helped a lot, so did N.K. Jemisin’s How Long ’til Black Future Month?, graphic novels, etc.  Also buddy reads!  Because FOMO.

We all know the book is almost always better, but what movie adaptation did you really like?

I have a lot of these too!  I love movies almost as much as I love books.  Favorites include (in no particular order): JURASSIC PARK (but not The Lost World, that was a shitty adaptation), The Green Mile, Gone Girl was brilliant in all the ways, Keira Knightley’s Pride & Prejudice (though this one really isn’t as good as the book), The Gunslinger *ducks rotten tomatoes* (I’m sorry but the movie was great compared to the monotony of that first book, plus Idris Elba *drools*), The Hunger Games (I actually haven’t read this book *ducks more rotten tomatoes* but I love the movie!).

(Bonus funny question) Would you rather fight a 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?

I mean- I’m probably a goner either way, but I’m a horse lover, and horses are pretty delicate already, so I gotta go with the horse-sized duck.

My Questions

  • What’s one book everyone else seemed to love except you?  What didn’t you love about it?
  • What’s one classic book you’re embarrassed to admit never having read? Alternatively, are there any books you’re embarrassed to have read?
  • Do you set yearly reading goals?  What are they and do you meet those goals?
  • If you could add one book to every high school English curriculum, what would it be and why?
  • (Bonus question) Cersei Lannister, Sauron, Cthulhu, Pennywise, Professor Moriarty, Prince Jorg Ancrath, The Shrike, The Joker, and Darth Vader team up to form a EVIL alliance.  Who is the hero to defeat them all?

I Nominate:

Acqua @ Acquadimore Books | Paul @ Paul’s Picks | Monika @ Lauregalie Book Reviews  | Alice @ The Realm of Books | Jocelyn @ A Little Nerd Told Me | Tammy @ Books, Bones, & Buffy | Aaron @ Swords & Spectres | Drew @ The Tattoed Book GeekKat @ Here There Be Dragons | The Dacian She-Wolf | Nadine @ Nad’s Book Nook | Imyril @ One MoreOn My Bookshelf

If I didn’t nominate you, but you’d like to participate, please consider yourself nominated!  Drop me a note below and I’ll add you to the links above!  And I know some of you blog a lot harder than me, so also no pressure to participate!