Top 5 Wednesday | Sept 26th – Favourite Covers

I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up my blog lately.  Let’s blame that on the demands of teaching teenagers?  Anyways, I thought a fun post to get back into things would be to join in on Top 5 Wednesday!  It was originally created by Lainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughtsontomes. You can find the Goodreads group, with all the weekly topics here if you want to join in the fun!

September 26th: Favorite Covers
— We’ve done this topic in the past, but with so many new, beautiful covers, it is time for an update!

I am guilty of judging books by their covers…. it’s just too hard not to!  An intriguing synopsis will always persuade me (regardless of the cover), but too often I am swindled by a GORGEOUS cover with a synopsis that leaves me thinking “hmmm, mayyyybe I’d like this story??”

Here are some of my recent Top 5 Favourite Covers. I had to narrow it down to books I’ve read/purchased/received in the last year or so:

9781784162122

I had been eyeing this book up for AGES, but the only editions available at our bookstores were the movie cover and the white anniversary hardcover. I had seen this one online and FELL IN LOVE with it, so naturally I ordered it from the UK. I don’t even care how long it took to get here, just look at it!

 

 

 

9781787461703

 

I love this cover because it is so intriguing! Full of juxtaposition and expertly designed to be thought-provoking.

 

 

 

 

fawkes

I adore this cover! Clearly set in the past, and to do with Guy Fawkes, magic, and maybe some destruction… this cover drew me right in!

 

 

 

 

 

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This cover is so perfectly eerie: the ornate Victorian gate, tree branches, birds, and love that it is in greyscale. It perfectly captures the mood and atmosphere of the novel.

 

 

 

 

51em3xUxHOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_This anniversary edition cover of The Name of the Wind is my FAVOURITE! It incorporates so many different aspects of the story, and I love the colours used. Just perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed gazing at these interesting and beautiful covers. I’m excited to see everyone else’s choices!

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Book Review | The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

If you’re looking for a completely unique, thrilling, atmospheric, and immersive page-turner, this is it!

The book’s premise instantly intrigued me:
“At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed. Again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.”

I’ve heard this book described as “Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day/Inception,” and I’d agree, but it’s so ingeniously crafted that you really need to read it yourself. The dilapidated Georgian mansion surrounded by untamed, grim wilderness creates the perfect dark and mysterious atmosphere. From the beginning we are abruptly thrown into confusion, as the protagonist grapples with where he is, who he is, and what exactly is going on. We delve into a complex plot, guided by an ominous plague-masked man, and join Aiden in attempting to solve a murder to escape the time loop. Starting each day in a new body presents unique challenges, but each character holds secrets and keys to unlocking the perplexing puzzle. The twisted plot will have you guessing until the very end. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an exquisite, creepy, enthralling and mind-bending story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime.

This is certainly one of my top reads of 2018! It will be on sale September 18th in Canada. A huge thanks to Harper Collins Canada for giving me a first look at this!

Book Review | The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

rain watcherTatiana de Rosnay’s latest novel The Rain Watcher is a beautifully written, emotional, and atmospheric story.

Title: The Rain Watcher
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Genre: Fiction
Publication: October 23, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads Synopsis

The beginning of this novel drew me in INSTANTLY – probably because of my absolute love of trees:

“I will start with the tree. Because everything begins, and ends, with the tree. The tree is the tallest one. It was planted way before the others. I’m not sure how old it is, exactly. Perhaps three or four hundred years old. It is ancient and powerful. It has weathered terrible storms, braced against unbridled winds. It is not afraid.
The tree is not like the others. It has its own rhythm. Spring starts later for it, while all the others are already blossoming. Come late April, the new oval leaves sprout slowly, on the top and middle branches only. Otherwise, it looks dead. Gnarled, gray, and withered. It likes to pretend to be dead. That’s how clever it is. Then, suddenly, like a huge explosion, all the buds flourish. The tree triumphs with its pale green crown.”

The Malegarde family arrives in Paris for a family celebration. Linden, a successful _Travel is never predictable. That's how adventure shows up._ (1).pngphotographer, has traveled from America to join his sister and parents in celebrating his father’s 70th birthday. As they begin their celebrations, the River Seine rises at an alarming rate each day, due to unprecedented rainfall. Family relationships are strained as drama unfolds amidst the flooding. Their holiday is certainly not going at all as anticipated. As the flooding worsens and wreaks havoc throughout Paris, complicated family dynamics and secrets come to light. Linden’s experience in present-day Paris conjures vivid memories of his past – often painful and emotional. The suspense of the family drama is perfectly paralleled with the dramatic natural disaster. As the Seine rises beyond its banks, the Malegarde family’s secrets and issues that have been held below surface begin to rise as well – demanding to be dealt with.

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The excerpts at the beginning of each chapter (above) add an air of mystery to the already building suspense. Why does everything start with the tree? Whose memories are we reliving? What do they have to do with the present day? She knows what she’s doing…

Tatiana de Rosnay certainly has a distinct style, expertly capturing the setting and atmosphere through vivid descriptions. Although you could describe this as a slow, emotional read, the events unfolded in such a way that kept me constantly wondering and anticipating. She also created realistic and well-developed characters. I just loved Linden as the protagonist! He had such a strong voice throughout the novel, and I felt increasingly connected to him as each part of his past was revealed. The scene with his father – near the end of the novel – had me in TEARS! Not one glistening tear in my eye, but SOBS!

_Travel is never predictable. That's how adventure shows up._ (2).pngThe Rain Watcher highlights how intricately places are connected to memories and emotions. We are transported to the gorgeous, idyllic settings of Paris and Vénozan, which are contrasted with the dark memories attached to those places. It also shows how people are able to survive through challenging times, and accept one another, as well as oneself. And of course, this story is yet another testament to the power of nature. As much as we’d love to be able to control it (or anything else in life…) you just have to accept reality, mitigate the damage, and move on!

This is definitely not a light read, but if you love character-driven, emotional, atmospheric reads, I’d suggest waiting for a rainy day to snuggle up with a blanket, coffee/tea, and this beautiful novel.

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Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Tatiana de Rosnay for a digital Advanced Readers Copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

Top Ten Tuesday | Binge-worthy TV Shows

Here’s a last minute Top Ten Tuesday post for you (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl)! This week’s topic – “Binge-worthy TV Shows” just seemed like too much fun to pass up. One of my guilty pleasures is certainly binge-watching shows, and I love seeing which TV shows other booknerds adore.

So here we go… these are my ALL-TIME TOP TEN BINGE-WORTHY TV SHOWS (in no particular order):

  • Outlander: who doesn’t enjoy swooning over Jamie Fraser on page and on screen 😉
  • Peaky Blinders: because my life is so far removed from theirs in every way possible – it’s fascinating! (plus swoon…again…)
  • Departures: this is how I satisfy my inner travel bug throughout the year while anticipating my next adventures.
  • The Big Bang Theory: I enjoy laughing, and this show makes me laugh.
  • Les Revenants: It is SO CREEPY, mysterious and atmospheric. I haven’t checked whether the third season has been released, but the first two were AMAZING!
  • This Is Us: I don’t know if I’ve ever cried so often watching a show… but I do love an emotional rollercoaster.
  • Downton Abbey: this is a classic in my eyes! I have watched the full series through countless times, and will continue to do so! Still mad that they killed my favourite character off so soon, but whatever….
  • Modern Family: preparing myself for the chaos of family life? Probably not, but it’s very entertaining!
  • Friends: AWAYS AND FOREVER!
  • Orange is the New Black: completely unique and filled with memorable characters.

leap year

AND I have to include my favourite binge-worthy movie: LEAP YEAR

A super cheesy but absolutely adorable romantic comedy set in Ireland’s countryside – THE BEST! I also visited quite a few of the filming locations on the Aran Islands, which makes watching it that much more enjoyable!

 

 


What are some of your favourite binge-worthy TV shows or movies?? Do we have any in common? Let me know in the comments below!

Janice

Mailbox Monday | Featuring Health Tea Book Crate

Time for Mailbox Monday! Technically I’m on a self-imposed book-buying ban, since I have exactly 50 unread books on my shelves. I am failing myself, because I keep making excuses like: “but these thrift store books are SO cheap, it would be stupid NOT to buy them!” Okay, let’s talk book subscription boxes, since they aren’t REALLY counted when you’re on a book-buying ban – are they? As you may have read in my first ever blog post, it was a book subscription box (Novel Editions) that really renewed my love of obsession with reading.

I have had a hard time finding a box that I adore as much as I did Novel Editions. There are countless YA boxes, but YA is not really my preferred genre. I also dislike receiving items that are not useful. Candles, bath bombs, tea, soap, bookmarks, stationery, tote bags etc. are all items that I love, because I will actually USE them. I am not really inclined to “collect” things, and I don’t think there’s any book/series I love enough to want art prints of its characters (even Harry Potter/Outlander/GoT don’t make that cut!). Of course this is 100% personal preference, but it is honestly difficult to find good book boxes that don’t have a YA or specific book/fandom theme to them.

1This brings me to my most recent snail mail on this Mailbox Monday! I don’t remember how I came across Health Tea Book Crate, but I may have fallen in love just by browsing through their Instagram feed. Tea and books are two of my favourite things (along with brown paper packages tied up with string). Add in the vintage aesthetic they’ve got going on, and I was hooked! I was ready for the impulse buy, but when I went to check out I saw that they only shipped within the U.S.A. Fraught with disappointment, I instantly DM’d them on Instagram, expressing both my adoration and lamentation, and guess what!? They added international shipping: WIN!

Without further ado, here is the aesthetically delightful unboxing of the July Health Tea Book Crate. Spoilers ahead!

Included in the July Health Tea Book Crate:

EVERY item is absolutely gorgeous. When opening this box I felt perfectly pampered. Everything was packaged in such a lovely manner, and it is clear that such care and thought went in to every little detail.  Of course the most important aspect of the box is the book, and I am so excited to start A Place for Us. 

Since I’m located in Canada, and this is a box from the United States, the only downside is the higher cost due to the exchange rate and customs. I can pretend that I care for a few moments, but then I just look at how beautiful it all is!


Do you subscribe to any book boxes? Which are your faves!?  What do you like to receive in subscription boxes?

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Tuesday: First Chapter, First Paragraph

I’m going to join in on the First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros fun, hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach.  Each Tuesday, she shares the first paragraph(s) of a current read, or book she will soon be reading. Such a great idea! When I am going through the ridiculously difficult ordeal of choosing which book to read next, I often read the first page of a few books and go with whichever one intrigues me the most!

I’m sharing the first few paragraphs of a book I just started: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes.


 

fawkes
Source

One

York, England

Late Spring, 1604

I wasn’t ready to turn to stone.

I leaned so close to the small wall mirror that my nose left a grease spot on the glass, but I held still. Or tried to. I couldn’t control the trembling. The grease spot smeared.

My right eye reflected a bright blue iris, but it was the left side of my face that held me a whisper away from the mirror. Cracked stone blossomed from the chiseled marble that should have been an eye. The ball didn’t move, the lid didn’t blink. I lifted shaking fingers to my face. Petrification tickled the hairline of my eyebrow. A single infected hair protruded like a stone needle.

The plague was spreading.


I am only on chapter three of Fawkes, and I am definitely enjoying it so far. I love when history blends with fantasy, and I have a good feeling about this one!

Goodreads synopsis: 

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.


What do you think? Would you keep reading?

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