I actually have very few books that fit this prompt well. This is probably because I have just started reading more thriller and horror novels. Two I love are:
This gorgeous edition of Dr. Jekyll and My. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
As well as this delightfully creepy cover. The other version I’ve seen around is gorgeous as well!
Now for Tuesday Intros, featuring This House is Haunted by John Boyne:
I blame Charles Dickens for the death of my father.
In tracing the moment where my life transformed from serenity to horror, twisting the natural into the unspeakable, I find myself seated in the parlour of our small terraced home near Hyde Park, observing the frayed edges of the hearth rug and wondering whether it might be time to invest in a new one or try to repair it myself.”
I love how the novel opens by foreshadowing the death of her father as well as the horror and unspeakable things to come. Plus you really have to wonder how Charles Dickens could be blamed for her father’s death…
I am about a third of the way through This House is Haunted, and I am enjoying it thus far! As a newbie horror reader, it’s easing me in nicely.
Since it kind of goes with the prompt, here’s a nice little autumn-coloured collection of some of my books:
I’m excited to see everyone’s favourite Halloween/Fall 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 hereif 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:
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!
I love this cover because it is so intriguing! Full of juxtaposition and expertly designed to be thought-provoking.
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!
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.
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!
Total Number of Books: 3 Total Number of Pages: 739 Average Pages per Book: 246 Average Rating: 4
This was far from my best reading month, but I have legitimate excuses! At the beginning of August, Ryan’s family and friends arrived in Vancouver from England. We spent some time touring around Vancouver, then WE GOT MARRIED at the gorgeous Lac Le Jeune Wilderness Resort. It was an absolutely PERFECT day, and an amazing time spent with family and friends celebrating!
Here are the books I read in August:
Black Klansmanby Ron Stallworth ★★★☆☆ (3.5)
I was ecstatic to win this book in a giveaway by Raincoast books, as it had been on my radar! A Black Police Detective infiltrating the KKK!?!?!? The premise instantly intrigued me. While I found the book absolutely fascinating, the writing was not overly captivating. Interesting, but not “wow” for me. I feel like this COULD have been one of those amazing, mind-blowing books, but it just fell a little flat.
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay ★★★★☆
A moody and atmospheric read, delving into family relationships and the dark secrets and memories that lay beneath the surface of the beautiful and iconic setting. I don’t want to say too much, as I’m in the process of writing a full review. I will say that it’s the perfect autumn read (expected to be published October 23), and I love love loved the main character Linden.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societyby Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows ★★★★★
I made myself read this (or rather listen to it via audiobook) before watching the movie. I ADORED it!!!! At first it was a bit difficult to keep track of all the characters, but I completely fell in love with each and every one of them – well, maybe not Mark. If epistolary novels are not your thing, then you probably won’t enjoy this; however, I found the letters incredibly entertaining, and they allowed the authentic voice of each character to shine through. While reading it, I kept wondering, “How on earth are they going to make this into a movie?” I think they did an excellent job! I’m definitely buying the book and reading it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book OR movie.
Now that summer holidays are over, I am hoping to get more reading done! I am currently reading A Storm of Swords, A Place for Us, and Educated. I also just received The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and it sounds like such a good one that I am being swayed to start it, even though I already have enough books on the go. Ahhhh!!!!
Do you listen to audiobooks? They’re relatively new to me, and I must admit that a good audiobook can be the perfect way to experience a story. I first started listening to them out of frustration, really; I was slogging my way through the fifth novel in the Outlander series – The Fiery Cross – and I was struggling to get through it. I had abandoned it months before, opting for lighter and shorter reads. Determined to finally finish it, I checked out the audiobook version from my library’s app. Although seeing the length of the recording (55 hours and 34 minutes *GASP*) was daunting, I soon realized that listening to an audiobook made monotonous household tasks – cleaning, laundry, cooking, and snow shoveling – SO much more entertaining! This also happened to be last winter, when our tractor was broken down for the duration of the season and we got seemingly endless piles and piles of snow; I finished the second half of the audiobook ONLY listening to it whilst shoveling snow.
I’ve also recently listened to Amanda Lindhout’s A House in the Sky and Naomi Klein’s book about climate change: This Changes Everything. Although I enjoyed those audiobooks, Born a Crime, narrated by Trevor Noah (the author), was a completely unique experience. I had seen various clips of Trevor Noah on YouTube, but to be honest I didn’t know much about him. I had been eyeing up Born a Crime every time I entered a bookstore. I had read the synopsis and a few reviews; I was not-so-patiently waiting for it to come on sale… aaaand it didn’t. I recently subscribed to Audible, and when I first saw Born a Crime on there, I was hesitant, mostly because I had been waiting to buy the print version for so long. Upon noticing that it was narrated by Trevor himself, and after skimming a few reviews, I dived in. I haven’t read the print version of the book (I think I’ll buy it eventually… if it ever comes on sale!) but I wholeheartedly recommend listening to the audiobook regardless. Perhaps it was destiny that the hardcover book just wasn’t coming on sale. Even if you’ve read the print version, LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK! Sorry, I feel like I am shouting this from the mountaintops, but that’s how good it is! Listening to this book felt like sitting down with Trevor Noah over coffee and hearing him tell his life story. He is such a natural storyteller, and is downright hilarious; he had me regularly laughing and guffawing out loud, which garnered concerned looks from my fiancé. His voice brought this emotional, brutal, insightful and hilarious story to LIFE. Trevor Noah was born at the tail end of apartheid: the period of systemic, institutional, government-sanctioned racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa. He was born to a deeply religious, independent, and charismatic mother. He starts out by describing how he was, quite literally, born a crime:
“On February 20, 1984, my mother checked into Hillbrow Hospital for a scheduled C-section delivery. Estranged from her family, pregnant by a man she could not be seen with in public, she was alone. The doctors took her up to the delivery room, cut open her belly, and reached in and pulled out a half-white, half-black child who violated any number of laws, statutes, and regulations—I was born a crime.”
As a mixed-race child, Trevor straddled the various groups in South Africa – he looked “colored,” but identified as black. His childhood was complicated, as he tried to find his identity and place in a divided society. He effortlessly weaves hilarious anecdotes and escapades with heart wrenching and tragic accounts of poverty, violence and racism. His story is both entertaining and insightful. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it – and in fact, I actually cleaned and organized beyond what I needed to, just to keep listening. I learned a lot about life during and following apartheid in South Africa, and I completely fell in love with Trevor and his mother.
Now I am listening to it for a second time with my fiancé, because I just had to share it with him. If you end up listening to it, I’d love to know your thoughts about it.
Title: Born a Crime Author: Trevor Noah Publication Date: November 15, 2016 My Rating: ★★★★★
(P.S. The Hardcover book is actually on sale now… now you know my next book purchase!)
Welcome to Friday’s Book Beginning, hosted by Rose City Reader: Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
“As Amar watched the hall fill with guests arriving for his sister’s wedding, he promised himself he would stay.”
A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
This beginning makes me wonder: why would Amar consider leaving his sister’s wedding? Did she invite him and expect him to not show up? Are they on speaking terms? What has happened throughout their relationship as siblings?
I’m not very far in to this novel, but I can already tell I will enjoy it. I love stories that delve deeply into identity, family dynamics and relationships.
The first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, A Place for Us is a deeply moving and resonant story of love, identity and belonging.
Total Number of Books: 9 Total Number of Pages: 3,350 Average Pages per Book: 372 Average Rating: 4.3
Hellooooo summer vacation! July was such an awesome reading month for me! I’ll admit that I’m a reader who is pretty easy to please, but it’s impressive that I rated all of the books I read this month as above three stars.
Times Square (novella) by Rich Walls ★★★★☆ (3.5)
This was a fun read that swept me through the streets of dazzling New York on a little whirlwind adventure. A nice quick summer read.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware ★★★★☆
I didn’t like the last Ruth Ware book I read – The Woman in Cabin 10 – but I’m glad I read this one! Honestly, the cover drew me in, and it fit the secretive, gothic, creepy vibes so well. The tension and suspense kept me turning pages late into the night – which made it that much creepier…
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein ★★★★★
I listened to the audiobook and it took me a long time to get through (I don’t even remember how long ago I started it…) but it was well worth it! I learned so much about climate change. Disclaimer: this is one of those books that will completely open your eyes and further your understanding, but along the way you will end up incredibly frustrated about what goes on in our world.
The Alchemistby Paul Coelho – ★★★★☆ (3.5)
I still feel torn about this one! Maybe I’ll write a full review at some point, if I ever sort my feelings out. For now let’s settle on part of me loving it, and another part of me feeling “meh” about it (can we maybe blame that on the fact that I’m a Gemini? The whole two very parts to my personality/preferences thing?) In other words… I’ll get back to you on The Alchemist.
A Clash of Kingsby George R. R. Martin ★★★★★
What can I even say? My love of this series is just through the roof! I have watched the TV series (several times…) and I was incredibly intimidated by the books. I am glad I started the TV series first, because it has definitely helped me to keep the characters and story lines straight, but obviously the books are WAY better. Don’t let the books intimidate you – they are fantastic!
Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar ★★★★★
I gravitate towards any WWII-era historical fiction. This book was both beautiful and tragic. Fans of Ruta Sepetys’ Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Grey, as well as Martha Kelly Hall’s Lilac Girls will enjoy this novel. Read my full review of Auschwitz Lullaby here. It releases in August, so add it to your TBR/wishlist!
Fawkesby Nadine Brandes ★★★★☆
Remember, remember! The fifth of November, The Gunpowder treason and plot
My love of historical fiction AND fantasy led me to this one. I was so intrigued by the synopsis. I ended up really enjoying it, but not absolutely loving it. Five star reads are what I would consider must-reads – books that I would 100% recommend – but I can’t say this was one of those for me. Having said that, I found the story incredibly creative, and kept thinking about how much fun (especially as a massive history nerd) this would have been to come up with and write! Definitely worth trying if you like both historical fiction and fantasy, or for anyone who is already fascinated by this time period and/or Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.
Bossypantsby Tina Fey ★★★★☆
I listened to this by audiobook, which was highly entertaining! Lots of laughs out loud. I can’t say I knew much about Tina Fey before listening to this, so I went started it with the expectations of something light and humorous. It was both hilarious and interesting. I have to say that I am a huge fan of memoir/autobiography audiobooks read by the authors themselves. See my new favourite next…
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah ★★★★★
This was unexpectedly amazing! I listened to the audiobook, which was absolutely hilarious, but also insightful and emotional. Trevor Noah is an engaging storyteller, and it was so special to listen to him tell his own story. I started this book with no expectations, and finished feeling pleasantly surprised but also wanting more! I’m also listening to this a second time with my fiancé, because I loved it so much I just had to share it!
Wow! Three five-star reads for me this month! Have I mentioned how much I love summer vacation? 😉 August is our wedding month, with family and friends coming to Canada from the UK, so I probably won’t get much reading done, which I am totally OK with! I will definitely be sharing some of our bookish wedding decor with you on here 🙂 Also stay tuned for some reviews of the books above.
Which books did you read in July? Did you have any 5-star reads?
Thursday Quotables, hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, highlights great quotes, lines, or passages discovered during the reading week. I’m excited to join this feature, as I’m one of those readers who is constantly pausing to find the nearest notebook or paper to copy down an amazing line!
This week, I’m featuring a few of my favourite quotes and lines from The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. I read it quite recently, and it is easily the best book I’ve read in 2018! Don’t be intimidated by the size – it is a unique and beautiful story, told by the witty, awkward, and lovable Cyril – it’s a must-read in my opinion! Enjoy the excerpts below.
We’ll start out with my absolute favourite first line of a book EVER (pretty sure I’ve already read this line to most of my friends and family…)
“Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.”
How could you not want to continue reading after that opening!?
And now for a witty little one-liner:
“What you know about women,” replied Maude, “could be written in large font on the back of a postage stamp and there’d still be room for the Lord’s Prayer.”
One more, just because I can’t get enough of Cyril:
“You look like a Greek God sent down by the immortal Zeus from Mount Olympus to taunt the rest of us inferior beings with your astonishing beauty, I said, which somehow in translation came out as “you look fine, why?”
Although I know this book will not be for everyone, I urge you to check out the synopsis on Goodreads. It was a 5+ star read for me!
If you’ve read The Heart’s Invisible Furies, let me know what you thought in the comments below! If not, I want to know which book has been your favourite read so far this year.