#Classicsathon wrap up

This was a successful month of reading for me. I was able to read a lot of books and five of them were classics. If you remember the only goal of #Classicsathon was to read one classic during the month of August. All of the classics are on the shorter side but I’m still happy to have been able to read more than a few of them.

157993-1

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is the sweetest children’s book.  The adventure part of the story is perfect for kids and all the deeper meanings that can be read into the Little Prince are perfect for adults. I wasn’t expecting the end of this book to deal with grief and it brought me to tears.

5308

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

This book follows the story of Kino, his wife Juana and their baby boy. One day Kino finds a massive pearl and the book is all about the things that happen to them afterward. I liked the insight into how the poor people like Kino lived versus how the rich people in the village lived. The Pearl also perfectly captures the dark side of wealth, privilege, and greed. I was not prepared for how dark this book was and wow that ending was something that I never saw coming.

6662883

Oz: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this graphic novel adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. This is adapted from the book series and not the movie so I did find it interesting the differences between the two. I was previously only familiar with the movie and I have to say that I like that version the best. Although I do want to give the actual book a try in the future and see if my opinion changes. The writing in this graphic novel was pretty juvenile and I would have to take breaks while reading because I could feel myself getting annoyed. Also, the art in this was not the best. When the action scenes were happening it was hard to see what was happening because of how dark it was. (Very reminiscent of the Battle of Winterfell.) The art was also gothic and dark compared to how young the writing was. I definitely would have appreciated the art more if there wasn’t such a disconnect with the writing.

170448

Animal Farm by George Orwell

While reading this book I was reminded of how dangerous it is to have a leader with unchecked power.  In Animal Farm there is a saying, “Four legs bad. Two legs good.” To translate that to today it would be “Republicans bad. Democrats good.” This book also reminds us that while someone might start off with a better way of doing things, if they are in the position where no one is making sure that they are doing right by their people it will never end well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and history has consistently proven that true time and time again.

~Cassie

 

Second Quarter Book Stats

Oh my gosh y’all. I never thought I would actually complete this post. I have had the most  annoying technical difficulties putting this together. For some reason WordPress kept deleting my pictures??? I’ve never had that happen before. Anyways, I figured it all out and here we are…. only two months late… 🙂

April Books (7 Read)

 

May Books (12 Read)

May Wrap Up

ARC Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

The Inspection by Josh Malerman

ARC Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

June Books (14 Read)

Smutathon Wrap Up

Buzzwordathon Round 4 Wrap Up

ARC Review: The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

Review: The Seven and a half deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie

Male vs Female Author

Male Vs Female

Male vs Female reads compared first and second quarter

Genre Read

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 4.04.35 PM

Genres read first quarter vs second quarter

Pages Read

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 4.08.22 PM

First quarter vs second quarter book size (small, regular and big book)

Star Ratings

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 4.12.22 PM

How many books I rated each star. First quarter vs second quarter

Book Source

Book Source

First quarter vs second quarter on where I got my book from

~Cassie

Netgalley Review: The Favorite Daughter

I received this free ebook in exchange for this review, however all opinions are 100% my own.

39973248

Publisher: Graydon House

Publication Date: May 21, 2019

Pages: 368

Genre: Psychological thriller

Rating: 3/5

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

This book really puts you into the mind of a narcissistic mother, Jane, who is coming out of the fog of grief when she lost her oldest, Mary, (and favorite) daughter a year ago. Things are not going well for her in her life and she is trying everything she can to hold on to the life she used to have. Her husband, David, is never home and her youngest daughter, Betsy,  is about to graduate and is leading a secret life that her mother knows nothing about.

This is a fun read in the way that it takes you into the mind of a disturbed woman. She is talking directly to the reader which makes you (the reader) feel like you a part of the story.  It was amusing to hear the way she justifies her actions and thoughts about the outlandish things she was doing and thinking. The book really shines when you see Jane implementing her schemes. Jane also has a fascination with all the ways someone can accidentally die. The story is peppered with random facts about how someone has died in the most bizarre way.

One of the downfalls of the book for me is how much takes place off the page. We go into the book with Jane already knowing 90% of what she needs to know. So the reader goes in blind and there is a big disconnect when certain reveals are happening because the book is told with us in Jane’s head. It just started to feel like a cheap trick when it happened but that may be because the ending was very predictable so I don’t think trying to trick the reader was necessary. I also want to make clear that I’m not talking about the big reveal because that wouldn’t make sense for the readers to know any earlier but some of the other reveals could have been mentioned before they were.

I also want to mention that I unfortunately know someone who is narcissistic and totally out of touch with how their behavior effects people so that may have influenced my feelings of this book. Thankfully, that person is no longer in my life but the whole time I was reading it I kept getting flashbacks of her. If you are lucky enough not to know someone like Jane then I think you will find her character much more enjoyable than I did.

I’m sure you have already figured it out, but this book is pretty similar to You by Caroline Kepnes. The are both creepy people who are doing not great things but you still find something likable about them. I also want to recommend The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton. I read and reviewed this book earlier this year and it is another fun book with a more likable character (to me) where she does the most unbelievable stuff.

~Cassie

Friday Reads 8/23

I’m so happy to report that I am officially out of my terrible reading slump that I was in during the month of July and early August. I have been flying through books the past two weeks and I have so many that I can’t wait to get to. As usual I am in the middle of a few different books and I want to share them with you.

The first book that I am obsessed with is:

41957126._SY475_

Verity by Colleen Hoover

This book is DARK. I was not expecting how depraved a certain character is. I have been telling my husband all about it because this is the most messed up suspense novel I have ever read. This book really brings the darkness and it can be pretty graphic. If you like books that push the edge and think you can handle it I highly recommend this book. I am 80% done and I started it two nights ago. If I didn’t have three kids and other responsibilities I probably could have finished this book in one sitting.

Another book that I can’t get enough of is Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

22816087

I am on page 647 of 880. I don’t know if I will finish it this weekend but I will definitely have this done by the end of the month. I love this book. I am constantly blown away by Stephenson’s imagination. This is such a complex and rich story that really takes the reader on a saga. It is a very science heavy sci fi but I like that about it.  I am so fascinated by the world the author has built and I hope we one day see a movie based on this book. I know Ron Howard was attached to direct this movie at one point but I haven’t looked too much into it because I’m afraid of spoiling myself!

This month is #Classicsathon (check out my post about it here) so I been making it a point  to read a least one classic a week. I haven’t yet read my classic for this week so I plan on reading the following book either today or this weekend.

170448

Animal Farm by George Orwell

I have read this book a couple of times as a teenager but this will be my first time reading it as an adult. I’m interested in seeing how it relates to the current political climate we have in America. The main reason I picked this book though is because of how short it is. The edition I have is only 140 pages and it is a very tiny book. When I decided I was going to participate in #Classicsathon I knew that I wanted to concentrate on all the smaller classics that have been written. There are a surprising number of them. Here is the link to the Goodreads shelf that has them all. There are 500 (!!!!) of them but I only went through the first page.

Once I finish Verity I will need another ebook to read and I plan on continuing on with It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover.

27362503._SY475_

I borrowed this book from my local library through the Libby app and I thought I would just be able to renew it since it was going to be due while I was reading it. However, there was some kind of glitch and I couldn’t renew it even though no one had it on hold. And I couldn’t put it on hold because I was already using all my holds for other books. So I had to use my other library card from when I used to live in San Jose to put a hold on it through Libby. It just came in today and I plan on finishing this over the weekend. I read the first part when I first had it and I’m very intrigued to see where the story is going. I can’t tell yet if I like the story or not. I really feel like it could go either way.

Those are my reading plans for the rest of today and this weekend. We do have the county fair this weekend along with some house projects and football is back but I still feel confident that I can finish at least three of these and make a serious dent in Seveneves. I hope you have a fun and book filled weekend as well!

~Cassie

 

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

34895950._SX318_

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

Pages: 72

Publisher: Oni Press

Publication Date: October 18, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Rating: 5/5

This is the sweetest graphic novel I have ever read. I am seriously in love with everything about this book. From the art, to the diverse characters, to the colors and the tea dragon handbook at the end. Everything is perfection. This book follows Greta, who rescues a tea dragon, and when she gives the dragon back she is invited by Hesekiel and Erik to learn how to take care of them. There is also another character, Minette and I loved her back story and her friendship with Greta. This is a short graphic novel so I don’t want to give too much away. Just know that it is a beautiful story. The message behind this book brought me to tears because it deals with what we pass on to future generations (like memories, stories, a craft) and the importance of doing so.  I think for anyone who has lost someone important to them this story will touch your heart in a beautiful healing way.

~Cassie

Netgalley Review: The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for my review of this book, all opinions are 100% my own.

42898874._SY475_

The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney

Pages: 432

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: 5/5

This is a fast paced thriller where the main character, Abbie, is an AI replica of a tech owner’s wife. The original Abbie went missing after a surfing accident and her husband was so devastated at the loss of her that he used his company and their background of building robots to create the first AI person. This book is told in two different perspectives. The first one being the robot Abbie and the second being an employee of her husband Tim’s tech company. I loved the way the two perspectives shaped the story and worked so well together. I found myself really looking forward to what was going to happen next on both sides of the story.

I read this book so quickly because the suspense stayed pretty consistent throughout the entire read. There are a lot of twist and turns during the story and most of them worked really well. A couple of them felt out of place but overall this is another fantastic thriller from J.P. Delaney. Also, for all the people who are like me and thought that this is a far fetched sci fi thriller, Delaney lets us know that this technology is currently being developed and talked about. So if we think about it, this has the potential of being labelled as a domestic thriller.

If you are a fan of Delaney’s previous books than I definitely think you would like this one as well. I think his books are consistently good and I will forever read anything he writes.  If you are in the mood for a fast paced thriller that will constantly keep you on your toes I highly recommend this on to you.

~Cassie

Netgalley Review: We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for giving me a free copy of this book to read in exchange for my honest review.

42179785._SY475_

Title: We Went to the Woods

Author: Caite Dolan-Leach

Pages: 353

Genre: Adult Contemporary

Publication Date: July 2, 2019

Publisher: Random House

Rating: 4.5/5

This is my second Dolan-Leach novel this year and I can confidently say that she is a must read author for me. She is so incredibly talented at writing characters and compelling stories. We Went to the Woods is a story about a group of five friends who decide live off the grid and start their own commune. Two members of the group are hardcore environmentalists who are against anything unnatural happening to the earth. The other members of the commune are just interested in their friendship group and commune living. The group also has a close friendship with some members of another commune living nearby.  This story is told all from the perspective of Mack who has a shady past involving a reality show and another commune and who is extremely interested in the past history of the other communes who live/lived in and around their property.

Over time I found myself really invested in the members of the group and where their story was heading. From the very beginning the author lets the reader know that something bad happened to the group and Mack is telling us the story of how the group came to be and all the events that lead up to the terrible thing that happened. I was also happily surprised to see that some characters from the Dolan-Leach’s first book popped up in this story. It adds another level of excitement for me when it comes to her third book because I can’t wait to see if there is further overlap in her stories.

If you love character driven books I really think you would enjoy this. Also for anyone, like me, who is interested in cults you will really like the different perspectives this book gives for them. It is more of a background of how cults get started and innocuous they can start off. There is also a side story where Mack is investigating a commune (or better referred to as a cult) that existed a hundred years ago. We get glimpses into that group and what led to their downfall. For me, I find cults so fascinating because I don’t understand what draws people to them and this book really opened my eyes to how harmless and ordinary they can start off as/ be.

~Cassie

Friday Reads: 8/2

I thought I would start a Friday reads series on my blog for the weeks when I really want to share what I am reading before I review it. I am always reading a few books at once so I do have a few things to talk about. I do only read about fifty or so pages of the bigger books I’m reading (Seveneves and The Count of Monte Cristo) and I have been reading a short story from the manga every time I read a chunk of the other two. I always have an ebook that I’m reading and I use that to have something to read while I’m out and about. Usually at night I read from my Kindle before bed so that’s when I get most of my ebook read. I also have tried experimenting with listening to audiobooks but I don’t really think they are from me. The ones I have tried are really good but I prefer listening to music or a podcast. I do however have one to share that I have been listening to on and off for months.

 

22816087

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

I started this yesterday and I am absolutely loving it. It is very fast paced and I was hooked on the first page. If you are into sci fi I highly recommend this to you. Fifty pages in and I am getting a lot of The 100 vibes from it. I love that show and so far this book is reminding me so much of season 4 where we got a lot of backstory into the origins of the Ark.

7134

Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything. He is engaged to a beautiful woman, is about to become the captain of a ship, and is well liked by almost everyone. But his perfect life is shattered when he is framed by a jealous rival and thrown into a dark prison cell for 14 years.

The greatest tale of betrayal, adventure, and revenge ever written, The Count of Monte Cristo continues to dazzle readers with its thrilling and memorable scenes, including Dantès’s miraculous escape from prison, his amazing discovery of a vast hidden treasure, and his transformation into the mysterious and wealthy Count of Monte Cristo—a man whose astonishing thirst for vengeance is as cruel as it is just.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I have been reading this since last month and I am just over 300 pages. That is roughly half way through and my goal is to read at least another 100 pages of this over the weekend.

34852851._SX318_

A best-of story selection by the master of horror manga.

This volume includes nine of Junji Ito’s best short stories, as selected by the author himself and presented with accompanying notes and commentary. An arm peppered with tiny holes dangles from a sick girl’s window… After an idol hangs herself, balloons bearing faces appear in the sky, some even featuring your own face… An amateur film crew hires an extremely individualistic fashion model and faces a real bloody ending… An offering of nine fresh nightmares for the delight of horror fans.

Shiver: Selected Stories by Junji Ito

This is my first manga! I have read two of the nine stories in here and I am liking these fun horror short stories. I’m also absolutely in love with the art. I don’t have a lot of experience with comics or manga and I also can’t even draw a straight line so I’m not the best person to comment on the art. He is the master of horror manga’s though so I feel confident that he is actually as amazing as I think he is.

35180979._SX318_

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

This book is so fascinating to me because a lot of the crimes that take place happened in four different areas of California and I have lived very close to three of the four. These crimes all happened before I was born but it interesting to hear about the history of these places. I have been listening to the audiobook for about two months and I am finally under the two hour mark. Which means I have listened to about eight hours. As I said earlier, I’m just not an audiobook person but this is a very engaging story. It might be a bit overhyped but they have also found the killer since the book was released so a lot of the mystery of the book has been taken away.

28940._SY475_

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I am on a mission to read everything she has ever written. This book has some similarities to Life After Life because they are both female characters who are narrating their entire lives. Behind the Scenes at the Museum the main character, Ruby, only has one life though and she tells it in such an amusing way. The book starts off with her talking about her conception which was hilarious. I am exactly half way through this one and things would have to go majorly off the rails for me to give it lower than five stars. If you love character driven books I highly recommend you give this book a chance.

~Cassie

August TBR

Happy August everyone!! My kids go back to school in exactly two weeks which is so crazy to think that our “summer” is practically over. This month I want to catch up all the books I planned to read over the summer and of course read my #classicsathon books. I will share all those specific TBR’s below. I also have a couple of comics and a manga from the library that I hope to get the chance to read.

June TBR

July TBR

#Classicsathon

29780171._SY475_

Archie, Vol. 2 by Mark Waid

23308488._SY475_

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Agurrie-Sacasa

34852851._SX318_

Shiver: Selected Stories by Junji Ito

I also have quite a few Netgalley arc’s that I need to get too. I was doing a good job at staying on top of all of them but then this slump happened and now I have fallen behind. I will be happy to make a little dent in this list by the end of this month.

I also realize that this is quite the ambitious list for someone currently in the middle of a terrible slump. If I still feel behind when it gets to the end of the month then I will just make this my September TBR as well. My ultimate goal is just to be significantly caught up with all these books before fall begins.

Let me know how your reading is going this summer. Also, how many other people are in the back to school prep for either themselves or their kids?

#Classicsathon

August is the start of the #Classicsathon and I am happy to be participating this year. This is a super chill readathon meant to give some love to classics. This readathon was started by lucythereader over on Youtube and I will leave the link to her announcement video right here if you want some more information. The only challenge is to read at least one book. I feel like this couldn’t have come at a better time for me because of my current slump. I’m also currently reading a classic as part of my Fox Book Club so I know that I will for sure win this readathon.  I did go through and pick some books off my shelf and from my library that I hope to read this month and I will be sharing them below. Most of them are on the smaller side so I hope I can knock a few of these off my list.

7134

Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything. He is engaged to a beautiful woman, is about to become the captain of a ship, and is well liked by almost everyone. But his perfect life is shattered when he is framed by a jealous rival and thrown into a dark prison cell for 14 years.

The greatest tale of betrayal, adventure, and revenge ever written, The Count of Monte Cristo continues to dazzle readers with its thrilling and memorable scenes, including Dantès’s miraculous escape from prison, his amazing discovery of a vast hidden treasure, and his transformation into the mysterious and wealthy Count of Monte Cristo—a man whose astonishing thirst for vengeance is as cruel as it is just.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

*This is the book that I am currently reading. I am almost half way through and really enjoying it. Unfortunately this is an abridged edition which I didn’t know when I bought it. I do appreciate the added notes and essays that give a better understanding of Dumas as well as what was happening historically during his life. I have decided that I won’t be rating this version since it is not the complete book and will hopefully pick up a beautiful edition sometime in the future to read.

157993-1

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

5890

‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

89717._SY475_

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

348914._SY475_

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

5308

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull’s egg, as “perfect as the moon.” With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security…

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man’s nature, greed, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

~Cassie