June TBR

I was looking at my shelves a couple of days ago and realized that I have so many books that I want to read that I decided to make myself four tbr jars.I have broken down my picks into the different categories of jars that I made. I will also be reading my Fox Book Club June book and the few ARCs I have. I’m also participating in two readathons this month. I have already shared my Smutathon TBR and I will be sharing my buzzwordathon tbr later in the month. I’m also in the middle of three different books right now and I hope to finish them the first few days of the month. I will just be sharing my jar picks and my book club pick here and will do a full list of all the books I read during my wrap up at the end of the month.

Book of the Month pick

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Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

Goodreads

My Physical TBR shelves

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Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Goodreads

Most want to read ebooks

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Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

Goodreads

Most want to read physical books

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Romance, friendship, and dark, bone-chilling fear fill the pages of this “genuine and truly eerie” (RT Book Reviews) debut in the spirit of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.

And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.

Goodreads

Fox Book Club 

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When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Goodreads

This is a pretty ambitious tbr for me but I feel like I can do it since my boys will be out of school next week and my schedule will be more relaxed. I plan on reading lots outside while they are playing and swimming and all the fun summer stuff. We also have a couple of road trips planned so I am hoping I will be able to successfully read all the books I have planned.

~Cassie

 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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Title: The Secret History

Author: Donna Tartt

Pages: 523

Genre: Literary Fiction, Modern Classic

Publisher: Knopf

Publication Date: October 16, 1992

Rating: /5

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

Goodreads

I went into this thinking it had a mystery aspect but oh no it doesn’t. The very first page, two paragraphs in, we find out who is killed and who killed this person. The Secret History is really about what led up to the killing of this person and then it deals with the consequences of this action. And I loved it. But I also just don’t know how to talk about it. This book seems so big in my head that I have a hard time explaining all the different parts of it.

I very much enjoy character driven stories and this is definitely one of them. In fact, Donna Tartt is probably one of my top favorite authors because she is so incredibly talented at writing characters. All the characters in this group of college kids felt so real to me but at the same time we only see them through the lens of Richard. I can see why some people might not like this aspect but I found it really enjoyable. We get to know a lot about Richard through his interactions with the people around him and less from him explaining things to us the reader. If you are familiar with my reviews you will know that I really appreciate it when an author shows the reader things versus telling us. Also, the other members of the Greek class are very complex. I could honestly write whole essays on each of the characters and how their story progresses throughout the book. Bunny, Francis, Henry, Charles and Camilla are where The Secret History really shines.

Another plus to Tartts writing is all the foreshadowing she does in the story. There are so many times when we are just moving along in the story and then Richard drops a line alluding to something (usually shocking) that is going to happen. I would get so excited by these little nuggets of information and it made it hard to put the book down. I also love how well Tartt brought the environment of the book to life. If you want to know what America was like in the early 90’s this book will tell you. The good, the bad and the ugly.

The only reason that I couldn’t give this book five stars is because I do think that it lagged  at times. The Goldfinch is a bigger book than this one but to me that book had perfect pacing. This book sometimes felt stuck at some parts. I think for me it was exhausting to read about all the times Richard drinks and does drugs away from the other characters. I didn’t mind when it was mentioned here or there but when whole pages were devoted to it I felt myself not caring. Perhaps, my issue with this book really lays with how I only felt connected to Richard when it came to his interactions with the other characters.

Honestly, Tartt is one of the best authors of our time and everyone should read her books. Also, if you enjoy true crime shows like Snapped or Dateline than I think you will appreciate this book. One of the appeals for me in watching those shows is how people can actually commit murder and that is one of the main themes in this book. This is a book that will stay with me for the rest of my life and I look forward to rereading it one day.

~Cassie

Buzzwordathon Day 6

I contemplated all day if I should post this because day 6 was a complete fail :< It was a thunderstorm and hail kind of a day which just puts me into the mood to lay on the couch and watch tv all day. Although, instead of doing that I got sucked into a Reddit vortex instead. Which is also irritating because if I was going to be reading I should have been reading my readathon books. I don’t often have lazy days though so I’m trying to not beat myself up too much about it. That does mean that I’m probably only going to finish the 3 books that I have already read earlier since I have lots of stuff planned for Sunday.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I read a whole 6 pages of this. I think this book is superbly written and I have so many thoughts on this but I feel like they are half formed because I only know a little more than half the story. I definitely feel like you could administer a personality test based on who you think the baby belongs to. Ng does an incredible job of not taking sides and just leaving it up the reader to decide. I’m also really annoyed at the character of Izzy. I don’t understand her intense rudeness to others. Well, her mom I understand but not the way she talks to strangers and family friends. I also can’t believe this book was written in 2017 and yet perfectly captures 1997.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian

I only read 4% more of this book. I remember hearing this book has a great ending and I have an idea of what I want to happen and I can’t wait to see if I’m right. I don’t want to say what it is in case I’m right or close to right and accidentally spoil someone. I will say at 11% into this that I can’t imagine anyone who enjoys thrillers not liking this book.

Books Completed: 3

My new goal is to hopefully have these two books finished by the time I post my readathon wrap up on Tuesday. Hopefully day 7 is a much better reading day.

~Cassie

Fox Book Club

Last year I didn’t read a single big book. I read 92 books and they were all under 500 pages. When I realized that I was so disappointed in myself. I used to prefer big books when I was younger because there was more story, more word building, more everything. So going into this year I knew that one of my goals would be to read big books. It ended up working out perfectly because one of my favorite booktubers, BookswithEmilyFox announced at the start of the year that she was going to create a book club where we could all read her monthly big book along with her. During her monthly TBR videos she picks a big book at random from a Harry Potter mug and I have really been looking forward to her picks. Since it is March there have been three picks and two are books that I have been wanting to read for a while. The other was a young adult fantasy that I enjoyed so all the picks been working at really well so far.

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January Pick: The Passage by Justin Cronin

February Pick: A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos

March Pick: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I have been behind since the beginning the book club started though which is the only downside. I am falling further and further behind every month so I think I might have to skip a month to catch back up. It is March 18 while I write this and I still have not started the March pick. It is the Buzzwordathon this week so I’m not going to be able to pick it up until next Monday at the earliest.

If you like reading big books or want to start reading big books I will leave a link to the Goodreads page here. I would be so proud to update you all at the end of the year and have completed all the book picks for the year but I think I can happily settle for reading 10 of the 12.

~Cassie