WWW Wednesday – July 19

WWWWednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and was formerly hosted by A Daily Rhythm. It is open for anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answers. It is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


What are you currently reading?

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Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones

So far this book is mildly entertaining. We have ghosts in London that are being murdered, a priest that does exorcisms, a black shadowing dog eating ghosts, a weird black goop that is invading London’s buildings, a boy that can talk to said ghosts, and his murderous uncle. A lot going on, right? The story is actually pretty interesting but the characters don’t stick with you. For it to be a completely effective story you should give a crap about the ghosts getting exterminated, but you don’t. I’m going to finish it just out of curiosity.


 

What did you recently finish reading?

Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey #1) by Deanna Raybourn
Silent in the Sanctuary (Lady Julia Grey #2) by Deanna Raybourn
Silent on the Moor (Lady Julia Grey #3) by Deanna Raybourn

“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.” 

I got on a bit of a kick last week, if you can’t tell. Once I picked up Silent in the Grave I couldn’t put it down. Then I needed to read the next book in the series, and then the next. I ended up knocking out all three of these 500+ page historical mysteries in a week. A little excessive, right? Couldn’t help myself. I’ll be doing a group review of all three of them which will be up on the 21st.


 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am actually considering taking a short reading break and instead working on my own book. I’m feeling a bit burned out right now. I have finished a ton of books lately (at least for me) and setting that aside for a week and writing on my own work sounds like a tantalizing option. After the short break I do have a few options of books to read. I have purchased several, both new and used, recently which have been mocking me from the shelves. “Why did you buy me if you didn’t plan on reading me, Amanda? Come pick me up!”

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I think we have all seen this tag hanging around the bookish sphere the last month or so. Who is late to the party doing it? That would be me. Story of my life. Anyway, TA-DA! Happy slightly-more-than-halfway-through-2017 book tag! Appreciate the second half of the year, folks. We are all going to blink and it is going to be Christmas. Going…too…fast…


Best book you’ve read so far in 2017?

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. This book blew me away when I read it back in January. I had picked it up on a whim and continue to be grateful to my freezing winter self for doing so. Schwab quickly became one of my favorite authors after reading this Shades of Magic trilogy.

 

 

 

 


Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017?

Hands down A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. I loved it so much I read it twice in a week. That takes a lot of affection and dedication for that monstrous book.


New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack. I ordered this one pretty much right after it came out June 13th and it is still sitting on my shelf. I really need to get to it…

 

 

 

 

 


Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. This book will either be amazing or I will mock it mercilessly. There will be no in between, you can just tell.


Biggest disappointment.

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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. People rave so much about this book/series/author. I bet they organize sacrifices to it. With all the wonderful things I heard about it I expected to at least like this book, if not be over the moon for it. I wasn’t. I hated it quite passionately. I’m considering changing my review on Goodreads from two stars to one I hated it so much.

 

 

 


Biggest surprise.

24690 by A. A. Dark. I had not read a horror/thriller/whatever in a long time before I picked up this book. I can’t even really remember what drew me to it but I recall having that I MUST READ THIS BOOK feeling when I first spotted it. 24690 is definitely not for the faint of heart but for me at the time, it really hit the spot.


Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Pierce Brown, hands down. I hadn’t read any of his books, heard about him, nothing before 2017. How did that even happen? I’m so glad I picked up his Red Rising series. He has become one of my favorite authors. Not to mention his snarky, sharp humor on twitter gives me the jollies. Seems like a good guy that writes amazing books.


Newest fictional crush.

Striker from Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell mysteries. Granted, I have been completely obsessed with Raybourn’s books lately but Stoker would be amazing either way. Intelligent, resourceful, a bit prickly, and his roguish eyepatch all together make a fairly irresistible character.


Newest favorite character.

I’ve pondered this one for several minutes while browsing the list of books I’ve read this year and no character is really standing out for me as an overall favorite. There have been several I’ve enjoyed but none jump out enough to be considered a favorite. Hm…


Book that made you cry.

Literal tears? Nothing. The closest I got was a sense of fury when a certain character died in Golden Son by Pierce Brown. So many characters died in that book so I’ll leave you to guess which one.


Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

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While I am certainly got a fan of Caraval by Stephanie Garber I can’t deny that the cover for it is absolutely striking. The one I have shown here is the US cover but the UK cover is equally as beautiful.

 

 

 

 


What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Any that strike my fancy? I don’t make a reading list and stick to it, I just read whatever gives me that spark in the moment. I have a nice TBR list on Goodreads and then I end up just picking up something at random. You never know.


Favorite Book Community Member (Blogger, Booktuber and Bookstagrammer)

I love browsing through other reading blogs. There are a few that I will typically click on no matter what the topic is but for the most part I’m happy to browse and try to appreciate the wide variety of opinions and reading tastes in the community. Even though I do occasionally roll my eyes…


 

That’s all folks! I hope you have had a great first half of 2017 and feel free to leave a link to your mid-year tag in the comments.

Down the TBR Hole #3

Hello and welcome to another installment of Down the TBR Hole. I wish I was more adept at photoshop to make an awesome intro image for this. I see lightning and flying books in my head. Instead, you get this photo from National Geographic. Sigh.

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This meme is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Here is what you do:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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Euphoria by Lily King

Inspired by the true story of a woman who changed the way we understand our world.

In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the lives of this strange couple and becomes totally enthralled. Within months the trio are producing their best ever work, but soon a firestorm of fierce love and jealousy begins to burn out of control, threatening their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives…

First of all, that cover is beautiful. It definitely makes me think of the jungle without being overly obvious about it. This may not be my usual read, but I’m still interested in picking this one up.

Verdict: KEEP


 

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The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom

A neuroscientist-turned-FBI-profiler discovers a gene that produces psychopaths in this thrilling debut novel.

Dr. Lucas Madden is a neuroscientist-turned-FBI profiler who first gained global recognition for cloning the ripper gene and showing its dysfunction in the brains of psychopaths. Later, as an FBI profiler, Madden achieved further notoriety by sequencing the DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers and proposing a controversial “damnation algorithm” that could predict serial killer behavior using DNA alone.

Now, a new murderer—the Snow White Killer—is terrorizing women in the Mississippi Delta. When Mara Bliss, Madden’s former fiancée, is kidnapped, he must track down a killer who is always two steps ahead of him. Only by entering the killer’s mind will Madden ultimately understand the twisted and terrifying rationale behind the murders—and have a chance at ending the psychopath’s reign of terror.

I added this one to my TBR well over a year ago and, to say the least, my tastes have changed since then. It is time for this book to go and make space for something different.

Verdict: tenor


 

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. 

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

This is another book that got added to my TBR well over a year ago. I’m pretty sure I just added it because of how poplar it was and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I’m over that. The story just doesn’t sound like it is for me.

Verdict: tenor


 

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The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam–a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion–a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .”

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office–leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist–an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand–and fear–the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Sigh. I don’t know what I was thinking. Pretty much everything I added to my TBR over a year ago has lost it’s appeal. Granted, I have changed a lot since then so it is not surprising. To say the least…

Verdict: tenor


 

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Sister Sable (The Mad Queen #1) by T. Mountebank

THE FIRST TENET OF THE WIND: Do not get caught.

Sister Sable has lived by the first tenet for seven years, but when an unexpected accident reveals the runaway nun to the clergy, she is forced to embrace the remaining four.

THE SECOND TENET OF THE WIND: Win by any means.

With the King’s spymaster committed to killing her, and his general regretting he didn’t, Sable enters a deadly game.

THE THIRD TENET OF THE WIND: The purpose of picking up a blade is to cut the enemy.

Scaring them is discretionary.

THE FOURTH TENET OF THE WIND: Have no preferred weapon. 

Even so, she likes the axe.

THE FIFTH TENET OF THE WIND: Know the way of all professions.

Prophet, pilot, assassin, spy, Sable will need to call upon all she has learned to protect the King’s future from the past.

Oh look! Something I added to my TBR a year ago that still sounds good! I have zero memory of adding this book but it still sounds like a worth while read.

Verdict: KEEP


 

Three out of five got tossed out this week which brings my “to-read” list down to 119. Granted, I also added probably five or six last week but at least the list is growing more slowly now. My interests have changed widely in the last year or two so I’m not surprised that a lot of my older adds are getting tossed out. How have your reading interests changed? What do you think caused them to?

Down the TBR Hole #2

Today it is time for another installment of Down the TBR Hole. This is my second time traversing this dangerous hole. Let’s see what we find down here today!

rabbit2b2
Image from Nat Geo

 

This meme is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Here is what you do:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

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The Seance by John Harwood

Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside, has a sinister reputation. Once, a family disappeared there. And now Constance Langton has inherited this dark place as well as the mysteries surrounding it. Having grown up in a house marked by the death of her sister, Constance is no stranger to mystery, secrets, and the dark magic around us. Her father was distant. Her mother was in perpetual mourning for her lost child. In a desperate attempt to coax her mother back to health, Constance took her to a seance hoping she would find supernatural comfort. But tragic consequences followed, leaving her alone in the world– alone with Wraxford Hall. Saddled with this questionable bequest, she must find the truth at the heart of all these disappearances, apparitions, betrayal, blackmail, and villainy, even if it costs her life. John Harwood’s second novel delivers on the great promise proven by his first with this gripping mystery set in the heart of Victorian England.

The reviews for this one on Goodreads are all over the board and it is currently averaging a 3.56. Despite that, I still think it sounds like it could be great story. I probably won’t get to this book anytime soon but I’m going to keep it around.

Verdict: KEEP


 

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The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

This book comes out this August and may I just say it sounds amazing? I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I also just realized that next month is August and that completely freaked me out. Yikes!

Verdict: KEEP


 

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The Legend of Sithalkaan (The Legend of Sithalkaan #1) by J.N. de Bedout

The feudal strife of the Sengoku Jidai has soaked Japan in blood. Despite the perils, an ambitious young musketeer is chosen to guide a group of Jesuit priests deep into the Japanese hinterlands in search of an ancient and terrifying artifact. Alas, they are not the only ones pursuing it. A fanatical enemy willing to devastate the country in its wake has already launched its own campaign to seize it. 

Villages vanish beneath the marching feet of bloodthirsty marauders. 

Cauldrons of intolerant faith scorch the populace. 

Lust for vengeance boils beneath the surface. 

An eternity of pain hangs in the balance. 

Unfathomable horrors grate the musketeer and his pious patrons. Blood will stain them. Grief will besiege them. But can they defy the odds and safeguard the artifact before this savage enemy unleashes a cataclysm on the country?

You ever look at a book on your TBR and wonder how it got there? I have no memory of this book. I think it is going to stay that way. Goodbye.

Verdict: tenor


 

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The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin

New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him.

Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret and – if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed.

Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.

Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her musician friend, Louis Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger . . .

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city . . .

Inspired by a true story, The Axeman’s Jazz, set against the heady backdrop of jazz-filled, mob-ruled New Orleans, is an ambitious, gripping thriller announcing a major new talent in historical crime fiction.

When I first saw this book I thought it sounded amazing. I still do. I think it is going to be bumped up the TBR list.

Verdict: KEEP


 

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The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . 

Alright. What was I thinking. This sounds all kinds of lame. Buh- bye!

Verdict: tenor


 

Ah, nothing like a good cleanse…of the reading list. Two books down, that means I get to add three more, right? Isn’t that the rule?

WWW Wednesday – June 28

WWWWednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and was formerly hosted by A Daily Rhythm. It is open for anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answers. It is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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“But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.”

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas. Even though I was utterly bored and annoyed by the first book in this series, Throne of Glass, I still decided to give the second book a try after several recommendations to do so. So far it is definitely better than the first of the series but I still want to punch Chaol in the face. How can he act so seemingly innocent and kind when he is a king’s guard who has had to kill people in his service? It doesn’t jive with me.


What did you recently finish reading?

ClockworkAngel

“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare. My full review of this book will be up next week but for now I will say that I will not be continuing with this series. Nothing is going to change my mind on this one. I am one of those people who usually feels the need to finish a series even if the books aren’t particularly great but not doing it this time. Tessa is one of the top ten most annoying literary creatures ever created. The other characters weren’t much better.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Sigh. I’m not even sure. Everything I’ve picked up lately has been a let down. I’m starting to think it’s me and not the books themselves. Maybe a little reading break is in order. Help a girl out, recommend me a good book without flimsy, wishy washy characters that in no way has a love story attached and doesn’t delve too far into the sci-fi realm. I’m good with horror, mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction. I also have a weirdly specific love of historical mysteries. Happy reading, everybody!

Top Ten Tuesday – Series I Want to Read

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It is time once again for Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t. I’m going to do a mixed bag with this one and add in series I have started and need to finish. As always, be sure to check out The Broke and the Bookish for other Top Ten Tuesday posts and themes. (This post got a little long. Whoops! Ten points to the Hogwarts House of your choice if you make it to the bottom. )


 

ClockworkAngel

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

I just started on this series maybe two days ago and I feel like I’m definitely going to be continuing with it.At the beginning of a series there is usually a lot of set up that needs to happen which is slow going to get through which can get tiresome but this seems like it is going to be a great read.


Bitterblue

Graceling Realm by Kristin Cashore
Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.

But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck’s death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck’s reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea’s past has become shrouded in mystery, and it’s only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle – curious, disguised and alone – to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.

Whatever that past holds.

Two thieves, who have sworn only to steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart . .

I’ve read the first book of this trilogy, Graceling, and the third book, Bitterblue, which I absolutely adored. Somehow I managed to skip the second book, Fire, which I’ve been told is the best of the three. I find that hard to believe because I adore Bitterblue. It’s my safe harbor book when life gets a little too heavy. Need to read Fire to see if it really is the best of the three.


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Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I finished the first book in this series last week and I was unimpressed, I’m sorry to say. However, I’m told the next book in the series is fantastic so I’m going to give it a shot. I want to fall in love with them like so many other people have.


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Stalking Jack the Ripped by Kerri Maniscalco
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

I stumbled across this series on another blog just a few days ago and can’t wait to get started on it. I’ve always had a fascination with Jack the Ripper and love finding books that include him. So far this series has two books out with a third announced.


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Cruel Beauty Universe by Rosamund Hodge
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

I have this book as a requested hold at the library right now and am hoping they get it in soon. When a fairy tale retelling is done well it is a thing of wonder and I hope this one is.


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Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Ever since I read The Night Circus I’ve had an interest in books that include an odd circus. Weirdly specific, right? Right now the Menagerie series has two books published and a third announced.


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Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth series by L.J.M. Owen
Archaeologist Dr Elizabeth Pimms thoroughly enjoys digging up old skeletons.

But when she is called home from Egypt after a family loss, she has to sacrifice her passions for the sake of those around her.

Attempting to settle into her new role as a librarian, while also missing her boyfriend, Elizabeth is distracted from her woes by a new mystery: a royal Olmec cemetery, discovered deep in the Mexican jungle, with a 3000-year-old ballplayer who just might be a woman.

She soon discovers there are more skeletons to deal with than those covered in dirt and dust.

Suitable for readers young and old, Olmec Obituary is the first novel in a delightful cosy crime series: Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

I bring this book/series up every couple of weeks and I still haven’t been able to get a hold of it. The only way I can find it is as an overpriced e-book and I want a hard copy which, apparently, is difficult to find outside of Australia. I want it. GIMME!


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Thomas De Quincey series by David Morrell
Gaslit London is brought to its knees in David Morrell’s brilliant historical thriller.

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir ‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.

The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey’s essay “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.

In ‘Murder as a Fine Art’, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.

My love affair with good historical fiction knows no bounds. I recently got a copy of the first book in this series at an excellent price from Thriftbooks and am very much looking forward to reading it. I’m saving it for a rainy day and sour mood but still itch to pick it up every time I walk by my book case.


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Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn
“LET THE WICKED BE ASHAMED, AND LET THEM BE SILENT IN THE GRAVE.”
These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward’s death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband’s murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward’s demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

I have quite the love of Raybourn’s other series, The Veronica Speedwell Mysteries, and see no reason why I wouldn’t fall for Lady Julia Grey as well. Historical fiction? Check. Mystery? Check. Bad ass leading lady? Check. Not to mention Raybourn’s writing itself is just lovely. If there weren’t so many books in this series I’d have started it already but once I get started I know I won’t want to stop.


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The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

I’ve been wanting to start on this series for a while but, I have to say, it’s a little intimidating. Just the first book is 662 pages which is a bit of a monster (at least for my attention span) and Rothfuss’s reputation precedes him. I’ll start on this series one day when I’m feeling like conquering the world or something.


 

I got seriously long winded on this one, folks. Sorry. I probably could have left out the book descriptions but I like having them here. That way someone can go, “Yeah! I want to read that, too!” after just giving the description here a quick peruse without having to go look the book up. For getting to the end, as promised, ten point to your Hogwarts House! (Go Ravenclaw!)

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The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates

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I’ll admit it, horror is not often my genre. In the last year I’ve read three horror/thriller books including this one. Just three. Why? I like to sleep at night. Something about this book pulled at me, though. I ran across it while browsing Goodreads a few months ago and it kept popping up in the back of my mind. In the last couple of weeks I’ve tried to pick up a dozen other books and just couldn’t get into them. My mind was begging to read this one. I finally gave in and I must say that this book is different from most of the others I have read of the same genre.

The story begins with Adrienne and her fluffy, slightly overweight cat Wolfgang. An elderly relative of Adrienne’s had recently passed away and she has been left her great-aunt Edith’s property including her home, Ashburn House. Addy doesn’t remember having a great aunt or any relatives at all, for that matter. Sadly though, she is down on her luck and being left a furnished, paid off house is a windfall. Using the last of her cash, she takes a cab to the house she is determined to make into a home without ever seeing it or the town that it is a part of. Desperation and potential homelessness can make you do some silly things.

The house is everything you’d expect out of a setting for a horror story. Set back into the woods, old, spotty electricity, and no phone line.

Alright folks, moment of confession here. I’m honestly having trouble writing this. My desk is against a wall with a stairwell behind me and I keep spinning my chair around expecting something creepy and horrible to be behind me or some nightmare creature to be hanging down from the skylight. I have given myself such a bad case of the willies. It’s terrible. I’m such a wuss. Moving on…

As Addy and Wolf settle into the old Ashburn house they start to notice some strange things about the place. First, it has absolutely no mirrors anywhere on the property. Where a mirror would normally hang there are cryptic messages carved into the walls warning against them. She finds further messages carved into the dining table and door to the attic.

LIGHT THE CANDLE
YOUR FAMILY
IS STILL
DEAD

Wanting to find out more about the mysterious Edith and the people that once lived in the house, Addy discretely asks questions to the people in town. An older fellow, whose father was once the local police chief, tells Addy the story of Edith and her family. In the early 1900s young Edith and her mother, father, aunt, and uncle all resided at Ashburn. They were a very well off family and often went into town. After the locals hadn’t seen or heard from the family in a few days some of them went out to the house to investigate. There they found a blood bath. The family, save Edith, had been horrifically slaughtered. According to the tale, their blood painted the walls and pieces of them were scattered throughout the house. Little Edith was found as the lone survivor, locked away from the mess but was cleared of the crime being only eight and physically unable to cause the carnage.

The story that follows this revelation to Addy is one of nightmares. She slowly begins to discover the reason for the cryptic messages carved around her new home as well as locating an old grave on the property. Adrienne and the fluffy Wolfgang are isolated in the woods and their horrors are just beginning.

As much as this story scared me I still very much enjoyed it. The pacing was well managed and terrible little details were dropped at just the right moment. I physically gasped a few times and nearly hurled the book across the room once or twice when a passage particularly startled me. If you at all enjoy a good horror novel I would definitely recommend this one. Also, for those of you wondering, the cat lives. I doubt I could have said anything kind about the book if he hadn’t. Never kill the cat!

IS IT FRIDAY
LIGHT THE
CANDLE

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

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“The trouble with sociopaths, really, is that you never know where they draw their boundaries.”

 

This book popped up in my Goodreads recommended list months ago. It had a dark creepiness factor that I just couldn’t resist. Not to mention the amount of overly sensitive people hating on it for questionable themes. If you find the topic offense, then don’t read the book. It’s that simple. No need to hate on others for being entertained by a work of fiction.

And, oh, what a chilling work of fiction this is.

I really didn’t expect to love it. Sure, I was hoping for some entertainment and to suspend my own reality for a bit but not to love it. But I did. It is a layered, thought provoking, chilling work of horror and I loved every damn page. It’s one of those books that just reached out, pulled me in, and wouldn’t let go.

We begin with Special Agent Victor Hanoverian. He and his team have brought a girl, a victim, in for questioning. She and over a dozen other girls were rushed to the local hospital after being rescued from a horrific fire. What Hanoverian doesn’t know is why the girls were there and what horrors they faced in that building.

The girl’s name is Maya and it is evident to the police that the others that were rescued from the blaze look to her as a type of leader. All of the the girls but one had detailed, intricate butterflies tattooed on their backs. It is up to Maya to explain to the police what she and the other Butterflies were doing there. The tale she tells to the police is one that would send any mother home to hug her children.

It is Maya’s job to get the police to understand what had happened to them in their garden prison. Each girl had come to the garden when they were 16 or 17 years old as captive victims of the Gardener and his son. He is an older gentleman, obviously of some wealth, that kidnaps young women and makes them, in essence, sex slaves. The Gardener loves the girls in his own way and tattoos each of them with their butterflies and re-names them as a reminder that their previous lives no longer belong to them. They then live in his beautiful garden.

 

“Like beauty, desperation and fear were as common as breathing.”

 

Sure, the kidnapping is terrible. And the rape. But what, at least to me, makes this a horror novel is what inevitably happens to the girls. Each and every one he takes only lives to be twenty-one. On their twenty-first birthday he escorts the girl to a locked chamber. A few days later she is on presentation in the hallway, completely encased in resin, her butterfly tattoo on display. For him it is art and the presentation of absolute beauty before it begins to decay. In the Gardener’s warped mind he is doing them a service preserving their beauty. It never occurs to him that he is a rapist and murderer. He is, in his own demented way, an almost likable character. Any good villain should be.

For being under 300 pages this book sure packs a punch. This psychological thriller had me absorbed until the very last page. As much as I loved this book I will admit that the ending didn’t meet the excellent story telling of the rest. It felt a little forced, like the author felt obligated to give a twist in the plot. The thing is it didn’t really need any twists. The rest of the story easily had the merits to stand on it’s own. The end just took a little bit away from an otherwise wonderful, if disturbing, story.

Admittedly, this book isn’t for everyone. As I mentioned it is not for the sensitive or those easily prone to nightmares. But, if you are into horror and cold thrillers, this is a fantastic book and I would definitely recommend it.