Strange Weather

Read May 09 – 20

4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Funny story, I almost didn’t finish this collection after reading novel 1 of 4. Snapshot just wasn’t for me, nor do I think it was a good opening considering it almost caused me to DNF this book. I’ve heard from several other readers that this was easily the weakest of the bunch, which makes it so much worse for being story #1. IN SAYING THAT.. don’t do as I almost did.. read this collection!! I’m so happy I pushed through and said okay I’ll give it at least ONE more before I call it off.

SNAPSHOT 

This story was strange af. Fitting, seemingly, but unnecessary and boring. It didn’t occur to me until the very end that it could have been toying with the underlying idea of Alzheimers. A polaroid that steals your memories (a disease stealing your memories??) I kept thinking back to this during the story and maybe that was why I didn’t enjoy it that much.. I don’t know. It just wasn’t for me. I see reviews where people refer to it as emotionally charged? Where? Strange indeed.

LOADED

A powerful story, given the gun crisis in America. Hill knows how to pack a punch and let me tell you.. that ending certainly packed a punch. I am very, very glad to be Canadian.

ALOFT

Easily my favourite of the bunch. It was so perfectly strange! A sky diver lands atop a mysterious cloud that is so much more than it first appears to be. The cloud is alien in nature and does not want to lose their new main man, Aubrey. I felt the back story added just the right touch of emotion needed to solidify this story as being my favourite of the collection. Anything to do with cancer hits a little too close to home, as I’m sure for anyone who has had a loved one be personally victimized by the nasty disease.

RAIN 

Post apocalyptic meets science, the worst combination. Humans destroying themselves over power, weapons, nuclear warfare etc. The ending we know is inevitable and one Hill executed perfectly, no pun intended. This particular ending involved knife like crystals falling from the sky in the storm of the century, impaling those unfortunate enough to be caught in the rain. It touched on LGBTQ issues and the bigotry that some humans possess. A+.

Side note .. can you guys read more than one book at a time?? Every time I try I fail and end up finishing the one I’m most interested in instead of spreading my time.. anyone else?

Here’s my cat and I enjoying some sunshine.

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New Releases vs. TBR pile

Hitting that reading slump can be quite the downer. Especially after a good couple of months of reading consistently. I find that I, probably like a lot of you, struggle with sticking to your current TBR vs buying new releases. I attempted the winter buying ban, and bought 20 new books. (Side note: I usually* buy second hand only to save myself money, *with the exception of brand new releases.)

Bookstagram makes it so difficult to stick to your current TBR. You follow all of these wonderful bookish people who are constantly pushing new books down your throat… and I am WEAK. I love new books. I love visiting book stores, I love smelling old books, I love the aesthetic of books. And sometimes you need a good ghost story while other times you need a good cry.

I have recently started doing monthly lists that I am tentatively sticking to. For example: In the month of April I read mainly books that I received in my Nocturnal Readers Box subscription. It is so easy to let books from sub boxes pile up that I thought I would make a dent in them. The month of May is dedicated to the YA books I’ve accumulated throughout the year, some old, some new. I tend to binge series once I start them so for the month of June I’m really wanting to start Stephen Kings Dark Tower series! This method seems to be working for me and it gives me a sense of accomplishment at months end.

I attempted the TBR jar but it just got too out of hand for me. I would choose a book out of it and just decide I wasn’t in the mood. I have 2 TBR jars still on my shelf. One for Stephen King and one for everything else.

How do you keep track of new releases vs. your TBR books. How do you choose what to read and when to read them??

War Storm (Red Queen #4)

Let me start off by saying that I gave ALL of the other books in this series at least a 4 star rating. I was hooked. I loved the characters, the story, the development. All of it. I loved everything about this series, until War Storm. Many things contributed to my 2.5 star rating and overall I am just plain disappointed that an incredible series like this ended … like that.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, TURN BACK NOW.
2.5/5 ⭐️⭐️💫

“He loved the crown before he loved me, whether he knows it or not”

Okay, you’re still here. Let’s talk.

I stayed up for a solid 2 hours refreshing my memory on books 1-3. I read blogs, goodreads etc. to remind myself where the story left off. I reminded myself of the cliffhangers, the romance, the action packed duels. All of it. Then I started War Storm, and man did it start slow.

So let me start by saying I did NOT enjoy the different perspectives and then break them down for you.

Evangeline
I don’t ever remember Evangeline Samos being so… juvenile. I saw her as a war mongrel, built to destroy and fight to get what she believes she deserves. This book softened her to the point of destruction of character. Yes, we did see a softer side of an otherwise rough character.. but it just seemed so… fake? I don’t know. I just didn’t like it. I thought the element of her love story was well written, the only love story in this whole book I actually gave a shit about, to be honest with you. I mean at one point she was all “ugh.” What? Why? It seemed so out of place in this world, among these characters.

Cal & Mare

Spoiler alert, again, and if you’re still reading don’t be upset. Kings Cage ended with Cal not choosing Mare and Mare not choosing Cal. I was devastated. YOU TWO BELONG TOGETHER.  And then I read almost 300 pages before I even felt anything between the two of them. WHY? Remember *that* dance scene in Glass Sword (or was it Red Queen?) You know the one. I was rooting for these two. I really was. And then by the third quarter of this book I didn’t even care if one of them died. In fact, I was almost hoping one of them would because then the reader would at least FEEL something. Nah. It was all attempt at emotion and then misplaced action scene after action scene. OH, you’re having a fancy dinner.. NAH, RAIDERS ARE HERE. AND NOW IRIS AND HER GANG ARE IN YOUR PALACE PLACE AFTER NOT BEING ABLE TO SAVE THE BRACKEN CHILDREN FOR MONTHS. Who then played no role in the ending at all? Stupid. Waste of writing space and my time. Mare is all, brood brood brood, I can’t accept the throne with Cal because we can’t have a throne etc etc. BLAH BLAH BLAH. I didn’t feel a damn thing for her at all. Nor Cal. And then there was that one awkward scene where they mention something about him being 20 and I just lost all interest in the book. I realize the book is juvenile and they are young but let your readers forget that and maybe place them a bit older in their minds for sake of sanity. Especially now when you’re implying they’re humping like rabbits and they’re 18 and 20. LOL. thanks but bye.

Maven

THE ULTIMATE DISSERVICE TO A WONDERFUL CHARACTER. There was so much potential. Save him, kill him, wound him. Nope. Just let him be a brat and then have meaningless interactions with his brother and Mare. WHO EVEN WROTE THIS BOOK? Because it doesn’t seem like it was even written by the same author who had me staying up til 4 in the morning finishing the first 3 books. Poor Maven. Anything would have been better than that stupid ending with him. WHY AVEYARD WHY. Our little darkling. We should have seen him die in a sacrifice, for some redemption, or give us a glimmer of hope that there is a whisper strong enough to reverse Elaras doing.

Iris

I could have skipped her chapters entirely and been okay. Why are you relevant again? And then that scene where her and Cal fight…. NO EMOTION AT ALL. It was poorly written and rushed. In fact, the whole book can be described as that, rushed. Aveyard, if you needed to get more story out then get more story out. Be all, JK THIS IS NOT THE LAST BOOK HA HA. Iris was annoying and *powerful* she seemed like a pompous brat. Girl, bye.

I had so much hope. I wanted there to be so much in this book. I finished it quickly, only because I forced myself to and I’m glad it’s over. I mean, maybe it’s me. Maybe having just read ACOTAR I am a little high on my YA horse in expectations … but come on. You have to admit that this was easily the weakest book in the quartet. The ending is what really solidified the less than 3 star rating. Bye Cal, Bye Mare. Gotta go find myself or some shit. Waves frantically. GTFO.

Thoughts?

WWW Wednesday!

I love finding all of the daily blogging prompts via all of your amazing blogs that I follow! It’s fun having a prompt for blogging and sometimes it’s just what you need to get those creative juices flowing. Soooo without further ado .. WWW!

What are you reading?

The finale in Victoria Aveyards NYT best selling Red Queen series. I am currently on page 323 and LOVING it. I wish I would have had time to re read the series prior to starting this one but I am too afraid of spoilers so I must press on. I don’t know yet if it will earn a solid 5 from me as I do have some qualms with the structure and story line. I’ll post a review when I’m done.

What did you read last?

This is a touchy subject .. I’m halfway through Strange Weather by Joe Hill and The Colour Purple by Alice Walker .. both got tossed aside for my beloved War Storm! The last series I finished was ACOTAR.

What will you read next?

I’m really looking forward to The Outsider by Stephen King which gets released May 22nd. However, I read that there is a potential spoiler for the Hodges trilogy in it .. and I haven’t read that yet so I am debating holding off reading it until I’m able to get through that trilogy!

Happy hump day pals! Stay weird

Top ten Tuesday

For this top ten Tuesday I thought I would do my top 10 reads I’ve read so far this year. I’ve read a total of 27 books and here are my favourites, in no particular order.

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

3. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

4. Cold Moon over Babylon by Michael McDowell

5. The Shining by Stephen King

6. Entropy in bloom by Jeremy Robert Johnson

7. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

8. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

9. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

10. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Entropy in Bloom

Read February 24 – March 14

5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This entire collection was 5/5 for me. I haven’t gotten around to a review because I don’t know if there are good enough words to convince you that you HAVE to read this. There is not a single dud in the entire collection and that left me in complete awe after finishing this off.

I should state, for my own piece of mind, as well as yours, that there are a lot of trigger warnings throughout the stories. Johnson deals with subjects of rape, drug abuse, violence, death etc. all told through unreliable narrators who keep you guessing if they are being honest or just experiencing complete psychosis. I mean this collection is weird. Beyond weird, and that is just my cup of tea. It feels like Johnson has created a world in which anything and everything is possible and the stories compiled together are like one big box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get next.

My favourites from the collection include:

  • The League of Zeroes in which people cut off their own lips in the name of beauty
  • The Gravity of Benham Falls in which even really handsome men can turn out to be really horrible people
  • Dissociative Skills in which a young boy plays surgeon on himself

Top 4 Thursday: Great young adult books

Hello friends, new and old! Thank you to all of my followers, I hope you enjoy my bookish posts as much as I enjoy yours! Today I’m spending my time reading and watching never before viewed Stephen King movies .. starting with Stand by Me. Shame on me, I know, I just never got around to it. Hope you’re enjoying today, whatever it is that you’re doing.

Top 4 Thursday was started by Ally Writes Things . Each Thursday is a different theme, similar to top 5 Wednesday! This week is “Great young adult books.”

  1. Red Rising series by Pierce Brown 
    Goodreads link 
    This series is EVERYTHING I look for in a YA novel. It has full lead characters, with tons of growth. It is heartfelt, it is vengeful, it is eloquently written in a way only Brown can surely nail this hard. The characters are incredible and you quickly find yourself amongst friends. They are witty, cunning and brutal enough to fight for what is theirs. I understand a lot of strife given it being considered sci-fi but don’t let that prevent you from reading this series. I haven’t met a soul who hated it enough to DNF the entire series. SO. GOOD. I haven’t loved a series this much since Potter.
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas 
    Goodreads link 
    So if you’ve been living under a rock like I have, you haven’t read this, until now. I just finished this entire series (except ACOFAS) on May 8th. I binged all 3 books in 6 days. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the world that Maas created, full of incredible characters with so much depth. AND THAT TWIST. No spoilers obviously but wow do you ever change your mind about certain characters from book 1 to book 2. I hesistated for so long because of the hype surrounding this book and while I’m glad I did so I could binge it.. I still can’t believe I waited that long. A must read for young adults, I truly don’t believe it is appropriate for some teens due to the sexual content involved, but to each their own.
  3. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon 
    Goodreads link 
    A series that never truly got the hype it rightfully deserves. This story is SO unique. I will be the first to admit that the world building is slow, and Shannons use of language can be difficult at times but it is all worth it in the end. The characters are well developed and we get a glimpse into a world I never want to become a reality. It has a good blend of magic, romance, a strong female lead and action. I enjoyed this series so much (except for the last one, which I’ve yet to read) and I truly urge you to at least give the first book a chance!!
  4. The Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard 
    Goodreads link
    I devoured this series. It is a typical YA novel in that it follows the trope of the triangular romance, the strong female lead who is defiant and wanting to sacrifice herself at every turn, strong friendships etc. But I still loved it. I enjoyed the X-men type feel of the different characters with powers. I felt that the action scenes were well written and the characters had enough depth for you to truly care about them. So in saying all of this, HELL YES AM I EXCITED FOR WAR STORM. BRING ON THE LIGHTNING MARE.

Cold Moon Over Babylon

Read April 20- April 30

5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cold Moon Over Babylon was written in 1980 by Michael Mcdowell. It takes place in a sleepy southern town, known for their blueberries and quiet life. Strange happenings start taking place after a local girl goes missing and turns up in the river, an obvious victim of a homicide. Margaret Larkin is only 14 years old. Her parents perished in the Babylon river years and years ago, their bodies never to be found. Mysterious events start taking place in Babylon start happening after Margaret’s death, especially to those close to her.

Initial thoughts:

MY GOODNESS. What a ride!! McDowell is a complete savage.. and I don’t use that term lightly. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, terrifying, ghost story / murder mystery .. look no further! I am legitimately going to have nightmares after this book. McDowells writing style is blunt and to the point. His savagery is shown in a George RR Martin-y sort of way, where no one is safe and everyone can and will die. Just when you think you have things figured out he leaves a chapter on a cliff hanger that literally made me scream out WHAT THE FUCK. Pure savagery. If you haven’t read McDowell you need to jump aboard the train and pay homage to this poor dead mans memory by reading all of his books that you can get your hands on.. I know I will be.

There are pros and cons to reading Mcdowell. His writing is articulate, if not somewhat wordy. His descriptions can be blunt but they can also be exquisitely drawn out to accurately convey the feeling he is trying to pass onto his readers. Mcdowell uses very dark elements in this novel, much to his advantage in setting the stage for the evil in a small town vibe. The last portion of the book was fast paced and scary as hell! My first full length novel by him and man was I not disappointed.

*Prior to reading this novel I had read Halley’s Passing in Valancourt book 2 and it quickly became one of my all time favorite short stories.. EVER. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Elementals!

50 Classics to Read before 2021

Here is my tentative list of the 50 classics I plan on reading to kick start my classic club reads. If there are any that you think I MUST switch out, please tell me! I have read a select few of these (mostly in high school) but I plan on re-reading all of the ones I have previously read.

Classic Club Blog 

  1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  2. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  3. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  7. Moby Dick; or, The Whale – Herman Melville
  8. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  9. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  10. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  11. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  13. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  14. The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo
  15. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  16. East of Eden by John Steinback
  17. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  18. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  19. 1984 by George Orwell
  20. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
  21. Ulysses by James Joyce
  22. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  23. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  24. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  25. Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
  26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  27. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  28. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  29. King Lear by William Shakespeare
  30. The Oddysey by Homer
  31. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  32. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  33. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  34. MacBeth by William Shakespeare
  35. For whom the Bell tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  36. Dune by Frank Herbert
  37. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  38. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  39. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  40. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  41. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  42. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  43. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  44. Rebecca by Daphne Maurier
  45. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  46. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  47. The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  48. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
  49. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  50. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Wicked Deep

Read May 01

5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I can’t remember the last time I started and finished a book in the same day. Granted I had the day off and no plans so I had all the time in the world to read but wow, this story was totally captivating.

For the YA genre this one is completely unique. It reads very much like Practical Magic: sleepy town, curse, “witches”, romance. And Ernshaw nailed all of it. It had enough magical elements to bring it to life and a compelling back story spanning 200 years to keep you interested throughout.

The prose is stunning. The writing poetic, and damn does she know how to toss together a believable/ natural love story that had me all heart eyes. Throw in some folklore with a dash of ghost story and I’m hooked. I adored everything about this novel and I will be looking forward to more from this debut author!!