Friday, October 17, 2014

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Master Post

There is very little in life that I love more in life than a readathon. (Bonus points if you know what the above gif is from.) 

I confess that while I have participated in 24 hour readathon's numerous times, I usually end up with what I considering "failing" because things will unexpected pop up in my schedule or I pick really intense books, or take a few too many naps. So this time I'm aiming low. Embarrassingly low.

My goal is to just read something, even if it's just a few pages. I won't be able to read for the full time since I have to work until the mid-afternoon anyway. But I can always hope to sneak in some reading at work. 

The books I am planning to read from are:
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
The Sandman Vol. 2 The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman
The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
The Fall by Bethany Griffin (if I haven't finished it by then). 

No planned food or snacks, but I do plan on having warm apple cider. Mmm!

Happy reading!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Review: The Truth of All Things by Kieran Sheilds

Book: The Truth of All Things by Kieran Shields
Published by Crown; 2012
403 pages
Format: paperback
Genres: Historical Mystery/Thriller
I got this book from the library.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Synopsis via Goodreads: Two hundred years after the Salem witch trials, in the summer of 1892, a grisly new witch hunt is beginning....
When newly appointed Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork.  He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch. 
     Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and brilliant criminalist Perceval Grey.  Distrusted by officials because of his mixed Abenaki Indian ancestry, Grey is even more notorious for combining modern investigative techniques with an almost eerie perceptiveness.  Although skeptical of each other's methods, together the detectives pursue the killer's trail through postmortems and opium dens, into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England.
     Before the killer closes in on his final victim, Lean and Grey must decipher the secret pattern to these murders--a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials.

*Notes* This book was the chosen read for September in the Maine Authors book club that I am a part of. It also is the first completed novel in my goal to read four novels for RIP IX's Peril In The First. (Link to RIP IX on the sidebar of my blog). 

My Thoughts:

Recently I have been going into books blind, but in debating whether or not I wanted to join this book club I did read the synopsis before I dived in. I don't believe that reading the synopsis helped in the slightest, it definitely doesn't do the story justice, but even having read the book in it's entirety, I'm not sure I could come up with a better one. 

I was really intrigued with the premise of the Salem Witch Trials, but spent the first quarter of the book a bit confused, rather than looping back to the events in Salem, it read more like a case study of the Jack the Ripper murders. But I can't really say that it is a complaint. More that the dots connected a lot slower than I expected.

But when those dots connected I was completely blown away. I thought that The Truth of All Things was going to be a breeze to get to because the chapters were really short and to me, 400 pages isn't all that much, but it is not only intense, but so dense. There are so many twists and turns, so many characters to keep track of (many of whom have motive and/or means) and just when you think you may have the plot figured out, there is a huge twist. The last 50 pages or so had me reeling! It was so good! 

An added bonus for me was that the story was set in Portland. Despite being over 100 years in the past I could still pinpoint a few places in the book that were familiar to me. I really liked the dynamic between Grey and Lean. In a way it was almost a Sherlock/Watson relationship. I'm not sure if that was intended by the author or how I chose to read the story. 

I was also impressed by how serious topics were addressed as the story unfolded in both subtle and not so subtle ways, in addition to murder/witchcraft/the occult, there were sections where racism as well as women's rights were touched on. I realize that the author is a contemporary, but it was a bold choice in his writing about that time period. I thought it was very well done.

While I don't feel that I can touch on much of the story without giving away spoilers, I hope that I have stated enough to intrigue you into giving this book a chance. I know there is a second story featuring Lean and Grey and I plan to read it sooner rather than later. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Update - October 5, 2014


Fall has definitely arrived here in Maine. The maple tree in the front yard (perhaps my favorite tree in the entire world, which I have lovingly named Bob..yes I know, I'm strange) is beautiful this year with orange and red leaves. Here is a link to a photo of Bob on my instagram.

I haven't finished a book this week, but I'm nearly done reading A Hollow Dream - Eternal Autumn by Andrew Van Wey. I have several reviews started for other books that I have read recently and now not so recently, but I have a bad case of can't finish things lately.

I have been obsessed with the show Reign. Has anyone else watched it? It follows the life of Mary Stuart (Mary Queen of Scots) from the time she goes to France to marry the dauphin (eventually King Francis II of France) and the challenges she faces trying to uphold the marriage treaty and actually get married. I never had a chance to watch the first season when it aired and now that it is streaming on Netflix, I was super excited.

Friday night I had planned to go to bed early since I had work the next morning. I thought I would watch the first episode of Reign just to see what it was like. Seven episodes later I forced myself to try to sleep and it was definitely a rough morning, but the show is so good! Fun fact: Megan Fellows who played Anne Shirley in the Anne of Green Gables films plays Francis' mother Catherine de Medici. She is definitely not as sweet as Anne was! I'm sure that Reign is full of historical inaccuracies, and the history nerd in me has already noticed a few, but I love me a period drama.

In other news I will be pet sitting over the holiday. I am so excited to be reunited with my buddies Isis and Noah, and I am working on getting their new pup Seraphina to trust me. I went over yesterday after work to get the new details (the new pup abuses too much freedom at nightwith accidents, even though for the most part she is house broken) and to try to make friends. I was greeted with one wimpy bark from Noah and then lots of cuddles. Isis is a little bent out of shape by the new pup (and possibly that she's not the baby anymore) but she came to say hello as well. Sera and I are a work in progress. She was rescued from the streets at about 10 weeks old and the theory is that her mom (who couldn't be caught) instilled a major fear of people in the puppies.

I was there for about 45 minutes and Sera barked at me almost the entire time, poor girl. She did take a treat from me, but immedi
ately ran to the other side of the room. Her owners held her and sat next to me on the couch and were telling her things like "Jenn's nice, she's going to care for you". When Noah was being cuddly she came over to me a few times, not very close, but she seemed more secure with her big brother there. I didn't try to pet her at all because she was scared, but talked to her a bit and she touched her nose to my hand a couple times before backing up.

It took me about a day to win over Noah the first time I watched him, and with Sera it may take a bit longer. But I can tell she is a really sweet dog and we'll get there. Plus, I have permission to spoil with treats and let them lay on the "nice" sofa. I'm kind of hoping that when she realized that Noah and Isis trust me and that not only am I the only one there, but the one feeding her, she will trust me more.

The minor thoughts are do I want to take my laptop to work on blog posts while I'm there? Or do I just want to take some knitting? Which books do I take? I really should be thinking about groceries to bring over, but I did name this blog Booksessed for a reason.

I think that is all my news for this week. I am hoping to get some blogs up or at least scheduled in the next week. I read tons lately, I don't know why I am so lax about reviewing in recent months. Sigh.

Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monthly TBR - October 2014

First up is the recap of what I read in September:
Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett (This was a DNF after about 70 pages, but I invested time in it so it counts)
The Elite by Kiera Cass
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The One by Kiera Cass
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (another DNF)
Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout
Rain by Amanda Sun
The Truth of All Things by Kieran Shields

Here is what I am planning to ambitiously tackle in October:

Bottom to top:
Sandman Vol. 2 The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James*
Horns by Joe Hill
Anya's Ghost by Vera Bosgol
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Reread)
The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

Not pictured:
The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Scribbler Tales Volume 1 by Mary Ann Bernal
A Hollow Dream - Eternal Autumn by Andrew Van Wey
TBD Maine Authors book club pick

*Soon to be airing PBS miniseries, and you know I have to read the book first.

I admit that it looks like a lot, and it may well be, but I think I can tackle it. The graphic novels and short stories will be a breeze to get through. There is the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon this month (October 18th), and I will be house/pet sitting over the extra long Columbus Day weekend. The creatures are super cuddly so they always make great reading/movie watching companions. Now that colder weather has arrived here in Maine, I feel more apt to dive into a good book in the evenings (especially if it involves tea, slipping on some fuzzy socks, and snuggling under a blanket).

I also had a rather large library haul this week, so during the month of October I may sneak in a little reading of those, too. (Post on the haul to come, but you may have noticed in the above photo that Death Comes to Pemberley and Horns came from the library).

Finally, the next book I finish will complete my Goodreads reading challenge for the year! I challenged myself to read 60, since you can't count rereads towards the GR goal. But I do keep a separate spreadsheet of books read during the year that includes rereads so I have an accurate total of books read and other data.

What are your reading plans for October? Will you be participating in the readathon?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Book: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press; 2013
461 pages
Format: Large Print
Genre: Contemporary YA
I got this book from the library.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Synopsis via Goodreads: Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words ...And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...

My Thoughts:

For awhile I have been hearing great things about Rainbow Rowell’s writing but hadn’t read anything by her. (Confession: I have Eleanor & Park on my kindle, but like most books on my kindle, it will sit there for months* while I acquire and read physical books). When we got Fangirl at the library, I thought I would give it a shot.

It took me almost a month to read Fangirl in it’s entirety because the only format we had was Large Print. While some love and/or need the Large Print format, it is very difficult for me to read. I find it challenging and can only read a few pages at a time. If there are also specialized fonts like anything in bold or italics, it’s almost impossible for me to read LP. Furthermore, I always feel like the author is shouting at me, or something.

I am glad I stuck it out because I LOVED this book. Plus, it was about twins, and being a twin myself, it was all the more personal to me. Being someone who didn’t really get the appeal of fanfiction, I found Wren’s scenes of writing about Simon and Baz quite interesting, (HP and Draco, anyone?) and I felt like I got a little bit of insight on that would, though I still am unlikely to read fanfiction. (Sorry, EL James**)

Back to the twins, I loved that there was a lot of emphasis on Cather and Wren being different people, and Wren wanting to be seen as an individual. (That’s all twins really want). But at the same time, there is that special twin bond that will always be there. Good on you, Rainbow Rowell. You made the twin in me very happy.

I am pretty sure that my favorite character was Reagan. She was snarky, and complicated, but a really good friend underneath it all. Levi was a close second. I loved that he was a nice guy, but still had some faults. Bonus points, for being described as always smelling of coffee.

I need to talk about the humor. It is fantastic. I laughed out loud a time or two. My favorite line has to do with a reference to Flowers In The Attic. (Disclaimer: I have never read Flowers in the Attic, but I know enough about it to appreciate the joke. Also, Ew.)

I found the ending to be quite satisfying. I even sighed from happiness as I closed the book. That is the mark of a good story right there. Perhaps when I have less physical books out from work, I will get to Eleanor & Park soon...ish.

*Or possibly years. I only read my Kindle in bed at night when I am too lazy to get up and turn on/off the light.

**Not actually sorry. Not in the slightest.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Sundries September 7, 2014

This week has been a very interesting week. I’m thrilled that it’s September, but part of me can’t believe that it’s already September.

This week was a bit up and down. The animal shelter that I volunteer at had a parvo outbreak and will be closed for the next few weeks while they deal with treating the dogs and pups. I’m hoping for the best, but I’m worried about my furry friends. I love that they are a wonderful no kill shelter and that until this week, never turned away a stray or lost pet. But this week really brought home the importance of the spay/neuter debate as strays without prior medical care can have contagious and potentially fatal diseases. No dog deserves to suffer like that. *Steps off soapbox*

On a happier animal note, at least one of the deer that visits our apple tree has returned. With twin fawns!! They are so cute! Earlier this week we had noticed that there were a lot of apples on the ground. We’d had some heavy rain storms but none so powerful that fresh apples should be knocked off. Mom thought it was the crazy squirrel. (Apparently we have one of those, too). I thought deer or turkeys. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a turkey try to balance in an apple tree. I’ve seen crows fight over the apples on the ground, but I’m not sure if crows are strong enough to knock them from the tree. My house is like Wild Kingdom sometimes. Yesterday we got our answer. At first we just saw the fawns, and one was prancing all over the yard. The momma was hiding on the other side of the tree and all we could see were her legs, until they left through the brush. I always worry about our deer and turkey visitors when hunting season rolls around, so I’m always happy when they return.

This week I have been watching an insane amount of Doctor Who. I rewatched season 7 and the specials to get a refresher for the kickoff of season 8. When Matt Smith’s episodes first aired, I wasn’t a huge fan of his Doctor. (David Tennant will always be my Doctor). Now that I’ve rewatched them, I’ve decided that even though I adore Amy, Rory, and River as companions, I don’t really care for what the Doctor was like during those episodes. But I grew to care for his portrayal of the Doctor more when Clara was his companion. He seemed more focused and caring, but still a madman with a box, instead of just a madman with a box, and an odd choice of hipster fashion.

I’ve watched the first three episodes of season 8 and I love Peter Capaldi already. He’s dark but still a bit silly, and he has a more snarky sense of humor which always appeals to me. 12 may give 10 a run for his money.

I also got into watching The Great British Bake Off. I’ve heard about it for a long time, but never seen it and didn’t really know what it was. So I thought I’d watch an episode just so I’d know. I honestly thought I wouldn’t care for it. But you guys, the show is awesome. I can’t decide if it’s legit awesome or at times so bad that it’s awesome. But I’m hooked either way. I hope Martha wins.

One the blog this week I posted my August Wrap-up/September TBR and my review of (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn.

I finished reading The Elite by Kiera Cass and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I started reading Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett, but DNF’d after about 70 pages. I didn’t like any of the characters, and the book would have been an unpleasant struggle.

I’m currently 20 pages into Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton, and just about ⅔ done The One by Kiera Cass.

Now that I’ve sufficiently rambled, I’m off to drink tea and finish The One.

Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Book: (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
Published by HarperTeen; June 2014
336 pages
Format ARC (ebook)
Genres: Young Adult/Sci Fi/Dystopia
I got this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis via Goodreads: Welcome to Gardnerville.
A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.
Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

Ever close a book after the last page and think, “What the eff did I just read?” That in a nutshell sums up my experience of finishing this book. I kind of still feel lost.

The synopsis sounded awesome, but I felt that at times, I was reading a completely different book than described. I spent a good four hours reading chaos. Sky being an unreliable narrator didn’t help.

I never really got a good sense of who Sky was as a character and how she connected to anyone other than her missing sister Piper, and her volatile relationship with her Great-Grandmother. Sky just seemed vacant and lost, thought that could have been intentional given Sky’s penchant for Forget Me Not’s.

One thing that really annoyed me was that there is so much emphasis on Sky being a Gardner and how as the founder’s of the town, Gardner’s are above everyone else, and not really held accountable for their actions. Yet the de facto mayor of this creepy town is not a Gardner. He is a newcomer and quite young. Why was everyone listening to this guy? It made absolutely no sense to me and every time there was a scene with him, I just found myself being irritated.

The ending also had me so confused. What happened to all the loose ends? Is there a sequel coming? Is this a stand alone? Does anyone have answers?

I know that there are probably a lot of fans of this book, but all in all, it just wasn’t for me. I don’t know if it was too mystical, too ambiguous, or just not my thing. I can say, that it held my interest enough that I read the book all the way through rather than giving up part way and that is something at least.