Kat's Books

Photographer, reader, mama, cat-lover in Seattle. Originally from England. I'm usually busy taking cat photos at a cat rescue or reading books...

I put my reviews up on Goodreads (along with my huge TBR list), and on Amazon, and take part in the Penguin First to Read program. I have MS so I'm tired a lot but it's a good excuse to have a lie-down and read a book!

Absolutely riveting thriller inspired by a real-life case; I couldn’t put this down!

Mister Tender's Girl: A Novel - Carter Wilson

I waited with baited breath to receive my finished copy after reading the initial excerpt, and I was not disappointed when I got the actual book in my hands. ‘Mister Tender’s Girl’ kept me riveted from start to finish; the tension, and gripping story just didn’t let up for the entire novel.

 

The main character, Alice Gray (formerly Hill), has been victim to the atrocity of being attacked and stabbed by the Glassin twins, some 14 years ago now, and the crime was ‘encouraged’ by their fanatical attachment to graphic novels that Alice’s father wrote and drew about a character called ‘Mister Tender’. For many readers (and author Carter Wilson writes about this at the end of the novel), this will remind them of the real-life crimes spurred on by the Slender Man case.


Alice now lives in a world where she has tried to run away from her terrible past back in England, where her father was also later attacked and killed, her brother has been diagnosed with mental illness, although her mother is pulling all the strings for him; along with all that, Alice gradually finds out there’s a whole online community dedicated to following Alice’s new life, obsessed with her struggle, and she comes to learn that the past is catching up with her. There’s now a ‘Mister Interested’ on her tail, and figures from her past are popping up, making her her terrible PTSD symptoms and panic attacks incredibly difficult to deal with, especially in her new life that she has tried to create; she now owns a coffee shop, and has dedicated time to make her body and mind stronger in response to her past. It seems her changes are not enough though, as she is living in a world of constant terror, anxiety, and fitful dreams.

 

I feel like this is more than just a thriller though; it kept me glued to my pages for 2 days straight, as often as I could get reading time in, Wilson has done an excellent job in creating a character who has worked hard on herself and fights back against all odds, shows great tenacity, and although she is struggling with problems like PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks, she continues to rule out being a victim any longer. She also wants to have strong bonds with her brother and sees his struggle as well. I like that Wilson delved into the ‘scary depths’ of mental illness here because this was important to these characters.
I know you have to suspend your disbelief about the cops becoming involved at certain junctures of the plot perhaps (I’m trying so hard not to reveal what happens!), but the tension and drama in this book doesn’t let up and I was INSIDE this book all the way; it was written THAT well.

For writing Alice as a survivor who decided to fight back after she became a victim, I say bravo. And for making it so that I forgot about about real-life scenario comparisons, extra kudos. I also enjoyed the writing tactic of taking the reader inside other worlds within the book successfully, without losing me in the least: the children’s story, the graphic novel, the past storylines, the dreams, the Internet chatroom, all very cleverfully employed.
*Extra points for taking me back to Dover, England, where my dad lives.

 

Overall, this was one enthralling suspenseful read, and just like I couldn’t wait to get this in my hands, I can’t wait to read what Carter writes next. I couldn’t get ENOUGH of this book, I just wanted more. That’s ALWAYS a sign of a good book.
*Thank you to Sourcebooks and BookishFirst for my copy of the book.

 

 

 

 

**First Impression of what I’ve read so far (written after reading initial EXCERPT):
I actually slept on my first look of the book before writing this ‘impression’, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what I read. I also lapped up those first 30 pages (and kept swiping, hoping there was more on my Kindle, because I didn’t want it to end yet), because I was immediately drawn into the story that Carter has written. Alice is gripped in this world of anxiety and ongoing terror after what happened to her (and her father) so many years ago, and those feelings just emanate off those pages. I was immediately made to feel what she was feeling and because I love psychological thrillers in general, this just felt unique, with the graphic novel element, just jumping off the pages too. The writing was smooth and felt natural as Alice’s ‘voice’, and out of all of the ‘First Impressions I’ve read yet, this is the one that has pulled me in the fastest. Alice is haunted daily by her past, while trying to hide behind a veneer in a different world where no one really knows her, and now this ‘Mister Tender’ shows up?! I absolutely am dying to know what happens next and I would be honored to read and review an early copy of this thriller. It looks fantastic.

Overall a fun read about one of the most iconic superheroes; needed a bit more action and emotional insight

Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons Series) - Marie Lu

I couldn't wait for this book to come out, having enjoyed the first book in the DC Icons series, 'Wonder Woman: Warbringer', and because it was author Marie Lu that would be taking on the task of the story of the origins of the Dark Knight. I think that anyone taking on such an iconic character outside of graphic novels is pretty brave, but massively exciting! After reading 'Warcross' it seemed like Marie was primed to take this on.

First of all, as a reader of a story about such a notorious character as Batman, I needed to remind myself going in, that this wasn't the character with the mask and the cape and the gadgets. This is about a teen called Bruce Wayne, with his teenage friends, who still has the sad backstory of his parents being brutally murdered in an alleyway in Gotham City, and he is primed to now inherit the family fortune. He has barely realized his desire to rid the streets of the 'bad guys' yet, and he hasn't developed the emotional 'shield' that we witness in various popular incarnations of his character. It's like reading a fresh and quite naive version of the young Batman/Bruce Wayne we have all come to know, to the point that we are wondering if it's the same guy...until about the last quarter of the book, where the action picks up for young Bruce Wayne.

The novel seems pretty slow because from most of our recollections of this character, where he's usually busy doing what he does best: hauling in the crooks for the police department in Gotham City. In 'Nightwalker', Bruce Wayne is doing community service work inside Arkham Asylum (as you do), mopping floors, and talking to a mysterious and beautiful criminal called Madeleine (so there's quite a bit of talking and mind games, honestly). You get the sense that Bruce has a lot of personal work on himself to do, and has a long way to go before he's going to be a kick-ass crime-fighter (this girl really knows how to pull a fast one on him). But you see the beginnings of the Batman that eventually emerges and how his personal relationships are a vital catalyst for him. It's fun to read his interactions with his butler Alfred, and I'd love to have seen more of that, but that's probably out of familiarity that I say that.

Overall, it's a fun read, but low on action content (I hoped for more!), and I wanted more insight and a deeper window into his personal and emotional world; there could have been more development with his friends, especially given his age. This fits in pretty nicely after 'Warbringer' and I enjoyed reading the snippet of the Catwoman book at the very end; I have high hopes for that one too, even though I know less about that character. My son's biggest complaint (he's just ten), is that these well-known YA authors (to me!) are not doing his favorite Marvel Icons as well. Captain America, Adam Silvera?

Quirky book that crosses the tech world with a LOT of bread-baking; I say make it into a TV show

Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

What an interesting read, as in, I’ve never read anything quite like that before, and I’ve never come away from a book that was NOT a cookbook, thinking about food like I have with this one. Bread, glorious bread! It’s the central subject, and I was actually warned before reading it about the ‘dangers’ of reading it on an empty stomach, and about how you end up craving your carbs afterwards. A young lady who discovers a love of baking bread and gives up her life in the tech world is the simplest way to put this book, but it’s SO much more.

What I didn’t expect was the underlying long-distance love story, which I enjoyed very much, and several other little quirks that author Robin Sloan brings to the (restaurant) table. He has a way with words that is so unusual and full of fabulous descriptions that your senses are filled up when you read this book. I hate to admit it, but there were times that I was so distracted by the descriptions of noises (these were surprisingly the most amazing to me), smells, tastes, that I lost track of the story at times. Sloan also comes up with the most glorious names for characters! And the contrast in the book between technology and the basic act of doing something simple like baking bread is such a fantastic thing to think about. What may turn off some readers is the constant dialog about bacteria and fungus (which of course is central to the basis for starting off bread, as well as cheese); I’m not squeamish but it distracted me sometimes! But there’s a lot of science in cooking, and that has to brought up if you’re talking about this topic in-depth.

I can absolutely see this novel being made into a TV show, and these characters and the concept being written about by the creators of maybe ‘The Good Place’ plus the writers of ‘The Office’. There’s a lot of ‘food for thought’ for a TV version for something even beyond the confines of this book. 

I can see why this has become an unusual, and almost ‘cult’ hit of a book; just don’t read it  when you’re hungry. 

*It’s also the best advertisement I’ve ever seen for King Arthur Flour. 

‘Shadowsong’ takes on a dark tone in this second half of this lavish duology

Shadowsong - S. Jae-Jones

First of all, I want to fully appreciate the sentiments of the author’s at the very beginning of the book, about mental illness, and how S. Jae-Jones is writing the main character Liesl as a person with bipolar disorder. She makes a grand gesture by opening her book in this way, and by recognizing that self-harm and suicidal ideation are struggles that should be talked about, and that anyone who is depressed should not be alone.
In turn, she’s acknowledging that while Wintersong may have been a bright mirror of having her voice heard and valued, Shadowsong is the dark one, and reflects another side of her. We all know that authors’ works are personal, but we immediately and literally feel that shadow.
The writing and language is as beautiful as ever, but I will admit to sometimes finding myself bogged down and confused. I also had trouble getting invested in any character and Liesl, as the protagonist, because she struggles with her moods, it’s hard to support her ventures and forgive her misgivings, even though you know she needs ‘help’ with it all. Overall, it made the story take on a tone that is quite different from Wintersong and I’ll be interested to see how many fans see this part of the duology.

Exhilarating read set at the dawn of WW2; a young Jewish girl becomes a spy and infiltrates Nazi academy

Orphan Monster Spy - Matt Killeen

This was such an exhilarating read and a book that really is so different from anything else in the YA genre right now; I read this in its entirety during one day of the '24in48' Readathon this weekend, I absolutely couldn't put it down.
Set at the dawn of World War 2, Sarah has just witnessed her mother's murder, after fleeing their home because of Jewish round-ups, and somehow lands in the care of a British spy, Captain Floyd. He takes her under his wing, who realizes that her long blond hair, pale skin, and blue eyes, make her look less like the Jew that she is, and more like the Aryan Elite that makes her a perfect infiltrate at the Rothenstadt boarding school, an academy for Nazi general's daughters. Now under a new identity as Ursula Haller, Sarah is suddenly on a mission to gather secrets from within, and she is thrown among the wolves where some of the nastiest discipline happens in the name of the Fuhrer.
Every day, it feels like there's a danger of her identity being discovered, and even her recurrent nightmares threaten to give her away; throughout the book she has them, and she also continuously 'speaks' to her 'Mutti' for strength, although she has passed away. You constantly get the feeling it's very difficult knowing how hard it is to get through each day without a person to confide in, with no one to trust.
The entire book is built around the character Sarah/Ursula, and author Matt Killeen depicts a young teen who has to be very strong, makes hard decisions, has to be very brave, and at times, wishes she could just break down, and in many ways, is still so so immature. I would imagine this to be the way it was for many children forced to grow up in war time (regardless of circumstance).
While I don't know how many readers will go into this with extreme detail of World War 2 (being from Britain, having a WW2-obsessed dad I know plenty, believe me), I had SO much anxiety for Sarah throughout the book. I couldn't trust a single, sodding character! I fully realize that this is YA, and Killeen wasn't about to turn this any scarier, but it did get me wondering how much worse things could have turned... There's a lot more war left, after the point the book ended too! More adventures for this spy?
I'm going to say immediately that it will be definitely be in contention for a top ten spot for me this year. Any book that sucks me back into a time period where you think about how your very existence could be always in questionable danger, makes such a mark on me, and I hope others reading really felt that too. It made such a change to read a novel about this era for this age group. Put it on your TBR, everyone!!!

A quick novella before moving onto the real deal: bring on the killer mermaids

Rolling in the Deep - Mira Grant

So this was a quick read, in preparation for reading 'Into the Drowning Deep' for my Horror Postal Book Club. It's a quick novella, and gives you a little 'bloody' taste of what's to come in 'Drowning Deep', and gives background to the novel. Killer mermaids finally have their own book, and I'm looking forward to the real deal!

Compelling and timely read; came away with a lot more than I anticipated

Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel - Sarah Vaughan

I have come away from reading this novel with so much more than I anticipated. This is more than a portrait of a marriage rocked by an affair. More than a story about a scandal that rocks the Houses of Parliament and ends up in the the Daily Mail. And it's more than a droll courthouse drama with a Junior Minister at the center of the story.

Told from several perspectives, and from both the past and present, 'Anatomy of A Scandal' is primarily told in the first person by Kate Woodcroft, who is the prosecuting lawyer in the case against James Whitehouse, accused of raping Olivia Lytton, his researcher and with whom he had an affair with. His wife Sophie wants to believe he didn't actually rape her but continues on as if she is willing to forgive his transgressions. All these characters are well-fleshed out and developed; Sophie and Kate's emotions are raked through with a fine-toothed comb and it's difficult to read much of it without feeling incredibly involved with their contrasting worlds. It's also so rich with descriptive prose, as it's written so meticulously and with such care and thought.

The novel is hard to completely discuss without giving too much away (massive twists) but I will say that Sarah Vaughan has written such a timely and compelling novel: it's so much more than an ordinary thriller or courtroom drama, and it needs to be on everyone's list of books to read, especially if they intend to read any book this year that will make them ask difficult questions about morality, power, privilege, and the most difficult topic on everyone's lips right now - sexual assault. The book gets so uncomfortable at times, it's hard not to see conversation coming out of it. While there may be parts of the book that might be hard to read, Vaughan has crafted both an excellent drama with a fantastic twist, but also a timely novel that can't help but be a conversation piece.

Powerful and beautiful collection of adult fairytales, that would have impressed the Brothers Grimm

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic - Sara Kipin, Leigh Bardugo

This is a powerful collection of fairytales, and it would have made the Brothers Grimm incredibly impressed. Leigh Bardugo has such a disctinctive ‘voice’ when it comes to her writing, and it lends itself well to allegorical tales such as these, with vivid imagery, and vibrant characters, some frightening, and some beautiful.

You can’t help but be drawn into even the most scary stories, just like you did when you heard Little Red Riding Hood’ for the first time, but this you realize is on a much grander and more lavish scale.
The book itself is a delight to hold and read, and the illustrations by Sara Kipin make it a keepsake you’ll want to treasure. It’s not a book to rush through and the stories are definitely ones that make you think. Thorny, sumptuous and very clever.

Beautiful, terrifying, spellbinding and vivid; it’s easy to see why this is a YA horror classic

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

How had I not read this amazing ghost story, filled with blood and a touch of romance before now? Spurred on by the fact the author Kendare Blake will be here in town for a signing, and me just knowing by looking at the cover that I was going to love the book (and therefore read it at my usual breakneck speed), I had to read this at last. I know Blake has new books out but it's easy to see why this has become the sort of book that people recommend when you ask ' do you know of any good YA ghost stories?'. Well, yes, I do.

 

This is a 'new' classic: there's the chilling haunted house, the handsome ghost hunter Cas, the terrifying, beautiful ghost of Anna, and a tale that doesn't let up until the very last page. It's gory, funny, romantic, vivid, and just a brilliant piece of writing. It's also heartbreaking, and not just a fluffy piece of young adult literature. The best part of waiting a few years before getting to a book is that the second one has already been written! Nothing but good things to say about a very dark and chilling but fantastic novel. Instant favorite. 

Highly British YA thriller about boarding school elites; quick entertaining read

S.T.A.G.S. - Bennett D. Hill

As soon as I find out there’s a book about boarding school to read, I’m there. I’m just a little bit spurred on by the fact I went to boarding school myself at the age of 11 (encouraged by reading books by Enid Blyton, in fact), and so I’ll eat up any book on the subject. Harry Potter was quite a thing, after all.
S.T.A.G.S. is far from being Hogwarts, however.
The main character, Greer, is at a prestigious private school (St. Aidan The Great School, which doesn’t in real life exist), on scholarship, among many wealthy kids from aristocracy. She feels out of place and is both somehow reluctant and desperate to fit in.
She gets invited on a fancy ‘hunting, shooting, fishing’ weekend by the top group of kids at the school, known as the Medievals, and led by the dashing but snobbish and rather repugnant Henry de Warlencourt.
Greer is both blown away by the lifestyle of these wealthy young elites, who are used to being tended on by servants, and somehow as if they are grooming her to be one of them, along with two other ‘Savages’ like her. The whole weekend is filled with fine foods, and the activities of Old, (the hunt, shooting pheasant, and fishing), and connection to the outside world is abandoned. The three of these invited students suddenly seem like the hunted and the weekend turns very sour.
While the story was exciting to read in general, I have good things to say about this book and few misgivings. The premise of these three invitees being trapped with these Medievals, these kids who are sometimes so nauseating (and I’ve met some of them in my past) is spot on, and becomes frightening. The hunt and the shoot can be hard to stomach (I am dead set against these antiquated ‘sports of Old) and can’t stand the glee taken by the wealthy in thinking that these pasttimes that connect them to the past should be glorified. But I really relished how the author depicted life in the stately home, and loved how Bennett also wrote about Greer’s connection to
her father through watching old movies together (especially since I’m a film buff).
The ending was pretty clever and wound tightly in a neat bow, and overall this is a entertaining read. I think especially so for American readers, since this is highly ‘British’ in its approach and plot.
While this is already out in the UK, thank you for the early release from NetGalley for the book here in the US.

Popular book that's also important look at mental illness; this one surprised me

Turtles All the Way Down - John Green

I'm really glad I got around to reading this, and I read as part of a postal book club with some book buddies. I may well have skipped this mega-popular book (I like rebelling like that) unless we had picked it, and I hadn't actually read any John Green before either. It was such a hyped book (what's with the turtles? the spiral on the cover?), that I was immediately suspicious, so I'm happy to say it was so much better than I expected it to be.
Since so many people in the book world HAVE read it, I won't summarize the premise, but I will speak a bit about the topic of mental illness, since that's the core issue at hand within the novel. Because of my own past struggles with mental illness (particularly depression and anxiety, including intrusive thoughts, which the main character Aza has severe issues with), I connected strongly with the story and Aza. I too suffered some loss and struggled with grief. I personally sought out help from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and tried countless medications, all of which was so vivid in my mind when reading, and I remembered my old battles of the past quite well. I wanted to reach out and be the chorus to tell Aza that she would indeed survive this.
Aza was extremely blessed to have fierce love from her mom and her best friend Daisy, and while I appreciate the inner look at the battle against the illness, there are no names put on it, nor many distinct solutions pursued. The extreme societal stigma surrounding mental illness is also not discussed; is this a good or necessary thing? I couldn't decide. Maybe there wasn't a place for it here.
I loved the character Davis, and I loved the connections in this book. Overall, I'm happy I read this and loved the look at Aza's struggle and the bravery it takes to write about this topic, but the message is that there is hope, and that there is help. I have TOO much to say about this stuff so I'll shut up about it now!
PS. I'm glad no turtles were harmed in the writing of this novel.

It’s all about ME! Thanks for the interview, Kate!

#24 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Kat's Books

Reblogged from BookLikes:

 

All book lovers know that cats and books go well together. Meet Kat, a true avid reader and a cat lover with an amazing book box library ;)

 

Follow Kat's Books blog on BookLikes: http://kamoorephoto.booklikes.com/

 

 

When did you discover you’re a book lover? 

 

I've truly been a book lover all my life; I was the kind of child that loved going to the library, and got into trouble for bringing my book to the dinner table, and loved organizing my bookshelves. My parents were (and still are) avid book readers, so I'm sure that played a huge part in it. I even fell in love with a series of books about boarding school (by Enid Blyton) so much, that I got my wish to go to an English boarding school (we lived in Hong Kong at the time). Bonus points for looking up where I went: Battle Abbey. 

 

 

How did your book blogging adventure start and how did it affect your (reading) life? 

 

I started doing reviews, and then started receiving more ARCs, and discovered BookLikes. I enjoy posting reviews and organizing my books online, and hopefully others will read something I wrote and it will help them decide what to read or buy next. I guess it makes me more conscious of what I read next.   

 

 

What are you reading right now? 

 

I'm reading the ARC for a book called The Afterlives byThomas Pierce, which is a book that almost defies description. It's fascinating, and it's out January 9th, '18. I've also just taken on an epic 'buddy read' of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss  , which is 752 pages long (what am I thinking?!). I hope at some point to just focus on that one though. (I've got it on audio too, though)   

 

The Afterlives: A Novel - Thomas PierceThe Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) - Patrick Rothfuss

 

Do you read one book or several at a time? 

 

I usually only read one at a time, and generally take 2-3 days to finish a book if I'm not too busy and if life isn't too crazy. I like being able to focus on one book, so I can really grasp the story and characters, and only sometimes take on another. I find it's easier to take on a second if it's a different genre, or it's in a different medium (ie audiobook/ebook).   

 

 

You wish to read 100 books in 2018 - we keep our fingers crossed! How much time do you spend reading? 

 

Well, I only really started tracking my book-reading last June, and I read 69 from June until the end of the year. I usually read several hours late at night (I kind of have an insomnia problem) when it's quiet, and when everyone else is in bed. But I also have MS, so sometimes when I'm not feeling good, and I'm having a good rest, I get in extra reading time. I think I can take on 100 this year!   

 

Kat's Books - Reading Challenge page

 

 

What are your favorite book genres? Why are they special? 

 

I like a lot of different genres and read a lot of different kinds of books: thriller, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, literary fiction, memoirs, YA or otherwise. The only genre that doesn't grab me is romance. Can't do it! Sometimes it feels more appropriate or special to do certain ones at different times of the year though.   

 

 

You’re a cat lover and a photographer <3 Would love to see some pics ;) 

 

I could actually show you my photos all day (see attached, for a few), and you can also find me here:  http://kamoorephotography.com   

 

All photos Copyrighted K.A.Moore Photography

 

 

In your short bio you write “I'm usually busy taking cat photos at a cat rescue” - tell us more about it.

 

I've been a volunteer photographer at the same cat rescue for about 7 years now, here in Seattle, and I take photos of cats who especially need photos that need that extra awesome photos from me to get them noticed, ie senior cats, special-needs kitties. I sometimes do private home sessions, families and events too, but I do photos at the rescue every week like clockwork, edit them and get them up on our site.

 

All photos Copyrighted K.A.Moore Photography

 

 

I also design our annual calendar (still for sale! http://bit.ly/CatCalendarKAMoore)  I used to work in film production, on movies, and have a degree in film and video, so have always had a penchant for storytelling, but I went back to still photos after I found out I have MS and to slow down a bit. 

 


Copyrighted K.A.Moore Photography

 

 

What are your three favorite book covers? 

 

EVER?! That's so hard! There are so many book covers these days and who doesn't pick up a book because they love the cover? 

- One of the ALL-TIME best is a children's book – Where The Wild Things Are; it was my son's favorite book when he was little and he was even Max for Halloween when he was 3 (I made his costume). 

 

 

 

- My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix  (Paperback): it's made to look like a VHS casing/cover, and it is genius. The design is actually by a comedian Doogie Horner and it caught my eye immediately. I also loved the book!

- This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada; I happen to love the book to death, and is one of my top books of 2017, but when you realize what the cover art represents, along with the vibrant simplicity of it, it is unbeatable as a cover design. 

 

My Best Friend's Exorcism - Grady HendrixThis Mortal Coil - Emily Suvada

 

 

 

How do you pick your next book to read? 

 

I usually set out a bunch for the month because I include ARCs I have (that may have review deadlines), plus I participate in some challenges on Litsy, so sometimes it depends on those two things, but I'm very much a mood reader when I'm picking my next book to read. 

 

 

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers in 2018? 

 

- Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh  (out next week! I actually also have been written into the sequel too, in a teeny part) 

- My Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows  (I loved My Lady Jane so this is a must) 

 

Reign of the Fallen - Sarah Glenn MarshMy Plain Jane - Brodi Ashton,Cynthia Hand,Jodi MeadowsMy Lady Jane - Brodi Ashton,Jodi Meadows,Cynthia Hand

 

 

- The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson  (sci-fi genius) 

- The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager  (who wrote 'Final Girls) 

- The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (a genderbent reimaging of Beowulf) 

 

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza - Shaun David HutchinsonThe Last Time I Lied - Riley SagerThe Boneless Mercies - April Genevieve Tucholke

 

 

What’s your reading spot? We’d love to see the photos :) 

 

My favorite place is actually in bed, or on my bed, with my cats, and dog. In winter it's snuggly and warm, and in the summer, it's where my fan is. 

 

 

 

 

A paper book or an e-book? 

 

I love paper books, both new and good-condition used books, but I also have a Kindle Fire, and I love being able to read on-the-go and I receive ARCs on there, have Amazom Prime, as well as borrow books from the library that way. 

 

 

Three titles for a winter evening? 

 

- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (everyone must read this! It will make you think) 

- The Princess Bride by William Goldman  (the one romance/comedy/adventure I truly love, and I can't believe I waited so long to read after loving the movie so much) 

- Invictus by Ryan Graudin (time-traveling adventure that will take you to Roman times, to the Titanic, and beyond; you'll have so much fun reading this)

 

Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake CrouchThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - William GoldmanInvictus - Ryan Graudin

 

Favorite quote? 

 

Actually, my favorite is an animal quote:

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

~ Anatole France 

 

If you could meet one literary character, who would it be? 

 

I guess he's not really a 'literary' character but after reading and then 'hearing' Trevor Noah's Born A Crime (and if you haven't heard his audiobook yet, you must!), I so would love to meet him.

And Garfield. 

 

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :) 

 

Don't laugh! I had to give my big bookcase to my book-loving son when we moved into a smaller place, so now my books are in limbo, mostly in open subscription book boxes. Someone give me a wall bookshelf system!

 

Thank you!

 

*

 

Missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links:

 

You can nominate your blogger friends to the Follow Friday interview! Leave the URL address and a short note in the comment section below.

 

 

See you next Friday! 

 

Both beautiful and terrifying, this is a standout in the crowded YA fantasy genre

Everless - Sara  Holland

'Everless' took me totally by surprise. There are quite a lot of young adult fantasy novels being released with beautiful cover designs to draw you in (even though I want to get my hands on the UK cover in this case, over the US one), so I think it's starting to get harder to stand out in this genre, at least on the bookshelf. But I dove into 'Everless' without too many preconceptions and once I started the book, I barely came up for air.


In the land of Sempera, time is money, and blood is currency, meaning blood-iron can be sold and turned into coins for the very things that people need to survive: rent and food. It is all-consuming and cause for corruption - the wealthy just drop coins into their tea to look younger, and people go to get their blood drawn to satisfy their debts, as well as having their blood taken from them as punishment or stolen.


This whole concept aside (which initially seemed confusing to me but then made total sense!), the main character who drives the tale is Jules, and I gravitated towards her from the beginning. I already feel like I'm saying too much, but she must leave her beloved father to go back to work and live at 'Everless' where the Gerlings, the Sempera royalty, reside, to understand the secrets that reside within, and to try and support her dying father, against his wishes. I don't dare say any more about the plot, but I will say that this book just flows because of Holland's great writing, her fairytale world filed with fascinating characters, and I couldn't put the book down.


Sara Holland has created a world so enthralling, as beautiful as it is terrifying, and it's hard not be absorbed in this tale filled with secrets, danger, and adventure. Read this book!
*I can't believe I'm going to have to wait for her to write the next one now!! The ending really left us with a cliffhanger!

A book of stories about the female experience with a powerful voice

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories - Carmen Maria Machado

I finally read this celebrated book, and it’s quite a read. It’s all at once devastating, complicated, weird, queer, scary, sometimes funny, and the writing was always beautiful. Machado has written about the female experience in a number of different stories, some I enjoyed vastly more than others, some captivating me, a couple dragged on a bit. But this is unlike anything I’ve read before. A book YOU should probably all read! 

A unique novel that questions the afterlife (and so much more), and has left me speechless

The Afterlives: A Novel - Thomas Pierce

This book almost defies description and I'm still basically 'speechless' upon finishing. Yes, I can say it's a fictional novel (unless author Pierce knows things we don't!), but then I can tell you all the different genres and subjects it touches: fantasy, the supernatural/ghosts, sci-fi and aliens, relationships, religion and the question of God, conspiracy theories, and the biggest question of all - what happens to us all when we die.
The novel begins when Jim Byrd dies for a few minutes, but he is left with no experience of seeing an 'afterlife', ie, no 'tunnels with lights'. This leaves him with huge life questions and starts seeing the world in a whole new way, along with his new 'HeartNet' to keep his ticker beating safely. The world in which this novel is set in, is even filled with holograms, and so many questions for Jim, and consequently for the reader. I didn't read this as quickly as some books because of that, and I was often putting it down to digest and think about what I'd just read because of everything I just had to absorb. There's actually a lot of humor in the novel too, so even though there are huge topics on the table like life and death, the tone of the book remains light, even when big events happen.
Originally I was put off by the fact that Jim's romance and subsequent relationship with his wife Annie, would be central to the novel, but it ended up being such an original journey that they were on, that I was absorbed by their story within the bigger story.
This is such a unique and intelligent novel, one that will get your brain thinking and your heart thumping. I know I won't read another quite like this in 2018, and it's got to be read to be fully appreciated. Fabulous.

First one in ‘the books’ for 2018!!

Dare Mighty Things - Heather Kaczynski

First one in the ‘books’ for 2018! Thanks to no plans for New Year’s Eve, I was glued to this all last night, and then finished it basically at the 24 hour mark. And it was a Christmas present from a friend! I’ve already stuck to my first book resolution: read from my huge stack of books I own!
AND it was a good one! ‘Dare Mighty Things’ is a story about a competition between a group of the brightest and bravest young people vying for a spot on a top-secret space mission funded by NASA a few decades from now, and it’s only at the very end of the book that it’s revealed what the actual mission is.

Cassandra (Cassie) Gupta isn’t your usual storybook ‘heroine’ either, and I enjoyed following her character and getting to know her; she’s 18, Indian-American, is one of the first wave of ‘designer babies’, super smart, and athletic, and ever since she can remember, her dream has been to go into space. All the way through the book, I couldn’t help but think about how I’m kind of in awe of ANYone who has that drive to go through what it takes to test for and train to go into space, because it has to be a VERY intense drive. You see this from the many characters in the book, not just Cassie. She starts to develop friends as she goes through the program, something that’s pretty new to her, as she now has found a place where she ‘fits in’. So this story has elements of not only this ‘big picture’ (in this case, a HUGE ONE, ie Space) that she is finding her place in, but one where the main character Cassie is newly discovering what it means to develop bonds with others, at the same time as pushing oneself and persevering to achieve a long-held dream. At times it’s intense, and at others, very self-reflective.
The writing in this book was never a struggle to read, even with all the quasi-tech lingo, and (author) Heather Kaczynski's love of space flight is obvious when you read this book; it’s hard not to get excited, and a bit terrified, for the mission. Now that I have read to the end and know that it’s a duology (I must read the upcoming 2nd book to know what on Earth, haha) is going to happen. There’s definitely a lot more to come!

Currently reading

Ash Princess
Laura Sebastian-Coleman