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Top 5: Fall Reads 2019

Top 5: Fall Reads 2019

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Oh wonderful fall my most favourite time of the year. From the beautiful colours, the cozy sweaters to pumpkin spices everything the only thing I do not like about fall is its too short 😦 This fall also promises to be a killer for anticipated reads. The following 5 are just a few on my not anticipated reads list. There are so many more! I would love to hear from you guys as well. Please comment on the books you are most looking forward to!

  1. The Testament by Margaret Atwood September 10, 2019
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There is not too much information out in the book world. From what I could gather, it is a continuation of Margaret’s Handmaid’s Tale, a classic. This story takes place 15 years after Offered steps into the mysterious van on her way to an unknowing future. It follows the testaments of 3 females from Gilead. I cannot wait to read this book!! I loved the first book and I love the TV series. I will be so interesting to see if the TV series and the second book connect somehow.

Also by this author : The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Oryx and Crake

2. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell release September 10,2019

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A nonfiction book for the conspiracy lovers!!! Malcolm Gladwell has a well known podcast called “ Revisionist History”. This novel covers the scandals from Fidel to Hilter and everything in between. He discusses about our true understanding of historical events. This guidebook covers how our understanding of these events may be riddled with doubt that is caused by our misguided way we interact with people. I think this will be such an interesting read even if your not into conspiracy theories.

Also by this author: Outliers, Blink, and What the Dog Saw

3. The Institute by Stephen King release September 10, 2019

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September 10 is a huge day for book releases and this one has to be my most anticipated read of 2019!!. This is a kid group orientated book that seems to be a mix of firestarter, It and the new mutant movie. It is set in Minneapolis and follows a by named Luke. One night his parents were killed and he is kidnapped. He wakes up at the Institute and his room looked identical to his own back home, except it has no window. There are lots of other rooms all that house kids. All these kids have special talents and the director Mrs. Sigsby tries to find the source of these powers. A group of kids band together with Luke and try not only yo find a way out but also try and stay out of the Back Half- kids go but never come back!!! Love love love it!

Also by this author: It, The Stand, The Shining, Green Mile

4. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo release October 1, 2019

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Not my only fantasy novel on this list Ninth House deserves a look into! It follows a girl who drops out of school and makes one bad decision after another. After surviving a homicide she is in the hospital when some strange people come to give her a second chance. She must now go to Yale and watch the students of Yale in their secret societies. She finds out just how sinister they are and how far their read goes …magic!!! What a great twist on an old theme of secret cults.

Also by this author: Six of Crows series, Nikola Duology

5. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstein release November 5, 2019

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AAAAAA she has finally release another novel!!! I loved loved loved the night circus, so imaginative. (See my blog top 5 books that should be made into movies for a description of the Night Circus). This is another love story with a magical setting. Zachary reads a book with a story based on his childhood. He then goes on a quest to find out more. Along the way he uncovers a secret library hidden underground. It is a secret realm. Zachary and a guardian Mirabel somehow join together on this quest!! What a great fantasy mystery book.

Also by this author: The Night Circus

So which ones are you looking forward to. I would love to hear your picks and add to my ever expanding TBR.

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Happy Reading!!!!

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Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

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Better late the never I say. Yes I just recently read one of the best selling suspense books of 2018. It was worth the wait. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews but I really enjoyed this book. There were a few predictable ‘scares’ but all in all, I enjoyed the building suspense and chaos filled climax. As a lot of the books I review this was the author’s debut novel. With so many talented writers coming out the next few years seem to be a reader’s paradise!!!!

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We are introduced to the novel by the narrator who we learn is looking out her window and spying on her neighbours. She is watching the wife have an affair with the handyman in one house and a kid playing a cello in another house. The narrator (Anna Fox) talks about Ed and Olivia who seems to have left her. Anna has agoraphobia from some episode which is pinnacle in the backstory of this novel. The reader learns that before she was stuck in her house Anna was a prominent child psychologist. Now she helps out fellow agoraphobic people on a website.

Some new commotion goes on across the neighbourhood, a couple and their teenage kid move in! Enter Halloween Anna is of course at home watching her old movies. Kids start to throw eggs at her house. Anna becomes so enraged she actually tries to go outside to stop them. She becomes dizzy and disoriented from the open space causing her to have panic attacks. The new neighbor comes to the rescue. Jane Russell ushers Anna back into her house and a strange connection is made between the two.

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The next day Jane’s son comes over and brings a lavender candle from his mother. Anna makes a connection with Ethan as well. She psych senses tingle and she guesses Ethan is troubled at home, possible with an abusive father. In the next few chapters the reader gets a glimpse into Anna’s backstory. Her therapist Dr. Fieldings brings up a trip. All we get is that Anna thinks if they did not take that trip their family would still be together… bababa. We also see that through the Agora website she started to form a relationship with a user called GrannyLizzie. All key information to understanding the story’s ending.

She admits to herself that she spies on the neighbours not to be nosey but its a window for her into the world. A way for a recluse to keep in touch with what’s going on outside in the real world. I could not imagine how it would feel to be kept inside and not be able to go out and experience things. Having panic attacks myself I know the debilitating feeling so having a panic attack triggered by open spaces, horrible. We also see that she drinks a lot, I mean way too much. She mixes her meds and alcohol with she knows it is not good. I love the fact that this book opens up the foe paye regarding mental health that as a society we do not like talking about all the time.

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Jane comes over and the girls bond over booze and chess. Jane’s controlling husband comes over to see if she was at Anna’s house. Then catastrophe hits, Anna hears a scream coming from the Russell house. She sees Jane bleeding with a sharp object protruding out of her chest. All this time Anna has been drinking and mixing her pills as she usually does. Police called and no one believes a drunk recluse. Mr.Russell says that Anna has never met his wife. ‘Jane’ comes over and to the readers shock this Jane is not the same Jane that came to play chess. Is Anna delusional ? It does seem fitting to the reader because at this point we know she heavily drinks with very potent pills.

As the plot thickens Anna/s basement tenant and her get cozy, well sleep together. She goes into his room and finds a pearl earring that looks like the one Jane was wearing when they had the chess day. So much confusion is thrown into this story which makes for a great mystery read. Anna then follows not Jane into a coffee shop – leaving the comfort of her house because she is determined to find out the truth.

The plot thickens as Anna finds a picture of herself sleeping on her phone. The police still does not believe her and actually thinks she took it to look for attention. Anna has hit rock bottom. This is when we learn the true backstory of Ed and Olivia. It turns out that Anna had an affair on Ed and this northern trip was supposed to bring them together. However, Anna had driven off a cliff in a storm ultimately killing Ed and Olivia. She has such bad PTSD she developed agoraphobia. She was actually talking to Ed and Olivia’s ‘ghosts’.

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Now the climax of the book. We find out that Ethan, the innocent troubled child is severely mentally unstable. He was the one who took the picture and it was his biological mother that was stabbed – he was adopted. Wow it was a good twist. He is also GrannyLizze! There is a fight scene where Anna has to go outside in order to survive Ethan’s attacks. She ends up killing him and gets the help she needs to come to terms with her agoraphobia and PTSD. The end of the book was very hopeful as Anna was venturing out on her own terms into her garden.

So for all of you who have read Woman in the Window what did you think of the book? Yes it did have some predictability in it but there was some great twists like ‘Jane’ being Ethan’s biological mother, I did not see that one coming. What did you like and did not like about the book? It kind of reminded me of Gone Girl in some way. What other books were along these lines? I also thought it was a great mental health book. Please feel free to leave any comments below I would love to hear your thoughts!!!

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Happy Reading !!!!!

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Top 5: Must Read Classics

                                                       Top 5: Must Read Classics

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Hello All

So here is yet again another top 5. This top 5 will outline my favourite classic fiction. Classic fiction has stood the test of time for sooo many reasons. Whether the stories can be applied to present day, how beautiful the writing is or how mind blowing the stories are, classic are timeless!!! Now I know classics are not for everyone, especially the writing styles and language but if you can get through these struggles these authors are quite brilliant for their time. The following 5 books are my favourite must read classics which you may or may not enjoy, I hope you do though.

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 1847 4.11 stars on good reads
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So this book was the first classic I picked up to read for leisure outside of school requirements. It was also one of my first big reads as the book is on the longer side. The book is set up in 5 phases of the main character Jane’s life: childhood, education, time as a governess at the Thornfields hall, time at the Moor house and the reunion with Edward Rochester. So not going to get into too many details but this book is full of drama, hardships, love, rejection and personal growth. This is also one of the best known love stories of all time along with anything Jane Austin writes.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 1868 4.06 stars are Goodreads

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Probably one of the first women coming of age novels. Story focuses around four women which each have such different distinct personalities. They go through the trials and tribulations of leaving childhood and breach into adulthood. The story’s timeline is one year, Christmas to Christmas. I could compare this story to a modern day Judy Bloom story! It outlines a totally different view due to the era it was written. Not only do these girls go through changes but they face them in a hard financial war ridden time. The girls have to face life without their father for a year! The 2 eldest then have to work in order to make ends meet. Great story!!

3. 1984 by George Orwell 1949 4.17 Stars on Goodreads

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This is one of the first dystopian novels published, way before Hunger Game times! It touches on the social issues such as the government’s reach into people’s everyday lives, repression, and how the government wants to control thoughts so no one has an original idea. George Orwell was a brilliant author with crazy insight for his time. It is set in an imagined future where civilization was damaged beyond repair by civil unrest. The leader Big Brother- the government- tries to control any individuality and the main character wants to be an individual. Great read for anyone not yet into classical fiction.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 1846 3.84 Stars on Goodreads

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This is a newer classic read for me. My friends all have differing opinions on this book. I thought it was kind of similar to other tragic forbidden love story books of its era. However it is still an easier classical fiction read and makes my top 5 list. Main character falls in love with a difficult and rude man who does not initially love her back or shows he loves her. Heathcliff, the poor mannered gentleman, allows Lockwood to stay at this house after seeing the ghost of his lost love Catherine. He falls ill and the love story is told by the housekeeper. Catherine loves Heahtcliff but it would have degraded her to marry him. Heathcliff overhears this conversation and runs away from the manner. She ends up marrying someone else and is unhappy. The story unfolds with a whole slew of debauchery, betrayal, revenge and mixed matched relationships.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin 1813 4.25 stars on Goodreads

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This story follows 5 daughters of Mr. Bennet. He is trying to get at least one of them married off so they may inherit his house and estate as he has no sons. It follows Elizabeth Bennet and her love story. It outlines the issues of marrying for love or for wealth which surprisingly is still in the spotlight today. The story has it all, love, betrayal, loss and humor. A read all around read for anyone to enjoy. From balls to cottages the settings in this British novel are great! All you could want from a book set in this era!!!!

What are some of your favorite classic fiction. What makes you apprehensive to read them. The old language is something to get used to but the stories stand the test of time!!! Please feel free to comment on your favourites below. Or did you not like one of the ones I listed? I would love to hear why.

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Happy Reading!!!!!

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Book Review: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

Book Review: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

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This is a creature feature apocalyptic book which is right up my alley! I first saw this on netflix as a movie – based on a book as always! I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. Spoiler alert the book is better than the movie as most books to movies adaptations are. Interesting fact about Tim Lebbon he wrote a novel that connects the movie Alien to Aliens starring Riddley! Can’t wait to read that one! Other popular books by this author include : The Edge and Coldbrook! I went into this book with no expectations just what I saw on the netflix preview. I was quite surprised by the story even with the common theme of prehistoric creatures taking over the world. Lebbon puts a great twist on a timeless theme.

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So this story starts off with a news broadcast of a discovery in an uncharted cave system. The main family watching this discovery includes Ally who we find out is deaf. Throughout the story we learn that she was not born deaf but was in a car accident with her grandparents who died. She had to learn a totally new way of life. Ally showed resilience that will play a key factor in the family surviving throughout the story. The other members include a brother Jade, father Huw and mother Kelly, and Lynne Kelly’s mother. As they watch the horror of the new discovery unfold on the TV they see creatures from the dark rip apart everything on the screen. They soon realise it is not a stunt or prank but a real life episode.

Thinking they are safe as this cave system is all the way in Moldova they don’t take it so seriously in the beginning. However as time goes on they see that these reptilian creatures called Vesps hunt by sound and are spreading quickly over the continent. Lebbon really plays into the social media aspect here. It is interesting to think of how connected we are today and how if this really happened the speed in which we would all receive live data. We would be way more prepared to anticipate the ‘end of the world’ than say 20 years ago.

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They also learn a lot of life saving information from others posting on social media, not so much the news. People post on Facebook and Twitter that Vesps hunt by sound, they lay eggs in the dead and this is how they spread which are both vital points for the family surviving the Vesp Plague. They decide along with Huw’s friend Glenn to move across the country side to where there is no noise, away from the cities. Live feeds show mass hysteria in the cities, fighting, looting, and people killing each other over supplies. This is a typical apocalyptic scene which I totally believe would happen in real life. It would start off as an every man for themselves attitude. What so you all think? Would humanity help out each other or have the cut throat survival attitude?

We see humanity break down as a man attempts to steal the family’s car and points a gun at Ally. This in turn forces Huw to steal a car in order to get to their destination. The suspense is building at this point as they are nowhere close to their destination and Ally is keeping track of where the Vesps are on social media. The time crunch is on!

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As the pressure to get to safety sets in because Vesps are now in London a horrible turn of events happens. Glen rolls his SUV pinning him in. Moral dilemmas set as Huw and his family decide not to leave him even though the Vesps are almost upon them. They barricade Glen in the best they can and take shelter in their SUV. Ally gives her family a prep talk 101 on how to be silent, her forte now. Her experiences help them understand what to anticipate and how they are going to feel now being able to verbally communicate. As the Vesps descend upon them their dog Otis, who is Ally’s helper, starts to bark. Vesps swarm their SUV and try to break in. Glen can hear the commotion and in a shear act of selflessness he starts shooting his gun to attract the Vesps to him. This is the ultimate sacrifice that restores the readers faith in humanity for a while. Otis however keeps barking and Huw has to make the hard decision to kill their beloved family pet to save themselves. Turn on the tears! At this point they need to draw the Vesps away. Huw blows up Glen’s SUV and the family hightails it for the forest.

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The family comes across a farmhouse. The occupant tried to ward off the ‘intruders’ and ends up attracting Vesps and dying. Everyone finds shelter and safety in the house since the first broadcast of the cave discovery. Huw and Ally try and go to town to find supplies. Two major things happen while they are on their trip. 1. They find out the eggs do not hatch until they are stimulated by noise 2. They find out when it rains the rain disoriented the Vesps giving them a chance to get away. They are slowly finding the Vesp’s weaknesses which gives the reader hope they may defeat their enemy!

On the way back to the farm Huw and Ally meet a different kind of enemy: The Reverend. It is one of the themes in the post apocalyptic stories, the crazy religious cult who justifies what happened as a matter of judgement day. Huw and Ally see first hand the lengths the Reverend will go to survive, he cut his own tongue out!!!! The Reverend now wants Ally so she can teach them sign language, which is the best way to communicate in the silence!!! Huw of course says no and they go on their merry way.

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As night falls the Reverend attacks and throws ringing cell phones into the farmhouse. I thought this was a brilliant crisis causing event! How well thought out of Lebbon. Mayhem ensues as Vesps get in and each family member tries to fight them off. During the chaos the cult followers steal Ally away. Lynn, the reader having learned she has end stage cancer, also self sacrifices and tackles the attackers, screams and sends them all to their death to save Ally. The story ends with the family being on the road again to find their quiet place- haha . Winter is coming and hope is restored that the cold weather will kill off the Vesps.

The Silent was in some ways your typical creature feature but with a modern twist of silence and social media. I really enjoyed this book. Now the movie – meh. It was good, some deviations from the book. Not my most favourite book to movie adaptation but not the worst either. Have any of you read it? What are your thoughts? If you would like me to do a top 5 fav apocalyptic books please let me know!! Please feel free to leave any comments below !

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Happy Reading!!!!!!!

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Top 5 : Reading Hacks to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

Top 5 : Reading Hacks to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

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So we have all experienced a reading slump. Whether it be reading too many books in the same genre or after reading a series and cannot bring yourself to let go, a reading slump is the real deal. I have tried many ways to get myself out a reading block and the following 5 tips have been developed through trial and error. These hacks have worked for me and I am hoping by sharing them I can help some of my fellow book lovers get out of their hangovers If they do not work for you that all right as well. We are all different kinds of readers so something that works for one of us may not work for others. I hope you can use these as tools to develop hacks that work for you!

  1. Reading jar/ Blind date with a Book
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Ok so I am really excited about this one. I made one of these jars for date night and have adapted it for reading. The concept is you get an empty mason jar, popsicle sticks and multicoloured pens or markers. Then you research popular reads in all different genres, make a list. Genres to look up can include: horror, fantasy, historical fiction, romance, science fiction, thriller, mystery, memoirs, biographies, classics, contemporary, young adults etc.

You can now be simple or get creative. Colour code the genres and write each book title on a popsicle stick in the corresponding colour. Write anywhere from 5-10 books for each genre. You can also just pick one genre and write all the books you can find on the popsicle sticks. Now snaz up your mason jar. You can add all sorts of books ish pictures or famous quotes to the outside. Place the sticks in the jar all mixed up. Every time you are ready to choose a new book, reach into your jar and pick a stick. Then read the book the stick has on it!! Bam you have the reading jar.

I have not tired the blind date with a book but I believe it has the same concepts. I think there are some book subscriptions out there you can pay for. Or by the books yourself, wrap them all in the same unmarked wrapping and pick one yourself.

2. Join a book club

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This is a great one to read new and exciting books as well as to get out there and socialize!! There are so many different avenues to find a book club to join. Local libraries/ work/ friends or families or online are great forums to join. I know our local libraries have book face to face clubs as well as online discussion groups for those of us who are a bit too busy to commit to specific days.

Book clubs are a superb way to read out of your genres as books are suggested but others. These give you opportunities to read out of your comfort zone and expand your reading resume. I have actually made my own book club (keep an eye out for a post on how to create your own book club to be posted at a later date).

Even if you do not like the book the club has picked during the discussion you get a great insight as to why this book appeals to others.

3. Join a reading Challenge

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This is a relatively new concept for me. I have not heard of reading challenges until I became a part of bookstagram. It seems to be a great way to interact with other book lovers while getting over your reading hangover. It has more of a social media aspect if this is more up your alley.

The idea is each challenge has its own theme and you just read along until all the reading tasks are completed. Some cool themes are reading ABC’s ( a book with a title that starts with A, then B, then C etc. ) Book bingo which is a hugely popular one, genre challenge.

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The participant tried to read all the books in the challenge. There is usually a time time to complete each reading task by ie 30 days.

Places to find and join these challenges include: bookstagram, booktube, book blogs, goodreads and book riot .

4. Friend Recommendation

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The concept of KISS is pure and simple. Some of the best reads and best ways to get out of my reading rut are the books that have been recommended to me by friends!

Not all your friends share the all the same genre and book interests. It’s great when a friend suggests a book totally out of left field and it turns out to be one of your fav books. Along the same lines as a book club even if you don’t like the novel it’s neat to hear why your friend found the book a page turner and you didn’t!

5. Create or join a book swap Group

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So this may be a new one for you I know it was far me. The idea is you get a group of people together who own books. You then choose a book you own and have read and swap with members in the group. Everyone swaps one book. You can do descending alphabetical so last name with a B swaps a book with last name C then descend through the list. You can also put everyone’s name in a hat, choose a name and swap a book with that person. There are so many options for this particular hack the outcomes have endless possibilities. !

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I had so much from making this post!! This has to be one of my favourite posts as of yet. I have been in so many reading slumps and hangovers its unreal. Each time it has taken me so long to get back into my reading routine. These 5 hacks, especially the book club and reading jar have been my book saviours. I hope these will help you with your ruts!! If any of you have other hack you use please I would love to hear them!!!!!

Happy Reading!!!!!

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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen

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This little diddy of a book was such a great pick. We just finished this for our book club and I cannot wait to hear what all my book peeps have to say about it. Reese Witherspoon’s book club has really great picks. The author studies animals in Africa and wrote a bunch of memoirs. This is her first try at fiction and wow did she deliver. It seems I have reviewed a lot of first books for authors lately. Where is Crawdads Sing is a great coming of age wrapped up in a murder mystery with a dollop of nature! P.S. Reese is making this book into a movie !!!!

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This story takes place in the 1950s to 1970s. It starts off outlining a murder of a local boy Chase Andrews who is found in the swamp in 1969. He is the town’s golden boy. Star football jock, parents own the local automotive shop and of course he married the local pretty girl.

1953 the main character Kay is the youngest of 5 children who all live in poverty in the marshlands near Barkley Cove. Their mother leaves which puts them in the care of their drunken father. All of her siblings eventually leave so it is just her and her Pa.

Being left alone with her abusive and absent father Kay has to learn to survive on her own. What does a young girl do when she is left to her own devices? Kay learns to care for herself, stretch a penny and cook grits.

She was so alone that when she stepped on a rusted nail she had to treat it by herself. She used everything from the marsh, which became like a mother to her and the gulls became her friends.

Jump to the crime scene in 69- no fingerprints or footprints were found. Looked like the scene was wiped free or someone familiar to the marsh committed it. There was no blood on the bars and the floor door was left open.

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After Pa lest Kay as well and the money ran out Kay has to learn to make money for herself. She dug up muscles and sold them to Jumpin a local merchant. What seer will power and survival skills Kay exhibits to figure this out herself.

As time goes on she sees no one but someone keeps leaving precious feathers out for her to find. It turns out that it was a local boy Tate, who was Kay’s older brothers friend. He teaches her how to read and becomes her one true friend besides the gull and march creatures.

I love when the title is explained. Somewhere near the middle of the book Where the crawdads sing is explained – its far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters- hide there. I’m taking it as Kay living in the marsh being the truest form of a human and where humans still behave like humans. Where as in town everyone is concerned with status and money Where the Crawdad’s sing is about getting to your roots and living your most true self- feel free to disagree with me, it’s just my opinion

Kay and Tate’s relationship blooms and soon they share one of the most romantic first kisses I have ever read. In the marsh with flowers and leaves flying around in the air. 1960 Tate has to go off to university leaving Kay alone again, just like everyone else in her life. It is just as heartbreaking for the reader. All I wanted for Kay was to have someone to love her after being alone for so long but alas out heart breaks again.

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1965 enter Chase. This is when Chase firsts notices Kay now 19. He finds her wild and unconventional being intriguing and wants to be the first to ‘peg her’. It was Chase her took Kay to the fire tower where he would later be found dead. Kay gave him a shell necklace there that was not on his body when he died. He talks about marriage with Kay and strings her along for his own selfish reasons.

Tate comes back into Kay’s life to warn her about Chase’s intentions. He sees Kay’s march collection and believes she could get a book deal with all her knowledge. Tate reveals that he was selfish and scary and a coward to leave Kay. Kay not knowing how to forgive as everyone in her life has let her down and abandoned her dismisses him. But she soon finds out through the local newspaper that Chase is indeed engaged to another girl.

Tate comes back once again into Kay’s life to see her published book on local seashells. They have always shared a love for the marsh, A book about marsh books is to follow for $5000, she got to furnish her shack.

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Now this is where the book picks up and changes its feel. I’m not going to lie, I did find the beginning of the book a bit slow but still good. The second half of the book is fast paced and exciting.

The second half of the book is Kay being on trial for Chase Andrews murder. The local sheriff tried to get a motive – Chase not choosing Kay. He has her getting on and off the bus to meet her publisher but it also gives her a time frame to meet and push Chase. There are red fibers found on Chase, could be from Kay’s red hat.

1970 as the trial starts to comes to light that Chase tired to rape Kay and it was seen by local fisherman. Being an outcast it was easy for the town people to pin all the behaviour on Kay and not their golden boy Chase.

Tate continues to visit Kay while in jail. Waiting for the verdict in jail is a different kind of loneliness for Kay. She can see and smell her beloved marsh through the bars in her cell.

The verdict comes back not guilty to everyone’s surprise. Tate and Kay live out their lives in their beloved marsh together, finally. Jodie her brothers keeps in contact and visits often. Finally Kay has a loving family she longed for for so long.

Kay died in her 60’s fittingly drifting off in her boat along the waterways of her march. Take then finds the shell necklace that Kay once gave Chase and a poem outlining that she really did kill Chase.

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All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was such a heroing tale of loneliness, survival and the importance of family ties. Not going to lie, I enjoyed the ending and finding out that Kay really killed Chase. I am not in any way condoning getting revenge but in a novel it was a nice twist. How did you like the book? How did you like the book? Please feel free to leave comments below .

Happy Reading!!!

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Top 5: Beach Reads

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It is the season of sandy toes and soaking up the rays.  Imagine being warmed to the core by sun beams all while having the majestic view of light dancing along the water in front of you.  What better way to enjoy this feeling than with a god read curled up on a beach chair sipping bubbly beverage. One of my favourite places to read in the summer is on the beach/eater front.  I think I have mentioned this before in past blog post but here in Canada we do not have a long truly hot summer season. I try to enjoy the warm weather and beach scenery whenever I get the chance.  Bringing along a great read just enhances this experience for me. There are so many amazing books to appreciate while lounging in the sun. These 5 are just a scratch on the surface of available beach reads this year.  If you have any suggestion for your favourite beach reads I would love to hear them!!

  1. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (2016)

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I just recently read Love and Gelato and thought it would be a great book to enjoy in the heat of the summer.  Somehow hot weather, love and icecream all go hand in hand and this book and all 3! 

It follows Lina who just recently lost her mother to cancer.  Her mother’s dying wish was for Lina to go live in Florence with a man Lina has never heard of or met -Howard.    Lina then discovers her mother had a whole different life in Florence. One of her mother’s old acquaintances giver her a journal and from there ensues a journey throughout her mother’s previous life.  With the grandiose backdrop of Florence Lina goes to all the places her mother mentions in her journal trying to figure out why she left and how Howard turned out to be her estranged father. With the help of a local boy Lina journeys through so many emotions and feels I could not put the book down.  It also made me crave gelato like mad which is perfect to enjoy by the beach side.  

2. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin  (2018)

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Another one of my recent reads All We Ever Wanted went straight to the top among my books I loved in 2019 list.   It’s a great women’s fiction contemporary piece with an easy to read feel. If you’re looking for a story of lives interchanging and values  questioned and chosen this is right up your alley. Is a great book where the reader can really get invested in the lives of the characters, which is one of the ticket items I look for in a beach read.

This story follows a couple main characters while they try to navigate through a horrible situation.  Nina and her son Finch face allegations that he took a horribly inappropriate picture of fellow classmate Lyla.  This all takes place in a rich private school in Nashville. Lyla’s father tries to stand up for Lyla and her values while battling the powers of wealth and privilege.   It really brings into light current hot topic issues of social media in today’s society along with wealth versus middle class social rights.   

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)

It may be an older title but man what a psychological thriller!  The dark, gloomy suspenseful feel of this book is in stark contrast to the light warm feeling i get at the beach.  I think this parallel is why I like reading thrillers and murder mysteries on the waterfront. Even though these books send shivers down my spine the warmth I feel at the beach counteracts this.  What do you all feel about reading gloom and doom while enjoying some summer fun? Ya or nay?

Gone Girl is one of those books is a crazy out of this world ending.  Nick Dunne finds that his wife Any is missing. Throughout the novel suspicion of course falls on the husband.  Relationship issues come to light and mysterious journal entries explain 2 very different versions of a marriage.  Where is Amy and why is she gone? Is Nick Dunne the perfect husband or is he a villain? Is Amy an innocent victim or a horrible wife?   All these questions and answers unwind in a fast paced, page turning, you can’t put this book down feel!! Great to binge read while drying off in between dips in the water.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017)

I just finished this one in June.   Little Fired Everywhere was a delve into the picture perfect family in the picture perfect neighbourhood.  Low and behold no family is picture perfect. It takes a mother and her daughter renting their rental house to truly bring all the family issues and resentment to light.  The Richardsons rent their house out the Mia and Pearl. The children soon become fast friends but their friendship brings out the best and worst of each person. After an adoption issue rocks their little perfect neighbour hood even more secrets come to light.  This is a great for anyone who loves a page turner where each chapter reveals something scandalous. Core issues of mother daughter bonds and family ties writtle this dynamic read!

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott  Fitzgerald (1925) 

So this is a considerably older read from the novels I have mentioned above.  This classic just seeps with summer fun. From crazy parties with a mysterious host to forbidden summer love it has everything I want to drift off to while taking in the sun.  Classic books are not for everyone. The Great Gatsby is an easy to read relatively short novel that is a great bring along to any beach day.  

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Who among us has not curled up on a blanket riddled with sand and opened up the crisp pages of a book?  Beach reads have to be one of my favourite things I look forward to while I wait out the endless months of winter.  Which are your favourite beach read? Do any of you like a specific genre while you are watching the waves roll in?  

Happy Reading!!!!!

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Book Review: The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides

Book Review: The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides

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This is Alex’s debut novel and what a debut !! I read this back in April and it still is my favourite of this year. This psychological thriller will definitely deliver all the shocks and on your seat reading! He is a screenwriter that wrote The Devil You know (2013) and The Con is On (2018). If Alex keeps pumping out books like The Silent Patient he will move up fast in the bestselling author world. I can’t wait to read what he puts out next!!!

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We start off with a bang, literally. Alicia is a well known artist who lives with her successful photographer husband Gabriel. Years years ago Alicia shot her husband in the face, then refused to talk. Alicia was found with her wrists slit and Gabriel was tied to a chair. She is sent to a psychiatric hospital in hopes with therapy she will talk, think again. Enter Theo a new psychiatrist transferred to the hospital where Alicia is residing called the Grove. He does this because he says he was interested in her case 6 years ago and he thinks he can help her talk now.

Theo discovers through his digging that after the murder Alicia’s painting changed. The one immediately after is based on the Greek Mythology called -self sacrifice . Was this her way of coping and expressing her feelings after the murder?

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We see that Theo himself has some mental health issues. He has addictions like smoking and marijuana use. He also has some past issues. Early psychoanalytic therapy has saved him. Alicia also has some childhood issues so maybe he sees himself in her broken psyche. Is this what would happened to him if he did not get help? Does he want to save Alicia because someone has saved him? His view on psychotherapy is that it is his job to feel the patient’s feelings then send them back to the patient. Does he feel Alicia’s feelings?

We get a character view of Alicia through these mysterious journal entries. We see that she loved Gabriel very much but this may have turned into an obsession – she started painting him in Jesus’s image. Theo is also exhibiting an obsession with Alicia even after she attacks him after a 1:1 and he has her medications decreased.

Obsession seems to be a common theme throughout this novel. Theo is obsessed that Kathy is cheating on him. Instead of talking things out with her he proceeds to stalk her and read through her computer. Alicia becomes obsessed that a man is stalking her and she cannot tell anyone.

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We find through the journal entries and through Theo interviewing Alicia’s friends and family Alicia had previous suicide attempts. After her father dies to tries to kill herself, she has had many suicide attempts at the Grove. We learn further in the book that her mother drive herself and Alicia into a wall, killing the mother but not Alicia. Alicia’s father then blames Alicia for killing her mother and she is dead to him – where her mental health issues started.

While reading this book I was thinking of so many different possibilities for the ending – which makes this a great thriller. When the reader cannot guess the ending because there are too many possible endings it’s a great book. The endings of this book is freaking amazing. Huge spoiler alerts ahead. So we learn that the person Kathy was cheating on Theo with was Gabrielle. Yes it gets better. Theo then stalks Kathy and Gabrielle and he is the man that Alicia sees outside her window. Wow And Theo goes bat shit crazy , breaks into into Alicia’s home to tell he that her husband is cheating on her. He ends up tieing bot Gabrielle and Alicia up and gives Gabrielle a chance to choose between saving himself or Alicia. He chooses himself. Theo then gives Alicia the gun and tells her she has a choice, shoot a man who does not truly love her and is extremely selfish. (Hence the greek mythology Alcestis reference). She ends up shooting Gabrielle but what a twist to get us there!!!!!!!

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So what did you all think of the Silent Patient. Did you love it as much as I did or was it not your favourite? As always feel free to leave comments below ! If you have any suggestions for psychological thrillers please leave them below.

Happy reading!!

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Top 5: Books for Book Club

Top 5: Books for Book Club

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Hello all. Here we go with another top 5 list! May I say I really enjoy researching and writing these! This list I have chosen to do a book club approach as I have recently started a book club at my work. I love discussing the books we read each month with my co workers. However each month a new person chooses a book to read and sometimes they have problems choosing this book. They want to choose one that opens up the conversation and is a really great read. I have researched the following books and actually have read all of them. I can see how they are great books for great conversations. I have included questions that may help you open the conversation up in your book clubs are just questions to keep in mind while reading the book yourself. I hope you enjoy!!!

  1. Educated by Tara Westover
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I really enjoyed reading this memoir by Tara Westover. Tara recounts her life growing up in a strict mormon household that also is a doomsday prepper family. She especially highlights that they do not go to school and they are so off the grid they do not have birth certificates. The reader watches as she constantly struggles to follow her parents teaching but also to try and live a normal life and learn. Her father’s beliefs are so ingrained into Tara that even in adulthood she has a hard time coping with regular day activities of a ‘normal’ person.

Questions/discussion topics

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  • how your childhood experiences follow through with you to adulthood and how these affect the man/woman you are becoming.
  • How would you feel if you broke away from your family to have the life you wanted
  • How would you think it feels to not even know what the Holocaust was
  • How would you feel if your parents did not believe you when you told them your own brother was abusing you?

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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To Kill A Mockingbird has to be one of my absolute fav books and it is definitely one that I would take with me to a desert island. The shear innocence of Scout is heartbreaking and invigorating at the same time. It truly is a classic masterpiece outlining the rampant racism and privilege on the old South in the 30’s. Also new for its time outlines what it is like to be a single dad as it was not as common as it is now. Scout’s dad Atticus is a lawyer wh0o defends a local ‘black’ man accused of raping a local white girl. Scout depicts her upbringing and is an awe-inspiring coming of young age tale.

Questions/ Discussion Topics

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  • What parts of this novel did you really like? Which parts did you not find interesting?
  • How do Jem and Scout’s view of Boo Radley change throughout the novel?
  • How do you think Atticus managed the role of being a single parent? Compare what it would be like for a single dad in the 30/s and present day.
  • How did the trial change the town? Did it change the town?

3. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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For me the Life of Pi ranks up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. It follows Pi and his family while they immigrate to Canada (go red and white!!!). They ship capsizes and the story then follows Pi trying to survive when all is lost. He is stranded or 227 days and to his account he is stranded with a bunch of animals from their family’s zoo.

Questions/Discussion Topics

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  • Are the animals real or are they metaphors of real people in Pi’s life that his brain concocked to deal with the trauma?
  • What if any are the religious cross over into the storytelling?
  • How do the people in your life reflect any of the animals and their characteristics?
  • How is the concept of Richard Parker echo that of overcoming one’s fears?

4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Still Alice was a very different read. I do not think that there are too many books out there shining a light on what a person with Alzhimer’s experiences- first hand. Alice is a cognitive psychologist at Harvard and she recognizes that she is exhibiting signs of Alzhimer’s disease. The story expressing her journey of from the signs to diagnosis to progression of this relenting disease. It also lets the reader see how her family cope with the news and how this changes their lives and relationships.

Questions/ Discussion Topics

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  • How would you feel/react if you did not recognize the place you where in?
  • What do you feel or think it would feel like to recognize what is happening to you, knowing you were getting the devastating disease and the horrible outcome?
  • How do you feel about the family’s reactions? How would you react if someone in your life received this diagnosis?
  • What do we gain from seeing this story through Alice’s eyes? Does her job play into this view?

5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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I loved loved loved this book! I have read this one soo long ago but instantly thought of it as a great book club book! The setting is a circus. The story is told by Jacob who is 93 and lives in a nursing home. Jacob recounts the years he lived in the circus as he watches a circus set up camp beside his home. He becomes a vet to the circus and becomes romantically attached to the star Marlena who has an equestrian show. She had a jealous husband August who is the animal trainer. He also forms an attachment to an elephant Rosie. It gives the readers all sorts of feels!

Questions/ Discussion Topic

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  • Is this story an adventure, love, or survival story and why
  • Does this book change your point of view of the circus, especially in the recent light of the Ringling Brother’s shut down.
  • Who where your favourite characters, animals included
  • Where you surprised at the ending? Why? How would you have liked the book to end?

For all of those out there in book clubs or thinking of starting one (I will have a blog post at a later time regarding how to start a book club) I hoped these books and questions have helped. Even if you are not a member of a book club you can always keep these questions floating around your mind and answer them while you read the book. It may help to bring a deeper understanding of view of the book you are reading. Some of these questions are standard so they can be applied to any book not just the 5 I have mentioned. As always feel free to leave comments below. If you are in a book club what are some exciting book that sparked a great discussion with your members?

Happy Reading!!

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Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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So there was a lot of hype around this book in 2017. I was a bit late to read this as it is now 2019 lol. Better late than never I guess. I found this book a bit slow at times but all in all I really liked the story. This book is a trilogy called the Winternight trilogy. It incorporates mythical folk tales into reality. The tale follows Vasya a wild child who’s stepmother and local priest want to rid their town of her ‘devilish’ ways all the while the winter King a frost demon has his eyes on her. It has a lot of terms I did not understand. Arden was smart and added a glossary of terms to help the reader discover the magical Russian folklore background.

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The story opens with Vasya’s nanny Dunya telling the tale of the winter king who brings death. The tale is told to children to scare them into behaving….. Or is it. Maria, Vasy’s mother was the daughter of the Grand Prince of Moscow. Pyotr Vasya’s father is a lord on the outskirts of the forest a long way from Moscow. Maria died in childbirth leaving Vasya motherless and free to roam wherever as she grows up.

Vasya spends all of her time in the forest talking to the folklore forest nymphs and fairies. These creatures are said to protect the houses of the people who worships them and leave food out for them. The Domovoi is the oven creature who helps protect the house. She comes across a weird tree one day and meets the elicude Frost King who saves her life.

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Her father who is worried that she is growing up wild decides it is time to remarry. He travels to Moscow to find a wife who ends up being the Grand Prince’s daughter. Anna also see these mythical creatures just like Vasya can. They set out on the long track home. Sasha, Vasya’s brother meets a priest in the city and asks to stay but Pyotr says no.

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Once back in their village Anna does not fit into the hard labours life. The only time she feels safe from seeing the ‘demons’ is in the church. The sightings have gotten worse since coming to the forest so Anna becomes estranged from the villagers and her new family. She seeks solace with the new priest Konstantin that has come to look over the village. The priest sees Vasya as unclean or evil as she spends so much time in the woods. He thinks he hears ‘God’ talking to him one night. This voice tells him that the villagers have lost their way and he needs to instill fear and doubt. The voice says their worship of the chyerti is wrong and to discipline this villagers in the way of God. Spoiler alert here the voice is really the brother of the Frost King. He is an evil one eyed bear that wants to take over the earth in darkness.

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Here the book picks up and the story unravels faster. I found the first part of the book a bit slower but necessary to set up the last part. Pyotr tried to wed Vasya to Kyril – a very brute and ‘manly’ villager. He is cruel to his horses. Vasya knows this because she can read the horses as she was taught by one of the cheryti. He finds Vasya’s behaviours hard to deal with and calls off the wedding. As the reader I would have hated to see Arden marry Vasya off and chain her up in a house.

So the 3rd part of the book is the battle between Vasya and the Bear devil. We see that the people of the village grow to hate and blame Vasya for all the people dying. Really it is their lack of believe and offerings to the Cheryti that allow the Devil to come into their homes. Finally the frost king saves Vasya from the Bear and brings her to his frost home. An aside- why are there a lot of frost kings and beings in fantasy novels. We see the frost ‘white walkers’ in the Game of Thrones books.

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In the end Vasya fights the bear Devil, known as Medved. We other cheryti originally follow Medved but Vasya was able to persuade them to follow her as she has been nice to them. Konstantin brings Anna to the forest as bait because Medved needs a ‘seer’ to be killed to free him. In the end Vasya’s father dies offering his life to save his daughter. At the end she leaves the village, be able to drive Konstantin off first. The villagers still think she is a witch and Vasya does not want to make trouble for her brother who is now taking over the village. The last scene was very interesting as she goes back to the frost Kings home and he lets her in.

All in all I really enjoyed this book. I have never read anything like it so it was nice to read out of my comfort zone. What did you think of this book? Like or dislike? Feel free to leave a comment below> I would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Reading Everyone!!