On the Night Table [59]

Happy Monday, everyone! And if you’re in Canada, I hope you’re having a solemn Remembrance Day. Selfishly, I took the opportunity to catch up on sleep, rearrange my bedroom bookshelves, and shelve some read books to gain some order in my life.

I started reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis last Saturday, and even if there’s nothing mind-blowing about her advice, it helped me gain some perspective about how I’m feeling lately. The root cause of my maudlin mood that has nothing to do with the weather, but with how I’ve been overwhelming myself with shit that don’t matter.

The first thing I did was deactivate my personal Facebook account. I’ll tell you how I feel when the week is through. The next thing I did was well, clean my bedroom even though my bedroom is pretty spartan to begin with, I still thought it could use a bit more organizing. My bedroom is my haven and where I do the most of my reading, so it has to be clean and organized all the time. I also cleaned my bookshelves in my bedroom to make room for the books that were sitting on the floor. I definitely need to do an unhauling one of these days, but I just don’t know where to start. Sigh.

Anyway, like I mentioned on my recent Hoarders post, I finally reached my all-time goal of 2,000 books. As well, my Goodreads goal for the year of 230 books. So this week, I decided to read the books I received for review — which isn’t much considering I’ve hold off requesting for most of the year:

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie | What Makes Us by Rafi Mittlefehldt | Well Met by Jen DeLuca

All these books are from Penguin Random House Canada. I also got The Toll by Neal Shusterman from Simon & Schuster in the mail last week but I haven’t read Thunderhead so I can’t read this yet. I’m re-reading Scythe so I can read Thunderhead.

I’m also endeavouring to read The Institute by Stephen King — only the second Stephen King novel in my arsenal. As well, Madame Bovary which is a classic lit about an unsatisfied married woman looking for romance in her otherwise lackluster marriage. I’ve always wanted to read it, so I thought since I now have the time, I might as well.

Please come back and check out my review of Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward on Thursday, the 14th. It’s my tour stop and y’all know I haven’t done too many of those as well. This is all for now, everyone. Thank you for being my sounding board. <3

Have a great week!

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October Wrap-up

Hi, everyone. Sorry this is a bit late. I’m still playing catch up at work. Christmas is coming so it’s going to be even busier from here on out. I managed to catch up on Bloglovin’ last week, but I’m a week behind again. Don’t worry, today is catch up day as I’m taking a rest day from the gym. I might go for a walk later, though.

So just to give you a bit of a rewind for October, I had an amazing reading month again. I read 42 books — physical, ebooks, and audiobooks combined. As of this writing, I’m 2 books away from my all-time goal of 2,000 books. In the meantime, I’ve once again increased my Goodreads goal to 230. I started off at 120, to 214 to 230. I’m currently at 218 and will probably reach 300 before the year is out at this pace. Whew.

This month, I watched a Netflix documentary about Bill Gates and found out that he reads at a pace of 150 pages per hour. So I timed myself while I was reading The Lightning Thief and figured out that I can read 100 pages per hour. Granted, Mr. Gates probably read mostly non-fiction books so his choices carry more weight. Regardless, I now at least know, that if I really set my mind to it, I can finish a book or two a day depending on page count.

I’ve been using my library more and more, and have been discovering some favourite reads from my borrows:

  • Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
  • How Not to Ask a Boy to Prom by SJ Goslee
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
  • Birthday by Meredith Russo
  • Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe

These are all 5-star reads, except for How Not to Ask a Boy, and honestly can’t pick which one was the best read. I think if the category is the most enlightening, I would pick Invisible Women. The cutest would be How Not To Ask A Boy To Prom; the most adventure packed would be The Grace Year; the most educational would be a toss up between Savage Appetites and Patron Saints of Nothing, and Birthday would be because it was a great read.

I’ve read a couple of absolutely disappointing reads as well:

  • Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva 1/5 Stars
  • A Date with Darcy by Tiffany Schmidt 1/5 Stars

I already talked about Hold My Hand previously and how sad I was that what was once a favourite book has been ruined completely by this sequel. A Date with Darcy was supposed to be a Pride & Prejudice retelling but apparently, Elizabeth Bennett was a boy-crazy fiend in this alternate universe. Hard pass.

I re-read some books in October:

  • Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta 5/5 Stars
  • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta 5/5 Stars
  • Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta 5/5 Stars
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 4/5 Stars

I honestly had an outstanding reading month not only for the amount of books I read but for the number of books I enjoyed and loved. America’s Reluctant Prince and Inside Out are non-fics that I will visit and revisit for years to come.

I’m not going to bother to list the rest of the books that I read, you can check them out here: This post has gone on way too long as it is. Lol.

I hope you’re having a great start to November so far. I’m super excited to finally reach my goals, hopefully this week. 🙂

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Thrillers I Read in October

At the beginning of the month, I set out to read some thrillers in time for Halloween. Unfortunately, I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped. I was only able to read three of them to my disappointment. Originally, I’d planned to peruse my unread shelves for thriller reads but the month got away from me.

The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby, and Kevin Moffett reads like a mix of World War Z and The Children of Men. But while World War Z was written in a mixed media form, The Silent History was written in two parts: one as testimonials, and the second part as the lives of the silent children progresses into adulthood. It’s an ambitious undertaking in such a way that it was written to be read with the accompaniment of an app. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to for it, nor the patience. I’m sure the experience would’ve been fantastic, but the story, unfortunately, isn’t interesting enough for me to be curious.

I spoke about The Lovecraft Compendium on my inaugural #fridayreads. While it was highly imaginative for its time, I’m not a Sci-fi/Horror fan. As well, the language left a lot to be desired. It was an arduous read, to be frank.

Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe. I don’t even know if this is considered as thriller. It’s a non-fiction work about women’s obsession with true crime novels. The author aims to dissect all the whys and hows women, in large are aficionados of the genre. I consider it as thriller as she included some history of some gruesome killings. Least of all was Sharon Tate’s murder. As well, a woman whose life-long work included creating a series of dioramas of bloody crimes that were, though miniature in sizes, were true to form.

What about you? Did you manage to read some thrillers this month?

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#fridayreads: The Lovecraft Compendium by H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft’s entry to classic literature are stories based on his vivid dreams. But for us, plebeians, they’re most likely the stuff of nightmares. And while I can appreciate how far advanced he was in the Sci-fi/horror genre, this short story is turning out to be way out of my paygrade.

It is, for all intents and purposes, a classic literature. So the writing spoke of the time. It is very difficult to understand at times so much so that I kept finding myself re-wording and re-working sentences to make it more palatable. I am about halfway and the only thing I can glean so far is that it reminds me of every movie, and every book I’ve ever read containing stories of an archaeological dig and discovering a creature that may or may not lead to the entire world’s demise.

What’s your #fridayreads?

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Net Galley Catch Up

A couple of weeks ago, I logged in to my Net Galley account for the first time in months. I discovered that I am 14 books behind. I have read the books but I didn’t write a review for them to my horror. Especially since a couple of these books ended up being favourites.

This is why it’s important to write my thoughts as soon as I finish reading. Because chances are I will forget all the things about the book. So the conundrum now is that I have to either re-read the books or wing the reviews as they stand. So one of my goals this month is to catch up and send my feedbacks on the books that I’ve long read and finished.

NEGLECTED PILE

I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting | Rend by Roan Parrish | Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert | Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones | Five Feet Apart Rachael Lippincott, et al.
The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken | The Final Score by Jaci Burton | Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton | Wheels Up by Annabeth Albert | Don’t Call Me Cupcake by Tara Sheets
New York, Acutally by Sarah Morgan | Wish You Were Mine by Tara Silvec | Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howard

I want to clean my Net Galley shelves before the end of the year, so that’s one of my recent goals. Aside from my 2k goal, that is. I feel like I only need to skim through these books to refresh my thoughts.

How about you? Are you up-to-date with your Net Galley requests?

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#fridayreads: Frankly In Love by David Yoon

Hello.

I hope y’all had a great week. I’m ushering in the weekend that has rain, rain, and more rain in the forecast with the latest by David Yoon. We truly are in our Fall season and I’m all for it. I want to get my chores out of the way tonight so my weekend will be free for reading, blogging, and drinking coffee!

I read some this week, but I’m definitely slowing down some. I finished three books – which is far less than my normal and I’m okay with that. It’s been a crazy work week so I’m pretty exhausted by the time I get home. So I haven’t been able to draft some posts and have not been able to visit y’all. I will try this weekend, though. Anyway, here are the books I read this week:

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci | Beard with Me by Penny Reid | The Lady Roque by Jenn Bennett

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci was a bit of a disappointment. If you don’t know, it’s a hybrid of Hunger Games and Gladiators in a way that it’s a fight to death until the eventual winner gets to marry The Savior. The Savior is basically a goddess; one who possesses magic and is considered to be a divine creature of the land. I love how bloody and gory it is; as well, the magic and fantasy elements to the book. But the hero annoyed me. I’m not going to get into this too much. Watch out for my review some time next month.

Beard with Me by Penny Reid is book #6 in the Winston Brothers series. It is the origin story of Billy and Clare. This was such a heart pincher of a book. If you’re not familiar with this series, the Winston brothers are 4 hillbillies that grew up in the mountains of Tennessee. They are wild, bearded, and oh-so-swoony. I’ve looked forward to reading Billy and Clare’s story since book 1. And unfortunately, this is not their book yet. However, this is their beginning — back when they were teens. It is a heart pincher because if you’re following this series, you know that Clare ended up marrying someone else (but was a widow by book 1). I think book #7 comes out in November, if I’m not mistaken, and that is their — fingers crossed — HEA.

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett. Sigh. I think I’m sticking to Ms. Bennett’s contemporary novels from now on. This one bored me to tears. It was not my cup of tea. So sad because it had all the potentials to be a favourite of mine, but it fell short.

What are you reading this weekend?

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Best of the Best: Non Fiction Reads

I have been making a concerted effort to read more non fiction novels for the last couple of years. It’s tough to get into for sure, but when I pick a book from this genre, I know it’s something that I absolutely want to read. I don’t get into the habit of picking what’s popular, though that’s not necessarily true in most cases: see Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I’m also a creature of habit so books that I tend to get into are either about politics or feminism.

Today, I thought I’d share with you the top 3 novels that have graced my bookshelves this year. These are the books that made such an impact on me; they made me think. And as in the case of one book, strengthen my conviction.

VISIONARY WOMEN: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World by Andrea Barnet.

If you’re like me who has a vague sense of who these women are and would like to learn more about how they essentially changed the world, pick up this book. Here, you will learn about their impact in our environment. From urban planning, conservation and protection of the chimpanzees’ ecosystem; to the banning of highly toxic pesticides, these four women are the heroines who fought relentlessly to make our world a little bit safer. This is their brief autobiographies focused on their contributions to the world as we know it.

BEASTIE BOYS BOOK by Michael Diamond, Adam Horowitz et al.

This book was extraordinary in all sense of the word. But the only way to enjoy this fully is by downloading the audio book and reading the physical copy at the same time. The audio book contains an amazing star-studded narrators while the hardback itself is a treasure trove of a multi-media feast. I’ve not read anything like it. I was only a semi-fan before but after reading it, I’ve become obsessed. The Beastie Boys’ contribution to hip-hop is truly extraordinary. These threeJewish boys from Brooklyn brought with them their own brand of rhymes and beats. Their humble beginnings and their collaborations with a few household names in both Rock and Hip Hop genres are the stuff dreams are made of. They also addressed/apologized for sexism & misogynistic lyrics in the past. Check out my Instagram for a complete look at this book.

NOTORIOUS RBG: The Life and Times or Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik. Illustrated by Ping Zhu

There are women whose stories inspire you. And there are women whose lives make you feel empowered and insignificant at the same time. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, along with the four women of the first book of this post, are those women. They fought against all odds at a time when women’s places are definitively at their homes and not on the streets in protest, or as in the case of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, in the law courts. To be instrumental to the institution of equality laws in your land at a time when women working was an incongruous as stay at home dads, was mind blowing and awe-inspiring to say the least.

SPECIAL MENTIONS: Becoming by Michelle Obama, Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss & the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and A Model for America’s Future by Peter Buttigieg.

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Fall Reads

Have I mentioned how much I love Fall? It’s my favourite season. When I was a devout NFL fan, I couldn’t wait for that first leaf to turn burnt orange. But now that I don’t watch it anymore, I look forward to this season because of how conducive it is for readers like us. Second only to Winter, I think it’s the best season for us, readers. Thick sweaters, fleece pjs, socks…it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Today, I would like to share with you some of the books I definitely want to read this season. I will update this list as I go along because I’m only putting up 5 books for now. We all know I read more than 5 books in a month, but these are the books that I want to get to first:

  • Brood by Chase Novak is a horror about children that were made in a lab that go feral when they reach a certain age. Apparently, this is the second novel to a series that I’ve not read, but I’m throwing caution to the wind and see how this one will go.
  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman. I picked this up a couple of weeks ago on my thrift store jaunt with my daughter. I love this author but I’m a little intimidated, if a little scared as this one has themes of rape. I’m looking forward to reading it regardless.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This summer, I had the privilege to read A Thousand Splendid Suns by this author. I was awed by how beautifully he described Afghanistan despite the horrors of wars, poverty and violence that his country can’t seem to get away from. This is his debut novel which has won a ton of awards and accolades. Looking forward to this one, even though it’s probably going to hurt just as much.
  • Contagion by Erin Bowman. Now, I haven’t had much luck with Ms. Bowman’s books in the past, but I love these kinds of stories. This one, however, is set in space.
  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. The overwhelming response to this book is: “meh, nothing new here, folks”. I still want to read it, though.

So these are the books I’m planning to cozy up to this Fall — among others that are in my TBR, that is. Let me know if you’ve read any of these, and if you’re planning on creating Fall reads list as well.

xoxo

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On the Night Table [53]

Hey, all. How was your weekend? I didn’t get much reading done as weekends are usually crazy busy in my house. My husband works at night during the week so he typically naps all weekend long which means I have to do most of the household chores if I ever want to keep a clean house and have some clean laundry for the entire family. Lol.

Anyway, the last time I did one of these was November of last year – certainly been a while. This week, I have a 2016 release from David Arnold and a recent one from Sandra Brown. While Ms. Brown is a staple on my shelves, David Arnold’s work are a new taste. Can I just say that this was such a pain to write? WordPress is such a bitch to use nowadays. *facepalm* And I think I missed one WordPress update so now, I can’t download the newest one because I’m missing a component. Seriously considering switching to another platform if it weren’t such a pain and a half. Sigh.

So here are the synopsis:

FBI agent Drex Easton is relentlessly driven by a single goal: to outmaneuver the conman once known as Weston Graham. Over the past thirty years, Weston has assumed many names and countless disguises, enabling him to lure eight wealthy women out of their fortunes before they disappeared without a trace, their families left without answers and the authorities without clues. The only common trait among the victims: a new man in their life who also vanished, leaving behind no evidence of his existence . . . except for one signature custom.

Drex is convinced that these women have been murdered, and that the man he knows as Weston Graham is the sociopath responsible. But each time Drex gets close to catching him, Weston trades one persona for another and disappears again. Now, for the first time in their long game of cat and mouse, Drex has a suspect in sight.

Attractive and charming, Jasper Ford is recently married to a successful businesswoman many years his junior, Talia Shafer. Drex insinuates himself into their lives, posing as a new neighbor and setting up surveillance on their house. The closer he gets to the couple, the more convinced he becomes that Jasper is the clever, merciless predator he’s sought–and that his own attraction to Talia threatens to compromise his purpose and integrity.

This is Drex’s one chance to outfox his cunning nemesis before he murders again and eludes justice forever. But first he must determine if the desirable Talia is a heartless accomplice . . . or the next victim.

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

I really am sorry for the formatting of this post. I have to figure it all out somehow. I hope you’ll have a great week of reading and nice weather, y’all.

xoxo

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Repeat After Me

It’s easy for us to get bogged down with things that don’t matter. In all honesty, I know it’s the reason why I had a tough time in 2018. Finding a balance between life, family, and self-care has always been a daunting task. The trick is to not only declutter our own spaces, but also our day to day activities. If you know what your priorities are, it will be easy to have a structure in your schedule. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about the things that I need to remember so I can avoid having a repeat of 2018. I’ve been blogging since 2011, and every year I worry about the little things that deter me from enjoying my hobbies again. Things like book review deadlines, acquiring the latest hyped-up book, hauling books every week just so I can show everyone my recent acquisitions. And most of all, I got caught up with comparing my reads, my followers, my popularity with everybody else. Last year, it got to a point when I would go for weeks at a time without checking my blog. All because with every day that passed by without a post, the heavier I felt about it all. So I just ignored it all together.

Somehow, I lost sight of what it means to have an outlet for my thoughts, opinions, and emotions. I may know a few people who are just as crazy about books as I am, but they’re far and few in between. My blog, besides being an outlet for my opinions, is also a way for me to reach out to the world and connect. And even if my blog is tiny, somewhere out there, it will find a way to someone beyond the far reaches of my imagination.

  • My blog is a hobby.

It’s a place of creation; a place where my mind gives birth to something spontaneous, and even artistic. Ideas that are not forced. Ideas that come as naturally as breathing. It’s also a place where ideas can die but in a natural progression as in life. And that’s okay and perfectly acceptable. Above all else, it’s a hobby. One that I should enjoy and not treat as an obligation.

  • I cannot/will not apologize.

Sometimes, we get caught up in pleasing others or fitting in with the majority that we lose sight of who we are. It’s the same thing when we review books. Don’t apologize for your opinions. Don’t get into the habit of looking over your shoulders to see what everyone else is doing. YOU DO YOU.

  • R E S P E C T

Respect others as you would respect yourself. And the only way to do that is to be honest with yourself and your audience. Take pride in what you do but never ridicule others for their choices and opinions.

  • You are not in a race/competition.

Envy is a deadly sin. One that prevents us from enjoying what we love: reading. Forget about the bloggers that are getting ARCs and new books left, right and centre. Worry about the books that are left unattended on your shelves. Compete against yourself. Beat your previous goals. Challenge yourself to read books that you wouldn’t otherwise read. But don’t give in to pressure. Don’t let anybody else dictate what you should read.

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