[771]: The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones

I was able to get through Tim Wynne-Jones’ The Ruinous Sweep with great impatience. It was slow, and frankly, so weird. So I approached this book with trepidation. Thankfully, this was far from his 2018 release. Firstly, it wasn’t as verbose, nor as dense. It was a straight forward story telling that The Ruinous Sweep severely lacked. As well, this novel isn’t as ambitious as that Dante retelling.

Four months after his best friend disappeared, Nate is suddenly plagued with nightmares. Dodge, his best friend, was like a ghost or a restless soul that kept appearing in his dreams, pleading for Nate to find him. It is Spring in northern Ontario and winter has barely left, but he was confident enough in his survival skills to trek through the frozen landscape to the cabins both their families owned. It is where Dodge’s entire family perished and where he hoped to find Dodge. The bodies of his father and his brother were found, frozen and drowned. Dodge’s however, wasn’t. He was meant to go with someone else on this pilgrimage, but when his classmate was grounded, he decided to go on his own without the knowledge of his parents. It was a costly decision that would not only threaten his life, he would also come face to face with a family secret he thought was long buried.

He was in a race against a brewing blizzard, and the elements that was far from forgiving. With only two days to do what he set out to do, finding the cabins occupied by escaped convicts was not his idea of a good time. Now, not only is he pressed for time and the storm that was coming, he was also fighting for his life.

This was a fast pace read; it took me a day to finish it. Wynne-Jones’ writing didn’t let up from beginning to end. And though, I saw the twist from the get-go, it was still fun to see come to fruition. If you’re looking for an honest to goodness thrilling read, The Starlight Claim fits that bill. Bonus: the author perfectly captures the ambiance of frozen Canada and the coziness (if you can feel cozy whilst being hunted) of the cabin life.

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Whine About It Wednesdays

I thought I’d start something different this week. It’s called Whine About It Wednesdays. I’m giving myself this specific day of the week when I’m permitted to whine about anything in my personal life. It could be about work, about my husband, a book I’m reading or…heck, the grass, air, ground, the sky. Whatever. I think a glass of wine would be a perfect pairing while writing this post but since I don’t drink alcohol, a mug of coffee is my weapon of choice. But hey, don’t let me stop you. You do you. If you do decide to write one of these posts, let me know what you’re drinking, will ya?

This Week’s Grievances:

This aloe vera plant that’s on the verge of dying. I’m told I’m over watering it, but heck. I haven’t watered this plant for months. And yet, the soil is still wet and I’ve also taken it outside for a little Vitamin D and yet, it sits there limply like an overcooked pasta. Le sigh. Can you offer me any suggestion as to how I can revive this sad plant?

Now, you all know I love this author and her books. I own a small library containing most of her work (she’s written 68 books). She writes the best romantic suspense so I never miss a new release and try to dive in right away. But. But. When I get to like the last quarter of the novel, I freaking chicken out. My heart can’t handle the homestretch, when the FBI agent or the Sheriff or the lead investigator is coming close to apprehending the perp. I find excuses to postpone reading. Sometimes — brace yourself — I even skim to the end. Gasps! Then and only then do I figure out whether or not I should keep reading. Who does that?! What about you? Do you become a basket case when you’re nearing the end of a mystery/suspense/thriller read?

What’s on your list of grievances this week?

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Life Lately.

We’re halfway through August already. Can you believe it? My kids are freaking out some because summer is drawing to a close. My eldest starts university and my boy will be in year 7 come September. Our summer has been uneventful. Aside from my daughter turning 18 and her graduation, we’ve pretty much become homebodies — all of us.

I have been plagued with injuries and illness all summer long so health and fitness suffered a great deal. I am, however, reading a lot. And when I can, writing reviews that I’ve yet to post.

I missed my 8-year anniversary on the blog back in August 6th, but that’s okay. I haven’t given up yet. Reading-wise, I’m determined to reach my goal of 2,000 books read all time this year. I’m currently 92 books away.

READING UPDATES

I’m currently reading this one. It’s a darkly comedic crime fiction featuring an 11-year old girl and her recently released from prison father on the run from an Aryan gang. I’m enjoying it so far.

This started out well, but it’s petering out to something lacklustre. I hope it improves but I’m running out of pages.

I hope you’re enjoying your week and your current read. 🙂

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2018 in Review

My Year In Books

So we’ve all come to an understanding that 2018 was not a stellar year for me blogging-wise. I was uninspired to write, and ideas had completely dried out. But I’ve also learn to accept the fact that inspiration is a fickle thing. It’s a fact that you have to nurture it. Or, like a muscle, you need to work on it constantly until it becomes a natural thing that’s a part of your life.

My year in reading, however, is a different story. I read more, borrowed more, and acquired less. I’ve also rid of a bunch books. It turns out, there was a lot of people at my gym who were only too happy to take them off my hands. I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting there.

My predilection to acquire books – via publishers and bookstores have slowed down considerably. Which is great because Lord knows, I have enough.

Non Fiction Year

In 2018, I’ve worked hard in reading more nonfiction books. Mostly memoirs, books about feminism and politics. My favourites being, Salman Rushdie’s memoir, Joseph Anton, Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club, and Cecile Richards’ Make Trouble. I’ve also finally read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.

Tally

All in all, my year ended with 191 books – a very good year, if I may so myself. Thanks to audiobooks, I’ve managed to read some books that had long fermented in my shelves. I’ve also discovered the romance package from Audible – which was great for about 2 weeks, then I stopped because one can only listen to so much sex. Lol.

The Libby app from my library was a huge money saver as I was able to cut down on my audible purchases this year. From there, I was able to borrow and re-read the entire Charley Davidson series, the Twilight series, and have found some really great reads that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up on my own accord.

In 2019

I’m really looking forward to this year. I’m going to not feel guilty for not blogging as regularly as I can, nor am I going to create situations for myself where pressure builds up to ridiculous heights. I am going to limit my spending and requesting books, but will be taking advantage of borrowing as much as I can without it getting out of hand. I want to thank you again for still being around. I know that blogging has slowed down for some that I follow, but let’s all keep in mind that above all else, blogging is still a hobby. One that can take a backseat when life gets crazy.

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Books from the Backlog [1]: Jasper Dent Series


I have a basement full of books collecting dust. Since I’ve been meaning to do a clean up of sorts, I decided to participate in Books from the Backlog feature hosted by Carole’s Random Life. Maybe this will be a way for me to remember at one point in time, I bought these books because I thought they were interesting.

My first post is the Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga. I read and reviewed I Hunt Killers back in 2012.

Must-read, well written, genuine. I don’t seek out suspense/thriller in the YA genre and it’s primarily because it’s really not my cup of tea. I Hunt Killers was not a surprise hit on my shelves and it’s because I’ve wanted it so badly I could almost taste it. Readers should have caution that this book, though sometimes a bit humorous, may still be too gory for your taste. I, however, revelled in it. I can’t wait to read the next one.

I thought for sure I’d enjoy the next two books, but alas, I never got to find out. These two books are still fermenting on my shelves but trust, they are not forgotten.

 

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[734]: Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Monsters in human form. Courage from desperation.


Orphan Monster Spy
by Matt Killeen

This book will have you engrossed from the get go. From the time you realize that Ursula is more than your average teen, she’s already outwitted Nazi soldiers and have found herself working as a spy for the British government. All these at a tender age of 15. And considering her life hasn’t been the easiest and was only going to get worse, Sarah/Ursula is indeed a remarkable young woman.

I supposed a true mark of a legendary spy in the making is one’s ability to quickly overcome emotions to avoid certain death or just even to survive. Ursula passed every single test that came her way. She used her freshman acting abilities to get away from a strange man soon after witnessing her mother’s murder. She then followed her instinct to saved the same man from the soldiers by playing as his daughter.

Captain Floyd easily saw exactly how intelligent, multi-talented, and useful she could be to their cause. And he didn’t hesitate to take advantage of her. Ursula was only too willing to be used as life has left her an orphan without a choice or a future. And that’s how she found herself in a nightmare disguised as a boarding school. It is a boarding school that knows no kindness, just cruelty; gives no education, just Aryan ideology.

But nothing could diminish Ursula’s courage and strenght. Not the tortorous hands of teachers and students alike; not a music teacher whose admiration left her cold. Not even a fellow student’s father who used his own daughter to lure girls like Ursula to drug them and rape them. And not especially when she found out that Captain Floyd knew beforehand just what kind of monsters she had to deal with on her first mission.

This book was difficult to read most of the time. But oh, it’s so good. I couldn’t stop reading. My stomach churned at every turn. But I was glued to the pages because I was wholly vested in what happens to Ursula. I was happy for her when she met Captain Floyd. I thought she was saved. But like Ursula, I was duped. This novel is indeed about monsters. The obvious ones whose cruel intentions are visible, and the ones whose inhumanity is hidden in the facade of kindness.

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At Home: Achieving the Boho Style

I’m one of those people who’s not a fan of going stagnant when it comes to the decor of my house. So every Spring, my home goes through a transformation of sorts. I tend to drive my family crazy with the whirlwind of cleaning and rearranging to achieve the kind of look I want. This year, I opted for the style of the moment: Bohemian Chic. At first, I was a little hesitant to make the change because everything was about minimalism in my house last year. And to achieve the boho chic decor, you must shed your inhibition towards contrasting colours and textures; filling your rooms with house plants, and woven knick-knacks on every available surface of your house.

CONTRAST

Both my couches are now littered with pillows featuring a variety of colours and vintage-looking prints of varying patterns. Anything that offers a contrast to the overall appearance of a room got me one step closer to joining the Bohemian movement. Persian rugs are also a must. Unfortunately, they cost a lot of money. But if you try your luck at IKEA, they have some great ones that are inexpensive. Of course, having vintage rugs are optimal. But I can barely afford a runner so I’m saving up for when I can get a big rectangular one that can over a wide area in my living room.

PATTERNS, TEXTURES, & FRINGES

On my thrifting weekends, my eyes are always peeled to textiles and blankets. They may look like eyesores now but when they’re properly mixed with the overall aesthetic of your house, it works.

So yes, my house is an ever-changing landscape. I’m never satisfied with how it looks. Who knows what I would be into in the summer? What about you? Do you get bitten by the decorating bug quite often? What’s your style like? Come back next time for more about this Bohemian chic style. But for a few ideas about it, here are a few Instagram accounts that I follow:

@sub_folk_collective

@thisthriftedabode

@labohemehouseofthewishingtrees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shelf Envy: JR Gray


P.S.A.

Before we get into Mr. Gray’s bookshelves, I would just like to apologize for the lateness of this post. I had promised to put this up on the 3rd, but since getting back from my vacation, I haven’t had the desire to blog or read emails for that matter. Totally my fault. Judith and her team has been incredibly patient with me and generously understanding. So, again. Sincerest apologies, Judith. 🙁

I have today JR Gray and he’d very much like for you to “touch his shelves” (love the raw wood, btw!). Take that for what you will but based on the pics he’d sent, I’m wholly tempted. *smirks* Also, I found another one, folks. A true fan of Ms. Reisz’s works. One of these days, I would need to get over myself and continue with her Original Sinners series. Damn.


On His Favorite Authors

I have a ton. Let me try and narrow it down. Tiffany Reisz. Maggie Stiefvater. Mercedes Lackey. J.K. Rowling. Brandon Mull. V.E. Schwab. Jane Austin. George R.R. Martin. Sierra Simone

On His Latest Book Purchase

The last paperback I bought was The Abyss Surrounds Us. I haven’t read it yet. Kulti is the last Ebook I bought, which I loved. Kulti will go down as one of my favorite characters of all times.

His Reading Spot

I love to read in my library. I can hide away in there, and it’s hidden enough I’m not easily found. 

The Most Controversial Books on His Shelves (or the lack thereof)

I’m not sure that I would consider anything on my shelf controversial. I have a few of Michael Stokes’ books. Lots of pretty naked men, but in my house it’s not really controversial. Maybe I should say one of Tiffany Reisz’s because of my favorite sadist priest.

You Should Read This

I recommend The Siren to everyone I know. I love the series, and so many of the characters from it resonate with me. Tiffany Reisz writes such beautifully broken and human characters. I found so many parts of me in her characters. They were like home.

Thank you for stopping by, Mr. Gray. Sorry again for the delay. Tiffany Reisz’ characters are an acquired taste but I’m willing to give them another go. 🙂


JR GRAY’s latest, Say Yes is already out. Help support an Indie author by purchasing and posting a review! You can purchase your copy on the links below:

Publisher | Amazon

James failed.
He tried to be what they wanted.
He tried to deny it.
He tried to be a good Catholic boy…but it’s become too much.
He craves pain, submission.
He’s denied himself far too long, and it’s eating him alive.

Charles thrives off the exchange of power. He knows the world revolves around control. It’s given and taken like currency, in business and in pleasure. He won’t get attached, though, or so he tells himself, until James turns his world upside down. He’s defiant and snarky, but Charles can taste the submission on him.

Charles holds the key to his salvation but James has to Say Yes.

About the Author: 

When not staying up all night writing, J.R. Gray can be found at the gym where it’s half assumed he is a permanent resident to fulfill his self-inflicted masochism. A dominant and a pilot, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. He frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns and conversations, to jot down notes or plot bunnies. Commas are the bane of his existence even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder. If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave, insanity or both. The idea of haunting has always appealed to him. J.R. Gray is genderqueer and prefers he/him pronouns.

 

Website | Twitter Personal | Twitter Books | Facebook | Facebook Group | Amazon Author Page |

 

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Hello Book Lover Subscription Box

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Hello, book lovers (see what I did there?)!

I’m back! Did anyone miss me? 🙂 Well, I missed you all. I’m still trying to catch up with everything that I’ve missed during my absence, but I want to take this opportunity to talk to you about this subscription box that landed on my doorstep last Friday.

Monthly subscription boxes are a dime a dozen nowadays and honestly, I’ve struggled with trying to decide from which to choose. When Lauren of Hello, Book Lover contacted me for a partnership, I was absolutely ecstatic. For one, it’s quite flattering. And for another, this is a new thing for me. So I did a little bit of checking. I went to their website to see what they’re all about. I found out that besides the fact that they send out books and accouterments to go along with reading, they also have a book club that enables their members to interact with other subscribers. I thought that it was pretty cool.

This month, they feature what is called, The Page-Turner Box, which includes:

  • The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
  • Bags of Yogi tea (Stress Relief, Bedtime and Positive Energy)
  • Jar of honey
  • Little Flower All Natural Peppermint Lip Balm
  • Little Flower All Natural Lavender Bath Salt

If you’re interested, you can take advantage of a 15% discount by using the code, JOYOUS15. I’m looking forward to reading the book, drinking the tea, using the lip balm and the small sample of lavender bath salt. 🙂 For more information about Hello, Book Lover, I’ve provided the links below. Follow them for special offers and featured items included in the box.

LINKS:

Website  | Twitter | Facebook  | Pinterest | Instagram

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INBOX / OUTBOX: June Rewind

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Hello.

July! My gosh. June just came and went like a flash. I swear it was just yesterday that I was ruminating about May and how pathetic I did for the month. June was definitely a change of pace – reading and blogging wise. As of this writing, I’m at 20 books for the month and I’ve managed to do some advance postings right up to the second week of July. I could keep going if I want to participate in some weekly features but I got sidelined by a case of summer flu. It sucks. I missed a couple of days of work and I’m hacking like a crackwhore who smokes about 2 packs a day. Anyway, I only have three more books to review then I’m caught up. But even with the great reading streak I’ve been having, the health of my TBR is not getting any better, I’m afraid.

INBOX

  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  2. Savage Song by V.E. Schwab
  3. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  4. Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  5. Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  6. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  7. Summer Skin by Kristi Eagar
  8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
  9. The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker
  10. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  11. Smoke by Dan Vyleta
  12. We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore
  13. My Lady Jane by Hand, Brodi, and Ashton
  14. You Knew Me Well by Nina Lacour and David Leviathan
  15. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
  16. What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle
  17. Hear by Robin Epstein
  18. A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink
  19. Wanderlost by Jen Malone
  20. The Summer Before War by Helen Simonson
  21. The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish
  22. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  23. Sing by Vivi Greene
  24. This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer
  25. Assassin’s Heart by Sara Ahiers
  26. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
  27. Appealed by Emma Chase
  28. Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
  29. Sometimes It Lasts by Abbi Glines
  30. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
  31. Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump by Aaron James
  32. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
  33. Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid
  34. Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
  35. Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe
  36. The Truth About Him by Molly O’Keefe
  37. Radiance by Grace Draven
  38. The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon
  39. Boy Meets Boy by David Leviathan
  40. The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
  41. Burn Down the Night by Molly O’Keefe
  42. The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones

OUTBOX

  1. Eligible by Curtis  Sittenfeld
  2. The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
  3. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
  4. The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
  5. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
  6. The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones
  7. Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid
  8. Truth or Beard It by Penny Reid
  9. Burn by Paula Weston
  10. The Truth About Him by Molly O’Keefe
  11. Everything I  Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe
  12. Radiance by Grace Draven
  13. The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon
  14. Assholes: A Theory of Donald Trump by Aaron James
  15. This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer
  16. Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney
  17. The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward
  18. Appealed by Emma Chase
  19. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  20. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

TBR DIFFERENTIAL: +22

Yikes. Anyway, I’ve also managed to write reviews for most of these books aside from the last four (go me).

If you notice that the blog has been suffering from a case of an identity crisis lately, well, it’s not all in your head. I tried to change the look of my blog but it turns out I’m as useless as ever when it comes to that kind of stuff. Twice, I lost my commenting platform – both WordPress and Disqus. So I had to upload another design and kind of tweak it. I’m so sorry for the cringe-worthy look at times. I’m hoping that I can find someone kind enough to help me fix it. I’ll pay in kind words and promise you my fealty till the end of times. In short, I’m too broke to pay. So you know, I can like, tell everyone how awesome you are. *winks*

So I hope you’re all enjoying your summer so far. I know a few of you have taken breaks from blogging and I’m kinda hating you for it (kidding. I don’t really hate you. Mostly, I’m jealous). I have no life so blogging is the only thing I look forward to. I don’t have to yell at you to pick up the dirty laundry or put the toilet seat down. Or tell you for the fucking last time that our garbage day is Wednesday so you bring it out then so we don’t have two-weeks’ worth of filth reeking in our garage. Wait. Where was I?

Have a great summer!

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