[742]: The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

A darker shade of YA; prevalently sinister, rich in magic and suspense.


The Price Guide to the Occult
by Leslye Walton

I was over the moon when I got this book even though at the time, the extent of my knowledge was that it was written by the same author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. I was so excited that I started reading it right away. This book is darker than the usual YA. It has magic in spades and the persistent ambiance of an approaching mayhem. It’s ripe in history as well – which is surprising considering how slight this book is.

The book is about the generations of Blackburn women. Starting from the matriarch Rona Blackburn. All she wanted was to start a new life on a remote island and while she was received nonchalantly by some, the others have already pegged her for a witch that will bring down death and distraction in their small community. It didn’t end well, so she cursed them.

Fast forward to the present time, Nor Blackburn’s mission in life was to lay low and live a normal life. But because she’s a Blackburn, her last name comes with a baggage. Her childhood on the island wasn’t the best: her mother saw her as a burden who mistreated her at every turn until she abandoned her. But she’s not all alone in the world. She’s got good friends and great grand mothers who love her. If it weren’t for them, her life would be completely miserable. When a mysterious book of spell arrives on the island, promising to give the recipient of the book whatever their hearts desire – for a price, that is – Nor knew it wasn’t a coincidence. Especially when strange things started happening on the island.

Soon, the anxiety she felt manifested in the return of her mother. Superseded by missing townspeople, deaths, and mysterious behaviours of the flora and fauna variety.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It may look like it took me a long time to read it (February to May) but I didn’t really. I had to take a break to fulfill other reading obligations. Y’all know what that’s like. Lol. Anyway, it’s hard not to fall in love with Ms. Walton’s writing. She makes every creature, every character, and even the island seem larger than life. Like it could very well pop out of the pages of the book.

Nor’s story as a child wasn’t so fun to read. She went through so much abuse in the hands of her mother. See, the Blackburn women are gifted with witchcraft and her mother felt that amongst the Blackburn women, Nor was a dud. Also, they are cursed not to find the love of their lives. Nor’s father wasn’t exempt from this curse. Unfortunately, Fern, Nor’s mother, fell in love with a man who would never reciprocate. And because she’s a vindictive witch, he’ll never live in peace. And in turn, Fern took it out on the one reminder of her curse, which was Nor. The extent of her evil tendencies was boundless. Truly a hateful, sinister woman.

There’s so much to look forward to if this is ever going to be a series. The ending left the door wide open, for sure. There’s the temporary truce between Gage and Nor, who, for some reason hated her guts. I need to know why because that wasn’t explained here. The Price Guide to the Occult reminded me of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic but somehow even more darker.

On The Night Table [50]


Good Morning, everyone.

This week’s On the Night Table are a couple of books that I knew next to nothing about. So here is the Goodreads synopsis for both books:

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

Who doesn’t want to visit the mystical, Ireland?


In the tradition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a captivating mystery about a boy with synesthesia—a condition that causes him to see colors when he hears sounds—who tries to uncover what happened to his beautiful neighbor, and if he was ultimately responsible.

Thirteen-year-old Jasper Wishart lives in a world of dazzling color that no one else can see, least of all his dad. Words, numbers, days of the week, people’s voices—everything has its own unique shade. But recently Jasper has been haunted by a color he doesn’t like or understand: the color of murder.

Convinced he’s done something terrible to his new neighbor, Bee Larkham, Jasper revisits the events of the last few months to paint the story of their relationship from the very beginning. As he struggles to untangle the knot of untrustworthy memories and colors that will lead him to the truth, it seems that there’s someone else out there determined to stop him—at any cost.

Both a refreshing coming-of-age story and an intriguing mystery, The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder is a poignant and unforgettable read—perfect for fans of bestselling authors such as Fredrik Backman and Graeme Simsion.

Imagine having your senses so tuned to the colours of sound?

So have you read these? Let me know in the comments!

Romance Reads Round Up


Hello. This week, I’m featuring a couple of books that I’ve requested from Net Galley. One came highly recommended by Nick of The Infinite Limits of Love blog and the other is one that I just stumbled upon during my Net Galley hunt. In any rate, both of these were wonderful reads.


Luck of the Draw
by Kate Clayborn
4/5 Stars


As a former corporate attorney in a world run by money and politics, Zoe has a lot of guilt burdening her shoulders. Winning the lottery have afforded her to quit her job. But idleness and boredom gave her too much time to think about her past sins. So much so that she’s started a jar of guilt instead of a jar of blessings.

One of those guilts is the O’Leary’s. They lost their son to a drug dependency from the pharmaceutical company she represented. He committed suicide. The way she handled the case has given her sleepless nights. She was callous about their grief. She wanted to make amends; apologize, at least. That brought her face to face with a taciturn, Aidan O’Leary – who just happens to be their son and the person who found his brother’s dead body.

Aidan wasn’t going to give her an easy out so he proposed that she stand in as a fake fiance, all because the owners of the camp he wanted to buy has a very staunch belief in family.  The camp is a way for him to absolve of the guilt of losing his brother. It’s where they both grew up. Unfortunately, a lie is a lie, is a lie.

This book is more than just a tender, and at times, tumultuous romance. Zoe and Aiden were obnoxious together at first. The only thing they had in common was Aiden’s brother. Unfortunately, he was the burden of guilt that was sometimes too big for them to ignore.


Riven
by Roan Parrish
4/5 Stars


I’m a huge fan of Ms. Parrish.  I haven’t read a book by her that I didn’t like. She conjures up the best, broken characters who find partners that will either save them or will be each other’s salvation. The same could be said for Theo & Caleb.

Theo is the lead singer for the band, Riven. He shot up to popularity and had become an instant celebrity. However, he’s not dealing well with fame. He’s a homebody; an introvert who prefers the quiet solitude of his apartment. On one of his rare breaks from touring, he stumbled upon Caleb singing all by himself at a bar. Their connection was instantaneous.

Caleb’s former life was sort of similar to Theo’s. But he let his celebrity status get the best of him and had turned to drugs and alcohol. He’s long since straightened out his life, though. But that doesn’t mean he’s willing to jump right back into the melee. And that’s exactly what he would be doing if he starts a relationship with Theo. Regardless of the sizzling chemistry between them.

Caleb was consumed with fear with the thought of a relationship with Theo. He’s terrified that being with him would bring back his old demons. So he was very skittish and would waffle between the intensity of his feeling towards Theo and feeling like he’s going to substitute one addiction for another.

Theo is such a sweet character. He understood the precarious situation Caleb was in. He knew he had to give him time to acclimate to the idea of them being together. But sometimes, he wasn’t a very patient person. I was frustrated with Caleb, though. the push and pull thing he put Theo through wasn’t a fun thing to witness. Otherwise, this book was a fantastic read. Roan Parrish does M/M romance well that it’s not hard not to get addicted.

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 211


A Higher Loyalty by James Comey | The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Torro | Hero At the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton | The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo | Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren


Hello.

How’s your weekend so far? Well, I’m drafting this post on a Saturday (the week past) because I’m trying to catch up. I had this scheduled last week but that was a hectic week for me and my family that I didn’t get to actually write the post. I only downloaded the picture but didn’t touch it.

Life Lately

So yes, it’s been an incredibly busy week for us. One of the reasons why I wasn’t able to drop by your blogs was that I was trying to reach a fitness milestone at my gym. I set out a goal to be the first person to have taken a thousand classes, so I did. I reached it two weeks before my one year anniversary.

I battled with all kinds of aches and pains throughout but the reward of bragging rights made it all worth it. Lol. Besides the fact that it helped me lose 50 lbs and gain an incredible amount of self-confidence in the process, that is. My next goal is to lose more. I need to lose 20 more lbs but I’m having a tougher go at it this time. My self-control with food on the weekends isn’t as great as it used to be. So losing a couple of pounds during the week is usually negated by the time Monday rolls around. Story of my life.

Ah Spring. The sounds of birds, the open windows, the annoying allergies. It’s been awful this year, to tell you the truth. I often wake up with puffy eyes and stuffed up nose. I can’t go outside so my step count stats are suffering. Sigh.

On Reading

I’m continually making great strides. With the help of audiobooks, romance novels on my Kindle, and actually finding an efficient way to use my time, I’m able to get back on the saddle again.

On Blogging

I’ve actually sat down and created a schedule for myself. I’m happy to announce that I’ve got a full schedule for May. That is, I’m hoping I’ll be able to sit down and draft the posts I wanted to go up.

This is it for me, y’all. Let me know if you’ve read any of the books on my stack. I’m keen to read the James Comey tell all first but I have a few books to get through first.

Happy reading!

[741]: I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

A story of new beginnings, friendships, and unbelievable loss that triumphantly celebrates human’s ability to cope and start over again.


I Have Lost My Way
by Gayle Forman

I have not had any success with Ms. Forman’s recent releases lately. But I wasn’t ready to write her off yet. Admittedly, I was filled with dread upon seeing this book. For one, we all know Ms. Forman’s modus operandi. She either leaves her readers in tears, lost in the tumultuous emotions of her characters; or – she leaves them a frustrated mess of, ‘what the hell just happened?’. 

Thankfully, I was left in neither state. Only mildly frustrated by the ending. In a true Gayle Forman fashion, she left me hanging on to the very last word and punctuation. Inertly dissatisfied with the ending. She has that ability to procure a connection between her readers and her characters, you see. You end up wanting to know what happens to them after the story ends. Especially since she’s so adept at writing vague, fade to black endings.

This is the story of three people from different walks of life; unconnected, and dealing with their own personal upheavals. First, we have Freya. A pop singer sensation on the verge of greater success but have recently lost the ability to sing. While she’s trying to figure out what will become of her once the world figures out she can no longer sing, Nathaniel was just getting off the bus to New York. A city that’s a jungle and so much more different than the quiet and solitude of the place he used to call home. Then there’s Harun who’s about to embark on a journey to find himself a wife in his homeland of Pakistan.

They are three people who are lost in their own ways, and who will help each other find their respective directions in life.

I enjoyed this book even if their stories are heart-rending in their own ways. Nathaniel, most especially, is one that broke my heart over and over again. He used to be a normal teen; floundering through high school but somewhat happy despite the strangeness of his upbringing. He had a strong relationship with his father who was suffering from a mental illness and bouts of depression. When his parents split up, he chose to stay with this dad and soon had become estranged from his mother. But then his grandmother died, then lost one eye. He lost the only thing that brought him joy in school (baseball). He since then stopped going because he had to take care of his dad. On a good day, his father will be coherent and well adjusted to the remoteness of the way they lived. On a bad day, he was sporadic. Nathaniel looked after him until he no longer could. I felt for this boy. He lost his way when he lost his father.

While it would be easy to dismiss Freya’s problems, it isn’t in a way. She’s lost her way since her father moved back to Ethiopia. Singing was her way of staying connected to him. But when she inexplicably lost her voice, her life was once again, on the verge of another upheaval. She has a difficult relationship with her mother, as well her sister. But she revels in her popularity in the social media. Losing her voice meant losing her adoring fans.

Harun is gay. But how does a staunch Muslim boy who believes in prayers and respecting the doctrine go on pretending that his heart does not belong to another man?

Gayle Forman perfectly knitted all three stories in a neat package. A common thread amongst the three is the question of how to proceed in life after going through cataclysmic awakenings. The characters were bestowed with distinct voices, and their friendship is at times, awkward but made all the more poignant by the way each was desperate to hold on to the other.

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.

 

Waiting on Wednesday [16]: May Edition


As always, May is a great month for new releases. Not so much for my wallet, however. Here are a few of the books I want to feature for this post. Let me know which of these books are on your wishlist as well.

Only Human
by Sylvain Neuvel


Release Date: May 1st

I love this series. The first two books ended so painfully like a good series should. I requested a copy from Penguin Random House but it hasn’t arrived. I’m guessing I didn’t get it. Sigh.

 

 

A Court of Frost and Starlight
by Sarah J. Mass


Release Date: May 1st, 2018

I really hated how A Court of Mist and Fury ended. So of course, I’m dying to read this book. I picked up a copy just this past weekend, and I’m trying hard to resist taking a peek at the end. Teehee.

 

 

I Was Born For This
by Alice Oseman

 


Release Date: May 3rd, 2018

I just finished reading Ms. Oseman’s Radio Silence. I’m floored with her writing chops, y’all. I also like that this book speaks to my former life as a fandom follower.

 

 

Level Up
by Annabeth Albert


Release Date: May 17th, 2018

I am a huge fan of Ms. Albert. Also of M/M romance – and she does them well! Her main characters always have chemistry in spades, so I’m looking forward to this one about a physicist and a photographer.

 

 

Aftermath
by Kelley Armstrong


Release Date: May 22nd

Another book that I’ve requested that I didn’t get. Sigh. Anyway, Kelley Armstong is one of my favourite Canadian authors so I’m always excited when she’s got a new one out. Especially if it’s a YA book. She’s an expert in suspense!

 

LIFEL1K3
by Jay Kristoff


Release Date: May 29

Everyone but my neighbour’s cat seems to be reading this on Instagram – lucky! I know I will be lining up for this one unless some wish-granter will put me out of my misery and send me an ARC. Lol.

 

 

All the Little Lights
by Jamie McGuire


Release Date: May 29th, 2018

I was just wondering the other day what she’s been up to. Then I stumbled upon this book while scoping out Net Galley. I requested it but I never got a response back. Such is my life. Sigh.

 

So these are the books I’m looking to covet this month. Have you read them? And what are you waiting for this month?

[740]: Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi

At times funny, emotional & poignant story of friendship, love and piecing yourself after the death of a toxic relationship.


Emergency Contact
by Mary HK Choi

Emergency contact was surprisingly heavy. At least, from Sam’s perspective, that is. He’s practically homeless if not for his generous employer who lets him room in a place no bigger than a closet. His life hasn’t been a walk in the park since day one. His mom went through men and had long since become an alcoholic who could care less if Sam survives childhood. The only saving grace he ever got from his mom’s doomed relationships was the friendship of his step-niece.

But life is not through with him yet. His on again and off again relationship was on its last breath – however desperate he might be to hold on. His ex-walks back into his life with news that she might be pregnant. And so it goes. He was drowning.

Penny Lee, on the other hand, wants to escape for a different reason altogether. Her life is a doldrum circle of school, having a relationship with a boy who knows nothing about her, and living with a mom who has the entire world in the palm of her hands. She’s a good mom, by anybody’s standards. She just doesn’t know how to be a mother to Penny.

Penny & Sam would start a texting friendship that begins when Penny saves Sam. And at the end of the book, Sam will save Penny back.

This book did not lack for bouts of aggravation. I had to be patient and generous. And while my heart went out for Sam, I also wanted to knock his head on the wall for not recognizing how desperate – and not in a good way – he was being.

And then there’s Penny. I really don’t understand why she was mad at her mom. Celeste tried her best to be the best mom for Penny but I felt like she never gave her mother a chance. The lack of communication on Penny’s part frustrated me. Celeste couldn’t possibly know what Penny wanted if she doesn’t speak up. And ignoring her mom’s calls and text messages just made it worst. It felt like she was dead set on widening the gap.

But after everything is said in done, this book eventually won my heart. I love the maturity they both went through and recognizing the part they played in the ennui of their respective relationships. Overall, you have to wade through all the rough parts till you get to the good parts of Emergency Contact. Just be patient, and you’ll discover a good, unflinching story about relationships and how easy it was to lose oneself to another if we’re not careful.

My Month in Books: April


Hey, everyone!

My first recap in forever! Lol. I know I’ve said this before but I’m so glad I’m back reading and blogging again. The whole time I was concentrating on fitness and health, there was always this part of me that was missing. I knew what it was but I just couldn’t find the time. I am slowly learning how to use my time wisely and have gone back to listening to audiobooks.

I was 12 books in the hole with my Goodreads Reading Challenge at the beginning of April. I’ve long since made up for this deficit and is now only about 5 books behind – all thanks to the 19 books I read this past month. It’s such an unbelievable feeling to finally gain some strides with blogging and reading!

5 Stars

Review

I absolutely loved Obsidio. I’m so sad it’s over but it was one of the few Sci-Fi series that I was able to follow. I’m not typically a fan of space odysseys just because I found that I can’t easily conjure what’s happening as I read but The Illuminae Files series is quite different. Not simplistic by any means, but it was just written in such a way that my brain found easy to digest.

These are all my 4 stars reads for April.

The only drawback to trying to read as many books as I can is that I’m incapable of writing the reviews as I finished the books. Also, because I’m trying to diversify content on my blog, I’m not able to post them consecutively. So it might be awhile until you see me posts reviews on these books.  Sadly, it’s the beginning of the wedding season for my family so our weekends are pretty much booked solid. I’m going to have to make use of my weeknights to get writing and blog-hopping.

The Rest of What I’ve Read this Month.

Bonfire review | The Thief was frustrating. I hated the beginning and was only mildly pacified with the ending. (Review to come). | Hooking Up was so unremarkable, I can barely recall what it was about now.

That’s it for my recap. I’m looking forward to everything that’s about to happen in May. I hope you’ll have a great month as well. Happy reading!

Shelf Envy [29]: Santa Montefiore

 


My mouth literally fell open when I saw this gloriousness in my mailbox.

I have Ms. Santifiore today to talk about what she’s been reading nowadays. It looks like she’s fast at work with the fourth Deverill novel! The work of a writer never stops. But seriously, though. Your bookshelves are to die for. Sigh.

I’m researching my new novel at the moment, which is the fourth in the Deverill series, based in Ireland and London in 1992.   So, Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy, which is about the wealthy American girls who came over to do the London Season and catch aristocratic Englishmen. It’s a really fun book, with wonderful anecdotes. As well as research, it’s a really entertaining read; The Diary of Lady Carbery – this is a fascinating diary giving insight into the daily life of an Anglo Irishwoman who lived in Castle Freke in West Cork.

I’m also reading for pleasure: Joe Dispenza’s Becoming Supernatural, this is a really amazing book. Joe Dispenza is a brain scientist who teaches you how to manifest the life you want and to heal your body with your mind. For people who enjoy books by Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle like I do, Joe Dispenza is one of the best. I went to a workshop of his last week here in London and I am so inspired. Meditation is the key – with a new puppy in the house, it’s difficult to find the time to do it, but I know that, if I do, I can take control of my life. I highly recommend this book!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Love, love your bookshelves! And your book. 🙂