On the Night Table [57]

Happy Monday, y’all.

I spent the entire weekend catching up on everything I’ve missed on Bloglovin’. Last week was hectic and exhausting so I didn’t have much time to do anything of the sort. Our fiscal year end was at the end of September so I had a few things I needed to do. I’m so glad it’s done. I technically have until the 18th but I didn’t want to prolong the agony, so to speak. Lol.

This week, I’ve got a couple of thrillers and a Rick Riordan classic. I know, I know. Kind of extremes, but I love shocking myself. And of course, I have my stock of audio books that I borrowed from the library:

CURRENTLY LISTENING

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai | America’s Reluctant Prince by Steven M. Gillon | Normal People by Sally Rooney | Color Me In by Nasha Diaz

I listened to the three of the seven books I borrowed last week which leaves me with these four. The only one that will take me a few days to listen to is the 18-hour-long, America’s Reluctant Prince.

BOOKS READ LAST WEEK

I read and listened to a total of 7 books last week. For the first time in a long time, I actually read the books on my recent On The Night Table post.

Inside Out by Demi Moore | Permanent Record by Edward Snowden | Frankly in Love by David Yoon | The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Inside Out by Demi Moore – 5/5 Stars | Permanent Record by Edward Snowden – 3/5 Stars | Frankly In Love by David Yoon – 4/5 Stars | The Darkest Star – 4/5 Stars.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | The Order of Nature by Josh Scheineirt | With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 5/5 Stars | The Order of Nature by Josh Scheinert – 5/5 Stars | With The Fire On High – 4/5 Stars

That’s how my week went, y’all. I hope you’ll have a great one! Happy reading!

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Listening Library [4]

Hello!

It’s been a minute. đŸ™‚ This week’s audiobook haul includes three non-fiction that I’m super pumped to get from my library. I’m also excited to listen to Ms. Acevedo’s recent release, and while The Right Swipe received some polarizing reviews, I decided to see what the big hoopla was about. So here are the books I downloaded this week:

With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo | Color Me In by Natasha Diaz | The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai | Normal People by Sally Rooney
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden | America’s Reluctant Prince by Steven M. Gillon | Inside Out by Demi Moore

I listened to Permanent Record by Edward Snowden. This book is not so much about what happened in 2012 when he exposed how NSA was surveilling the American people without their consent and how the information was collected. Rather, this is about how he arrived to the decision to forgo his freedom for the sake of exposing his government’s intrusion. It was interesting and it made me think about how I feel about my privacy being invaded for the safety of the country. I’m still thinking about it.

I just finished Demi Moore’s memoir. I loved this one. She was brutally honest about her childhood, her dysfunctional parents, her rape, her addictions, her marriages, and how she’s trying to break free from her past by confronting the ugly truths about it all. I will probably pick up a physical copy at some point.

I’m really excited about all these books, especially the JFK jr one.

Let me know what you’re listening to this week!

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[772]: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tiffy Moore has had some recent upheavals in her life. Her boyfriend just broke up with her, she needs to move out of his flat, and what’s worse, she finds out later that he’s engaged. In desperate need of a place, and soon, she answered an ad for a flat share — a time share of sorts, in which she would have a roommate but they’ll never see each other. He works at night, she works days. And in the weekends, she has free rein of the place. They sleep in the same bed, but not together. It’s quite ingenious, actually. And one that could be financially beneficial for them both.

Through missives left on post it notes, Leo and Tiff develop a friendship. One that will be cultivated as they get to know each other very well. On paper, they have nothing in common. But as the days go by, and through their interactions, they realize that their connection is more than they’d ever experienced in any other partners they’d each had in the past — which complicate things as Leo is with someone and Tiff is trying to get on with her life.

This was a wonderful contemporary romance that had more heart and seriousness that what was let on. I enjoyed it very much as I’m a fan of romances with a little more depth. I just don’t want a meet-cute, then an adorable story about two people and their relationship. I mean, don’t get me wrong, The Flatshare is THAT but it also gave me more. I especially looked forward to them actually meeting face to face for the first time. The excitement it brought was more pronounced somehow just because their relationship was already developing into something more even before meeting in person.

The Flatshare also contained heft in plot by way of a few story lines: i.e. Tiff’s obsessive ex, Leo’s search for a veteran whose friend had very little time to live; and Leo’s incarcerated brother who was wrongfully convicted. I felt like Ms. O’Leary made sure that there were complexities in the plot that would not at all feel contrived.

Over all, Ms. O’Leary’s debut novel hit all the right spots for romance and contemporary fiction for me. I enjoyed the humour, the innate chemistry between Leo and Tiff, and the subtle emotions the novel made me feel. It’s quirky and just an all-around feel good story about two people connecting in the most unusual of ways.

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Waiting on Wednesday [22]: October Releases

Truthfully, there’s only one book that I’m looking forward to reading in October. However, I feel mildly excited about the rest on this list. I’m going to try and save the rest of the book buying for Christmas. That is to say, I’m going to hand a list to my husband to save him the headache of trying to figure out what I want for Christmas. Lol.

October 1st

The Beautiful by Renèe Ahdieh | The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake | The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith | The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Septeys

October 3rd

Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely | Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris | The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

October 8th

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones | The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes | Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

October 22nd

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg | I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Nishi | Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

October 29th

Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson | Find Me by Andrè Aciman | The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

I’m looking forward to reading Find Me by Andrè Aciman. If you must know, it’s the follow up to his novel, Call Me By Your Name. I know they’re probably not destined for HEA, but heck. I need to know what’s been going on with their lives.

What are you looking forward to in October?

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September Wrap Up

Another incredibly productive month in September. I read a total of 33 books – physical, ebooks, and audiobooks combined. There were two slight volumes (Finding Langston, and I’m Afraid of Men) that were less than 200 pages, but other than that, I thought this has been a legitimately fantastic month. Here is the list of the books read in September:

  • Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty ****/5 Stars
  • How To Stop Time by Matt Haig ****/5 Stars
  • When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton ****/5 Stars
  • Texas! Sage by Sandra Brown ****/5 Stars
  • Tempest by Beverly Jenkins ****/5 Stars
  • The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean-Weir *****/5 Stars
  • Eloquent Rage by Britney Cooper ****/5 Stars
  • The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones ****/5 Stars
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston *****/5 Stars
  • The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandi ****/5 Stars
  • Fence, Volume 3 by C.S. Pacat ****/5 Stars
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary *****/5 Stars
  • The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie **/5 Stars
  • Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick ****/5 Stars
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Montfegh *****/5 Stars
  • Finding Langston by Lesa Ransome-Cline *****/5 Stars
  • I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya ****/5 Stars
  • Vox by Christina Dalcher ****/5 Stars
  • Breathless by Beverly Jenkins ****/5 Stars
  • Odd One Out by Nick Stone */5 Stars
  • Call Them By Their Names by Rebecca Solnit *****/5 Stars
  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin ****/5 Stars
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin **/5 Stars
  • The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin ****/5 Stars
  • Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins ****/5 Stars
  • The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci ***/5 Stars
  • The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett ***/5 Stars
  • Beard With Me by Penny Reid ****/5 Stars
  • Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta *****/5 Stars
  • How To Bang A Billionaire by Alexis Hall ****/5 Stars
  • Bear Town by Frederik Backman *****/5 Stars
  • Under Currents by Nora Roberts *DNF
  • The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais ***/5

I finally read a western type of Historical Fiction last month and I absolutely adored it. I’m hoping to pick up a few more when I go to the thrift shop one of these weekends. Old West by Beverly Jenkins was a fantastic trilogy. It features strong women and the men who love them. I was curious to see how Ms. Jenkins would explore the issue of race in that era and I was not disappointed. In particular, one of the women was a witness to a crime but because she was black, her testimony was readily nullified.

I have one DNF this month, which is Nora Roberts’ latest, Under Currents. It’s about a couple whose pasts were mired in domestic abuse. I honestly couldn’t get through it. The violence was a bit too visceral for me. I think I got through one chapter and that was it.

FAVOURITES

Beartown by Fredrik Backman | My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh | The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean-Weir

How was your month?

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On the Night Table [56]

Let’s just say I wasn’t very successful in reading what I’d planned last week. I only managed to start The Order of Nature by Josh Scheinert. I tried reading the other two books but they didn’t stick. This week, I’m trying to finish a couple of books that I’ve started this past weekend, and a starter series from Jennifer L. Armentrout.

I’m halfway through The Order of Nature and Frankly In Love. I’m loving both even if we didn’t get off to a good start. The Darkest Star is the first book to JLA’s spin off of The Luxe series. While I didn’t finish that series, I wanted to see if I’m going to have a better luck with this one. Wish me luck.

So these are the books I’m endeavouring to read this week. Have you read them?

Happy Reading!

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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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[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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[770]: The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

It’s 1953 in Tehran. The country, for the most part, was governed by a democtratic prime minister. But it was in the grips of communism, regardless. Demonstrations happened every day, kids at school were divided in their ideologies. Roya, idealistic though as she was, remained somewhat detached. Her days were filled with family, school, and a once a week trip to a stationery shop where, for at least a couple of hours, enabled her to luxuriate in the words of Rumi.

Then one day, with a blast of cold wind, in came Bahman, ‘the boy who would change the world’. He had a penchant for politics. He was staunched in his belief that his country will remain unaffected by the pressures of globalization. He was handsome, charismatic, idealistic, and he shared Roya’s love for Rumi’s poems. The shop owner, seeing the palpable connection between the two, decided to intervene. Thus the relationship, albeit, short-lived, blossomed until Bahman’s proposal of marriage.

Then on the eve of their marriage, and on the night of the coup d’etat, Bahman disappeared. Desperate, Roya did everything she could to find him. Broken-hearted, not only for Bahman’s betrayal but for her country’s demise, Roya left Iran to study in America. It would be 60 years later would have the chance to find out why he never showed up at the meeting place they agreed to meet.

This novel is so sublime; quiet in its beauty. And despite the strife the country went through over the years, it still managed to paint Iran in all her glory. I can barely imagine this Iran, some sixty odd years ago. A country that somewhat progressive, depending on who was at the helm. In the backdrop of Bahman and Roya’s story was a history lesson of how many times their government was manipulated by outside forces, and how their people fought long and hard for peace and independence. Ideologies change over time; factions switch from one belief to the next so the country went through years of upheaval politically and socially.

They had one immovable force in their way: the dreams of a mother who favours status over the happiness of her own son. They were apart more than they were together. But even with the separation, their lives were governed by the memories of each other. And yet, their loved endured through decades. They each married different people but 60 years later, it’s as if nothing has changed.

The Stationery Shop was one of those unassuming novels that makes your heartache in the subtlest of ways. It spoke of a bravery for Bahman and Roya to move forward in their lives even though they know they will not be together. Roya’s life in America was not always the easiest. Being Middle Eastern and a woman at that, lent for some prejudice with which she had to contend. Bahman, on the other hand, grew to care for the woman his mother chose for him to marry. But despite the pretense, the memories of their young love was a ghost that haunted them.

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On the Night Table [55]

So I stumbled a little bit last week with my postings. What happened was, I weighed myself last Monday and the results showed that things are digressing. Subsequently, I went hard at the gym, increased my cardio a little bit by walking at lunch for an hour or after the gym at night. Yeah, I know. I went a little nuts. But if you don’t know it yet, I worked hard to lose 50 lbs in the last two years so it would be a shame if allow myself to fall back into bad habits. Rest assured, I’m making sure to manage my time better so I don’t neglect blogging again.

This week’s reading queue includes a book that I wanted to read for Fall, a book by an indie author, and a book that was sent to me for review that I thought I’d read already but apparently, I haven’t.

The Order of Nature is written by a Canadian author who drew from his experiences travelling in parts of Africa. In some countries of the continent, homosexuality is a taboo thing that could lead in imprisonment or worst. This is a book about a gay couple who was prosecuted for their sexuality and their experiences as they fight for their freedom, and ultimately, for their lives. I saw this book on YouTube as a book recommendation for fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I fail to see how something as heavy as this could be compared to Simon, to be honest. Simon’s problems seems so small somehow, that is, in comparison to imprisonment or death. Regardless, curiosity won out so I ordered a copy.

Girl, Wash Your Face is a book that I talked about in my Fall TBR. I want to get this out of the way. It’s a slight book, and like I said, the general consensus is that it was nothing groundbreaking but I want to read it anyway.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was a book that was sent to me last year for review. I was sure I read and reviewed it, but I guess I haven’t considering I can’t find where I wrote my review. Perhaps it will come back to me once I start reading it.

R E A D L A S T W E E K

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin | Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin | Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin was a great family saga. Just a little weirded out that the story present point in time was decades well into the future. Like, 2079? So weird. Lol. 4/5 Stars.

I already talked about Giovanni’s Room last Saturday and how disappointing it was. I didn’t like the main character at all. He used people and deserted those who’ve helped him. He was spoiled and very entitled. 2 out of 5 Stars.

Serpent & Dove was great. It’s been a while since a read about witches and magic so it’s a great re-introduction. 4 out of 5 Stars.

Bear Town by Fredrik Backman | Call Them By Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit | Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Bear Town was so good. It’s a commentary on why women are terrified to come forward when they’re sexually assaulted, essentially rape culture and how men and women alike contribute to the narrative. It was a community who found themselves divided into two: those who believed the girl who was raped, and those who don’t. 5 out of 5 Stars!

Call Them By Their True Names discusses all the things that are wrong with America. Racism, classism, violence against coloured people, the corruption in the current government…and a partridge in a pear tree. You almost have to start over and erase the entire history in order to fix what’s wrong with America. Because, damn. It’s deeply rooted and has gone on since the birth of the country.

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins was fantastic. Really enjoyed the first book to this series. On to the next series from Ms. Jenkins!

DNF! My first DNF of the year belongs to Ms. Nora Roberts’ Undercurrents. This is a new release. Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far with this as it deals with abuse. It’s not for those with weak stomachs.

Let me know if you’ve already read any of the books I’m going to be reading this week. If so, did you like it?

I hope you’ll have a great week, y’all.

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