[Re-read]: The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

The Dirt on Ninth Grave
by Darynda Jones
Publication Date: January 12th, 2016
Read: Three Times
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


Truth be told, I’ve read and re-read the entire series twice now. And still, to this day, book number nine remains my favourite. That’s why when I was invited to do a re-reading blog tour for the series, there was no question as to which book I’d like to revisit again.

Time and again, St. Martin’s Press has been gracious enough to send me an invite for the instalments. But the rub is, the wait for the next book becomes especially longer. Book number eight ended with the mother of all cliff hangers. There were tears, I tell you. Tears. And it wasn’t because the cliff hanger was tragic. It was because of my debilitating need to know what happens next.

So then book number nine arrived in my Kindle via Net Galley. I was only too happy to lose sleep that night just so I can read it in one go.

In here, Charley was an amnesiac who found herself miles away from home. But since she has no recollection of who she was, home is Sleepy Hollow, New York. Her name is Janey Doerr. A waitress with a disturbing addiction to coffee; a predilection to know when a person is lying, and a sick sense in seeing dead people. How she lost her memory is something you need to find out for yourself in book eight.

She is also surrounded by a small army of people who either outright lie to her or give her half truths. But regardless of what they were hiding, she can see kindness and their protective instincts towards her. Except maybe for one regular who, short of snarling at her whenever she’s near, avoids her like she has the plague. But because she also has very little self-preservation instincts, Reyes Alexander Farrow is the flame to her moth.

Charley may have lost her memory but she’s still the same Charley. Trouble finds her every which way she turns, or perhaps she seeks them out. Dead people abounds, waiting to use her like the River Styx. There’s also a family who’s being held hostage by suspected terrorists. Oh, also a cop who thinks he owns her and therefore should be the love of her life. Yeah, good luck with that, buddy.

I’ve mentioned this on my previous review that the best thing about this book is the interaction between Charley and Reyes, per usual. They’re starting all over again so the push and pull was fun to watch. There is no denying that these two are one of my favourite literary couple. Between Charley’s odd and more often sick sense of humour, and Reyes’ infinite love for Charley, it would be difficult to find other couples to love. This series just fires on all cylinders for me. It’s hella funny, scorchingly sexy, and surprisingly still fresh after almost thirteen books.

Read in October


Homestretch!

October certainly has been one of my most productive month this year as far as reading goes. I’m making good use of my Libby app, and because I haven’t been buying an Audible books, I’m storing up some good credits on my account. Aside from that, I’ve started using my Kindle again and have been requesting books from Net Galley. I still have a long ways away from putting a dent on my TBR but I’ve resolved to read until I go blind…or die – whichever comes first. Lol.

I read 28 books, which is perhaps, the most books I’ve read in a single month this year or ever. I read a few romance novels during the last few days of the month due to the discovery of Audible’s Romance Package. I’m so stoked to find some awesome books in there! Needless to say, I’m freaking all over the place this month.

  • Dangerous Minds, Knight & Moon, 2 by Janet Evanovich 2/5 stars
  • Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson 5/5 Stars
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 3/5 Stars
  • One Small Thing by Erin Watts 1/5 Stars
  • Parasite by Mira Grant 4/5 Stars
  • The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman 4/5 Stars
  • The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman 5/5 Stars
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones 3/5 Stars
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green 4/5 Stars
  • Shimmy Bang Sparkle by Nicola Rendell 4/5 Stars
  • The Husband Hour by Jaime Brenner 4/5 Stars
  • Better Not Pout by Annabeth Gilbert 4/5 Stars
  • Rend by Roan Parrish 4/5 Stars
  • Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones 5/5 Stars
  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan 4/5 Stars
  • Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie 5/5 Stars
  • Fling Club by Tara Brown 1/5 Stars
  • Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram 5/5 Stars
  • What If It’s Us by Albertalli & Silvera 3/5 Stars
  • Circe by Madeline Miller 4/5 Stars
  • The Wild Heir by Karina Halle 3/5 Stars
  • Youth in Revolt by CD Payne 4/5 Stars
  • Spinning Out by Lexi Ryan 3/5 Stars
  • Throb by Vi Keeland 4/5 Stars
  • Pucked Love by Helena Hunting 4/5 Stars
  • Joy Ride by Lauren Blakely 4/5 Stars
  • Egomaniac by Vi Keeland 4/5 Stars
  • Mister O by Vi Keeland 4/5 Stars

Picking a favourite read this month is tough. It’s a toss up between Joseph Anton, Once We Were Brothers, and my perennial favourite series by Darynda Jones. My most disappointing read was an Erin Watt contemporary offering (One Small Thing). This book just made me furious. The bullying antics of practically every single person sickened me. Ugh.

If I have to recommend a read this month besides my favourites, I say make sure you check out Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram and The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman. Fair warning, The Italian Teacher is not a romantic book so you should get that notion of your head right now. Still, it was an outstanding masterpiece that tells the story about a father’s influence – good or bad to his son from boyhood to adulthood.

This month, I also managed to binge watch a few shows on Netflix while accomplishing my great reading feat. I got through 4 seasons of X-Files before Netflix Canada pulled it (Netflix Canada sucks balls). Also four seasons of Buffy, a couple of World War II movies, and all nine seasons of The Office. I’ve been busy.

So let me know how your month went, lovely people. And I hope your Halloween night will be filled with treats not tricks.

Children’s Books Round Up


Alma and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal
Publication Date: April 10th, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This is such a wonderful story about the history of a little girl’s full name.

Alma Esperanza Jose Pura Candela.

Nowadays, the names of our kids hardly reflect our heritage. I know my kids’ names don’t have any history to speak of. We chose their names for the simple reasons that we liked them. I think it’s beautiful when your child asks you where their name came from and you can tell them a short history about it.

 


A Dog With Nice Ears
by Lauren Child
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Charlie and Lola was a favourite of my now 17-year-old daughter back in the day. I remember her speaking with an English accent for a time because she was absolutely obsessed! This book brought me back.

Anyway, this book was about Lola’s wish to have a puppy but Lola being Lola, she has particular requirements for a puppy. Charlie indulges her, of course and tries to find the perfect one.

 


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
Publication Date: Sept 23rd, 1997
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This book is a re-issue but was sent to me sometime in the Spring by Candlewick Press.

Such a fun and slightly scary read about a family hunting bears. Moral of the story: don’t hunt bears. Lol. I absolutely love the format! Each pictures slides out so that it lets your child change the images that they see.

 


Where’s Waldo? Games on the Go
by Martin Handford
Publication Date: March 27th, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

One: I’m sad my kids are too old for this book.

Two: I’m sad that we don’t have the cabin anymore. It would’ve been fun to have this as my boy gets easily bored on the drive there.

Perfect book to distract your kids on a road trip. It contains puzzles, crosswords, and brain exercises for your older kids.

 


Not-So-Lucky Lefty
by Megan McDonald
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

My daughter is left handed. I have no idea how as my huband and I, as well our boy aren’t.

This is Judy’s adventure as she tries to navigate the day using only her left hand. She didn’t think it was all that difficult to start but she soons learn that it really wasn’t. She had loads of fun regardless.

Thank you to Random House Canada and Candlewick Press for sending me these.

Discovering Authors and their Works


With the discovery of an audiobook lending app from my library, comes the fruitful task of managing to read some books from my TBR that are long overdue. But on the other side of that coin is the discovery of new authors to obsess about and consequently acquiring more books.

Admittedly, Salman Rushdie is a household name in the annals of widely-known literary geniuses whose work I’ve considered as an unattainable dream. I didn’t think his writing would gel with my pedestrian comprehension skills. But when I found The Golden House available for download, I snapped it up right away. I had very little expectations as to how much I would enjoy the book. I knew it was going to go over my head. To my surprise, it proved me wrong. Now, I’m scrambling to find some of his novels. I picked up his controversial, award-winning novel, The Satanic Verses right away.

Preston Norton isn’t new to the YA world. But his most recent work, Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe, took my breath away. It was a beautifully written novel about grief, family, and friendship cultivated in an otherwise unwelcoming world. His book is easily one of my favourite reads this year and would be the diving board to plunging into his writing.

Ronald H. Balson’s Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart series is a true discovery. I could not stop reading/listening to the book. The first in a series about a lawyer and a private detective who became partners in a case about a World War II survivor set in exacting his revenge against a Nazi. My introduction to his work was breathtaking, heartbreaking, and simply beautiful. It had the air of making the reader feel wholly involved.

I love discovering authors and their work. It allows me to venture out of my reading comfort zone and examine how far I’d grown as a reader and as a person.

Have you discovered any good writing lately?

[751]: Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Aftermath
by Kelley Armstrong


Have you ever thought about what it was like for the families of the shooters who killed innocent people? Not in the way that they are victimized, but just how life goes on after one of their own shoot up a school and are labeled as murderers for the rest of their natural born life?

Kelley offers a fascinating perspective into the life of a victim in his or her own way. It was interesting, heartbreaking, and frustrating because this victim is the sister of one of the suspected shooters.  She was shunned and was treated like she pulled the trigger herself. On the other side of the coin is Jesse, whose brother was actually one of victims of the shooting itself. Once upon a time, Jesse and Skye were the best of friends. But because Skye’s brother was one of the shooters, their friendship was just one of the many things that ended on that day.

Being back in the town that Skye left soon after the tragedy happened was in the list of things she’d rather not do. But with her mother’s deteriorating state of mind, and her grandmother’s recent stroke left her no choice but to move back in with her aunt. To nobody else’s surprise, the town did not give her the warmest of welcomes – especially in a school where most of the students knew her and of her brother.  Everyone treated her like a pariah, even Jesse, her former best friend.

Everyday she’s faced with a reminder of the shooting. People haven’t moved on. Skye has known in her heart that Luka, her brother, was not the villain everyone had painted him to be. And as life in town and in school got even harder, she’d awaken a determination to get to the truth.

This was a hard read all around. I have read a lot of books by Ms. Armstrong but nothing as relevant a subject as a school shooting.  It’s a sensitive subject in it that the senseless loss of lives is involved, and an author needs to paint a clear view of both sides. I feel that Kelley did the best she could in presenting a non-biased view. She invoked a sincere empathy that made the readers feel all the difficult struggles on both sides, post-shooting.

Kelley is the equivalent of M. Night Shyamalan in the book world. She knows how to plot a twist that will leave you breathless upon reveal. The same goes in this novel. She crafted a convincing story that is a page turner of a thriller. Time and again, her characters are well padded, not necessarily wholesome; neither perfect, but the realest you’ll ever read.

Armstrong the veteran knows how to give her readers something new, compelling, and brave and she proves it with every book that she pens.

Throwback Thursday [13]: My First Instagram Post


On October 6, 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram. In two years’ time, it went from having 13 people on its payroll to having 500 million users. Crazy.

I decided to check out what my very first Instagram post was. On July 27, 2011, I posted this picture.  It doesn’t have hashtags, nor even a caption. To this day, it has zero likes and zero comments. It only makes sense that my very first post would be about books.

Have I read any of these books, you ask? Well, let’s see:

There are 17 books in this picture. Out of those 17 books, I’ve only read 5 (Afterbirth by Sophie Littlefield, Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer, Supernaturally by Kiersten White, Pearl by Jo Knowles, and Dead Rules by Randy Russell). I think it’s time to cull the shelves because I’m pretty sure I still have these books. #bookhoarderproblems.

[2] Romance Reads Round Up

Hot Asset
by Lauren Layne
4 out of 5 Stars


Ian Bradley is your quintessential hedge fund manager prowling Wall Street. Successfull, good looking, wealthy.  For a time, it seems like everything is going right in his world.

Until it wasn’t.

Lara McKenzie has a lot to prove. A daughter of FBI agents,  she knows the climb to the top will be steeper considering her parents’ reputation. So she will do anything to get a guilty ruling with her latest case. Unfortunately, Ian Bradley is just as determined for her to lose.

With great chemistry and smart repartee, Hot Asset proved to be such a fun and quick read. Lauren Layne’s latest series is clever, sexy, and at times, funny. The perfect recipe for a romance to fawn over.

I did experience some mild irritation when I learned why he was being investigated to begin with. I mean, besides the fact that he was allegedly inside trading, the real reason was a little flimsy at best.

Regardless, I’m chomping at the bit to follow this series. It sure has been a while since I’ve been obssessed with one.

Hard Sell
by Lauren Layne
4 out of 5 Stars


The Wolf of Wall Street is about to see his career go down in flames. It seems that all his hard partying life is about to catch up to him. Seen at a party where drugs and other acts of debaucharey are being performed, his clients and his bosses are none too happy.

If he has any hopes of saving his career and his reputation, he would need a miracle in the hands of the greatest PR person that ever lived.

Enter Sabrina Cross. A PR genius, Sabrina will have to pull all the stops in order to help Matt. Including signing up to become his pretend girlfriend.

Fortunately for Matt Cannon, they share a past. She’s the girl he knew he had zero chance of impressing no matter what he does. But that doesn’t stop him from trying any chance he gets. And because of their past, the pretending part only gets even more complicated. Feelings get in the way and hard choices will have to be made.

Once again, Ms. Layne nailed it with this follow up book. Matt and Sabrina sizzle with organic chemistry. These two light up a room with every look, and every smile they throw at each other. Oh, and the banters! She’s so good at this. It makes me wonder why I haven’t been reading a lot of her work.

Sabrina and Matt had a lot of growing up to do – well, more on Matt’s end. He knew the fast life needed to end if he ever wanted to keep the name he’s made for himself. Sabrina, on the other hand, only needed to wake up and realize what’s been in front of her face all along. Her background wasn’t the easiest life, but she sure crawled out of the pit in which she grew up.

Over all, this series is really proving to be an obsession I could easily get behind. With very little drama to speak of, you can only look forward to good times ahead.

[750]: The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner by Sarah Weinman

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner
by Sarah Weinman


Sarah Weinman’s literary investigative piece aims to prove what Nabokov had long since denied: that Lolita was based on a true crime that happened in the 50s. It’s a huge undertaking to say the least. But Ms. Weinman is not new to the business. A journalist and a crime writer by trade, she knows a thing or two about investigation and research. The great deterrence to what she’d set out to do was time and paltry record-keeping.

She was forthcoming at least on the number of times she stumbled during the course of her investigation when she was unable to produce evidence. On the other hand, she was very convincing in her point that Nabokov somehow, someway imitated life when he wrote his novel. Through means of parallelization, Weinman at least made her case.

She also aims to give Sally Horner a voice, to tell her side of the story. She was a mere 11-year-old when she first encountered her abductor, but for whatever reason, Frank LaSalle didn’t take her right away. He waited another year before he came back for Sally. Two years after her abduction, Sally showed no physical trauma. But the psychological implications of her captivity had a lasting, albeit, short effect. Short, because she died in a car accident shortly after.

Sally’s fateful meeting with LaSalle began as a shoplifting prank. Dared to steal a notebook from the store just to try and get into her peer’s good graces, Sally didn’t realize that someone witnessed it all. And before she could even walk out the door, she was grabbed by a man who claimed to be an FBI agent. Threatened to send to her to a reform school as a punishment, LaSalle then told her that if she cooperated with him in some capacity, he would release her on a premise that he’d come back to mete out her punishment.

He sought her out again after months of disappearing. He told her that the ‘government’ wanted her to come with him to Atlantic City but she can’t tell her family the truth. He convinced her to tell them that she was going away with her friend and her family for the weekend. With a mere phone call from Frank pretending to be the friend’s father, Sally’s mother took her to the bus station under the assumption that she would meet up with her friend. It would be two years later before she would see Sally again.

What followed was two years of spent mostly on the road, living the assumed life of a widowed father with his daughter in tow.

As in Lolita, Humbert was undeniably portrayed as a predator of deviant taste. Nabokov didn’t pull any punches or romanticized the kind of monster he was. LaSalle was very much the same. His criminal life involved a number of abduction and sexual relations with children. But Humbert was fictional, and LaSalle was very much real. Weinman drew subtle parallels between the characters and the storyline quite effectively so – which, in my opinion was highly convincing.

On the Night Table [51]


Fling Club by Tara Brown | What If It’s Us by Albertalli & Silvera | Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

It certainly has been a while since I’ve posted one of these.

This week, I’m aiming to read two books that I’ve received for review and one that I’ve salivated for this past summer.

Fling Club by Tara Brown promises to be a funny read about revenge in the land of the rich and famous. I’m down for witnessing the castration of a cheater, so yeah. I decided to finally pick this up. Lol.

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera. Are there better character names than Arthur and Ben? I tell you, if I ever have boys babies in the future, I certainly will choose these names. Boys who love boys stories are my jam, so yeah. DYING to finally read this!

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. I’m a quarter in. Looking forward to reading the rest. Darius is a quirky but lonely boy that makes my maternal instincts go haywire. I just want to hug him. <3

What are you reading this week?

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 214


Daughters of Castle Deverill by Santa Montefiore | Vox by Christina Dalcher | An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green | Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram | Seafire by Natalie C. Parker | International Guy Vol. 2 by Audrey Carlan | The Fling Club by Tara Brown | Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Hello, dear readers.

Welcome to an overdue book haul post.

These are just some of the books I’ve received for review recently. I have a few more but I don’t want to bore you with an unnecessarily long post. Besides which, I’ve already read a few of those and even some featured in this post. These books are from Simon & Schuster Canada, Penguin Random House Canada, and Thomas Allen & Sons Ltd – thank you so much for the continued patronage even though I’ve been a horrible partner as of late. Rest assured that I’m slowly trying to get my act together.

From Net Galley:

Believe it or not, I’ve already read these as well. I downloaded these books last week and because two of them are romance, I read them quite fast. Romance reads tend to be like an open can of Pringles for me. Lol. Also, holy hell. Summoned to Thirteenth Grave! A much-awaited series ender. I devoured it one night. I’m freaking mad at myself because, not only do I have to wait till I can get my hands on a hard copy, I also need to wait for Beep’s series. Gah.

I will be a part of a re-read blog tour for the Charley Davidson series in November so keep your eyes peeled for that. I think I’m supposed to read book nine.

Anywho, I hope you’re having a great reading week.

xoxo