Friday, October 31, 2014

October Wrap-Up

Happy Halloween! At the end of each month I'm going to wrap-up the books I read and the physical copies (if I remember) that I bought. Amazon's Daily Deals for Kindle always suck me in and I buy them so randomly and multiple at once I won't mention them until I've read them. Once I get a new camera I can post pictures for haul posts. 

Below are the books I read in October:

1. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews. #5 in the Kate Daniels Series
  Read: October 4-11, 2014
  Rating: 5/5 Stars
  It will be hard for me to give a Kate Daniels book less than 4 stars. I can't get enough of them.  In this book the people of magic combine their forces to deal with an anti-magic terrorist organization.

2. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  Read: October 7-17, 2014
  Rating: 2/5 Stars
  I heard this was the least favorite of all his books for John Green fans. I was not impressed and vaguely entertained. This is the second book by him I've read. I listened to the audio book of Paper Towns before I knew he was huge years ago. I was entertained more by it. 

3. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg - Audiobook
  Listened: October 9-22, 2014 
  Rating: 4/5 Stars
  I was conflicted when I listened to this. Overall I enjoyed it and think it is a great inspiration for women who want to go back into the work force and already are. However, I still had that nagging thought in my head, "You didn't go to an Ivy League school so you are screwed out of great opportunities without it on your CV." 

4. The Secret Place by Tana French. My review in a previous blog post.
  Read: September 8- October 26, 2014 (embarrassing)
  Rating: 4/5 Stars
  I ended up really enjoying this. The writing style took me awhile to get into since this was my first Tana French novel. It was captivating. 

5. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  Read: October 26-29, 2014
  Rating: 4/5 Stars 
  I have to admit it was creepy at some parts. Plot was like a typical horror movie, but in an original setting. Loved the attention they put into the book as well.  

Physical books I bought:

1. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

2. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

3. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd (for the husband)

4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

5. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

6. Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Zafon is one of our favorite authors)

Plus, the multitude of Kindle books. Hopefully the presentation on here will get sexier for my wrap-ups. Ideas on what else to do for my wrap-ups? Visuals? It was a pretty good reading month for me. I have to say I prefer self-help and nonfiction books in audio format. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Top Five Wednesday: Halloween Reads I Recommend

Here are my top five picks with categories for Halloween. Then I have a short list of runner-ups. 

1. Graphic Novel : Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
I have not read this, but I recently purchased it. It has gotten rave reviews.

2. Classic: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I was surprised I ended up sympathizing for the monster and it is not at all like the horror films. My first Gothic classic I ever owned.

3. Fantasy: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
It has all the creatures found in horror films. Just think how you would cope with magical creatures roaming around your city. October is not so much about horror, but fantasy for me.

4. Comedy: Undead and Unnwed by MaryJanice Davidson
It is about a woman who is unable to cope with the fact she turned into a vampire. Not to mention a vampire queen  with a shoe fetish. 

5. Literary Fiction: The Historian by 
It is based off Dracula, but weaved with the main character's family history.

Horror-Parody/Originality: Horrostor by Grady Hendrix
YA: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Contemporary Classic: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Short Stories: Dracula's Guest by 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Want to Read But Don't Own Yet

Here are a few of the books I'd love to read, but do not own yet. It is a mix of classics - I love classics and finding the best edition(s) - with literary fiction and a pinch of YA. 

1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl

2. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

3. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

4. Ulysses by James Joyce

5. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

6. Possession by A.S. Byatt

7. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

8. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

10. Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Night Film and The Luminaries have been on my TBR for awhile and I'd love to own the hardbacks. The covers were done beautifully. The Darkest Minds and Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore are what I have been searching for in bookstores in hardcover. Mr Penumbra's sounds especially exciting for a bibliophile. Ulysses is a novel I am super curious about, as well as Bleak House. Possession and Golem and the Jinni seem like two romantic books to get absorbed in. The Name of the Rose and The Hobbit are two books I think are epic in their own rights and have a huge following. These 10 are books I know I'd love to own in my favorite edition. How about you?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: The Secret Place by Tana French

Title: The Secret Place by Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad #5
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Star Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Viking Adult
Genre: Crime/Mystery
Source: NetGalley
More Info: Goodreads / Amazon 

"The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series."

My Review

   This is the fifth book in the Dublin Murder Squad and while I have not read any of the other four books, I may have to read the series from the beginning after reading this. At least read the first book. This book was captivating and it was only when my husband came up beside me while I was reading it did I know how much I was engrossed in it. 

   The novel starts when Detective Stephen Moran, working in Cold Cases, receives a photo of a murdered schoolboy, Chris Harper, from a colleague's daughter, Holly. He was murdered on the boarding school grounds a year ago where Holly and her three best friends, Selena, Rebecca, and Julia attend. This photo was found on a bulletin board where girls can put up their secrets anonymously, called The Secret Place. It's caption reads, "I know who killed him". Detective Moran sees this as an opportunity to gain entrance into the murder squad and approaches Detective Antoinette Conway, an abrasive woman, with it wanting to tag along for the questioning. Conway sees this as her opportunity to fix her failure a year ago when they arrested the wrong person for the murder of Chris Harper. The story is set at St. Kilda's School where Moran and Conway try to identify the person who posted the picture and hopefully the murderer. Alternating Detective Moran in present day with flashbacks of Holly's group of friends taking us back to the year leading up to Chris's homicide where you find out things weren't as innocent as the girls make it out to be.  

   While the story was gripping and entertaining, the narration, at least in my mind, flowed like the author was writing in a stream-of-conscious style. This seemed distracting and gave it more of a play-by-play feel with Moran's (of course) canny thoughts and speculations. Also, I figured who the killer was early in the story given the trope of a certain kind of character. I love doing that though. Throughout the story you will be checking people off and thinking of new possible suspects in your mind with the detectives. It seemed everything the narrator took note of was important in some way, a detail that you wanted to keep tucked away in the back of your mind. 

This was one of the books you felt satisfied with after you finished. The author takes you through the one day of questioning with the two detectives while incorporating the flashbacks with Holly, Selena, Rebecca, and Julia. One thing I'd like to know was how the four girls got on after that day. Also: who caused Allison's arm to blister? To me The Secret Place meant more than the bulletin board at St. Kilda's, but also the close friendship between the four girls who each kept their own secrets. These secrets dealt with the cypress glade, their trust, loyalty, and virtue. 

I didn't expect to become so enthralled with the book. The element she added surrounding the four friends was so unexpected and great. There weren't that many logical skips and it was nice to get the point of view from both Detective Moran and the girls. I've heard her books in the series get better and better. Tana French is great at building a charged atmosphere and great at storytelling. I love the way the relationships between people were well constructed and how you were given small snippets when needed during the story. 

I would recommend this to ... anyone. To those who love murder mysteries, literary fiction, psychological thrillers, moody atmospheres.