May Book Haul

The Outsider by Stephen KingWhen an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man. Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day. As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste NgEveryone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost…

The Girl in 6E by A.R. TorreDeanna Madden, aka Jessica Reilly, hasn’t touched another person in three years. She hasn’t left her apartment. She makes money from performing to webcams on a sex site, where her clients pay $6.99 a minute for her time. She’s doing alright. The dollars are piling up in the bank. She’s the number 3 model on cams.com. And she hasn’t killed anyone for years. But when Deanna sees on the news that a little girl called Annie has gone missing, the story rattles her carefully ordered world. It’s uncomfortably similar to the dark fantasy of one of her most disturbing online clients. She’s convinced he’s responsible for the girl’s abduction – but no one will listen to her. So, after three years, Deanna finally leaves the apartment. And this is what happens…

Misery by Stephen King – Misery Chastain is dead. Paul Sheldon has just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery has made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wants to get on to some real writing. That’s when the car accident happens, and he wakes up in pain in a strange bed. But it isn’t hospital. Annie Wilkes has pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs. The good news is that Annie was a nurse and has pain-killing drugs. The bad news is that she has long been Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she finds out what Paul had done to Misery, she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t like it at all. Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now he’s writing to stay alive.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyGuy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

Pet Sematary by Stephen KingThe house looked right, felt right to Dr Louis Creed. Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago. Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive threat. But behind the house and far away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children have processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their dear departed pets for burial. A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding.

Rose Madder by Stephen KingRoused by a single drop of blood, Rosie Daniels wakes up to the chilling realisation that her husband is going to kill her. And she takes flight – with his credit card. Alone in a strange city, Rosie begins to build a new life: she meets Bill Steiner and she finds an odd junk shop painting, ‘Rose Madder’, which strangely seems to want her as much as she wants it. But it’s hard for Rosie not to keep looking over her shoulder. Rose-maddened and on the rampage, Norman is a corrupt cop with a dog’s instinct for tracking people. And he’s getting close. Rosie can feel how close he is getting…

#BorrowAThon TBR

1) A book award nominee or winnerThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas“Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.”

2) A book with your initials on the coverSeven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid“Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.”

3) Someone else’s favorite bookStorm Front by Jim Butcher“As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things–and most of them don’t play well with humans. And those that do enjoy playing with humans far too much. He also knows he’s the best at what he does. Technically, he’s the only at what he does. But even though Harry is the only game in town, business–to put it mildly, stinks. So when the Chicago P.D. bring him in to consult on a double homicide committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name…”

4) A book that everyone else has read but youThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli“Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly is always careful. Better to be careful than be hurt. But when Cassie gets a new girlfriend who comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick, everything changes. Will is funny, flirtatious and basically the perfect first boyfriend. There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid, the awkward Tolkien superfan she could never fall for… right?”

5) A book from your favorite genreAnd The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich“When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? In the end, Silla discovers that she, Nori, and her aunt have already died, and are trapped in purgatory, reliving their own lives since Silla first arrived, in an endless cycle. The man with no eyes is a construction of Silla’s, formed from her own rage. The beautiful boy from the woods, who was once the love of her life, has attempted to save Silla time and again.”

6) Read a book that features a libraryInk And Bone by Rachel Caine“In 48 AD, a fire set by the troops of Julius Caesar destroyed much of the Great Library of Alexandria. It was the first of several disasters that resulted in the destruction of the accumulated knowledge of the ancient world. But what if the fire had been stopped? What would the Library have become? Fast forward: the Great Library is now a separate country, protected by its own standing army. It has grown into a vast power, with unquestioned and unrivalled supremacy. Jess Brightwell, seventeen and very smart, with a gift for mechanical engineering, has been sent into the Great Library as a spy for his criminal family.”

April Reading Wrap Up

Total Books Read: 11
April TBR Books Read: N/A
Total Pages Read: 3043
Total Hours Listened: N/A

Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker – 3/5 – This was a pretty decent middle of the road thriller for me. There is an element of the plot that I guessed early on in the book, which unfortunately took some of the suspense and excitement out of the story for me. But having said that, I’d still recommend picking this up if you’re in the mood for a quick and easy thriller.

Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski – 3/5 – I would never have picked this book up if not for the recommendation of Kayla from BooksAndLala – to be honest the hideous cover alone would have sent me running for the hills. So that being said, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was well paced and kept me entertained throughout, and I was absolutely not expecting it to go in the direction it did towards the end, which was great. I’m still not 100% sure on whether I’ll be picking up the sequel or not, but I probably will if I’m in the mood for a quick, fun, YA sci-fi set in space.

A Line In The Dark by Malinda Lo – 2/5 – This is the opposite of Dare Mighty Things in that I ordered it based on the beautiful cover and ended up really disliking the book itself. I hated nearly all of the characters in this book and as hard as I tried, didn’t manage to connect or enjoy any of them. Overall I found the story pretty boring, and to be honest with you unless you’re looking for a pretty book to sit on your shelves I wouldn’t really recommend picking this up.

Copy Cat by Alex Lake – 3/5 – I’d have to call this another middle of the road thriller for me, although I did enjoy it more than Emma In The Night. I found the concept of stalking through identity theft a really interesting and all-too-real concept. This was a real page turner for me, and I’d recommend picking it up if you’re in the mood for a decent thriller.

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood – 3/5 – Unfortunately, nothing about this book managed to interest me – none of the characters weren’t particularly likable or interesting, and I felt like nothing much happened for the majority of the story. The last quarter of the book flew by for me because that’s when things really started to get interesting, but priot to that it was a bit of a snooze fest for me despite Margaret Atwood’s undeniably beautiful writing style.

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger – 3/5 – I was on the borderline of being in a reading slump following the previous book, so I decided to read this as I knew it would be fast and easy and mostly mindless. It was everything I wanted, and I am now really excited for the second book in the series to come out later this year. And no, I absolutely did not pretend that this was a story about me and Harry Styles, why do you ask?

Dare Me by Megan Abbott – 4/5 – I picked this up on a whim while browsing the shelves at my library, and it ended up being my favourite book of the month. I really enjoyed Megan Abbott’s writing style and I’ll be making an effort to pick up her other work in the near future. I really enjoy stories about the intricacies of friendships between teenage girls, so this was right up my alley.

#ReadYourFaceOff TBR

The general goal for a #ReadYourFaceOff readathon is to get through as much reading as you can in a 24 hour window of time. It’s a fun (and short) readathon that was created by Riley from RMFickFack. This round will run from 9am on Saturday 5th May to 9am on Sunday 6th May in your time zone. As it’s still towards the beginning of the month, I have my pick of the bunch when it comes to choosing what I’m going to read from my TBR. As it’s only a short readathon I’m going to focus my energy on smaller books to see what I can manage to get through. I’m also going to try and knock a graphic novel off of my shelf to help boost my stats for the month a little bit and get May off to a good start.

May TBR

This is going to be a big month of reading for me. I am participating in two readathons, #ReadYourFaceOff on the 5th of May and then #BorrowAThon on the 20th of May. There is also a new contender, The Buzzword Readathon (7th to 13th May) that I may or may not participate in, I haven’t decided yet. I’ll touch on those readathons and their challenges closer to the date, but in the meantime here is what I’m hoping to read outside of readathons during the month of May –

Year One by Nora Roberts“With one drop of blood, the old world is gone for ever. And in its place, something extraordinary begins… They call it The Doom – a deadly pandemic that starts on a cold New Year’s Eve in the Scottish countryside. There’s something mysterious about the virus and the way it spreads. As billions fall sick and die, some survivors find themselves invested with strange, unexpected abilities. Lana, a New York chef, has the power to move things and people with her will. Fred can summon light in the darkness. Jonah, a paramedic, sees snatches of the future in those he touches. Katie gives birth to twins, and suspects that she has brought fresh magic into the world, along with new life. But The Doom affects people differently. Along with the light, a dark and terrifying magic will also rise. As the remaining authorities round up the immune and the ‘Uncannies’ for testing, Lana, Katie and others flee New York in search of a safe haven. The old world is over, and Year One has begun.”

Artemis by Andy Weir“Jazz is a small time criminal, subsidising work as a porter on the moon with smuggling a little contraband. But it’s never enough. When she’s offered the chance to get rich quick she jumps at it. But planning the perfect crime in 1/6th gravity was never going to be easy, especially as there is a conspiracy at the heart of Artemis. At first it was about the money, then it was about control. Now it’s about survival…”

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides“The first-ever collection of short stories from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies. We meet Kendall, a failed poet who, envious of other people’s wealth during the real estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; and Mitchell, a lovelorn liberal arts graduate on a search for enlightenment; and Prakrti, a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her family leads to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged academic. Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestselling novels Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides and The Marriage Plot have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery and family love. These stories, from one of our greatest authors, explore equally rich and intriguing territory. Narratively compelling and beautifully written, Fresh Complaint shows all of Eugenides’s trademark humour, compassion and complex understanding of what it is to be human.”

Finders Keepers by Stephen King“1978: Morris Bellamy is a reader so obsessed by America’s iconic author John Rothstein that he is prepared to kill for a trove of notebooks containing at least one more unpublished novel. 2009: Pete Saubers, a boy whose father was brutally injured by a stolen Mercedes, discovers a buried trunk containing cash and Rothstein’s notebooks. 2013: After thirty-five years in prison, Morris is up for parole. And he’s hell-bent on recovering his treasure. Now it’s up to retired detective Bill Hodges – running an investigative company called ‘Finders Keepers’ – to rescue Pete from an ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris…”

Sex, Love, Repeat by Alessandra Torre – “I love two men. I screw two men. I am in a relationship with them both, and they are both aware there is another. That is all they need to know, that is all I let them know. They don’t need to know a name; they don’t need to know anything, but that they are not alone in my heart. They have accepted the situation. Stewart, because his life is too busy for the sort of obligations that are required in a relationship. Paul, because he loves me too much to tell me no. And because my sexual appetite is such that one man has trouble keeping up. So we exist, two parallel relationships, each running their own course, with no need for intersection or conflict. It works for us, for them, and for me. I don’t expect it to be a long-term situation. I know there is an expiration date on the easy perfection of our lives. I should have paid more attention, should have looked around and noticed the woman who watched it all. She sat in the background and waited, tried to figure me out. Saw my two relationships, the love between us, and the moment that it all fell apart. She hates me. I don’t even know she exists. She loves them. I love them. And they love me. EVERYTHING else hangs in the balance.”