Saturday, April 20, 2019


I love this clock:

(Does your day ever feel like this, or is it just me?)

I recently read a new favorite character in a new favorite series:

(I'm looking forward to reading the rest of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs' mysteries some time in the near future. Or at least some time this year. Or next.)

I checked out some fun books from the library yesterday:

The Wild Lands by Paul Greci
Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle
Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano
Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell
Woman 99 by Greer Macallister
Seven Dead by J. Jefferson Farjeon

But I think I'm most excited to read this one: 

(Because I've heard it's really good.)

And last, but certainly not least....

Happy Easter!!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Classic Play...

For several years now, I've been working my way through Shakespeare's plays, trying to read each and every one. (Boy are there a lot of them!) I'm getting close; I only have seven more to go. And one of those is Cymbeline. Which is why I picked it to read for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge. It's not one of Shakespeare's plays that I was very familiar with, but after reading it, I think they should change the name of the play to Imogen, because I felt like it was more her story than her father's.

.....Alas, poor princess,
Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur'st.--
Betwixt a father by thy stepdame govern'd:
A mother hourly coining plots; a wooer
More hateful than the foul expulsion is
Of thy dear husband ... The heavens hold firm
The walls of thy dear honour; keep unshak'd
That temple, thy fair mind; that thou mayest stand
To enjoy thy banish'd lord and this great land.

So, here's my attempt at explaining the plot of this play. Be gets a little complicated. 

Cymbeline is the king of Britain. His two oldest sons were stolen away in their infancy, leaving him with Imogen, his only daughter, as his sole heir. He wants her to marry Cloten, the son of his second wife, who's now the queen. (And a very conniving one at that.) Instead, Imogen marries Posthumous Leonatus, a noble Roman soldier. Before the marriage is consummated, the king banishes Posthumous from Britain. Before Posthumous leaves, he gives Imogen a bracelet as a token of his love and she gives him a ring, promising to be faithful to him. 

Back in Rome, Posthumous brags about his beautiful and virtuous wife, so much so that his friend, Iachimo, bets him that he can easily seduce her. Posthumous agrees to the bet and off Iachimo goes to Britain to woo Imogen. But the princess refuses his advances. (Just as she's been refusing Cloten's.) Not wanting to lose his bet, Iachimo sneaks into Imogen's rooms at night and steals the bracelet from her arm as proof of her infidelity. When he sees the bracelet, Posthumous believes Iachimo's lies, gets all mad, and sends a letter to his servant, Pisano, ordering him to kill his wife. Pisano helps Imogen escape to Wales instead. There, she disguises herself as a boy named Fidele. While in disguise, she meets her two older brothers who don't know who she is....or that they are actually Cymbeline's sons. (It's another miraculous Shakespearean coincidence!)

Meanwhile, Cloten comes to Wales determined to kill Posthumous, have his way with Imogen, and then bring her back to Britain. Happily, he fails. Imogen never encounters him, but she does drink a potion which causes everyone around her to think she's dead even though she's not. Complicated, right? While all of this is happening, Rome prepares to invade Britain over unpaid tributes. This leads to war, which everyone participates in. In the end, Imogen's two brothers and her husband help Cymbeline defeat the Romans; Cloten is killed; Jupiter makes a brief appearance; Cymbeline and his two sons are brought back together; Iachimo is captured and admits his deceit; and Imogen's honor is restored and she and her penitent husband are reunited at last. Whew. What a play! 

Despite it's convoluted plot, I actually ended up liking this one. And if they ever perform it on a stage near me, I'm definitely going. And congrats if you actually made it to the end of this post!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bookshelf envy...

I wish my house had this many bookshelves...

Or a windowseat as lovely as this....

I'd even settle for a bedroom like this....

Happy Reading...and bookshelf dreaming!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Beast's Heart

For the longest time after the curse fell, I did not know if I was a beast who dreamed of being a man, or a man who dreamed he was a beast.

So begins Leife Shallcross's enchanting retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. Over the years, I've read many different versions of it. Robin McKinley's Beauty has long been my favorite, but this latest retelling is now a close second. Overall, The Beast's Heart sticks closely to the traditional story line. Where it differs is that it's told wholly from the Beast's point of view, and that's what I liked about it. Seeing him struggle to understand his curse, and despair of ever breaking it, made the story that much more poignant and endearing. And then he meets Isabeau, his 'Beauty', and the Beast begins to not only fall in love, but to hope.
I turned to stare at Isabeau. It was her. She was the key. Since she had arrived, the magic that held this place had started to weaken. First the birds and animals had begun to come back to the forest; now the seasons were returning to my garden. If this curse could be broken, she could do it. I didn't know how. ... But she was the key to the ending of this spell.
If you like fairy tale retellings, this is a good one. I liked Isabeau's two sisters, Marie and Claude. And I liked Isabeau. But most of all, I liked the Beast.

Happy Reading!

Similar read:  Hunted by Megan Spooner

Thursday, April 11, 2019

April's Bookish Art...

Charles Burton Barber -- Girl Reading With Pug, 1879
"When her mind was discomposed...a book was 
the opiate that lulled it to repose."
--Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest

Monday, April 8, 2019

An entertaining bookish drama...

"Femi makes three you know. Three, and they label you a serial killer."

For our next buddy read, Melody and I chose My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It's set in Lagos, Nigeria, and centers around two sisters:  Ayoola and Korede. Korede is the older sister, and the narrator of the story. She's a nurse; she's also the responsible, careful and controlled one who knows how to clean up after her sister's messes. Even when those messes involve blood and a dead body. I had a lot of empathy for her. I also felt a bit impatient with her at times, too, wanting her to show some backbone and stand up to her sister. Especially when Ayoola takes an interest in Tade, the young doctor she likes. But Korede's relationship with her sister is tangled and complicated.

"I am more haunted by her actions than she is."

Ayoola, on the other hand, has an angelic face with a "music video vixen body." She's "incapable of practical underwear" and "completely oblivious to all but her own needs." And she gets away with anything and everything. As Korede describes her, "Ayoola is inconsiderate and selfish and reckless, but her welfare is and always has been my responsibility."  And that's the heart and soul of this novel.

With its very short chapters and easy-to-read narrative style, it was tempting to fly through this book in one day. But I'm glad I didn't. Braithwaite's amazing prose deserves to be savored. I really got caught up in Korede's and Ayoola's sad yet compelling story.  I loved this novel. And reading it with Melody just made it better. Be sure to check out her review and see what she thought about this one.

Happy Reading!

P.S. Here are Melody's questions for me about this particular read...and my answers:

Q. Sisterhood seems to be the core of this story. How do you feel about the sisterly bond between Korede and Ayoola? Do you like any of the sisters?

A. I think their sisterly bond is a strangling and suffocating one. Especially for Korede. (Who I liked better than Ayoola.) They're so co-dependent and stuck in their self-defined roles. I don't think either of them will ever be able to change or grow as long as they're together.

Q. What do you think of Korede's crush with Dr. Tade Otumu? Do you think she has a chance with him if Ayoola and Tade didn't get to know each other?

A. I think Korede's crush on Tade is one of the few normal and humanizing things about her. And I think their friendship could have grown into something more if Ayoola's beauty hadn't gotten in the way. Then again, I don't know if Korede could ever have let down her guard enough to open up to Tade and let him into her life or let him see who she really is. And if she did tell him all her secrets I doubt he would have been able to love her.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Two TBRs...

1.  Cavern of the Damned by Russell James

Why I wanted to read this one:  I read (and enjoyed!) James' second novel with Dr. Grant Coleman, Monsters in the Clouds, last summer, which then made me want to go back and read this first one.

The premise:  A park ranger, a paleontologist, an untrustworthy spelunker, an actress, a film director and his two-man crew enter a cavern that's been sealed up for over 13,000 years. When the entrance of the cave collapses, they're trapped inside with a slew of monstrous prehistoric creatures. (And not everyone is going to make it out alive.)

The upshot:  This one's a short, fast-paced, fun adventure. It's humorous, too. And while there's not enough time for a lot of character development, I did really like the three main protagonists. And the creatures in the cave were kind of awesome. All in all, Cavern of the Damned, was a very entertaining read.

My rating:  4/5 stars.


2. Island in the Mist by C. G. Mosley

Why I bought this one:  The awesome cover! (I'm a bit of a sucker when it comes to dinosaurs.)

The premise:  Angus Wedgeworth is a self-made millionaire; he's arrogant, selfish ... and aging. When he hears a rumor of an island in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle with its own fountain of youth, he hires a crew to help him find it. There's just one problem. The island is full of dinosaurs. And they're not exactly friendly.

The upshot:  I hated Angus and his bodyguards; liked several of the other characters, especially Silas, the big game hunter, and the two paleontologists; and loved all the dinosaurs. The dialogue feels stilted and artificial at times, but the action scenes are fun. And it's another book off my TBR shelf. One that counts for the 2019 Backlist Reader Challenge

My rating:  3/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

This fun weekly meme is hosted by
That Artsy Reader Girl.
What kinds of books do you find irresistible?

I like to read lots of different kinds of books, from suspense to romance. But there are certain premises and plots I always find irresistible. Here are 10 of them:

1. Disaster/Survival Reads
From airplane crashes to earthquakes to EMPs to zombies.
It really doesn't matter; I like reading about them all.

2. Extreme environments
From unexplored caves to remote jungles to Antarctica. Even Mars.
Bookish travel is the best!

3. Supernatural suspense--
Especially if it has to do with ghosts or haunted houses.
(The spookier the better!)

4. Epistolary novels
Because I love letters ... real or fictional.

5. Ancient artifacts, lost manuscripts, or hidden treasure
Especially when there are clues and puzzles to solve,
and a hint of the supernatural attached to the mystery.

6. Stories that take place at a Prep school, boarding school, or private college. The more exclusive the better. (Summer camp works, too.)

7. Gargoyles.  Or Paris.  Or cemeteries.
Preferably all three together.

8. Colonizing (in space) or homesteading (in historical fiction)

9. The whole ballet scene
(Don't ask me why. I can't explain this one. I just like to read about it.)

10. Anything to do with Art & Artists
Especially the Pre-Raphaelites and Impressionists.

What's irresistible to you?
Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A bookish space!

Ada, a princess from House von Hasenberg, has been on the run for two years when she's snagged by mercenaries. They mean to return her to her family and claim their reward. But then Richard from House Rockhurst, the man she was supposed to marry, turns up to claim her for his own. She's in serious trouble this time. But she's not the only captive on board ship with a price on her head. Marcus Loch, the notorious Devil of Fornax Zero, is also a prisoner. If they team up, they just might be able to escape. But can she trust him not to double-cross her the moment he regains his own freedom? And how is she ever going to get Richard Rockhurst off her trail without starting a war between both their houses?

The engine steadied and the window shutters retracted, leaving a clear view of the vast emptiness of space. And for the first time, the magnitude of what I'd done hit me. I was alone on a tiny lifeboat, in the middle of nowhere, with a man twice my size. And he was a known murderer. Without the adrenaline driving me, fear crept in.
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik is non-stop space adventure fun. I stayed up half the night reading this book because I didn't want to put it down. Ada and Marcus are irresistible characters--both smart, stubborn and tough; they're also complete opposites...and completely perfect for each other. I loved them both. There's also some great futuristic tech--healing nanobots, shield bracelets, FTL drives, etc.--but the story never bogs down in the science. It's all fast-paced, compelling, entertaining action (with some sex and romance, too). Can you tell I really liked this one?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Haiku Reviews...

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Missing for a year,
Anneliese, now found, knows she's really
someone else inside.

YA mystery with a supernatural twist .... 429 pages .... 4/5 stars.

Ten Kisses to Scandal by Vivienne Lorret

Briar's matchmaking 
schemes catch the attention of a
famed rake; love ensues.

Romance (set in 1825) .... 372 pages .... 3/5 stars.
(Lorret's nod to...and quotes from...Jane Austen's Emma throughout this book made it even more fun; it's my guilty pleasure of the month.)

The Black Widow (Gabriel Allon #16) by Daniel Silva

A doctor turned spy
must track down an Isis terrorist
known as Saladin.*

(*All under the watchful eye of Gabriel Allon--my favorite Israeli artist/assassin/spy.)

Action/Thriller .... 566 pages .... 4/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A classic comic novel...

I chose to read a Georgette Heyer for this year's Back to the Classics Reading Challenge classic comic novel category because Heyer's books always make me laugh. And Sprig Muslin is no exception. Here's just one example of Heyer's wit and humor:
"Sometimes one is forced to take desperate measures. And it is of no use to tease oneself about propriety, because it seems to me that if you never do anything that is not quite proper and decorous you will have the wretchedest life, without any adventures, or romance, or anything!"
 So says 17-year-old Amanda, a young lady who's run away from home as part of her "campaign" to force her grandfather to give her permission to wed Captain Neil Kendal (who is completely unaware of what she's done).

Sir Gareth Ludlow is on his way to Brancaster to make an offer of marriage to Lady Hester Theale when he happens upon Amanda at a public inn. His conscience won't let him leave her there unprotected; so, against her wishes, he determines that the only thing he can do is to take her along to Brancaster where he knows she'll be safe.
"If Sir Gareth meant to arrive at Brancaster Park with this dazzling young beauty on his arm, he was unquestionably out of his senses. But it was not the business of his groom to point out to him the unwisdom of introducing his chance-met bit of muslin to Lady Hester."
 Lady Hester, unassuming and shy, does indeed reject Sir Gareth's proposal. (Despite his claim of affection and esteem for her, she wishes for love.) And that's when things really start to get interesting. Amanda runs off. More lies are told. And many other humorous complications ensue as Sir Gareth tries to wrangle the headstrong runaway and return her safely home. Even Lady Hester manages to have a small adventure. Sprig Muslin is a charming and delightful Regency romance with captivating characters and happy endings for all. I loved it. In fact, it's now my favorite Heyer novel. (With The Quiet Gentleman a close second.)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Bookish suspense...

Opening sentence:  By the time the boy in ward four attacked me, I'd already nicknamed him the Lost One in my head.

The main players:  

  • LUCAS BLACKTHORN, age 19.  Ten years ago, he and his father, Josiah, trekked into the Boundary Waters, a remote wilderness in northern Minnesota, and never returned. Everyone assumed they died. Now Lucas is back. Only he refuses to talk about where he's been for the last decade, or what happened to him and his father.
  • MAYA STARK, age 23.  Abandoned by her mother when she was 10, she's now a language/speech therapist at the psychiatric facility where Lucas has been placed, and the one tasked with getting Lucas communicating again. But the connection she ends up making with him surprises even herself. (Oh, and she has an awesome German Shepherd named Jasper.)

My thoughts:  Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia is a compelling psychological thriller about the choices we make and the secrets we keep. And there are secrets! Maya quickly becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lucas, while Lucas only wants to get back to the wilderness and his father. Both are haunted by their pasts. I thought it was interesting how their stories intersected. I ended up really liking this one. Mejia combines good writing with engaging characters. Lucas and Maya are easy to root for, and the novel really picks up suspense and speed toward the end. All in all, Leave No Trace is an entertaining, page-turning ride.

Happy Reading!

More bookish suspense:

Jenclair at A Garden Carried in the Pocket and Rachel at Waves of Fiction have already reviewed this book better than I ever could. So go read their reviews and you'll understand why A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot is a mystery worth reading! FBI Agent Mercy Kilpatrick is a great character; and I loved all the prepper stuff. Talk about a 5-star read. I can't wait to check out the next book in this series. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March's Bookish Art...

Jane Peterson -- Reading at a Cafe, 1920

"I read that I may think for myself."
-- Maria Edgeworth

Sunday, March 17, 2019

From my TBR shelf...

Title & Author:  The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith

Why I bought it:  Two reasons:  the title and the fact that it's "A Tarot Mystery". (Also, being used, it was pretty cheap.)

The Premise:  When Alanis McLachlan's con-woman mother is murdered, she unexpectedly inherits the White Magic Five and Dime, her mother's New Age shop and tarot business located in Berdache, Arizona. She and her mother haven't actually spoken in twenty years, but Alanis still feels an obligation to find out who killed her and why. Even if it means taking over her mother's business and faking the ability to read the tarot cards in order to do it.

Favorite quotes:
"I don't have any cats. They remind me too much of my mother. Beautiful, finicky, aloof, and you're the one who always has to clean up their crap."
"Every con artist of every kind knows how to cold-read a mark. I'd been doing it since before I could read books, and I was good at it. Mom had made sure of that."
"I was in a little desert town I didn't know, in an apartment with a stranger who may or may not have homicidal tendencies. The floor below us was a crime scene, while outside, somewhere nearby, was a man who said I'd die if I didn't leave. And now I was lying in my dead mother's bed ... If 'creepy' were a lottery, I'd just won."

My thoughts:  This is an entertaining read. I loved the use of Tarot cards throughout the book. And Alanis is such a great character:  street smart, fiercely independent, and full of sass. She's also pretty funny. I liked her a lot. I also liked how Hockensmith wove together Alanis's and her mother's past cons with the present mystery. This book is a fast, fun read that totally made me laugh.

Rating:  4/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This book also counts towards The Backlist Reader Challenge which is hosted by Lark at The Bookwyrm's Hoard


Thursday, March 14, 2019

A bookish adventure...

It's 1814. Napolean has just been exiled to Elba and 16-year-old Georgiana Fitzwilliam is facing her own exile to Stranje House. Which really isn't fair. She didn't mean to burn down her father's stables; she was only trying to formulate some invisible ink when things got a little bit out of hand. And now, for her crime of having a scientific and curious mind, she's being sent away to Emma Stranje's School for Unusual Girls. But Stranje House is much more than a reform/finishing school for unmarriageable young ladies. And Georgie is about to embark on her most exciting adventure yet.

"One thing I knew for certain. My life would never be the same. Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. I glimpsed something, something shimmering with possibilities. Maybe, just maybe, Stranje House would be a way out of the tight-lidded box into which I'd been born."
There's A LOT to like about Kathleen Baldwin's A School for Unusual Girls. It's entertaining, and unexpected, and full of humor and romance. All the girls at Stranje House are exceptional in very unconventional ways:  from picking locks, to training rats, to making Holmesian deductions, to dissembling with a curtsy and a smile. I liked all five girls, especially Georgie and Tess. And I enjoyed all the secrets and spies, too. Stranje House is the place to be if you're looking for some fun and adventure. I can't wait to read the next installment in this YA series.

Happy Reading!


(P.S. Happy PI Day!) 

Monday, March 11, 2019

This & That...

Basic bookish arithmetic:  one book goes out, five new ones come in. No wonder the space on my shelves doesn't add up. 

Book Nook Envy:

I could happily curl up here with a good book!
And I have a stack to choose from because I just
got back from the library with this bookish haul:

A School For Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Leave No Trace by Mindy Meija
The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor
Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer

Two bookish necklaces I'd love to own:

(Because how do you choose between them?)

Random Quote:

"Reading is the key to enriching one's life.
Besides information, it is about fantasy, imagination,
imagery, magic and intellectual and emotional stimulation.
It opens doors and leads you places
you never knew existed."
--Jonas Kage

Just for fun:

Gotta love John Atkinson!

Happy Reading!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Series update...

Burning Ridge: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery (#4) by Margaret Mizushima

When Mattie and Robo are called in to help find the charred remains of a murder victim, Mattie has no idea how personal this mystery is about to become. Luckily, Cole Walker, the local vet, has her back because she and Robo are going to need all the help they can get. This book is suspenseful, fast-paced, and such a good read. Robo reigns as my favorite bookish canine; and this particular mystery is my favorite book in this series so far.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

More from Mizushima:  Killing TrailStalking GroundHunting Hour.

Deadly Rising (A Booke of the Hidden Novel #2) by Jeri Westerson

Strange things are afoot in Moody Bog; both girls and goats are going missing and it's up to Kylie to find the evil creature responsible and return it to the Booke of the Hidden. To complicate matters, her ex-boyfriend has just shown up to try and win her back; and her new boyfriend, Sheriff Ed Bradbury, doesn't know anything about her supernatural woes. Luckily, she has the help of the local Wiccan coven, as well as the tall, dark and handsome demon Erasmus Dark. I thought this was a fun read even though Kylie is such a frustrating character she totally drives me crazy. I kept reading because I love the secondary characters so much. But I think I'm done. Even though this one ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, I just can't deal with this main character any longer. But she might not bug anyone else like she bugs me.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

More from Westerson:  Booke of the Hidden.

Bound (Alex Verus #8) by Benedict Jacka

I love this series! In this one, Alex is back in the service of the Dark mage Richard Drakh, a place he swore he would never be. He only did it to protect his friends. Too bad he couldn't figure out a way to keep Anne from suffering his same fate. The Council and the Keepers are no help; they still want him dead. And for once, his divination magic isn't working, because no matter how many futures he scans, he can't see a way to get them out of their predicament. This is a good one! It's got everything: action, magic, suspense and a great twist at the end. I really, really, really liked it.

Rating:  4.5/5 stars

More by Jacka:  FatedVeiledHidden.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is Characters I'd Like to Switch Places With. Which was a little tricky because there are a lot of characters who I really like but whose lives I really don't want to live. Not even for a little while. So after much thought, here's my....

7 Fictional characters I wouldn't mind switching places with:

Dorothy Gale .... 'cause she has great adventures and she lives in Oz where animals talk and books grow on trees.

Harimad-sol (Harry Crewe) ... 'cause she gets a cool horse, a legendary sword...and a great guy, too. 

Lessa of Pern ...  'cause she has a dragon!!!

Daphne ....  'cause this version of Daphne totally kicks ass.

Thursday Next ... 'cause being a Special Operative in literary detection sounds like a much better job than mine!

Nancy Drew ... 'cause she's always so fearless and capable no matter the situation; I mean, how would that be?

Wonder Woman .... 'cause Hello! She's Wonder Woman. Who wouldn't want to be her?

Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Another Classic...

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs was first serialized in 1912, "during the heyday of the pulp fiction era". It is the first book in Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series. The blurb on the back describes it as an "epic, swashbuckling Red Planet tale of derring-do and dazzling romance." I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading it, but even though there's a lot of detailed description to go along with the action, and the prose is decidedly old-fashioned, I thought it was kind of fun. And I ended up really liking John Carter who narrates the entire tale.

"I have determined to write down the story of the interesting periods of my life and of my death. I cannot explain the phenomena; I can only set down here in the words of an ordinary soldier of fortune a chronicle of the strange events that befell me during the ten years that my dead body lay undiscovered in an Arizona cave."

What else this novel contains:

  • Woola, the loyal ten-legged Martian 'hound'
  • sword fights and battles to the death
  • an imaginative Martian landscape
  • the warrior race of tusked and multi-limbed green martians
  • Dejah Thoris, the beautiful red martian princess (in need of rescuing)
  • adventure and romance

I'm glad I read this one. I think I might check out the movie now to see how it compares. And who knows, I might even read the next book in this series to see what happens to John and Dejah next.  Best of all? Since A Princess of Mars is less than 250 pages, it counts as my Classic Novella for Karen's Back to the Classics reading challenge. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

"I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong. I am old--old in the way that a tree, or a quahog clam, or a Renaissance painting is old .... You see, I have a condition."

Tom Hazard isn't immortal, he just doesn't age at the same rate as normal humans. He's lived through four centuries already and seen the world change. He's also lived through the deaths of the two people he loved most, making him wonder if his condition isn't a blessing, but a curse.
"It made me lonely. And when I say lonely, I mean the kind of loneliness that howls through you like a desert wind. It wasn't just the loss of people I had known but also the loss of myself. The loss of who I had been when I had been with them."
Then the Albatross Society finds him, a society made up of people just like him. And they offer the promise of safety, companionship, and purpose. There are just a few rules he as to follow:  never fall in love, never tell anyone about their secret, and never stay in one place longer than eight years. Oh, and he has to do something for them every eight years in return. And everything seems fine ... until he meets her.

My thoughts:  I love Matt Haig's novels. There's something about the way he writes, the lyricism of his prose, that makes me smile. His stories are always unexpected and quirky. And How To Stop Time is no exception. I liked Tom Hazard immediately, and I love how Haig wove together the pieces of his past and present. It makes for a poignant and thought-provoking novel. This was a 5-star read for me, and one that will for sure make my favorites list at the end of the year.

Happy Reading!

Also check out:

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme?  Places mentioned in books that I'd love to visit. (As you read my list, please remember my emphasis is on the word visit.)

1. The magical land of Oz

2. Diagon Alley....and Hogwarts, too, of course

3. Themyscira 

4. Le Cirque des Reves (the Night Circus)

5.  John Galt's Atlantis

6. The ever-changing Castle Glower (especially on a Tuesday)

7. Middle-earth, especially Lothlorien

8. Rose Red, the haunted Rimbauer Mansion

9. Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show (the carnival from Something Wicked This Way Comes.)

10. Nightingale Books (from Veronica Henry's How to Find Love in a Bookshop.)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February's Bookish Art...

Henri Ottman
"She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live."
--Annie Dillard

Thursday, February 21, 2019

From my TBR shelf...

Title & Author:  Haven by Laury Falter

Why I bought it:  Have I mentioned how much I like disaster/survival novels? Including zombie apocalypse ones? Which is why I couldn't resist buying this particular book.

The premise:  Kennedy's at her high school when the zombie apocalypse beings. Only she and four other teens--Doc, Beverly, Mei and Harrison--manage to make it safely inside. At least Kennedy has some survival skills courtesy of her military father to help them survive. But the odds are against them. Then there's Harrison, who has a secret of his own. One that could affect ... or infect .... them all.

My thoughts:  I'd classify this YA novel as "survival lite". While there are several intense encounters with the Infected, the author spends more time focusing on Kennedy and Harrison, and their respective pasts and growing relationship. Which I actually didn't mind because I liked both of them. But it did lessen the suspense of whether or not they were going to survive. And Harrison's big secret was pretty obvious and easy to figure out. So no real tension there either. And being in the high school with food and shelter and safety meant the five teens' survival felt pretty easy at times. Despite these few flaws, I still enjoyed this one. It's well-written, and it reads fast, and it's also entertaining and fun. Will I read the sequel? Probably not. But I'm not sorry I read this one.

My rating:  3/5 stars.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This  one also counts as another book towards my Backlist Reader Challenge 2019 goal, a fun reading challenge that focuses on reading the books on your TBR shelf and on your TBR list. 

Similar read:
Virulent: The Release by Shelbi Wescott

Monday, February 18, 2019

Haiku Reviews...

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Jobless, Calla heads to
Alaska to reconnect
with her dying father.

Romantic adventure .... 388 pages .... 3/5 stars.

Dragonshadow (Heartstone Novel #2) by Elle Katharine White

The Daireds battle
an ancient evil born of
shadow and vengeance.

Fantasy .... 381 pages .... 4/5 stars.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

The robot uprising
from beginning to end--humans
fight back...and win!

Science Fiction .... 347 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.

Happy Reading!