Reading

My Favorite Books From the Last 6 Months

I’ve actually been reading this year (not enough for my Goodreads challenge, but that’s beside the point), so I wanted to look at my favorite books from the first 6 months of 2020.

Non-Fiction

  • If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen
    • This book is a nightmare in written form. The fact that it’s non-fiction is a nightmare unto itself. It’s a horrible tale of child abuse, murder, and the awful compiles on top of awful. I listened to the audiobook which lessened the emotional distance between me and what was happening. It feels weird to say this was one of my ‘favorites’ but it basically blew my mind like no other so I think it deserves a space on the list.
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
    • I loved this book. I bought the ebook, and I definitely plan on reading it again. I recognized myself, or people I know, in a lot of the stories she tells throughout the book. I don’t know why this was so easy to connect with when I have struggled to connect with similar books. Highly recommend.

From My Favorite Authors

  • Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong
    • I’ve read all of the Rockton novels, and knew I was going to read this one as soon as I found out it was being published this year. I haven’t read any of her other books/series, but they’re on the list for sure. I really enjoy the concept behind the Rockton novels – basically a hidden town in the Northern bits of Canada for people who have something to hide from. It’s a bit of a romance series, but the mystery (read: insanity) is the big draw.
  • Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James
    • I’m a huge Simone St. James fan, and this was my second read through of this novel. I like the time period – post WWI – and the creepy atmosphere she gives most of her books. She does have 2 modern day novels, and the one I’ve read was also great and I definitely have the other one on the to be read list.

Other Fiction

  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
    • This is a rough read, but it was also really satisfying to finish. It didn’t make me cry, but I definitely had some serious feelings about it. The setting is Alaska and I found it really interesting to read about life (even fictional) in rural Alaska. Definitely check it out.
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
    • Shane has been bugging me to read this for literally years, and I finally did. It is a crazy roller coaster ride. It’s super depressing in parts, but it also left me with a really interesting sense of hope. I only guessed about half of the major twisty twist, which doesn’t happen often these days, so that’s a cool plus. I don’t really want to talk too much about it, so I don’t give away any spoilers. Needless to say, I’ll be reading more books that Shane recommends.

I’ve been saying “oh, I only want to read things that aren’t challenging – I don’t want to think” for a couple of years now, and this list is showing me that I really do like to challenge myself sometimes. I might need to push myself to expand my reading circle and try out some more mentally challenging reads.

In case you’re wondering, I’m 4 books behind on my 2020 reading challenge. I’m just not worried about it. ūüôā

Sarah

Life & Family · Reading

Reading Through A List of Authors My Mom Left Behind

The day my mom passed, I was standing in my parents’ kitchen aimlessly looking around. Under a magnet on their secondary freezer, I saw a couple sheets of notepad paper entitled “Grocery Author List”. I snuck it into my pocket as if my dad wouldn’t have let me have it if I had asked. I didn’t have a plan for it, I really just wanted her handwriting.

When I got home, I tucked it into the back of the little notebook I record all the books I’ve read (well, the past 2 years worth). I didn’t really forget about it, but also didn’t think about it much. At some point (I’ll have to check my twitter), I declared I would read through the list and I did indeed read a book or 2, but didn’t go further than that. I’ve thought about it off and on the past few months and decided to go for it.

Recently, I went through the author list and added the first books of series (or a stand alone if there wasn’t a series) for each author. I made a Goodreads list specifically for this little side project of mine, which topped out at 50 books. I did leave/add a couple of books that I’ve already read, since technically the authors are on the list. The authors write one of 3 genres: cozy mysteries (most with puns for titles), non-cozy mysteries, and fantasy. Luckily, I enjoy all of those genres, to varying degrees. I also have a soft spot for puns, so I’m not mad that a number of them are named things like “Thyme for Death” and “Lye in Wait” (both are actual titles on the list).

I’m a little concerned that I won’t be able to find a lot of the books, since a lot are from the 90s/early 00s and most don’t seem like they were best sellers. I haven’t checked the library yet, so hopefully several will appear there. I can think of a few that I know they have, though, so that’s promising.

Is this a weird thing to do? I’m going to do it anyway, but I do wonder about that a bit.

Read: 2/50

~Sarah

Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Upcoming Releases

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I don’t track a ton of upcoming releases, so instead of fulfilling the real prompt ‘Upcoming Releases I’m on The Fence About’, I’m going to just make a list of upcoming books I’m looking forward to. I’ll leave out the ones I listed here though. Since I’m on a book-buying ban *and* trying to read books I already own in 2019, I’ll probably only end up reading The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter. She’s an insta-buy for me, book ban or not.

  • The Invited ~ Jennifer McMahon
    • I like the look of this one – a couple flees suburbia just to build a house and end up building a haunted one. I already own, but haven’t read, her other book The Night Sister.
  • The Last Letter ~ Rebecca Yarros
    • I think this is the only romance on this list. I don’t know why but the letter in the description caught my interest.
  • The Missing Years ~ Lexie Elliott
    • Missing dad + Scottish Highlands + creepy house + possible ghosts? Might be a contender for Creepy October/Blogoween.
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton ~ Sara Collins
    • This looks so amazing I can’t do it justice here – just go read the Goodreads description. I might have to get this from the library in 2019.
  • Never Tell (D.D. Warren #10)~ Lisa Gardner
    • I may not get to this one for awhile, but I’ve read the first 7 D.D. Warren books and once I’ve read through some of the books I already own, I’d love to read 8 through 10.
  • The Night Olivia Fell ~ Christina McDonald
    • A mother tries to figure out what happened to her daughter – a chain of events that ends with Olivia falling off a bridge while pregnant. Seems like a good mystery.
  • The Raven Tower ~ Ann Leckie
    • I’ve been looking to get more into fantasy lately so this one caught my eye immediately when I saw it on the Goodreads giveaway page. The author is apparently a great sci-fi writer so we’ll see how that translates!
  • The Victory Garden ~ Rhys Bowen
    • I love fiction set during and directly after WWI and the description of this novel seems really touching and I think it looks like a really good read.
  • The Lost History of Dreams ~ Kris Waldherr
    • I got really into Gothic historical fiction last year and the reviews for this one are so, so good. If I decide to do creepy October again this year this might be one of the books I get for that.
  • The Last Widow (Will Trent #9)~ Karin Slaughter {not pictured}
    • I cannot wait for this! It’s on the “okay to buy during No-Buy 2019” list. It’s been awhile since there was a Will Trent/Sara Linton book and I’m pumped.
Top Ten Tuesday

Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn‚Äôt Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

There are SO many books I wanted to read last year and wasn’t able to. I may not even get to them this year because the books never stop being published.

  • Jackaby by William Ritter
    • I’m not sure why this book caught my eye, but it definitely has. I can’t wait to read it!
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
    • I love books with amnesia in them, but this one is even more interesting because my friends seem to either love this book or feel very ehhhh about it. The cover is super cool, too.
  • Florence & Giles by John Harding
    • In keeping with my newfound love of gothic horror novels, I had to add this one. It looks so creepy and good!
  • The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo
    • I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book called The¬†Girl¬†Without¬†Skin? It has mummified Vikings, murders, and so forth. It looks super twisty and interesting.
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager
    • This looks like a great thriller that will be a really fun read.
  • No Exit by Taylor Adams
    • Another great thriller, with the added fun of being trapped in a rest stop with a kidnapper.
  • Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
    • Just sign me up for any Karin Slaughter book ever. She’s an auto-buy author.
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
    • Scalzi is hit or miss for me, but this looks like a book I could really enjoy.
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    • I legitimately don’t understand how I didn’t read this in 2018. It has such rave reviews, and I read the first few pages when I first got it which hooked me immediately. But I was reading a different book and it slipped off my radar.
  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett
    • I can’t wait for summer, because I think reading this on the balcony at night is going to be so much fun.

~Sarah~

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I had a hard time coming up with this list, to be honest. I read a lot of new authors in 2018, but making a Top Ten list was still hard. So enjoy this mishmash of romance, fantasy, macho apocalypse, bananas horror (Bachmann), mystery, and non-fiction authors.

Kelley Armstrong & Jeff Wheeler & Jenn McKinlay

Ian Douglas & Franklin Horton & Ryder Carroll & Jacqueline Frost

Michael Cannell & Stefan Bachmann & Jane Harper

I hate not writing any notes, but my mother-in-law was here this past weekend and I had a ton of stuff to do this (aka Monday) evening. I’m clearly lagging behind on my ‘stay ahead of blog posts’, eh?

~Sarah~

Top Ten Tuesday

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
    • I love a good mystery and this one looks like a great one. Who doesn’t want to know why a woman shoots her husband in the face and then never speaks again?
  • The Au Pair by Emma Rous
    • The comparison to VC Andrews is enough to make me want to read this one. I’ll be requesting it from the library.
  • Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong
    • Is it cheating to put a book that’s next in a series you’re reading? I really enjoy the Rockton series. I discovered it while I was packing to move and I had both audiobooks and ebooks so I could read or listen when needed.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
    • The buzz around this one is big, and it looks like a very interesting fantasy novel. It’s also huge. I’m excited.
  • Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
    • Written by the authors of The Illuminae Files. That’s enough for me, but the description also sounds great.
  • Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds
    • Not going to lie, I’m eagerly anticipating this one for Shane. He loves Alastair Reynolds and he can’t wait to read this one.
  • The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
    • I need to read more YA sci-fi, because I really love it and haven’t read much of it lately.
  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe
    • I love Katherine Howe. I’ve read all her books, and I’m not about to stop now.
  • The Summer Country by Lauren Willig
    • I haven’t read much historical fiction set in Barbados, but I’m very interested in this mystery.
  • Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
    • Pride and Prejudice plus a culture I’m fairly unfamiliar with? Sign me up.
Blogmas · Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Books I Hope to Find Under the Tree!

Merry Christmas! This week’s topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is a list of the books I want to find under the tree today. I love this idea! I actually got a ton of the books I really¬†really wanted from my Secret Santa done by The Broke and The Bookish blog, but I always have more on the list!

  1. Pieces¬†of¬†Her by Karin Slaughter ~ Karin Slaughter is one of my favorite authors. This is the only novel of hers that I haven’t read yet. I’m on the Holds list for it, but it’s going to take for-ev-er.
  2. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James ~ This is the only book of Simone St. James I don’t own, and I loved it as much as the others so I’d like to own it as well.
  3. Force of Nature by Jane Harper ~ I liked the first Aaron Falk book, and would love to give the sequel a try.
  1. So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta ~ I follow Retta on Twitter, and loved her in Parks and Rec. I’m so interested in knowing more about her.
  2. The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King ~ Mr Rogers is the last great American {television} hero…along with Bob Ross, obviously. He’s inspiring and I want to read about what he was like outside of the show.
  3. Becoming by Michelle Obama ~ Speaking of inspiration, who wouldn’t want to read Michelle Obama’s autobiography?
  1. Florence & Giles by John Harding ~ There’s nothing about this book that’s not right up my alley. I can’t wait to read it!
  2. The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir ~ An ultra-religious family with a pregnant but not married daughter? Sign me up.
  3. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal ~ This seems like an interesting twist on the space race and apocalypse. I’m hooked.
  4. All Systems Red by Martha Wells ~ The series is called The Murderbot Diaries. How could I not want to read this?

~Sarah~

Blogmas · Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Ten on My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Usually, I don’t really look at these TBR lists after making them, but I feel like this is a pretty accurate representation of what I’m going to be reading over the next couple of months. Especially Terminal World, I’ve been reading it off and on for months, and Shane (who loves it), is starting to get his feelings hurt. The rest of these fiction books are ones that I’ve been really looking forward to.¬†

  1. All the Weyrs of Pern ~ Anne McCaffrey 
  2. Terminal World ~ Alastair Reynolds
  3. Avalon – Mindee Arnett
  4. A Winter Flame ~ Milly Johnson
  5. The Mysterious Affair At Castaway House ~ Stephanie Lam

On the non-fiction side, I’ve been looking at figuring out this whole ‘being a super responsible adult’ thing, hence the style books, the book on writing, and the book on bullet journals. The Murder Room is just going to be a great read.¬†

  1. The Curated Closet ~ Anuschka Rees
  2. Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out ~ Kate Schelter
  3. The Murder Room ~ Michael Capuzzo
  4. On Writing ~ Stephen King
  5. The Bullet Journal Method ~ Ryder Carroll
Reading

A Zombie Apocalypse Reading List

I love reading about the zombie apocalypse! I don’t read nearly as many as I would like, but I truly enjoy the genre. I enjoy the apocalypse in general, though. Here’s a list of books I think should be on your Zombie Apocalypse Reading List. It’s a mix of books I’ve read and books I’d like to read. The list is barely scraping the surface, so add your favorite zombie books down below!

There are probably spoilers down below, buds. Just a warning.

I did manage to place the books in some loose groups. These three have something about zombies that I enjoy.

  • The Passage by Justin Cronin ~ Okay, okay, they’re vampires. But they’re controlled by an entity outside themselves, so I’m shoehorning them into the zombie category. It’s my blog, I do what I want. I loved reading about the vampire-zombies’ behavior and the suspected reasons behind the things they do. I highly recommend the entire series, I’ll probably end up reading them all again one day. Which is saying a lot, since they are all enormous.
  • The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey ~ Have you ever finished a book and been mad at the book so you give it a low rating but then you can’t stop thinking about the ending for¬†weeks and then you boost the rating to 5 because if the book wasn’t as good as it is you wouldn’t be this upset at it? That was this book for me.
  • Extinction Horizon by Nicholas Sansbury Smith ~ I tend to avoid military apocalyptic fiction because I find a lot of it tries too hard to prove how manly the characters are. Which is not completely untrue with this series, but there’s enough going on otherwise to make it recommendable. There’s science-y type stuff and the zombies are pretty cool and there’s¬†a lot of shooting. Try to spot the improbable but totally predictable love interest.

These are books with a little something different going on. Goodreads says I haven’t read the first two, but I have. Feed is on my TBR pile.

  • The Zombie Autopsies by Steven C. Schlozman, M.D. ~ I think I read this when it first came out – 2011 or 2012 – and I still clearly remember entire sections of this book. It’s a far more scientific zombie book than normal.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks ~ He wrote World War Z so you know it’s good. It’s also appropriately funny. If you want to read about zombies, laugh, and not be completely freaked out, get this book.
  • Feed by Mira Grant ~ This is apparently more of a political/journalism/freedom of speech book with zombies! It’s making the list because so many people have suggested it to me that it should be here.

These are books that have come highly recommended but I haven’t had a chance to read them, so I don’t have much to say about them.

  • The First Days by Rhiannon Frater ~ I read the first few pages of this while flipping through my friend’s copy. I remember it being pretty action packed, so why not check it out?
  • The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell ~ All I really know about this one is the Goodreads synopsis and that my friends really liked it.
  • Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry ~ The Goodreads description is pretty vague for this YA series, but Maberry is a really good author, so it makes the list.