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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-07-22 09:53
The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri
The Book of Hidden Things - Francesco Dimitri

TITLE:  The Book of Hidden Things


AUTHOR:  Francesco Dimitri




"Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.

A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can't go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss's daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.







*********************************LOTS OF SPOILERS*************************************





This is supposed to be a dark magical realism / fantasy novel.  It should probably be marketed as a psychological thriller or a smutty boys-novel or something like that. This is not a book for children or teenagers. The writing style is decent and the concept interesting, though hardly original. 


The novel starts off slowly with tantalizing hints of a mystery that needs solving. The description of the scenery and the food is beautifully written.  The exploration of family and friend dynamics, as well as the difference (or lack thereof) between magic, religion and what goes on in your head is interesting.  However, the characters are stereotypically flat (and unloveable) - all four friends are members of a boys club that never grows up, all obsessed (some more than others) with girls and sex, are rather self-centered, and seem to be having a mid-life crisis.  For a magical realism novel, there is a ridiculous amount of ink dedicated to sex, nudity, imaginary sex and the objectication of women.  This all got tedious after the first quarter of the novel, and rather creepy after that.  The "magic" only appears near the end of the book, and you are never sure if it's magic or someone needs some lithium.  In addition, there are unresolved issues (what happened to Art as a kid?  is there magic involved or are they all just mentally unstable?) that are brushed off and the reader is left with speculation and guess-work.  The ending was weak and disappointing.  I could also have done without the animal murders (!!), even though they were there for a valid reason.  As for "The Book of Hidden Things" - this was a complete let down.  It only appears near the end of the novel and is a mish-mash of New Age WooWoo and Catholicism.

(spoiler show)

Vulgar, juvenile and somewhat creepy is my final impression of this novel. 



WARNING:  Animal cruelty!!!!   






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text 2019-07-22 06:38
24in48 July 2019 Readathon: Wrap Up




Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.

Keeping this post pretty simple since there wasn't as much reading activity as I would have liked, but I did as well as I'd predicted, so I'm not too sorely disappointed in my weekend.  As of midnight, I finished reading one book, Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin, which clocked at 368 pages, though I really only read 353 pages of the book for the readathon.  The amount of time I spent reading, according to my stopwatch, was 5:39:32.  So it basically took me about five and a half hours to finish one book... and I was nowhere near the proposed 24 hour goal, but whaddya gonna do?

I guess I'm at least happy that I finished one book at all, but the rest of the weekend was spent shopping with family, eating out, and being in a generally lazy mood.

Until the next readathon, then!



Books Read




Currently Reading

I did not start reading any other book this weekend.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/07/24in48-july-2019-readathon-wrap-up.html
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text 2019-07-22 06:25
Booklikes-opoly 2019 | Roll #16
@ Booklikes, the book blogging social platform


It feels like it's been ages since I last rolled, almost three weeks ago!  When I last updated, I was reading A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters for my most recent regular roll (Roll #12), wherein I needed to read a book that was either made into a film or television series.  Since there's a television adaptation for the Cadfael series, this book fit right in.  An interesting read, but I had a hard time getting into it, though it's hard to say whether it was the book, or just my lack of time.  At 199 pages, the book gave me $2 to add to my bank.


Meanwhile, I'd also taken advantage of the July 4th Bonus rolls and prepped myself for more books to be read.  We all got three extra rolls, but due to the nature of my rolls, I ended up with four books!



I had considered, very briefly, skipping The Summer Blockbuster 27, as I'd had a hard time finding something to read for this square the last time I landed on it.  But then I remembered that I had all three of the four DC Icon series books, and what better "hero's journey" than one about the making of a superhero in Wonder Woman: Warbringer?  Also, I like Leigh Bardugo.  =D  The book itself had a lot of potential, but I'm not sure it really set out to do what I'd been hoping it would do.  But still well-written.  This book was 374 pages, earning me another $3.


The next square would have been an easy pick for choosing a historical or time travel book, if only I didn't have so many possible historical fiction books to choose from.  But then my library pinged a hold for me and so Silence for the Dead was inserted in as my choice.  Taking place in the time after WWI, this book fits the bill just fine.  Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James was 386 pages, earning another $3.



The next square was another Question Square, this time Who?, which required a mystery or detective story, and so I randomly chose one of my romantic suspense crime thrillers, and so Jayne Ann Krentz it was!  Sharp Edges was 338 pages, which was another $3!

The last square I landed on for the bonus rolls was The Stay-cation 8, and I chose the easier of the prompts, choosing an author whose name began with a letter in the the word "RELAX."  Just as well, I'd taken long enough with my previous read that Laura Griffin's newest release happened on July 2, so I happily decided to purchase and read the latest in the Wolfe Security series, Her Deadly Secrets.  This book was 368 pages... another $3!

And now that we're caught up, here's the next roll, which ended up becoming a bit complicated, taking me ALL around the board, so sit tight for a fairly long post.


My first roll was a double 2, which took me to the Robot Card.  Since I get to pocket the card and roll again anyway, I'm going to forego the whole "doubles, roll again" thing, because I'm not even sure how that would work since I'm already rolling again.


It's been a great readathon weekend, and even though I wasn't able to get a lot of reading done, it looks like Monkey and friends are all gathered around for story time anyway.  But being the great buddy that Monkey is, he's opting to sit at the bottom of the board and try to keep Teddy Bear from sliding further down off of his square.  Yay, Monkey!


My next roll for this turn was a seven, and landed me on Free Parking:  Roll 2 dice.  A 2 or 3 sends you to the robot; 4, 5, or 6, go to the race car; 7, 8, or 9, go to the Scottie Dog; 10, 11, or 12 takes you to the cat.


Still having their reading session, and Monkey's still giving Teddy Bear a hand.  =D


The roll for Free Parking gave me a nine, and so off to Scottie Dog card it is!  As per the rules, I'm pocketing this card and moving on.


Alllll the way across the board we go.  And Monkey is taking his job quite seriously, I see.


Finally, after pocketing my shiny new Novelty card, I rolled a ten and ended up back at the Question Card: Who?, passing Go and collecting $5 while I was at it.  I was just here not long ago, and even though I've got four Novelty cards cramming my pocket now, I don't need to use them for this square.  Finding a mystery to read will be easy peasy... it's picking one out of several that will be the hard part...


And it looks like Monkey is quite worn out.  Teddy Bear is sticking to the board okay, so Monkey has decided to join the others at the top for some reading time.

Happy 24in48 readathon weekend!  And hope everyone had a great time and a great weekend!

Meanwhile, I've got a few books I'm considering, though haven't quite made a decision yet.  Though I'm leaning towards a more contemporary book since I'd spent most of the beginning of the year in historical fiction.


Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker is a cozy mystery that is 282 pages for $3.  I've been meaning to get back to this series, so this might be a good time to do it.

A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber is a historical mystery that is 324 pages for $3.  I'm also super curious about continuing the Lady Darby series, so this is another possibility.

Ricochet by Jessica Andersen is a romantic suspense with a murder mystery, clocking in at 250 pages, also for $3.  I picked this book up at a library sale, and am very interested in it, as it involves a crime lab scenario.

As of right now, I'm kind of leaning more towards Ricochet, but at the same time, it'd be more convenient for me to read an e-book, which the other two are.  Oh, sigh!  Decisions, decisions.  I might just do a random book draw... or dash all of these options and end up reading something else entirely.  I'll give myself a little time to decide.



Novelty Cards Currently In My Pocket




My Progress

Current Bank:  $91
Bail Fund Donation:  0 pages || in table: remain in parentheses in (italics and red)
Books Read:  16
Pages Read:  5,323

Table notes:
*Dates link to corresponding dice roll updates / other links for related activities included.
*Book titles link to reviews if written.
*Page/Cash values in parentheses are still pending reads/ not yet cashed out.
*Doubles rolls are depicted as such (dbls) under the dice roll number.


(Roll #)
Dice Roll Space/Prompt Book Title / Author Pages Cash
5/20 Game Start $20
#1 5 The Silk Road:
Read a book set in any of the 40 countries along Silk Road, or by an author from any of those countries.
Hard Target by Pamela Clare 261 $3
#2a 8 Novelty Card Robot -- save for later
(Create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you)
n/a n/a n/a
#2b 4 Mountain Cabin 16:
Read a book that is considered mystery/suspense genre, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.
Tightrope by Amanda Quick 320 $3
5/25 See Also: Roll #3 and Memorial Day Bonus Roll Activities
#3 5 The Lake House 20:
Read a book that features a dog or which has a dog on the cover; or that is set in an area known for its lakes or on a fictional lake.
Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle 312 $3
  Memorial Day Bonus Rolls
#4 7 The Summer Blockbuster 27:
Read a book that features a hero's journey or is a Bildungsroman (coming of age tale); or that has a word related to space in the title (i.e., star, planet, rocket).
Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier 516 $5
#5 9 European Vacation 35:
Read a book set in Europe; or that was written by an author who was born in Europe; or that involves travel by boat or that has a picture of a ship on the cover.
A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber 433 $5
#6a 10 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Novelty Card Race Car -- save for later
(Race around the game board to the space of your choosing and read!)
n/a n/a n/a
#6b 11 Mountain Cabin 18:
Read a book that is set west of the Mississippi in the USA, or that was written by an author who comes from that region, or that is considered part of the Western genre.
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin 357 $3
#7a 7 BL Square:  Spin the Wheel Decide n/a n/a n/a
Wheel Decide:  Take one extra roll n/a n/a n/a
#7b 10 European Vacation 33:
Read a book set in the UK, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N.
The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa 212 $3
#8 5 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
School's Out For Summer 1:
Read a book that appears on any school related "summer reading list," or that is identified as YA or MG
Going Rogue by Robin Benway 321 $3
#9 10 Beach Week 10:
Read a book that appears on any beach reads list, or a book whose author's first or last name begins with any letter in B-E-A-C-H.
Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant 324   $3
#10 6 Mountain Cabin 16:
Read a book that is considered mystery/suspense genre, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant 288 $3
#11 4 The Lake House 19:
Read a book with a cover that is more than 50 percent blue, or by an author whose first or last name starts with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.
Facing Evil by Kylie Brant 314 $3
#12 6 The Summer Blockbuster 25:
Read a book (or a book in a series) that has been adapted for film or television.
A Morbid Taste for Bones  199 $2 
7/2 July 4th Bonus Rolls
#13a 2
The Summer Blockbuster 27:
Read a book that features a hero's journey or is a Bildungsroman (coming of age tale); or that has a word related to space in the title (i.e., star, planet, rocket).
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo 374 $3
#13b 8 When? (34):
Read a book that is time travel or historical fiction, or a book with the word "when" in the title.
Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James 386 $3
#14 5 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Who? (2):
Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title.
Sharp Edges by Jayne Ann Krentz 338 $3
#15 7 The Stay-cation 9:
Read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library or a park, or that the author's name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.
Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin 368 $3
#16a 4 Novelty Card Robot -- save for later
(Create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you)
n/a n/a n/a
#16b 7 Free Parking:  Roll 2 dice.
A 2 or a 3 sends you to the robot;
4, 5, or 6, go to the race car;
7, 8, or 9, go to the Scottie dog;
10, 11, or 12 takes you to the cat.
n/a n/a n/a
#16c 9 Novelty Card Scottie Dog -- save for later
(Post a list or poll of 4 books, and ask your fellow players/followers to "fetch" you a book.
n/a n/a n/a
#16d 10 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Who? (2):
Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title.




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/07/booklikes-opoly-2019-roll-16.html
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review 2019-07-21 18:52
Have you ever had that nagging feeling at the back of your brain...
In Safe Hands - Michael Pauley,Victoria Sue

You know the one that says 'I've been here before or I've done this before or just generally geez this is really familiar? Well that's what I got when I went to write the review for this story and what it came down to after pondering things for a day is this...


I really enjoy this authors 'Enhanced' series and what I realized was that if we gave Maverick some kind of enhanced ability this story would work very nicely into that series. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy the story but more that since it isn't a part of the 'Enhanced' series for me it would have been more enjoyable if it hadn't felt like it should have been.


We have Maverick (Mav) Delgardo a strong, heroic, brooding, former soldier who's been injured in the line of duty and bares the physical proof of it. It's only been a few months so he's also still struggling to adjust to the changes this has brought to his life.


When Mav's sister ask for his help with a case in her efforts to get her very fledgling PI business off the ground in spite of his less than stellar mental state Mav knows it's time to man-up, after all it's just for a couple of days to babysit the lead singer of a band that's fallen from grace...really, what could possibly go wrong...one should never ask or even wonder about this.


And if you ask Deacon Daniels, he'll tell you the real question is 'could something, anything possibly go right?' Down on his luck doesn't even begin to explain Deacon's life. It's a grocery list of one bad event after another with the occasional bright spot thrown in just to give him hope and keep him going.


I really, really liked Deacon for me he was the bright spot in this book. Not that he was overly full of sunshine and light but that he was a character who was strong and determined not to let life break him.


Deacon's lost everything, his band, his money and the niece that was entrusted to his care by his deceased brother and now all he's got to show for it all is a stalker who seems to want not only him dead but anyone connected to him and the scandal that destroyed his career.


I liked the relationship that was developing between Mav and Deacon. While it was quick and intense truthfully so was the situation they suddenly realized they were entangled in. 


Other than the too strong resemblance to the 'Enhanced' series that this story held for me, the only other thing that was slightly problematical for me was the narration. Michael Pauley was the narrator for this story and this is by no means the first audiobook that I've listened to that was narrated by him...more like number 9 or 10, but be that as it may, this time around the narration wasn't working for me. That's not to say that it was bad just that for whatever reason I wasn't connecting with the voices so this unfortunately also contributed to the lack of connection that I felt with the story. 


While I wouldn't exactly call this one a win nor would I call it a total loss...when it comes right down to it...it just wasn't the story for me...another time...who knows it might have gone better.



An audio book of 'In Safe Hands' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-07-21 18:24
Outcast Witch Rises to the Top; People Try to Kill Her

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.45 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Catherine Baker hasn’t been very attached to the magic world for years, aside from her witch friend Morgan, her fairy cousins, and her boss who’s a librarian AKA magic historian.

But who needs the magic world after what it did to her? Her boyfriend, Alexander, outted her to the witch community for using forbidden magic to defend herself. And the martyr-loving jerks outcasted her for it. And needless to say, her relationship ended.

But she’s fine with that. She’s scraping by with her waitressing job and has two cats that she loves. If only she can quit smoking so her bank account would be a bit fuller.

But when Morgan dies, Alexander shows up in her life yet again to urge her to run for Morgan’s job as Titania– the ambassador between the fairy world and the magician community on Earth.

Catherine would have just told him to go to hell if her boss and cousins also didn’t want to her to become the next Titania. She eventually agrees.

But complications ensue when her estranged father runs against her, sponsored by necromancers who put a price on her head.

As she fights to become Titania, Alexander is appointed as her bodyguard to keep her safe. Catherine has convinced herself that things with Alexander are completely over, but slowly it becomes very clear that things are just getting started.


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