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text 2018-11-03 15:00
October Books

I read 32 books last month with an average score of 3.84. 14 of the books were young adult and 3 were graphic novels. My most-read genres were contemporary, mystery, and romance. Halloween Bingo is to thank for mystery being so high. I was surprised that I barely read any fantasy books at all since it's usually up there.


My favorite books were The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein - Kiersten WhiteCheck, Please!: #Hockey - Ngozi Ukazu, and A Gentleman Never Keeps Score - Cat Sebastian. My least favorite was Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel - Steven Levenson,Justin Paul,Benj Pasek,Val Emmich.



5 Stars

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein - Kiersten White  A Gentleman Never Keeps Score - Cat Sebastian  Check, Please!: #Hockey - Ngozi Ukazu  


4.5 Stars

Kamisama Kiss, Vol. 01 - Julietta Suzuki,Tomo Kimura  The Witness for the Prosecution (Short Story e-book) - Agatha Christie  Puddin' - Julie Murphy  We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists - Melissa Falkowski,Eric Garner,Parkland Student Journalists  Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott  


4 Stars

A Gathering of Shadows - V.E. Schwab  Into the Drowning Deep - Mira Grant  I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life - Anne Bogel  Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All - Linda Sue Park,Lisa Ann Sandell,Stephanie Hemphill,Candace Fleming,Deborah Hopkinson,M.T. Anderson,Jennifer Donnelly  We Regret to Inform You - Ariel Kaplan  S.T.A.G.S - M.A. Bennett  How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation - Libba Bray,Maureen Johnson,Rosie O'Donnell,Jacqueline Woodson,Jeffrey Rowland,Jason Reynolds,KC Green,Malinda Lo,Jennifer Weiner,Jodi Picoult,Sabaa Tahir,Alex Gino,Dylan Marron,Karuna Riazi,Jesse Tyler Ferguson,Dana Schwartz,Rebecca Roanhorse,Ali Stroker,  

Dead And Gone - Charlaine Harris  The Other Woman - Sandie Jones  Sofia Khan is Not Obliged - Ayisha Malik  China Rich Girlfriend: A Novel - Kevin Kwan  


3.5 Stars

The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han  Emergency Contact - Mary H. K. Choi  Shock & Awe - Abigail Roux  Fatal Shadows - Josh Lanyon  Denton Little's Deathdate - Lance Rubin  It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han  


3 Stars

Our House - Louise Candlish  A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale - Liz Braswell,Parragon Books  All-New Wolverine Vol. 4: Immune - Leonard Kirk,Tom Taylor  Lizzie - Dawn Ius  The Fourth Man - Agatha Christie  Three Days Missing - Kimberly Belle  


2.5 Stars

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel - Steven Levenson,Justin Paul,Benj Pasek,Val Emmich 



Books by author gender:

  • Male: 5
  • Female: 24
  • Male/Female/Non-Binary Mix: 3


Books by format:

  • Physical: 19
  • Audio: 13
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text 2018-11-03 04:18
Halloween Bingo 2018 | More Book Ramblings at End Game


And the game is now at it's end note, as October came to it's close.  This post was meant to go up a couple days earlier, but that didn't happen as I never finished all the books I had intended to read for Halloween Bingo.  I tried holing myself up away from the internet for the last few days of the month, hoping to achieve a Black-out success, but alas!  That was not to be!

Nonetheless, this post is satisfyingly much meatier than my mid-game ramblings, which makes me extremely happy.  It simply means that I've made much more and better progress on my Halloween Bingo card, and all is well in the world again.  At least in my world.

Once again, the books listed are all in order of when I read them, and I may or may not have already reviewed some of these.  Either way, you're getting a bit of a ramble about each, because I sometimes get carried away.

Meanwhile, I might also include a wrap-up pretty soon--it's on my list of blog posts to write, for a well-rounded closure to the 2018 Halloween Bingo game.

Happy Belated Halloween everyone!




The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Discworld #1 / Rincewind #1
Rating:  3.0 Stars

I honestly am not sure how to review this book.

It's... an interesting concept.  And extremely creative.

But so much happens, and so many characters are introduced to you, and so many of the world's... originalities are thrown at you so suddenly that... well... it's just a little hard to digest.  Some of the humor I got, and some of it, not so much.

I will continue the rest of the series if only because I've been told that it gets better.

On a strange aside, I totally couldn't picture Twoflower, and finally had to do a Google search of him.  Ah... standard stereotype of a tourist.  I see.

I DID like the Luggage and wished there were more scenes with it.

Also read for the Discworld group read.




Sick of Shadows by Sharyn McCrumb
Elizabeth MacPherson #1
Rating:  2.5 Stars

Thoughts: Sick of Shadows

In my review, I already mention that this book is kind of mediocre, even if written well, with some interesting potential.  Okay, I may not have mentioned the interesting potential, but I feel that it's there.  Other reviewers have noted that the series gets better after this first book.  So I'm holding out hope.

Honestly, I chose to read Sick of Shadows based on accessibility, because I had been more interested in the Ballad series; however, the first book If I Ever Return, Pretty Peggy-O was not available at my library, and I wasn't really wanting to purchase anything new if I could help it.  So we get Sick of Shadows, which wasn't terrible, but could have been better.

Other possible squares include:  Genre: Suspense; Country House Mystery; Terror in a Small Town; Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul




As per usual, Amanda Quick's writing is excellent and enjoyable.  The characters are all great and lovely, and the romance is fun and steamy, as needed.  The mystery wasn't so much a mystery, if only because you don't get to do much detecting with the characters.  But watching them do their detecting, looking for a serial killer, was fun.  I loved the heroine, Amity, and totally approve her carrying around a tessen for safety reasons--every woman should have a steel fan, honed into a weapon, disguised as an ornamental trinket, for use in tight situations.

This is your usual Amanda Quick work--always enjoyable.

Other possible squares include:  Murder Most Foul; Amateur Sleuth; Romantic Suspense; Terrifying Women




Rating:  4.0 Stars

Thoughts: The Big Over Easy

I wish I had jumped into this book first when I picked it up for Halloween Bingo a month ago.  But no, I wanted to finish Nora Roberts' Circle trilogy due to availability.

The Big Over Easy was wonderfully addictive to read, despite the slow-paced telling, with very cleverly inserted fairy tale, mythological, and nursery rhyme references to create the world with.  My review linked above might ramble a bit about how much I liked this book!

Other possible squares include: A Grimm Tale; Murder Most Foul




Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller #1
Rating: 4.0 Stars

Thoughts: Front Page Fatality

As I state in my review linked above, this is a very strong start to a gritty and exciting cozy mystery.  I had also made the very quick decision to include a couple other Nichelle Clarke books in Halloween Bingo as well!

Other possible squares include:  Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul




Rating: 2.5 Stars

My streak of Halloween Bingo books had been going so well for October...  It's just disappointing that it didn't keep up.  Secret Admirer could have been so much better than it turned out to be, but I think the biggest factors playing against it were that it's a book that Cynthia Eden has already written before, with the same premise and a lot of the same story outline, and it was a bit too rushed for my liking.

I have more details in my overlong review linked below.  I hadn't planned on a review, but I got to writing, with only one paragraph in mind, and the next thing I know, it's about five paragraphs long, so I just decided to turn it into a full blown review and call it good.

Thoughts: Secret Admirer

Other possible squares include:  New Release; Genre: Suspense; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul




Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2
Rating: 4.0 Stars

Ahh...  Good ol' Jayne Ann Krentz.  You just never go wrong with this lovely author.  And despite the fact that I couldn't really recall what went down in the previous book of this series, a slight nudge with a brief recounting DID kind of jog my memory about some of the first book.  Mind you, not that I really recall a whole lot about it anyway.

But still...

I found Promise Not to Tell quite refreshing in terms of the romance, even if some character dynamics seem a little "been there, done that."  The suspense portion was intriguing enough, but the real gem of this book is the relationship and partnership between Virginia and Cabot.  And as JAK is wont to do, some of the side characters are also pretty excellent as well.

On a side note, we absolutely need more men like Cabot Sutter in our lives, both fictional and real.

Other possible squares include:  New Release; Romantic Suspense; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul




Rating: 4.5 Stars

This book was fantastic and so much fun!  Two words:  Aeslin mice!

See my review for an official squee:  Thoughts: Discount Armageddon




Buried Leads by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller #2
Rating: 3.0 Stars

Thoughts: Buried Leads

Not as satisfying as the first book in the series, but still an enjoyable, fast-paced read with everything I liked about the first book still intact.  Review linked above.




Endless Night by Agatha Christie
audio book narrated by Hugh Fraser
Rating: 3.5 Stars

As already stated in my sort of, kind of, Not Really a Review of Endless Night, that ending had me flabbergasted.  I honestly don't know what to think and had definitely not expected this book to turn out the way it did... whether for good or bad... well, I still haven't decided.

Since the audio book cover has an illustration of a raven, I will be using this book for the 13 square.




Rating: 2.5 Stars

Ghost Horse was okay, in the way that a book lets you pass the time without really doing much for you.  The plot points are very overly cliched and the characters were hard to relate with, if only because they were also so cliched that it hurt.  The book picked up more towards the end, so that made up for some of it, but definitely not something I would recommend unless you're really that into Harlequin's Eclipse line of Gothic Romances.

Truth is, this book could have used more meat and less cliche... and maybe if the heroine wasn't so obsessed with the love interest before she ascertained his guilt in the disappearance of her best friend...  It was a little hard for me to understand how she could be so attracted to the man who was both broody, rude, and caveman, especially when she thought he'd had a hand in her best friend's sudden disappearance.




Rating: 3.5 Stars

It took a while to warm up to our protagonist, Karen, and for the book to pick up, but when it did, boy did it just hook you in.  I think I might have also been as riveted to the Ismene story as Karen and Peggy were.

And speaking of Peggy--she was so, undeniably awesome!  I loved Peggy so much!  I think she was the character who made this book so awesome!

The ending also got a little creepy there, and I ended up having to turn on a light while I was reading it in bed. O.O




Rating: 4.0 Stars

Thoughts: Desperate Girls

This was a great first book to a new Laura Griffin romantic suspense series, with a brief guest appearance by a character from her Tracers series.  I'm looking forward to the next book already!

Other possible squares include:  Genre: Suspense; Romantic Suspense; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul




Rating: 4.0 Stars

Daughter of the Midway was a very wonderfully atmospheric, bittersweet tale.  I loved the brief glimpses into the mermaid lore of this world included, but it also left me wishing there were more to the story.  You kind of had an idea what would end up happening at the end, but that still doesn't keep you from feeling a little pang of sadness at it either.

I'm not really into short stories, because I often feel like they could be fleshed out more, and this is also the case with Daughter of the Midway; even so, I did really like this one, in my own way.

Other possible squares include:  Southern Gothic; Supernatural; Cryptozoologist; Fear the Drowning Deep; Terrifying Women




Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
A Noodle Shop Myster #1
Rating: 3.5 Stars

More Rambling Than Review: Death by Dumpling

I really did enjoy this book and plan on continuing the series.  As I state in my review linked above, this book gave me nostalgic feels--they were very good nostalgic feels.  So that's already a point in that sector.  I will update with a link to my review of this book when it goes up.

Other possible squares:  New Release; Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul




Rating: 3.0 Stars

Quick Thoughts: Spinning Silver

This one wasn't as great as Novik's previous retelling, Uprooted.  It's a little disappointing, but it wasn't like the book wasn't entirely enjoyable.  I DID end up getting drawn into it at the beginning, even if the end kind of fizzled after too many POVs started surfacing.  There came a point where I wished the story would just get on with it.  Nonetheless, there's a quick review at the link above.

Other possible squares include: New Release; Spellbound; Relics and Curiosities (?); Supernatural; Terrifying Women




Small Town Spin by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller #3
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Brief Thoughts: Small Town Spin

Still a great, strong series with a great, strong main character!  This was probably the meatiest of the series' books so far.  On the other hand, it also boasts a very evident love triangle that is driving me crazy.

My review will probably go up soon, and will be linked above.




Rating: 2.5 Stars

I think I must be missing something.

The first couple chapters were pretty intriguing, but after that, the book pretty quickly became a massive info dump of outlined tangential story lines that were pretty boring, finally leading up to the titular Haunted Hotel parts.  It got exciting for a little bit, but then the ending felt a bit anti-climatic, and I'm not sure I understand what actually happened, even if I DO kind of see what happened.

If that makes any sense.

I guess... there wasn't as much about the Haunted Hotel as I'd been expecting?  I suppose this one just wasn't for me.

On a separate note, I didn't actually finish this book until after the Halloween Bingo game timeline was past... like about four hours past.  But because of that, I'm going to include it as a completed square... even though I'd already stopped counting Bingos about three books ago.





I didn't finish this book for the last square, but it shall be listed just because.  I'll probably have the book done within the next few days though if it's as enjoyable as the first one.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/halloween-bingo-2018-more-book.html
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review 2018-11-01 14:12
The Mysteries of Udolpho / Ann Radcliffe
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe

The Mysteries of Udolpho is the story of orphan Emily St. Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the medieval castle of her aunt's new husband, Montoni. Inside the castle, she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors that threaten to overwhelm her.


I read this book to fill the Gothic square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

This is the mother of all Gothic romance, originally published in 1794. Twenty-first century readers may find themselves challenged by the style. Here is Wanda’s recommended reading instructions for The Mysteries of Udolpho:

1. Practice your patience. Readers in the 18th century weren’t in a rush and didn’t expect lean prose or fast plot development. Don’t read to a deadline if you can help it—trying to rush through will probably frustrate you further.
2. Develop your taste for scenic descriptions. Because you’re going to be reading a lot of them. Apparently good people spend a lot of time gazing at the mountains and the moon and rhapsodizing about them and bad people can’t be bothered. Now you know which kind of person you are.
3. Speaking of which, decide whether you are going to read all of the poetry & songs or not. I started to skip them about 1/3 of the way through the book. It was minutes of my life that I wasn’t going to get back.
4. Prepare yourself to be horrified, not at the so-called horrors of the book, but at the limited role of women in 18th century society. Their lives are controlled and run by the men who claim authority over them. If their wishes are listened to at all, they are lucky.
5. Prepare yourself for the boredom of women’s lives, at least upper-class women, who seem to do a lot of sitting around. You can paint, you can read, you can admire the scenery (see #2 above), you can do needlework. Sometimes, you can go for scenic walks. If you’re really lucky, your controlling men (see #4) will take you to a party. But mostly you sit around in your dreary chamber and talk to yourself.
6. There will be crying and fainting. Lots and lots of it. Or swooning or being rendered speechless. In fact the main character, Emily, seems to subsist on meals consisting of a few grapes and half a glass of wine, after staying up most of the night listening for mysterious music or watching for spectres. It’s no wonder that she tips over so easily, as she’s under-nourished and under-slept all the time.

This is where so many of the Gothic romance tropes got their start—the orphaned young woman, struggling to make her own way in the world, adored by every man who stumbles across her path—she and her true love have a communication issue which leads to a horrible misunderstanding and much suffering on both sides, until the truth comes out. Radcliffe introduces the mystery element too—who is the woman in the miniature portrait left behind by Emily’s father? Why does Emily look so much like her?

Truly, I’m glad to have read this ancestress to the Gothic romances that I’ve enjoyed since junior high school. But wow I’m also glad that writing styles and expectations have moved along.

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text 2018-10-31 19:54
Monthly Run Down - October 2018
So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know - Retta
The Magic Misfits: The Second Story - Neil Patrick Harris
The Cad and the Co-Ed - L.H. Cosway,Penny Reid
Slothilda: Living the Sloth Life - Dante Fabiero
How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People - D.L. Hughley
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré
Whiskey Dick - Ryan Ringbloom
Quick and Healthy Keto Zone Cookbook: Th... Quick and Healthy Keto Zone Cookbook: The Holistic Life Style for Losing Weight, Increasing Energy, and Feeling Great - Don Colbert
Ever After High: Ashlynn Ella's Story - Shannon Hale
Ever After High: Hunter Huntsman's Story - Shannon Hale

Books I Read:


So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know - 4 Stars - Retta is my cousin, she doesn’t know it but I’ve adopted her.


The Second Story: The Magic Misfits - 3.5 Stars - I like the way this series is going.


Ashlynn Ella’s Story - 3 Stars - Ugh what a sad story she is signing up for.


The Cad and the Co-ed - 4.5 Stars - I loved these characters.  


Slothilda: Living the Sloth Life - 5 Stars - Super cute.


Hunter Huntsman’s Story - 3 Stars - A little ridiculous and a lot cute.


How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People - 3.75 Stars - Gave me a ton of emotions and supported a conversation that needs to happen across the country no matter how unwanted.  


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - 5 Stars - ReRead:  I had so much fun rediscovering this fabulous book.  It still stands as my favorite of the series


Whiskey Dick - 4.5 Stars - I really enjoyed getting to know this couple. Their story was funny and sexy.


Quick and Healthy Keto Zone Cookbook: The Holistic Lifestyle for Losing Weight, Increasing Energy, and Feeling Great - 4 Stars - Full of yummy easy recipies



The Emerald Sea  - Richelle Mead - Put on hold until I can get the audio version.

Currently Reading:

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer - Re-reading...slowly…. still.


Shadow and Ice - Gena Showalter - listening to the audiobook


Whiskey Chick - Ryan Ringbloom - Thanks to my sister’s KU


Snowbound with the Single Dad  - Cara Colter - Thank you Netgalley

Year to Date Totals:

January: 9 books

February: 10 books

March: 9 books

April: 6 books

May: 10 books

June: 6 books

July: 7 books

August: 12 books

September: 7 books

October: 10 books


2018: 86 books

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text 2018-10-31 15:01
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Random Update

First of all, a big, big Thank You to Moonlight and Obsidian for hosting this very fine reading game!  Nothing like Halloween Bingo to bring one out of a chronic reading slump this year!

I'm way too lazy right now--as well as pressing on time a little bit--to post a full official update (like my super organized ones from previous.  But it's Halloween, and I've been avoiding the blogosphere for as much as I could these past few days, if only to try to finish those last Halloween Bingo books I have lined up.

Unfortunately, times have been busy, and as much as I'd hoped and planned, I'm certain I won't be getting a black-out.


I DID recently finish Spinning Silver and Small Town Spin, which got me a couple more Bingos.  And knowing that that last square called would add a couple more Bingos, I wasn't too concerned about waiting for the last Bingo square call.  I've even stopped counting Bingos anyway, feeling much more impressed with how many books I've managed to read this month than anything else, really...  hehe


Meanwhile, I'm going to try to at least finish reading The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins tonight, in the spirit of Halloween, which leaves my final and last read, Midnight Blue-Light Special possibly hanging.  I certain I won't finish it before the end of the day, so either I'll stick to my guns and just finish it after the game is over without a Black-out, or I'll try to insert a short Edgar Allan Poe from the massive volume of short story collection I have sitting on my shelf and complete the game with a Blackout.

We'll see... especially since I'm not certain I'll finish The Haunted Hotel before the end of the night either.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/10/halloween-bingo-2018-random-update.html
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