October 2017 Wrap Up

October was a good reading month for me, I read 9 books and I now have two new favourites! I also participated in the spookathon readathon, read my wrap up for the Spookathon here.

Favourite book: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
Least Favourite: Depression and Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim
Favourite review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

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Instagram // @readwithkatie

 

Select by Marit Weisenberg

★★★  My review

Coming from a race of highly-evolved humans, Julia Jaynes has the perfect life. The perfect family. The perfect destiny. But there’s something rotten beneath the surface—dangerous secrets her father is keeping; abilities she was never meant to have; and an elite society of people determined to keep their talents hidden and who care nothing for the rest of humanity. So when Julia accidentally disrupts the Jaynes’ delicate anonymity, she’s banished to the one place meant to make her feel inferior: public high school.

Julia’s goal is to lay low and blend in. Then she meets him—John Ford, tennis prodigy, all-around good guy. When Julia discovers a knack for reading his mind, and also manipulating his life, school suddenly becomes a temporary escape from the cold grip of her manipulative father. But as Julia’s powers over John grow, so do her feelings. For the first time in her life, Julia begins to develop a sense of self, to question her restrictive upbringing and her family prejudices. She must decide: can a perfect love be worth more than a perfect life?

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

★★★★★  My review

When a blizzard strands them in Salt Lake City, two strangers agree to charter a plane together, hoping to return home; Ben Payne is a gifted surgeon returning from a conference, and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, is en route to her wedding. But when unthinkable tragedy strikes, the pair find themselves stranded in Utah’s most remote wilderness in the dead of winter, badly injured and miles from civilization. Without food or shelter, and only Ben’s mountain climbing gear to protect themselves, Ashley and Ben’s chances for survival look bleak, but their reliance on each other sparks an immediate connection, which soon evolves into something more.

Days in the mountains become weeks, as their hope for rescue dwindles. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever? Heart-wrenching and unputdownable, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.

Depression and Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

★★

Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

★★★  my review

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

★★★★★  my review

When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.

Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back.

There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

★★★★  my review

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Smoke & Mirrors by Michael Faudet

★★★   my review

Smoke & Mirrors is the third book from internationally bestselling poet Michael Faudet, author of Bitter Sweet Love and Dirty Pretty Things—both finalists in the 2016 and 2015 Goodreads Readers Choice Awards.

Michael Faudet’s latest book takes the reader on an emotionally charged journey, exploring the joys of falling madly in love and the melancholy world of the brokenhearted. Beautifully captured in poetry, prose, and short stories, Faudet’s whimsical and sometimes erotic writing has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of readers from around the world.

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

★★★★  my review

When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

Red Hill grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

★★★★  my review

Who are you?
What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

 

The Friday 56 (3)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Review

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published by Pheonix on January 3rd, 2013
Genres: mystery, contemporary, thriller, adult
Pages: 475
Goodreads

Who are you?
What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

So what did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

TW: blood, marriage affair, murder, rape, domestic abuse, violence, cancer, self-harm, profanity

REVIEW

Despite having watched the movie, Gone Girl still managed to mess with me in ways I am still yet to explain. It is one of those books that is simultaneously repulsive yet addictingly good, and it marvels me how someone could come up with such a disturbing and provocative premise. A novel that will toy with you, straight-up lie to you and spin you in circles until you’re completely ensnared in its treacherous schemes.

This is my first Gillian Flynn novel, and I quite appreciated her writing style. It was fairly descriptive, and at some points I found it to be lengthy, however, I felt like it lent to the story and worked well with the narrative.

Gone Girl isn’t one of those books where you fall in love with the characters, it’s quite the opposite actually, well at least for me. We are introduced to the characters gradually, at first they are perceived to be normalised people in a fairly conventional but loosening marriage. However, as we proceed further within the novel we get a much better insight into the truth of Nick and Amy, and how they may not be who they truly seem. This novel focused widely on the characters, each chapter we were gaining further insight into the characters as separate entities, but also how they viewed each other and how they coordinated collectively as a unit. Flynn provided explanations and diary entries fully orientated toward Nick and Amy’s relationship, we saw their beginnings their ending, and how they worked up until Amy’s disappearance. She touched upon the small idiosyncrasies of the individuals and how small actions can slowly build up until they contribute to a larger whole. Gone Girl is told in dual perspectives, we read from Nick’s point of view from the day Amy disappears and onwards, alongside Amy’s diary entries from the previous years. I found Nick’s chapters slightly bland and repetitive, there wasn’t significant action or compelling events that occurred, so I got somewhat bored at times. Amy’s, on the other hand, were considerably exciting, if not short, she would recount interesting memories she had with Nick and the progression of their relationship, I could sense her bubbly exuberant energy emanating off the pages. But that’s not to say I admired Amy, oh no. Amy sure was a complex and disturbing character, to say the least. You could never begin to guess what was going on in her head, and I don’t think I’d ever want to. She was extremely perceptive and meticulous about everything she said and chose to do. After reading the entire novel I still feel like I only understand a sliver of her entirety.

The plot is where Gone Girl gets really fascinating, I’m certain that no one would be able to guess the plot of this twisted story. It starts off with plodding conventionality and all of a sudden it rams you in the face, full 180 in the span of two sentences, and to think watching the movie meant I wouldn’t be caught off guard. The entire first half of the novel is slow and tedious preparation for a purpose, you might find it monotonous and repetitive but push through that first 50% and it all begins to make sense while simultaneously creating a void of unanswered questions. This story is a whirlwind of insanity, what you thought was messed up won’t even come close this bizarre book. By the end of it, my mind was reeling, I was slightly dissatisfied but I feel like that was the whole point. You’re rooting for a certain situation and you’re left with it ending incompletely. There are no happy endings in this book, if anything it ends far worse than the position it left off at.

Ultimately, Gone Girl is a seriously disturbing masterpiece. If I had not watched the movie prior to reading the book, I’m certain I would’ve given this one a 5/5 stars. If you haven’t already, go read this book. And if you have watched the movie, still read this book. There are so many tidbits that the movie missed out on, the story is so much larger and complex than what you saw on the big screen. I was definitely be picking up more of Gillian Flynn in the future.

The Friday 56 (3)

 

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, you can find the dedicated blog here.

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Instagram // @readwithkatie

Received from publishers

Thank you so much to Thought Catalog who sent me these wonderful books!

Luminescence by Brandon Woelfel

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Luminescence contains 218 photographs printed in full-colour from Brandon Woelfel. Photographs have been artfully curated by Brandon and consist of his best-of published work and numerous unpublished photographs.

 

 

101 Essays That Will change the way you think by brianna wiest

Over the past few years, Brianna Wiest has gained renown for her deeply moving, philosophical writing. This new compilation of her published work features pieces on why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Some of these pieces have never been seen; others have been read by millions of people around the world. Regardless, each will leave you thinking: this idea changed my life.

 

Your Soul is a River by Nikita Gill

This is a book about the journey of healing from trauma and becoming whole again.

Directions: apply to your soul gently, whilst sitting under the stars.

 

 

 

 

Physical Books

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

‘Hello there.’
I looked at the pale, freckled hand on the back of the empty bar seat next to me in the business class lounge of Heathrow airport, then up into the stranger’s face.
‘Do I know you?’

Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched – but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?

Back in Boston, Ted’s wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?

A sublimely plotted novel of trust and betrayal, The Kind Worth Killing will keep you gripped and guessing late into the night.

One Day by David Nicholls

It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

Twenty years, two people, one day.

 

Torn by Amanda Hocking

The second book in this page-turning trilogy from the phenomenal Amanda Hocking

Acknowledging that she was different from everyone else wasn’t difficult for Wendy Everly – she’d always felt like an outsider. But a new world and new family is a hard for any girl to accept easily.

Leaving behind the mysterious country of her birth, she is determined to fit back into normal life. But the world she’s left behind won’t let her go that easily. Kidnapped and imprisoned by her true family’s enemies, Wendy soon learns that the lines between good and evil aren’t as defined as she thought. And those things she’d taken for granted may have been lies all along. With the help of the dangerously attractive Loki, she escapes back to the safety of Förening – only to be confronted by a new threat.

It’s time to make a choice – can she put aside her personal feelings for the sake of her country? Torn between duty and love she must make a choice that could destroy her one chance at true happiness.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down’s Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century – in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told,” writes Lena Dunham, and it certainly takes guts to share the stories that make up her first book, Not That Kind of Girl. These are stories about getting your butt touched by your boss, about friendship and dieting (kind of) and having two existential crises before the age of 20. Stories about travel, both successful and less so, and about having the kind of sex where you feel like keeping your sneakers on in case you have to run away during the act. Stories about proving yourself to a room of 50-year-old men in Hollywood and showing up to “an outlandishly high-fashion event with the crustiest red nose you ever saw.” Fearless, smart, and as heartbreakingly honest as ever, Not That Kind of Girl establishes Lena Dunham as more than a hugely talented director, actress and producer-it announces her as a fresh and vibrant new literary voice.

An Echo in the Bone by Dianna Gabaldon

The Seventh Outlander novel from #1 National Bestselling author Diana Gabaldon.

Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he’d rather die than face his illegitimate son — a young lieutenant in the British Army — across the barrel of a gun. Fraser’s time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won’t include Jamie’s life or happiness — not if she has anything to say.

Claire’s grown daughter Brianna, and her husband, Roger, watch the unfolding of Brianna’s parents’ history — a past that may be sneaking up behind their own family.

Shift by Hugh Howey

In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platforms that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, the CBS network re-aired a program about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity’s broad history, mankind discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall. And the ability to forget it ever happened. This is the second volume in the New York Times best-selling Wool series.

Puffins Classic Box Set

e3922392e3f7d39aab05ccdf8a10fbc5.jpgConsists of Black Beauty, Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Secret Garden, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Anne of Green Gables.

 

 

 

 

The Friday 56 (3)

The Sunshine Blogger Award 2

 

Thank you so much to Chelsea @ Spotlight On Stories for nominating me for this award! Be sure to check out her brilliant blog 🙂

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  3. Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  4. List the rules and display the award.

Questions:
1. Which movie would you love to see on the big screen (something that you’d either love to see in the movie theatre again, or an older movie before your time that you never had the chance to see in the theatre and would love to)?
Probably The Fault in Our Stars, it was my favourite book at the time and watching the movie on the big screen was one of the best experiences ever! There were lots of tears involved ;(

2. Which book would you love to read for the first time again?
Definitely A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas! I ALWAYS think to myself that I wish I could read it again for the first time, it was such a wild, angsty ride and THAT ENDING KILLED ME!

3. Do you have a favourite publisher or publisher imprint?
Not really! I don’t pay much attention to which publisher publishes which book(s), but I definitely should pay more attention!

4. If you worked in a bookstore, what would your one staff pick recommendation be, and why?
The Infernal Devices for the younger ones and The Court of Thorns and Roses for the appropriate age groups 😉 Once I was in a bookstore and this lady was asking the staff what book was good for her teenage daughter, the staff recommended TID and I was like “Yes, I approve, it’s an amazing trilogy!” So she ended up getting it! Best day ever ❤

5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?
Probably just a piece of paper, tissue (clean obviously), or something like that But I almost always have a bookmark handy.

6. Is there a classic that has been on your TBR for ages?
Yes! I want to read ALL THE CLASSICS, I’m disheartened that I haven’t gotten into classics. So I’ve made it a mission to slowly get into them, that’s why I recently bought A Tale of Two Cities and Jane Eyre. The ones I really want to get to are Pride and Prejudice, 1984 and Animal Farm!

7. What’s your favourite bird?
I don’t actually have one eeek! But we have stunning rainbow lorikeet’s here in Australia!


8. What colour do you wear the most?
Definitely black and grey! I honestly want my wardrobe to consist predominately of black, grey white 😂

9. What are your thoughts on binge-watching? Is it something you do, and if so, which show did you last binge-watch?
I don’t actually like TV… I find it gets on my nerves, and I dunno I kinda feel like I’m being brainwashed?? So I never watch TV, Netflix or any movie on a computer screen for that matter. My family even disconnected our TV services so yeah.

10. What’s your favourite episode of your favourite TV show and why?
So yep, you all know the answer to that one…

11. Do you have a favourite bookstore/used bookstore?
The bookstore that I find the most aesthetically pleasing is Robinson’s Bookshop, I can’t  seem to find a good photo but it’s all dark wood with moody lighting and the best thing is that they have ladders on the shelves!! You’re not allowed to use them but my gosh it makes the bookstore look beautiful! But if I’m talking about buying books, I actually don’t have a favourite, I believe in purchasing second hand, it’s so much better for the environment and it’s 10x cheaper! So I purchase all my books off buy-and-sell websites or at markets, wherever I can find them really! probably 95% of my books are actually second hand (and I own over 300 books… so there’s definitely no issue finding them!)

I nominate:

Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense / Annike and Zoë @ Twin Tales / Jackie @ Too Much of a Booknerd / Naty @ Naty’s Bookshelf

My Questions:

1. Do you ever buy books solely because you love the cover?
2. Do you own/collect multiple editions of the same book?
3. Do you play an instrument?
4. What is one genre you want to read more from?
5. Does anyone else in your family love reading?
6. What is a book you haven’t read but you think will be a 5 star read?
7. Do you take notes while reading?
8. Do you have any other hobbies apart from reading?
9. A book you want to read by the end of the year?
10. Do you keep a book even if you hated the story?
11. What is your favourite time of day to read?

The Friday 56 (3)

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire review

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire
Published by Simon & Schuster
Genres: horror, zombies, romance, adult
Pages: 368
Goodreads

When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

Red Hill grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.

TW: zombies, blood, guns, murder, rape, death and profanity

REVIEW

Red Hill is a fantastic zombie apocalyptic novel, following three protagonists and their survival stories as their lives slowly begin to entwine with one another. It’s not only a story about survival, but a story of family, love, hope and unity.

Jamie McGuire’s writing in Red Hill is very accessible and smooth to read, it has a flowing quality to it that pulls you in and doesn’t let go. I enjoyed the three alternate perspectives of the novel and how they would leave on mini-cliffhangers, making Red Hill a very fast-paced read indeed!

The three protagonists include Scarlet who is a single mother of two daughters and works as a nurse in a hospital, Nathan who has a young daughter and whose wife suddenly leaves and Miranda who is a college student and has a sister as well as a long-time boyfriend. Nathan was by far my favourite character in Red Hill, I loved how much he cared for his daughter Zoe, everything he did was to keep her alive and safe. I appreciated his tone and the context of this passages more so than Scarlet and Miranda’s. I found Scarlet’s obsession with finding her two daughters quite excessive, and of course, I’m not a mother but it was all she ever thought and talked about, so I’d had quite enough at times. Miranda was fairly immature and felt superficial at times, but I enjoyed seeing her toughen up. Despite this, however, I still appreciated Scalet and Miranda and characters, they just weren’t my favourite.

Romance played an integral part in Red Hill and there are several relationships within the novel. First off we have Nathan’s brother and sister in law Skeeter and Jill who are married and love each other dearly, however, something goes terribly wrong… There is Miranda and Bryce who have been together for a considerable amount of time but then Joey, who loses her girlfriend to the plague enters the picture… Scarlet and Nathan who discover their feeling for each other and Ashley and her boyfriend Cooper. So there is quite an abundance of relationships, and romance is prevalent in this book. However, I wasn’t fully a fan of all the couples, my favourite is probably Joey and his girlfriend, but we only see a glimpse of their relationship. Scarlet and Nathan’s relationship felt too much like instalove, but at the same time, sometimes in difficult situations, you really need that type of emotional support. I didn’t hate any of the romance but I didn’t love any of it them either.

The plot in Red Hill started off amazingly, all of a sudden this “plague” outbreaks and everyone is screaming and running for their lives. The three groups of people we’re following desperately try to make their way to Red Hill, where they all eventually end up. However, at Red Hill, things calmed down a bit, and I admit it didn’t get as exciting, but there were other issues that needed to be dealt with. At the ranch, I felt the novel take a bit of a different turn and I wasn’t really expecting it, it definitely wasn’t horrible it was just different. The ending was a bit too convenient in some ways and a bit too absurd others, I’m still not 100% sure about it. But all I can say that I did find it entertaining to read.

Red Hill is a solid zombie novel, but it also interweaves aspects of love, relationships and loss into the story. If I were to nit-pick and examine every single detail of the novel, I would say that there are quite a few things that could’ve been done differently. But talking about its sole entertainment value, Red Hill definitely delivered! I finished this book in two days, it was so fast-paced and enjoyable!

QUOTES:

“The unspoken truth is always louder than the stories we tell.”

3.5/5

The Friday 56 (3)

 

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, you can find the dedicated blog here.

Physical Books

Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty

The internationally bestselling author turns her unique gaze on the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves every day and what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

‘I guess it started with the mothers.’
‘It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.’
‘I’ll tell you exactly why it happened.’

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead. Was it murder, a tragic accident… or something else entirely?

Big Little Lies is a funny, heartbreaking, challenging story of ex-husbands and second wives, new friendships, old betrayals and and schoolyard politics.

‘Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.’

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K Rowling

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

 

 

eBooks

You Bring the Distat Near by Mitali Perkins

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve Bengal tigers and her Bengali identity–award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

 

 

Feral Youth by Shuan David Hutchinson

At Zeppelin Bend, an outdoor education program designed to teach troubled youth the value of hard work, cooperation, and compassion, ten teens are left alone in the wild. The teens are a diverse group who come from all walks of life, and they were all sent to Zeppelin Bend as a last chance to get them to turn their lives around. They’ve just spent nearly two weeks learning to survive in the wilderness, and now their instructors have dropped them off eighteen miles from camp with no food, no water, and only their packs, and they’ll have to struggle to overcome their vast differences if they hope to survive.

Inspired by The Canterbury Tales, Feral Youth features characters, each complex and damaged in their own ways, who are enticed to tell a story (or two) with the promise of a cash prize. The stories range from noir-inspired revenge tales to mythological stories of fierce heroines and angry gods. And while few of the stories are claimed to be based in truth, they ultimately reveal more about the teller than the truth ever could.

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.

When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.

Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before. The Bedlam Stacks is the story of a profound friendship that grows in a place that seems just this side of magical.

What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Two struggling teenagers find an unexpected connection just when they need it most.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

The Friday 56 (3)

 

 

Spookathon 2017 Wrap Up

Wow, so Spookathon is already over! It seems like it went by so quickly, but I also had quite a few bumps along the way…

Total books read: 2
Total pages read:
1,052
Number of challenges completed:
7

So I’m not sure if you’ve seen my TBR post for the Spookathon, but it consisted of three books: Feed by Mira Grant, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Snowman by Jo Nesbø. The first day of the Spookathon went well, I started reading Feed, but on the second day I had gotten up to page 209 when I decided to DNF it. I just really wasn’t feeling it, and I didn’t want to read another 400 pages, I was quite annoyed. So that same day I ended up picking up Gone Girl. But I was using Feed to complete the challenge: read a book with a spooky setting, so I had to choose another book in its place. I picked up Red Hill by Jamie McGuire and finished it in two days! I finished Gone Girl tonight on the last day of the Spookathon, and I ended up reading a total of 1,052 pages including what I read of Feed!

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

When the world ends, can love survive?

For Scarlet, raising her two daughters alone makes fighting for tomorrow an everyday battle. Nathan has a wife, but can’t remember what it’s like to be in love; only his young daughter Zoe makes coming home worthwhile. Miranda’s biggest concern is whether her new VW Bug is big enough to carry her sister and their boyfriends on a weekend escape from college finals.

When reports of a widespread, deadly “outbreak” begin to surface, these ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances and suddenly their fates are intertwined. Recognizing they can’t outrun the danger, Scarlet, Nathan, and Miranda desperately seek shelter at the same secluded ranch, Red Hill. Emotions run high while old and new relationships are tested in the face of a terrifying enemy—an enemy who no longer remembers what it’s like to be human.

Set against the backdrop of a brilliantly realized apocalyptic world, love somehow finds a way to survive. But what happens when the one you’d die for becomes the one who could destroy you?

Red Hill grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until its stunning conclusion. This is #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire at her unforgettable best.

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

CHALLENGES:

  1. Read a Thriller: Gone Girl
  2. Read a book with a spooky word in the title: Gone Girl (gone)
  3. read a book based on a childhood fear: Red Hill (zombies)
  4. Read a book with orange on the cover: Gone Girl
  5. Read a book that has a spooky setting: Red Hill

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Smoke & Mirrors by Michael Faudet review

Smoke & Mirrors by Michael Faudet
Published by Andrew McMeel Publishing on November 14, 2017
Genres: poetry
Pages: 240
Goodreads

Smoke & Mirrors is the third book from internationally bestselling poet Michael Faudet, author of Bitter Sweet Love and Dirty Pretty Things—both finalists in the 2016 and 2015 Goodreads Readers Choice Awards.

Michael Faudet’s latest book takes the reader on an emotionally charged journey, exploring the joys of falling madly in love and the melancholy world of the brokenhearted. Beautifully captured in poetry, prose, and short stories, Faudet’s whimsical and sometimes erotic writing has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of readers from around the world.

I was kindly provided with an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

REVIEW

Smoke & Mirrors was quite different to any other poetry collection that I’ve read. It’s a compilation of quotes, short stories and poems, and it definitely is one of the most erotic collections that I’ve read.

As with all poetry books, there were some poems that didn’t mean anything to me, and there were those that really touched me. Most of the writings in Smoke & Mirrors were about love and the adventures he had with women, and a couple others explored alternate topics. My favourites were Pathways, A Dangerous Sea, How Can I move On? Rena, Second Best and Clarity. I would’ve liked to enjoy more of the poems, but I’m glad there were a few that I found breathtaking.

This poetry collection is something that can be devoured in one sitting, or enjoyed leisurely over the span of a few days. A lovely compilation, that many will find appealing. I will definitely love to delve into Faudet’s other poetry collections one day.

★★★

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Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rosecityreader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, be sure to visit their blogs!

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire

Beginning:

The warning was short––said almost in passing. “The cadavers were herded and destroyed.” The radio hosts then made a few jokes, and that was the end of it.

Page 56:

“Hey!” he yelled to the corpses. “This way! Come over here!”
A few more turned in his direction, and then immediately stopped their plight to make a lumbering slow journey to the road. Their shuffling caught the attention of more, and then a whole section of them broke away from the church to trudge in our direction.
“Shit,” I said, my eyes darting between the corpses and the Toyota. I honked several times, too. “Get in the car!” I yelled

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The Listicle Tag: Top 5 Portrayals of Mental Illness in YA novels

I was tagged by Namitha over at Teen Memoir to do this tag, go check out her blog if you haven’t already! She’s the sweetest ❤

RULES:

  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that she can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.-
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

TOP 5 PORTRAYALS OF MENTAL ILLNESS IN YA BOOKS

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Although this isn’t my favourite book, I think it’s the best portrayal of mental illness I have ever read. This novel is very heavily character-based, so we spend the majority of the story inside Aza’s head, as we experience her obsessive spiralling thoughts about disease and bacteria. And to be honest it’s terrifying! Aza doesn’t “cure” her mental illness by getting a boyfriend, and I loved how it showed that it’s a journey and can remain a constant struggle for a lot of people’s lives.

Read my review

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

This book is a fantastic portrayal of two teenagers that struggle with depression and the relationship they form with each other. The characters were mean, snarky and pessimistic, and at first, I found it quite negative, but then I remembered that this is what it was like to have depression. Everything is shrouded in a grey blanket and you hate absolutely everything and everyone. This book is quite similar to a John Green novel as it has all the philosophical deep quotes, with witting and intelligent characters.

Read my review

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

This book deals with a character that has anxiety and depression, but this one is different to the other books as the main character Eliza doesn’t enjoy going to public places as she has social anxiety. So she finds solace in her webcomic and interacting with people online. Eliza has a forms a relationship with Wallace and she has to navigate the relationship alongside her mental illnesses. The relationship didn’t “cure” Eliza’s anxiety and depression which was great!

Read my review

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

This book might not be the obvious choice for many people, but I see mental illness as a huge part of ACOMAF. After Feyre’s traumatic experience in the previous novel, she is left with having PTSD. She has nightmares constantly that haunt her, she wakes up in the middle of the night and pukes her guts up every night. This novel illustrates how it’s imperative to have someone to understands and supports you, otherwise, it can be isolating. That’s why it was great that Rhys was also grappling with the same thing and stood by Feyre.

Read my review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This book follows Cath in her first-year-old college and how she deals with her anxiety, specifically social anxiety. Going to college was a big step for Cath and her anxiety really interferes with her life, she locks herself up in her dorm room eating protein bars because she’s too afraid to go to the cafeteria. But it also shows how she begins to face her fears with the help of her friends Reagan and Levi

 

 

The topic I choose is: Top 5 books that deal with grief

Tags:

Teacher of YA / Ally @ Ally Writes Things / Dani @ Perspective of a Writer / Em @ Run Away With Dream Thieves / Celeste @ Scent of Books

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