The Library of the Unwritten

The Library of the UnwrittenThe Library of the Unwritten
By A.J. Hackwith
Source Purchased
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on October 1, 2019

four-half-stars

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.

This was such a fun, immersive, imaginative read! I was so excited to get my hands on a copy, and I started reading as soon as my pre-order arrived.

I loved the premise and the world-building, the way the library worked and its history. There was action, intrigue, and the story and its characters tugged at my heartstrings. And Claire and Hero are two of my new beloved book characters!

One section of the book dragged for me, but overall, this was just a fantastic read and I can’t wait for book two and to be back in this world!

four-half-stars

The Tenth Girl

The Tenth GirlThe Tenth Girl
By Sara Faring
Source Received from the publisher
Published by Imprint on September 24, 2019

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

three-stars

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Describing a book as a ‘gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist’ pretty much guarantees that I will read it, so I was very excited when Raincoast Books sent me an ARC of this one!

I really wanted to love this! I enjoyed the writing and initially really liked the setting, but there was just something about this that I couldn’t quite get into. And then the ending…knowing that there was a twist coming (it says so right in the synopsis), I was trying to anticipate it and thought I had it figured out. I was so wrong. This book definitely gets points for surprising me! I do love being truly surprised by a twist. But the twist was so jarring to me and I really struggled to integrate it with the story that I’d read to that point.

I think I wanted this to be more of a gothic thriller than it felt like it ended up being. But there were elements I liked. I was drawn to Mavi and her story, and the writing. It was atmospheric and did leave me a little unsettled, trying to figure out what was happening.

But I definitely struggled with the ending, and I just didn’t enjoy this one as much as I’d wanted to.

three-stars

Week In Review

October 7 – 20

It’s spooky season! I love this time of year. The weather has finally cooled down, and I’ve been watching a bunch of creepy movies and TV shows (I’ve watched Marianne, The Haunting of Hill House, the new Ghostbusters, Cabin in the Woods, and rewatched Train to Busan this month already).

I’ve also been reading a bunch these last few weeks and will definitely hit 100 books this year (and will possibly exceed 100). I feel like I’m back in my reading groove finally!

New books:

I’ve got a bunch of new books these last couple of weeks. I pre-ordered and purchased four that I was very excited about:

Ninth House (Alex Stern #1), Leigh Bardugo;

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1), Tamsyn Muir;

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) collector’s edition, Victoria Schwab; and

The Walking Dead Compendium Four, Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, and Cliff Rathburn.

I also purchased Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us, for my Kobo.

I picked up a bunch from the library too:

Betrayal in Time (Kendra Donovan #4), Julie McElwain;

This House Is Haunted, John Boyne;

The Windfall, Diksha Basu; and

The Devils You Know, M.C. Atwood.

Books read:

Since my last Week in Review check in, I’ve read eight books:

Imaginary Friend, Stephen Chbosky;

Missing Person, Sarah Lotz;

Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo;

The Grownup, Gillian Flynn;

Reputation (e-ARC), Sara Shepard;

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson;

Betrayal in Time, Julie McElwain; and

Save Me From Dangerous Men, S.A. Lelchuk.

Current reads:

I’ve just started reading This House Is Haunted, and I look forward to really getting into it today.

Reviews:

I posted a few reviews these last couple of weeks:

Wanderers, Chuck Wendig;

Sherwood, Meagan Spooner;

The Need, Helen Phillips; and

The Babysitters Coven, Kate Williams.

Time to read some more and decide which scary movie to watch next! Happy spooky season!

The Babysitters Coven

The Babysitters CovenThe Babysitters Coven
By Kate Williams
Series: The Babysitters Coven #1
Source Library
Published by Delacorte Press on September 17, 2019

three-stars

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

I was so excited to read this book because it seemed to combine two of my favourite things: The Baby-sitters Club and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as I’d hoped I would. There was some potential for a really interesting, exciting story, but it felt like it took way too long to get there. I kept waiting for something to happen, and when it finally did, the book was pretty much over.

I think there’s enough that grabbed my attention to keep me sort of interested in checking out the sequel when it comes out, but I do wish I’d enjoyed this book more.

three-stars

The Need

The NeedThe Need
By Helen Phillips
Source Purchased
Published by Simon & Schuster on July 9, 2019

three-stars

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

I didn’t have this book on my radar initially, but suddenly it seemed like it was everywhere. The synopsis intrigued me and I wound up buying it for my Kobo.

This book took a turn early on that was not necessarily surprising, but I’m glad I went in unspoiled and I really liked it.

I can’t say that I feel like I totally understood this book, but it was a fascinating, propulsive read. I got through this one quickly, unable to put it down.

three-stars

Sherwood

SherwoodSherwood
By Meagan Spooner
Source Received from the publisher
Published by HarperTeen on March 19, 2019

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

three-half-stars

Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiancé.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood.

I loved the premise of this book, and I don’t think I’ve read any Robin Hood re-imaginings or retellings. So this one was definitely an intriguing book.

I liked a lot of things about this book, including the setting, the writing, and Marian’s bravery and determination.

I really didn’t care for the romance though, and as the story went on I really disliked that aspect and had a hard time enjoying the rest of the book taking place around that element.

I think this is a book that, overall, I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It’s sort of grown on me more since I finished it, because I keep thinking about it after I’ve read it and didn’t really expect to. This one crept up on me and other than my dislike for the romance, I did enjoy this one.

three-half-stars

Wanderers

WanderersWanderers
By Chuck Wendig
Source Purchased
on July 2, 2019

three-stars

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

I had such high hopes and expectations for this book! I’d heard fantastic things about it, and I was excited to read it.

It was a huge book (my hardcover was around 800 pages), but I read through the first couple of pages fairly quickly. I was so intrigued and wanted to know what was going on.

Unfortunately I didn’t love this one. After the first two or three hundred pages, my interest waned. I think that was partly due to the slow pace of the book, and partly due to the number of characters the narrative follows. There was just a lot going on and yet somehow it didn’t all coalesce into a reading experience that I fully enjoyed, which I found extra disappointing given the size of the book and the amount of time I put into reading it.

I’ve seen some very glowing reviews of this one though, so even though it didn’t wow me, lots of people really enjoyed it – so check it out if you’re intrigued by this synopsis, as I was.

three-stars

Week In Review

September 30 – October 6

It’s spooky season! I love this time of year. I’ve been looking forward to reading scary books and watching scary movies! I’ve already watched Cabin in the Woods and Ghostbusters this weekend, and am trying to decide what to watch next.

I decided to bump up my Goodreads goal. I initially set it at 85 books for the year but I’ve really been in the reading zone lately and when it became clear to me that I would reach that goal with a few months to go in the year, I decided to set my goal at 100 books, as I’ve done in the past few years. I’m confident I’ll hit that goal again this year.

New books:

I received an eARC of Sara Shepard’s upcoming book Reputation. I love her Pretty Little Liars series, so I was really excited for this.

I also received an eARC of The Deep by Alma Katsu, which sounds good and creepy. Thank you Penguin for both of these!

My pre-order of Stephen Chbosky’s Imaginary Friend arrived, and I picked up a copy of A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai from the library.

I got a few new books for Kobo again (there have been some great deals lately!):

Cross Her Heart, Sarah Pinborough;

Murder By the Book, Lauren Elliott;

Dear Martin, Nic Stone;

Taken, Erin Bowman;

The Mere Wife, Maria Dahvana Headley; and

The Uninvited, Cat Winters.

Books read:

After a great reading week last week, I only managed to finish two books this week:

All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban (eARC); and

The Library of the Unwritten, A.J. Hackwith (loved this!).

Current reads:

I’m currently reading Imaginary Friend and Reputation.

Reviews:

I posted three reviews this past week:

The Lost Man, Jane Harper;

Dim Sum of All Fears, Vivien Chien; and

Heaven, My Home, Attica Locke.

Time for some more scary movies and spooky books. Happy Sunday!

Heaven, My Home

Heaven, My HomeHeaven, My Home
By Attica Locke
Series: Highway 59 #2
Source Received from the publisher
Published by Mulholland Books on September 17, 2019

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

four-half-stars

9-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; now he’s alone in the darkness of vast Caddo Lake, in a boat whose motor just died. A sudden noise distracts him – and all goes dark.

Darren Mathews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; after the events of his previous investigation, his marriage is in a precarious state of re-building, and his career and reputation lie in the hands of his mother, who’s never exactly had his best interests at heart. Now she holds the key to his freedom, and she’s not above a little maternal blackmail to press her advantage.

An unlikely possibility of rescue arrives in the form of a case down Highway 59, in a small lakeside town where the local economy thrives on nostalgia for ante-bellum Texas – and some of the era’s racial attitudes still thrive as well. Levi’s disappearance has links to Darren’s last case, and to a wealthy businesswoman, the boy’s grandmother, who seems more concerned about the fate of her business than that of her grandson.

Darren has to battle centuries-old suspicions and prejudices, as well as threats that have been reignited in the current political climate, as he races to find the boy, and to save himself.

Attica Locke proves that the acclaim and awards for Bluebird, Bluebird were justly deserved, in this thrilling new novel about crimes old and new.

I loved Bluebird, Bluebird when I read it last year, and since then, I’d been looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I was so excited when I received this via Netgalley!

This book was so great. I loved the complexity of the characters, and the way history, family, and location combined into a tangled knot that I watched Darren Mathews unravel. I’ve read a bunch of mysteries this year, and this is definitely one of the best.

I’m eagerly waiting for the next book in the series, and if you haven’t read these yet, you should. Highly recommended!

four-half-stars

Dim Sum Of All Fears

Dim Sum Of All FearsDim Sum Of All Fears
By Vivien Chien
Series: A Noodle Shop Mystery #2
Source Purchased
Published by St. Martin’s Press on August 28, 2018

three-stars

Welcome back to Ho-Lee Noodle House, where you can get fantastic take-out. . .unless you get taken out first.

Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.

Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder. . .

I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Death By Dumpling, earlier this year, and I picked this up when I was in the mood for something a little lighter than my recent reads.

This was a quick, entertaining read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book. I was less intrigued by the mystery and Lana’s love life than I had been in Death By Dumpling.

But the restaurant side of things, and Lana’s relationship with her sister, were really interesting to me, and I am planning on continuing with this series because there’s just something about Lana and her life that I want to keep up with and see what happens.

three-stars

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