Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tackling the TBR | Week 40: Oct 22 - Oct 31, 2019



Basically, I have a huge TBR and often end up reading new books that are not even on my list, instead of trying to whittle down the list that continues to balloon on Goodreads. I am going to make a real effort to get those books read instead of always grabbing new ones and thus never making a dent in the physical and digital stacks I already have. It will also gives me a chance to take a good look at my list and see if there are ones I'm no longer interested in. I will be posting on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and the last day of the month.

Previous Week's TBR Total: 3,216

Currently Reading: 7

Books Added to TBR: 18

Books Removed from TBR: 0

Books Read: 7

Books DNF-ed: 0

Duplicates Removed: 1

New TBR Total: 3,229

I would have totally been fine had I not rediscovered the love for Mary Downing Hahn that I had as a child. As a result, I went on a mini-bender this week and added all of her books that were published from when I was in college and on to my TBR and am waiting for them to arrive at my library. Plus there are a few I missed out on as a kid, though I am not sure how.

First Line Friday #79


First Line Friday is brought to you by Hoarding Books. Playing along is easy: open the book nearest you and share the first line. Then check out the link to see the other first lines offered up this week.

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"Dear Girl,


Keep that arm raised!
You have smart things to say!"

Eleanor and I read this book a few months ago and absolutely loved it. In fact, we kept it from the library waaaaay longer than we were supposed to. Oops. The other night I saw a post from A Mighty Girl on Facebook about this very book and someone commented that they are having their daughter's teachers each year write a note to her in the book, and are going to give it to her as a gift.

I LOVE THIS IDEA.

So, even though it is not original, I am super excited to do the same thing for my mighty girl. I just have to somehow hide the book from her or the next few years 🤔🤔🤔

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Happy Reading,
Sarah

Books From The Backlog #18



Books from the Backlog, hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books, is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your shelf unread.

I am featuring books in the order that they were added to my Goodreads To-Read shelf, so sometimes there will be a couple weeks in a row of books on the same topic.

Neglected Book of the Week

Why did I add The Nile and Its People: 7000 years of Egyptian History to my TBR?

Because, Ancient Egypt. I also got this book back in December of 2012 when an Egyptian exhibit was featured at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I started reading it even, but got sidetracked with the whole 'morning sickness' part of being pregnant, and the print was small, and for some reason, that REALLY SMALL print really irritated me. Hormones, eh. What can you do? Anyway, I should get back to it, and get it finished. I will. At some point.

Have you read this book, or is it somewhere on your TBR? If you've read it, would you recommend it to others?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie



Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week is a Halloween freebie so I'm going to show off some of my most favorite spooky reads. Not anything fiction of course, because real life is always scarier. I am an avid reader of paranormal experiences, and have had several experiences myself at a few different locations - The Villisca Ax Murder House, The Stanley Hotel, The Palmer House Hotel, my former apartment in college...the list goes on. I really find it interesting how other teams or individuals investigate - especially when they are at locations I have been to, or locations I would love to explore for myself. These are in no particular order, but are simply titles that I found to be most spine-chilling. I rated all of them four stars or above.

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Do you like reading about the paranormal? Have you ever had any experiences yourself? Let me know!


Happy Reading!
Sarah

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Stacking the Shelves #66


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature co-hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It is a chance to showcase all the goodies you've collected throughout the week, whether they're bought on-line or in-store, an ARC or a final copy, borrowed from a friend or the library, physical or digital, etc.

Books Fair Treasures
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I am finding myself drawn to middle grade more and more. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that I am working exclusively with sixth grade this year...

What did you add to your stash this week?

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Friday, October 25, 2019

Book Review | Ten by Gretchen McNeil

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Rating: 1 Star

I first saw this book over on Greg's blog and immediately thought, "Interesting, a retelling of one of my fave books ever." That is where I should have stopped thinking about the book.

But I didn't.

I proceeded to go to my library's homepage and submit a hold request.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This is not a retelling, and barely even qualifies as a re-imagining. I would compare it much more heartily to Fear Street or Christopher Pike, where the plot does not actually have to make sense and the body count is what really matters. There was no subtly here, no mystery, just plain old teen-slasher hijinks that pretended to have anything in common with Christie's masterpiece. AND THEN HAS THE NERVE TO NEVER IN ANY WAY PAY HOMAGE TO THE ORIGINAL WORK. SERIOUSLY.

Now, if teen slasher hijinks is your thing, and honestly sometimes it is my thing too when I need a good palette-cleanser after a particularly heavy head, then have at it. But do not be fooled for one minute going in thinking it will in any way resemble the genius of And Then There Were None.

The premise involves a group of teenagers spending the weekend on Henry Island, away from anyone who could help them. They are cut off from the mainland when a raging storm rises up, and of course that is the time when one by one, each starts to meet a rather grisly end. Meg is the levelheaded and calm one. Minnie is the bi-polar drunk who Meg is constantly catering to and taking care of. She feels obligated to, they're best friends, but come on. No teenager is that selfless. Minnie is a hot fucking mess, ungrateful, and pathetic throughout the book, where she is drunk much of the time.

There are some twists and turns here, and major red herrings, which is the only commonality between it and the original. However, if you've read the original (and still insist on bothering with this one), you will know who the killer is rather quickly - even with having to suspend belief with literally everything else going on.

With the exception of TJ, none of the characters were particularly likable. And TJ is only likable because he is not annoying like every other teen stereotype portrayed. I get that it is difficult to write a character-driven story when there are ten characters to introduce and kill off, but maybe then that's a sign to NOT WRITE THE BOOK.

OR, take time to develop those characters. Make the book longer. It could have been so much better.

Either option would have been good. And then I would not have been angry about how tritely And Then There Were None was treated.

Let me be clear: I do not expect retellings to be carbon copies of the originals. That also defeats the purpose. But when the retelling completely destroys any semblance of the original, and all credibility along with it, that's a major problem. And again, I am really bothered by the fact that there was no connection within the book to Christie's work. There could easily have been little Easter Eggs hidden in plain sight throughout the novel to give credit where it was due. But there was nothing, and that is unfortunate.

Even if this book were to have had no original "source material", it still falls so easily into the 'leave-it' camp because it is predictable. It is as though every trope from every teen slasher book/movie ever needed to be included. We have the first murder, which presents as a suicide, we have a couple guys who are absolute douchebags so we know they will die from the get-go, then we have everyone turning on one another, characters go off by themselves when it is obvious a murderer is among them, and so on and so on and so on. And don't for one minute forget our 'heroine' with a massive martyr complex who also does no service to the portrayal of mental illness - did I mention Minnie was bi-polar? She is, and all throughout the book all Meg cares about it making sure Minnie has her meds so things don't get uncomfortable. Except everyone is being murdered, so that is a bit uncomfortable too.

Despite all the garbage, you might think something the book has going for it is the racial diversity of characters. At first I thought it was something that might redeem the book, because very early on I was already thinking what a shit-show this was. And yes, there is a lot of diversity, not just a bunch of rich white kids running around and dying. The problem though, as mentioned before, is that there is no character development. All the characters remain teen stereotypes and despite the outward diversity, it is impossible to tell any of them apart and I was constantly having to remind myself who the earliest characters to die were.

Agatha Christie must be rolling in her grave. There is no comparison. And Then There Were None is one of the greatest, if not THE. GREATEST. thriller/mystery of all time. The fact that this nonsense was allowed to see the light of day is beyond baffling. I found myself getting more and more angry as I read on, because it was all so pathetic and trite and predictable and typical, but still I kept going. If for nothing else, then to tell everyone I possibly can to not bother with this ever, at all. It took all I had to not fling it across the room when I was done. Instead, I calmly put it in my library bag, then made a beeline for Christie's masterpiece and stayed up the rest of the evening reading that to flush this drivel from my brain.

First Line Friday #78


First Line Friday is brought to you by Hoarding Books. Playing along is easy: open the book nearest you and share the first line. Then check out the link to see the other first lines offered up this week.

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"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."

This is my first foray into the works of Neil Gaiman. I picked this up at our school book fair this week with a slew of other treasures that I found of interest. I can pretend all I want that they will be used to entice even my most reluctant of sixth grade readers, but let's be realistic. OF COURSE I have to read them all first.

Happy Reading,
Sarah

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Books From The Backlog #17



Books from the Backlog, hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books, is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your shelf unread.

I am featuring books in the order that they were added to my Goodreads To-Read shelf, so sometimes there will be a couple weeks in a row of books on the same topic.

Neglected Book of the Week
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Why did I add Elizabeth Wydeville: The Slandered Queen to my TBR?

Because this tumultuous period is endlessly interesting. The final years of the 300-year Plantagenet reign are coming to a close, though they do not know it yet. Because even in those final years, there was never a shortage of intrigue. Because women from the period, and every period really, deserve so much better than the nonsense a bunch of men wrote about them in the various chronicles that survived.

Have you read this book, or is it somewhere on your TBR? If you've read it, would you recommend it to others?

Monday, October 21, 2019

Tackling the TBR | Week 39: Oct 15 - Oct 21, 2019



Basically, I have a huge TBR and often end up reading new books that are not even on my list, instead of trying to whittle down the list that continues to balloon on Goodreads. I am going to make a real effort to get those books read instead of always grabbing new ones and thus never making a dent in the physical and digital stacks I already have. It will also gives me a chance to take a good look at my list and see if there are ones I'm no longer interested in. I will be posting on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and the last day of the month.

Previous Week's TBR Total: 3,217

Currently Reading: 6

Books Added to TBR: 2

Books Removed from TBR: 1

Books Read: 3

Books DNF-ed: 2

Duplicates Removed: 0

New TBR Total: 3,216

There was a slight hiccup with last week's treasures due to a couple not being on Goodreads and me forgetting about that and not factoring them in last week. Oops.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Stacking the Shelves #65

My mom, Eleanor, and I returned this week from a wonderful trip Colorado celebrating the wedding of two people we love very much, along with their sweet baby girl who I got to cuddle all weekend. I will be getting around to everyone and posting some pictures from our adventures. I am not what one would consider an "outdoor girl", but I deeply and fiercely love the Rocky Mountains. I am so happy I got to share the experience with my mom of introducing Eleanor to such a majestic landscape for the first time.


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature co-hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It is a chance to showcase all the goodies you've collected throughout the week, whether they're bought on-line or in-store, an ARC or a final copy, borrowed from a friend or the library, physical or digital, etc.

Vacation Treasures
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What did you add to your stash this week?

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, October 17, 2019

First Line Friday #77


First Line Friday is brought to you by Hoarding Books. Playing along is easy: open the book nearest you and share the first line. Then check out the link to see the other first lines offered up this week.

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"My name is Carrie Goldberg and I'm a victims' rights lawyer. Some people all me a 'passionate advocate' or a 'social justice warrior.' I'd rather be called a ruthless motherfucker. I operate my firm, C.A. Goldberg, PLLC, with one fundamental rule: if one of my clients has been harmed, somebody must pay. It's as simple as that. "

Damn right.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Happy Reading,
Sarah

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Books From The Backlog #16



Books from the Backlog, hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books, is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your shelf unread.

I am featuring books in the order that they were added to my Goodreads To-Read shelf, so sometimes there will be a couple weeks in a row of books on the same topic.

Neglected Book of the Week
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Why did I add Catherine Howard to my TBR?

Because this was long before Gareth Russell wrote what I consider to be the Bible of Catherine Howard. I feel a deep sense of pity for this Catherine, just as I do the first one, despite their very different circumstances. I am cautious in my interest in this one, because most historians are not kind to this child who had no idea what she was getting herself into, and was used as a pawn by her power-hungry family.

Have you read this book, or is it somewhere on your TBR? If you've read it, would you recommend it to others?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Tackling the TBR | Week 38: Oct 8 - Oct 14, 2019



Basically, I have a huge TBR and often end up reading new books that are not even on my list, instead of trying to whittle down the list that continues to balloon on Goodreads. I am going to make a real effort to get those books read instead of always grabbing new ones and thus never making a dent in the physical and digital stacks I already have. It will also gives me a chance to take a good look at my list and see if there are ones I'm no longer interested in. I will be posting on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and the last day of the month.

Previous Week's TBR Total: 3,213

Currently Reading: 6

Books Added to TBR: 10

Books Removed from TBR: 11

Books Read: 3

Books DNF-ed: 0

Duplicates Removed: 0

New TBR Total: 3,217

Friday, October 11, 2019

Stacking the Shelves #64

*Posting early, as we are on our way to a wedding and I won't be able to do so tomorrow!


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature co-hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It is a chance to showcase all the goodies you've collected throughout the week, whether they're bought on-line or in-store, an ARC or a final copy, borrowed from a friend or the library, physical or digital, etc.

Library Treasures
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What did you add to your stash this week?

Happy Reading!
Sarah