Saturday, March 18, 2023

Stacking the Shelves #236

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by 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.

My Library Treasures

Happy Reading

Thursday, March 16, 2023

First Line Friday #157

First Line Friday is hosted once again by Carrie at Reading is My Superpower. You can visit HERE to go directly to the FLF page of her blog.

"It was finally time for the lake to give her up."

Have a line to share? Leave a link and let me know!

Happy Reading

BookSirens Arc | True Crime Stories You Won't Believe Volume 2

I received a free digital ARC from the author via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I previously read the author's first book in this series, the review of which you can find HERE. I like this author because he remains respectful of the victims, no many how many years, decades, even a century or two that they have been gone. Sometimes A lot of the time with true crime, the murderers are intentionally or unintentionally glorified, and the victim is lost in the chaos (Meredith Kercher, anyone?)

One thing I really appreciate about this author is that he strictly in the business of providing the facts. He does not use any filler or attempt to tell us what anyone involved "might" have been thinking. I think that is especially important when it comes to true crime because in many cases, we will simply never know - especially those cases that happened so long and all involved are long since gone from here.

As with the author's first volume, there was a good variety here of stories both new to me and ones I was familiar with. I appreciate his ability to convey the story efficiently by giving enough information for me to decide if it is something I want to find more information about. Some of the crimes relayed have full books dedicated solely to them, so it is nice to have a good jumping-off point if I do choose to seek out more information.

I appreciate that the author takes time to research his subjects, including seeking out primary sources from the time period. Even when those Victorians are ridiculously sensational (and they are ALWAYS sensational), there are still good bits of information to be gleaned from their reports.

I am looking forward to volume three!

Publicist Gift via NetGalley | The Ruins

I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating ⭐⭐

I was so excited to read this one because I absolutely LOVED Madam. You can check out my review HERE.

I thought I was getting a Gothic coming-of-age thriller type story. Instead, it was a book with absolutely terrible parents who did not at any point give a shit about their children - who were repeatedly sexually abused by the creepy-as-fuck dads.

Ruby and her family are spending August at their chateau in France, something they've done all of Ruby's life. They've come from England, as have some of her parents friends, who bring their daughters as well. To say they are wealthy is an understatement, and they all spend August being absolutely horrible to one another. The girls are abused, or all but abandoned as their parents do whatever they want without thinking of their children.

The story is told in two timelines, the main story taking place in 1985 and then the secondary one taking place in 2010. Honestly, 2010 was totally unnecessary, except to show how the trauma followed those girls throughout the rest of their lives. Otherwise, it added nothing to the book. The timeline felt very strange, as though the events in 1985 actually happened much earlier, and the events of 2010 could've happened in the 80s. It all just felt very weird and off.

There is a mystery, somewhat, but with all the secrets everyone had, it was still quite dull. The parents were always drunk and so many scenes took place during dinner, and everyone was just awful. All the time. It was never-ending.

I think of course this was not meant to be an enjoyable book, given the contents, but it was somehow disjointed and there was a disconnect I just can't put my finger on. I don't want to say it was the writing style, because I loved Madam so much and the style wasn't all that different.

Maybe part of it could be that I did not and could not connect to any of the characters. This is not a bad thing when considering how terrible all the adults are, some of whom seemed to actively hate their children, but the same is true for the girls. There was no connection and they were not always terribly nice either.

Obviously the story can not end well and comes to a rather violent conclusion. Many of the parents are old friends from college and over the course of the story it becomes very obvious that there are some simmering resentments and all sorts of terrible things just below the surface.

I will not spoil it, because I do think that others may like the book more than I do. And honestly, maybe I had this one built up so big in my head because I did love Madam so much.

Cautiously recommended, but if you really liked her previous book, temper your expectations.

NetGalley ARC | Tell Me What Really Happened


I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I received an email from NetGalley indicating that the first five hundred requests would be approved.

Rating ⭐

I don't even fucking know what I just read.

In theory, I would have loved this one. Unlikable teenagers being secretive? YES PLEASE!

Sasquatch lore, but could be interesting.

Spoiler alert: it was not.

Also, there will be spoilers so if you are thinking of reading this dumpster fire, stop here.

So there are stories about the woods and Salvation Creek and over the years many people have gone missing. When/if they've been found, the surrounding circumstances were very strange. Of course, this group of five teens are going into these woods for a random camping trip planned by their lead bully/BFF, Maylee. When only four of the group come home, each has a wildly different story explaining their trip and what they knew about Maylee's movements before she vanished.

The way the story is told is something I like, alternating points of view from the four, but the characters themselves just don't all work. Petra, Maylee's best friend, is the prime example. She was such a charicature, it was absurd. And no way, given her father's position on the police force, would she have offered up all the information that she did because some of it made her look insanely guilty - and for someone who repeatedly presents herself as such an expert on police procedures, surely she would have known talking like all of this would not look good for her, or any of them. She was completely obnoxious and ridiculous. Petra rambled more than anyone and it was just so unlikely.

The whole Sasquatch angle was so riduculous because of how much it seemed like it was going to be important to the story and it fell just as flat as everything else. Petra's half/step-brother (can't remember which) Nolan is obsessed with Sasquatch and guess what? He ends up being the one who kills Maylee, because he THOUGHT SHE WAS A FUCKING SASQUATCH THAT WAS EATING MAYLEE. I mean seriously, what in the actual fuck.

The story alternates among various points of view and we are to believe that the four surviving teens (Nolan, Petra, John {Maylee's boyfriend}, and Abigail [Maylee's former friend]) would just freely talk and ramble and go on and on, knowing they are suspects in Maylee's disappearance. Except John. He does the smart thing and does not answer many questions. Of course, this makes him look guilty. He's not.

So here's what really happened when Maylee disappeared - she invited her ex-friend Abigail to help her stage her disappearance because she wants to be an influencer and wouldn't it be such a huge draw to be the girl survived a few days alone in the woods and eventually returns to civilization? As stupid as that sounds to a normal functioning human being, we also have to accept that this is part of our culture today. No matter HOW absurd it seems.

In the course of the teens all being interogated, Maylee's body is found, the story all comes out, and I was left dumbfounded, asking myself why I wasted time and what the fuck just happened.

The concept was intriguing. I love unreliable narrators and multi-character viewpoints. Those are sure-fire ways to catch my attention.

But Petra and the Sasquatch nonsense ruined what could have been a really good book.

Highly NOT recommended.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Author Gift | The Soulful Home Design Guide

I received a free physical copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is not my normal genre, but I was interested when offered because I am so hopeless when it comes to stuff like this. Between my daughter and I, we are both really terrible with clutter. FYI: books do not count as clutter and they are EVERYWHERE in our home. I found that information especially helpful and will return to this book again, for sure.

The author, Natalia Kaylin, has ample experience in her field. With over twenty years of experience, she is able to help her clients achieve the goals they have set for themselves in regards to their home environments. Her background working with experts in a variety of relevant fields make her an expert in her work.

The book is divided in three sections: Getting Started, The Seven Building Blocks of Creating a Soulful Home, and Putting it all Together. All throughout, the book remains conversational while providing practical and executionable steps to create a living space that reflects who you are as a person.

In the first section the author directs us to examine the connection we have with our homes. Feng shui is introduces here and I found this especially helpful because I know pretty much nothing about this concept.

Section two was incredibly helpful to me because it discussed decluttering, which we both absolutely need to do. But it's haaaaaaaaard and we'd rather read. Also, we are lazy, I guess, since that's what it sounds like when I read those words back to myself. The author invites us here to really look at the belongings in our spaces and connect to them to see what kind of influence they have on us and how we reflect ourselves through the items we have/display.

In the final section the author brings everything together and moves through our homes room-by-room with us to enable us to create positive energy and feeling for ourselves.

Kaylin does a wonderful job in explaining the many concepts she introduces, and why each matters. She does this through a variety of ways - numerous diagrams, client anecdotes/case studies, and lists that help break everything down.

It is clear the author has a true passion for helping others. I am so glad I got the chance to read this one and I plan to start using this guide in the near-future to help make our home more our own.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Tackling the TBR Week 10 | Mar 8 - Mar 14, 2023

Here we go!

This is year FIVE of Tackling the TBR and I finally have things sort-of under control. My ultimate goal is to get under 500 books, but I also have to be realistic - just think of all the books not even written yet that I will want to read. When I started this mess  I was at well over 5,000 books on the TBR, so to be where I am now is pretty incredible.

I will post on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and last day of the month.

Prevous Week's TBR Total: 2,299

Currently Reading

Books Read

Books DNFed:

Books Added to TBR: 0

Books Removed from TBR: 0

Duplicates Removed: 0

New TBR Total: 2,299

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Stacking the Shelves #235

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by 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.

My Library Treasures

Happy Reading!