Wednesday, September 30, 2015

R.I.P. X Review: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

R.I.P. X is hosted this year by The Estella Society

In a dark, dark wood has been compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. It seems the trend now for Gone Girl to be the go-to comparison. I can't say that I see the similarities, other than it being a mystery with a female protagonist. However, like my feelings for The Girl on the Train I was not a huge fan of the main character. 

When Nora receives an invitation to her old school pal Clare's hen night, she is reluctant to go. She hasn't seen Clare in ten years, hasn't even talked to her in as long. She decides to go, after being told by Flo, the matron of honor, that Clare really wants Nora to be there. 

So she travels with  another friend to a remote wood in the middle of winter, to stay in the glass house that Flo has borrowed from her aunt for the small hen's weekend. Cell service is spotty, and there is no one else around for miles, just trees and snow and that winter silence. Can we say creepy? It doesn't exactly scream bachelorette party to me!

(Side note: I found this place online on a few years ago, and always thought it would be fun to stay there. Not so creepy here but rather peaceful)

The party commences, complete with cocaine, a trip to a shooting range, and the use of a spirit board. To me, this party would not be fun, and I found it all kind of odd. Like teenagers who had more money were throwing this shindig. But then something goes wrong, and it all goes to hell. 

The reader learns that at some point there was a falling out between Nora and Clare ~ they had been close friends for years, Clare was the more natural leader while Nora was the quiet one, more likely to follow Clare's lead. It adds to the suspense of the story, what happened, what happened, you want to know! 

When I was in high school, I used to read Christopher Pike all the time. That is what this book reminded me of. A grown up Christopher Pike book.

 I wasn't in love with this book, but I was definitely hooked enough by the mystery to want to just keep reading it until I found out all the answers. I disliked Nora thoroughly - I found her weak, and I have a hard time with weak main characters. Again, not sure why this was compared to Gone Girl as Amy was evil but brilliant and vibrant, not like this watered down milk toast of a character. (wow I guess I really disliked Nora!)

I give this book a creepy rating of 5/10 for setting and for mood.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Banned Book Week: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Banned Books Week is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey and I am excited to be participating again!

So I chose to read Fahrenheit 451. I read this many many years ago, and it was time to revisit this classic. What a perfect time to read a book not just about the banning of books, but the burning of them, and the banning of reading. It's ironic, but a sad irony, the kind you don't want to see. When life imitates art and not in a good way.

Fahrenheit 451 is about a fireman -  in this world, firemen set fire to books, their job it is to burn them, and the houses of any people who dare to have books in their homes. Guy Montag meets a young woman outside her home one night, and her kindness and curiosity awaken the curiosity of Guy. She makes him think, wonder. We later learn that Guy has another secret, a stash of books he has taken on the sly from homes he has burned. He ends up on the run from the government as he refuses to turn away from this new side of himself, and ultimately murders his boss. Guy makes it out of the city after a harrowing chase through the streets, pursued by the Electric Hound, and finds himself in a group of revolutionaries, self-exiled from the cities walking the rails, who read. 

It is a book about censorship, about whether the government should do the thinking for its people - for why should the people care or know anything about political candidates? - it's about people preserving knowledge for the future. I love the group that Montag is with in the very end, those fellow escapees committed to free thought and will, to the preservation of literature for future generations. Everyone has a book they are responsible for remembering, to hold onto until the time is right for the book to exist again. It always makes me wonder what book would I choose to be responsible for? What do I think is important enough, for whatever the reason, that I would try to keep it alive, waiting generations if necessary. I think that I may choose Watership Down, my favorite book.

Fahrenheit 451 has been challenged for reasons of language and for religious reasons. It blows my mind that someone could read this book and not understand that they were just doing exactly what the book was trying to show was so wrong! That you are censoring a book about censorship? Maybe that is what is so scary, and what they really are guarding against. Knowledge that you don't have to just accept what is told to you, that you can think about it, form your own opinions. 

If you haven't read this, or haven't read it in a long time like me, I urge you to pick it up. It is a quick but powerful read, and what better time to read it?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. 

Last week got away from me! Can anyone else believe that it is almost October? Where does the time go? This is my favorite time of the year so I am pretty darn excited. The nights are cooler, the air crisper, everything seems a bit nicer to me in the fall. Except those darn bees! They are so aggressive in the fall. 

I took photos of my little niece the other day - she is beautiful and I wanted to share a photo of her with all of you. She has so much hair! We are all enamored of her, including Wyatt who grabbed her hand. Then he tried to put it in his mouth, but he did hold her hand. Lol. 

Book Club is this week! I can't wait, it has been too long! So many of our members have had babies in the past two months though, including our book club host who gave birth to a little girl two weeks ago, that this month we are doing a book show and tell. We are each bringing books with us that we have enjoyed and sharing with the rest of the club. 

Read Last Week:


Mums Like Us by Laura Kemp: This was hilarious! I could relate to quite a bit of it. Lol. I have been reading it off and on for the past few weeks.

Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong: This series gets better and better!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Banned Book week! My post will be up Tuesday.

Reading This Week:


The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon: I am finally in the mood for spooky and scary!! 


We just finished up Season 1 and 2 of Penny Dreadful - omg it was amazing!! It was gruesome at times but we loved it. I can't wait for the next season. We are still watching Hell on Wheels and I am finishing up The 100. I think we might start Bates Motel soon while we wait for some of our old favorites to resume this fall. My husband started Blindspot, and enjoyed the first episode.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. 

We had quite a week last week. Wyatt had a few doctor's appointments that took up most of our time - being born prematurely and with his particular health issues at the time of birth, we have lots of follow up appointments and developmental meetings. But he is doing really well overall, which we are so thankful for. Everyday he does something new!

I also had technical difficulties last week with my e-reader! Both books I had planned on reading were e-books, so I didn't get to them. It was a weird week without reading - unless you count the children's picture books I read to Wyatt. :)

Reading This Week:

I am not sure! If I can figure out the problem with the e-reader or how to load the books from Netgalley onto my old Nook Color, I will read the ones I planned on reading last week. If not, I will start the book I am reading for Sheila's Banned Book Week - Fahrenheit 451. I have been wanting to reread it for a long time, and now is the perfect opportunity. 


I started The 100 and I love it! I saw that it is based on a book series, so I am sure I will be reading it very soon. We are also watching Penny Dreadful, which is amazing, and Hell on Wheels - I love the cinematography in that show. It is worth it for some of the shots. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey - while she is on break you can share your post by tweeting with the hashtag #IMWAYR

This week was so hot and humid, I barely stepped foot outside. It was just so swampy, and my asthma goes nutso with weather like that. Today is no better either - weather like this does make me long for fall. Last week, I wasn't sure I was ready - thank you humidity for reminding me of why I am such an autumn lover! 

In baby news my little guy turned 6 months old! I can hardly believe it! Time has really flown. He was 2 lbs 15 oz and 16 1/4 inches long at birth - now he is 13 lbs and 24 inches long! He is doing great. Also, my friend had her baby on the 2nd! She was the last of the baby brigade to be born - since October 2014, 7 babies have been born to friends and family. It is really an exciting time! I can't wait until they are all running around playing together. 

We took a family trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts this morning - they have a new Rembrandt we wanted to see. Wyatt attracted attention as one of the youngest people there. One woman even commented that he is the littlest art critic she has met! We also looked at ourselves in a mirror that was created in the early 1700s; we talked about how long that mirror has been around, and how many different reflections it has displayed through the centuries, including that of us and Wyatt now. 

Read Last Week:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: This was so good! I realy enjoyed it. It was compared to Gone Girl and to The Girl on the Train - I liked it better than Girl on the Train but less than Gone Girl. It was very riveting and I read it every spare second I got!

Reading This Week:


Sideswiped by Kim Harrison: I never got to this last week, but I hope to read it this week. 

The Hidden by Heather Graham: I guess I am on a bit of a Krewe of Hunters spree!


We are watching Penny Dreadful and 2 Broke Girls, two very different shows! I plan on starting The 100 this week as well. (Thanks Greg for the tip!)

Posted Last Week:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why I Won't Read Go Set a Watchman

There's an old adage "Never meet your heroes". It is one I agree with. People need their heroes, whoever they may be, whether others agree with them or not. Heroes need not be a real live person - look at Superman or Spiderman or any other superhero out there, that millions of children look up to everyday. How devastating would it be to learn that these paragons of justice and virtue really weren't such paragons? There is that one Superman panel out there.

That being said, I can't read Go Set a Watchman. Atticus Finch has long been a childhood hero of mine - loyal, strong, courageous, fair, yet exacting and pragmatic. Remember the rabid dog? That showed us right there his mettle. This is my Atticus Finch, the one whose name I gave to my child as a middle name. His name to grow on, we called it, as it is a second middle name, and my son was a tiny peanut at birth. 

I am also conflicted about the circumstances regarding the publishing of this novel.  I feel that Harper Lee's sister protected Lee in her golden years, and then when the sister died, that possibly opened the door for Lee's new protector to make quick money off the beloved author's name. The New York Times reported on this possible fraud of the American public and of one of our greatest authors, and it left me feeling oogy. I can't participate in that, if that is what truly happened. Why would Lee go her whole life saying she would never publish another book, then do a complete turnaround, at a time when her mental health was so in question there was a competency hearing to discuss her ability to make decisions?

This is a topic I have discussed at length, with many people - other bloggers, friends, friends I run into on the street at wine crawls, and on Facebook. Just the other day someone replied to me on Facebook, saying that they will read the book because it is history, and because NPR told them how to interpret the book the correct way, and that all other opinions were from people who had a different expectation from the book. I think that person was painting with a rather large brush but seriously, I think people really did have expectations from the book - which is why I won't read it. I already have my Atticus Finch. I don't need another one, from a book that Lee may or may not have actually wanted published. I don't need Go Set a Watchman to tell me how racist the Old South was - I already know that. I have read other books dealing with civil rights, racism, antisemitism. I don't have to read them all, and frankly that would be impossible. I never intended to read this book, even before all the reviews and opinions on it became known - I just never saw the need. I am not someone who enjoys reading sequels - in most book series, many times I choose to just stop reading at a certain book, so I can have the ending I want. That is just how I read. Some books don't need any thing else, they are perfect to me the way they are - so I leave them that way, preserving what I want to preserve. Keeping my heroes intact.

This is just me. This book is such a hot button - will you read it, will you not. It doesn't matter to me if people do or don't. I just know that I am not interested right now.

Other people are free to read and choose what they want. This is just what I choose. It may be considered shortsighted but I never want to meet my heroes. 

Rita at View From My Home also recently posted a discussion on this topic here.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

R.I.P. X

I can't believe it is that time of the year again, where we wave goodbye to summer and ease our way into cooler weather, bonfires, apple orchards, pumpkins, cold weather clothes, and crunchy leaves.  This is my favorite time of the year, and I love Halloween!

This year, I plan on undertaking Peril the First, which are four books that fit the theme, and also Peril of the Screen. 

Read four books from one of the following genres:

Dark Fantasy.

Read more about R.I.P. X here!

Books I am thinking about:

I am sure others will make the list as well, but these four will more than likely make the cut.