September Wrap-Up

Ya’ll, I think this has been the best reading month for me to date! 🤩

I read 11 books!! (So this might be lengthy…bare with me)

One I didn’t finish yet and the other I gave up on (DNF).

Total Pages Read: 2454

Minutes Listened: 268

Man Mission by eytan uliel

1st DNF of 2019

Rating: DNF

First off, this is not a book that I pick would have picked up normally.

Second off, I ONLY picked up this book because I joined The Online Book Club which is a website that pays you for book reviews after you submit your first review. With that being said, since I was a newbie to their community I was not offered a great choice of books to review. Actually, this was the only book available to me after weeks of checking back to see if there were any available.

I read over half of this book and could not force myself to finish it.

I actually enjoyed it up to around 33%. After that point, the storyline became repetitive and was no longer contributing to the plot.

And that is that.

His hideous heart edited by dahlia adler

To be Continued…

I actually really enjoy reading this book…I just haven’t had the time to finish the rest of it.

I am on page 115 right now. I read a handful of the revised short stories and I have loved all of them.

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

Book 17 of 2019

Okay, for the rest of these I will note their average ratings, format, and synopsis. My reviews will be linked to the titles and this post will be updated as I post more reviews. 🙂

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 4.02

Format: e-ARC thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow

Synopsis:

A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Arctic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.

On their journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship and Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world. But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten their dream, and after their fortunes take a shocking—and bloody—turn, Myra can no longer ignore the question of whether saving Row is worth endangering Pearl and her fellow travelers.

A compulsively readable novel of dark despair and soaring hope, After the Flood is a magnificent, action packed, and sometimes frightening odyssey laced with wonder—an affecting and wholly original saga both redemptive and astonishing.

House of salt and sorrows by erin A. craig

Book 18 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 4.02

Format: BOTM Hardback edition

*Get your own copy for $9.99 with code ‘GROW’ by signing up here! *

Synopsis:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next. 

The Twenty-Ninth Day by alex messenger

Book 24 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 4.80

Format: e-ARC thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing

Published November 12, 2019

Synopsis:

A six-hundred-mile canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness is a seventeen-year-old’s dream adventure, but after he is mauled by a grizzly bear, it’s all about staying alive.

This true-life wilderness survival epic recounts seventeen-year-old Alex Messenger’s near-lethal encounter with a grizzly bear during a canoe trip in the Canadian tundra. The story follows Alex and his five companions as they paddle north through harrowing rapids and stunning terrain. Twenty-nine days into the trip, while out hiking alone, Alex is attacked by a barren-ground grizzly. Left for dead, he wakes to find that his summer adventure has become a struggle to stay alive. Over the next hours and days, Alex and his companions tend his wounds and use their resilience, ingenuity, and dogged perseverance to reach help at a remote village a thousand miles north of the US-Canadian border.

The Twenty-Ninth Day is a coming-of-age story like no other, filled with inspiring subarctic landscapes, thrilling riverine paddling, and a trial by fire of the human spirit.

The testaments by margaret atwood

Book 20 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 4.30

Format: Hardback

Synopsis:

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” –Margaret Atwood 

joyland by stephen king

Book 26 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 3.91

Format: Paperback

Synopsis:

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

The turn of the key by ruth ware

Book 19 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 4.03

Format: BOTM Hardback Edition

Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

ark by veronica roth (Forward collection)

Book 20 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 3.56

Format: Amazon Audiobook

Synopsis:

On the eve of Earth’s destruction, a young scientist discovers something too precious to lose, in a story of cataclysm and hope by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent trilogy.

It’s only two weeks before an asteroid turns home to dust. Though most of Earth has already been evacuated, it’s Samantha’s job to catalog plant samples for the survivors’ unknowable journey beyond.

Preparing to stay behind and watch the world end, she makes a final human connection.

As certain doom hurtles nearer, the unexpected and beautiful potential for the future begins to flower.

Veronica Roth’s Ark is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

Randomize by andy weir (forward collection)

Book 21 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 3.47

Format: Amazon Audiobook

Synopsis:

In the near future, if Vegas games are ingeniously scam-proof, then the heists have to be too, in this imaginative and whip-smart story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.

An IT whiz at the Babylon Casino is enlisted to upgrade security for the game of keno and its random-number generator. The new quantum computer system is foolproof. But someone on the inside is no fool. For once the odds may not favor the house—unless human ingenuity isn’t entirely a thing of the past.

Andy Weir’s Randomize is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

Emergency skin by N.k. Jemisin (forward collection)

Book 22 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 4.16

Format: Amazon Audiobook

Synopsis:

What will become of our self-destructed planet? The answer shatters all expectations in this subversive speculation from the Hugo Award–winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy.

An explorer returns to gather information from a climate-ravaged Earth that his ancestors, and others among the planet’s finest, fled centuries ago. The mission comes with a warning: a graveyard world awaits him. But so do those left behind—hopeless and unbeautiful wastes of humanity who should have died out eons ago. After all this time, there’s no telling how they’ve devolved. Steel yourself, soldier. Get in. Get out. And try not to stare.

N. K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

The last conversation by paul tremblay (forward collection)

Book 25 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 3.75

Format: Amazon Audiobook

Synopsis:

What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness.

Imagine you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are, how you got there, or where you were before. All you have is the disconnected voice of an attentive caretaker. Dr. Kuhn is there to help you—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. She’ll help you remember everything. She’ll make sure you reclaim your lost identity. Now answer one question: Are you sure you want to?

Paul Tremblay’s The Last Conversation is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

you have arrived at your destination by amor towles (forward collection)

Book 27 of 2019

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Average Rating: 3.61

Format: Amazon Audiobook

Synopsis:

Nature or nurture? Neither. Discover a bold new way to raise a child in this unsettling story of the near future by the New York Times bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow.

When Sam’s wife first tells him about Vitek, a twenty-first-century fertility lab, he sees it as the natural next step in trying to help their future child get a “leg up” in a competitive world. But the more Sam considers the lives that his child could lead, the more he begins to question his own relationships and the choices he has made in his life.

Amor Towles’s You Have Arrived at Your Destination is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

Whew! I hope you made it through that!

Well…on to the next one!

XOXO,

Shannon

House of Salt and Sorrows | Book Review

Book 18 of 2019
Picture Courtesy of my own Insta 🙂

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Published: August 6, 2019 by Delacorte Press – 400 pages (BOTM hardback edition)

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Retelling

Average Rating: 4.02


Like always, lets begin with a brief synopsis. Provided by the blurb on my dust jacket!

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last – the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge – and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sisters’ deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or join their forbidden trysts. Because who – or what – are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family – before it claims her next.


Alright, so I’m gonna be doing these reviews a little bit differently moving forward. I am no longer going to provide the lengthy breakdown of why I chose my rating. Hopefully, my review alone will be enough to indicate why I rate a book the way I do.

With that being said I gave House of Salt and Sorrows . . . 5 Stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I read this book as part of a buddy read with BabyGotBooks over on instagram. She is a wonderful human and you should go check out her page!

The book opens with a funeral of Eulalie, the 4th sister to die a tragic death among the Thaumas sisters. Their way of life in the Salt requires that her body be delivered back to the Salt. “We, the People of the Salt, commit this body back to the sea” (page 1).

In my opinion, the opening of a book is very important. Craig did a great job of drawing me in with the first paragraph. . .

Candlelight reflected off the silver anchor etched onto my sister’s necklace. It was an ugly piece of jewelry and something Eulalie would never have picked out for herself. She loved simple strands of gold, extravagant collars of diamonds. Not . . . that. Papa must have selected it for her. I fumbled at my own necklace of black pearls, wanting to offer her something more stylish, but the battalion of pallbearers shut the coffin lid before I could undo the clasp.”

opening paragraph, page 1

Erin Craig does a wonderful job at showing her audience instead of telling her audience and that alone could have earned this book its 5 star rating.

The remaining 8 Thaumus sisters go into mourning for the 5th time (their mother, Ava, Octavia, Elizabeth and Eulalie). However, this time is a little bit different. The family is forced to come out of mourning barely 1 month later instead of the “normal” one year.

For me, this set the stage for me to be suspicious of every character . . . and I was. I was absolutely not prepared for a fantasy mystery but I enjoyed it until the very last sentence of this book.

Not only was I trying to figure out who or what was killing the girls, I was trying to figure out why Verity (the youngest) could see ghosts and the other girls couldn’t, I was trying to figure out how they were getting to all of these magical balls, and I was trying to figure out who Cassius was and why he seemed to be such an important character.

Speaking of Cassius…he is my new fictional boyfriend and if you have read House of Salt and Sorrows then you COMPLETELY understand me.

But I digress . . .

I had no clue what was going to happen in this book from one chapter to the next. Was I reading a murder mystery? A terrifying ghost story? A paranormal book about demi-gods . . . wellllll . . . IM TRYING TO HARD NOT TO RUIN THIS BOOK BY GIVING SPOILERS and I am having a HARD time.

There were so many casualties in this book I felt like I was reading a YA George RR Martin book. ha!

It’s been at least a week since I have finished this book and I can confidently say that I still think about it. I did not see the ending coming at all, but it felt right. I can’t stress enough how important it is for me to not be able to guess the ending but for it to also make sense, like I should have known the whole time.

The only thing I wasn’t keen on was at the Churning Dinner at Highmoor Annaleigh’s Papa starts a challenge for the young men to find out why the daughters’ slippers are being worn through so quickly and nothing really becomes of that.

However, the good outweighs that one tiny negative so I still give this book 5 stars.

I am in love with the characters in this book and I am so sad that it is a standalone. I want more of the Thaumas sisters. I want to find out what happens after the end.

The Thaumas sisters have captured my heart. I recommend this book to all fantasy lovers, fairy tale dreams, and mystery solvers!

xoxo,

Shannon

PS Don’t forget about the YA Book of the Month special offer that is running until the end of September! If you sign up with my link: http://book-of-the-month.ixmz.net/X9XjG and code ‘YALIT’ you can get any of the 5 September YA picks for $5!!! These books normally run for $15 ($10 for your first box) so you are saving $10. You seriously cannot beat that 🙂

WWW Wednesday 9/11

Welcome back to Another WWW Wednesday!

As always our wonderful host is Sam over at Taking on a World of Words

This is pretty simple, all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

What did you just finish reading?

What are you currently reading?

What do you plan on reading next?


What did you just finish reading?

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

Click the pic for my review 😘

After the Flood takes place in the future after the Hundred Year Flood leaves most of the Earth covered in water. The story follows Myra as she tries to find her eldest daughter by navigating the new seas while still protecting her youngest.

What are you currently reading?

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

I’m not going to give you a synopsis because I feel like everyone knows about this book 😂

I just got to Page 142 and I wish I could have kept reading! I feel like something new happens in every chapter and I am never bored with what is happening. I am LOVING this book.

What do I plan on reading next?

This is such a hard question for me because I am a mood reader and like to plan BIG TBR lists. Which, if you read my September tbr post you understand 😂

But, I would like to read…

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

What are you currently reading? Let me know or post the link to your WWW Wednesday below!

Happy Wednesday and happy reading!

XO, Shannon