Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 3 - What do I read

I'm fairly certain this was a topic last year too and the short answer is everything. I'm a very eclectic reader and like to bounce around the different genres. For me, genre hopping helps to keep reading fun and interesting because I always have something entirely new to read. I am in awe of people that can read book after book after book in the same genre and never get tired of it though. I need variety. If you don't believe me, just take a look at my currently reading shelf from Goodreads.

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Horror
Synopsis: Just Another Lovers’ Triangle, Right?

It was love at first sight. From the moment seventeen-year-old Arnie Cunningham saw Christine, he knew he would do anything to possess her.

Arnie’s best friend, Dennis, distrusts her—immediately.

Arnie’s teen-queen girlfriend, Leigh, fears her the moment she senses her power.

Arnie’s parents, teachers, and enemies soon learn what happens when you cross her.

Because Christine is no lady. She is Stephen King’s ultimate, blackly evil vehicle of terror…

I started reading Christine during Banned Books Week because it's one of Stephen King's frequently challenged books. It got set down in order for me to work on a proofreading job, and I haven't picked it up again since then because I've been distracted by other books. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Christian History
Synopsis: Catherine Millard undertakes to describe how the history of America has been reinterpreted and rewritten by secularist and humanist historians who have systematically excluded much that relates to faith in God from their accounts.

I started reading this book when my husband was still in the military (he's been out for just over two years now). It did spend about eight months packed in a box during my extended visit to the US, and my laziness in unpacking everything (in the end that's not exactly a horrible thing because we have moved twice since then, and since I didn't have everything unpacked the first time, I didn't have to pack it up again to move.) Because this book is like a history book, it's also slow reading and it doesn't suck me in like novels do. Also, I don't feel a very strong urge to read it, or stay up reading it like I would with a novel. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world—and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

The Invention of Wings was my book clubs selection four or five months ago. At that time, I underestimated how long it would take me to read it and how much time I would have to read, so I didn't finish it before the meeting. Then I had other obligations (review requests or proofreading) afterwards, and it wasn't important to finish it. I'm still working on it though and will return to it when I have time. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Synopsis: They say you can never go home again that what we remember, is just that—a memory. Well, I’m on my way home, and I’m eager to test that theory. Little do I know that what awaits me will change my life forever.

Sofie Reece is returning to Sweetwater, a sleepy little town nestled in the Ozarks to discover evil waiting for her.

As supernatural beings, both good and evil, arrive in town, so does Lucas Santiago. Sofie senses a danger in Lucas but finds herself powerfully attracted to him. Though intimidated by his sexual appeal and power, she cannot help but fall for Lucas.

As both the danger and their passion intensify, Sofie is unaware that Lucas has a dark secret – a secret that will blow her world apart…

This book is intended for mature audiences. It contains sexually explicit content that some readers may find objectionable.

I started reading Sweetwater: The Kihn back in January. I'm pretty sure it started out as my kitchen book, which meant that I didn't get a whole lot of reading done at any one time. Then we moved in February, and it ended up somewhat buried on my bookshelves until Halloween when I needed something to read while sitting downstairs waiting for trick or treaters (I had done something to my knee that made walking up and down our stairs nearly unbearable.) I have refocused some of my reading energy on this book since then. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Synopsis: "What I feel has no name..." 

Suanne Laqueur's award-winning debut novel The Man I Love thrilled readers with its memorable characters and depth of emotion. Erik Fiskare's journey of love, recovery and forgiveness captivated hearts but also left questions unanswered. Now Daisy Bianco has a chance to tell her story. 

It's been three years since a single lapse of judgment cost Daisy the love of her life. Erik was a conduit to her soul but now he's chosen a path of total disconnection, refusing to speak to her or acknowledge her betrayal. Alone and shattered, Daisy attempts to take responsibility for her actions while building her career as a professional dancer in New York City. But Erik's unforgiving estrangement proves too much for her strength. Plagued by flashbacks to the Lancaster shootings, she falls into a dangerous spiral of self-harm, cutting into her own skin as a means to atone. Only the timely appearance of an old friend, John "Opie" Quillis, saves her from self-destruction and gives her a chance to love again. 

Laqueur skillfully weaves flashbacks to the college years with Daisy's present life. Supported by John's patient affection, she works to separate her evolution as an adult from the unresolved guilt and grief of her youth. As her professional accomplishments lift her out of depression, Daisy learns to hold onto her accountability without letting it become her identity. Years pass and she builds a beautiful life filled with dance and friends. Lovers come and eventually go, leaving her on her own with the old thought: Come back to me. 

In this parallel narrative, Laqueur peels open the beloved characters from The Man I Love to reveal new and complex layers of vulnerability. The scars from the shooting are deep and pervasive within this circle of friends. Like Daisy, they are trying to evolve without being fully resolved. But when questions from the past go unheeded, you alone must find and give your answers true.

This was my book clubs book like 4 months ago I think (maybe three). The worst part about me not finishing it is that I was the one who picked it. Everyone else that came to the meeting loved the book, it was a bit of a slower read for me though being a parallel narrative of The Man I Love which I've already read. Basically, I got up to the point in the story where the narratives between GMYAT and TMIL split before the meeting, and haven't found/made the time to continue (partially because I'm sure this is going to be a freakin' brutal journey.) 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Epic Fantasy/Mythology

In a world where gods toy with the lives of mortals, one man embarks upon a quest to win back his kingdom and ends up a pawn in a battle that pits god against god. And even if he succeeds in reclaiming his throne, will he be able to win against the one foe he never expected to turn against him?

When word arrives that his uncle has usurped the Illamosian throne, Jason, Prince of Illamos Valley, doesn't hesitate to protect his realm.

Ready for battle, Jason confronts his uncle, Pelias, who swears he is acting in Jason’s best interest. From Pelias, Jason soon learns he is at risk of being passed over as heir in favor of his courageous and clever cousin, Odysseus. The only way for Jason to prove himself better than his cousin is to obtain an aggressively-guarded treasure: the golden pelt of the kingdom of Colchis.

Believing the pelt will prove he is rightful leader, Jason embarks on an adventure unaware that has been made a pawn in a dangerous game that pits god against god..

As his voyage takes him across treacherous waters and into an aggressively fortified kingdom, Jason must combat the ire of man and monster, struggle to control his crew and battle against doubts of his own worthiness to be king.

But even if the gods of Osteria can help him gain the treasure, it is up to Jason to find a way to recapture the love of his people and secure his throne while fighting a foe he never expected to turn against him.


The Osteria Chronicles are a multi-part fantasy series. Set in a future world that resembles the city-states of Ancient Greece, you’ll see myths come to life as the heroes of Osteria contend with the whims of the gods.

I started reading this book as an ARC before it went live on Amazon (because I read and loved The Trials of Hercules). I don't know why or how I got sidetracked, but it happened and somehow I haven't found my way back to The Voyage yet, but it will happen. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Chick Lit
Synopsis: They might’ve been a family.

Virginia finally had the chance to explore a relationship with Aaron when he asked her on a date. She had been waiting, hoping that the widower and his young son, Buddy, would welcome her into their lives. But a terrible tragedy strikes on the night of their first kiss, crushing their hopes for a future together.

Nineteen years later, Virginia is engaged, though she has not forgotten Aaron or Buddy. When her dog goes missing and it comes to light that her fiancĂ© set him loose, a distraught Virginia breaks off the engagement and is alone once again. A shy young man has found the missing pet, and although he’s bonded with the animal, he answers his conscience and returns the dog. Before long, Virginia and the young man discover a connection from their pasts that will help them let go of painful memories and change their lives forever.

This book was one of the BookSparks summer reading challenge books. I was supposed to have finished it in June, but stuff came up and I bought my own copy, so deadlines are irrelevant. Also, it's on my Kindle Touch which happens to be my least used Kindle, so it just doesn't see much of my attention. I'm enjoying the story, but haven't felt a super strong need to devour it.

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Synopsis: In her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

This is a book that I requested from Netgalley, and have every intention of having it finished before it released on September 1st. I obviously failed in that endeavor, so now I just read on it a little bit here and there, mostly when my Kindle Fire HDX is charging. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Non-Fiction/History
Synopsis: A brilliant, haunting, and profoundly original portrait of the defining tragedy of our time. 

     In this epic history of extermination and survival, Timothy Snyder presents a new explanation of the great atrocity of the twentieth century, and reveals the risks that we face in the twenty-first.  Based on new sources from eastern Europe and forgotten testimonies from Jewish survivors, Black Earth recounts the mass murder of the Jews as an event that is still close to us, more comprehensible than we would like to think, and thus all the more terrifying.
      The Holocaust began in a dark but accessible place, in Hitler's mind, with the thought that the elimination of Jews would restore balance to the planet and allow Germans to win the resources they desperately needed.  Such a worldview could be realized only if Germany destroyed other states, so Hitler's aim was a colonial war in Europe itself.  In the zones of statelessness, almost all Jews died.  A few people, the righteous few, aided them, without support from institutions.  Much of the new research in this book is devoted to understanding these extraordinary individuals.  The almost insurmountable difficulties they faced only confirm the dangers of state destruction and ecological panic.  These men and women should be emulated, but in similar circumstances few of us would do so.
      By overlooking the lessons of the Holocaust, Snyder concludes, we have misunderstood modernity and endangered the future.  The early twenty-first century is coming to resemble the early twentieth, as growing preoccupations with food and water accompany ideological challenges to global order.  Our world is closer to Hitler's than we like to admit, and saving it requires us to see the Holocaust as it was -- and ourselves as we are.  Groundbreaking, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, Black Earthreveals a Holocaust that is not only history but warning.

This is another book that I requested from Netgalley that I had every intention of finishing before it released (and failed). Part of the problem here is that I was reading this book on my phone (which means I was really only reading on it when my husband was driving and while waiting for the kids to finish eating when out with them. It's a really interesting read though, at least for me living in Germany and having always been morbidly fascinated by the Holocaust. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Historical Fiction/Western
Synopsis: Find your way home... 

1891—Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy, she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous “saviors” illuminate the Arthurs’ unmatched determination and smarts. 

1905—Though she tries to forget the awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine. Now, tearful mourners at her mother’s funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother’s passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever.

This was another book from the Booksparks summer reading challenge, that I was supposed to have reviewed months ago (again, I bought my copy so deadlines don't matter). I'm pretty sure it got set aside in favor of a proofreading job. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Synopsis: A smart, sweeping novel--at once satirical and moving--about love, a famous lost painting, and a dark secret from the past, set in the London art world.

Annie McDee, thirty-one and recovering from the end of a long-term relationship, is chef for two sinister art dealers. She's just spent her meager savings on a dusty junk-shop painting for her new, unsuitable, boyfriend. But when he doesn't show up for his birthday dinner, it becomes hers. And amazingly, the painting speaks--though only we hear "him." Shrewd, spoiled, charming, world weary, and cynical, he comments, from his unique perspective, on Annie and the modern world, but he also recounts tales of his previous owners: Louis XV, Voltaire, and Catherine the Great, among them. Once it becomes known that Annie has the painting--whose provenance involves the Nazis--she finds herself at the center of a frantic, and sometimes fiendish, scramble among dealers, collectors, and other highly interested parties, for its ownership. It's a dazzlingly irreverent and entertaining many-layered tale of a devious world where, however improbably, love will triumph.

I got a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program, but my loan ran out before I was able to finish the book, and it only recently went live on Amazon. I need to wait until after Christmas to purchase it though because holidays are always expensive. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Western
Synopsis: New York Times–bestselling author of The Last Gunfight Jeff Guinn once again brings the Old West to life in the grand follow-up to Glorious.
After barely escaping nemesis Killer Boots in the tiny Arizona Territory town of Glorious, Cash McLendon is in desperate need of a safe haven somewhere—anywhere—on the frontier.

Fleeing to Dodge City, he falls in with an intrepid band of buffalo hunters determined to head south to forbidden Indian Territory in the Texas Panhandle. In the company of such colorful Western legends as Bat Masterson and Billy Dixon, Cash helps establish a hunting camp known as Adobe Walls. When a massive migration of buffalo arrives, Cash, newly hopeful that he may yet patch things up with Gabrielle Tirrito back in Arizona, thinks his luck has finally changed.

But no good can come of entering the prohibited lands they’ve crossed into. Little do Cash and his fellows know that their camp is targeted by a new coalition of the finest warriors among the Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa. Led by fierce Comanche war chief Quanah and eerie tribal mystic Isatai, an enormous force of two thousand is about to descend on the camp and will mark one of the fiercest, bloodiest battles in frontier history.

Cash McLendon is in another fight for his life—and this time running is not an option.

This is another book that I got through Penguin's First to Read program and my loan expired before I finished the book, so in order to finish it, I'll have to buy it. I was really into the story too, so that makes me sad. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Post-Apocalytic/Zombies
Synopsis: Book 3 
Zed is saying goodbye to one friend and pressing forward with two new ones, Mandi, whom Zed and Murphy rescued from the bunker, is immune to the virus, and Russell, also a slow burn, but lower-functioning, childlike and docile. 

After seeing the carnage at the dormitory, a raging, vengeful Zed wants only to kill Mark, his nemesis and the former leader of the ROTC squad. Since Mark has disappeared, Zed unleashes his fury on untold numbers of infected in his path as he makes his way back to the hospital, in an attempt to rescue Steph, a nurse whom he befriended while seeking help for the feverish Murphy shortly after the prison riot. But the brave medical staff, holed up on the tenth floor of the hospital, and running out of provisions, has decided to take matters in hand by exposing themselves to the virus, and shooting those who “turn.” Zed is determined not to face another loss, but time is running out. 

I'm listening to the audiobook version of this, and I'm currently on Book 3 (which is why I only included the synopsis for book 3). It's been a couple weeks since I last went for a walk because of hurting my knee, so I haven't made any progress on this book for a while. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Synopsis: At the age of sixteen, Abby is undergoing major household changes. Her mom is getting ready to remarry and her new step-brother is driving her insane. She is just trying to keep herself busy with school and her part-time job when a most deliciously handsome stranger moves to her little seaside town and won't leave her alone.

New arrival Wilhelm is unlike any other student at Abby’s school. His emerald eyes and tattooed body don’t truly reveal what he really is: a creature emerged from thousands of miles underground, seeking revenge, treasure, and a key that once belonged to an old enemy – a key Abby wears suspended from a chain around her neck. Why she has it is a mystery that Wilhelm will need to solve, and fast, in order to defeat a powerful mortal adversary.

As an attraction between Abby and Wilhelm develops, more creatures like Wilhelm are drawn from beneath the ground to Abby’s town; wreaking havoc as they offer Abby’s classmates the fulfillment of their deepest desires. Will Abby and her new family survive as a game of magical warfare is unleashed? Her ability to reverse Wilhelm’s bargain depends on it.

I started reading this book one night while sitting at Burger King with my family so my kids could play at the play area. It was too cold for me to concentrate on the proofreading job that I was trying to work on, so I switched to something that didn't require my hands to be out of my sleeves nearly as much. This was my pick. 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Synopsis: Marcus Ryan is a mage – with an aversion to magic. For the last twenty years, he’s done everything possible to steer clear of spells and the tutors employed to instruct in their usage. 

All the cheerful young noble wants is to be left in peace to be the oddball everyone thinks he is. 

However, a brief meeting with an emotionless stranger, and an evening when events spiral out of his control, changes everything – past, present, and future. 

Called upon to put right an ancient injustice, Marcus will have no choice but to arm himself with the one thing he hates most. 

A light-hearted fantasy for the long, cold, winter nights ahead.

This book has become my current phone read after I saw a post about a contest to win a paperback copy by reading the book and leaving a review (which I'm pretty sure has already been won by someone else at this point, although the biggest reason I've slowed down on reading the book is that it's November and I don't read much in November because I NaNo.) 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Synopsis: No one does romantic suspense better than Jayne Ann Krentz. Now, the New York Times bestselling author of Trust No Oneand River Road delivers a novel that twists and turns into a read that will leave you breathless.

Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters—until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.

They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother's hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn't be bothering them anymore...ever. Still their lives would never be the same. 

Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother's mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.

Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts...and wants. 

Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack's brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth....

This is my most recent Penguin First to Read book (it hasn't expired yet, so it's really my focus book right now so I can finish it before it does expire in spite of the fact that I don't read much in November.) 

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of the Fall Away series who never fails to deliver a “powerfully written contemporary love story…”* 

Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students and trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…

Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.

Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…

I started reading this a couple weeks ago, but quickly stopped because it is set in the same city as the book that I was proofreading at the time, and I couldn't risk having any confusion between the two. I'm ready to focus on it once I finish Secret Sisters though. 

So there you go. A tour of my currently reading shelf on Goodreads and an extremely long blog post about what I read (I honestly didn't intend for this post to get so long, but I really couldn't decide on just a few of my currently reading books to picture/feature, so I went with all of them). If you made it all the way to here, you rock!!! - Katie 

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