Library Haul – Reporting In!

Hi all! 🙂

Well, it’s been ages since I actually posted. Life finds a way…in this case, to interfere. So to ease back into posting, I thought I’d start with a good ol’ Library Haul.

The Blessing Way (Tony Hillerman)

theblessingwayDescription from Goodreads: Homicide is always an abomination, but there is something exceptionally disturbing about the victim discovered in a high lonely place, a corpse with a mouth full of sand, abandoned at a crime scene seemingly devoid of tracks or useful clues. Though it goes against his better judgment, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn cannot help but suspect the hand of a supernatural killer. There is palpable evil in the air, and Leaphorn’s pursuit of a Wolf-Witch is leading him where even the bravest men fear, on a chilling trail that winds perilously between mysticism and murder.

Why I Chose It: This one popped up in my Goodreads feed because my friend Felicia rated a later book in the series. She seems to enjoy this series and we have similar taste in mysteries, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)

station11Description from Goodreads: One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Why I Chose It: This one’s been on my list for a while, I was just waiting for my library to get a copy. I’m not usually one for dystopians, but this one sounded interesting.

The Radleys (Matt Haig)

theradleysDescription from Goodreads: The Radleys are an everyday family who juggle dysfunctional lives. Except, as Peter and Helen Radley know, but their children have yet to find out, the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act, her parents decide to explain a few things.

Why I Chose It: I was reading the reviews for another book by this author, How To Stop Time, and one of the posts raved about another one of his works, The Humans. That one sounded good, but my library doesn’t have it. Boo. So I settled on this one instead. It also looks interesting and it has vampires! 😉

DNFs Headed Back to the Library:

How The Irish Saved Civilization (Thomas Cahill)

irishDescription from Goodreads: From the fall of Rome to the rise of Charlemagne – the “dark ages” – learning, scholarship, and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of western civilization – from the Greek and Roman classics to Jewish and Christian works – would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of unconquered Ireland.

Why I Didn’t Finish It: Something about this one just dragged; I couldn’t make it 10 pages without falling asleep. Which is a shame because it sounds really interesting. 😦

The Professor and The Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (Simon Winchester)

oxforddictionaryDescription from Goodreads: The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

Why I Didn’t Finish It: This author must have felt that, since he was writing about a dictionary, he needed to use EVERY WORD IN IT. This was kind of charming…for the first few pages. Then it started sounding pompous. Another shame, because I was actually really curious about the story.


So catch me up? What are YOU reading right now?

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Book Review: The Hazel Wood

Book: The Hazel Wood – Author: Melissa Albert

Genre: YA, Mystery, Fairy Tales

Description from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

My Review:

Where to begin!?! This book was amazing. I absolutely love innovative fairy tale books; ones that create their own fairy tale world and then force “regular” people to interact with them. This author imagined several completely new tales and managed to integrate them into the world in a way that was entirely believable.

As to the characters…I will admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Alice, the main character, at first. Kind of cranky and stand-offish, she took some getting used to. Though, her personality does end up getting completely explained and, by the end of the book, I was totally rooting for her.

On the other hand, I completely adored Ellery, Alice’s somewhat unwanted sidekick, from the get-go. I think it’s because he reminded me so much of myself. Completely smitten with a fictional world and rather awkward in this one, Ellery is determined to find a way into the Hazel Wood and escape the drudgery that is his “real life”.

And the stories…sigh. How I loved the stories. Jam packed with devastation, just like the much-loved original Grimm tales. The villains are horrific beings from long ago, the type that would rather eat you than help you. No “fairy godmother” in this book…or well, not a nice one anyway. There was real danger in this novel. It gripped me tight and didn’t let me go until it reached its conclusion.

I highly recommend this book for people who love old-school fairy tales. The ones where you aren’t entirely certain your favorite character will make it out alive.

Similar Book(s):

The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly

 

Sweeping the Shelves #12

Howdy folks! Welcome to another installment of Sweeping The Shelves, the (usually) weekly blog post where I attempt to persuade myself to part with a few of my beloved TBRs.

Last week we had a big snow storm and I wasn’t able to get to the StS. 😦 Next week, I will be at Niagara Falls (yea!), so I probably won’t post one then either. So I figured, I’d better at least get one done today! Let’s get started…

The Alienist (Caleb Carr)

alienistDescription from GoodreadsThe year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Final Verdict: Someone in the reviews described this novel as “blending a Sherlock Holmes type investigator and a Hannibal Lector/Jeffrey Dahmer like serial killer”. Sounds intriguing… — KEEP

Gorgon: The Monsters that Ruled the Planet Before Dinosaurs and How They Died in the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth’s History (Peter Ward)

gorgonDescription from GoodreadsBased on more than a decade’s research in South Africa’s Karoo Desert, this remarkable journey of discovery and real-life adventure deep into Earth’s history is offered by a renowned scientist.

Final Verdict: Heck of a title, considering the wimpy description. I’ve had this book with me for over 10 years and still haven’t read it. Reviews on Goodreads seem to be pretty mixed, but I don’t know that I can part with it after so long without at least attempting to read it! It’s also pretty short, so I guess I can save it for when I’m on a non-fiction kick. — KEEP

Ruins of Gorlan – Rangers Apprentice #1 (John Flanagan)

rangersapprentice

Description from Goodreads: They have always scared him in the past — the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…

Final Verdict: Hm, I guess I can understand why I bought this one, especially if I was on a Middle Grade book kick at the time; it does sound kind of interesting. But I’m just not feeling it now. Besides, my library has pretty much this entire series. — DONATE

Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)

waterforelephantsDescription from GoodreadsWhen Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. 

Final Verdict: …this is a romance book isn’t it. Why did I buy this one? Maybe I was curious about the elephant? I dunno. — DONATE

The Winter People (Jennifer McMahon)

winterpeopleDescription from GoodreadsWest Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Final Verdict: Oooo….. — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 3, Donate = 2

Overall Count: Keep = 37, Donate = 23

Sweeping the Shelves #11

Hello all! Welcome to the 11th installment of Sweeping the Shelves; the weekly blog where I attempt to diminish my ever growing pile of TBRs. I’m running a bit late with this week’s post, but I didn’t forget! 🙂

Alexandria – Marcus Didius Falco #19 (Lindsey Davis)

AlexandriaDescription from Goodreads: In first century A.D. Rome, during the reign of Vespasian, Marcus Didius Falco works as a private “informer,” often for the emperor, ferreting out hidden truths and bringing villains to ground. But even informers take vacations with their wives, so in A.D. 77, Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, with others in tow, travel to Alexandria, Egypt. But they aren’t there long before Falco finds himself in the midst of nefarious doings—when the Librarian of the great library is found dead, under suspicious circumstances. Falco quickly finds himself on the trail of dodgy doings, malfeasance, deadly professional rivalry, more bodies and the lowest of the low—book thieves! As the bodies pile up, it’s up to Falco to untangle this horrible mess and restore order to a disordered universe.

Final Verdict: Ok, so I accidentally bought the 19th book in this series. Oops! I discovered the mistake pretty quickly, though, and bought Book 1 to read first. I liked it decent enough, but I think I need to be realistic about the fact that I will likely never read all the way up to the 19th book, lol! — DONATE

The Glittering World (Robert Levy)

glitteringworldDescription from GoodreadsWhen up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.

But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring co-worker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind…

Final Verdict: Oh…that is an intriguing description. Now I remember why I bought this one at full cover price. — KEEP

The Sword of Summer – Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1 (Rick Riordan)

magnuschaseDescription from Goodreads: Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. 
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die…

Final Verdict: Yeah, this one isn’t even in question. I already have it on my list for my reading challenge this year. I LOVE Rick Riordan and would probably never get rid of one of his books without at least reading it first. 🙂 — KEEP

Reliquary – Pendergast #2 (Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child)

reliquaryDescription from GoodreadsHidden deep beneath Manhattan lies a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast. When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation. Margo must once again team up with police lieutenant D’Agosta and FBI agent Pendergast, as well as the brilliant Dr. Frock, to try and solve the puzzle. The trail soon leads deep underground, where they will face the awakening of a slumbering nightmare.

Final Verdict: I actually do also have the first book in this series and the description sounds really interesting, so I think I’ll hang on to them for a while. — KEEP

Wild Ride (Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer)

wildrideDescription from Goodreads: Mary Alice Brannigan doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Nor does she expect to find that Dreamland, the decaying amusement park she’s been hired to restore, is a prison for the five Untouchables, the most powerful demons in the history of the world. Plus, there’s a guy she’s falling hard for—and there’s something about him that’s not quite right. 

But rocky romances and demented demons aren’t the only problems in Dreamland: Mab’s also coping with a crooked politician, a supernatural raven, a secret government agency, an inexperienced sorceress, an unsettling inheritance, and some mind-boggling revelations from her past. As her personal demons wreck her newfound relationship and real demons wreck the park, Mab faces down immortal evil and discovers what everybody who’s ever been to an amusement park knows: The end of the ride is always the wildest.

Final Verdict: I dunno about the rocky romance part, but the rest sounds really cool! I think I’ll give it a go. — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 4, Donate = 1 (Oops. 😉 )

Overall Count: Keep = 34, Donate = 21

Sweeping the Shelves #10

Look! I made it to #10! 😀

For you new folks, Sweeping the Shelves is a weekly blog in which I pick 5 of my innumerable real-life TBRs and decide whether I want to keep them or donate them.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists – The Chronicles of Light & Shadow #1 (Liesel Schwarz)

conspiracyofalchemistsDescription from GoodreadsIt is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural. Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret. But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible. 

Final Verdict: I love me some steampunk, but why does the female protagonist ALWAYS have to run into an “annoyingly irresistible” foe? I mean, really? — DONATE

The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion – Haunted Bookshop Mystery #5 (Alice Kimberly)

ghostandthehauntedmansionDescription from Goodreads: Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts–until she met the spirit of hard-boiled 1940s detective Jack Shepard. And when Pen’s friend and mailman, Seymour Tarnish, gets into deep trouble, Pen not only believes in her ghost–she also thinks he can help…An elderly lady of leisure has been found dead on posh Larchmont Avenue, her will recently, and suspiciously, revised to name Seymour as heir to her mansion. Just as eyes turn to him as the murderer–and Seymour gets busy settling into his ritzy digs–the mansion’s ghosts begin plaguing him. So he hires a team of parapsychologists to exorcise all the spirits from the town of Quindicott–and that includes Jack Shepard. Now Pen must act fast–because losing Jack scares Pen more than rattling chains and cold spots…

Final Verdict: Well, this sounds cute, but Book #5? How did that happen? ::checks library:: Oo, looks like my library has the first book in the series. Maybe I’ll start there instead. 😉 — DONATE

On Stranger Tides (Tim Powers)

strangertidesDescription from GoodreadsAboard the Vociferous Carmichael, puppeteer John Chandagnac is sailing toward Jamaica to claim his stolen birthright from an unscrupulous uncle, when the vessel is captured . . . by pirates! Offered a choice by Captain Phil Davies to join their seafaring band or die, Chandagnac assumes the name John Shandy and a new life as a brigand. But more than swashbuckling sea battles and fabulous plunder await the novice buccaneer on the roiling Caribbean waters–for treachery and powerful vodun sorcery are coins of the realm in this dark new world. And for the love of beautiful, magically imperiled Beth Hurwood, Shandy will set sail on even stranger tides, following the savage, ghost-infested pirate king, Blackbeard, and a motley crew of the living and the dead to the cursed nightmare banks of the fabled Fountain of Youth.

Final Verdict: Huh, sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? Looks like Disney snagged some plot points for the 4th Pirates movie from this book. While I did enjoy the movie, the book sounds way more interesting AND it would fit one of my categories for my reading challenge. — KEEP

Shakespeare’s Kitchen (Lore Segal)

shakespeareskitchenDescription from GoodreadsIlka Weisz has accepted a teaching position at the Concordance Institute, a think tank in Connecticut, reluctantly leaving her New York circle of friends. After the comedy of her struggle to meet new people, Ilka comes to embrace, and be embraced by, a new set of acquaintances, including the institute’s director, Leslie Shakespeare, and his wife, Eliza. Through a series of memorable dinner parties, picnics, and Sunday brunches, Segal evokes the subtle drama and humor of the outsider’s loneliness, the comfort and charm of familiar companionship, the bliss of being in love, and the strangeness of our behavior in the face of other people’s deaths.

Final Verdict: Hmm, I’m torn. I’ve been really into general fiction lately, but I know that phase will likely come to an end soon and I don’t know if I care enough about this one to squeeze it in before hand. — DONATE

The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins)

womaninwhite

Description from Goodreads: The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

Final Verdict: Sounds creepy! I remember, I stumbled on this one while looking for The Moonstone and it intrigued me. It still does. I have the Kindle version too, but there’s just something about holding the book in your hands that draws you more into the story and it sounds like I’ll want to be fully invested in this one. — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 2, Donate = 3

Overall Count: Keep = 30, Donate = 20

Library Haul – I May Have A Problem

So…oops? I swear I only went in for 4 books! I don’t know what happened! It wouldn’t really be an issue, except my library’s checkout period is only 3 weeks. Ack! Wish me luck!

I guess it could be worse; I almost grabbed an 8th book on the way out because the cover caught my eye, but it turned out to be the 4th in a series and my library didn’t have the 1st one. So…yea for me? ::shrugs::

This is going to be a long one. Stick with me. 🙂

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)

guernseyDescription From GoodreadsJanuary 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. 

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. 

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. 

Why I Chose It: This one has been in my TBR list for a long time, but I recently saw an ad for the movie and it reminded me that “I really should read that book!” I double checked the description before I popped over the library and it still sounded good, though I’m a bit concerned it may turn into a “Mr. Pip” type book, so I’m going to have my tissues ready.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore (Matthew Sullivan)

brightideasbookstoreDescription From GoodreadsWhen a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. 

Why I Chose It: Ya’ll know me and my penchant for mysteries. This one sounded right up my alley, though it definitely doesn’t seem to be of the ‘cozy variety’. 😉

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman)

eleanoroliphantDescription From GoodreadsMeet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Why I Chose It: The story line for this one sounds cute, so I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into a huge romance or a “we can fix autism with friendship” type deal. It has pretty good ratings, so fingers crossed.

The Book of Speculation (Erika Swyler)

bookofspeculationDescription From Goodreads: Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks.

One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother. Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand. 

Why I Chose It: Oddly, this was not one that I was planning to get today, but I saw the cover and went “Why do I know that cover?”, opened the book, “Oh yeah! The mermaid one!” I’ve been meaning to snag this for a while, so I went ahead and picked it up. Let’s hope it’s as good as it sounds! — I just noticed that this description doesn’t mention the mermaids. I guess you’ll just have to grab the book yourself to find out what I mean. 😉

The Book That Matters Most (Ann Hood)

bookthatmattersmostDescription From GoodreadsAva’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

Why I Chose It: Well, this one was sitting next to Eleanor Oliphant and I was intrigued by the title, so I read the description on the flap. It sounds really good, right?

The Ladies of Garrison Gardens (Louise Shaffer)

ladiesofgarrisongardensDescription From GoodreadsCharles Valley’s legendary dowagers, the three Miss Margarets, have lost one of their own: Peggy Garrison, who married into a huge fortune but was constantly overshadowed by the legacy her husband’s first wife, the great Myrtis Garrison. When Peggy’s will is read, the news of who will take over the Garrison fortune shakes the town to its core. To everyone’s shock, Peggy has left all of the Garrison holdings–the world-famous botanical gardens, the massive resort, and the lovely Garrison “Cottage,” where FDR once visited–to the town’s down-and-out wild child, Laurel Selene McCready.

Laurel was like a daughter to Miss Peggy, but the last thing she wants to do is step into Miss Peggy’s shoes as the wealthiest, most powerful person in town, especially since the Garrison fortune never bought Peggy any happiness. On top of that, when Laurel reluctantly explores her hew home, the storied Garrison Cottage, she discovers that mysteries abound when it comes to the great Miss Myrtis. What clues are hidden in an old suitcase containing a child’s dress and sheet music dating back to the Southern Vaudeville circuit? Who is the elderly woman outside Atlanta who has been keeping track of the Garrison estate’s every development via the Charles Valley Gazette? And how will Laurel avoid the fate of her two predecessors whose secrets have far greater implications than Laurel could ever have imagined? Culminating in an unforgettable sleight of hand, proving that behind every great fortune there is a great crime, The Ladies of Garrison Gardens is as page-turning and irresistible as its predecessor.

Why I Chose It: Oh no! This is a sequel?! I totally missed that when I read the description on the flap. 😦 I hope I can read them out of order. It sounds really interesting!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Catherynne Valente)

circumnavigatedfairylandDescription From GoodreadsTwelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

Why I Chose It: This is the only non-adult book that I picked up today! I’m super proud of myself. Not that there’s anything wrong with reading Children’s or YA books, but I was kind of getting in a rut. But I’ve had this one on my TBR list for quite a while now, and it’ll make a nice pick me up in between the other, heavier books. 🙂


So what are you guys reading right now? Anyone else do a Library Haul recently?

Sweeping the Shelves #9

Howdy! Welcome to another installment of Sweeping the Shelves; the weekly blog where I try to convince myself to share my abundance of TBRs with other people instead of hoarding them all for myself. 😉

The Accidental Hero – Jack Blank Adventure #1 (Matt Myklusch)

accidentalheroDescription from GoodreadsAll Jack Blank knows is his bleak, dreary life at St. Barnaby’s Home for the Hopeless, Abandoned, Forgotten, and Lost, an orphanage that sinks further into the swampland of New Jersey with each passing year. His aptitude tests predict that he will spend a long, unhappy career as a toilet brush cleaner. His only chance at escape comes through the comic books donated years ago to the orphanage that he secretly reads in the dark corners of the library. 

Everything changes one icy gray morning when Jack receives two visitors that alter his life forever. The first is a deadly robot straight out of one of his comic books that tries its best to blow him up. The second is an emissary from a secret country called the Imagine Nation, an astonishing place where all the fantastic and unbelievable things in our world originate — including Jack. Jack soon discovers that he has an amazing ability — one that could make him the savior of the Imagine Nation and the world beyond, or the biggest threat they’ve ever faced.

Final Verdict: Well, this one sounded kind of interesting…until I read a comment in one of the reviews that contained several HUGE spoilers for the series. I LOATHE SPOILERS. I don’t know if I’d even call it a pet peeve so much as possessing an unnatural, seething hatred people who spoil books/movies. Now I don’t know if I even want to bother reading this one. — DONATE

Note to everyone who reads my blog:

vI-DU0t0

😡 DON’T SPOIL BOOKS!!!!! 😡

Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (edited by George Mann)

encountersofSHDescription from GoodreadsA brand-new collection of Sherlock Holmes stories from a variety of exciting voices in modern horror and steampunk, including James Lovegrove, Justin Richards, Paul Magrs, Guy Adams and Mark Hodder. Edited by respected anthologist George Mann, and including a story by Mann himself.

Final Verdict: Anyone who knows me knows I have a special fondness for Sherlock Holmes and, as such, would never be able to bring myself to get rid of a Sherlock book without at least attempting to read it. — KEEP

The Ghost Walker – Wind River Reservation #2 (Margaret Coel)

ghostwalkerDescription from Goodreads: Father John O’Malley comes across the corpse lying in a ditch beside the highway. When he returns with the police, it is gone. The Arapahos of the Wind River Reservation speak of Ghost Walkerstormented souls caught between the earth and the spirit world, who are capable of anything. Then, within days, a young man disappears from the Reservation without a trace. A young woman is found brutally murdered. And as Father John and Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden investigate these crimes, someoneor somethingbegins following them. Together, Vicky and Father John must draw upon ancient Arapaho traditions to stop a killer, explain the inexplicable, and put a ghost to rest…

Final Verdict: Ooo, this one sounds interesting! Too bad it’s the second in the series. ::checks library:: Darn, they don’t have the first one. ::checks Amazon:: Wait! I can get the first one for $2? Score! — KEEP

Psych: Mind-Altering Murder – Psych #5 (William Rabkin)

psych5Description from GoodreadsWhen Shawn’s partner Gus decides he doesn’t want to be a detective anymore and gets a real job, Shawn wonders: Is this the end of Psych? Or is it the end of Gus? After a fellow executive at Benson Pharmaceuticals turns up dead, Gus realizes he needs Shawn more than ever to solve the murder before he’s forced to take an early-and permanent-retirement.

Final Verdict: I LOVE the Psych tv series. I’m not quite as fond of the books. To be fair, turning Psych into a novel would be pretty hard (how do you do Shawn-vision on paper?), but these stories don’t seem to grab me the same way the show (and some of the fanfic) does. I’ve been debating donating this series (I own 4 of them) for a while now, so maybe I should just go ahead and do it. 😦 — DONATE

Wildwood – Wildwood Chronicles #1 (Colin Meloy)

wildwoodDescription from Goodreads: In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Final Verdict: I bought this one for my reading challenge a couple of years ago and just never got around to it, but it still sounds pretty cool. The reviews are mixed, though. Hm. ::checks library:: It looks like my library doesn’t have a copy, so I guess I’ll keep it for now and if I do get around to reading it, I can donate it to the library if I don’t like it. 🙂 — KEEP


Today’s Count: Keep = 3 (plus the first in that series I just bought…oops?), Donate = 2 (plus the other 3 Psych books…whew, that makes up for adding one, right?….Right?!?)

Overall Count: Keep = 28, Donate = 17