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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman

I'm starting this for my Free Space! It seems like it can probably fit a lot of other squares too, but I'll figure that out when it's done. I needed another audio, and noticed that Char loved this book, so here we are!


Let's hope that it's not too spooky, and I don't ruin the food I'm cooking today because I'm distracted. Hahaha.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier, Sally Beauman

Ah, this was excellent! Both because the audio version was brilliantly done, and because the story itself is just superbly written. I can't say that I ever quite fell in love with our young protagonist, because honestly she was naive as all get out most times, but I definitely fell in love with the story surrounding her. I am SO glad I finally read this.


I love that "the second Mrs. De Winter" never actually gets a name. It was one of the first things that struck me about this story, and I could never shake the feeling that it just pushed her further into the shadow of the ever present Rebecca. She dominates the story, Rebecca does. Her name invokes this pristine, well-bred, shining light of a woman who charmed everyone around her. Except, as we all know, there's always more to a person that what is on the outside. Oh, and Daphne Du Maurier has no problem at all with digging straight into that dark and sometimes ugly inner person.


Better still was the copious amount of descriptive writing surrounding Manderly and Mrs. De Winter's time there. I felt like I lived there too. I saw the big, arching trees in the forest. Smelled the flowers that ringed the estate, and even saw the dusty rooms that once housed the woman who would never quite be gone or forgotten. As the book went on, I fell more and more in love with this place. I understood why Max loved it so very much, and why he would want to protect it.


Which is why the ending broke my heart. It was perfection, but still my heart is broken. This was just too good. One star gone, only because Mrs. De Winter drove me bonkers the majority of this story. All I have to say is MAKE SOME DECISIONS WOMAN. I know this book was aptly written for the period, but lord. I could not have been alive during this time. I would have murdered someone myself.

The Burning Court by John Dickson Carr

The Burning Court - John Dickson Carr

I've actually been meaning to read a John Dickson Carr story for quite a while, so I was glad that Halloween Bingo gave me that chance! Is it any wonder that I ended up choosing the one that had a supernatural bent to it though? I'm not as much in love with mysteries as I probably should be normally, but add in some supernatural elements and I'm definitely in!


Unfortunately for John Dickson Carr, that addition actually seemed to throw his story off a bit. Don't mistake me, this book was overall very well done. It's one of the few mysteries that I've read where I had no idea, literally the entire book, who was responsible for the murder. Alas, the supernatural elements kind of just sat in the background though. There, but not fleshed out. Annoyingly vague and, frustratingly enough, only hinted at to keep that thread moving through the book.


Until the end, that is. Although, truth be told, I have no idea what that ending actually wrapped up for me. After reading this, and being completely baffled at the epilogue, I went out and looked for some information on this. As it turns out, that helped! But I wish I would have been able to glean what happened for myself.


Fun note: I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that has all the old radio shows where books like this were turned into a 30 minute play. The Burning Court is great! And it takes out the supernatural elements, to make it more straight mystery and a lot more palatable. I think I'm going to go back and listen to a lot of these. Link is here.

Halloween Bingo - Update #1


So I've decided to use the cute little bone frame for squares that are called, and cover squares I've finished with a spider web! That means when both occur at the same time, it'll have a cute little web with a border around it. I love playing with graphics!


Squares Called But Not Read:



Squares Read But Not Called:

Gothic - Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Locked Room Mystery - The Burning Court by John Dickson Carr



I'm currently reading Summer of Night (this is a LONG one) and I'll pick a new audio book as well today!

A Wild and Unremarkable Book

A Wild and Unremarkable Thing - Jen Castleberry

That's what the title should be. It's fine, as a whole. The story is fairly solid. The characters are fairly well fleshed out. It's just that nothing really happens! There's a romance that is glossed over, a family that falls into the background, and the kind of character building that makes you wonder why they really bothered at all, since nothing happens to the characters.


There's a dragon slaying contest in this book, yes you heard me right, and it's boring. Uneventful. Unremarkable. There's a girl posing as a boy for the good of her family, and it's just swept right over.


I gave this 3 stars because it was a quick read that I did actually end up finishing. I just wouldn't read it again. In fact, I'm already starting to forget it.

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier, Sally Beauman

Reading this for the Gothic square!



So far, I've alternated between wanting to smack our little heroine, and sweep her off to safety. She is so caught up in the idea of being the woman of the house, of having Manderley as her own, that she hasn't stopped to think how odd this whole thing is. Probably the least romantic proposal I've ever heard of. Hahaha. Poor little thing.


I suspect now that she's arrived at Manderley, things are going to get eerie. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. I hope there is much haunting.

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier, Sally Beauman

I've never read this before, so I decided to give the audio a shot! So far I love it. This book screams gothic fiction, even though I've only just started. The description of Manderley at the beginning of the book is perfection. I felt myself walking the rambling grounds, and even at this point I can feel the tension starting to build. The eyes watching from unknown sources.


I am SO excited to finish this.

Reading progress update: I've read 11%.

Summer of Night - Dan Simmons

I can already tell that this book and I are going to get along swimmingly! It's got that beautiful writing that builds up tension, and sets the story firmly in my mind. I can see The Bike Patrol out on their bikes, riding through the summer night, unaware that something terrible is headed their way. Yup, I'm already in love.


On another note, I have additionally established that this isn't going to be a book I can read at night. I've read IT 3 times now, and I still have to read it only in daylight. This book seems the same. It's got that dark undertone that is the stuff of nightmares.



Luna says, "Did you say that we get to start reading for Halloween Bingo TODAY?".


I'm so excited!


First up, Summer of Night by Dan Simmons.

The Quiet Child by John Burley

The Quiet Child: A Novel - John Burley

Compulsively readable. I know that little phrase gets thrown around a lot in the review world, but I've actually found it to be a true statement. Often I'll pick up a book, not really expecting anything specific from it, and find myself so immersed that I can't bear to stop reading. I confess, The Quiet Child fit that mark perfectly. I started reading, and suddenly I was a part of the McCray's world. Part of their crumbling, patched together, little family. I read this ravenously, and before I knew it I was done. So, as I said above, compulsively readable. That's the perfect description for this book.

What I loved, more than anything, was the small town feel of this thriller. The McCray's were a part of the quilt of their little town, albeit a part that many ignored. It made the McCray brothers, and their eventual abduction, feel all the more intimate. It was almost claustrophobic, being caught up in all the speculation and gossip that was thrown around throughout this story. It made it even harder to figure out exactly what was going on, and kept me guessing well past when I thought I knew where things were going.

I also really enjoyed the bond between brothers in this story. Danny and Sean were so close, and it really fed into the drama surrounding their disappearance. Which is actually also one of the reasons why book started to go off the rails for me after a while. Any time a young child in peril is involved in a book, and adults start acting poorly, I get angry. That's all I can say without spoilers, but trust me when I say that I wasn't happy with the parents here.

In fact, the last third of the book really threw me off. I wanted to love it, since everything leading  up to that had been so amazing, but I just couldn't get my footing. It was like everything that had been so mysterious, and so dangerous, was suddenly a big crush of last minute additions and wrap ups. My only solace was the karma that came to some of the characters, although I do believe that many of them deserved much worse.

All in all, this was a mainly solid read though. I'm not generally one to read a lot of thrillers, so it's nice to find one every now and then that really pulls me in. For making me care about these little boys, and really root for their survival, The Quiet Child gets a three-star rating from me. If only the ending had kept that feeling going, it would have been much higher. 

Is it September yet?

My first 3 bingo reads are sitting on my Kindle, mocking me. Hahaha. I know it's only 2 days away, but I want to start NOW.


I am impatient.


Fall is coming, and I have that happy feeling that comes along with it. Looking forward to sweaters, cocoa, fall veggies, warm blankets, more embroidery time and some cozy reads!



If you haven't already read this, but want to!

NOS4A2 - Joe Hill

It's $1.99 on the Harper Collins website right now!


Click right here.

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

Jackaby - William Ritter

This is my new train audio book, and I'm quite delighted with this Sherlock-esque character who dabbles in cases regarding the supernatural. I admit, I mostly picked this because of the cover. I never bothered to read the synopsis. Now, I'm glad about that! This has been a fun adventure so far.


Also, this audio book is excellent!

Roar by Cora Carmack

Roar - Cora Carmack

Well, this book was surprisingly good! I say that only because it took me ages to get past the first few chapters. I don't know if I wasn't feeling it at first, or if the book is just slow at the beginning, but once Aurora sets off on her grand adventure things get amazing! I loved every minute after that.


To Cora Carmack, I say thank you for writing such a fierce, yet realistic woman. One who carries the scars of her past, and is strong enough to move forward. I also thank her for writing a male interest who was anything but typical. Locke is a man who understands his power, understands Aurora's hurt, and takes that all into consideration. The spark between them felt real to me, and watching it grow made me smile.


I loved this! I hope the follow up comes soon!

Yes, yes and so much yes.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee, Christian Coulson

I'll write a real review for this soon, but since I just finished it this morning I'll have to do a little more pondering before I write. Otherwise it'll just be an entire review filled with something along the lines of...




So, yeah. I'll sit for a bit and figure out what I want to write. I LOVED this book though. It was so brilliantly written, overall. The plot was great, the characters were stellar, the attention to detail in the settings was amazing. Ugh. I love Mackenzie Lee. I do. I don't care who knows it.


I need much more Monty and Percy very very soon.

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

So, this book had been sitting at the bottom of my TBR for just about forever. I'm rather ashamed to say that I actually received a galley of this way, WAY back when I started blogging and then it just never made it to the top of the list. I even own a paperback copy of this now, and I still ignored it. It wasn't until Hex Hall popped up on my audio book recommendations at the library that I really paid attention. Which is silly! Because I loved the Rebel Belle series by Hawkins. Still, I'm a little glad I waited. The audio was great, and this was just what I needed to listen to at the time. I had a ton of fun!

First off, I can't exactly say that Sophie Mercer's story is light. There are definitely sinister things happening at her school, and terrible fates do definitely befall some of her fellow classmates. However, I think what kept this buoyant was the fact that Sophie is just so easy to fall in love with. She's sweet, sassy, and pretty much the type of teen girl that I'd love to be friends with. Despite her situation, and the funk that it threatens to push her into, she keeps looking for the good. In other words, Sophie was real. Not overly sad, not overly excitable, just a Prodigium who really wanted to fit in and have a good school experience.

Even the "mean girls" in this book weren't over the top, which was nice. I know we all love to hate a good mean girl character, and Sophie's bullies aren't any exception to that rule. However it was nice to see that they also had some substance to them as well. I can safely say, without risk of spoilers, that I finally came to care about these girls in the end. It says a lot that I not only powered through this audio in a matter of days, but that I'm also eagerly waiting for the next book to hit my library app. I need to find out what happens next.

For keeping me smiling, and guessing, this book gets a big four stars from me. I needed something in the YA genre that wasn't full of swoon-worthy, brooding boys and this was just perfect. Highly recommended.