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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 listened 300 out of 360 minutes.

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

And then there were two...

Halloween Bingo 2018 - Update #2

Alas, I didn't get a whole lot of reading done this weekend. We went to Long Beach Comic Con on Saturday, where I spent entirely too much money, and then I had a migraine most of Sunday. On the bright side, I'm chugging along way better than I was last year!


Did I mention that I'm determined to get a bingo this year? JUST ONE.



Called But Not Read

Cryptozologist - The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchet

Cozy Mystery - A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Southern Gothic - Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy

New Release - OPEN (Possibly Unbury Carol)



Read But Not Called

 Terror In a Small Town - The Detained by Kristopher Triana



Currently Reading

Fear The Drowning Deep - The Terror by Dan Simmons

Country House Mystery - And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie



Read and Called

FREE SPACE - The Fleshless Man by Norman Prentiss

Reading progress update: I've listened 78 out of 283 minutes.

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

“Best of an island is once you get there - you can't go any farther...you've come to the end of things...”


*cue dramatic reverb*


Ah, I missed you Dame Agatha. I'm so happy to be revisiting this book on audio. It's just so much fun! A much needed break from The Terror. I needed to run away from the ice for a while. It was getting oppressive.

Reading progress update: I've read 55%.

The Terror - Dan Simmons

Still totally loving this book, but also wanting to literally punch out every single man on this ship who thinks he's in charge. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MEN. Your damn ego isn't more important than your lives!


It's hard to feel sorry for a bunch of men dying, when they brought it upon themselves.


*le sigh*



Halloween Bingo 2018 - Update #1

I'm feeling pretty good about where I stand so far, since I've actually managed to finish a whole book this weekend! It's going to take me a while to get through this audio of The Terror (28 hours is no joke), so I'm going to keep reading things in between.



Called But Not Read

Cryptozologist - The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchet



Read But Not Called



Currently Reading

Fear The Drowning Deep - The Terror by Dan Simmons



Read and Called

FREE SPACE - The Detained by Kristopher Triana


Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett

Ah, I loved this book! I absolutely scrumming loved it! There's this little place in my heart that begs for gritty Fantasy. The kinds of stories that feature more than their fair share of backstabbing, and unbelievable twists. The kinds of stories where characters that I already love come to be characters that I can't dream of living without by the end of the book. That, my friends, was Foundryside. I'm smitten, and I don't care who knows it.


This story is heavily character focused, and I think it just works. Sancia Grado, our main character, is so much more than that just an epic thief. Bennett slowly, gently, draws the reader into Sancia's past, her present, and then leaves this beautiful opening for what will happen to her in the future. I was so attached to this proud woman after the first few chapters, that I actually legitimately cried when her backstory was revealed. Her character is an opportunity to showcase the damage that being someone's property does to a person, and Bennett weaves that whole story arc masterfully through the story. Sancia is definitely someone that you'll care about.


Further kudos go to the author for walking that really thin line between epic world building and forward plot movement. I never felt like I wasn't fully settled in Tevanne, but I also never felt like the book dragged to allow me to feel that way. I basically learned my surroundings by following along with Sancia, and seeing through her eyes. The dark alleys, the ramshackle homes, all stood in stark contrast to the shining campos. Bennett manages to say so much about equality, and the concept of self worth, without every actually saying anything at all. I can't even explain it to you, only promise you that it's a beautiful thing.


So, if it wasn't glaringly obvious, I have fallen in love with this series. I don't know what I expected from this book, to be honest with you. All I know is that it blew everything I have been feeling about cookie cutter Fantasy books completely out of the picture. This is good fiction. I absolutely cannot wait for more.

Reading progress update: I've read 3%.

The Terror - Dan Simmons

Starting this MASSIVE tome for my first Halloween Bingo read! 


I'm using The Terror by Dan Simmons as my Fear The Drowning Deep read, and figured that since it's so long I might as well get a head start. Hahaha.
















Surprisingly, so far I'm loving this! I thought it might be a little slow and dull, but the frigid land these men are trapped in and the unknown beast lurking in the dark, have me rapt.


Reading progress update: I've read 49%.

Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett

So far I am loving this book more than any Fantasy book that I've read lately. It's gritty, it's rough, it even made me tear up already. Whew. I'm kind of attached to this book. I just hope that the ending doesn't let me down...

Man, I love this series.

Lockwood & Co., Book Five The Empty Grave - Jonathan Stroud

I don't know if this is the last book, but I actually hope that it isn't. I'm just smitten with everything about this! The characters are fabulous, the stories are just scary enough to be fascinating, and the plots are all amazing. This is the 5th book and it hasn't lost any steam.


*happy sigh*


It was a good one to read before I dive into something REALLY dark and depressing for my next read. Hahaha.

The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett

Last Harvest, The - Kim Liggett

I find it only fair to let you know that I'm the type of reader who is fairly desensitized to horror novels at this point. I read a lot of them and, since I found this genre early on when YA horror wasn't a big thing, most of them are targeted to adults. So take my review with a grain of salt, my friends. I expect a lot from books that market themselves as horror. I love to feel the tension, hate/love the characters, and be completely blindsided at every turn. Basically, The Last Harvest had a lot to live up to. It nearly made it there too.

First off, credit where credit is due, Kim Liggett does an excellent job of setting the stage for Clay's possible descent into madness. The little town of Midland, Oklahoma is brought to life almost immediately. You can feel the breeze on a humid summer night, see the sunset over the corn fields, and relish in the small town feel of the characters and their day to day lives. I love books with settings like these. They settle you firmly into a sense of nostalgia, in my case for a place I've never been. This is my favorite kind of story, and that's one of the reasons I loved it so much.

Liggett also shines with her creation of the characters in this book as well. Clay, the golden boy quarterback turned outcast, is easy to fall in love with. As I met the rest of this not quite friends, I saw how easily each of them fit into the setting that was so expertly built. These are kids who raised in a town that sees them as the budding next generation. They are the future of Midland and, as such, can do no wrong. Although there wasn't as much time to get to know them as I would have liked, I at least appreciated the fact that they felt like real people, with real issues.

What took the star rating down for me in this book, and again I remind you that I'm pretty picky about books in this genre, is a mixture of how slow it was to build and how unsurprising the majority of the story was. Don't get me wrong, YA horror has it rough. There's a line that you can't cross in terms of the actual horror/gore aspects and I really feel like it hampered this story. What should have been shocking events in Clay's story, felt more like small breaks from the lull of this book. Although I liked most of the characters well enough, their fates never really resonated with me. As I mentioned before, my favorite part of this genre is the attachment and tension that I usually feel. I didn't feel much of that here at all.

I can say that this book is very easy to read through though, despite anything else. I powered through the story in roughly two hours, and didn't feel like I wasn't going to finish. There was enough to keep me invested in what the ending would actually be, even though I thought I had figured it out, and so I appreciated that. I just wish there had been more to make me feel really invested. I'll give this three stars, and highly recommend it to anyone starting out in the horror genre! It's well written, and not too terribly terrifying. An excellent place for a beginning. 

Halloween Bingo 2018 - Tracking Post

I saw that MM gave us a headstart on this! (Huzzah!) So I figured I'd better get my butt into gear. I still have to finish the two books I'm reading now, but I'm debating on which book I want to start on Wednesday. So many choices....


Anyway I'll be posting once every 2 weeks with updates on squares I've completed/have been called/etc. Here's my method.



My card will start out like this, at half transparency, and I'll put the squares that are called in full color/transparency.



My two markers are a witch's hat for books I'm currently reading, and a set of crossed bones for books that I've finished :). So ultimately, a called and read square will be in full color and have those little bones over it.


I REALLY want to get a bingo this year. I'm determined!


Now... which book to start with...

Reading progress update: I've read 49%.

 All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother - Danielle Teller

Wow, this book is actually hardcore surprising me with its complexity. I guess I just expected your standard "retelling" with a few things changed and really the overall story mostly intact. Teller has me stunned though, because this book has me feeling things I honestly wasn't ready for.


Who knew I'd actually want to hug the "wicked stepmother" and the "ugly stepsisters"? If this ends strong, I think this might be my favorite book so far this year.

Dark Tales: The Snow Queen: A Graphic Novel

Dark Tales: The Snow Queen: A Graphic Novel - Hans Christian Andersen, Emilie Majarian

The Snow Queen, it continues to be a story that has a special spot in my heart. I love the concept of a friendship so deep, and so pure, that nothing can keep them apart. I've also always loved the fact that this is the type of story where a girl rescues a boy, rather than the other way around! So, it's no surprise that I was so eager to read this graphic novel take on this beloved story.

Sadly, I didn't love it as much as I wanted to. While the bones of the story are intact, and the characters are still all true to themselves, I felt like this version zipped along too quickly to really bring out the aspects of the story that I love. The lack of time makes it so that the story is a more watered down version, and you really don't get the epic feel of Gerda's journey. I feel like this was additionally hampered by the simplicity of the illustrations in this book. The Snow Queen leaves so much space for gorgeous panels, filled with icy backdrops and epic journeys. It all just felt too flat to me, and left a bit disappointed.

For staying true to the story I love, I'm willing to give three stars. I just wanted more.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng

I'm honestly kind of of disappointed in this book. I'd heard so many rave reviews from friends who read, and loved it. Perhaps I set my expectations slightly too high because of that, but this just didn't live up to what I was hoping for. I understood what Ng was going for. I saw the picture that she was trying to paint with total clarity. This story just never hit the point where I felt fully invested in it, and that was a shame.


This book was written beautifully. It was lyrical, and flowed perfectly. It was the characters that never let me into their lives. Even Lydia, our poor deceased main character, felt like a flat piece of cardboard rather than a real girl. I hated her mother. I hated her brother. I somewhat liked her father and her sister, but really only because they were the two characters who had some kind of depth to them. They were flawed, and they let me see their true selves. Lydia was a cutout. A cutout of a girl who is floundering in a life that she didn't build for herself. I'm not going to lie, I kind of hated her too.


I know there will be people who love this story. I, alas, am simply not one of them.

Halloween Bingo 2018 - Potential Reads!

There is absolutely no guarantee that I'm going to stick to these, but I do like to at least have an idea of what I want to read next :). Plus, I love making lists. So here goes!



A Grimm Tale Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Baker Street Irregulars Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Genre: Suspense - Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

ShiftersWritten in Red by Anne Bishop

Modern Masters of HorrorSour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke



Relics and CuriositiesNeedful Things by Stephen King

DoomsdayThe Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Moder NoirIn the Woods by Tara French

Fear the Drowning DeepThe Terror by Dan Simmons

Terror In a Small TownThe Detained by Kristopher Triana



Romantic SuspenseWindow on the Square by Phyllis A. Whitney

Southern GothicThe Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

Free Square - OPEN (pending buddy read/etc.)

Ghost StoriesThe Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Country House MysteryAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie



SpellboundThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Creepy CarnivalsJoyland by Stephen King

Cozy Mystery - OPEN (anyone have anything they love and want to recommend?)

13Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

GothicUnnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman



CrytozoologistThe Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

New Release - OPEN (any suggestions?)

Slasher StoriesDarkness, Tell Us by Richard Laymon

DeadlandsThe Rising by Brian Keene

Terrifying WomenExperimental Film by Gemma Files



A LOT of these books are sitting on my shelves, wasting away, so this is a good excuse to pull some and mow through them. Even better, the vast majority of these books have been sitting on my TBR for ages. So I'll try to stick to this!

Reading progress update: I've read 91 out of 352 pages.

Last Harvest, The - Kim Liggett

I wanted to save this to read for Halloween Bingo, but it's a review copy that was burning a hole in my pile so... here we are.


I'm conflicted on this book so far. On the one hand, it's a breeze to read. I flew through 91 pages in the span on my hour long train commute.


On the other hand, because this is YA horror, it's so darn tame. Nothing has come my way that has been surprising, or scary, although I can tell the author is trying so hard. There's just a line in the sand that YA can't step over most times, and that's hampering this book. It needs more tension, and more substance.


I know I'll finish it, so I'll let you know what I think at the end.