2019 Discussion Challenge Sign Up

I am excited to sign up for and participate in the 2019 Discussion Challenge hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight!

As a new book blogger, I am a little overwhelmed by all of the things available to me to do, so I’m narrowing it down to what I want to do. And I want to post more discussions like “Let’s Talk Longmire” and “Letting Go of the Guilt” so I thought this would be the perfect one for me. I’m going to go for the gold here and that I wholly intend to be Terrifically Talkative with 35 posts at least.

I am currently working on a 2019 Challenge page that you’ll see here pretty soon as I figure out what I’m doing for the challenges and such. So definitely keep an eye out for that!


December/Year’s End Wrap-Up Round-Up

As a brand new book blog, it’s hard to hop on the wagon of memes, but this is one that I love. I love wrap up posts with links to cool things, I love being able to promote myself, and I love everyone who has read so far and everyone who will read in the future (all five of you). So here it is, a little wrap-up of my blog so far for the month of December.

Most Popular Posts: 

Review: At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen goes into one of my favorite authors and now, one of my favorite books.

My TBR Pile is Huge and It’s a Problem: 5 Books I Need to Read is a quick glance at my massive To Be Read pile, and features books I’m dying to read but just don’t have the time to read them. Spoiler: I abandoned one of them!

Books Reviewed This Month:

Review: At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen discusses one of my favorite authors and now one of my favorite books. Mostly it’s gushing. There’s not a lot of substance, okay.

Review: Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson goes over the most recent in the Longmire mystery series. And in case you haven’t heard, I love Longmire and I like to talk about it.

Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith goes over why this novel wasn’t my favorite and why I’m disappointed in it. Not the best book I read this month!

What Else Happened this Month

  • I started a book blog!
  • Christmas happened and I got a record player that I’m stoked about.
  • Yule happened and I burned a log in the fireplace.
  • A bunch of medical stuff happened with me, and the story starts with sepsis in October and is currently in the middle of cardiologist in January. Three hospital trips in three months, woo!
  • I made my excited-for book list for 2019.
  • My resolution for 2019 is to live unapologetically, and it starts with letting go of book guilt.
  • You’ll see even more in January about my reading resolutions for 2019!

It’s been a great month just starting out and I can’t wait to do more! While I’m posting every day, you may see me a bit more sporadically as I start a new job and learn to love and adore life in ways I haven’t done yet! Follow me on Twitter @CassieSinclair6!

Review: At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Monsters all around.

So I went into At the Water’s Edge blind, in that I knew the author’s name, but not a thing about the book. I had read Water for Elephants when it first came out years ago, and loved it, so I was pumped to pick up At the Water’s Edge and find Gruen’s style similar to her debut novel – lyrical and surprisingly contemporary for a historical fiction.

In the book, Maddie is married to Ellis, who is dependent on his family’s wealth. When they lose everything, Maddie goes to Scotland with Ellis and their wealthy friend Hank, in an effort to regain Ellis’ dignity back by finding the Loch Ness monster (though his father had fakes the pictures years before). While there, in a little inn in Scotland with the backdrop of the Great War, Maddie learns about herself, about her husband, about monsters, and about love – there are monsters all around her.

Warning: Spoilers for the book from this point on.

One thing I love about Sara Gruen’s writing is the way that she handles abuse and manipulation. You don’t see Ellis for the monster he truly is right away – it’s a gradual realization that comes along as Maddie sees it. And on the other hand, you don’t see Angus as the gentle protector or love interest until Maddie sees him that way. Sara makes sure that you see the world as Maddie sees it – when her naive bubble bursts, yours does as well, due to masterful writing.

My only complaint is that it felt like the story got overly long about three quarters of the way in. It could have been that I was just excited to read what would happen, it could be that I just wanted to see Maddie with Angus and not Ellis. I may never know.

What I do know, though, is that I’ll be looking for more by Sara Gruen. This read was amazing, and surprisingly quick!

My Christmas Library Book Haul

Most of my reading material I get from the library, either on Overdrive or in person. I am fortunate in that I live in a small enough town that the library is not often too busy, and the new releases tend to stick around on the shelves for a couple of days. However, it’s also a big enough town that we get really good books in. Love my library! ❤

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely you light those book jackets!

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Look, I learned how to use a heading!

This is a reread for me. I loved it when I first read it, but I honestly read it so quickly I don’t remember why I loved it. That is a tragedy, and I’ll be revisiting the Artful Dodger and his story again over the winter holidays. One thing I do remember is that Pratchett’s style is consistent with that of his Discworld series, except the story is not so fanciful. It’s an interesting take on Oliver Twist, that’s for sure!

The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I’ll be honest here: I’ve never read Neil Gaiman. I really don’t know anything about this book other than the Wikipedia article says it’s about “the disconnect between childhood and adulthood.” That resonates with me, a bit, because I’m 25, but I feel 17. I feel 14. I feel 5. I don’t feel as though I should be a full-grown adult yet, and I struggle doing adult things.

It looks to be a short read, the cover art is gorgeous, and I honestly hope that it’s a good introduction to a legendary author (if I like it, I may actually read American Gods).

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

This is another book that I just picked up because it looked interesting. A disaster novel based around the idea that the California drought causes the taps to run dry. I love disaster novels, and I love weather thrillers (as I call them – think Twister and Day After Tomorrow). This just seems to be in that vein of story.

Couldn’t find a quote so here’s the cover.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

So on my list of literary figures that I love, it goes like this:

  1. Sherlock Holmes
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Merlin

Notice how Sherlock Holmes is at the top of the list.

A Study in Charlotte is a new series based around the idea of the teenage descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson solving mysteries together. I have high hopes for this book, and I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I was told to read this because I loved Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. And I did love that duology, and I need to read the Grisha trilogy, but this is the book that’s hot now, and I’m excited to find out why. I love what I’ve heard so far about it, and I love the quotes I can find from it, so I’m excited to read it this holiday. In fact, I’m reluctant to put up a quote image, as I don’t want the book spoiled for me.

These books are in no apparent order, instead I’ll be doing what I always do: Reading what I want. Merry Christmas!

4 Books I Want To Read Again Now That I’m an Adult

You probably have a few, too: books that you didn’t appreciate to the fullest extent at age 13 or younger. I had a super high reading level when I was a kid, so I was stuck reading a bunch of books that were too old for me because technically, I understood the words, even if I didn’t understand the nuances. As a result, I have a slew of books that I think I need to reread now that I’m an adult, and can actually understand what’s going on.

So here they are: 4 books that I want to reread now that I’m officially a grown-up (for like seven years now).

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants came out in 2006, when I was 13. I read it for one simple reason: it was a NaNoWriMo novel, and I did National Novel Writing Month religiously starting at the age of 11. I still do it, I just fail now more often than I win. But there’s a lot of nuances I probably missed as a young 13-year-old – I liked the writing, I liked the romance, but I didn’t understand the subplot of getting older, of aging. Now, I am still only 25, but I think I could understand it better. And so, Water for Elephants is on this list.

Redwall (series) by Brian Jacques

I devoured these books starting at age 9. Apparently, I missed a lot of symbolism – especially religious symbolism. I’m almost hesitant to read them again because I’m not sure I want the memory of them to be… tarnished?… by an adult read. I mean, this is the series that I used to play-act on sunny days – I was a squirrel archer from Redwall Abbey, and I’d go running around in the grass screaming “Eulalia!” at the top of my lungs, much to the chagrin of my neighbors.

So maybe I’ll reread this. Maybe I won’t. Maybe, sometimes, it’s better to let good memories stay good.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

So I’ve actually read Fahrenheit 451 at least six times, in a row, and here’s why. Do you remember back in the day, when you’d be sitting in your English class (everyone stop and picture a 14 or 15-year-old Witch in the middle of her grunge baby phase at a desk in high school), and the teacher would have everyone take turns reading aloud?

This was torture for me.

In the time it took one person to read one section, I’d have finished a chapter. Now, I’m not knocking the practice – I don’t teach, I’m by no means an expert – but for me, it was absolutely awful having to sit there and listen to the other students read haltingly a book that they didn’t even want to read in the first place.

So I read it six times while waiting for them to read it once.

I’m thinking I should reread it and really take my time with it, read it and get to know it, return to the world that Bradbury created. I’m just afraid I’ll see our own world within it.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

Ah, fine, I’ll put up the actual cover too.

I read these books at 8 or 9 and I don’t remember them – instead, I remember the movies. That seems like a travesty, because I remember enjoying them, even being able to quote them, but they’re lost to me much like pre-Algebra. I hate putting books in the same category as math, because I hate math.

So it’s time to revisit, I think, Middle Earth.

Confession time: This list was going to be 5 books but honestly, I couldn’t think of a 5th one that made sense, and didn’t sound weird, so here are some runners-up.

  • So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • The Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks
  • Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

What are some books you need to reread, some worlds that may be worth revisiting for you?

Abandoning a Book: Letting Go of the Guilt

The truth is, I’m a picky reader. I want to be one of those people who can devour any and all books that come their way, and I used to be, back when I was a kid and reading was new and I didn’t write my own books. But the fact of the matter is, I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. If reading is a hobby for me, if it’s something I enjoy, why would I turn it into something I don’t have fun doing?

The one that got away…

Now, let’s talk about The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. For all intents and purposes, this looked to be the holiday book of my dreams: retelling of a classic Christmas story, a setting I didn’t expect, a character with a redemption arc. But when it came time to start the book, I ran into the same problem I did with movies like Groundhog Day.

I can’t read a book with a main character that’s supposed to be unlikable. I just can’t do it. It doesn’t matter that I know that she’ll turn it around in the end – Holly Chase made the book so unreadable for me (and it was well-written and intriguing, I just had so much anxiety about the character) that I wasn’t able to get past the first ten pages.

Now, that’s a personal thing that I have. Not everyone is going to pick up Holly Chase and think, “Oh, man, this book gives me anxiety because I don’t like the main character!” In fact, there are plenty of people in my book Facebook group who loved it. So I’m sure it’s a great book.

It’s just not the book for me.

The thing about being involved in the book community is that there is a certain air of “you have to see this through.” You have to finish the book to be able to review it. You have to make it to the last page, even if you’re not having fun anymore. Abandoning a book damns the book, and it damns you – why weren’t you able to finish it? What’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with you?

It’s not something overt that happens, but admit it, we all feel a bit of guilt when we put down a book we can’t finish. It’s admitting defeat! But not really.

You see, I think that guilt over abandoning a book is BS. Maybe it’s because my New Year’s Resolution is to live life with no unwarranted apologies, but I think that when it comes to a hobby, something we’re supposed to enjoy, there is no shame in saying, “This isn’t fun for me, I’m making it fun for me again.”

So here’s the end of my spiel. This year, do yourself a favor. If you don’t like a book, put it down. If you find yourself dreading a read, abandon it. If everyone else is reading something and you really don’t want to, don’t read it. Make reading fun for yourself!

Books Coming Out in 2019 That I Want Now

One of my favorite things about a new year is all the new books that will be coming out. I haven’t been excited these past couple years, because I haven’t been reading. But this year… this year, gimme those good books!

The Dreamers: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker

This just sounds lyrical. The idea is that a plague is taking over, a plague of a sleep where people have heightened dreams and don’t wake up. Now, I love disaster novels, and I’m not sure that this counts, but something about it is singing to me. I can’t wait to read this, and I think maybe it’s the cover art? I’m not altogether sure. There’s just something about this book.

The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang

As someone who also lives with mental illness, I’m excited for this book because I think it’s time we broke the stigma. Let’s talk about it more! Let’s write about it more! And not in that way that most mystery novels do, let’s actually talk about living with bipolar 1, schizoeffective, borderline, all of it. My hope for this book is that it’s a peek into a life that I both live and don’t live.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

So for those of you who don’t know me (I’m talking to like the single person who reads this that I didn’t recruit from my Facebook friends), I’m crazy about music novels. This checks the box – this novel is based in the whirlwind world of 1970s music industry. There’s already an adaptation being ordered, starring Reese Witherspoon, and I’m hoping that that means this book is amazing. I need to hurry up and get paid so I can preorder! This may be the book I’m most excited about.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

So here’s another fun fact about me: I love crime novels. And this book is all about a couple whose favorite pastime is getting away with murder. Oh, man, Lt. Joe Kenda would have a field day with this (“Well, my, my, my.”). Maybe that’s why I read so many mystery and crime novels – maybe it’s my obsession with Discovery ID. No, but seriously, super excited for this novel, because it seems unique.

Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene

So this book is a somber addition to the list. It tackles moving on from and experiencing what I consider to be unimaginable pain – the loss of a child. I’m interested in this novel because it seems human and, in some way, inspiring because it deals with “overcoming” grief. And I say that in quotations because I don’t believe you “overcome” grief, you learn how to go through it and live with it. And I think this novel will explore that.

So, what are you looking forward to reading in 2019? Let me know in the comments!