My Wintry TBR | more classics & character analysis’s

hello, my loves! I hope you all are doing well and staying safe!

I recently watched Jess from sunbeamsjess’ Wintry Book Recommendations, and it inspired me to create my own wintry TBR. I don’t typically choose my reading lists based on the seasons, but what the hell! It’s never too late to try something new.

I realize it’s not winter for everyone, but I hope you all can still find some decent recommendations.

Without further adieu, onto the books!

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The Books

Since I’m not a seasonal reader, I’m not exactly sure what makes a “winter read,” so I’m kind of winging it. Personally, I’m in the mood to read longer books, quite a few classics, and books set during the winter time, of course, so that’s exactly what this TBR contains.

Enjoy!

A Tale of Two Cities & Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Much like Jess said, it wouldn’t be a true winter reading list without some Dickens, so I decided to include two!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve never read a Dickens novel — I tried starting A Tale of Two Cities a few months ago, but I ended up putting it down (mood reading, amirite?). Of course, I know the plot of A Christmas Carol thanks to the movie adaptations, but I’m ashamed I’ve never read a Dickens book.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to finally put one of these beauties on my Goodreads “read” shelf!

Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

To be fair, I technically have already started reading Eileen — well, a page or two.

I have no idea what this book is about, but I’ve heard wonderful things about Ottessa Moshfegh’s other book, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Funny enough, I didn’t even realize Eileen was one of her books until I took a double take at the cover — not much gets by me, obviously.

Even though I’m unfamiliar with the plot, I decided to incorporate it into my wintry reads solely based off the cover: the isolated car, the snowflakes falling, the red and black contrast. I love it all!

I’m also super stoked to pick this up simply because it gives off character analysis vibes, which we all know I LOVE. I mean, it’s called Eileen, so what’s this woman all about?

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

If you’ve been following me since the beginning of my blog, you’re probably tired of seeing Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina plastered on a ton of my TBRs. Hopefully, this will be the last!

Around the winter time, I always have the urge to read hefty, chunky books or a small series, so what better time to pick up Anna Karenina? Plus, the snowy buildings on the cover, as well as the outfit, screams winter season!

Anyone up for a buddy read to keep me motivated? Or maybe I can host one on my Instagram? Let me know if you’d like to see that!

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (Reread)

Before I get called out and dragged in the comments, no this is not a very “wintry” read, but hear me out.

I read this last year for my dystopian British novel course, and I completely fell in love with Burgess’ violent British society, as well as our “humble narrator,” little Alex.

I decided to include A Clockwork Orange into my wintry reads because it deals with a lot of reflection, which I seem to do a lot of when daylight savings hits and the days get shorter and shorter. With discussions of free will, violence, and a deep-dive into Alex’s complex character, A Clockwork Orange is a perfect read for my winter season. Plus, it’s a pretty short read.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

Forgive me for my horrid copy of Wuthering Heights — I really need be on the lookout for a single copy soon.

Much like Dickens, I’ve never read Wuthering Heights — cue the “boo’s.” It’s yet another one of those novels that I’ve been meaning to get to, but never got around to it. I always see this book recommended for the fall season, so I’m going to see if that also rolls over into winter (fingers crossed!).

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The End

I’m feeling very hopeful about my reading endeavors for the next few months!

I’ve had a lot more time and motivation to read lately — I can only thank the cold weather. Do you all feel more productive during the winter, or is it just me? I’ve been feeling a lot more creative, and I have so many ideas to do so many things. Tis the season of reflection!

Let me know what you all are excited to read in the next few months! Stay safe!

The Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Hello, my darlings! I hope you’re all having/had a wonderful day!

I recently saw Shawshank from Void If Removed do the Anonymous Bookaholics Tag, and it made me want to tag along — get it? (I’m so sorry for the terrible puns, but I simply cannot help myself). Honestly, I’ll find any excuse to talk about books and how much I love them, because why not?

I tried to do some deep-diving to find the original creator, but I couldn’t find them. If you know, please tag them or let me know so I can give them the credit they deserve!

Without further ado, let’s get into the questions!

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1. What do you like about buying books?

Right off the bat, I have to acknowledge my own capitalistic, egotistical desires? Well, let’s dive in.

Buying books, or buying anything in general, often feels like filling an unsatisfied want or void that you may not even know you have. I’m definitely a retail therapy type of gal. When I’m depressed or feeling down, treating myself to a new book or a cute sweater gives me that hit of dopamine that I’m practically begging for. “Treat yourself” is a motto I stand by whole-heartedly — in moderation, of course.

I used to never think twice about buying an enormous stack of books every time I visited a bookshop, but after taking a mind-altering college course covering literary theory (which I’m still trying to grasp, so be gentle with my chaotic explanation), I thought a little bit more seriously about my buying habits.

You see, capitalism is fed by consumers — the main goal is to make you, the consumer, spend as much money as possible; therefore, they advertise their product in a way to make it appear as if that product will complete your life and fulfill that void altogether. In reality, the new excitement for that product will eventually die out, and another product will come along to attempt to complete you of your new desire (at a price, of course). And thus, the cycle continues of feeding into your own egotistical wants while others — specifically huge companies and corporations — profit.

Because of this, I try to purchase from small businesses and individuals so I know the profit is going towards people that need it rather than big corporations that want to rule the industries. I also try not to mindlessly buy books in bulk anymore for the sake of my wallet, as well as trying to not feed into my egotistical “I need to own every book known to man to feel fulfilled and accepted” side.

Now, if you would like a less depressing, more positive answer than my joy-sucking thoughts on capitalism, I guess I can provide that, too.

What I love most about buying books is the excitement that comes with the unknown of a new story. Every book contains its own world, people, adventures, lessons, etc., and there’s nothing quite like experiencing a book for the first time. The anticipation to dive head first into a new book that you’re amped to read is the best feeling in the world.

2. How often do you buy books?

As you can probably tell from my previous question, not very often. I do go through random spells of book-buying and hauling, but I try to remind myself that I already have so many unread books on my shelves that need some love and attention.

If I was asked this same question just a couple of years ago, I would have a completely different answer. I used to buy books on the regular — at least once or twice a month. But, once I took that literary theory course, and it pried into the depth of my own unfulfilled desires, I cut my spending a lot in general.

3. Bookstore or online shopping: which do you prefer?

I definitely prefer bookstores since I buy the majority of my books that way, but I also love online shopping for when I’m looking for a specific edition or title that my local bookshop doesn’t have or carry at the time.

I think I prefer bookstores the most for the atmosphere. There’s something homey and comforting when browsing, what feels like, endless amounts of shelves stuffed and overflowing with books, the smell of paper and ink occasionally wafting across your nose, surrounded by a galore of stories waiting to be heard.

Bookstores are beautiful safe spaces.

4. Do you have a favorite bookshop?

I do! Mr. K’s Used Books, Music, and More is my favorite local, used bookshop. They have an enormous selection of used books, textbooks, video games, music, etc. at amazing prices. The best part about Mr. K’s is that they accept books for trade credit, so it’s not hard to ball out on a budget if you have some books you want to donate!

5. Do you pre-order books?

I don’t think I’ve ever pre-ordered a book in my life. I think it’s because I’m constantly trying to keep up with my overflowing TBR, along with my previous thoughts on capitalism, but I’ll spare you all another rant lmao.

6. Do you have a monthly buying limit?

Nope. I go with the vibes — it really depends how much I’m in the mood to read that month.

7. How big is your wishlist?

Enormous. Never-ending. Infinite. And all the other synonyms.

8. Which three books from your wishlist do you wish to own right now?

Only three??? Are these types of questions super difficult for anyone else?

After taking an entire day trying to decide which three specific books I would want right now (we love being a libra and not being able to make even the simplest of decisions), I’ve finally decided on the following ones:

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

I’ve had this on my TBR for a couple of years now, yet I somehow keep forgetting to pick it up! The recent talk over the new adaptation starring Armie Hammer has bumped Rebecca to the top of my TBR — I might even head to the bookstore after I’ve finished writing this.

Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

Another book that’s growing fictional dust from sitting in my mental TBR for quite some time — really ever since I first read Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Other than Tess, this one seems to be another highly talked about Hardy novel, and I just need more of his stories in my life.

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

Yet another read that’s been on my TBR since I can remember. I’ve never read anything from Toni Morrison — somehow my high school completely skipped over her — and I’m ready to fix that! The Bluest Eye is probably one of Morrison’s, if not THE one, most popular and talked about books, so I hope to read this one first.

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Tag! You’re it!

I had so much fun participating in this tag, and now I’m tagging, not one or two, but all of you!

I know you’re suppose to tag specific people, but where’s the fun in that? Let’s all have a turn!

The Realities of a Mood Reader | books i need to finish

Hello, my loves!

I’m back yet again after a long break — I promise I can explain. Life has been stressful and busy, and my mental health hasn’t been the best. I wasn’t reading anything, and what I did read was never consistent (as you’ll see in a moment). I felt like I had nothing to write about!, and I ended up falling into a self-deprecating abyss. I decided it was time for a little break for rejuvenation purposes, and I think it helped quite a bit, even though I am a bit nervous to be writing again, tbh.

But enough about my inconsistent and hectic life; we both know you’re here for the book content!

A Change in Reading Pace

I’ve always been a read-one-book-at-a-time gal (except while in college, of course), but I’ve now found myself with quite a hefty stack of half-read books. I’m not sure if it’s my habit of reading at least 4 books all at once in college for classes, my poor attention span, or if I’m simply developing into a mood reader.

There’s so many books that I want to catch up on reading, and my reading seems to show that. Why read one at a time when you can read all of them at the same time? At least that’s what my brain has been asking me.

Plus, I’ve been picking up books when I’m in the mood to read them rather than planning to finish a single book before moving on to the next. In all honesty, I’m just experimenting with the way I read to see what works best for me. Of course, it’s a little jarring and stressful trying to keep up with each story plot/characters and the anxiety-inducing feeling that comes with hardly ever finishing a book, but it has helped me read a lot more. If I’m not feeling a book, instead of DNFing it and giving up on it completely, I simply put it down for the time being and pick up something I’m actually in the mood for. So far, this change has been a great way to tackle my reading slump because I’m reading what I’m enjoying at the time rather than forcing myself to finish a book I’m really not feeling.

10/10 recommend experimenting with your reading process!

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The Reading List

This list mostly consists of classics, along with a short story anthology. As you might notice, a few of these books have been included in past posts, but your girl hasn’t read much in the past few months. Cut me some slack!

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (ReRead)

In times of stress, you tend to stick with the familiar. That’s exactly what made me pick up one of my all-time favorite books, yet again, Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

I’m pretty sure Tess was the first classic I ever read — thank you, E. L. James, for the introduction — and I’ve held it close to my heart ever since. With the anxieties revolving around the election (thank god we’re finally done with dumby Donnie) and the stresses that naturally come along with being a part of society, I desperately needed a comfort read to distract me, and Hardy has provided yet again! Since I already know and love the story, it’s effortless to kickback and enjoy.

I have a good feeling I’m going to be finishing Hardy’s novel very very soon!

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this book; because of that, I haven’t picked it up in about 2 months. However, I refuse to DNF it! Even if it sits on my shelf for months, or even years, to come, I have a strong intuition that I’m going to finish The Catcher in the Rye one day.

Honestly, I have no idea why I feel the need to complete this book, but I’m sticking with my gut feeling. Talking about it now makes me want to jump back in and contemplate whether or not Salinger had a bet with his friends to see who could use “goddam” the most in one novel. I quickly understood why this was once banned.

Candide – Voltaire

As a lover of French culture and satirical heroic quest stories, I had to start Voltaire’s Candide, and I’m loving it so far. Since it’s a short book, I thought I would be able to finish it in one sitting, but my slow reading brain said otherwise. I only have about 50 pages left, so I’m hoping to finish it pretty quickly.

The dark humor and Candide, the main character, reminds me a lot of Apuleius’ The Golden Ass (read my review of it). It has the same over-the-top, absurd plot points with an unlucky character as the start, but The Golden Ass made me laugh more than Candide so far. I can’t wait to do a full review of this one soon!

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

You guys, you don’t understand how happy I am to finally start understanding the memes and jokes surrounding Dorian Gray. They’re spot on, honestly.

With the extensive philosophical ideas and conversations embedded in this story, I’m definitely taking my time reading it so my brain can fully digest it. I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I finish Dorian Gray, but I’m super excited to discuss it with you all when I’m done!

His Hideous Heart – Edited by Dahlia Adler

Edgar. Allan. Poe.

That’s all you really have to include in a book description and I will eat it up.

His Hideous Heart is an anthology composed of short stories inspired by Poe’s writings, as well as the Poe’s original works. I started it in October hoping that I would finish it in time for a Halloween-y post, but I had less time to read than I thought and ended up only getting through about half of it.

Even though I thought it’d be a faster read, I’m still enjoying the stories a lot! I love seeing Poe’s classic tales revamped and modernized by talented, popular writers. The fact that you also get all of the corresponding Poe stories in the same book is pretty awesome, too.

Honestly, I have no idea whether to finish this and put a review out immediately after or wait until next October to post my thoughts. Which would you all prefer?

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The Future

As you guys might be able to tell, I have quite a bit of reading to catch up on. I’m in the process of adjusting my schedule to make more time for reading and writing, and I just wanted to thank you all for being patient with me! This year has been a whirlwind of a time, and my life feels scattered all over the place in return.

I’ve been feeling super inspired to write more posts lately, so I hope to have more fun content out soon for you all! ❤

Of course, I’ll be posting my thoughts about all of these books whenever I get around to finishing them. Stay tuned 🙂

Life Update | where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what’s to come

Hello my darlings! Long time, no see. I hope you’re all doing wonderfully!

I’ve taken a step back from my blog this past month, primarily from a stressful life and unsuccessful reading experience.

As I’ve talked about in the past, I’ve been in a weird reading slump; half finishing books and never meeting my TBR goals. Even though I have finished quite a few memorable and thought-provoking reads, I haven’t been able to really enjoy and appreciate a well-written book. Maybe it’s me, or maybe I have yet to find something that kindles a flame inside my dead heart.

Either way, it’s not been a very good reading time.

Since I wasn’t reading any new books, I didn’t have any drive to post on my book-focused blog. It didn’t feel right. Eventually, I succumbed to smoke sessions and reruns of The Office and Trailer Park Boys to fill my spare time while simultaneously avoiding my graduate application. Ya girl wasn’t getting shit done.

But I’m happy to say that I’m feeling inspired and motivated enough to announce my return!

It could be the recent full moon, or the fact that it’s my birth month (happy libra season!!), but I’m ready to reorganize both my life and my blog.

After some minor reflections, I’ve decided to revamp my blog to not only book-related content, but also an outlet to experiment with my own writings, as well as a few random shit posts.

TBR posts and typical book hauls just aren’t doing it for me anymore, which I hope is a good thing, and I want my writing to be both organic and authentic.

Not that I think my previous posts are bad or disingenuous, but they felt very structured and often forced. I wasn’t having fun with it, but I think I feel more comfortable now to branch out into new, fresh and fun content and writing, whatever that may consist of.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing book reviews, hauls, and recommendations, but I’m going to take a break from TBRs and, maybe (depending on how many books I finish), monthly wrap-ups. However, I’m going to be posting more poems, short stories, articles, or whatever I’m feeling at that particular time.

I’m definitely looking forward to letting myself relax and enjoy writing rather than making it a chore, as well as getting my shit together for grad school, and I’m ecstatic to dive into some new creative elements!

Honestly, with Trump testing positive for COVID-19, things are already starting to look up. Nevertheless, VOTE. HIM. OUT. PLEASE. FOR THE LOVE OF HUMANITY.

I hope you all have a wonderful and spooky libra season! Sending much love and successful reading endeavors to all of you, and thanks for sticking around for this sporadic mess of a life update.

August TBR | Big Books, Old Faves, and Quick Reads

July was the month of defeating the reading slump, and August is the month of catch ups.

As someone who typically makes super overly ambitious TBRs, I tried to switch it up a bit by making a more realistic list of books I want to get to. I’m hoping this takes the pressure off of me wanting to finish 10 – 15 books in a month — why do I do this to myself? I have no idea — and gives me some room to pick up some extra books that I might be feeling in the moment.

Basically, my reading is very sporadic and unpredictable, so I’m trying to adjust my TBRs accordingly.

Anyways, enough of my mindless babbling and more books!

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The TBR

11/22/63 – Stephen King

I started King’s 11/22/63 this past April, got about halfway through it, and then sat it down for some reason. I believe moving in July was my main reason for putting it down, or it could be the size of this behemoth intimidates me, but, nonetheless, I’m picking it back up.

11/22/63 is what I’m reading currently, and I’m around 65% done with it. This is my first King novel ever, and I understand both why people love him and why people get frustrated with him. There’s definitely a lot of description and kind-of boring spots where it feels like I’m reading about paint drying, but King’s writing is so beautiful, so I don’t really mind the extra pages.

Whenever I finish this book, it will be the longest book I’ve ever read ever. I’m very excited, to say the least.

Insomnia – Stephen King

Yet another King book! Does this mean I’m becoming a Stephen King fan?

For some reason, I’ve been in the mood to read big books (500+ pages), and this one was calling my name. Whereas 11/22/63 is 849 pages, Insomnia is 912. Ya girl is working up her reading stamina so she can read King’s It and The Stand without taking all year.

The cover is what originally sold me on Insomnia. Just look at it! I love the deep red and the huge eye within the palm of the hand. It’s beautiful.

The main reason why I want to read this is because it follows a man suffering from insomnia (obviously), and he starts off sleeping a few hours to not sleeping at all. It reminded me of the Russian Sleep Experiment urban legend about scientists forcing people to say awake until they go mad. I feel like this is either going to be a disturbing in the best way possible or the worst. We’ll just have to wait and see!

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

Honestly, I have no idea what this is about. I just know that it’s a once-controversial classic that people tried to ban from libraries.

I mean, I love books that legislatures have tried to ban simply because of curiosity. Why did people hate this book so much? What makes it unacceptable for schools and libraries? I have to find out.

I threw this book on my TBR mainly because it’s short. Plus, I’ve been meaning to pick The Catcher in the Rye for about 3 years now, and I need to do it already. Fingers crossed I finally get to this.

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Twilight – Stephenie Meyer / re-read

So, you may or may not have heard about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, but it’s the greatest YA emo paranormal to ever exist. This series completely consumed my hormonal and emotional pre-teen years, and I just want to immerse myself back into this world again.

Plus, if you didn’t know, Midnight Sun — a companion novel from Edward’s POV — was released yesterday. As a ride-or-die Team Edward Cullen gal, I’m obligated to read that, so I’m going to refresh my Twilight knowledge — as if I don’t know every detail by heart — before I grab Midnight Sun.

To be honest, I’d love to do a week-long Twilight readathon, but we’ll see if I even have the time for that.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

If you saw my Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone review, you’ll know I’m reading the series for the first time. I’m trying to finish the series by the end of December, but I didn’t realize I will have to double up two books in one month in order to do that. However, I’m still going to try and make it happen, but we’re sticking to one this month (again, realistic goals).

I’m super excited to hear about Harry, Ron, and Hermione, along with Neville, and ready to immerse myself back into the magical world of Hogwarts. I already know it’s going to be a 5/5.

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The Excitement

I’m feeling so good about my reading going into August!

I’m excited to read some old favorites and big books, and, hopefully, to discover some possible new favorites.

Let me know what you’re reading for August and whether you were a Team Edward or Team Jacob ally growing up!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone | A Poser No More

I’m 22-years-old and I’ve never read the Harry Potter series.

It’s funny how I already know I’m going to get so much shit for this, but alas, we will prevail. At least I’m getting to it now, right?

I’ve watched all of the movies and visited the theme park in Orlando, FL — I even bought an interactive wand — but I’ve never read the books! I might have started out as a possible Harry Potter poser, but I will finish as a true fan.

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Author Disclaimer

With all of the controversy surrounding the author of the Harry Potter series (I refuse to acknowledge her name because she’s vile), I thought I would include a disclaimer in this post.

First off, fuck that bitch. I don’t agree with her views and morals AT ALL. Her transphobic and anti-LGBTQ+ tweets and opinions make me nauseous and enfuriated.

Even though I adore the Harry Potter movies and amusement parks, I wrestled with whether I should start the series at all. I don’t want to support the author at all; however, the Harry Potter world as it’s own entity is loveable, incredible, and heart-warming. So, what do we do about this?

In the end, I decided I would go ahead and start reading and reviewing the series simply for the love of the magical world and story. However, I don’t plan on putting the author’s name anywhere — of course, the book cover has it on the front, but that’s besides the point — and if I start collecting other editions of the series, I plan to only buy used/secondhand books. No royalities for her.

If you’re also boycotting the author, let me know what your plans are and any tips/advice you have!

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The Details

If you happen to live under a rock and don’t know anything about the wonderful world of magic, this series follows Harry Potter, an 11-year-old orphan boy living under the stairs with his horrendous relatives, The Dursley’s.

Harry’s life has always been lifeless and dull; that is, until he receives a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. After discovering an unknown world, Harry embarks on a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and a lot of magic.

The REview

Of course, I gave Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a 5/5 — is anyone even surprised? I doubt it.

I love the magic, the world, and, most importantly, the characters. Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s friendship is so adorable — trauma seems to lead to incredible frienships — and I can’t wait to watch it unfold throughout the series.

The magic system and world-building is impeccable, obviously, and each addition, whether it be the name of a store or a type of spell, just makes the world even better. Perhaps my favorite detail is the types of candies introduced; like, they really thought of everything, huh?

Even though I, and many others, absolutely love this book, I’m having a hard time discussing it for some reason. I guess it’s just one of those books that you have to read to experience fully.

I say that as if you, the reader, haven’t read this yet, but I’m assuming everyone and their mom has read this series front to back. Then again, you might be someone like me who lives almost 23 years without reading it; in this case, READ IT!

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The Leftovers

Please feel free to bash me in the comments for not having read the Harry Potter series yet.

My plan, as if I ever stick to them, is to finish the entire series by Christmas, but I’m also not trying to binge each book and make it a chore, so we’ll see how it goes.

Check out my Goodreads to follow my journey in real-time through this magical series.

A Stranger in the House – Shari Lapena | A Spoiler-Filled Rant Review

I mentioned Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House briefly in my Reading Rush Wrap-Up, but I wanted to make a spoiler-filled post discussing the grimey details because it was an utter disappoint…

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The Details

Lapena’s novel starts off with a woman having a car accident. That woman is Karen Krupp, wife of Tom Krupp. After rushing to the hospital, the Krupp’s discover Karen has a concussion and temporary amnesia. While all of these events are occurring, a man is found dead on the “bad side of town”, very close to where Karen’s accident occurred.

As Karen tries to remember what happened that night, both the Krupp’s and local detectives attempt to put the pieces together while simultaneously unveiling the many lies hidden within this seemingly innocent suburban home.

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The Rant Review

We’re diving right into the spoilers because I just simply can’t hold back. You have been warned.

I gave Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House a 2/5. Since I didn’t decide to DNF this book, I bumped it up from a 1/5. It was bearable, to say the least.

I want to start off by saying that I hated the ending of this book. Since all of the charges got dropped against Karen and Brigid, I feel like there was no point to this story. To be fair, I don’t read a lot of crime thrillers — any thrillers in general, really — and this might be a good ending to some readers, but it just feels so dissatisfying to me. Of course, Brigid’s life is ruined in the end and the Krupp’s prosper, but I just wanted a more impactful ending. Where is the tragedy, people?

Another thing about the ending that irked me was the fact that we never learn what really happened the night of the murder! Did Karen kill Robert? Brigid?? Granted, it’s pretty obvious that Karen is probably the murderer, but still. At least give me some type of closure.

I’m not going to say I saw everything coming — obviously I didn’t see that cringey ending coming — but most things were not that difficult to predict. It felt like every other crime thriller movie I’d ever seen, just in book form. This is typically why I stay away from thrillers because they all feel like the same story repeating over and over again.

With only 3 focal characters, minus Detective Jennings and Rasbach, it wasn’t difficult to see Tom and Brigid’s affair unfold. To be honest, their relationship throughout the entire book made me cringe. From the disturbing seduction scenes, to the blackmail sex, I just wanted to throw the book every time they were in each other’s presence.

Without the serious adult topics, like affairs and bloody murder, Lapena’s novel felt very amateur. The writing felt very simple and basic, which is not a bad quality by any means, but I guess I expected a little more from an adult thriller. (Could be bad judgement on my part.)

None of the characters had any depth to them, except Detective Rasbach — I really enjoyed how Lapena molded him into this sensitive, yet harsh detective. It was more dialogue back and forth rather than connecting with any of the characters at all, so I didn’t really care what happened to them. At one point, I did feel sorry for Brigid because she dreamed of being a mother — I assume that is what feeds her want for Tom — but it almost felt like she was forgotten about towards the end of the story.

The premise of A Stranger in the House is intriguing; however, as much as I love Detective Rasbach, I wish Lapena would have cut the murder plot out entirely and focused the story on Brigid’s obsession with Tom and Karen. A Stranger in the House had the potential to be a creepy, disturbing tale of an obsessive neighbor who attempts to kill her “lover’s” wife and take her place. Sadly, it was more murder mystery than psychotic lovers. Obviously, I miss judged this one.

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The Conclusion

I may not have enjoyed Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House — clearly — but that doesn’t mean this is a bad book. It just isn’t the right one for me.

I’m still having a hard time deciding whether I like the thriller genre or not. On one hand, I loved Leila Slimani’s Adèle, a domestic thriller. Perhaps I’m just not a fan of crime thrillers, since that seems to be my main problem with this novel.

Rather than being biased and throwing the entire crime thriller genre to the curb like a heartless villain, I might dip my toes into a few more. Who knows, I might find one that changes my world!

With that being said, if you have any good crime thriller recommendations, send them my way. Clearly, I need all the help I can get.

Checkout my Goodreads for more real-time reading updates.

The Reading Rush 2020 TBR |A Very Ambitious List Of Very Short Books For A Very Slow Reader

It’s July, which means it’s time for The Reading Rush!

I’ve never participated in any kind of reading event (frankly, because I’m super intimidated by how slow I read and setting myself up for disappointment from the start), but I’ve been seriously lacking on my reading. 10 pages here, 40 pages there. I’ve just been pushing it to the side.

Once I saw Ariel Bissett and Noelle Gallagher upload their TBRs (along with organizing my own staggering TBR pile), something sparked inside me, and now I’m ready to read everything!

Check out thereadingrush.com for more information about the event!

Without further ado, let’s get into the books!

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1. Read a book matching the color of your birthstone.

I love this idea for a reading challenge because it’s unique to the reader. Plus, I just really love birthstones. I’m an October baby (shoutout to all of my libras!), and my birthstones are Opal and a pink gem called Tourmaline.

As someone who adores bright and exciting colors, I’m shocked to see how DULL my TBR pile is. The trend seems to be black and orange books, at least for now, which does not work in my favor at all.

But alas! I found the one book with pink or rainbow on the cover, and that would be Victoria Redel’s Before Everything.

I don’t know much about this book other than it has a stunning cover. I don’t know what it is, but the colors and figures just speak to me. Ironic for the challenge, huh?

I’m pretty sure it’s a drama involving a family? group of friends? I’m not too sure (I should probably look into this kind of stuff before writing instead of repeatedly typing variations of “I don’t know”), but it fits the challenge AND it’s short (you’ll notice short books as a trend throughout this post).

2. Read a book that starts with the word “The”.

This challenge was a little difficult for me; not finding a book that started with “The”, but trying to decide on one!

I have at least 5 books that I can see right now that start with “The” on my shelf, but, in true Reading Rush fashion, I opted for the shortest book, which is Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.

This tiny book maxes out at 55 pages! And let’s not even get started on this creepy, yet intriguing cover that I found at Books-A-Million. It’s also one of those stories that gets referenced time and time again, and I selfishly want to be included in those conversations. Sometimes you just have to feed into your ego’s desires.

3. Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve seen.

Another great challenge! I’m a very big stickler in reading the book before watching the movie adaptations (unless I don’t know about the book, of course), but this challenge flips that tradition on its head.

Now, this could be a controversial pick, but I don’t really care because I have been trying to find a reason to make myself read another Shakespeare play (plus, they’re short!). Here’s my moment to shine, as the Shakespeare nerd that I am, and I chose Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

(I’m sorry about the blandness of this photo; I need to invest in some copies of Shakespeare pronto!)

After some Googling, I noticed that 10 Things I Hate About You (Heath Ledger… That is all.) was inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, which I know nothing about. Since 10 Things is one of my favorite childhood movies, I have a feeling I’ll enjoy Shakespeare’s play.

Fingers crossed!

4. Read the first book you touch.

You all are going to have to trust me on this one.

I’ve seen variations of this challenge, such as Noelle’s technique of touching all the books and blindly choosing one, but I wanted to take this challenge for what it is.

After I picked all of the books for the other challenges, I turned away from my leftover pile of books and simply reached back. Since the enormous Anna Karenina is placed in the middle of the stack, I was a teeny tiny bit nervous.

And would you believe that I almost touched that gigantic 800+ pages monster?! Exactly one book away, the mere distance of a fingernail!

What I ended up grabbing was Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sandition.

Another short book! We love a good trend, no?

I love Austen, as well as a short collection of stories, so I’m excited for this read. I’ve tried starting this one a few times, but I always got busy and ended up never picking it back up. Here goes nothing!

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5. Read a book completely not in your house.

The sun has finally come out to stay here in the Appalachia’s, which means plenty of time to read on the porch and let the sunshine soak into your skin.

Seasonal depression? Never heard of her.

For this challenge, I chose Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.

I don’t know if it’s the theme (I think) of self awareness or finding your feminine power, but Chopin’s book deserves to be read outside. Perhaps it’s the cover art of the woman, hopefully, enjoying a sunny day. Whatever it might be, I’m here for it. Another tiny book for the win!

6. Read a genre that scares you or your least read genre

As we’ve all probably noticed, I’m a reader of classics mainly. I’ve read my fair share of contemporary and supernatural books, but I typically stick to my beloveds.

However, I recently got quite the stack of books from my mom of different genres, so what better time than now to give a new style a try?

Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House, an adult thriller, was one my mom pointed out in particular and said she really enjoyed. Since I’ve never read a thriller (that I remember, at least), now’s my chance to try it out.

My mom said she read this is just a few days, so I’m hoping it’ll be the perfect book to speed through. This is a reading challenge, after all.

7. Read a book that takes place on a different continent than yours.

This challenge is probably my favorite of them all. It allows readers who typically pick up books that resemble their own lives and learn about another culture! (My anthropology minor really comes out when discussing different cultures because I thrive on that shit).

I love reading about how people live in different parts of the world; their religions, food, family traditions, societal behaviors, and all of the enriching aspects that different cultures have to offer.

Anyways, back to the books. That’s what we’re all here for.

For this challenge, I chose Adèle by Leila Slimani, which is written by a French author and takes place in Paris, France.

I’m a little skeptical about this book because I remember hearing a review that it was kind of a disappointment, but I’m trying to go in unbiased and take it for what it is. (I’m terrible at letting people persuade my opinion of a book).

After reading the back of the book, it seems to be about this woman (I’m assuming Adèle) who seems to have the perfect life, but she’s apparently coocoo for sex.

Let’s just say this book is either going to be eh material, or it could end up being one of my favorite books of all time. We shall see!

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Please Send Good Vibes And Lots Of Coffee

Do I think I’m going to finish 7 books in a week? Absolutely not because I have no hope in my slow-reading self, but what the hell. Let’s give it a shot!

I have a feeling I’m going to be drinking quite a bit of coffee to get as much reading done as I can.

Hopefully, this reading challenge will get me more into the habit of picking up a book rather than my phone. It is also possible that reading so much is going to make me view reading as a chore, which it never should be, and I will fall back into that wretched slump of mine.

Sending hopeful wishes and great books your way!