Category: TBR

November TBR & Nonfiction November

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
― J.K. Rowling

I have a hankering for some fantasy fiction this month after reading Victorian literature in October for Victober. Despite this, I will most likely join in with Nonfiction November. I just won’t let it take over my month.

I plan on reading one or two nonfiction books, some audiobooks, an ebook or two, print books and a couple of magazines.

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Nonfiction November

Nonfiction November is a readathon in November aimed at reading nonfiction books. There are a few challenges but I’m not bothering with them. It’s hosted by ABookOlive and NonFicBooks.

 

HungerHunger by Roxane Gay

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.


How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse DiseaseHow Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger, Gene Stone

From the physician behind the wildly popular website NutritionFacts.org, How Not to Die reveals the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind the only diet that can prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related death.

The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented through simple changes in diet and lifestyle. In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-renowned nutrition expert, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of premature death in America — heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and more — and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to live healthier lives.

The simple truth is that most doctors are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at preventing chronic disease. The fifteen leading causes of death claim the lives of 1.6 million Americans annually. This doesn’t have to be the case. By following Dr. Greger’s advice, all of it backed up by strong scientific evidence, you will learn which foods to eat and which lifestyle changes to make to live longer.

History of prostate cancer in your family? Put down that glass of milk and add flaxseed to your diet whenever you can. Have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can work better than a leading hypertensive drug-and without the side effects. Fighting off liver disease? Drinking coffee can reduce liver inflammation. Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with prolonged survival. Worried about heart disease (the number 1 killer in the United States)? Switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has been repeatedly shown not just to prevent the disease but often stop it in its tracks.

In addition to showing what to eat to help treat the top fifteen causes of death, How Not to Die includes Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen — a checklist of the twelve foods we should consume every day. Full of practical, actionable advice and surprising, cutting edge nutritional science, these doctor’s orders are just what we need to live longer, healthier lives.


Audiobooks

Spinning SilverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik, read by Katy Sobey

Fantasy

Will dark magic claim their home? Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she’ll die. Yet if she triumphs, it may mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly spins a web which draws in the unhappy daughter of a lord. Irina’s father schemes to wed her to the tsar – he will pay any price to achieve this goal. However, the dashing tsar is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of mortals and winter alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power and love. As with her standalone novel Uprooted, Naomi Novik has once again been influenced by classic folktales. Taking Rumpelstiltskin as her starting point, she’s woven a rich, multilayered new story which is a joy to read.
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Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)Do You Want To Start A Scandal by Tessa Dare, read by Carmen Rose

Historical Romance

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.
All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.
But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.
Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?


Chimes at Midnight (October Daye, #7)Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire, read by Mary Robinette Kowal

Urban Fantasy

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.
Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queen’s decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets – and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….
To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists – and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In Faerie, some fates are worse than death.
October Daye is about to find out what they are.


Ebooks

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Young Adult Fantasy

She could save the world—or destroy it.
Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.
But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.

RELATED: Shadow’s Seduction by Kresley Cole Review


Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Young Adult Fantasy

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her? Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.


Print Books

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
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The English PatientThe English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Historical Fiction

Haunting and harrowing, as beautiful as it is disturbing, The English Patient tells the story of the entanglement of four damaged lives in an Italian monastery as World War II ends. The exhausted nurse, Hana; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless burn victim who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. In lyrical prose informed by a poetic consciousness, Michael Ondaatje weaves these characters together, pulls them tight, then unravels the threads with unsettling acumen.


BelindaBelinda by Maria Edgeworth

Classics

The lively comedy of this novel in which a young woman comes of age amid the distractions and temptations of London high society belies the challenges it poses to the conventions of courtship, the dependence of women, and the limitations of domesticity. Contending with the perils and the varied cast of characters of the marriage market, Belinda strides resolutely toward independence. Admired by her contemporary, Jane Austen, and later by Thackeray and Turgenev, Edgeworth tackles issues of gender and race in a manner at once comic and thought-provoking. The 1802 text used in this edition also confronts the difficult and fascinating issues of racism and mixed marriage, which Edgeworth toned down in later editions.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


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Magazines

Books Ireland

Established in 1976, by Jeremy Addis, Books Ireland is Ireland’s longest-running book magazine and is dedicated to showcasing and reviewing the vibrant range of Irish literature being published at home and abroad. Published bi-monthly, Books Ireland, offers a range of features, reviews, listings and opinions from ‘the world of Irish books’. We cover circa. 1000 Irish books each year.

https://www.booksirelandmagazine.com/


 NOVEMBER ISSUE   Buy  ,   download    or  subscribe   View the sampler  here  The Simple Things

The Simple Things is published monthly and is all about taking time to live well.

We celebrate slowing down, enjoying what you have, making the most of where you live, enjoying the company of friends and family, and feeding them well. We like to grow some of our own vegetables, visit local markets, rummage for vintage finds, and decorate our home with the plunder. We love being outdoors, mindfulness, microadventures and the satisfaction that comes with a job well done.

And we like to think that the small things we do will make a difference in the long run – whether that’s making, upcycling, growing, cooking, escaping or relaxing.

http://www.thesimplethings.com/


Synopsis and covers from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Victober TBR

Victober is a month-long readathon in October focusing on Victorian literature. The Victorian era spanned June 20, 1837 – January 22, 1901, so any books published during this time in the UK and Ireland are welcome. The readathon is hosted by four YouTubers, Ange- Beyond the Pages, Kate Howe, Katie- Books and Things and Lucythereader.

Challenges:

  • Ange: Read a book by one of the hosts favourite Victorian authors (Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Bronte)
  • Kate: Read a Victorian book with a proper noun in the title
  • Katie: Read a book that was published in the first ten years of the Victorian era and/or published in the last ten years of the Victorian era
  • Lucy: Read a Victorian book written by a woman anonymously or with a pseudonym
  • Group: Read a Victorian novel and watch a screen adaptation

Group Readalong: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Wives and Daughters Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly’s quiet life – loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford.

Wives and Daughters is far more than a nostalgic evocation of village life; it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society. ‘No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority’, writes Pam Morris in her introduction to this new edition, in which she explores the novel’s main themes – the role of women, Darwinism and the concept of Englishness – and its literary and social context.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Project Gutenberg

Victober Goodreads group

Victorian Novels List

roses and an open book elaine howlin literary blog

My TBR

Jane Eyre Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Fiery love, shocking twists of fate, and tragic mysteries put a lonely governess in jeopardy in JANE EYRE

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Project Gutenberg | Librivox

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London on December 1843. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. A Christmas Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kindlier man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. The book was written at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christmas traditions from the past as well as new customs such as Christmas cards and Christmas trees. Carol singing took a new lease on life during this time. Dickens’ sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.

Dickens was not the first author to celebrate the Christmas season in literature, but it was he who superimposed his humanitarian vision of the holiday upon the public, an idea that has been termed as Dickens’ “Carol Philosophy”. Dickens believed the best way to reach the broadest segment of the population regarding his concerns about poverty and social injustice was to write a deeply felt Christmas story rather than polemical pamphlets and essays. Dickens’ career as a best-selling author was on the wane, and the writer felt he needed to produce a tale that would prove both profitable and popular. Dickens’ visit to the work-worn industrial city of Manchester was the “spark” that fired the author to produce a story about the poor, a repentant miser, and redemption that would become A Christmas Carol. The forces that inspired Dickens to create a powerful, impressive and enduring tale were the profoundly humiliating experiences of his childhood, the plight of the poor and their children during the boom decades of the 1830s and 1840s, and Washington Irving’s essays on old English Christmas traditions published in his Sketch Book (1820); and fairy tales and nursery stories, as well as satirical essays and religious tracts.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Project Gutenberg | Librivox

Dracula by Bram Stoker Elaine Howlin Literary Blog Gothic Reads for Autumn
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Dracula Dracula by Bram Stoker

A true masterwork of storytelling, Dracula has transcended generation, language, and culture to become one of the most popular novels ever written. It is a quintessential tale of suspense and horror, boasting one of the most terrifying characters ever born in literature: Count Dracula, a tragic, night-dwelling specter who feeds upon the blood of the living, and whose diabolical passions prey upon the innocent, the helpless, and the beautiful. But Dracula also stands as a bleak allegorical saga of an eternally cursed being whose nocturnal atrocities reflect the dark underside of the supremely moralistic age in which it was originally written — and the corrupt desires that continue to plague the modern human condition.
Pocket Books Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This edition of Dracula was prepared by Joseph Valente, Professor of English at the University of Illinois and the author of Dracula’s Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness, and the Question of Blood, who provides insight into the racial connotations of this enduring masterpiece.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Project Gutenberg | Librivox

The Mayor of CasterbridgeThe Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Under the powerful influence of rum furmity, Michael Henchard, a hay-trusser by trade, sells his wide Susan and their child Elizabeth-Jane to Newson, a sailor, for five guineas.

Years later, Susan, now a widow, arrives in Casterbridge with Elizabeth-Jane, to seek her legal husband. To their surprise, Henchard is now the Mayor of Casterbridge and, following the sale of his wide, took a twenty-one-year vow not to drink, out of shame. Henchard remarries Susan and, as Elizabeth-Jane believes herself to be Newson’s daughter, he adopts her as his own. But he cannot evade his destiny by such measures, for his past refuses to be buried. Fate contrives for him to be punished for the recklessness of his younger days.

In this powerful depiction of a man who overreaches himself, Hardy once again shows his astute psychological grasp and his deep-seated knowledge of mid-nineteenth-century Dorset.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Project Gutenberg | Librivox

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte ELaine Howlin Literary Blog
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Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Project Gutenberg | Librivox

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Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

 

Instagram Picks My September TBR

I decided to have my Instagram friends pick out what I’m going to read in September. I created polls with 10 books and people picked out 5 books for me to read.

Instagram Picks my September TBR elaine howlin book blog

Poll One: Soulless vs Witchling, 25% to 75%

Witchling (Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon, #1)Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn

We’re the D’Artigo Sisters: Half-human, half-Faerie, we’re savvy–and sexy–operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Delilah shapeshifts into a tabby cat whenever she’s stressed. Menolly’s a vampire who’s still trying to get the hang of being undead. And me? I’m Camille–a wicked-good witch. Except my magic is as unpredictable as the weather, which my enemies are about to find out the hard way…

At the Wayfarer Inn, a portal to Otherworld and the local hangout for humans and beasties alike, our fellow operative, Jocko, has been murdered. Every clue points to Shadow Wing, the soul-munching, badass leader of the Subterranean Realms. He’s made it clear that he aims to raze humankind to the ground, turning both Earth and Otherworld into his private playground. Our assignment: keep Shadow Wing and his minions from creeping into Earth via the Wayfarer. The demons figure they’re in like Flynn. After all, with only my bumbling sisters and me standing in the way, how can they miss? But we’ve got a secret for them: Faulty wiring or not, nobody kicks ass like the D’Artigo girls. . .

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Poll Two: The Princess Bride vs The Good People, 63% to 37%

The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride by William Goldman

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. When she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts – who never leaves survivors – her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humberdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairy tale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passions and miracles.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Poll Three: Fingersmith vs Days Without End, 87% to 13%

FingersmithFingersmith by Sarah Waters

No one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals. Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer.” Mrs. Sucksby’s household also hosts a transient family of petty thieves–fingersmiths–for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives–Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, they all will share in Maud’s vast inheritance.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to regret her decision.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Poll Four: Shadow and Bone vs Heart of Steel, 73% to 27%

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Laini Taylor.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Poll Five: Mister B. Gone vs Bellman & Black, 47% to 53%

Bellman & BlackBellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 10, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who “could go to the good or the bad.” And indeed, although William Bellman’s life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife’s fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called “Bellman & Black” . . .

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

 

Also on my TBR for September

Wicked as They Come (Blud, #1)Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson

When nurse Tish Everett forced open the pesky but lovely locket she found at an estate sale, she had no idea she was answering the call of Criminy Stain, from the far off land of Sang. He’d cast a spell for her, but when she’s transported right to him, she’s not so sure she’s ready to be under the spell of another man. (It didn’t go so well last time with controlling, abusive, domineering Jeff.) If only Criminy wasn’t so deliciously rakish….

Half the inhabitants of Sang are Pinkies—human—and the other half are Bludmen, who in Tish’s world would be called vampires. But they don’t mess with any of the bat/coffin/no sunlight nonsense. They’re rather like you and me, just more fabulous, long living, and mostly indestructible. (They’re also very good kissers.) But when the evil Mayor of Manchester (formerly Bludchester) redoubles his efforts to rid Sang of the Bludmen once and for all, stealing Tish’s locket in hopes of traveling back to her world himself for reinforcements, Criminy and Tish must battle ghosts, sea monsters, wayward submarines, a secret cabal, and thundering Bludmares to get the locket back and allow Tish to return home…but has she found love with Criminy? Could she stay in Sang forever?

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld, #11)Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

At twenty-one, Savannah Levine-orphaned daughter of a notorious dark witch and an equally notorious cutthroat sorcerer-considers herself a full-fledged member of the otherworld. The once rebellious teen has grown into a six-foot-tall, motorcycle-riding jaw-dropper, with an impressive knowledge of and ability to perform spells. The only problem is, she’s having a hard time convincing her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, to take her seriously as an adult. She’s working as the research assistant at the detective agency they founded, and when they take off on a romantic vacation alone, leaving her in charge, Savannah finds herself itching for a case to call her own. (She’s also itching for Adam, her longtime friend and colleague, to see her as more than just a little girl, but that’s another matter.)

Suddenly, Savannah gets the chance she’s been waiting for: Recruited by another supernatural detective, she travels to Columbus, Washington, a small, dying town. Two troubled young women have been found in an abandoned warehouse, murdered. Now a third woman’s dead, and on closer inspection small details point to darker forces at play. Savannah feels certain she can handle the case, but with signs of supernatural activity appearing at every turn, things quickly become more serious- and far more dangerous-than she realizes.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Chimes at Midnight (October Daye, #7)Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

What’re the bets I won’t stick to this at all?

5 Books I Loved This Year (so far)

I kind of think of summer as reading season. It seems like everyone suddenly wants books to read for their holidays or to keep them occupied during all the extra time they plan on spending outdoors in the sun. So everyone is looking for a good book to read and to help you narrow down the list of possibilities here are the 5 books I loved this year. It’s not a list of books released this year, just ones that I read and really enjoyed.

5 books I loved this year summer reading recommendations


UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

Fantasy, published May 2015

This wonderful book centres on a village close to an (evil) enchanted wood that is protected from said wood by a wizard known as The Dragon (are you feeling all excited for the fairytale magic yet?). Every 10 years he visits the village and takes a girl back with him to his castle. No one in the village knows what he does with the girls just that when they return after the 10 years they are different and never stay in the village. This year he takes Agnie despite everyone believing he will take her more beautiful and skilled best friend, Kasia. But Agnie does something at the Choosing Ceremony that makes him feel he must take her.

Based on that much you’re probably expecting a Beauty and the Beast style fairytale romance but you ain’t getting it!

That wood I mentioned at the beginning is the real centre of this story. Its power is growing and it wants to consume as much of its surroundings as possible. Including people! There are creatures living inside it that torment and steal villagers from all areas around the wood. It separates one province from another and attempts to incite war between them which Agnie and the Dragon try to prevent. If you like magic and fantastical battles then this one is for you.

Asking For ItAsking For It by Louise O’Neill

Contemporary, published September 2015 Trigger warning for rape

This book follows Emma O’Donovan, an 18-year old girl from a small town in Ireland, who goes to a house party one night with her friends where something disgustingly awful happens to her. The book is more about how the characters deal with this event than the actual event itself.

One of the more interesting aspects of this novel is how unlikeable all of the characters are. Especially Emma herself who is very concerned with status, her looks and how they affect people. The only character that may be a bit likeable is her neighbour and childhood friend Conner though he annoys me a bit as well because he’s very interested in her romantically and is often telling her she’s beautiful. He’s focusing on her in a romantic physical way which is not something that helps her. But I guess he can’t help how he feels and other than that he’s a good guy.

RELATED: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill Full Review

Anyway, after this party, Emma is found by her parents dumped in front of their home her clothes askew, her underwear missing and burning in the sun. She has no memory of what happened to her but she soon finds out because a Facebook page titled Easy Emma reveals all. The page features photographs of her seemingly unconscious and 3 boys performing various acts to her. Many people are commenting on them, some of them people Emma knows, and what they’re saying is not good. A lot of them seem to be of the mind that these boys are just treating her they should be treated.

Suddenly everyone is against her and she tries to make it all go away (she doesn’t remember any of it after all) but it becomes too big. She ends up pursuing it legally. The book doesn’t follow the case exactly, it focuses on the emotional upheaval and strain on Emma and her family. It’s about how this act affects people and how they react to it happening to someone they know and by someone they know. How rape is so bad people try to pretend it doesn’t exist. How boys they know aren’t like that so the girl must be lying and afraid of being thought of as slutty. And if they can see her as a slut then it doesn’t matter what’s done to her. She’s just some slut.

The story is very emotional and hard-hitting but it’s an extremely important one that I hope will reach people far and wide.

I saw the play version last week in Cork and it was utterly amazing. The production was fantastic, they did a great job adapting it. It will be showing at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin soon, I highly recommend going if you can.

Mom & Me & MomMom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

Memoir, published April 2013

I listened to an audiobook of this read by Maya Angelou, the best way to read a memoir in my opinion. (Check out John Cleese’s audio memoir as well it’s very funny)

In this memoir, Angelou explores her relationship with her mother which was pretty non-existent in the early years of her life but grew into something resilient and empowering later.

Her mother was essentially a stranger to her as a child, she chose to call her Lady instead of Mom which says a lot about the distance she felt. It also shows how she saw her as no ordinary woman but as someone to look up to, someone refined and feminine but still in charge.

This book really shows how love grows between people and how it makes us stronger.

Ride the Storm (Cassandra Palmer, #8)Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

Urban Fantasy, published August 2017 (part of a series)

This is the 8th book in the Cassie Palmer series, Touch the Dark is book 1.

I can’t go into too much detail about this one without spoiling the whole series since it’s a series full of cliffhangers (but lucky you, all the books are out so you don’t have to wait) and has an ongoing plot. The series follows Cassie Palmer, a clairvoyant who was raised by a gangster vampire after the death of her parents. She’s on the run from that vampire when she’s thrust into the position of Pythia, the supernatural world’s chief seer because it suits certain people to have someone they perceive as pliable in the position. She ends up the target of several factions, good and bad, and of some extremely powerful ancient beings.

RELATED: Reader Problems Tag

The series is mostly based around Greek mythology with some of the more popular supernatural beasties thrown in for good measure. As opposed to a lot of urban fantasy, the individual books don’t really follow the monster-of-the-week formula but do have their own stories. There’s a larger plot that the entire series follows but it can be broken down into two main storylines that are 4 books each.

Chance knows how to create a story that grabs attention so this series is perfect if you want several books to binge read in the sunshine.

An Artificial Night (October Daye, #3)An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

Urban Fantasy, published September 2010 (part of a series)

This one is 3rd in the October Daye series but follows the monster-of-the-week style. Rosemary and Rue is book 1. There is, of course, a larger plot throughout but it isn’t really necessary to enjoy the book (I do recommend reading the whole series though it’s brilliant!). This formula is still very enjoyable to read cause it doesn’t leave you chewing at the bit for the next book (I don’t mind cliffhangers as long as I don’t have to wait years for the next book).

This series is based on fairies such as the Tuatha Dé Danann (the narrator pronounced Tuatha as “tootha” and drove me crazy!!!!) which I grew up with and just loved having them feature in modern adult stories.

Toby (October) is a fae halfling or changling who works as a knight and has to constantly prove her worth and strength to full-blooded fae. The ongoing plot of the series centers around her life in this position, she has many experiences and undergoes many changes.

This book focuses on The Wild Hunt which has been taking children, human and fae, to its realm to convert them to beings possible of joining the Hunt. They take some children connected to Toby and she chases after them to get them back.

McGuire is amazing at writing urban fantasy that is full of all the magic and action you expect but also fills it with real human emotion that is completely relatable despite the events being so fantastical.

There are moments in this book where Toby feels isolated and frightened that really resonated with me.


I’ve read around 50 books so far this year but choosing these 5 was actually pretty easy, I loved them that much! I’m off to continue rereading Reap The Wind as part of Jazzy June in the sunshine now. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

What books have you read this year that stand out from all the rest? What are you planning on reading this summer?

New Release Tuesday

Happy Book Birthday!

These are the books I’m most interested in reading coming out today.


A Girl Like ThatA Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved. 

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

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The Shape of WaterThe Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM FOX SEARCHLIGHT

Visionary storyteller Guillermo del Toro and celebrated author Daniel Kraus combine their estimable talent in this haunting, heartbreaking love story.

The Shape of Water is set in Cold War-era Baltimore at the Occam Aerospace Research Center, which has recently received its most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man captured in the Amazon. What unfolds is a stirring romance between the asset and one of the janitors on staff, a mute woman who uses sign language to communicate with the creature.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release—one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film — The Shape of Water weaves together fantasy, horror, and romance to create a tale that is equally gripping on the page and on the big screen.

Prepare for an experience unlike anything you’ve ever read or seen.

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The Tangled LandsThe Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi, Tobias S. Buckell

From award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell comes a fantasy novel told in four parts about a land crippled by the use of magic, and a tyrant who is trying to rebuild an empire—unless the people find a way to resist.

Khaim, The Blue City, is the last remaining city in a crumbled empire that overly relied upon magic until it became toxic. It is run by a tyrant known as The Jolly Mayor and his devious right hand, the last archmage in the world. Together they try to collect all the magic for themselves so they can control the citizens of the city. But when their decadence reaches new heights and begins to destroy the environment, the people stage an uprising to stop them.

In four interrelated parts, The Tangled Lands is an evocative and epic story of resistance and heroic sacrifice in the twisted remains surrounding the last great city of Khaim. Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell have created a fantasy for our times about a decadent and rotting empire facing environmental collapse from within—and yet hope emerges from unlikely places with women warriors and alchemical solutions.

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II'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer‘ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” McNamara pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by McNamara’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

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