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?

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews Review

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)Title: One Fell Sweep

Author: Ilona Andrews

Genre: Science Fiction Urban Fantasy

Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #3

Goodreads Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews Bookstagram photo Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram: @elainehowlin_

What I thought about the book:

Loved it!

This series is fantastic! Each book has been a 5 star read for me (fingers crossed for book 4) . One Fell Sweep picks up a few days after Sweep in Peace. Dina is dealing with what she discovered in the previous book when she receives a message from her sister to rescue her from a very dangerous planet.

We get some great character interactions and developments in this one and  some spaceship travel which was one of the things holding it back from feeling more like science fiction to me. Spaceships mean science fiction! The fantasy and sci-fi blend doesn’t suffer for this though.

With the Inn under siege and Dina protecting her guest, sometimes to her detriment, there are plenty of tense situations and action scenes. The love triangle (that I never felt was a love triangle really but a lot of people seem to) is resolved in a great way. I just love the ending so much!!!

It’s just great! A breath of fresh air in genre fiction.

“Yes, the princess you were expecting put on her armor and left to kill the dragon. So sorry.”
― Ilona AndrewsOne Fell Sweep

My Rating: 5 star review

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

The Innkeeper Chronicles

Clean SweepSweep in PeaceOne Fell Sweep


Synopsis and book covers from Goodreads. Photo from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

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The 4 Books I dnf’d this Year (so far)

Since I posted the 5 Books I Loved This Year I decided to post the ones I disliked enough to abandon. Thankfully there were only 4.

the 4 books I dnf'd this year Elaine Howlin Literary blog

Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

Hot and Badgered (Honey Badger Chronicles, #1) I got an ARC of this from NetGalley to review. I can’t remember how far I got into the book but it was far enough. I thought the story was a mess and didn’t connect with the main characters who were meant to be having the romance. Not something you want in a paranormal romance book. There were too many character introductions and way too much going on. I also was not into the honey badger shifter thing. I think there were weasels in it too…

It’s been highly rated by a lot of my friends on Goodreads so maybe I will come back to it at some point… It probably sorts itself out after the first few chapters.

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

The Third Policeman is Flann O’Brien’s brilliantly dark comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where, through the theories of the scientist/philosopher de Selby, he is introduced to “Atomic Theory” and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and de Selby’s view that the earth is not round but “sausage-shaped.” With the help of his newly found soul named “Joe,” he grapples with the riddles and
contradictions that three eccentric policeman present to him.
The last of O’Brien’s novels to be published, The Third Policemanjoins O’Brien’s other fiction (At Swim-Two-BirdsThe Poor MouthThe Hard LifeThe Best of MylesThe Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland’s great comic geniuses.

The Third Policeman This book confused the hell out of me. I had no clue what was going on. In fairness, I was listening to an audiobook and I kept getting distracted, missing bits and rewinding. In the end, I gave up and returned it to the library. The looming due date on library books usually pushes me to finish a book but this time it was to drop it.

Judging by other Goodreads reviews it seems like a bit of a pretentious book so it’s unlikely I’ll pick it up again.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders

In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent, and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other—for no one but Saunders could conceive it.

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices—living and dead, historical and invented—to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

Lincoln in the Bardo This was another audiobook that I kept drifting away from. I only picked it up because everyone was talking about it. Seriously couldn’t escape the dang book! I’m not particularly interested in Abraham Lincoln’s life which is probably why I found it hard to pay attention.

It has been highly rated by many Goodreads readers though few people I know have read it. A heck of a lot of people have added it to their TBR though.

 

 

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother’s dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn’s dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls — or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions … tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.

Jamaica Inn

This one I will definitely get back to at some point. I think I just wasn’t in the right mindset for this type of book at the time. I’ve loved the other books by du Maurier that I read and want to give this one a proper try.

It’s been highly rated by several of my Goodreads friends.

 

 

 


Hopefully, this list won’t grow too much in the last few months of the year.

Think I should give any of these books another try? What books have you struggled to finish so far this year?

Synopsis and book covers from Goodreads. Photo from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

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August Cosy Reading

August Cosy Reading The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Another Cosy Reading Night has come to a close. Although this time it was a Cosy Reading Afternoon but night sounds better. Cosy Reading Night is a seasonal readathon hosted by Lauren and the Books. August Cosy Reading took place on Thursday 23rd from 1pm – 4pm.

My goal was to read an hour each of three different books which I didn’t manage to do because some guys showed up to look at my pipes and that’s not a euphemism! Watch my vlog of the readathon below or on my YouTube channel.

Do check out Lauren’s channel, she is one of my favourite YouTubers and is just such a lovely bubbly person. The next Cosy Reading Night is scheduled for October which is awesome. I think I’ll have to dress up and read some creepy books.

Books mentioned:

Shadowed Souls

Shadowed Souls edited by Jim Butcher

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

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter

The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

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

Did you know I recently launched a Zazzle store? I will be adding more literary themed items to it but for the moment I have two bookish tote bags available.

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