A cautionary tale. At least, that’s the way I choose to interpret it. A young man wanders off to the Alaskan wild. Months later his emaciated body is found by a hunter. What happened, and why did he leave everything behind? [3.5*]
AKA the week it snowed in LA, thus further proving that climate change is real…
FINISHED READING: 2
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
The book is so much better than the Disney film! A moralistic children’s story that still has some wisdom in it for adults. [4*]
Slayer (#1) by Kiersten White
A good spinoff but it kind of fell short for me. Didn’t care much for any of the characters. I did love the fact that the MC has a Redheads in Literature book collection. [3.5*]
CURRENTLY READING: 3
The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou
About 83% through my month-long read of this collection.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
About 85% through this audiobook. Very informational but I keep zoning out of it.
Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold
I am currently about 65% through the book. Sebold recounts the details of her rape when she was a freshman in college. It is… brutal. Graphic. And full of wit. Will probably finish this book tonight.
Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare
I’ve been waiting for this book FOREVER! Snatched it up as soon as I saw it was available on OverDrive. I am excited and so ready to move on from the Shadowhunter world.
BOOK HAUL: 5
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
See Me by Nicholas Sparks
Homage to Barcelona by Colm Tóibín
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
So it happened. I actually managed to make it to the library while their bookstore was open! I only had 10 minutes to browse though. But I think I did okay 🙂
My first Agatha Christie mystery novel and I must say, I was pleasantly entertained.
The story is narrated by Mr. Hastings, a soldier on leave during WWI. He is invited to Styles by Mr. John Cavendish. While there, a murder occurs. Luckily, Mr. Hercule Poirot is staying in the nearby town and is asked by Hastings and Cavendish to investigate the poisoning of the family matriarch, Emily Inglethorpe.
Very intriguing mystery. Red herrings here and there keep the reader guessing. I was completely immersed in the story. Except. Except for Hastings’ narration. The guy is insufferable. Always voicing his opinions on the case. Which surprise, surprise, are always way off base. Plus he consistently critiques Poirot’s methods. Super annoying.
Anyway, a great introduction to the great Agatha Christie’s writing. I know I’ll be reading more of her works soon!
I did say I wasn’t done with Mildred and the Stratemeyer Syndicate haha.
This book isn’t a part of the Syndicate. It was written by Mildred herself. While ghostwriting the Nancy Drew series, she also worked on her own books. I was lucky enough to find this one on one of my Goodwill runs. I recognized her name and immediately decided to buy it. Good thing I did, because my library does not have any of her books! And a quick Goodreads search tells me there are only 6 ratings (including my own) and 1 review (mine).
Now, let’s talk about the story. The book revolves around Judy and her troop of Girl Scouts (Beaver Patrol). They are 8th grade girls (13? 14?) spending time at Pine Cone Camp with other scout troops. Judy’s aunt telegrams her, informing her she wishes to spend a small vacation in the area and asks Judy to find her somewhere to stay. But it’s summer, and everything nearby is booked. Well, everything except for a small, mysterious cottage.
Whilst reading, I kept comparing this book to Nancy. I couldn’t help it! These books are actually different though. Sure, Judy is fearless and quite an intrepid sleuth. But the tone of the story isn’t like a Nancy Drew mystery. Judy and her friends are simply going on with their lives when they become curious by certain events occurring around them.
I really liked this book. One thing I particularly enjoyed was the fact that they were girl scouts. Their various camp activities were touched upon. It allowed me to get a better sense of the various girls. (Judy’s troop is made up of 7). And the the book itself is really educational. The skills the troop learns are actually used. For example, we see the troop administer first aid when they witness a car accident, and bring up fire safety when making a campfire. As a Californian, I really appreciated that. Not to mention there are discussions about caves, stalagtites and stalagmites. All very interesting.
There was one instance where the language used in the book made me cringe. Look, I get it. This is an old book. So I’ll forgive it. I guess. I am kind of glad it wasn’t any of the girl scouts that said it though. As a former Girl Scout, you know I would have gone on a rant.
So. A great little book. Not like a Nancy Drew story. But if anything, her aura is still felt. In the way Judy carries herself. And how both have to prove themselves to be taken seriously by others.
Daphne du Maurier keeps coming through when I need a new audiobook to listen to. Another compilation of her short stories. Let’s see how this collection goes…
Don’t Look Now
Ooh, I really enjoyed this story. A married couple are vacationing in Venice, Italy. They come across strange elderly twins. The wife has a small conversation with one of the sisters. The other sister is blind, but has the gift of Sight. That sister saw the couples dead daughter sitting between them at dinner.
It’s a strange little tale. You never fully have a grasp on what is happening. Especially as the husband becomes paranoid about the sisters. It’s an eerie story. And the ending made me guffaw a teensy bit. The husband’s words were just so unexpected.
Not After Midnight
A schoolteacher is vacationing in Greece when he encounters a strange American couple. The husband tries to befriend the schoolteacher by informing him that the cabin he (the schoolteacher) is staying in was previously occupied by a man who drowned. The schoolteacher, not being too superstitious, brushes the guy off. But he does become curious.
Another story I rather enjoyed. And talk about a nice little twist at the end! But it did leave me with a few lingering questions. Which seems to be du Maurier’s forté.
A Border-Line Case
Sheila is 19 years old when her beloved father dies. She is the only one in the room when it happens and the expression on his face terrified her. While going through her father’s things, she becomes interested in knowing what happened between him and his best friend years ago. Sheila tracks the old friend down in Ireland and purports to visit him.
Sheila comes up with a lie to gain access to the reclusive friend, Nick. She pretends to be a journalist but he quickly figures out that she’s lying. Nick and Sheila are attracted to each other and Sheila is heartbroken when he sends her back home. That is until weeks later when the truth finally clicks in and she realizes why her father had that expression on his face when he died.
Ew!! Ha! I knew it!!! Talk about a shocking little story. I knew the twist as soon as Nick mentioned a little tidbit about his past. It was so obvious! Now, I’m low-key grossed out
The Way of the Cross
A group of tourists are spending a day in Jerusalem. This story recounts their various experiences.
This is more of a character-driven story. There are the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There’s the little boy, Robin, traveling with his grandmother. There’s also the Vicar, in charge of leading the group. And a slew of other characters.
Huh. I think I liked the story. It was just so different I was confused when I finished listening to it. There were a few strange things that happen. But the lack of super eerie overtones threw me off haha. Robin was my favorite though. That little boy has a good head on his shoulders.
Steve is asked by his boss to go help one of his colleagues on an off-the-books experiment. Steve reluctantly agrees. While he is initially reluctant to stay on the job, he changes his mind when he sees the work being done.
This was a bit more of a science-fiction tale. The implications of the work being done are a tad frightening. Transferring consciousness to a robot. Or, something like that. It was strange, but I got the gist of it. I think. The ending confused me though. I listened to it twice and I still don’t understand its meaning haha.
Daphne Du Maurier is the queen of lingering suspense. I absolutely enjoyed these stories a lot more than the last collection (The Birds and Other Stories).
Favorite story? It’s hard to narrow down. But I guess I would go with A Border-Line Case. It was just so scandalous. Least favorite? Didn’t have one 🙂
While each story is different, they all have a hint of mystery. It’s the conclusions that really does it though. By the end of the story, you’re never quite sure you have a full grasp on everything that happened. Hm. I think I’m starting to understand her writing a bit better now.
I fucked up. I read the foreword beforegetting to the actual story. Completely messed up my reading experience.
I knew almost nothing about this book going into it. I knew it was supposed to be funny though. That’s it. I knew nothing about the story or about the author. Nothing. That is until I read the foreword. Something I never do. I usually go back and read it after I finish the story. But for some reason, I didn’t do that this time.
Now, to the story. It’s about this 30-year old guy named Ignatius J. Reilly who has a completely unique worldview. His mother forces him to go out and find a job to help pay for a debt. What follows is a fantastic series of events that all interconnect and directly involve Ignatius and his antics.
I found this book to be depressing. I didn’t laugh or find any part of it funny. If you couldn’t tell I blame the foreword. I read waaay too much into this story. Way too much. I did like how it was equal parts offensive. See, it wasn’t all bad. Honestly though, I want to wipe this book from my memory. So that’s all I have to say about it…
2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.
Prompt: a book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
[Someone in the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Goodreads group recommended this book ]
Yep. You read that right. Quadruple. These 4 books are not a part of the original Nancy Drew series. But I do own them, and it’s actually interesting to compare them to the original 56. Also, this was originally supposed to be a triple dose but I ended up buying a new Nancy Drew book. D’oh! So much for my book buying ban lmao.
The Secret in the Old Lace (#59)
Nancy is writing a mystery story for a magazine writing contest. The prompt provided by the magazine is based on a Belgian couple’s missing fortune. Coincidentally, a family friend of Bess’s invites the girls to her new home in Belgium. Madame Chambray needs Nancy’s assistance in tracking down the rightful owner of a piece of valuable jewelry she discovered in her home.
So, this is the book that broke my self-imposed book buying ban. Ha! Do I have regrets? Bahahaha nope. Although admittedly, this story was low-key awful.
Some guy steals Nancy’s manuscript. Then she’s accused of plagiarism. But she, Bess and George continue on their trip to Belgium while Mr. Drew works to clear his daughter’s name. While staying with Madame Chambray, they learn of another mystery involving the new home. somewhere on the grounds, there is a hidden treasure. Long story short: Nancy solves a century old mystery.
What made this story awful? For starters, Nancy was quite rude. I counted at least 5 times in which she interrupted someone that was speaking to her. Let others speak, Nancy! Sheesh. It rubbed me the wrong way. One of my personal pet peeves. And the number of times Ned’s usefulness as protector was mentioned! My goodness! He didn’t even help her out in this case!!!! Ugh!! But it was always if we need help we’ll call Ned to protect us. Or Nancy stating that she couldn’t stop a culprit herself because she needed a guy to do it. What?!?! My intrepid little sleuth would never say such things. Never would she hesitate in trying to stop a bad guy. Never!
Next book, please!
Captive Witness (Nancy Drew #64)
Nancy, Bess and George are traveling with Ned, Burt and Dave and a group of other students through an Emerson College-sponsored European trip. While on the trip, Nancy is asked by her father to help find a documentary titled Captive Witness, that has disappeared. The film sheds light on the human rights crisis occurring behind the curtain. So it’s important that Nancy find it before it’s destroyed.
Another political Nancy Drew story. But this one was better done. It touches upon life “behind the curtain”. Traveling with the group, Nancy is let in on a secret by the professor who organized the trip, Professor Bagley. He works for the U.S. Government as a spy! He and another student, are on a mission to reunite children from an iron curtain country with their parents who managed to escape to freedom. But there are forces working against them to stop it from happening. Which is why Nancy’s help is needed.
Phew! What a book! I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t vague about the political situation at the time. It took a stance and held it. Wonderful! The ending was a bit lacking though. Yes, it has a happily ever after like usual, but the denouement. I found it anticlimactic.
One difference between this book and the original 56? The artwork!
This illustration is from Nancy Drew #1:
This illustration is from this book, #64:
See the difference? I must say, the artwork in this book is waaay better.
By the way, I think this may be the last yellow-spined Nancy Drew book…
Now, on to the next case!
Enemy Match (Nancy Drew #73)
Nancy receives a phone call from an old friend, Nina Ford, asking for her help. Her father was accused of a crime and while on a police transport, the vehicle was swept away by a river and his body was never found. Nina hopes that her father is somehow still alive and wants Nancy to try to find him.
Loved, loved, loved this mystery. George is on vacation in California, so doesn’t appear in this book. Bess occasionally pops up, but she is busy with a River Heights committee. And Ned? No clue! He’s not even mentioned!! But Nancy is not alone on this mystery.
Nancy takes on an assistant. 14 year old Midge, is a Nancy Drew fan. And when she and her father fall on hard times, she hopes to bring in a bit of cash by working for Nancy. Nancy is hesitant at first, but quickly relents when she takes stock of the situation.
The mystery takes the two girls to nearby Brighton, where Nina lives. She has been receiving threatening phone calls, urging her to lose her tennis matches. But Nina is a championship hopeful and refuses to give in to the threats. Nancy and Midge work to discover where the threats are coming from and are actively searching for clues that may exonerate her father of the crime he was accused of if he should be found alive.
Midge is a great character. She’s tough, smart, and resourceful. With Nancy as her teacher, she is learning how to be a great detective. And actually manages to get Nancy out of some dangerous situations. No Bess and George, but we get Midge instead. Not a bad replacement character.
The mystery itself was okay. It was fairly obvious from the beginning who the culprit was. But watching the story unfold was still entertaining. One thing I really liked? No one made fun of Bess and her eating habits!! I am shocked. Shocked! Ever since Bess first appeared as a character, her weight and eating habits have always been remarked upon. Always. It was annoying. Let her eat in peace. Jeez. Not this book though! Her figure was not mentioned. The fact that she loves dessert was not mentioned. Ah. Refreshing!
And the illustartions in this book?
Now, let’s move on to the next book…
The Crime Lab Case (Nancy Drew #165)
Nancy, Bess and George have volunteered to be counselors for a high school crime lab camp, created by the renowned scientist, Professor Parris. But when Professor Parris is poisoned, it is up to Nancy and her friends to solve the real life mystery.
This is a reread for me. I’ve owned this book for years but hadn’t read it in so long. One difference I noticed right away between this book and the others? The chapters. Every Nancy Drew book is 20 chapters long. Not this one. This one only has 15 chapters. And no artwork! There aren’t any pictures in this book. I kind of missed them.
The mystery itself is actually a lot less convoluted than usual. Hooray! The backdrop was a nice touch. While the high school students are working to solve a fictional case, Nancy is hard at work trying to figure out who poisoned Professor Parris and why.
Speaking of the fictional case. I realized that the case the kids are working on isn’t solved. The kids are broken up in groups and each group is given clues. In the end, each group had a different suspect. So who committed the crime?? It wasn’t resolved!
One additional note. Ned is finally, finally referred to as Nancy’s boyfriend! Only took 165 books to get there haha. And there are no illustrations…
These aren’t too terrible.Okay, #59 was but let’s forget about that one haha. After the letdown I had with the last few of the original 56, these were a big improvement. Some elements are obviously different. Especially in the last one, #165. The modernity is felt through the whole book. Bess’s weight is no longer discussed. Instead, she is a research queen. She uses the internet to help Nancy gather information. George, is still George. Ned, is now officially the boyfriend. And Nancy? Nancy remains our quick-thinking, amateur detective.
Hm. I really liked these mysteries. (I said ignore #59, remember?) 😉
Next week? A triple dose! Unless I buy more Nancy Drew books between now and next week…
Huh. Not what I was expecting. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just… huh.
An enlightening and entertaining collection of the most esteemed love poems in the English canon, retold in contemporary language everyone can understand
James Anthony has long enjoyed poetry with a strict adherence to beat, rhythm, and rhyming patterns, which he likens to the very best pop songs. This drew him to the rewarding 14-line structure of Shakespeare’s sonnets, yet he often found their abstract language frustratingly unintelligible. One day, out of curiosity, he rewrote Sonnet 18–Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day–line-by-line, in the strict five-beat iambic pentameter and rhyming patterns of the original, but in a contemporary language a modern reader could easily understand. The meaning and sentiment–difficult to spot, initially–came to life, revealing new intricacies in the workings of Shakespeare’s heart.
And so, James embarked on a full-time, year-long project to rewrite all 154 of the Bard’s eternal verses creating SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS, RETOLD. This collection of masterful reinterpretations brilliantly demystifies and breathes new life into Shakespeare’s work, demonstrating the continued resonance of a playwright whose popularity remains over 400 years after his death. Now, the passion, heartbreak, deception, reconciliation, and mortality of Shakespeare’s originals can be understood by all, without the need to cross reference to an enjoyment-sapping study-guide. Coming with a foreword by Stephen Fry, this is a stunning collection of beautiful love poems made new.
*Thank you First to Read for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.*
Shakespeare is not really my cup of tea. I can only take so much iambic pentameter before my mind begins to wander and my eyes get droopy. I have to focus a lot to even get a semblance of understanding. Now, a few years ago I received a complete collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets. I read them and nearly cried. Because I understood nothing. Nothing! I reread it again, taking my time to read it. Still nothing. So when I saw this book offered, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to get an ARC.
This book does what it sets out to do. The poems are all in modern-day language making them easy to understand. Which brings me to my “huh” moment. Because I thought these poems were supposed to be lovey-dovey. But they’re not. Actually, the first twenty poems or so (maybe more, I lost count) are about procreation. Spreading your seed. Having kids. It caught me off-guard. They just went on and on about having kids that will be your mini-me’s. It was way too much. But after all the procreation poems, there were a few that I actually enjoyed.
The language itself was also a bit weird. Yes, it’s modern. But at times it was a little too modern. Maybe I’m just being a bit nit-picky. I did like the way the book was structured though. On one side you have the original poem, as written by Shakespeare. On the next page, you have the new, updated poem by James Anthony. Made it easy to compare the two.
I was looking for a new audiobook to listen to when I stumbled across this one. It consists of six short stories written by Daphne Du Maurier and narrated by various people.
Okay, we all know this story. For some reason birds, all kinds of birds, start attacking humans out of nowhere.
The story follows the Hocken family. Nat Hocken, a war veteran sees birds gathering together in droves and finds it strange. When he comments on it, others wave it away. It’s the weather, they explain. He is not satisfied with this response but doesn’t think too much of it. Until the birds suddenly attack him as he makes his way into his home.
These attacks start occurring everywhere. And as the bird attacks become fierce, the Hocken family takes shelter in theor home. Nat boards up the house and does everything possible to stop the birds from entering the home as their incessant pecking on the wooden house increases.
This is a pretty eerie story. It’s fairly short yet still managed to scare the bejesus out of me. When I saw a pigeon out and about, I almost fainted on sight. The worst part? The story has no conclusion. But taking into consideration everything that happens, I feel safe in assuming the Hocken family doesn’t survive. Which means, the birds win. And we still don’t know why it all happened in the first place.
The unnamed narrator recounts a tale regarding his best friend Victor, his best friend’s wife Anna, and a mysterious mountain.
The story begins with the 70 year old narrator, talking about how he and Victor first met as students. How they both shared a passion for hiking and had climbed every mountaintop near them. And he talks about how Victor met Anna.
The narrator thinks of Anna as Victor’s opposite. While he is loud and boisterous, she is quiet and serious. One day, the couple plans a hiking trip to Mount Verità. Neither of the men have heard of it, so the narrator tells Victor to be cautious as he does not know the terrain, and leaves on a business trip.
Upon his return, he discovers that Anna has left Victor and he has been in a nursing home for quite some time. He rushes to his friend’s side and listens to Victor’s strange tale of their adventure on Mount Verità.
This was an usual story. I knew something weird was going on, but like the narrator, we have to piece the narrative together ourselves. We only know what the narrator knows, after all.
It was a good anecdote. There are a few tiny things that I didn’t fully grasp, but it was still enjoyable. It’s a bit of a mystery. Trying to figure out what exactly is happening on Mount Verità. And when you do, you realize it’s actually deeper than expected.
The Apple Tree
Well, I’ll never eat an apple without thinking of Midge. Yikes.
A man has been married to Midge for a long time. When he retires, the two are all of a sudden spending more time together. The husband is often neglectful of his wife and her needs. It becomes obvious fairly soon that they kind of don’t know how to live one another.
One day, Midge gets sick. Pneumonia. Next thing you know, she’s dead. The husband thinks he is to blame. And comes to believe that an apple tree holds his wife’s spirit. From that point on, he begins to crack. The wood burned from the tree sickens him. The apples produced by said tree, also sicken him. He cannot tolerate anything that the apple tree provides.
This was a fairly interesting story. Less on the spooky factor, more on the straightforward factor. It’s basically the story of a shitty husband who is haunted by an apple tree. And what happens when he tries to get rid of the poor tree. That’s it. That’s the story. But it was a damn good story.
The Little Photographer
A Marquise is vacationing on the French Riviera with her two young children when she meets a photographer. The two begin an illicit affair. When she attempts to end things, the story takes a sinister turn.
This story wasn’t as supernatural as the others. It left me feeling underwhelmed. I wasn’t actually surprised by the turn the story takes. Actually, it reminded me of a stunt they’d pull in a telenovela.
Hm. Not my favorite.
Kiss Me, Stranger
A war veteran is living a pretty satisfactory life. One day, he visits a local movie theater and is smitten by one of the usherettes. He flirts with her but she gives him the brush off. After the movie ends, he catches a glimpse of her walking down the street. He follows. She boards a bus. He does too. She falls asleep. He sits beside her and pays her bus fare. She briefly wakes up tells him at which stop to wake her and leans her head on his shoulder and dozes off again.
This story was pretty straightforward. Girl catches guy’s eye, seemingly good guy acts like a creep and stalks her. Guy and girl share a moment. Then the story takes an unexpected turn. I thought I knew where the story was going. Ha! I was way off base.
There’s a tinge of suspense in the story. You get the idea that something is going to happen. But you’re not exactly sure what. And then it all dawns on you just as the narrator realizes what is happening. My mouth actually fell open. The creep dodged a bullet.
The Old Man
A man watches his strange neighbor and his family. The old man, the family’s patriarch, does not allow any of his family members to interact with other people. The rare times that they do, they communicate in a language that the neighbor does not recognize.
One day, the old man and his wife return home without their children (2 daughters and 1 son). Now, the children are all grown so the neighbor thinks that the parents simply kicked their kids out of the house. But 3 weeks later, the son shows up and is pushed away by the father. A few days later, the son turns up dead.
This story reminded me a bit of Rear Window. Because this guy is always observing the old man and his family. They’ve been neighbors for years so I guess he’s curious about them.
The ending was weird though. I have a feeling it’s supposed to be profound. But that deepness was lost on me. Honestly, I’m confused. I don’t get it. So I can’t really say much else. I have nothing else to add about this story.
These stories make me want to reread Rebecca because I actually didn’t like it the first time I read it. Maybe her writing style isn’t for me..?
Some of these short stories were definitely good and spooky. I think The Birds was my favorite. Least favorite? Obviously The Old Man. #stillconfused. But for the most part I thought they were simply okay. Idk. Must be a writing style thing.