Literature Fanatic. Writer. I tend to lean toward mystery and fiction, but I like to change patterns with the occasional YA or non-fiction book. I hope you enjoy my reviews and they inspire you to read the book yourself!
Book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy/Romance
Summary: Elisa has always felt powerless, useless. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king - a king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could save his people. And he looks at her in a way no man had ever looked at her before. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn't die young. Most of the chosen do. - Greenwillow Books, 2011.
Book: Black Swan Rising
Author: Lee Carroll
Summary: When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, asks her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to Garet by her deceased mother. Garet can't believe this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. . . . When she investigates, Garet learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old. Opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity - one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet's family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of the prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to defeat this devastating force? On her journey, she will meet fey folk who walk unnoticed among the humans and a sexy vampire who also happens to be a hedge fund manager who she can't stop thinking about. Can Garet trust anyone to guide her? The fairies reveal a desire to overpower mere humans, and the seductive vampire has the power to steal the life from her body. Using her newfound powers and sharp wit, Garet will muster everything she's got to shut down the evil taking over her friends, family, New York City, and the world. - Tor, 2010.
Book: A Room Full of Bones
Author: Elly Griffiths
Summary: When Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop, she finds the museum's curator lying dead on the floor. Soon after, the museum wealthy owner is also found dead, in his stables. These two deaths could be from natural causes, but once again Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson cross paths during the investigation. When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth's friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, Ruth and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling, and the mystery of "The Dreaming" hold the answers to these deaths, as well as the keys to their own survival. -Mariner Books, 2012.
Book: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Supernatural
Summary: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine's children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive. -Quirk Books, 2011.
Book: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Summary: Deep in the heart of Oxford's Bodleian Library, Diana Bishop - a young scholar and the descendant of witches - unearths an enchanted alchemical manuscript. Wanting nothing to do with sorcery, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery has set a fantastical underworld stirring, and soon a horde of daemons, witches, and other creatures descends upon the library. Among them is the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire with a keen interest in the book. Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A Discovery of Witches is a mesmerizing and addictive tale of passion and obsession that reveals the closely guarded secrets of an enchanted world. - Penguin, 2011.
Book: Salem Falls
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Fiction/Crime/Small Town Life
Summary: A handsome stranger comes to the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls in hopes of burying his past: Once a teacher at a girls' prep school, Jack St. Bride was destroyed when a student's crush sparked a powder keg of accusation. Now, washing the dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Diner, he slips quietly into his new routine, and Addie finds this unassuming man fitting easily inside her heart. But amid the rustic calm of Salem Falls, a quartet of teenage girls harbors dark secrets - and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. Now, at the center of a modern-day witch hunt, Jack is forced once again to proclaim his innocence: to a town searching for answers, to a justice system where truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of gray, and to the woman who has come to love him. -Simon and Schuster, 2001.
Say hello to Kat in Follow Friday book bloggers talks!
Let's meet a blogger behind the Sailing in a Sea of Words blog:
When have you recognized a book lover in you?
My love for reading was most definitely fostered and encouraged by my parents. They read to me as a child and I began reading on my own at a very young age. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t love reading. It’s a core part of me and without it, I would have a hard time recognizing myself. All of my other interests are born from the books that I’ve read.
Please pick three books you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Book #1: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It’s a really brilliant thriller/suspense novel that is beautifully written and well-researched.
Book #2: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro. Few books have sucked me in as well as this one. Tessaro’s knowledge of scent and her mastery of balancing two different timelines so that neither is lacking in detail and plot makes this book a real gem.
Book #3: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. This is another book that really sucked me in. I finished it in a matter of days because I needed to find out what happened next. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story wrapped in mystery and supernatural elements. I’m eager to get my hands on whatever novel she publishes next.
Why have you decided to start a book blog? Do you like it so far?
I wanted to keep a record of the books I read and my impressions of them. I wanted to make each entry as detailed as possible, but I’ve been having trouble with that as of late. Once I finish my next series of books I have lined up, I’m going to be changing the way I write the reviews so that I can take the time to provide the detail I’ve always wished to give. I love it! I’ve shared my blog with friends and family so they can keep up to date on my recommendations and what I’ve been reading. It helps give me extra incentive to keep going and not let myself fall behind on posting my reviews.
In your short bio you reveal you’re a writer! Please tell us more!
I haven’t published anything I’ve written online, but I’ve written a bunch of short stories. I’ve been outlining and playing with an idea for a novel, but I haven’t waded into the deeper waters as of yet. The short stories I’ve written mostly revolve around chance encounters and pushing the boundaries of the world one has lived in for all of his or her life.
You write “I tend to lean toward mystery and fiction, but I like to change patterns with the occasional YA or non-fiction book”. Which YA and non-fiction books have amazed you?
I’ve only just started re-reading YA books within the last year or so. I enjoyed Blythewood by Carol Goodman.
As far as non-fiction goes, I’ve been exploring books related to topics I like as well as biographies. I really enjoyed Carl Sandburg’s biography of Abraham Lincoln that’s broken up into the Prairie Years and the War Years. I also enjoyed Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill. It’s a memoir of Hill’s time as Jackie Kennedy’s primary Secret Service agent. I really admire Jackie Kennedy and Hill’s memories made me want to dig deeper. I have a few books on the Kennedys and Jackie lined up for future reading. Stephen Sondheim’s Finishing the Hat has been really insightful as I love his musicals and I’ve had fun finding out his thoughts on the musicals he’s worked on.
How much time do you spend reading?
Many people I know would say too much. I try to read every day. I have a long commute and I take public transportation so I read on my trips to and from work. On the weekends where I don’t have plans, I tend to read all day. That’s when I’ve been notorious for finishing books within hours.
What are your three favorite book covers?
Book #1: Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman. This was the first Goodman book I read and the cover just drew me in with how mysterious and elegant it looks.
Book #2: The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson. It’s one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve ever seen. The fields of lavender leading up to the lonely looking cottage is so mysterious yet so soothing.
Book #3: Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet. If you worship autumn like I do, this cover speaks to that love and adoration. I love mysteries to begin with so it was helpful that this book was one, but I wanted the cover just as much.
What’s your reading spot? We’d love to see the photos :)
When’s a nice day, I’ll read in the window ledge in my living room. I’ll prop up a pillow, grab a blanket and read away.
A paper book or an e-book?
Paper book, always. I don’t want to strain my eyes, plus I love the texture and smell of books. I’ll never go all digital – not for books.
Three books for a desert island?
Book #1: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s easily one of the best mystery novels of all time. I would argue that it is the best one, but I know many who would disagree. This book is responsible for my love of mysteries as my father read it to me when I was young. I love Sherlock Holmes so I need this novel, if not one of the collection of short stories. Who doesn’t love that line, Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound. Chills.
Book #2: Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman. It’s not just the cover that I love about this novel. I adore the story and it’s one that I can read over and over and never get bored. It brings the feeling of autumn to me and I love that feeling, even if it’s while I’m on a desert island.
Book #3: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I know I’m a minority, but I love Pride and Prejudice. It was close, as I would also love to bring Jane Eyre, but I just love Austen a little more. I need at least one love story on my island.
There are so many it’s hard to choose! I’m going to have to go with the inner romantic here:
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.
― Jane Austen, Persuasion
If you could meet one author, who would it be and why?
I’d love to meet Carol Goodman. She’s the only modern author where I have bought every single book she’s ever written. I haven’t read all of them (yet), but I love her writing, her subjects, and I would love to just chat with her on her writing as well as her inspiration.
The best thing about books?
The escape! Books allow you to travel to worlds and places too numerous to count. You can transcend time and place to follow the lives of people you’ve never met – both real and imagined. Books are an incredible gift and one that needs to be always appreciated.
Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)
I don’t have huge bookcases to house all of the books I own (yet), so here’s a photo of some of the books I have in my bookcase.
Missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the catch up links:
Remember, you can nominate your blogger friends for the Follow Friday interview! Click here and leave the URL address in the comment section.
See you next Friday!
Author: Carol Goodman
Genre: Teen/Fantasy Fiction/Romance/Sequel
Summary: Avaline Hall is no ordinary girl. She's a student at the Blythewood Academy, an elite boarding school that trains young women to defend human society from the shadowy forces that live among us. After the devastating events of her first year at Blythewood, Ava is eager to reunite with her friends - and with Raven, the compelling but elusive winged boy who makes her pulse race. She soon discovers, though, that the sinister Judicus van Drood hasn't finished wreaking havoc on Blythewood - and wants to use Ava and her classmates to attack a much bigger target. Ava's the only one with any hope of stopping van Drood. But to scuttle his plans, she must reveal her deepest secret to everyone at Blythewood. What's she willing to sacrifice to do what's right: Her school? Her love? Or her life? -Viking/Penguin, 2014.
Book: The Drowning Tree
Author: Carol Goodman
Summary: Juno McKay intended to avoid her fifteenth-year college reunion, but she can't resist the chance to see her life-long friend Christine Webb. Though Juno cringes at the inevitable talk of her troubled personal life - and the husband who ended up in a mental hospital only two years after their wedding - she endures the gossip for her friend's sake. While lecturing at the Penrose College library, Christine shocks the rapt crowd by revealing little-known details about the lives of two sisters - members of the influential family whose name the college bears. Christine's revelations throw shadows of betrayal, lust, and insanity over the family's distinguished facade. After her speech, Christine seems distant, uneasy, and sad. The next day, she disappears. Juno is alarmed and begins to peel away the layers of secrets and madness that surround the Penrose dynasty. She fears that Christine discovered something damning about them, perhaps something worth killing for. And Juno is determined to find it - for her friend and for herself. -Ballantine Books, 2004.
Book: North and South
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Genre: Fiction/Social Commentary/Coming-Of-Age/Romance
Summary: When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill-workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature. - Penguin Classics, 1995.
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Genre: Fiction/Historical Romance
Summary: Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to reign in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke. - Shadow Mountain, 2012.
Book: Sweet Tooth
Author: Ian McEwan
Genre: Spy Thriller/Fiction/Romance
Summary: Cambridge student Serena Frome's beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England's legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named "Sweet Tooth". Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one. - Anchor Books Random House, 2012.
Book: The Seduction of Water
Author: Carol Goodman
Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Fairy Tales
Summary: Iris Greenfeder, ABD (All But Dissertation), feels the "buts" are taking over her life: all but published, all but a professor, all but married. Yet the sudden impulse to write a story about her mother, Katherine Morrissey, leads to a shot at literary success. The piece recounts an eerie Irish fairy tale her mother used to tell her at bedtime - and nestled inside it is the sad story of her death. It captures the attention of her mother's former literary agent, who is convinced that Katherine wrote one final manuscript before her strange, untimely end in a fire thirty years ago. So Iris goes back to the remote Hotel Equinox in the Catskills, the place where she grew up, to write her mother's biography and search for the missing manuscript - and there she unravels a haunting mystery, one that holds more secrets than she ever expected. . . - Ballantine Books, 2003.
Book: The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Author: Margot Livesey
Genre: Romance/Coming of Age Novel
Summary: Taken from her native Iceland to Scotland in the early 1950s when her widower father drowns at sea, young Gemma Hardy comes to live with her kindly uncle and his family. But his death leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and she suddenly finds herself an unwelcome guest. Surviving oppressive years as a strict private school, Gemma ultimately finds a job as an au pair to the eight-year-old niece of Mr. Sinclair on the Orkney Islands - and here, at the mysterious and remote Blackbird Hall, Gemma's greatest trial begins. - Harper Perennial, 2012.
Book: The Truth of All Things
Author: Kieran Shields
Summary: When Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is called in to investigate a prostitute's murder in Portland, Maine, he's surprised to find the body laid out like a pentagram and pinned to the earth with a pitchfork. He's even more surprised to learn that this death by "sticking" is a traditional method of killing a witch. Baffled by the ritualized murder scene, Lean secretly enlists the help of historian Helen Prescott and criminalist Perceval Grey. Although skeptical of one another's methods, the team pursues the killer's lurid trail through postmortems and opium dens and deep into the spiritualist societies and lunatic asylums of gothic New England. The closer they come to answers, the more dangerous their hunt becomes. Before the killer closes in on his final victim, they must decipher the secret pattern to these murders - a pattern hidden within the dark history of the Salem witch trials. - Broadway Paperbacks, 2012.