January Book Haul

One of my goals for 2017 is to try and buy/receive less books or at least get more that I’m actually going to read this year. I don’t think I’ve done too bad for January since some of these really are books I plan to read for 2017. Trying to do a total book buying ban has proven to backfire so I’m going to try and just aim overall for less. Anyway, here’s the books I couldn’t resist!

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First of all, here is the beautiful special illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Jim McKay, a Christmas gift from my husband. However, it shipped from England and took over a month to arrive but it was definitely worth it. I’m sad it won’t fit on my current Harry Potter shelf though. This is the nicest book I own now. Pictures don’t do it justice.

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These were in my library’s outlet section. The hardbacks were $2 and the other were $1. While I already owned Rose Madder and Needful Things (that edition is missing the dust jacket but the spine is beautiful so I grabbed), they were ratty paperbacks. I decided these hardcovers were in great condition so I replaced them. I also got The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, a children’s book I remember loving, and Meg, a book I plan to read later this year.

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I can usually never resist Book Outlet. They were having some kind of winter sale and they had the last two Jasper Dent books for a bargain. Since I want to finish this series this year and my library only has the first one, of course I snagged them.

They also had the Puffin Bloom Classic edition for Anne of Green Gables, which I’ve never read but since I already have the edition for Little Women, I snagged it too. This set is expensive but Book Outlet occasionally has the singles for $6-7.

My library also doesn’t have Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, though they have the rest of her books for The Lunar Chronicles so I decided to get it. It was decently priced and I plan to eventually buy the series when we have a house with more space.

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I found Burial Rites at Dollar Tree. I’ve heard of this one and it sounded good so I couldn’t pass it up for a dollar. Most of the time Dollar Tree’s book selection is depressing but every once in a while they will have some good ones so always check!

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I signed up for my first Owl Crate because they were doing a classic re-mix and the last box, which I saw someone reveal on Booktube, looked excellent so I decided to try it. It is more expensive than my Horror Block but I’m thinking I might do Owl Crate when I’m not interested in the other. Like for February 🙂 The box came with this Phantom of the Opera re-telling and a signed bookplate. While I’ve never read the classic, it has always sounded good and I am excited to read this!

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And here’s the contents of the box itself since it is book related. I loved everything in this box (though I haven’t tried the tea yet, it sounds good). It came with the hardback of Roseblood by A.G. Howard, a letter from the author about the book, a signed bookplate, a Phantom of the Opera magnet (the purple thing, it’s gorgeous), book soap inspired by The Secret Garden (so cute it’s going to be hard to use it), a pretty watercolor bookmark with a quote from Slaughterhouse-Five, Little Prince inspired herbal tea, a 2017 calendar with classic book quotes and art, and an Owlcrate pin (currently on my purse). Very cool stuff.

I signed up for Feb box as well in place of my Horror Block since the theme is circus and the HB theme wasn’t wowing me. While I’m pretty sure the book is going to be one I already have, I’m okay with it because my edition is a review ARC and the new one (if I’m correct) will be hardcover and have a signed bookplate and letter from the author.

Honestly I don’t think I was too bad for January. One book was a gift, one came with neat bookish stuff, and the rest were fairly cheap. Out of the eleven I acquired, I’ve read one, plan to read five-six of them this year, and replaced two for books I already had. So really only two were complete impulse buys. I feel good about my haul.

I also unhauled about 30-40 from my shelf. All books I’d liked (like the Pretty Little Liars books) but also ones I knew I’d never re-read. I gave some to my co-worker for her younger daughter and plan to take the rest to my local used bookstore. Whichever ones they can’t take will be donated. So not bad at all. Right? How many books did you get this month and which ones are you most excited about?

jnc

Birthday Book Haul

My birthday was in September so of course I got a good amount of books. I bought some of these but a few were also gifts. Here’s some photos of all the books I obtained within the month:

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I also had to get the Jareth, Sarah, and worm Funko pops because I am a huge Labyrinth fan!

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Have you read any of these? What books have you recently hauled?

 

jnc

Books in July 2016

For 2016, I have challenged myself to read 100 books. In July, I read nine books.

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Favorite: End of Watch by Stephen King
Classic: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Least Liked: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

 

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Everything else was good as well. I really liked Caravel, Scarlet, The Witches and Pretty Little Secrets.

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My favorite read for July 2016.

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My classic read for July 2016.

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I was also lucky enough to receive this ARC. It was pretty good!

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What did you read in July and what were your favorites?

 

jnc

Post #666 (Horror Recs & Evil in the Walls Preview)

Hey guys, can you believe I made it to post #666? While this blog has been up for a few years, I find that to be pretty amazing. Since I am a huge horror fan, I thought this post number would be a perfect opportunity to share some book recommendations and a peak at my YA horror novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo of last year, Evil in the Walls.

 

Since this is post 666, I’m going to give you 6 of my favorite horror reads, in no particular order:

 

  1. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.

    Flowers-in-the-Attic-cover-vc-andrews-20778428-202-330
    I have been a huge VCA fan since I was 13 or 14. Her books are more of a psychological, Gothic horror, but they are pretty shocking, especially during the time they were written. While the book may seem a bit dated today, I still think readers will be able to relate to and fear for the young characters and their situation.

    The book is told from the POV of Cathy Dollanganger, a young girl who finds her life completely changed after the sudden death of her father. When her family can no longer afford their home, Cathy’s mother takes them to her family home at Foxworth Hall. While Cathy’s grandparents are rich, the grandmother is cruel and the grandfather doesn’t know about her, her two brothers, or sister–and cannot until he dies.

    Since the grandfather can not know he has grandchildren, they are locked away in the attic to wait for his death. But the children soon learn that sometimes riches comes with a price.

    There are also two movies and book sequels.

  2.  Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

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    I actually dig a lot of Stephen King’s work but I choose this one because it is somewhat recent and has a pretty twisted villain. The book is more of a crime-horror, but definitely one of my favorites. It is the first in a trilogy, in which the last book comes out in June. So it’s the perfect timing to get started on this one.

    Mr. Mercedes is about the battle between a retired detective named Bill Hodges and a twisted killer called The Mercedes Killer. As Bill begins to crack down on the killer’s identity, the killer will do anything possible to make his life a living hell.

    There is talk of a possible TV show adaptation, which would be pretty awesome. Bill Hodges makes for a good protagonist, the story is interesting, and the killer is one of the most twisted ones I’ve seen in a while.

  3. The Merciless by Danielle Vega

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    This one is a young adult horror in which a new girl befriends a group of other girls who want to perform an exorcism on her. Unfortunately their idea of exorcism is more like torture and there is no escape.

    I feel like I talk about this book a lot but it’s really the first YA Horror that I’ve found so far that has been this good. It would make an excellent adaptation if done well and there is an IMDB page for it so maybe it will happen. If you like stories about exorcisms or shows like American Horror Story, you’ll probably like this one!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

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This is another YA Horror, but it focuses more on zombies and has two more books after this one. I felt it was a strong book, and the books seem to get even better as the story goes on. I can take or leave zombie stories in general, but I really enjoyed this one.

In the Forest of Hands and Teeth, Mary lives in a world full of protection from the evil things in the forest outside the fence. Once Mary begins to uncover the truth about the safe society she lives in and the fence is breached, she will have to make a difficult choice to survive.

The movie adaptation is supposedly in pre-production.

5. Lightning by Dean Koontz

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It’s been a while since I’ve read this one but it was always my favorite out of his books. I got into them during high school, though I never liked them as much as I did Stephen King’s books. This book involves a woman named Laura who finds herself being protected by a time-traveling stranger.

6. The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

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I read this one last year and found it to be very disturbing. While it’s dated, it still has a creepy atmosphere and vibe to it. Despite its age, it still feels relevant even today. This book is about a couple who moves into a new, too perfect town. Soon they begin to discover why things are so perfect, especially the wives.

Have you read any of the above? If so, did you enjoy any of them? What would you recommend?

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Now, for a sneak peek at my NaNoWriMo novel, Evil in the Walls!

The tea cup was halfway to her lips when she heard the noise. Her hand paused, slightly shaking. No. Not again. Aya Hara pressed her lips together tightly and waited. One second. Two. Five. Twenty. Everything was quiet. Swallowing, she moved the cup all the way to her lips, opening them to take a sip of the hot tea she always liked to have right before bed.

There is was again. Low, but it resounded throughout the room. Something in between a groan and a howl. Her hand began to shake so badly that a stream of brown liquid began to dribble down the left side of the delicate china cup. Taking a deep breath, Aya tried to calm herself as she lowered the cup to its saucer on the table beside her chair.

Aya pressed her hands together. “That’s enough,” she said as loudly as she could. It wasn’t very loud. She was ninety-six years old, and her voice seemed to be getting quieter and quieter lately.  Taking another deep breath, Aya reached for the ornately bound notebook that she’d been scribbling in since the death of her husband. Ten years of musings and she only had one last page left. She hoped that it would explain everything when she was gone.

There was no other solution that she could see. The hotel had to be destroyed. Over fifty years of hard work had to be demolished. Sadness filled Aya, but she knew it had to happen. If she didn’t destroy the hotel, it would destroy her and all that she loved. She couldn’t let that happen. So she pressed the tip of her pen to the paper, thinking of how to word an explanation in case she didn’t make it. Though she planned on surviving, she knew she shouldn’t take any chances. She was too old to be sure, and even if she’d been younger, there was no way to know for sure if she’d be safe even then.

This was her insurance plan in case things didn’t pan out. No one else was here; all of the help had been asked to go home over the weekend. All of the guests had checked out, the vacancy sign outside was dark, and no one was able to check in. It was just her and the evil that dwelled inside the walls. Her heart felt heavy. She had worked so hard and for so long on this place that it was like she was killing a piece of herself. She had to, though. If she didn’t, she knew deep in her heart that it would go after her family. The Grand Kansai had to go.

Tears leaked from her eyes as she began to write. It took her ten minutes to finish. Once she did, she closed the notebook and laid it on the table. Hands still shaking, she picked up the tea. It was still warm. She took a long, grateful sip, feeling the warmth flow inside her. She would finish her tea, put the notebook somewhere safe, then get to work. The thought of her only daughter and her family, who lived hundreds of miles away in the city, helped her gulp the remainder of her tea down. There.

She set the cup aside and grabbed the arms on her chair. There was a lot to do. Slowly she stood. Her reflection in the mirror gazed back at her. She had gotten so thin. The evil was eating her alive. I have to do this, she thought to herself. She nodded and moved to take a step forward. A sharp pain ricocheted throughout her heart.

Grimacing, she slapped a withered hand to it and squeezed her eyes shut. What’s happening? No. NO. Not now. A heart attack? She could barely think over the roar of the pain. Clenching her teeth together, she willed her eyes open as her stomach began to convulse as well. No! Her hands moved there and she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her reflection was smiling at her in a smug way. The evil. It was doing this to her.

“No!” she cried, gasping as another wave of pain gripped her. It hurt so much. Her stomach felt like it was eating itself with sharp, jagged teeth. What was going on? Her eyes met those in the mirror. Her reflection picked up the tea cup and lifted it, grinning. Aya watched, horrified, as her reflection turned the cup toward her so she could see the inside. The tea remains had left an image of a skull and crossbones. Aya’s eyes widened. Something had poisoned her! It had poisoned the tea she loved. Just as it had poisoned everything she loved.

Aya put a hand to her throat, tears gushing out of her eyes. Her mouth opened to speak, but nothing came out. So she glared at the reflection, at the evil there. Leave them alone! Stay away from my family! she thought at it as hard as she could. Her reflection began to laugh. The pain worsened and Aya sunk to the carpet. She wrapped her arms around her convulsing body. Fluids began to gush out of her mouth and she struggled not to gag on them.

Her letter. Her notebook. She had to get them. She tried to crawl to the chair. How long did it take for poison to kill someone? Maybe the evil wanted her to suffer. Her outstretched hands finally grabbed onto the softness of her chair. She tried to pull herself up, but she was far too weak. No. Karin! I’ve failed you. All of you. I’ve failed you all. Tears poured out of her eyes, snot ran out of her nose, and she began to puke. Blood was in whatever poison was coming out of her, but she knew it was too late.

Her hands flailed uselessly at the edge of the table where her empty tea cup and the notebook lay. Please! Then she crumpled to the floor, pulling her arms against herself. Her face turned up and she could see the edge of the notebook. Almost as if the evil were taunting her. And maybe it was. She tried to cry out, but the life was already leaving her. She stared up dully at the notebook, feeling the last seconds of life fleeing from her body. At least she could no longer feel the pain. Her thoughts were evaporating. Karin, I’m sorry, she thought before her head cleared and Aya Hara was gone.

 

jnc

Books in February 2016

For 2016, I have challenged myself to read 100 books. In February I read seven. So far I have read thirteen. Here’s the books from February:

 

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Best: The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft
Least Liked: The Sharp Time by Mary O’Connell
Classic of the Month: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

 

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I also loved Finders Keepers. Cinder, Broken China, and Animorphs: The Underground were also really good.

I had no bad reads this month. 🙂

 

My favorite read for February 2016.
My favorite read for February 2016. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. It is also signed by the author! ❤
My classic read for February 2016.
My classic read for February 2016.

What did you read in February and what were your favorites?

 

jncname

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For 2016

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For 2016

This was supposed to be a post for yesterday, but it didn’t happen. Oh well, since I already had the majority of it ready, I’m still going to post it. 😉

 

I’m really bad at playing catch-up, whether it comes to books, movies, or shows. I grew up with basic channels and few book runs so maybe that’s part of it. Another part is that I just don’t devote enough time to see what’s coming out. I’ve gotten behind on a lot of movies, shows, and books I had plans to get to. Money is probably another issue, as new books can be expensive. The original post was for the “First Half” of 2016, but I’m going to focus on the entire year. Hope that’s cool.

 

This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

Anyway, here are the books I am most excited about for the new year–whether I will get to them in 2016 is a different story!

1. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by various YA authors (edited by Stephanie Perkins)
Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

I really wanted to read My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories but it ended up going to back order. I am a sucker for summer romances so this sounds right up my alley.

2. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

I haven’t read many re-tellings but I love the idea of them. Aladdin has been one of my favorites growing up so this sounds really exciting.

3. Untitled by Stephanie Perkins

Source: naturallysteph.tumblr.com
Source: naturallysteph.tumblr.com

Even though the book is unnamed and it’s all a mystery, I am a sucker for Perkins. Bring it on.

4. The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

Sounds intense and right up my alley.

5. Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

I’m all for creepy and this sounds like something I might really enjoy.

6. End of Watch (Bill Hodges #3) by Stephen King

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

I haven’t read the sequel to Mr. Mercedes yet BUT of course this is on my list. Even without that amazing sounding synopsis!

7. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

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Sounds intriguing. No book cover yet so here’s an author photo.

8. Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

Her debut, Six Feet Over It, was good, and I love the subject of ballet so this is definitely on my list. The plot also sounds unique.

9. Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

Jennifer Brown…synesthesia…murder…Enough said.

10. The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com
This new YA Horror sounds really good. I’m always up for horror, especially YA. It’s rare to find good ones.

 

What books are you most excited for in 2016?

 

 

jncname

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

I’ve began to really like the posts I find on The Quirky Book Nerd’s blog so I’m going to participate in some of the lists she does, at least until I get overwhelmed with life again. Who knows, maybe I will be able to make it a habit!

The Top Ten is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

And today’s top ten is: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year
My tree.
My tree.

 

1. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King.

I became a King fan in high school, and devoured a ton of his work in college (mostly because our library was limited but I see this as a good thing now). Over time I kind of lost track of his work and have only recently began to get back into his books, though I really do love most of his stuff.

I enjoy most of his short story collections, though I missed out on the last one (and didn’t entirely finish the one before that) but this one looks and sounds really good.

2.  Doctor Sleep Limited Edition by Stephen King, illustrated by Vincent Chong

While I bought a copy of the standard Doctor Sleep a few weeks ago, I would love to have this edition because it has beautiful illustrations by Vincent Chong. I was obsessed with this book for a while and the illustrations are just wonderful. Unfortunately this is a very expensive and hard-to-find one but I am hoping to get it one day.

Here’s an example of the illustrations. This is Rose the Hat.

Source: www.brianjamesfreeman.com
Source: http://www.brianjamesfreeman.com

3. The Martian Chronicles/The Illustrated Man/The Golden Apples of the Sun (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions) by Ray Bradbury

I loved Fahrenheit 451 and want to read more. I definitely plan on it next year, even if I don’t get this lovely edition. Should have gotten it when it was easier to find and not over $20! I guess sometimes you learn the hard way.

Source: monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com
Source: monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com

 

 

4. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

 

Loved Anna and the French Kiss. This one just looks and sounds really good. Love the cover, too.
Source: disabilityinkidlit.com
Source: disabilityinkidlit.com

5. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

 

The cover is gorgeous and I’ve heard a lot of good things.

Source: victoriaaveyard.com
Source:
victoriaaveyard.com
 

6. JAWS: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard by Matt Taylor

For those who don’t know, I am a huge Jaws and shark fanatic and I have been lusting over this book for forever. It’s pricey, though! But one day I will get it. I’m going to need a bigger bookshelf. 😉

Source: erikhollanderdesign.com
Source: erikhollanderdesign.com

7. The Selection series by Kiera Cass

I liked the first one much better than I thought I would and was very interested to see what happened in the end. I have the set on my wishlist.

Source: bookishbarrister.wordpress.com
Source: bookishbarrister.wordpress.com

8.Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I really liked Eleanor and Park for the most part and tried to get Fangirl right after at the library, but I could never get a hold of it and stopped trying. So this would be nice to get.

9. Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Since I just wrote a horror story involving ghosts and a hotel, naturally I want to make sure ours are nothing alike (lol). I have a bad feeling that it’s going to be similar, but hopefully not too much. I like haunted hotel stories anyway so I still want to read it.

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com

10. Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Love Jennifer Brown’s work that I’ve read, especially Hate List. Jennifer Brown and a book about the aftermath of a twister just sounds wonderful!

Source: Goodreads.com
Source: Goodreads.com
I’m sure I could list a hundred more, but these are the ones I’m most excited to get.I don’t really expect to get books because most of my loved ones never know what to get me (though I did make a list for them this year at their request so I guess we’ll see?).

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If not, it’s cool because I did get a Barnes and Noble gift card, ordered myself two cases from Book Outlet (don’t judge me!), bought a few books at my local Ollie’s outlet (if you have one of these you need to go look at their book section STAT), and of course the huge pile I already had from various places. And then there’s always the library!

What books do you hope Santa leaves under your tree?

 

jncname