The Winter People

The Winter People
By: Jennifer McMahon
Published: 2014
# of pages: 317
Challenge: R.I.P. XI
Official description:

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.
My opinion:  I was going to read The Night Sister by the same author, but it wasn't available at the library.  The Winter People was, so I checked that out instead.  I'm glad I did because this book was a suspenseful read for the R.I.P. Challenge!  I was hooked the entire time.  I'm not going to lie; I'm not sure I was happy with the ending.  The pace at the end was a little rushed after all of the build up.  I didn't quite follow why Ruthie's story ended the way it did.  She made a decision that I didn't understand.  Overall, this was a fun, suspenseful read that I'd recommend to lovers of suspense, ghost stories, etc.

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Mostly well written, characters I liked and related to, original story

Other reviews:


Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World
By: Robert Jordan

Series: Wheel of Time

Published: 1990

# of pages: 814

Challenge: Ultimate Reading Challenge

Official description:

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

My opinion: With the exception of the flashback within a flashback (within a flashback?) chapters, this was a very well written novel that takes place in an amazingly well thought out fantasy world. It reminded me of Tolkien (Jordan claims he was inspired by Tolkien) and A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin and The Kingkiller Chronicle series by Patrick Rothfuss. 

I enjoyed all of the characters, especially Rand and Perrin (and each of their thoughts about how the other was more comfortable with women!). I'm interested to see what happens with each of the characters in the following books, but especially Rand and Perrin.

And seriously, what about that last paragraph!? I feel like I could be content with waiting a long time to read the next book (which is what I usually do with long series with long individual books like A Song of Ice and Fire and Outlander, etc), but after reading the last paragraph I want to immediately jump into the next book to see what's happening! However, it took me a L.O.N.G. time to get through The Eye of the World. I think it would have been slow going at times even if I was my normal reading obsessed self, but life hasn't treated me so well this summer and it's affected my reading habits. Right now I want to concentrate on my R.I.P. Challenge book choices which are shorter and suspenseful and will maybe pull me out of my reading slump! I was planning to start the next Wheel of Time book next year, but I'm thinking that maybe after October 31 and the R.I.P. Challenge, I'll pick up book #2 to find out what happens next!

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Amazing fantasy world, I was interested in the characters, it was a little slow at times, but I kept wanting to continue.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.


September 1 - October 31, 2016

Dark Fantasy.

These are the categories for the annual R.I.P. challenge that I've participated in for the past few years.  All year, I keep track of books in these genres to read when Autumn comes around and the R.I.P. challenge begins.  Now I just have to narrow down which ones to attempt to read before Halloween!  I've been in a reading slump the past couple of months due to family problems and I'm hoping R.I.P. can bring me out of my reading slump...and maybe even out of the slumps in other areas of my life. 

 There are several "perils" within the challenge.  I usually participate in Peril the First (read four books).  I love suspense movies, but I always try to save a suspenseful/scary movie for Halloween, and then when that night rolls around my husband and I are usually just exhausted after the chaos of trick-or-treating with kids and don't watch a movie after all.  This year I'm going to try for Peril the First, Peril on the Screen, and Peril of the Short Story.  

Peril the First:
1. The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall  by: Katie Alender

2. Black-Eyed Susans  by: Julia Heaberlin

4. You  by: Caroline Kepnes
Peril of the Short Story:
Shadows and Monsters: Stories for Halloween  by: Grace A. Dow
Peril on the Screen:
"The Gift"

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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts
By: Joshua Hammer

Published: 2016

# of pages: 280

Challenge: Full HouseWhat's in a Name?

Official description:  To save precious centuries-old Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians in Timbuktu pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven.
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers.
In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali.
Over the past twenty years, journalist Joshua Hammer visited Timbuktu numerous times and is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Haidara’s heroic and ultimately successful effort to outwit Al Qaeda and preserve Mali’s—and the world’s—literary patrimony. Hammer explores the city’s manuscript heritage and offers never-before-reported details about the militants’ march into northwest Africa. But above all, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is an inspiring account of the victory of art and literature over extremism.

My opinion: I wish this book had pictures and more descriptions of the actual librarians who risked their lives to save the manuscripts. The book mainly concentrates on the terrorism in Mali and North Africa, which is necessary to the story of the libraries. The problem for me is that there were more details about the terrorists themselves, including the history of several of the leaders, than about the librarians. The only librarian that is really discussed is Haidara, and he didn't physically transport the books. It was awesome that he organized everything, but I wish the readers could learn more about his nephew TourĂ© and others who were smuggling the books.

Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Interesting read about a subject I had never heard of before, but most of the book had nothing to do with the title, which leads readers to believe they will be reading about true heroes and not the "bad guys."

Other reviews:
Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Bone Gap

Bone Gap
By: Laura Ruby

Published: 2015

# of pages: 373

Challenge: Full House, Ultimate Reading Challenge

Quote: "She said, 'Do you love me yet?'
He recoiled from her, from the look of her.  'You don't love me because you can't see me,' she said.  'Look!  Look!  I am beautiful now.  I am beautiful.'"

Official description:  Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

My opinion:  I usually don't enjoy books in the magical realism genre so much, but I loved Bone Gap. It was a well written, original story with a beautiful message.

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars:  Well written, beautiful message, identifiable characters

Other reviews:
things mean a lot

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

What's in a Name? 2016

The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories:

A country:
An item of clothing: The Girl Who Wrote in Silk  by: Kelli Estes
An item of furniture:
A month of the year:
A title with the word "tree" in it:

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Ultimate Reading Challenge 2016

I'm also going to participate in the Ultimate Reading Challenge.  It isn't a sign up challenge, just a personal challenge to complete, but I will list out the categories and keep track of them on this post!

A book based on a fairy tale: The Wrath and the Dawn  by: Renee Ahdieh (based on A Thousand and One Nights...maybe not technically a fairy tale, but close enough)
A National Book Award winner:
A YA bestseller: Passenger  by: Alexandra Brecken
A book you haven't read since high school:
A book set in your home state:
A book translated to English:
A romance set in the future: Illuminae by: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
A book set in Europe: The Zookeeper's Wife  by: Diane Ackerman  (Poland)
A book that's under 150 pages: The Bears on Hemlock Mountain  by: Alice Dalgliesh  (64 pages)
A New York Times bestseller: The Nightingale  by: Kristen Hannah
A book that's becoming a movie this year:
A book recommended by someone you just met: Illuminae  by: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  (does a recommendation from a new blog count?)
A self-improvement book: Women are Scary  by: Melanie Dale
A book you can finish in a day: 
A book written by a celebrity:
A political memoir:
A book at least 100 years older than you:
A book that's more than 600 pages: Dragonfly in Amber  by: Diana Gabaldon  (743 pages)
A book from Oprah's Book Club:
A science-fiction novel: Ready Player One  by: Ernest Cline
A book recommended by a family member: The Secret History  by: Donna Tartt (by my mom)
A graphic novel:
A book that is published in 2016:  Crooked Kingdom  by: Leigh Bardugo
A book with a protagonist who has your occupation:  Truly, Madly, Guilty  by: Liane Moriarty  (mom)
A book that takes place during Summer: Bone Gap  by: Laura Ruby
A book and its prequel: 
A murder mystery: Black Eyed Susans  by: Julia Heaberlin
A book written by a comedian:
A dystopian novel: The 100  by: Kass Morgan
A book with a blue cover: Gemina  by: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

A book of poetry:
The first book you see in a bookstore:
A classic from the 20th century: The Eye of the World  by: Patrick Rothfuss
A book from the library: Boneshaker  by: Cherie Priest
An autobiography:
A book about a road trip: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry  by: Rachel Joyce
A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with: The Icarus Girl  by: Helen Oyeyemi (Nigerian)
A satirical book:
A book that takes place on an island: The Girl Who Wrote in Silk  by: Kelli Estes (Orcas Island, WA, USA)
A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy:

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Full House Reading Challenge 2016

Full House Reading Challenge 2016

By author you wish was better known: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry  by: Rachel Joyce
Published in 2016: Crooked Kingdom  by: Leigh Bardugo
Book from a series you love:  Gemina  by: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (The Illuminae Files)
Debut novel: An Ember in the Ashes  by: Sabaa Tahir
Thought provoking book: Bone Gap  by: Laura Ruby
Had laugh out loud moment(s): Women Are Scary  by: Melanie Dale
Book club worthy: The Icarus Girl  by: Helen Oyeyemi
Color word in title: Dragonfly in Amber  by: Diana Gabaldon
Author's surname starts with same letter as yours: 
You didn't want to put it down: Illuminae  by: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Way out of comfort zone: 
Family relationship word in title: The Zookeeper's Wife  by: Diane Ackerman
Book you bought: The Name of the Wind  by: Patrick Rothfuss
Setting begins with B: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry  by: Rachel Joyce (Britain)
Author outside own country: Liane Moriarty (Australia)
First in a series: Boneshaker  by: Cherie Priest (The Clockwork Century)
You'd like to change the cover: The Secret History  by: Donna Tartt (it looks boring!)
A dominant color on cover: The Nightingale  by: Kristen Hannah

New author to you: Ernest Cline (Ready Player One)
Would make a good movie: Passenger  by: Alexandra Brecken
Library book: The 100  by: Kass Morgan
Published in 2015: The Wrath and the Dawn  by: Renee Ahdieh
Been on TBR "forever": Ready Player One  by: Ernest Cline (since August 2012)

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2015 Review

I'm going to do something a little different this year and participate in a survey by The Perpetual Page-Turner that looks like a lot of fun!  I'm not doing much blog-wise, but maybe 2016 will be different?  So the beginning of this post will be my usual end of year review questions that aren't in the survey, and then I'll include the survey answers.

Challenges in which I participated:
Full House Reading Challenge
What's in a Name? (finished 6 of 6)
R.I.P. X  (finished 4 of 4)

# of books read: 
(down from 58 in 201460 in 2013, down from 75 in 2012, up from 39 in 2011, 30 in 2010, 28 in 2009, & up from 48 in 2008.  Down from 81 in 2007.)

Least favorite:
The Alphabet House  by: Jussi Adler-Olsen

# of non-fiction:

Repeated authors:
Stephen King (2)
Leigh Bardugo (4) (including The Grisha)
Sarah Addison Allen (2) (Waverly Family)

Number of books you read:  52
Number of re-reads:  1 (Cold Sassy Tree)
Genre you read the most:  Fantasy and Young Adult

1. Best book you read in 2015:  The Martian  by: Andy Weir
Followed by:
Bird Box  by: Josh Malerman
The Shining  by: Stephen King
Six of Crows  by: Leigh Bardugo

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't: The Little Paris Bookshop  by: Nina George
I was looking forward to reading it because of the title and cover (I know, I know) and also the description, but it wasn't nearly as great as I was hoping.  A second book that would fit in this category is Go Set a Watchman by: Harper Lee.

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read: Life in Outer Space  by: Melissa Keil
Surprised in a good way because I expected it to be a silly contemporary young adult novel and I ended up really enjoying the way it was written and the story line.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read (and they did): The Martian  by: Andy Weir
My husband and mother-in-law read it after I recommended it and I gave a copy to my brother for Christmas, so he will probably read it soon as well.

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series ender of 2015?: Best series was Six of Crows...I think!  I only read the first book in the series, but I enjoyed it most of all the series I started this year.  The best sequel was Siege and Storm from The Grisha series by the same author (Leigh Bardugo).  A new character was introduced in this book and I just loved him.  The only series ender I read was Ruin and Rising from The Grisha and it was a good ending!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015: Leigh Bardugo

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone: The Devil in the White City  by: Erik Larson
I typically don't read historical non-fiction/biography type books although I read two this year and enjoyed this title by Larson.  I had no idea that the first world's fair in Chicago influenced our current society so much.

8. Most action packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: Bird Box  by: Josh Malerman

9. Book in 2015 that you are most likely to re-read next year: The Shining  by: Stephen King is one that I would possibly re-read within a year.  It would be interesting to read it after knowing the entire story and how it ends.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015: Illusions of Fate  by: Kiersten White

11. Most memorable character of 2015: Mark in The Martian and Kaz in Six of Crows.

12. Most beautifully written book of 2015: The Buried Giant  by: Kazuo Ishiguro 

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015: House of Leaves  by: Mark Z. Danielewski

14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2015 to finally read: The Shining

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2015: "For some reason, I've been thinking more and more about my mother and the way her life failed her, humiliated her with impulses beyond her command, broke her with year after year of the same." -House of Leaves  by: Mark Z. Danielewski

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2015: A Dance with Dragons  by: George R.R. Martin (1,125 pages) and The Little Prince  by: Antoine de Saint Exupery (98 pages)

17. Book that shocked you the most: I can't think of anything in particular, but probably something in A Dance with Dragons!

18. OTP (one true pairing) of the year: Hook & Stella in Alias Hook  by: Lisa Jensen or Nyx and Ignifex in Cruel Beauty  by: Rosamund Hodge (I know it said ONE, but oh well!)

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year: Willow's relationships with all of her friends in Counting by 7s  by: Holly Goldberg Sloan

20. Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you've read previously: The Shining

21. Best book you read in 2015 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure: Bel Canto  by: Ann Patchett (recommended by my mom)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015: Nikolai from the second and third books in The Grisha.

23. Best 2015 debut novel you read: Serafina and the Black Cloak  by: Robert Beatty
This story took place in my home state of North Carolina in an amazing house I've visited a couple of times (The Biltmore) and I thought it was a fun book.  I'm not sure I'd recommend it for a child even though it's a children's book because it's a little scary.

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year: The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read: Someday, Someday, Maybe  by: Lauren Graham
This is written by the actress who played Lorelai in the TV series Gilmore Girls.  It was such a fun book and I found myself laughing out loud a few times.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015: The Buried Giant  by: Kazuo Ishiguro

27. Hidden gem of the year: Life in Outer Space  by: Melissa Keil

28. Book that crushed your soul: If I Stay  by: Gayle Forman

29. Most unique book you read in 2015: Sand  by: Hugh Howey was very unique and I really wish he had developed the story more for this reason.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it): Probably Go Set a Watchman  by: Haper Lee.  I was frustrated with both Atticus and Scout at different times throughout the book.  I wish it had been different, but I understood where they were both coming from and am not letting this book taint my view of To Kill a Mockingbird.  I honestly don't think that Watchman was meant to be published.

1. One book you didn't get to in 2015 but will be your number one priority in 2016: The Wrath and the Dawn  by: Renee Ahdieh

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2016 (non-debut): The Thorn of Emberlain  by: Scott Lynch (#4 in the Gentleman Bastard series)

3. 2016 debut you are most anticipating: I don't really keep up with debuting authors.

4. Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2016: The Thorn of Emberlain like I already mentioned and Crooked Kingdom  by: Leigh Bardugo (the second book in the Six of Crows series)

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2016: I hope I read more and blog more (I mean, even one review would be an improvement!)

6. A 2016 release you've already read and recommend to everyone: I haven't read any ARCs! 

R.I.P. X

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X

Without further ado, pick your poison, won’t you? September 1st is here, and we’re ready to begin!
Dark Fantasy.
Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.
As time has wound on, we’ve discovered that simple rules are best:
1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.
There are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives. There is even a one book only option for those who feel that this sort of reading is not their cup of tea (or who have too many other commitments) but want to participate all the same.
R.I.P. X officially runs from September 1st through October 31st

It's that time of year again!  I am hardly on my blog anymore, but you can always count on me to join R.I.P. every year.  I'm participating in Peril the First - read 4 books.  I will read short stories from Shadows and Monsters by Grace A. Dow.  And maybe this will be the year I actually watch a scary movie on Halloween like I always say I will!

1. The Vanishing  by: Wendy Webb
2. The Shining  by: Stephen King
3. Rooms  by: Lauren Oliver
4. The Bad Seed  by: William March

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Wife, mother, bookworm.
This is a place where you can read book reviews, discover links, and learn about the reading challenges in which I'm taking part.


my read shelf:
Andrea's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
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