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  • Writer's pictureMyranda

Reading Recap for May & June 2023

I'm going to be real honest with y'all (like I'm never not honest). May was a shit show! I got hit was some kind of stomach bug that left me losing six pounds in a weekend. It wasn't Rona or any kind of the flu so I had to let it "run it's course" and that took almost three weeks. Also, this mysterious illness decided to strike me THE DAY AFTER my birthday! Seriously! I also realized that my 29th birthday sucked so why not my 39th. I know where I lived when I turned 19 but it was oh so memorable so I don't know if that one sucked as well.

June was as equally as shitty. We had to put our dog down (a post on that will come when I can write about it) and my meds I'm on literally have liquified fat leaking from my body (again...another post on that soon). I really used June to focus on finishing any books that I needed to in order to get all my Kindle Challenge badges! You will see that I have two books listed in my Extras that I don't leave a review for. They were books that I read to my daughter. They counted towards one of my badges but I'm not counting them in my overall book count but they were both really cute!

WHAT WAS PLANNED FOR MAY BOOK CLUBS

VBC: The Haunting of Beacon Hill by Ambrose Ibsen (Book 1 in The Beckoning Dead series), eBook, 178 pages

CBC: You Shouldn't Have Come Here by Jeneva Rose, eBook, 309 pages (didn't start)

HFBC: Remarkably Bright Creatures, audiobook, 11h 16m


Black background, green, orange, and blue boarders with titles of books read in white text.

VBC: The Haunting of Beacon Hill, 5.27 in FB Messenger Room

Old stone house with a yellow light on the second floor window, black birds flying around the house while sitting on a gray background. Title is in a dark red while the series title and author's name is in black.

*From GoodReads* Sadie has a gift. And she'll do anything to keep from using it. At sixteen, Sadie Young had a brush with death, and as a result she became more sensitive to the supernatural. Rather than embrace this gift, she spent years running from it, and from the darkness that once preyed upon her.

Now twenty-five and working as a librarian, Sadie is called upon by a desperate family friend to look into a strange series of events. A teenaged girl has entered a reputedly haunted house in town and has gone mad. Committed, the girl attempts suicide and claims to be terrorized at all hours by a horrific specter known as "Mother Maggot". Despite having subdued her gift for the past nine years, Sadie wishes to assist the girl and agrees to visit the site of the haunting. But upon entering the house on Beacon Hill, she discovers that Mother Maggot isn't merely a figment of a disturbed teen's imagination.

This is my second time through this book. I listened to it last summer while driving. This is the first book of four. I have listened to the first three but I want to read them this time. They are currently free if you have Kindle Unlimited. The series follows Sadie and her co-worker August. When Sadie is asked to help a former neighbor, August is there to give her a ride. August volunteers to do some digging on the history of Beacon Hill and Mother Maggot while Sadie finds herself being haunted by something. At least she wasn't in this alone! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I personally enjoyed the spooky story aspect. This is something that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good ghost story. It gives you the creeps but didn't make me lose any sleep. The only thing that I can't seem to get over is that they know Mother Maggot was seen in a mirror in a room with a broken window on the first floor. Why not just walk around the outside of the house until you find a broken window with a mirror in the room? Why terrorize yourself and walk through the spooky, pitch black house? 5/5 Stars

VBC: Midnight at the Blackbird Café, 6.24 in FB Messenger Room

Small blueberry tart with a bird cut out of pastry on top, a bundle of spoons tied together under the tart, the title in white above the tart and the author's name in white below the spoons.

*From Audible* Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café. It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother's estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father's side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can't stop talking about. As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly. This story is told from two perspectives with a third sprinkled throughout. Anna Kate and Natalie are the two main narrators with a journalist interviewing various people throughout the story. We don't know who the journalist is but his interviews with the towns people occur when needed. Anna Kate is certain that she is going to be in Wicklow for 2 months until she can legally sell the café and move north to go to medical school, just like her father had planned to. Natalie's older brother AJ died in a car accident when she was 3 years old. AJ was in the car with his girlfriend, who survived. Natalie always felt like she was living in the shadow of her big brother while her mother blamed AJ's girlfriend for purposely getting in the accident. AJ's girlfriend left town and 20 something years later, Natalie finds out she has a niece, Anna Kate.

This review is for the audiobook only. I give this 4.75 out of 5 stars. This book had two narrators (Stephanie Willis is one of the narrators and also narrates a few of the author's other audiobooks) which is great in determining if we're listening to Anna Kate or Natalie. I loved listening to each character as they grew. It was a short summer but both women grew up so much. It was mentioned in our discussion that it seemed unrealistic that so much could happen in the course of 2 months and I would have to agree to a degree. Yes it is the south and it is hot and gross and tempers can flair at a moments notice, not necessarily simmer down however ladies in the south don't like to stay angry whether they want to admit it or not. Heather Webber has quite a list of books that I eventually want to get through. Definitely a new favorite author! 4.75/5 Stars

HFBC: Remarkably Bright Creatures, 5.22 on IG Live

large orange octopus with bright blue water in the background along with colored fish, green sea plants and a woman standing in front in a yellow shirt with gray hair.

*From Audible* After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her 18 year old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over 30 years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared and now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.

I knew that this had to be a listen instead of read simply because I had been sick and was struggling to keep my eyes open to read most of the month. This book is mainly told by Tova, Marcellus, and Cameron. Other characters are sprinkled throughout as well but these are the main 3. I think my favorite chapter was from Marcellus and it was titled "Day 1,361 of My Captiv—Oh, Let Us Cut the Shit, Shall We? We Have a Ring to Retrieve". Yes...that is the title!

This review is for the audiobook. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the narrator. She did a great job giving voices to all the characters including various accents. I thought I was connecting dots but wasn't 100% certain until the end. I like when I can kind of guess what is going to happen but still have some doubts as to whether I'm going in the right direction. I was interested in the fact that this took place in the PNW so I felt a little familiar with the surroundings even though Sowell doesn't actually exist. I wish I had submitted the question for the author to see if there was a particular area around the sound that inspired the setting. 4.5/5 Stars


black background with red boarders and the titles of books read in white text

EXTRAS: READ/LISTENED TO

small island with a small house in the bottom left corn on the water with small ripples. Title is blue and yellow in the water with the author's name in yellow and orange at the top

The House at the End of the World, eBook, 407 pages

*From GoodReads* In retreat from a devastating loss and crushing injustice, Katie lives alone in a fortress like stone house on Jacob's Ladder island. Once a rising star in the art world, she finds refuge in her painting. The neighboring island of Ringrock houses a secret: a government research facility. And now two agents have arrived on Jacob's Ladder in search of someone–or something–they refuse to identify. Although an air of menace hangs over these men, an infinitely greater threat has arrived, one so strange even the island animals are in a state of high alarm. Katie soon finds herself in an epic and terrifying battle with a mysterious enemy. But Katie's not alone after all: a brave young girl appears out of the violent squall. As Katie and her companion struggle across the dark and eerie landscape, against them is an omnipresent terror that could bring about the end of the world. I picked this book to fulfill one of the Kindle Challenge badges. I honestly cannot remember if I even read the description of the book or if I just looked for an author I recognized and picked by the cover (what I prefer to do). I actually really enjoyed this book a lot. After Katie experiences the loss of her parents, children, and husband, she chooses to seek solace instead of revenge. Enter Jacob's Ladder Island. Where the description above says that she finds refuge in her painting, I feel like this is false. She is painting the scene that took her parents and children away from her and ultimately lead to the loss of her husband. She's trying to find closure but is still so full of anger that the only thing she can do is shut herself away from all people! She rarely leaves her island and she has her groceries and fuel delivered when she needs them. She has built a bunker in this house to give her all she needs to survive an apocalypse.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I kept coming back because I needed to know the who or what the agents from Ringrock were looking for. I knew that it was a Sci-Fi book but I was trying not to paint any pictures in my head of what the thing was until it was finally revealed. While there are some flashbacks for Katie, we eventually meet Libby. She lives on the other side of Jacob's Ladder with her parents and Nanny. I wasn't sure how I was going to like the narration of a 2nd character since it was brought in later in the book and not immediately done but there were times when I wasn't sure who was talking until I read Libby mention Katie or vice versa. While I did enjoy the story, I felt that there were some parts that seemed unnecessary to add in or should have been mentioned sooner/later to be more relevant, and almost felt like the ending was slightly rushed. I also think this was the first Dean Koontz book I've ever read so I'm excited to explore some of his other works! 4/5 Stars


pink background with a scrap of paper along the top with the word Regretting written in cursive, torn bits of paper scattered under  with space forming the word YOU and the author's name in white at the bottom

Regretting You, eBook, 363 pages

*From GoodReads: Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike. Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn't have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.


While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and based on these last 2 descriptions of the books I read in June, this is why I don't read them. Are Morgan and Clara different personalities? Yes. Are they warring? No. Is Chris the peace keeper of the family? Yes. Do we really see their personalities clashing before Chris dies? No. It's only after Chris dies that their grief turns them on each other. Morgan discovers a dark secret that Chris was keeping that not only has her sad but also extremely angry and wanting to protect their daughter from ever finding out. Clara thought the world of her father and feels like her mother is just being callous and way more over protective. What the description fails to mention is that we start off with a 16 year old Morgan finding out that she is pregnant and then the story goes back and forth between Morgan and Clara. You get to watch both characters grow emotionally and watch the family dynamic shift! 5/5 Stars

KINDLE CHALLENGE UPDATE

Number of Badges Earned: Remaining 7 badges (plus level ups)

What Badges Were Earned: Silver Reader (read 40 days), Gold Reader (read 75 days), Head Start (read 1 day/month) x3, Perfect Week (Sun - Sat) x 13, Perfect Month x3,

What Mystery Badges were Earned:

4.12 Hint: 1 book, 2 books, 3 books, 4...; Badge: Over Achiever; Challenge: Complete 8 Kindle Books by 6.30; EARNED ON 6.30.23

5.4 Hint: Escape reality; Badge: Escapist; Challenge: Read a Sci-Fi or Fantasy Book "The House at the End of the World"; EARNED ON 6.20.23 5.18 Hint: Bringing books to life; Badge: Page to Screen; Challenge: Read a literary adaptation "Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo Pop"; EARNED ON 5.21.23

6.1 Hint: Best way to spend the weekend; Badge: The Weekender; Challenge: Ready every day on the weekend of June 2-4; EARNED ON 6.5.23 6.15Hint: Viral reads; Badge: #BookTok; Challenge: Read a book from The Best of BookTok collection "Regretting You"; EARNED ON 6.30.23

WHAT IS PLANNED FOR JULY

VBC: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, eBook, 398 pages

CBC: skipping

HFBC: skipping

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