Book Nerd Problems #2

Have you read a book by an author and loved it (or just liked it well enough) and then read another book by them and hated it so much that you can’t even look at the book you actually liked by that author? 

Well friends, let me tell you a story. So early 2017 I read The Alchemist. It was good. I liked it a lot, recognized problems, but it was what I needed at the time. So I picked up The Spy by him which is a fictionalized account of Mata Hari’s life. I HATED it. I finished it out of spite and then promptly got rid of it. It’s like he took the Wikipedia page about her and added preachy rhetoric. It was horrible. Hands down. Do not recommend. 

Queue my great book purge that is going on. I filled my shelves and pulled close to 50 books to donate and get rid of. My shelves were breaking there were so full. Anyway, I had to get read of The Alchemist. I can’t keep it because I am still so furious about The Spy. 

I’m just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? Have you ever hated one book so much that you just couldn’t continue with any of the author’s works – even ones you may have liked in the past? 

Mount TBR 2018

I was looking for reading challenges I may take part in this coming year, but I didn’t want to have to go searching for books to fit those challenges. I have so many unread books on my shelves and kindle that I sort of want to dive in to that. 

I heard about Mount TBR at the beginning of 2017 and thought it was a cool idea and sort of did it on my own without signing up or setting a specific goal to hit. 

This year, I signed up for accountability. I read the actual rules for the challenge and agree that I will follow (must be owned prior to 2018, audiobooks and ebooks count, library books do not, etc…) 

So, I sort of waffled in which peak to pick for this mountain climb and ultimately decided that I am going to knock out 12 books. Pike’s Peak. I am going back to school in the fall and I’m not sure how crazy my schedule is going to be. I’m sure I can take out more, but I also don’t want to pressure myself in to turning reading (which I love) in to chore. 

I’m obviously hoping to get more read. 

You can read more about it and sign up to join the fun here (and I hope you do, it’s going to be fun! It’s flexible for other challenges too!): Mount TBR Sign Up

In which I ramble about Gothic Novels

So, I recently learned I love Gothic novels. I love the atmosphere, I love the suspense, I love that everything is so heightened. I also have a strong opinion that these books should be read in that weird inbetween time between fall and winter. 

My favorite Gothic Novels so far (because like I said this is a recent discovery of mine) are:

The Brontë sisters are the QUEENS of Gothic literature from their settings to the elements of horror/suspense. I have only read this novel so I can only speak to how much I loved this book. 

Mr. Rochester is horrible and crotchety yet I rooted for Jane and him to the end. Would I marry him? No. God no. 😂 

If you can listen to the audiobook that Thandie Newton narrates because it is a phenomenal performance. 

Rebecca is the only novel of Daphne Du Maurier’s books that I have read, yet her books frequently top “best of Gothic literature” lists. This book holds such a special place in my heart like that gardens of Manderley hold in our unnamed protagonist’s mind. 

This one plays with ghosts in a unique way, and was also partially inspired by Jane Eyre. I read this one first before I even knew that. If you don’t like Jane Eyre I still HIGHLY recommend that you give this book a chance because if we’re being honest… I like this one better. I feel like it’s more accessible and I loved Manderley better than Thornfield as a setting. 

Speaking of crotchety characters, this one surrounds a ghost trying to haunt a family when they move in to his house but almost every attempt is failed. They give him oil for his chains and even de-stain his stains that he leaves for them. This one made me giggle and is also a VERY quick read. 

This is another one of those: if you like your gothic novel touched with sassy humor… I feel like I probably don’t have to babble too much about this book because it’s so well known. I like the way this book plays with morality and youth. I really enjoyed the humor of this book and am quoting one particular line whenever I can: “She was a peacock in everything but beauty.” Because I am a fan of sassy one liners and full of snark. 

I will argue that this book is of the Gothic variety because it has: creepy setting, ghosts, and a family curse (sort of). Bod Owens narrowly escapes being murdered and ambles his little toddler butt to a graveyard where the ghosts take him in and raise him as his own. He can’t leave the Graveyard because who knows what is after him. This is a charming and heartwarming book surrounding sort of the found family trope, and I love it. 

I would love to read more of this subtype of the fiction genre so if you have any recommendations send them my way! 

Three that I really want to get to soon are Dracula, Frankenstein, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle 

Happy Reading! 

Scallywagathon Wrap Up & Mini Reviews 

November 5-11 was Scallywagathon, a readathon with a pirate theme, and I participated. I didn’t finish all the books on my TBR, but I’m still pretty damn impressed with what I got done over the week. 

I started my pirate journey following the map at number 5, which I believe the prompt was a book with a blue cover. I set out to read The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. 

This is a non-fiction book that is about a Naturalist and her studies of octopuses. This isn’t going to be an info dump style book on the wonderful sea creature but more of a meditation on life, grief, and the exploration of intelligence vs conciousness with this animal. She does talk about some other sea animals as most of the setting of this book is in an aquarium. You meet several other volunteers and employees of the aquarium and get invested in them too. 

The stars of this book are Athena, Octavia, and Kali the three wonderful and differently natured octopuses. There is a fourth one that gets introduced towards the end, and she is wonderful too, I just can’t remember her name and don’t have the book with me. 

I ended up listening to this book on audio because it was available on Overdrive and also it was family friendly enough for work. The author narrates the book herself which I think enhanced my experience with the book because she definitely made it feel like she was invested in telling her story. 

So while I listened to that book I also started The Wasteland & Other Poems By T. S. Eliot. 

I had some problems with this book mostly surrounding the introduction and the way the notes are formatted in the book. I want to give it another go with a different edition. 

The intro by Randy Malamud contradicted itself several times and when it started talking about the Wasteland set of poems it almost seemed like he didn’t want to say that any inspiration came from the Fisher King legend from the Arthurian legends. Which, in my opinion, was ridiculous because T.S. Eliot’s own notes in the back he acknowledged it and thanked the author. 

I’m willing to give it another try because I did like the poetry. I just need to find a different intro. 


Then, when I needed a break from ALL OF THAT… 

I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle. This is a middle grade classic that follows Meg and her journey to get her dad back from wherever he is. I know this is a quintet of novels but I’m not sure if I’m going to continue. I really enjoyed the book. I loved the message in it. Sometimes I forget how middle grade novels can put moral lessons in novels without making it seem obvious. This one was quite obvious and bordered on preachy, but I loved Meg’s character so much that I didn’t care. 

I give it 3.5⭐️ 

Do you recommend the rest of the series? Is it worth continuing?

I did not start or finish Kingdom Cons because I decided it would be a lot more fun to get sick, fever, and sleep for 2 days. So you know, as you do. 

Overall I’m really happy with what I got done. I’m excited I was able to finish 3 books in a week, especially since before this I hadn’t finished much. Started many. 

The Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag

I don’t know who originally created it, I saw it on Books & LaLa’s booktube channel and thought. FUN. So here we are. 

1.) Best Color Combo: oooook, so, I am a SUCKER for anything navy and gold. 

So naturally, I love EVERYTHING about this cover. Also worth noting about this book. Decked edges and French flaps for me feelin’ fancy. 

2.) Best Typography: fun fact about me. I love vintage things. I collect old soap dishes (I have 2, so collection may be a stretch) and I took old jars from my grandma. Again, a stretch they were given to me after she passed away. That being said I LOVE the font on these books for the same reason: they remind me of Jazz era Chicago 

Have I read the series? No. But I love Libby Bray and now that the 3rd book is out maybe I’ll get to them quicker. Cover change or not. Also, I’m aware they take place in New York and NOT Chicago, Illinois. 

3.) Best Simple Cover: I have no reason for why I like these Italy Calvino covers. I just do. 

I’m also afraid to read these editions of Invisible Cities and If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler because the covers are white (and beautiful) and I don’t want to dirty them with my fingers. 

4.) Best End Pages: I had a hard time with this one. A lot of the books I read are paperback and don’t have the end pages. However in my search I found this book and it topped all end pages for me. 

From Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. Look at this! I love it so much. It hearkens back to me loving vintage things. Which at this point should surprise NO ONE. 

5.) Best Map: Sorry guys. I got nothing for this one. I tried. I looked through all of my books too. I have ACOTAR, but that map sucks and shouldn’t get it by default.

6.) Best Naked Hardback: I committed a sin with this one I think. I loved the naked hardback of this book so much that I threw away the dust jacket. I don’t even know if I will ever read this book, but seriously. It’s so pretty. 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer has the most beautiful naked cover. It’s embossed with the checkerboard and I am living for it. Will I read it? Maybe. I want to read Alice in Wonderland first. 

7.) Best Back Cover: ok, this was another hard one because this part of the book seems to heavily under utilized. It’s either blurbs or synopsis. However these three Sarah Pinborough books I bought strictly for their gorgeous covers (cloth bound and embossed with beautiful designs – seriously. The construction of these books alone have me gushing) 

Beauty/Charm/Poison (out of order) by Sarah Pinborough 

8.) Best Chapter Headers: Funny story: almost ALL of my middle grade novels have beautiful chapter headers or illustrations in them so it was really hard picking one. I felt like an OBVIOUS choice would have been any Harry Potter book, but I want to showcase another book. 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has the most beautiful chapter headers and illustrations. They’re creepy and beautiful and I love them. 

*Honorable mention: Wildwood

9.) Best Illustrations: So, The Graveyard Book and this one could be easily flip flopped. I love both of the artwork in these books. However, I chose Wildwood for this one because the illustrations in this one are far more accessible to people who don’t like creepy as much as I do. 

I haven’t read it yet (story of my life) but I’ve heard amazing things about this trilogy and I’ve been in a middle grade fantasy mood lately so I’m probably going to get to it soon. (Famous last words) Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Illustrated by Carson Ellis 

* Honorable Mention: A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness

10.) Best Spine: Brave New World By Aldous Huxley, the spine on this book just stands out on my shelf. I have a lot of busy colorful spines and this one though not the most simple just stands out and I love it. 

11.) Favorite Cover: By now you should be shaking your head at me when I say I love the vintage photo/mixed media painting aspect of this. It’s a book that takes place in the 1930s or 40s in Scotland. I think the cover says a lot about it. It’s hopeful yet dreery. 

I love the muted colors and how calm, yet turbulent the ocean looks. Almost nobody close up looks like they’re having a good time but there are kids playing too. 

So that was the Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag! I will leave the questions below if you’d like to do it. You don’t have to tag anyone but it you decide to because of me, please link back to me so I can see it! Happy Reading!

–  Best Color Combo

– Best Typography 

– Best Simple Cover

– Best End Pages

– Best Map

– Best Naked Hardback

– Best Back Cover

– Best Chapter Headers

– Best Illustrations

– Best Spine

– Favorite Cover on your Shelves 

Scallywagathon TBR

Hey guys! So I was watching booktube today, as you do, and Ali from HardBackHoarder and Amanda from Read All The Books are doing a pirate themed readathon. It takes place November 5-11 and they are also doing a watchalong for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies the week after. 

So, I don’t normally do the readathons on booktube, why? Because usually the challenges are very YA based which would be fine if I was reading more YA than I am currently. (Not bashing, just hasn’t been what I’ve been reaching for lately) 

I digress!

This readathon has a treasure map to follow for your challenges and they’re pretty open so you can pick what you want for them. 

So, I started with spot 5 on the treasure map which is Open Waters: a book with blue on the cover

Not only is it rocking blue it has an Octopus on the cover too. I’ve been really excited about this book for awhile and this readathon is the perfect motivator to get it read 🐙

The next option with following the map (I will link all of this at the bottom, btw) takes me to 6 or 8, and I choose 8; Tell it to the Parrot: an overhyped book 

I chose A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle because I hear nothing but good things about this book but it’s one I haven’t read. I want to read it before the movie comes out, so here we go! Oh god. I just realized it’s a quintet which means if I get sucked in I’m going to HAVE to read the others. 

After that I could go to either Detour A or C. I chose A which is Marooned: A Stand-alone. And for that I am going with: 

This has been the year of reading Yuri Herrera for me. I inhale read his other two novels and have been putting this off because it means I won’t have another one to read. Don’t be surprised if this gets switched out. 😂

The final challenge on the way to the treasure chest, I chose path 9. This is Clear the Decks: from my owned TBR. 

I’m probably going to break some rules with this one because I’m probably going to read this through the week instead of all at once. 

I don’t know if I’m going to finish all of these in one week, but I’m certainly going to try! 


Read All the Books
Ali from HardBackHoarder has all of the links and google docs for the maps and fun stuff in the video description box. 

Happy Reading!