High Time for a Haul!

monkey haul

I haven’t done a haul post in *ageeees* so I figured why not share all the books I’ve acquired in the last few months?! I’ve been pretty good about buying books in the last few months, so it’s not a huge haul, but it’s still a good one:

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Of the ones I bought for myself, I am super excited to try out some Patricia McKillip, after seeing Bookstooge and loads of other people talking about how great her books are. I chose a couple that seem the most wintry- should be good for some cosy reading as the nights get colder! Obviously, I also wanted to finish off the half haulRaven’s Mark trilogy- you all know how much I enjoyed Blackwing and Ravencry– and this seems like the perfect time of year to do that. I also *leapt out my skin* when I saw Malorie Blackman was releasing a new book in her Noughts and Crosses series- which I have loved ever since I was a child! On that note…

half haul 2I was really lucky to get the next instalment in the Book of Dust for my birthday this year! Plus, I got a couple of books which will be good seasonal reading: Vanishing Stair and Empty Spaces. I absolutely loved the first book in the Truly Devious series, so I’m excited to get to that before the last one comes out this year. And y’all know I can’t keep my mitts off anything Katherine Arden writes!

Also, unbelievably, this is my entire current physical tbr- because I finished all the ones in these old pictures!

(well, excepting Book Thief, which I’m not counting cos it’s a reread anyway).

So, have you read any of these? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comments which ones you think I should pick up first! (bearing in mind I’m a mood reader and it might not be in my power whether or not I take your wonderful advice- we shall ultimately have to defer to the mighty book gods 😉

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Spine-Tingling Thrillers for Spooktober!

spooktacular reads

Well, I don’t know about you, but this time of year definitely makes me drawn to creepier reads. Now, I don’t tend to gravitate towards horror, but a good thriller is right up my street. And having stalked a few lately, I figured I’d share a fast and fun list… before the authorities catch up with me 😉

lock every door

Lock Every Door– in the last couple of months, I’ve quickly become a fan of Riley Sager (as you’ll notice from this list)- and for good reason! I was locked in place with this modern gothic novel. Prepare yourself for a creepilicious, entertaining and addicting read!

death of mrs westaway

The Death of Mrs Westaway- in a similar vein, if you’re looking for a thriller with a claustrophobic feel, look no further! This modern take on Rebecca will lead you to familiar and unfamiliar territory. Expect the unexpected from Ruth Ware’s masterful retelling.

ice twins

Ice Twins– moving north now, this excellent atmospheric read will get you in the mood for winter. Warning: may cause a shiver to run down your spine.

last time I lied

The Last Time I Lied– I read a lot of thrillers last month and this slightly-summery mystery was my favourite! Set after the disappearance of three teenage girls, with an unreliable narrator trying to piece together what happened to them, this will take you down a dangerous path to a killer plot twist!

gone-girl-PB

Gone Girl– speaking of twists, if you haven’t read this already, seriously why not?! This husband vs wife drama is the perfect book for *Spooktober* if you haven’t read it yet!

suitable lie

Suitable Lie– looking for a good domestic noir? Then I have the book for you- this moving and melancholic read will show you dark secrets that can lurk behind closed doors. Rather than taking you a million miles away, this one hits close to home.

mountain in my shoe

Mountain in my shoe– another book filled with realism, this wonderfully written thriller will draw you in and persistently nudge away at you until you turn the last page.

nemesis

Nemesis– for something a little different, there are some strong YA thrillers. This series is by far one of the more memorable books I read as a teen. Pacey and brilliantly executed, this story does not relent from the awakening of the first page!

dark matter

Dark Matter– another book that’s more action-based, this is a blend of sci fi and thrillers. With a sprinkling of interesting themes along the way. Provoking some fascinating discussions, this time-bending book is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

you

You– of course, if you are looking for a different kind of terror, then this horrifying reflection on social media is GUARANTEED to freak you out. You’ve been warned 😉

So have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

The Fall Bucket List Book Tag

autumn monkey 2

Autumn is awesome! I can’t be the only one that loves autumnal activities- which is why I am so excited to do this fall bucket list book tag! Thank you so much to the terrific Tiffany for tagging me to do her fantastic new fall tag! I really enjoyed these prompts and absolutely loved the graphics as well, so am glad she says you can use them in the post 😀

The Rules
  • Link back to theoriginal creator in your post.
  • Feel free to use any of my graphics in your post, or create your own!
  • Tag 7 other people at the end of your post, and let them know you’ve tagged them.

light a scented candle

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– this funny take on Lady Jane Grey is the epitome of light-hearted! Which is surprising, considering how dark the history is… but never mind that, because even historical-accuracy-stick-in-the-muds (like me) can enjoy the heck out of this book!

drink pumpkin spiced lattes

six of crows

Six of Crows– this book is so deserving of the hype!!! And it’s the kind of dark and atmospheric read that really suits the autumnal months!

apple picking

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

Harry Potter– I mean, is there another answer? Whether you love the Golden Trio, the Marauders or Dumbledore’s Army, this book is packed with charming friendships.

cozy sweater

goose girl

Goose Girl– this is an older Middle Grade read, but it’s definitely the kind of book that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

cinnamon rolls

to all the boys

To All the Boys I Loved Before- Tiffany predicted that most people are gonna pick Lara Jean… and I am indeed doing just that! But this book isn’t just about a talented chef- it’s so much more than that! The romance, the family aspect and individuality of the characters all blend perfectly to create the ultimate YA contemporary!

pile of leaves

northanger abbey

Northanger Abbey– ahh Austen always has the power to make me squeal with delight! And this parody of a gothic novel is just right for (us scaredy cats in) spooktober!

That was so much fun! I’m tagging: Kelly, Lucy, Keira, Rachael, Lisa, Bookmark your thoughts, Journey into Books, Kristin Kraves, Green Tea Librarian, Emily @Embuhleeliest, Miminkling and anyone else that wants to do it!

What cosy books you most like for autumn? Let me know in the comments!

 

Getting Cosy with Some Mysteries for Autumnal Nights

We’re getting into one of my favourite times of the year! I can’t be the only one settling in for hot chocolates and comfy jumpers. And, of course, what goes better with that than a good book? Well, a cosy mystery that’s what! Let’s see if you can predict where this list will lead…

and then there were none

And Then There Were None– Agatha Christie is the QUEEN of cosy mysteries and this is her crowning glory. Annnd I won’t say anything more about the actual book, because this is definitely the sort of book where you need to go in blind. Even though I haven’t read much of her work (yet) it was still hard to resist the urge to put Murder on the Orient Express on here as well… but I guess I kinda just did that 😉

evelyn hardcastle

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle– now for something a little more out there! While this is inspired by the legendary Agatha Christie, it is the kind of story where it’s best to have some clue about what’s going on, because it is so unusual. This Groundhog Day murder mystery set at a party is truly one of a kind. I did find it a bit more difficult to get into, but it’s all the more rewarding for the effort!

academic curveball

Academic Curveball– I’m really excited to talk about one of James’ books, cos he’s awesome. And he’s definitely carved out a niche for himself in the cosy mystery arena! Set in a university, this is full of charming characters you can’t help but root for and a plot that’ll keep you hooked!

the secret history

The Secret History– this is another story set on a college campus and is a book I haven’t been able to shake since I read it this summer. Bound to be a future classic, Tartt’s murder mystery told in reverse is riveting, masterful and a must-read.

truly devious

Truly Devious– sticking to the New England school setting, which somehow really works for this genre, I have to share a YA take. This series opener was a pleasant surprise for me this year. Though I’d heard a lot about the author, I wasn’t prepared for quite how gripping this book would be. Based around a cold case mystery, I hadn’t anticipated the dual stories working in tandem. Needless to say I’m excited for the sequels!

dark-places-book-cover

Dark Places– taking a quick step away from YA for a moment, let’s revisit one of bestselling-sensation Gillian Flynn’s works. As much as I love to wax lyrical about the greatness of Gone Girl, I do have to remind myself that the author is not a one hit wonder. This story about a supposedly solved crime will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking for something with a little more edge, then this is the book for you!

broken things

Broken Things– on the surface this is a simple summery thriller about friends accused of murder… but dig a little deeper and this YA delivers some deeper themes. The stories within stories reveal there’s a lot more under the surface.

my plain jane

My Plain Jane– on the topic of metafiction, you can’t go wrong with this retelling of Jane Eyre! Delightful and funny and full of friendly (and not-so-friendly) ghosts, it’s perfect for this time of year.

shadow of the wind

Shadow of the Wind– this is another book linked to the love of books. Even better, the mystery centres on a book and its enigmatic author. Weaving through the near mythical streets of Barcelona, this is the kind of book where the journey is half the fun.

my cousin rachel

My Cousin Rachel– Du Maurier is yet another lady who really knows how to grab your attention- and then send you tumbling to uncertain conclusions 😉 Prepare to find yourself wrapped up in the Cornish Moors, facing a precipice of gothic proportions, wondering if you’ll ever get to the bottom of this story… it’s where I’ve been for years. Because this slightly ambiguous read will keep you guessing long after you’ve turned the last page.

And on that’s where I’ll leave you hanging… Have you read any of these? Do you like them? And what mysteries (without spoilers if you can 😉) have really blown you away? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – October

monthly mini reviews version 2

Phew- I’ve gotta admit my thoughts about this month were a bit like this for me…

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Thank goodness it’s October, the month of spookiness, pumpkins and maybe even a little controversy 😉 But, more on my blogging plans later! For now, let’s talk about the *ridiculous* amount of reading I did to get me through last month. As you’ll notice, I was not only on a MASSIVE thriller kick, but I also felt the need to talk about most books I read last month. So, strap in, it’s gonna be a long one!

death of mrs westaway

The Death of Mrs Westaway– such a strong thriller to start on! Let’s break it down:

One, the sorrowful opening had me intrigued, flying into that old magpie nursery rhyme many of us have ingrained since childhood and nesting layers of mystery.

Two, the gothic vibes and overt links to Rebecca really worked for me, especially as we journeyed into Cornwall. Yet, don’t be fooled! It’s far from a straightforward retelling…

Three, the girl is the magician figure at the heart of the story- a tarot reader upturning the perfectly ordered world of the Westaways, reading more than she should in the cards.

Four, the boys on which the clues converge caught my eye.

Five, the silvery writing kept me engaged throughout.

Six, the golden promise of the premise, leading me down one path, only to about turn down another. I suspected the outcome early on, but Ware’s nicely played sleight of hand fooled me so that I couldn’t properly foresee the outcome.

Seven, all the secrets that unfold. Each one is more satisfying to uncover than the last. The one thing holding me back from rewarding this with all the bananas is that the perp is the *usual suspect*. Still, I’d highly recommend this:

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

the woman in cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10– so the pitch for this thriller is pretty straightforward: Rear Window- on a boat! It’s a fun idea and kept me absorbed throughout, but I couldn’t say it made a big splash overall. Perhaps it was cos I was drowning in thrillers this month, yet a lot of this felt like it was treading water trying to be different and still felt samey. I wasn’t hugely taken with the mc and the twists didn’t really wash. Still, I do like how Ware weaves in inspiration from other sources and will keeping a keen eye out for more of her books:

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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last time I lied

Last Time I Lied– to tell the truth, this was my favourite thriller of the month. Reading this was pretty much a no brainer after Lock Every Door– and it certainly didn’t disappoint! Beginning with a powerful use of second person pov, I was instantly gripped by the descriptive prose and tragic backstory. As is the case in many thrillers, I wasn’t quite able to connect with the characters, but the plot more than made up for that. Last Time I Lied was compelling, unpredictable and led down slippery paths. Though I knew something bad would happen, I could never count on the whens, whys, hows. I was as lost as the protagonist. My attention dipped momentarily… only for the BIG TURN to pick up the pace again. The *freaky* turn of events grabbed my attention. I was practically shouting at the reveals. I had been led to believe I was in for a straightforward ending… but I was completely deceived. *WOW*- it blew my expectations right out of the water. All in all, this was a super summery thriller. Sager has now made a habit of keeping me up at night. I can’t lie: I want to read more from this author.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

final girls

Final Girls– with a cool horror-movie-themed concept and a gripping opening, I thought I was guaranteed another rollercoaster ride. Unfortunately, I found the flashback scenes far more interesting than the present-day narrative. I’ve mentioned before I have difficulty making sense of thriller-characters- and the protagonist’s boyfriend and mum were the best example of this- what the eff was up with their attitudes?! I mean, they spent the entire book thinking the mc ought to be completely normal after her ordeal, even though it was completely understandable that she wasn’t! I did like the unreliable side to the protagonist, especially since it blended well with her cookie-cutter façade. Still, I did enjoy the vast majority of the plot and where a lot of the breadcrumbs led. The problem is, I just wasn’t crazy about that final twist. Once again, I thought I could guess the twist… but I got it all wrong. Yet this time it was because the lead was buried too deep. After the more intriguing premise, highlight for spoilers, I felt the *here’s another random sociopath again* disappointing. It was just another guy without a proper motive. So, the bait and switch with the baddies felt unnecessary. I did like this book, but it wasn’t the best:

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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wife between us

The Wife Between Us– I’m divided on my feelings for this book. It was particularly well written, had a strong premise and a great midpoint turn, alas- it just wasn’t the mind-blowing book I was hoping for. It was a typical thriller focusing on domestic violence. Nothing about it truly shook me to my core or shocked me. I could see a lot of the story beats a mile off. This was by no means bad, but I can’t see why the hype train was so wedded to this book 😉

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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witches of east end

Witches of East End- an atmospheric opening, a cool concept, a story I already liked from the show- what could go wrong? Well, sadly, a few things. Even though the show is a vague memory at this point, I did remember that some aspects were done better and I just preferred the TV take. I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I had when I watched the show. Fortunately, the plot did keep me on my toes. Since it was so long since I’d seen the show, I enjoyed the twists and turns throughout. And the ending definitely had a strong hook to make the reader want to pick up more… if only I had been more in love with the rest of it!

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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beastly

Beastly- well this is another one where I’d seen the adaptation first, buuut I ended up preferring the book to the film! Success! Given that this is a retelling, I don’t suppose it mattered much that I already knew the story. Besides, I thought this was a spunky, modern take on the classic. While I’m not usually keen on text-speak, I did like how it was used here to spark a bit of humour. The story also felt deeper than the movie- yes, the message of inner beauty being more valuable was repetitious- but at least it made more sense than in the Hollywood version where everyone was conventionally attractive throughout. I particularly preferred the book’s ending- it had some nice, unexpected turns and was more dramatic. All in all, I didn’t go in expecting anything fresh, so was pleasantly surprised to find this blossomed into a sweet romantic YA.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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beowulf.jpg

Beowulf– this was *hands down* the best book I read all month. This exquisite translation by Seamus Heaney gave me a newfound respect for his work and I owe thanks to the fantastic Joelendil for recommending it to me. I absolutely adored the way the alliterative language leapt off the page and painted a vivid picture of the past. While I don’t personally know Old English, I found it fascinating to have a bilingual edition, because I could easily compare individual words and phrases. The story itself was a lot more entertaining than I thought. Every part worked in tandem to create thrilling tension and awe-inspiring drama. This took me to grim depths and dragon-soaring highs. I cannot recommend it enough!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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eugene onegin

Eugene Onegin– there was a lot to like about this: the story, the character and Pushkin’s conversational tone all shined through in Roger Clarke’s translation. Sadly though, something does feel lost in this rather literal translation. Something of old Russia is evoked, but not as much as I’d have liked. I felt like I was only getting half the wonder, a glimpse of the beauty, a fraction of the emotion. Ah well, not every translation can all be as good as Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf. It was still worth the read.

Rating: 4/5 bananas 

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So, have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Or do you plan to pick any of them up? Let me know in the comments!

Dear My Plain Jane – You Are Beautiful To Me!

my plain janeDear My Plain Jane,

I must confess I feel like I am cheating on My Lady Jane with this letter- but I cannot hold it in any longer- I cannot keep my feelings stashed away in the attic like a dirty secret! After My Lady Jane, I was bereft of witty fantasy company and there you were: dressing and talking and acting the same way. You lured me in with your wicked wiles, you made me pick you up. I could not resist peeking between your pages.

And I must say, your charms increased the more I got to know you. While you didn’t make me fall for you quite as fast as my first love, you did hook me with your premise. You weren’t quite the same as your predecessor; you had your own unique personality. I liked the new take though! The concept of a retelling of Jane Eyre where titular character was literally haunted was a great deal of fun. I was not prepared, however, for the little surprises along the way.

Initially, I thought the original characters were getting the rough end of the stick (yes, Mr Rochester is a jerk, but I still love him) yet in the end this was a kinder retelling than I expected. More than that, you went above and beyond to give the characters the story they deserved. Jane’s narrative was sweeter, more focused on friendship and focused more on how we deal with hardships. Even better was the meta take on Charlotte Bronte- giving a never-before-seen glimpse into her life (well, a fantastical, joyful take anyway). I did like the relationships and cute romances throughout. I especially liked how this all led to an aww-inspiring happy ending.

Your humour was breath-taking as well! I enjoyed every refence to pop culture- from LOTR to the Princess Bride to Scooby Doo! Each one made me throw my head back laughing. You were a riot! I think I guffawed the loudest when you mentioned My Lady Jane.

Anyway, I have to say as much as I am a fan of Jane Eyre, I was able to take this unique reimaging in the spirit it was intended and didn’t mind the changes it made (I know, I surprised myself again). Reader, this book was a lot of fun. Please find enclosed:

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

Sincerely, Orangutan Librarian

booklove orangutan

 

Identity Crisis Tag!

orangutan tag 2

Sooo it’s my birthday tomorrow and as often happens now that I’m getting older (yikes!) I may or may not be having an identity crisis… which is why I thought it would be a fun time to try and figure out who I am anyway? Am I the person I always thought I was? Is the sky still blue? Who knows? Obviously the most sensible thing to do at a time like this is answer buzzfeed questions to determine what book characters I most resemble… (cos #bookwormlogic)

Thank you so much to the marvellous No Reads Too Great– an avid book blogger with fantastic taste in books- so definitely recommend checking her out!

The rules are:

  1. Take all the quizzes down below and record your answers.
  2. NO CHEATING. You get one shot to take each quiz.
  3. Give credit to the creator Loretta @ The Laughing Listener or tag her on twitter @LaughnListener so she can see everyone’s answers!!
  4. Tag some friends to spread the fun!

Red Queen

WHO I AM: Maven

Woah people better watch out because you are not one to be messed with! You hold all the power and the truth is what you make it. You could set this world on fire and call it rain! (But please don’t.)

OMG I got Maven- laughing my ass off! I always like getting the evil characters- I hope this is a trend 😉

Shadowhunters

mortal instruments

WHO I AM: Charlotte Branwell & Mark Blackthorn!

You may be underestimated and some may count you out, but you’re a serious person when you need to be, and take responsibility very seriously. You’re incredibly loyal (though it may not seem like it at times), and your friends are lucky to have you.

I’ll take it!

Throne of Glass

throneofglass series

WHO AM I: Rowan and Asterin

You may come off as stand-offish at first, but once a new friend earns your loyalty, they have it for life. Not without good reason. You’ve been through your fair share of struggles and are careful to protect yourself from more.

Oof close to home…

Hunger Games

WHO AM I: Katniss Everdeen!

You’re smart, talented, and fiercely independent. You may not mean to but everyone looks up to you. Not only have you got a fiery spirit but you have a big heart — your friends and family mean the world to you. Keep on being you.

Hell yeah! (although I do think the Buzzfeed questions were totally random- book riot seemed a bit more logical)

Harry Potter

harry-potter-books

WHO AM I: Albus Dumbledore

You’re wise, quirky and very trusting. You’re loved and respected by everyone but sometimes you put too much pressure on yourself to make everything right.

Pahaha not sure it sounds like me- but I’ll take it!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

WHO AM I: Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court

A prince of darkness with a heart of gold, you’re the most powerful High Lord in Prythian. Despite your smoldering good looks and mind-crushing powers, you still manage to make time to appreciate art and nature a few close friendships. You’d give your life for those you love, and sell your soul to keep them safe.

I think I got this just by virtue of being a night owl?

The Raven Cycle

WHO AM I: Noah Czerny

You are very observant, and mostly keep to yourself. A little too naive and gullible of others, your willingness to trust leads to you getting hurt quite often. You are extremely kind and loyal to those you love.

Bits and bobs of this could be true- but Noah and I do have things in common.

Twilight

twilight series

WHO AM I: Jessica Stanley

The friend that everyone needs in their life, you must be Jessica! Sure, humans might not get to have as much fun as vampires, but you’ll show ’em how it’s done. You’re ever so curious, ever so friendly, and a little bit crazy — who wouldn’t want you as a BFF?

I mean, not the best, but there are A LOT of worse options in this series!

Folk of the Air

WHO AM I: Locke!

You have a way with words and aren’t afraid to use them. You’re a natural charmer and people tend to like you right away.

Oh wow I wasn’t prepared for that- yeesh- not such a good one!

Lunar Chronicles

WHO AM I: Cress

A Lunar shell confined to a satellite to aid Queen Levana with hacking and surveillance of Earthen countries. She is a petite girl with very long honey blonde hair, a heart-shaped face, and freckles. She has a very overactive imagination, and nervous around people due to her lack of social interaction growing up.

I am so relieved to get her cos I relate to this character so much!! Even if I’m no hacking genius, I definitely have an overactive imagination! Finally one I can rest easy on!

I don’t think this exercise has taught me much about who I am, but it was a helluva lot of fun! I tag:

Katie @Never Not Reading, Rivermoose Reads, Hammock of Books, Journey into Books, Bibliophagist, Meltotheany, Sophie, The Awkward Book Blogger, Roaring Bookworm and anyone else who wants to do it!

And anyone else who wants to do it! What do you think about my results? Do you relate to any of these? Let me know in the comments!