Friday, September 30, 2016

September Roundup!

This September, I read sixteen books. Five of these counted for my Netgalley/Edelweiss challenge, four for the Tackle Your TBR Readathon, and five for the Mount TBR challenge.

My top reads of the month were:

What were your favorite reads of this September?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Mr. M, and The Black Dahlia (A Crime Graphic Novel)

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Title: Dear Mr. M
Author: Herman Koch
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Recommended If You Like: a book within a book, a (fictional) true crime, musings, psychology, the mind of a writer

The Book:

M is an author who got success writing about a real-life mysterious (and unsolved) disappearance of a teacher. Struggling to write anything else that popular, M is now being carefully watched by his neighbor, who seems to have something he is dying to contribute.

What I Liked:

This is such an interesting concept. There are multiple unreliable narrators, including M himself, and readers are never sure who to trust (if anyone). And I love a good book within a book, especially if it's a mystery/crime story.

The ending packed a powerful punch too. I definitely didn't see it coming.

Anything I Didn't Like?

The book seemed to drag on sometimes. Koch seems to love to muse, and his musings can be meandering and quite long.


I have to admit, I almost didn't finish this book two or three times in the beginning, but something about it just kept me drawn in. Koch certainly knows how to build suspense, and that suspense keeps you hooked. You have to know what is going to happen.

This is a recently released graphic novel, and a really well-done one. I read it in one day, not wanting to put it down.

If you have read James Ellroy's novel, you will be familiar with the storyline, as this graphic novel is adapted from that novel. The Black Dahlia is narrated by a cop, who has his life turned upside down when he and his partner are brought in to help investigate the Black Dahlia murder. 

Ellroy takes the true crime of the Black Dahlia, and puts his own spin on it. Where he takes it can sometimes go a bit off the rails, but he makes it work, and the graphic novel keeps that spirit. The artistry of the illustrations is really excellent, and makes you feel like you are right in the noir.

I would definitely recommend this graphic novel.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish.

In the fall, especially in October, I love to read creepy, scary books! Here are ten off my TBR shelves, Kindle, or borrowed from the library that I hope to read this fall.

Features: a haunted house, a cult, and a diary left behind

Features: the murderous nightmarish tale that inspired one of Hitchcock's creepiest movies

Features: an obsessed fan of a brilliant author

Features: ghosts, a creepy amusement park, and murder

Features: mystery and murder from the creator of Sherlock Holmes

Features: Jack the Ripper

Features: obsession, rage, murder, and ghosts

Features: a mansion, a sinister family legacy, and madness

Features: a haunted apartment built adjacent to a graveyard

Features: death, secrets, comparisons to Twin Peaks

What's on your fall TBR list?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Banned Books Week: Books I've Loved That Have Been Banned and/or Challenged

In honor of Banned Books Week, I wanted to recommend some banned and/or challenged books I have read. If you have any you would add, please feel free to talk about them in the comments. I feel the more we can encourage people to read these books, the better!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (Tackle Your TBR Read-a-Thon Book #4)

This is a physically thin book, but don't let that deceive you. This is one of the heaviest reads emotionally I have ever experienced. Even when I thought a spark of light was coming, it was snuffed out. And yet (or perhaps, because of) this, Year of Wonders is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in quite a while.

Brooks spins the story of a village besieged by The Plague, who have willingly chosen to quarantine themselves rather than risk spreading the disease to other villages and towns. Our narrator, and heroine, is Anna Firth, a housemaid who suffers terrible losses but, among the tragedy, finds her strength.

I highly recommend this book--it's an incredible read, that will absolutely make you feel and make you think.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Five Friday: Five Good Books That Start With H

For this week's Five Friday, here are five good books that start with the letter H. I tried to pick books that I haven't already talked about extensively on this blog.

Allie Brosh brilliantly and wryly explores topics from mental illness to the gloriously absurd things our pets do, with a wit that will make you think and feel while also making you laugh until you cry.

Kate Morton has spun a wonderfully written. suspenseful, mystery surrounding a house containing deep and dark secrets from the past, and a woman who knows them all and is ready to tell.

Laura Kipnis examines four major scandals of modern times, and how the press and public react when someone's behavioral choices become public.

Vincent Bugliosi has written one of the definitive true crime books here, and it's one that will stay with you.

John Searles mixes the paranormal with the psychological to create a haunting mystery.