Books to Read in the Rainy Weather

My post for Monday is a bit late this week, work has been crazy busy and the weekend was even busier. Books to read during rainy days is a weird topic since we are in the middle of summer here in Toronto, but actually its raining really hard so I thought today is great time to post this.

During rainy days I prefer to read mystery novels. Well, technically I like to read mystery novels any time, but rainy weather is the optimal weather for this genre. Anyways, these are the books I would recommend to cozy up during those wet, dark and gloomy days.

The Break Down

The Breakdown by B. A Paris

I read this book last month and I thought it was a great read. It’s pretty much similar to all the other thrillers that I read last year, but this book started out one stormy night, so definitely a must read for the rainy days. The novels is basically about Cass, who drives down a dangerous road during a storm, as she nears the end of it, she notices a woman who seemed to have broken down. Due to the weather she decides to pass the woman and the next day she was found murdered in her car. Basically, this novel is Cass’ internal turmoil with herself and the haunting choices she made that night she saw the woman.

you

You by Caroline Kepnes

This book would have to be the creepiest on this list, it’s technically not a horror novel, but rather its one of those bone chilling scare that can happen to anyone. This is a story told in the point of view of the stalker. Usually we read books from the perspective of the victim, but in You, Kepnes takes up to the workings of the Stalking. This totally give you the creeps, and makes you not want to go out for awhile.

i-see-you

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Another great thriller read for those gloomy days. This and the previous novel are books that makes you want to shut yourself at home and never go out. This is a story about Zoe, the protagonist of the story, who has kept her life in order. She leaves her house the same time, take the same train, seat in the same chair and takes the same path to work each day. She goes through her day in the same routine not knowing that she was being watched, until one day she sees her face in the newspaper ad. As she searches previous ads, she realizes that some of the woman who were featured have been murdered.

the girl before

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

A story about two girls, during two different times connected by one beautiful minimalist house. Those who wants to live in One Folgate must be screened by the creator of the house. Even as you are chosen, those must abide by the rules: no books, no pillows, no personal clutter, minimalist is key. When Jane was chosen to live in the house, she was ecstatic for the change, but the more she lives in the house, the more she uncovers the secrets that the house is hiding. Such a creepy novel for those who are alone at night. I may not have given it high ratings, but its definitely worth looking into.

dark-dark-wood

In a Dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware

I wasn’t impressed with this book as I was reading it, but it definitely sucks you in until the end. I didn’t even realize that I finished this book, until I turned the last page, definitely a page turner. A great read in those dark, wet days because of the setting of a house surrounded by the woods and civilization is miles away.

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So that’s it for me. I hope I gave you guys some more books to add to your never ending TBR. Definitely check these books out, especially those who wants to dip their feet into thrillers. I know I’m recommending these for those rainy days, but to be honest their good reads for any season. I would also recommend these books if you enjoyed A Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, to be honest, I actually enjoy these a lot more.

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My Top 5 Dystopian Books

Dystopia is actually one of my favorite genre and I realize that I’ve never done a Dystopain recommendations. So here are my top 5 favorite Dystopian books. Mind you, I’m not going to include Hunger Games. As much as I did enjoy the books, its too commercialized now and its better if I recommend other books that the majority hasn’t heard of. I’m also going to try to exclude books that are dystopian/fantasy novels, such as the Lunar Chronicle or The Winner’s Trilogy.

So when I think of the Dystopian genre, I think of apocalyptic stories. It could be post apocalyptic or set in the distant future, where earth has been ruined by an unforeseen catastrophe and we are witnessing the aftermath. This could be set on earth or an earth-like planet but not literally stated in the book.

Anyways, lets get on with the recommendations.

1. Rot & Ruin Series by Jonathan Maberry

Goodreads Synopsis: In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

It’s been awhile since I read this series and its definitely time I re-read them. I really love the way Maberry writes his stories and the gore that he includes. It’s not as extreme as I’ve read before, but still gets the message across. I love his characters as well, he puts a lot of thought in them and in turn they come out realistic with all the perfection and flaws that humans have.

2. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

bird box

Goodreads Synopsis: Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

I picked this book up because a lot of people have been raving about it last year, especially Lala from BooksandLala and since I enjoy her rec’s I decided to read it. I’m pleasantly surprised that something so simple could terrify me so abundantly. I wasn’t really drawn to the story until at least half way through the book. When it eventually picked up, I was totally hooked.

3. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

Goodreads Synopsis: Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

I read the first book in this trilogy a few years back and totally loved it. It did take awhile for me to get into the story, but once you pass the 100 page mark, then you’re pretty much set. Finally, last year I picked up the third book and finished the trilogy. Greatest reading accomplishment of last year for me. Of course I love it. I realize that this trilogy is not for everyone because it is set in a slower pace than most dystopian novels, but I think it’s still worth trying.

4. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

warm bodies

Goodreads Synopsis: R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization. And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

I actually read this book because of the movie. I wanted to get to the book before watching it and I’m glad that I did because, as usual, there are many things the movie didn’t include or was unable to convey. I know that this novel is now going to be a trilogy, but when I read it, it was only a stand alone, so for the sake of this list it’s a standalone for now. Its a great read and a totally different take on zombies, which is actually fascinating.

5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready player one

Goodreads Synopsis: In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. 

This is another book that I actually need to re-read again. The first time I read it, it was such a great read. I love all the different references that me makes of the 80’s very well put together.

HONORABLE MENTION:

I’m including these books because I think they too are great reads but I still have not finished reading all the books in the series.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Penryn & The end of Days by Susan Ee
Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman

Recommendations: Favorite Audiobooks

I haven’t been listing to much audiobooks lately because I need to have a certain mood for them. I’m a very moody reader. Anyways, even though its been awhile there are still some books that I really enjoyed in audio format. Here are my top 5.

For those who are new to audiobooks, here are some first time tips.

  • Try to get an unabridged version of books to listen to. This just means that the audio is actually the complete novel and it has not been altered to make it shorter.
  • If possible, try to get a full cast, which just means each character has its own voice actor. Most books aren’t full cast, which is totally fine as well, but if you have a chance grab the full cast.
  • For myself, I usually borrow all my audio on my Overdrive app, which I recommend for first time users. This is to test if you actually enjoy audiobooks. Then when you have made your decisions, and feel comfortable with this format, then Audible by Amazon is your best bet. The thing is, it doesn’t come cheap.

Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of these books, but most people have only read the books. If you are a fan, or a first time reader of the books, I highly recommend you try out the audiobooks. It’s read by Jim Dale and he does a really great job in conveying the atmosphere of the books. I’ve only actually listened to the first book, but it made a good impression with me that it’s worth including it here.

Here is my audiobook review: Harry Potter Audiobook

Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I happened to be perusing the audiobook section of my Overdrive, when I happened to stumbled on this one and I’m glad that I did. These books are amazing in audiobook and the voices of the ‘others’ are so haunting that it gives you chills when you hear them.

Here is my review for the Trilogy: Starbound Trilogy

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

This was my first every audiobook, so I definitely needed to pay it some homage. I listened to full cast audio of this so of course it would be good. Definitely a must try. The story is pretty well written as well.

Agatha Raisin by M.C. Beaton

If you want to try out cozy novels but not really sure how to go about it, I highly suggest the Agatha Raisin audiobook. The first two books is a full cast and a dramatization style audio created by BBC. This audio is more of a show that you have to listen to, which is really good because it tries to convey the scenery through different sounds. A must try. The rest are read by the same person in the BBC version, but instead of it being a full cast, it’s only here in the remaining audio, which is also pretty good.

Here is my review for the 3rd Book: Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Finally, the last recommendations. The Diviners is an awesome novel which takes you to different crime scenes during the roaring twenties and January LaVoy, the narrator, does a very good job in creating the creepy atmosphere that it needs. I haven’t read the rest of the books in the series, but this first novel was very well done that it needed to be included here.

 

 

 

Women’s Day! Celebrating Strong Female Characters in Books!

In light of Women’s International Day, I wanted to write a post celebrating women. Women have come a long way in history and even though it’s far from the Medieval ages, women are still being discriminated on in different parts of the world and in different aspects in life.

Although this post is celebrating strong female characters in books, I’m not in any way shape or form discriminating on men at all. I think strong male characters are just as important as strong female characters.

I previously did a list similar to this last year so if you want to check that out, click here. Obviously, I won’t include the same books as last years since I want to include new books and new female characters I’ve encountered.

If what you search for are reads with a strong female lead, then definitely these books are a must read.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan

I think Riordan does such a great job in creating his female characters. They’re young teens but with so much independence and strength within themselves that they make great role models for the his intended young readers.

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer, Giant Days by John Allison, Lumberjanes by Nolle Stevenson

These are three graphic novels that represent strong female characters. Some know who they want to be in life, while others are still finding who they are in the world. Either way, they still represent women/girls/female in a very good light. I highly encourage Lumberjanes for young readers. Its full of action, fantastical adventure, friendships and inclusion.

Jackaby by William Ritter, Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

While reading these books, you think its not as exceptional representation of strong female characters as the other, but you have to take in mind the settings of the books. In these era women are really not allowed to do what these two protagonists are doing. Their headstrong and steadfast stubbornness allows them to break free of gender roles and they could care less what other people are saying.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury,  A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

If you’re into fantasy, definitely check these out. I enjoyed reading them and they have really great female characters. The Forbidden Wish actually has a female group that give back and kicks-*ss.

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So that’s it for this round of recommendations, if you have any books you think has a great female character, let me know. I enjoy any reads that showcase just how strong a woman can really be.

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Creepy Settings

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October is the month to read all things scary and all things that goes bump in the night, but scary books must have one main thing, a scary setting, without the ominous feeling that the backdrop offers, the story tend to fall flat.

Here are 5 of my top favorite creepy settings. Great topic Sam! I will also include some great book recommendations that feature the particular setting

Woods/Forest:
The woods/forest can either be an enchanting scenery or and ominous location, but for sure nothing is scarier than the woods/forest at night. The unexplored usually will give you the goosebumps and the chill down your spine Especially if someone or something is lurking behind its shadows.

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware and Through the Woods by Emily Carroll are great examples of the dark and creepy woods and things that hide within its surroundings.

My Review of Through the Woods

Historical Events:
Yes, some historical events are not a laughing matter and should be handled with care, but there are some authors that use historical events to create an environment that will give you nightmares. While being respectful of the injured, they are still able to create a world that is only seen in your nightmares.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscolca are two very recent reads for me, but they are perfect examples of authors using historical events to their advantage. While one takes Worlds War I and the Spanish Inlfuenza into a paranormal twist, the latter give the infamous Jack the Ripper a new face.

My Review on In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Asylums:
I have a thing about asylums. I know mental health should be taken seriously, but those few years that asylums were open and experimenting on people is just a setting that needs to be used by authors.

The Asylum Trilogy by Madeleine Laroux is one of the few books that I’ve read that is set in an asylum. Yes, I wasn’t a fan of either the first or third book, but the chills that the second book gave me was almost worth the read. Plus the pictures will send you over the edge. Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island is a much better read that will leave you in shock by the end of the book, the movie was also pretty good.

My Review on Asylum.

Moon/Space:
Space and the Moon is also another one of those setting that is creepy because its the unknown. Very few has been out there and the majority of space has not yet been explored by humans. So of course we are not 100% sure that we are alone in this vast galaxy, definitely a very good setting for creepy books.

Most books I have read set on the moon is Science Fiction or Fantasy, but 172 Hours on the Moon is a book that everyone should read. Although I’m not a fan of the characters, the environment that Johan Harstad created is – everything. It’s been two years since I read this book, but it still gives me the creeps when I think about it.

My Review on 172 Hours on the Moon

172 Hours

Deserted Island/Rain:
‘One dark, Rainy night..’ Yes, it’s cliche, but rain and the dark is very effective in creating a creepy setting and it’s even more powerful when this ‘dark and rainy night’ is happening in a deserted island. Like I keep saying all throughout this post, its really more of the unknown that gives you the chills, and making the environment stormy is even more of a hazard to the protagonist(s).

Ten by Gretchen McNeil is not one of my favorite books, but the use of the creepy setting is definitely a plus on this book. Not so much deserted, but rather isolated, ten teens are stranded on the island with an impending storm, and a killer amidst them. This book definitely gave me some spine chilling moments. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris is also another great example of taking the environment and giving it a creepy twist. Although this book is not set in a deserted island, the main chill factor is the weather and a forest (which is my first point ^^). A recent read for me, its thrilling and will psychologically mess you up as you read it.

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So that’s it for me this week on my Top 5! Hope you guys enjoyed it and comment down below on some of your favorite creepy settings. Also, give me recommendations for more scary/thriller books. Although I’m a scaredy cat, I enjoy getting zero sleep as I lay in my bed having an internal battle with my imagination!

Cozies Recommendation

It’s not really any secret that I’m a fan of mystery novels. I don’t care if its middle grade, YA or even adult, I would read it as long as it holds my attention. One sub-genre of Mystery is Cozy Mystery and this is one of those comfort reads for me. Anytime I’m feeling slumpy in my reading mood, I would always turn to these books to keep me on track.

Cozy books have a very specific type of writing. Obviously its always centered on a mystery, but these books are usually devoid of gore, violence, blood shed and very rarely does it include any violence towards children. Most cozy books are set in a small town or at least it revolves around a small group of people close to the protagonist.

The most common cozy mystery, that almost every book lover has read, are books written by Agatha Christie. I believe that her books are basically the foundation of cozy mysteries. Yes, Christie’s books are a lot more complex and in depth, but the lack of, or even the minimal violence of cozies are very reminiscent of Agatha Christie novels. Please don’t take my words the wrong way, they are not the same at all, but I believe Christie is the root of this sub-genre.

One of the main reason why many readers are drawn to this sub-genre is because it’s an easy read, you tend to get attached to the community that is introduced in the books, and you eventually get to see how each character develop from one book to the next. However, the main downfall of these books, is that the mystery starts to become similar and eventually the ending starts becoming very predictable. Especially, if you have read several books from the same series. I don’t really mind the repetitiveness, but I do need to read these books in between other books, so as not to get bored of the characters and story.

Anyways, I’ve read my fair share of Cozies that I think I can recommend some of them from newbies to this genre. Here are my top five cozy mystery series:

books can be deceiving.jpg

Library Lover’s Mystery by Jenn McKinlay

I’ve read several of Jenn McKinlay’s books and I love every one of them. She writes her books very well, her characters are all lovable (except of course the killers), and her relationships are all very well written. This book in particular is an amazing read because the protagonist is a librarian, so bonus points.

Murder Past Due

Cat in the Stacks by Miranda James

Most protagonist in cozy books are female, there are those rare occasions that a male protagonist is in the series. The Cat in the Stacks are those rare books, and I really love these books. The protagonist is the lovely old man who has a beautiful main coon that you can’t help but fall in love with.

penforhire

A Jaine Austen Mystery by Laura Levine

This book is actually my guilty pleasure in his genre. At times I find myself eye rolling at certain parts of the books, but at the same time its just one of those books you can’t put down. I have a love hate relationship with the protagonist, Jaine. She tends to whine about certain things that’s is present since book one and at the same time Jaine is such a hilarious main characters. All the different shenanigans she gets into are so far-fetched and out of this world.

murder-is-binding

A Booktown Mystery by Lorna Barrett

This is one of the first cozies that I really got into. I’m not a fan of the protagonist in this series, but I really love the minor characters that Barrett includes in this series. This is one of those rare occasions that I prefer the other characters than the protagonist.

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A Novel Idea by Lucy Arlington

This is a recent addition to my favorite cozy series and also the shortest. Since it was recently released there are only five books released so far and I’m patiently awaiting for more to be released. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the first book, but as the series progress, I eventually started enjoying the books. The town that Arlington writes in this series is very vivid and you can’t help but feel like you’re actually part of the community.

So that’s it for my recommendations on my favorite cozies. Hopefully, you found this interesting and PLEASE let me know of any good cozies that you guys enjoy and is not on my list. I’m always in search of a new series to begin!

 

 

 

 

 

Strong Female Protagonist in Books

Last Wednesday it was Women’s International Day and so I wanted to create this post to celebrate strong female characters in amazing books. These are also books that I would recommend to those who enjoys kick-ass female protagonists.

These books range in genre and age target, but one thing they have in common are strong female lead. Some are not as evident as the other, and some are quite upfront.

I know that there are more books that portray strong female characters, unfortunately, these are the only books that I’ve read and feel that they stood far beyond the others.

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Comment down below on book that you would include in this list.