Month: October 2014

Oct 31

‘Salem’s Lot: The Fellowship of the Worms is Traumatized by Stephen King

Book Club, Vampires 11

Happy Halloween, grim grinning Bookworms!

Halloween Katoo

The penguin wanted to come in costume.

I am super stoked today! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I LOVE handing out candy to the oodles of Trick-Or-Treaters who come through our neighborhood. Today is extra super spooktacular because OMG THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE WORMS! This month we tackled a classic Stephen King tome, ‘Salem’s Lot. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of ‘Salem’s Lot and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review of ‘Salem’s Lot on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so if you’ve reviewed this don’t hesitate to get your link on.

 1. Was this book as frightening as you anticipated?

No! I have been such a chicken about Stephen King for so long I fully expected to need to use my penguin nightlight on the regular. I found the book rather soporific, actually, it took me longer to read than usual because I kept conking out. At first I thought I’d just been desensitized by The Walking Dead but then I remembered I’d been watching the show before I read World War Z (review) and The Passage (review) and they BOTH scared the pants off me. I mean, they didn’t scare me as much as books about ghosts and evil spirits would have (I don’t believe in vampires and zombies. The others? Let’s just say I’m a bit on the terrified eccentric side.) Still. I was surprised by my relative lack of fright while reading this.

2. Did you have any nightmares while reading ‘Salem’s Lot?'salem's lot

I’m happy to report I had but one nightmare during the reading of this book, in which a childhood friend who is currently living in Europe was killed under suspicious circumstances. I’m not entirely sure I can attribute it to the book at all, as I don’t believe vampires were involved in her demise, but whatever. (Don’t worry, I emailed her about the dream just in case I’m psychic and told her to be careful. I’m sure she loved that. Right, Mary?)

 3. What’s your favorite part of vampire lore that was incorporated into ‘Salem’s Lot?

The piece of vampire lore that makes me feel better about the whole thing is that you HAVE to invite them into your home for them to get to you. Depending on the novel, this invitation clause isn’t always in play, but I feel safer when it is. I know they have hypnotic eyeballs or whatever, but shoot. I don’t even answer the door for my incredibly nice neighbors delivering holiday decorating prizes.

4. Young Mark Petrie’s parents dismiss the warnings from Ben, Dr. Cody, and Father Callahan as hokum. How long do you think it would take YOU to believe a vampire apocalypse was taking place? If this weird crew showed up at your house, how would you react?

I’m a chicken. Have I mentioned that?  I think I’d have a hard time dismissing a doctor, writer, priest, AND my own child, but I mean, a vampire infestation is a tough story to swallow. King described the town feeling super creepy and evil, and people kept going missing… I think given the circumstances I might be persuaded. Although, if face-to-face with Barlow, I’m afraid my cross might stop glowing too. Yikes!

5. Alright Bookworms, what’s the overall verdict on this one? What did you think, all-in-all?

I know this sounds ridiculous coming from ME of all people, but I was disappointed that this book didn’t frighten me! I mean, Stephen King, yo! I had EXPECTATIONS! I enjoyed it on the whole except for one thing. The copy of the book I got from the library tacked a bunch of deleted scenes onto the end of my copy… Only, I didn’t realize what they were at first. I mean, I thought everything ended at the epilogue, but then there was all this extra stuff and I got confused about the timeline of events. If I discount the confusion toward the end, though, it was certainly a Halloween appropriate read, and I should probably be grateful I was still able to sleep!

If you’ve reviewed ‘Salem’s Lot on your own blog or have tackled the discussion questions, please link up! I’m all kinds of interested in what y’all thought!

[inlinkz_linkup id=458545]

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Oct 30

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Audio Books, Fantasy, Frightening 31

Greetings Bookworms!

I love this time of year. Autumn and pumpkins and baked goods and Halloween? Fall as a season is clearly a conspiracy of the universe to distract us mere mortals from the fact that WINTER IS COMING. (Thanks a lot, Ned Stark!) It’s a wonderful time of year to curl up with a book (or ten) and a nice warm cup of something nice and warm. (Cider? Cocoa? Coffee? Tea? Insert your beverage of choice.) Some books just go better with the season than others, though, and Neil Gaiman is a force to be reckoned with.

theoceanattheendofthelaneI recently finished listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane as an audio book. It was narrated by Neil Gaiman himself. Holy crap, you guys! The man’s voice is so delicious I may never physically read another one of his novels. I just want to listen to Neil Gaiman read me bedtime stories. I swear that’s not as creepy as it sounds…

The Ocean at the End of the Lane begins with a middle-aged man returning to his hometown to attend a funeral. He is mysteriously drawn to a farm at the end of the road on which he once lived and is suddenly inundated with memories.

Forty years ago when our narrator was a 7-year-old boy, a boarder who was living in his home committed suicide. The suicide set off a chain of events both supernatural and unbelievable. The man begins to remember his friendship with the mysterious and remarkable Lettie Hempstock and her curious mother and grandmother.

I want to say Neil Gaiman is the master of this sort of speculative, supernatural, dreamlike fiction, but that seems wrong. Gaiman’s work is so unique that it’s practically a genre unto itself. Every time I finish one of his books, I feel like I’m waking up from a bizarre dream, equal parts nightmare and fantasy. If that description appeals to you in the slightest, go find the nearest Gaiman novel and start reading.

Tell me, Bookworms. Do you often remember your dreams? I find that mine are odd, vivid, and typically anxious. I’m wondering if that’s normal or if I’ve got more problems than I imagined. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I can only hope it won’t present itself as a coin stuck in my throat in the middle of the night…*


Oct 28

Trick Or Treat! (Top Ten Tuesday)

Top Ten Tuesday 27

Hello BOOkworms!

It’s Tuesday my little darlings, and you know what that means! We’re going to do some listing! The crew at The Broke and the Bookish have challenged the blogosphere to list books that get them in the Halloween Spirit. It’s been WELL established that I’m a weenie when it comes to scary books, but as it happens, I’ve managed to collect a handful of titles over the years. They’re mostly vampire and zombie novels, as I can only handle the extremely fictional, but it should be fun nonetheless. Ready?

TTT TrickorTreat

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin (review): It starts out slow, but this book packs a whole lot of heebie jeebies! It’s like vampires meet zombies meet abject terror. Honestly, I’m still a little creeped out by shopping malls…

2. World War Z by Max Brooks (review): Ooooh boy. I think I had more nightmares while reading this book than any other, ever. Totally worth it though. Zombies!

3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (review): Neil Gaiman is the master of creepy atmosphere without hitting nightmare territory. I could have chosen any number of his books, but I think Neverwhere is my favorite so far. You should read it!

4. Feed by Mira Grant (review): Zombies plus blogging plus pop culture references equeals amazing. That’s some highly scientific literary math for you right there.

5. Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates (review): I rarely read books about scary things that ACTUALLY exist. I picked this up based on the title. I did not get zombies. I got a psycho killer instead. Eeep!


6. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: This is a super creepy travel vampire mystery. That’s totally a genre. Seriously though, it has a lovely dovetail with the next book on my list!

7. Dracula by Bram Stoker (review): The original vampire novel! I feel like it would be silly to go into more detail here, I mean, it’s friggin Dracula!

8. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (review): Atmosphere with a capital A! Find me a creepier house than Manderley, I dare you!

9. The Stand by Stephen King (review): I don’t care if it’s not one of his more monster-centric books, this is CHILLING. If you’re already panicking about Ebola, though, you might want to enjoy this one with some Xanax or something.

10. ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King: Have you read it yet?! We’re going to discuss this bad boy on HALLOWEEN with the Fellowship of the Worms, and you KNOW that’s going to be a good time.


Chime in Bookworms, what are some of your favorite Halloween spirit books?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use it to purchase ALL THE GARLIC to keep the vampires at bay.*


Oct 27

Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

Coming of Age 19

Greetings Bookworms!

Remember high school? I was an angsty teenager and I wouldn’t consider high school my “glory days” by any means. (Have I mentioned the ginormously baggy pants I used to wear?) That said, even when I was in high school, I managed to have fun sometimes. Sure I was rather morose and had questionable taste in cosmetics (I legit glued craft glitter to my eyelids using chapstick), but I certainly didn’t suffer any major trauma. Maybe that’s why Anthony Breznican’s novel Brutal Youth hit me like a ton of bricks. *I received a complimentary copy of this book in conjunction with a blog tour coordinated by Be Books Consulting.*

Brutal Youth CoverBrutal Youth focuses on the lives of three freshman enrolled in a troubled working class Catholic high school. The school has a long standing policy of hazing where the senior class torments the freshmen. Think Dazed and Confused, minus the bell-bottoms and the good-natured untertones. It’s intense.

Peter Davidek finds himself thrown in the tumult of St. Michaels and soon strikes up a friendship with fellow freshmen Noah Stein and Lorelei Paskal. The trio clings together in order to survive. With a culture of systemic bullying and corrupt leadership St. Michael’s is more like the seventh level of hell than the haven of godliness to which the devout parents imagined they were sending their children.

Bullying is such a hot topic these days. Though Brutal Youth was set in the 90s, I was shocked at the idea that a high school would condone any type of a hazing ritual, let alone a full year of cruelty. It’s a work of fiction, but there’s a disturbing truth about it as well. The environment in St. Michael’s is a psychological war zone, the strain of which puts friendships, love, and faith to the test.

Brutal Youth is not an easy read, but it is worthwhile. Of course, if you have kids about to start high school and don’t want to turn into a paranoid mess you should probably hold off on reading this one. (My mom used to watch 20/20 and become convinced that I was into a new dangerous fad every Friday night. She seemed to overlook the fact that I spent so much time in my bedroom brooding over boys who didn’t like me. Where would I have found the TIME for such illicit activities?) If, however, you don’t mind walking on the dark side, Brutal Youth gives you humanity in all its twisted broken glory.

Talk to me Bookworms. What’s the last truly disturbing book you read?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*




Oct 24

Bookish Q&A: Because You Wanted to Know More, Right?

Q&A 24

Howdy Bookworms!
Today’s post is brought to you by the incomparable Sarah from Sarah Says Read. She completed this survey and I decided that it was necessary for me to do the same, except I got lazy and only completed a portion of it. Rest assured that I’ll eventually finish the project. I really like interviewing myself. Ready???
1. Favorite childhood book: It’s tough to remember having a favorite book as a kid. I mean, are we talking picture books? Chapter books? Adolescent books? Childhood can be long and complicated. I remember there being some purple book with an owl on it that was my favorite as a wee one. I have absolutely no idea what it was called or who wrote it. So, uh, my favorite childhood book was “that one purple book with an owl.” Good enough? Good. Let’s carry on…
2. What are you reading right now? Right now, I’m reading ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King for The Fellowship of the Worms. I’m not scared… yet…
3. What books do you have on request at the library? I’m not sure. Let me go and check (please hold as I clickety click on over…) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.
4. Bad book habit: I tend to get waaaaaaaaaay too emotionally involved with fictional characters. I’ve been listening to audio book versions of the Outlander Series (because I wanted to relive it, natch. Swooning over Jamie Fraser never ever gets old) and I find myself tensing and getting upset as things happen to the characters. I know exactly how things turn out, but it stresses me anyway. I’m the same way with Harry Potter re-visits. Actually, if a book doesn’t get me overly involved with the lives of the characters, I probably don’t much care for it.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? I actually managed to get ‘Salem’s Lot from the library. It was pure luck that it came available in time for the readalong.
6. Do you have an e-reader? Indeed! I have two, actually. I use my Kindle Paperwhite (OMG how I love it!) for the majority of my reading. The backlight makes my world go round. I kept my old Kindle, though, and I use that as a loaner so family and friends can enjoy some of my digital copies of books. That’s the drawback to digital reading, I think. Difficult lendibility.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I have recently discovered that I can read several books at one (maximum of three). They must, however, all be in different formats. I can have a Kindle book, a physical book, and an audio book all going at once, but not multiple books in the same format. My brain would explode.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I read a LOT more. I mean, I always read a fair amount, but I’m chewing through 100 books a year. It’s pretty crazy, actually. I’ll also admit that I stress about reading more than I used to. I like having things to tell y’all about. If I’m not reading ALL THE THINGS I worry I’ll run out of material. Really, though, my Bookworms are so cool, you probably wouldn’t mind if I wrote limericks. Now that I think about it, maybe I should be writing more limericks… As odes to fictional characters. Mmmm Jamie Fraser, there are so very many things that rhyme with “red”!


9. Least favorite book you read this year: Oooh. I don’t love being negative, but since you asked, survey. I listened to the audio version of Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman. I didn’t even like it enough to blog about it. I couldn’t decide if it was an intentional ripoff of Wuthering Heights or simply an ode to the classic, but since I didn’t care for Wuthering Heights either (review), it did nothing for me.
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year: Holy cats, it is SO hard for me to pick favorites! I’m going to go with my (mostly arbitrary) Goodreads ratings and list out my 5-star books thus far. (Again, the arbitrary-ness of my star ratings cannot be overstated.) Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend (review), Ready Player One (review), Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (review-ish), Headhunters on My Doorstep (review), Slammerkin (review), I Am Livia (review), Frog Music (review), The Chaperone (review).
11. How often do you read outside of your comfort zone? Oooh tough question. I am a fairly eclectic reader, so it’s hard to define my comfort zone. I certainly have some books I consider comfort fiction, but that’s certainly not all that I read. I guess I really push it to the “there’s a good chance I’ll hate this” limit once a month or so?
12. What is your reading comfort zone? When I feel the need to read something comforting, I tend to choose Southern Fried Fiction. Fannie Flagg, Beth Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen- these ladies always make me feel better about the state of the universe.
13. Can you read on the bus? I can, but I’m not in the habit of riding the bus. Living out in the boondocks, as I do, makes public transit inconvenient at best.
14. Favorite place to read: My bed. Perhaps not my favorite activity that takes place in the bed, but it’s up there on the list. (Top of the list is sleeping, you filthy minded Bookworms, you!)
A Katie asleep in her natural habitat. Note penguin PJs and obnoxious husband wielding cell phone...

Wake sleeping Katies at your own peril. Photograph sleeping Katies also at your own peril.

15. What is your policy on book lending? I’ve loosened up on this a lot over the years. Since I started blogging I find myself in possession of a lot more books. If I wasn’t cool with lending them out and sending them into circulation, I’d be buried.
16. Do you dog-ear your books? I don’t have super strong opinions about dog-earring. Sometimes I do, but not if I have a bookmark on hand. I’ve got a lot of fun bookmarks, so I don’t do a lot of page bending these days.
17. Do you write notes on the margins of your books? Nope. I don’t know why, I don’t have any particular objection to margin notes, I’ve just never done it. If I feel the need to take notes, I usually open a draft of a future blog and jot down really useful comments like “WTF?!” or “This better not be the twist!”
18. Do you break/crack the spines? Oh yeah. Sometimes it can’t be avoided. I mean, have you ever read a chunkster? I challenge you to get through some of those bad boys WITHOUT cracking the spine.
19. What is your favorite language to read? Dothraki. Just kidding. I only read English. I’m depressingly mono-lingual.
20. What makes you love a book? Oh that’s a tough one. I saw a discussion on River City Reading that talked about three types of readers: those who read for language style, those who read for the plot, and those who read for characters. I can confidently say that language ranks the lowest on my list. I like a prettily constructed sentence as much as the next girl, but that’s not what blows my skirt up. What makes me love a book is a combination of fun plots and great characters.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? I really like to individualize my recommendations based on who is asking me. I will demand that virtually everyone on planet earth read Harry Potter and Outlander, but I do like to take into consideration what the seeker likes, you know?
Alright, I’m throwing in the towel on this survey, for now anyway. Any of you gorgeous bookworms care to tackle some of these questions? 
*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Oct 23

The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen

Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Flowers, Romance 20

Greetings Bookworms!

The weather is changing and it’s making me miss my flowers already. I still have mums out, but it’s not the saaaaaaaame. Shortly after having to pull out my summer annuals, I was perusing NetGalley (a dangerous pastime under the best of circumstances) and ran across The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen. I saw comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen and Alice Hoffman and simply could not help myself. *I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration. May I be stricken with a wicked case poison ivy if I lie in the following review.*

The Night Garden by Lisa Van AllenIs there anything better than an enchanted garden? Lisa Van Allen draws a gorgeous picture of pastoral upstate New York. Pennywort Farms boasts a lovely garden maze that seems to be imbued with magical properties that give visitors clarity on their problems. A little magical realism never hurt anyone! More likely to hurt someone is the beautiful and enigmatic Olivia Pennywort.

Olivia has SECRETS. Despite welcoming boarders into her farm as a matter of course, Olivia keeps everyone at arm’s distance. Her decision to remain aloof becomes more difficult when her childhood friend and adolescent flame Sam Van Winkle comes back to town. The two are (of course) drawn to each other, but there are some significant barriers (and histamines) standing in the way of their happy ending.

You guys, I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down, and I stayed up far too late to finish it. On a work night. Thank heaven for coffee, AMIGRIGHT? Magical realism can be very hit or miss for me, but the combination of love story, garden-y goodness, and mystical whimsy hit all the right notes. I particularly liked some of the weird science/magic fusion elements that went on. I don’t want to spoil it all for you, but if you’re at all interested, take a trip into The Night Garden!

Talk to me, Bookworms. The Night Garden spends a lot of time talking about the garden maze’s ability to provide visitors with clarity on their problems. What helps you work out your dilemmas? Asking for a friend…

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



Oct 21

Animal Crackers in my Books: An Idiosyncratic Lit List

Idiosyncratic Lit List 24

What does the fox say, Bookworms?

I know, I just went there. You’re welcome to chastise me in the comments. It’s occurred to me recently that a lot of the books I’ve read have animals in their titles. They may or may not have anything at all to do with the animals mentioned, but you know how much I like listing. I didn’t want to trouble myself with content when I could play with titles. I’m sure you understand. Without further ado let’s get to it!


1. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood: This is one of my favorite Atwood novels. Truly, of her non-dystopian work, this probably tops my list. And it just so happens to have an animal in the title, though it’s really not about cats. Who could ask for anything more?

2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: There actually IS an elephant in this novel who plays a very prominent role. Actually, there are quite a few animals in this novel, seeing as it focuses on an almost-veterinarian working in a circus. Still. An elephant who likes to drink is a winner in my book. Rosie’s a bit of a tippler.

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (review): There’s a dog in this book! He’s dead though, so don’t get too excited. A good book with a fascinating protagonist.

4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (review): This book, you guys! I know, I know, I rave about it ALL THE TIME. But it’s still super fantastic. And really not about wolves, except maybe metaphorically. Who cares, though? There’s a really awesome teapot!

5. Frog Music by Emma Donogue (review): It’s a rare book indeed that can combine historical fiction, cross dressing, prostitution, and hunting frogs. Just another reason Emma Donoghue is the coolest.


6. Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan: Among the things I learned from this book? What a C-Pap mask is, and the side effects of an enlarged prostate. Neither of these have anything to do with the story, of course, though that was plenty interesting too. If I can get a good story and trivia out of a book, it’s a big win.

7. Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls: So you think you want to be a cowboy/cowgirl? Read this real-life novel and you might re-think that. They NEVER wash their jeans. Ever.

8. Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (review): Not a monkey to be found on Monkey Beach. Canada is too cold for that sort of thing. Lots of interesting discussion of fish grease though.

9. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris: There are all sorts of animals in this book! Animals that talk and do offensive things using offensive language. It is, in a word, glorious.



Alright Bookworms, I’m SURE I’ve missed BUNCHES of animal titles. Help me fill in the blanks, here!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I’ll use it to buy animal crackers because they sound delicious right about now.*


Oct 20

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H Winters

Audio Books, Classics, Humor 19

Yo Ho Ho, Bookworms!

If I were to write up a personal ad, I would list some of my “likes” as Jane Austen, pirate lingo, audio books, and penguins. Obviously penguins. Because my library rocks my world, I was able to obtain an audio copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H Winters. It’s the Austen story you remember with a steampunk twist… And man-eating sea creatures, naturally.

senseandsensibilityandseamonstersElinor and Marianne Dashwood are, as in the original Sense and Sensibility , lovely girls of extremely modest fortune thanks to their greedy brother and his nasty wife. Of course, in this version of the story, the Dashwood patriarch was taken out by a sea beast. For some reason, all the creatures in the ocean are now PISSED at humanity and seek ways of destroying it at all costs. Because why not? Thanks to their want of fortune, the very worthy Dashwood ladies are not much favored in their search for suitable husbands (despite Elinor’s MAD SKILLS at carving driftwood.) Heartbreak happens. Healing happens. PENGUIN THEMED WEDDINGS happen.

It’s probably only because I listened to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (review) in fairly rapid succession (as opposed to the gap of several years between when I read the originals), but it occurs to me that perhaps Ms. Austen had her heart broken by a cad whose name began with a “W.” Wickham, Willoughby… That can’t be a coincidence can it?

This book had the funniest descriptions of an evil ocean ever. I mean, “great burbling salt cauldrons of death”?! That is glorious. Truly though, the absolute best thing about this book was Colonel Brandon with a squid face. Sure, there were sexual innuendos, endless creative descriptions of a treacherous sea, an underwater colony, and glorified pirates absconding with native women to keep as wives, but giving Colonel Brandon tentacles was a stroke of pure genius.

If you’re an Austen purist, you’ll probably hate this book every bit as much as you’d hate Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesIf, though, you don’t consider Ms. Austen’s work beyond the realm of satire, you should definitely give these books a try. They are so much fun!

Talk to me Bookworms! What are some of the “likes” you’d put in YOUR personal ad? (You can tell how long it’s been since I’ve been in the dating game, because I’m pretty sure “personal ads” as such no longer exist. Pretend it’s Match-Harmony-Cupid-Face or whatever.)

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



Oct 17

Six Degrees of Separation: 1984

Six Degrees of Separation 11

How goes it, Bookworms?

I’m pretty excited today, because I’m jumping back into one of the coolest memes in the book blogosphere. That’s right. The Six Degrees of Separation meme (hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman) chose 1984 as their jump-off point this month, and, well, I couldn’t NOT participate. Big Brother would be displeased. (I fear Big Brother! Truly, I do. Especially the reality show. I don’t get it.)

sixdegrees11. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (review): I don’t have to have GOOD reasons to link books together, do I? I borrowed my college roommate’s copy of 1984 and it had one large blue eye on the cover of it. I just don’t read that many books that feature eyeballs as cover art. It made an impression. Thus my decision to link to The Bluest Eye

2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (review): My reasoning here is twofold. First, The Bluest Eye is an intense discussion of the difficulties of life faced by African American women… And incest. Much like The Color Purple. Seriously heartbreaking stories, the both of them. Also, though, they’ve got colors in their titles. It makes me think of my reading rainbow. I love that rainbow… Siiigh. Speaking of rainbows…

3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (review): Man, do I love Rainbow Rowell, and not only because her name is FABULOUS. Her books are fabulous, too. Attachments was her first novel, and I feel like it doesn’t get enough love. It’s the sweetest little novel about a couple who falls in love through mild internet stalking. Swoon. Also, the leading man in Attachments is named Lincoln, which leads me to…


4. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: I don’t know what it is about putting historical figures and/or classic literary characters into bizzaro situations that makes me so happy, but oh it does! I don’t find it irreverent, I find it wonderful. Well, it’s also irreverent, but I love it. Hence, I’m brought to the next book on my list…

5. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H Winters (review): I loved the crap out of this book. It was just so innovative. I mean, sea monsters?! Steampunk underground cities? Swarthy pirates right and left? I couldn’t help myself. One of my favorite elements of this book was that a lot of the respectable wives of the respectable gents were actually kidnapped natives from deserted islands. A fitting metaphor for certain arranged marriages, no? The culinary delights provided by some of these former island princesses put me in mind of the lovely fare J Maarten Troost encountered on his travels through the South Pacific which leads me to…

6. Headhunters on My Doorstep by J Maarten Troost (review): J Maarten Troost has adventures so you don’t have to. This book had me laughing so many times, I just can’t help but demand that people pick up some Troost. Next time you think it’s a good idea to move to an equatorial atoll, think again. It’s a wild ride, y’all. Gooooood times.



And there you have it! Dystopian England to the equatorial atolls of the South Pacific in 6 easy steps! Have I mentioned I love this meme?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Oct 16

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Fairy Tales, Historical Fiction 26

Bookworms, Bookworms, let down your hair!

I’m eeeeeeeevil and have locked you in a tower and forced you to grow your hair to unimaginable lengths that don’t occur in nature and now I want to use it as a rope, damnit! Heck yes, y’all, I just finished reading Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, a re-telling of Rapunzel. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration through NetGalley. May I be locked in a tower if this review is untrue.*

bittergreensBitter Greens begins with a note about how the folk tale Rapunzel originally surfaced in Italy but its best known published version appeared in France. What follows is Forsyth’s imagining of how the tale managed to travel. It gives a fictionalized account of the life of the French author, Charlotte-Rose de la Force as well as a creative interpretation of Rapunzel’s origin story.

Charlotte-Rose was a courtier in Louis XIV’s lavish and fickle court. After a series of scandals, Charlotte-Rose is, for all intents and purposes, disposed of in a poverty ridden convent. Out of sight, out of mind, no? Her greatest love was writing, but even that is denied to her inside the cloisters. It certainly doesn’t help anything that Charlotte-Rose was raised a Huguenot and was forced to convert to Catholicism… And then, you know, unceremoniously dumped in a convent. Bad form, Louis.

In any case, Charlotte-Rose is in a bit of a pickle, but comes to befriend Sœur Seraphina who comes to teach her the glories of gardening and shares her stories. What story do you think she starts with?! Why, a young maiden locked in a tower with a ginormous length of hair, of course!

Fairy tale retellings can be a bit hit or miss for me, but Bitter Greens was a big hit. It had all my favorite historical fiction elements; I felt like I was IN these times. And there was plague. MUAHAHAHAHA! Really though, the best part of this novel from my perspective was that the witch got a fantastically developed back story. I like my villains to have depth, and Selena Leonelli was one complex lady. If you like historical fiction, fairy tales, and interwoven storylines, Bitter Greens is your book, y’all!

Alright Bookworms, let’s talk villains! Who’s your favorite fairy tale villain? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will NOT be using it on hair extensions, because at the moment, long hair seems incredibly over-rated.*