What are you reading in 2019?

I always like to start out the new year by creating a list of books that I plan on reading over the next 12 months. Previously, I’ve been excessive with the titles I’ve chosen, and haven’t been able to complete my goals. As part of my New Years resolution, I plan on keeping things simple; here is my 2019 reading list .
  • Re-read the Harry Potter Series
  • Always by Sarah Jio
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  • The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
  • Paris for One by Jojo Moyes
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
As always, please feel free to comment with your favorite books, or what you plan on reading. I wish you all luck with your reading goals.

 

~Kristen

2018 Book List

As the end of 2017 nears, I’ve been compiling a list of books to read in the coming year. I’ve probably way over reached on my goal, but isn’t that how it always is? I’d love to hear what you all are currently reading or planning to read.

Here is what I’m currently reading:

On Writing- Stephen King (audiobook)
Down the Rabbit Hole- Holly Madison
Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me- Lily Collins

 

My 2018 List:

Outlander- Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber- Diana Gabaldon
Voyager- Diana Gabaldon
American Ghost- Hannah Nordhaus (Thanks for the suggestion Lorelei)
Scrappy Little Nobody- Anna Kendrick (I might do an audiobook for this one)
Love, Rosie- Cecelia Ahern
This Side of Paradise- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Murder House- James Patterson
The Da Vinci Code- Dan Brown
The Nightingale- Kristin Hannah

Book Review: The Demon of Brownsville Road by Bob Cranmer and Erica Manfred

Being from Pittsburgh, when this book was first released in 2015 I remember seeing it all over the news channels. At the time I thought, “Wow! There’s a house this close that’s haunted enough to have a book written about it, I can’t wait to read it!” Unfortunately, life got in the way and over the last two years I’ve thought about it a few times, but it wasn’t until recently when some of my coworkers were discussing it that I finally picked it up.

To get into the review, there are some parts of this book that are creepy and moments when I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Truthfully, I can’t understand how the Cranmer family stayed in the house after dealing with years of having a demon terrorize their lives. If it were me, when things began to escalate I would’ve fled. The chapters of the book that I enjoyed the most were about the history of the house and the potential reasons that caused the demon to take residence inside. Dating back to the 1700s this place had quite a dark past and it only makes sense that they were still dealing with remnants of those times.

However, I think much of the book was filler. From a personal standpoint, I think a lot of the political and religious aspects could’ve been left out to create a better read. There was an insinuation that was made in the book that I took some offense to. The author was describing the change in his children, they were suddenly listening to loud music and wearing black clothes, he attributed this to demon influence. As a child growing up in the 90s myself, I can assure you that there was no demon influencing my decision to wear a lot of black clothing (and I still do) or listening to heavy metal/rock.

That being said, if you are looking for a book about a house that has a dark history and the steps that were taken to rid the premises of a demonic infestation and can look past the filler, then this might be a book for you. Personally, I think that if I had a second chance with this book I would pass and find a different one to try.

Book Reviews: Me Before You and After You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I loved this novel! Honestly, this is probably one of the best books I’ve read and one that I often recommend.
The story mainly takes place over a 6 month span, so things are not drawn out. It’s well written, and really connects the reader to the characters of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. Their narrative unfolds in a unique way, and the twists found within these pages often left me yearning for more.
In 2016 this book was made into a movie and it did the story justice. Emilia Clarke and Sam Clafin portrayed the characters well, but in the end some of the connection between Louisa and Will didn’t translate well to the big screen (which happens a lot with screen adaptations). But, if you don’t read the book the movie is a good option.

After You by Jojo Moyes
After reading Me Before You I had high hopes going into the sequel, but I was quickly disappointed. In my opinion, this book takes away from the strength of Louisa Clark and most importantly I felt that it actually discredited the wonderful story of the first novel. To everyone that I have recommended Me Before You to, I have told them not to read the sequel.
There were a few redeeming qualities in this novel but honestly I wish I had never read it. Of course, these are just my opinions but After You was not what I expected.
I hope you find these helpful!

 

Annabelle: The Haunted Doll

Last night I had the opportunity of seeing a prescreening of the upcoming movie Annabelle Creation, the latest horror movie in the Conjuring series. Based on of the lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren, these movies offer an inside look into the occult and the works of the famed Demonologists.

I know not all people believe in the supernatural, but even if you don’t these movies are good for a scare. The same can be said for this new installment. Without giving any spoilers, I highly recommend seeing this film. It does well to provide a backstory on the “haunted” doll Annabelle in the Conjuring world, and incorporates story lines from the previous movies to round out the series.

Annabelle Creation premieres in all theaters August 11, 2017.

Now for the real Annabelle.

 

real-annabelle-doll-crop

Completely different from her fictional movie counterpart, Annabelle is actually a Raggedy Ann doll. As stated in the book The Demonologist about the lives and cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren, Annabelle tricked the owners of the doll into allowing “her” to move into it. Unbeknownst to the owner, this was not a young child but a demon. Strange things starting happening at this point, and the Warrens were called in to investigate.

With the help of a priest, an exorcism was performed on the residence and the people involved. The Warrens took Annabelle with them, and she still resides with the family in Connecticut. Over the years there have been several stories about occurrences surrounding those who’ve come in contact with this doll.

Every year, there is an event called “An Evening With Annabelle” where they bring Annabelle and other items from the collection to a location where you can experience them. I’ll admit, I’ve wanted to attend this event the last few years but timing never seemed to work with my schedule. This year, the event is being held on August 12 in Connecticut.

For more information about the event you can visit:                      http://www.warrens.net/An-Evening-with-Annabelle.html

Movie vs. Novel: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Most times a movie doesn’t do its novel counterpart justice, but Brooklyn written by Colm Toibin is an exception. The film stays true to the main storyline found in the novel without changing much along the way.  Based in the 1950s it tells the story of a young Irish immigrant trying to make a life for herself in Brooklyn, New York.

The biggest differences between the two is that the novel introduces characters that aren’t present in the film, but this happens a lot with screen adaptations. Also, you get more of a backstory for the main characters and more details regarding what I think is a critical part of the storyline (I promise, no spoilers); the movie just brushed over this section of the book without much of an explanation.

If you’re like me, you saw the movie before reading the novel, but I highly recommend picking this book up. It’s an easy read and kept me interested (even with knowing what was going to happen). If you don’t have the extra time to spend reading this one, at least try the movie; the story is well written and in my opinion the actors portray the characters the way the book suggests.

If any of you have either read this book or watched the movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Book Review: A Good Woman by Danielle Steel

As promised when I posted Summer Reading, I wanted to give an update on what I thought about Danielle Steel’s A Good Woman. I don’t want to go into too much detail with the review incase any of you plan on giving this book a try; I don’t want to spoil anything.

The story continued to be a bit predictable and the dialogue repetitive. I will admit to liking the main character and the strength that she embodied throughout the pages. The second half of the book held my attention more than the first, but I don’t think that I would recommend this one to anyone I know. It definitely wouldn’t be one that I will read again.

However, if you are looking for a good Danielle Steel book set in the early to mid 1900’s, I will stick to recommending No Greater Love.

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