Best blogging day of the month! Let’s get to the books!


If you’re new here, this is how the review goes:

Ok! On with the show!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood | ★★★★★/5
Summary: With Congress gone and the Constitution suspended, American men and women are forced into new relationships and roles. | Why I Read It: Everyone has or is reading it (I was 78th on the library waitlist- it took 2 months to get) & it filled a spot in Erin’s Challenge. | What I Thought: This book was like nothing I’ve ever read. I have so many thoughts but at the same time I’m speechless over it. It’s so relevant and scary and foretelling… especially for being written in 1985. It read like an actual retelling and it ended so vaguely. I think that the reader is meant to walk away with their own epilogue depending on how you felt by the end- you might have some hope for Offrend and think that she’s going to be alright but you might be feeling completely hopeless and beaten down by the end, in which case you probably imagine the worst for her. Also, I wonder what it would’ve been like for Offred if she’d have been in a different position of power or even a different part of the US or a different relationship when the changes started…. I don’t know… this book was eerie and engrossing and unique.
You should read it because… you’re a reader. If you are someone who enjoys reading I think you should give this book a try.

The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver | ★★★★/5
*ARC provided by Ashley Weaver (but it’s available now!)
Summary: Summoned to France by Milo’s childhood nanny, Amory and her husband find themselves in the middle of another high society death. Was it an accident or something more sinister? | Why I Read It: I like this series & it worked out with Erin’s Challenge. | What I Thought: First of all, I’m so happy I got my hands on an ARC. Sometimes all you have to do is ask and an amazing author says “yes” 🙂 I love the high society and historical vibe in these novels. This one was no exception as it introduced the Ames duo to the French Belanger family, master perfumers. With the recent loss of their patriarch, the company, fortune, and family are in a state of covert disarray. While I enjoyed Milo and Amory’s strengthening relationship, I felt like his secrecy and lying were serious (& annoying) setbacks. Also, Milo’s effect on women was a little overstated. That said, I still loved their chemistry and I’m liking Amory’s backbone as it grows a little in each novel. I think my favorite parts were Milo’s reaction to men flirting with his wife. He’s much less of a cool cucumber than Amory in those situations.
You should read it because… you’ve read the first three books and/or you enjoy historical murder mysteries.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman | ★★★★/5
Summary: New to town and already bored with her home and routine, Coraline decides to explore the dark mysteries of her new home. | Why I Read It: It’s been on my TBR list forever because I thought it looked spooky and entertaining. | What I Thought: For whatever reason, it took me over 2 months to finish this book. It was enjoyable, but it was easy to pick up other books instead of this one. I liked Coraline very much. She started off with a pretty decent level of maturity but by the end she’d become very wise and clever and brave for her age. I’ve read that this book is creepy and scary for adult while children tend to find it more empowering and encouraging. I can see that. The villain (“the other mother”) was delightfully terrible. I think there were many details hinted at by Gaiman that weren’t blatantly explained and I enjoyed that. It was a very descriptive and visual book- perfect for a fall afternoon.
You should read it because… you enjoy spooky, contemporary tales of evil and trickery (defeated by clever, good little girls).

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling, Jim Kay (Illustrator) | ★★★★★/5
Summary: (Really?) After 11 years with his abusive aunt and uncle, a young boy is suddenly immersed in a world of witchcraft and wizardry, trolls and dungeons, unicorns and werewolves. | Why I Read It: No one needs an excuse to read HP. That said, I’m rereading all the books as their illustrated versions are released. I’ve had this one for a while now and finally cracked it open. | What I Thought: Bloody hell. I didn’t think there were any Harry Potter stones unturned. If you haven’t gotten your hands on the illustrated novels then you need to do so right now ❤︎ I’ve heard that the Kindle/ebook versions are animated! I’m ashamed that it’s been so long since I’ve read this magical book. Next week I’m dedicating an entire blog post to it so stay tuned for that 😉
You should read it because… it’s one of the greatest series and stories to ever grace the literature world. #fact

DNF: The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
*I didn’t finish this book this month and I ran out of renewals (because I got it at the beginning of the summer and kept putting it off). I fully intend to re-borrow this book and finish it, but I’m taking a break for a few weeks and giving it back to the library for now 😉

Here’s a quick challenge update:

|5 points| Freebie: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
|10 points| Starts w/ “B”: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
|10 points| Yellow cover: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
|15 points| An animal on the cover: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Published in 2017: The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver
|20 points| Compass/cardinal direction in title: West With the Night by Beryl Markham
|25 points| A most commonly banned book in America: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
|30 points| About mental illness: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
|30 points| Non-human main character: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
|35 points| A Disney movie /book/ based on a Disney movie: The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

I have 105 points now.

Not a bad month for reading 🙂 What’d you read this month?

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

Life According to Steph

54 thoughts on “What I Read… vol. 9

  1. I read The Handmaid’s Tale for Erin’s last challenge (and the BBC Big Read). I could really imagine it happening and it gave me chills! Also, while I hated Offred’s situation and wanted the best for her, I also felt so sorry for all the infertile wives. I know they were supposed to be the privileged ones on the evil/oppressing side, but not being able to get pregnant is awful.


    1. The whole story just pits women against women, women against men, older generations against younger, societal role against role… Everyone living in fear of one another and “the law” so that they can’t rally together or trust one another or incite any riot or change. It was a very, very chilling book!


  2. I need to read Coraline – I read the graphic novel version though, and that was fun!! I LOVE Harry Potter and the illustrated editions are beautiful. I need to read the second one ASAP since I have the third on pre-order (the third is my favorite HP book, so I’m so excited!). And yes, there is a Kindle in Motion version of the first book – but I think I’d need a new Kindle. Someday!



  3. Love your HP love! I am dying to buy the animated kindle edition because it looks amazing in the preview, but I already own the whole series in hardcover and I am collecting the illustrated editions as they come out so hmm… looking forward to your post on it next week!!!

    I read the Handmaids Tale in university and it was SO thought provoking and interesting to discuss in class.


    1. I wish I’d have read The Handmaid’s Tale in a classroom environment. That would’ve been a very beneficial and interesting book to discuss with others!
      Oh yes… Harry Potter forever and ever 🙂


  4. I read the Handmaid’s Tale in high school, looking back I’m surprised my school let my teacher get away with it, but she was ahead of her time and they let her do whatever she wanted. It’s a great book, I always recommend it.


  5. I didnt realize Handsmaid Tale was a modern tale – I thought it was set back in the past. CRAZYYYYY – I gotta see how long the list is at my library for it.


  6. lol @ your HP summary. I’ve been meaning to re-read the series. the Ashley Weaver series is on my list. The Handmaid’s Tale was so good – I’m glad I read it before, you know, everything happened recently as I feel like it would have hurt my heart even more to read it now. I really want to watch the Hulu series but I don’t have Hulu. lol. one day.


    1. Ha. I’m really not sure how to rate and review HP…

      I think there was a whole new creepy element involved in The Handmaid’s Tale since I read it in this political climate. Definitely eerie and forewarning… I’m curious about the hulu series but I don’t really want any strong visuals of that story in my head than what the book put there… Ya know?


  7. “it’s one of the greatest series and stories to ever grace the literature world. #fact” It’s also #truth. 😀 I had The Handmaid’s Tale in my mitts, but I couldn’t read it right now. With everything going on, I needed an upper, not a downer. I will read it because I feel it’s more important than ever that we do so. I am curious about those illustrated HP books. I’ve been purposefully avoiding them because I don’t need them but …. 😀 And thank you for introducing me to Amory and Milo. I loved the first book and can’t wait to read book #2!


    1. Hmmm… I think maybe you DO need the illustrated HP books 😉 Hehe
      I’m glad you enjoyed your first Amory Ames mystery! They’re just so light and fun. I think I padded The Handmaid’s Tale with an Amory book on either side… lol


  8. I read the Handmaid’s Tale last year and it hunted me… I watched the series this year, and it gave me nightmares for days! but it was amazing!! One has to watch it, as uncomfortable as it is.

    I am going to give my son the Two HP illustrated books, he has read them, but I feel we can always read them again.


    1. I have no desire to watch the series on hulu… The book gave me such a strong sense of… I’m not sure- but it was something passionate. And it left a visual impression. I honestly don’t want to intensify what’s already in my head with a TV show. If that makes any sense… lol.


    1. So far they’ve all had October release dates so I’ve received them each year for my mid-October birthday or Christmas 🙂 I’m not complaining one bit. Lol


  9. I think I might be brave and give The Handmaid’s Tale a chance… :/ — Okayyyy. My nephew calls Coraline the “scary movie” and I was definitely creeped while watching it but I had no idea it was even a book!! Also, what are the points for at the end of your post? I’m curious!


  10. I’m so glad that you enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale! As soon as I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down and I really enjoyed watching the series as well! Good job on Erin’s challenge! I’m hoping that I’ll have made more progress by the end of next month!


    1. I’m not planning to watch the series, but I’d totally recommend the book first. It’ll allow your mind to wander and assume without the influence of the show. I’ve heard that the show takes it further and really hits hard. I’m glad I read the book without prejudice.


  11. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my all-time favorite books. And I adore Harry Potter and Coraline! What a great month for reading! Right now I’m reading a book called Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory which is a memoir about working in a crematory. It sounds weird but it’s super interesting!!


    1. I think Smoke Gets in our Eyes sounds really, really interesting!
      It was definitey a good reading month for me 🙂 I don’t usually tackle 4 books. I’m glad to have finally read Coraline and to have gotten through all the gorgeous pages of HP!


  12. yaaaaas! i am needing new books to listen to (getting LASIK on friday eeeeek) so now i’m off to find these on audiobook through my library!

    i am SUPER excited for your whole post dedicated to HP next week. i have yet to get the illustrated one, i’m obviously slacking.


    1. You’ll have to get Mr. WS to read you tomorrow’s HP post if your eyes aren’t healed 😉 Glad it went well, though! K wants to get Lasik soon and I’m a nervous wife…lol.

      Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale? I think you’d really, really get a lot from it!


  13. Coraline has been on my TBR for ages too and it’s so short, I don’t know why I don’t just give it a read. Maybe next year, since I’ve already allotted all my reading time this year…

    I’m curious about The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m not 100% sure if it’s the book for me, but I might give it ago sometime in the future, you know, once I’ve worked my way through all my other books.

    You definitely had a good reading month!


    1. It took me THREE MONTHS to get through Coraline because I just kept putting it aside thinking, ‘Oh it’s so short. I’ll pick it up tomorrow and just finish it.’ Silly me. I’m so book-lazy/distracted.

      The Handmaid’s Tale reads super fast. It took me 3 mn with Coraline and less than 3 days with The Handmaid’s Tale.


  14. I can’t decide if I should read The Handmaid’s Tale after watching the series. Some people say yes and some say don’t bother because the series went deeper. I feel like I need to at some point though! I’ve also never read HP!! I know, I know! I have them all and I’ve seen all the movies, and totally intend to read them. It’s just a lack of time that’s getting to me. So many books!!


    1. Hmmm. I’d have definitely recommended the book first, but I don’t have a real answer because I’m honestly not planning to watch the series. I felt like the book was vaguely detailed and eerie- it let you brain fill in much of the go-ons. I liked that. I’d still read the book if I was you.
      WHOA WHOA WHOA. Log off your computer RIGHT NOW and go read HP, missy!!


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