book lover on a budget

Book Lover on a Budget

As any true book lover knows, reading can be an expensive hobby. I wish I was the kind of person who could restrain herself from buying books when I have a dozen to read – or, truthfully, an entire room to read. But I’m not. I love the feel of a book in my hands, and I love having tons of great books to choose from when I’m looking for what to read next. Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t always share this love.

A few weeks ago, I read a BookRiot post titled, “How To Be a Book Lover on a Budget.” I shared it on my Facebook page, and made the comment that I was surprised at several of the options they left off the list – including BookRiot’s own daily deals email. When I posted it, I realized, hey, I could do a post too! So here we are.

BookRiot included sources like the library, thrift stores, public domain sites, and free trials, so I won’t cover those here. Instead, I’m rounding out my list with my favorite sources. Many of them are ebook sites, but I’ve also thrown in a few suggestions for those of you who love physical books (I’m right there with you!).

These should keep you drowning in books for less than the price of a pumpkin spice latte.

BookRiot’s Daily Deals Newsletter

BookRiot has a TON of great book-related content (if you’re on my Facebook page, I share a lot of it there!), but they also have a daily deals newsletter. Each day, it lists one or two featured ebook deals. At the bottom of the email, there’s also a list of past deals that are still valid. I love this feature, since I don’t always read the daily deal newsletter every day. Rather than clicking through half a dozen outdated emails, I can just delete everything except the most recent, and find out what’s still on sale. Most of the deals are in the $2-$4 range, though I’ve seen a couple as high as $10. Sign up for the BookRiot Daily Deals Newsletter here.

Goodreads Deals Newsletter

If you’re a Goodreads member, you can subscribe to ebook deals based on the books you want to read. You select your genres, then they search for books and authors on your shelves. Truthfully, this is my least favorite of the deal newsletters, because I often don’t have a clue why they’ve recommended a book to me. Prices here are also usually in the $2-$4 range, and signup is easy. If you’re not a Goodreads member, get on it – it’s free and amazing!

BookBub Daily Deals Newsletter

The powerhouse of ebook deals, and my personal favorite, BookBub offers a practically endless source of free and cheap ebooks every day. Similar to Goodreads, you pick the genres you want to see deals for. What I love though, is that BookBub has tons of free books. They also provide a short, two or three sentence description in the email, so it gives you a little more information about the book. Hands down, I get more ebooks through BookBub than anywhere else. Plus, it’s easy – even my technology-averse mom figured it out and loves it! Definitely check out BookBub!

Amazon Prime Reading

Ok, I’ll admit – this one is only applicable if you’re an Amazon Prime member. Prime Reading is a library of sorts. You can check out books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and more. You can have up to 10 titles “checked out” at a time, and as far as I can tell, there’s no time limit. So, slightly better than a library, if you’re a Prime member. It may not have the newest releases, but there are still plenty of great reading options. Explore Prime Reading here.

Amazon Kindle First

This one also only applies if you’re a Prime member, but if you have a Kindle or Kindle App, you get a monthly free book as part of Amazon’s Kindle First program. Each month, Amazon editors pick a handful of upcoming books. Prime members have a few days to select one of the books. It’s sent right to your Kindle (or app), and is yours to keep. Typically, the books are from different genres – usually you can count on a thriller, a literary fiction novel, and a nonfiction/memoir, but I’ve also seen a bit of romance, historical fiction, and sci-fi on the list. I’ve yet to actually read any of my Kindle First books, but I appreciate the service!

Scribd

I wrote about my love affair with Scribd last year. My feelings haven’t changed – I still love Scribd, even though I also now have an Audible subscription (I know, I know). For $9 a month you get one audiobook credit and three ebook credits, and you can roll over up to 3 months’ worth of credits. Scribd also has a vast library of free ebooks and audiobooks, as well as a rotating selection of “Scribd Selects” every month that don’t require using your credits. The two downsides here are that you don’t get to keep the books – it’s essentially a library or rental service – and new ebooks take a while to get added to the library. New releases are almost always available as audiobooks though, so if there’s something I desperately want to read, I’ll pick it up that way. Use my link to get two free months of Scribd without having to use a credit card.

Also, I know – technically Scridb probably costs more than a pumpkin spice latte, but work with me here!

Book Swaps

Our book club does a book swap twice a year, once at Christmas, and again at Valentine’s Day. It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to broaden our reading horizons! What often happens too is that everyone really wants a couple of the books, so they come back again and again. As one person reads the book, they pass it on to the next person. I also frequently swap books with other readers in my life, like my mom and coworkers. Chances are, you have at least one book junkie near you – see if they’d like to start swapping with you!

Library Sales

I haven’t managed to make my library’s book sale in years, but last time I did, I came home with an entire bag of books for $5. Old books, new books, popular books, obscure books…you name it. Libraries often replenish their shelves, and typically sell off the old stuff to raise funds. Follow your local library on social media and get to the sale!!

On the Road

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a shelf full of books in a hotel, AirBnB, resort, cruise ship, or airport for the next lonely reader. Sometimes you have to hunt a little for them, but just ask around and chances are, you’ll find a stack of books just waiting to be perused. And if you’re a traveler, what better way to free up room in your suitcase for souvenirs!

If you do this one, though, don’t forget to pay it forward and donate a book of your own!

 

So, book lovers, what other free or almost free book sources did I miss? Tell me in the comments below!

lilacskully

Review: Lilac Skully and the Haunted House by Amy Cesari

First of all, how gorgeous is that cover?

When Amy reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing Lilac Skully and the Haunted House, I already had a pretty full plate. I’d just posted my Haunting October list, and I had a backlog of 10-12 book reviews on deck. (I’m still learning how to not overextend myself!) But the cover called to me.

I know, I know – don’t judge a book by its cover. I thoroughly disagree with this. A bad cover is not going to make me want to read your book, but a good cover will. But anyway, the book.

Lilac Skully and the Haunted House is so much fun, guys. It’s the kind of book that almost makes me wish I had a kid to read it to. For one thing, it’s got the potential for great sound effects. For another, Lilac is a really likeable character. She reminds me some of Serafina from Serafina and the Black Cloak, because she doesn’t let her fear stand in her way. She’s plucky and tenacious and utterly adorable.

And Lilac Skully is funny. Not in the ha-ha, that’s a funny story way, but in the tongue-in-cheek way that only adults will pick up on. To a kid, Lilac’s fears and thoughts are totally understandable – it makes perfect sense that Lilac is going to “meet a painful, tragic end to her short life” when she falls off the roof. It’s only as adults that we can appreciate the humor.

As for the story, the ghosts are great. The action is great. The setting is great. It’s short enough to read in one sitting, but good enough to spread out over several, if that’s your thing. The second one comes out later this month and is titled Lilac Skully and the Carriage of Lost Souls. You can bet I’ll be picking it up!

Series: The Supernatural Adventures of Lilac Skully #1    Paperback: 178 pages

Published: September 2017    Source: Author Provided

Buy it on Amazon

Lilac Skully and the Haunted House on Goodreads

Home alone in a haunted house. What could go wrong?

Lilac Skully is afraid of ghosts. And a lot of other things, too. After her father’s mysterious disappearance, Lilac must find a way to deal with the notorious ghosts that haunt her home—or better yet—get them to leave.

But when intruders break in, Lilac realizes there’s a danger far worse than her spooky old house. No longer safe, Lilac will need to face her fears, trust herself, and make new friends that will change her life forever.

Lilac Skully and the Haunted House is the first book in the Supernatural Adventures of Lilac Skully, a series of fun, spooky stories with a lot of heart. If you like books about ghosts and awesome little girls—you’ll love this imaginative, haunted tale!

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Bookings

Bookings: October 16, 2017

Whoops. I missed a few Bookings posts because I got distracted and forgot to create them. That’s the problem with having Bookings on Monday – it’s a great way to start the week, but it also doesn’t leave much room for laziness!

We hit up a beer festival last weekend, had a great time as usual. We’ve also been working around the house, cleaning out junk and ripping out walls. Fun times. I’m not really convinced we need to put the walls back on, but Jimmie feels otherwise. We’ll see who wins this argument.

I’ve been in a book slump, though – just haven’t felt much like reading. (Even though I killed it this weekend!) It’s killing my Haunting October plans. I didn’t even read the Book Club book this month. It was supposed to be Never Let Me Go (timely, since Kazuo Ishiguro just won the Nobel Prize. Nothing really against the book, I just couldn’t get into it. Since I didn’t read it, our book club consisted of the two who did read it telling me the plot, and needless to say, we didn’t have much discussion. So, no book club post this month, but next month we’re reading short stories from Stephen King’s Everything’s Eventual, so that should be fun.

I’ve got tons of ideas brewing about for posts that don’t involve reviewing books so that’s a nice break for all of us. And, I’m having a blast with She’s All Booked on Facebook so if you’re not following there, get on it! Lots of fun stuff and good conversations.

Have a lovely week, friends!

Last Week’s Posts:

Review: Wires and Nerve (Vol 1) by Marissa Meyer

Travel: An Evening in Charleston, West Virginia

I Just Finished Reading:

 markmanson  

I’m Currently Reading:

  

I’m Traveling To:

Sadly, I think I’m done traveling for the year, other than the random trips back and forth to Atlanta for work. But, I’m planning a ski trip to North Carolina sometime in the first part of 2018!

 

 

 

Linkups

bookdatesundaypostKathryn over at the Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What are you reading! It’s a way to share what you’ve just read, are currently reading, and are reading next.

Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts the weekly meme, The Sunday Post. It’s a chance to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

charlestonwv

Travel: An Evening in Charleston, WV

I’m fortunate to have a job that lets me travel. Sometimes that travel is exotic- I’ve been to Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, all for work. Other times the destinations are less exciting, but often turn out to be just as beautiful – Montana and Utah fit the bill there. And sometimes, occasionally, I travel somewhere that my expectations are fairly accurate.

Charleston, West Virginia, turned out to be one of those places. I expected a cute little college town, and that’s pretty much what I got.

I spent two nights there, but as anyone who travels for work will tell you – that gave me approximately 4 hours of exploring. Long enough to eat dinner. Work trips aren’t glamorous, friends. They’re grueling, often 12+ hour days where you’re lucky to see anything besides the inside of a hotel room or conference facility. I wouldn’t trade any of my trips though, because the stories and experiences are worth every bit of stress and exhaustion.

Plus, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, work trips are great ways to scout out places you’d like to return to.

Downtown Charleston, or at least the part I saw, reminds me a little bit of Asheville, actually – the architecture has a similar feel. It’s all cute boutiques and local merchants; you won’t find any chains or big box retailers on Capitol Street. The buildings are all funky colors, the streets are fairly narrow, and the walkways could use a little love and care. But, the drivers are patient, the shops varied, and the vibe incredibly low key. My kind of place.

The Block Restaurant and Wine Cellar

Our first night, we had a lovely dinner at The Block. It’s an upscale restaurant with over 500 different wines. The menu was thankfully manageable, and had a lot of eclectic pairings. If I had to label it, I’d call it Hipster American – think Alfredo pasta that’s got handmade noodles, sauteed kale and Brussels sprouts, and lots of Artisan cheeses.

I had the Braised Short Rib and a local West Virginia Beer (the Almost Heaven Amber Ale from Mountain State Brewing Co.).  According to the menu, my short rib should have had fried leeks (nope), whipped potatoes (yep), sauteed kale (yup, with little pieces of hot dogs?), shallots (nope), and garlic with rosemary demi-glace (possibly, though I didn’t taste any rosemary). It was tasty, but the kale was too bitter and overall, the dish was overpriced. I liked the beer, though.

Service was good, even though the guy had no idea about the beer – he told us Ayinger was brewed in Colorado, and that the Almost Heaven was a wheat beer – but to be fair, it’s a restaurant known for the wine. So I take the fault on that one. And, since we were staying in a hotel, we got a slight discount off our meal. block wv

Pies and Pints

Our second night, we headed over to Pies and Pints, a West Virginia franchise, on the advice of about 500 people. They’re known for their beer selection, but surprisingly, only had a small handful of WV brews. And they wouldn’t do a flight. What self-respecting beer place doesn’t do flights?

I ended up ordering the Wild Wonderful West Virginia Wet Hop Ale from Big Timber Brewing, and a sample of The Loud from Black Sheep Burrito and Brews. While I enjoyed both, I should have done them the other way around. The Wild Wonderful was mild, but the Loud was super hoppy. (I like hoppy beer!)

As for the food, there were three of us, and we were all kinda curious about the Black Bean pizza. Not being one to shy away from a weird food combination, I ordered it. The other two girls had the Heirloom Tomato and the Grape and Gorgonzola pizzas, and we ended up sharing them all.

I was a big fan of mine, and plan to recreate it next time we make pizza, though I might leave off some of the jalapenos. The grape and gorgonzola was only saved by the rosemary – without it, the pizza would have been bland. The heirloom was a little heavy on the pesto, but the tomatoes had great flavor so it balanced out. Overall, I wasn’t crazy about the crust. It might have just been overdone, but to me there’s a fine balance between a good thin crust and a bad one, and it all depends on the level of chewiness. Pies and Pints had a crunchy crust, and I ended up not eating most of it.

piesandpints

Ellen’s Ice Cream

Never ones to pass up ice cream and coffee, we headed across the street to Ellen’s Ice Cream after Pies and Pints. There we sampled a handful of the ice cream flavors, settling on mocha almond, pumpkin, and oreo espresso. Mine was the oreo, and even though I couldn’t eat much of it, the flavor was divine and left me wishing I could buy pints of the stuff.

ellensicecream

Taylor Books

Our final stop on our quick Charleston tour was Taylor Books. An independent book store, that also has an impressive coffee shop and art gallery, I could have spent hours in there. As it was, I practically had to be dragged out….but not before snapping a dozen photos, lamenting the fact that beer couldn’t be ordered to go, and buying a book just because.

taylorbooks

I’d have liked to have more time in Charleston to explore beyond Capitol Street. Have you ever been? What are some of your favorite spots for an evening in Charleston?

Review: Wires and Nerve (Vol 1) by Marissa Meyer

People who know me well know I’m a huge fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I picked up Cinder on a whim, simply because Cinderella is my favorite Disney Princess. The first page hooked me, and that was that. I anxiously awaited each book in the installment, and though I didn’t think it was possible, enjoyed them all just as much as the first. So, when I heard Meyer had a graphic novel coming out featuring Iko, I knew it was just a matter of time before I read it.

People who know me well also know I’m kind of cheap, which is why it’s taken me until now to actually read Wires and Nerve. Simply put, I had no trouble shelling out $25 for one of the novels, but that seemed a bit too much for what essentially amounted to a handful of comics. I don’t mean to be glib, but graphic novels take me roughly 45 minutes to read – even long ones like Wires and Nerve – and that $25 cost doesn’t seem worth it. Sorry, writers and publishers of the world.

Anyway, I requested it through Overdrive and finally last week my hold came through. Sure enough, it took me less than an hour to read. And most of that time was spent zooming in on my tablet because the pictures were too small.

But you’re not here to read about my cheapness (or are you?). You’re here to read about my thoughts on the things I read.

I freakin’ love Iko, guys. Seriously. She’s probably the most underrated character in the entire Lunar Chronicles universe. She’s funny, resourceful, and serves as the perfect balance to Cinder’s somewhat stoic demeanor. That’s not to say Iko is all fun and games. She’s just as important to the story and the world as the other characters. She’s kind of like R2D2 in Star Wars. The story would probably survive without him, but why would you want it to?

Wires and Nerve finally gives Iko the credit she’s due, though I’ll admit I wish we’d gotten an Iko novel instead. A lot of Iko’s humor and candor doesn’t translate well to the graphic style; she comes off a bit flaky and selfish. I think it’s a situation where what the reader envisions is always going to be different from what the writer envisions, and to me, that’s part of the magic of novels. Showing us a character we’ve imagined and grown to love is tricky, because it calls into question everything we’ve assigned to that character. That’s why we so frequently criticize film adaptations. The “book is better” simply because it gives us the freedom to imagine.

Series: Wires and Nerve #1    Hardcover: 238 pages

Published: January 2017 by Feiwel & Friends    Source: Library via Overdrive

Buy it on Amazon

Wires and Nerve (Vol 1) on Goodreads

When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the series.

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Travel: My Favorite Moments from Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun

I thought long and hard about this post. We were just at the Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun in February, and I did two lengthy posts about the resort and the food after that trip. Thinking about how to write about our second trip, I was at a loss for quite some time. I didn’t want to just repeat myself; after all, you guys are smart enough to know that if we go back to a resort a second time, it’s a pretty awesome place. And we didn’t do any excursions, so there wasn’t much new to write about in terms of Mexico itself.

That’s why it’s taken me so long to get a post up, honestly.

And then I realized, I didn’t have to wow you with details about the trip, because really? Who cares? I mean, yes, I know some of you do enjoy knowing every single thing we did (and ate). And most of the time, I’m all for sharing that. But while we had a lovely time on this trip, and we did do a few things differently, by and large if you read my first two posts on the resort, you’ll get the gist of it.

Instead, I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments from the trip. We enjoyed ourselves, and our friends did too. We love Royalton, and we love Mexico, but to be honest I think I’m ready for a different kind of trip. This makes 5 all-inclusives in a row; it’s time for a new kind of adventure. (Remind me of that in 6 months when I’m desperate to go to the beach again).

sushi royalton

You might have guessed this was coming if you read my post about the food, and how in love I was with Zen. I’m happy to report, the love affair continues. And yes, I had the Pad Thai again. It was delicious, but the real star of the show was the sushi smorgasbord. We asked our waiter if there was a sampler, and he and the chef made us this absolutely stunning display of every single sushi item on the menu. It was incredible, and we all ate way too much.

sunrise royalton

The first morning we were there, I woke up super early. I’d planned to do yoga, but forgot about the time change. As a result, I got to see the sun rise over the ocean. It was breathtaking, and pictures could never do it justice.

Coffee and gelato for days, friends. DAYS. Flaming coffee, espresso, Americano, latte…I had so much coffee. And so much gelato. I enjoyed the cookies and cream, and Jimmie liked the pistachio. The coffee shop also had pastries, and I discovered an intense love for Pain Au Chocolate (chocolate-stuffed croissants essentially). I kinda miss having easy access to both espresso and gelato. My waistline does not share that feeling.

We didn’t end up buying anything – I wanted a chip and dip set, but no luck – but it was fun to do a little shopping without having to leave the resort. The wares were about what you’d expect, but I can’t comment on prices because we didn’t see anything we wanted badly enough to stop. The lights were gorgeous, and I spent more time photographing it than I did browsing.

beach royaltonTrying, and failing, to paddleboard in the ocean. Not the same as doing it on the lake. And then I got mad, and pitched a tantrum and refused to try it again. And then Jimmie and I kayaked, and that went about as well as it ever does when someone has to paddle a boat with me. BUT. The beach was lovely, and we spent so much time there, and I’m so glad for that. We dug up shells and coral, we read, we walked, we swam, and we just soaked up the salt air. In the past we’ve spent more time at the pool – this trip, it was all beach. Sure, it may not be the prettiest beach we’ve been to (I’m looking at you, Catalonia), but the atmosphere was perfect. It was quiet, peaceful, and not at all crowded.

We didn’t find out until our last day there, and by then it was too late, that we could have booked a snorkeling excursion right from the beach. Next time.

new restaurants royaltonThere are 9 restaurants available to Hideaway guests. Before we left, Jimmie suggested we try to eat at all of them, meaning we’d have to do second dinner a couple of times. We didn’t make it, but we did prioritize the ones we hadn’t yet tried. Armadillo was Tex Mex, and while good, wasn’t one I’d repeat. Opa was Mediterranean, and a front-runner for my favorite restaurant at the resort. Everything was cooked well, it wasn’t crowded, and the ambiance was really unique. (I ordered tagine, and am going to try it at home soon.) Agave was Mexican, and everything I hoped it would be. I was able to order all the tacos in a mixed taco trio. If we go back, I’ll definitely be cycling between Agave, Zen, and Opa the entire trip!

royalton parties

During the Foam Party, which was held in the Hideaway pool after dinner, our friends brought mountains of foam back to the swimup pool. And at the White Party, I snapped this adorable photo of a little boy mesmerized by the stilt walker…and then shared the photo with his father. His father, who was Greek, and spoke very little English, while I spoke absolutely no Greek. Jimmie has a photo series of us working it out, and it’s amusing. Google truly is the universal language – all I had to do was show him the email button, and he now has the photo. The world is a beautiful place.

new favoritesMudslides. Mudslides. And more mudslides. I don’t usually like them, because they’re way too sweet, but the Royalton bartenders make a mean mudslide. I drank a LOT of them this trip. And those wings were Jerk flavored, and ohmygosh good. For anyone considering a trip, the wings in the sports bar are not the same – you need to go to the Caribbean restaurant and order like 4 of them.

As for the Indio, well…it’s a Mexican beer, so that was fun, but not really my style.

royalton spaI wanted to try the spa on our last trip, but didn’t get around to it. This time, I made sure I didn’t miss it. I dragged Jimmie along with me – we had a couples massage – and it was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. The massage was fine, but you get an hour of hydrotherapy beforehand. At Royalton, they rush you through each station, and it’s not at all relaxing. It’s like there’s a train to catch or something. It was so ridiculous that at one point we just burst out laughing. I’m glad we did it, and it was fun, if only because it was so strange. I can mark that one off my list, and for those of you taken in by Royalton’s spa pictures like I was – it’s not even close.

And finally….

I mean, he’s ok. *Grin*

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Do you ever read a book and wish the world (or worlds, in this case) was real? That you could just pack a bag and travel to the place you’re reading about?

That’s how I felt listening to A Darker Shade of Magic. 

Sure, the story was interesting, and Kell and Lila certainly captured my attention. But it was the worlds of Red London and White London and Grey London that had me wishing the story was real. I mean – three parallel cities, each with their own characteristics and….personalities? Where only the outline is the same? Sounds like a wonderful set of adventures just waiting to happen.

I suppose that’s how Delilah Bard felt when Kell described it to her.

Speaking of Lila, she was really the star of the novel. Oh, Kell’s fine – if a little boring. Lila is the interesting one, and the reason for Kell’s eventual character growth. Their interactions are a lot of fun, though I’ll be honest and admit that I couldn’t decide if there’s a romance budding or if it’s more of a brother-sister kind of camaraderie. Either way, it works.

For most of the story, Kell and Lila are trying to return a dangerous magical artifact to Black London, which was long ago sealed off because it was deemed too dangerous. Items from Black London either destroy or corrupt the people who wield them – yet, strangely, Lila – who has no magic at all – seems unaffected. What follows is a fast-paced tale of carrying the artifact through the different Londons, all in an attempt to return it to Black London and therefore render it useless. Complicating matters is the fact that a handful of people (understandably) want the powerful item for themselves.

V.E. Schwab’s series gets a lot of love, and after finishing A Darker Shade of Magic it’s easy to see why. She’s created an incredible world, full of magic, but also realistic – it’s not too terribly far-fetched to imagine such things in our world, even if the thought of parallel Londons is a bit out there. Schwab has also written two vastly different, yet incredibly similar characters – characters that as a reader, you want to root for. Or want to be.

Stylistically, A Darker Shade of Magic reminds me of a cross between The Magicians and The Name of the Wind. While written for adults, I think it’s accessible enough that younger readers would easily enjoy it too. Definitely give this one a try if you’re a fantasy fan!

Series: Shades of Magic #1    Hardcover: 400 pages    Audio: 12 hours

Published: February 2015 by Tor Books    Source: Purchased via Scribd

Buy it on Amazon

A Darker Shade of Magic on Goodreads

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Haunting October: 9 Spooky Books On My List This Year

HauntingOctober Spooky Books

Last year, I decided to read only “Halloweeny” books for the entire month of October. I called it Haunting October. It took me way outside my comfort zone, helped me finally cross some books off my “to-read” list, and was also a whole lot of fun. Naturally, I decided to do it again this year!

I’ve been putting my list together, and while I doubt I’ll manage all of these, I’m super excited about all of them. For me, anything even remotely Halloween-related counts. That means the book can be horror, or not. I read a couple last year that were definitely not horror, but had witches, and that worked for me. That said, the whole point was to read things I wouldn’t typically read (and get in a spooky mood!), so you’ll see a few more horror on my list this year!

9 Spooky Books on my List This Year 

It wouldn’t be a Halloween-themed month without a Bradbury book, would it? (Eventually I’m going to run out of Bradbury books, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.) The October Country is a collection of spooky short stories, perfect for reading before bed.

 

 

 

 

Next up, Joe Hill’s The Fireman. I debated between this one and Horns (which is probably more Halloweeny), but if I’m honest, The Fireman is more appealing. I think we have both the audiobook and the physical copy, so this one may be my listen for the month.

 

 

 

 

I first read Shirley Jackson last year, when our book club picked I Have Always Lived in the Castle as one of our reads. I’d heard of her, of course, and The Haunting of Hill House is supposed to be one of her finest works, as well as one of the ultimate examples of horror writing. If it’s anything like Castle, it’ll be super creepy and unnerving. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

Because, duh. Seriously, A Monster Calls is supposed to be THE book. I’ve read several reviews saying the physical copy is worth it for the illustrations alone, so I’ll have to check my used bookstore for it. If not, maybe the library.

 

 

 

 

I’m also eventually going to run out of Gaiman books (write faster, Neil!!). Another that’s been on my list for a while, I love the description and am eagerly looking forward to reading it. I didn’t realize Neverwhere was his first novel, either, so that’ll be fun. And you guys know how much I love Neil Gaiman…or if you don’t, just take a look at my reviews of American Gods, Norse Mythology, or The Graveyard Book.

 

 

 

Bird Box is supposed to be super creepy – so creepy even Jimmie doesn’t want to read it. We’ll see if I’m brave enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve had a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth on my bookshelf since it came out in 2009. It’s one (of many) I’ve just never made time for. The description reminds me a little of that M. Night Shyamalan movie, The Village. This one makes me a little nervous since the Goodreads rating is a little low (3.59), but we’ll see.

 

 

 

 

And finally….yes. I’m one of the only readers in the world who STILL hasn’t read The Passage. Unless Jimmie traded it in, we have this one too. It’s enormous, and that terrifies me.

 

Just kidding, one more. Those are some dark and spooky covers. I should probably throw in a silly cozy mystery. Allison Brook’s Death Overdue will do nicely! It’s the first in a new series, and I’m all about a haunted library. Can’t wait to read this one. It releases on October 10th.

 

 

 

 

Anyone else reading Halloweeny books next month? What are your favorite spooky, witchy, creepy stories?

This post contains affiliate links. 

Blog Tour: The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper

I vaguely remember reading a kid-friendly version of Little Women as a child – I’m not sure I ever read the full book, but I got enough of the gist to understand why everyone loved it. (That reminds me, I should probably read it as an adult – I’ll add that to the list.) I didn’t know much about Louisa May Alcott, but when I read the synopsis for The Other Alcott, I was immediately intrigued. Another Alcott sister, one who bucked convention as well? Sign me up.

Unfortunately, The Other Alcott failed to grab me, and this one is a DNF. Much as I tried, I couldn’t relate to May. The more I read, the more interested I was in Louisa – which is kinda the exact opposite of what The Other Alcott is trying to do. I don’t necessarily think this is anything to do with Hooper’s writing, but more about me as a reader. May reminded me a bit of other characters I’ve had trouble with –  Ellie in Summer at the Dog and Duck, Scarlett in Caraval, Cheryl Strayed in Wild…women who are billed as strong characters, but who have moments of such galling weakness that it makes me scratch my head and wonder if the author is trying to make them appear vulnerable (but leaning too far into it), or if the strength is a facade. If you’re the kind of reader who really likes watching a character constantly try to redeem themselves, The Other Alcott will likely be right up your alley. For me, it felt a little too whiny, and I wasn’t invested enough to give May a chance.

I’d love to read this with a book club though, because I suspect there’s a lot to talk about – especially if the book is paired with Little Women, and you compare and contrast May and Amy March. Someone do that, and fill me in!!

Paperback: 432 pages    Published: September 2017 by William Morrow    Source: Publisher via TLC

The Other Alcott on Goodreads

Elise Hooper’s debut novel conjures the fascinating, untold story of May Alcott—Louisa’s youngest sister and an artist in her own right.

We all know the story of the March sisters, heroines of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. But while everyone cheers on Jo March, based on Louisa herself, Amy March is often the least favorite sister. Now, it’s time to learn the truth about the real “Amy”, Louisa’s sister, May.

Stylish, outgoing, creative, May Alcott grows up longing to experience the wide world beyond Concord, Massachusetts. While her sister Louisa crafts stories, May herself is a talented and dedicated artist, taking lessons in Boston, turning down a marriage proposal from a well-off suitor, and facing scorn for entering what is very much a man’s profession.

Life for the Alcott family has never been easy, so when Louisa’s Little Women is published, its success eases the financial burdens they’d faced for so many years. Everyone agrees the novel is charming, but May is struck to the core by the portrayal of selfish, spoiled “Amy March.” Is this what her beloved sister really thinks of her?

So May embarks on a quest to discover her own true identity, as an artist and a woman. From Boston to Rome, London, and Paris, this brave, talented, and determined woman forges an amazing life of her own, making her so much more than merely The Other Alcott.

“Elise Hooper’s thoroughly modern debut gives a fresh take on one of literature’s most beloved families. To read this book is to understand why the women behind Little Women continue to cast a long shadow on our imaginations and dreams. Hooper is a writer to watch!”—Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Chris Landry Photography

About Elise Hooper

Though a New Englander by birth (and at heart), Elise Hooper lives with her husband and two young daughters in Seattle, where she teaches history and literature.

Find out more about Elise at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Check out the rest of the Blog Tour stops, and show your fellow readers some love!

 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow for the chance to participate in this tour! 

Bookings: September 25, 2017

BookingsAnyone else having a hard time believing it’s practically October? That’s not just me, right? I’d better finish my wrap/shawl/scarf thingie, or I’m never going to get to wear it.

First things first, who watched the DWTS premier last week??? I think it’s a pretty good cast, and it’s going to be a tough competition! Loved seeing Mark back.

We headed to Atlanta this past weekend to see Misterwives, Smallpools, and Vinyl Theater in concert. Atlanta isn’t my favorite place, but we had a good time, and the show was amazeballs. We also toured the World of Coca-Cola.

Despite the trip, I was able to get a lot of blogging done over the weekend, and great news – a Mexico post is in the pipeline! I think it’s scheduled for next week, so just a little longer to wait. Thanks for being so patient!

Don’t forget to like She’s All Booked over on Facebook for more book goodies and fun travel news!

Last Week’s Posts:

Bookings

Blog Tour: The Sweet Life by Sharon Struth

Review: Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

I Just Finished Reading:

 cafebythesea 

I’m Currently Reading:

  

I’m Traveling To:

Nelsonville, Ohio!

 

 

 

Linkups

bookdatesundaypostKathryn over at the Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What are you reading! It’s a way to share what you’ve just read, are currently reading, and are reading next.

Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts the weekly meme, The Sunday Post. It’s a chance to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.