Recent Reads from 30th October – 14th November.

Hi hello! Welcome back to my blog! I am back today with another recent reads post! I am trying to do these weekly or fortnightly so I can have a concise list of the books I have read the past few months! So let’s just get into it!! 

Pet Sematary By Stephen King – 4 Stars 

Synopsis: The road in front of Dr. Louis Creed’s rural Maine home frequently claims the lives of neighborhood pets. Louis has recently moved from Chicago to Ludlow with his wife Rachel, their children and pet cat. Near their house, local children have created a cemetery for the dogs and cats killed by the steady stream of transports on the busy highway. Deeper in the woods lies another graveyard, an ancient Indian burial ground whose sinister properties Louis discovers when the family cat is killed.

My Thoughts: This book is huge across the book community and known as one of Stephen King’s scariest books. Although I wasn’t scared reading this book I did feel very uneasy and slighty creeped out. Pet Sematary did take me quite a while to read because Ste[hen’s writing is very dense and this book needed my full attention because he uses a lot of words! 

I never really knew where this book was going and was really interested to see how this was going to end. This story really explores grief and I never thought this story would make me sad but it did. I did not see that scene coming (if you know you know). 

I did find that there was a very slow build up and it felt like it took a long long time for anything to actually happen which made me not want to pick it up all the time but when I did I enjoyed it. 

The Incorrigle Children Of Ashton Place By MaryRose Wood – 3 Stars 

Synopsis: Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance’s holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

My Thoughts: I had a fun time reading this book, A young girl setting out to her first job being a Governess in Victorian times sounded like a great time to me. I really liked the main character although she was really young she was so loving, caring, smart and has done a lot for the children in such a short period of time.

This was such a compelling read and I definitely think this can be enjoyed by all ages. It has some big words in there which I think is good for children to broaden their vocabulary. 

The children were really funny and I became really connected with them and can’t wait to continue reading and following their journey in the rest of the series! 

Casino Chisler By Leopold Borstinski – 4 Stars 

Synopsis: Would you gamble everything you possess to win more than you can imagine?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen leaves jail to find salvation from the 1940s mob in the hotels of Las Vegas. When Bugsy Siegel invites him to take over sports betting in Nevada, Alex must figure out how to get back to the top table in New York without attracting the Feds’ attention.

If he succeeds then he will regain his self respect, but if he fails then the last members of the national crime syndicate will cut him dead and he will be left a nobody or wind up a corpse. And after he bumps into his childhood sweetheart, he has a once in a lifetime opportunity to win her heart. But Alex knows the criminal underworld has the habit of spilling over into his personal life and when Meyer Lansky asks him to murder Siegel, Alex must choose what is truly important to him.

The fourth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which rips open the Jewish mob’s involvement in the birth of modern Vegas. Leopold Borstinski’s shattering crime fiction deals a royal flush to each reader.

My Thoughts: I loved this story and read it in two sittings! This series is definitely something you should check out. This is a really fast paced, well crafted story full of action, high stakes, characters you will hate and characters you love! Check out my full review!

My Dark Vanessa By Kate Elizabeth Russell – 4 Stars

Synopsis:  Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself. 

My Thoughts: This was a hard book to read. This is a story about Vanessa through two different timelines. One as a teenager in 2000 and one in her mid twenties. 

In the timeline where Vanessa is a teenager she is attending boarding school and is groomed by her teacher. 

In the mid twenties timeline during the height of the me too movement another girl comes out and reveals he also groomed and assaulted her and is trying to get Vanessa to come out and admit she was also abused even though Vanessa doesn’t really believe she has been abused. 

This is such a hard book to read, the scenes very graphic to give you no doubt about what happened and how Vanessa felt and thought through these experiences. Please be careful going into this book because it coulld be triggering. 

I really “enjoyed” how this book was so therapy positive this book was and the true representation of how trauma can affect you many many years after the trauma. 

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball By Laura Ellen Anderson – 4 Stars 

Synopsis: Amelia Fang would much rather hang out with her pet pumpkin Squashy and her friends Florence the yeti (DON’T CALL HER BEAST!) and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parents’ annual Barbaric Ball.

Then the King’s spoiled son Tangine captures Squashy, Amelia and her friends must escape the party to plan a daring rescue!

In their race against time, they begin to realize things in Nocturnia may not be quite what they seem… 

My Thoughts: This is such a fun read that I loved so much while reading it! Amelia is such a fun character to follow with her very eclectic group of friends and a very cute pumpkin pet called squashy!! 

This was such a fun read and made me laugh out loud so many times! This book is definitely great for children with a lot of lessons about friends and being a nice person which will definitely be great for children! The illustrations are stunning and can’t believe the talent this author has! 

I loved this book and can’t wait to continue this series! 

Stalking Jack The Ripper By Kerri Maniscelco – 3 Stars 

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

My Thoughts: This was the paperback book club book pick for October. I had an okay time with this book. To me this wasn’t the best but it was definitely something that interested me and made me want to continue with this series! 

The opening scene was really intriguing and for a YA book it didn’t shy away from the gory or the gruesome especially when Audrey Rose is taking part in an Autopsy. 

Due to me reading a lot of thrillers I did guess who Jack The Ripper  was but I didn’t guess the reasoning behind why this person was doing it. 

I really loved Audrey Rose as a character, she was so sassy and took no shit from anyone. She wants to be a scientist and will do anything in her power to be one. Thomas Cresswell wasn;t my favourite character, I found him to be very annoying, cocky and very snooty. I don’t understand the love or hype surrounding him. 

I did find the relationship forming to be quite cute although slightly insta lovey I feel like these two would be a cute couple, especially all the banter they have together. 

All in all this was a pretty solid book although I did find my mind wandering quite a bit. Maybe if I read it physically that might have helped but I will definitely continue with this series and I look forward to seeing the rest of the adventures Audrey Rose and Thomas get into. 

The Shadows Between Us By Tricia Levenseller – 3 Stars 

Synopsis: Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.

2) Marry him.

3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

My Thoughts: This book has a lot of hype surrounding it as it was pitched as a Slytherin love stpry but unfortunately I found it to be a pretty average story. This story was written very simplistically which is fine but we are told something and then it just moves on it doesn’t explore things just mentioned or leave any intrigue or mystery. 

I wasn’t a huge fan of our main character. She seemed very boring for someone who was pitched as very morally grey, unapologetically evil and cunning. She just seemed like your average YA heroine. She always spoke of how dangerous she was but we never saw that and it was simply too hard to believe. I needed to be shown! 

There were also a lot of random plot lines that seemed to happen throughout this story, Alessandra’s father trying to take her away from the castle just because and a weird Robin Hood type of character plot line that turned up out of nowhere and disappeared quite quickly. 

Although this was a quick and easy read I didn’t enjoy it very much and found it to be unbelievable. Unfortunately this book wasn’t for me. 

So there you have it! The books I have read from October 15th – 30th. Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below! 

With love, 

Anne xxx 

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