Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Library Book Haul - November 2017

Anytime I feel like I am hitting a reading wall, I find that going to the library and picking up a new load of books always gets me out of my funk. Finding new books to read that I am excited about, especially as a mood reader, really gets me excited to power through some new reads. So that's what I did! Check out my newest library check outs for the month of November below!

A Darker Shade of Magic
by V.E. Schwab 

goodreads // amazon // library

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.

Why I Checked It Out

Fantasy series are definitely hit or miss for me, and lately they have been more of a miss. Fantasy is definitely a weak point for me as a reader, I really struggling with suspending disbelief for most things "fantastical" BUT *so* many people LOVE this series. I have heard a variety of bloggers, booktubers, bookstagrammers, basically the entire bookish community, talking about this series- so I have to pick it up, I have to! Unlike some of my other recent reads, this book isn't SUPER long so even if I don't love it at least I'll know what people are talking about when the mention these books. Also, this series was recommended to me after I posted about reading "This Savage Song", a YA book by the same author. I enjoyed aspects of her writing style, but I found the teen aspects of it a little off putting, and many people commented that I should give on of her adult fiction books a try, so here we go!

The Kitchen House
by Kathleen Grissom

goodreads // amazon // library

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family. In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves. Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

Why I Checked It Out

How did this book completely fly off of my radar!? "The Kitchen House" has 184k reviews on Goodreads! WHAT!? And I had never heard of it! Then April of Getting Hygge With It mentioned this book in a wrap up video and talked about how much she loved it. We have similar reading tastes, so her loving it made it instantly add it to my TBR list. I have read about 100 pages of "The Kitchen House" so far and I am loving it! I can definitely see why this is a book club favorite, and I hope to have as many glowing things to say about it as other readers have.

The Accusation
by Bandi

goodreads // amazon // library

The Accusation is a deeply moving and eye-opening work of fiction that paints a powerful portrait of life under the North Korean regime. Set during the period of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s leadership, the seven stories that make up The Accusation give voice to people living under this most bizarre and horrifying of dictatorships. The characters of these compelling stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from a young mother living among the elite in Pyongyang whose son misbehaves during a political rally, to a former Communist war hero who is deeply disillusioned with the intrusion of the Party into everything he holds dear, to a husband and father who is denied a travel permit and sneaks onto a train in order to visit his critically ill mother. Written with deep emotion and writing talent, The Accusation is a vivid depiction of life in a closed-off one-party state, and also a hopeful testament to the humanity and rich internal life that persists even in such inhumane conditions.

Why I Checked It Out

"The Accusation" by Bandi came to my attention after watching a video by Mary of Happily Ever Esch. She talked about reading and enjoying this book in a wrap up video, and I was incredibly interested in it. I am fascinated/ horrified by North Korea, and this book is unlike any other as it was snuck out of the country. I am about half way through reading "The Accusation" and I'm a little torn. So far, it feels like this is a book to read more for the experience than the writing itself. As this book was published the way it was presented, the writing itself would not be enough for me to recommend this book. Also, the stories are not those that I typically read, these aren't prisoners of North Korean slave labor camps, but instead middle class citizens living in larger cities. It's a new and interesting perspective, which keeps me reading, however the writing itself I have found incredibly difficult to follow.

The Intelligent Conversationalist
by Imogen Llyod Weber

goodreads // amazon // library

Have you ever been at a cocktail party when all of a sudden you feel like an outsider in the conversation because you have absolutely no idea what the person is talking about? You're standing around with a glass of wine and someone starts talking about how the stock market did that day leading to the career highs of Ben Bernanke and the best way to short a stock. You stand there completely silent because you know nothing about the stock market, let alone the history of economics. You're being pushed to the outside edge of the pack and there's no way to reach gracefully for your iPhone and Google. Fear not: Imogen Lloyd Webber is on a mission to make everyone as conversationally nimble as she has learned to be as a cable news pundit. Her solution: get a few cheat sheets and study up. Remember cheat sheets, those slips of paper filled with facts? As Imogen might say "Google is good, but a cheat sheet is forever..." In eight cheat sheets, Imogen takes you through the facts that come up in most conversations: the English language, math/economics, religion, history, politics, geography, biology and culture. From the history of money to who signed The Magna Carta, Imogen shows you how to get back in a conversation, win any argument and most importantly, how to pivot out of a tough conversational bind. Imogen Lloyd Webber's The Intelligent Conversationalist will help you talk with anyone about anything anytime.

Why I Checked It Out

I picked this book up on a complete whim after seeing it in a list of new books available at my library. As someone who struggles with conversations, particularly one on one conversations with new acquaintances, the idea of this book was intriguing to me, particularly for the tagline of being able to talk to anyone about anything at anytime. I often feel like I just need a list of follow up questions to draw from to help conversations move along. Anybody else? #struggling ANYWAY! After picking this book up and checking out the Goodreads reviews, I am not at all surprised that this book just *barely* has three stars. The title and subtitle of the book are pretty misleading- the cheat sheets are actually just VERY long charts that span a dozen pages or so each with well organized facts about a variety of things. I'm really not sure how this would be useful to someone as I don't know if this type of list would really be helpful, or an effective way of learning this information. I'll probably take this one back without reading it.

by Ruth Everhart

goodreads // amazon // library

One brisk November evening during her senior year at a small Midwestern Christian college, two armed intruders broke into the house Ruth Everhart shared with her roommates, held all five girls hostage, and took turns raping them at gunpoint. Reeling with fear, insecurity, and guilt, Ruth believed she was ruined, both physically and in the eyes of God. In the days and weeks that followed, Ruth struggled to come to grips with not only what happened that night but why. The same questions raced through her mind in an unrelenting loop―questions that would continue to haunt her for years to come: Why me? Where was God? Why did God allow this to happen? What am I being punished for? Told with candor and unflinching honesty, Ruined is an extraordinary emotional and spiritual journey that begins with an unspeakable act of violence but ends with tremendous healing and profound spiritual insights about faith, forgiveness, and the will of God.

Why I Checked It Out

I picked this one up on a whim as well! It was a whim filled trip to the library : ) Ruth's perspective on these particular issues though does really intrigue me. Ruth was told from a young age that her "purity" was a huge part of her identity, something that was important to God, but also her family, and to have that taken from her in such a violent way left her with a mix of complicated emotions - particularly regarding why God would've allowed this to happen to her. I am interested to see how she processed these feelings and where that left her in her faith and also with regards to the people who built up this idea of "purity".  I have seen some mixed reviews on Goodreads, however the reviews on Amazon are more positive, so this is likely one I will start, but I'm not sure if it is one I will finish.

The After Party
by Anton DiSclafani

goodreads // amazon // library

Fortier is the epitome of Texas glamour and the center of the 1950s Houston social scene. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and strong, she dominates the room and the gossip columns. Every man who sees her seems to want her; every woman just wants to be her. But this is a highly ordered world of garden clubs and debutante balls. The money may flow as freely as the oil, but the freedom and power all belong to the men. What happens when a woman of indecorous appetites and desires like Joan wants more? What does it do to her best friend? Devoted to Joan since childhood, Cece Buchanan is either her chaperone or her partner in crime, depending on whom you ask. But as Joan’s radical behavior escalates, Cece’s perspective shifts—forcing one provocative choice to appear the only one there is. A thrilling glimpse into the sphere of the rich and beautiful at a memorable moment in history, The After Party unfurls a story of friendship as obsessive, euphoric, consuming, and complicated as any romance.

Why I Checked It Out

"The After Party" is a book I have had on my TBR list for a while, and it was time I crossed it off the list. The reviews for this book are pretty middle of the road, but I still want to give it a chance because I feel like I'm a pretty good audience for the book. I LOVE this era in time, but it was also a difficult time to be a woman, and it sounds like the characters in the book are pushing up against those issues. It also helps that the book is set in Texas, my home state, which is a setting I enjoy in life and literature :)

Beneath a Scarlet Sky
by Mark Sullivan

goodreads // amazon // library

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Why I Checked It Out
So many reasons to read "Beneath a Scarlet Sky", where do I even begin!? First, I added this book to my TBR list because I have been seeing it EVERYWHERE. There is also a book to film adaptation which will be releasing soon, and I love historical fiction and also historical film! So far this book has really good reviews, and I have a feeling it will be a book I pick up pretty quickly.

So that's my library haul for the month of November! I have a pretty good average, around 80%, of reading and reviewing books that I get from my library - so you will likely be seeing a review for the books above soon! What have you checked out from the library this month? Have you read any of the books I checked out? Let me know what you thought of them below!


  1. I love getting a huge stack of books from the library! The Kitchen House was really good. I like the setting on The After Party, think I'll add that one to my TBR!

    1. Isn't that just the best feeling!?! So much potential! I enjoyed the Kitchen House as well! It was really hard for me to put it down. I haven't read The After Party yet, but I am definitely reading it for the setting, as well : )

  2. I want to read A Darker Shade of Magic. I've heard so much about it and it sounds really good.

    Library book hauls are the best! Happy reading!

  3. I hope you love all these! I’m currently rereading A Darker Shade of Magic. I don’t usually like fantasy, but I like that series.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


Thank you so much for commenting! If you are a blogger as well, please be sure to leave a link to your blog- I'd love to visit!