My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer

By: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Published: 2018
# of pages: 226

Goodreads description:

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

Review:

I bet there are a lot of us out there who have younger sisters who are so favored (and spoiled) they could “get away with murder.” So what if someone took that concept literally and wrote a novel about the subject? Then you would have My Sister, the Serial Killer.

I haven’t done so yet, but I’d like to see if there’s any blog posts or interviews by the author that discuss her inspiration for this story. I have to say, as someone who is at this moment having some sister drama, I was reading it I was thinking, huh. Yeah, I could see this. I mean, not REALLY, but you know.

The unconcerned, impulsive, act first think (maybe) later, expecting others to clean up after them… And no one would ever suspect after seeing the smile, the bubbly personality. Especially compared to the not so fun older sister’s all business personality.

There’s not much else to say without spoilers, so you should just check it out yourself if you know what I’m talking about! I thoroughly enjoyed this, I just wish it had been a little longer and perhaps moved a little slower towards the end.

I recommend this to lovers of crime fiction along with some family drama. Content warning: domestic abuse.

Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary

By: Andy Weir
Published: 2021
# of pages: 481
Quote: “I feel like Sherlock Holmes. All I saw was ‘nothing,’ and I drew a bunch of conclusions!”

Goodreads description:

A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster.

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crew mates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Review:

I shouldn’t have even picked this book to review because it’s hard to describe how much I enjoyed the story and characters! Was it the most amazingly well written book? No. Was it super realistic (in spite of the detailed scientific descriptions)? No. Usually these things will annoy me or hold me back from fully enjoying a book, but in this case it didn’t. It was a refreshing read and I must not be the only person who loved it based on its Goodreads rating of 4.57 stars.

If you’ve read (or watched the movie) The Martian, you’re familiar with the author, Andy Weir. He also wrote Artemis a few years ago, but I didn’t think that story was as good as his first and third novels. Similar to The Martian, this story follows a man alone in space who is struggling to survive a situation that has spiraled out of control.

Ryland Grace wakes up alone on a space ship but doesn’t know why he’s there or how he got there. Over the course of the story his memories slowly return. He realizes he has an important job to do fairly quickly, but how? He has no way to communicate with anyone to ask questions.

I recommend this book to all sci-fi fans. Similar to The Martian, there’s a lot of science details that I don’t truly understand, but Weir does a great job of dumbing it down and not overwhelming the reader.

The November Girl

The November Girl

By: Lydia Kang
Published: 2017
# of pages: 340
Challenges: Alphabet Soup
Quote: “‘I’m Hector,’ he blurts out. His name is centuries old. I like this. It makes me feel like we’ve met before, that maybe our histories have a more distinct beginning.”

Goodreads description:

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.

Review:

This has been on my TBR list for a while. I was born in November and the main character’s name is Anda, which is similar to mine. I felt like it was meant to be, but then the author shares a name with someone else very special in my life who also has a November birthday! So it’s even more meant to be.

This young adult fantasy follows teenaged Anda, who lives on an island in Lake Superior. During the warm months she shares the island with tourists and during most of the cold months she lives with her father, but there’s one month she spends alone: November. That is, until Hector shows up just as November is about to begin. He’s also alone, fleeing an abusive family situation. Anda knows she should leave him alone, but she’s drawn to him, and not just because he can see her when so many others don’t.

My description sounds like a sappy teenaged love story, but it’s much more than that. It was very deep and poetic at times. While I was reading it I was reminded of another story called The Tempest. I was thinking, the author should have named this character Miranda. Ooohhhh, duh, Anda! Probably other readers would have picked up on that faster, but at least I got it eventually!

Content Warning: Abuse and self harm. I recommend for people looking for a well written magical realism young adult novel. This is something adults and young adults alike will enjoy, but it is very “atmospheric” and a little heavy at times, so not a lighthearted read.

Behind Her Eyes


Behind Her Eyes

By: Sarah Pinborough
Published: 2017
Pages:
318
Quote:
“Sharing a secret always feels great in the moment, but then becomes a burden in itself. That gnawing in the pit of your stomach that something has been set free and you can’t call it back and now someone else has that power over your future.”

Goodreads description:

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.

David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong—and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

Review:

I watched the Netflix mini series a couple of months ago and enjoyed it, so I decided to check out the book. I was pleasantly surprised by how true to the book the series ended up being.

Louise is a single mom who works part time and is slightly dissatisfied with her mundane life. Little does she know, her life won’t be mundane for long. On a rare night out, her friend doesn’t show up. Instead of heading back to her apartment, Louise decides to take advantage of having a babysitter and enjoy some time alone. But then she meets a man. It’s not like her to flirt and even kiss without even knowing his name, but that’s what she does.

A few days later she finds out her new boss is none other than the mystery man. She’s embarrassed, but this is something she will laugh about later, right? But then she meets his wife and before she knows it, she’s enmeshed in more secrets than she can handle.

This book is a little hard to classify. At first glance it seems like a phychological thriller, but it’s more than just that, so keep an open mind while reading. It’s very original and creative. Louise is an easy character to understand and sympathize with, although at times I wanted to slap some sense into her.

After you read the book check out the show! If you’ve read or watched Behind Her Eyes, what did you think?

Dune

Dune

By: Frank Herbert
Published: 1965
Pages: 890
Series: Dune (#1)
Quote: “And the price we paid was the price men have always paid for achieving a paradise in this life—we went soft, we lost our edge.”

Goodreads description:

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for….

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

Review:

Dune has been on my TBR list for many, many years. I heard there is a new movie based on the book coming out so I decided now is finally the time to read it. I haven’t seen the old movie yet either.

I have some tips if you read the book. So without any spoilers…..if you want to read Dune, and I recommend you do if you enjoy sci-fi, here’s some pointers:

  • You won’t understand half of the things being discussed right away. It’s okay, keep reading, you didn’t miss anything. Herbert doesn’t go into the backstory of every little thing. This is actually refreshing even if I did initially keep skipping back thinking I must have missed the backstory somehow.
  • The POV is constantly changing, even from paragraph to paragraph. Once again, you aren’t missing anything. Just go slow and accept it.
  • There’s an appendix in the back that I didn’t read (my library ebook had expired and disappeared before I got to it!) but from what I’ve read online, you shouldn’t read it first. Read the story, then you can be filled in with the appendix afterward that apparently goes into more of the backstory.

I’m not going to lie, it took me about a month to read this book. I was interested in the story, but not necessarily the characters. How can a book be so long and detailed but the characters not be detailed? I don’t know, but that’s how it seemed to me, and if I’m not super invested in the characters I tend to take longer to read the book. But it was worth taking so long and I did enjoy the story. I plan to continue with the series and watch the movies.

Blood & Honey

Blood & Honey

By: Shelby Mahurin
Published: 2020
Pages: 528
Series: Serpent & Dove #2
Challenge: Alphabet Soup

Goodreads description:

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.


Review:

I try not to review books that aren’t the first in a series, especially if I didn’t review the first. But I’m determined to stay on top of reviews. Also, Serpent & Dove, the first in the series, was mentioned in my 2020 End of Year Review with Lou and Reid being the One True Pairing of the Year. I don’t take my OTP lightly and I’ll be honest, I was so disappointed in Blood & Honey that I’m taking back my OTP! Lou and Reid are definitely not going to make that category in 2021.

I was pleasantly surprised with the first book and awfully disappointed in the second. There was so much angst, so much of the same mistake being repeated over and over, so much stupidity and things that didn’t make sense. This was a book that could easily have been half the size. I feel like the author was dragging it out just to be able to make a third in the series.

Have you read these two books? If so, what did you think?

The Rook

The Rook

By: Daniel O’Malley
Published: 2012
Pages: 504
Series: The Checquy Files
Challenges: Alphabet Soup

Goodreads description:

Myfanwy Thomas awakens in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, she must trust the instructions left by her former in order to survive. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization, and this person wants her dead.

Battling to save herself, Myfanwy will encounter a person with four bodies, a woman who can enter her dreams, children transformed into deadly fighters, and a terrifyingly vast conspiracy.

Suspenseful and hilarious, The Rook is an outrageously imaginative thriller for readers who like their espionage with a dollop of purple slime.

Review:

A friend loaned me this book a few months ago and recently gave me the next book in the series so I figured I’d better get a move on and read the first one! I’m glad I did because this fantasy mystery was funny, fascinating, and fast paced. I’m not into spy novels or criminal thrillers, but the fantasy aspects made all the difference and made me really interested in the main character and her job in a government-like agency.

Myfanwy (pronounced Miffany, rhymes with Tiffany) only knows her name because it’s in a note she finds in her coat pocket one evening when she wakes up in a park surrounded by dead bodies. The note also gives her a choice – face the dangers that will inevitably follow her or flee the country to live in luxury somewhere else. That doesn’t seem like much of a choice, but Myfanwy takes the road less traveled. She merges right into the real Myfanwy’s life, but spices things up a little.

In the supernatural agency she finds herself working for, nothing really needs spicing up, but Myfanwy manages to do just that in the midst of superhero-like characters and situations like sentient fungus houses and evil flesh cubes.

Basically, this is the kind of book I normally wouldn’t enjoy except for the fact that it’s filled with fantasy elements. Government agencies, spies, espionage, politics aren’t normally something I want in a book, but The Rook has lots of fun extras plus it’s well-written and super funny in parts. I laughed out loud once, which is very rare for me!

Overall, it was a fun read and I’m looking forward to reading the second in the series, Stiletto. It looks like a third in the series will be published this year, according to Goodreads. I recommend this to adults who enjoy fantasy, especially when it’s mixed with the modern world.

2020 End of Year Survey

(I usually put a fireworks/sparkler year graphic, but this is fitting for 2020!)

First I have my own wrap up and then I have The Perpetual Page-Turner’s annual survey.

Challenges in which I participated:

What’s in a Name? (finished 6/6)
A to Z (finished 17/26)
Book Bingo (finished all but 2)
R.I.P. XV (finished 4)
Goodreads Challenge (finished 59/65)

# of books read:

59

Previous years:
53 in 2019
81 in 2018
61 in 2017
35 in 2016
52 in 2015
58 in 2014
60 in 2013
75 in 2012
39 in 2011
30 in 2010
28 in 2009
48 in 2008
81 in 2007

Favorites (in order read):

I had a great turnout of great books this year! Something good in 2020 ❤

The One by: John Marrs
The Last Wish by: Andrzej Sapowski
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by: Holly Jackson
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by: Alix E. Harrow
American Dirt by: Jeanine Cummins
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by: C.A. Fletcher
Mexican Gothic by: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Home Before Dark by: Riley Sager
The Shadows by: Alex North
Reasons to Stay Alive by: Matt Haig

Least favorite:

Vox by: Christina Dalcher

# of non-fiction:

5

Repeated authors:

Andrzej Sapowski (8) (The Witcher series)
Rick Riordan (9) (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) (The Heroes of Olympus) (The Kane Chronicles)
Alex North (2)
Lisa Jewell (2)

**The Perpetual Page-Turner**
**2020 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read:
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From:

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2020?
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by: Alix E. Harrow

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Priory of the Orange Tree by: Samantha Shannon

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by: C.A. Fletcher – Surprised in a good way with the plot twists!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Well I gave my brother The Shadows and The Whisper Man for Christmas so does that count?

 5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2020?
Started and ended: The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?
Alex North & Riley Sager – I look forward to reading more from both authors.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by: Daniel James Brown – Non-fiction history

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
This is a hard one… Probably Home Before Dark by: Riley Sager

 9. Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by: Holly Jackson – I may re-read before continuing the series to refresh my memory because it’s an easy read!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?
Another difficult question! Probably The Ten Thousand Doors of January, but I also loved the cover of The Vine Witch.

11. Most memorable character of 2020?
Lydia from American Dirt
Grace Marks from Alias Grace

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020?
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by: Alix E. Harrow!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?

American Dirt by: Jeanine Cummins – This was thought provoking and life changing for a few different reasons, but mostly because my first foster placements were from Central America and this book had several “aha!” moments when my placements’ stories matched up and started making more sense. 😦 

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 
The Shadow of the Wind by: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?

Cats, I have found, seem to exist in more or less the same form in every world; it is my belief that they have been slipping in and out of doors for several thousand years. Anyone familiar with house cats will know this is a particular hobby of theirs.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?
Shortest: The Beatinist Boy by: Jesse Stuart (80 pages)
Longest: The Priory of the Orange Tree by: Samantha Shannon (848 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
The One by: John Marrs – that ending!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Lou & Reid in Serpent & Dove

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Geralt and Ciri in The Witcher series

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by: Suzanne Collins

21. Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:
Red Sparrow by: Jason Matthews

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?
Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapowski

23. Best 2020 debut you read?
The Ten Thousand Doors of January

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Rick Riordan does an amazing job building his fantasy story world in our modern world. It may seem so vivid because it’s actually real and I’ve been to many of the places his characters visit, but even his descriptions of pure fantasy settings are so well written that it feels real. So the short answer is: The Heroes of Olympus series.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Half Magic by: Edward Eager – it’s a children’s book and I read it out loud to my 9 year old son.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020?
Three Little Words by: Ashley Rhodes-Courter

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
American Dirt

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?
The Deep by: Rivers Solomon

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Blanca & Roja by: Anna-Marie McElmore – I wanted to smack those girls upside the head for their awful lack of communication!!

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2020?
I haven’t been very active with book blogs this year and I don’t frequent Instagram or YouTube.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2020?
I didn’t write many, so I guess it would be my end of 2019 review!

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2020?
Does this count? A couple of years ago I found our dictionary under my son’s bed and he had added his own title to the front. I wasn’t even mad that he defaced a book, it was so cute! A few months ago I was going through some books and found this and snapped a picture of it so that even if it’s ever misplaced I’ll always remember “The Book of Spells.”

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?
Just my regular reading challenges! Especially R.I.P.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?
Finishing up some of the challenges I started!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Well I found it almost impossible to blog! I did read a lot more than I expected with a baby in the house.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
The WIAN’s sign up that you can find HERE!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The Book Beau product, which I haven’t bought, but I enjoy looking at them and thinking about how I could make one….if I could ever finish a sewing project!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I completed the What’s in a Name Challenge, the R.I.P. Challenge, and most of the Book Bingo Challenge.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2021?
Dune by: Frank Herbert

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?
I thought I saw somewhere that The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch, the 4th book in the Gentleman Bastard series, is coming out in 2021. I’ve been waiting for years!

3. 2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I don’t keep up with debuts ahead of time.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?
The Thorn of Emberlain
Is Patrick Rothfuss ever going to come out with the next Kingkiller Chronicle book?

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2021?
Blog more!

6. A 2021 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

What’s in a Name 2021 Sign Up

Welcome to the 14th annual What’s in a Name challenge! In years past, this challenge was hosted by Charlie at The Worm Hole. I took over in 2019 and I’m excited to host again this year!

The challenge runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. You can sign up any time, but only count books that you read between those dates.

Read a book in any format (hard copy, ebook, audio) with a title that fits into each category.

Don’t use the same book for more than one category.

Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!

You can choose your books as you go or make a list ahead of time.

Sign up using the Mr Linky below with a link to your WIAN challenge page/post, not your main blog URL. Feel free to save and use the graphic at the top of the page! Also, link back to this sign up page in your challenge post so others can join too.

The categories below are links to each category sign up link.  Add your book review for each category so we can see what you’ve read and discover ideas as needed.

In 2021, choose 6 books that have titles that contain a:
(Click on the links for more examples and info)

Click the Mister Linky graphic above to enter your name and/or blog name (many people use this format: Andrea @ Carolina Book Nook) and the URL to your challenge post.  If you have any issues, email me through the Contact menu at the top of my blog and I’ll manually sign you up.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!  Thanks and happy reading!