Scaring Away the Sunday Scaries (4)

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes

– Lord Byron

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First Line Fridays (2)

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words.

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“No one glanced at the young man who walked out of the Trailways Bus Station in Tallahassee, Florida, at dawn on Sunday, January 8th, 1978. He looked like a college student, perhaps a bit older, and he blended in smoothly with the 30,000 students who had arrived in Florida’s capital city that week.”


Read on to find out which book this extract is from…

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The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

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Summary:

Ann Rule was a writer working on the biggest story of her life, tracking down a brutal mass-murderer. Little did she know that Ted Bundy, her close friend, was the savage slayer she was hunting.


This book is one of the most terrifying books I have ever read, and I would not recommend it to anyone under the age of 18. What makes this book so interesting is the fact that the author, Ann Rule, worked with Ted at a Crisis Hotline center and had been friends with him before he was convicted. We get first hand information from the source itself, and it’s all the more chilling… I have to say, I double and triple-checked the locks on my doors and windows after reading this.

1 Year and 100 Followers!

If you could hear the victory screech emitting from my lungs right now your ear’s ears would be moderately assaulted. How’s that for imagery?

I first created this blog well over a year ago, but didn’t make my first post until one year ago today. At first, I felt strange about posting my thoughts on the internet for anyone to read. But as I posted more and more frequently, I have realized that there is an entire community of book lovers who think the same way I do. I am the only avid reader in my social circle, so finding people to discuss my bookish thoughts with has been so incredible! (And my TBR list has grown exponentially…)  I never expected to hit the 100 (129!) follower mark, but I’m so excited that I did!

Thank you to everyone who has decided to join me on this crazy blogging journey of mine, you have all inspired me to no end! I love reading all your posts and comments, and I am so grateful to you all for sticking with me. Cheers to another year!

Top Five Wednesday: Authors you Want to Read More From

Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!

Amy Harmon

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The Bird and the Sword was the first Amy Harmon novel I read, as well as the first book I read this year. I need more. I crave more. If that was any indication of what the rest of her books are like, I am so sold. Where do I sign my life away?

Diana Gabaldon

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Outlander is one of my favorite books of all time. I only recently discovered the series, but I can tell I’m going to be a lifelong fan. I will never have enough of Jamie and Claire’s adventures through time.

 

Gillian Flynn

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Yes, I know I’m late to this party. It’s fine. I’m fine…. Anyway, I’ve only read part of Gone Girl. I didn’t get to finish it because I was borrowing someone else’s Kindle and they wanted it back. (Rude.) I’d love to read the rest of it, and read more of Gillian’s work!

Susanna Kearsley

Photo By: Ashleigh Bonang

A long, long time ago (in a galaxy far away), I read my first Susanna Kearsley novel and fell in love with it. Since then, I haven’t remembered to seek out any of her work in my friendly neighborhood Amazon store. Now that I’ve rediscovered her, I can’t wait to read more!

Jane Austen

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As an English Major, I feel like it’s a little sacrilegious to say that I’ve only read one Jane Austen novel. I also feel like I’m incriminating myself by making this statement. Please contain your riots to the sidewalks for your own safety.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches8667848
Author: Deborah Harkness
Pages: 579
Year: 2011
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

I finally finished this book over the weekend, and I am still reeling over how much I loved it! I think this will easily be one of my favorite books of the year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequels! After so many mediocre reads, it’s nice to come across something I really like every once in a while! I did dock a point for unnecessary/bizarre details, which I will get into in a minute. But all in all I thought this was really well-written, and flowed seamlessly. For lack of a better word, I was “spellbound” for the duration of this book!

I found the characters to be strong and interesting, they each had distinctive personalities and character flaws. Since this is the first book in the trilogy, you get a solid base understanding of the main and supporting characters knowing that a deeper relationship with them will come in future books.

Speaking of flaws, I found Diana Bishop to be somewhat emotionally unstable and immature for someone with a doctorate degree. Although, Matthew is definitely the more unstable of the two. Matthew, a thousand year old vampire, is a territorial and controlling SOB with trust issues and a taste for blood. I guess if I had been alive for a millennium I would have trust issues too, but you’d think he would have mellowed out over the years. His relationship with Diana was a bit “insta-lovey” for my taste, but only because the author reiterates over and over that it’s only been a few weeks since they met. If it wasn’t pointed out, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Although, relationships seem to happen pretty quickly in this book, seeing that we are also meeting the parents and getting married after only a few weeks. Here’s an actual summary of the actual marriage:

Diana: Hey, I just met you and I love you.
Matthew: …I’m going to London for a bit. Also, I’m withholding valuable information from you because reasons.
Diana: Bye! I’m going to wallow in self-pity and depression until you get back.
Matthew: Hey, I’m back and I love you too! And now we’re married.
Diana/Me: Wait… What?

The insta-marriage is only one example of the strange particulars that went down in this book; some, more charming and relevant than others.

Most of the reviews I read said that the beginning of this book was boring, but I didn’t find it to be that way. I was drawn in from the first pages as Harkness set the stage for what was to come. However, I will say that it could have been edited down. I found some of the supporting characters, plot points, and descriptions to be unnecessary and irrelevant to the plot. They could have easily been taken out without being detrimental to the story. Not only this, but there were a lot of different plot lines going on, which made it very confusing as to which plot was the main, central plot. Some of these plots seemed very problematic to our characters in the beginning, and were pretty much abandoned as our characters moved from place to place. Hopefully, they will all tie together in the next two books.

Criticisms aside, I did love reading this book. I’m excited to see where Elizabethan England takes Diana and Matthew in book two!

13 Reasons Why You Should Watch Thirteen Reasons Why

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Netflix show, Thirteen Reasons Why. This post discusses suicide, rape, and other sensitive material. If you, or someone you know, is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

On March 31st, Netflix released Thirteen Reasons Why, a series based off of the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher. It follows Clay Jenson, a junior in high school who finds a box of cassette tapes on his doorstep one day. The seven double-sided tapes tell the story of why his friend, classmate, and crush, Hannah Baker, took her own life two weeks prior. She narrates each tape and dedicates each side to one person, detailing how and why each person is one of the thirteen reasons why she made her decision.

Suicide has always been, and will always be, a very difficult and delicate subject. The impact of that kind of decision always ripples out further than we could ever imagine. I think Thirteen Reasons Why is important because it shows those ripples. It shows the classmates, the teachers, the coworkers, the families, the friends, and the strangers that affected, and were affected by, Hannah’s decision. More importantly, it shows the internal ripples inside a person contemplating that decision. It shows that ripples can become waves, and waves can become a tsunami; what may not seem like anything to you is a big deal to someone else.

And even if you are, or if you’ve ever known someone considering, affected by, or related to someone who has made or considered this kind of decision, you’ve been changed forever by the fact that a decision like this even exists. The fact that suicide has been presented as an option, a solution to a problem, a way out… affects everyone that comes into contact with it. And when you hear about it, even if it’s just on the news, it serves as a reminder. A reminder to hug your loved ones a little tighter, to say things you didn’t have the courage to say, and to live a little more than you did before; because in the wake of darkness, you want to create light.

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why reminds us that our words can be weapons, regardless of our intention. We don’t have control over whether someone recognizes that weapon as a toy. That those words can say more than you mean, leave a bigger impact than you meant to, stay with someone for longer than you realize.
  2. It reminds us that sometimes, there is no “next time.” Something that we should have done, or will do tomorrow, always has the potential to turn into something we can never do.
  3. It reminds us that all actions have consequences. Everything you do, everything you say, will affect someone else. Your world isn’t made up of just you, it’s made up of every interaction you will ever have. That’s why they call it the butterfly effect, because even the smallest, most insignificant thing can have an impact.
  4. It reminds us to be quiet. To listen to the whispers that are meant as screams, because you never know how much courage it took to say anything at all.
  5. It reminds us to be loud. To ask for help, over and over again, because someone will hear you. It’s okay to need help fighting your battles. You are not alone.
  6. It reminds us to take responsibility. For our words, for our actions, for ourselves and the impact we can have on others. Those impacts that are not only in the future, but the ones we are making right now.
  7. It reminds us to love, in every way, because love is louder than anything else. As Clay mentions in the series, you can’t love someone back to life. But you can try. Sometimes the tiniest light in a dark room can make all the difference. Life isn’t about the should haves, it’s about the did’s.
  8. It shows that cruelty is a cycle, that someone’s internal struggles can manifest in their other relationships, or in their behavior. That it’s important not to judge people based on their behavior or decisions, because you don’t know what demons they’re fighting.
  9. It shows that sometimes the sickest people can live the most normal lives. We see this over and over again in murder trials and rape cases, where the aggressor is depicted as a kind, smart, generous, and promising young individual from a good family in an upscale community. Someone who has never exhibited aggressive behavior previously… But sometimes the scariest monsters are the ones that hide in your own backyard, and it’s easy to be fooled by the games they play.
  10. It shows the aftermath of sexual assault, and the results of victim blaming. As a society, we are still conditioned to question the victim, to insinuate that they “asked for it,” to treat them as guilty until proven innocent; when in reality we should be questioning the accused. We should not be educating young women on how not to be raped, we should be educating young men not to rape.
  11. It shows the impact of schoolyard bullying, and how quickly it can escalate without intervention.
  12. It creates awareness of behaviors that lead to suicide, addiction, and school shootings. It reminds us that we need to take action against those behaviors and take measures to prevent them.
  13. It shows the best, and most accurate, depiction of today’s teens on television. The diversity of the cast, the crude language they use, the drugs, alcohol, sex, and mean girl culture; all accurate to what teens deal with every day. It’s important for parents and teachers to realize what their kids are dealing with, to remain present and involved, and to pay attention to changes in their behavior.

    Just as it is the responsibility of books and shows like Thirteen Reasons Why to depict a subject like this honestly, it’s our responsibility to receive it respectfully. Watch. Listen. Let the ripples hit you, if only so you can know what they feel like. And one day you may be better equipped to help someone who feels like they’re drowning.


That being said, please do not watch this show if you are considering suicide, or have considered it in the past. This show contains very graphic depictions of suicide, rape, and abuse that may trigger those thoughts and behaviors. Please do not push yourself if you know you cannot handle those scenes, your mental health is more important. Click here for a complete list of triggers and which episodes/scenes to avoid if you choose to watch this series.