The Fifth Letter (Nicola Moriarty, 2017)

fifthletter

Why did you choose this book?

I order books for the fiction collection at my library.  I read the synopsis of this one while deciding whether or not to buy it and was immediately intrigued.  Also, Nicola’s sister is Liane, who wrote “Big Little Lies.”

What’s it about?

A group of four friends, who have been inseparable since elementary school.  As a bonding exercise, the clingiest of the group (Joni) suggests that they all write an anonymous letter containing a secret, to be read out loud to the group and discussed.  Someone writes an extra letter, having gotten cold feet after pouring out their dirtiest secret – that they are so jealous they want to kill or maim another member of the group.  Who wrote it?

Categories

Fiction

Review

I wanted this book to be good so badly.  “The Fifth Letter” borrows from the format and style of BLL, and is well-written, but OMG I didn’t care.  I never really felt that the characters were in danger, and to be honest, I didn’t really care if they were or not.  I also thought the revelations of secrets at the end of the novel were blah.

Refresher (here there be spoilers)

No really, this is a book summary/plot synopsis

Ok, I warned you…

The secrets:

Trina: feels like a bad mom, abusive husband.  Saw that coming and all moms have insecurities about motherhood.

Joni: a bunch of secrets – just have an honest convo with your hubby already!  So many misunderstandings could have been avoided.

Eden: Claimed to have had a baby as a teenager, but really was scarred as a result of a rape and the fact that her mother never believed her about what happened.  Pushes Joni, who cracks her head open on the edge of the pool and almost dies.

Deb: attends a divorce support group as a result of her parents’ divorce when she was a child.  Wants to kill Trina (but not really – “I would never act on it!”), because Trina (who doesn’t remember this) used to make fun of her for having warts on her hands.

Also, Eden’s hubby and Joni almost kissed, which sends everyone into fits of jealousy.  Dudes, calm down.

And there are sections where Joni “confesses” the whole story to a priest, basically as an excuse for the author to explain occurrences to the reader without actually describing the whole scene.  I think in the end Trina ends up dating the priest, who decided to become a psychiatrist after listening to Joni’s confession.  He was my fave character, which should tell you something.

I read this entire book in 3 hours (which is rare for me with adult fiction), and I kind of wish I hadn’t even given it that much time.

Fog

One reason I started a blog was to share my love of reading with others.  Another reason was to allow me to publicly share my writing.  Sometimes I’m just in the mood to spill my thoughts to the Internet, and today is such a day.  For the past several years, I’ve been watching my way through vlogbrothers videos, and today I watched Hank’s video “Thanks, Lemon,” about the death of his dog.  His central concept is that while she was just a dog, she had value to him and changed his life in many wonderful ways.  This is one of the things I find most amazing about pets.  They have such a great impact on their people.

Over Christmas, I went home to visit my dad, which is a 12 hour drive from my house.  One day, he agreed to drive 4 hours each way with me to a chinchilla ranch.  I’ve done research over the last year about these animals and decided to get two.  The ranchers had chosen a handful of chins for me to look at, and I left with two beautiful boys – a dark standard and a white mosaic.

The standard cried on the way home.  Neither of my boys had been outside the barn in which they were raised.  Neither had ever had a treat before.  Neither had been handled much by strangers.

ride-home

We set forth on our long journey the next day, arriving safely home.  My first act the next morning was playtime!  I quickly got to know the personalities of my boys, and assigned them each a name.  The standard became Fog, and the mosaic became Flurry.

Fog was always curious but pretty calm for the most part.  He would let me scratch underneath his chin, and loved to hop up on my leg when I was sitting in his playpen, stretching his front feet toward the sky.  I considered this our circus training.  He also wasn’t opposed to the occasional snuggle.

Flurry, on the other hand, was always more of a handful.  He struggled more when I tried to handle him, and spent nearly all of playtime trying to escape.  He chirped in fear, and tried to bite.

About two weeks after I first got my boys, we had our routine playtime.  As I sat in the playpen, Fog scrambled up to my shoulder, a new trick he enjoyed.  Before I knew it, he had jumped off and escaped.  I chased him down and let Flurry have his turn.  Fog started walking like he was drunk, and letting me handle him with no resistance whatsoever (even on his back, which is abnormal for any chinchilla).  I rushed him to the vet ER, where they tried to run through possible causes.  I sat in the exam room (which had no tissues) and cried, mopping my eyes and nose on my shirt.

I went to work, and they filled Fog with narcotics to manage the pain.  They took x-rays and asked my approval for a CT scan.  As they laid him down for the scan, he began to die.  They called for permission to euthanize him and I went to pick up his empty cage, crying all the way.  I went from hoping it was a simple fix to mourning his loss in the course of six short hours.  The necropsy confirmed that the cause of death was brain and spine trauma, probably as a result of misjudged distance when he jumped from my shoulder.

I think many people wondered how I could possibly be so deeply impacted by an animal I only had for a couple of weeks.  But these fluffs are my kids.  I watched them grow less scared and more curious about their world.  I spent long hours holding my hand in their cage with a treat or some hay to build their trust.  I cleaned their cages, bought them toys, washed the fleece that lined their playpen, spent an hour with each just watching them play.  I talked to them, sang them a theme song I wrote each day when I came home from work, and invested my heart in them.  Watching Fog struggle to move and the fear and guilt as I rushed him to the vet were incredibly challenging.  The vet made me a set of his pawprints to remember him by.  He died just two days before his first birthday.

memorium

My handsome, sweet boy.

Some people said, “He’s just a rodent.”  Yes, but he’s my rodent.  I gave him value by learning his quirks and personality, and working so hard to give him the best possible life, even if it was for such a short time.  Even in the wake of grief, at least I still had Flurry.

We’re making progress in our relationship.  I’ve had him for almost two months, but about 80% of the time he lets me catch him, he’ll take treats from my hand, and sometimes if I’m very very patient he’ll let me scratch him.  Our bond has taken work to forge, but I’m so thankful for my little fluff.  Never ever take yours for granted.

flurry

In a Dark, Dark Wood (Ruth Ware, 2015)

So, to start off before I forget, I now have a Twitter!  I’m still mastering the art of the tweet, but feel free to follow me @biblioventuring!  Creative name, I know.  😉

Why did you choose this book?

I’ve heard so much buzz about Ware’s second book The Woman in Cabin 10.  I’ve been going through a Jennifer Weiner phase recently (no, I haven’t been blogging about it), so I decided this would be a welcome change from that type of fiction.

What’s it about?

Nora (not to be confused with another main character – Nina) has been invited to her high school best friend’s (Clare’s) hen party (bachelorette party).  The two haven’t talked in a decade, but for some reason, Nora decides to go.  Upon arriving, she realizes they will be staying in a huge glass vacation home in the middle of nowhere (cue creepy music).  The other guests include Flo (OBSESSED with Clare), Tom (nonchalent, coke-snorting theater guy), and M-something (Melanie? Melissa?) who leaves halfway through to spend time with her baby.  Some sketchy things start happening, and the chapters at the party are interspersed with present-day Nora laying half-dead in the hospital with amnesia.

Categories

Suspense

Review

Looking at the reviews on Amazon, it seems like many people didn’t enjoy this book.  As for me, I definitely did!  Was it a spine-chilling, heart-pounding suspense read like I expected?  No.  But I was so absorbed in the story that while reading it at work I wouldn’t hear people approaching and when they greeted me I would experience temporary disorientation as I pulled out of the fictional world to respond.  I’ll definitely be reading Ware’s next book.

Refresher (here there be spoilers)

No really, this is a book summary/plot synopsis

Ok, I warned you…

I’m starting to do this section so with books in a series, I don’t have to re-read the whole series to get caught up.  It’s also a good way for me to quickly remind myself of a book in case I’m recommending it to someone and get it mixed up with a similar title.

So, it turns out that the bad blood between Nora and Clare happened after Nora became pregnant by her then-boyfriend, who is now Clare’s fiance, James.  James texted Nora and ended things suddenly, and Nora went into a self-preservation flight and fell out of contact with everyone.  At the party, we learn that Clare actually sent the break-up text so that she could have James to herself.  She also encouraged Nora’s abortion.  Clare is the one responsible for setting the events in motion that killed James, and for trying to place the blame for those events on Nora’s shoulders (phony texts, unlocked doors, false testimony, etc.).

 

99 Days (Kate Cotugno, 2015)

99-days

Guys, I read a book!  I feel like this is newsworthy since it’s been forever….

Why did you choose this book?

This was one of the first ARCs (Advance Reader’s Copies) I picked up in my last job.  It’s a little sad that I’m just now getting around to reading it.

What’s it about?

Molly made a mistake during her junior year – sleeping with her boyfriend’s brother.  She kept the secret for a year, until her mom’s next novel was published, revealing all of the gritty details to everyone in town.  After a year away at boarding school, Molly just has to survive the summer back home.  It’s only 99 days.

Categories

Teen, fiction

Review

This book helped to pull me out of a reading slump (hence why I haven’t blogged since June).  I read it over the course of two evenings, and found it pretty enjoyable.  The book is structured with each chapter as one of the 99 days, some with less than a page of text and others of “normal” chapter length.  I made the mistake of reading some Goodreads reviews halfway through, which I think unfairly colored my perception of the remainder of the book.  Molly definitely made some mistakes and was kind of whiny, but I found the book to be fine for some fun light reading.  Patrick, however, escaped too unscathed.

Refresher (here there be spoilers)

No really, this is a book summary/plot synopsis

Ok, I warned you…

In essence, Molly gets a job at a hotel and befriends her ex-boyfriend’s (Patrick) new girlfriend, Tess.  Patrick’s brother Gabe has been falling for Molly for most of their lives (he’s also the one she slept with), and he starts dating her again.  Molly is constantly bullied by Patrick’s twin, Julia, who becomes much nicer after Molly discovers she’s a lesbian.  However, Patrick can’t resist Molly’s charms (he’s kind of a jerk) and starts fooling around with her whenever he can.  He sneaks into her house to have sex for the first time, but upon realizing that Molly went all the way with Gabe, becomes irate with her and spills the truth about what they’ve been doing together all summer.  Just as everything is coming together for Molly, it all falls apart again, except this time not even Gabe is her ally.  Luckily, by this point the 99 days are over and Molly is off to college to bond with her new roommate Roisin, who has also had a summer filled with boyfriend drama.  Talk about a roller coaster ride of a novel – I think Molly had the ambiguous ending she deserved, but I think Patrick needed to be impacted by more of the fallout.

Thoughts

Very creative title, I know.  I have a few different ideas for what I want this blog to become – if you’re reading this and have an opinion, please leave a comment!

1 – I’d like to include more of my life.  I’m a bit wary of putting too much on the Internet, but at the same time I’d like to share different projects, events, etc. with all of you.  Maybe that’s just a clue I’ve been watching too many video blogs lately.

2 – I subscribe to about 5 different magazines – maybe including tips/facts from interesting articles.  Everyone needs more NatGeo in their life, right?  Right?

3 – This one I’m really interested in doing, so I’d love to hear feedback.  I’m thinking about including a “refresher” section at the bottom of each post.  One of my problems is that with the volume of books I read, I often forget the plot soon after finishing.  This is especially problematic with books in a series, when there’s a long gap between titles.  I’d like to summarize the book at the end of the post (so it won’t be spoiled if you don’t want it to be).  I’m also seeing this as a useful tool for long and complicated books like anything George RR Martin.

4 – I’m also hoping to make the blog a little less formulaic and more conversational in tone.  I still want to be professional, in case my boss ever finds her way here, but at the same time, blogs are supposed to be fun!!!  At least, I think so.

Anyway, stay tuned for more.  I’ve been working diligently to get caught up on one of my favorite vlogs, so I’ll end by saying DFTBA.

Real-World Adventuring

I realize I don’t have many readers, but for those who visit often, you’ve probably noticed a dearth of posts over the last couple of months.  Well, I’ve been adventuring in the real world, more than in books.  I got a job at a different public library and moved halfway across the USA.  It’s a dream opportunity for me, and I’m loving every minute.  My next adventure: buying a house.  I’ve been in my home for 7 weeks now, and some crisis occurred each of the first 6.  I’m enjoying a few weeks of normal life before the next metaphorical storm hits.  I’m also considering making changes to the format of my blog.  I’ve thought about doing book summaries for books in a series, as a way to remind myself what happened between titles, but I think that may be an infringement of copyright law.  I’ve also thought about diving into a couple of other book projects I’ve been meaning to do – such as an overview of American history by reading a biography of each president.  We’ll have to see what the future holds.  I hope to blog more regularly, starting now, and in the next few months to acquire a pet and include him/her in those posts.  So stay tuned for news, and of course for more biblioventuring!

Hot Attraction (Lisa Childs, 2016)

hot attraction

Why did you choose this book?

I’m trying to read through a variety of Harlequins to get a sense of the differences between imprints.  So far I’ve tried Special Edition, Presents, and Blaze.  I didn’t review the Special Edition but suffice it to say it was a little too bland and cheesy for me.  My favorite so far is Presents.

What’s it about?

Reporter Avery Kincaid is looking for a story while spending some time in her hometown.  Elite Hotshot firefighter Dawson Hess is putting out forest fires, saving lives, and trying to keep to himself.  After he rescues Avery’s nephews from a fire, he’s on her radar and she won’t let him get away without giving her a scoop!

Categories

Harlequin Blaze, romance

Other recommended reads?

Besides the other entries in this series?  I would try authors known for their steamy romance like Maya Banks or Lora Leigh.

Review

My favorite is still Presents, of the Harlequins I’ve tried so far.  This one was mostly romance and not much plot, which I guess is why you read a Blaze in the first place.  My major issue is that the plot revolves around an arsonist (who tries to kill Avery multiple times), yet no one investigates to determine the arsonist’s identity.  He or she is still unknown at the end of the book.  Unless they unveil the arsonist in another volume of the Hotshot Heroes series, I feel that’s a very unsatisfying conclusion.  I also thought it was unrealistic for Dawson to remain on that Hotshot team after his past is revealed.

Up next?

We have two choices:

Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson

Devoured by Sophie Egan