August Reads & Ratings List

Hey there, bookworms.

It’s not hard for me to believe that it is September, but it is hard to think there are only four months left of 2019. Once October arrives, time goes so quick that Valentines’ 2020 crap will soon be on display at Walmart. It’s been Christmas at Hobby Lobby since May or June, so you should totally be ready for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

Many of you keep track of what and how much you read, which I am a big proponent of. Next year I am determined to not only count book totals, but also count pages read. Not only is it another measurement tool, but it’s a way books I don’t finish can be counted-at least in pages read. To any of you who keep track of what you read, do you have any new ideas that you are going to incorporate in the year to come? Please share if you do, I would love to hear them.

Below is my August wrap up:

1. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (read on Kindle)

Favorite quotes:

“Doves fight as often as hawks.”

“Your eyes haunt my heart and it is still.”

“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much, I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”

2. Turbulence by David Szalay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (read a physical copy, but it is loaned out at the moment)

3. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

4. Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (read on Kindle)

Favorite quote:

“He wasn’t certain he cared much about anything other than getting to a place where there were green fields, and where, in the middle of winter, the snow drifts would be deep enough to cut him off from the rest of the world.”

5. The River by Peter Heller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(this was a physical copy, but from the library, so it was returned before I took the picture.)

Favorite quote:

“Life was about being agile in spirit and adapting quickly.”

6. Inside the O’Brien’s by Lisa Genova ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Favorite quotes:

“The mind loves words.”

“We’re going to learn to live and die with HD (Huntington’s Disease) from you, Dad.”

7. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Although there were a few three star reads, I enjoyed every book I read. A three or three and half star rating (out of five) isn’t a bad rating in my opinion. Not every book is going to be a four or five star read, and that’s ok. Threes need to be read, they help navigate between the very good and very bad.

On a different note, I found a steal this weekend, that I just couldn’t resist.

My current Kindle case (on the left) is great, with the exception of some minor wear along the edges where the trim has come off. I wasn’t looking for a new case, but I found the one on the right for $5! It has a marbleized peachy-aqua-ish front and back cover. I’m slightly obsessed with cool, especially cool book stickers (if you couldn’t tell from the case on the left), so the one on the right looks a bit naked to me. But it’s so dang pretty, it would be hard to cover up-well maybe. Maybe just one or two stickers? I’m secretly twelve when it comes to putting stickers on cases and water bottles. My car is not covered in bumper stickers, I promise ( I’m not judging you if that’s your deal, just stating a fact about me).

I hope you have a nice rest of your evening and Labor Day tomorrow.

Sincerely,

tmc

“It is both relaxing and invigorating to occasionally set aside the worries of life, seek the company of a friendly book… from the reading of ‘good books’ there comes a richness of life that can be obtained in no other way.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

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Everything Is For Sale On The Silk Road

Remember I mentioned that what I read doesn’t really follow any kind of rhyme or reason? If not, or if you are new to this blog, my reading more or less follows no type of *organization other than whatever I’m in the mood for at any given moment.

*Other than reading what’s next for book club or trying to read what comes in from the library ( Overdrive app ) or Netgalley.

Upon finishing my first book of July, (which I will remind you of in my month’s end recap) when I returned it to the library via Overdrive I was presented with a list of:

“You just read ___________, you might like one of these.” Since I loved the book I had finished I went through the selections and found this one. I put it on hold and received it right away. After I finished Three Women I needed to decide what to read next. I still had three other books I had brought with me on my time away, but I also had books patiently waiting on my sweet Kindle. So- I opened my Kindle and looked around a bit. Even though AK was a library book, I had other library books waiting, so why did this one stand out? Maybe it was the moon or the glass of wine I was holding or the waves crashing just outside my window? None of it makes sense and all of it makes sense. Whatever the reason may be, a few nights back I started reading American Kingpin by Nick Bilton.

Below is the synopsis from Amazon:

• In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything—drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons—free of the government’s watchful eye. 
 
It wasn’t long before the media got wind of the new Web site where anyone—not just teenagers and weed dealers but terrorists and black hat hackers—could buy and sell contraband detection-free. Spurred by a public outcry, the federal government launched an epic two-year manhunt for the site’s elusive proprietor, with no leads, no witnesses, and no clear jurisdiction. All the investigators knew was that whoever was running the site called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts. 
 
The Silk Road quickly ballooned into $1.2 billion enterprise, and Ross embraced his new role as kingpin. He enlisted a loyal crew of allies in high and low places, all as addicted to the danger and thrill of running an illegal marketplace as their customers were to the heroin they sold. Through his network he got wind of the target on his back and took drastic steps to protect himself—including ordering a hit on a former employee. As Ross made plans to disappear forever, the Feds raced against the clock to catch a man they weren’t sure even existed, searching for a needle in the haystack of the global Internet •

Go and read this book. It’s very interesting. Before reading this, I had heard of the Dark Web, but not of Silk Road. I started researching the Dark Web (ie. black market) and was fascinated and creeped out. I found an article talking about it and it listed some things that were commonly available. Items like: $500 for seven gift cards that have $2500 on them or a lifetime Netflix subscriptions for $6-7. Granted, that’s not drugs, human trafficking, or the selling of organs, but it’s definitely something (and after reading this book, you’d have to live under a rock to not realize the really bad shit is truly out there and definitely for sale on some site(s) somewhere). Obviously you are dealing with less than honest people who are dealing in these commodities, but there are still rating systems. Similar to EBay or Amazon, where a seller is rated on each transaction. So is there honor among thieves after all?

After reading this book, I looked up others by Nick Bilton. Hatching Twitter is about the origins of Twitter, and is the next one I want to read by him.

After today, there are two full days left of July. I’m hoping to squeeze in one more book!

Happy reading, Bookworms

Sincerely,

tmc

Most people go through life thinking that tomorrow they’re going to do something great. Tomorrow will be the day that they wake up and discover what they were put on this earth to do. But then tomorrow comes—and goes. As does the next day. Before long, they realize that there aren’t that many tomorrows left.

– Nick Bilton, American Kingpin

The ABC’s of ARCs, Netgalley Style

• Thank you to #Netgalley for the ARCs pictured above •

Hey there, Bookworms.

Yesterday afternoon I finished reading Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. It’s a phenomenal piece of work, especially when you consider this was a ten-year project regarding the real lives of three different women. It left me feeling sad, and a sadness in general seems to unite these women’s stories in one form or another. It reads like a fast-paced contemporary fiction novel, but I think remembering these women are real takes it up several notches. It really doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with the choices these women made. These are their stories and they were willing to share it with all of us. We are just the audience-who are here to listen.

I started another book on my Kindle last night. I still have a few hard copy books that I brought, but part of my book stash were also the library e-books. The book I started is really good so far and time was running out on its loan period, which I was I choose a Kindle book. I’ll share it with you soon.

We packed up this morning and have about a five hour drive to our next locale. I got to thinking about Netgalley because I was submitting some reviews on their website this morning. If you aren’t familiar with Netgalley, here’s a nutshell:

Netgalley.com : A website that allows you to set up a free account and attach a reading device (phone, Kindle, tablet, etc.). Select your genre preferences and then peruse their vast selection of ARCs (advanced reader copies). If you see a book you are interested in, tap on it and ‘request’ it. Don’t get frustrated if you are turned down or wait a while to hear back. I’ve heard back in as little as five minutes and as long as three months, the average time being a few weeks. What Netgalley wants from you in return for these e-books is an honest review. Often times you are receiving these copies many months before they are released to the public. Your reviews help generate interest for upcoming book publication dates. And remember, if you don’t like the book or didn’t finish it-you are allowed to say that.

I’ve had my account for a few years now and I am always impressed with the amount of available books they have. One time I got a little greedy and did a google search on other companies that do what Netgalley does. In summary, Netgalley and a site called Edelweiss are considered the top sites for ARCs. Another one that comes up as pretty popular is Onlinebookclub.org. Let me save you the trouble, plainly stated, Edelweiss and Onlinebookclub suck. The platform and user face of Edelweiss is awkward. They do have some decent ebooks, but I had to search for awhile before I found one that I was sort of interested in. I did request it and it was over four months before I found out that I was declined. Online Book Club has a better user face, but the book selection feels low-budget ( in my opinion ), like they are the books that used book shops won’t take and end up in the take-me pile outside the store. The books on OBC have almost a generic feel, it’s strange. Needless to say, Netgalley is leaps and bounds ahead of and better than anything else I have seen.

The books in the picture above were released between April and June 2019, I read them well before those dates. I rated each either four or five stars (out of five). This morning I was on their site and was searching through their recently added titles. I requested two and ‘wished for’ two others. The ‘wished for’ is the only area that confuses me. Netgalley says you can hit the wish button and sometimes that publisher will ‘grant wishes,’ uh ok? I think I’ve wished for two others, but did not get them. My wishes were not granted. I’m not sure why wish-for books are even listed. For Netgalley first-timers, I would stick with the books that are either under ‘request’ or ‘read now’. If you do find a ‘read now,’ that’s exactly it, you will get it immediately.

The books pictured are:

• April 2019 •

My Coney Island Baby by Billy O’Callaghan

• May 2019 •

The Killer Across the Table by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker

• June 2019 •

The Summer We Lost Her by Tish Cohen

Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Netgalley represents many publishers and ables you to search for titles by publisher. Sometimes I search that way simply to learn the existence of more publishing houses. Smaller houses are often owned by larger ones like Random House or Scribner.

We are about two hours shy of our destination. Hopefully I will get to stop and check out a cool book shop I read about (and mentioned a few posts back) in Southern Living magazine ( May 2019 ).

Go check out Netgalley if you haven’t already. I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

Sincerely,

tmc

Life without a Kindle is like life without a library nearby.

-Franz McLaren

Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.

-Stephen Fry