Audiobook Review – Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

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Title: Leaving Time
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publish Date: October 14, 2014
# of Pages: 398
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
(**Warning** Possible spoilers)


Description

(From Goodreads) For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.


Review

Leaving Time is a beautifully written novel by Jodi Picoult on the study of grief. Elephants and humans grieve differently, but they both grieve those who leave them behind. Picoult smooths the seams between elephants and humans flawlessly and leaves you questioning what really happens when someone you love dies.

Wow! This book was not what I had expected at all. It was like The Sixth Sense meets elephants, with intense twists and turns throughout.

So what did I like?

The elephants. Picoult did her homework and packed the book full of interesting elephant behavior facts. I’ve always been somewhat indifferent to elephants, but this book changed my mind to thinking they’re utterly fascinating animals. The way they grieve is very similar to humans, and the way they raise their babies reminds of me the adage “it takes a village.” I was impressed by the facts and research that went into this novel.

Jenna. Sweet Jenna. I did not want the book to end the way it did. A life gone too soon as a result of revenge and poor choices. The journey to find her mother was both heartbreaking and sweet.

Serenity. Serenity is such a fun, quirky character. She’s a gifted psychic who thinks her gifts have left her as she helps Virgil and Jenna in the quest to find Jenna’s mother. I really enjoyed her character and liked that she tied the book together in the end.

The ending. Talk about plot twists! I would have never guessed the ending of the book, but I loved it. What a surprise, even though it was a sad ending to a long journey.

What didn’t I like?

The pace. The book was slow and meandering in places and sometimes I questioned where the plot was headed. Since I was listening to this in audiobook format, I had to force my mind not to wander on occasion while I was listening.


Book Stats

None recorded.


Quotes

None recorded.


Buy It

Check this book out at your local library, or buy it here* on Amazon.

*Note: this is an affiliate link

A week in reading – October 15-21

What did I finish reading this past week? This week I finished reading three books! One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake, The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle, and Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. This was a great week in reading! Unfortunately my November is looking like it’ll be very busy at work, so I’m going to enjoy these strong reading weeks while I can.

one dark throne leavingtime the goblins

What am I currently reading? I am currently listening to Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder, #2) by Linda Castillo on audiobook and reading The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1). I’ve barely started The Kiss of Deception, but Pray for Silence has been fantastic so far. Linda Castillo is a really good thrilled author.

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What do I plan on reading next? I plan on reading Artemis by Andy Weir, a book I’m really looking forward to.

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Book Review – The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

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Title: The Goblins of Bellwater
Author: Molly Ringle
Publish Date: October 1, 2017
# of Pages: 288
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
** Possible spoilers!**


Description

(From Goodreads) A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…


Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.


Review 

** Possible spoilers!**

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle is set in Puget Sound, Washington and follows the lives of Kit, his cousin Grady, and sisters Skye and Livy, as they navigate the fuzzy arena of goblin curses. With the help of the local fae, they journey to the goblin realm to break their curses . . . but can they do it before it’s too late?

This was an interesting read, and while it wasn’t knock-it-out-of-the-park awesome, it was still entertaining.

So what did I like?

The goblins. The goblins are sneaky and conniving in this book. They are motivated by gold and entrapping new humans to join their tribe. Be careful when you ask a goblin for help!

The storyline. I liked the overall story idea. The idea of goblins and curse breaking is intriguing and made the book fun to read.

What didn’t I like?

The relationships. The relationship between Kit and Livy was too quick and too contrived. They went from being friends with benefits to “I love you” with little more than a few hook-ups and some shallow conversations. It didn’t feel real. Once Grady and Skye’s curse was lifted, their relationship felt equally contrived. Without really knowing each other, they love each other. Again, it felt forced and disjointed.

Plot pace. There was a lot of buildup the first half of the novel, which I liked, but the second half of the novel felt rushed. In just a couple pages, Livy summons the local fae and has their commitment to help. Wait—it was that easy? The journey to the goblin realm felt equally rushed, and the big climax in the book was over in a blink.

Shallow. The book in general felt very shallow and high level. You never really got into the details of anything, which I found disappointing. The book could have been so much more interesting had the author peeled back another layer in the story and went deeper.

Overall, I still enjoyed the book, but I was left feeling disappointed. This book had the potential to be so much better than it was.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Stats

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Quotes

“‘Nature is awesome, but be careful, that shit’ll kill you.'”


Buy It

Buy this book here, or check it out at your local library.

 

Where do I get my books?

Where do I get the books that I read?

I can honestly say that these days my books are evenly divided by three sources: purchased, the library, and ARCs.

I purchase approximately one third of the books that I read. I pre-order the books that I’m dying to read—the ones I’m not willing to wait for—and I also buy books here and there based off of reviews and other books I’ve read. I’m a Kindle reader, so my books fit so neatly on my virtual shelf. Unfortunately my unread purchased books number in the hundreds, so I really need to put a freeze on new purchases; however, my willpower when it comes to new books is practically nonexistent . . .

My library is connected with Overdrive, so I checkout a lot of my books and all of my audiobooks from the library. My library doesn’t have all of the latest and greatest books, but their selection is decent enough, and they’re continually adding new books. I really appreciate their selection of audiobooks. Audiobooks are expensive, so I like having the option to check them out for free.

I feel like I’ve gotten on the ARC bus late in the game, but I’m glad this is something I’ve pursued. Right around one third of the books I’ve been reading are ARC books I’ve obtained from NetGalley. I’m definitely reading books and authors I may not have heard about without NetGalley, so I think it’s a good thing.

Where do you get the books that you read? Do you buy all of your books so that you can display them with pride, or are you a library devotee?

Throwback Thursday – Memorable Book That Makes Me Think of Halloween

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For this throwback Thursday, I’m picking a memorable book that reminds me of Halloween.

Zombies definitely make me think of Halloween, and Hollowland was jam-packed with zombies. I enjoyed reading this book several years ago. Now I need to read the second book in the series!

Have you read it? What’d you think?

Description (From Goodreads): This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

Down the TBR Hole (Week 7)

Week 7, and I’ve barely made a dent in my TBR list.This is a popular tag, so I thought I’d give it a shot! If you’re like me, your TBR list is so long that you’ll never get through them all. Here are 5 books on my TBR list. Have you read any of them? Are any of my keeps worth bumping to the top of my TBR list? Let me know!

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1. Same Kind of Different As Me 
by Ron Hall * Denver Moore
Publish Date: June 18, 2006
# of Pages: 240
Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Description (from Goodreads): Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver’s life was still hopeless—until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together.

But slavery takes many forms. Deborah discovers that she has cancer. In the face of possible death, she charges her husband to rescue Denver. Who will be saved, and who will be lost? What is the future for these unlikely three? What is God doing?

Same Kind of Different As Me is the emotional tale of their story: a telling of pain and laughter, doubt and tears, dug out between the bondages of this earth and the free possibility of heaven. No reader or listener will ever forget it.

Why is this book on my TBR list?: This book has gotten such great reviews! I bought this book a while back, so I plan on reading it still.

Verdict: Keep


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2. The Believing Brain
 by Michael Shermer
Publish Date: May 24, 2011
# of Pages: 400
Goodreads Rating: 3.91

Description (from Goodreads): The Believing Brain is bestselling author Michael Shermer’s comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished.

In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world’s best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.

Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.

Why is this book on my TBR list?: I added this book because I love understanding people–why they do the things they do do and why they believe the things they do. I’m looking forward to reading this book!

Verdict: Keep


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3. The Whiskey Rebels 
by David Miss
Publish Date: September 30, 2008
# of Pages: 519
Goodreads Rating: 3.88

Description (from Goodreads): David Liss’s bestselling historical thrillers, including A Conspiracy of Paper and The Coffee Trader, have been called remarkable and rousing: the perfect combination of scrupulous research and breathless excitement. Now Liss delivers his best novel yet in an entirely new setting–America in the years after the Revolution, an unstable nation where desperate schemers vie for wealth, power, and a chance to shape a country’s destiny.

Ethan Saunders, once among General Washington’s most valued spies, now lives in disgrace, haunting the taverns of Philadelphia. An accusation of treason has long since cost him his reputation and his beloved fiancée, Cynthia Pearson, but at his most desperate moment he is recruited for an unlikely task–finding Cynthia’s missing husband. To help her, Saunders must serve his old enemy, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who is engaged in a bitter power struggle with political rival Thomas Jefferson over the fragile young nation’s first real financial institution: the Bank of the United States.

Meanwhile, Joan Maycott is a young woman married to another Revolutionary War veteran. With the new states unable to support their ex-soldiers, the Maycotts make a desperate gamble: trade the chance of future payment for the hope of a better life on the western Pennsylvania frontier. There, amid hardship and deprivation, they find unlikely friendship and a chance for prosperity with a new method of distilling whiskey. But on an isolated frontier, whiskey is more than a drink; it is currency and power, and the Maycotts’ success attracts the brutal attention of men in Hamilton’s orbit, men who threaten to destroy all Joan holds dear.

As their causes intertwine, Joan and Saunders–both patriots in their own way–find themselves on opposing sides of a daring scheme that will forever change their lives and their new country. The Whiskey Rebels is a superb rendering of a perilous age and a nation nearly torn apart–and David Liss’s most powerful novel yet.

Why is this book on my TBR list?: This seems like a really good book, which is why I added it begin with. That said, something has to give on my TBR list, so this one is going!

Verdict: Gone


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4. Lady of Hay 
by Barbara Erskine
Publish Date: March 13, 2001
# of Pages: 600
Goodreads Rating: 4.04

Description (from Goodreads):
This masterfully crafted first novel tells the spellbinding story of a contemporary woman who discovers her past life as a 12th-century Welsh noblewoman. Erskine’s extraordinary romance has been translated into 17 languages and has sold well over a million copies worldwide.

 

Why is this book on my TBR list?: I have zero recollection of adding this book. The cover doesn’t look familiar at all. It sounds like it has an Outlander feel to it though, so I’ll keep it.

Verdict: Keep


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5. Superbaby 
by Dr. Jenn Herman
Publish Date: September 1, 2010
# of Pages: 432
Goodreads Rating: 3.72

Description (from Goodreads): The first three years of life are the most important for nurturing a child’s full potential: that’s when they start forming attachments, developing a sense of self, and learning to trust. During this time, there are critical windows of opportunity that parents can take advantage of-if they know how. In a dozen succinct yet information-packed chapters, award-winning columnist and professional therapist Dr. Jenn Berman gives parents the knowledge they need. Her enlightening sidebars, bulleted lists, and concrete, easy-to-use strategies will help parents raise happy, healthy babieswho grow to be flourishing toddlers and successful adults.

Why is this book on my TBR list?: I added this book when my oldest was less than a year old. I’d like to think my kids are super, even without the help of a book.

Verdict: Gone

Book Review – One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

one dark throne
Title: One Dark Throne
Author: Kendare Blake
Publish Date: September 19, 2017
# of Pages: 464
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(**Warning** Possible spoilers)


Description

(From Goodreads) The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.


Review

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake picks up where Three Dark Crowns leaves off, following Arsinoe, Mirabella, and Katharine during their Ascension year. While one Queen aspires to wear the crown, the other two Queens are concerned about family and protecting each other. In the end, only one Queen wears the crown.

What a great second book! I loved it. The characters Blake paints are rich with life and vivacious. I enjoyed every minute of this exciting journey, and I can honestly say it did not end as I expected it to.

So what did I like?

The characters. The characters really make this book. First off, the sisters. The once sweet Katharine is now cunning and conniving, ambitious in her aims to ascend the throne. Arsinoe lives her life by honor and loyalty. She cares deeply about her friends and her bear, Braddock. Mirabella is a powerhouse with a compassionate heart. Then there are the secondary characters, who are all fantastic in their own right. My favorite secondary character is Jules. Jules’ has more talent in her pinky than most characters put together. Like Arisone, she lives her life by honor and loyalty. I am immensely curious to see what becomes of Jules in the next book. When I read Three Dark Crowns, I always thought that Jules was destined to become the Queen in some bizarre plot twist. It could still happen, right?

The familiars. From Camden to Braddock to Pepper, the animals and familiars in this book are awesome. I’m an animal lover through and through, so I love reading about the close bonds between humans and animals. I wish I had my very own Camden, but for now I’ll have to settle for my three lazy house cats.

Plot twists. There are so many twists and turns in this book, and there are so many unanswered questions! What happens to Jules? What becomes of Katharine? Do Arsinoe and Mirabella live their lives as mainlanders?

So what didn’t I like?

One thing, and one thing only: I wanted the book to be longer! I want to know what happens next—now!


Book Stats

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Quotes

None recorded.


Buy It

Check this book out at your local library, or buy it here* on Amazon.

*Note: this is an affiliate link