“Middle Passage” by Charles Johnson

A high seas adventure I didn’t expect to enjoy.

This is what I love about the library. I can visit, pick up a random book to try, and feel pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it and later buy myself a copy if I choose. If I didn’t like the book, I would be annoyed but not as upset as I would have been if I’d wasted my money on something I didn’t like. Luckily, in this case I liked the book so much that I had to buy myself a copy. This one is a keeper and one I’d love to reread because I’m sure I didn’t get as much out of it as the story had to offer.

Genre:

Historical fiction

Pubbed:

1990

Goodreads summary:

It is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave and irrepressible rogue, is desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.

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“Beauty and the Clockwork Beast” by Nancy Campbell Allen, narr. by Saskia Maarleveld

How did I come by this story? It’s the same as always happens. I was at work doing a boring task and wanted to listen to something entertaining. I got lucky when I took a chance on Nancy Campbell Allen’s Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. The synopsis made me think it would be similar to the paranormal romance series I read last year — Fairwick Chronicles by Juliet Dark, which is set in the present day at a small college in upstate New York. The stories aren’t similar, but I’ve enjoyed both and am glad I’ve read them.

Genre:

Historical fiction; paranormal; steampunk; romance

Series:

Steampunk Proper Romance, book 1

Pubbed:

August 2016

Quick summary:

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is a historical fiction novel inspired by the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. The story is set in Victorian England (but women, especially our narrator, exercise some independence) in a world that has certain technological advancements (such as airships and automatons) that give the story a strong steampunk quality. It is very atmospheric, has a strong gothic vibe, and features several supernatural creatures, such as werewolves, vampires, and ghosts.

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Two Audiobooks: “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr & “Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris

Considering that I was wary of audiobooks in the past, it’s a wonder that I listen to them so frequently now. I recently listened to three of them that were exciting and compelling, but I’ll discuss only two in this post because these two share some similarities.

In the past, I would struggle to focus on the story when I listened to audiobooks, so I instead listened only to audiobooks of stories I’d already read. It seems doing so has trained my ear or my brain to get used to this medium because now I focus on the story and remember what I heard, though my memory of the story isn’t as detailed as it is when I read the physical book or the e-book.

It could also be the genre of the stories I read that affected me so positively. By listening to the two in this post, I realized that the best type of audiobooks to listen to are thrillers. Thrillers often draw the reader in quickly and keep her hooked throughout as it twists and turns toward an explosive end. I was so hooked as I listened to these two that I completed both in a day each. I began with The Alienist because I am familiar with the show and wanted something to listen to at work. But I completed it on the same day I downloaded it, a Friday, so I downloaded Red Dragon to listen to on the following Monday. It was done by the Saturday evening.


The Alienist by Caleb Carr, narr. by Edward Herrmann

Genre:

Historical fiction; Mystery

Series:

Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, book 1

Pubbed:

May 1994

Goodreads summary:

New York, 1896: Lower Manhattan’s underworld is ruled by a new generation of cold-blooded criminals…Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt battles widespread corruption within the department’s ranks…and a shockingly brutal murder sets off an investigation that could change crime-fighting forever.

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“The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey

Sometime last year, I listened to an episode of Myths & Legends podcast (Ep. 96 – Russian Folklore: Cold as Ice) that discussed folktales about snow children. It got me wondering about Eowyn Ivey’s book The Snow Child. I wondered if Ivey’s novel was similar to the stories I heard on the podcast. I got curious and was tempted to read the novel, which I’d bought in the previous year because bloggers and booktubers were all speaking of it and saying how great the story and the prose are.

But I procrastinated on reading the book and didn’t do so until January this year thinking that winter may be the best time to read it. It was and it was pretty good.

Genre:

Historical fiction
Magical realism

Pubbed:

February 2012

Quick summary:

It’s the 1920s in America — the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties with great outrageous parties filled with pump and style. But we get none of that glitz and glamour of the 1920s in The Snow Child. Instead, the story sits us on a quiet homestead in Alaska where an old couple live.

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Book Blogger Memory Challenge

I saw this fun little book tag over on Kristin Kraves Books and decided to do it too. Unfortunately I couldn’t find who created it.

Rules: You must answer these questions without looking anything up on the internet and without looking at your bookshelves.

(This is gonna be difficult ’cause I have a bad memory when it comes to certain things… like answering these prompts.)

Name a book written by an author called Michael.

Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda

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Mardi Gras Book Tag

It’s CARNIVAL time y’all!! 😀 That’s why I have here the Mardi Gras Book Tag for you.

I saw it over on Madame Writer and knew I HAD to do it because I’m here seriously wishing I either went to Mardi Gras or had FINALLY made it to Trinidad carnival. Instead I’m stuck at home. Cold. Bored.

The Mardi Gras Book Tag was created by booktuber Randomly Bookish Gina.

Designated Driver
What re-read book is reliable to get you out of a reading slump?

Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples

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GIVEAWAY WINNER | and another Meme Book Tag

Before I get to the tag, I’d like to announce the lucky WINNER of my recent GIVEAWAY. The WINNER is

LAURA!!

She has been notified that she has won a free pair of writing gloves from Literary Book Gifts and should be selecting a pair by now. CONGRATS to LAURA!!! 😀

For those of you who missed out on the prize, you can visit Literary Book Gifts and use the promo code ZEZEEWITHBOOKS20 to receive 20% off your purchase.


Meme Book Tag

And now for the Meme Book Tag! I did one a couple weeks ago but didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to do this one as well because I love me some book tags. This one was created by booktuber Saajid of Books are My Social Life.

Crying Kim Kardashian
A book that made you cry

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

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