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October Monthly Recap


It’s time for our monthly recap! Find out which books were favorites, which were duds, and which ones we plan to read the following month. We’ll end our wrap up with a calendar of book-related events/facts from the month of October and we’ll highlight our upcoming November content. We’ve also added a list of upcoming book releases for November (scroll to the end for the list).

One randomly selected follower (email or wordpress follower) will win a $10 amazon gift card. Scroll down to see if you are the winner. The prize is only awarded if you contact us with your email address so make sure to check these monthly recaps each month to see if you won! We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read in October and what you look forward to reading in November.  Read more

1001 Book Review: The Blind Owl Sadegh Hedayat

the blind owl

We initially wanted to feature this book for banned book week, but unfortunately we were not able to complete it in time. The Blind Owl is considered perhaps the most famous literary work of 20th century Iran. It was written in the late 1930s and was originally published as a limited edition that was banned from publication in Iran. Find out what we thought about the book. Read more

Terrible reviews of great books

one star reviews

There is no such thing as a universally loved book. Each month, we’ll feature a book from Time Magazine‘s list of the best 100 English language novels of all time. From the mean to the funny, to the downright absurd, we will highlight some of the strange reasons why some people hate these great reads. See what we picked for our first book. Read more

Tales from the Crypt Challenge: Final Weekly Theme

Halloween-Pumpkins_2560x1600_1192-11It’s time for the announcement of our fourth and final weekly theme and the reveal of the random weekly winner. You can read more about it on our challenge page. Are you brave enough to take on the challenge? And the weekly theme is…. Read more

Giveaway Winner is….


Announcing the winner of our Slade House Giveaway… Read more

Kid’s Corner: Picture books for young children that parents will actually enjoy reading.

I have always believed that instilling a love of reading at an early age is fundamental. My husband and I have read at least one book to our daughter every night since she was a few days old. But I have to admit that there have been some books that are so mind-numbingly awful that each time I read them, I feel a part of my brain dying (e.g. some of the fairy tale adaptations for little kids). Even the good books can get tiring after the 100th time. There was a time when the mere mention of Good Night Moon was enough to evoke nightmares (of giant frolicking kittens wearing mittens, chasing a red balloon and eating a bowl of mush).

This brings me to one of my personal favorite children authors, Mo Willems. Mo Willems writes children’s books that in many ways are really for parents. I have yet to get bored of reading any of his books and we own quite of few of them. So this month’s Kid’s Corner is dedicated our favorite Mo Willems book. Find out which one and read E’s review after the jump (spoiler alert – it’s not a pigeon book). Read more

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by Fowles


The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
First published: 1969
Reviewed by: Jen & Book Worm
Find it here: The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Synopsis (from Goodreads): The scene is the village of Lyme Regis on Dorset’s Lyme Bay…”the largest bite from the underside of England’s out-stretched southwestern leg.” The major characters in the love-intrigue triangle are Charles Smithson, 32, a gentleman of independent means & vaguely scientific bent; his fiancée, Ernestina Freeman, a pretty heiress daughter of a wealthy & pompous dry goods merchant; & Sarah Woodruff, mysterious & fascinating…deserted after a brief affair with a French naval officer a short time before the story begins. Obsessed with an irresistible fascination for the enigmatic Sarah, Charles is hurtled by a moment of consummated lust to the brink of the existential void. Duty dictates that his engagement to Tina must be broken as he goes forth once again to seek the woman who has captured his Victorian soul & gentleman’s heart.

Jen’s Review
4 stars
I have avoided this book for many years due to my own misconceptions. I don’t typically enjoy reading romance-heavy novels because I find them formulaic and overly simplistic. I had assumed that this novel was a Victorian style romance. Boy was I wrong. I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad that others encouraged me to pick it up. First off, I loved the writing style which I found witty and at times unexpectedly snarky. Fowles injects himself into the novel, critiquing various elements of Victorian society with significant humor. For example, there is this passage (which goes on for a few pages):

What are we faced with in the nineteenth century? An age where woman was sacred; and where you could buy a thirteen-year-old girl for a few points — a few shillings, if you wanted her for only an hour or two. Where more churches were built than in the whole previous history of the country; and where one in sixty houses in London was a brothel (the modern ratio would be nearer one in six thousand). Where the sanctity of marriage (and chastity before marriage) was proclaimed from every pulpit, in every newspaper editorial and public utterance; and where never- or hardly ever – have so many great public figures, from the future king down, led scandalous private lives [page 267].

I wouldn’t quite call this a feminist book, although the author has been known to make this claim, because the main female character is never given her own voice. However, it is feminist leaning in that Sarah is a strong, independent, and intelligent woman who fails to conform to Victorian gender ideals in a magnificent way. The French Lieutenant’s Woman is not a sappy romance novel where the weak-willed woman falls in love with the strong gentleman and they all live happily ever after. Instead, it is more commentary on Victorian society (and its hypocrisy) and  an analysis of gender and class restrictions than it is a romance. I highly recommend it.

Book Worm’s Review Unlike Jen I don’t mind romance stories. Sometimes there is nothing better than getting lost in happily ever after, however this book is not your traditional romance and like Jen I really enjoyed it because of that.

Jen has covered the main points that make this a great book I will just add that I love the way the author interjects and turns what you have just read onto its head. This really is at least 2 books in 1.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find it on Amazon here: The French Lieutenant’s Woman

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think?

 Slade House by David Mitchell: Review and Giveaway


Looking for a good Halloween read with a literary fiction slant? David Mitchell’s newest book, Slade House might be perfect for you! Read more

Tales from the Crypt Challenge: 3rd Weekly Theme

Halloween-Pumpkins_2560x1600_1192-11 It’s time for the announcement of our third weekly theme and the reveal of the random weekly winner. You can read more about it on our challenge page. Keep reading to find out what it is and to find out whether you won the $10 Amazon gift card. And the weekly theme is…. Read more

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

bone clocks

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Published in: 2014
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: 4 stars
Find it/buy it here: The Bone Clocks

I should start off by disclosing that David Mitchell is my author crush and I spent a good 10 minutes just staring at the cover photo before even opening the book. Cloud Atlas is perhaps one of my all time favorite novels and I love how he views his individual books as being parts of a larger work. As a reviewer from the New Yorker so aptly stated, “each of his novels are porcelain babushkas hiding inside Mitchell’s meta-Russian-nesting-doll oeuvre.” Read more