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Reminders

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Four years ago, today I had a going away party in London, down the road at a pub that paraded at being an ‘American themed’ bar. At the time, it seemed appropriate. But this was because I knew I couldn’t have it at the pub I wanted it at, The Golden Lion, aka Old Man Pub. Now, this was a pub for the locals. They’d be there from open to close. Every day. Like a UK Cheers. In London, if you are not a part of that locale, you don’t go into that kind of pubs. There’s a stigma that you don’t belong, and it’s genuinely uncomfortable. However, my core team braved a half pint for me because I was so desperate to be inside, even for five minutes. I could never be one with the culture, but for a brief period, I was able to experience it.

My manager bought the round, and we were flabbergasted at how cheap the half pints where. It became apparent why the locals didn’t want to share.

We sat outside in the cold. Reveling in how uncomfortable we felt but excited at the thrill of being somewhere we didn’t fit in. I was all smiles. I had built my life around these types of adventures. These little oddity outings. Dragging those who were unafraid, or perhaps, just curious out to random places of the city to find an egg, an elephant statue phallic looking Olympic statues. Out to pubs down dark alleys during the twilight hours, piranhas in the children’s section of a bookstore. “You simply must! Let me show you!” My smile would say, and then we’d be off. Even strangers were not immune.

Armed with a copy of Harry Potter in hand I booked a train to Oxford and spent my day skipping around the town snapping photos of pretty much everything. I dined by the sign of where The Inklings used to meet, walked up and down a staircase used during the filming of one of the Harry Potter movies and caught my breath at the delicate beauty of C.S. Lewis’ stain glass windows. When night fell I headed to my favorite pub for a pint, read my book and was approached by a gentleman.

I proceed to drag him all over town pointing out the things he had missed. He tried to get me to stay the evening (ha!). I flounced to the train station without looking back. I settled back into reading when another gentleman approached me because of what I was reading.

I did not read a lot that day.

I miss that about life in London, connecting with strangers over books.

Things were hard back then, but they weren’t dark as they are now.

I wish I had the strength to put my life path back to books. Maybe one day. 

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Ruby by Cynthia Bond

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Review long overdue!

4 Stars

*Deals with violence, rape and sexual abuse

Ruby by Cynthia Bond is a work of harsh literary beauty and heartache. I found the text haunting me long after I had finished reading the final page. This is a powerful, powerful piece of writing but be warned – the prose doesn’t hold back and the depictions of Ruby’s upbringing is at time disturbing and grotesque. The way Bond leads the reader through her history is gripping and drives the reader page after page.

This book wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be and at times it was hard to continue, but Bond’s way with words made the setting and characters come alive, so very much so that I can still recall certain scenes and how they made me feel months after I have read the book.

This historical work is rife with mystery, darkness and a pure, innocent love. As I was reading, I was longing for my college English class, wishing I had more to dissect and understand what I might have missed from this incredibly compelling book. Not for the lighthearted, but also equally not to be missed.

Quarterly: Book Riot YA

Oh how busy, busy, busy things have been! I’ve been experimenting with Quarterly since July 2014. Originally I started with their monthly book club, Riot Read (sadly, they are no longer operating this box). I was given a $25 voucher for feedback, so this option was a smart first choice. The first book I received was a smash hit. However, I felt that a new book every month was an expense I couldn’t take on. It was a gamble I didn’t want to take. 

I moved on to the every three month option from Book Riot. Just what I wanted! 

Book Riot announced in January that they would be offering a new subscription, this time for YA. Naturally I signed up and finally…my box of goodies arrived!

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Such lovely, lovely, goodies. 

I must say I am very pleased with this parcel. However, I’m not sure subscribing to both Book Riot boxes is something I should be spending my money on!

Here’s what I got in my lovely, #BYA parcel of Books & Bookish Goods for YA Fans!

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Rory Story Cubes

“Today I’m Reading” mug (with chalk to write/draw on it!)

Novel Tea Pouches

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

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I wrote about Novel Teas ages ago. You can imagine how thrilled I am to finally give them a go! My quote this morning was, “I read, much in the night, and go South in the winter.” T. S. Elliot. Seattle’s experiencing a bit of a brief freeze, so I must say this quote was very appropriate. 

The hardcover books are truly beautiful and sound like relevant and thrilling reads! 

All in all, an excellent first subscription. My next one for #BYA is in July. I’ll have to see how the next regular Book Riot stacks up before making a choice to keep both or stick with one. (I actually received my first Quarterly of 2015 last month, but life has been hectic. Details to come!)

Has anyone else tried Quarterly? How have you found it? Better yet, is there a different book subscription I should know about? Let me know!

Until next time, 

Ashleyisee

Quarterly December 2014

It’s another bunch of goodies from Team Riot! Pretties in December!

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What I got:

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

Ms Marvel Vol 1: No Normal by G Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Custom BOOKS Hat

Litographs Temporary Literary Tattoos

and

Shakespeare Candy from Archie McPhee! (Archie McPhee is local-so I’m ecstatic!)

My coworker and I were thrilled with the Litograph choices and immediately put one on.

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She went for Shakespeare and I went for Austin. Her almost looks real! Excellent placement choice.

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The hat is fantastic, perfect as it’s freezing here now. I couldn’t be more pleased with this final Quarterly parcel for 2014. Book themed items during the holidays…could anything be better?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit

I know The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten lists are on Tuesday, but I do my posts on Wednesday, so I’m mixing it up! I love this list! I love Halloween! It’s almost here! Here are my top ten spooky books to get into the thrilling spirit of All Hallow’s Eve!

1. The Shining by Stephen King

The ShiningI want to start with an epic classic. However, I personally feel that The Shining the book is VERY different, almost completely from the movie. They’re kind of like Harry Potter, both mediums should be experienced separately. I love both of them in different ways. The frightening psychological suspense is fantastic.

2. It by Stephen King

ITRead this when I was in 7th grade. I’m also afraid of spiders. Perfect for bringing back all your childhood fears to relive them now that you’re an adult.

3. Hell House by Alison Rattle and Allison Vale

Hell HouseThis short story collection has creepy tales from all over the world! I love it! Balancing different cultures with a perfect blend of truth, this book is not to be missed if you can find it.

4. Carrie by Stephen King

CarrieYes, I have a strong affection for King. I just recently finished Carrie and it is so much better than the movie! It’s like the Titanic, you know how it ends but you keep turning the pages hoping it might be different.

5. The Greywalker novels by Kat Richardson

GreywalkerYay my city! Spooky Seattle! What’s not to love? Richardson’s research and ability to blend local history and folklore is standout! I’m so sad she’s ending the series next year, but it’s been a great run!

6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

RansomA frighting combination of prose and real photos, Riggs is brilliant at making Wales come alive in a paranormal way. Full of mystery with a hero you pull for each page, this debut is essential for October.

7. Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

H234_SCH_GB11Haunted_0.tifSelf explanatory. I wish these were just as scary as when I first read them.

8. The Legend of Spookiley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano

SpookilyFor personal reasons. A fantastic picture book that has a great moral that’s perfect for Halloween!

9. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp ObjectsFlynn’s debut that is harsh, dark and looming, it’s my favorite of her books! For a traditional mystery, this book has an ending that is horrific and spine tingling!

10. Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll BonesThis is the only book I haven’t read on the list, but I’ve heard really good things and this cover alone makes it a must read for this month. I hope to read it eventually, but for now I’ll enjoy the beautifully spooky cover!

What are your favorite reads during October? Any special books that scream Halloween??