Book Haul – 25 to 31 October 2020

Halloween has been a subdued celebration this year. Although Halloween isn’t as big a deal in Australia as it is in America (I had to explain what trick-or-treating was to some neighbours when I was a kid) we have participated every year. Until now.

My heart broke a little when I had to tell a sweet young girl and her father that we weren’t participating this year. You just keep finding new ways to suck, COVID! To be fair, the father and daughter were entirely fine with it and I made sure to tell them to come back next year but I’m feeling a bit like I suck right now.

I plan to make myself feel better by introducing Mum to Halloween 4 tonight.

In happier news, my blog is now 6 months old! It’s been a weird year (to say the least) but starting this blog, after years of thinking about it, has been one of the highlights of 2020 for me. I love being able to share my bookish thoughts with you.

The rain that was promised this week actually showed up and it was amazing! One of my favourite things is a rain/coffee/book combo. I didn’t get as much reading done as I’d hoped (curse you, paperwork!) but it was still a good week.

I saw the duck family again and the ducklings looked like they’d grown, even though I only saw them for the first time about a week ago. I also managed to get a couple of walks on the beach in between the rain.

Word of the Week: quixotic. “Extremely idealistic; unrealistic and impractical.” (from lexico.com)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: It’s my mother’s birthday in a couple of weeks and one of our traditions is book buying. While I get her age appropriate books as well, I always try to find a picture book she’d like. She now owns pretty much all of the Grug and Clifford books. This year a new book in a series she loves is getting released just before her birthday – The Grinny Granny Donkey. Bonus points for the donkey. She loves donkeys, ducks and sloths. I’m crossing my fingers that my preorder arrives in time. If not, I’ll have one of her Christmas presents sorted!

Recent Reads:


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

A smart, imaginative, and evocative novel of love, betrayal, revenge, and redemption, told with razor-sharp wit and affection, in which a young woman discovers the greatest superpower – for good or ill – is a properly executed spreadsheet.

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy?
As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called “hero” leaves her badly injured. And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she’s the lucky one.

So, of course, then she gets laid off.

With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realises she might not be as powerless as she thinks.

Because the key to everything is data: knowing how to collate it, how to manipulate it, and how to weaponise it. By tallying up the human cost these caped forces of nature wreak upon the world, she discovers that the line between good and evil is mostly marketing. And with social media and viral videos, she can control that appearance.

It’s not too long before she’s employed once more, this time by one of the worst villains on earth. As she becomes an increasingly valuable lieutenant, she might just save the world.

A sharp, witty, modern debut, Hench explores the individual cost of justice through a fascinating mix of Millennial office politics, heroism measured through data science, body horror, and a profound misunderstanding of quantum mechanics.


Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her – and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her … or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together.

When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca – before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends – and their cameras – following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side. 


Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighbourhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she – and her book club – are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.


How far would you go to find The One?

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others …


NetGalley

Five strangers guard our secrets.

Only four can be trusted …

In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads. 

Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.

But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect …


How will you help your friend if she doesn’t want to be saved?

In a tranquil neighbourhood of Tokyo, seven teenagers wake to find the mirrors in their bedrooms are shining.

At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives into a wondrous castle filled with watchful portraits, winding stairways and twinkling chandeliers. Hidden within the walls is a key which will grant one wish, and a set of clues with which to find it. But there’s a catch: they must leave the premises by five o’clock or suffer a fatal end.

And so they begin to unlock each other’s stories: how a boy is showered with more gadgets than love; how another suffers a painful and unexplained rejection, and how a girl lives in fear of her predatory stepfather.

As time passes, the devastating truth emerges: only those brave enough to share their stories will be saved.

At the heart of this tender, playful tale is a powerful message about the importance of reaching out. Above all, it shows how with one kind act you can change your life for the better, and more importantly, you can change the lives of others.


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