Down The TBR Hole: Part 4

Time to keep going through my TBR list to see what stays and what goes. When I started this I said I would write four posts of five books each because my TBR keeps on growing and I didn’t want to make this a never-ending series of repetitive posts. However, I think I’ll keep going for a little longer because this has been fun although it’s been hard to let go of some books.

There’s currently 219 books on my TBR. Let’s see how today goes.

Delusion by Peter Abrahams

A woman’s world is turned upside down when new evidence frees a man she put in prison with her testimony years ago in this latest ingenious thriller from the author.

Twenty years ago Nell Jarreau witnessed the murder of her boyfriend. Her testimony put a man behind bars—and led her to her husband, Clay, the gentle detective who solved the case. They’ve been happy ever since—and have raised a daughter together—but then one phone call changes everything.

New evidence has exonerated Alvin DuPree, aka Pirate—the man Nell helped to convict—and now he’s a free man. Nell is consumed by feelings of guilt, and for the first time in their marriage, Clay is no help. The case is closed for him, this new turn of events a mistake, nothing more, and Nell’s attempts to talk to him about the situation are met with anger. And to make matters worse, the whole ordeal is beginning to wear on her relationship with her daughter.

Nell is determined to find the answers to her questions, though. Is DuPree, now a much-changed man, really innocent? Could Nell have been wrong all those years ago? Does her husband—or her daughter—know something about the case Nell doesn’t? But secrets buried for twenty years tend to grow roots, to burrow deep; and they are not unearthed easily. Every answer produces more questions, and Nell’s search eventually leads her to the one person she hasn’t approached: the freed man himself. As the pieces fall into place, Nell realizes that the truth—and very real danger—could be much closer than she ever imagined.

Keep it or leave it? Leave it

At some point I was really excited about reading this book, but reading the synopsis again now I feel like it won’t really bring anything new or surprising, so I’ll let it go.

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Winter in Madrid by C. J. Sansom

Fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind and Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong will fall in love with Winter in Madrid, the arresting new novel from C.J. Sansom. In September 1940, the Spanish Civil War is over and Madrid lies in ruins while the Germans continue their march through Europe. Britain stands alone as General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war.

Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett, a privileged young man who was recently traumatized by his experience in Dunkirk and is now a reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of Sandy Forsyth, an old school friend turned shadowy Madrid businessman, Brett finds himself involved in a dangerous game and surrounded by memories. Meanwhile, Sandy’s girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged in a secret mission of her own—to find her former lover Bernie Piper, whose passion for the Communist cause led him into the International Brigades and who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

In a vivid and haunting depiction of wartime Spain, Winter in Madrid is an intimate and riveting tale that offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding and the profound impact of impossible choices.

Keep it or leave it? Leave it

This is probably on my list because of the link to Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I absolutely loved the Cementery of Forgotten Books series, every book was captivating to read. I don’t usually read that type of stories though, reading those books was more of an exception than a rule. It’s hard to decide with this one because it sounds really interesting and I think it should be an enjoyable read as well. However it’s not the kind of story I wanna read for now. Maybe I’ll come back to it at some other point.

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The Man Who Ended The World by Jason Gurley

When Steven Glass’s third grade teacher asked his class what they wanted to be when they grew up, Steven’s classmates shouted the usual answers: “A fireman!” “A teacher!” “The President!” When his turn came, Steven said, “When I grow up I’m going to be the last man on Earth.”

Warning signs don’t come much clearer than that.

Nearly thirty years later, Steven Glass is a billionaire. Surrounded by groupies, yes-men, investment opportunities and glamour, all Steven really wants is to be alone.

Really, really alone.

In secret, Steven builds a personal sanctuary nearly a mile underground. He vanishes from public life, goes off the grid. He’s finally alone. Well, except for an artificial intelligence companion named after the only girl he ever loved.

There, Steven plays video games, heckles the news, and waits for the apocalypse. When the end doesn’t come soon enough, Steven goes to work. He still has billions of dollars to spend — and there must be something he can do to accelerate the coming storm.

Wrestling with his own destiny, unaware of the young stowaways who have discovered his underground paradise, and battling his duplicitous A.I. companion at every turn, Steven Glass struggles to create the reality he has always hoped for — at the expense of the future of every single living human being on Earth…

Unless a pair of eleven-year-old children can stop him and save the world, that is.

Keep it or leave it? Leave it

I must admit I was more captivated by the title than the synopsis of this book when I added it to my TBR list. Shame on me, I know. In theory, it could be an interesting idea, but the last few lines of that description make me feel like it will take a turn that I’m not really interested in.

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Zodiac Station by Tom Harper

Deep in the Arctic, the US Coast Guard icebreaker Terra Nova batters its way through the frozen sea. A gaunt figure skis out of the fog on the pack ice. He says his name is Thomas Anderson, and that he’s the lone survivor of a terrible accident at the research outpost Zodiac Station, located on the ice-bound island of Utgard.

Ten days earlier: Tom Anderson arrives at Zodiac Station looking to resurrect a career destroyed by scientific scandal. But things quickly go wrong when the man who hired him, brilliant biochemist Martin Hagger, turns up dead at the bottom of a crevasse. The base commander insists he fell. But footprints in the snow suggest a different possibility.

As Anderson tells his tale of sabotage, suspicion, and paranoia, the mystery only deepens. Then other survivors are discovered—adding their stories of human greed, jealousy, oil company trickery, Russian espionage, and global warming. But the truth is something no one on the Terra Nova could have imagined.

A fast-paced, gripping thriller that marries science and adventure, Zodiac Station is as chilling and unpredictable as the fierce Arctic landscape.

Keep it or leave it? Keep it

This sounds like the kind of book I like to read. I’ll probably make this one of my first reads of 2019.

 

 

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Unpopular Book Opinions: The Girl On The Train

Do you have a book that has great reviews and everyone you know seems to love, but you just can’t understand why? You probably do. I’m not making this post to hate on any one book and try to convince people not to read it, no. I just thought it could be interesting to share a few thoughts about some books that get great reviews and a lot of hype, but that I just didn’t enjoy at all. One of those books is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawking.

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By now I guess you might have read this book already or maybe you watched the movie. Yes, there is a movie based on this book that, as you can imagine, I didn’t bother to watch, though the reviews aren’t very flattering so I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. However, if you haven’t read the book yet and plan on doing so, approach this post carefully as there might be some minor spoilers.

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

The Girl On The Train enjoyed great success when it was published. Before deciding to read it I heard a lot of praise for it and everyone who read it seemed to have nothing but good things to say about it. The premise interested me a lot so I decided to read it. I hated it immediately.

The main character, Rachel, is extremely unlikable and unreliable, which made me lose any interest I could have had about what could happen. However it wasn’t just her, pretty much every character on this book is terrible so it’s very hard to sympathise or care about any of them. I forced myself to finish reading this because I don’t like to DNF books and I had already spent the money. It only got worse and worse. The story was way too fantastic for me, the woman who takes the train everyday at the same time only so people around her don’t realize she hasn’t had a job for a long time, fantasizes about the perfect life of some random couple she sees on the way and then suddenly becomes obsessed about something she thinks happened to them to the point of involving the police and acting like a complete psycho. I realize this is the main premise of the book so I shouldn’t have been surprised, yet the way in which this was executed was absolutely ridiculous in my opinion.

The so-called “plot twist” was one of the most predictable things I’ve ever seen. Chances are if you’ve read a few similar books, you’ll know exactly what’s happening about 150 pages before the final revelation. The mystery is not a mystery at all, it’s unoriginal and predictable. I really have nothing good to say about this book. Reading it made me so mad that I was ready to throw it away or even burn it, but before I could do so my mom borrowed it from me and, to my surprise, she loved it!

As I write this post, this book enjoys a 3.9 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. I guess I’m in the minority who just absolutely hated it.

Did you read The Girl On The Train? What did you think of it?

What’s a book you hate but most other people seem to love?

Upcoming Reads: November

October’s over and it’s been a good month. I ended up reading a few more books than planned like Whisper by Lynette Noni. I initially got that book via NetGalley months ago, a few days before it was archived. I started to read it, but since I was going through a lot while preparing to move to a different country, my progress was super slow and I wasn’t able to finish it before coming here, which made me really sad because I was loving reading it. After a long while I was able to get a copy and I could finally finish it.

My #SpooksAndTea reads went a bit different than planned though. I read Bird Box and enjoyed it so much. The ending however left me feeling a bit unsatisfied, I was expecting a different closing to the story I guess. I wasn’t able to get And The Trees Crept In, so I read The Island of Dr. Moreau, which was certainly a step outside of the comfort zone for me, but it was a really good experience.

However it’s November now and I got quite a few new books recently, so it’s time to decide which ones I’ll be reading this month.

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After years of learning how to manage her bipolar disorder, Emily Firestone finally has it under control. Even better, her life is coming together: she’s got a great job, her own place, and a boyfriend, Paolo, who adores her. So when Paolo suggests a weekend sailing trip, Emily agrees—wine, water, and the man she loves? What could be better? But when Emily wakes the morning after they set sail, the boat is still adrift…and Paolo is gone.

A strong swimmer, there’s no way Paolo drowned, but Emily is at a loss for any other explanation. Where else could he have gone? And why? As the hours and days pass by, each moment marking Paolo’s disappearance, Emily’s hard-won stability begins to slip.

But when Emily uncovers evidence suggesting Paolo was murdered, the investigation throws her mania into overdrive, even as she becomes a person of interest in her own personal tragedy. To clear her name, Emily must find the truth—but can she hold onto her own sanity in the process?

I got this eARC via NetGalley and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been hearing really good things about this one from other people who’ve read it, which only makes me even more excited about it.

 

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Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.

This book was November’s choice for a read along by the members of the book club I’m in and even though it’s not a book I would have chosen to read for myself since the description makes it sound too beautifully tragic. However, I’m sure it’ll be a good experience to share with the group.

 

 

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Going to Level 2 gives me unimaginable power. So naturally, now that everyone I care about is in trouble, I can’t do it anymore.

The Elders can, but will they teach me, and if so, at what price?

Ultimately, it comes down to a choice.

What am I willing to sacrifice for those I love?

The final book in the Mind Dimension series. It’ll be bittersweet to finish this series because I’ve enjoyed it a lot and I’ll be sad when I’m done with it, but I’m really looking forward to knowing how it all ends and I know I’ll love this book as much as I’ve loved all the previous ones.

So those are the books I’m planning to read this month. What books will you be reading?

TOP 5 FAVOURITE QUOTES

Today’s post is all about some of my favourite book quotes. It’s been hard to pick just five, there’s so many quotes that I love that I decided to name this post part one, since there’s probably gonna be another one with more quotes soon.

The quotes I picked today are powerful truths that are somehow always on my mind and belong to some of my favourite books. You’ll see I’ve included two quotes from The Shadow of the Wind, I thought about picking five different books, but I just couldn’t leave either one of them out of this post.

I watch children as they skate heedlessly across a frozen pond, slicing
circles in the ice, laughing as they go, never imagining the lethal depths
beneath them, nor that buried within themselves there are places in the dark,
deep and hidden, from which their fates uncoil.
Places In The Dark by Thomas. H. Cook
And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers – shriveled now, and brown and flat and brittle – to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of men.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

Nothing feeds forgetfulness better than war, Daniel. We all keep quiet and they try to convince us that what we’ve seen, what we’ve done, what we’ve learned about ourselves and about others, is an illusion, a passing nightmare. Wars have no memory, and nobody has the courage to understand them until there are no voices left to tell what happened, until the moment comes when we no longer recognize them and they return, with another face and another name, to devour what they left behind.

The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The entire human race has this tendency—the inclination to cling to their own group. This obsession with sub-dividing ourselves is responsible for practically every evil in the world. Everyone fails to see that the hatred between our people is just another example in a series of these meaningless feuds. They all start with people who are extremely alike, and then a tiny difference creeps in, and people separate along that difference, after which insanity ensues. Sooner or later, you get that ‘we hate you because you hate us’ deadlock, or worse.

The Thought Pushers by Dima Zales

Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.

The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

 

Do you have any favourite quotes?

DOWN THE TBR HOLE: PART 3

Time to keep going through my TBR list to see what stays and what goes. This is actually proving to be harder than I expected because I wanna read everything.

How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

A woman without a memory struggles to discover the truth about her past and her identity in this cerebral and dark thriller reminiscent of works by bestselling authors S.J. Watson and Ruth Ware.

I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don’t you? My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address, and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he’s dead? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

Keep it or leave it? Keep it

The premise of this book reminds me a bit of Silent Child, another book about a woman who’s not sure what happened to her son although under very different circumstances. I thoroughly enjoyed that book and while I’m not expecting this book to be like that one in any way, the premise still intrigues me and I do think this book will evoke a similar feeling so I have to read it.

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The Long Fall by Julia Crouch

How far would you go to protect your secrets?

Greece, 1980
Emma takes part in a shattering, violent event. An event to which she is anything but an innocent bystander.
She is only eighteen, but this marks her fall from innocence.
It will haunt her for the rest of her life.
London, now
Kate has the perfect existence: a glossy image, a glamorous home, a perfect family.
But there are cracks.
All is not what it seems.

And now the two worlds are about to collide.
Somebody’s out for revenge.
Someone who has been waiting thirty years…

Keep it or leave it? Leave it

The purpose of doing this is cleaning up the TBR read so that I have more time to read books that I’m genuinely excited about. I’m not saying I won’t read this one ever because this sounds like a book I’ll enjoy at some point. However, I don’t have enough information from that description to be thrilled about it, so I’ll have to let it go for now.

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Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

When you’re in love with the wrong person for the right reasons, anything could happen.

Tretch lives in a very small town where everybody’s in everybody else’s business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his straight best friend. For his part, Matt is completely oblivious to the way Tretch feels – and Tretch can’t tell whether that makes it better or worse.

The problem with living a lie is that the lie can slowly become your life. For Tretch, the problem isn’t just with Matt. His family has no idea who he really is and what he’s really thinking. The girl at the local bookstore has no clue how off-base her crush on him is. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Tretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.

Tretch has spent a lot of time dancing alone in his room, but now he’s got to step outside his comfort zone and into the wider world. Because like love, a true self can rarely be contained.

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a poignant, hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship, a provocative debut that shows that sometimes we have to let things fall apart before we can make them whole again.

Keep it or leave it? Leave it

This is one of those books I added to my TBR list because I saw a lot of people giving it good reviews on Goodreads at the same time. I think I might enjoy it in the right circumstances, but the description makes it sound like a coming of age romantic novel and that’s not the kind of book I wanna read for now, so I’ll let it go.

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No Harm Can Come to a Good Man by James Smythe

How far would you go to save your family from an invisible threat? A terrifyingly original thriller from the author of The Machine.
ClearVista is used by everyone and can predict everything.
It’s a daily lifesaver, predicting weather to traffic to who you should befriend.
Laurence Walker wants to be the next President of the United States. ClearVista will predict his chances.
It will predict whether he’s the right man for the job.
It will predict that his son can only survive for 102 seconds underwater.
It will predict that Laurence’s life is about to collapse in the most unimaginable way.

Keep it or leave it? Keep it

This is exactly the kind of book I wanna read. This is the kind of books I love. Of course, it might still be terrible, I haven’t read it yet, but this premise is the kind of book I must read, so of course I’m keeping it and placing an order for it soon so I can read it.

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An Atheist’s History of Belief by Matthew Kneale

What first prompted prehistoric man, sheltering in the shadows of deep caves, to call upon the realm of the spirits? And why has belief thrived since, shaping thousands of generations of shamans, pharaohs, Aztec priests and Mayan rulers, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, Nazis, and Scientologists?

As our dreams and nightmares have changed over the millennia, so have our beliefs. The gods we created have evolved and mutated with us through a narrative fraught with human sacrifice, political upheaval and bloody wars.

Belief was man’s most epic labor of invention. It has been our closest companion, and has followed mankind across the continents and through history.

Keep it or leave it? Keep it

Honestly, I don’t know what to expect of this book, but it seems interesting enough that I still wanna read it.

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Book Review: The 7 (1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

I got a digital copy of this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and I must say I was really pleasantly surprised by it. This book was first published in the UK under the name The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, but for publication in the US they had to add the 1/2 to the title.

When I read the premise I was immediately drawn to it, it felt like an interesting mystery book and definitely promised new elements. As I started reading this book, however, I was quite confused and almost put off by all the missing information. The story doesn’t start with a typical character introduction or setup, it starts in the middle of the action with a character whose narrative is very unreliable since he has no recollection of who he is, where is he is or any kind of information about what’s happening, which made the first few chapters were a bit frustrating because I had no idea what was happening either. The information about who this character is, where he is and why will not come until you’re past the halfway point of the story, which will be revealed to the reader in layers and will sometimes be hard to follow.

I know, I’m making it sound like a complicated  book that’s not worth the trouble, but I promise you it is amazing. As the story progressed, everything started to fall into place and I found I could not put this book down! In the end, I have to say, I’m massively impressed by this novel, especially considering it’s a debut novel by Stuart Turton. I haven’t read any books like this so far, there’s a lot of new elements in this story that make it captivating and it will definitely stay with you after you’re done.

This is the point where I’ll have to make a spoiler alert, since I’m gonna talk about some of the details of the story that I loved the most, but I won’t mention any major plot developments.

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The main plot is simple enough, we are Aiden Bishop and we are trapped in a loop where the only way out is to solve Evelyn’s murder. In order to get this done we have 8 days which we’ll get to live as different characters who are witnesses to this event. The most interesting thing for me was that none of those characters is Aiden Bishop, so his identity remains a mystery throughout the book. His hosts’ personalities sometimes overrule his own, so we can’t be sure about where his actions come from. Towards the end we get to know a bit about why he’s there and we do see bits of him shine through each of the hosts he inhabits, but we never get to really know much about him. In fact, we have no idea who Aiden Bishop is once he leaves Blackheath because being there changes him, so whatever we think about we know about him no longer applies. Not many books have the audacity to tell you absolutely nothing about its main character, but this one does and it’s one of the most refreshing elements about it in my opinion.

Another thing I really loved about this book was the plot development. As I mentioned before, I was really confused at the beginning and didn’t know what was happening to whom or where, but once the story started to reveal itself, it was fascinating to see all the things that were happening in Blackheath and there was always something new to discover. Things are never what they seem, characters you think are friends, are actually enemies. Even Evelyn’s murder isn’t what it seems.

There’s mysteries all over Blackheath, each character has their own story and they’re all a pleasure to discover. Some books have a lot of characters in secondary roles and never really go into much detail, but in this book every character is explored and developed in a way that really makes you feel part of the story. Stuart Turton makes a great job of creating a very immersive experience for the reader and you can see that it must have taken great careful work to put all of this together.

The only two things I have to complain about are the confusion at the beginning and the length of the book. Like I said, the first half of the book can be extremely confusing and I was really close to giving up on this book because I just didn’t care enough to put up with it during the first few chapters. I’ve seen many other reviewers, if not all of them, mention the word “confusing” when talking about this book and while in the end it doesn’t take anything away from the book, it can make some people lose interest really quickly and miss out on a really great original story.

My issue with the length of the book is just personal preference. I think the book is actually great as it is, but I would like to explore the world of Blackheath a little more. There’s definitely more that I would like to know about what exactly Blackheath is, the forces in control of the loop and maybe some more character backstories. Of course, this isn’t necessary and part of the greatness of the book is leaving many things unexplained, but I would love to know more about it.

Overall, I’m just really impressed by this story. I found it highly refreshing and certainly different from any other book out there. I can’t wait to see what Stuart Turton comes up with next. In the meantime, let me know what you thought about it if you read it.

 

Upcoming Reads: October

This time I thought it would be a good idea to share the books I’m planning to read next. The book club I’m a part of is doing a horror themed read-a-thon, so I’m participating of the event reading two horror books and I ordered another book that I wanna read as well so I’m aiming for three this month.

Let’s start with the horror books. For our #SpooksandTea read-a-thon (you can read more about it here), I chose two books that have been on my TBR list for some time:

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Stay away from the woods…

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night… a man no one else can see?

Horror is not usually a genre I go for, but I enjoy the occasional short story or book here and there. I heard about this book during last year’s #SpooksandTea and those who read it really enjoyed it. The description makes it sound like it’s a book that gives you that eerie feeling while reading it and the title is really interesting to me.

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Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Whenever I ask for a horror book recommendation, this seems to be the first title that comes to mind for most people. I’ve heard great things about Bird Box so I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

I have those two books in digital form and my Kindle died recently, therefore I’ll have to read on my phone or the PC for the time being, which is not the best. That’s why the other book I’m aiming to read this month is one I own in physical format.

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I mentioned this book on my first Down The TBR Hole post. I’ve been wanting to read this book for years and couldn’t get a copy for different reasons. Fortunately now I was able to get one via Book Depository. I’m still waiting for it to arrive, but it should be here early next week at the latest and I’m really excited to finally get it.

So these are my picks for this month. What are you reading?