Book Review: The Devil In The White City By: Erik Larson

This book just helped to secure my admiration and love for Erik Larson’s writing and impeccable attention to detail.

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: MURDER, MAGIC AND MADNESS AT THE FAIR THAT CHANGED AMERICA

By: Erik Larson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime, True Crime, Mystery/Thriller, Biography, Architecture
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Release: February 10th 2004

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Two

Hiya, Guys:

Here are the books I completed for the month of February for the three book challenges I’m participating in this year.  Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

 

#2016TBRPile Challenge

This has been on by TBR pile for a while and you might recognize that this another book by last month’s TBR author.

 

3volve

By Josefina Gutierrez

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Multicultural, Contemporary Romance, NA, Coming of age

Released: July 14th, 2015

Rating: 3/3.5 Stars

Goodreads OR buy 3volve  here: Amazon

Blurb:

From author Josefina Gutierrez, of “The Shadow of Loss”, comes a new New-Adult contemporary love story.

I thought my life began when I graduated high school and moved far, far away—okay three hours away. But I was wrong. My life didn’t start until it almost ended.

I’m Cristal Escobedo, twenty-two years old and a former wild child who favors tequila far too much. But that all changed when life happened, and I ended up being responsible for my younger brothers. To top it all off, I think I’m falling in love with my best friend—dammit.

This is my not-so-happy story of how I grew up and got my shit together. My story isn’t filled with a bunch of pretty analogies or hyperboles. The people are real, the hurt is deep, and the love is complicated. People are flawed in the ways that matter; it’s what makes us human.

For my 3volve review, click here.

 

#Rockmytbr Challenge

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

By Mindy Kaling

Genre: Humor, Autobiography, Writing, Essays, Funny, Non-Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

For my Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) review post, click here.

#2016audiobook Challenge

Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1)  Author: Daniel Jose Older

Narrated by: Daniel Jose Older

Length: 7hrs and 56mins

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller, Romance,  NA

Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 1/06/15

Publisher: Audible Studios

Goodreads | B& N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…

For my Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1)  audiobook review, click here.

 

BOOKS COMING UP:

March should be a slower month for me. I will admit that I did get distracted reading even more books than I planned to (on top of the blog tour books this month) which is why I had to post pone the planned Redeeming Love expected read for my #RockmyTBR last month and replace it with Mindy’s book. To be honest, I’m really happy I did because it allowed me to end the month on a light and funny note.

For the month of March, I decided to  The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Eric Larson because I really liked what I remember reading from this book back when I first bought it and I just feel like getting back to the story.

For my #2016Audiobook challenge in February, I did end up listening to two audiobooks, but didn’t realized why I marked the second book as ‘to-listen to’ as I was not familiar with the author until after I finished the book and realized I was meant to participate in a blog tour next month (in April) for it 😀 whoops! Well at least I’m a head of the game, right? Any-who, this month I choose to listen to The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.

And for my #2016TBRpile challenge I picked Hard Love (Hacker #5) by Meredith Wild because the other two picks are kind of dark and I thought this would be a lighter read in the mix.

On top of these expected reads, I will be listening to Voyage Of The Defiance by S.E. Smith, and I’ll be reading Broken Politics by Janae Keyes , books 1-3 of the Stone Legacy series by Theresa DaLayne,  and The Fold by Peter Clines. Knowing myself, I’m sure I’ll squeeze in a few more this month, but I should stop because my body misses sleep XD.

As always, thanks so very  much for reading. I hope you liked reads this month and be sure to come back to check out what else I’ll be reviewing 🙂

Until next time,

Gia.

Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) By Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

By Mindy Kaling

Genre: Humor, Autobiography, Writing, Essays, Funny, Non-Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

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Book Review: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

By Kristin Cashore

Genre: YA, Action, Adventure, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

Graceling Review:

From start to finish, I loved everything about this book. It was given to me by my younger brother and it had been sitting on my shelf for some time, but it only took the first two pages for me to get into it.

I found this story to be so compelling and I loved the way the book had so many different levels: female independence, gender equilibrium relationships amongst Kasta and most of her male counter parts, Love, friendship, combat, adventure, comedy and even a layer of evil so unspeakable with King Lec. It made my heart stop, my stomach turn and my skin crawl.

I do not think that I can praise this book enough for giving me Kasta. A character so uniquely independent and self-driven with a powerful perspective and aspirations aimed toward helping those in the 7 kingdoms. Kasta knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want in her life and she does not let anyone, not even Po take that away from her by trying to change her mind. And what was even more rewarding, was Po’s acceptance of Katsa as she was and his unwavering love for her and contentment of being by her side without trying to change her.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month One

Hiya, Guys:

Here are the books I completed for the month of January for the three book challenges I’m participating in this year.  Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

 

#2016TBRPile Challenge

Has been on by TBR pile for weeks.

 

 

The Shadow of Loss

By Josefina Gutierrez

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Multicultural, Romance, YA

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Goodreads OR buy Shadow of Loss here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble|  Kobo

Blurb:

Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more? Has she lost her soul? Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus. Can she trust people again? Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school. Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.

For The Shadow of Loss Review click here.

 

#Rockmytbr Challenge

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

By Kristin Cashore

Genre: YA, Action, Adventure, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

For my Graceling review post, click here.

 

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Let The 2016 (Reading) Challenges Begin

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

I hope you’ve all had a fantastical and memorable (mostly) ringing in of 2016! ^__^ And for those of you who don’t really remember much of the night, but had fun anyway? *high-five* 🙂

Now, in light of the New Year, I’ve decided to commit to a few reading challenges I’ve found to help encourage me to get through some books I’ve had, but I haven’t been able to get too. And what I like about the three challenges I’ve found is that they actually cover the mix of books I’ve wanted to read but have not been able to make time for.

Such as, ARCs (ebooks mostly), purchased books and a few audiobooks. I’ve listened to a few audiobooks before, but I’ve always preferred physical to audiobooks because I guess having someone else in my head telling a story freaks me out a bit? [Or at least that’s what the voices in my head tell me 😉 ]

In all seriousness, I’ve recently discovered the joy and comfort of audiobooks and the flexibility they offer. I’m reading screenplays nearly everyday (on a laptop) and just over this past year, I’ve noticed an increase of strain on my eyes. The discomfort is so intense sometimes that I can’t properly focus on reading actual physical copies of documents or books.

The audiobooks help to ease that strain on my eyes and allow me to still enjoy a book even when I need to rest my eyes. Now, for all the avid audiobookers out there, I’m sure this is in no way a monuments revelation to you, but give a girl a break here :-D.

With my rambling out of the way, let’s get to those challenges 🙂

The First, is Bookish Lifestlye‘s 5th Annul TBR Reading Challenge

My intended level for this challenge is: 11-20 A Friendly Hug My list is below, but it’s a random list that I might change later (as with the other lists as well):

  1. Thank You, Goodnight by Andy Abramowitz
  2. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
  3. The Other Son (Brinkmann Trilogy #2) by Alexander Soderberg
  4. Orient by Christopher Bollen
  5. It Started with Paris by Cathy Kelly
  6. I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter
  7. Hostile Takeover (John Lago Thriller #2) by Shane Kuhn
  8. Hard Love (Hacker #5) by: Meredith Wild
  9. Friction by Sandra Brown
  10. Demon Within (Silver Legacy #2) by Alex Westmore
  11. Deceptions (Cainsville #3) by Kelley Armstrong
  12. The Blessings by: Elise
  13. 3volve By: Josefina Gutierrez
  14. Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse
  15. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda By: Becky Albertalli
  16. The Shadow of Loss By: Josefina Gutierrez
  17. Half-Breed Queen (Skatia Narratives #1)By: L.A. Hendricks

The Second, is The YA Book Traveler’s RockmyTBR challenge:

Which will consist of TBR books I own/bought that were/will not be published in 2016, but haven’t gotten to yet:

  1. Greywalker (Greywalker #1) by Kat Richardson
  2. Eat, Pray, Love by: Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) By Kristin Cashore
  4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by: Mindy Kaling
  5. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, & Madness at the Fair that Changed America by: Erik Larson
  6. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of Lusitania by: Erik Larson

 

The Third, is The Book Nympho & Hot Listens’ Audiobooks Challenge:

The Book Nympho

Right now, I’m aiming for the Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) level with 5-10 books.

  1. The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
  2. X (Kinsey Millhone #24) by Sue Grafton
  3. Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1) by: Daniel Jose Older
  4. The Diviners series (1-2) by Libba Bray
  5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  6. The Wrath and the Dawn (Book #1) by Renee Ahdieh
  7. The Dune Chronicles (1-5) by Frank Herbert
  8. The Queen of Tearling series (1-2) by Erika Johansen
  9. Soundless by: Richelle Mead
  10. Why Not Me? by: Mindy Kaling
  11. Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Oldr
  12. Obsidian (Lux #1) by: Jennifer L. Armentrout
  13. An Ember in the Ashes (book 1) by Sabaa Tahir
  14. The Law Of Moses (The Law Of Moses #1) by: Amy Harmon

Pheww! That’s a lot! 0_o  I know that most of these titles will change and I might not like some of them so I wanted to at least start off with a nice range and variety. What do you guys think? Are you started a reading challenge this year, too? If not and you’re interested in joining one of these I highly recommend it. 🙂

Happy Sunday, folks! And thanks so much for reading.

Until next time,

Gia.

 

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