The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien Review

Writing a review has never made me nervous, until now. I don’t feel qualified to review such a beloved classic. But here I am, ya know, doing it anyhow. So here we go.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” The owner of the hobbit hole is Bilbo Baggins and he doesn’t know it yet but he is in for an adventure. When Gandalf shows up at his door his life will never be the same.

I started reading The Hobbit in February and I put it down. I was having a weird aversion to fantasy at the time.

I also had a bit of a hard time getting into Tolkien’s writing style. It was definitely an adjustment.

My husband bought the movie set and I finally sat down to watch it. After I finished the movie I wanted to give the book another shot. I enjoyed it more the second time. I love the adventures they encountered. I even became attached to the dwarves. In the beginning I found Bilbo slightly annoying, but I loved his character development. I still had some issues with Tolkien’s writing style. At times I didn’t feel as connected to the book as I would have liked to. In the end, I really enjoyed it. I am not sure if I will pickup The Lord of the Rings. I am still debating it, but I wouldn’t mind being back in Middle-earth.

My Rating: 4/5

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Review

I can’t believe I hadn’t wanted to read this. For some reason, Where the Crawdads Sing wasn’t on my radar. My husband was shopping one day and he picked it up for me because it sounded like something I would like. I am so glad that he did.

Everyone in Barkley Cove, North Carolina has heard about the “Marsh Girl.” In 1969 when Chase Andrews is found dead everyone suspects Kya, the Marsh Girl. Misunderstood Kya is intelligent and strong. She has survived for years in the marsh alone. Then two young men become interested in her and it changes her world forever.

For some reason when the book was first published I read the synopsis and assumed it was a romance. It shocked me when I read the synopsis again. I can’t believe how much I missed. It is part murder mystery, part coming of age story, all wrapped up in a book dedicated to the love of nature.

I have to say this came very close to beating My Dark Vanessa out of my favorite of the year spot. The writing was stunning. I felt like I was in the marsh with Kya.

The depictions of Kya’s early years were absolutely heartbreaking. I can’t ever imagine a child going through what she lived through. We watch her grow from a frightened child to a strong adult who makes a life for herself in her beloved marsh.

The murder mystery is told in snippets throughout the book. It is woven into the parts about Kya’s childhood. When Kya finally reaches the age that the murder took place the two timelines blend and goes from there. To watch the town’s prejudice against Kya is sickening. The people judged her just because she lived differently.

I so loved the way Owen’s ended the book. I wasn’t shocked by the plot twist, but I adored it nonetheless. I am so glad my husband picked up this book for me.

My Rating: 5/5

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The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix Review

I want to find a new vampire book that I love. I hoped this would be it, but unfortunately I walked away disappointed. There were aspects that I enjoyed I just wasn’t blown away by it.

Set in the ’90s in Charleston, South Carolina, house-wife Patricia Campbell is starting to feel stuck in her routine. She gave up her career to be a suburban stay at home mom, but she is getting bored. The one thing she looks forward to is her book club that focuses on true crime and thriller novels. But when an attractive new stranger moves in next door life gets a bit more interesting. Then children start to go missing and her suspicions turn toward the new neighbor. The monster she uncovers is more horrifying than she can ever imagine.

Ok, we all know sometimes people in horror movies and books don’t always make the best choices. However, in this one, the bad decisions just pile up. There are two major ones that jump out at me. First, she helped the creepy new neighbor set up his bank account by signing on it. This was literally the second time she met him, and the first time she met him wasn’t a positive encounter. The author justified it as “Southern hospitality.” Well, I am from the South and while people are nice down here we aren’t stupid. Anyhow, maybe that only annoyed me because I am in the financial industry. The second bad choice was leaving her son alone on Halloween night knowing that there is a creepy child killer around.

My next problem was the way the vampire was portrayed. The first description compared the way he sucked blood to a long roach leg protruding from his throat. The local authorities thought the bite marks he left were track marks from a needle. I really just like good old-fashioned fangs, but that’s totally my preference.

In the end it was a creepy, slow burn of a horror novel. The ending took a strange twist. I guess I can summarize this review by saying nothing about this book was what I expected. The creep factor was there, but the rest fell flat for me.

My Rating: 2/5

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Whammy by Ted Akin Review

Whammy was an interesting adventure. It was part mystery, part comic book. It was a lot of fun.

In Lily Grove, Texas two things keep the town moving, farming and the oil field. When an accidental death happens, Klive Anderson tries to find out why it happened. Stacey Karlise owns a coffee shop by day as a front for her other, less legal, business. She has lived in Lily Grove her whole life and small town life is wearing her down. But something is about to shake up her small town.

The story starts out by alternating between real life and the comic inspired book that Klive is writing. Klive started writing it to help relieve the pressures of his job at the oil field. When a death occurs that seems a bit suspicious, Klive’s book begins to turn into a mystery.

While Klive is researching a real life mystery, Stacey begins to read Klive’s journal. She starts giving him feedback and encouragement. When Stacey begins to get involved with the real life mystery it triggers the events that happen in the next part of the book. That’s really all I can tell you without spoiling the rest.

This book is a lot of fun. It is a quick read that I flew through. Klive is a likable character, but Stacey was hilarious. I loved her.

About halfway through the book there is a major shift in the events. Stacey becomes the main character. My only complaint is that there is no closure at the end. When Stacey becomes the main focus that is the last we hear of Klive. I wish he was included in the end to make it all come together. It made it feel a bit disjointed.

My Rating: 4/5

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Let’s Talk About bookshop.org

So today’s post is a little different. I wanted to take some time to tell you about this awesome new website. It is called bookshop.org. The goal behind the website was to build a platform to help support local indie bookstores by ordering online. So there are two options to shopping on here. 1. You can search a bookstore on there map and the full profit will go to that bookstore. 2. You can just buy a book without searching a specific store and the profit will be added to their earnings pool. The earnings pool will then be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop).

I am also happy to say that I have become an affiliate with Bookshop. The cool thing about their affiliate program is that I can set up lists of books that I recommend. So every month I am going to add my monthly reads to the shop. I will receive a small commission from the sales made through my link at no extra cost to you, but the profit will still go to a bookstore of your choosing or to the earnings pool.

So far I have a recent favorites list up so you can go see what I have been loving. I’d love for you to go check it out!

Bookshop.org is a great way for the book community to support local bookstores. It is important to support them anyway, but now especially with the Covid-19 closures we need to be even more mindful of that. So give bookshop.org a try.

Check it out!