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If it's good, I'll read it! Instagram:  @crystenasbooks

BookCon Update


As requested! 


So these are the books I picked up at BookCon. Now there were plenty of other ARCs and free book signings I didn't want to stand in line for. I was too wired. I wanted to SEEEEE everything.


I also got an Owlcrate tote which they gave away free with a book. I got two since my husband dutifully stood in line with me and got one.  I also got two more free totes. 


Plenty of decent bookmarks were handed out as well. The books that weren't free were priced well. A few had $5 for paperbacks and $10 for hardcovers. Not bad. 


The Con had all things books. BookBeau was there. There was also a display that had book inspired case holders for your phone that were leather and just beautiful.   There was also a The Strand display with their totes, book t-shirts, socks, etc.  There was a booth with book-inspired jewelry, candles and the like.


It was nice watching young people walk up to each other and ask what kind of books they liked, swapping Instagram handles.  The best story was one I saw on Instagram while I was posting pics. You can read about it here. I was impressed by Tahereh Mafi.  Oh which brings me to another point. Know what your fave authors look like if you want to just say hey, cuz some of them were wandering the floor but were able to go incognito. 


My fangirl moment came when I saw Victoria Schwab. I loved Vicious.  I just missed M.C. Beaton who was there very early on for a signing in a booth. Next year I will pay attention to the line up that is not on the main stage. There were some decent signings at the booths like Jenny Han, Schwab, Orson Scott Card, MC Beaton, L. Penelope, Omar Epps ( frankly I just wanted to talk to him about House)  that wasn't in the crowded autographing area. 


I would definitely recommend BookCon. It's 2 days - we went for one. Sunday had James Patterson and Bill Clinton who co-wrote a book as well as some other big names. I can't imagine the security for that day though. 


It was nice to see the things you blog about, or things talked about in the book community in physical form. They had different panels about everything from diversity to nonfiction to just mysteries. Listening to topics we blog about and read about within the sphere of the book community was really nice. 



BookCon 2018

BookCon 2018!


My husband and I went this year and had a great time. 


Saw Brandon Sanderson, Victoria Schwab, Senator John Lewis, Orson Scott Card... It was amazing!


Loved the book swag, the free goodies, the book deals. Definitely recommend! 


The Bookseller

The Bookseller: A Novel - Cynthia Swanson



This was just ok.


The premise was intriguing about a woman seemingly living two different lives, but the book dragged on too long before the big reveal as to which life was "real" and why.



The why was a bit head-scratching as well. Not sure I buy it. 


I did like the writing though and would read this author again. 

Reading progress update: I've read 42%.

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton - Stephanie Dray, Laura Croghan Kamoie

Great read so far! I'm so glad it's living up to my mental hype. Granted it took a bit to get going but after it did I was hooked. The same thing happened with America's First Daughter so I wasn't surprised.  


It is a LONG book by my standards so I have to break it up with other books.

A State of Jane

A State of Jane - Meredith Schorr

This wasn't bad. 


Basically, this book follows our main character, Jane, as she dives into dating after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. She thinks it will be easy. It is not. She thinks she will find The One in record time. She does not. If you want an amusing breakdown of every type of bad date/shady guy/ struggle facing a single woman in the world today you could do worse. Jane's naivete is put to good use, you can definitely relate to her experiences in navigating dating. 


Overall, recommend. 

Hearse and Buggy

Hearse and Buggy - Laura Bradford

This was a pretty good start to this series. Laura Bradford's writing style is engaging.  


This book is about Claire, a divorced woman who moves to the Amish country to open her own shop and live out her dream. In typical cozy mystery fashion, someone kicks it near her store and she is drawn into catching the murderer. There is a love triangle involving a local policeman. There are some interesting secondary characters. 


In other words, if you like cozy mysteries- this one doesn't break the mold...but it's also not half bad. 



Friday Reads 5.4.2017

Hearse and Buggy - Laura Bradford My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton - Stephanie Dray, Laura Croghan Kamoie Classified as Murder - Miranda James

My reading has slacked off as of late.


Life and all. 


But I picked up Hearse and Buggy and am enjoying it. 


Tomorrow My Dear Hamilton arrives and I loved the other book by this author combo called American's First Daughter, so I am really looking forward to that one.  


It's finally looking like spring here, so I will be enjoying the weather - hopefully I will be able to read outside. 


Happy Reading!





Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman: A Mystery - Tessa Arlen

This is a DNF for me. And I have the book that follows. Drats.


I can not get into it and I don't care about any of the characters.


Oh well.


And we are moving...

Reading progress update: I've read 27%.

Howards End - Mary Gordon, E.M. Forster

Really enjoying this. 


I enjoy the writing. I can relate to Margaret, the elder of the two sisters.  Sometimes she makes impulsive decisions, reacting with emotion and then with a clearer head does a 180. When she's wrong she wants to fix it immediately. She's unpredictable. It makes for good reading.


Helen, the younger sister, is an idealist and grates on my nerves a bit. She seems to get lost in her own thoughts to the exclusion of good sense. Though I enjoyed the chapter about Beethoven's Fifth and how she read into the interpretation of the music.  Really shows the power music can have in determining your mood.


All this talk about England and the Continent is really interesting when you realize this book was written in 1910, four years before The Great War. 


I always find it interesting when men write female characters because I am female  - whether or not it will feel authentic. I don't know if male readers have the same thoughts when a female writes male characters or writes from their point of view. Right now I find it authentic. There was a point where Mrs. Wilcox asks Margaret whether or not she forgets she's a girl and I couldn't decide if this was done for a plot point or so you forgive Foster if you don't find it to be authentic...or both. 


Just my ramblings as I read this. 

Reading progress update: I've read 3%.

Howards End - Mary Gordon, E.M. Forster

Reading in preparation for the mini-series.


I remember seeing the movie years ago but don't remember too many details. I never read the book.


The beginning had me hooked.  It opens with Margaret receiving a letter from her sister saying she is in love. Margaret wants to run to her sister to find out what is going on being they don't know the family or the young man that well but, alas, their brother is sick. So their Aunt offers to go,  offering to make inquiries and well... meddle. She says she isn't. But she reads like she will.  Margaret puts the Aunt on a train after making her promise to behave and then is handed this telegram from her sister:


"All over.  Wish I had never written. Tell no one."


And I thought, "Nononononoooooooooooooooooo!!!"  But the Aunt is gone. 


*Chapter ends*



Reading progress update: I've read 44%.

Scythe - Neal Shusterman

I jumped on the bandwagon and started reading this after seeing some positive feedback on it by some people here. :) 



I'm really enjoying this.


I like the deeper issues being raised and I have no idea where the story is going... highly entertaining.

Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers - Imbolo Mbue

Author: Imbolo Mbue

Rating: 3 stars


Not bad.


Contrasting the main characters' immigration issues with the fall of Lehman Brothers was interesting. Watching the couple fight so hard to stay in America while the economy crashed and their Wall Street employers became disillusioned... it was a solid read. Definitely made you think. 

Faulkner House
Faulkner House

Visited New Orleans this past week. Visited William Faulkner's house which is now a bookstore. 

the family next door

The Family Next Door - Sally Hepworth

Author: Sally Hepworth

Rating: 4 stars


Good writing and a nice twist elevate this book from this is just a Hallmark-movie-of-the-week in print status. Not that I dislike Hallmark movies. I've been known to binge watch with mom on snow days.


How well do you know your neighbors? In this story, there is more than meets the eye to all our characters. It was fun putting the pieces together and trying to figure out what was going on in this little suburban neighborhood. I thought I had it a couple of times in the beginning but was wrong.  Finally, by page 172  I had figured out the big twist. BUT I thought- If Hepworth is going there, that's a nifty twist.  I'm on board. Let's ride this train. 


Well done.


Definitely recommend. 

Sale on Tayari Jones' Books

Leaving Atlanta - Tayari Jones The Untelling - Tayari Jones An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

On Kindle, Tayari Jones' novels  Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling are both $1.99 USD today.  I don't know how long the sale lasts.


The writing in An American Marriage was so strong I bought them immediately and look forward to reading them in the weeks to come. 


Wanted to let you know in case you were interested. 

Can't Help Myself

Can't Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist - Meredith Goldstein

Our author upon seeing her ex after a brutal breakup:


He wore his eveyday khakis and button-down suit shirt and chatted with coworkers with an easy smile on his face. I'd hide behind the cafeteria plants thinking, "How dare he. How dare he eat."


I laughed out loud reading this, thinking of my own irrational responses to heartache.


I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir.  


Meredith Goldstein has an advice column called Love Letters for The Boston Globe. This book recounts how it began and includes some of those letters and their responses.  That alone made for good reading.  Who hasn't been in love or struggled in a relationship?  Who hasn't experienced unrequited love and/or had problems letting go and moving on?  Reading other peoples experiences lets us see that, for the most part, we aren't crazy- we are human. 


This book also includes anecdotes from Ms. Goldstein's love life as well as how the column helped her when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. I didn't always agree with Ms. Goldstein's advice - but she was open and honest and ... human. This book had a lot of humor in it. I also cried at parts. It's not often a book makes me run such an emotional gamut. 


Overall I definitely recommend. 


I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.