Book Talk

Spookathon 2019 -- With a Twist

I love the idea of readathons. I have friends who do them and hit it out of the park. I follow bloggers/vloggers who can, too.

Readathons are great for me, in theory. I always like the planning part. It’s similar to making a monthly TBR (which I’m trying not to do right now because it never works out). I love looking at my shelves and seeing all this potential. And it’s the beginning of the month, so I’m full of hope and just know that future me will, of course, get so much more reading done than past me did.

BooksandLala is one of my favorite booktube channels. Every year, she hosts the Spookathon in honor of the best month of the year, October. This year, the readathon will be October 14 to 20. I totally want to participate. I looked at the prompts, looked at my book cart, and thought about it. I decided I will participate, but I’m putting my little twist on it.

I’m using these prompts to pick out my books for the month of October.

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Here is the list of books I’d like to read soon that meet the guidelines of the challenge, plus a few Kindle book options. Let’s look at the prompts + my choices.

  1. Read a Thriller - The easiest of the challenges! The Whisper Man, The Turn of the Key, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle will definitely meet this. Also, I’m currently reading The Perfect Wife on my Kindle, so it will count toward it, too. (Since I’m changing the rules, I’m counting current reads, as well!) My NetGalley choice for October will be The Family Upstairs, another thriller!

  2. Read a Book with Red on the Cover - The Turn of the Key and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle meet this criterion.

  3. Read a Book with a Spooky Word in the Title - The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (death is pretty spooky!) is the one that meets this the best. I’m also considering reading The Dead Girls Club, so another option!

  4. Read a Book with a Spooky Setting - This one…I’m not sure if any really fit this. Jail seems pretty spooky…right? …so The Turn of the Key. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has a spooky premise and its Groundhog Day parts lend to a spooky setting.

  5. Read Something You Wouldn’t Normally Read - And this is why Maybe in Another Life is next to those spooky-ass books. I have read and loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six. I thought I’d try one of her other books and picked this one. I’m not a romance fan usually but curious to see how her writing style has changed over the years.

So…that’s the plan! I will save The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle for the official week since it meets almost all the guidelines, but I will try to read as many of the others throughout the month. I also really want to read It but it’s such a long book! Super torn.

What spooky books will you be reading this month?

Instagram Helps Me Choose My Next Book

Out of all social media apps, Instagram is my favorite and has been for years. I don’t utilize as much as I used to; pre-algorithm/feed change, though, I was on it probably too much. But I still enjoy it and the fact that it has such an active bookstagram community is really inspiring.

I have a bookstagram-themed IG account (@literarilythrilling) and I have been working on making it better. My personal IG was used as I saw fit, going weeks at a time without posting. With this one, though, I understand being active is numero uno on things to do. So, I am trying. I am wanting to get better at my pictures. Get better at my posts. Trying to decide how I want to do reviews — short, to the point reviews there, linking to more detailed reviews here?

One of the biggest things with IG, and you very well know this if you, too, use IG to promote yourself in any form or fashion, is the engagement. I am trying to think of ways to increase engagement in a thoughtful way. I did this recently, and I wanted to tell you about it!

Using IG stories and the ability to have people vote for options, I gave my followers four book choices. The books were broken up into pairs, with the winner of each pair then being put up against each other. Why did I do this? Because Instagram was going to choose my next read.

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I’ve seen bloggers and vloggers do similar “Instagram chooses my…” before. But I had never participated in it from this part of the activity; I had always been the one voting on options. I found this to be fun and it was interesting to see which books my followers would choose!

In this first round, I had The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware against Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson. Even before I looked at the results, I had a feeling I knew which would win this round.

The second pair, I had A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Evardsson against The Whisper Man by Alex North. While I was 100% certain with the first pair, this pairing I literally had no idea which would come out on top! I had seen both books equally overall on my feed (though, of course, The Whisper Man was more recently showcased everywhere) and I felt it could definitely be an either/or.

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So, for round two, I was even more excited. Of course The Turn of the Key was in this round (I feel like I was being mean to Before She Knew Him, in retrospect) but I did not know at all which it would be up against. And with The Whisper Man having such a strong win in its round, I was left having no clue who would win!

Imagine my surprise when I saw the results.

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I had to laugh. Of course this is what would happen! It never entered my mind that a 50/50 split would occur, so I had no contingency plan. So, I sat on it for a day and tried to decide what would be my next step. Then, suddenly, it came to me: Read the first chapters of each.

Now, this didn’t work how I expected it to, because The Turn of the Key isn’t’ written in a chapter format. So, instead, I read roughly the same amount of pages of each to keep it equal. I was still just expecting to go with The Turn of the Key, so imagine my surprise when I was sitting there, both books to either side of me, reflecting on the passages I just read.

I wanted to continue The Whisper Man more. In those roughly 10 or so pages, I was creeped out, enthralled, curious. I was equally curious about The Turn of the Key — this book has been on my radar for months and I greatly enjoy Ruth Ware’s writing. But my brain kept going back to The Whisper Man.

I haven’t officially started it yet; I got incredibly busy with work, my mental health was off this week, and all those other excuses we make. I even am wondering — as interested as I am — if I’m in a good headspace for a thriller. I started a different book yesterday (relatable or what?) not in the thriller genre, just to see if that would be a better fit. I’m thinking I’ll start The Whisper Man today, though, and I look forward to reporting back my opinions — especially after I read The Turn of the Key, as well.

Tell me, fellow bookstagram friends, how is that you increase engagement in a thoughtful way on your pages?

Also — which book(s) did/would you vote for?

19 in 2019

The new year means my excitement for books and reading is at it's highest! I always love planning and starting things. I am awful about follow through -- it's my biggest flaw as a person. I am trying to get better, though.

In 2018, I completely failed at my 18 in 2018 list. It's like I made the list and then completely forgot to ever look at it again. So this time, I was a little bit more thoughtful with my choices. I know that I want to read as many of the books off my shelves as possible, so I mostly picked physical books. I don't want to forget my Kindle books, though, so I made sure a few were on there. I decided to not pick audiobooks I own for this list -- I do want to get through as many of my Audible books as I can but I didn't want to double dip. I wanted this 19 in 2019 to be a challenge of its own.

I broke them up into different sections: 1) Book of the Month books 2) Nonfiction books 3) Kindle books 4) The books on my shelves I want to read the most

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 I didn't want to have a repeat from the 18 in 2018 list, but I also was very annoyed with myself that I didn't get around to The Chalk Man and Still Lives, so I decided to keep those on here. I also have been really wanting to read The Secret History -- I've heard such amazing things! My last two are not books I probably would have chosen initially. However, when my mother, sister and I were discussing our mother/daughter book club plans, we knew we had some BOTM books that we all ordered, so we decided our first two months would be Cross Her Heart and Sweet Little Lies. Since I was having a hard time picking two more BOTM books, I decided to go ahead and pick those. 

Nonfiction is not something I tend to gravitate toward. I love memoirs, though, and was ecstatic when I won a Goodreads giveaway for Isaac Mizrahi’s memoir. The book is set to be released in February so I will be picking it up very soon. I also have 3 true crime books, two in book form and one in Kindle: In Cold BloodKillers of the Flower Moon and The Fact of a Body. I decided for my last pick, I wanted something, not true crime related. Quiet is a book I have wanted to read for years. I look forward to picking it up later in 2019.

I don’t think anyone is surprised to hear that I have a lot of Kindle books. Definitely way more than I expected. I know that I want to lessen my ARCs this year, but I decided to not include those on this list – sans the memoir in the last section. Again, the ARCs are their own adventure that I will be working toward. ARC April will be happening — probably ARC August, as well. But, that’s not what this section is about. I spent the time to go through my 300+ selection of Kindle books and pick the ones that really stood out to me. I am a huge Mary Kubica fan and I can’t believe I still haven’t read When The Lights Go Out. I know that will probably be the first one from this section I will read. I have also heard so many good things about The Cabin at the End of the World and I was so thrilled to get it on a Kindle deal recently. I started It last year and would really like to finish it. And I rounded out this section with In The Vinesbecause it was one of my anticipated reads from last year, and it’s ridiculous that I haven’t read it yet!

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 For my last section, I literally stood in front of my bookshelf with my I Want To Read Now books and picked the ones that I have heard so many great things about. The Muralist was also on my 18 in 2018 last year — I read B.A. Shapiro’s The Art Forger a couple of years ago and it was a major fave! I look forward to checking out another book. I read my first Liz Nugent book last year and loved her writing style — Unraveling Oliver was the first one I grabbed off my shelf when coming up with this list. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is one of my most recent purchases. It was another book that I saw everywhere last year. The last two, Sometimes I Lie and The Flight Attendant are books I’ve also heard so many good things about — and I got both of these copies from a McKay’s trip last year!

And there it is! My 19 books I (hope!) to read in 2019. Do you have a list of books you want to tackle this year? Link it below! I’d love to see what books you want to read this year.