What’s Ashley Reading?: Clue Mystery Readathon

Clue Mystery Readathon!

I love a good reading challenge! It makes me read books that have been on my TBR list and diversify my selections as well. Plus it is fun! I was so excited when Alyssa decided to do another readathon this fall and I immediately started looking at which books to choose. My final list is below.

  • The criminal was Colonel Mustard (a book set during a time of war).
  • The weapon was a rope (the next book in a series).
  • The location was the billiard room (a book written by a person of color).
  • The motive was secrets (a book with a one-word title).
  • The witness was the motorist (a book that contains travel).
  • The final end was with a getaway car (a book that’s under 200 pages).

My favorite of the six books was Mindy Kaling’s collection of essays. I follow her on all the social media. She is funny, insightful and just a happy person. Her other two books, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Why Not Me?, are great as well. If you want a laugh then these are perfect! I had a great time reading these books! I cannot wait to do another challenge.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Ninth House

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

First line: By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it.

Summary: Galaxy “Alex” stern is a freshman at Yale. She grew up in California but got in with a rough crowd as a teenager. She dropped out of school, took drugs and lived with her drug dealing boyfriend. Until one night everyone in her apartment is found dead except for her. She is approached during her hospital stay with the offer of a lifetime, a full ride scholarship to Yale.

However, when she arrives at the prestigious college she learns that her role here is not just academic. Alex is now a part of a society that is tasked with monitoring the activities of the universities secret societies. With her ability to see ghosts she is charged with helping keep the spirits and the rituals in order.

When a local girl is found murdered around the campus Alex believes that the societies may have something to do with it. As she continues to search for more clues to the mysterious death her she finds herself being attacked by the ghosts the walk the town of New Haven.

My Thoughts: I have been looking forward to reading this book ever since I heard about it. I really enjoyed her young adult series. Bardugo is a master at world building and wit. But as the release day got closer I saw several reviewers I follow giving it low ratings or not finishing the book at all. This started to scare me. Even though there were these negative reviews with lots of trigger warnings I decided to ignore them and judge it for myself. And I am so glad I did!

I started the book as an audio. I liked it and continued listening to it but alternating between it and the physical book. However, I wish that I had read the first few chapters where much of the world building information was. There are eight secret societies with different rituals. There are lots of characters and also time jumps between characters. This got a little confusing. Once I started to read more it smoothed out and got to be quite enjoyable. I found it hard to put down. Alex gives us a glimpse back into her life before Yale and what led her to this point. Darlington shows us what the first few months are like with Alex as the new Virgil.

I believe that my favorite part was when Alex interacted with the ghosts. Some are very listless but others can be very malevolent. I hope that Bardugo gives us more of this in the upcoming books. Even though the main mystery was who killed Tara there is an underlying and more interesting mystery. What happened to Darlington?! Is he alive? Where did he go? Is he coming back? We get left with quite a cliffhanger so I really hope that the next book is not several years in the future!

FYI: This is Bardugo’s adult debut. Her young adult series are The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, The Dregs Duology, and the Nikolai Duology.

What’s Ashley Reading?: King of Scars

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

First line: Dima heard the barn doors slam before anyone else did.

Summary: Nikolai Lantsov, the young king of Ravka, has spent the first several years of his reign trying to hold his country together. With the help of his Triumvirate he hopes to strengthen the borders, improve diplomatic relations and rebuild the Second Army. However, as miracles continue to happen around the country and a darkness still infects his land, he is met with more than he imagined.

My Thoughts: Nikolai was one of my favorite characters from Bardugo’s original trilogy. He has a sharp wit and charisma that lets him steal every scene. I was so happy when I learned that he was getting his own duology. Authors do answer prayers! Ha! And Nina from The Dregs Duology has a starring role as well. I loved every one of her chapters. She is daring and smart. And she does not mind causing a little trouble along the way.

“But it’s a very arduous path,” Nikolai said. “Who will carry my snacks?”

In addition to past characters we meet several new ones. I did not know how I was going to feel about them when they first entered the storyline but they surprised me. It was a fun plot twist. I am excited to see where these new characters take us.

The first half of the book was a little slower, a trait which I have noticed in the other books. But when the action picks up the story flies by. Trust me and stick with this. It is worth every minute you spend reading it.

And finally that ending! Wow! It was shocking. It literally gave me goosebumps as I was reading it. I will be highly anticipating the next book. I hope I do not have to wait too long.

FYI: I would highly recommend you read The Shadow and Bone Trilogy and The Dregs Duology before picking this one up. There are lots of characters and storylines that carry on into this latest addition to the Grishaverse.

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Language of Thorns

It’s that time of year again!  Time to set a new reading goal for the year.  The last several years I have set a goal of 75 books.  I nearly doubled it with 145 books in 2018.  Do you have reading goals?  How do you track them?  I love Goodreads because I can create shelves, lists and make notes on what I read.  The Language of Thorns is my first completed book of the year and it definitely started the year off well!

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

First line: In the year that summer stayed too long, the heat lay upon the prairie with the weight of a corpse.

Summary: A collection of five fairy tales and legends told by the best-selling author, Leigh Bardugo, brings the reader into a mystical world filled with enchanted nutcrackers, mermaids and witches.

Highlights: I absolutely loved these short stories. Bardugo is a master of world building and atmosphere. I have read several of her novels and enjoyed each one. She can do so much in just a few pages.

By far my favorite of the stories was the story of Clara and the nutcracker. It seems like we know this story but Bardugo puts her own twist on it making it darker and more intriguing.

The pages are stunning with their artwork at the borders. Each page adds more imagery that enhances the story. Plus, if you have read her books (Grisha Trilogy and Dregs Duology) you will find little Easter eggs embedded in the tales. I highly recommend this collection to anyone who loves fantasy and Russian style fairy tales.

FYI: If you enjoyed this then try the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. I read the third book in December and was once again blown away by Arden’s story telling abilities.