The Witch Elm by Tana French

The Witch Elm by Tana French
Hardcover, 509 pages
Published October 9th, 2018 by Viking

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

My thoughts…

I wanted to read Tana French for a while now, I’ve heard wonderful things about her Dublin Murder Squad series. When I discovered that The Witch Elm was a standalone my decision was made to read Tana French.

After suffering a brain injury during a burglary at his apartment, Toby goes to live with his terminally ill uncle Hugo. When a skull is found in the hollow trunk of a Wych Elm on Hugo's property, the authorities suspect Toby and his cousins. With Toby’s memory loss due to his brain injury, he can't be sure if he was responsible for the murder or not.

My apologies to everyone who enjoyed this book, but for me, I didn’t enjoy it. It took me over a week to read The Witch Elm, which is unusual for me, I tend devour those books that hold my interest. Sadly, every time I picked this up to read, I could not keep my eyes open. It was painfully slow and boring. I was optimistic that once the skull was discovered the pace would pick up, unfortunately that never happened.

The Witch Elm may be more enjoyable for other readers, but sadly, it just didn’t work for me.

Happy Reading!

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Putney A Novel by Sofka Zinovieff

Putney A Novel by Sofka Zinovieff
Michelle Ford – Narrator
Audiobook - Duration: 11:49:15
Published August 21st, 2018 by HarperAudio

In the spirit of Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal and Tom Perrotta’s Mrs. Fletcher, an explosive and thought-provoking novel about the far-reaching repercussions of an illicit relationship between a young girl and a man twenty years her senior.

A rising star in the London arts scene of the early 1970s, gifted composer Ralph Boyd is approached by renowned novelist Edmund Greenslay to score a stage adaptation of his most famous work. Welcomed into Greenslay’s sprawling bohemian house in Putney, an artistic and prosperous district in southwest London, the musical wunderkind is introduced to Edmund’s beautiful activist wife Ellie, his aloof son Theo, and his nine-year old daughter Daphne, who quickly becomes Ralph’s muse.

Ralph showers Daphne with tokens of his affection—clandestine gifts and secret notes. In a home that is exciting but often lonely, Daphne finds Ralph to be a dazzling companion. Their bond remains strong even after Ralph becomes a husband and father, and though Ralph worships Daphne, he does not touch her. But in the summer of 1976, when Ralph accompanies thirteen-year-old Daphne alone to meet her parents in Greece, their relationship intensifies irrevocably. One person knows of their passionate trysts: Daphne’s best friend Jane, whose awe of the intoxicating Greenslay family ensures her silence.

Forty years later Daphne is back in London. After years lost to decadence and drug abuse, she is struggling to create a normal, stable life for herself and her adolescent daughter. When circumstances bring her back in touch with her long-lost friend, Jane, their reunion inevitably turns to Ralph, now a world-famous musician also living in the city. Daphne’s recollections of her childhood and her growing anxiety over her own young daughter eventually lead to an explosive realization that propels her to confront Ralph and their years spent together.

Masterfully told from three diverse viewpoints—victim, perpetrator, and witness—Putney is a subtle and enormously powerful novel about consent, agency, and what we tell ourselves to justify what we do, and what others do to us.

My thoughts…

I read this novel last month and it has taken me many weeks to arrangement my thoughts about what I read. Putney A Novel by Sofka Zinovieff made me angry, anxious, frustrated and stressed, but I could not stop reading it. I am uncomfortable saying how engaging this was for me. This novel truly is explosive and thought provoking and it is one that you will love it or hate it. Sadly, people will choose to judge Putney without even reading a page due to the disturbing storyline.

This is a novel about of Ralph and Daphne’s emerging ‘relationship’. Ralph is twenty-five and Daphne is nine when they first meet, and as you can imagine from here the story becomes difficult to digest. It is told in flashbacks from three different perspectives: Ralph (the predator), Daphne (the victim), and her best friend Jane, (the witness). The story spans nearly 40 years.

The writing and characters are what makes this book work. Daphne’s experience will bring out every emotion, watching her struggle was heartbreaking to witness. She really believed that her and Ralph were in love and he did nothing wrong. Ralph is a predator, but he doesn't think there was anything wrong with the fact that Daphne was a child. His explanations for his actions were sickening. Jane’s perspective became more interesting later in the book when we read about her unhealthy feelings of jealousy, what she witnessed and her story.

I admire Sofka Zinovieff’s willingness to tell this story. I also appreciated that the author was discerning with the scenes of abuse and did not choose to be graphic. It should be noted there are significant warnings associated with this story, and if you are a reader sensitive to the subjects of sexual grooming/abuse, you may not want to read this.

Overall, I felt every emotion as I read Putney. It is a quite remarkable novel and one I will not forget. The topic may not be one people choose to read about, but it happens far too often, and forever alters the lives of the victims.

I am NOT an affiliate marketer.


Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Emily Woo Zeller – Narrator
Audiobook - Duration: 08:21:15
Published April 1st, 2013 by Tantor Media
The irresistible, ever-curious, and bestselling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.

Like all of Roach's books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

My thoughts…

This was interesting and entertaining. I found myself telling my husband random facts after reading this book. I do enjoy books covering scientific topics, add a bit of humor and yucky moments and I will definitely stay interested in the subject.

I am NOT an affiliate marketer.




Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Shelly Frasier – Narrator
Audiobook - Duration: 08:00:18
Published August 19th, 2008 by Tantor Audio
Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

My thoughts…

Once again, this was fascinating and entertaining. If you are interested in donating your body to science when you die, read this before. The author covers topics such as: cadavers used for teaching surgical techniques, human decomposition, the use of cadavers in car crash studies, for ballistic testing and cremation. I enjoyed this audiobook, except the sections that discussed experimentations on animals. The unattractive topics are softened somewhat by the authors sense of humor.

I am NOT an affiliate marketer.


Chernobyl 01:23:40 by Andrew Leatherbarrow

Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster by Andrew Leatherbarrow
Michael Page – Narrator
Audiobook - Duration: 06:24:50
Published October 26th, 2016 by Tantor Audio

At 01:23:40 on April 26th 1986, Alexander Akimov pressed the emergency shutdown button at Chernobyl’s fourth nuclear reactor. It was an act that forced the permanent evacuation of a city, killed thousands and crippled the Soviet Union. The event spawned decades of conflicting, exaggerated and inaccurate stories.

This book, the result of five years of research, presents an accessible but comprehensive account of what really happened. From the desperate fight to prevent a burning reactor core from irradiating eastern Europe, to the self-sacrifice of the heroic men who entered fields of radiation so strong that machines wouldn’t work, to the surprising truth about the legendary ‘Chernobyl divers’, all the way through to the USSR’s final show-trial. The historical narrative is interwoven with a story of the author’s own spontaneous journey to Ukraine’s still-abandoned city of Pripyat and the wider Chernobyl Zone.

Complete with over 45 pages of photographs of modern-day Pripyat and technical diagrams of the power station, Chernobyl 01:23:40 is a fascinating new account of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

My thoughts…

Chernobyl 01:23:40 is focused on the details of nuclear energy, how reactors work, reactor meltdown and the effects of radiation. Many other disasters and accidents are touched upon in this book. There are also arguments in favor of still using nuclear energy and the political aftermath.

The author is also a talented photographer and described in detail the destruction of what was left of Chernobyl when he had the opportunity is visit the area. I’ve always been curious about Chernobyl and viewing his photos are unnerving. Since I listened to the audio version of this book, I went searching for the authors photos of Chernobyl.

If you are a curious reader about Chernobyl disaster and how it happened, I would recommend reading Chernobyl 01:23:40.


I am NOT an affiliate marketer.

#Starstruck by Sariah Wilson

#Starstruck by Sariah Wilson
Series - #Lovestruck #1
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published January 16th, 2018 by Montlake Romance

“You’ve done better.”

With one uncharacteristically sassy tweet to her longtime celebrity crush, Zoe Miller’s life turns upside down. Ultrahot A-lister Chase Covington doesn’t just respond to Zoe’s tweet, he does the unthinkable: he messages Zoe directly. Now she must decide between walking away or meeting her crush in person.

Chase knows better than to trust anyone from the Internet, but Zoe’s saucy challenge has totally caught his interest—and her girl-next-door personality is keeping it. He’s been burned enough to know he needs to keep his heart close. But his feelings for Zoe might be a lot more than just an online flirtation. He just has to convince her…

When the press gets wind of Zoe and Chase’s secret relationship, their romance turns into tabloid headlines. Will they be able to hold on to their Hollywood love story?

My thoughts…

#Starstruck was just so CUTE! It’s an adorable romance about an introverted girl who meets her Hollywood idol and falls in love. I enjoy this trope (not famous person + famous person), this book is for every girl who has had a crush on an actor or singer.

One tweet, “You’ve done better.” That's all it took for Zoe to capture actor Chase Covington's attention. I instantly enjoyed this book and its characters. Zoe was such a likable and relatable character, she was smart, witty and held strong in her beliefs. Even when her resolve is tested, Zoe sticks to what she believes is the right decision for herself. And I loved that Chase respected her choice to remain a virgin until marriage.

Chase was pretty much perfect, he was swoony, sweet and charming. I like the lengths he went to in order to keep his private life private and how they took their time getting to know each other. Their Tweets were so fun to read, the last Tweet in the book was my favorite. Their romance wasn't happy all the time, they had their own difficulties to get over.

I had a huge smile on my face when I finished this. If you enjoy a feel-good romance with well-developed characters, a fun storyline and a perfect ending, #Starstruck is the book for you. I’m very much looking forward to reading the second book in the series, #Moonstruck.

Happy Reading!


I am NOT an affiliate marketer.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Bahni Turpin – Narrator
Audiobook - Duration: 13:03:12
Published October 2nd, 2018 by Random House Audio

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

My thoughts…

A Spark of Light is the first book I’ve read by Jodi Picoult. The ladies in my book club talk very highly of her books and subject matter. In the past I’ve purchased a couple of her books for club, but I never felt the urge to read them. When the audio version of this book became available at the library, I added it to my ‘holds’ list and received it fairly quickly.

When I read the synopsis for this book, the topic attracted me. On November 27, 2015, a mass shooting occurred in a Planned Parenthood clinic where I live (Colorado Springs, Colorado), resulting in the deaths of three people and injuries to nine. I’m sad to say that A Spark of Light wasn’t for me.

The beginning of this book immediately grabbed my attention. Unfortunately, it slowed considerably and was more about abortion than the hostage situation. It begins at a women’s health clinic during a hostage crisis. All the characters at the clinic has their own backstory about what brought them to the clinic that morning. The timeline of the story didn't really work for me. It’s written in reverse chronological order, where every chapter goes back an hour. Listening to the audio version made it difficult for me to follow the timeline and to distinguish which characters point of view was being told. It reminded me of an old Seinfeld episode, "The Betrayal", starting with the final scene and playing in order backwards. It worked with the Seinfeld episode, not so much for this book.

Overall, this wasn't a book for me, but it may be more enjoyable for other readers. I’m not giving up on Jodi Picoult just yet, Small Great Things will likely be my next read from this author.

Happy Reading!



Inky’s Weekly Wrap-up (October 29th – November 4th)


It’s time for another Weekly Wrap-up post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news - A post to recap the past week on my blog. Showcase books and things I may have received. Share a bit of news about myself and what to expect on my blog in the upcoming week.
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It’s all about sharing the latest books I've added to my shelves; may it be physical or virtual. I include books I borrow from the library, audiobooks, gifts and of course eBooks.


Everyday Life:

I feel like I’m so wishy washy with the blog design. I changed it once again! I did like the last design, it was nice, clean and simple. The only thing that I disliked was that the posts stacked on top of each other, top to bottom by date. I would have preferred the posts lined up left to right. I’m sure it could have been changed somehow through html, but I just did want to mess with it. So here we are with this design. It needs a little tweaking, but I like it.

I also did something that I mentioned in the past that I absolutely did not want to do… I purchased another bookcase. I sorted the books when I moved into the larger spare bedroom and unhauled those that I have read and didn’t care to keep. I don’t know how the three bookcases filled up so soon, okay, it may because I do have a slight book buying addiction. I had to start stacking books on top of each other and I didn’t like the look of it on the shelves, too messy looking.

The room I read in has a closet that runs the full length of the room. My original plan was to remove the closet doors and then knock down the sides and top wall to make the room larger. Then I could add three more bookcases along that open wall. That plan didn’t work out, because my husband said, “no more knocking down walls,” that’s right, not the first time I had these ideas.

Now, I have my big comfy chair sitting in front of one of the closet doors. It’s still cozy.



What I’m currently reading/listening to:


The Witch Elm Tana French



What I read/listened to this past week:


Losing It (Losing It #1) by Cora Carmack (a re-read for me, first read in 2012) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Winter in Paradise (Paradise #1) by Elin Hilderbrand ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Stacking the Shelves #58:

I didn’t purchase any books this past week, yay me!

Are you participating in Non-fiction November? I didn’t sign up, but I’m going to add more nonfiction books to my reading list this month. For me, I like to listen to nonfiction on audio and a young lady that I follow on YouTube recommend books by Mary Roach. I was able to pick one up this week from the library.

Gulp Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour of our insides. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions inspired by our insides are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find names for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? We meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. And we go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a bacteria transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.



Last week on the blog:

Wednesday - October 2018 Monthly Wrap-up



Have you read any of the books that I have listed? Thank you for visiting and I have a lovely week ahead. Jovita

October 2018 Monthly Wrap-up


Welcome to my October 2018 Wrap-up! A Monthly Wrap-up is exactly what it sounds like, a summary of the month. I’ll be recapping books I read, purchased/borrowed, posts of the month, a little bit of what’s going on outside the blog. I’m linking this post to the Monthly Wrap-up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction, hosted by Nicole.

I can’t believe that October has ended, and November is upon us. Happy Halloween to those that celebrate. The little ghosts and goblins (unicorns and superheroes) had a cold evening treat-or-treating here in Colorado, the temperature was in the lower 30’s… burr. I remember those day’s long ago when my children had to wear their costumes over winter coats. Thank goodness those days are over, it’s nice to see all the little ones dressed up.

I had a goal this month to read more books than purchased and if I include all the audiobooks, I reached that goal. Yay me! October was also a productive month for posting Bookish Thoughts. I made sure to spend a bit of time every morning working on posts, although, I don’t have any upcoming scheduled, surprisingly I’m okay with that.



Books Read/Listened to in October:


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Pretty Little Things by T.M.E. Walsh
Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
A Good Marriage by Stephen King
Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Full Disclosure by Stormy Daniels
Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult



Reading Stats:

Total Books Read: 16
eBooks: 0
Books: 7
Audiobooks: 9

Library Borrowed: 9
From My Shelves: 7
Gifted: 0

Longest Book: 497 pages; Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
Shortest Book: 310 pages; The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Total Books Read/Listened to Since January 2018: 141



Favorite Reads this Month:


The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff



Inky Impressions Bookish Thoughts:  




Books Purchased in October:

Purchased This Month: 13
Hardcover: 9
Paperback: 4
Kindle: 0


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Medicine Man by Saffron A. Kent
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman
Consumed (Firefighters #1) by J.R. Ward
The Witch Elm by Tana French
Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas
The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith
Sadie by Courtney Summers



Books/Audiobooks Borrowed in October:


Pretty Little Things by T.M.E. Walsh
Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
A Good Marriage by Stephen King
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Full Disclosure by Stormy Daniels
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
Winter in Paradise (Paradise #1) by Elin Hilderbrand



Did you have a good reading month in October? Have you read any of the books I have listed?

Happy Reading – Jovita