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Library Books Haul! Vol. 4

It's that time again! I went to the library and filled my official library book tote bag and took a bunch of books home to read. Some were winners, some weren't that great, and some *gasp* I didn't end up reading (the horror! The horror! What kind of bookworm am I???). From a book about the Wizarding World of the American 1920's (aka a book about the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie) to a horror novel that didn't quite hit its mark, this bunch of books was a literal mixed bag (my official library tote bag, that is!) and I'm here to share my thoughts, opinions, and ratings with you, good and bad! Read on to find out what I've been reading lately!

Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them by Ian Nathan

Harper Collins
Read or Returned: Read

My Thoughts: I think it's safe to say that as a Harry Potter fan, I LOVED Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (read my review of the movie and script book here). While it was weird to not read a book by JK Rowling before actually seeing the movie version of it- in this case, it was just the movie, with the script written by Rowling herself- it was pretty fun going into a Wizarding World story for the first time without any other source material to go on. I fell in love with the characters, the magical creatures, and I loved loved loved learning about American wizards and witches. And the time period being set in the 20's? Swoon!

So it comes as no surprise that reading the supplemental and official "making of" book about the filming process of Fantastic Beasts was a lot of fun for me. I've always been interested in the movie making process (what goes on behind the scenes, production design, costumes, etc.) and learning about one of my new favorite movies was so cool! It includes interviews with the actors (including a book introduction by Eddie Redmayne aka Newt Scamander himself), the producer David Heyman (who also produced all of the Harry Potter movies), and more of the behind the scenes teams, from the costume designer, the props department, and cinematography. While the "making of" book didn't get to any of the big reveals/spoilers at the end (I'm assuming the book was published before or when the movie was released), it still was chock full of information, especially about my favorite parts of the movies: the beasts! This is a must read for Fantastic Beasts fan. It'll give you an appreciation for all of the people who made the movie possible and yet are never seen on screen and are rarely appreciated (I mean, I know they're in the credits, but still. They made this amazing movie possible!).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 adorable shiny object stealing nifflers

Pandora's Lab by Paul A. Offit

National Geographic Society
Read or Returned: Returned

My Thoughts: This is so embarrassing. Let me explain: I found this book in the nonfiction section on the new books shelf at the library. I was instantly intrigued. Science and experiments gone wrong? Heck yes! I may not be a total science buff, but I do like learning about certain scientific things. And throw in experimental disasters? Sounds like a great, interesting, and educating read! But...I ran out of time to read it. I got caught up with my other library books, then life got in the way, and then before I knew it two weeks had gone by and I couldn't renew the book! I felt like such a failure of a bookworm. But now it's on my TBROD (To Be Read One Day aka a list of books I want to read after I try to finish my actual to be read list) list so hopefully I'll be able to finally learn about all of these horrifyingly fascinating scientific disasters!

My Rating: I can't rate the book but I can rate my shame for not reading it. 4 out of 5 judging looks from Pandora's Lab as I returned it to the library, unread and unloved. I'm so sorry, book!

Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry

Skyhorse Publishing
Read or Returned: Read

My Thoughts: This was another one of the those random finds on the new books shelf at my library. Of course it was in the super small supernatural section which I, obviously, frequent every time I visit the library. Seeing the cover of an beautifully illustrated old, spooky house peaked my interest and then reading the synopsis made my horror loving heart sing. Two sisters, Eliza, the eldest, and her troubled little sister, Rebecca, living with their aunt in post WWII London are sent to live and work the once grand but rundown Abigale Hall, owned by the mysterious Mr. Brownwell and run by the imperious housekeeper Mrs. Pollard. While the girls try to make the best of it, frightening things are happening, including whispers and rumors from the local villagers about Mr. Brownwell and the house, blood covered books, a ghostly figure appearing around the property, and most disturbing of all, the influence Mrs. Pollard seems to have over unbalanced Rebecca.

What started as an excellent and interesting premise, soon unraveled with too many story-lines, backstories, and characters, which caused the story to drag, despite being a relatively short book. There were ideas of plot points in the book that I liked but none of it seemed to work in the long run and I felt myself almost sigh in relief (and disappointment, to be honest) when I finished the very last page. There honestly is nothing worse than a book you really wanted to read or were interested in and then finding out it's not at all what you expected. Especially when it's a horror novel and good horror novels are hard to find (at least they are for me).

My Rating: 2 out of 5 very disappointing sighs as I finished the last page

Six Scary Stories- Selected and Introduced by Stephen King

Cemetery Dance
Read or Returned: Read

My Thoughts: Confession: I'm not a Stephen King fan. I know, I know, but listen! I've read two of his books (The Shining and Pet Sematary) and while they were well done, I found them overly long and honestly, King's style of horror is not the type of horror that I like (I just straight up want ghosts and hauntings and demon, not anything extra or out there like King usually does). Plus I didn't find either of those books scary! (It takes a lot to scare me nowadays. But apparently King can write some pretty disturbing stuff in his books) So I was a bit skeptical to pick up with this selection of short stories written by mostly unknown authors and selected by Stephen King from a contest he held. And my thoughts about the anthology were...meh. There really was only one story I actually liked, about toys who came alive at night and started playing a dangerous game while their owner, a little boy, slept in his bed (Toy Story this is not!). The rest were just so-so (some somewhat spooky, others just bizarre and strange. And there was a post-apocalyptic one with a bear...?) and I don't know if the story that I liked (not loved, just liked. I mean, it was about toys coming to life doing nefarious things in the dark of the night. That has Emily written all over it!) but was the story enough for me to read this entire book, as short as it was? Probably not, but at least I tried! And good on those authors for getting their stories published by a big name author! (Even if he's not my favorite author)

My Rating: 2 out of 5 seriously demented stuffed animals

Startup by Doree Shafrir
Little, Brown and Company
Read or Returned: Returned

My Thoughts: This was another of those random finds on the new books section at my library. It seemed hip, trendy, and very millennial, and while I don't usually go for books with a modern story line, I thought I'd give it a try. (I'm a historical fiction girl all the way. If a female character in the story isn't wearing a corset or some sort of old fashioned girdle/garters and stockings, then I am most likely not interested) I'm not even too sure about the premise of the book because I honestly didn't get too far into it. It starts off at a day rave. A DAY rave. As in, a rave right before and during the morning sunrise. Umm...yeah. (Perhaps the scene was meant to be a tongue in cheek view of the hipster startup movement but still. *shudders*) Maybe I wasn't in the right mood to read this book, or maybe the thought of young, rich startup tech millennials living their fulfilling and productive avocado toast lives did not sound appealing to me at the moment. So back to the library it went! I'm still not sure if I'd check it out again. I'm sure it's a well-written and entertaining book, but it was out of my reading comfort zone and I guess I just was in the mood for a tried and true genre. Maybe another time! (Maybe)

My Rating: I can't rate the book, but I can rate how likely it would be to find me at a day rave: 1 out of 5 pieces hipster fedoras

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Riverhead Books
Read or Returned: Read

My Thoughts: This is the latest thriller from Paula Hawkins aka the author on the super popular The Girl on the Train. I like a thriller every now and again, and this one certainly kept me on my toes. A woman comes back to an old vacation town her family used to stay at years ago, because her estranged sister (now living in the town with her daughter), was found floating in the river, supposedly murdered (dun dun dunnnn). Hidden and hurt feelings are revealed between the main character and her newly introduced niece, along with memories of the past and the dark lore and rumors of the history of the town. It had a lot of different perspectives from different characters, all telling the same story but from very opposite viewpoints, which made for an interesting interwoven story that kept you guessing about what was really true. While it's hard for me to find a thriller that really truly surprises me with a twist that isn't a let down (it's way more common than you think!), this one had me pretty much reading the book in one sitting because I just had to know what happened next (and who did what and why!). It's not the best thriller ever written, but it's addicting and you won't be able to put it down (at least, I couldn't). Sometimes it's enough just to be lost in a book and to me there isn't a better book to be lost in than a dark, whodunit thriller, featuring some complex and intriguing female characters (because girl power!).

My Rating: 4 out 5 nights of staying up late because you just have to see where this book goes because how can you sleep if you don't know what happens? (it's important!)


What did you think of this edition of my Library Books Haul? It was totally hit and miss for me, but sometimes that's what happens when you check out random books from the library. They can't all be winners! What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments! (I'm always looking for new books to read, even though I have enough to read in my TBR pile to last me literally a lifetime)

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