Not Enough Time

To anyone who’ll read this,

I’m sitting here next to my bookcase full of unread books, looking up and down at it while the inevitable looms in the back of my mind. It’s no wonder I have anxiety. There’s not enough time.

Not enough time to play all of the video games all the way through, finish all of the puzzles that surround my room, to finish writing that book that’s in my drafts, or to read all of the books that are piling up. The end is inevitable, but I choose to fill it with mind-numbing hours on my phone and in my laptop doing homework.

Graduation is in December, maybe May 2020, but that’ll be a year (or year and a half) until I can have all the free time I need (barring any part time job of course). Yet, I can’t help but feel like that year is just going to fly by and I would’ve wasted it.

Having ADD is a lot of work, my mind is always in overdrive and I can’t sit still. The only things that’ll turn off my thoughts are puzzles and sleep. Yet, here I am. Typing up a blog on my phone, when I could be journaling or reading. Oh well, at least this is an entry! So, my time wasn’t wasted.

2019 is going to be the year of creativity whether I realize it or not, I just have to keep fighting and focus on the right things. No longer will I wait around for replies or notifications on anything. I need to focus on me, and me alone.

So, I’ll continue to date myself this year. Figure out who I am. The creative person is inside me, I just have to meet her again.

Thanks for reading,

Love, Danielle

Record Collection

img_2845There are 330 records in my collection as of January 9, 2019. This list includes Alternative Rock, Christmas, Classical, Comedy, Country, Dance, Folk, German, Hip  Hop, Jazz, Kids, Metal, Outlaw Country, Pop, Rock, Rockabilly, and Soundtrack.

To organize and keep track of all of these, I use an app on my iPad called MusicBuddy and it catalogs and organizes all of my records for me. So when I get more records, I’m going to continue to add to this blog. This collection is a conglomeration of records given to me by my mom, grandparents, friends, and records I’ve found at local thrift stores.

They’re organized first by genre, then by artist. If you see any that are in the wrong category, feel free to message me so I can fix it. Like I said, my app placed them into the genre Discogs placed them into.

KEY: Artist – Album Name 1, Album Name 2, Album Name 3, etc..

All records that are underlined are the ones that are photographed.


Alternative Rock: 7 records

img_3079Dance Gavin DanceArtificial SelectionInstant Gratification (signed), Mothership, Summertime Gladness/Pussy Vultures (7″)

David Lee Roth – Just Like Paradise

Jefferson Airplane – The Worst of Jefferson Airplane

Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason


Christmas: 15 records

img_3083Andy Williams – Merry Christmas

Charles M. Shulz – A Charlie Brown Christmas

Elvis Presley – Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas, Christmas Album

Floyd  Robinson – Charlie the Hamster Plays Christmas Songs With Floyd…

img_3086Jim Nabors – Jim Nabors’ Christmas Album

John Denver – A Christmas Together, Rocky Mountain Christmas

Johnny Cash – The Christmas Spirit

Luciano Pavarotti – O Holy Night

Richard P. Condie – Christmas Carols Around the World

Tennessee Ernie Ford – O Come All  Ye Faithful, Sing We Now of Christmas


Classical/Easy Listening: 17 records

img_3087101 Strings – Henry Mancini, John Denver

2Cellos – Score

Arthur Fiedler – Arthur Fiedler Superstar

Boston Symphonic Orchestra – Appalachian Spring/The Tender Land – Suite

Clarinet Kings – The Best Polka img_3088

Copperas Cove Bands – The Proud New Generation Band ’74

Engelbert Humperdinck – King of Hearts

Ferrante & Teicher – Moonlight Melodies

Heintje – “Mama”

Hollyridge Strings – The Beatles Songbook

Jean-Pierre Rampal – Fascinatin’ Rampal

Mannheim Steamroller – Saving the Wildlife

Richard Clayderman – Love Songs of the World

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Hooked on Classics

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Die Zauberflaute, The Magic Flute (box set)


Comedy: 8 records

img_3092All in the Family Cast – All in the Family

Bill Cosby – 200 mph, Bill Cosby, Bill Cosby ‘Live’ Madison Square Garden, For Adults Only, When I Was a Kid, Wonderfulness

Various – The Watergate Comedy Hour


Country: 40 records

img_3093Alabama – Just Us, Mountain Music

Barbara Fairchild – Kid Stuff

Barbara Mandrell – He Set My  Life to Music, Love is Fair, Meant for Each Other

Buck Owens and His Buckaroos – The Kansas City Song

Charley Pride – The Best of Charley Pride, The Best of Charley Pride Vol. III, From Me to You, Pride of Country  Music

Conway Twitty – By Heart, I Love You More Today

Don Francisco – Forgiven, Got to Tell Somebody, Holiness, Traveler

Don Williams – Cafe Carolina, Greatest Hits

img_3096Freddie Hart and The Heartbeats – The Pleasure’s Been All Mine

Glen Campbell – Galveston, Glen Campbell’s Greatest Hits

Jean Shepard – A Real Good Woman

Kendalls The Best of the Kendalls

Kenny Rogers – The Gambler

Loretta Lynn – Coal Miner’s Daughter, Entertainer of the Year – Loretta, Here I Am Again..,  Just a Woman, You’re Lookin’ At Country

Moe Bandy – Rodeo Romeo

Skeeter Davis A Place in the Country

Sonny James – The Sensational Sonny James

Statler Brother – Bed of Roses

T.G. Sheppard – Perfect Stranger

Tammy Wynette – The First Lady, Just Tammy, Tammy’s Greatest Hits

Various – America’s Greatest Country Stars Live and In Person, Country Girls


Dance/Electronic: 4 records

img_3098Crystal Fighters – Cave Rave

Devo – Oh, No! It’s Devo,  Q: Are We Not  Men? A: We Are Devo!

M|A|R|R|S – Pump Up the Volume (7″)


Folk: 29 records

Albert  Hammond – The Free Electric Band

Andy Williams – Andy Williams’ Greatest Hits, Moon River and Other Great Movie Themes

Cat Stevens – Foreigner, The Very Best of Cat Stevens

img_3102Dale Evans – Heart of the Country

Jim Nabors – Everything is Beautiful

John Denver – John Denver’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2, Poems Prayers & Promises

Johnny Cash – America: A 200 Year Salute in Story and Song, Any Old Wind That Blows, At Folsom Prison, Believe in Him, The Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus, Heroes, I Walk the Line, Johnny Cash at San Quentin, Johnny Cash’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1, Look At Them Beans, Ragged Old Flag, Starportrait

img_3101Johnny Cash & June  Carter Cash – Carryin’ On With, Johnny Cash and His Woman

Johnny Horton – Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits

Marty Robbins – Greatest Hits Vol. IV

Peter, Paul & Mary – Album 1700, The Best Of…

Simon & Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

Various – Zenith Presents Hootenanny Special


German: 20 records

img_3105Extrablatt – Vico Ganz Neu!

Flotte Franz Und Seine Bierbrummer – Ja Das Haben Di Madchen So Gerne

Gaudeamus Igitur – Romantic Old Heidelberg

Hoffbrau Singers – Ein  Prosit! A Toast!

Ivan Rebroff – Kosaken Mussen Reiten

Johannes Heesters – Da, Geh’ich Ins Maxim

Lucie Baierl – Wine, Women and Schrammeln

Paul Horbiger – Servuswein img_3104

Peter Alexander – The Golden Album of Peter  Alexander, Peter Alexander Prasentiert Walt Disney’s Welt

Robert  Stolz – Ein Shoner Herbst

Serge Jaroff – The Best of Serge Jaroff and His  Don Cossacks

Various – A Echte Gaudi, Ein Heurigenabend Bei Toni Karas, Music of the Austrian Alps, Musical Memories of Germany Vol. 2 “Auf Zum Oktoberfest”, Schenkt Man Sich Rosen In Tirol

Wiener Schrammelguartett –  Erinnerung An Wein

Winer Terzett – Tanze Aus Dem Alten Wein


Hip Hop: 6 records

Boogie Boys – City Life

LL Cool J – Radio

New Kids On The Block – Hangin’  Tough, Hangin’ Tough (Calendar Pack 7″)

Snap! – The Power

Various – Electric Breakdance


Jazz: 12 records

img_3108Dean Martin – Dean Martin Hits Again, Gentle On My Mind, This is Dean Martin!

Frank Sinatra – I’m Glad There Is You/You Can Take My Word for It Baby (7″), Strangers in the Night, Ultimate Sinatra

Jack La Forge – Unchain My Heart

John Tropea – Short Trip to Space

Paul Winter – Common Ground 

Various – Happiness Is (Box  Set), Kings of Swing

Winter Consort – Road


Kids: 20 records

img_3115Al Smith – Happytime Songs for Children

Candle – The Music Machine

Carole and  Jimmy Owens – Ants’hillvania

Children’s Television Workshop – Songs From Sesame Street 2

Disney Choir – It’s A Small World

Disney – Walt Disney Presents Mickey Mouse and His Friends

Ethel Barrett – Children’s Stories: The Mysterious White  Envelope

img_3112Marcy Tigner – Sings Nursery Rhymes, Wear a Smile

Nancy  F.A. Woolnough – The Adventures of Raindrop #3

Peter Pan – Popeye the Sailor Man 4 Exciting Stories

Richard Wolfe Children’s Songs – A Raggedy Ann Songbook

Sesame Street – Sesame Street Gold! The Best of Sesame Street, Sleepytime Bird, The Year of Roosevelt Franklin: Gordon’s Friend

Sharron Lucky – Follow the Clouds

Singspiration Trio – Songs for Children No. 2

Strawberry  Shortcake – Strawberry Shortcake and  Her Friends (photo disc)

Susie and Johnny – Sings Stories by Susie and Johnny and Their Singing Pals

Thomas Moore – Sleepy Time


Metal: 10 records

img_3116Bloodrock – Live

Jethro Tull – A Passion Play 

Metallica – The Good The Bad & The Live: The 6 1/2 Year Anniversary Collection,  Harvester of Sorrow, Jump in the Fire, Kill ‘Em All

Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls

Slayer – Hell Awaits

Twisted Sister – Love is for Suckers, Under the Blade


Outlaw Country

img_3119Johnny Rodriguez – Foolin’ With Fire

Kris Kristofferson – Border Lord, Me and Bobby McGee, The Silver-Tongued Devil and  I

Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge – Full Moon

Merle Haggard – Amber Waves of Grain, The Best Of The Best Of Merle Haggard, It’s All in the Movies, Same Train Different Time

Tanya Tucker – What’s Your Mama’s Name

Waylon Jennings – Wanted! The Outlaws

Willie Nelson – Willie  Nelson’s Greatest Hits

Willie Nelson & Family – Honeysuckle Rose


Pop: 38 records

img_3122Connie Francis – The Very Best of Connie Francis

Cyndi Lauper – True Colors

Debby Boone – Surrender

Eurythmics – Greatest Hits

Gene Pitney – The Many Sides of Gene Pitney

Go-Go’s – Beauty and The Beat

Halsey – Badlands

Helen Reddy – Long Hard Climb

Johnny Mathis – Close to You, More Johnny’s Greatest Hits

Maureen McGovern – The Morning Afterimg_3123

Michael Jackson – Thriller

Neighborhood – I Love You.

Neil Diamond – Classics The Early Years, Gold, Hot August Night, Tap Root Manuscript

Oh Wonder – Ultralife

Olivia Newton-John – Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2, Physical

Panic! At The Disco – Death of a Bachelor, Pray for the Wicked

Paul Anka – 21 Greatest Hits

R.B. Greaves – R.B. Greaves

Ready for the World – Oh Sheila

Rick Springfield – Working Class Dog

Righteous Brothers – Back to Back

Sonny & Cher – All I Ever Need Is You

Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso

Toni Basil – Word of Mouth

Various – 24 Groovy Greats, From Broadway to Hollywood, Love is Blue (box set), Super Stars – Super Hits, They Come to America, Zenith Presents The Hit Makers

Wayne Newton – Summer Wind

Wham! – Make it Big


Rock: 54 records

img_31294 Skins – A Few 4 Skins More Vol 2

AC/DC – Fly On the Wall

Adolescents – Brats in Batallion

Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits

Animals – The Best of the Animals

Bad Religion – Against the Grain

Bauhaus – Mask

Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill

Beatles – 1962-1966, Introducing… the Beatlesimg_3139

Billy Joel – An Innocent Man

Blood, Sweat, and Tears – Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Boatz – Boatz

Bob Seger – The Distance

Bobby Darin – It’s You Or No One

Camel – Breathless

Chuck Berry – Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits

Circle Jerks – Group Sex

Cliff Richard – Two a Penny

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Deja Vu

img_3141Cure –  Boys Don’t Cry, Japanese Whispers

Dad  Punchers – These Times Weren’t Made for You

Everly Brothers – Everly Brothers’ Original Greatest Hits, The Golden Hits of the Everly Brothers, Very Best of the Everly Brothers

Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac, Greatest Hits, Rumours, Tango In The Night, Tusk

Free Beer – Highway  Robbery

Grateful Dead – Touch of Grey (7″)

Green Day – Dookie

Hard-Ons – Dickcheese, The Worst Of…img_3135

J Geils Band – Freeze-Frame

Jerry Lee Lewis – By Request: More of the Greatest Live Show On Earth

Jesse Colin Young – Love On The Wing

Journey – Escape

Kenny Loggins – Nightwatch

Kenny Loggins & Messina – The Best of Friends, Native Sons

Lee Michaels – 5th

img_3147Mike & The Mechanics – Mike + The Mechanics

Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion, Get Nervous, Heartbreaker, Live From Earth

Stevie Nicks – Bella  Donna, Rock a Little

Tom Jones – Live in Las Vegas, This Is Tom Jones, The Tom Jones Fever Zone, Tom Jones Live! At The Talk Of The Town

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img_3146Rockabilly: 12 records

Elvis Presley – Almost in Love, Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite, Elvis Now, Elvis’ Golden Records, G.I. Blues, How Great Thou Art, Let’s Be Friends, Pure Gold, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Welcome to My World, Worldwide Gold Award Hits

Ricky Nelson – Legendary Masters Series


Soundtrack: 24 records

img_3145Burt Bacharach – Lost Horizon

Dory Previn – Valley of the Dolls

Isaac Hayes – Shaft

Jack L. Warner – 1776

Leonard Bernstein –  West Side Story

Mary Martin –  Mary Martin Sings The Sound of Music

Mr. Pickwick – Mr. Pickwick Sings Songs from Mary Poppins

img_3144Neil Diamond –  Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky –  Suite from “The Nutcracker”

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

Rossini – The Barber of Seville (box set)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Graduate

Unknown – HearSeeDo: Hanna-Barbera Record of Safety, Superman

Various – 2001 A Space Odyssey, 50 Happy Years of Disney Favorites (1923-1973), Fantasia, The Fox and the Hound, Grease, Song of Norway, That’s Entertainment: Musical Highlights from Camelot! Sounds of Music! etc., Top Gun, Urban Cowboy

Vince Guaraldi – Selections from the Soundtrack ” A Boy  Named Charlie  Brown”

Books, Books, Books & MORE Books!

img_0706This is another collection post, my classes don’t start restart for another thirteen days so I’m re-cataloging all of my collections. Fun stuff, right? Well, this will be laid out the same way as my records: by genre, then alphabetically. I was going to sort it by “finished,” “being read,” and “TBR,” but I thought it’d be best to sort it as though it’s literally an online catalog. There are a whopping 300 books in my collection as of January 9, 2019, and it only continues to grow.

The unread list is way longer than the finished list because I have a bad book shopping problem.. I just can’t stop. Also, if you want to read about all of the books I read in 2018, you can do that here: Danielle’s 2018 Reads.

Also, every January, I’ll republish this blog.

KEY: Author – Book Title, Book Title, etc; Book Title* = Kindle edition; (Subscription)


(Auto) Biographies: 9 books

Barker, Travis – Can I Say

Cahalan, Susannah – Brain on Fire img_2855

Gilbert, Elizabeth – Eat Pray Love

Graham, Lauren – Talking As Fast As I Can

Pelzer, Dave – A Child Called It

Rhimes, Shonda – Year of Yes

Sheff, David – Beautiful Boy

Strayed, Cheryl – Wild

Taylor, Corey – America 51


Classics: 15 books

Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women

Alighieri, Dante – The Inferno of Dante

Austen, Jane – Pride and Prejudice

Bradbury, Ray – Fahrenheit 451

Carroll, Lewis – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Other Classic Works

Fitzgerald, F. Scott – The Great Gatsby

Grimm, The Brothers – Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales

Hawthorne, Nathaniel – The Scarlet Letter

Hinton, S.E. – The Outsiders

Maugham, William Somerset – Of Human Bondage

Orwell, George – 1984

Salinger, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye

Steinbeck, John – Of Mice and Men

Tolstoy, Leo – Anna Karenina

Wiesel, Elie – Night


Comics // Manga: 18 books

Archie:

Rosenberg, Matthew – Archie Crossover Collection

Ruiz – Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest

Superstars, Archie – Archie 1000 Page Comics-Palooza, Archie Giant Comics Medley, World of Archie Comics Double Digest #72

Uslan, Michael – Archie #603-605*

Batman: img_2867

Johns, Geoff – Earth One

Miller, Frank – Batman Year One

Beetle Bailey:

Walker, Mort – I’ll Throw This Book at You, Beetle Bailey

Calvin & Hobbes:

Watterson, Bill – Something Under the Bed is Drooling, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat

Death Note:

Ohba, Tsugumi – Death Note Black Edition (1-6)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Kinny, Jeff – Rodrick Rules (#2) and The Last Straw (#3)

Miscellanous Comics:

Martin, Ted – Pavlov’s Pad

Walker, Brian – The Comics


Crime // Mystery: 11 books

img_2875Blashfield, Jean F. – Why They Killed

Bosch, Pseudonymous – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, The Name of this Book is Secret, This Book is Not Good For You, This Isn’t What It Looks Like, You Have To Stop This

Carr, Caleb – The Alienist

Christie, Agatha – Murder on the Orient Express

Gray, Tyler – The Hit Charade

Murphy, Shirley Rousseau – Cat on the Edge


Fantasy: 28 books

Black, Holly – Zombies vs. Unicorns

Flinn, Alex – Beastly, Bewitching, Cloaked, A Kiss in Time

img_2874Gaiman, Neil – American Gods, Coraline, Unnatural Creatures

Lewis, C.S. – The Chronicles of Narnia (adult)

Maas, Sarah J. – A Court of Thorns and Roses

Maguire, Gregory – Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Mirror Mirror, Wicked, Son of a Witch

Martin, George R.R. – A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings

Meyers, Stephenie – Twilight

Riggs, Ransom – Hollow City

Rowling, J.K. – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows, The Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Shan, Darren – The Vampire’s Assistant and Other Tales from the Cirque du Freak

Tolkien, J.R.R. – The Lord of the Rings Collection

Wesley, Kathryn – Tenth Kingdom


Fiction: 28 books

Anonymous – Diary of an Oxygen Thief

Backman, Fredrik – A Man Called Ove

Beverly-Whittemore, Miranda – June

Coehlo, Paulo – Adultery, The Alchemist img_2862

Coupland, Douglas – Worst. Person. Ever.

Donoghue, Emma – Room

Egan, Jennifer – A Visit from the Goon Squad

Eugenides, Jeffrey – The Virgin Suicides

Foer, Jonathan Safran – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Haddon, Mark – the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Holbert, Bruce – Whiskey (PaheHabit)

Hopson, David – All the Lasting Things*

Kerman, Piper – Orange is the New Black

Kultgen, Chad – The Lie

img_2853Lovering, Carola – Tell Me Lies

Moriarty, Liane – Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers (BOTM)

Nunez, Sigrid – The Friend (PageHabit)

Roquelaure, A.N. – The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

Rowling, J.K. – The Casual Vacancy

Sloan, Robin – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Stockett, Kathryn – The Help

Sundquist, Josh – We Should Hang Out Sometime

Sweeney, Cynthia D’Aprix – The Nest

Weisberger, Lauren – The Devil Wears Prada

Yarbrough, Steve – The Realm of Last Chances


Humor: 10 books

img_2877Bombeck, Erma – All I Know About Animal Behavior I Learned in Loehmann’s Dressing Room, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo It’s Time To Go Home

Hanks, Tom – Uncommon Type

Kenemore, Scott – The Zen of Zombie

Mazzetti, Dom – The Swoly Bible

Norman, Matthew – We’re All Damaged

Offerman, Nick – Paddle Your Own Canoe

Ronson, Jon – Lost at Sea

Sedaris, David – Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, Me Talk Pretty One Day


Poetry: 6 books

(Most of these are only here because of the way they’re set up.)img_2851

Hopkins, Ellen – Perfect

Kaur, Rupi – Milk and Honey

Marciuliano, Francesco – I Could Pee On This

Sones, Sonya – The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, Saving Red, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know


Psychology: 6 books

img_2865Haycock, Dean A. – Murderous Minds

Kaysen, Susanna – Girl, Interrupted

Kenrick, Douglas T. – Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life

Pitts, Victoria – In the Flesh

Shroder, Tom – Acid Test*

Thomas, M.E. – Confessions of a Sociopath


Reference: 13 books

Brooks, Max – The Zombie Survival Guide

Chaffey, Daniel – Dirty German

Davis, Ali – How to Love Me

img_2872Ducommun, Debbie – Rats

Frankfurt, Harry G. – On Bullshit

Gray, Henry – Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical

Horne, Charles F. – The Book of Arda Viraf*

Kellett, Jenny – Miley Cyrus*

Osborne, Rick – Luke 2:52 Bible: The Ultimate Manual

Pasterak, Annette – Skin Picking*

Smith, Hutson – The World’s Religions

Zondervan – NIV, Beautiful Word Bible, Hardcover, Multi-Color Floral Cloth

Romance: 31 books

Carpenter, Kim – The Vow

Cross, Maya – The Alpha Group Complete Collection

Day, Sylvia – After Burn*, After Shock*, Bared to You, Captivated by You, Entwined by You, One with You, Reflected in You

Gruen, Sara – Water for Elephants

Guillory, Jasmine – The Wedding Date (PageHabit)

Hannah, James – The A to Z of You and Me

img_2856Haslett, Adam – Imagine Me Gone

Honeyman, Gail – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Hughes, Anita – Rome in Love (Willow Lane)

James, E.L. – Fifty Shades series, Grey

Lauren, Christina – Beautiful Bastard

McGee, C. Sean – The Time Traveler’s Wife

Morris, Heather – The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Moyes, JoJo – Me Before You

Quick, Matthew – The Silver Linings Playbook

Shaffer, Mary Ann – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Sparks, Nicholas – Dear John, The Notebook

Wild, Meredith – Hard Limit*, Hardline*, Hardpressed*, Hardwired*


Schoolbooks (UC Denver): 7 books

(I’ve bought more than just these, these are just the one’s I kept after the class was over.)

img_2878Goodall, Jane – In the Shadow of Man

Lieberman, Daniel – The Story of the Human Body

Machado, Carmen – Her Body and Other Parties

Mill, John Stuart – On Liberty

Pinker, Steven – The Language Instinct

Weiner, Jonathan – The Beak of the Finch

Younge, Gary – Who Are We — And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?


Science Fiction: 9 books

img_2854Abnett, Dan – Doctor Who: Silent Stars Go By & Touched By An Angel

Benson, Reynolds – Metal Gear Solid

Bradbury, Ray – The Martian Chronicles

Crichton, Michael – Jurassic Park

Doescher, Ian – William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Levitin, Sonia – The Cure

Lucas, George – Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, Star Wars Trilogy

Varley, John – The Barbie Murders


Self-Help: 8 books

Barron, Dr. James – Please! Don’t Marry A Caterpillar

Bethke, Jefferson – Jesus > Religion

Cain, Susan – Quiet

Cutrone, Kelly – Normal Gets You Nowhere

Fulghum, Robert – Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Uh-Oh

Kleon, Austin – Steal like An Artist

Wiest, Brianna – The Truth About Everything


Thrillers // Horrors: 52 books

img_2869Adams, Taylor – No Exit (BOTM)

Anson, Jay – The Amityville Horror

Bell, Darcey – A Simple Favor

Burns, Catherine – The Visitors

Fiegel, Michael – Blackbird (PageHabit)

Finn, A.J. – the woman in the window

Flynn, Gillian – Gone Girl, Sharp Objects

Frances, Michelle – The Girlfriend

img_2859Hawkins, Paula – The Girl on the Train, Into the Water

Hendricks, Greer – The Wife Between Us

Hill, Joe – Horns

Hunt, Margot – For Better and Worse (BOTM)

Katzenbach, John – The Analyst, The Dead Student, What Comes Next

Kepnes, Caroline – Hidden Bodies, Providence, You

King, Own – Sleeping Beauties

Knoll, Jessica – Luckiest Girl Alive

Larsson, Stieg – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

img_2850Levin, Ira – Rosemary’s Baby, Son of Rosemary

Malerman, Josh – Bird Box*, Unbury Carol (PageHabit)

Miranda, Megan – All the Missing Girls (Willow Lane)

Molloy, Aimee – The Perfect Mother (PageHabit)

Moody, David – One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning (PageHabit)

Patterson, James – The President is Missing

Pinborough, Sarah – Behind Her Eyesimg_2852

Rice, Anne – Interview With The Vampire

Richmond, Michelle – The Marriage Pact

Robins, Jane – White Bodies

Rollins, Danielle – Breaking, Burning

Searcy, Amanda – The Truth Beneath the Lies

Slaughter, Karen – Pieces of Her

Tartt, Donna – The Goldfinch

Tremblay, Paul – The Cabin at the End of the World (PageHabit)

img_2860Vega, Danielle – The Merciless I-IV, Survive the Night

Ware, Ruth – In A Dark, Dark, Wood

Watson, S.J. – Before I Go To Sleep

Windo, Nick Clark – The Feed (PageHabit)

Winslow, Emily – Look for Her (PageHabit)

Wong, David – John Dies at the End


Transgressive Fiction: 25 books

(Consisting mostly of Chuck Palahniuk, I actually dedicated an entire blog to this genre during my time at CUDenver last year. If you’re interested, see it here: Chuckleheads101)

Ellis, Bret Easton – American Psycho

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Palahniuk, Chuck – Adjustment Day, Bait, Beautiful You, Choke, Damned, Diary, Doomed, Fight Club (signed), Fight Club 2, Fugitives and Refugees, Haunted, Invisible Monsters, Invisible Monsters Remix, Lullaby, Make Something Up, Phoenix*, Pygmy, Rant, Snuff, Stranger Than Fiction, Survivor, Tell-All

Welsh, Irvine – Trainspotting


Young Adult: 24 books

(I made this category about any characters/plots that were set in high school. I know some of my romances, thrillers, etc. could be YA, but these are mostly just fiction/fantasy YA… I think.) 

Albertalli, Becky – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Almond, Markus – Marching Band and the Expanding Universe

Benjamin, Chloe – The Immortalists (PageHabit)

Brashares, Ann – My Name is Memory

img_2864Cabot, Meg – The Princess Diaries vol. I-IV (adult)

Chbosky, Stephen – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Cormier, Robert – The Chocolate War

Forman, Gayle – If I Stay, Where She Went

Friesen, Jonathan – Both of Me

Green, John – The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns

Hinton, S.E. – That Was Then, This Is Now

Jonell, Lynne – Emmy and the Incredibly Shrinking Rat

Levithan, David – Every Day

Milne, A.A. – A Tale from Winnie-the-Pooh and a Smackerel of Verse

Sewell, Anna – Black Beauty

Stewart, Trenton Lee – The Mysterious Benedict Society

Strayhorn, Willa – The Way We Bared Our Souls

Vizzini, Ned – It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Teen Angst? Naaah…

Yoon, Nicola – Everything, Everything

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Danielle’s 2018 Reads

img_2482Before I eventually end up starting the new year with resolutions and realistically set goals, I need to wrap up 2018. Last year was one for the books; no pun intended. All along the way, I finished 30 books in total, and 27 of them are in the slideshow at the bottom of my screen (I left out the three for school). While 30 might not seem like a lot to those of you that can finish a book in a day, after looking at my stats, I’ve found out that I can too! Most of these took under 10 hours for me to read, so while it is possible… I just don’t have the time to sit for that amount of time every day. However, I will continue on my reading streak, and I’ll set the bar even higher for this year!

After reviewing the stats, I’ve noticed that surprisingly, most of these books received five stars from me! Unfortunately, that’s not as realistic as I’d like it to be. So, in this recap of my 2018 reads, I’m going to… in a way… re-rate all of my books (besides the three for school). So, let’s dig in!

(I’m also going to tie in Goodreads reviews to each of the book titles in the mini reviews I provide.)

51rbpshz-ll._sx326_bo1,204,203,200_1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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A Game of Thrones exceeded my expectations. The show is eerily similar to the book… almost word-for-word, and I really enjoyed it. The relationship between Khal Drogo and Daenarys was revealed more in the book than it was in the movie, and it took me a bit to get through, but it was definitely good enough for me to snag the second book.

61wfumgrzzl._sx329_bo1,204,203,200_2. Fight Club and 3. Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk

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Fight Club was one of those books that made me squirm a little, but I can’t talk about it (see: Chucklehead101). So you’ll just have to read this yourself!

51fsjqc2c-l._sx329_bo1,204,203,200_Fight Club 2 was unexpected honestly. It’s a graphic novel, and the narrator’s name was finally revealed as Sebastian. Also, Chuck made quite a few cameos! They gave the book more depth and “broke the fourth wall” in literature. I loved the overall feel of this book and finished it a little less than two hours. I can’t wait for Fight Club 3‘s release this January!

4. Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk

Invisible Monsters Remix is going to have it’s own review here shortly!

173807115. Phoenix by Chuck Palahniuk

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I distinctly remember reading Phoenix in a hotel room in Golden, Colorado. Phoenix was only around 50-pages long, but it stood out enough for me to give it five stars. Even though Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors, I still choose to review his novels without being biased. Phoenix was a quick read, but it was resolved really quickly. The book discussed showed a broken marriage pretty accurately, and even though I’m a cat person… I couldn’t put it down.

51tm0lae0ml._sx322_bo1,204,203,200_6. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

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Whenever I go to pick up any Palahniuk book, I always have semi-high expectations. So, giving this book 3-stars isn’t unusual. Choke was one of those books that seemed to try too hard. I love Palahniuk, but this just wasn’t… it. The narrator was prude and he just seemed like a fuckboy. As someone who doesn’t mind reading things “out of the norm,” Victor Mancini was just too much. He was just frustrating to read about, and while I appreciated his storyline, I just didn’t care for him. However, if you don’t mind reading things about a mans’ “dog” every other page/paragraph, then take a shot at it!

wp-14906283883827. every day by David Levithan

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I’m not one to read Young Adult books as much anymore, but every day really stood out. While it’s only receiving around 3-stars from me, it was still a unique plot line. However, I just didn’t like the ending as much as I hoped I would’ve. I love the concept behind a non-binary character such as the narrator, but the ending is honestly what ruined it for me. I’m still going to buy the next book to see if it’ll redeem itself, but as for just this one? I don’t think it should standalone as much as it does.

8. the woman in the window by AJ Finn

the woman in the window was my all-time favorite book of 2018. I can’t really put more of what I want to say into words, so check out Review: “the woman in the window” by AJ Finn (2018) for my review!

9. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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I’m not one to read romances like this, but it was a book I received from a book subscription I used to have called PageHabit. They’re no longer in commission, but I still have quite a few books that I have to read from them.

The Wedding Date, in particular, wasn’t one that I’d find myself reading again. It was a cute story, but it was definitely a cliche right from the beginning… which is why I don’t tend to read romances anyway. The characters in the book were cute and charming, but Alexa Monroe (the main character), was a little short-tempered. However, after reading more and more about Drew Nichols, I realize why she is. He is more than just a quirky guy in an elevator, but the more she finds out, the more shady he seems to become.

61u0wm7ahdl10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

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Before I start in on this one, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of JK Rowling anymore. After following her on Twitter, and after I’ve seen her decide to bring to light new things about old characters just to stay relevant… I’ve decided to no longer support her. I’ll always ALWAYS love Harry Potter (proud Ravenclaw here), but she’s become another author that only discusses her characters if they can create a shock factor. So, even though I’ve come to dislike JK Rowling, I’ve decided to separate her from her work. Just because I’m in love with the world she created, doesn’t mean I have to like her as a person. Similarly to how I’ve decided to buy Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King, just because his son wrote it with him (and we all know how much I love him).

Anyway, I devoured Fantastic Beasts in one day. I found myself falling in love with Newt and his creatures fairly quickly, but there’s just one thing I would’ve changed. The dark side of this novel, should’ve been darker. After watching the movie, the book just seemed light compared to how devious the creature came to be. I loved the entire concept of creating a world before our beloved Hogwarts, I loved the snippet of Grindewald, but since this isn’t technically a YA novel like the Harry Potter series… it just should’ve been darker, which is why it got 4-stars from me.

11. Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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I have to be one of the only people on the internet so far (from what I’ve seen) that didn’t 100% love this book in its entirety. I’m glad that it brought a few LGBT issues to light, but I just can’t do the cutesy romance books at all apparently. This was another Young Adult novel that flopped in my reading conquests, but I will say one thing… the movie adaptation was really cute. Even though Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda wasn’t my favorite, I still appreciate how everyone came together and read it upon its release.

12. the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

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the curious incident of the dog in the night-time was so unique. So, so unique. It’s from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old boy on the autistic spectrum, which only made it more significant. In the book, it shows how Christopher lives by patterns, rules, and the diagram that he keeps in his pocket. The way he moves throughout the world, and how he acts whenever he finds a dead dog across the street. While the entire book is filled with Christopher’s quirks and the way he solves and unseen mystery, I still found myself struggling to get through it on its own. So, I downloaded the audiobook, which led me to a reading by someone who gave Christopher his own unique voice; Jeff Woodman. He managed to create a character with even more depth than Haddon intended. Now, I’m not one to listen to audiobooks all the time, but I’m glad I did with this one. So, if you have Audible, I highly suggest it.

13. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk

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I’ll admit, Adjustment Day was not my favorite Palahniuk book at all. While it was still better than Choke, it just didn’t feel right. I love that Palahniuk is back in the world of fiction after four years, but this book just gave me a 1984 vibe with a transgressive fiction twist. Honestly, that’s all I can say about it, other than the fact that the idea behind this was pretty ingenious and it could very well happen with the way society is going. I also find it hilarious that in my logo for my blog, I’m reading Adjustment Day. The cover was too great to ignore, and I found myself reading it for hours on end… unfortunately, it just wasn’t… enough.

14. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl was an enigma in itself. Not that it was too puzzling to figure out, but the whole plot line is really what hooked me. From the beginning, the first paragraph stood out for me; when Nick describes the back of Amy’s head. So, even before all of the crazy twists and turns, this book already starts out on a rather, unusual note.

I oddly found myself rationalizing with Amy Dunne, and realizing that what she did really did have a reasoning behind it. Plus, her whole plan was just ingenious. The plot twist in this book was seriously unexpected, and the fact that it has the potential to be so realistic is really what brought this book to life.

15. The Merciless IV by Danielle Vega

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Ahhh, The Merciless IVThe fourth novel in The Merciless series by Danielle Vega… aka a candy-coated horror novel. Honestly, this series has been hit-or-miss with me. I loved the first two, but I needed more insight on a few of the characters. I really liked how this was set in Italy, and it was just as stomach-churning as the rest of them.

Now, I’m not sure if there’s going to be another installment in this series because it’s called Last Rites, but I’m going to stay hopeful that there is going to be at least one more so Vega can round it off more with Sofia.

16. Providence by Caroline Kepnes

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Providence was a very unusual take on a monster story similar to Frankenstein. This book was equally terrifying as it was mind-bending. It left me wanting more throughout the whole thing, and I was filled with hope that Jon would find justice in the end. Kepnes seriously created a masterpiece filled with illusion, self-destruction, love and obsession. I found myself reading it outdoors in my hammock, falling more and more in love with the relationship between Chloe and Jon, but I just wish it could’ve ended in a better place. To prevent spoiling this piece of art, I won’t go any further, just know that if you haven’t read ANY Caroline Kepnes books. You should pick up this one, and then continue onto YOU and Hidden Bodies (there’ll also be a review on these soon!).

17. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Sharp Objects was definitely not a favorite. Going into a Gillian Flynn novel after Gone Girl, I was hoping for it to just have more depth to it. instead, I stumbled in upon characters who were tricky and a little cringy. Honestly, the whole idea behind Camille visiting her hometown, definitely reminded me of whenever I’d visit mine. The quaint little town, the drama, the family, it was all surreal how Flynn captured it in this. Yet, I still wasn’t drawn to it. I ended up taking a while to finish it, and I couldn’t focus on it for too long before I got annoyed. However, I did love the show adaptation of it, even though I’m a little biased towards Amy Adams. I just couldn’t grasp onto reading about the characters that were brought to life. The plot twist at the end wasn’t enough for me to grab her books The Grownup and Dark Places, but I know I’ll inevitably end up buying it on one of my bookstore conquests.

18. I Could Pee On This by Francesco Marciuliano

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I Could Pee On This was one of those books that only a true cat lover would love. It felt as though my cats actually wrote each one of these poems, and I found myself actually laughing at the thought. Throughout the whole book, it shows pictures of the “authors,” so not only do you get cute, quirky poems, but you also get cute, quirky photos of the cats themselves. Even though this was an extremely quick read, it still made quite the impact, and instead of having it reside on my “finished” shelf, it now has a place on my desk among a few others.

19. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

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Talking As Fast As I Can was such a hilarious autobiography. While I read it, I heard Lauren Graham’s voice, and shortly after I ended up watching Parenthood and Gilmore Girls. This book really brought to life how difficult it can be to get to where Lauren Graham has gotten. She created a quirky novel that came off as though Lauren Graham was Lorelai Gilmore while she was writing. I got through this autobiography as quickly as she talks, and I’d recommend this to anyone who loves her. Even though there are spoilers to the Gilmore Girls reboot, she does warn about them. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it! Then check out this book! As someone who doesn’t read very many autobiographies, I found myself so attached to this one that I finished it fairly quickly.

20. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Even though Coraline is a children’s book, it was still written very well. I only gave it 4-stars because I didn’t finish it. Before you jump on me for this though, I only didn’t finish it because it was TOO close to the movie. Even though it would’ve been a quick read, I couldn’t imagine my own characters. I love the movie adaptation, but once I already know what the characters look like… the books are almost ruined for me. However, if you like creepy stories, or if your kids like creepy stories, I highly recommend this. Neil Gaiman is an amazing writer, so only you can use your better judgment on this one.

21. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is going to have it’s own review here shortly!

22. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

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Tell Me Lies was extraordinary and filled with a ton of relationship issues that many authors don’t tend to discuss. Written from both the perspectives of the relationship; the gas-lighter and the “gas-lightee,” this book is unique on its own. I actually found myself uncovering more about Stephen in the beginning chapters than I realized. As someone who’s been a victim of gas-lighting, I was surprised I was able to catch the signs so soon. Stephen was an expert in his craft, and it was frustrating to read about Lucy falling for it over and over again, but I couldn’t put it down. Overall, it was a great read, and definitely one of my top five of 2018.

23. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

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First thing first, if you’re going to read Rosemary’s Baby – don’t; LISTEN TO IT. Like I said before, I don’t really love copping out of “manually” reading a book, but this one was worth it. Mia Farrow herself reads this and incorporates all of the screams and different voices. It really created a world that was just as intense as this was 50-years-ago. Dare I say, it was scarier in the audiobook version than it was in the film adaption or the book itself? Next is Son of Rosemary, and one can only hope she recorded that one as well (update: I just looked it up and it turns out she doesn’t… which is unfortunate).

24. Saving Red by Sonya Sones

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Even though Sonya Sones is a YA writer, Saving Red was a great story. It was unique on its own, and I can say I’ve never read a story like this before. In this story, a 14-year-old named Molly decides to help a homeless woman named Red. She had to have been only a few years older than Molly, but she ended up on the streets. I read this around Christmastime, and surprisingly it was set around the same time. This book was really cute and heartwarming and, even though I don’t read YA novels, I’ve always found that Sonya Sones’ books will always have a special place on my shelves.

9780062878649_p0_v2_s550x40625. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

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Eerily similar to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, A Simple Favor just wasn’t as appealing to me as I hoped it to be. While I think it was a good standalone book on its own, without comparing it to another book, I think the rating I gave this book was pretty accurate. A Simple Favor, was filled with just the right amount of plot twists, but it was still predictable. Although, as someone who reads thrillers frequently, I’ve found that this is the case for most thrillers at this point anyway. I loved the unique point-of-views, but I still wish it was a little more intense. However, I think this would be a great book for people who are new to the thriller genre. I’ve talked to several people who have loved it, and several who didn’t think it was the best, but if you’re just starting out with thrillers, try this!

26. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado

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Her Body and Other Parties received the lowest review of the year, not only because it was a schoolbook… but because it seemed as though it was written purely for shock factor. I couldn’t even make it through some of the chapters, but I had to for school. This book was another that I needed to download the audiobook, and while a few of the chapters were clever, they weren’t good enough for me to rate this any higher.

27. Bait by Chuck Palahniuk

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It’s not unusual that Palahniuk has presented us with a collection of short stories. It certainly isn’t his first collection, and it won’t be his last. However, what makes Bait unique is that there are photos you can color along with.

While I was reading it, I couldn’t put this book down at all. A few of my favorite stories were: Conspiracy, Let’s See What Happens, and Bait. Even though they were all unique, those three really stood out among the eight in the whole book. Plus, the illustrations really rounded it off.

 

 

 


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Review: “the woman in the window” by AJ Finn (2018)

Confused.

Lost.

Agoraphobic.

Anna Fox, an online psychologist, lives in a family townhome set in Harlem, yet her family is not around. She talks to no one except her clients (on the computer), her family (on the phone), her cat, and the people who visit her: her neighbors and therapists. Due to a drastic accident a few months ago, she doesn’t leave her house; she just watches the world outside her window. During one of her drunken nights, she saw a murder happen in a house across the street. She called everyone, but no one believed her. There was blood everywhere. The body disappeared. No one had even heard of the victim. Did she hallucinate the whole thing, or did she just drink too much merlot?

the woman in the window isn’t a book you’ll ever forget. It was among the first books I read in 2018, and it’s still one of the most memorable. Since the start of the year, I’ve read 30 books, and out of those 30, “the woman in the window” has been the one that really stood out.

Under the pseudonym AJ Finn, Daniel Mallory does a brilliant job of writing a character with a mental illness with just the right amount of plot twists. This book managed to keep me reading up at all hours of the night just to see what would happen next. Also, while there weren’t always cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, if there ever was, they were worth the extra hour-or-two I stayed up past my bedtime.

Now, before we start to make assumptions on a thriller surrounding a female protagonist, this isn’t the usual story of a damsel-in-distress just trying to find the love-of-her-life. She’s actually trying to find more peace within herself, and continues to fight for her own sanity. Mallory made it a point of that, and while the summaries you can find are as vague as they should be, the characters manage to define themselves all on their own.


Characters:

First, there’s (obviously) Anna. She’s a 38-year-old therapist who lives alone in an expensive house in Manhattan. Her husband left with their 8-year-old daughter, and she only talks to them on the phone, along with all of her online clients. Other than her patients and her persistent calls to her husband to come back, her days consist of watching old black-and-white movies, people-watching, drinking 2-3 bottles of wine a day, all while having her groceries delivered, and her therapist coming for weekly “pushes” outside. So, needless to say, she’s quite content with what she goes through.

Then there’s her across-the-street neighbors, the Russells. Consisting of Ethan and his parents, they’re a mystery altogether. The Russell’s house is where she sees the murder take place, and it’s where the whole story starts to take a toll on Anna’s mind. Ethan, the 16-year-old boy who resides there, isn’t exactly a goodie-two-shoes, and neither are is parents. The Russells have always been nice to Anna, but to what extent?

Now, none of these characters are what they seem, and it gives the book the necessary twist it needs. This book is one of the few where you can’t really reveal too much of the plot without giving the whole story away, so you’ll just have to take my word on that.


A Little About the Author:

He’s kind of a piece of shit.

Want to know why?

Read this: The New Yorker


Before It Was Published:

This book definitely deserved the attention it received before it was even on the shelves. With a seven-figure sign-on bonus and movie deal, the woman in the window has been making waves in the publishing industry. The book’s ARC was reviewed by several other thriller novelists, such as Stephen King (barf), Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins, which all resulted in similar forms of; “Un-put-down-able,” or ” I couldn’t stop reading.” Along with all of the praises it received, it was no surprise that it was the first debut novel in 12 years that ever made #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list (Newsweek).

Now, if that isn’t enough to make you want to go out and snag a copy, “the woman in the window” was sold over 15 million times as of October 2018, and I bought two of them.

 

Note: I’ve never actually had the urge to write a book review about a book I fell completely in love with before, so I’m going to create a new category on my blog purely for reviews. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing reviews about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, YOU and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk, but before all of that I’ll round the 2018 off… with an overview of all the books I’ve read in 2018 (along with their ratings, and my stats for each one off of Bookly).

So! Keep up with me, so we can bring in the new year with plenty of reviews and high praises for a few brilliant authors!

Diving Into My Old Vintage Books

For those of you who are on Instagram, I’ve made an IGTV video of this journey on there as well! You can view it at: Uncovering: Publishing Dates on Old Books

Now, since I’ve lived in Colorado (2016), I’ve started to accumulate old vintage books from family, friends, and my own shopping at the local thrift store. My next venture will hopefully be a collection of Louisa May Alcott books printed in the 1920s. Until then though, these are the few that I have! Some are in German, so I can’t read them, but then again I can’t read the others either. They’re in delicate condition, but I promise I dust them and wipe them down whenever it’s needed. I might not be a Joe Goldberg (from the infamous YOU by Caroline Kepnes), but I do treat all of my books as though they’re living, breathing beings.

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Catharsis

Why do we do it?

Why do we put ourselves through things like catharsis just so we can feel? We deliberately listen to songs that hurt us. Songs that remind us of pain from our past, songs that we listened to when we were with someone we no longer talk to. It isn’t just music either, we watch TV shows that make us cry even though we know it’s coming. But, why? (Looking at you Grey’s Anatomy!) woman-sad-near-water

Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll tell you why I do it. Currently,  I’m listening to a
playlist I made. It’s not even supposed to be as deep as I made it, but somehow it came out that way. There are 30 songs, and eleven of them are indeed that deep. In fact, all day, I’ve felt myself on the verge of a breakdown and here I am. Listening to those ten songs, that now have more meaning to them than I originally planned.

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that  I made the playlist that deep, or maybe my brain is just in overdrive from recent events, but either way. While I’m writing this blog on catharsis, I’m putting myself through it and honestly it feels a little fucked up. My eyes hurt, my fingers are shaking, and my heart feels shattered. Plus, blowing your nose with a septum ring in is just a pain in the ass.

Also, I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but for those of you who don’t know by know, (or haven’t gotten from the context clues I’ve loosely provided), catharsis is the process of releasing emotion… on purpose. The fact that we even need to push ourselves to release emotions like that is just insane and this is coming from someone who builds up emotion like a pro. Wow, while I wrote that, even I knew it didn’t sound healthy yet here I am with almost twenty-two years of pent-up emotion.

Let me say this though… I’ve been working on it. While some of my nights still consist of crying on the bathroom floor after a day of difficult emotions and stressful moments, I have managed to fight the urge to do it alone. Even though it’s been a long journey to get to where I am now, I’ll forever be proud of the fact that I’ve shown at least a little progress… even if it did take quite a few years to get here.

Tense

The midsummer sun was pounding down on me while I dug my hands into the dirt. I could feel the wetness in the layers of mud as I kept sifting through the moist soil. My daughter’s voice ran through my head after every rinse in the water hose, just wear gloves, Gideon, but I never listened—why would I? I liked the feel of it. The grunginess of my hands after a long day outside, they made me feel like a mechanic. At first, I thought it was unusual that planting flowers and various herbs was my way of escape, but it felt right. So, I quickly got over the judgmental stares of passersby watching a six-foot-tall man with his knees in the dirt because I kind of had to.

Today though, it wasn’t about the flowers or the herbs. Today, I was tasked with tearing apart the dirt in front of my daughters’ home. Tasked to destroy what was once beautiful, but it had to be done. There were unwanted dandelions, chickweeds, purslane, and bluegrass interrupting the growth of the sunflowers and morning glories I planted a few months ago. These pesky weeds were relentless; they kept coming back, even over the summer. Although, I could never understand why she couldn’t do this herself. All it took was a good pair of gloves, and a little patience. The task was easy, but ever since we buried her husband a couple months ago, she wasn’t motivated to do any of the outdoor chores. Although, I was amazed that she even invited me over—my wife must’ve had something to do with it. We never got along, even before my grandson’s father died. Our relationship was fine, but it was always uncomfortable. The tension was inevitable though; she’d never forgive me for what happened.

My thoughts were quickly interrupted by a checkered ball hitting the window and landing in the array of weeds in front of me. Soccer. They were playing soccer. My grandson quickly rushed over, apologized, retrieved the ball, and ran back to continue playing with my daughter before I could respond. I looked over and she didn’t acknowledge me; she was still mad. She’s lucky my wife was persuasive enough to get me here.

Last time I saw my daughter was a week after the funeral when I let slip that I thought his son should return to his biological mother. I’ll never understand why she couldn’t let him move back. She always had this way about her where she just had to control everything; including him.

His son’s life was never just his, just like my daughter’s was never really hers. After my son-in-law was six-feet-under she had to start anew. Discover who she was, where she belonged, and what she needed to survive. She barely scraped by after his passing, it’s no wonder she never let his son leave her side. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid; he just doesn’t love us. The word grandpanever came out of his mouth, but collectively we were a familyfor over a decade. It wasn’t his fault though, it was his fathers. He alienated them from us, and if I hadn’t have done what I did, I’m not sure how much longer it would’ve been before I lost my daughter completely.

It’s Okay.

It’s okay to be sad.

It’s okay to let your guard down once in a while and to just wallow in your emotions.

It’s okay to express how you feel.

It’s all okay.

Because you’re human.

Hi, I’m not sure if you’ve read my resolution post for 2018 yet aptly named The Year(s) of Growth, but if you haven’t, then these were my top ten resolutions:

  1.  Stop comparing
  2.  Break my bad habits
  3.  Leave the house more
  4.  Eat healthier
  5.  Listen to more music
  6.  Read more
  7.  Produce more art, whether it’s paint on a canvas or a new blog post — writing is an art too
  8.  Make it on to the deans’ list
  9.  Stop letting people take advantage
  10.  Ignore the insults

It’s a long and hopeful list, right? I’ll dig into them in December, so for now, we’re only going to focus on number two; “break my bad habits.” I didn’t discuss this in that blog, and I’m not sure I’ve talked about it yet (maybe I should “clean house” and check all of my blogs), but my all-time worst habit is not letting people in. For some reason, there has just been a mental blockade around that portion of my brain, and I’ve just discovered how to cope with it.

Today, I had what I like to call a Twitter Episode, which is where I air my “dirty laundry” out publicly, with hopes that my tweets get lost in the abyss of memes and self-deprecating humor. Yet, today they didn’t. I was seen, heard, asked about, and apologized to. No one knew exactly how to fix my problem, but I was still seen. A few people reached out and they helped me realize that it’s not going to be the end of the world–at least, not yet anyway.

But see, that’s the thing. As I write this blog about opening up, I’m still extraordinarily closed off. I’ve closed myself off from those that care about me, and today I realized just how self destructive that can be. Not only for myself, but to everyone else around me.

It isn’t fun seeing those you care about be sad or upset, but you have to remember that if they’re hurting, don’t ignore their cries for help. Don’t let them do it alone because if you truly care about them, you’ll help them in any way you can.

Honestly, the hardest thing to do, is to ignore those posts that tell you how toxic you are when you are upset, because those are complete bullshit. It’s not okay to build a fortress around how you feel. If something’s bothering you, don’t just let it pass; TALK about it. TEXT about it. WRITE about it. Do anything you can to get those thoughts out of your head and into the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to be written in a note on your phone, in a Word.doc that you never open again, or even if it’s in a diary that’s closed off to the world… as long as it’s written down, it’ll help.

Also, I realize how this must sound coming from me of all people. Like I said before, (or did I?), I’m an expert at bottling things up. I have almost twenty-two years of it under my belt, so you might be wondering; “Who are you to give me advice on letting people in?” Well, my dear reader, I can only write how I personally feel, and you can take from it as you please. It’s entirely up to you and you alone. However, with as much experience as I have, I can say for sure that one thing helps when it comes to opening up, and it only takes a few steps:

  1. Get. Out. Of. Your. Bed.
  2. Move.
  3. Don’t slow down.
  4. Find a friend(s).

After you’ve established some sort of trust with said friend(s); open up. Let people in. Don’t let your anxiety, inability to trust because of your past, or your overthinking affect the fact that there is someone out there that will listen. They may be hard to find, but they are out there. Somewhere. You just have to go out and look. You honestly just have to trust me.

Once you find your person, or what us Grey’s Anatomy fans like to call “your Cristina,” never let them go. Your Cristina might not always be the same person as your Derek, but if they are then that’s great! It’s much harder to find two people who care about you as much as Cristina and Derek did for Meredith, but if you’re as lucky as I am; you’ll find them both.

Chapter One: Commute Home

Before reading, see: Prologue//Flashback: Maddy’s 

Disclaimer: This is a revised version of chapter one! I workshopped the hell out of it in one of my classes this semester, so I thought I’d update it here too. Thanks for reading! I hope you guys like these characters just as much as I do and that this is the start of something worthwhile. 

Chapter One: Commute Home (Revised)

Today, I decided to walk home a little lackadaisically. It wasn’t my usual speed, but I knew it would get me to where I was going — especially since I wasn’t in much of a rush. For some reason, this particular Friday just felt different. It was nicer outside than it had been this past week, so I decided to take it all in. The cool spring air was slowly caressing my bare legs with each step. It was chilly and almost unbearable, but I didn’t mind. After all, it’s my fault that I woke up with hope that the Texas weather would stay consistent throughout the day. The mornings were always deceiving compared to the afternoons.

With each step, I noticed the trees were coming back to life, the grass was slowly becoming greener after each watering, and the animals were thriving off it. It’s sort of ironic to see all of the animals coming out of hiding, as if Texas knew what the winter season was. Here we just get a handful of freezes and a bunch of cold wind. We barely get any snow. Most birds even come here from up north to avoid their states’ weather, as if the sunny beaches of Cancun were too far of a flight.

As I walked, I counted the steps between each sidewalk crack. “One-two-three, one-two, one-two-three-four,” it was almost like a dance, albeit an unusual one, but the counting came naturally. I started to imagine a polka band playing at each step. The casual “oom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah,” that was filling my brain took me down my path. I took this course home every other day, so I was bound to get there eventually.

After quite a few “oom-pah-pah’s”, I turned the corner next to my family’s old diner and knew I was almost home. Or rather… I thought I was, until I bumped into something sturdy. I should’ve looked up, god damn it, I thought to myself as the man I bumped into started to turn red.

“Shit! Watch where you’re going!” he exclaimed, holding his cup away from the damage I just caused. He didn’t notice I was watching him until he started wiping off his laptop bag and flannel with his hands. With just a quick glance, this man really had a lumberjack thing going on. Beard and all.

“Oh my god, I’m so, so sorry. Please let me help you,” I said to him, while I opened up my backpack to find my pack of wet wipes.

“Thanks, but I’m fine. It’s fine,” he said kind of aggressively, but his expression softened when he finally looked up; his light brown eyes pierced my greens. “Ugh, I’m sorry. I’ve just had a long day,” while he held his hand out, “My name’s Alexander, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

I didn’t expect him to take such a turnaround, but I closed my bag and shook his hand anyway, “Maddy, my name’s Maddy. I’m so sorry.”

“Please, just stop apologizing. It’s okay. I said it’s fine, and I meant it,” he said more calmly while he put his hand on my shoulder.

Almost immediately, I shrugged his hand off, “Okay, are you sure you’re okay? That coffee had to have been really hot. Please, let me buy you another one.”

“Alright, alright, you can buy me a new cup. Is the diner fine?”

“Actually, would it be okay if we went down the street to Starbucks instead? I don’t really want to set foot in there.” Immediately, I mentally crossed my fingers and hoped he wouldn’t ask why. Especially since Gordon and I haven’t had time to fully evaluate it.

“Umm, yeah. That’ll be alright. I’d actually prefer it if that’s what you’re more comfortable with. Just lead the way,” he said.

* * * *

On our way to Starbucks I realized that there was more to this guy than I thought. He wasn’t just a tall, rugged man, but he had quirks of his own. Not only was he avoiding the sidewalk cracks as he stepped, but he kept the same number of steps between them too.

“What on earth are you looking at?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing,” I laughed nervously. “I just noticed that you never step on any cracks. I do the same thing.”

“Were you counting? I try to keep at least two to four between each crack. I’m not superstitious or anything,” he chuckled while he rubbed the back of his neck, “I just kind of kept the habit from when I was a kid.”

“Oh, I suppose I was,” I blushed, “I do the same thing… except I imagine polka music playing.”

“Polka, huh? Care to elaborate?” he asked, and I reluctantly let him in on my little secret, because he let me in on his. And to my surprise, we ended up walking my weird, and quirky way all the way to the coffee shop.

* * * *

When we got to Starbucks, I ordered my usual iced green tea latte; the matcha was my favorite part. It made me feel as though I was actually taking a step towards something healthy. I didn’t even know Starbucks had this drink until a few weeks ago, but I fell in love at first sip.

“Your total is $5.75,” the barista said. So, I quickly went to search my backpack, but noticed my wallet was missing. I could’ve sworn I had it earlier, and it wasn’t long until I started shaking in panic.

“Um, Alex? Do you mind getting this?” I asked nervously, “I can pay you back later. I promise.”

“It’s Alexander, and are you asking me to pay for your coffee after you spilled mine all over me?”

I couldn’t read if he was serious. All I could get out of my mouth was, “Oh, yeah… I’m sorry. Um, I might have some kind of cash in this bag somewhere,” and I started to search again.

“Nooo, stop! I’m kidding,” he smiled and put his hand on mine. “It’s really no problem, I swear. You can get the next one.”

We went to a table in the back corner of the cafe to wait for our order, and I still couldn’t stop thanking him. He even pulled my chair out for me, and suddenly I couldn’t remember the last time I was ever out with a guy. Clearly, I wasn’t used to this kind of chivalry.

“Maddy, it’s fine. Stop thanking me,” he said. “But, if you don’t mind me asking, what was that back there?” he asked.

“What was what?”

“Why couldn’t we go into the diner? I mean, I prefer Starbucks, but you seemed a little reluctant to go in there.”

“Oh, it was nothing.” I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t believe me, so I quickly added, “I just have a few bad memories there, that’s all.”

“Yeah? If you don’t mind me asking, what are they about?”

“That depends,” I said, “Why Alexander? Why not just Alex?”

“I just don’t like shortening my name. My mom gave me my whole name for a reason, ya know?” he said, while he messed with the straps to his bag. He was fidgeting, just like what I do when I’m talking to new people. This is insane. We really were so similar.

“Oh,” I said. “So, I suppose you’ll just call me Madeline then?”

“Madeline, huh?” he winked, “Would it be alright if I called you that? It’s so beautiful.” Suddenly, I could feel my cheeks turning red, this guy really had an effect on me. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for him to make me blush.

“No, I suppose that wouldn’t be a bad thing. So, now I guess I have to tell you my story then,” I started, right before my order was shouted out to the whole café.  “Well, that’s me,” I moved to get up, but Alexander stopped me.

“I’ll get it, they just set mine on the bar as well.”

“Uh, alright. Thanks.” I shot him a smile and he went for our cups, but on his way back, I noticed that he was looking at my drink like it was a foreign object.

“How on Earth do you drink this stuff?” he asked, while holding up my drink and inspecting it. He looked like he was looking at an undiscovered object. Like matcha was the strangest thing ever.

I laughed and asked him, “What do you mean?”

“This dark green stuff… it looks like there’s dirt in your drink.”

“Uh, have you ever tried matcha before? It’s ah-maaaze-iiing,” I informed him.

“No, I haven’t. I don’t tend to drink or eat food that looks like dirt,” he said, and I immediately felt myself start to shut-down. We just met, and he was already criticizing my drink.

“Well, it doesn’t taste like dirt. I’d ask you to try it, but you probably don’t have fantastic taste buds considering you got a grande black coffee at Starbucks of all places,” I snapped.

“Woah, woah, woah… calm down. Madeline,” he grabbed my hand, “I was just kidding.”

I quickly pulled it away from him. “Well, it’s really hard to tell if you’re kidding Alex. I don’t read sarcasm very well with you apparently and I don’t know how to deal with it.” I slowly started to scoot my chair away from the table, “Maybe I’m overreacting, but you’re not great at being facetious.”

He threw his hands up in defeat and said, “Okay, okay, okay. I’m sorry. I’ve been told that my face isn’t very great at expressing itself.” I could see the remorse in his face, and I felt horrible. I really need to stop doing this to everyone. “So, what is it about the diner? I know we just met, but I wish you’d talk to me. There’s just something about your eyes that resonates with me. I want to know everything about the girl who spilled coffee on me,” he said, while rubbing his finger along the outside of his coffee cup lid.

I could feel a wave of warmth wash over me, I seriously needed to interact with more people, I thought to myself. It shouldn’t be this easy for him to make me feel this way. Reluctantly though, it was only fair I told him a little bit about myself, so I decided to tell him, “Okay, well since you told me your weird name thing, that diner actually used to be my parents. The place was originally named Maddy’s after my grandmother, who was also my namesake. At first, it was awesome. They bought it when I was around eleven-years-old. I spent all my summers there, my first job was there, and it was great… until they sold it. Now it’s just a run-of-the-mill restaurant. I’m just glad the new owners kept some of the nostalgia intact even though my parents’ menus aren’t there anymore.”

“I’m really sorry to hear that, it must’ve been hard having to adjust. Have you gone in there since?” he asked, and this time I let him grab my hand. First, this man is everything. He was complex, but I could still understand his quirks at the same time. Second, how did this all come out of a spilled coffee?

Before answering his question, I decided that it was time to leave before things got a little too personal. “Actually, I hate to cut this short, but I should probably get going. Swanson needs me. We can always dig into this later, if you want?” I scooted away from the table.

“Wait, who’s Swanson?”

“My cat. He’s very particular about when he gets his food,” I said while I stood and started to put my backpack on.

“Oh, you have a cat? That’s another interesting note on Madeliiiine… what was your last name? Mine’s Woods,” he said.

“Alexander Woods, huh? That sounds fitting,” I told him. I almost had to stifle a laugh to cover up the irony. This man looked like a lumberjack, and his last name was Woods. He was definitely going to hear about this later; if there is a later. “I’m a MacCarthy. Not like Melissa, more like the usual Scottish last name.”

“So, Madeline MacCarthy. That explains your hair and eyes. Are you Scottish?”

“You know what Alexander, seriously. Let’s save this for another time. I really need to get home to Swanson.”

“Alright, alright, alright. Let me give you my number and we can meet again? Maybe next time you won’t get my shirt dirty,” he joked.

I pulled out a scrap of paper from my backpack and a pen, “Sure, actually, here’s mine. Don’t lose this,” I grinned.

“Oh, trust me. I won’t.”