Adventures in Book Hunting: Volume 6

Adventures in Book Hunting: Volume 6

In Which a Book Snob Gives Book Warehouse Another Try

I don’t usually think of myself as a book snob, but I don’t think it’s any secret that I typically don’t gravitate toward the self published or discount shelves. I like things that are new or popular, which I don’t think is a crime. And if you’ve ever been to a Book Warehouse store, then you know this isn’t really their forte. Even their newer books tend to be about a year old. But for my birthday, my awesome boss got me six books from Book Warehouse, which is where she usually gets her reading material, as well as a huge gift card to spend there…so it was time for me to give Book Warehouse another shot.

Birthday book stack! She nailed it with the creepy/horror and the crafting/home books.

I’ve been in a few of these stores before, but I think my biggest problem is that I’m almost always book shopping with a list. I don’t typically go browse unless I’m there for at least one specific thing, because I have about a billion books at home I *should* be reading. But Book Warehouse is not a place you go with a list.

On this particular adventure I was hunting for some paperbacks I would feel like taking on vacation, if any; I’ve come to find that I much prefer a paperback book, which would surprise young me! They’re just lighter and easier to fit in my bag, while still feeling like a real book. Book Warehouse separates their fiction hardcovers and paperbacks, so this made the endeavour far easier. I immediately spotted Waiting for Tom Hanks, which has truthfully been on my tbr since it came out in like, what, 2019? I even got the arc of her second book and, you guessed it: never read it.

I grabbed that one and instantly became hopeful that this may be a more successful trip than I’d thought. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any other contemporary romance…everything else on the shelves was smut or mass market paperbacks with shirtless dudes. Pass. I did however spot some other interesting reads.

Next I grabbed The House Next Door by Darcy Coates. By now I have already read this one and I actually quite liked it. It reads like a Blumhouse movie.

I had picked up the book The Residence by Andrew Pyper, which was a ghost story centering on the Lincoln family and their time in the White House, where they inevitably lost one of their young sons. I ended up putting it back because it was a hardcover, and I couldn’t find more hardcovers I wanted at the time…the deals at this place are kind of insane, but you need to buy a certain amount of each format to get them. I was nearly converted to a Book Warehouse junkie after seeing the price tags alone. I’ll keep you in suspense for my final total…

Next I spotted The Way Inn by Will Wiles. This book sounds like an absolute trip. It kind of reminds me of a more contemplative Horrorstor, so I’m down. It’s got about 3.5 stars on Goodreads, so we’ll see how it goes.

After I found all this I had already been there about an hour. The sea shanties that the cashier was playing on loop in the store were definitely starting to get to me. It’s certainly not your classical music of a Barnes & Noble, but it’s nearly as repetitive. At this point, I need one more paperback to round out my deal, so I can get 4 books for $20. Yes, you read that correctly. Four books for less than what I usually pay for one, willingly.

I ended up grabbing The Beguiled, which I had dropped off my tbr years ago because I didn’t think I’d ever be struck with the desire to read it, even if the story did sound good. And while that remains true thus far, I have a feeling I’m at more of a place in my life to read it now. I hope it’s a good one as it sounds super creepy and I love the premise.

So here’s the full haul!

I’ll probably grab The Residence when I go back next time, because I still have $80 left on that gift card omg. I can’t believe I got that many books for $20. It may not be my ideal book shopping experience, but it certainly gives you some bang for your buck.

What has been your experience with Book Warehouse? Curious if there are some die hard fans here!

Have a great weekend and a safe Independence Day to my US friends.

Adventures in Book Hunting: Volume 5

Adventures in Book Hunting: Volume 5

In which we spend gift cards at Barnes & Noble Newington!

Happy Friday, people!! The weekend cannot come soon enough.

This past Sunday during the holiday weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my most local (if you can believe it, 45 minutes away) Barnes & Noble to spend a gift card from my awesome parents, for helping them purchase their home (real estate is my day job, reading is my career).

I had a long list to purchase, as per the usual, but realized almost as soon as I got there that a lot of them actually aren’t out yet? So it really seems like a great time to run another “Most Anticipated” list for the rest of 2022! I won’t spoil those surprises, but tune in on the 17th for my full thoughts!

What was on my list, though, definitely got purchased. 1) Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano. I *adored* Finlay Donovan is Killing It; it was totally unexpected and enjoyable. I initially read it because it was supposed to be like Only Murders in the Building, and while it has the casual humor of the show regarding seriously violent subjects, it doesn’t have the same ambience. I loved it all the same and cannot wait to read this sequel.

2) One Night on the Island by Josie Silver. I follow another book blogger on Goodreads with the username “chan ☆”, and I have a love/hate relationship with her reviews. It’s my understanding that she primarily vlogs, but I don’t really like social video content, so I’ve never watched any of her stuff. Mostly, I just awe at how many books she can consume in a 24 hour period and scoff at her few sentence reviews that almost always disagree with my own thoughts. When she shelved this as read and “dnf”, I figured I’d probably like it, lol. I really enjoyed The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, even though it broke my heart a thousand ways to Sunday. I’m excited for this one and love the concept of the shared vacation spot as a trope. I’m betting it’ll be cute!

3) My Favorite Thing is Monsters Vol. 1 by Emil Ferris. I don’t even remember how this one fell across my Goodreads dashboard, but I’m definitely in a noir mood as of late, and this fits the bill. I love a good graphic novel every once in a while, but the price tag on this bad boy had me like 0_0. I get it, though. Art AND writing? You earned it. I’m excited to read this interesting-sounding novel, with fantasy grounded in reality, and the past informing the present.

The other two things I *accidentally* picked up were Breathless by Ann McCulloch and The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon. I’ve been interested in Jennifer McMahon’s books before but I wasn’t sure how I would like the writing style, or if the plot itself would really carry the book. This one definitely sounds like it can, and it sounds from the synopsis that the writing style will also be pretty darn good. Breathless also sounds like a great mystery, but I primarily decided to pick up that one because it was one of the Book of the Month choices for this month. I don’t like the cover art so much (feels very generic), but once I read what it was about, I decided it’d be a good one. I picked both up off a table that suggested they were nail-biters with great twist endings. Wish I could remember what the table said exactly, but I trust their judgment!

Here’s my fresh stack in all it’s glory:

I also checked out the strategy games. Strategy games, while extremely expensive, are kind of my weakness. I checked out the game Furnace; I was drawn in by the art style but it seemed more up Nate’s alley than mine (so I handed it off to him!). I was also interested in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a Disney game based off the ride of the same name, and I liked that it seemed easy enough for the whole family to learn and play. Mostly I think I’m just overly-excited for my upcoming trip to the parks. I ended up passing on both in the end, which my wallet appreciated when the gift card didn’t cover it all, lol.

All in all a successful B&N trip on my first day off in a WHILE! Glad to restock while I had the chance.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Adventures in Book Hunting: Volume 4

Adventures in Book Hunting: Volume 4

In which we go to Gibson’s for Independent Bookstore Day!

Indie Bookstore Day!!! One of the best days of the year, in my opinion. I think I’ve been going since roundabout 2018, where I must have heard about it from some family or friend or another and convinced my mom to drive me to Concord (I didn’t have a license then so, like, this was a huge feat). I won a raffle that year and earned myself a most fabulous Out of Print pouch of cats from bookstores across the country. Still have it!

But even more so than the merch, I go to support my very favorite bookstores on what we hope will be one of their most successful days each year. It’s a way to show some love to the spot you love to haunt most and keeps you supplied with reading material. I come ready to SPEND.

Going into it this year I had a relatively small list, only because so many of the books I want right now are still a few weeks out from publication! I don’t know why I’m so ahead of the game right now. But there are a couple books I’d like including:

  • Devil House by John Darnielle
  • Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto
  • Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
  • Secret Identity by Alex Saguro

And of course, the merch. Can’t do IBD without some merch.

But this year I had to work during the day and couldn’t get there until this evening…so my lovely auntie snatched me one of those tote bags!!

Just look how fabulous. I’m a sucker for a tote bag. In fact, I think all the ones I still have in my possession are from bookstores or IBD (I have some merch from 2018, 2019, 2021, and now, 2022! We don’t talk about 2020…).

So my boyfriend, Nate, and I set out in the evening for Gibson’s and made a night out of it.

I got EVERYTHING on my list, which ROCKS. I found the vast majority of it in the mystery section (excluding Devil House which is currently a staff pick, one of the best endorsements a book can get), which surprised me, as I don’t think I typically pick up books that are exclusively “mystery”. I think usually my mysteries have some horror or thriller aspects to them.

And much to my delight, Finlay Donovan and Dial A both sound absolutely hysterical. I honestly picked them based on their covers and that I had heard of them before, but I found them on a random list of “books like Only Murders in the Building“. I think they’re both going to fit the unlikely detective prompt of the 52 Book Club 2022 challenge quite well, if anyone still needs a read for that! I think I filled mine with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Even Nate got a book! He doesn’t typically splurge on reading material, but every once in a great while I can drag him to the bookstore and he finds something he wants. This time it was The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Babish of the Binging with Babish fame recommended the book in a recent video he watched (along with The Wok, which we desperately want…I can’t even imagine how many foods regularly eaten in our houaehold would be easier with a wok). He likes to cook and does most of the cooking in our house, so he splurged the $50 price tag and went for it. We were perusing it when we got home, and it definitely seems to have been a worthy investment.

Please ignore my bad grammar above…text speak and all that. XD

In the end, I got a full stamp card (good for 20% off your whole purchase, which I promptly gave to Nate behind me even though it hurt my heart) and an *almost* full additional one. We got five raffle tickets between us for some seriously awesome merch, gift cards, and gift baskets and even a personalized shopping experience at the bookstore during closed hours! Which, of course, would make any little introverted bookworm’s heart go wheeeee! There were five different raffle options, so we just stuck one ticket in each. Cross your fingers for me.

Here’s my whole haul! Not too much as to break the bank, but enough to keep me well read for the next few weeks or so. 😉

If you haven’t gone before, keep your eyes peeled for IBD festivities at your local bookstore next April! And if you did attend, where did you go? What did you get??

Have the very best weekend, friends!

Adventures in Book Hunting, Volume 2

Adventures in Book Hunting, Volume 2

In Which We Order Way Too Many Books Online During Gibson’s February Sale

AAAAH! The February Sale!! It was a sound-the-alarm moment earlier last week when I saw that it was time for Gibson’s Bookstore’s incredible 25% off sale – I haven’t book shopped in quite a while, and honestly, my reading really slowed through February as I picked up some crafts and binge watched all of Disenchantment with my boyfriend. Which, if you haven’t watched it, is a must-see. But a 25% off sale when it comes to books is ALWAYS a good excuse to stock up!

Here in New Hampshire, the February sale fell on the same weekend as a pretty big snow storm. Where I was, we saw about 12 inches of powdery fluff on Friday…so I opted to shop online this time! Less people-y, and equally good for browsing with Gibson’s newer website. I really love the setup, perfect for browsing…almost as good as being there! And I say almost because I can’t actually smell them through the screen, so.

Having just written my book list on spring books I can’t wait to read, I opted to mostly stock up on those this time around. I thought Gwendy’s Final Task was pushed back to a March release, but it was on Gibson’s shelves, so obviously I had to grab that! That’ll be my weekend book while my boyfriend is gone to visit his family. I’ve always found that series to be a quick but thought-provoking read…it may only take me an hour or two get through, but the concept sits with me for a long time after. I’m really excited to see Chizmar and King come back together on this final installment of the series, though Gwendy’s Magic Feather made me a fan of Chizmar all on his own.

I also pre-ordered The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James. I loved Broken Girls but skipped The Sun-Down Motel… but I might go back and pick that one up if this turns out to be just as good. The concept for this one just sounded so good and right up my alley. It sounds like a movie I’d like to watch, so hopefully it makes a dang good book, too.

Now, I also grabbed The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley…which wasn’t actually on my pre-order list, but it just came out, and I’ve been loving the cover. It kind of reminds me of Riley Sager (and we all know how much I love his writing, so). They got me with the Front Tables display on their main page.

JUST LOOK HOW CREEPY.

Anyways, I thought I had previously read the description and skipped it for a reason, but when I reread the synopsis, I was all over it. I’m actually super excited for this one, my first Lucy Foley book! I’ll keep you posted. 😉

And yeah, I have no shelf control, so I went and browsed the romance section of their site, too. I LOVE that everything is split up into different tropes and scenarios for easy browsing: if you’re actually a romance lover, chances are you become pretty particular about what you enjoy at some point. I read a lot of different tropes, but there’s others I’m just not interested in (ie. historical romance…no thanks). I went straight for the romcom section to see what I could find. I had to get like five pages in just to find something I hadn’t already read or voted off the island like Bridgerton (XD), but eventually I came upon How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan. I knew the name sounded familiar but couldn’t really place it; turns out I’ve had her debut, Ten Rules for Faking It, on my NetGalley shelf since like, 2020. I know, but I’ve told you it’s bad! I’m so behind. Anyways, How to Love Your Neighbor sounds like HGTV meets the Hallmark channel, and gives off major Tools of Engagement vibes, so you’re damn right I bought it. Looks like I’ll be reading her second book before her sequel, hahaha.

And thus concludes the exorbitant amount of books I purchased during the February sale!! I selected that they should send me just one package, meaning I would have to wait for Simone St. James’ newest to release, but because Gibson’s is awesome, three of my books are already in the mail. 🙂 I literally can’t speak highly enough of the staff at Gibson’s. Book people just get it, and the booksellers there are the best book people. Even if you missed it last weekend, give gibsonsbookstore.com some love! I’m willing to be you’ll love the setup of their online shopping, if it’s just too people-y out to get there yourself.

Have an awesome weekend, and thanks for enjoying this book hunting adventure with me. 🙂

Adventures in Book Hunting, Volume 1

Adventures in Book Hunting, Volume 1

In Which We Visit Barnes & Noble Manchester on a Chilly January Day

If I have to pick a Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH’s location is a personal favorite. They have a great selection and I really love the layout there, a lot more than Newington’s (my two closest B&Ns). I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but I went in with the intention of grabbing maybe one or two things…and grabbed four. It do be like that sometimes.

I always start at the front of the store where they put out new releases. I noticed this time around that not all of these were *super* new, some were maybe a couple months old but still holding popularity (ie. The Final Girl Support Group). I actually like that they do that only because I have mentioned recently being so far behind in knowing what’s new and notable; I feel like there’s a gap in the timeline where I forgot that, in addition to my ever present tbr, new books come out sometimes and I may also want to read those…

I immediately picked this one up because of the ~vibe~.

I’ve never actually heard of John Darnielle but I liked the sound of this story. Says he’s written a couple other horror novels. The cover of this one really reminded me of The Amityville Horror cover from the version we carry at the library, and I liked that this gave me 80s horror vibes despite being a brand new book. I think 80s slasher horror and other period frights are making a resurgence and I’m living for it. I ultimately decided not to buy this guy because I picked up so many other things and I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood for it right now, but I think I might come back to it. Anyone read this one?

I sauntered through all the sale tables and display tables, picking over the romance I hadn’t read yet, and finally made my way to the fiction. I made it about halfway through fiction before I realized it wasn’t what I was truly in the mood for: I’d be content to skip over fiction in exchange for some romance and horror, and the occasional thriller. Particularly at this B&N, none of the literary fiction was drawing me in.

So off I go to romance, getting occasionally distracted by more display tables! I love that Manchester B&N has such a huge selection of romance, and not the kind that always has shirtless men on the cover. It’s a great resource for new contemporary fiction fans. I spent a while picking through the stacks but ultimately settled on a copy of Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon (I loved The Ex Talk!) and A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King to fulfill my Jane Austen-inspired prompt for The 52 Book Club Challenge. Surprisingly, I didn’t have anything on my shelves already that would fit that one! Odd, for an Austen lover. A Certain Appeal is King’s debut, and I’m really excited for the story and the backdrop of the burlesque world.

Off next to thrillers and horror! I was thinking thrillers only because I heard Riley Sager has a new one coming out, and it made me realize I’ve missed a good thriller…but nothing spoke to me this time around. Why do all thriller covers look the same?? Same color scheme, exact same font on the cover. Nothing sticks out that way!

Horror was a different story. I was proud to see all of Grady Hendrix’s works there – it used to be when I came that they only had one or two, but it looks like people got hooked just like me. 🙂 I saw House of Leaves and was drawn to it, not because the cover looks super intriguing, but because I had previously heard of it in a blog post listing books that readers had said were so terrifying they couldn’t finish them (I frequently refer back to this list for a good read!!). Once I picked it up and read the jacket, though, I knew I had to get it. House of Leaves was once a cult classic passed around in pieces or occasionally surfacing on the internet. Young people loved it, but once the older generation picked it up, they, too, took a liking to it – the true testament that there’s something in here for everybody. Something I previously hadn’t considered reading, I’m now very excited to pick up. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know what you thought. My copy is the remastered full color edition, which was visually very interesting and possibly confusing on the inside.

Last but not least, I grabbed Goblin by Josh Malerman. His newest, Pearl, doesn’t really appeal to me as a novel, but I read an awesome bookseller review of Goblin from someone whose taste I trust at Gibson’s! But the last time I was there, they didn’t have it – so I grabbed it at B&N during this trip. I’m super excited to give that one a shot too. It gives me a combination of classic horror movie vibes and I can’t wait to see how it ties together. This will be my first Malerman, even though I loved the Bird Box movie adaptation.

So here it is, my full haul!

As I was leaving I realized I should’ve taken way more pictures, but it was my first attempt at a book hunting…so you live and learn! I’ll have more shots of everything I pick up and comprehend next time around.

If you’ve read any of these, I want to hear what you thought of them! I’m so excited to read these, and I have a whole snowy weekend to snuggle into the couch and get started.

Until next time!

Bookstore Review: The Country Bookseller

Bookstore Review: The Country Bookseller

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hello again! This is one of the latest reviews I’ve written in a while. I am just so behind and down to the wire! I visited The Country Bookseller yesterday, though I’ve been there many times before. It’s one of the closest bookstores to me geographically, though truthfully, it’s never been my go-to. Every time I visited, they didn’t seem to have things I enjoyed reading (which has evolved quite a bit over the years, but the first time I visited, I was definitely in that post-Hunger Games young adult phase). It felt more like a bookstore for those who vacation in Wolfeboro, NH (the oldest resort town in America!) than those that live around it (because trust me, it’s a very different vibe! We know when you’re not from ’round here). (Sorry for all the parentheses, y’all…).

For this visit to The Country Bookseller, I was looking for a few books to fill out my 52 Book Club challenge (be sure to read my December update next week for more info!). However, it was a very crappy day out – rainy, it had just snowed the night before, mushy and cold – the perfect day for reading. That’s what I’m going to blame my insanely high total at the register on, if anyone asks. The weather just drove me to buy more books, lol.

For being a small space, The Country Bookseller makes excellent use of their shelves, creating nooks and crannies as well as great spots to curl up and read a rainy day away. When I first arrived, I was the first one in the store, but in all the hidey-holes the bookseller surely could’ve misplaced me. But being small has its downsides, too, because their selection has to be perfectly curated, and they definitely don’t just hold multiple copies of this week’s fad book. I’ve always thought it’d be interesting to know the process behind selecting inventory at shops like these. How do you decide what will fly off the shelves, and what might still be sitting there, years later?

The shelf space being at a premium also meant that they don’t have tons of real estate for front-facing books, either. The fiction section is a large collection of spines – which can get hard to look at, truthfully. Even display tables were packed with spines out, not so many laid out to view covers. I find that to be a difficult way to shop, but I don’t think everyone does. It was well organized all the same, so if you knew the title you wanted, it was right where you’d expect it to be.

As the store started to fill up with people (surprisingly busy for a Thursday morning!!), it started to feel a little cramped, but I noticed the majority of the store’s customers were picking up special orders. Interesting! I knew most stores did this, but I think at least two of the customers in front of me were picking up. The bookseller was super nice, and signed me up for their awesome rewards program that essentially amounts to 10% off all my purchases. THAT was a score, especially if I can special order books.

I wish the cafe had been open – of all the times I’ve been to The Country Bookseller, I think it’s been open once. I’m unsure their hours, but I might have been inclined to stay a while longer with a hot cocoa in hand.

And lastly for my thoughts, the romance selection was minimal. I get that a lot of people don’t read it, but I think that feminist, contemporary romance is becoming a little more popular, and I had for sure read every one of the few that I found on the shelves there, except the one I picked up. I’d be happy to make a few suggestions on authors to keep on the shelves. 😉

So, on this visit to The Country Bookseller, I brought home: The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling (finally! and looks like a quick weekend read!), The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero (Meddling Kids has been on my tbr for several years now, but, and you’re going to laugh at me…my copy smells funny), A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw (The Wicked Deep is one of my favorite spooky witch books of all time), and The Therapist by B. A. Paris (I have yet to read a Paris for myself, but everyone I know says I would love the books and the twists, so I grabbed her newest). I’m actually really excited about this haul. I think I hit a lot of birds with one stone on this one.

And though you might not know what I’m talking about just yet (like I said, look out for next week’s monthly reading update!!), here are the prompts I’m thinking of using these for:

3. Title Starting with the Letter “E” – The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

22. An Unlikely Detective – The Therapist by B.A. Paris

42. An Indie Read – A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

And I’m not quite sure where to plot The Supernatural Enhancements. It doesn’t seem to fit any of the prompts I have left. Maybe I’ll just have to read it this calendar year… 🙂

This recent trip, and my awesome haul, certainly changed my perspective on The Country Bookseller a bit. I’m excited to go back and fill up that rewards card.