Tag Archives: reading

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes By Suzanne Collins Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes By Suzanne Collins Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! This post has been a long time coming because The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins was five hundred and fifteen pages. It took me a while to finish this prequel to The Hunger Games series but it was worth every single page and then some. As always, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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For those of you who don’t know, I am a HUGE fan of The Hunger Games. From the books to the movies, I love it all and Katniss is one of my heroes. I am also #teampeta till the day I die, in case you were wondering! ANYWHO, The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes was pre-Katniss times and focuses solely on the future president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow, and his ultimate rise to power.

Young eighteen year old Coriolanus (Coryo to his loved ones) is a Capitol sweetheart despite secretly barely having a penny to his name. He covers his lack of cash with the gift of gab and excels at school. In fact, he excels so much that for the first time in Hunger Games history, students at the Academy are going to be mentors to the tributes and he is chosen to coach none other than Lucy Grey of District 12.

Originally, Coryo was disgusted by his fate because surely a scrawny girl from 12 couldn’t be the victor amid her extremely tough competition. What’s more, sadistic Dr. Gaul who is one of the head scientists of the games is watching his every move and she has plenty of surprises up her sleeves with her genetically mutated animals and love of war.

Despite Coryo’s obvious setbacks for the games, he lives by the motto “Snow lands on top” and he will do anything to win. And, as Lucy Grey proves herself to be a formidable opponent and a huge prize for the winning coach is announced – a full ride to the University, Coryo becomes even more intent on reigning victorious.

The Hunger Games are just the beginning of this wild ride and, sadly, I really can’t give any more away without spoiling a MAJOR plot twist that left me with my chin touching the floor. So, I will say this, The Hunger Games fans will absolutely love this book because it was easily one of my favorite ones of the series.

It was so interesting to read The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes because it tied in beautifully to the other three books. From beloved songs like “The Hanging Tree” and characters like the introduction of Lucky Flickerman, this prequel answers a lot of unanswered questions and it paints a very clear picture of how The Hunger Games began and why they are still happening decades later once Katniss volunteers as tribute.

Jam packed with action, twists, and turns on every page, it was impossible to put this book down. It also leaves you feeling conflicted about Coriolanus Snow who can almost be viewed as a tragic hero in his younger years. Don’t let this fool you, though, because if you have read the series or watched the movies, you will know that he ends up as a president who runs things more like a dictatorship.

Yes, Snow lands on top. But at what cost? Read The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes and find out!

Who else is a fan of The Hunger Games? Are you #teampeta or #teamgale? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

What Have I Been Up To?

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What Have I Been Up To?

Howdy! I will always be the first to say how much I miss pre-COVID life. I miss going on dates with Johnny, seeing all of our friends, and not worrying my head off every time I’m in public. And, as someone who works with very high risk families, nonessential outings just seem unimportant to me. So what in the heck have I been up to, then, if I don’t do much of anything in public any more? A whole lot of the following:

Reading:

I love, love, love to read and always have so ample at home time has meant finishing beaucoup books. I try to read at least two chapters or thirty or so pages depending on the book daily. Right now, I am finishing up the prequel to The Hunger Games called The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes and it is excellent! I have such a hankering now to go back and read the entire series and watch all of the movies, of course. 😀

The Sleeping Nymph by Ilaria Tuti is what’s on deck after my Hunger Games book. I am also always open to suggestions of your favorite books so be sure to let me know in the comments!

Duolingo:

Like reading, I try to practice all five of the languages I’m learning daily on Duolingo. I am currently on a twenty day streak of studying French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Czech and that is huge for me. The last time I had a streak that long was when I was recovering for a month from my oral surgery gone wrong.

I am very motivated to keep that streak going and I am so excited for Johnny to get me Duolingo Plus for Christmas so I no longer have to worry about having enough hearts to complete each practice session. I also plan on adding Swedish, Latin, or Greek into the mix next!

Video Chats:

My ultimate BFF, Lea, and I still see each other about once a month to have a social distanced drink at either one of our homesteads. Other than that, I do a lot of FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom to “see” all of the rest of my pals in my friend group. I love setting aside an hour block or so on the weekend to catch up with friends both near and far and it definitely helps keep me sane to chat even if it isn’t face to face.

Video Games:

Johnny and I are both in love with our Nintendo Switch and when I have some free time, I enjoy playing Animal Crossing. It is so relaxing and fun and I am always excited when the game updates so that you can catch new fish and bugs and participate in different activities like growing pumpkins or foraging mushrooms. I cannot wait to see what our island looks like for Christmas!

I also just beat Paper Mario: The Origami King last week and it was an absolute blast. Johnny got it for me for our one year anniversary and it felt so good to finally beat it. The game was insanely entertaining, visually beautiful, and it was challenging without ever being too too hard. I plan on buying a new Mario game for the Switch soon so if anyone has any favorites, please let me know. 🙂

Online Shopping:

Finally, there is nothing like a little bit of online shopping to help perk me up. I have so enjoyed all of my early Christmas shopping and I am very pleased to say that I am almost done buying for everyone on my gift list. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t pick out a little something something for myself too – especially since I haven’t gone shopping in person since February.

I love ordering small pick me ups like face masks to pamper myself with and, when I really feel like splurging, I never say no to a new pair of shoes!

Are the activities I listed above the most exciting? Not by a long shot. But I value my safety and those around me much more than needing to be out and about right now. So, in the end, it’s not all that bad. ❤

What are your favorite at home activities? What do you miss the most from pre-COVID times? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

There Are Good Ships, There Are Bad Ships…

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There Are Good Ships, There Are Bad Ships…

You know… I think the best ships are Auntships and yes I definitely made that up on the spot, lol. This past weekend, I had the absolute joy of watching my sweet niece Miss Valerie Jane. Val Gal is almost twenty months old and she is my sister, Kristen, and brother in law, Ramon’s, little girl. Valerie is honest to god my best friend and my life has been so much happier since she was born.

Despite having Blue’s Clues on in the background for the entire evening, Val and I had the best time playing, snacking, and enjoying a pajama party while her mom and dad were at work. Between her French lessons from her auntie, reading books, putting puzzles together, working on her flash cards, and cooking in her pretend kitchen we had a jam packed Saturday night!

I love being able to see Val’s happy and silly personality continue to develop every time I see her. I swear, she is always giggling, belly laughing, and on the move and I don’t know how her parents keep up with her. Especially considering that Kristen and Ramon have five pets, as well. Three dogs named Tydus, Winston, and Platinum and two cats called Mary and Gloria (All rescued). 🙂

I know I’m biased because Val is my niece but I am just so proud of her, Kristen, and Ramon because she’s legit the best kid on the planet. In fact, I tend to not like children that much to begin with but I wish I could see Valerie every day.

Being able to go to chez Kristen and Ramon’s for an evening and do nothing but make Val laugh hysterically from the “Where’s Val? I can’t find her anywhere” game was a high point of this entire year, lol. I was so tired after caring for a constantly on the move kiddo but all I have to do is think about our “auntie and me” time together and it never ceases to put a smile on my face.

Being an auntie to lil Valerie Jane is one of the best gifts I’ve ever had and I really do think the best ships are Auntships. ❤

Are you a proud aunt or uncle? Which TV shows are the kiddos in your life obsessed with? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley Edition

Howdy and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be talking about a book called The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, without giving any spoilers away, of course. Now, this author might sound familiar to you because I actually just finished up another book of hers a few weeks ago. While I enjoyed the last book I read of Lucy Foley’s well enough, The Hunting Party missed the mark severely.

Read on to find out more and find out what star rating this book ends up with:

It’s a New Year’s bash and anyone who is anyone in the posh “inner circle” will be there. A group of the closest friends who, for the most part, all met during their university years at Oxford. Every New Year, couples Giles and Samira, Julian and Miranda, Mark and Emma, Nick and Bo, and odd one out Katie embarks on a mini vacation to celebrate.

They end up somewhere different each time, as it’s always up to a different person to plan it, and this year they find themselves in the Scottish Highlands. Scenic and beautiful, yes, but extremely remote and with a startling lack of WiFi. Each respective couple has their own tiny cabin on the resort but their primary hang out is the rustic chic Lodge with plush rugs and couches, mounted deer heads, and oh yeah… It’s made entirely of glass.

For the most part, this all sounds relatively nice. However, as the booze is poured, celebratory pills are popped, and a downfall of snow threatens to keep them barricaded all of their dark secrets and rivalries begin to bubble to the surface. The Hunting Party covers their entire New Year’s excursion from the moment they board the train to the ghastly murder that concludes their trip. Anyone and everyone is a suspect and it’s up to you to find out who if you read The Hunting Party.

Similarly to Foley’s last book, The Hunting Party is told in an interweaving tale between beautiful Miranda, homely Emma, quiet Katie, as well as the gamekeeper of the property named Doug, and the property manager called Heather. Similarly to Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood, this book revolves around a celebratory weekend gone awry in a remote location in a house made of glass.

Because of both of these identical nods to books that I have already read, it felt really impossible to enjoy this book. It almost felt like I was reading a combination of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley instead of individual books from each author. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters. None of them were incredibly relatable in terms of their personalities, professions, and backstory and I never felt like I was getting “in” to the book. Rather, just speed reading to finish it up.

Perhaps, all of these other issues would be less damning had the grand reveal been amazing. Unfortunately, that fell flat too. I figured it out extremely early and every Red Herring introduced was debunked so quickly that there were no real “twists and turns” throughout the book.

I honestly can’t say that I would recommend The Hunting Party to any of you and have to rate it with a zero out of ten stars. The plot was tired and used before, the characters felt like caricatures instead of real people, and the grand reveal was so simple I think that a fifth grader could figure it out. It is not worth your time and definitely wasn’t worth mine. WHOMP WHOMP.

Have you read any lackluster books lately? Do you have a recommendation for what I should read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Quarantine Routines

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Quarantine Routines

Hello! I’ll tell you what, ever since March 19th (The day bars and restaurants in Ohio temporarily shut down) my life has changed drastically. For my big girl job, I provide care in home for people with special needs and, now, more than ever it is my responsibility to continue staying healthy for those who need me.

Due to the nature of my job, going out for frivolity is the last thing on my mind. Back track to 2019 and it was the only thing on my mind, lol! Going to shows with Johnny, restaurants, movies, TJMAXX!!! Ugh, I miss all of that so much.

My “normal” routines of going here, there, and everywhere definitely seem to be a thing of the past. So, obviously, I had to fill up all of this newfound free time with other things. They are still fun for me, of course, but I don’t think any of these options trump my bimonthly TJMaxx shopping trips with my mom. Haha, check it out:

Reading:

I have read so many freaking books in the past six months, it is insane. My goal has been to try and finish at least two to three per month and I have achieved it every time. It has been fun to experiment with different authors like Lucy Foley and Ilaria Tuti. Both Johnny and I have also been enjoying our Audible subscription for books on tape, as well. We are always open to author and book suggestions so keep them coming!

Language Learning:

Yes, I currently am still learning French, Spanish, Italian, Czech, and German on Duolingo. I make an effort to try and practice each language four times per week, bare minimum, and so far so good. What I would really like to do in the next month or so is purchase the Duolingo Plus subscription so I never run out of hearts while practicing. This seems very necessary when learning five languages and, once I get Duo Plus, I’d like to start learning a sixth. Any ideas as to which one?

Online Shopping:

Maybe once or so per week, I will take ten to fifteen minutes to browse through some of my favorite online stores to window shop. Mainly TJMaxx, Unique Vintage, ModCloth, and Nasty Gal. It is definitely not the same as regular shopping but it somewhat satisfies that itch to go browse the aisles in person!

When I’m not aimlessly scrolling through websites and saying “oh that’s cute” about basically everything, I am trying to do some early Christmas shopping. With a long list of people to shop for, it is never too early to start the Xmas process and I am pleased with the slow and steady progress I’ve been making.

Movie Nights:

Johnny and I have decided to put a halt to finding something we can both agree on when it comes to movies. Now, we alternate whose pick it is for our movie nights and it has been great! Normally, Johnny will pick a war documentary or movie and I will choose a horror, psychological thriller, or foreign film. I love being able to see all of his favorites and it is exciting to rack my brain and browse through our streaming services to select my next pick!

Are these new routines the most exciting? Well… No. But they are as exciting as I choose to make them and I still always end up having an awesome and totally safe time at home. 🙂

What should Johnny and I watch next? How about a great new suggestion on Audible? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Upstairs By Lisa Jewell Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Family Upstairs By Lisa Jewell Edition

Hello! While I had to take an entire week of work off for being sick, I was able to finish the book I’ve been working on called The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell. Despite enjoying this book very much, it is easy to say that it is not for everyone. Before we discuss (Without spoilers, of course!), I’ll be putting a trigger warning on The Family Upstairs for child abuse and heavy cult activity. Now, let’s get to it:

Libby Jones lives the average life of a freshly turned twenty-five year old. Struggling to make ends meet, constantly attempting to climb the corporate ladder, and trying to figure out just who the heck she is in this world (Ringing more true for her, as she is adopted). But Libby has been somebody to her real family since she’s been born and now it’s time to find out where she came from.

Shortly after Libby’s birthday, a letter arrives claiming that she is the inheritor of a mansion as well as learning about her real parents. Although ramshackle, abandoned, and with a dark history the home is still worth a fortune. A dark history, you say? Well, what else would you call a home in which children have gone missing and a perfectly healthy ten month old baby girl is living among the corpses of three adults in black robes?

This entire story is honestly just weird. But good weird! The mansion Libby inherits was once magnificent with fine furnishings, designer clothes in each closet, and the best of the best or it wouldn’t do. So how in SAM HILL was there nothing left in the home when the baby was found by the police? What was the baby doing there to begin with?!

The baby was not old enough to take care of herself so who was taking care of her? While Libby is searching for herself, there are others hot on her trail. The “baby” has now turned twenty-five and a handful of people have been waiting a quarter of a century for it. Friends? Foes? Family? Read The Family Upstairs to find out!

Told in an interweaving round between Libby and two others who may or may not have lived in the home previously, there are surprises and red herrings during every chapter making it impossible to put down. In fact, just talking about it is almost giving too much away. Life changing secrets are looming in the dark of the once grand home that Libby is now the owner of and each sick twist brings her one step closer to who she was, is, and will be.

Now, if you think my description of this book is intense, then you are in for a wild ride if you actually read it. The Family Upstairs turned and writhed throughout each sentence into a fireworks finale of the grand reveal. It was a great reveal, by the way, but I am proud to say I figured most of it out beforehand, thank you very much! 😀

I highly recommend this book if you can stomach it and am awarding it with an eight and a half out of ten stars. This has been one of the best story lines I’ve read in a long while and each and every character will leave you shocked for good or bad. Tuck into this page turner and enjoy, you won’t regret it.

Which book are you currently working on? Who is your favorite author? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Guest List By Lucy Foley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Guest List By Lucy Foley Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we’re going to be talking about a total dream wedding gone totally wrong in Lucy Foley’s The Guest List. Without giving any spoilers away, of course, let’s discuss. But, first, I will be placing a trigger warning on this book for references to self harm, suicide, and plenty of relationship wrong doings.

Now, let’s get to it:

^^^ Peep how my nails match the title text! 😀

Jules and Will. Will and Jules. The ultimate power couple, as Jules runs her own online magazine and Will is the host of the popular TV show, Survive The Night. Their fast moving relationship resulted in a wedding less than a year later and this should be an event for the ages with both of their celebrity status.

Do dream weddings always end happily ever after, though? Told in a back and forth style between Jules, Will, the bridesmaid (Jules’ little sister, Olivia), the best man (Will’s “best friend”, Johnno), the plus one (Hannah, wife of Jules’ best friend), and the wedding planner named Aoife we learn that not everyone is who we think they are.

Everyone in this wedding party is seemingly connected and you must finish the book to find out how. As the cover says, it’s an event so big and posh that you would “kill to be in on it”.

I really enjoyed The Guest List for several reasons. I loved the back and forth between the five main characters and it was cool how each chapter filled in a blank piece that was missing before. This build up made for tension so thick you could cut it with a butter knife and I had to make myself put it down so many times just so I could get to bed!

The grand reveal was also one which I didn’t see coming – a rarity as I like to consider myself a bit of a sleuth! Although some of the characters were absolutely horrendous in their past and current actions, there were others that shined like beacons and it’s up to you to figure out which bad seed ruined this whole bunch.

I am going to rate The Guest List with an eight out of ten stars. I have never read anything by Lucy Foley before and this was an excellent introduction. The unputdownable story line combined with a startling location and unique characters left for a “put you on the edge of your seat” thriller and I can’t wait to read more from Foley!

Which book are you reading? Have you finished anything good recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Boy From The Woods By Harlan Coben Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Boy From The Woods By Harlan Coben Edition

Hi there and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be talking about a book that I enjoyed very much by Harlan Coben called The Boy From The Woods. I devoured this three hundred and seventy page thriller in about a week and I would definitely put it under the “un-put-down-able” category. Bold and interesting characters mixed with a modern story line as well as a nod to the unsettling political times we are in made for an exciting read. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Boy From The Woods is an interweaving tale between Hester Crimstein, seventy something criminal attorney with her own TV show and Wilde. Simply Wilde with no last name because he doesn’t have one. Wilde was found living in the woods, all alone but somewhat thriving as he learned how to read and talk through breaking into homes and watching TV and instructional videos. Wilde’s first and best friend was Hester’s now deceased son, David, and they played in the woods together before Wilde was even discovered.

Wilde remains a “family figure” in Hester’s world because he is the godfather to David’s son, Matthew, and lover to his widow, Laila. All is going well in Wilde’s world, until a distressed Matthew asks him for a favor. Find Naomi Pine. Who is she? A bullied classmate who spent her school life in torment and has been missing for a week.

Hester and Wilde team up to find Naomi, using Hester’s TV platform and connections to help the cause. When a second child goes missing from Naomi and Matthew’s high school is when things start to get a lot more complicated. Cue uber rich TV producer moguls Dash and Delia Maynard and their son, Crash. The only difference between Crash and Naomi? A ransom note was delivered for Crash, with a promise for his release if and only if damning tapes of megalomaniac politician Rusty Eggers are turned in.

Dash Maynard found fame through documentaries and used to record everything back in the day. And by everything, I mean everything. Him and Delia supposedly have tapes that would destroy Rusty’s potential presidency and someone wants them back. But who? Could Crash and Naomi’s disappearances be connected? Are they together right now? And what dark secrets are connecting this cast of characters to a final shocking conclusion? Read The Boy From The Woods to find out!

What I absolutely loved about this story line was the extremely modern take they had on, well, everything. I wonder which politician Rusty Eggers reminds me of (lol) and Naomi’s troubled life was a sad but very fresh take on your traditional high school student drama. The Boy From The Woods also embraced the media through texting, videos, apps, and Hester’s TV show. It almost felt like I was watching a movie in my head as I read because of the graphic and somewhat flashy descriptions of showbiz, baby.

The best thing about The Boy From The Woods, though? The grand reveal! The brilliance of this book is that Every. Single. Red. Herring. was hidden in plain sight and I thought that was really cool. The books I am used to reading involve a lot of guesswork and intuition to figure out the reveal before it’s… revealed. So, I was using that mentality to figure this book out and I couldn’t.

The grand reveal left me in absolute shock and when all of the clues were divvied up, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. I haven’t read a book that threw me for this big of a loop in a long time and for that reason I am giving The Boy From The Woods an eight out of ten stars. I highly, highly recommend it!

What are you reading right now? Have you read anything good lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Audible Awesomeness

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Audible Awesomeness

Howdy! Johnny and I both love reading and we have quite a respectable collection of books between the two of us. To me, there is nothing better than holding a tangible book in my hands and turning the pages myself. I have never been too interested in books for the Kindle or book tapes because I do prefer an actual book. But, that all changed when I was introduced to Audible through a chance encounter with my Facebook ads.

For those of you who don’t know, I am obsessed with the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman. I have read the series countless times as well as all of the offshoot stories for different characters from Sandman. I have several tattoos from Sandman and when I feel like splurging, I might just fuck around and buy the (very expensive) omnibuses so I will have my own copy of the saga.

For those of you who don’t know again, there were talks of making a Sandman TV series or movie for years now but it just never got put into production. And, because it is such an epic tale, it would be hard to condense all of it into a season of TV or a two hour movie. I had all but given up on any Sandman content outside of the comics until I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed.

The ad I saw literally made me pump my fist in the air and say “YES!” because it was for a book tape of Sandman that could be listened to on Audible. It’s not just any book tape though because it features an all star cast with James McAvoy, Kat Dennings, Andy Serkis, and Neil Gaiman, himself, as the narrator. I needed it.

Because Johnny has Amazon Prime, we got a month subscription to Audible FO FREE as well as two free book tapes. Johnny picked a history one out for himself and I, of course, opted for Sandman. I began listening to it as soon as we finished completing the info for our trial order and I honestly could have cried. It was that good.

For the past over half a decade now, the amazing and fantastical characters of Sandman have kept me company. However, all of their voices just sounded like me saying the lines in my head as I read them. Lol, to actually hear the character’s voices while I pictured the comic book pages in my head was nothing short of incredible for me. I got to hear the character’s in a way that their creator, Neil Gaiman, saw fit and that’s the coolest part. And hearing Neil Gaiman narrate is own story the way he wanted it to be told was the cherry on top.

The Sandman audible tape covers the first three collections in an almost eleven hour recording. I am not quite done with it yet, however, I am already chomping at the bit for the next installment which I hope will be a thing. Fingers and toes crossed!

Johnny and I worked out a perfect schedule for both of us to enjoy our own hobbies. As soon as we both get home from work, he settles in to play Borderlands and I curl up on the couch to listen to my tape. For about an hour and a half or two, we hang out while we do our own thing and then we have dinner and watch our shows for the rest of the evening. And, I’ve got to say, it suits us just fine and I can’t wait to conclude the epic audio tale soon. 🙂

Do you prefer an actual book to a Kindle copy or book tape? What are you currently reading? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Flowers Over The Inferno By Ilaria Tuti Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Flowers Over The Inferno By Ilaria Tuti Edition

Hi! I have always loved to read and once I start a book that I enjoy, I find it absolutely impossible to put it down. Because I have not been “going out” to protect myself and my high risk clients from COVID, I have had ample free time to read and have been finishing books left and right. The most recent? Probably one of the most interesting, disturbing books I’ve read in ages: Flowers Over The Inferno by Ilaria Tuti and translated from the Italian by Ekin Oklap.

Before we begin discussing Flowers Over The Inferno without any spoilers, it is important that a trigger warning be put in place. This book is centered around the hunt for a serial killer who attacks with twisted savagery. There is also human experimentation in this book and, if you read the Author’s Note at the end, you will find that what she spoke of was an actual experiment performed in 1945.

Now, if I haven’t scared you off yet, let’s get into it:

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Flowers Over The Inferno takes place in the picaresque village of Traveni. Surrounded by thick forests and the Italian Alps, Traveni looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. The dark secrets that linger there, however, are anything but. And, once a horribly mutilated body is found in the forest these secrets that have long since been attempted to be forgotten begin to bubble to the surface.

As you can see, the cover of this book says “A Teresa Battaglia Novel”. Who is Teresa Battaglia you might ask? An aging superintendent in the Italian police force with an extensive background in criminal profiling. Crotchety, sarcastic, and sensitive when she wants to be, Teresa leads the male dominated team and is, for the most part, highly respected. She is now in charge of leading this new case and time is of the essence because she knows this killer will strike again soon.

And strike, he did. Again and again with each act seemingly more brutal than the next. In a town where everyone knows everyone, surely someone knows something. However, with a “holier than thou” herd mentality of the villagers, who would want to admit such a damning secret? It is only when the gruesome past of Traveni is revealed that the killer’s identity becomes apparent and we learn that not everyone/everything is how it seems.

Ilaria Tuti’s Flowers Over The Inferno was easily one of the best books I’ve read in a while because it was so unlike anything I’ve read before. The Italian style of writing is vastly different and it felt like every description in the book was milked to the point that I could picture it perfectly in my head. The details and imagery that Tuti conjures makes the situation all the more desperate to the point that you feel like you are on the hunt with Teresa.

Despite disturbing subject matter, this book resonated with me deeply. It put into perspective all of the ways that people, even the villain, can be victims and I could feel the deep empathy that Teresa felt for all of those she was trying to help. Every attack felt like a blow to the gut but the deep seeded trauma that the killer suffered felt just the same.

Flowers Over The Inferno reads like a battle between good and evil and it is up to Teresa and her team to close the dark secrets of Traveni forever. Will the police force come out victorious or will darkness permanently be cast over the town? Read Flowers Over The Inferno and find out!

If you are looking for a gripping page turner, then Flowers Over The Inferno is right for you and I reward it the prestigious ten out of ten stars. The characters were all so unique and the story line was like nothing I have ever read before and even delved into the supernatural at times. All I know is, you won’t be able to put it down if you can stomach it and I am hoping for another Teresa Battaglia novel ASAP!

What are you currently reading? Do you have a favorite literary character? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah