Into the Forest by Jean Hegland kept me up half the night.

I try to be a responsible human and member of society. This involves not staying up reading way past my bedtime on a work night. This book was such a trip, it kept me up til 1 am last night finishing it. Work was sort of rough today, and I made pancakes for my kids for dinner tonight because I was too tired to mess with anything else, but I’m ok with that.

This was my ‘about nature’ book for the Reading Women Challenge, and it most definitely is about nature. It’s also a dystopian/post-apocalyptic story. Two teenage sisters are living alone far out in the woods in Northern California while society collapses across the US. It’s never really explained what has happened, but gradually the power and phone fail, people get sick and disappear, and general lawlessness and chaos ensues. Eva and Nell have been homeschooled and somewhat isolated their whole lives in the home of their parents 30 miles from the nearest town and many miles from their nearest neighbors, and since they don’t have a lot of info about what’s happening, we don’t either.

Gradually, we learn about how they came to be alone out there. Slowly, we watch them change and grow as things fall apart. Weird and unlikely things happen. Horrible stuff happens—this book needs pretty much all the trigger warnings. At one point, something seriously messed up and unexpected happens that caused me to make this face for a while: 😧. It’s graphic and violent and very, very well written. This book is dark and sort of all over the place, but it’s so good. And as I said, it kept me up half the night to get to the ending.

And then that ending left me just a little bit stunned. I absolutely didn’t see that coming, but I kind of liked it anyway. I see now that there is a movie based on this… I’m not sure I’m emotionally prepared to watch it, but I’m intrigued.

Also! I have now finished all of the prompts for Reading Women, so this is my first challenge completed for 2019. Pretty pleased with that. 😎

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#ThankfullyReading weekend wrap-up, P&P binge start-up.

I’m a little bummed that my long weekend is nearly over already, but looking back at it, I got a lot done. Two big family dinners, multiple other meals cooked, holiday decorations up, house cleaned, laundry done, and five whole books finished. Not too shabby. 😏

I finished two books on Thursday that I had started earlier in the week (The Moonstone and White Fur, which I’ve already blogged about). I was able to start and finish three more books, all very different from each other and good:

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien was my #1001books selection for the weekend. I don’t think there is any praise I can give that hasn’t already been heaped on this book. Excellently written, powerfully evocative semi-autobiographical essays/stories about young men in the Vietnam war. Heartbreaking and honest and so very good. I read this is just a couple of settings, and I’m still thinking about it.

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I realize that We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is very popular, as is the movie based on it, but I went in knowing almost nothing about it. Despite being a very difficult, gritty, horrifying epistolary novel filled with extremely unlikable characters, it’s so well written and completely absorbing that I had to do book/audio combo. I suspected the ending all along, but still found myself in a mind-blown ‘holy shit’ state having finished it.

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My final completed book for the weekend was Vengeful by V.E. Schwab. This is the second book in the Villains series, which I started over the summer. I continue to be very impressed with this world and these characters. Book 2 adds lots of new EOs and lots more drama, but some of my favorite parts were still the backstories of Eli and Victor. Sort of like a cross between the tv show Heroes and a mob drama, with touches of Batman movies circa 1990… with the added bonus of awesomely strong, flawed female characters and a serious emotional punch. Darn near unputdownable, and I can’t wait for the next book.

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In the course of all of this reading, I managed a few bingos on the fun card set up by Deb at Readerbuzz. Hooray!

Back to the real world tomorrow… but first I’m going to watch an episode of Pride and Prejudice because it’s 12/1 and that means day one of #25DaysOfPrideAndPrejudice with Drunk Austen! 😍

I mean, he’s not my personal favorite Darcy, but he’s still dreamy. ❤️😂