My May 2018 Book Haul

GOOD NEWS

I’ve completed one of my 2018 book resolutions: read three YA books!

  1. 23:27 by H.L Roberts (January 2018)
  2. Brazen by Pénélope Bagieu (April 2018)
  3. Hurricane Kiss byDeborah Blumenthal (February 2018)

One goal down, two more to go! Now, here’s my May 2018 book haul!

ADULT NON-FICTION

NEW AGE/METAPHYSICAL

1. The Hermetica by Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy (5/5 stars) (review)

Image result for the hermetica

Interested in mystical philosophy? Read The Hermetica. This book is a condensed version of the Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of writings from the legendary Hermes Trismegistus.

For readers into:

  • Ancient Egyptian philosophy
  • Esoteric wisdom
  • Hermes Trismegistus

2. The Sariel Crystals by Frederick A. Elder (3.5/5 stars) (review)

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Before Sariel left our planet eons ago, he left 14 crystals for humanity. The crystals were never found.

Sariel reveals his position as an “Earth Watcher” and the missing pieces of history you won’t find in any mainstream history textbook.

For readers into:

  • Alternative ancient history
  • Channeled books
  • Extraterrestrials

SELF-HELP

1. The Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale (4/5 stars)

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Everybody wants money to fall in their lap with ease. It can be hard nowadays with unsuccessful job searches and disappointing careers with low wages. It doesn’t have to be that way forever.

Joe Vitale believes money is attracted to those with the right energy and mindset. Use the tips in this book and your finances might change for the better.

I’ve written tons of notes from this book. Law of attraction followers will love it.

For readers into:

  • Affirmations
  • The Law of Attraction
  • Self-help books

WRITING

1. Write Faster, Write Better by David A. Fryxell (3/5 stars)

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I’ve felt Writer Faster, Write Better was too long even though I enjoyed the material. The key lessons I’ve learned is to cut the crap while editing and get straight to the questions you want to be answered during the research process.

Don’t forget: outlines are your best friends!

For readers into:

  • Books about writing
  • Writing faster
  • Non-fiction writing

2. Writing Feature Stories by Matthew Ricketson & Caroline Graham(4/5 stars) (review)

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I thought Writing Feature Stories was a mistake. At first, it started out as a book focusing on magazine writing, but it turned to blog writing topics (why I checked this out).

Since this book was published in Australia, there are many references you won’t understand. Don’t let it discourage you from reaching its valuable writing tips. This book has helpful “how to write reviews” infographics too. I forgot to scan them before I returned the book to the library.

For readers into:

  • Learning how to compose great interview articles
  • Perfecting the article research process
  • Writing for magazines and blogs

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

MARVEL

1. Infinity Incoming by Stan Lee (3/5 stars)

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After watching Avengers: Infinity Wars, I’ve been hunting down any comics I could find about Thanos. Infinity Incoming is a compilation of comics somewhat related to the Infinity Wars.

One story shows Thanos when he was a kind, genius kid. A tragic event changed him forever into the mad villain we know today.

Thanos’ mother almost killed him when he was born. From the beginning, she knew Thanos was bound to be a destructive force upon the entire universe.

For readers into:

  • The Avengers
  • The Inhumans
  • Marvel comics

2. Thanos: The Infinity Revelation by Jim Starlin (3/5 stars)

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In The Infinity Revelation, Thanos brings back his archrival Warlock to life to do some cosmic multi-dimensional business. This comic is not for the Marvel noob like myself, but it’s still worth the read.

For readers into:

  • Alternative/multi-dimensional reality themes
  • Marvel supervillains
  • Thanos

3. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl v.1 – “Squirrel Power” by Ryan North (3/5 stars)

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Squirrel girl? Marvel seriously made a hero named Squirrel Girl?

Doreen Green has been on Marvel’s pages since 1991. Will she make an appearance in the Marvel films? A Netflix series at least. Reading this comic has certainly given me hopes.

For readers into:

  • Marvel comics
  • Squirrel Girl
  • Superheroines

ORIGINAL

1. California Dreamin’ by Pénélope Bagieu (3.5/5 stars)

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Have you heard of “California Dreamin” by the Mamas & Papas? I heard the song before, but I didn’t know Cass Elliott or the band’s history.

Penelope Bagieu has created an intimate story about Elliott’s life making her way to stardom despite facing family loss, her weight, and band drama.

For readers into:

  • The 60s music scene
  • Biography comics
  • Comics featuring female leads

2. Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu (2/5 stars) (review)

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I didn’t know what was going on with Exquisite Corpse. The main character complained through all her problems and received a happy ending for doing nothing.

Yeah, no. I love Pénélope Bagieu’s works, but this story was meh.

For readers into:

  • Comics with female leads
  • Romantic comedies (This was supposed to be one?)
  • Stories set in Paris

3. Paper Girls v. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan (4/5 stars)

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Every Paper Girls volume I’ve read so far has taken me deeper into a world full of time-traveling plot twists! I love it!

For readers into:

  • Sci-fi comics
  • Suburban kids on grand adventures
  • Time-travel stories

I also read: Paper Girls 1, 2, & 3

What was in your May book haul? Comment below your list or post a link to your haul post!

Related posts:

(Book pics: Amazon)

(GIF source: GIPHY)

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BOOK REVIEW: “Exquisite Corpse” by Penelope Bagieu

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  • Title: Exquisite Corpse (Amazon) (Goodreads)
  • Author: Pénélope Bagieu
  • Publication: First Second (May 5, 2015)
  • Pages: 128
  • Genre: Romance, Graphic Novels/Comics
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 2/5 stars

Exquisite Corpse rubbed me off the wrong way. The story is meant to be a romantic comedy, but I found it mildly frustrating. The lead character is a lazy protagonist. She didn’t do much to get her happy ending and the way she got it was, well, I’ll try not to spoil it.

LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING

You’re introduced to Zoe’s not-so-wonderful life in Paris. She’s stuck in a dead-end job as a spokesmodel. Occasionally, creepy men would ask for her picture and cop a feel.

After work, Zoe returns to her apartment to her no-good boyfriend. He doesn’t do much but watches TV all day and badmouths her.

via Mental Floss

 

This is not Zoe’s dream life. She wants a better life with a boyfriend who’s glad to listen to all her problems and surprise her in the mornings with breakfasts in bed.

The problem: you don’t exactly see Zoe’s character transformation. All she does is cries and complains.

HERE COMES THOMAS

A glimmer of light shines upon Zoe’s crumbling love life when she meets Thomas Rocher, a writer. Thomas doesn’t like going out. He rather stays in his home and write all day.

If he wants something to eat, it’s delivered to him.

Zoe gets tired of staying indoors with Thomas. She wants to go out during the day together like all normal couples do in the famous city of love.

Things take a sharp turn when Zoe meets Thomas’ editor and ex-wife Agathe. What she reveals about Thomas changes Zoe’s mind forever.

THE BIG SECRET

You’re probably dying to know what Zoe figured out about her perfect boyfriend writer. All I have to say is she takes his greatest secret and ruthlessly uses it against him in the end.

Out of thin air, Zoe becomes a renowned writer. Where did this come from? How did she get into this spot? You don’t ever see her writing. Zoe says herself she has never been into a bookstore!

You don’t see Zoe’s character arc, her trials and tribulations, none of that! If you read Exquisite Corpse, you’ll see how it worked out, but still be puzzled.

I felt sorry for Thomas, then again, he wasn’t much a better character himself. Thomas didn’t see Zoe as a new love interest, but a temporary muse. He has been in a writer’s stint until Zoe came into his life.

Nothing matters more to Thomas than his writing and his book reviews. It doesn’t matter if anybody close to him feels left out in the process. You’ll know why Agathe left him.

CONCLUSION

Exquisite Corpse’s good to read once. The book doesn’t stop me from reading Pénélope Bagieu’s works. I loved Brazen, and I’m looking forward to reading California Dreamin.

I wish Zoe was more of an active character. It’s okay to complain at first, but please, do something about it! I truly wanted to see Zoe succeed.

 Exquisite Corpse left me going, “WTF?”

Have you read Exquisite Corpse? Comment below your thoughts.

Related book reviews & articles:

My April 2018 Book Haul

Can I read up to book #100 by the end of this spring?

If you’re new to this blog, I’ve set up a Goodreads challenge reading 333 books this year. I’ve read 51 books (including comics & manga) so far.

How many books you’ve read so far this year? How about this April? Here’s my book haul for April 2018.

ADULT FICTION

1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3/5 stars) (review)

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A travel journalist’ cruise assignment goes wrong after she witnesses a murder. A Woman in Cabin 10 is a decent thriller. I wish the journalist would stop drinking though.

For readers into:

  • Cruise murder mysteries
  • Ruth Ware
  • Thrillers

ADULT NON-FICTION

1. How to Write and Sell for Fun and Profit by Robert W. Bly (3.5/5 stars) (review)

Image result for how to write and sell simple information for fun and profit

How to Write for and Sell offers expert advice for freelance writers to produce their writings on various platforms (DVDs, seminars, e-books, etc.) and grow their income out of it.

Another book I read by the same author: The Secrets of a Freelance Writer.

Key points:

  • Freelance writing is not exclusively for magazine, newspaper, and online publications.
  • Always do twice the research expected.
  •  Educate your readers.

For readers into:

  • Freelance Writing
  • Having a full-time writing career
  • Writing

2. The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel (4.5/5 stars)

The Master Key System

Do you know you have an infinite power within you? In The Master Key System, Charles F. Haanel reveals the keys to harnessing the awesome power of your mind and changing your reality. Nothing like The Matrix, but a similar concept.

I also read: Mental Chemistry by Charles F. Haanel (review)

Key points:

  • Thought is the creation of all form.
  • The mind is infinite.
  • Hone your mind with concentration and the universe will lead you to your desires.

For readers into:

  • Mentalism
  • New Thought
  • New Thought writers

3. Mind Mapping for Dummies by Florian Rustler (3/5 stars)

Mind-mapping is an organization tool used to outline your ideas into connecting thought bubbles and branches. This planning method has helped me with a couple of writing projects.  Check out Google for examples.

Key point:

  • Humans take in visual information easier than most forms.

For readers into:

  • “For Dummies” books
  • Mind organization
  • Mind-mapping

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

1. Brazen by Penelope Bagieu (4/5 stars)

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Penelope Bagieu creates a remarkable graphic novel about historical women barely mentioned in mainstream history. Famous figures include Nelly Bly, Katia Krafft, Betty Davis, and Agnodice.

For readers into:

  • Biographic graphic novels
  • Comics/Graphic novels
  • Women’s History

2. Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (4/5 stars)

Speak: The Graphic Novel

I remember being furious reading the original novel Speak as a teen. The story’s fantastic, but the narrator’s day-to-day conflict was frustrating. High school can be tough. Remaining silent about sexual assault only adds salt to the wound.

For readers into:

  • Comics/graphic novels
  • YA books
  • YA graphic novels

3. Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag (3/5 stars)

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Witch Boy takes a magical spin on gender roles and how ridiculous they can be.

Males are shapeshifters. Females are spellcasters. Aster is supposed to follow the shapeshifter’s path, but he’s more interested in spells healing broken bones and scrying.

When an ancient evil loom rears its ugly head and threatens his family, Aster puts his witchcraft to the test despite his family’s warnings.

For readers into:

  • Comics/graphic novels
  • Fantasy comics
  • Witches in comics

Comment below your April 2018 Book Haul. Feel free to a post a link to your blog post if you’ve made one. 😉

Related posts:

BOOK REVIEW: “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware

Image result for the woman in cabin 10 goodreads

*WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS*

Travel journalist Laura “Lo” Blacklock takes an opportunity of a lifetime to write a feature story abroad the luxurious Aurora cruise. One night onboard, she witnesses a passenger’s body dumped into the ocean.

Does anybody believe Laura? Not with her history.

Laura’s a frequent drinker and prone to panic attacks.  Shortly before the cruise, she endured a frightening home invasion.

The “I’m Not Crazy” lady trope reminds me of Rachel Watson from The Girl on the Train. Seems like “don’t believe the drunk chick with issues” is a trending theme in thriller/suspense novels now.

I picked up The Woman in Cabin 10 since I was in cruise vacation mode. No immediate plans for a cruise yet, but it’s fun to think about it. Not to say I want to solve a murder mystery while I’m on it.

MURDER, MAYHEM, & NO WI-FI

Author Ruth Ware starts The Woman in Cabin 10 with a promising beginning. You follow Laura through her scary home invasion, boarding the Aurora, and meeting the eccentric super-rich onboard.  The book eventually goes into repeated cycles of Laura’s attempts to solve the murder, drinking, and claustrophobic despair.

You’ll start to wonder if the case will ever be solved or remain trapped in Laura’s dark void of inner conflict.

Finally, the book’s last act picks up, but it leaves you forgetting about 90% of the characters. You aren’t sure if they were truly supportive characters or Ware needed simple pawns to push the story forward.

A major problem I had with the book is the wi-fi issue. Laura had no access to the internet at all on the Aurora.

What year is this? This is not the Titanic!

Apparently, the Aurora owner Richard Bullmer blocked the cruise’s internet access. Shady as all get out, but okay. I wouldn’t be on that cruise.

The big reveal is a definite twist. The murder victim is a prominent guest of the Aurora. How and why it happened will surprise you. I warn you. It’s something out of an overdramatic Lifetime movie.

CONCLUSION

Now, it sounds like didn’t enjoy The Woman in Cabin 10. Truly, I did. It’s a cruise mystery after all. This novel is good as what it is. It isn’t a mystery masterpiece, but it does keep you turning the pages while you’re chilling at the beach or trapped in a long road trip.

Have you read The Woman in Cabin 10? Do you know of any mysteries set on a cruise (I want to read more)?

Related book reviews:

(Book pic source: Goodreads)

(GIF sources: Giphy)

 

The Many Times Tintin Almost Died (Part 1)

The Adventures of Tintin in a nutshell.

I’ve been a fan of The Adventures of Tintin cartoon since I was a kid. I always wanted to travel with Tintin. Now, not so much. It’s crazy how many times Tintin (and Snowy) almost died in the comics.

Take a look:

Tintin in America 

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Tintin uncovers Chicago’s criminal underworld.

Almost died: 9 times

  1. Dumped into Lake Michigan
  2. Chased off a cliff
  3. Buried underground
  4. Hitting a pile of dynamite left on the train tracks
  5. Mistaken for a Mexican criminal and hanged
  6. Train collision
  7. Rockslide
  8. Falling into a meat grinder

Cigars of the Pharoah

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A pack of cigars leads Tintin to the beginning of a drug-smuggling ring from Egypt to India.

Almost died: 5 times

  1. Stranded in the middle of the ocean
  2. Execution by firing squad
  3. Crashing into the jungle by plane
  4. Wrestling a tiger into a straitjacket
  5. Knife attack

The Blue Lotus

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Tintin uncovers another drug-smuggling case in China and hopes to find a missing doctor who can cure anyone who drinks the Rajaijah juice aka “The Poison of Madness.”

Almost died: 6 times

  1. Drive-by shooting
  2. Tainted tea
  3. Decapitation
  4. Executed for espionage
  5. Shooting by an assassin photographer
  6. Decapitation (again)

The Broken Ear

Image result for the broken ear tintin goodreads

Tintin follows thieves into the South American jungle for a stolen tribal fetish.

Almost died: 7 times

  1. Execution by firing squad (AGAIN!)
  2. Nearly shot in the face
  3. Prankster general shooting blanks during a chess match
  4. Assassination attempt
  5. Train collision while driving
  6. Car crash
  7. Falling off a ship fighting two men

The Black Island

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A counterfeiting case takes Tintin on an adventure through England and Scotland.

Almost died: 4 times

  1. Shot for asking questions
  2. Left inside a burning house
  3. Crashing a plane in Scotland
  4. Gorilla attack
Scottish gorillas? (via Tintin Wiki)

King Ottokar’s Sceptre

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Tintin searches for a royal family’s missing scepter before a rival country overthrows the monarchy.

Almost died: 4 times.

  1. Explosive parcel
  2. Falling out of a plane
  3. Cannons shooting down Tintin’s plane
  4. Assassination attempt (again)

The Crab With the Golden Claws

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Tintin solves an opium smuggling case in Morocco.

Almost died: 4 times

  1. Falling crates
  2. An enemy plane attack at sea
  3. A drunk sea captain crashes a plane into the Sahara desert
  4. Dehydration

The Shooting Star

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Tintin pursues a scientific expedition to study a meteorite that has landed in the Arctic Ocean.

Almost died: 3 times

  1. Shooting
  2. Giant spider attack
  3. Drowning

The Secret of the Unicorn

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Tintin and Captain Haddock search for treasure clues hidden inside ship models.

Almost died: 1 time (this comic was rather tame)

  1. Vicious dog attack

 

 Could you survive Tintin’s adventures? The sequel of this Tintin post is coming soon!

Other articles:

(Photo sources: Goodreads)

(Gif source: Tumblr)

 

My February 2018 Book Haul

This month, I’ve developed a new system reading more books every day. Besides reading one book at a time, I’d read two. I read 60 pages from one book and 30 pages from the second. This method worked wonders!

Looking forward to experimenting with another plan to read even more. If you haven’t viewed my 2018 resolutions, my goal is to read 333 books (including comics & e-books) by the end of the year.

Here’s my February 2018 book haul:

Adult Non-Fiction

1. Become the Force by Daniel M. Jones (4/5 stars)

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Daniel Jones took the whole Star Wars universe to a more in-depth spiritual level. The spirit of Jediism is being peaceful, doing good, and connecting with the Force.

I have no plans of joining the Church of Jediism anytime soon, but it was interesting to read about the church’s origins and its founder.

2. The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle (5/5 stars) *review*

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Consistent practice makes one talented according to The Little Book of Talent. This book is filled with valuable information to upgrade any skill you need to develop.

3. Show Your Work!  by Austin Kleon (5/5 stars) *review*

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You’d think having a creative career is hard, but Austin Kleon will show you how it’s done. Do the work, show your work, and repeat.

4. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (4/5 stars) *review*

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Show Your Work! was so great I immediately picked up Steal Like An Artist. These books are pure gold for artists everywhere.

5. The Writing Warrior by Laraine Herring (4/5 stars) *review*

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Writing for leisure? Simple.

Writing full-time? Not so much.

Reading The Writing Warrior has helped me get over my writing problems especially the accursed writer’s block whenever it rears its ugly head.

Comics/Graphic Novels

1. The Adventures of Tintin (v.2) by Hergé

Image result for the adventures of tintin volume 2 Amazon

I love these Tintin 3-1 editions. This volume features The Broken Ear, The Black Island, and King Ottokar’s Sceptre.

2. The Adventures of Tintin (v.3) by Hergé

Image result for the adventures of tintin volume 3 Amazon

More Tintin adventures! This volume includes The Secret of the Unicorn, The Shooting Star, and The Crab with the Golden Claws.

3. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Book One) by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (5/5 stars) *review*

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I love a good scary story sending chills down my spine. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is not another friendly Archie comic featuring Sabrina in her kooky, magical adventures.

Please read at your own risk.

4. Hollow City: The Graphic Novel by Ransom Riggs (story) & Cassandra Jean (art) (4/5 stars)

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If you’re familiar with the Peculiar Children novels, try reading the graphic novel series.

I hope the movie sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children comes out soon. I’m ready to see this in theaters!

I also read: 

5. Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani (3/5 stars)

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Priyanka finds a magical scarf leading her back to India. There, she uncovers a family secret hidden from her since she was born.

6. Plutona by Jeff Lemire & Emi Lennox (2/5 stars)

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Plutona‘s about a group of kids finding a superheroine’s corpse in the woods. This story had rising potential then it dropped with an anti-climatic ending.

Juvenile (For Ages 8-13)

1. The Adventures of Riley: Outback Odyssey by Amanda Lumry & Laura Hurwitz (4/5 stars)

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I read Outback Odyssey since I was in a “Let’s travel to Australia” mood. I learned many things about the Outback wildlife. Did you know male kangaroos were called boomers?

YA (Young Adult)

1. Hurricane Kiss by Debbie Blumenthal (3/5 stars)

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Jillian is forced to shed her true feelings for River, a football star dropout, in the midst of Category 5 Hurricane Danielle.

Debbie Blumenthal’s storm descriptions made me feel like I was right in the middle of Mother Nature’s horrors. The romance was sweet, but I felt like the hurricane rushed it.

What was in your February book haul?

Past book hauls:

6 Louisiana Books to Catch Those Bayou State Vibes

My maternal grandmother was from Louisiana. I won’t ever be able to talk to her about it since she passed away shortly after my mom was born.

The family link might be a subconscious reason why I’ve always been interested in Louisiana. The vampire lore, its haunted history, the voodoo culture, and the melting pot diversity always fascinated me.

With that said, I found six Louisiana books that’ll give me those bayou state vibes no matter where I am in the world. Perhaps you too!

1. The Baby Dolls: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition by Kim Marie Vaz

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I would’ve never known street walkers organized a part of the Mardi Gras marches. The decision to march started out as a competition between rival red light districts.

2. Beware of the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

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A sister searches for her missing brother in a swamp the town locals wouldn’t dare explore.

3. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

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Anne Rice and New Orleans go together like PBJ. With vampires in the mix, it’s even more delicious!

4. The King of Bones and Ashes by J. D. Horn

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Witches are turning against each other as their magic fades away. One witch’s case to solve witches’ disappearances in New Orleans may have dark connections to her family.

5. Mad Madame LaLaurie: New Orleans Most Famous Murderess Revealed by Victoria Cosner Love & Lorelei Shannon

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A locked room in Madame Delphine LaLaurie’s home hides her hidden atrocities. A city fire exposes all of its gruesome secrets.

You might recognize the LaLaurie name from  Kathy Bates’ character in American Horror Story: Coven.

6. Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau by Jewell Parker Rhodes

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Voodoo Dreams is a fictional account based on the real Marie Laveau, famed voodoo priestess of New Orleans. You can visit her grave at the Saint Louis Cemetery.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Which books make you want to travel to Lousiana right now?

Other articles:

(Book pic sources: Amazon)

(Gif sources: Giphy)