The book I'm pretending to read and the book I am actually reading.

Who says you can't read two books at once?

It used to be that when I couldn't get into a book, I would force myself to stick to it anyway, moving through at a drudging pace, with only a half-hearted focus until I finally reached a point that peaked my interest.

Very rarely will I actually abandon a book for good - I mean, it has to be really bad in order for me to do that. I hate to leave a story unfinished; it feels like I haven't given it a fair chance.

Recently, though I've stopped fighting my reading instincts and started working with them. When I'm reading a book that just isn't catching my attention, my mind tends to wander to other titles that I could be indulging in, so....I do.

I don't mean that I completely let the first book go, I just set it aside for a bit and explore my other options. I read a bit of something else, then get drawn back to my original choice, then back again to book number two, and before I know it I've reached the bit where things start getting good and I am whisked away into the story, finally able to give it the full attention that it deserves.

The one I am meant to be reading - The Muse by Jessie Burton:

I've gone through all kinds of emotions with this book. I'll admit, I was a bit disappointed after reading Jessie Burton's first novel - The Miniaturist. The story was interesting - I'm a sucker for historical fiction - but I didn't feel as hooked by it as I thought I would, based on the rave reviews I'd heard from other people. Then The Muse was released, along with an absolute fanfare of book plugs and advertising, which made me even more wary of it. My thinking was that if the book was actually any good, it would just sell itself. Wouldn't it? Still, I couldn't shake my curiosity about it and when I saw that it was being read by someone whose reading tastes I totally trust, I knew I had to give it a go.

Honestly, for me, it started off slow. The story has some unique elements, but the plot was just dragging, and the main character.....meh. I stuck to it, though, and allowed myself a little reading flexibility and I have been finding myself a little more endeared to it as of late.

I'll let you know how it all turns out.

The one that I am actually reading - The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse:

I don't know why my interest in the horror genre developed so suddenly. I never enjoyed scary stories growing up. In fact I've spent most of my live actively avoided things that might give me nightmares.

This all changed, though, a couple of years ago when I found a copy of Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories at my local library and, for some reason, I just couldn't leave without it. I think I was intrigued by the fact that it was a book of short stories - which I felt I must be able to handle as a level-headed adult - coupled with the fact that it was almost October and I was missing the autumn chill and the spooky nights leading up to Halloween in Michigan. Whatever the case, I enjoyed the collection so much that it set me off on a run of the horror genre - mostly books, but this is also when I became a little obsessed with the American Horror Story television series (I blew through the first season on Netflix in less than a week).

Ever since then, I have felt myself drawn to this kind of fiction - especially around this time of year. So, when I saw this book of short stories - all written by the very popular Kate Mosse - I just knew I had to grab it, even though I was already involved with the aforementioned novel.

As with most short story collections, there were some hits and there were some misses - The Mistletoe Bride being one of the most spine tinglingly impressive. If you enjoy suspenseful and multi-layered plot lines, with ties to history or literature, and a strong sense of place, then this collection is for you.......

...even if it's not the only thing that you're reading ;)



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