Coffeehouse Book Blog

Sometimes the best thing to do is sit down and read.

Amortentia, state lines, and finally going home

It was 9 years ago today that I begged, pleaded, and groveled to get the 7th Harry Potter book. I was 17 and on a family road trip that started in Colorado and took us across the east coast. IMG_11139 years ago today, I was in Hazelton, Missouri visiting family and I knew (because I called) that no place in town was going to have the book at Midnight. All hope was lost. I would not be getting the book. It wasn’t until I finally begged my dad to drive to Illinois that I saw the light in the darkness. 

In the car I was excited, nervous, and exhausted. My poor dad was already sick of my theories featuring Snape & Neville. Plus, he had to endure my various rants that centered around Dumbledore, Sirius, & Cedric. He was ready to get that book in my hand just to shut me up. My great aunt and uncle thought we were crazy for driving across state lines to the closest store.

I still remember the Amortentia like smell of the book. It was perfect. I had tears of excitement and sadness when I felt the weight of my newest companion. Harry Potter was over! “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was the final book. This was the end of my childhood.

In the wizarding world, you become an adult at 17. It was fitting that I would get the final book when I was 17.  You see, Harry Potter defined me. J.K. Rowling sculpted me into the woman I am today.  The characters that I met in these books became my IMG_1014best friends and at times they were my only friends. Walmart (the closest store that would be open at midnight) was filled with Muggles, Wizards, and the poor unfortunate retail workers who had to deal with the hundreds of people lined up in their store.  In that line I felt united. I felt a part of something bigger. At that moment, the moment the book weighed down my hands, I was standing at King’s Cross Station waiting to return to the world that defined me.I was Loony Lovegood. I was that quirky girl that never fit in. I was a Ravenclaw that finally found a home. At that moment, I was going home.

“All was well” J.K Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

Great Narrators, Terrible Story!

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Read: 7/14/2016-7/18/2016Girl on the Train
Format: Audiobook (Started as eBook)

Well, this book confirms that I just cannot stand mysteries. I read this book for bookclub with hesitation because of the genre but I really did try and give it a chance. I started out reading the actual book but 12 pages into it I just couldn’t continue which is why I switched to the audiobook.

First off, the good things:

I loved the narrators. They were able to capture the tone of the book quite well and I really did enjoy their interpretation which is the only reason I gave this a 3 star review. If I were to have kept reading the book, I probably would have given it 2 stars.

Now, onto the bad:

I really hated how predictable this book was. Now to be fair, I worked at a bookstore when this book was HUGE. It was hard to avoid spoilers but still, the plot line was predictable & I was bored throughout the whole book. The only reason I kept listening was because of the narrators.

The characters were frustrating, annoying, and drove me a bit mad. I understand that they were supposed to be broken but I do wish that they had some redeeming factors.

Now, most people claim that this book was fast paced and enraptured them but I found this whole entire novel quite dragging. I found myself bored & wishing that it would just end already.

Ultimately, this novel really wasn’t my cup of tea. I am not a huge mystery person but I was quite disappointed. This book has been and still is HUGE. If you find mysteries interesting and enjoy playing the board game “Clue” you will probably enjoy this novel.


Getting By – Claudia Burgoa

Getting By by Claudia BurgoaGetting By
Read 5/16/14 to 5/17/2014
Format: Ebook

First off, I want to say that I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  I was contacted by Claudia Burgoa’s publicist and asked if the Denver Coffeehouse Book Club would be interested in reading this novel.  I agreed to bring it to the attention of the book club and ultimately we decided to read the novel and we were lucky enough to have Claudia come to our book club to discuss her novel and her experiences as an author.  Claudia is a new author that lives in Colorado so I was excited to give her book a chance, I was even more excited that the book club was willing to read a romance (we definitely do not read many romances).

I love reading romances because they’re usually quick, easy reads that do not require a lot of thinking and sometimes that is the perfect book to escape into.  As some of you know, I love my romances.  They tend to offer me an escape from my dull and sometimes dreadful life.  They help me imagine what life with a boyfriend/husband, and a little… okay, a lot of drama would be. Ultimately they make me realize that sometimes reality is better than fantasy.

Getting By started off a little rocky. The writing style was something that I had to get used to but that might be because the last two book that I read were “The Shining” and “The Wolf Gift” and those books were slower reads.  There were times where I was confused and found myself asking “when did that happen” within the first two chapters of the book.  I even reread those two chapters twice looking for a kiss that was interrupted by a pedestrian and I have to admit, I am still a little confused.

With the rocky start I was not expecting to like this novel but by a few chapters I was interested and genuinely enjoying myself.  The characters in the novel were your stereotypical characters.  The young woman is beautiful but damaged emotionally and the hero is attractive but damaged by PTSD. Both of them are living with survivor’s guilt and both are coping with their emotional trauma in similar ways.

Ultimately, the book felt a little jumpy to me.  It didn’t seem to flow well in the beginning but by the end I was invested.

I’m going to give this 3 ½ cups of coffee.

4/5 Cups of coffee
*I rounded the rating up to 4 for the picture*


You Know You’re A Book Enthusiast When (Part 2)

Everyone can be a book enthusiast!  Here are 10 more bookish things to add to the “You Know You’re a Book Enthusiast When” list.

You know you’re a book enthusiast when:

Book Vending

  • You have the complete works of Shakespeare on your phone. –  Thank you, Carolyn!
  • You spend your Friday night reading.
  • You make a reading goal for the year that many people balk at.
  • Meeting your favorite author was the most amazing experience of your life (so far).
  • When your dream relationship involves being able to sit in the same room with your significant other and just read.
  • You get excited to get a new book.
  • You search high and low for a book database program for your phone.
  • You never leave the house without a book.
  • You realize that one of the most important character in friends is their love of reading.
  • You think a book vending machine is one of the greatest bookish inventions. (Thanks Fireside Books & Coffee for making my life complete!)

If you enjoyed part 2 make sure to check out part 1 of You Know You’re A Book Enthusiast When!

Do you have anything to add to the list?  Comment back and your comment may be featured in my next “You Know You’re A Book Enthusiast When” post.  🙂

You Know You’re A Book Enthusiast When (Part 1)

Have you ever wondered just how much of a book enthusiast you are?  I know I have. When I walk around the store I can usually tell who the bookish people are.  They are the ones who can spend a day walking around book stores and can spend hours conversing about books.  This post is for all the book enthusiasts out there.

You know you’re a book enthusiast when:

Me reading to my adorable niece. Picture taken in 2011.

Me reading to my adorable niece. Picture taken in 2011.
  1. Some of your favorite memories of your niece involve reading her a book.
  2. You go shopping for furniture and wonder if they’ll sell you some of the books on display.
  3. You need a third bookshelf in your room because you have run out of space.
  4. Every conversation you have ends up being about a book you just finished.
  5. One of your dream jobs is to work at a bookstore.
  6. Some of your closest friends are characters in books.
  7. You have multiple copies of your favorite book (Ebook & Book) in case you need to need a pick me up on the go.
  8. You have a calendar dedicated to book release dates.
  9. You go on a vacation and bring multiple books.
  10. You think that a bookstore/library should have a night where they allow customers/patrons to spend the night so that they can read all night long.

Do you have anything to add to the list?  Comment back and your comment may be featured in my next “You Know You’re A Book Enthusiast When” post.  🙂

That’s a great concept… *Shrug*

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David LloydV For Vendetta

Have you read a graphic novel?  This was the second graphic novel that I have read, and I’m still deciding how I feel about them.  I picked up V for Vendetta because my book club wanted to read it.  I will admit, graphic novels are not my usual flavor, but every now and then it is nice to have something new.  I tend to like reading books without having to analyze the photos.  I like having more detail in the writing itself.  With graphic novels, the pictures are the details.  This can be great and I love the additional media but I found it a little lacking.

“Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody.”

Ultimately, I want to read the details and not have to scour a picture for them.   The artwork was beautiful in a grungy way.  David Lloyd’s talent really did captivate me.  But, I also found the artwork frustrating at times.  When reading/viewing this graphic novel I found that the facial expressions were sometimes too similar to pick out.  Someone could be crying in despair or screaming in rage, and it looked nearly identical.   Also, there were some characters that just seemed to blend together.  I discussed this book with the rest of the book club at Paris on the Platte and we all tended to agree that the characters were too similar in their appearance.  One member blended two characters together. Looking back at the novel, I definitely understand where he was coming from.  I even had some problems interpreting one of the characters.  I actually thought that one of the wives was the mother.  I was quite surprised (I almost spit out my coffee) when there was a sexual scene between the mother and the son… luckily, I went back in the novel and realized that she was the wife.

“They made you into a victim, Evey. They made you into a statistic. But that’s not the real you. That’s not who you are inside.”

What I really liked about V for Vendetta was the fact that it was different from my typical books.  The book was very political.  I found it fascinating to see Milgram’s 1963 experiment discussed along with the concept of happiness.  There were many times that I took a picture of the page so that I wouldn’t forget a certain passage.  I also really loved the concepts of the book.  I found myself enthralled by the thoughts and ideas in regards to social standing, political ideas, and the dystopian ideals that were present. I do wish that they would have continued with some of them. One amazing member of the Denver Coffeehouse Book Club summed up my frustrations about this beautifully: “That’s a great concept… *Shrug*”.  It seemed like every time Alan Moore and David Lloyd came up with a great idea they just shrugged and left it hanging in the air, leaving the reader with the hope that they might revisit it later… *Spoiler* later never came.

“Happiness is the most insidious prison of all.”

All in all, I enjoyed V for Vendetta and I will most likely read it again.  It’s like a cup of gas station coffee that you add a cinnamon stick to in hopes that the flavor may change. I liked the plot, the ideas, the concepts, but I do wish that the concepts were more flushed out. It seemed that they had great ideas that they just didn’t follow through with. Perhaps that was part of their ultimate concept.  They could have wanted the reader to explore their own thoughts and draw their own conclusions.  Ultimately, I found the graphic novel form fascinating, beautiful, and at times quite frustrating.  It was great, just not my usual flavor.

 I’m giving this 3 ½ cups of fully caffeinated coffee.

*I rounded the rating up to 4 for the picture*

I’d love to hear about your experience and opinion reading this grungy graphic novel.  Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Dracula, It Is Simply Draining…

Dracula Book

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Read 2/27/14 to 3/3/14
Format: Ebook & Audiobook

Going into this novel, I was a little anxious.  I have heard so many amazing things about this book that I was scared that I was going to hate it.  This book has been on my “To Read” list ever since I watched “Lost Boys” and fell hopelessly in love with vampires.   Needless to say, Dracula is one of those books that have been recommended to me by anyone who knows my obsession with vampires and my love of reading.  I couldn’t help but worry that I was going to despise this novel and therefore become one of “those” vampire enthusiasts.  You see, I’m one of those readers who hates some of the most beloved books of my generation.  I still get the look of horror when I tell someone that I hated “Fahrenheit 451.” I would hate to see the accusatory glares I would receive if I hated “Dracula.”  Fortunately, I did enjoy this novel so my anxiety was unjustified. 

“I have been so long master that I would be master still, or at least that none others should be master of me” – Page 18

I have to say, the format was definitely unique.  Dracula takes place in letters and journal entries and it was not my typical story format.  This meant that I read this book slower than normal.  At times I felt that this book dragged. I believe this is because of the format and the older writing style.  I also noticed something that was a little disconcerting… I noticed that I was drained while reading it which does not happen often. The characters are interesting, the story is unsettling, and all in all it’s entertaining.  Yet, I am left drained after I read a chapter. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have actually fallen asleep while reading this novel.  I even took this book to a coffeehouse (Peet’s Coffee at Southglenn), and still I found myself nodding off at times.  What I find interesting is that I am not alone in this.  I have talked to some friends and they too admit that the book was exhausting.

“I seemed to wish to keep him to the point of his madness” – Page 52

I did end up switching to the Audiobook read by Tim Curry, Alan Cumming, and a full cast.  This helped me pass the time while reading/listening to the book.  I found that I paid better attention to the novel and felt less drained while listening the audiobook.

“The world seems full of good men, even if there are monsters in it.” – page 198

All in all, this book really captivated me.  The characters were fascinating.  I loved the fact that there was a strong woman in the book (even when the men in the novel were chauvinistic and slightly annoying at times).  I truly enjoyed that the story was pretty grim and unsettling.  I tend to like darker novels, and this was right up my alley.  While I don’t anticipate the need to read it again, I am glad that I have marked this classic novel off of my “to read” list.

I give this novel 4/5 cups of coffee.

I’d love to hear about your experience and opinion reading this dark classic.  Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

My Journey Here…

Holy crap Batman!  I’m actually writing a blog post!

Here I sit, at one of my favorite coffee shops (Solid Grounds), drinking my favorite coffee (a pumpkin spice latte), wondering what to write for this first post. This post is supposed to be profound and make everyone want to subscribe to this blog and I’m definitely struggling with what to post.

I have always loved blogs.  They help you find new foods, new activities, and brand new friends that take shape in the pages of a book.  I’m one of those people who struggles with what to say in a social situation.  I have been plagued with social anxiety ever since I was a small girl who was too scared to ask her teachers for help.  So I have of found that books are a perfect escape.  When looking for something to pass my anxiety ridden time, I found the most amazing thing, a magical land that changes whenever I find a new book.

Books are my stress release and some of my closest friends.  The characters can’t judge me, they’re stuck in between pages.  When upset, I don’t have to talk to resolve the problem, I can just close the pages of the book and be done for the day… you can’t really do that with friends.  As I have grown, I have overcome some of my anxieties, but my love of books hasn’t dwindled.

As my love for books has grown so have the suggestions to start a blog.  I have to admit, writing a blog scares me.  I’m scared that I’m going to make a grammatical error and have the grammar fairy attack me while I type.  I’m nervous that this is going to be just another blog to get lost on the internet.  I am also struggling with the fact that this is a little narcissistic, but honestly, I think these are things that I just need to get over.  It is finally time to tell my fear to back off and listen to the countless friends, family members, and random strangers who have suggested that I start this blog. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am scared, a little frightened, and most of all exhilarated.  I’m excited to share my favorite books, and my opinions.  If anything, my recommendations are written down and waiting to be seen.

These words are meant to be written because I feel the need to write them.

Kristy Jewel.


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