Friday, November 20, 2015

The Blood Countess, Andrei Codrescu


The Blood Countess is a fictionalized retelling of the life of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, and the life of her descendant- Drake Bathory-Kereshtur. The story tells of how their lives touch through mysticism, passion, and upheaval- creating passages to each other in the flow of time. Personally, I felt the accounts of Elizabeth's crimes in this book was mild, considering the legends attached to her. I have read other reviews that the book was too gory and the reviewers had to stop reading it, but that wasn't the case in my experience. I feel that the author was trying to show that while Elizabeth was guilty of cruelty, torture, and murder, she wasn't the monster history and legend have made her become. Or maybe she was. In either case, it was enough to get me interested in the history of Hungary and the current situation in that part of the world, so off I go to find more. =)

The Blood CountessThe Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu

My rating: 3 of 5 stars






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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tyler Sellers

Today I woke up. And I cried. I ironed my husband's dress shirts, and carefully chose my own clothes, and I cried. I don't want to wear these clothes. I don't want to see my husband in his suit, or see what clothes our family and friends have chosen to wear themselves this day.  More importantly, I don't want to see the clothes that have been chosen for Tyler today,  or think of Sabore's family needing to choose what they'd like him to wear, what his baby is going to wear.  Because they should be here. Tyler should be skating. Sabore should be holding his child.  They should be with their families.  They should be going to work. They should be  laughing. They should be. But pennies are more important than people, so they are not.  And I am angry.







http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2015/11/bayonne_man_killed_on_route_440_had_passion_for_sk.html#incart_2box_hudson%22He

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-davis-build-a-pedestrian-bridge-on-the-back-highway?recruiter=684909&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

#BUILDTHEBRIDGE

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye, Tania del Rio and Will Staehle



I loved this book! I felt like I've always known poor little toad-like Warren and cheered him on all through his troubles and adventure in his family hotel. I can't wait for it to be released so I can get a copy for my grandson's library. =) Release date is set for November 24th- If you have children, I recommend this title. Thanks to Netgalley and Quirk books!


Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing EyeWarren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars






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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nirvana, J.R. Stewart



This is a title I was invited to read for Netgalley, or maybe I requested it... I don't remember now. But that doesn't matter any way.

I like dystopian, and I liked the premise, but this pretty short read was a little hard on my brain. Which may be a good thing. Distinguishing between virtual reality and actual reality muddles my brain and if I were Kenders, I'd be living in a state of constant panic attack. The ending brought me right back into the story though, and got me interested enough in what may happen that I'll be looking for the next book.


Nirvana (Nirvana Series #1)Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

My rating: 2 of 5 stars






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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hunter, Mercedes Lackey



This book is written by a popular author, someone whose name is familiar to me and whose books I haven't had a chance to read yet, so when I saw a chance to review this book through Netgalley I was excited... (I wanted to love this book, I really did!) But the story line and language usage is a little too familiar. The world The Hunter is set in is great, as are the Hunters themselves and the basis of the story line. While Joy isn't necessarily a Katniss or Tris clone, there are some similarities. But hey, how could there not be a few? My main problem? Annoyance? Yes, annoyance may be the better word, annoyance with this book was the vocabulary of the characters. It reminded me of a certain movie with Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone set in a futuristic world where the citizens have forgotten complete words and shortened versions are now the norm. Things like "vid screen" instead of video or monitor, and other such usages. I was able to get past that, but it may have been the cause of me losing focus every time I tried to read. Maybe it's just my age. Ms. Lackey's younger set of followers may enjoy this more than I did. I thought it was okay, and I still plan on reading some of her other work. Maybe I'll even pick up the next book in this series...





Hunter (Hunter, #1)Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

My rating: 2 of 5 stars






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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review for The Suffering, by Rin Chupeco



The Suffering is a book I was lucky enough to be chosen to review for Netgalley. I was instantly sucked in, and really enjoyed reading this book. Full of ghosts, murder, sacrificial rites, and an ancient haunted forest, The Suffering does not disappoint in skin crawl factor. I could easily see this book becoming a movie. Being a huge fan of horror, this was right up my alley.

Tarquin is a 17 year old exorcist/avenger in the making. Aided and guided by Okiku, the spirit of a girl murdered hundreds of years ago in Japan, and taught the rites of Shinto exorcism by two former Miko's during his summertime visits to Japan, Tark and Okiku prowl the night avenging murdered children and freeing their souls.

My only complaint while reading the book were the allusions to Tark's past- I kept waiting for resolutions that never came. This is because The Suffering is the SECOND book of a series, and in my haste to read it I neglected to notice that! So now on to the first book, The Girl From the Well. (It wouldn't be the first time I've done something backwards!)

If you are a fan of horror, I highly recommend The Suffering! Release Date: September 1, 2015




The Suffering (The Girl from the Well, #2)The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

My rating: 4 of 5 stars






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Spotlight post and Giveaway for The Suffering!


The Suffering

By Rin Chupeco

September 1, 2015; Hardcover ISBN 9781492629832; Trade Paper ISBN 9781492629849

Book Info:

Title: The Suffering

Author: Rin Chupeco

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire



Praise for the Suffering:



"Rin Chupeco's The Suffering is a horror lover's dream: murders, possessed dolls, and desiccated corpses. I cringed. I grimaced. You won't soon forget this exorcist and his vengeful water ghost."

--Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood



“Chupeco deftly combines ancient mysticism with contemporary dilemmas that teens face, immersing readers in horrors both supernatural and manmade. The Suffering is a chilling swim through the murky waters of morality.”

--Carly Anne West, author of The Bargaining and The Murmuring

Summary:



Breathtaking and haunting, Rin Chupeco’s second novel is a chilling companion to her debut, The Girl from the Well.

The darkness will find you.

Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she’s groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan’s suicide forest, Okiku’s justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price…

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24789796-the-suffering?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/PrKxL

Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/PrKLh

Books A Million- http://ow.ly/PrL7j

iBooks- http://ow.ly/PrLCI

!ndigo- http://ow.ly/PrLOZ

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/PrLXu



About the Author:

Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She's been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. Connect with Rin at www.rinchupeco.com.

Social Networking Links:

Website: http://www.rinchupeco.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RinChupeco



Excerpt from The Suffering:

It’s still early morning when our group is given clearance to enter. Aokigahara is a deceptive forest. It has all the hallmarks of a popular tourist destination: narrow but well-­maintained hiking trails with a surprising amount of litter, not to mention strips of tape and ribbon wrapped around tree trunks. The leader explains that hikers use them as markers to maintain their bearings. Later on, one of the other volunteers whispers to us that some of the tapes were left by those who came here to kill themselves, in case they decided to change their minds. The revelation horrifies Callie.

A few miles into our hike, anything resembling civilization disappears. Roots crawl across the hard forest floor, and it’s easy to trip if you’re not constantly looking down. We’re outside, but the trees make it feel claustrophobic. They reach hungrily toward the sun, fighting each other for drops of light, and this selfishness grows with the darkness as we move deeper into the woods.

It’s quiet. The silence is broken by the scuffling of feet or snapping of dry twigs as we walk. Every so often, volunteers call back and forth to each other, and rescue dogs exploring the same vicinity that we are will bark. But there are no bird calls, no sounds of scampering squirrels. We’re told that there is very little wildlife in Jukai. Nothing seems to flourish here but trees.

This deep into the woods, any roads and cleared paths are gone. At times, we’re forced to climb to a higher ledge or slide down steep slopes to proceed, and there’s always some root or rock hiding to twist an ankle.

And yet—­the forest is beautiful. I like myself too much to seriously think about suicide, even during my old bouts of depression, but I can understand why people would choose to die here. There is something noble and enduring and magnificent about the forest.

That sense of wonder disappears though, the instant I see them. There are spirits here. And the ghosts mar the peacefulness for me. They hang from branches and loiter at the base of tree trunks. Their eyes are open and their skin is gray, and they watch me as I pass. I don’t know what kind of people they were in life, but they seem faded and insignificant in death.

Okiku watches them but takes no action. These are not the people she hunts. They don’t attack us because they’re not that kind of ghosts. Most of them, I intuit, aren’t violent. The only lives they had ever been capable of taking were their own.

I’m not afraid, despite their bloated faces, contorted from the ropes they use to hang themselves or the overdose of sleeping pills they’ve taken. If anything, I feel lingering sadness. I can sympathize with their helpless anguish. These people took their own lives, hoping to find some meaning in death when they couldn’t find it in life. But there’s nothing here but regret and longing.

And there’s that tickle again, so light it is nearly imperceptible. Something in this forest attracts these deaths. It lures its unhappy victims with its strange siren’s call and then, having taken what it needs, leaves their spirits to rot. A Venus flytrap for human souls.

Something is wrong here, and suddenly, the forest no longer looks as enticing or majestic as when we arrived.



New in Paperback from this Author: The Girl From The Well

Praise for The Girl From The Well:

“[A] Stephen King-like horror story.” -Kirkus Reviews



“Told in a marvelously disjointed fashion.” -Publishers Weekly STARRED Review



“This gorgeously written story reads like poetry.” -Brazos Bookstore



“Darkly mesmerizing.” -The Boston Globe



“A superior creep factor that is pervasive in every lyrical word.” -Booklist





Summary:

The Ring meets The Exorcist in this haunting and lyrical reimagining of the Japanese fable.

Okiku has wandered the world for hundreds of years, setting free the spirits of murdered children. Wherever there’s a monster hurting a child, her spirit is there to deliver punishment. Such is her existence, until the day she discovers a troubled American teenager named Tark and the dangerous demon that writhes beneath his skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. Tark needs to be freed, but there is one problem—if the demon dies, so does its host.

With the vigilante spirit Okiku as his guide, Tark is drawn deep into a dark world of sinister doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms that will take him far from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Japan. Can Okiku protect him from the demon within or will her presence bring more harm? The answer lies in the depths of a long-forgotten well

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25263927-the-girl-from-the-well

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/PrQwE

Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/PrQFa

Books A Million- http://ow.ly/PrQQU

iBooks- http://ow.ly/PrR6c

!ndigo- http://ow.ly/PrRlE

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/PrQp2



Rafflecopter Giveaway:

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Sunday, August 2, 2015



Go Set a WatchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I think in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout learned a lesson about humanity. In Go Set a Watchman, she learns what it is to be human. I fear people who can't get past the ignorance and racism that is just becoming known to Scout at this point in her life may also be missing the point of the book, therefore missing out on what the book hopes to convey. For me, the message in this book is for hope and understanding, and always for standing up for what's right... No matter who you stand against.



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Wednesday, July 15, 2015


RevivalRevival by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13131245

I couldn't decide between three or four stars because for most of the book, I thought I might actually give up, or finish it with the same kind of eh feeling I got from The Tommyknockers. But the ending truly did creep me out, and the only reason I don't go with four stars is I suffered not a single nightmare while reading it. King's It kept me awake most nights for three weeks, and while I've gotten glimpses of It in Revival, it is still not quite there. Worth the read though, in my opinion.



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Friday, July 3, 2015

Watership Down and a few others...



Watership DownWatership Down by Richard Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars






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I honestly don't know what took me so long to read this book! I absolutely loved it! I found my thoughts drifting to Hazel, Big Wig, Fiver and everyone all through the day. I couldn't wait for some ME time so I could get back to the Downs and see what was going on in the warrens. Highly recommend this book. =)


Some other books that I've read since my last post that are recommendation worthy are:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho- This one touched me as an adult in the same way The Wizard of Oz did as a child. A simple shepard boy from Spain goes on a long journey in search of treasure in Egypt buts finds so much more...


The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die 2)by Danielle Paige- I love this series. In this second book of the series, Amy must collect certain artifacts in order to kill Dorothy... along the way she gets help from the Queen of the Monkeys and a princess of the rainbow, as well as Mombi and the gang from the first book. Still, my favorite so far is the prequel, No Place Like Oz.

I've also read The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, still not sure how I feel about it though. It was very long and dragged a bit for me, but it seems to be one of those books people either love or just don't get. (I think I'm more in the latter category. But it was the same for me with American Gods. What IS the big deal with that book???)



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dark Screams Volume Four




This is the third book of this series (yes, I know it is the Fourth book- I haven't yet read the second!)I have had the pleasure of reviewing for Netgalley. I am never disappointed with the stories chosen to be included in the volumes.
I've said before how they get me over any block, and I stand by it.

The Departed by Clive Barker and Sammy Comes Home by Ray Garton are as heartbreaking as they are creepy, The New War and Creature Feature are equally disturbing- but my favorite of this Volume was The Brasher Girl by Ed Gorman, which kind of surprised me, to be totally honest. I don't usually go for THAT kind of horror story, but, well, I'll let you decide for yourself. Kudos to Hydra, Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar for another great volume!


Dark Screams: Volume FourDark Screams: Volume Four by Clive Barker








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Monday, May 18, 2015

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore



Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore has everything I love- eccentric booksellers, a dusty old bookstore (one that is open 24 hours, no less!!!) secret societies, 500 year old books and mysteries, codes, Google, and the search for the secret of life and immortality!

Had I not listened to the audiobook version narrated by Ari Fliakos, which I thought very good, I probably wouldn't have been able to put the book down and would have finished in a day anyway.

If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it!


Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars






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I think I've found a new love....




Today I decided it was about time I renewed my library card, as I'd let it expire more than a year ago. I was only using it to download Kindle books using Overdrive, and thanks to Netgalley and a few other sites I have downloaded more than enough books to keep me from missing the digital lending library here. That, and the hundreds of physical books I have here at home that are still waiting to be read!

But on another post here a user mentioned audiobooks and Overdrive as a way of beating her slump (Thanks Christine L.!!!) so I figured I'd give it a try. I think I'm hooked!

Not only did I finish an entire book in half a day, (something I haven't been able to do since having kids!!!) I did it while getting the entire house clean and all the laundry done!!! Hallelujah!!!

Look out Goodreads Challenge, I'm coming for ya!!!

Dark Screams: Volume Three



Another great collection! Thank you Netgalley! For me, the "scariest" story in the collection is definitely THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub. Anything that involves a child scares me to my core and makes me feel totally helpless.

I Love You Charlie Pearson is freaky good. I didn't see that coming, thought it would go in a whole other direction. I like when I can be blindsided.

I think these collections are just the thing I need when the block sets in. They lift me right out of my doldrums and spark my interest again. Kind of like cleansing the palate between courses, they are the sorbet of my reading diet. =)


Dark Screams: Volume ThreeDark Screams: Volume Three by Peter Straub

My rating: 3 of 5 stars






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Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Sound of Glass, Karen White



I requested this book from Netgalley as a way to continue reading outside of my normal genre, as that seems to be the unofficial challenge I set for myself this year, and the one I've been sticking to. Judging from the reviews, Karen White seems to be pretty well known. I had no idea what to expect beginning this book, and because my favorite genre is horror, it took awhile before I realized I could trust the characters. Feel for them. Even like them.

Set in Beaufort, South Carolina the story begins in the 1950's with a plane crash, then moves back and forth through time to today and tells the story of Merritt Heyward, a recently widowed woman from Maine who inherits her husband's boyhood home, and the secrets that are concealed there. Shortly after Merritt moves in, she is "visited" by her stepmother, Loralee, and 10 year old half brother, Owen. Unbeknownst to Merritt, Loralee has secrets of her own and no plans to leave.

The Sound of Glass has a touch of a mystery to it, but mostly is a story of learning how to put the pieces back, of finding and believing in your own inner strength. By the end, I made sure to have tissues near to hand.
The Sound of GlassThe Sound of Glass by Karen White

My rating: 3 of 5 stars






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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Inside the O'Briens, Lisa Genova




The book introduces us to the O'Briens, an Irish Catholic family from Boston who have just learned that at age 44, Police Officer Joe O'Brien has been diagnosed with Huntington's disease. We are invited to Sunday suppers with the family, private walks and on-duty moments with Joe, and everyday life with youngest daughter Katie, all while they come to terms with the cruelty of the disease and wrestle with the choices they are each faced with now that Huntington's has invaded their lives. Joe and wife Rosie's four grown children have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene from Joe. Inside the O'Briens brings us along on their emotional rollercoaster as each of the children wrestle with the decision to find out if they carry the gene that will end their lives, or go on living without knowing if Huntington's will touch them at all in the future.

While reading this, I experienced all the fear, confusion, anger and despair that each family member was feeling at the moment, along with their love for each other, their moments of clarity and understanding, and most of all, their hope. For 3/4 of the book, I read through tears. The O'Briens may not exist, but the Meghan Sullivan's do exist, (I always read the acknowledgements!) and are the reason books like this are so important. I knew nothing about Huntington's disease before reading this book. Visit www.LisaGenova.com and click on the Readers in Action button to make a donation to the HD Human Biology Project.


Inside the O'Briens: A NovelInside the O'Briens: A Novel by Lisa Genova

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


One of my status updates while reading this book was something like, "Wow. I want to read this book non-stop, but I have to keep taking breaks. It's so powerful!" My recommendations for anyone planning on reading this- keep a box of tissues at hand. And don't read this in a public place. Oh hell- read it in a public place- so when anyone asks why you are crying you can respond, "Huntington's." Get the message out there. Thank you, Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book, and to Lisa Genova for writing it.



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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Riot's 2015 Read Harder Challenge


So I'm copying this from Book Riot because I actually started one of these at the turn of the year, but fell behind once I left Livejournal. Let's see if I can keep at it if it's here. Anyone else doing a challenge? How are you doing so far?


A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25

A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65

A collection of short stories Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote

A book published by an indie press Judas the Apostle, Van R. Mayhall Jr.

A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ

A book by a person whose gender is different from your own Maximus, Richard L. Black

A book that takes place in Asia The Great Zoo of China, Matthew Reilly

A book by an author from Africa

A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)

A microhistory The Dream Lover, Elizabeth Berg

A YA novel The Casquette Girls, Alys Arden

A sci-fi novel

A romance novel

A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade

A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)

An audiobook

A collection of poetry

A book that someone else has recommended to youThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

A book that was originally published in another language The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth

A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)

A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)

A book published before 1850

A book published this year The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, Christopher Scotton

A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)

#ReadHarder

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


If you like Twilight, this is much better. Vampires, witches, magic and a little New Orleans history. This book has all that. Adele is not a sniveling little klutz, though at times I wished she would just ask the questions instead of shying away. You get a taste of teen romance, but it's not sappy or overwhelming. I just need some questions answered though...

The Casquette Girls (The Casquette Girls, #1)The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really hope the next book comes out soon. There is a next book, right???? And I would like to add that I read this book based on a recommendation from The Lady Herself, Anne Rice. I think that says quite a bit, don't you? =)



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Friday, March 27, 2015

Arrrrrgh!!! I've come down with readers block!!!



Help!!!! I just want to read again!!!

I started to keep a journal on another site sometime in 2006 or so... I basically used it as an online diary that some friends and a few people with similar interests followed. I didn't always post faithfully everyday, but I posted weekly. After awhile, I started noticing I was posting more and more about books! Books that I read, books that were recommended to me, lists of books that I wanted. I was also an active member of Bookcrossing then, so that may explain the posts. But, life got in the way.

Fast forward a few years, and I've neglected the journal. Facebook has all my attention, everyday. But even on Facebook, my time is spent in book groups. I can't help it. I love books. I am an addict. So, of course curiosity gets me one day and I find I still remember my password to my journal. It felt like visiting an old friend! But- all my old friends from the site were no longer active. What was the point of continuing to journal if no one is there to share it with you??? Then, life got in the way.

A few months ago, I found Netgalley. What a joy, challenge and major disappointment Netgalley can be! You become a member, find some titles you may be interested in, request an advanced reading copy from the publisher, and hope you are chosen to review the title. Waiting to hear back from the publishers at first was torture! The first email I received from one of the publishers was an approval! I was elated! How easy was this?! Free books in exchange for an honest review. I can do this!!! So, I linked my Goodreads account, Twitter, and dusted off the ole journal and got it started again. Then I said to myself, why am I going to to continue posting on this site, when I'm the only one who sees it? I know! I'll start a blog on an actual blog site! And so I did. I call it The Readers Block because my vision for this blog is to create a place where readers can come to find their next read, to get suggestions and to break out of the dreaded Readers Block that sometimes hits all avid readers (You may call it "the slump"). It's not as easy as I thought it would be, because I need to FIND those people and have an interesting enough blog going to get them to want to follow. So yeah, for someone who wants it to be more than just a hobby, blogging is work!  Netgalley is also work. I learned that soon enough too, once the rejections started coming in. I am turned down more often than accepted right now because my blog doesn't have 500 or more followers. What??? Okay, challenge accepted. I'll find a way and get it done, one post, one review, at a time.

But guess what? I have been hit with readers block. This March has been a horrible month for a lot of my online reader friends, myself included. I just can't find the time to sit down to read, or keep my attention focused when I do find the time. I seem to want to spend all my time finding new books to read or talking about books I've read, but I can't get myself interested in any of the books I have started since the beginning of the month. Ugh. So, until I can get back into my reading rhythm, I'm just going to try and build up this blog and seek out new titles and authors. Thank the powers that be for Book Blogs and Goodreads!!! Although, Goodreads can keep you in a slump as well as get you out with all those giveaways!!! What do you do to get out of the slump???

Monday, March 16, 2015

Currently reading: The Casquette Girls, Alys Arden

So I have read one other book between my last review post and now, but some recent  health issues have kept me from getting my thoughts together about it so I'll review that book another time. Right now I'm concentrating on regulating my blood sugar levels and finding time to read for enjoyment, as I have no ARC's on deck.  So, see you in a few days!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Oh the thinks that you'll think!!!

Today is the 111th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.  To celebrate, Barnes and Noble will host #ReadAcrossAmerica events featuring The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and Oh the Places You 'll Go! tonight at 7pm. Check with your local B&N to see if they are participating.

If you can't get to one of the events, celebrate on your own! Just pick your favorite book and read to your children, your grandchildren, or just for your own enjoyment. You're never too old for Dr. Seuss!!!

 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Most Anticipated Books of 2015... According to me.

To be totally honest, my most anticipated book release of 2015 turned into the most disappointing announcement of 2015. And it's only March. =(  However, just because I can't have Winds of Winter yet, it doesn't mean I don't have anything to look forward to! I'm starting with March because, well, it's March!

March- 
  •   The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf, March 3)   The Romans have long since departed and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But, at least, the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. Axl and Beatrice, a couple of elderly Britons, decide that now is the time, finally, for them to set off across this troubled land of mist and rain to find the son they have not seen for years, the son they can scarcely remember. They know they will face many hazards—some strange and otherworldly—but they cannot foresee how their journey will reveal to them the dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Nor can they foresee that they will be joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and a knight—each of them, like Axl and Beatrice, lost in some way to his own past, but drawn inexorably toward the comfort, and the burden, of the fullness of a life’s memories.

    Sometimes savage, sometimes mysterious, always intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade tells a luminous story about the act of forgetting and the power of memory, a resonant tale of love, vengeance, and war.
  •  Heretic by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Harper, March 24)   Continuing her journey from a deeply religious Islamic upbringing to a post at Harvard, the brilliant, charismatic and controversial New York Times and Globe and Mail #1 bestselling author of Infidel and Nomad makes a powerful plea for a Muslim Reformation as the only way to end the horrors of terrorism, sectarian warfare and the repression of women and minorities.Today, she argues, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims can be divided into a minority of extremists, a majority of observant but peaceable Muslims and a few dissidents who risk their lives by questioning their own religion. But there is only one Islam and, as Hirsi Ali shows, there is no denying that some of its key teachings—not least the duty to wage holy war—are incompatible with the values of a free society.
    For centuries it has seemed as if Islam is immune to change. But Hirsi Ali has come to believe that a Muslim Reformation—a revision of Islamic doctrine aimed at reconciling the religion with modernity—is now at hand, and may even have begun. The Arab Spring may now seem like a political failure. But its challenge to traditional authority revealed a new readiness—not least by Muslim women—to think freely and to speak out.
    Courageously challenging the jihadists, she identifies five key amendments to Islamic doctrine that Muslims have to make to bring their religion out of the seventh century and into the twenty-first. And she calls on the Western world to end its appeasement of the Islamists. “Islam is not a religion of peace,” she writes. It is the Muslim reformers who need our backing, not the opponents of free speech.
    Interweaving her own experiences, historical analogies and powerful examples from contemporary Muslim societies and cultures, Heretic is not a call to arms, but a passionate plea for peaceful change and a new era of global toleration. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, with jihadists killing thousands from Nigeria to Syria to Pakistan, this book offers an answer to what is fast becoming the world’s number one problem.
  •  The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto (Penguin, March24)                                 Fatima Bhutto’s stunning debut novel chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border.Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. Sikandar is exhausted by Mina’s instability and by the pall of grief that has enveloped his family. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined.
    The youngest of the three leaves for town on a motorbike. An idealist, Hayat holds strong to his deathbed promise to their father—to free Mir Ali from oppressors. Seated behind him is a beautiful, fragile girl whose life and thoughts are overwhelmed by the war that has enveloped the place of her birth.
    Three hours later their day will end in devastating circumstances.
    In this beautifully observed novel, individuals are pushed to make terrible choices. And as the events of this single morning unfold, one woman is at the center of it all.
  •  The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige (Harper, March 31)  In this sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, who is good—and who is actually Wicked?My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
    After a tornado swept through my trailer park, I ended up in Oz.
    But it wasn't like the Oz I knew from books and movies. Dorothy had returned, but she was now a ruthless dictator. Glinda could no longer be called the Good Witch. And the Wicked Witches who were left? They'd joined forces as the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and they wanted to recruit me.
    My mission?
    Kill Dorothy.
    Except my job as assassin didn't work out as planned. Dorothy is still alive. The Order has vanished. And the home I couldn't wait to leave behind might be in danger.
    Somehow, across a twisted and divided land, I have to find the Order, protect the true ruler of Oz, take Dorothy and her henchmen down—and try to figure out what I'm really doing here.


 April- 
  • God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Knopf, April 21)  the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.

    At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride’s mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

    A fierce and provocative novel that adds a new dimension to the matchless oeuvre of Toni Morrison.

May-
  •  The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker (St.Martins Press, May 19)   The Scarlet Gospels takes readers back many years to the early days of two of Barker's most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D'Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes faces off against his formidable, and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with bated breath for years, and it's everything they've begged for and more. Bloody, terrifying, and brilliantly complex, fans and newcomers alike will not be disappointed by the epic, visionary tale that is The Scarlet Gospels. Barker's horror will make your worst nightmares seem like bedtime stories. The Gospels are coming. Are you ready?

June-
  •   Finders Keepers by Stephen King (June 2)    A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.

    “Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

    Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

    Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.
    A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.
  •  Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (July 14)
    An historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.
    Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.
    Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.
    Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.


  • November-
    • The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (November 3rd)  A collection of short stories written since Full Dark No Stars...
    I know there are quite a few more good, possibly great books coming out this year, but these are my top picks.  I'm sure I'll be addingto this list along the way.

    Monday, February 23, 2015

    Maximus

    When I saw this title listed for review on Netgalley, I was intrigued. When I was approved to review it, I was hopeful and a little excited. Historical fiction has overcome fantasy and horror as my favorite genre. Biblical fiction is especially interesting to me, not because of religion or even spirituality, but because these people lived and their stories- their lives- have lived on for this long.


    Maximus is an interesting idea- a Roman soldier sent to Judea in the guise of "a common Jew" (Hebrew would have been a better choice for biblical times, imo..) in order to gather information on Jesus and report to Pontius Pilate whether he may be a threat to Rome or not. Kind of catches your attention, right? Here are my little ticks with the book:
    • It is clear from beginning to end that the book was written by a Christian. Not that there's a problem with that, but I would classify it as Christian Lit, not Historical. The Christian influence is apparent in the character portrayal- again, not really a big deal when you are portraying the first Christians of the time, but the problem goes back to genre...
    • Time actually spent with Jesus is lacking... when Jesus does make an appearance he seems a bit harried and constantly surrounded by bodyguard apostles trying to hold back the multitudes. At other times it feels like a scriptural re-telling of  events. 
    I liked Maximus/Jacob and his internal struggles after being away on such long campaigns for Rome, fighting for reasons he doesn't even believe in anymore. I liked that the book never becomes preachy, even when the characters describe the feeling that comes over them when they think of Jesus. I just would have liked Maximus to have had more interaction with Jesus.

    Fans of Christian Lit will love this book, I'm sure, and I still would have wanted to read it had it been classified as such. Reminds me a bit of the Left Behind series in style...




    MaximusMaximus by Richard L. Black

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars





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    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales

    Just a quick review today, anyone who has ever had the pleasure of reading a Hans Christian Anderson or Grimm fairytale BEFORE a certain big, family-friendly corporation got hold of them will appreciate this collection. Some of the stories are very familiar, but no less entertaining. I miss my big book of fairy tales, and reading this brought me back to my childhood. I can't wait to share them with my grandson.

    Note- received an ARC through Netgalley. =)


    The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales (Penguin Classics)The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars






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    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    Sadie Sugarspear and the Weeping Willow

    Sadie Sugarspear and the Weeping Willow (The Sugarspear Chronicles, #1)Sadie Sugarspear and the Weeping Willow by Nicole Arlyn

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars


    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    I really should have finished this book in one day because it really is short, but I had to put it down and come back to it more than once.I almost gave up on it but decided to stick it out and see where it takes me. At first it was a little disjointed and confusing, but dealing with the mind and view of an abused child can't be anything but...

    I'm still not too sure of how I feel, reading about the rape of a child is never an easy thing, but towards the end when Sadie is in the world at the bottom of the tree, I started to wonder if imagining being in this place was how she disassociated herself from the abuse she is physically enduring at that moment. I feel like I need to know what is happening to her there, as it also doesn't seem to be a nice place for her, so I will be reading whatever comes next, and hoping for a peaceful outcome for her.



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    Friday, February 6, 2015

    The Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand, Elizabeth Berg

    The Dream Lover: A Novel of George SandThe Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars


    Before receiving a copy of this book for review through Netgalley, I had never heard of Elizabeth Berg or George Sand. I know their names now, and thanks to Ms. Berg's writing, I have a need to know them both better.

    Elizabeth Berg takes you through the life of George Sand, France's most famous female novelist, almost as though she had lived along side her. I felt as though I could be reading George's own thoughts and reflections; her passion and need to love and be loved is felt on almost every page. George seemed to exist only to search constantly for love, to fall in love easily and to be consumed by it, only to then fall into a deep despair when her relationships failed.

    But as interesting as George Sand's life was, (she was a friend to great artists such as Dumas, Balzac, Delacroix, and counted Frederic Chopin as one of her many lovers) it is Ms. Berg's talent that kept me interested and wanting to know more. So, now I am off to find and read more of Elizabeth Berg's work, and to find a copy of Lelia, to start with.





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    Monday, February 2, 2015

    No reviews today, I'm a little behind in my reading. I'm currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain and The Dream Lover, A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg, which is a Netgalley ARC that I need to review before the 24th. I didn't read anything this weekend though, because I decided to clean my bookshelves which led to cataloging my books on libib.com.

    Right now I have over 600 books in my apartment. Of course, they're not all my books, but I figure the amount of my books currently residing in the homes of my friends balances out the number of friends books currently residing with me. Makes sense, right? Now I feel challenged to make it 1000. I need a bigger house.

    Saturday, January 31, 2015

    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

    The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars


    This book is centered on the love of reading, and how there is a book that will relate to every phase of life. I found myself laughing out loud one minute, then had tears in my eyes the next. I really liked most of the characters, especially little Maya, who is wise beyond her years. A.J.is a bit of book snob, but I think every book nerd is in their own way. I love when books talk about books, and this one does that in every chapter. It helps my to-be-read list grow.



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    Here there be dragons...

    The Great Zoo of ChinaThe Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly




    Before I write anything else, I have to point out that this is not a genre I usually read. I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Right off the bat I was excited because I thought having dragons in a modern zoo had to be interesting. But this book is nothing like what I was expecting. It has a Jurassic Park feel to it, with a MacGyver like Veterinarian who benefits from an extreme abundance of lucky coincidences as a main character. The Great Zoo of China is one non-stop dragon/bus/truck/Chinese Special Forces packed action attack. I did start to feel a little attached to Lucky, but her story doesn't play out until near the end. I think I may have enjoyed it more if there was slightly less action and more storyline on the dragon/human relationships and the research that is mentioned so many times. I was hoping CJ would be involved with some of it BEFORE all hell broke less. It was a little too much for me, but if you are fan of that genre, it may be for you.



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    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    Breakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars


    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
    http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13116105


    So I bought a copy strictly for Breakfast at Tiffany's. I love the movie, so I had to know the actual story. I love it too, although it is a bit different... the setting and scenes are all there, but of course there's more to the story and less at the same time. "Fred" is definitely different. However, as much as I love Breakfast at Tiffany's, A Christmas Memory nearly broke me. I may never be able to see a kite again without tearing up. This is the story that will stay with me.



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    Catching up on Reviews- first book of 2015

    The first book I read for this year was The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, by Christopher Scotton. My review is cross-posted on Goodreads and Amazon.

    The Secret Wisdom of the EarthThe Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars


    I won an advanced reading copy of this book about a month or two ago, put it on my tbr pile, and almost forgot about it. I wish I had read it as soon as I received it! There were a couple of minor things that made me say, "hmmm... I wonder if that will be left in... not sure how I feel about that..." but they were very minor. As a whole, I loved this book. Kevin and his mom are living through a tragedy when they are taken to his grandfather's house in Kentucky to recuperate and heal. Kevin goes through so much in this summer, and at times you start to wonder "how much more???" but Christopher Scotton has the gift of making you feel like you are there. I could see the hills and Hollows, smell the trees and the evening air during the porch talks and hear the ice spinning in the glass. Pops reminded me of an Atticus Finch like character, the father/grandfather everyone wishes they had. I could go on and on, but you need to read it for yourself. Great first read of the year!



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    So after that review was posted, I linked a preview to my twitter account and before the end of the night it was favorited by Christopher Scotton!!! Made me feel special. =D It's nice when people you admire and whose work you respect take a minute to acknowledge you.

    First Post.

    I've decided to stray away from my other "Journal" and test the waters out here for a bit. See how it goes. My main goal is to create a place where other readers, book lovers, book snobs and critics can stop by and check out a few reviews, find their next read and get over their reader's block. I write simple, honest reviews. You won't need a degree in literature to hang out on my block. So, let's see where this takes us!