Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What we're buying today!!

You all know every Wednesday is buying day!  Every week I post and ask for suggestions, and give some of you a chance to pimp your books.  I try to choose one book from this list and the others all go on the 'to buy eventually' list.  The second book I choose is one from the 'to buy eventually' list.  Then the third, I randomly pick and choose something that looks interesting and preferably doesn't have a lot of reviews.  That means that even if, in my hasty choosing, the book sucks, at least I'm not doing it a lot of damage. A bad review is better than no review!

So what did we buy this week??

We're starting off with Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet.  It's the beginning of a trilogy about werewolves.  Alright, it's a lot more involved than that, but I read the first two books and I loved them.  Hopefully, next week someone will remind me to get the third book in the series.  This was in my suggested post because I asked for a reminder to rebuy it.  This will probably be my third hard copy of it.  I keep finding people who I think will love it and giving my copy away.  So, I need to replenish the library!

Next up, we have Pulse of Evil by Phillip Tomasso.  This one was on my 'to buy eventually' list and looked pretty appealing.  Who doesn't love a good psycho?! also promises Catholics and vampires.  This should be a fun ride!  And if it isn't, you know you'll all hear about it!

So the third book I chose this week, is one of those wonderful random finds.  It's called Cannibals in Love by Mike Roberts.  It's promising me to be funny and horrific, and it better deliver.  Everyone that knows me knows how much I adore cannibals!  This might finally be a romance I can sink my teeth into ;)

Meet Mr. Wright by Omar Scott

When notorious gangster Neil Wright got a sudden call late one evening, he never imagined he would be walking into a deadly ambush by a mysterious figure. Clinging to life in intensive care, he meets Sister Simmons. A peculiar nun doing her nightly rounds, praying for the sick and trying to save souls. Through her desperate pleas, she convinces Neil to confess his sins. Figuring he has nothing to lose, Neil decides to confess every dirty little secret. He takes her on a disturbing journey through his tumultuous life filled with murder, forbidden love, and betrayal as he ascends to the top of a criminal empire. But as his confession unfolds, Neil realizes this is no ordinary nun. Is Sister Simmons there to finish the job, or is his true enemy waiting for the right time to strike? Meet Mr. Wright is an intense and captivating narrative with an ending so explosive and clever, you'll never see it coming. (taken from Amazon description)

This is a gritty, dirty, heartfelt story of a man.  The part in the description above, actually only covers the very beginning and end of the book.  All of the stuff in the middle is where the real action is.  We get to travel through Neil's life with him.  We get to see behind the scenes, his thoughts and feelings.  Though his actions aren't what most people would lean towards, in this vast character study, we follow that path that leads him to these actions and  the way that he rationalizes them.

Lots of reviews of this book will tell you that the initial lack of editing was a real distraction.  This is true, but I'm sure that's been fixed by now.

Even though I wasn't in a hurry to jump in and read this book, I was glad that I did.  I'm not really into the whole gangster thing and the whole surprise ending didn't really surprise me.  What did surprise me is the way that I felt myself empathizing with Neil throughout the story.  People are just fascinating and Scott's character creations are top notch.

The Harem Games by Jorge Carreras Jr.

I'll admit, when I first got this book, my staff and I spent hours making fun of it.  Why?  Because we're mean, but funny.  The fact is, the title doesn't say a whole lot about the quality of the contents of the book.

I was expecting to find some cheesy, male fantasy version of Hunger Games.  Most of the men have been eradicated from the earth and now women are in charge.  Every year there's a battle to do the death among men and the winner gets one wish.  Along the way, each man has his harem to help him prepare.  All we're missing is forty pounds of bacon and it's a winner!

That isn't what this book is at all.  This is not 180 pages of 'I have a harem and a pee pee!  Look!'

Actually, our hero, Alex, doesn't even want his harem.  He's against the games.  He's against the hierarchy.  All he wants is to be left alone.  There's actually a pretty intricate story here with surprisingly complex characters.  It has a fast-paced read and plenty of suspense.  I do comment Carreras for boldly stating that this book isn't for children.  It does contain some sex and violence, but it isn't gratuitous.

This really was a pretty well done 'what if' story.  What if mostly women were left on the earth?  Well, it makes sense that each man would have more than one wife.  We'd need to boost the population back up, right?  Given the way that genetics works in the book, it's not as simple as one generation of insemination and we're back to normal.

Though this isn't your typical dystopian, it's nothing like the title would lend you to think.  There's a solid plot, great characters and plenty of good story telling to keep you intrigued.  This book is obviously not for everyone, but don't let the title of it scare you away.

Also, I really like the cute little sims on the cover.  I need one of those dresses.

Order of the Seers The Red Order by Cerece Rennie Murphy

Before I start in on the book, I just have to say that Cerece is a gorgeous lady!  Just looking at her classy, genuine smiling face will make you want to read her work!

This is the second book in the Order of the Seers trilogy.  In this book, we have a group of seers who are supposedly rebels and being hunted by the Guild.  Meanwhile, in the Guild, we have some crazy experiments and evil geniuses.  The Red Order is being created by the guild, which is a team of seers for the bad guys.

So, I had some issues with this book, but they were all user error, not writer error.  Even though this book works fine as a standalone, you don't want to do it that way and I wish I hadn't.  You're quickly brought up to speed on who the characters are and there are allusions to previous happenings, but you don't really need all of the details for those.  The problem I had is that I just didn't care.  Most of the bonding has to happen in the first book, and I haven't read it yet.  While reading the second book, this one, it took me halfway through before I even began to build a bond with any of the characters.  The other issue I had with this as a standalone is that at about page 180 we're introduced to a new character.  I'm hoping this character was introduced in the first book, because if not then it's a major flaw.  This new character is integral in the rest of the book, but we've never heard of him before.  He's a big player, even though his part is small.  Since I haven't read the first book, I don't know if he's a long-running character or if he was just invented to make the ending of this book happen.

Once I did get to the part where I cared about the characters, I actually found myself enjoying it.  The first half of the book, we have a few action-packed suspense scenes and a whole lot of unnecessary science and history.  Then we really start to see who each character is...their nuances.  We start to identify with both sides of the battle going on.  We become entangled in Murphy's world.

Though this isn't a perfect read, it was still satisfying.  Most likely at some point I'll go back and order the rest of the series and reread it.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dead Man by Domino Finn

This is the first book in Finn's Black Magic Outlaw series.  I picked it up on the advice of a friend, and I'm glad I did.

Cisco Suarez is a necromancer that wakes up in a dumpster.  Shortly, he finds out that ten years of his life are missing and he's been presumed dead.  Who killed him and who woke him up??  What happened during the ten missing years?

OK so let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.  There was an annoying amount of predictability here.  In all fairness, it's to be expected being the first book in a series, but it still bothered me.  Most of the book I was busy trotting to keep up, and then I'd get bashed in the head with obviousness and want to smack somebody.  It's easily forgivable and not enough to keep me from trying the second book in the series.

The fun part of this book is that it's like a chase dream.  You know the one, where evil little Chinese dudes that you can't kill (Big Trouble in Little China!!!)  are chasing you and you can't kill them.  There's a bull chasing you that wants to taste your spleen.  You're running down railroad tracks and an evil Thomas the Tank Engine needs to flatten you.  That's what most of this book is.  It's action action action!  Short breath!  Action action action!  It makes it a quick and fun read, but at the same time it's a little exhausting.  Towards the second half of the book, I couldn't even enjoy the little breathing breaks because I knew something bad was about to go down.

When I first started reading, I was concerned that the amount of action would detract from the story line, but it really doesn't.  In the breathing time, you get just enough of the story to keep you interested and wanting more.  I still would prefer a better ration of breathing to action, but I'm not complaining.  I do hope it'll even out a little more as the series continues.

Though I had a few minor concerns, this was a pretty good read and I'm glad I picked it up.  There's plenty of action with a few nicely unique characters.  We have just the right amount of drama and back-stabbing.  I'm adding the next book in the series, Shadow Play, to my 'to order eventually' list.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Help! My kid won't read!

I have two children, and I tried the same parenting approach with both.  I'm an avid reader, as you already know, and I wanted my children to share this love.  Reading is so important for development, critical thinking skills as well as a good imagination.  People  need to be able to read signs, and nutrition information, legal documents, subtitles, all sorts of things!  Learning a love of reading early on can change a child's life.

Scenario with child number one:
Pick child up and put on my lap.  "Let Mommy read you a story!"
I open the book, his eyes fill with wonder and he begins to point and attempt to ask questions.
BOOM!  Book love established.  In fact, the first word he spoke was 'book.'

Scenario with child number two:
Pick child up and put on my lap.  "Let Mommy read you a story!"
Child yanks book out of my hand, takes a huge bite, chews and swallows.  Hops down off my lap, runs to a corner to sit and eat the rest of the book.

Now, you may think I'm making this up.  Nope.  Same parenting, drastically different results.  In child number two's defense, he has PICA.  Books are food, not brain food.

But reading is still important!  So how did we overcome this obstacle?

1.  We let him choose what he wanted to read.  Sure, non-fiction and fiction are both essential.  But the most important part is teaching a love of reading, and you can add other genres in later.  For mine, he loves trains.  Train books became a staple.  Another child I know loves dinosaurs.  Give a child something they're interested in to read first.  The rest can come later.

2.  Make sure they see you read.  Even on the days they hate you, you're still their hero and number one role model.  Let them see you reading and enjoying it.  Positive examples!

3.  Don't force.  Do you remember how much you hated cleaning your room as a kid?  The more you were nagged to do it, the more you hated it?  Being forced to do something will never nurture a love for that thing.  Be patient!

4.  Work on cognitive skills.  There's no point in reading a book if you don't understand it.  If you're reading with your child, be sure to ask questions.  When the child realizes they have an understanding of what they're reading, they'll be more inclined to do it.

5.  Praise, praise, praise!  If you catch your child with a book, even if they're just building a tower, let them know you're pleased!

6.  Be creative!!  My little guy has severe separation anxiety.  Every morning before school I write him a letter.  We started out with one paragraph, double-spaced.  Now, I'm writing a full page of single spaced paragraphs to him, and in letter format!  We're about to progress on to a second page.  He reads it every day at school, sometimes more than once.  It helps with his separation anxiety, but it's also great reading practice.  This won't necessarily work for your child.  Get creative!  Where can you insert reading into your child's life?

Of course, the list for helping cultivate a love of reading in a child is vast and endless, but these are the ones that I've found that have really helped us.  Keep in mind that all children are different.  Child number one and I share books like most people share germs.  Child number two and I share books like most people share dirty underwear.  That's not supposed to be often.  I assume it's not often.  If it is, then I apologize to you dirty underwear sharers.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A bonus purchase this week!

I've known James since...since the dark times.  We've been friends since before he became a respected spoken word artist, poet and author.  He'll always have a place in my heart and on my bookshelf.  Everything he writes goes right beside my beloved copy of Robert Frost.

Buying this book was a no-brainer for me.  I'm not a big poetry person.  I'm just not.  James though, has a way of reaching through the fact that it's poetry and pulling at your emotions.  If you get the chance, hit him up on Facebook and ask him about the cheeseburger poem.

If you have interest in buying this book, if poetry is your thing or you're already a Blaylock fan, contact him on Facebook.  You can buy it online, but for the exact same price, he'll personally autograph your book and mail it to you.  Not to mention, he's a heck of a nice guy :)

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All winners of giveaways will be notified as soon as their name has been drawn. Each winner will have two weeks to respond in order to receive their prize. Prizes cannot be delivered without an email/physical address. Any prizes that are not claimed within a two week period will be forfeited.


All books (unless otherwise specified) belong to me already, have been borrowed, or are sent to me by the author, publisher or review company for review. I do not receive any monetary rewards for reviewing books. The opinions expressed in my reviews belong solely to me.