Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What did we order this week?!

It's my favorite day of the week and I'm sooo excited this week because we have some really great stuff to order!  Now, we have great stuff to order every week, but every week I'm this excited!

First, we have our reviewer picks!


Reviewer pick one is Queen of the Tearling, and this is a stunning cover!


Reviewer pick two is Spilled Milk, which I'm told is a great book!


Next up, we have a book from our 'to buy and review' list.  Let's see...Henning Mankell was suggested to me awhile back.  We're going to try the first book in the Joel Gustafson series.

Now we get to pick a book that has fewer than five reviews!  These are always my favorite because I never know exactly what I'm getting into until I begin reading! We're actually going to be buying two of them this week.  Why?  Because I'm greedy!!


The first is a suggested book that just looks darn fun!


Sometimes I accidentally fall into awesome things.  Today, I accidentally came across Bill Hiatt while I was looking up something completely unrelated.  Hello, Bill!  Pleasure to meet you!  So when I did a quick stalking of him, I found out that he's got some great looking books out!  We're going to start with this one because it just looks intriguing!

That's our order for this week!  Unless we come across more books and deals that we just CAN'T wait until next week for!  Happy good week, guys!

The Last Guard by K.J. Taylor



Guards stay at their posts, and die to defend their cities...Southerner Sergeant Kearney 'Red' Redguard is the last of a disgraced family, and a loyal guardsman.  And with a murderer stalking the streets, the city guard is his city's best defense.  But in the North, King Caedmon Taranisaii is gathering his army, and the cruel Night God prepares for the downfall of the South.  A new dark griffin roams the land, warning of the war to come.

Betrayed and sent on the run, Red must fight to save his homeland.  But it may already be too late...(taken from the back of the book)

Normally, I prefer to write my own description of the book, but after several attempts, I realized I couldn't with this one.  The description the book gives barely even scratches the surface, but it comes closer than I could.

The world building here is absolutely phenomenal.  I know that Taylor has several other book series out, and I'm hoping they're built in a similar world but with different characters.  It's sort of a Middle Earth meets alternate reality type of place.  Griffins are key players in this world.

The griffins are stunningly done.  Taylor gets to the heart of what makes a griffin tick and keeps them true to her vision.  There are several points where we see conversations that differentiate between griffin thoughts/actions and that of human.

'Taylor's character creation is perfection as well.  Each one, down to the tiniest throwaway character, has been intricately designed and given a unique personality.  Even if you only have a glimpse of them, they're real enough that you keep them in your memory.  Perhaps not connected to the name, since some of them are difficult, but the character itself you can remember.

If action is your thing, this is your book.  I picked it up and couldn't believe it started off in such dire circumstances.  Then I was happily reading and came to the end and thought to myself 'Wow! That was a great book, but short!' At that stage, I realized I was only on chapter three with plenty more book to go!  I had this experience several times while reading.  I felt certain everything was wrapped up, only to find out that I was so wrong!  About ten chapters into the book, I considered going on blood pressure medication to deal with all of the stress and pressure I was feeling by living vicariously through Red.

In the beginning, I only had one complaint.  Sometimes the dialogue doesn't really match what you'd think a character would say.  You read something and it gives you that tiny disjointed feeling, because it just doesn't match who you have in your head.  However!  This is absolutely necessary!  The characters randomly saying things that are so out of character add some much-needed levity to the book.  Those moments are when you get to breathe in between all of the action and chaos.  Instead of nitpicking, realize that it's written that way for a reason and it works!

The ending of this book is one of the best endings I've read in years.  I was devastated and overjoyed.  It was exactly how I wanted it to end and I hated every single moment of it.  Actually, my true devastation came in when I realized the sequel isn't out yet.  As soon as it comes out, it's mine!  Miiiine!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It's Tuesday! Let's hear those suggestions!


Every Wednesday we put in a book order.  Every Tuesday, I ask for suggestions for what to buy!

Every suggestion you post either here, Facebook, or Twitter will be put on my 'to buy and review' list.  That means that at some point,  each book suggested will be reviewed on our website as well as have an Amazon purchase verified review.  Simply for suggesting it!  We have plenty of reviewers who read all different genres, so there is someone guaranteed to be the right person to snatch up your book and read it.

If you're an author, pitch me your book!  If you read something recently that you really enjoyed, sell us on it!  If you're one of my review staff, this is the place you post what you want to read next!  Are you a publicist, marketer, or publisher?  Start giving us book suggestions!  We'll take them all!

On Wednesday, we'll order one book from the suggestions list and the rest, one from our 'to buy and review' list, as well as a book that has fewer than five Amazon reviews.

And...go!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould



-Wendy

Description:  A dusty carved box containing two locks of hair and a century-old letter regarding property in Switzerland, and a burning desire to learn about her biological family lead nurse-midwife Lexie Jaeger from her home in Oregon to the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country.  There she meets Marta Bayer, a mysterious lay-midwife who desperately needs hep after an Amish client and her baby die.

Lexie steps in to assume Marta's patient load even as she continues the search for her birth family, and from her patients she learns the true meaning of the Pennsylvania Dutch word Demut which means 'to let be' as she changes from a woman who wants to control everything to a woman who depends on God.

A compelling story about a search for identity and the ability to trust that God securely holds our whole life-past, present, and future.

My Thoughts:  Alexandra 'Lexie' is a nursing mid-wife in Oregon when she gets the dreaded phone call at work.  Her father, who has cancer, doesn't have long for this world.  She takes a leave of absence and rushes to his side.  On his death bed, he tells her about a box in the closet for her, one he never opened but one that might bring her closer to finding her birth parents.  After his death, she looks into the box that has a letter about property in Switzerland, 2 swatches of hair and not much else.  Her dear friend Sophie makes some enquiries, and finds that a mid-wife in Pennsylvania needs some help and it might do Lexie good to take a break and to also look for her birth parents.

When she arrives at Marta's house, against Marta's wishes, things go awry.  No one wants to giver her information about her birth, and no one wants her help.  Marta is going through some legal battles at the moment and when pushed against the wall, realizes she needs Lexie's help with her Amish patients and the babies soon to come.

Along the way, Lexie meets a doctor who she starts having meals with, even though she left her fiance James back in Oregon, telling him they were on a break.  She also pokes her nose into everyone's business to get the information she is seeking.  She won't take no for an answer, even though the Amish prefer to leave the past in the past and not discuss it.

Things eventually come to a head, with the heal of someone close to Lexie and all is revealed.  however, it isn't quite what Lexie was looking for.  She needs to look to God for the peace and comfort of the answers she's given.  I liked most of the characters in this novel, and I found it interesting to see how different Amish settlements lived.  I did not care for Lexie.  While I felt for her plight, she didn't care if she hurt people in her path to her goals.  She was actually a pretty flat character except when she was angry.  Then she became a full dimensional person who had some life and fire in her.

I look forward to reading the next installment in the Lancaster series.  I thought the settings were great and would love to delve into some of the secondary characters' lives.  I just hope Lexie is better behaved if she makes any cameo appearances.  All in all, a great story if you love reading about the Amish, prefer your fiction clean and a mystery that keeps you turning the pages long into the night.

Hammer of God by Robert E. Hirsch



-Reagan

Hammer of God is the second book in The Dark Ages Saga of Tristan de Saint-Germain series. And although there is a favorable review of the first book, Promise of the Black Monks, from another reviewer, I'm afraid that I wasn't a very big fan.

For me, while I generally enjoy historical fiction, this particular point and place in history is not overly interesting.  However, that wouldn't have stopped me from enjoying the book had the writing and characters been more interesting.

The plot was not bad, but I did not enjoy the way it was executed.  The entire book, and the book before it, were really expositional and all tell instead of show.

The characters were also too simplistic to be either realistic or interesting.

So, while this is a book that I may have picked up on my own, I have been very disappointed and don't plan on continuing the series.

Evil and the Details by Roy A Teel Jr



-Griffin

In Evil and the Details, John Swenson lives a double life as an FBI agent and the serial killer known as The Eagle.  The Eagle hunts down horrible criminals, tortures them, and makes sure to leave evidence of their evils for the FBI to find.

This book has realistic characters, showing how one would think FBI agents would actually act in these scenarios.  The story switches views between some of the agents, mainly going between John and Steve.  My only complaint is that the dialogue feels really rushed. Usually, I have been taught to make a new paragraph every time the person who is speaking changes, and that doesn't happen in this book.  I also do have to warn that they are very graphic with the torture, and will explain what is happening as much as an excited child would describe their new favorite toy.  It's graphic.  Really graphic.

However, dialogue and brutality aside, the book is a really good read.  I personally loved the psychology behind the book.  The author very accurately portrays how John's character actually would act if in real life.  If you can stomach gruesome things, then you are good to go.

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath



-Reagan

This is a collection of non-fiction stories about women throughout history.  And it is absolutely amazing.

This book is essentially a picture book for intersectional feminist adults, and I loved it.  Porath covers a variety of different women from a variety of different places.  Every subject of each story has their own picture created by the author himself who used to be an animator for Dreamworks.

Between the pure awesomeness of the project itself, the artwork, and the narration of each story, this book was a fun, informative, and easy read.

The author also wasn't afraid to pull any punches or insist that he knew everything.  He was more than willing to admit the people he was writing about weren't always perfect and that history isn't always definitive.

The point is, Rejected Princesses is awesome and everyone should read it.  And also buy it.

Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler



-Reagan

Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler is about a young woman, Kat, coming back to her hometown, and the site of her older sister's grisly murder.  Her reason for returning is to help solve her sister's murder as well as clear her own name.

While this book was very much the typical crime novel, I thought it was a fun read.  The plot and characters weren't especially complex or unique, but it was a lot better than most crime novels and had very good pacing.

My biggest complaint about this novel would probably be the poorly written and very forced romance.  But, since this is something that is found in almost every genre, it isn't too much of a turn off.

Over all, I would say that Justice for Sara, while not a life changingly amazing story, is definitely worth a read.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What did we buy this week PART TWO!!!

First, I want to thank all of you awesome authors that keep having book parties.  Not only are these great fun, but I'm meeting a lot of great new authors.  And some of you, bless your sweet hearts, keep seeing fit to send me Amazon gift cards!  You know what we do with these?  We buy more books!  We've had a pretty lucky week, so it's going to be a super fun shopping week!  Not only did we have an order yesterday, but I have plenty of interesting purchases for today!!

We have two reviewer requested books this week.


Grimm Fairy Tales adult coloring book!  I can't wait to see what these pictures look like!


Lost but Not Forgotten activity book!  I really love that our reviewers are branching out into something new this week!


Next is our book from our 'to buy and review' list.  Every book that gets suggested to us goes on this list.  I also add in any books I come across that look interesting as well as every book party 'star' that I attend.  My list has grown exponentially since I started this!  Let's see who the lucky winner is this week....The Rules of Super Villainy!  Doesn't this look like great fun?!?!


For our third (and usually final)  purchase, we need to find a book that has fewer than five reviews on Amazon.  I try to find something that isn't well know...hopefully a hidden gem amidst the vast expanse of books.  Aaaand...I'm cheating a little this week!  This book currently has zero reviews, so it technically fits the parameters, however!  The only reason it doesn't have any reviews yet is because it was just released two days ago.  I have several holes on my Finn shelf so I'm going to use this opportunity to fill one!  Woo hoo!


Because we have extra fundage this week, I'm going to buy something just because I want it!  I've been wanting to read Michael McClung's work and with the latest in this series being recently released, I can't pass it up.  And seriously....LOOK at those book covers!!!  Simply breathtaking!!  This is one of those times where even if the books suck, I don't care!  I'm buying them for the covers and any magic I find between the pages will be a bonus!  Don't let me down, Michael!


As another bonus this week, because Vincent Scarsella made us an offer we couldn't refuse, we also ordered a hard copy of Psi Wars!  I adored this book and can't wait to get the second one!  However, I only have e-copy and we all know how much I despise them!  This way, I can look at the pretty pages and begin a Scarsella shelf in the library!  Thank you, Vince!



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What did we buy this week PART ONE???

I've come across an interesting problem.  I suffer severely from CSS (Can't Sit Still!)  The fact is, I've been working on Curtis Lawson's It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World for over two weeks now and reading other books in between.  I despise reading more than one book at a time.  The problem is that I have Lawson's book in e-format.  I can't sit still long enough to read more than a few sentences at a time.  Now, I know you're thinking I should just take my Kindle around with me and read it, like I would a hard copy.  The fact is, I just hate my Kindle!  Perhaps I'm spoiled.  Maybe I have texture issues.  I just hate the feel of that cold, hard machine in my hands.


The solution?!  I've read several chapters and I'm really enjoying it.  So, we're buying hard copy.


Peter Fugazzotto has a new book out that's on sale through today!  We can't  pass this up!  If you've read his Hounds of the North series, then you're as anxious as I am to get your hands on this!


Now, this makes us six cents away from free shipping!  Well that just seems silly!  Of course we're going to buy another book!  Let's see.....Oh!  I don't remember how this was put on the 'to buy and review' list, but here it is!  Let's grab Murray Leinster's book!

We will still be doing our normal weekly order tomorrow!  Every book suggested will be added to the 'to buy and review' list.  We'll pick one book from today's suggestions, one from our list, and a random book.  This bonus order is simply because I need to finish Lawson's Bad World and I don't want to miss Fugazzotto's sale!   Head over to Facebook and start posting your suggestions!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

In my attempt to be a good reviewer and start cross-posting more, I've been going back through (in painfully slow mode!) older reviews and making sure I have them written on Goodreads and Amazon as well.  I'm finding that I'm less than stellar at making sure my reviews are where they should be!

Dearest Kozy,

I adore you and I sincerely apologize!  I'm pretty sure I have your amazing works of literature all fixed and where they should be (as soon as I finish this post!)

Sincerely,
Me 💛


It's the 1930's and Jones has just awakened to find himself dead, floating upside down in a pool. Even worse than the gaping hole in his torso is the fact that he realizes he has amnesia. His entire life before this moment is completely gone. As he tries to solve the mystery of who he is, who killed him and what he's supposed to do next, several other mysteries pop into his life; mysteries that he feels compelled to solve. Along with his sidekick head, Braineater Jones must solve unlife's biggest problems and preferably before he runs out of alcohol.

Keep in mind that this is written during the time period of the '30's and is voiced as such. Kozeniewski has included a forward to warn you to watch for slurs. At first, I was a little thrown off by the lack of editing and grammar check, until I realized a valuable truth. This book is written in the form of Jones' notebook, so everything is spelled and written as he would. It actually ads a lot of depth to the story because you get to know more about Jones from his way of speaking and it helps you to try to solve the mystery of who he was before he died.

All of the characters are compelling and realistic and keep you engrossed in the story. Myself, I couldn't solve the mystery before Jones did. I wanted to and I followed all the clues, but until the big reveal at the end, I just didn't get it. I found myself quite wrong on a few things but I really enjoyed the ride nonetheless.

Why should you read this book? Braineater Jones is a fascinating character that I absolutely fell in love with. His manner of speech and action drew me in. I can't even tell you how many times I suddenly laughed so hard that coffee spurted from my nose. Throughout the story I kept reading lines and rereading them because they were just pure genius.
This is an entertaining book that will pull you away from life and just let you enjoy someone else's for awhile. There's not a lot of thought required. Just sit back and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What are we buying for Timothy W. Long week?!?!

Our normal buying schedule is that we order one book from the suggestions given on Tuesday, we order one book from the 'to buy and review' list, and we order one random book that has five reviews or less.  This week, we're changing things up.  We're proclaiming it Timothy W. Long Week!  That means we're ordering a couple of requests for our staff reviewers, and everything else will be books by Tim Long.  This will be fun!!  It'll also help fill in a few gaps on his shelf in my keeper library!


Our first staff pick is The Amish Nanny.  It's the second book in the Women of Lancaster County series.  We've already received the review for the first book and I look forward to reading and posting it this week!


Our second staff pick is Her Silent Tears.  This is a true crime, child abuse novella.

Now, on to our Tim Long books!!


I really, really want a copy of Wacktards of the Apocalypse, but it's definitely not in my budget to buy this book this week, so we're not getting it.  Yet!  It's on my list though!  I might have to save up a few weeks of book ordering for it!


This one is on my wishlist as well, but it's definitely not one in the budget for this week either!  Check it out!  I so need this for my collection!

OK Enough wish list shopping!  Let's get to the purchases!


First up, we're buying Zombie Wilson.  I'm expecting a cheesy Castaway/Zombie Strippers sort of story!


Of course, we desperately need The Apocalypse and Satan's Glory Hole. This one has actually been on my wish list for awhile!


This one looks fun!  At the Behest of the Dead!  It's gotten pretty good ratings, but I would still want it even if it didn't!


Alright, our budget will allow for one more book this week.  Let's see....Dr. Spengle vs The Unicorn Horror!

If you're looking at my choices and thinking to yourself that they look like campy B-horror fun, then I agree with you!  Now, if that isn't your thing, I strongly suggest you check out the Z-risen series or Damaged.  Damaged is his most recent book (that I'm aware of!)  and I adored it!  It wasn't campy, but there was plenty of action and surprise!

Confidential to Timothy W. Long:  We're thankful you've survived the last week and looking forward to your increasing health.  We're also looking forward to a wonderful horror book about the perils of hospital food!


Thanks-Giveaway!

Colleen Helme author news shared this with us! So we're sharing it with you!  Go enter!




Happy November!
 
At this Thanksgiving season, I am so thankful for each of YOU and your kind words of encouragement and support! To thank you, I have gotten together with an awesome group of authors to offer you a shot at winning 6 great books, signed and autographed by these best-selling authors! Julie Moffatt, Gina LaManna, Anne Marie Stoddard, Chelsea Field, Mollie Cox Bryan, and me. Deadline: Midnight Wednesday ET 11/23/16. One lucky winner will be chosen at random to win all 6 paperback books. Winner will be announced Thanksgiving Day 11/24/16Enter here!!

The contest is open internationally - so I hope all of you will enter for a chance to win! 
ALSO - If one of YOU wins the contest, I would like to offer you the chance to substitute any one of my books in the Shelby Nichols Series (1-9) in case you already own Carrots!

Now for my news!! I am hard at work on book #10. Ever wonder why Ramos likes country music? You'll find out in the next book. In fact, there is a song about Ramos in this book, and I was so caught up in the story, that I wrote the music and lyrics to his song. It's called DEVIL RIDER, and I just delivered the music to a friend who owns a music school and studio today! He is going to work it up for one of his bands to record!! I am so excited! I'm hoping to do a music video for the book release featuring the song. He told me it had more of a rock vibe like Metallica and Evanessence - and wants to feature violins as well as keyboards, guitars, drums - the whole nine yards!! I couldn't be happier and I can't wait to hear what they come up with! WOOT!

SO... now that I've got the song down, I can get back to writing! As usual, Shelby has a lot on her plate, but this book is also full of new surprises about Ramos and Uncle Joey, and I can't wait to share it with you! Not sure of a release date yet, but I will know more soon!
 
Again - Thanks so much for your many emails of support and the awesome reviews on Amazon and Audible! I love hearing from you, so don't hesitate to send me an email or a post on facebook. Don't forget to check out Shelby's newest blog post. You are the best! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Until next time!
Colleen

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tallwood by Amanda Kool



It happened.  The apocalypse.  God took those he wanted and sent in a clean up crew to take care of the rest.

But mankind survived.  They hid in caves.  The hid in rubble.  They ran.  Like an infestation of vermin, they survived.

Eight generations later, the world is a scary place.  Johns, the common term for the angels, roam the earth in search of humans to exterminate.  Over time, they've forgotten their initial reasons for being there and are just seeking the kill.  They have become rabid hunters.  Humans have forged small cities underground of 200 to 300 people.  Traders carefully go from city to city.  Sybarites openly dance in the field, taunting the Johns and trying to prove that the earth still belongs to man.

Pretty fascinating, right?!  Yes!  Incredible, actually!  If you're a fan of Hugh Howey's Wool series, you're guaranteed to love this!

World creation had to have been pretty difficult here. Everything has been thought out and planned well.  There's a flash of redundancy, but only a flash.  I reached a point several hundred pages in where I realized I'd already been given a vital piece of information and was being given the same information again.  However, I know there are lots of skimmers out there, so if they didn't pick it up the first time, they should the second.  Also, like I said, it was merely a flash.  An incredibly short paragraph.  Hardly enough to cause issue!

Given the fact that we're being thrust into a new world with cities full of new people, it can be pretty difficult to keep them straight at first.  Here's who you need to know:  Ashur and his crew, Sebastian, White, Bobby, Lewellyn, and Banish.  Everyone else is important, but more as backup story.  Sebastian and Banish both run cities.  Bobby is a rogue.  Ashur is a trader. Lewellyn is a wild card.

Even though we have a lot of people to keep track of, it's actually pretty easy.  Each character develops a personality and character that's so unique, that you can't help but assign them as a real person in your brain.  Where Wool takes the time to go through three books and slowly introduce people, Tallwood throws you right in with the Johns and lets you fend for yourself.  It's quite a rush!

Each person in the story is going through their own issue.  Add to that, we have the constant threat of Johns and Sybarites to worry about.  Then we have to throw in the fact that not all humans are 'good' and may tend to cause trouble.  Don't forget, just because the apocalypse happened, doesn't mean there aren't still psychos running around.  As if that isn't enough, a new species is added.  Not only do we not know if it's good or bad or dangerous or safe, we know nothing about it, and it knows nothing about itself.  DANGER!!!

This book took me over a week to read, because I didn't want to miss one single word.  It's brilliantly written, captivating, and thrilling.  I was deeply involved with every character.  I rejoiced and shed tears with them.  I admit it, I even threw down the book and walked away at one point, refusing to pick it back up.  That lasted a total of fifteen minutes, but that's not the point.  This book is such an emotional rollercoaster!

If you enjoy dystopian/ post-apocalyptic books, you really don't want to pass this one up.  I'd re-read this over Wool or Hunger Games any day of the week.  It truly was unique and incredible.

What did we buy this week and where have I been?!

First, most of you know that Literary Litter is a passion of mine, just not my top priority.  First comes the kids, second comes the business.  My little guy was sick this past week, which meant no computer time for me.  However, he's back at school today!  Wahoo!  So we're back in business!  Now, even though I'm putting in the order late, it's still happening!  I was blessed enough to have someone else take over and post the 'what should we buy' post on Tuesday!  Many many thanks, Minding Spot!  I appreciate the fill in!

So, what are we buying this week?!  Let's start with the two reviewer requested books first!


The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer.  Not being a Meyer fan myself, I don't know anything about this book, but that's alright!  I'm looking forward to reading the review!


The Cellar by Natasha Preston.  I don't know anything about this one either, but isn't that a pretty cover?!



Next up, we have a book from our 'to order list' but this week I'm choosing two.  Both are by the fascinating Ian Thompson.  I adore him as a person and I'm interested to see how his writing is.  We're getting 54th State and Ezicash.  The covers aren't what I would normally go for, but I'm pretty sure I'll love them anyway.


Then, we have our 'less that five reviews' book.  Normally, I randomly hunt for silly words and then find a book that has few reviews, something no one has ever heard of.  However, this week I'm playing it a little differently.  Brandon Zenner, who's Experiment of Dreams I just looooved, has a new release out, so we're buying that!  Why?!  Because I can and I want to and it fits the less than five reviews profile!  Even though it just hasn't been on the market long enough to get five reviews, it doesn't matter.  It counts!  Now, this presented me with some options.  You can buy book one and book two, or you can buy them together as one.  You're following me, right?  Well, I actually chose to break it up and get book parts one and two instead of the entire thing.  Why?  Two reasons.  First, there are zero reviews on them as individual parts.  Second, it'll be much easier for me to break up the reading into two parts.  Sometimes, getting reading time is pretty difficult.  I'd much rather have two smaller parts so that I can read and review them as I go, rather than reading the entire thing and just doing one review.  I am really hoping these are going to be coming out in hard copy, though.  I need them for my keeper case.


This book is called After Wars and if you're interested in checking it out, right now is the time!  The first part of the book is currently free on Kindle (NOT just Kindle Unlimited!  Kindle!)  and the second book is less than a dollar!  What a great time to stock up on winter reading material!

And that's our order for this week!  Make sure you stop in next Tuesday and give us some ideas of what we should order next!  Every book suggested gets put on the 'to buy and review' list.  Have a wonderful rest of the week, everyone!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What did we buy this week?!

I'm super excited about ordering today!  I attended a book release party this week and won an Amazon gift card!  What better way to spend it than on ordering day?!

First on our list is our 'suggested' book.  We're buying two of them this week because they were suggested by my review staff.  Every other book that was suggested has been put on the 'to buy' list.  You all know the drill by now!



They look pretty contrasting, don't they!?  I can't wait to see the reviews for these!


Next up, we have our book off of our 'to buy' list.  These books come from suggestions and interesting books I find during the week.  Every book that goes on the 'to buy' list will eventually be purchased!  So, if I didn't buy your suggestion this week, don't worry!  It'll happen!  This week we're buying April Wood's debut novel, Winter's Curse.  Why?  Because I like her!  And you can't stop me!


Our third book is just a random find.  I try to find something nobody's really heard of that has very few, if any, Amazon reviews.  This week, because of time constraints, I had some help searching.  This should be interesting!!!  Blood of the Fallen.  It sounds promising!



Normally, this is where we'd stop.  Other than October, which is Vampire Books for Blood month.  We have something new, something listed, and something no one's ever heard of.  But!  We have surprise book monies to spend thanks to Jean Rabe!  What better way to spend it than on books we came across during her release party?!  First we have Jean's newest release, Dead of Winter.  Then, because we still had money to spend, we just had to buy Lizzie Borden, Vampire Hunter.

That's it for this week!  Make sure you come back on Tuesday and give us more great suggestions for next week!  Happy reading!!!

Crystal Falls by Brad Walseth



I live in a world where we find ogres under the stairs.  We sing in Pig Latin when in the restroom.  Costumes are worn when doing dishes.  Our accents change depending upon what day it is.  People randomly burst into song and dance.

The step into Walseth's world was pretty steep for me.  It's dirty and ugly.  It's full of corruption and abuse.  The people who live there don't take responsibility for their actions.  They believe life is all about getting what they want, regardless of what happens to others.  It's cruel and harsh.

At first, I was pretty resistant to reading.  This book was so far out of my comfort zone!  However, Walseth's voice kept me mesmerized.  He has an incredible storytelling ability.  So, I continued on.

After a little while, I began to understand what was happening.  No, it's not really that cryptic.  The fact is that this book is placed in an ugly and cruel world on purpose.  It's the reality that a lot of people live in.  It's not my reality, but it does cover a vast majority of the populace in one form or another.

In the book, we're mainly following the story of Nate.  His nature is that of a lovable, God-fearing, intelligent boy.  The intent of the story is to see what happens when someone with a 'good' nature is constantly enmeshed in such a 'bad' environment.  Throughout the story, we watch as bit by bit, Nate is broken down.  Or is he?  Is he salvageable?

I was really interested to find allusions to Balzac part way through the book.  Nate is reading one of his works and contemplating man's inhumanity towards man.  In fact, I found this entire book to be a nod to Balzac's The Human Comedy.  Walseth has taken the selfish people living in denial and filth and shoved someone pure of heart amidst them.  You can easily see how one simple word, one gesture, can break someone.  It's all such an intricate web, humanity, and you never know when you're going to be the one to pull the last thread that forces the entire thing to shred.

If you're the type of person who likes to skip to the last page and read it before starting the book, don't do it!!  I beg of you!  You'll ruin the entire book!  Believe me, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you occupied!

My only complaint is the timeline.  At the beginning of nearly every chapter, I had to stop and figure out which events had happened previously.  I felt like I was constantly paddling up and down the river of time.  It didn't take long to figure out where I was chronologically, but it did pull me away from the story.  I understand why it was done this way, and I can't think of a better way to do it.  Sadly, it still detracted from the story.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Do You Believe? by Ann Lawrence



-Reagan

Do You Believe?  is about Rose Early, an American photographer, drawn to a small tourist village in England to look for her unexplainably missing sister, Joan.  While there, Rose meets an attractive and surly horror writer, Vic Drummond.  Aside from her missing sister and the budding romance between Rose and Vic, everything seems relatively normal until Rose starts looking at her sister's latest project:  photographing the local church.

I'm not a particularly big fan of romance anyway, and this book wasn't an exception.  It featured the same douche-y male love interest and the personality-less female protagonist, as well as the rushed and nonsensical romantic relationship.  Although there was considerably less cheese than the average romance novel, which was nice.

Aside from my inherent bias against the genre, there were other issues that kept me from enjoying the book.  There's nothing wrong with having sex scenes, but I personally feel that if a lot of these scenes weren't included that it would have left more space to work on the plot and characters.  There were some major plot points and character events that could have used a lot more attention from the author.

I think that if you are the kind of person that usually enjoys romance novels with a supernatural/horror twist, you'd enjoy this book.  however, for my fellow non-romance readers, maybe pick something else.  The mystery in this book wasn't enough to carry it.

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey



-Wendy

When Molly gets kicked out of the Naval Academy, she loses more than just another home, she loses the only two things that truly matter:  flying in space and her training partner, Cole.  A dull future seems to await, until a marvelous discovery changes everything.  Her father's old starship, missing for a decade, turns up halfway across the galaxy.  It's retrieval launches Molly and Cole on the adventure of a lifetime, one that will have lasting consequences for themselves and billions of others.  What starts off as a simple quest to reconnect with her past, ends up forging a new future.  And the forgotten family she hoped to uncover becomes one she never foresaw:  a band of alien misfits and runaways- the crew of the starship Parsona.

I adore Hugh Howey's books and this is one series that I hadn't had the chance to read.  I was ecstatic to get my hands on the first volume in this young adult series.  It's a bit sy-fy, dystopian, mystery and romance all rolled into one great adventure.  Molly's mom dies when she is young and she can't really remember her.  She remembers her father and growing up in his ship, The Parsona.  When he goes on a mission and never returns, an old family friend takers her under his wing and enrolls her into the Naval Academy.

It's all simulators and girls aren't supposed to fly, so Molly usually is the  navigator.  When a trial run goes awry, Molly is kicked out of the program and although she is heartbroken, she keeps her chin up and enrolls in a 'normal' school.  She's bored but creating her own path when her guardian arrives unexpectedly with the news that her father's ship has been found.  Molly is the heir to that ship so she insists she be the one to bring it home, and she wants her friend Cole to assist.

Their travels and adventures take them into all sorts of trouble and they find friendship in the least expected places.  Through thick and thin though, Molly's hope and faith shine through.  She does a bit of growing up and she is determined that even though she is a young woman, she will fly her own ship.  Cole is a teen heartthrob.  His humor and patience with Molly is endearing.  He's also a great fighter and thinks on his feet.  It will be interesting to see where their relationship goes.  There are many secondary characters that really bring this story to life, adding just the right key elements.  there are different races, not just human, as well as different planets.  Howey has a knack for creating believable worlds that just seem to flow together with his creative storytelling.  A great adventure that I am excited to resume in the next installment!

The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacey



-Griffin

In this book, a curious college student named David Rain becomes a tenant to Elizabeth Pennykettle and her daughter Lucy; along with their many dragons.  Elizabeth makes these beautiful clay dragons that she sells, and so they are a big part of the lives of her and Lucy.  Lucy and David become fast friends, even though she is half his age.

This story is a fiction book with very heavy fantasy elements, and has a bit of mystery to it as well.  The characters are lovable and realistic, making it feel like you are part of the Pennykettle household as you read.  The characters are well developed and realistically show the situation of a college man renting a room with a woman and her daughter.  This book is perfectly descriptive, always mentioning a possibility right as you think it.  You are always just as in thought about problems as the characters themselves.  This book is great for those of all ages!  Elementary school kids to adults will love this book.  There are times in the book where you may stop and think if a college student would really care so much about an animal, but the author gives the animals deep enough significance for us to care so much.

I actually started reading this whole series six years ago in elementary school when only half the books were out.  I remembered reading them all and falling in love with the series and the magical story they told.  I was nervous to review this book in case the magic failed the test of time, but sure enough this book had me turning pages, reliving the magic!  This book may not be for everyone, but I think most would enjoy it.

What Made Me Who I Am by Bernie Swain



-Griffin

The book starts off with a brief summary of what the rest of the book entails, and gives an example of the many stories you will encounter in the other chapters.

The stories in each chapter are all written from a first person point of view, and all have a brief introduction to who the person is for each story.  This book is definitely a good read for anybody who loves to be inspired by others overcoming struggle and becoming a great person.  Personally, that is not me, and I don't really find a person overcoming big obstacles inspiring; however, this is perfect for those who do as it gives 35 stories of just that.

The story I enjoyed the most was probably the story of Ben Carson's life.  I could connect with his story more because I know who the man is, and I have some previous exposure of his backstory from the movie about him.  There were some other good stories, but his was definitely my favorite based upon the factors of being more familiar with him ad the story expanding upon my previous knowledge rather than just learning about some new person I didn't know.

What killed the book for me is that it is simply a bunch of Wikipedia pages made into a book.  Each author wrote their own story, and it is completely factual; however, you could get almost the same information from Wikipedia.  It's a great book, don't get me wrong.  For me, it just wasn't something I could really get into.  Plus, many of the people in this book would probably be unknown to anyone under the age of twenty.

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