ANNOUNCEMENT
After a lot of thought, I've decided to take a break from blogging for the foreseeable future. With my little C creeping its way back into my life and possible long term treatment now, I need to take a couple of things off my plate for the time being, and the blog is going to be one of those things. As it is, it felt like it was becoming more of a chore than anything else. I need my reading time to be more enjoyable right now, more of the escape that I really need, and what I don't need is the little voice in the back of my head telling me how many reviews I'm behind and trying to come up with what I need to say about the book.

I simply want to read.

I'll more than likely occasionally post on here what I've been reading, and if there is something that really blows my mind, I'll probably have more to say about it and may write up a proper post, but for right now, things are going to be very quiet around here.

As always, happy reading!
2017 edit
I will continue to blog according to my health and ability, and connecting my posts thru Goodreads, so please be patient if things get quiet around here again this year.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 2013 Recap

Books Read

11 books finished
  1. Glitter and Doom: A Masque of the Red Death Story by Bethany Griffin
  2. Doctor Who: Summer Falls by Amelia Williams
  3. Batman, Vol 2: The City of Owls (The New 52) by Scott Snyder, art by Greg Capullo, et al.
  4. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
  5. Ragnarök: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt
  6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  7. Cursed Pirate Girl by Jeremy Bastian
  8. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  9. Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis
  10. Doctor Who: Roots of Evil: Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Eshorts - Fourth Doctor by Philip Reeve
  11. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2344 pages total

Gender of author:
6 male, 5 female

Year of Publication:
1 - 1925
1 - 1955
1 - 1990
1 - 2011
3 - 2012
4 - 2013


Books Acquired

14 books total

1 new paperback purchased thru BN.com
1 New paperback purchased at local indie
1 Kindle book purchased thru Amazon
11 new paperbacks thru Amazon (11 Doctor Who 50th Anniversary paperbacks)

2 have been read


2013 Year to Date Totals

Books Read: 39
Pages Read: 6952

Books Acquired: 55
Books Acquired Read: 15

Monday, April 29, 2013

If a Stranger Approaches You by Laura Kasischke

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Title: If a Stranger Approaches You
Author: Laura Kasischke
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 145
ISBN: 9781936747498
Publisher: Sarabande Books
Twitter: @sarabandebooks
Format: Paperback
Available: March 5, 2013
Rating: 5/5 stars

Laura Kasischke continually impresses me with her writing. From my first experience with her writing, The Life Before Her Eyes, to this latest volume, her first collection of short fiction, she has continued to grow in her storytelling ability. Truthfully, I don't usually enjoy short fiction. For me, there is never enough time to become invested in the characters or what if happening to them before the story is over and I'm usually left wanting more. Kasischke, however, proves that she is just as capable of writing short fiction as she is novels, and also left me wanting more, but in a completely different fashion. While usually I fell there isn't enough in a short story to make it worth my while, Kasischke's story make me feel like there is almost too much, and that each of these stories could easily be fleshed out into a longer, more involved story, yet they work perfectly as they are.

I took down some brief notes on each story as I was reading them, so I will just copy those here:
  • Mona - "First story in and I'm reminded why Laura Kasischke is one of my favorite authors. Eerie."
  • Memorial - "Haunting"
  • Melody - "Obsessive love crazy"
  • Our Father - "This has to be an idea for a longer story. There is so much potential here!"
  • Somebody's Mistress, Somebody's Wife - "What the what?! I don't even understand and I love it. This is particularly what I'm enjoying most about these stories: sometimes they make no sense whatsoever, and I'm good with that."
  • Joyride - "A love story. Of sorts."
  • The Foreclosure - "Obsessive craving meets ghost story."
  • Search Continues for Elderly Man - "Death can come visiting in many forms."
  • The Barge - "Probably my least favorite of the collection. Not even sure how to explain anything about the story."
  • You're Going to Die - "The relationship between a parent and child is not always loving."
  • The Flowering Staff - "Family isn't always something that needs to be shared."
  • The Prisoners - "Again, another story that has a lot of potential to become something more."
  • I Hope This is Hell - "Sometimes you just need to get away from your life."
  • The Skill - "Knowing you can take a life and knowing when not to."
  • "If a Stranger Approaches You about Carrying a Foreign Object with You onto the Plane" - "Everyone has heard this phrase at the airport. But what if it really happens to you?"
Kasischke is a skilled artist at taking the mundane, everyday world and skewing it just enough to keep it recognizable but totally foreign. There is a disturbing familiarity to the world in her writing, yet parts are so strange that they almost seem like a dream, and these stories are no exception. There is a common thread of loneliness or despair throughout, but in some ways, I almost think these stories in some ways speak to our times. I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but even though these stories do seem a little skewed and not entirely grounded in reality, there is still an element of truth to them.

Highly recommended!!



To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Q & A with Heather Trefethen, author of Love to the Women

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Hi, everybody! As you know, my cousin Heather has published her debut novel, Love to the Women, and she took some time out from her busy schedule to sit down and talk with me about her book, her writing process, her inspiration, and her experience with being a first time author.

DE: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
HT: Probably early grade school. What I really wanted to be, though, was a screenwriter; although at the time I didn’t even know there was such a thing. My imagination was always pretty much in full overdrive when I was a kid – still is. I always had scenes playing out in my head. I dreamed, then, of being a filmmaker so I could see my stories in real life on the big screen, maybe even the little screen. I thought for sure, though, that if you wanted to make a movie, you had to do the whole thing yourself from writing to filming to editing and so on. Then one night during the Oscar telecast, I heard the category Best Screenwriter announced. Talk about an epiphany. “You mean there’s such a thing as that? You mean there’s a person that just does the writing?” I thought to myself, “WOW! That’s what I’m gonna do!” I held onto that dream forever and, even though at times I wished my hyperactive brain would take a break, I couldn’t help but think up more and more stories and long for the day when everyone could enjoy them as much as I did.

DE: What was your first completed writing project?
HT: Well, I’ve dabbled in poetry and written a few short stories, but my first real big project was a screenplay called The Sunday Return, which I wrote during an unemployment stint back in 1994. It’s the story of a self-absorbed Robert Louis Stevenson-type who can’t pull away from his typewriter and his lonely daughter that dreams of marrying a handsome photojournalist who will rescue her from the doldrums of jungle living. At the time, I just wanted to see if I could do it, if I could actually flesh something out from “Fade In” to “Fade Out”. I’m sure if I dug it out to read it today I’d think it was total crap. But, at the time, I thought it was the greatest thing since The African Queen. The story itself is pretty decent, but my execution of it as a script was, hmmm. Probably not the best. It would have been better off a novel, which is what most people say about my screenplays.

DE: What was your inspiration for Love to the Women?
HT: Most of my inspiration comes from listening to music. I’ll envision a scene or imagine a character in a situation and everything pretty much evolves from there. Love to the Women was inspired by John Mayer’s tune, “Daughters”, from his album, Heavier Things. I love that song. I can’t say for sure that there was a particular scene that popped into my mind when I heard it. I think it was more the general premise of the whole story that began to germinate. I hear the tune on the radio every so often at work and it will send me right into a chapter of the book. It’s kind of cool, really.

DE: When did you start writing Love to the Women?
HT: Love to the Women actually started out as a reasonably benign script back in 2004 called Wives & Daughters. I decided to switch gears and try turning it into a novel in 2010 and finished the first draft that fall. I must say, though, the book is much better than the script. The story is more palpable, the characters better defined, and the conflict heightened to a far greater degree. One thing I’ve discovered during this process is that there’s so much more that can be told in a novel that you just can’t include in a script. In a novel, you have the luxury of time. There are no constraints and I like that.

DE: You often mention seeing scenes play out in your head like a movie when you’re writing. Do you cast your stories as well, or do you envision each character uniquely as they develop?
HT: Very often, I’ll cast the main character(s); sometimes the minor characters, too. I find it helpful to do that because I can readily see their expressions, hear their voices, capture their mannerisms. Minor characters are more often imagined, although they might be a conglomeration of several actors. I don’t usually reveal who I’ve cast as whom, but I will tell you that Page Reynolds has Judi Dench written all over her.

DE: Do you outline before you start writing, or do you write as you go along?
HT: I always outline. It might be sparse, but I definitely have some sort of a road map inked out before I start traveling. I have a great tendency to ramble, especially if I’m feeling a little manic. It’s like having Writer’s ADD.  An outline helps keep me focused and on task. For screenplays, there’s an old industry standard formula I follow that breaks the story down into finite increments. Since I based Love to the Women on a script, it followed that basic blueprint, although I didn’t limit myself to any time frame. Every scene took as long as was necessary. Plus, I was able to add a lot more backstory, which was never included in the original screen version. The formula basically helps me outline the story into a logical series of events and I rely on it heavily. Without it, I’d be all over the map.

DE: What has your experience with self-publishing been like?
HT: It’s been great. Exhausting, but great. I enjoyed the fact that I had complete control over the process and could work at my own pace. I must say, though, the learning curve for me has been incredibly steep, but not insurmountable. Prior to this venture, all I did was type and print. So, when it came to formatting files and choosing a layout style, I really had to put on my thinking cap. David gave me a lot of advice on what font to use, line spacing, etc. He’s very well versed on the subject, so I trusted his judgment without reservation.  Lots of research was still involved on how to get the most out of my software, what to include and what not to include when it came to front matter and back matter, how to properly phrase disclaimers, etc. Even tackling the fine art of page breaks, section breaks, and heading styles really became a challenge, but it was worth the trouble to learn it all. Even facing the daunting task of deciphering and keying HTML code for the Kindle version was worth it. It’s actually been rather empowering being able to produce a product that looks professional enough to be displayed on a real live bookstore shelf. Frankly, I feel like I’ve just graduated from publishing school with my “perfect bound paperback” serving as my diploma. Marketing is another challenge I’ve had to face. While I can’t say that I’m exactly ready for the public speaking and book tour scene, I have done what I can so far to get the word out. I’ve sent mailings out to all my Christmas Card List people, had family and friends post links on their Facebook pages, sent e-mails to other folks, and even posted a flyer on the fridge at work. While you pretty much have to take the “self” part of self-publishing quite literally, you can enlist the help of those you know when it comes to advertising. Word-of-mouth is still a very powerful tool. All in all, this has been a wonderful journey and I’m eager to face it again.

DE: Any advice to aspiring writers?
HT: Yes. Don’t give up. Ever! When I was in high school, I mustered up the courage to tell a friend of mine, “I’m going to be a screenwriter.” She scoffed and said, “That’s stupid. You’ll never be a screenwriter. There’s too much competition.” Completely devastated, I compartmentalized my dream in the back of my mind; never forgetting, though, that that’s what I really wanted to do. A writer was who I really was. I never wrote all the time, but I always thought about it. I always had a story playing out in my head and I’d jot scenes down in a notebook or write down a funny line or idea on a slip of paper and tuck it away somewhere. It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I decided to actually flesh out a script just to see if I could do it. I was going to be losing my job at a department store and resolved to take a month off before I hit the pavement to just write. And write I did. When I typed that final line, “Fade to Black”, the joy I felt was immeasurable. I just kept saying, “I did it. I did it.” That script was The Sunday Return. Since then, my dream of becoming a writer never faded, although it did periodically get compartmentalized toward the back of my mind while life’s duties and responsibilities took to the forefront. But now, as I approach my 50th birthday, I feel it’s time to live my dream. I found my voice and am using it, despite the possible risks. As writers, we have to be brave enough to take the criticism in stride and learn from it. Listen and learn, but don’t ever let it hold you back. It often takes hundreds of baby steps to get to a point where you feel you can “share with the rest of the class”, but every single step counts, no matter how small. It also takes a tremendous amount of courage to take on the publishing lions yourself, but sometimes you have to. Self-publishing no longer carries the stigma that it used to. There are a lot of really, really good books out there that have been self-published by really, really good writers. Don’t think for a moment that you can’t be among them. Being a writer isn’t “stupid” and don’t ever let anyone tell you that. Don’t ever take that to heart. If you are a writer, if it is in your bones, you will rise above that sort of ignorance gracefully. When I hear discouraging words or begin to think that perhaps I’m not cut out for this gig, I seek solace in a quote my mother gave me a long time ago: “The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be… Because of all I may become, I will close my eyes and leap.” So, to answer your question… Any advice to aspiring writers? Yes. Take that leap of faith. You’ll be glad you did.


Again, I'd like to thank Heather for taking time out to talk with me about her writing and her book. If you would be interested in learning more about Heather and her writing adventures, please stop by her blog, In This Scene...

Heather has also graciously offered a signed copy of her novel, Love to the Women. Just enter below for your chance to win and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Batman, Vol 1: The Court of Owls, Batman: Night of the Owls, Batman, Vol 2: The City of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, et al.

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Title: Batman, Vol 1: The Court of Owls, Batman: Night of the Owls, Batman, Vol 2: The City of Owls
Series: Batman, The New 52
Authors: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, et al.
Copyright: 2012, 2013, 2013
Pages: 176, 368, 208
ISBN: 9781401235413, 9781401237738, 9781401237776
Publisher: DC Comics
Twitter: @DCComics, @GregCapullo, @Ssnyder1835
Format: Hardcover
Available: May 15, 2012, February 18, 2013, March 26, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars, 3/5 stars, 2/5 stars

So, here's the deal. I'm not as big a DC fan as I am a Marvel fan (in which you should read: I know only the very basics of the DC Universe of characters, and most of that is based around Batman anyway). So, when DC decided to do it's big New 52 initiative, I thought I'd give the titles a try with each of the new #1 issues. Not many of them caught my interest, but I really enjoyed the first issue of the Batman comic, so picked up the first collected edition when it came out. We're introduced to a new villain in this collection, the Court of Owls, and their undying assassins, the Talons. It seems the Court, even though they were thought to be nothing more than an urban legend in Gotham, are in fact real and have been hiding in secret in Gotham, pulling the strings of how the city runs in certain ways for decades, if not longer. The Court captures Batman and after being tortured, he kills their current Talon and escapes, at which point the Court unleashes all of their Talons from the past on Gotham to bring the city down, and Batman needs to call in the rest of the Bat-family to help take the Talons and the Court down.

Now, this whole story arc started out very strong for me, and then slowly fizzled out until I could basically care less how the arc ended. The events in The Court of Owls, with its mysteries and new characters, was intriguing and left me wanting more, but then the events of Night of the Owls also left me wanting more, but not in the same way. We jump from Bat-character to character, as each of them takes on a Talon, and what gets me here is that some of the time, the characters don't reflect the hardships that their bodies are being put through by the Talons (how many times can Nightwing be stabbed and have it not affect him in any way? He's not Superman, after all). It was clever how they were able to tie all of these stories together with the events going on in the Batman series proper, but beyond that, it was nothing but fight, fight, fight.

And when I picked up The City of Owls and realized that an actual half of this collected edition had already been printed in Night of the Owls, I felt cheated. I felt like I was tricked into buying these issues all over again. I probably wouldn't have minded one issue being reprinted here to carry the story from the one volume to the next, but to have actually half of the volume reprinted? Not cool. The finale of the story arc, to be honest, is unmemorable. In fact, I don't actually remember how the arc ended, nor do I have any interest in going back and rereading it to see how it was resolved for the purpose of writing about it here. If I decide to pick up the next volume, I may go back and see what happened. Maybe.

Greg Capullo's art, as usual, is great. He's an amazingly talented artist, and his bits in all three collections are the best. The other artists are OK, but nothing that stuck out in my mind as being fantastic.

I'm sure for hardcore fans, this was probably a great new addition to the Batman mythos, and maybe all of the New 52 reboots are great, but for me, they've all really left me feeling a little let down. Perhaps I just need to stick with Marvel and what I know.



To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ragnarök: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt

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Title: Ragnarök: The End of the Gods
Author: A.S. Byatt
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9780802129925
Publisher: Grove Press
Author Website: www.asbyatt.com
Twitter: @groveatlantic
Format: Hardcover
Available: February 7, 2012
Rating: 2/5 stars

This is my second or third time with A.S. Byatt and I think it's clear her writing is just not for me.  I tried reading Possession years ago, and it seems that there was something else of hers that I tried reading and just couldn't get into. At least I finished Ragnarök: The End of the Gods.

This retelling of the Norse mythology is viewed through the eyes of a young girl (a stand-in for Byatt herself) who has been moved to the countryside during the German Blitz of London in World War II. She is given a book of Norse mythology, and we experience her reactions to reading the Norse myths. I don't know what I was expecting out of this book, but this wasn't it. Perhaps I was looking for a retelling of the myths? A re-imagining? Reading about a girl reading about the myths, regardless of how they make her look at the world around her, just didn't work for me.

Byatt's writing is beautiful, don't get me wrong. She does have a way with words that is nothing short of lyrical, but I can't get into the flow of her writing. For the right person, I imagine this book would be amazing. Unfortunately, I am not that person.



To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 1
Authors: Laini Taylor
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9780316134026, 9781611132977 (audio)
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Audio Production: Little, Brown Young Readers
Author Website: www.lainitaylor.com
Twitter: @lainitaylor, @littlebrown
Format: Audiobook
Available: Sept 27, 2011
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Awards: Audie Award for best fantasy audiobook 2011

Well, that was fairly disappointing.

Alas, I really dislike writing reviews like this, but it is what it is. I wanted to like Daughter of Smoke and Bone. In fact, at the start of the book, I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I did! There are fantastic characters, fantastic world-building, fantastic story-telling, everything that I like in a book seemed to be here, so I was pretty pumped. Karou, our heroine, is smart and sassy, while Brimstone and the other Chimera are great foils for her. The mystery surrounding her past is just intriguing enough to keep my attention; the errands that Brimstone has Karou running for him just as mysterious (what are the teeth for?). The banter back and forth between Karou and her best friend, Zuzana, is laugh out loud funny in parts. Even the city around Karou, Prague, takes on a life of its own and practically becomes a character unto itself. I loved it all.

And then Akiva, the love interest, is introduced into the story, and as far as I'm concerned, this is where the book falls apart completely for me.

As soon as Akiva shows, it's off to romance-trope, purple-prose land, and it was endless. Chapters and chapters of "moonlight in his eyes, starbursts in my chest" sort of writing. For me at least, it ripped me right out of the story and made the second half of the book arduous at best. I think if the entire second half of the book had been written more like the first half, I would have been fine with it. Even if it remained the same, but was at least trimmed down a little so that it didn't go on and on for chapters of pining for Akiva...

Anyway, I can see the potential of a fantastic story here. The world-building is really strong, and I think Karou is definitely a better character without Akiva (and not to spoil too much, but given the way Daughter of Smoke and Bone ends, there is a little hope for the follow up, Days of Blood and Starlight - even though that title doesn't fill me with much confidence). However, if Days of Blood and Starlight ends up like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I'm going to be hard-pressed to continue on with the story (I'm assuming this is a trilogy, since almost all YA fantasy is a trilogy these days).

So, there it is. A fantastic book that completely loses itself in its over-the-top love story. Laini Taylor is a great writer. Her imagery is vivid and her prose is fluid, but I just feel like the second half of the book got away from her and carried her along in its excessiveness. I'll definitely give her a try again, and more than likely it'll be with the next book in this series, but I'm hoping she can rein in the purple prose a little.

And a word on the audio production. I really think this was the saving grace for me for this book. Khristine Hvam does such a bang up job with her narration. She handles all of the characters perfectly, and she is clear and easy to understand. I really think that if I had been reading this book, I would have given up well before the end, but Hvam does such an admirable job narrating the book, I was able to stick with it. I will definitely be listening to the next book in the series as opposed to reading it, as she is narrating that one as well.



To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Love to the Women by Heather Trefethen

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Title: Love to the Women
Author: Heather Trefethen
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 302
ISBN: 9781482733518
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Author Website: In This Scene...
Format: Paperback
Available: 4/5/13
Rating: 5/5 stars

OK, first off, full disclosure. Heather is my cousin. She came to me to be a beta reader for her book, and I broke my one rule for reviewing: never review something by a family member/friend. Firstly, because I don't want to be biased in my reading, and no matter how bad something could be, say it's the greatest thing ever, just because I know the writer personally. Secondly, because if something really is bad, I don't want to tell somebody I care about that they have written something bad. But, I know Heather, and I know how hard she's worked at being a writer, and I know it took a lot for her to make that leap of faith and ask somebody to read her work and quite frankly, I was honored that she asked me, so I said yes. I tried to be very subjective when I read that first draft of Love to the Women, and you know what? I loved it. I offered what I hope was some good, constructive criticism on that first draft, but she was telling a damned good story.  So there you have it, full disclosure on how I came at Love to the Women.

Now, on to a proper review.

Steve Sheridan has lived in London the last couple decades, working as a senior architect in a firm there, while his wife and three daughters lived in the States. He's always provided for them, and tried to give them everything they wanted, trying to make up for the fact that he wasn't at home, making a living abroad. When it is Steve's time to retire and move home for good, the idyllic life that he has had pictured at home with his family proves to be anything but. His daughters each have their own struggles that they are going through, self-imposed or otherwise, and his wife has been struggling harder than he realized to hold their family together. Over the course of that first summer back home, we watch as Steve's family falls apart, little by little, but by the power and love that is found in his family, they are able to pull through and find a happy place in their lives. It may not be the idyllic family life that Steve had imagined, but it turns into the kind of family life that he needed.

The characters are all vivid and Heather has done a great job bringing them to life and fleshing them out, imperfections and all, and their actions and reactions seem genuine. She paces the story along nicely, not rushing anything, letting the story tell itself. This is a great debut novel and I'm excited to see what else Heather will be writing in the future.

If you'd like to pick up a copy of Love to the Women, you can order a copy of the paperback on Amazon here or download a Kindle edition here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

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Title: Three Times Lucky
Author: Sheila Turnage
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 312
ISBN: 9780803736702
Publisher: Dial
Author Website: www.sheilaturnage.com
Format: Hardcover
Available: May 10, 2012
Rating: 4/5 stars
Awards: 2013 Newbery Honor Award

Mo LoBeau, 11 years old and rising sixth grader, is smart, sassy, spunky, and ready to take on the world. After washing into Tupelo Landing, NC, 11 years ago during a hurricane and raised by the Colonel and the eccentric Miss Lana and helping to run their café, Mo didn't think her summer was going to be any different than any other, spending time with her best friend Dale and continuing to search for her Upstream Mother. That was before the murder. And the kidnapping. And the bank robbery. And Detective Starr. And Dale becoming the prime suspect in the murder. And another hurricane.

This is a laugh-out-loud funny books in some parts. Mo and Dale's friendship is hysterical, and their banter back and forth is some of the funniest bits in the book. Mo's no-nonsense sensibility is great.I really liked Turnage's message that sometimes family doesn't have to come from blood; the people around you and who care about you and take care of you can be just as strong a family as your biological one, sometimes more so. That may have been the best bit of the book for me, the care, understanding, and love that the Colonel and Miss Lana have for Mo.

I've heard that Sheila Turnage is working on a sequel to Three Times Lucky, and I'll be sure to be picking that up when it comes out to read more of Mo's adventures.

Highly recommended!



To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Release: Love to the Women by Heather Trefethen


I'm thrilled to announce my cousin, Heather Trefethen's debut novel, Love to the Women, is now available on Amazon! I'm so proud of her for taking the plunge and making her novel available to the public. I've read it and I love it! I broke my one rule for reading books by friends or family, because I never want to tell somebody close to me on the chance that I don't like their book. BUT, I can say that Heather's book is just great. She's written a funny, touching story of family and how important family can be when you need them.

Here's the description:
Thematically reminiscent of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle”, Love to the Women tells the story of senior architect Steve Sheridan who, in an effort to provide for his family, ends up nearly losing them.

Everything always seemed perfect to Steve, right down to his girls’ matching outfits and his wife’s basic black dress. Upon retirement, however, his dreamlike image quickly becomes a nightmare as Donna, his eldest, embarks on one pre-wedding rampage after another while her sisters, Ruth and Penny, wage their own separate battles. Even Jayne, his wife, seems a stranger. In a quiet moment of epiphany, Steve painfully realizes that although he’d always held faithfully onto his love for his women, his new purpose has to be to regain their love for him.

Filled with a variety of rich characters that leaves you smiling and laughing, caring and crying, Love to the Women promises not to disappoint as Steve and the Sheridan women all learn what it truly means to provide.

If you'd like to check it out, it's available as both a paperback edition and a Kindle version and you can click the link below to go right to Amazon and check it out.

Happy reading!




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Calendar of Tales by Neil Gaiman and You

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Title: A Calendar of Tales
Author: Neil Gaiman and You
Project Website: A Calendar of Tales
Author Website: neilgaiman.com
Twitter: @neilhimself

A Calendar of Tales was a collaborative project between Neil Gaiman, Blackberry, and the general public. Blackberry asked Neil Gaiman to ask Twitter questions for each month, and Gaiman then took his twelve favorite responses (one for each month), and wrote a story based on that idea. Blackberry then asked for people to submit their own artwork or videos that used Gaiman reading his stories as the soundtrack. Basically, it was one big artistic, interactive collaboration between Gaiman and his fans, and actually seemed to have worked out rather well.

Like any collection of short fiction, some stories are better than others (I particularly liked the very first story for January the best), but overall, each of the stories can stand up on their own.

If you're interested in finding out more about the project, or reading the stories themselves, you can visit the website for the project here.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Doctor Who: The Spear of Destiny: Third Doctor by Marcus Sedgwick

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Title: Doctor Who: The Spear of Destiny: Third Doctor
Series: Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Eshorts, #3
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 55
ISBN: 9781405912112
Publisher: Puffin Books
Author Website: www.marcussedgwick.com
Twitter: @marcussedgwick, @PuffinBooks, @bbcdoctorwho, @DoctorWho_BBCA
Format: ebook
Available: 3-23-2013
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Marcus Sedgwick tackles The Third Doctor in this latest Eshort celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. The Doctor and Jo are trying to recover (or steal, depending on how you want to look at it), a mysterious spear in a museum before it falls into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, somebody already has their eye on the spear, and the Doctor decides to try his hand at some time-traveling subterfuge to make sure that he secures the spear before anyone else.

Of course, nothing goes right, and Jo and the Doctor are captured, and then escape, and are captured again, and run here and there, trying to escape again. Good lord, there is a lot of running about in such a short story. I know the Third Doctor did a lot of running about in the show, but I guess it just comes across differently when you're watching it on a screen as opposed to reading it on a page. Speaking of the nods to the show, this short is chockablock with them: U.N.I.T., the Brigadier, Bessie, the Doctor's 70s fantastic wardrobe. Sedgwick certainly made sure he ticked everything off the Third Doctor checklist. I'm not complaining! He did a great job with the story, it just seemed like all the things from the Third Doctor were in this short. Good job him for pulling it off!

Possible Spoilers!
Something else that I've noticed, and I don't know if this was something that the authors were expected to do with these shorts, but so far each author has tied his story into either a previous historical event, a literary event, or some kind of mix of the two. Eoin Colfer let the First Doctor and his adventure be an inspiration for a certain literary character from J.M. Barrie; Michael Scott clearly borrowed many elements from H.P. Lovecraft for his adventure with the Second Doctor; and now with his adventure for the Third Doctor, Marcus Sedgwick tries to tie together the fabled Spear of Destiny with Norse mythology. I wonder if this is a continuing theme we'll see as the series of Eshorts will continue, or if these were simply one-off coincidences.
End of Possible Spoilers!

The Third Doctor was portrayed by Jon Pertwee from 1970-74. Pertwee's Doctor had been exlied to Earth by the Time Lords, so for the first time we see the Doctor dealing with the same cast of characters and the same locale (Earth) episode to episode. He was a much more adventurous Doctor that had been portrayed, and liked to play with all sorts of vehicular gadgets. I guess since he was locked to one location, they had to come up with something to make the Doctor fun, so throwing a bunch of super-spy tropes the like of which were popular with James Bond made sense.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Doctor Who: The Nameless City: Second Doctor by Michael Scott

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Title: Doctor Who: The Nameless City: Second Doctor
Series: Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Eshorts, #2
Author: Michael Scott
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 48
ISBN: 9781405912105
Publisher: Puffin Books
Author Website: www.dillonscott.com
Twitter: @flamelauthor, @PuffinBooks, @bbcdoctorwho, @DoctorWho_BBCA
Format: ebook
Available: 2-23-2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

Michael Scott (of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel fame) was selected to write the Second Doctor's adventure in the series of Eshorts in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. This time around, the Doctor and his companion Jamie are facing off against the Archons, an alien species that could find itself pulled directly from the mind of Lovecraft. Jamie brings the Doctor a book from a mysterious stranger, little knowing that this is a trap for the Doctor to bring him to the glass city of the Archons, so that they can exact their revenge against him over a past grudge.

I felt that Scott probably did a better job handling the Second Doctor than Colfer did with the first. While Colfer tried to force his update onto the First Doctor and make him his own, Scott doesn't try to force an update onto the Second Doctor, creating a story that seems to pay better homage to this Doctor. I didn't mind the Colfer version of the First Doctor, but feel that Scott handled his take on the Second Doctor MUCH better.

The Second Doctor was portrayed by Patrick Troughton from 1966–69. I've read that a lot of what we see in Doctor Who today is taken more from the Troughton years than the Hartnell years. Troughton brought a sense of goofiness and comedy to the Doctor that I don't think had been seen as much in the Hartnell years. I've probably seen the least number of episodes of Troughton's Doctor, so I'm really basing my thoughts on his character from what I've read. This story is thoroughly worth reading if you are a Doctor Who fan and aren't that familiar with the Second Doctor.