Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Currently Reading

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

No matter which holiday celebration you observe this season, may it be a time of wonder, love and beautiful memories for you and yours. 

It's a pretty laid-back type of day around here. I'm enjoying the time to simply relax before the rush to get back to work begins. Of course, I have plenty of work to keep me busy. My TBR pile has grown tremendously and my super secret projects are still waiting in the wings for some attention.


I'm in the middle of these;
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents (Children of Sophista #1) by Rusty Biesele
Elfhunter (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #1) by C.S. Marks
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Pigs Can't Swim: A Memoir by Helen Peppe


I've finished with the following;
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock


Just a reminder - there will not be any reviews until after the start of the new year. Hope everyone has a great holiday. I can't wait to see what awesome books are in store for us in the upcoming year!

Until next time,
Kay

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins


Release Date: September 14, 2008
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: The Hunger Games

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
Out of the ruins of North America, a country known as Panem arises. The ruling party and influencial people live in the Capitol with the remaining population divided among districts. Each year two children, between the ages of 12 and 17, are chosen to compete for their district's glory in the Hunger Games. One boy, one girl from each of the 12 districts. 24 tributes chosen must fight until one's left standing.

Katniss Everdeen finds herself in this exact position. She must fight to survive - not only for herself but her family back in District 12. With all the glitz and trappings of the Capitol, can she remain true to herself and use the skills she knows? Or will she become a forgotten footnote in Hunger games history?

Review:
Let me first say that I was completely skeptical when my fellow word addict, Sam, let me borrow this book. After the onslaught of YA books being released, I wasn't sure if they'd be my cup of tea or not. But I trust Sam's judgement (sometimes) so I added the Hunger Games series to my TBR pile, working them between the others that I'm obligated to read.

In all honesty, I was captivated from the first chapter. There's so much history about how the world became as it was, why the districts are shaped the way they are, and why the Capital makes life so miserable. It cannot be explored within one book. Though this book is the first, it brings a whole lot more to the table than merely setting the scene for the series. The author does a great job of balancing the needs of the series with the needs of the characters within the first book.

I enjoyed how diverse the characters were. Since each of the districts were responsible for various areas of production in order to keep the country running, the people within the districts reflect that in their mannerisms and beliefs. Each had his or her own strengths and weakness based upon their district. What they failed to realize until the very end was the fact that they were all so very similar as well. With this story being told from Katniss' point-of-view, the reader is privy to her thoughts and feelings about what's happening around her. Unfortunately that doesn't always bode well for her as she's unable to relay those thoughts or feelings as accurately to others.

Though there is some details about the landscapes of Panem, the country carved into districts, the focus is primarily on District 12, from which Peeta and Katniss are whisked away, the arena where all the fighting is taking place and the Capitol, where all the powerful people are located. The reader is given glimpses of the other areas but not to the extent as those mentioned previously. It will be exciting to see if they changes once I begin the second book.

I have to admit that I did enjoy this book a lot more than I thought I would. A pleasant surprise, I couldn't put it down. There's plenty of action, all different degrees of fighting and romance, and the uncertainty of what the outcome could mean for the Capitol and the Districts. Really glad that I was able to borrow these. Thanks, Sam! If you're looking for a good first step into the world of YA books, this is one I'd highly recommend.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins is available wherever books are sold. It can be purchased online in either paperback, hardback and Kindle forms. You can click the link provided below to see Amazon's offerings.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins

Friday, December 20, 2013

In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood


Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
After being quiet for nearly five years, a killer is once again hunting victims during Alaska's summer. It's a time when midnight looks like one in the afternoon, giving the killer plenty of time to do his work. But this time, he's looking to do a whole lot more than increase the body count.

FBI agent Jess Harding worked the case in Alaska when it was first discovered. When the case became too dangerous, she was taken off the case and sent to San Francisco where she honed her skills and intuition. Now called back to Alaska, Jess must put all her skills to use in order to catch this killer before it's too late. Will she discover the answers in time? Can she keep the case from overwhelming her once again?

Review:
I do love crime thrillers so entering a Goodreads giveaway for this book was a no-brainer for me. I was very pleased to receive a copy. To be honest I was a little surprised that a male author was writing in the first person perspective of a female agent. After a slow start, the surprise wore off, the action ramped up and I was completely immersed into the story. Part of me was glad that the chapters were to-the-point kind of chapters because I'd have to make myself stop at the end of a chapter. If I didn't, I would have read through the night.

The novel begins with the main character, Jess, being summoned to Alaska to help with an old, familiar case that she worked on as a rookie field agent. Right from the start, Jess is out to prove that she's no longer the green, wet-behind-the-ears new kid and that her instincts about the person behind the gruesome killings are valuable despite the rumblings from the "old boys" club. Because the book is set in the present time period, it seemed as though everything could really be happening. For me, it all added up to the story feeling very real and that's a scary thought when it comes to serial killers.

As realistic as I found the characters and their reactions to situations to be, the locations within the book played a big role in the storyline as well. The culture, customs and traditions of the inhabitants in various areas of Alaska both helped and hindered the investigation. The same case could be made for the events that happened within San Fransisco as well. The author presents vivid descriptions of the surrounding areas that the reader can nearly feel the cold of the Alaskan wilderness or hear the bustle of a San Fransiscan street.

There is a slow build to the action but once the ball gets rolling, there is no stopping. The reader is fed the clues at the same pace in which Jess finds them, so we're following her instincts in real time. Her realizations and frustrations become ours, adding to the tension building within the story. Only one thing frustrated me out of the entire book and that is whatever Jess is hiding about her connection with the killer. The door is left open for the author to explore (and I hope he does) and definitely leaves the reader wanting more.

Overall, this book was an excellent and exciting way to spend a few evenings. Most times I didn't want to put the book down. If I had been able, I would have devoured this book in one sitting as the action takes the story along a decently steady pace. There are plenty of twists and turns one would expect from the thriller genre but the story has its own flavor with its strong, resilient heroine in Jess Harding. If you're looking for a book full of action, adventure and travels all while battling a strange, demented serial killer, then this is the book for you.

In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood is available in either paperback or Kindle forms at many online retailers. By clicking the link below, you can pick up a copy from Amazon.
In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Currently Reading

Several events over the past week kept me from reading as much as I wanted. Believe me, if I had a choice, I would have been sitting back with all my books around me. Instead, I was addressing Christmas/Yule cards, trying to finish the reindeer hats that I promised (two weeks ago) and also beating myself up for not finishing a super secret crochet project before Christmas. Times like these, I really do hate being disabled. On top of everything else, I am sick with bronchitis. Oh, what fun!

At any rate, I did manage a few steps forward. Revisions of NaNo 2012 are coming along quite nicely. Lots of ink upon the printed pages. I'm still not sure where exactly the story is going, but there's still some time left before I need to know for certain. Something tells me that the characters will let me know soon anyway. I need to learn to trust them far more than I currently do. 


I'm currently reading these;
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents (Children of Sophista #1) by Rusty Biesele
Elfhunter (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #1) by C.S. Marks
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock


I've finished these;
Ten Tiny Breaths: A Novel (Ten Tiny Breaths #1) by K.A. Tucker
The Companions (The Sundering #1) by R.A. Salvatore 


While I'm hopeful wellness and finished books will be in my near future, I'm not going to push myself too hard. Despite the overwhelming need to sleep all the time, I will attempt to stay the course.

Until next time,
Kay

Monday, December 16, 2013

Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn


Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: 47North

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
Halloween is not a favorite time of year for Dimitri Petrov. Between the death of his parents and his own brush with death on the holiday, he attempts to steer clear of it all together. When given a last minute assignment by his boss at the local newspaper, Dimitri soon learns there's a lot more to the holiday, and the location, than he ever thought possible.

After waking up in the morgue, Dimitri is thrust head long into a world filled with ghosts, exorcisms and buried secrets. Even the deepest buried secrets have a way of working their way to the surface. To save himself and those he loves, Dimitri will set aside his preconceived notions of good and evil, demon and seraph. But will it be enough?

Review:
I'm so happy that NetGalley had this book available for reading. Right off the bat, the descriptive blurb piqued my interest and I couldn't wait to start reading. From the first sentence, it's plain to see that Dimitri is going to have a hard road in the story. We, the readers, are along for the ride but we're as blind as he is with no map or seat belts for the journey.

The story has a lot of layers to it. There's also a lot of action that provides more depth to the layers and highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of the characters. In the case of Dimitri, we are given a few clues as to his way of life before the fateful Halloween night and then the drastic change after. As the story is written in the first person point-of-view, I found it easy to step into Dimitri's shoes and feel/see what comes his way.

It was interesting to see how the author used the small town setting to show how the people were more connected with one another than they would have been in a larger, more metropolitan city. That also gave the story a realistic feel, especially when it came to the mass influx of people whenever something bad happened. In reality it tends to overwhelm the small town and its people - something that caused more friction for the main characters when it occurred in the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It took a story from the history books and tweaked it enough to give it life as something new and updated. I'm excited to see if there is more to the story that the author will reveal later or leave the ending as it is. Either way, if you're looking for a book filled with quirky characters mixed with a dash or two of the paranormal, I would certainly pick up a copy of this book.

Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn is currently available at many online retailers. You can purchase a copy in paperback, Kindle or audiobook formats. Click the link below in order buy a copy from Amazon.
Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn


Friday, December 13, 2013

Coldwater by Diana Gould


Release Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Vireo Book, A

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
Brett Tanager was among the elite in Hollywood, thanks to her work as writer/producer on a hit television show and her relationship with Jonathon Weissman. With an instant family and unbridled success at her fingertips, Brett made a fateful decision that ultimately cost her everything. It was at her lowest point that she was entrusted with Julia Weissman's darkest secret.

Now, with the girl she once called daughter missing and another teenage girl murdered, Brett makes it her mission to become sober and save Julia. She follows the clues as they lead her further and further into the dark side of Hollywood. As the darkness surrounds her, Brett must fight her demons if she wants to see Julia alive. Will she be able to maneuver through the underworld without succumbing to the temptations?

Review:
Having won this book from a Goodreads giveaway, I was looking forward to reading this book the moment it arrived. The mystery/suspense genre has always been one of my favorites. The author promised an intriguing, dark and fast-paced book. I think it's safe to say that she definitely delivered.

The book began in the midst of Brett's downward spiral. For all of her success, she couldn't see that her addictions were taking away everything that she held dear. A stupid decision was all it took for her to reach rock bottom. We, the readers, see it happen right before our eyes. Through Brett we experience her deepening spiral until she's shocked out of it by something more terrible than she could imagine.

Packed with action, the author takes us for a ride through some dark, rough spots of the Hollywood lifestyle. There's barely time to breathe before the next lead takes Brett (and us) into a situation where the chance of danger is quite high. Along the way, we are introduced to other characters who help or hinder her progress. I really enjoyed the distinctly celebrity vibe that most of the characters had. It fit within the book's world really well and made the story seem more realistic.

Because it is a mystery/suspense thriller, one expects twists and turns. There are plenty in the book that kept me turning the page. Of course, there were a few I guessed before they were revealed (an unfortunate side effect of reading so many books in the genre). But a few were surprising to me which made it more fun to read. There was one moment where Brett's past came to haunt her and I thought the result may be the same. Let's just say that the resolution takes a few pages, drawing out the anxiety and making it palpable.

Overall, I liked this book. It was familiar yet different enough to keep me wanting more. I loved that we have an extremely flawed character from the start. Seeing her fight the urges of addiction while battling real life adversaries was an interesting mix. If a down and dirty romp through the seedy underbelly of Hollywood sounds like fun way to spend the night, pick up a copy of this book. Just be sure to bring protection.

Coldwater by Diana Gould is currently available at many online retailers in paperbook or Kindle forms. You can buy either version from the link below.
Coldwater by Diana Gould

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Currently Reading

Two big announcements for this week's blog post!

I'm so very pleased to announce that the anthology I am a part of has officially been released at Amazon! Off the Kuf: Volume 2 is available for purchase in Kindle format and is really a great value. Over 30 stories by 25 different authors, the anthology was graciously put together by David Wailing, author of Fake Kate and Bang: Memoirs of a Relationship Assassin ( Amazon page ) and it has a wide variety of genres to read. Everything from romance to horror can be found in this anthology. So click this link -> http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H5S2K9E/  and get a copy for under $5! Just in time for Christmas break!!


This week, I'm working through
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents (Children of Sophista #1) by Rusty Biesele
Elfhunter (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #1) by C.S. Marks
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Ten Tiny Breaths: A Novel (Ten Tiny Breaths #1) by K.A. Tucker


I've finished these in the past week;
Blood Wine: A Quin and Morgan Mystery by John Moss 
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

The second big announcement is that I will not be posting a reviews from 12/26 to 12/31. Due to family commitments made before I started the blog, I won't be able to spend much time at the computer. I will be picking up on the first day of 2014 with a Currently Reading as well as some special blog posts.

Now go pick up a copy of the anthology!

Until next time,
Kay

Monday, December 9, 2013

What's Left Behind - Poetry Collection by Michal Mahgerefteh


Release Date: October 1, 2013 (First published March 2012)
Publisher: Poetica Publishing Company

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
In an attempt to come to terms with the passing of her mother, Michal Mahgerefteh pours her heart and soul into the poetry which makes up What's Left Behind. As her grieving process continued, the depth of her pain is felt within each of the lines. The poems also reflect the level of devotion and love that both the author and her father felt as the dark days overtook them. Touching upon a subject that many can relate to, Michal Mahgerefteh allows the reader into the emotional, spiritual and sometimes physical journey that she and her family underwent.

Review:
I won this collection of poems from a free giveaway at Goodreads.com and grew somewhat anxious waiting for it to arrive. The subject matter of the book hits fairly close to home for me. Whereas the author lost her mother while witnessing her father's struggle, my family went through a similar situation with the passing of my brother. So in a way, I was excited to read these poems and at the same time, I was dreading it.

There is an intense level of raw emotion within the lines of each poem. Though they vary in length, the power is still apparent to the reader. With honesty and real emotion, the author allows us, the readers, a glimpse into her grieving process without a thought to whether we find it messy or painful. It's an interesting blend of honoring her mother's memory and dealing with the stray threads of life that remain for her father and the author herself.

I was quite taken with a few of the poems. They mirrored the emotions that I felt when watching my brother slip from this world into the next. In Things She Left Behind, the words paint the images vividly and without closing my eyes, I could picture the items that my parents packed to take home. Each item symbolizing something precious and sacred in an everyday kind of way to my brother as the items in the poem were to the author's mother. My heart grew heavy as I read By Her Resting Place. Everything I felt at my brother's graveside was summed up in these few lines.

This collection of poems has the ability to reach into the reader and touch their soul with the longing and love carried by their words. Since nearly everyone experiences the loss of a loved one at some point in their lives, they will be able to feel the author's words, not just read them. I truly loved these poems. They say the things that we sometimes cannot. If you're looking for a deeply meaningful and loving collection, I would buy this in a heartbeat.

What's Left Behind - Poetry Collection by Michal Mahgerefteh is currently available in Kindle form at Amazon.com. It is soon to be released in paperback as well. You can purchase the e-book from the following link.
What's Left Behind - Poetry Collection by Michal Mahgerefteh

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lesser Creatures by Peter Giglio


Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: DarkFuse

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
The world changed within a split second. People began to rise from the dead and became known as second-lifers. They didn't attack the first-lifers. They were just there - everywhere. With first-lifers footing the bill for the ever-growing number of second-lifers, tensions began to rise and changes were quickly needed before the world descended into a deeper level of chaos.

In the midst of the turmoil, the lives of two first-lifers and an extraordinary second-lifer intersect. One first-lifer is the leader of a new religious movement whose center is the second-life revelation. The other first-lifer is a man who has seen better days and must come to terms with his past. The second-lifer, a being who shouldn't be able to think for herself, evolves into something much more than anyone expected. Their meeting leaves each with a decision to make, the fate of the world dependent upon their decisions.

Review:
I was able to read this book thanks to NetGalley and enjoyed the author's different approach to the traditional zombie novel. What begins as a tale of teenage love quickly became a nightmare for the world and its inhabitants. From the blurb given at NetGalley, I knew it wasn't going to be the usual tale of zombie woe but it was a pleasant surprise in many ways.

The story is set in modern day world. There's all the amenities one would see today within the setting of the story. Very little technological advancement has been done around the world because of the plague of zombies, or second-lifers as they're known in the book. With millions of the previously dead walking around, what could possibly go wrong?

Action within the story is fast paced with a few brief respites for the characters to catch their breath or to expand on the situations at hand. For the most part, the human characters are believable and act in realistic ways when faced with the undead. I liked the way the author maintained a sense of humanity with the second-lifers though they were barely cognizant of their own desires or even surroundings at times.

The only real issue I had with the story occurred when Eric cut his hand on a glass. According to the story, the cut was deep enough that he knew it would need stitches. Dressing the wound with a roll of gauze and forgetting about the cut didn't bother me. What bothered me about the scene is that in the next instant, Eric was hopping into the shower and washing with soap with no mention of pain from the cut. There also wasn't a mention of the wound when he went to the bar later that same night. To me, the cut/gash scene felt unnecessary as it didn't add to the story.

Overall, the story was pretty entertaining and provides some good questions about our society today. Many of the questions surrounding the influx of second-lifers could be applied to our present situation with so many people living on the planet already. It was a pretty enjoyable read to spend an evening with, in my opinion. If you like stories that are a little out of the way and decidedly different, this is one you should pick up!

Lesser Creatures by Peter Giglio is currently available in both paperback and Kindle forms. You can purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking the link provided.
Lesser Creatures by Peter Giglio

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Currently Reading

Another week has passed and yet it doesn't feel like it should be so close to Christmas! Unfortunately, time is dwindling for 2013 but I still have plenty on my plate to keep me occupied and out of trouble. Okay, maybe just occupied. A girl can dream, can't she?

Moving right along, I do have reviews scheduled to post during the holidays. I know everyone may be busy with the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping and cooking. I'm hoping to finish a couple of projects (reindeer hats and a super secret blanket) during this month. As far as my writing goes, I'm still carving out small bits of writing time here and there when my hands need a break from crochet. There's supposed to be more information coming out about the Off the Kuf! anthology Volume 2 release (which includes my short story) sometime this month. I'm super excited!


At the top of the TBR pile this week:
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents (Children of Sophista #1) by Rusty Biesele
Elfhunter (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #1) by C.S. Marks
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins


Woohoo! Finished these books:
In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood   
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish by Allan Stratton


I'm hoping to do some serious reading during the holidays and into 2014. So many books coming out, so little time to read them all! Well, I might as well give it my best. *winks*

Until next time,
Kay

Monday, December 2, 2013

Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads by Joni Rendon, Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Release Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Plume

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
Before reality television and social media created a demand for gossip and paparazzi, the lives of many beloved and famous writers were made into legend through speculation and rumor. Violent fights, suicide attempts, drunken brawls and tempestuous lovers both fueled some the greatest written works and tormented those who created them.

Within the covers of this book, the lives of literary greats are examined. Included within are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, Norman Mailer and many, many more. Sometimes what happens off the page is much more scandalous and bizarre than anything that was written.

Review:
When NetGalley offered this book to review, I jumped at the chance to read it. I've always been fascinated by writing and the lives of those who felt called to do it. Let's just say that I wasn't disappointed with the book in the least bit. While I know some of the tidbits for a few of the authors, most of what was written came as a surprise to me. Therefore, I really enjoyed the book.

In a time before TMZ and gossip/reality shows, the antics that many of the authors did would have put even Miley to shame. Many believed in being as free with their love as they were with their words, leading to many affairs and secret liaisons. I do think that if the gossip columns were around during those times, they would have had a field day with the information!

Despite revealing a scandalous side of the artistic endeavors, I think the book serves as a reminder of how human the authors, both male and female, within truly were during their lifetimes. They loved, fought, felt and made bad choices - as any one of us have or might have when placed in their position. Their stories were told in a way that brought them to life in way that the reader could easily empathize with the authors.

All in all, this book was a great read. Full of information and yet not overwhelmingly so, the book wets the reader's imagination about the various lives of fellow writers. If you love nonfiction or any of the various authors listed with the book's own covers, I would suggest taking a chance with this book. You never know what you might learn.

Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes and Cads by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon is now available through various online retailers. The book is available in paperback, Kindle and Audiobook format at Amazon. You can purchase a copy by clicking the link below.
Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes and Cads by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December's Hopes and Dreams

The year's nearly over and I'm still wishing for more time! I really want to knock a whole lot of books off of my TBR pile but I know that it'll never be enough for me. For every book I finish reading, there are two or three more jumping onto the pile and vying for my attention. In a strange way I enjoy it - this wordy addiction of mine.

December is shaping up to be a quiet month where I can get a lot of reading done. Yes, I am including the holidays in that statement as well. For now I have no other obligations that demand my time but reading, writing and the super secret projects with no deadline for completion. My poor hands do need a break. The next month and a half, I'm letting them type or turn pages only. Maybe an occasional crochet moment. Maybe.

I am sad to say that I didn't "win" NaNoWriMo 2013. With everything else going on in the first part of the month, I found only a few moments at a time to write. After things settled down, my mind blanked on the first novel I began at the beginning at the month so I began a different one. In the end, I do have a fairly large amount written on both of the novels, plus I have some research put into the novel I finished last year. I'm hopeful editing will begin in 2014 while I work on the other two as well.

November wasn't a total bust in the writing department, however. Alongside the two beginnings, I knocked out several poems. They seem to be on the darker side of things. Given the events in my personal life as of late, I think it's to be expected. My poor laptop is going to play a revolt soon, I fear. I've been busy typing up a lot of my handwritten works for safe keeping or editing at a later day. Can you hear the groaning yet?

The great thing about November? I hit my reading goal for the year. THE YEAR! I gave myself a long standing goal to read 100 books by the end of 2013. That has been my goal for several years. One thing or another kept me from achieving that goal. Not this time! I smashed through it and increased it to 105. I think I will keep it at 105 for the remainder of the year, regardless of whether I read past it. 2014 will have to top this one in a big way!

With the holidays coming up, do you sneak in some extra reading time? Are your days filled to the brims with other activities? I hope that you all have a wonderful month with awesome holiday memories. Don't forget to keep reading!

Until next time,
Kay

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Notorious Stage Mother by Carolyn Quinn


Release Date: November 1, 2013
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
Sometimes in life, truth is much stranger than fiction. After biographies from both her daughters, the life of Rose Thompson is distorted, mixed with fiction and the truth is hard to uncover from any single source. This book serves to set the record straight and provide an accurate telling of her life's story as possible through a variety of sources.

Despite having aspects of her life immortalized in film, Rose was never destined to do much upon the stage herself. Through documents saved by family members, newspaper accounts and other supporting works, the author weaves a life filled with ups and downs that is more fascinating that what Hollywood could have written.

Review:
I love reading nonfiction, especially biographies and memoirs, so I was excited to see this listed on NetGalley. This book reads like fiction but has enough supporting data to prove much of the events written within. I had seen the movie, Gypsy, as a young girl. I knew the bare bones of the story surrounding the famous women but this book was a more in-depth view, allowing for a better understanding of their actions.

Needless to say, the book starts before Rose's birth and examines the world in which she will be living. It's plain to see that Rose was never going to be a conventional lady given the things her family found agreeable. Despite breaking societal taboos, many of her family members maintained a sense of resilience that proved to be valuable time and again within Rose's own life and the lives of her daughters, June and Louise.

The reader is treated to the delights of living the vaudevillian lifestyle through the various accounts presented in the novel. Both the rise and the fall of vaudeville is featured in the story of Rose as well as the effects that it has upon her life, her daughters and many of the well-known actors of the day. There is a section of photographs within the book which allows the reader to put faces to the names within and see some of their ordinary, everyday world.

I was glad to see that the author was able to maintain a balance in putting together the pieces of Rose Thompson's life puzzle. There didn't seem to be a bias one way or the other in regards to the decisions or actions that were taken. The author was able to present plausible reasons as to why things may have turned out the way they did or what may have been going through Rose's head at the time of some rash decisions. The tone of the novel was very much sympathetic yet realistic in its approach.

The only complaint I have with the novel is the presence of unfinished sentences in some of the chapters. There are only a handful that seem to be lacking a word, but it threw me off while I was reading. It left me wondering what was trying to be said at that moment. Other than that, I think the novel is a solid piece of work.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this glimpse into the lives of Rose, June, Gypsy and their extended family members. It was an informative work and read like a letter between friends at times. Fascinating to see the down-to-earth, human side of those we deem as celebrities. If you are looking for a well-written biography or enjoy reading behind-the-scenes accounts of famous people, this is definitely one that you should put on your TBR list.

Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Notorious Stage Mother by Carolyn Quinn is currently available in either hardback or Kindle formats. It can be bought at Amazon.com by clicking the link below.
Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Notorious Stage Mother by Carolyn Quinn

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Currently Reading

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for those of us living in the US. It's a day to gather our families together and be thankful for the good things we've had over the last year. For many with broken families due to a number of reasons, it's one of the hardest times of the year to get through. This is true of both my family and my husband’s family. It’s hard to get through these holidays without thinking of those gone from us, willingly or not.

With all the emotional ups and downs of the past week, I was still able to get a few books crossed off the TBR pile. Fortunately I haven't added to the pile either. So for me, that's a positive. I have a lot of books to get through but so many keep coming out that it's a cycle with no end. Can't say I don't love it. I do. The only downfall to all of this was my failure to finish NaNoWriMo this year. Last year was so easy. The story just slid out through my fingers. This year it seems I had more than one wanting equal time and neither progressed enough to count. Not even combining them reached the end goal.


On the short list this week are:
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents (Children of Sophista #1) by Rusty Biesele
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 2: The Rebirth of Innocents (Children of Sophista #2) by Rusty Biesele
Elfhunter (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #1) by C.S. Marks
In Broad Daylight by Seth Harwood


I've finished the following:
Dying for Murder: A Cordi O'Callaghan Mystery by Suzanne F. Kingsmill
Poe by J. Lincoln Fenn


I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Even if you don't celebrate the day for whatever reason, I hope that you're able to have a great day nonetheless. Be safe, warm and enjoy the good things. It's what gets me through.

Until next time,
Kay

Monday, November 25, 2013

Night Film by Marisha Pessl


Release Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Random House

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
When Ashley Cordova, daughter of the iconic movie director, Stanislas Cordova, is found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft, Scott McGrath can't seem to shake the feeling that something isn't quite what it seems with the formal story. As a former investigative reporter, Scott is used to chasing after impossible to find clues and getting the full truth of the matter out in the open. But when he begins poking through the world of both Cordovas, he finds himself at a crossroads.

After losing his career and seeing his marriage crumble, Scott pushes himself to the extreme and follows every lead, large or small, until he is spent. He's unaware of the cost until he faced with a decision. Press on with the investigation and lose the little he has left or leave it all alone to play out however it will.

Review:
One of my fellow word addicts won this book in a giveaway and graciously let me borrow it. I had to put off reading this book due to other obligations because I knew that once I opened the cover, I would not want to put it down. Not only did the synopsis grab me, but the hints my friend dropped about the story had me intrigued from the beginning. With high expectation and anticipation, I finally started to read this book. It became apparent quite early on that I would not be let down.

Not only is the story continually intriguing, the author's level of commitment to creating Cordova's world is impressive. Marisha Pessl gives the readers history lessons within the lines of the book but also adds another dimension to the experience by creating webpages, message boards, photographs and other bits of evidence/information to tantalize the reader. For me, it definitely took longer to devour the story whenever I stumbled across the webpages or the darkened pages of message board postings. I wanted to read, to know every detail and sought out the clues just as the lead character, Scott, was doing.

Since the reader experiences the events through Scott's point of view, it's little wonder that I became so connected to the character that I could almost feel the emotions or react in a similar fashion as that which was written. Each of the characters in this book were so lifelike that it's easy to imagine one or more of them walking down the streets of NYC this very moment. Even the animals featured in the book had their own personalities. Besides making it easy to keep the characters straight, the differences kept the story interesting.

Let me tell you, the twists within this book keep you guessing. I am a longtime lover and reader of mysteries and suspense stories, so I can usually guess what's about to happen in a large percentage of the books. Not with this book! The moment that I snagged a clue or was given a large amount of information to process, I thought I knew where the story was going to lead. Right up to the very last page, the last sentence, I was proven wrong and shown another facet to the diamond that is this book.

Overall, the reader needs to suspend his/her beliefs in order to really enjoy the book. Dwelling on one area too long will throw the reader from the ride that story is taking him or her on. Clearly, I really liked this book. I will be buying a copy of my own very soon. It's very understandable why it took so long for the author to finish this book with all the history and background she provided as well as the various website and evidence pages. If you are looking for an exciting, thrilling ride with some dark depths to plumb, this book is one that I'd highly recommend. Most definitely, this book is one of my favorites.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl is currently available at many stores and major online retailers. It's currently available in both hardback and Kindle forms. Clicking the link below will allow you to visit the book's page at Amazon.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pandemic: A Novel (Infected #3) by Scott Sigler


Expected Release Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Series: Infected #3

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
After the world began to fall prey to an alien virus, drastic measures were taken to ensure the safety and survival of the human race. Dr. Margaret Montoya was among those on the front lines and found a way to detect the hidden disease before it was too late. The alien craft was defeated, blown to bits by the military. Or so everyone thought.

A new, more dangerous threat emerges years later and wrecks havoc on the human population. With millions infected and the world dissolving into chaos, all eyes turn toward those who already saved the world once. Can this small group of people put aside differences in order to save humanity? Will the alien virus consume the planet?

Review:
I must confess something. I've been a fan of Scott Sigler since listening to the first two books in this series, Infected and Contagious, when they were only available in podcast form. So when I saw that this book was available at Netgalley for review, I quickly submitted my offer to read and review it in exchange for an honest and fair review. With that being said, you don't have to be completely familiar with Scott Sigler's work in order to enjoy this book. It's a great read either way.

At the beginning there is a bit of a rundown of what took place in the previous two books. There was a lot but everything the reader needed to know was shown in a way that felt laid back and didn't overwhelm the reader. I would recommend reading the previous two books in the series because they are as entertaining and action-packed as Pandemic, but the author weaves enough of the history within the current storyline that the book could stand alone if need be.

Because I remember the podcast versions, I honestly read this book in the voice of Scott Sigler. The returning characters stayed true to form (although there were some surprises that even I didn't see coming toward the end of the book) and newer ones filled their positions efficiently and realistically. Even though some of the characters were from scientific or military backgrounds, they spoke with a level of intelligence and authority that one would expect from them. However, they didn't act or speak in a way that went over the reader's head. It was easy to follow along and comprehend even some of the most sciency of parts.

When the virus begins to take hold of a person in the book, there's a clear distinction between what they would do as a regular human being and what the virus thinks a human should do. It helps to convey the idea that the alien virus wants humanity to die out. I almost got the feeling in several places that the aliens were afraid of what we might become and thus wanted to prevent us from advancing. Because the book takes place in the not so distant future, one can wonder if this could truly happen with all of the objects that pass by Earth today.

There's plenty of action within the book to keep things moving and interesting. When things begin to go south, the reader's strapped in and unable to look away. No place to hide, everything is laid out for the reader to endure. I truly felt sorry for some of the characters as their own moral and ethical limits were tested in ways I wouldn't want to contemplate. In all honesty, I doubt that I'd last a minute in the book's world.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will be purchasing a copy when it becomes available in 2014. It was a page-turner that I had difficulty putting down. Truthfully, I stayed up many nights to sneak in a few more pages before sleep. If you are looking for a rollercoaster thrill ride with an all too real kind of feel, this book is one you should definitely look into. Heck, get the whole series. It's worth it.

Pandemic: A Novel (Infected #3) by Scott Sigler will be available at many online retailers upon its release in January 2014. It will be available for purchase in either hardback or Kindle format. You can pre-order a copy from Amazon by using the link below.
Pandemic: A Novel (Infected #3) by Scott Sigler

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Currently Reading

I'm so glad to report that progress has been made on a number of items on my to-do list. First and foremost, all the hats and scarves for the Brown-Brooks Project have been delivered. They were given to the Behavioral Center representative on Monday afternoon. Seeings how they have a full house and the weather's about to turn below freezing, the items are most definitely needed. It makes my heart happy to know the children will have something good and warm to last for a while. Well done, BBP'ers!

My poor fingers are readjusting to their previous routine that included a lot less crocheting. I have been able to work my way through enough books to accomplish my reading goal for the year. 100 books! I can't believe that I've actually made it. This has been my goal for a while now. To finally hit it feels so awesome! Since there are still a few weeks to go in the year, I've set another short goal of 5 more to make the total 105 for the year. With everything on my plate and TBR piles, I'm sure it won't take long!


These are the books I'm working through this week;
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents (Children of Sophista #1) by Rusty Biesele
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 2: The Rebirth of Innocents (Children of Sophista #2) by Rusty Biesele
Elfhunter (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #1) by C.S. Marks
Dying for Murder: A Cordi O'Callaghan Mystery by Suzanne F. Kingsmill


In the past week, I've read the following;
Musings of a 20-Something Mom, and the Perils of being a Mommy Blogger by Jenny Schoberl
The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft
What's Left Behind - Poetry Collection by Michal Mahgerefteh
Coldwater by Diana Gould


As far as my writing is concerned, I've been doing work on my NaNo project whenever I can get a couple of minutes. I've been channeling the dark feelings surrounding me as of late into some poetry to keep from going off the rails in the NaNo. Last bit of news and it's some awesome stuff! The Off the Kuf anthology: Volume 2 will be featuring my short story. It is set to be released in the next few weeks. The first volume is full of wonderful short stories and poems by a wide variety of authors. Volume 2 will be similar and it's got mine in it! I will have a direct link when it's available so please keep watching the blog!!

Keep chasing your dreams, one small step at a time. You'll get there!

Until next time,
Kay

Monday, November 18, 2013

DreamWeaver by Rejean Giguere


Release Date: March 30, 2011
Publisher: Rejean Giguere

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
How far would you go to find the someone you loved the most? That's the question Zeke asked himself a thousand times before setting out on a journey to find his lost sister, Jane. Having been reported missing from the school in Southeast Asia, Jane's nowhere to be found and time's running out.

Zeke fears the worst as he plans both a rescue and a recovery effort. Taking it upon himself, he gets no further than her last known location when a mysterious offer to help comes his way. He must now answer the question again, maybe for the last time. How far will he go to get Jane back?

Review:
Touching on a subject that anyone with an ounce of compassion could relate to is what makes this story draw the reader in right away. In the beginning, Zeke has already begun the hard task of tracking down his sister after attempts by proper authorities have failed. He attempts to move Heaven and Earth himself in order to find the last bit of family left and is sent back home without so much as a clue to her whereabouts.

Both the reader and Zeke are swept up in a very emotional adventure because Zeke's honest sibling love and desperation are not hidden from the reader's view. When he finally decides to answer the mysterious offer of help, it's readily apparent that he feels as though he has no other alternative. That resolve and love for his sister carry him through some of the grueling trials to deem him worthy of assistance.

The story itself is a quick read as we are presented the background facts in the beginning and follow Zeke as he makes up his mind without a lot of thought on the matter. For him, the answer of what he must do is clear. There's quite a lot of action in a short span of time. With the areas Zeke must delve into, the mystical element is always present. Sometimes it's waiting on the outside of a scene but the reader can feel it there.

In the end, I liked this story because it posed a question that anyone could relate to. The characters were easy for the reader to identify with once the story was underway and the action was well-crafted and not over-the-top in regard to the overall story. Definitely a great read. I'm hoping there's a sequel out there or will be soon. If you like a touch of horror with your emotional journeys, most definitely get this book.

DreamWeaver by Rejean Giguere is available at most online retailers in either paperback or Kindle forms. It can be purchased at Amazon by clicking the link below.
DreamWeaver by Rejean Giguere

Friday, November 15, 2013

Relatively Risky (The Big Uneasy Book 1) by Pauline Baird Jones


Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Pauline Baird Jones
Series: The Big Uneasy

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
After running down the would-be carjacker, Nell Whitby finds herself in a world of trouble not even she could have ever imagined. She moved to New Orleans a couple of years earlier to start a new life for herself. What she finds is a lot more than she anticipated.

Alex Baker, homicide detective and near victim of a carjacker, knows a thing or two about connections. One of several cops in his family line, he trusts his gut when it tells him something's wrong. And with Nell, there's a whole lot wrong. Going up against some of the most well-connected people in New Orleans places both Nell and Alex in the path of harm. Can they keep from becoming a ghost in a city full of them?

Review:
I won this book through a free giveaway at Goodreads.com. By the number of pages in the book, you think it's going to take a long while to read, but it doesn't. The story is really engaging and keeps you wanting to know more than the characters are willing to tell or investigate. I found myself coming back to the book time and again to snatch a few more pages whenever I had a free moment.

The first in a series, Jones sets the groundwork in this book. I was concerned that it would be a simple information dump with some romance sprinkled here or there. In all honesty, it was a really well-woven story that gave just enough information as necessary at the appropriate time. Not all the answers are given by the end of the book - hence the series. But it does give a satisfying conclusion to many of the questions we, the readers, have at the beginning.

Though there is some romantic moments in the story, they add to the story and not overwhelm it. There is a progression of emotions and feelings by those involved that does lend a realistic feeling to the characters. I couldn't help but chuckle as one or more of the characters were increasingly frustrated by events beyond their control. Not entirely in the romance department either. Each character had his or her own life within the pages and it made for an enjoyable read.

Despite taking a step out of my reading comfort zone, I really enjoyed the blend of romance and mystery/suspense within this book. I want to know more about the power struggle within the city - on both sides of the law - as well as what happens to some of the characters I grew to like. If you're looking for an exciting and quirky ride through New Orleans, pick up this book!

Relatively Risky (The Big Uneasy Book 1) by Pauline Baird Jones is currently available for purchase in paperback, audio-book and Kindle/e-book formats. You can buy a copy through Amazon at the link provided below.
Relatively Risky (The Big Uneasy Book 1) by Pauline Baird Jones

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Currently Reading

With the community project all but delivered, I was able to spend a lot more time reading through the TBR pile this past week. All the hats and scarves will be given out over the weekend to the boys and girls at the local behavioral center. Since we've had a small dusting of snow already in our area, I know they'll need the warmth sooner rather than later!


NaNoWriMo is proving to be a lot harder this year. The story flowed from my fingers last November. I honestly think my muse is having more difficult time overcoming some of the darker moments of the month this year. I did try to use some of the memories as fuel but wound up more blocked than before I started. Back to the drawing board!


Occupying the top of my reading list this week;
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents (Children of Sophista #1) by Rusty Biesele
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 2: The Rebirth of Innocents (Children of Sophista #2) by Rusty Biesele
Musings of a 20-Something Mom, and the Perils of being a Mommy Blogger by Jenny Schoberl
The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft


Crossed the following off that list;
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Notorious Stage Mother by Carolyn Quinn
Carnival Life - Memories & Experiences of a Carnie by Thelma W. Wright
Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads by Joni Rendon, Shannon McKenna Schmidt
Lesser Creatures by Peter Giglio


With the upcoming holidays, I'm hopeful to squeeze in more reading and writing. We'll have to see what the end of December holds in the way of conquered books. In my fantasy world, I have the ability to sit back and do nothing but read. Not so much in the real world. I say, we remain hopeful.

Until next time,
Kay

Monday, November 11, 2013

Drone by Mike Maden


Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Adult

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
Newly elected President Margaret Myers has upset a lot of the political players on Capitol Hill by putting a spending freeze into effect and bringing the armed forces home. Not long into her term, the country's resolve is tested by what seems to be random acts of violence that hit too close to home. Fighting to keep the upper hand will require the services of Troy Pearce, former CIA operative and current CEO of Pearce Systems.

But Troy got out of the government business for more reasons than he cares to remember. When the President comes calling, he must decide whether to refuse her offer and let the country descend into chaos or get back into the saddle to take out the bad guys.

Review:
Having won this book in a free giveaway at Goodreads, I was a little concerned that a lot of the subject matter would be too much for me to understand. I'm not the most educated person when it comes to politics and global industries. But in his debut novel, Mike Maden does a wonderful job of laying out all the information in a way that makes sense to someone like myself and yet still entertain veteran readers of the political/spy-thriller genres.

There is a lot going on within the pages of this book. Not only is America affected by the actions being taken in the book, but the countries all around the world. In the case of this book, there is a definite ripple affect from the moment the first bullet flies until the last word is spoken. It's just a matter of which side you want to find yourself on. Maden was able to weave so many political topics into a solid tapestry of a book without taking away any of the serious impacts they could have on the country at large.

I really liked the way the characters came to life in the story. They weren't just dropped into the reader's lap and left there. Each of the major players and a few of the minor ones were given enough time and coverage to fool the reader into thinking that these are real players affecting the world around us. With each twist or hint of intrigue, the story shifted and took off into another direction which kept the pace moving.

Overall, I think this book is a great read. It drew me into its grasp about five pages in and didn't let me go until the very end. Hopefully this won't be the last we see of a certain list of characters because there are many issues left to settle. Great action sequences, believable characters and a sophisticated yet layman-like way of looking at the big political issues all add up to a pretty great way to spend a few late nights.

Drone by Mike Maden is currently available in either hardback or Kindle forms. You can purchase your copy from Amazon by clicking on the provided link.
Drone by Mike Maden

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Grave Artist by Paula Lynn Johnson


Release Date: March 29, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform  (Kindle version first released on March 12, 2012)

Rating: 4 out 5 stars.

Synopsis:
Still reeling from the divorce of her parents and the subsequent move from her hometown, Clair finds herself struggling with everything. She tries to find her way through the emotional landmines by immersing herself in the only thing she knows that she's good at - her art. But when she begins drawing winged skulls at alarmingly increased rate, Clare is forced to solve the mystery.

She begins to unravel the clues with the help of her only friend, Gollum. As she finds the answers to her questions, Clare must pay a higher price. Driven to the brink, she pushes forward in order to solve the mystery and to keep herself from going insane. But can she do it without the answers taking her life?

Review:
I'll admit that I'm still relatively new to the YA genre. When I began reading this book, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. It didn't take me very long to figure out that there was a lot of tension between the characters and the paranormal aspect of the story helped to keep the level of tension high throughout the whole story until the mystery was solved. This book is one of those that once you begin reading, it's hard to put down for very long.

From the beginning, the reader is shown the major conflict within Clare's family. Everyone is having a hard time with the divorce. Each of the main characters are giving a chance to reveal the pain and damage that the upheaval in the family has done to them. Written from Clare's point of view, we do see more of her angst and turmoil and yes, it's of the teenage variety. She's sixteen. I wouldn't expect anything less. The author also shows us the hurt and turmoil of her twenty-something sister, her mother and even her father. It's these glimpses that help to make the characters feel real and distinct from one another.

The story doesn't slack off in the pacing department. Once things begin happening in earnest for Clare, they continue until they reach the very end. I expected a few twists and turns and thought I had everything figured out until the last couple of chapters. What I had been envisioning wasn't what happened. It was a pleasant surprise even as it made me sad. There was a nice blend of action sequences and times where the characters paused to catch their breath.

In truth, this book was a good way to spend a chilly evening. I enjoyed the history and scientific lessons included within the hunt for answers. It all added up to a good read that went fairly quick. If you're looking for a good, first step into the YA genre that's not overbearing, this is among one of the books you should try.

The Grave Artist by Paula Lynn Johnson is currently available for purchase in either paperback or Kindle form. You can purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking the link below.
The Grave Artist by Paula Lynn Johnson

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson




Release Date: October 30, 2013
Publisher: Le French Book
Translator: Julie Rose

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
A stylish, fast-paced spy thriller about the intrigue, economic warfare and struggles for natural resources promised by global warming. The Arctic ice caps are breaking up. Europe and the East Coast of the United States brace for a tidal wave.

Meanwhile, former French intelligence officer John Spencer Lariviere, his karate-trained, steamy Eurasian partner, Victoire, and their bisexual computer-genius sidekick, Luc, pick up an ordinary freelance assignment that quickly leads them into the glacial silence of the great north, where a merciless war is being waged for control of discoveries that will change the future of humanity. - synopsis provided by the publisher

Review:
Let me first say that I am very much glad that I accepted the request to be a part of the blog tour by France Book Tours ( www.francesbooktours.com ) for this book by Bernard Besson. I entered a giveaway at Goodreads for this book but failed to win a copy. Though the book is a little out of my usual comfort zone, I was really drawn in by the synopsis for the book (which is given above). Once I had a copy, I will freely admit that I dove right in.

From the very beginning of the book, the stage is set for action. Not only are we, the readers, thrown into the middle of a murder in progress but we are introduced to the trio of main characters of the book. I believe the author did an excellent job in giving enough information about the character at the right time and letting the reader find out the other things as the book went along instead of all at once.

Even when the story begins to travel down the roads of advanced technologies, spy lingo and ecological theories, the author really does a brilliant job in bringing down the level so that the layman will understand. Yet, he doesn't allow the story to make the reader feel dumb. Instead, it's as though we, the readers, are learning along with John, Victoire and Luc. There may be a few things we are privy to that the trio isn't at certain points in the book, but I'll tell you honestly, there aren't that many.

I have to say that I'm amazed at the level of research the author poured into this book. Not only are there little known facts about areas in France, but other places as well. He goes to great lengths to educate the reader about the Inuits and their culture in Greenland, the ancestral divide caused by the Danish and other countries within Greenland. The descriptions of the land areas in the book are beautifully crafted. It was quite easy for me to imagine stepping off the plane with John upon his arrival in Greenland and seeing the stark whiteness of the land in some areas as well as his shock at seeing the Northern Lights so close for the very first time.

The only thing that ticked me off about the entire book was thinking that I had things figured out with the clues I had learned only to discover I was wrong! Each and every time I thought I had it, the author threw another wrench in the works. By the time I neared the end of the book, I still hadn't figured everything out. For once I had to go along with the characters and blindly turn the corner as they did. So frustrating but it made the book worth so much more.

All in all, the book is fast paced and well written to the point that one could lose themselves easily within the story. I truly enjoyed reading it. If you are looking for a thriller which keeps you guessing until that last chapter, then pick this book up! I'm so grateful it was translated into English!

The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson will be available in e-book format at many online retailers upon its release. You can purchase the book at any of the links below.
http://www.lefrenchbook.com/get-books/
http://www.thegreenlandbreach.com




About the Author:
Award-winning thriller writer, Bernard Besson, who was born in Lyon, France, in 1949, is a former top-level chief of staff of the French intelligence services, an eminent specialist in economic intelligence and Honorary General Controller of the French National Police. He was involved in dismantling Soviet spy rings in France and Western Europe when the USSR fell and has real inside knowledge from his work auditing intelligence services and the police. He has also Written a number of prize-winning thrillers and several works of nonfiction. He currently lives in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris, right down the street from his heroes.
For more information, visit  http://www.lefrenchbook.com/our-authors/bernard-besson/


About the Translator:
Julie Rose is a prize-winning, world-renowned translator of major French thinkers, known for, among other works, her acclaimed translation of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, which was published by Random House in 2008. She has translated twenty-eight books, including many French classics, and writes on the side. She lives in her hometown of Sydney, Australia, with her husband, dog and two cats.


Currently Reading

Today is a special one here at CoWA! Some time ago I was asked to be a part of a blog tour for Bernard Besson's ecological thriller, The Greenland Breach. From October 28 to today, various book blogs have been taking part in this tour. Today is our turn! The full review will follow this post. For more information about the tour and to enter giveaways for the book, please visit http://francebooktours.com/2013/07/15/bernard-besson-on-tour-the-greenland-breach/ and click on the highlighted links.

It's been a very busy week. Unfortunately, that limited my reading time quite a bit. I wasn't able to get anywhere near the amount of reading done that I wanted to, but I was able to get a few things scratched off that big to-do list of mine. The hat/scarf project has been completed. All the items have been finished and will be washed and packaged in the next few days. It's a huge relief to have it finished. So proud of the the BB Project.


I'm in the middle of these books;
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Notorious Stage Mother by Carolyn Quinn
The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1: The Death of Innocents by Rusty Biesele


Finally finished the following;
Pandemic: A Novel (Infected #3) by Scott Sigler


NaNoWriMo for this year has been underway for a few days and I will admit to being very, very behind. The story idea I had for this year isn't flowing from my fingers as smoothly as last year's. I'm not sure right now if I should continue to plod along to gain some words for the ending word count or start completely over with a new idea. I'm going to try carving out some serious writing time this coming weekend. Hopefully that will give me some clear direction. Wishing you all tons of wordy days and nights if you're in the thick of this with me!
 
Until next time,
Kay

Monday, November 4, 2013

Angels in the Fire: The Dramatic True Story of an Impossible Rescue by Dann Stadler


Release Date: July 1, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis:
On an early September night in 1989, what should have been a night of celebration became a night of terror for Dann and Tracey Stadler. After leaving dinner with family, they made their way to the home of Tracey's parents. That's where they were staying during their anniversary vacation. A split second later, they were fighting for their lives.

A drunk driver hit their vehicle head-on, going nearly 70 mph and leaving little chance for anyone to survive. It would take a miracle, and one was given. Not only did the couple survive the crash, but they were left with questions of life, faith and forgiveness. Follow both Dan and Tracey as they make their journey from the events of that night to all the experiences that awaited them during their healing.

Review:
I'll be honest. When I entered the Goodreads giveaway for this book, I thought it was going to be about firefighters and their jobs as community servants because I didn't read the descriptive blurb closely. After winning and receiving the book, I quickly found the real story to be just as intriguing and quite a journey. I was glad that I was given a chance to read and review this book.

Right from the beginning, the reader is made aware of two things. One, a horrific accident took place on that September evening in 1989. Two, the couple's faith in God is a major driving force in both their rescue and recovery journey that followed. Their faith is exemplified from the first paragraph where they give the other driver a false name in order to spare his family anymore grief or hurt. That takes a large amount of compassion and forgiveness and isn't often seen in the world today.

This book draws information from many sources including news media, eye witness accounts and the accounts of both Dann and Tracey as well as their family members. If you are a tender-hearted person, I would recommend having a box of tissues nearby as the story of their recovery will give plenty of awe inspiring and praiseworthy moments.

Because the book is written by Dann, one of the survivors of the crash, we're given a lot of glimpses of their lives. I think the open and honest way in which everything is presented allows the reader to feel as though they are there alongside the couple and experiencing everything at the same time. The way the journey is arranged is straightforward, beginning directly before the accident and continuing through their immediate recovery before finishing to present day. While the not stymied in medial jargon or filled with every detail, the record Dann has crafted moves along at a comfortable pace that really allows the reader to absorb everything. From the desperation felt during the frightful moments just after the crash to the triumph of overcoming the adversities through strong wills, gritty determination and a fire-hardened faith, everything is laid out for the reader in a way that is easy to understand.

In the end, I truly enjoyed reading this book. Dann and Tracey Stadler's faith goes beyond words. They live it, breathe it and practice it without hesitation. It was so before the accident and was reaffirmed through their trials and tribulations. Yes, many parts were difficult to read through but I imagine the difficulty was many times worse for those who lived through it. If you are looking for an uplifting, inspiring read, then I suggest you pick up this book.

Angels in the Fire: The Dramatic True Story of an Impossible Rescue by Dann Stadler is currently available at many online retailers in both paperback and Kindle forms. It can be purchased at Amazon by following the link below.
Angels in the Fire: The Dramatic True Story of an Impossible Rescue by Dann Stadler