Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Nobody likes a clown at midnight” 
― Stephen King

IT


It is the story of the small town of Derry, Maine and the shape shifting demon that lives under Derry and preys on children. It’s a story of growing up and facing your fears, of bullying and what shapes us as children.


ItIt is the story of seven children, The Loser’s club and their fight in 1958 against the town bully and the town demon and twenty seven years later, struggling to remember their childhood so they can fight the demon when it returns to prey on the town’s children once more.

First things first, I was not scared by It at all. I spent months thinking I wasn’t going to be able to finish this because I would be too scared. I remember reading The Shining in my twenties and being so freaked out I would stop reading in broad daylight so when I talked to family and friends about It, the general impression I got was I was going to be even more scared, not so much though.

What I do love about Stephen King is that he is a storyteller and a great one at that. When I open a King book, I feel like I’m sitting there while he tells me a story, filling in all the details, giving me the visuals I need etc. and I think It is a good story, just not great. I love coming of age books and this has a lot of that.

Who doesn’t get freaked out by clowns? That clown is downright creepy but it’s not just a creepy clown terrorizing the children of Derry but a demon (right word?) that takes the shape of your biggest fear. Adults can’t see It because they no longer believe in such things as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and monsters under your bed, or in this case, in your drain. It preys on the fears of children.

One thing that really bothered me was near the end of the book, when the Loser’s club is in the sewers near the end of the 1958 scenes. There is a pretty disturbing sex scene involving the six boys and one girl. I can’t see any relevance to the story, the motivation offered by Beverly is completely unrealistic to me and it doesn’t enhance the story at all. It should have been cut.

There were parts that were slow and didn’t help move the story along like the Derry Interludes. There were four of them in which about twenty pages are spent in each one recapping past murders and other atrocities in Derry. I think anyone reading It knows Derry is a creepy town where evil breeds.

It is one of Stephen King’s most well-known novels, but for me it wasn’t what I was looking for. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Immortal Highlander


Adam Black is a full-blooded faery. Through the thousands of years of his existence, one of his favorite pastimes is spying on humans (and sometimes meddling). He has finally pushed his queen too far and is punished by becoming mortal. Only humans can’t see him and he can’t see faeries. Until he comes across Gabrielle O’Callaghan, a beautiful law student cursed with the gift of being able to see faeries.
The Immortal Highlander (Highlander, #6)Gabrielle was taught from her earliest memories to avoid all contact with faeries, that if they knew she could see them, they would hunt her as they did her ancestors in years long past. Her family has kept tons of volumes on fairy encounters. When she sees breathtakingly gorgeous Adam Black, she knew she made her first mistake when she couldn’t peel her eyes away.

Adam needs Gabby’s help to get the attention of the queen and regain his immortality and his powers. He plans on seducing beautiful Gabby from the first, but he doesn’t count on the human feelings he will experience and the need for her.

Gabby has always been told to avoid faeries but she has always been drawn to their beauty and has harbored a secret fantasy about a faery prince who would fall in love with her. Adam is the epitome of faery with his drop-dead gorgeous looks and bad ass attitude. Can she put her prejudices aside and live in the now?

Adam has appeared in other books in this series, usually in the guise of trying to screw things up for the main characters. My feelings for him before The Immortal Highlander verged on loathe. He was cocky and manipulative, deceptive and cunning and did I mention vain? He was shallow and self-centered, well you get the gist. I didn’t think his good looks could save him from being a jackass but Moning humanized Adam and as the book progressed, Adam started actually being a human and caring about others, especially Gabby, I just had to love him.

Gabby, like all of Moning’s heroine’s, is a tough twenty first century woman with a fiery temperament to match Adam’s cool demeanor. She holds her own even when she fears the outcome. Brave, beautiful and strong, she’s Adam’s match. It was easy to love her from the first page.

Karen Marie Moning has done two outstanding things in this series and primarily this book. First she gives us these incredibly hot Highlander male leads and pairs them with fiercely strong, take no crap female leads and tells us a great love story. Second, she has created a whole new world with her books. A world where Druids and Faeries exist and co-mingle – and it’s a detailed world, with secrets and enchantments, bad guys and your run of the mill, everyday faery politics.

Filled with humor, passion, sexy as hell Highlanders and a compelling story, this may now be my favorite in the series. I haven’t read any other Highlander romance novels so I have nothing to compare this with, but for romance in general, these are great reads. 

Quote of the Day

“Romance novels are birthday cake and life is often peanut butter and jelly. I think everyone should have lots of delicious romance novels lying around for those times when the peanut butter of life gets stuck to the roof of your mouth.” 
― Janet Evanovich

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Coffee and Conversation

It's good to be back! My laptop was hijacked for the last few days and I wasn't able to get online. I finally have it back.

I finished IT this week, I'll have the review posted next week but overall I didn't think it was scary. I scared myself more thinking about reading it than it actually was.

I spent a lovely few days in the Highlands courtesy of Karen Marie Moning and her Highlander series, finishing two more books. With only one left in the series, I'm thinking about trying her Fever series. I don't think they are strictly romance, but focus on the Fae world she created in her Highlander series. I am really intrigued by the world of Faery and I'm wondering if anyone has read this series and what they think. All of the books are rated highly on Goodreads. Please share your thoughts if you've read them!

Now to the reviews. I have four reviews to be written, hopefully I can knock out a few today!

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Jazz Cage


Prohibition-era mobsters collide with Underground Railroad abolitionists in The Jazz Cage.

The Jazz Cage
It is 1924—sixty years after the South’s victory in the Civil War.

Frank McCluey, bounty hunter for the mob, is sent to help out a wealthy Virginian bootlegger. Frank’s job: track down two female slaves who’ve run away from the millionaire.

But the mob has made a bad choice. Instead of capturing the women, Frank decides to help them escape to Canada, his mission now aided by the pint-sized but steel-willed runaway Della and the outlawed Underground Railroad.

Soon Della and Frank become the target of slave catchers, cops, gangsters, and most chilling of all, a Confederate agent nicknamed the Hound for his ability to always sniff out and kill his prey.


The Jazz Cage is a tale of what ifs. What if the South won the Civil War? What if slavery still existed? What if the Underground Railroad still existed? What if Arnold Rothstein and not his Italian counterparts created the mafia organization known as the syndicate? All of these what ifs are thrown in and mixed together to create an intriguing tale.

It’s a very well-written novel and the pace flows between characters and the tension builds to the expected climax. There are bad guys chasing Frank and the girls at every turn; from the Hound, a crooked, evil agent for the Fugitive Slave Agency to members of Arnold Rothstein’s organization to local  authorities, Frank must stay one step ahead of the bad guys at all times.

Some parts would be hard to swallow, such as Della being an amazing shot but Chen does a good job of showing Della’s and Cece’s desperation - that they are literally fighting for their lives and so the unbelievable becomes believable as the two women, with the help of Frank, make their way north and to freedom with a host of bad guys on their trail.

Chen shifts the point of view from Frank to Delia to the Hound to Cece and they flow one into the other giving the characters more depth and background, each playing a pivotal role in the final showdown. Background stories are not overdone or drawn out, it is just a glimpse to understand the character better. Of course, the Hound is still despicable, just a purely evil person and I couldn’t wait til he got his.

I love reading about the mafia and old time gangsters, particularly Lucky Luciano, so it was really cool seeing figures such as Luciano and Arnold Rothstein in all their bad-ass glory. Although I had a hard time believing Frank could get the best of Lucky, but that is my own personal bias.

I really enjoyed The Jazz Cage. It was a well written, suspenseful and entertaining read. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction and mystery and suspense may find this book as enjoyable as I did. Thank you to Ray Chen Smith for my free copy of your wonderful novel. 

Quote of the Day

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheat Reading: Do you skip ahead to the last page?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a family member who shall remain anonymous about "cheat reading". This person is reading Gone Girl and  wants to read the end of the book. I am completely against reading the end of any book before you reach the natural end. My sister agrees with me. A debate ensued. 

Her side is she wants to know what happens at the end of a book so she can decide whether or not she wants to continue reading or stop wasting her time.

My side is probably a bit long winded because I got on my high horse about this but basically reading the end of the book ruins the rest of it, you are losing potentially quality material by cheating not to mention you may not fully understand the ending when you skip over a few hundred pages. Any suspense or twists the author had intended may be ruined and thus the book doesn't have the same effect on a cheat reader as it does on a reader who reads the whole book straight through. 

If a book doesn't grab you after a few chapters (or whatever your timeline), I don't see how reading the end of the book makes you want to continue slugging along when you are not invested in the story. If you really like the book, (as this person likes Gone Girl) why in the world would you do such a thing? Ok, I can understand if you really like the book, getting that feeling of needing to know because it has happened to me, but for me it's a rush of blood and heart pounding excitement to find out what happened. I don't get the urge to flip to the last page, that is part of the thrill of reading a book and the mark of a good writer. 

So what are your thoughts on cheat reading. Have you done it or not? If you have, why?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Bridge

Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge is a novel about love, redemption, faith and second chances.

The Bridge: A Novel


Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Howard Books for providing an Advanced Reader’s copy.

The Bridge is the bookstore in Franklin, Tennessee run by Charlie Barton and his wife Donna. Housing old and new books, it is the haven for the residents of Franklin and has been for years. One particular couple has always stuck out to Charlie and his wife, Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly.

Molly and Ryan met in college and their friendship blossomed through spending all of their free time at The Bridge for the first two years of college. Both were struggling with their parent’s expectations and recognized in each other their talents and pushed each other to pursue their own dreams.

After their second year in Franklin, Molly unexpectedly leaves to return home to the west coast. Now seven years later, both have fulfilling careers but neither has forgotten the other. They are bound to each other through The Bridge and they both have a special place for the bookstore that brought them so many happy memories.

When The Bridge is flooded leaving all of the stock in ruins, Charlie and Donna find themselves facing horrible truths. The insurance won’t cover the damage and the bank won’t give them a loan. Charlie isn’t ready to let go of his dream but there aren’t other alternatives. Charlie contemplates suicide but in the end, can’t take his life.

When tragedy strikes, those who love The Bridge will come together and try to turn a tragedy into a second chance.

What I loved about The Bridge was the real struggle of a small town bookstore fighting to stay open. In the age of digital everything, it’s a real tragedy that happens all of the time. Book lovers everywhere can relate to having that one special bookstore where you can browse for new gems and old favorites, the smell and feel of the books evoking special feelings in us. E-readers can never take the place of feeling the weight of a book in your hands.

I thought The Bridge was a good book but it wasn’t something I would normally read. The message was one of hope and second chances but it was dripping with saccharine sweetness. Everything was wrapped up in a perfect bow with happy endings across the board. I love a happy ending as much as the next person but I need more depth to the story and in the case of Molly and Ryan, it wasn’t there for me.

Molly and Ryan were friends in college but neither has ever been able to forget the other and each carries a torch that the other doesn’t know about. There are misunderstandings and misinformation. Again, I can get behind a lost love but it’s been seven years and the feeling I got was that neither has dated in the time they’ve been apart. Seven years in which neither of them had a serious relationship or any relationship for that matter, it’s just not realistic to me.

Charlie Barton was the shining star in this book. His emotions bounce off of the page. His heartfelt dedication not just to the books he loves but to the customers is genuine and his struggle is realistic and authentic.
If you are looking for a heart-warming holiday read this may be the book for you. If you like more depth and background, I don’t recommend. 

Quote of the Day


“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” 
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quote of the Day

“We're all unique, just never in the ways we imagine.” 
― Kate MortonThe Forgotten Garden

The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper


Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Simon and Schuster for providing an Advanced Reader’s copy.

The Secret Keeper is the newest novel by Kate Morton.

The novel begins in 1959 when sixteen year old Laurel is playing in her family’s yard when she spies a man walking up the driveway to her home. Then she witnesses a crime.

Fast forward to 2011, Laurel is a successful actress but has returned home due to the ill health of her mother. The events of that long ago day in 1959 re-surface and Laurel begins a quest to find out who the man was and how he was connected to her mother. Her first clue is an old photograph, recently discovered, of her mother and a friend from during World War II, Vivien.

The plot shifts between the present day as Laurel digs into the past and 1938-1941 London and the life of Dorothy Smitham, Laurel’s mother. Dorothy works as a companion to an elderly woman and volunteers for the war. Her story involves her boyfriend Jimmy and Vivien Jenkins, the woman from the picture.

Kate Morton always delivers a wonderful mystery filled with enchanting characters, family skeletons and plenty of twists and turns. She doesn’t disappoint in The Secret Keeper. As Laurel begins to dig into her mother Dorothy’s past, we are swept away to war-torn London, to the blitz and ghosts of the past.

Morton has the uncanny ability to make you want to flip pages as fast as you can to get to the bottom of the mystery and also slow down and savor every word of her exquisite prose. She writes as if you are reading a fairy tale, but a delicious, mysterious fairy tale bound to leave you melancholy with what if’s and of possibilities lost and found.

Reading a Kate Morton novel gives you a new appreciation for detective work and as she throws you the tiny crumbs that will eventually lead to the final reveal, you the reader play mini-detective and try to piece all of the parts together, discarding possibilities, altering theories and expanding on ideas.
I had a few theories that changed as I read it but surprisingly I suspected the final big reveal, although there were a few loose ends that I needed filling in. Regardless, it took nothing away from my enjoyment; I loved every heart-pounding moment.

The characters, as always, are sympathetic yet humanized, coming to life with every flip of the page. I particularly loved Laurel and Jimmy. Laurel especially gives voice to the doubts and theories that ran through my head. Jimmy is the quintessential good guy, you can’t help but love him.

Kate Morton does with aplomb what would be far-fetched and unbelievable with other authors. Her tales are full of mystery and twists and turns and she can leave you guessing until the final reveal. The Secret Keeper is available Today, October 16. Grab your copy, you won’t be disappointed. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Tour : A Stop in the Park

Picture

Touching, romantic, and deeply provocative, A Stop in the Park, follows the story of a man and a woman who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American dream.

Novel Description:

PictureMichael Stolis, a DC attorney, is frustrated by twelve hour work days, tightly scheduled weekends and his family's chaotic habits. He explodes over minor irritations like being stuck in traffic, and his tantrums need to stop. His disillusioned wife, Jamie, is sick of his anger outbursts, and wants him out of her life. Michael longs to reignite the passionate love they once felt for each other. Jamie prefers to spend her time fostering illicit Internet relationships. Michael had simply followed his Greek father's instructions for a successful life, but something went terribly wrong. A lucrative career, a Georgetown brownstone and a BMW coupe didn't deliver happiness as promised.
When his family is about to implode, Michael finds hope through Rufus, an astute retired bus driver he meets over a game of blitz chess in Dupont Circle. Michael is intrigued by Rufus's prescription for fulfillment, but is it too late to change a life, chase a dream, revive a marriage? Michael must decide how much he is prepared to lose if he embarks on a quest so very different from the world he created. Touching, romantic, and deeply provocative, A Stop in the Park, follows the story of a man and a woman who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American dream.


    Author Info:


Peggy 6 (2).jpg
 Peggy Strack writes popular fiction about challenges people face in the fast-paced and daunting contemporary world. She is excited to launch her debut novel, A Stop in the Park, the story of Michael and Jaime Stolis, a disillusioned married couple who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American dream. Peggy hosts the award winning blog, "Kick Back Moments," for the Saratogian Newspaper. She studied fiction at Skidmore College, The New York State Writers Institute and East Line Books and Literary Center. She is a speech-language pathologist living in Saratoga Springs, NY with her husband, Keith. Peggy has two adults sons enjoys an active lifestyle that includes hiking, kayaking, and skiing.

Click here for an excerpt: A Stop in the Park


Places to buy the book:
Amazon

Friday, October 12, 2012

Quote of the Day

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” 
― Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Fool's Gold Christmas


In A Fool’s Gold Christmas, Evie Stryker and Dante Jefferson are both battling ghosts from their pasts and trying to find a way towards the future. They form a friendship as outsiders from the close knit community of Fool’s Gold, but the holiday spirit soon ensnares even these jaded souls and they begin to form a bond with the community as they let go of the demons of the past. Romance blooms but both harbor scars from the past.  Can they heal each other or with the past consume them?

A Fool’s Gold Christmas was a book I was really looking forward to. I only recently discovered Susan Mallery and fell in love with the Stryker family and Fool’s Gold when I read Summer Nights and All Summer Long. I loved both and in each Evie is mentioned and I was intrigued enough to think her story had the potential to blow me away.

A Fool's Gold Christmas (Fool's Gold, #10)
Evie Stryker is the product of a one night stand shortly after her brothers’ father died. May Stryker was deeply in love with her husband and even though he was gone, could never get over her transgression. She was already a family with her three boys and Evie was the product of a night she would like to forget. Evie’s childhood was lonely and she was treated as an outsider in her family. As soon as she was able, she left. Now, due to an accident that left her without the ability to dance, she is home – against her will and her family is trying to make up for lost time.

Dante Jefferson is Rafe Stryker’s business partner. He’s an outsider in town, used to the hustle and bustle of the city life. He’s not having an easy time adjusting to small town life. When Evie moves in next door, Dante sees a beautiful woman and an outsider like him; they form a friendship built on the promise of getting through the holidays together that soon turns to romance. But Dante has loved and hurt those he loved in his past and vowed never to fall in love again.

I loved the evolution of Evie’s character. When she first comes back to town she’s bitter (rightly so) and can’t wait to get out. As she spends time in the small town and begins teaching dance to young girls, she slowly finds her niche and starts to fit in for the first time in her life.

What I didn’t like was May, Evie’s mother. I had a hard time with the way she treated Evie as a child, excluding her because of May’s mistake and making her feel an outsider in her own family. I can understand Evie’s attitude towards her and I also understand May is trying to make amends but it just seems too clich├ęd, too soon. They have one or two conversations and they are close. Evie doesn’t unleash her pent up feelings, she just lets them go. I get forgiveness but May is really written as a horrible mother to Evie.

Evie and Dante start as friends and romance blossoms. But I felt disconnected from the romance, the novel focused more on Evie finding herself and her place in her family and Fool’s Gold and I felt the romance was rushed and a little hard to get behind. Friendship blooming into love is fine and I loved them as friends but when they became lovers, the focus shifted again to Evie and I felt the emotional development failed.

Overall, I was disappointed in A Fool’s Gold Christmas. I expected a lot more and there was definitely a ton of potential to make Evie and Dante blow me away. I’m writing it off as the product of the Christmas themed novella, given a full length book, it could have been great, as it is, it’s just ok.  

Quote of the Day

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.” 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Release Day

**UPDATE**
Barnes and Noble has moved Reflected in You back to pre-order status and my order has been delayed and most likely won't ship until the release day (October 23). I just wanted to update everyone and apologize for the misinformation.

.Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2)

Super exciting news for this dreary Tuesday, Barnes and Noble.com has released Reflected in You ahead of schedule! The Kindle edition was released on October 2, but for those of us waiting for the hard copy, the release date was set as October 23. I was on BN.com last night and noticed Reflected in You had changed from pre-order to Add to Bag. I've already ordered my copy. The only down side is it ships in 2-3 days instead of 24 hours but I can wait a few extra days - I'm still getting it early.

Reflected in You is the second book in the Crossfire Trilogy by Sylvia Day which charts the relationship between Eva Tramell and Gideon Cross.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine.

My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity. We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession..

Monday, October 8, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, 
opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

The Given Day


The Given Day
The Given Day is set in Boston during the period of 1918-1919 and focuses on the lives of two men, one black, one white. Danny Coughlin, a Boston police officer and Luther Laurence, on the run from events in Tulsa, OK. Their lives intersect and intertwine amidst the turmoil of the flu epidemic of 1918 and the Boston Police Strike of 1919.

1918 was a troubled year in Boston and many other places. Workers were beginning to fight for rights in the workplace, for unionizing; the war in Germany was concluded but the lingering fears of Lenin and Bolshevists was still strong. Anarchy and terror swept Boston and Danny and Luther find themselves unwittingly in the midst of the turmoil, corruption and power plays.

Danny Coughlin is used to toeing the line when his father, Captain Thomas Coughlin needs something done. When Thomas and his best friend, Eddie McKenna ask Danny to infiltrate a Bolshevik organization, Danny agrees, but as he gets closer to the leaders and begins to go to meetings at the Boston Social Club, an organization for police officers fighting for rights and equal pay, Danny realizes his heart is no longer in it. He begins to see things from different perspectives and starts to believe things can change, that the future has more hope than he once believed.

Luther Laurence is running from a gruesome scene in Tulsa. Leaving behind his pregnant wife, Luther sets his feet down in Boston where he meets the Giddreaux’s, members of the NAACP and close friends of W.E.B. DuBouis. He takes a position at the Coughlin’s residence and there begins an unlikely friendship with Danny and Nora, the Coughlin’s housekeeper.

I loved Danny and Luther; it’s hard to pick which I loved more. Both of them are flawed but realize their flaws and as the novel progresses, begin to make amends for their past. Each is unhappy with the present, race issues, social issues, family. They both stand up for their beliefs, even at cost to themselves. They don’t necessarily see a different future or imagine relations between black and white, employer and employee will change, but they are sick of the present state and so in their friendship, the reader is left with the feeling that things will change, that they can change and it’s people like Danny and Luther who will bring about the change.

I was fascinated by the historical scope of The Given Day. Touching on the Spanish Influenza, WWI, Bolsheviks, worker’s reforms and the Boston Police Strike of 1919, so much detail and research were poured into seven hundred short pages and yet you don’t feel bogged down or overwhelmed. Lehane is a master storyteller and it’s evident in his ability to weave all of these threads into a clear, cohesive narrative..

Lehane has swept me away. He doesn’t have to prove he is a fantastic writer, the evidence is there on the page. The characters, the setting and the complex issues are all there and he entwines all of these, gives the characters powerful voice and brings back to life Boston in 1918. The visuals are there, the characters are life-like and you begin to feel part of the story itself. Never have I been so interested in Boston’s history. Lehane has changed that. It’s clear he loves his city, warts and all.

Two things occurred to me while I was reading The Given Day, this is so damn good and why have I never read Lehane before. I loved every page of The Given Day and I’ve just ordered two more Lehane books. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coffee and Conversation

Well, I did it, I'm finally the owner of my very own Kindle! I'm excited to finally be able
to read ARC's and author submissions and not have to carry my laptop with me everywhere.

Still giving all my love to the printed word though. I've discovered for me the key to living in harmony with my book loving self is to use my Kindle for ARC's and author submissions and all others will be hard copies. In fact to balance out the Kindle, I just bought the new Dennis Lehane and John Sandford!

I'm breaking in the Kindle with the new Kate Morton, thanks to NetGalley! Perfect book to cozy up with on a cool Fall evening and test out the new toy!

Happy Reading!


And one more...


“Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done.” 
― Diana GabaldonOutlander

Quote of the Day

"I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)I want no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)” 
― E.E. Cummings


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quote of the Day

“The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn't real. I know that, and I also know that if I'm careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.” 
― Stephen King, Night Shift

Book Club Pick - October

My heart is racing and my palms are a little sweaty as I type this but I promised myself I would read It in the fall when it gets dark early so as to be properly scared. My Book Club selection this month is Stephen King's It. 

I bought It in February when I was on my Stephen King kick but every time I picked it up to read, I looked out my library window and saw the green electric box that sits across the street and I would imagine that psycho clown living in there and would be too afraid to read it. So this month, I'm facing my fears and reading It.  I really hate creepy clowns but it's daylight now so I can be brave and decide to read this, but come sundown I know I'm going to regret it.

It

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A promise made twenty-eight years ago calls seven adults to reunite in Derry, Maine, where as teenagers they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city's children. Unsure that their Losers Club had vanquished the creature all those years ago, the seven had vowed to return to Derry if IT should ever reappear. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that summer return as they prepare to do battle with the monster lurking in Derry's sewers once more

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” 
― Tennessee WilliamsThe Glass Menagerie

New Release Tuesday

Two books came out today that I'm really excited about and can't wait to get my hands on. John Sandford's next in the Virgil Flowers series, Mad River and Dennis Lehane's, Live by Night. 

I've been a fan of Sandford for years but Dennis Lehane is a recently discovered author for me. I loved the movie Mystic River and the book has been on my wishlist forever. I was at the bookstore Friday and picked up The Given Day. I'm halfway through it and love it. I'm fangirling on Lehane big time. Live by Night is the story of Joe Coughlin, only a minor character (so far) in The Given Day. 


Mad River
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Bonnie and Clyde, they thought. And what’s-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, and chips on their shoulders, and guns.

The first person they killed was a highway patrolman. The second was a woman during a robbery. Then, hell, why not keep on going? As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, some of it captured on the killers’ cell phones and sent to a local television station, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins the growing army of cops trying to run them down. But even he doesn’t realize what’s about to happen next.

Live by Night

Synopsis from Goodreads:
BOSTON, 1926. The '20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.

Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one—neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover—can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.

Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue

Monday, October 1, 2012

Outlander


Writing a review of Outlander is hard for me.  I loved this book and all of the subsequent books in the series with fierce intensity. I also feel like they are so personal that to write about them is baring myself a little bit. Crazy, I know, but true.

I saw a post on Facebook recently that said I wish I never read Outlander so I could read it for the first time all over again. Or something to that effect. In many ways I share the sentiment but Outlander  is also a book I never tire of picking up, it’s like coming home. This is my third reading of Outlander and I love it just as much as I did the first two times. My gut clenches, my heart hurts, and I laughed and internally swooned at all the same places.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)
Gabaldon has created two of the most intriguing, unique, captivating and utterly unforgettable characters in Claire and Jamie. Their story is of an epic love, so deep and so true they would go to the ends of the earth for each other – and do. Yet she makes them so real I like to believe somewhere, sometime Claire and Jamie did exist and maybe still do. I can never get enough of their story, the bonds of love bound so tenuously at first to a fierce and consuming passion for each other.

Outlander begins the story of Claire Beauchamp Randall on a second honeymoon in Scotland with her husband Frank. Separated by war, they have come here to renew their love. One day Claire inadvertently steps through the stone circle of Craigh na Dun and steps into 1743 Scotland and a group of Scottish Highlanders fighting off a band of English Dragoons.

Thus begins the tale of Claire and Jamie. Stuck in 1743 with little luck of returning to her time, Claire is kept with the Scots men and led to the Mackenzie lands and to the Castle of Leoch where the chieftain and his brother will try to figure out just who she is, where she will begin a friendship with a young Scot named Jamie and the course of her life is forever changed.

Outlander is not just a love story. There’s something for everyone. The historical detail within the series is incredible. Diana Gabaldon is a phenomenal researcher and she not only has the ability to write a breathtaking epic love story but she places it in context with the times and captures the heart of the unrest of 1743 Scotland. Every step of the journey feels real and Gabaldon creates a setting where you can imagine these characters once lived and maybe in some way, sometime, still do.

When I try to describe the awesomeness of Outlander, I always think of the scene in the movie The Princess Bride when the grandfather is telling his grandson what the book is about. There’s love, intrigue, outlawry, fighting, deception, Jacobites, an evil villain, witches, passion, unrest, family. The list goes on.
Claire is a modern woman, stuck in a time when women were not assertive and did not speak their mind. Intelligence in women was frowned upon and women knew their place. Claire is all of these and none of these, she’s assertive, she speaks her mind and she doesn’t depend on anyone when she can do the job herself. She’s compassionate and willing to risk herself for others.

Jamie is everything you want in a leading man. He’s gallant and strong, protective and even tempered (for the most part). He’s sensitive and unabashedly in love. The things that come out of Jamie’s mouth, the pure sweetness, well it’s better than eating chocolate. Not only does he have the Gaelic and speak with a Scottish brogue but he can slay the reader with his heartfelt feelings for Claire and the way he talks to her.  If I lived in that time, well I think I would need a snuff box because I would be swooning all the time.

There was one part that was difficult to get through and I still cringe on every re-read. I wish it could be wiped from my memory much as I imagine Jamie wishes the same but it’s there and it’s not going to change so like Jamie, I live with it.  There is another scene in which Jamie demonstrates he is from another time in his actions to Claire. While it may be difficult to understand in our time, this is a novel not about our time. These things happened and the scene puts into perspective that Claire is living in a different time where the same rules don’t apply. Jamie redeems himself in his vow to Claire and the scene gives Jamie even more depth. He showed Claire justice as he was taught and both Claire and the reader unravel another layer of Jamie.

For me, Outlander and the rest of the books are some of the best books I have ever read. I love these books with a fierceness of a mama bear. Just knowing they are sitting on a shelf in my library is comforting, that I can go in a pick one of them up at will, or even just look at them. After I finished the series the first time, I was bereft; I didn’t know what to do with myself. These books suck you in and grip you until you feel as though you are a part of the scenery, a casual observer of the life and times of Claire and Jamie and you believe somewhere, in some time, these lovers do exist and they are together, happy. 

Quote of the Day

“For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary. It is all. It is undying. And it is enough.” 
― Diana GabaldonOutlander