Friday, August 28, 2015

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols, which I'm just now starting.  I don't usually go for YA Contemporary Romance, but I've been hearing quite a bit about this series lately so I thought I would check it out.  Based on the title, the cover, and synopsis, I'm expecting a light, fluffy, and predictable read, but maybe it will surprise me.  As for the 56, band practice brings back memories of high school - I hope they talk more about the trombones (my instrument!).  

Book Beginning:

"You must be Tia Cruz."

I glanced up at the guy who'd sat next to me and said this quietly in my ear, in an accent from elsewhere.  We were on the crowded back porch with the lights off, but beyond the porch ceiling, the summer night sky was bright with a full moon and a glow from the neon signs at the tourist-trap beaches a few miles south.


"Hey!" she hollered, hurrying over from a row of trombones.  She must have forgotten Will's name, because if she'd known it, instead of "Hey!" she would have shouted an outraged Mr. Matthews!  She hustled right up to the front of his snare drum and frowned at him, hands on her hips, whistle swinging on a cord.  She was at least a foot shorter than him.  "Is that how you talked during band practice where you came from?"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Crooked by Austin Grossman - Review

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Richard Nixon's political career spanned from the 1950's to the 1970's. He went from a mastermind to a national joke. What if the man we call the nation's worst president is actually one of our greatest? In this alternate history, a young Nixon stumbled upon a supernatural secret and its ties to world politics ranging from the truth behind the Cold War to the Watergate cover-up.

Grossman put a good deal of effort into crafting Crooked by basing it in what we know to be historical fact peppered with Nixon's account of the "real" truth that he had to deal with throughout his career. As much as I enjoyed the supernatural aspects, I do wish there would have been a better explanation of it and how it worked. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more featuring other previous presidents and the supernatural threats they faced as well. Now that I mention it, I would have like to have seen more of the supernatural.

Overall, this is a well-written story featuring prominent historical characters and events with a unique twist, but it left me feeling that too many questions had been left unanswered. Now, if only there was a companion novel featuring an earlier president to help fill in some of the supernatural gaps - Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, or George Washington perhaps?

I read this novel from August 17 - 19, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Fold by Peter Clines - Review

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Mike Erikson, a small town high school teacher with an off-the-chart IQ and an eidetic memory, is talked into investigating a secretive DARPA invention called the Albuquerque Door by a friend in high places. This Door uses a mysterious computer equation and magnetic fields to fold dimensions making it possible for travelers to cross hundreds of feet in one step. The scientists behind the Door are adamant that travelling through it is perfectly harmless, although one person who went through had a seemingly unrelated breakdown a short while after travelling. They've been working on this project for years and need more funding to continue to refine this invention which they know will change everything, even though they haven't produced any hard evidence that it actually works aside from their word. Mike's friend wants the project to continue, but he feels that something about the project is wrong and that's where Mike comes into it. Mike will go to the lab to see what's what and report back with his findings. The longer Mike is amongst the team of scientists the more he becomes convinced that something is most definitely off.

The Fold by Peter Clines is a fun blend of mind-bending sci-fi, pop-culture references, and just the right amount of humor. This novel hooked me right from the opening chapter and reeled me in for quite a ride. I enjoyed getting to know Mike - plus his ants - and he nearly gives Sherlock Holmes a run for his money with his set of skills. Each of the scientists are also well-developed with unique voices.

In the long run, I found myself most interested in the descriptions of the Door itself. I liked getting to know how it works and what it does. I was fascinated by all of the possibilities it presents. I had an inkling of what was happening from relatively early on, but I still enjoyed watching Mike piece everything together and, of course, seeing how much I guessed correctly. I don't know if there will be a sequel or not, but I enjoyed what the author did with the ending by leaving an opening for a potential return to Mike's world.

If you like Fringe, Sliders, or Joss Whedon, you may also like The Fold by Peter Clines. I plan on looking into more of this author's work.

I read this book from August 8 - 17, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If I Taught Horror 101

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week the theme is Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If I Taught X 101.  This will definitely prove to be interesting - and I hope people would want to take my class on classic and modern horror.

Classic titles:

The Beetle by Richard Marsh [This was actually released the same year as Dracula, but was actually more popular at the time which has since fallen into obscurity.  It's a pulpy Gothic horror and a real page-turner.]

The Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Modern Horror:

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

The Shining by Stephen King

What do you think of my list?  Would you like to take my class if we studied these books?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Read This? Watch This! Tag

I discovered the Read This? Watch This! Tag over at Books for Thought and I decided to tag myself because it looked like fun.  I hope you don't mind if I borrow your graphic.  If you're interested in doing this tag, consider yourself tagged!  Have fun!

The Tag:

If you've read: Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling

Then watch: Revolution

If you've read: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis:

Then watch: Once Upon A Time

If you've read: Nightlife by Rob Thurman

Then watch: Supernatural

If you've read: The Fold by Peter Clines

Then watch: Fringe

If you've read: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Then watch: Merlin

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Timebound by Rysa Walker

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting my current read, Timebound by Rysa Walker.  I'm really excited about it because it features one of my favorite things: time travel!  I'm not very far into it yet, but I'm enjoying every second of it.  Have I mentioned how much I like time travel?  

Book Beginning:

Chicago - October 1893

The heel of my white kidskin boot ripped a six-inch gash in the hem of my skirt as I whipped around the corner.  Behind me, the footsteps halted for just an instant, and then continued, faster than before.  I ducked into the next corridor, silently cursing the gods of 1890s fashion.  Had I been in my usual shorts and T-shirt, I would have been out of this wretched hotel long ago.  A solid kick to the head would have rendered the good doctor unconscious and the side of my neck wouldn't be screaming in agony.


 We only had the one car--so following them was out of the question.  If it had been a decade later, we would have had cell phones.  I could have called and told them to come right back so that I could take the damned thing away from her.

One Lovely Blog Award, Pt. 2

Thanks very much to Emily @ Emily Etc. for nominating me for my second One Lovely Blog Award!  If you haven't checked out her blog, be sure to do so because it's great and she is a fantastic person.

The Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. List rules and display award button.
3. Give seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate fifteen other bloggers and make sure to notify them.
5. Display the award button on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

I'm say this right up front - I'm going to break rule number four.  I've already done this award and I believe I'm just going to list seven random facts about myself this time.

1.  My favorite event held at the fair is the rough truck contest - the goal for the drivers is to get around the track the fastest (and have the biggest jump at the end), but I prefer the ones who put on the best show.  For example, no one expected this F-150 Lincoln!

2. I recently discovered the glam rock song called"The Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet and I can't stop listening to it!

3. My favorite soda is Sprite - probably a good thing that it's caffeine free.

4.  In my opinion, the best Nicholas Cage movie is Raising Arizona.  It's one of my favorite comedies - I can't help but laugh every time I watch it.

5. Every now and then, I'm treated to a "private" airshow.  There's a person near me who is a stunt biplane pilot and they usually practice really close to where I live and it is always awesome!

6. The last time I was thrown off at work was five days ago when a customer asked me what the seven primary colors are.  I had to break the news to her that there are only three: red, yellow, and blue.

7. I hope that the characters Saibra and Psi from "Time Heist", the fifth episode from the eighth season of Doctor Who, will reappear in future episodes!

Book Fangirling Award

I've been nominated by Tanya @ A Book Paradise for the Book Fangirling Award!  Thanks very much Tanya!  Everyone, please, don't forget to stop by her blog!

Award Rules:

1) Create a blog post to accept your award

2) Add the blog award button into your post and put it onto the side of your blog as a widget.

3)Answer the questions the person who has nominated you has come up with.

4) Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think deserve this award.

5) Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees

Tanya's Questions For Me:

1) If you could pick one five star book that you have read this year, what would it be and why?

One of the most impressive five-star reads from this year has to be Zero World by Jason M. Hough - it kept me on the edge of my seat!

2) How many times have you had a book hangover and with what book?

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - every single time!

3) Oh no, the world is about the end :( Pick one fictional boyfriend you would save and why?

I'm not very good with this whole book boyfriend stuff, but I'll go with Gansey from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater because he has to be around for the release of fourth book, The Raven King!

4) What is most anticipated book to movie adaptation?

Currently that has to be The Martian!  Have you seen the trailers?!  They look like they'll do it justice - or at least I hope they do it justice!  Then Mockingjay: Part 2, The Scorch Trials, and The 5th Wave!

5) How many bookish decorations do you have on your bookshelves and what are they?

See for yourself: 

They are all apart of the Willow Tree series you can get at Hallmark except for the big cat/ small cat which I picked up at a thrift store.  The Willow Tree figures from left to right are Quest, Angel of Learning, Love of Learning, With Affection,  and a smaller Angel of Learning.  Once Quest, the seated reading figurine, fell from the top of the bookcase and busted off his head at the neck and the book including both hands to the wrist.  For a while, I set his hands and book off to the side of his body and propped up his head behind the book so it looked like he was still reading!  Then I superglued him back together and you can't tell what happened to him unless you know where to look.  

My Nominees:

My Questions For My Nominees:

1. Would you rather read a fantasy/ sci-fi novel or a comedy?  

2. What is your go to book recommendation?

3. What song best fits the personality of the main character of your current read?

4. Are there any books you want to rewrite?  If so, which one and what would you do differently?

5. What book would you like to see a movie or tv adaption of and who would you cast to play the main character(s)?

The Girl in the Leaves by Robert Scott with Sarah Maynard and Larry Maynard - Review

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In November 2010, four people from Apple Valley, Ohio went missing - Tina Herrmann, her two children Sarah and Kody, and her friend Stephanie Sprang. After four days, evidece came to light about a man named Matthew Hoffman. Sarah was found at his home during a SWAT Team raid, but there were no signs of the others. After Hoffman eventually confessed to his crimes and revealed the location of the bodies of the three others. Hoffman broke into their home and killed Tina, Stephanie, and Kody when they later came home. For some reason, he couldn't bring himself to kill Sarah, who didn't know what had happened to her family and her mother's friend. In order to dispose of the evidence, he dismembered the three bodies, plus their dog who was making too much noise, put them in garbage bags, and then placed the bags inside of a hollow tree about ten miles away. Sarah's survival and rescue is astonishing given the circumstances and speaks to her courage and determination.

This true crime book is absolutely horrifying and would be even if you weren't already familiar with the case. I, however, am quite familiar with it as I don't live far too far from where the events of the crime took place. All of the detail presented really brought all of it back. It's one thing to have just heard about the case, but another to be familiar with the locations. The community is not one that sees crime on this scale and it's scary to think that something like this happened so close to home. There was one section of the book that mentioned the local Dairy Queen's (Tina's place of employment) fundraiser to help support Sarah and Stephanie's children. They donated a dollar from every Blizzard sold and I purchased one of the 2,532 Blizzard's sold to do my part. I remember when I was there the restaurant was packed with people who wanted to do the same.

I had no idea this account existed until I found it in a local antique shop. While I didn't really want to relive it, I knew I had to. Robert Scott (with Sarah Maynard and Larry Maynard) gets the facts and even includes some photos. How the case is presented, however, is very dry. It reads very much like a 306 page long newspaper article or police report. Readers who aren't already familiar with the case may not be as strongly affected as one who is familiar with this nightmare.

I read this book from August 19 - 20, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-Buy Authors

I can't believe it's already Tuesday again!  Oh, how the time flies!  This week for Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Your Auto-Buy Authors.  I wish I had the money to buy all of my favorite authors' books and it's so too difficult to narrow it down to just ten, so here are my top thirteen.  Here we go, in no particular order:

J.K. Rowling

Marissa Meyer

Maggie Stiefvater

Rob Thurman

Jim Butcher

Neal Stephenson

Andrew Smith

Neil Gaiman

Cassandra Clare

Rick Riordan

Rick Yancey

Scott Westerfeld

Patrick Ness

So, what do you think of this week's list?  Do we share any authors?  All comments are more than welcome and I try to respond to everyone.  Happy Tuesday!