Slasher Girls & Monster Boys: Spoiler-Free Review

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Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a book club selection for the Goodreads ReadingRealm ReadAlong group hosted by Ish, from ReadingRealm Youtube Channel. This anthology is a collection of thriller and horror short stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke. I loved this collection, and it has inspired me to add these authors to my reading wish list.

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Stories:

1. The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma: inspired by the 1954 film Rear Window and the 1963 film The Birds.
Tasha and her friends Paisley and Katie-Marie are suspicious of their creepy neighbour Leonard.
Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels The Walls around us, 17 & Gone, and Imaginary Girls.

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2. In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan: inspired by the 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and the 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland.
This story flips back and forth between when Cassidy Evans was seven/eight years old and seventeen/eighteeen years old, telling the story of the March Hare.
Carrie Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the Forest of Hands and Teeth series.

3. Emmeline by Cat Winters: inspired by the 1930 film All Quiet on the Western Front by Daphne du Maurier, and the 1922 film Nosferatu.
Northern France, 1918
Young French girl Emmeline, and American soldier named Emerson.
Cat Winters is the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, and The Uninvited.

4. Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo: inspired by Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer Will Have her Revenge on Seattle”.
Overbearing Mom Kara Adams and her famous daughter Jaycee. Jaycee has made some bad decisions, and has ended up in rehab called Wellways, which isn’t your typical rehab center.
Leigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy.

5. Hide-And-Seek by Megan Shepherd: inspired by the 2000 film Final Destination, the 1994 film The Crow, and the 1991 film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.
“Beware a man who comes in a black coat with a bird on his shoulder. If you see him, it means you are already dead. He is Crow Cultom, death’s harbinger, and the only way to win back your life is to challenge death to a game. But be warned, death has never lost…”
Megan Shepherd is the author of the Madman’s Daughter and the Cage trilogies.

6. The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige: inspired by the 1976 film The Omen and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Marnie and Damien come from broken families – can they find love?
“Imagine being cobbled together. Imagine discovering what you are and knowing that no one will ever love you, not even your maker.”
Danielle Paige, winner of the Writers Guild of America Award, emmy-nominated, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die.

7. The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke: inspired by Stephen King’s Carrie and the 1997 film I know What you Did Last Summer.
Grace, her boyfriend Asher, her brother Theo, and his girlfriend Scout get into trouble, making a bad decision that starts with a strange girl named Canary dying.
April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

8. Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Maberry: inspired by the 2009 film Zombieland and the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead.
Dahlia, had a pretty name but she wasn’t pretty.
Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and comic book writer.

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9. Sleepless by Jay Kristoff: inspired by the 1960 film Psycho and Mudvayne’s “Nothing to Gein”.
Justin, living with his helpless mother, gets to finally meet Cassie, the girl he’s been chatting with online for months.
Jay Kristoff is an award-winning sci-fi/fantasy author of Illuminae.

10. M by Stefan Bachmann: inspired by the 1931 film M and the 1970s tv series Upstairs, Downstairs.
Misha, a blind girl, knows what the murderer smells like, and is hoping to figure out who he is before he finds out what she knows.
Stefan Bachmann is the author of steampunk-faery-fantasies The Peculiar and The Whatnot, and the upcoming YA thriller A Drop of Night.

11. The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu: inspired by the 2000 film What Lies Beneath and the 2010 film Los Ojos de Julia.
Richard is eighteen but he’s afraid of the closet in his room that only opens in his dreams.
Marie Lu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Legend Trilogy.

12. A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman: inspired by the 1968 film Kuroneko.
Nara, a shaman’s daughter, who had learned to speak the ways of the wind and snow, is being hunted by wicked Sain and his five brothers.
McCormick Templeman is the author of The Little Woods and The Glass Casket.

13. Stitches by A. G. Howard: inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Sage, her identical twin sister Clover, and their little brother Oakley, are left to live with drunk, and evil Pa after their Ma is killed. The Collector comes to help Pa become a better man.
A. G. Howard is the author of Splintered.

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14. On the I-5 by Kendare Blake: inspired by the 2007 film Death Proof and the 1986 film The Hitcher.
After getting rid of her beast, EmmaRae Dickson helps another girl get rid of her own beast.
Kendare Blake is the author of six novels, including Anna Dressed in Blood.

Published by Penguin Group in 2015 http://www.penguin.com

 

 

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#Diverseathon TBR January 22-29

I’m excited to be taking part in Diverseathon January 22nd to January 29th!

I’m going to be reading…

the-underground-railroad The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Book Blurb: “Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.”

I will also be reading…

man-gone-downMan Gone Down by Michael Thomas

This novel won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2009. Blurb from Amazon: “On the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of Man Gone Down finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend’s six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep the kids in school and make a down payment on an apartment for them in which to live. As we slip between his childhood in inner city Boston and present-day New York City, we learn of a life marked by abuse, abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it’s like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life and the urge to escape that sentence.”

For more info about Diverseathon check out https://twitter.com/hashtag/diverseathon

Also, check out Youtubers, such as my favourite Booktuber SavidgeReads:

 

Jaw-dropping! Review: Truly Madly Guilty

WOW. Just wow. Seriously. I will be honest – the first hundred and fifty pages were sluggish, but once the story kicked in, I was committed. I stayed up way past my bedtime last night reading Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty. The reason I requested it from the local library is because it was chosen as best fiction for Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. I’m definitely interested in reading her other books, Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, What Alice Forgot, The Husband’s Secret, and Big Little Lies.

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Truly Madly Guilty, set in Sydney, Australia, was published in 2016 by Flatiron Books.Here’s the cover blurb:

“Six Responsible Adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit busy, life: they have two little girls; Sam has just started a new dream job; and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika have been friends since they were little. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last-minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany’s and Vid’s larger-than-life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how too often we don’t appreciate how extraordinary our ordinary lives are until it’s too late.”

The quote at the beginning of the story is perfect: “Music is the silence between the notes” – Claude Debussy

While reading you will ask yourself, “What happened at the barbecue? what happened? Just TELL ME what happened!” At first I was annoyed. I just wanted to know what the hell happened at the barbecue. Gradually, I became consumed by each character’s life before the barbecue, almost forgetting about “the day of the barbecue”, then WHAM! In your face emotion. I cried. I cried quite a few times throughout this story. I cried tears of happiness, frustration, anger, and sadness. This book has it all my friend.

We hear this story from many different perspectives: Erika, Clementine (Erika’s best friend), Sam (Clementine’s husband), Tiffany (Erika’s neighbour), Oliver (Erika’s husband), Dakota (Tiffany’s daughter), Vid (Tiffany’s husband), Harry (Erika’s neighbour), and Pam (Clementine’s mom). Each and every character has their own strengths and flaws, which created a natural love/hate relationship with each one for me. I’m not sure I can choose a favourite character, I could see pieces of myself in each one (well except perhaps Vid, sorry Vid, we don’t have much common ground buddy, but you seem like someone who I can have a good laugh with at a party).

Page 233. Jolt. Shock. Surprise. Whammy. Yup all those kinds of words.

The chapters flip back and forth in time – before the barbecue, after the barbecue, the day of the barbecue, making “the day of the barbecue” the focal point, however I felt that it was slightly disorientating at times.

Truly Madly Guilty dug up lots of powerful emotions and themes, such as desolation. Desolation: ruin, dreariness, sorrow, grief. I love that word, desolation.

What can happen in one moment? Just one moment can change your entire life. One, small, little moment can create guilt – guilt which could truly make you go mad. 😉

Have you read this book yet? I’d love to hear what you think!

For more info about Liane Moriarty visit www.lianemoriarty.com

Book Review: A Christmas Carol

It feels silly to review a classic. The story has already proven itself. I suppose I could say the prose held up to my expectations. I love the way Charles Dickens writes, although at times it is dense and requires me to slow down to allow processing time. Either way, I love the way old prose challenges my mind, it helps to work the muscles that aren’t often used.

We all know the story – grumpy Scrooge is visited by three spirits: one from the past, one from the present, and one from the future. These spirits show him things that have happened, are currently happening, or will happen, things which he has caused due to his choices. After the third visit, Ebenezer Scrooge decides to be a positive, loving, emphatic person – hoping to change the future.

If you haven’t read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens yet, pick it up. It’s a small novella, a quick read, it may be a little challenging, but his writing is just fantastic.

 

January TBR

I haven’t posted a TBR on my blog yet, but figured it might help others pick books to read…or perhaps you’d like to read along with me and let me know what you thought of the book (that would be awesome) 🙂

I read The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan, here is my review: https://amandadroverhartwick.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/spoiler-free-review-magnus-chase-and-the-gods-of-asgard-the-sword-of-summer

I’ve also read Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, here is my review: https://amandadroverhartwick.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/spoiler-free-review-hollow-city-miss-peregrine-2

Moms who drink and swear by Nicole Knepper, here is my review:
https://amandadroverhartwick.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/book-review-moms-who-drink-and-swear-true-tales-of-loving-my-kids-while-losing-my-mind

I read a short story called Firebug by Jon Hartling, and am currently reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

I also plan on reading Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty, and True Canadian UFO Stories by John Robert Colombo (for Dewey Decimal Challenge in one of my Goodreads groups).

What are your reading plans for January?

Currently Reading: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I haven’t been feeling like I’m ready to let the Christmas season go just yet (still have my tree up, haha!), so I decided to finally read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

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Blurb on Goodreads:

“In October 1843, Charles Dickens ― heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher ― began work on a book to help supplement his family’s meagre income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favourite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill.

With its characters exhibiting many qualities ― as well as failures ― often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge’s eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warm-hearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England’s greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5326.A_Christmas_Carol

A Christmas Carol was the most successful book of the 1843 holiday season.  By Christmas it sold six thousand copies and it continued to be popular into the new year.  Eight stage adaptations were in production within two months of the book’s publication.”

http://www.charlesdickensinfo.com/christmas-carol/

 

 

Book Review: Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving my Kids While Losing My Mind

WARNING: This post is for ADULT EYES ONLY.

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If you think Moms Who Drink And Swear: True Tales Of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind was written by some crazy, unintelligent mother, then you couldn’t be more wrong. The author, Nicole Knepper, has a master’s degree in professional counseling psychology and a master’s degree in gerontology. The inspiration for this book come from her popular blog http://www.chicagonow.com/moms-who-drink-and-swear/

I laughed so much reading this book, and recommend it to ALL mothers. I also recommend this book to men, it will help you to better understand women – especially moms.

Here’s the back blurb:

“If you feel like your kids are killing you, you’ve come to the right place.

Attention all potty-mouthed, cheap-wine-drinking mothers: Prepare to meet your match. Any bad thought you’ve had about your kids. Nicole Knepper has had worse. Much worse. It’s not that she doesn’t love her kids. It’s that she understands what a mind-f*?% it can be to try to civilize those wild little beasts.”

To give you a better picture of the book, here are the names of some of the chapters:

Girlfriends, Genitals and Growing Up
Kitty’s Got PMS – this chapter includes the “hat trick” of free info for men
The Vagina Dialogues
Fuck You Dinner, Make Yourself
Dinner is Like Herpes
Caring for Children without Crushing Their Souls
Suck it, Santa Claus

Quotes from the book:

“…Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by how much I’m needed” page 56. I have had this exact same thought at least once a day for the past ten years.

“The girl can film and edit a stop-motion Littlest Pet Shop video on her iPad, but she can’t pour herself a glass of orange juice because it’s too hard?”  HAHAHAHA! My son can also make stop-motion videos, and yet will not get himself a glass of milk! Oh please, give me the patience.

The relationship Nicole had with her father reminded me of the relationship I had with my late step father, Roger. He was my step dad from when I was about eight years old until he died when I was twenty-one. Nicole writes: “And I really miss fighting with him: our competitive and never-ending attempts to prove each other wrong and push each other’s buttons were truly vital to our relationship. It was through all these battles, disagreements and fiery , intense conversations that our mutual love and respect for each other grew into an important relationship.” page 133

Nicole gave me, as a mom, the ability to accept my mistakes and realize no one is perfect. We are not alone. Being a mom is hard, we all have our own way of dealing with challenges – and as long as we aren’t hurting anyone or ourselves, then we need to stop judging each other for every single parenting decision.

You can also check out the Facebook Page Moms Who Drink and Swear

Book Review: Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties


My first non fiction read of 2017 is Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential by Rich Weinfeld, Linda Barnes-Robinson, Sue Jeweler, and Betty Roffman Shevitz. This is a great book for parents, teachers, special education teachers, and anyone working in the education field. It has success strategies not only for kids with learning challenges – but great info for ALL children. This book provides useful, practical information for developing plans and action to help all students succeed.

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http://www.smartkidswithld.org/

Spoiler-Free Review: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer

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This book is a great deal of fun. I couldn’t tell ya how many times I laughed out loud. The Sword of Summer is Book One of Rick Riordan’s series “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard”. We meet Magnus Chase, sixteen year old boy, living in Boston, homeless for two years after his mother was murdered. He has a couple of homeless friends, Blitz and Hearth. After discovering his Uncle Frederick and cousin Annabeth are searching for him, Magnus decides to visit his Uncle Randolph’s house. He learns that he is the son of a Norse god and is being hunted…

I don’t want to give away too much…the writing is extremely entertaining, colourful, imaginative.

This out-of-this-world story is filled with amazing characters such as Sam the Valkyrie, giants, elves, Surt the Obsidian Man AKA Satan’s Fashion Consultant AKA The Black One, Hunding the doorman to the Hotel Valhalla – which connects all nine worlds, including our own – and of course the Asgard gods; Loki, Thor, Odin, and Frey.

I recommend this book to 13+ (just for violence, there is no sex or swearing). Whether you’re into mythical hero stories or not, it’s still worth a read, especially if you’re looking for a fantasy story to take your mind away from “real life”.

“Myths are simply stories about truths we’ve forgotten” p.21