BookTubeAThon Wrap Up! #BookTubeAThon2017 #BTAT17

Have I mentioned how much I love read-a-longs? Perhaps once or twice? *lol* :p

Anything that encourages literacy and reading is always a good thing in my books! (get it, books, haha, you loved that one I know it).

BookTubeAThon

Yummy energy boosting snacks are a must during a read-a-thon!

The 2017 Reading Challenges:
1/ Read a book with a person on the cover
2/ Read a hyped book.
3/ Finish a book in one day.
4/ Read about a character that is very different from you.
5/ Finish a book completely outdoors.
6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7/ Read seven books.

Shelfie

SHELFIE! A pic I took for Instagram challenge! Check out all the other pictures on Instagram #BTAT17

I did NOT read seven books, I don’t think I could ever read that many in seven days, unless I went on a week vacation without my kids, or read super short books haha! I did finish The Gunslinger, started and finished The Edge of Everything and read about one hundred pages into Remnant Population.

  1. All three books had a person on the cover √
  2. The Edge of Everything is my hyped book √
  3. I did NOT finish a book in a day
  4. The Gunslinger is a man, and I’ve never shot a gun in my life, so different from me √
  5. I did not finish an entire book outdoors, but I did read a good chunk of Edge of Everything and Remnant Population outside √
  6. Edge of Everything has a beautiful cover, it’s one of the reasons why I finally decided to borrow it from the library
  7. Did not read seven books!
The edge of everything 2

A pic I took for Instagram challenge! Check out all the other pictures on Instagram #BTAT17

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Remnant Population #FirstParagraph #BookTubeAThon #BTAT17

I’m loving the BookTube-A-Thon this week. The Instagram photos, Youtube Vlogs, Twitter read-a-longs have been a lot of fun to check out when I can. I’ve been doing a good amount of reading as well (reading while cooking is great!). Currently, I’m reading Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon which is a fantasy novel published in 1996. It was recommended by r/Fantasy (Reddit) group as an option for the “Too Old For This Crap” Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge square. This book will also count as the “character different from me” for BookTubeAThon challenge. Here’s the first paragraph:

“Between her toes the damp earth felt cool, but already sweat crept between the roots of her hair. It would be hotter today than yesterday, and by noon the lovely spice-scented red flowers of the dayvine would have furled their fragile cups, and drooped on the vine. Ofelia pushed the mulch deeper against the stems of the tomatoes with her foot. She liked the heat. If her daughter-in-law Rosara weren’t within sight, she would take off her hat and let the sweat evaporate. But Rosara worried about cancer from the sun, and Rosara was sure it wasn’t decent for an old woman to be outside with nothing on her head but thinning gray hair.”

Remnant Population

The Edge of Everything By Jeff Giles #spoilerfree #bookreview

The Edge of EverythingThe Edge of Everything

By: Jeff Giles

Published February 1st, 2017 by Bloomsbury Children Books

360 pages

ISBN: 9781619637535

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy (Paranormal), Romance, Adventure, Family Dynamics

“Holed up in their missing neighbors’ cabin in a Montana blizzard, seventeen-year-old Zoe and her little brother are rescued from an intruder by X, a bounty hunter sent from the Lowlands to claim the souls of evil men.”

Zoe and her family have had a horrible year. Her father died in an accident while exploring a dangerous cave. His body hasn’t been recovered and Zoe wants the cops to retrieve his remains in order to help her and her family have closure. Zoe’s neighbors, who were like family, were kidnapped by an intruder and never seen again.

Her eight-year-old brother Jonah has ADHD and reminded me of my own eight-year-old son. He’s funny, a little odd, but very smart in his own way. He quickly became my favorite character. Jonah was playing outside while Zoe was inside waiting for their mom to come home when the storm suddenly picked up. For some insane reason she didn’t ask Jonah to come inside, and instead went around the house taping the windows. If the storm was bad enough to feel the need to tape the windows why in the world did she not get Jonah and the dogs inside?

Zoe was written as a strong, independent, resourceful teenage girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but sadly she’s also incredibly selfish and uncaring towards others. I had a really hard time relating to her and found her unlikable. When she finally goes outside to get Jonah she finds he is missing, and follows his tracks into the woods towards Bert and Betty’s house. It’s getting colder and colder, and she’s searching for her brother for what seems like a long time, when she finally finds him laying underneath the dogs (who had saved his life by laying on top of him to keep him warm). She carries Jonah to their neighbors abandoned house for shelter to wait out the storm.

While at the house a truck arrives driven by Stan the Man, who claims to know Bert, Betty, the dogs, and Zoe – but she doesn’t know him. He attempts to drown the dogs, but they are saved by a mysterious stranger who is pale, with long messy hair, wearing a long dark blue coat. This stranger projects a movie of Stan’s sinful actions onto his back, and when Stan looks away the stranger moves the projection onto the house, and the snow.

Zoe realizes that she can talk to the stranger in his mind, and he in hers. They both feel an insta-bond. With her mind she tells him to have mercy and let Stan go free. The stranger tells Stan to flee, and Stan runs away into the woods. The stranger carries Zoe and Jonah home, then leaves.

Zoe decided to take a picture of the stranger projecting Stan’s sins on his skin and later when she’s at her house uploads the pic to Instagram? WHAT THE HELL?! She’s had an incredibly stressful evening where her brother was missing in a blizzard, they are attacked by Stan who attempts to kill their dogs, then a strange man did some crazy shit and she decides to go on Instagram! It’s like she has no emotion!

In the morning Zoe wakes to hear her mother downstairs talking to three cops, Chief Baldino (bad cop), Maerz (dopy cop), and Sergeant Vilkomerson (good cop). The cops attempt to question her because they had seen the picture she put on Instagram. Zoe’s mom shuts the conversation down pretty quickly and the cops leave.

Zoe, Jonah, and their mom hear loud noises coming from the shed and upon investigation find the stranger who’s in really bad shape, burning up with a fever. “The fever that racked his body was called the Trembling. It was his punishment for letting Stan go.”…..The Trembling wouldn’t leave until X resumed his search for Stan, somehow being near Zoe made the Trembling and pain decrease.

Zoe convinces her mom to let him stay with them and again I am confused because her mom lets this strange, ragged-looking man stay with them! I am a mom with two kids and there is no way on earth that I would allow some strange man to stay in my house! Call the cops, “Hey the guy in the pic he’s here man come get him.” Anyhow I could rant about that topic so let’s move on.

The stranger, who they decide to call X, claims he is from the Lowlands (Hell), and is a bounty hunter sent to take Stan’s soul as punishment for his sinful actions. The bounty hunters and other prisoners are ruled by the lords who are ferocious creatures. X tells them all bounty hunters are also prisoners who had their soul taken because they did something bad, but X claims he is innocent and hasn’t even been told the reason why he’s in the Lowlands. (and for some reason they believe him! Seriously!)

There’s some major insta-love happening in this story, which I’m not a fan of, especially in YA novels. I don’t think teens should read stories like this where characters claim they love each other after knowing each other for less than a day – and then risk their life trying to save the other. It just felt ludicrous to me and inauthentic.

I also had a problem with how Stan’s character was written. From the way Stan the Man speaks most of the time he seems uneducated but somehow used the words “contentious” and “acrimonious” in a sentence which I found unbelievable.

There wasn’t much world building about the Lowlands, which is a shame because that place sounds fascinating.

One thing I did like was the sense of humour, it reminded me of Rick Riordan’s writing style. I also think that many of the characters were extremely well-developed and interesting.

All in all, The Edge of Everything is a quick read, fast-paced, mysterious adventure. Even though it has some flaws, it is an easy read. As a series debut I feel like it can only get better from here and I will be checking out the next book of the series once it’s published.

Have you read The Edge of Everything? What did you think?

 

 

The Gunslinger Book One of #TheDarkTower by #StephenKing

The Gunslinger is an American wild-west, fantasy, horror, science fiction novel set in an alternate universe. I read the 1982 version of The Gunslinger as a teen, and didn’t like it, which was odd because Stephen King is my favorite author. When I heard that a movie was being made about The Dark Tower series I knew I would have to read the series, and re-read The Gunslinger. The edition I just read was published in 2003, and in the foreword King explains that in 2001 he decided to go back and revise the entire series so he could finish Roland’s story properly – adding about 9,000 words (35 pages) to The Gunslinger. This edition is leagues better than the 1982 publication. So – if you read the 1982 edition of The Gunslinger and didn’t like it, you may want to give this new 2003 edition a shot.

Want to read the first paragraph? The Gunslinger by Stephen King #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

 

The Gunslinger is set in “Mid-World”, similar to “the Old West”, but it’s an alternate universe where “the world has moved on”. Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, is traveling across the Mohaine desert chasing the sorcerer called the man in black. “The gunslinger had followed the man in black across the desert for two months now, across the endless, screamingly monotonous purgatorial wastes, and had yet to find spoor other than the hygienic sterile ideographs of the man in black’s campfires.” (page 6)

Roland stumbles upon a dwelling, owned by a man named Brown who has a pet talking raven called Zoltan. Brown tells Roland that the man in black had passed through about six weeks before and stayed for supper.

The gunslinger had been going 16-18 hours a day since “the horror that had occurred in Tull”. Brown (is he the man in black in disguise?) doesn’t push it, but gently prods the gunslinger to tell the story. And so, Roland tells Brown the story of a woman he met in Tull who told him the story of when the man in black had come through town and brought a dead man to life. Sometimes I hate it when there is a story, within a story, within a story, but when King does it he weaves it in such a way that you are drawn down into the pits of the tale.

After Roland leaves Brown’s place he travels for an extremely long period, becomes severely dehydrated, then miraculously stumbles across an old way station where a young pre-teen named Jake Chambers provides him water, food, and shelter. Jake had somehow been transported to Mid-World after dying in an alternate universe that is similar to our own world. Roland tells Jake that he needs to find the man in black so he can make him take him to find the tower. Jake joins the gunslinger on his quest, and together they travel across the desert, chasing the man in black.

“The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size. Size encompasses life, and the Tower encompasses size…” “Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness?” (page 313)

The Gunslinger is a slow-burning novel that will draw you into The Dark Tower story. You’ll be wanting to know more and more about each character, and King will give it to you in dribs and drabs. Who the hell is the man in black? Is the gunslinger really the good guy? Where is this tower, and why does the gunslinger need to find it so badly?

I can’t wait to read the next book, in fact I was perusing books at a second-hand store yesterday, and coincidentally out of the half a dozen Stephen King books there, The Drawing of the Three was one of them.

 

 

Mid-Year #BookTag #TagTuesday

Technically Mid-Year was a few weeks ago, but I’ve seen this tag all around Youtube and thought it would be a fun way to see how my reading is going this year. I tag anyone who wants to do this Tag: the questions are at the bottom in a list for easy copy/paste.

Original Tag Creators:
ReadLikeWildFire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03gz6k0IB-Y
Earl Grey Books https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_Wh0rPGfRg&t=6s

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

The Essex Serpent

 

The Essex Serpent

By Sarah Perry

Here’ s the link for my review: The Essex Serpent Book Review – Spoiler Free

 

 

 

 

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

I’ve only read one sequel so far this year!

library of souls

 

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Book 3)

By Ransom Riggs

My review Library of Souls: Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #bookreview

 

 

 

 

 

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Dress Codes for Small Towns.jpg

 

Dress Codes for Small Towns

By: Courtney Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Sleeping Beauties.jpg

 

Sleeping Beauties

By: Stephen King and his son, Owen King

In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?”

Expected Publication: September 26, 2017

Book Tour Updates and More: www.stephenking.com

 

 

5. Biggest disappointment.

wyrd sisters

 

Wyrd Sisters

By: Terry Pratchett

A lot of people recommended this one to me, and it was just okay. Here’s my review: Wyrd Sisters Spoiler-Free Book Review

 

 

 

 

 

6. Biggest surprise.

Outlander

 

Outlander

By: Diana Gabaldon

I wasn’t sure I would like this one, and have been putting it off for years. I thoroughly enjoyed the book AND the first season of the TV show (on Netflix). I can’t wait to continue this series! Here’s my review: Outlander: Spoiler Free Book Review

 

 

 

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

dianagabaldon

 

Diana Gabaldon

www.dianagabaldon.com

Diana Gabaldon on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Newest fictional crush.

August Flynn from This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab. My Review: This Savage Song #spoilerfreebookreview #borrowathon

This Savage Song

9. Newest favorite character.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-1476282246-custom-0.jpg

 

Newt Scamander from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, written by J. K. Rowling. His character is quirky, smart, and mysterious. I can’t wait to learn more about his past, and hopefully learn more about his interactions with Dumbledore and involvement at Hogwarts.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them

 

My Review: Fantastic Beasts #SpoilerFree #BookReview

 

 

 

10. Book that made you cry.

A Tapestry of Tears

 

A Tapestry of Tears

By: Gita V. Reddy

My Review: A Tapestry of Tears #SpoilerFreeBookReview

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Book that made you happy.

momswhodrinkandswear

 

Moms Who Drink and Swear

By: Nicole Knepper

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

 

 

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.

Jamie and Claire marriage

 

Outlander TV series (I watched on Netflix)

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year.

Thirteen Reasons Why #spoilerfree #bookreview

 

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

LOVE the cover of Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King!

Bazaar of Bad Dreams.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Dark Tower Book Series.jpg

I have an ARC to read:

A Bold and Dangerous Family in Edelweiss by HarperCollins.

A bold and dangerous family.jpg

Fantasy Book Bingo (Reddit) r/Fantasy Challenge:

  • Non-Fiction Fantasy Related Book
  • Fantasy Novel on “To be read” list for over a year
  • Award Winning Fantasy Novel
  • Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Dying Earth
  • r/Fantasy Big List 2016 Under-read/Under-rated
  • Horror Novel
  • Fantasy Novel featuring a Desert setting
  • Re-use any r/Fantasy Bingo Square
  • Self-published fantasy novel
  • Fantasy Novel published in 2017
  • Sequel: not the first book in the series
  • Novel by an r/Fantasy AMA(Ask me anything) Author or Writer of the Day
  • Fantasy of Manners
  • Fantasy Novel Featuring Dragons
  • New Weird
  • Fantasy Novel Featuring Seafaring
  • Steampunk
    • Five Fantasy Short Stories
    • Novel by an author from an r/Fantasy Author Appreciation Post

    Getting Too Old For This Crap: (50+) Protagonist

 

Dewey Decimal NonFiction Challenge

  • A book with Dewey Decimal 400-499
  • 600-699
  • 800-899
  • 900-999

 

A TO Z CHALLENGE — LOCATION EDITION

Book with location starting with the letter J, K, U, X, Y, Z

 

The questions:
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
5. Biggest disappointment.
6. Biggest surprise.
7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
8. Newest fictional crush.
9. Newest favorite character.
10. Book that made you cry.
11. Book that made you happy.
12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.
13. Favorite review you’ve written this year. (Booktube version: Favorite video you have done so far in this year)
14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

 

#BookTubeAThon July 24-31 – Prize Pack Giveaway! Deadline July 21!

I love readathons – such a great way to motivate me to read more, and they are a fun way to connect with other bookworms. Connect with me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/Smitten4Fiction

HERE ARE THE 2017 READING CHALLENGES for BookTubeAThon July 24th – July 31st

The 2017 Reading Challenges:
1/ Read a book with a person on the cover
2/ Read a hyped book.
3/ Finish a book in one day.
4/ Read about a character that is very different from you.
5/ Finish a book completely outdoors.
6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover.
7/ Read seven books.

MY TBR!
1. Read a book with a person on the cover + 4. Read about a character that is very different from you.
Remnant Population.jpgRemnant Population by Elizabeth Moon

People had always told Ofelia what to do; for once she was going to do what she wanted. She refused to get on the cryo ships, refused to leave the only world she could call home. And when they finally came for her, she hid, not that the authorities looked all that hard for one crazy old woman. Now Ofelia is alone, content to live with no more demands on her self or her time, the only remaining settler on an abandoned planet. The new settlers arrive. At first she fears they have come to reoccupy the settlement she has come to think of as hers – but they land far away. And as Ofelia secretly listens, they are slaughtered to the last child by stone-age aliens no one knew were there. Now it will be up to Ofelia to save the aliens from Earth’s wrath.

2. Read a hyped book + 6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.
The Edge of Everything.jpg

The Edge of Everythng by Jeff Giles

I’ve seen this one all over Booktube.

For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods—only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.”

3. Finish a book in one day. + 5. Finish a book completely outdoors.
The Lightning Thief.jpg
The Lightning Thief (Graphic Novel)

By Rick Riordan

Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson’s textbooks and into his life. And worse, Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.

Series creator Rick Riordan joins forces with some of the biggest names in the comic book industry to tell the story of a boy who must unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.”

I highly doubt I would be able to read 7 books in a week…unless I read children’s books LOL

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Subscribe to Penguin Platform (where the winner will be announced!): https://www.youtube.com/penguinplatform

Rules to enter Giveaway!!
1) Film a video sharing your Booktube-a-thon TBR pile!
2) Make sure to include your email address in the description of your video, this is how we will contact you if you win!
3) Leave a link to your video in the comment section of this video!
4) A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Penguin Platform’s channel!
5) You have until 11:59PM EST on July 21st 2017 to enter!
** OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! **
*If you don’t see your comment, don’t worry! YouTube sometimes marks them as spam, but I definitely still have it and just have to approve it 😀
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookTubeAThon
Instagram: http://instagram.com/booktubeathon/
Website: http://booktubeathon.com

Hosted by:
http://youtube.com/arielbissett
https://twitter.com/arielbissett

The Gunslinger by Stephen King #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

The Gunslinger

Book One of The Dark Tower series

Written By: Stephen King

2003 edition

First Chapter First Paragraph:

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what looked like eternity in all directions. It was white and blinding and waterless and without feature save for the faint, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams, nightmares, death. An occasional tombstone sign pointed the way, for once the drifted track that cut its way through the thick crust of alkali had been a highway. Coaches and buckas had followed it. The world had moved on since then. The world had emptied.”

*GASP* I just love the way Stephen King writes. Isn’t that a fantastic way to start a book? So excited to be reading this again. Can’t wait to watch the movie!

Little Deaths: #SpoilerFree #BookReview

Little DeathsLittle Deaths, a debut novel by Emma Flint, is a mystery crime thriller inspired by a true story (Alice Crimmins case). Flint mentions two books in the acknowledgments which were also inspired by the Alice Crimmins case, The Alice Crimmins Case by Kenneth Gross, and Ordeal by Trial by George Carpozi Jr. Little Deaths is a new book published in 2017 by Hachette Books.

We learn a lot about the main character, Ruth Malone, in the first chapter. She is telling us how much life has changed now that she’s in prison.

First chapter, first paragraph:

“On the rare nights that she sleeps, she is back in the skin of the woman from before.

     Then: she rarely slept neat in a nightgown, pillows plumped, face shining with cold cream. She sometimes woke in a rumpled bed with a snoring figure beside her; more often she woke alone on the sofa with near-empty bottles and near-full ashtrays, her skin clogged with stale smoke and yesterday’s makeup, her body tender, her mind empty. She would sit up, wincing, aware of the ache in her neck and of the sad, sour taste in her mouth.

    Now she wakes, not with the thickness of a headache or the softness of a blurred night behind her, but with forced clarity. Her days begin with a bell, with harsh voices, clanging metal, yelling. With the throat-scraping smells of bleach and urine. There’s no room in these mornings for memories.”

Ruth Malone used to be a cocktail waitress living in Queens, New York, 1965. She was recently separated from her husband, Frank, and was struggling to take care of her two kids Frankie (almost six years old) and Cindy (four years old). Ruth was a poor, proud woman who felt like she’s had a harder life than anyone else. She wears too much makeup, moves in a sexy, smooth way that enabled her to get almost any guy she wanted. Ruth cheated on her husband, with Lou Gallagher, and was also sleeping around with Johnny Salcito. Lou was using her as arm candy, while Johnny was madly in love with her.

Ruth and her kids lived in a cramped apartment building neighborhood with lots of nosy women like Carla Bonelli on the third floor, Sally Burke’s prying mother in the next building, and Nina Lombardo next door.

At times I loved Ruth for her spit-fire attitude, but most of the time I disliked her choices, especially how she put herself before her children. For example, she kept their bedroom door latched at night (claiming it’s for their safety), and doesn’t unlatch it until she has gotten dressed, had coffee, a smoke, and walked the dog Minnie. On July 14th, the day everything changed, it was 9:10am by the time she unlatched the kid’s bedroom door. I have two kids, and I can’t even imagine doing that. When my eyes open in the morning my first thought for the past ten years is to check on my kids.

And the sight of her hand in front of her, lifting the latch, pushing the door. And again, and again, every moment since: the slow sweep of the white-painted wood, and the widening expanse of light, and her hand falling to her side through the weight of the still air, and her voice catching in her dry throat. And the room beyond. Empty.” (page 21)

When her kids are reported missing, Sergeant Devlin and his noobie partner Detective Quinn immediately blame Ruth, and become obsessed trying to discover evidence to prove her guilt.

Pete Wonicke, one of the newer journalists writing for The Herald, scores the missing children story thanks to his quick-thinking. Pete’s boss Friedmann instructs him to ignore the truth and write the story that readers want to hear.

“”Readers want three things, Wonicke.” He ticket them off on his fingers. “They want to see the money. Or the lack of it. To feel envious, or superior.”

Another finger, bent back. “They want sex. There’s always a hot dame. Or a dame we can work up into hot. There’s always an angle we can use.”

A third finger. “And every story needs a bad guy. Every story needs fear.”

On the day children go missing at 1:30pm, little Cindy is found dead. On July 25 Frankie is found dead. And we begin to believe that maybe Sergeant Devlin was right. Maybe Ruth did kill her children.

Over the next three months the cops and Pete follow Ruth’s every move. The cops are trying to find that final piece of evidence that will allow them to make an arrest. Pete is talking to everyone who every knew her, her ex husband Frank, or her lovers Lou and Johnny. He’s fallen madly in love with Ruth and believes she is innocent.

At the end of November, three months after her son is found dead, Ruth is arrested for the murders of her children and the trial begins. The courtroom proceedings are exciting, and surprising.

I whipped through the pages so fast wanting to know who did it. I constantly shifted back and forth on Ruth’s innocence. GREAT novel, my only complaint is that we don’t find out for sure who did it until the last ten pages. The ending felt quite rushed to me, and I would have liked another 30-50 pages for resolution.

If you like stories inspired by true crime, or mystery thrillers, you’ll love this quick read.

The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman #spoilerfree #bookreview #fantasybingo

The Books of MagicThe Books Of Magic: The Deluxe Edition

Written By: Neil Gaiman

Illustrated By: John Bolton, Charles Vess, Scott Hampton, Paul Johnson

Originally Published 1990, 1991 by DC Comics

Goodreads Blurb:

From Neil Gaiman, the bestselling novelist and creator of the world-renowned comics title The Sandman, comes a mesmerizing tale of the dangers and opportunities of youth, and its endless possibilities. Illustrated by four of comics’ most accomplished artists, John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess and Paul Johnson, THE BOOKS OF MAGIC collects all four issues of the original
miniseries that introduced the character of Timothy Hunter and set the stage for his continuing adventures.

Timothy Hunter could be the most powerful magician in the world, but does he really want to be? Guided through the magical world starting at the begining of time by a group of DC Universe magicians, often refered to as the Trenchcoat Brigade (John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Mister E, and Doctor Occult), they attempt to aid Timothy in his decision whether or not to embrace his gift. However, by the time Timothy makes a choice, it may have already been made for him.”

This edition has all four books:
Book I: The Invisible Labyrith
Book II: The Shadow World
Book III: The Land Of Summer’s Twilight
Book IV: The Road To Nowhere

trenchcoat brigade.jpgThe “Trenchcoat Brigade” (Constantine, Doctor Occult, Mister E, and an unnamed stranger) take twelve year old Timothy Hunter on the most amazing journey to the past and future.

 

“It is up to the four of us to ensure that he chooses his path correctly”.

Timothy first travels to “the void” where he sees angels and archangels. Here he learns that people kill what they fear. John Constantine then takes Timothy on a plane to New York where Timothy meets Boston Brand. Boston warns Timothy that people are looking for him. Boston Brand is quite an interesting character who takes control of the minds of random people a few times throughout the story in order to warn Timothy of danger. Mister Fate, AKA Doctor Fate, AKA Kent Nelson, also visits Timothy to warn him that there is now a price on his head. Nelson pleads Constantine to find sanctuary.

Timothy continues on his journey with his other guides, meeting more interesting characters, is chased by a witch who owns a house with legs, and in the end must choose either an exciting, but dangerous life with magic, or a less exciting, but safer life of science.

I’ve only read one other graphic novel that I can remember, so I’m afraid I can’t offer an weighted opinion. The art was fantastic, very dark DC comic feeling. The Books Of Magic reminded me of A Christmas Carol with appearances by fate, fairies, and witches. I did find it quite strange that Timothy is a young teen who wears glasses, has a pet owl and is learning about magic…remind you of anyone? I’m all for authors taking an idea and running with it, and J.K. Rowling certainly did create an entire world that had nothing in common with Gaiman’s world that I could tell, but Harry Potter and Timothy Hunter sure have a lot in common. Perhaps she hasn’t even read The Books Of Magic and it’s a huge coincidence. Neil Gaiman has written about it on his blog if you’d like to see his opinion.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads because I did like the characters, the worlds were creative, the art was beautiful, but the plot was predictable for me and I feel like there could have been a bit more detail into the Trenchcoat Brigade’s motivations.

 

The Essex Serpent Book Review – Spoiler Free

The Essex Serpent is a slow, seductive, mysterious, historical literary fiction novel set in the Victorian era.

The Essex Serpent

 

The Essex Serpent

By Sarah Perry

Published 2016

The Essex Serpent #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

This tale begins on New Year’s Eve. A drunk man wanders to the edge of Blackwater estuary, flirting with the idea of going for a dip, he suddenly catches a glimpse of “something vast, hunched, grimly covered over with rough and lapping scales” (page 5). He is later found dead, with his head turned 180 degrees.

Time is marked by the tide,
Time is served in jail,
Time can be wasted and lost,
Time is money,
Time passes no matter how we try to stop it.

“In a Circle Line carriage, Westbound, fitful lights showed The Times had nothing happy to report, and in the aisle a bag spilled damaged fruit. There was the scent of rain on raincoats, and among the passengers, sunk in his upturned collar, Dr. Luke Garrett was reciting the parts of the human heart.” (page 13) Dr. Garrett, a 32 year old man with short stature and a lopsided gait, is traveling to the funeral of his patient, Michael Seaborne, who died from cancer of the throat. Mr. Seaborne’s wife, Cora, is our main character. She is a tall, strong, not slender, gray-eyed, independent woman who does not mourn for her abusive husband. While Mr. Seaborne was ill many nurses walked out on him, one claiming he was the devil. With Mr. Seaborne dead, Cora has been born again, and is free to pursue her passion for science. Their eleven year old son Francis has some odd characteristics, and I suspect he is on the Autism spectrum. Francis has had the same nanny since birth, a thirty three year old woman named Martha.

While caring for Mr. Seaborne, Dr. Garrett has fallen in love with Cora. She thinks of him as a friend, but doesn’t return his romantic feelings. She travels to Colchester with Martha and Francis for some peace and quiet. Martha and Cora meet Thomas Taylor, who tells them a story about the earthquake that shook the Essex Serpent from it’s hiding place. They run into Charles and Katherine Ambrose who were also visiting Colchester. Charles was once a colleague of Cora’s late husband, Michael.

Charles tells Cora about the Essex Serpent while enjoying pastries at a café. “Three hundred years ago or thereabouts a dragon took up residence in Henham, twenty miles northwest of here. Ask at the library and they’ll show you the leaflets they nailed up round the town: eyewitness accounts from farmers, and a picture of some kind of leviathan with wings of leather and a toothy grin. It used to lie about basking in the sunshine and snapping its beak (its beak, mind you!), and no one thought much of it until a boy got his leg broken. It vanished soon after, but the rumors never did. Every time crops failed or the sun eclipsed, or there was a plague of toads, someone somewhere would see the beast down on the riverbank, or lurking on the village green. And listen: it’s back!” Charles then tells Cora about the man who had washed up on shore New Year’s Day with a broken neck. This convinces Cora she must go to Aldwinter and search for the serpent in hopes that she can make a great scientific discovery. Katherine suggests Cora meet up with the Ransome family while in Aldwinter.

William Ransome is a reverend, married to Stella, and they have three children named Joanna, John, and James. Will does not believe in Darwin, or the Essex Serpent, and tries to convince Cora and all other believers in town that there is nothing to be a afraid of.

Henry Banks believes his lost rowing boat is a result of the Essex Serpent. His daughter Naomi Banks is friends with Will’s daughter Joanna.

One of the most interesting characters is Mr. Cracknell, who lives on the edge of the marsh. During the past three years he has lost his wife, sister, and his son. He has witnessed some strange happenings and also blames them on the serpent.

In April Cora, Martha, and Francis move to Aldwinter, which enables Cora to become quite good friends with Will and his family. As Will and Cora strengthen their relationship everything else falls apart.

The Essex Serpent may be a slow-burning story, but you’ll be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out if there really is a monster terrorizing the small town.

 

As soon as I finished the book I wanted to go back and start it all over again. (In fact, I did go back and re-read the first 100 pages). This is a story in which you’ll see something new each time you read it. Sarah Perry developed authentic friendships that change with time and circumstance. I highly recommend you give this one a read – I have a funny feeling that it will be picked up and made into a movie. Such a great story about good vs evil, love, family, lust, loyalty, guilt, fear, and how time creates the ebb and flow changing everything in its wake.