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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

To Buy or Not to Buy - Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

It's time again for To Buy or Not to Buy.  Now, I know a lot of you really loved Hemlock, so don't hate me.. Please?

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Fans of Maggie Stiefvater and the hit television show True Blood will flock to this first book in the supernatural mystery series set in a town where werewolves live in plain sight.

Mackenzie Dobson's life has been turned upside down since she vowed to hunt her best friend Amy's killer: a white werewolf. Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country, and bloodlust is not easy to control. But it soon becomes clear that dangerous secrets are lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, Mac's hometown—and she is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her in grave danger.

My First Impression:
I realize that in downloading and reading an eBook sample that there are not usually many pages to make a good first impression. For Hemlock, it took four pages into chapter 1 to make a determination.

Werewolves. Good. Murder and Mystery. Chilling. For fans of Maggie Steifvater. Definite potential.

Here’s the problem.

Page 4, 2nd paragraph down, I find the following:
Oblivious, Tess slid out of the booth and dropped a couple of bills on the table, even though she’d barely touched her food.

Three paragraphs later, I find the following:
I glanced down at the empty salad bowl and scooped up the crumbled bills.

Well, which is it? Did she barely eat it or eat it all? It’s like watching a movie and the hair on the actress keeps changing position and style. It’s a book blooper. Apologies to anyone who read and enjoyed the book. This inconsistency stuck in my craw and I couldn't read any further.

Isn't it obvious? Not to buy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

To Buy or Not to Buy - Beautiful Death (The Uruwashi Series # 1) by Christina Moore

I have been trying to catch up on my sample reading. It's great to keep track of what I read and whether I like or not, but it doesn't really get any of the books off my To Be Reviewed pile. Still working on that.

Get ready for another installment of To Buy or Not to Buy.

Beautiful Death (The Uruwashi Series #1) by Christina Moore
Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: October 11, 2013
His life is in a monster’s hands but he may be one himself.

The only thing about Tristan’s typical American life that’d been even slightly atypical was that he was adopted. The Blum’s raised him, loved him as if he was their own. But they never knew who Tristan really was, about the stigma his birth surname carried. Everything changed after their untimely death. Suddenly monsters are after Tristan and all because of a few words spoken by a remarkable stranger.

After carelessly stumbling into the arms of the enemy’s servant, a rotting jikininki, the one silently watching over Tristan is forced to intercede. Ash claims to be a hunter, but that’s not the whole truth. Whatever Ash is or isn’t, it’s neither good nor evil. And Ash is the only one who can save Tristan now. But can someone who can’t even accept the unwavering truth that maybe they never were really human to start with be saved?

My First Impression:
This has been on GoodReads as a giveaway and I have previously entered the giveaway. When a book sounds interesting, I’ll check Amazon and see if there is a Kindle version and download the sample. This one has been on my list to check out for quite some time, so I finally got around to checking it out.

The story opens up in a club in Japan that caters to the dead or undead. Our hero, Tristan, is dancing with one of the locals and she seems to be really into him. She leaves him to go get another drink when Tristan is approached by a man in a cape who is telling Tristan that he is there to help him.
That is as far as I got, 4 pages. I’m not sure if it was the writing style, the characters, the plot itself (or what I read of it so far), but it just didn’t grab me and I just lost interest in reading any further.

Not to buy

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book and The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat

I have just heard that Grumpy Cat is going to have a television special. Is it possible to go too far with Grumpy Cat! What about Henri? He is already a star of the screen, but no one seems to care as much about a French Existentialist cat.

Anyway, read these books and you'll learn how to be grumpy, not that I needed any help...

Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book
Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Internet sensation Grumpy Cat's epic feline frown has inspired legions of devoted fans. Celebrating the grouch in everyone, the Grumpy Cat book teaches the fine art of grumpiness and includes enough bad attitude to cast a dark cloud over the whole world. Featuring brand new as well as classic photos, and including grump-inspiring activities and games, Grumpy Cat delivers unmatched, hilarious grumpiness that puts any bad mood in perspective.

The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat
Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
In a world filled with inspirational know-it-alls and quotable blowhards, only one figure is indifferent enough to tell the cranky truth: Grumpy Cat. Following the success of her New York Times bestselling debut, everyone's favorite disgruntled feline is back with this de-motivational guide to everyday life, love, friendship, and more. Featuring many new photos of Grumpy Cat's famous frown and packed with uninspiring observations, The Grumpy Guide to Life will help anyone get in touch with their inner grouch.

My Thoughts:
Both of these books are full of little nuggets of joy.

Some of my favorite quotes from Grumpy Cat:

True Grumpiness is about embracing the horrible in everything that happens every day. Remember: It’s all bad.

I hate morning people and mornings and people.

I tried looking on the brighter side of life. It hurt my eyes.

Grumpy Cat is a very useful resource for how to live a grumpy life. There are instructions on how to host a grumpy party, how to get in a grumpy mood, how to be grumpy, how to say ‘no’ in various languages, all very useful information. Grumpy Cat also allows us to have a peek at what’s it‘s like to be Grumpy Cat. Plus, there are lots of activities like connect the dots and match game.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Bummer Summer - To Buy or Not to Buy? - A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Finally, and end to my Bummer Summer. I realize it is now almost the end of September, but things have been that manic.

So, the summer started out well. We took a trip to Burlington, VT for Fourth of July. It was a lot of fun. Once we came back, though, it was almost as if we were on lock-down. Sure, we made it to the New York Renaissance Festival and saw Guardians of the Galaxy, but those may have been the highlights.

Pretty much the month of August was a blur of stress and more stress. A lot going on at work made it impossible for me to function outside the job and I would just shut down upon returning home, generally to play Minion Rush for a while.

I read no books. Now that's a sad truth. I have 14 books still to review that I read last summer, but every time I sat at my computer, I either had other crap to do like paying bills or my mind would just empty of thoughts and I'd stare at the screen. Besides, since I read the books lasts year, I really kind of need to re-read them in order to review them.

So, I would sit and lament and move from there to frustration which only fueled the stress I felt from work.

Oh, I lied. I did actually read one book this summer, The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations From Grumpy Cat. Took all of about 10 minutes.

After Labor Day, however, I vowed to make time for reading. Since Labor Day, I have read 4 manga books and three other books I want to say?

And if I'm reading again, I can start writing again. So expect to see more of me.

So, that being said, I present another installment of To Buy or Not to Buy?

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Book Description (From GoodReads):
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places.

Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....

My First Impression:

This book was being offered at BEA this year, but I missed picking it up. So, naturally, I couldn’t wait to pick it up, but I had to check out the sample first.

The sample wasn’t long enough and I wanted to read more. I have read books with alternating points of view, but this is the first I had read with alternating POVs of the main characters. I thought the approach was clever and interesting. I wanted to keep reading to see what the next character would have to say.

As I am trying to be more critical in my book buying selection, I am finding that if a short sample doesn’t grab me and make me want to read more, I can’t bother picking the book up. This one had me from the first page. I look forward to reading it and seeing what others have to say about it.


To buy. I just got it in the mail this week. Wee!

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Just Another Manga Monday: Library Wars Vols 9 - 12 by Kiiro Yumi

This is one title I have been keeping up on, but I have not been reviewing.  In an effort to clean up the piles of books to review on my desk, I have had to take some short cuts.

As a result, here's what's been happening with our favorite library task force team since Vol 9.

 When we last left off, Iku was preparing to go undercover to try to capture a pervert in the library. In order to tempt him, though, she needs to dress a bit risqué and Dojo isn’t at all happy about it.

Iku is still stressing since she found out who her prince is. She’s decided she has to grow out of her prince.

Iku has now been on the task force for almost two years and a Promotion Evaluation Exam is coming up for all the rookies, so she, Shibazaki and Tezuka will be tested.  Part of the test is reading to children.  Tezuka is freaking out, so he asks Shibazaki to help him.  Instructor Dojo is going to tutor Iku since she is more in danger of failing the written test, which Tezuka should ace.

Then the squad head’s off to Iku’s home town to protect an art exhibit. Iku’s team must train the local troops, but there is resentment from the local side. Iku’s mother finally finds out exactly what she’s doing since she never told them the truth and her mother does not approve, but there is a lovely moment when Iku takes Dojo to see the cherry blossoms. Dojo requests Iku take him for some chamomile tea when they get back to Tokyo.

Iku has trouble picking out something to wear to tea. She is trying hard not to think of it as a date, but Dojo seems to have other ideas.  He suggests after tea that they go see a movie, but before they can, they get a call to head back to HQ.  A favored author of Dojos’ is being hidden away at HQ.  His writing is being called dangerous.  It’s an author hunt and Iku’s team have to protect the author.  HQ is being watched, but the team needs supplies to disguise Kurato Toma, so Iku and Dojo have to go to the store to buy supplies acting like a couple.  So they are holding hands and acting like they are in love.

Tezuka and Shibazaki seem to be getting much closer. And Shibazaki has a deal to make with Tezuka’s brother and the Future of the Library.

Volume 13 is due out 04/07/15.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - September 21, 2014

I'll give no excuses.
I'll tell you no lies.
I think it's depressing
How quickly time flies.

I. Can't. Even. Begin. To. Tell. You.

Let's leave it at that. And I will go on as if nothing had ever happened.

While I was lost in my head, it seems I have acquired some reading materials. I believe the post was supposed to be for August 10th, so this will be for the past month and a half.

I am ashamed all over again.

August early on was pretty good, but I have had a book buying drought. A sort of self imposed moratorium on book buying if you will.  Some of the books purchased are used books.  I just want to make that clear.  So, they needed a home because they weren't wanted anymore where they were currently living.

Anyway, without further delay (cause a month and a half hasn't been a delay enough), I bring you my book acquisitions...

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. 

Books Purchased:
Jim Henson’s The Storyteller

Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal

Haunted Burlington by Thea Lewis - The author was our tour guide when we went on a ghost walk in Burlington

Tiger’s Promise: A Tiger’s Curse Novella by Colleen Houck - I had purchased the eBook, but I saw the paperback and wanted to add it to the hard cover books

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2012 edited by Rich Horton

Legends of the Riftwar Book III: Jimmy the Hand by Raymond Feist

Jane Austen’s First Love by Syrie James

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat

Black Swan, White Raven edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Opposition (A Lux Novel) by Jennifer L Armentrout

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - Finally, at long last the bloody book is out.  I only pre-ordered it like a year and half ago if not more.

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall - Missed this one at BEA

Shattered by Mari Mancusi

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire - Missed this one at BEA as well, but it mayhave only been a chpa book.  Not sure about that.

Stardust Signed Limited Edition by Neil Gaiman - I ordered this one new used.  It is regularly $150.00, but I got it new used for $42.00.  Now that's a bargain!

Brain Froud’s Fairies Tales by Brian Froud

Magnolia by Kristi Cook

Madness Underneath (Shades of London Book 2) by Maureen Johnson

Kindle Books Purchased:
Untimed: a Time Travel Adventure (Rules of the Regulator Book 1) by Andy Gavin – Free eBook

The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley – Kindle Deal of the Day

Manga Purchased:
Alice in the Country of Joker: The Nightmare Trilogy 1

Millenium Snow 3

Black Rose Alice 1

Dawn of the Arcana 13

Library Wars: Love & War 12
Skip Beat! 33

My Little Monster 3