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Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Night is Movie Night: Casual Vacancy Miniseries

I just watched the HBO miniseries of Casual Vacancy. WTF!!! People, how could I have not had a clue??? Clearly, this is an example of buying the book based on the author's name alone.

I admit it. I pre-ordered the book. Got a really good discount on it too. I mean, I loooove the Harry Potter books, but I fail to find many who have read them and don't like them. I've mostly met them what have not been converted yet. Or people who just don't read.

Anyway, I figured it's JK! HP was awesome so Casual Vacancy must be too. I finally understand just how wrong I was.

A secret I must tell. I still have not read the book. Had I read the book, I would have known to stay clear away from the miniseries. I apologize to any of you out there that liked the book or the miniseries, I shudder to think, but for me it was just bloody awful. I felt like I was watching a Victorian drama that should star Michelle Pfeiffer or Keira Knightly.

It was a horrid little town, everyone was miserable. What a sad, uninteresting and downright nasty bunch of people. If they weren't nasty, they were so far into their own misery and making everyone miserable around them.

Everyone was unhappy, nobody got what they wanted, they all got the miserable ending they deserved and everybody died in the end. Okay, I made that last part up.

Clearly this is an example of JK getting too big for her britches when what she really needs is to get over herself. I'm so disappointed.

I still have a habit of buying books on speculation. I guess that won't stop, but maybe I ought to learn to make better choices in the future. Needless to say I will not be reading the book and I will divulge that I bought this book when it first came out. I am not buying so many books these days.

Although, consumers be aware, Amazon is still discounting a lot of hot YA titles deeply and I am ordering the ones on my wishlist because the hard cover is currently cheaper than the paperback will be. Man I love a bargain!

Seriously, though. A little warning next time. Someone could have gotten hurt.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - July 26, 2015

I realize it is a little past midnight, but let's still pretend it's Sunday.

So, I did something I haven't done in quite a while. I actually looked at my Kindle Matchbook titles. The reason why I hadn't looked in so long was because nothing new was ever added so I just stopped looking. Well, today, there were a lot of new titles added for books that I had bought years ago. The disclaimer does say that new books become available to the program, but nothing had been updated in so long, I kind of forgot about it. This, of course, created a whole new quandary.

I know I have mentioned that there are books on every floor of the house. Counting the basement and walk-in attic, that is four floors and most of the rooms have books. I'm a visual person and the problem that I run into is that I will pick up and read what is close to hand. So I have all these fantastic fantasy books downstairs by authors like Neil Gaiman, Terry Brooks, Raymond Feist, David Eddings, Robert Silverberg, Charles DeLint, Patricia McKillip and Janny Wurts to name a few, but I never pick them up to read because they are downstairs ion the library and my TBR piles are upstairs.

The solution? I actually purchased a number of the Matchbook titles for my Kindle which is actually perfect because I will be heading out for a vacation soon. The majority of the digital books are matchbooks and while I never planned to convert m entire library to digital format, by downloading the first book in a few series, I can at least get started so it will be easier for me to pick up the physical copies to read for the rest of the series.

Genius, no? Yes! At least that is my story for this week and I'm sticking to it...until a better excuse, um, story comes along.

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

Books Purchased:
Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Kindle Books Purchased:
Del Rey and Bantam Books 2015 Sampler by Diana Gabaldon, Robin Hobb, Terry Brooks, Kevin Hearne, Pierce Brown – Free eBook Sampler

Anya and the Shy Guy (Entangled Crush) (Backstage Pass) by Suze Winegardner – Kindle Daily Deal

Torrent: A Novel (River of Time Book 3) by Lisa T. Bergren – Marked down to $.99

Messenger: Chapter 20 by Alethea Kontis

Getting Lucky Number Seven (Entangled Embrace) by Cindi Madsen – Marked down to $.99

Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus: Original edition (illustrated) by Mary Shelley – Free eBook

The Onion Girl (Newford) by Charles de Lint – Kindle Matchbook

Muse and Reverie (Newford) by Charles de Lint – Kindle Matchbook

Widdershins (Newford) by Charles de Lint – Kindle Matchbook

Spirits in the Wires (Newford) by Charles de Lint – Kindle Matchbook

Forests of the Heart (Newford) by Charles de Lint – Kindle Matchbook

The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint – Kindle Matchbook

The Dark Mirror: Book One of the Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier – Kindle Matchbook

Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy Book 1) by Juliet Marillier – Kindle Matchbook

The Iron Tree: Book One of The Crowthistle Chronicles by Cecilia Dart-Thornton – Kindle Matchbook

The Golden Hills of Westria by Diana L. Paxson – Kindle Matchbook

Antigoddess (The Goddess War Book 1) by Kendare Blake – Kindle Matchbook

The Consequence of Loving Colton by Rachel Van Dyken – Kindle July Monthly Deal

Thursday, July 23, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: My Pride, His Prejudice by Jenni James

My Pride, His Prejudice (Austen in Love Book 1) by Jenni James

Book Description (From Amazon):
When Will Darcy proposes out of the blue, Eliza Bennet's world comes crashing down. Of course she tells him no, but why would he ask her in the first place? Haven’t they always been enemies? For the past year, Eliza has worked for Will's company, Revolutionary Innovations, as an efficiency expert. Her whole goal has been to raise profits, finish her contract, and then get out. She assumed Will wanted the same, but now she's not so sure. And more importantly, she has begun to wonder if she made a mistake in telling him no.

Jenni James, author of The Jane Austen Diaries series for teens, does it again! Now she's creating a whole new series just for adults, Austen in Love. Book #1 is a delightful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that has all the components of Jane Austen's amazing love story, sticking true to the original theme, while taking modern liberties to give this a fresh, new twist for the clean romance genre.

My First Impression:
This story doesn’t start when Elizabeth meets Fitzwilliam Darcy. It begins when he proposes. The only trouble as, as with Jane Austen original story, Eliza is less than accepting of Will’s proposal and even goes so far as to believe he is joking. She insists he never liked her, so why would he propose. She just can’t accept that he could really have feelings for her. He is handsome, rich, owns his own company and is her boss. She is a hired consultant to get his company on track. Love was never part of the contract.

Naturally, she turns him down and she has a weekend to get herself together before she has to face him at work Monday. What she finds is a distracted man, clearly upset but unwilling to speak about it. Eliza believes that she is the cause of his lack of composure, but he assures her she is not. He informs he needs to leave for a few days to take care of some personal business which he won’t disclose and asks Eliza to cover for him. Despite the unfortunate proposal attempt, he still trusts her to take care of his company.

Eliza finally worms the story out of him how his 18 year old sister, Georgia has eloped to Las Vegas with his old partner, George Wickham who goes by the nickname Joe. No one has seen her or heard from in several days and Will needs to go find her. While his story may be softening her opinion of him, he takes it a step further and kisses her before he leaves her office.

I’m not quite sure what to think of this one. I do have other books by Jenni James and I have a large number of modern retellings of Jane Austen’s stories, but perhaps this is one too many. I think I need to mull this one over for a while.

Not to buy…for now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Internal Ramblings - The Modern Cinderella Story

So I went to a teen pop band concert with my niece, Brianna and sister-in-law, Shannon. Brianna is totally obsessed with R5 and has been for some time. I must confess, I really like them, too. Don't judge.

It was kind of a weird experience. First off, I didn't go to my first concert until I was 15. I went to a show at Monmouth College with my best friend to see Loggins & Messina. Who you ask? No one of consequence anymore, but I really dug them. Brianna has seen R5 four times now and she's only 12. She's been to other shows too. Some of the stuff she listens to is just way too pop-y for me, but R5 is a talented bunch of musicians, singers and songwriters.

We were in general admission seating real close to the fence that separated us from the upper crust. Standing in front of us was about four rows of teen, tween and younger girls. I guess they are all cute, four guys and one girl, which really helps them sell records. All I can tell you is the squee factor was at an all-time high. Not only was there lots of screaming at an inaudible pitch, the girls were also screaming things like "Ryker, I love you", "take off your shirt" and my favorite "I want to have your babies".

Brianna met a friend around her age and luckily, the screaming teens were compassionate people at least and shoved the two of the up against the fence so they could see. I was not quite so fortunate. I am short and could only see parts of the stage in between heads and such.

But all the screaming and histrionics really got me thinking. First thought? Do you idiot girls really think the band can a) hear you and what you're saying?, b) see you beyond the stage lights that are shining in their faces, and c) are going to notice you, drop their incredibly hot beach babe girlfriend to date you? I think no to all these questions, but yet the continued to scream.

That brought to mind one of the current popular genres in teen romance, the Rock 'N' Roll bad boy (or insert movie star) and the local girl. I was wondering why it is such a popular genre. And that's when I realized, that it's a fairytale. Swap handsome prince, with hot rock star/movie star and voila! All these girls were dressed for the ball, but rather than a ball gown, they were decked out in super short cutoff jean shorts, tank tops and flip flops or converse. A lot of converse. The princes didn't arrive on a white horse, but rather a golf cart. Instead of a sword to slay the dragon, they laid down the fat tracks which were as sharp as a knife.

But I guess that's why I like these types of stories so much. I just finished Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson which was about a local girl and a movie star recently released from rehab. They are all so formulaic, but that is what I love about them. I want the girl to win the prince and have her happily ever after. Since it is never going to happen in real life, I can at least dream about it and there are plenty of books to read like the Entangled Crush Backstage Pass series of books.

We all need our fantasies and to believe that dreams can come true, that life can be a fairytale. There's no harm in dreaming as long as it doesn't become an obsession. So, you go ahead girls. Scream your bloody heads off and I sincerely hope that they might look your way or you might get to touch one of them. No matter how unrealistic it might be, a life without hope and dreams is a pretty dead life if you ask me. For me? I'm just going to go read quietly in the corner with my earplugs in.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Stacking the Shelves - July 19,2015

I know it's been awhile since I've been able to get a STS post written, not for lack of trying. Even now it is 11pm and I am feeling the day. The yawning has already started, but I am determined to get my cache posted from the past month.

Before you judge me, I do want to point out that Amazon is currently discounting some books at 48% off. It was such a bargain I couldn't resist.

Here are some currently on sale at 48% off: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent, The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing, Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith, The Clasp by Sloane Crosby, Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes) by Sara Raasch, Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson, A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher, Black Widow, Forever Red by Margaret Stohl, Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis,Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, Dumplin' by Julie Murphy and The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick. To name a few. So get your pre-orders in before the prices go up.

You see, I just had to buy some of them. They were a bargain. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. So here is my June/July haul.

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

Books Purchased:
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Split Second by Kasie West

A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz - I'd like to be able to read it before Descendants airs on the Disney Channel

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George - 48% off - Takes place in Romania where hubby is

Rook by Sharon Cameron - 48% off

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce - I missed this one at Book Expo.  I was on line for something else and didn't make it back in time

Bone # 1: Out of Boneville Tribute Edition by Jeff Smith

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone - 48% off

Jessie’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Kindle Books Purchased:
Remember When (The Remember Trilogy Book 1) by T. Torrest – Free eBook

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt – Kindle The Big Deal Sale

Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements Book 2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – Kindle Daily Deal

Tales of Arilland by Alethea Kontis

Vicious by V. E. Schwab – Marked Down to $2.99

All-American Girl by Meg Cabot – Kindle Monthly Deal for May

Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson – Kindle Monthly Deal for May

Trixter (The Trix Adventures Book 1) by Alethea Kontis

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton - Kindle Monthly Deal for May

Hero (The Woodcutter Sisters Book 2) by Alethea Kontis - Kindle Monthly Deal for May

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy Book 1) by Josephine Angelini – Kindle Monthly Deal for May

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Marked down to $2.99 - I missed getting this at BEA so I was really happy the price dropped in Kindle

 Rise (The Paper Gods) by Amanda Sun – Free eBook

Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger – Marked down to $2.99

Daisy and the Front Man (Entangled Crush) (Backstage Pass) by Rebekah L. Purdy

Lovestruck in London (Lovestruck Series, Book 1) by Rachel Schurig – Free eBook

Me & My Invisible Guy by Sarah Jeffrey – Marked down to $1.99

Dream Boy by Mary Crockett, Madelyn Rosenberg – Kindle Daily Deal

Voice of Gods (Blood of Gods and Royals) byEleanor Herman – Free eBook

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean – Marked down to $1.99

Rowan by Josephine Angelini, Holly West

 Gift Received:
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – Autographed copy a gift from my niece

Manga Purchased:
Yukarism 2
Skip Beat! 34
Meteor Prince 2
Library Wars: Love & War 13
Kiss of the Rose Princess 3
Kiss of the Rose Princess 4
Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You) 21
Kamisama Kiss 17
Kamisama Kiss 18
Denegeki Daisy 16

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sample Sized Reviews or Where Have I Been?

Well, so far this summer has not turned out like I planned.

Hubby is in Romania for two months. I have no problem with that. He is taking a language course and then will be doing research for his Master's thesis. In five short months I will be living my own movie, "Tammy and the Professor". It's ironic you see as my mother named me after the Tammy movies from the 60s starring Debbie Reynolds, Sandra Dee and I can't remember who else.

Yes, the issue is not hat he is gone, but rather my grand plans in his absence.

First let me apologize for my absence. It was unexpected. Hubby left on June 29, but the last two weeks of June were spent running errands and taking care of business to get him ready to go. When I did have a moment to breathe, I was far to tired to do anything, not even read, and I was often in bed by 10:00. That is big considering I would be up until at least midnight every night. So no time in June.

I figured once he left I would have all the time in the world. I went to Vermont for July 4th to see my niece, nephew and sister-in-law and the few days in between Cam's departure and heading to Vermont were spent getting me ready to go to Vermont. it was only a four day trip, but the drive home was ridiculous and I didn't get home until about 9.

So with the weekend over, I figured I have plenty of time to write and read. I really am so naive. I still have a lot of work to do around the house. I have cleaning to do. Weeding to do. Errands to run. Bills to pay. A bicycle to ride. Clothes to fold, well T-shirts really, and clothes to hang. My fear was that I would end up doing nothing and I would stare at the ceiling in my spare time due to a brain implosion. Well, that fear was unfounded.

As it turns out, I still have no time for anything. The weekend is my time to get things done. And I swear I have not been sleeping the day away. The trouble is everyone wants to make sure that I am not hibernating in Cam's absence. I love our friends, I really do and I feel so lucky to have them in our lives, but I just can't keep up this pace. Last weekend was the first weekend after July 4th. I went to the movies Friday, the pool all day Saturday and on Sunday had a barbecue/pool invitation, a pool invitation and a dinner invite. I never stopped moving. So Monday comes along and I am dead tired.

And, of course, I have to spend quality time with Egg. He misses his daddy and he constantly tells me about it. Well, what he does is yell loudly in my ear and demand scratchies. But all the time. If I am not moving for a second he is on me like white on rice. He is used to daddy being home during the day, but now he is all on his own.

Today is my first day I can really spend some time writing. And that is only because I put another chair next to my computer so he can nap on that while I type from the other. I do have to leave in a couple hours though as I'm heading to a show with Cam's sister and niece. Tomorrow, maybe the pool if the weather is nice.

Anyway, I do plan to take more time to write even if that means I have to kiss off some of the chores. I hate cleaning anyway. I can't hire a cleaning service, though, because I don't like people touching my stuff.

This is supposed to be about books, not my pathetic excuses. As I have not been able to get any reading done, I decided to write a very short blurb about some of the samples I have managed to read.  

Galgorithm by Aaron Karo
This read like a movie or a commercial/infomercial and not in a good way. The book is from a male point of view, our narrator so calculating, knowing just how to advise fellow male students on what to do to get the girls to notice them. I made it through two chapters before deciding it wasn’t for me. - No

Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro
Another witch story, but add in a touch of voodoo in the deep, deep south. Woman, witch, curse, deep south. Sound familiar? I think I’d prefer to just finally read Beautiful Creatures. - No

My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten
Rowena is a recent dumpee and like many dumpees, her ex left her for another girl. Well, he cheated on her. Just once I would like to see the relationship end because it just wasn’t working out, not because the guy was cheating on the girl. Just once. Regardless. Rowena had a summer job lined up at the mall, which she now doesn’t want to take because of her ex and his new GF. Since she has to work to contribute to her college fund, she finds a job listing for a body art specialist which happens to be at the local Renaissance Festival. I am a fan of the whole medieval thing and you’d think it would be right up my alley, but I just could not get into this. - No

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Samantha, our main character, is suffering from a condition. She has episodes where she starts thinking all these terrible thoughts about the people around her. It is difficult to control and she has a hard time hiding it from her friends. She has to focus on thinking new thoughts to drive the dark thoughts out of her head. Her mom helps her calm down and get control of her thoughts. Samantha intrigues me and I definitely want to know more about the root cause of her episodes. - Yes

Rook by Sharon Cameron
This is Paris in an alternate reality. The city has sunken and anyone opposing the current party in power are executed. The Red Rook rescues condemned prisoners before they can be executed, leaving behind only a red rook feather in their prison cell. What no one realizes is that the Red Rook is actually a privileged woman of city about to marry a wealthy elite. It is sort of a Scarlet Pimpernel story but with role reversal for a new generation. - Yes

Liam Darcy, I Loathe You by Heidi Jo Doxey
I saw this on the book shelf. It is the first in the Jane Journals at Pemberley Prep series. Well, I like the sound of that. So, I downloaded a sample. What I didn’t realize is that the story doesn’t center on any one character, or at least it didn’t seem to from the sample I read. There are journal entries from at least 6 girls. For me, at least from the length of the sample, there was no cohesiveness and it was all over the place. I couldn’t get a feel for any of the characters and the journal entries were relatively short so it jumped around a lot. - No

Hockey Tutor by Mary Smith
Well, I do love hockey and the price was right. The smart girl is hired by the Dean to tutor a new transfer student, Andrew, who also happens to be the school’s best shot at a championship season. The trouble is he has a bad attitude and failing grades. Katie is being paid $20,000.00 and given a company car by Andrew’s father, but only for the semester. She will tutor him, make sure he does his work and gets to class on time. Well, this just seems a little ridiculous. - No

Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
Lucy has a position at a university and a grant to allow her to study emotion as it relates to passion. The trouble is she has never experienced it herself. Well, that is not the only problem. Lucy has a PhD in microbiology which she got at the ripe old age of 20. What? I can understand graduating high school early to start college and maybe finishing a bachelors early, but it is a little far fetched to me that by the age of 20 she could complete her PhD program. My brother is studying for his PhD in physics and he’s been at it for 5 years. This is just such a ridiculously implausible idea to me. It is currently priced at $0.00 on Amazon, but even that is too much to pay. - No

The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent
I know there’s been a lot of buzz about this book, but it seems like another zombie story, which I am kind of getting tired of. Nina is not a privileged girl. She has an arrangement with the maid of a well to do family. She gets paid $15.00 a week to take the daughter’s school clothes and wash them. Nina and her sister wash them Monday and wear them all week, cleaning them over the weekend and return them to the maid by Monday am. On her way home she is attacked by a degenerate, but you might as well call it a zombie. She’s rescued by an exorcist that seems to be operating outside the system. - Maybe

Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London
Aimee had planned to spend the summer living with her friend Becky while her parents travel to Cambodia, but Becky’s come down with mono and Aimee’s grandmother is not coming until July. Her parents decide to send her off with her brother who is on tour with only the hottest musical act in forever, Seconds to Juliet. Unfortunately, their front man, Miles, is her brother, Nick’s best friend and he was her first crush. But since he made fun of her for always tagging along with them, she has gotten over her crush and has been avoiding him ever since. How can she continue to avoid him when she is forced to be on tour with him? - Yes

Friday, July 10, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

A promise is a promise no matter how small.

I have a lot of work to do in more ways than one. The later half of June was spent getting hubby ready to spend the summer abroad. Amazing how much there is for me to do to get someone else ready for a lengthy trip. It does, however, leave me time...sort take care of some projects. I have a ton of stuff to do around the house, a ton of work to do for my job and the blog always comes last. I usually do my writing on the weekends, but I haven't had a weekend free in almost a month. Now that he is gone for a bit, I do plan to catch up on writing and actually get some reading done.

For the time being, though, please forgive me for taking the easy way out.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Book Description (From Amazon):
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O'Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah's 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord's gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

My First Impression:
The story starts in Nashville as Lilah Montgomery is preparing to leave for her summer tour. This story is not about her, though. It is about her best friend Reagan who is going on tour with her. Reagan come from a broken home because her mother left when she was young. Her father turned to the bottle and left Reagan to her own devices. She has anger issues due to the abandonment of both her parents and acts out whenever she gets the chance, but she’s trying to change.

I know that this is a book that I have heard good things about, but I am not a fan of country music. While I know the story itself is not about country music, I found that I was not very interested in the story with a country music tour as the back drop.

I also found that I did not really care for Reagan too much. I realize she is trying to change, but she still has a bad attitude and is so jaded for one so young.

The sample didn’t get very far in the story. They got to their first destination and the sample ended as they were getting everything finalized for the concert.


Not to buy

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Promise

You sit and wait patiently
for a chance,
just a moment to spark into life
but the moment is long in coming.

Still you wait, ever faithful
if you can even be faithful
being what you are

A thought, a glance,
a moment of possibilities
passing too quickly 
in the silence of the night.

Perhaps tomorrow.

Just wait

and be patient still.