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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The King is in the Hizzle!

That's what I said to my Dad the other night. And he said "What?" What I meant was "Your Stephen King book arrived in the mail and I've been devouring it". And I do mean devouring. My Dad and I have this deal- every time a new Stephen King comes out I buy it for him for Christmas. But I carefully remove the cover and only open it so far (as to not break the spine) and read it before I wrap it up. I have more reading time and read faster so it works great.

The new Stephen King Full Dark, No Stars is phenomenal. It really illustrates, more than any of his other works I've read, why he deserves the literary praise that is often not given to horror genre writers. The four novellas or very long stories in this novel succeed not just because they have a slight supernatural theme running through them, but because they are so carefully crafted. They aren't just scary stories, they're literary gems. Each tale paints a picture (granted, a very dark picture) so vivid that you can't help but visualize the setting. And the characters are so well thought out that you can't help but lose yourself in their stories. Each tale reminds us that we all have a little dark, a little other, inside of us. They are fully fleshed ordinary characters in extraordinary situations.

I read the whole book in three nights. Two of those nights I stayed up well past one because I could not put the book down until I finished the story. And I'm still thinking about the stories. And that my friends, is the mark of a true master, when you're still thinking about the story days later. Bravo Mr. King.

In the words of Oliver Twist; "Please sir, may I have another?"


Monday, September 20, 2010

I've been reading...

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It's been months since my last blog post. I don't know why either. It's not like I ever stop reading!! So to get back in the swing of things, and try to convince Hildi to do the same, I'm not going to do any in depth reviews but give several recommendations from my recent readings.

As you know, if you've read this blog for any length of time, my reading tastes are very eclectic. I love horror (or paranormal, supernatural, whatever sub genre you want to stick that in), romance, historical fiction and literary. I'm as all over the place with my reading as I am with my writing. So lets wade in...

One of my all time top 5 favorite writers is Jeanne Kalogridis. She writes some of the best historical fiction out there and I never fail to be completely enthralled by her work. The most recent book I've read by her is no exception. The Devil's Queen is a novel about Catherine De Medici. One of the most reviled women in history, yet Kalogridis brings her to life with sympathy and passion. Making you root for her character even though she uses black magic to get what she wants. I could not put this book down. I recommended it to two people who also got hooked.

I also read The Memoirs of Mary, Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson. Erickson has written several books as diaries of notable women figures in history. All are good and this one is no exception. It was also interesting to read from Mary's point of view some of the same events from the Kalogridis book. (Mary was raised at the french court while Catherine was queen).

Let's switch to horror...I got Alexandra Sokoloff's newest book Book of Shadows with some trepidation. I'm a huge fan of her books The Harrowing and The Price but had felt let down by The Unseen, the book before this one. I was in luck, however. Because Book of Shadows delivered the chills. It was a great murder mystery with a delicious supernatural twist. I also gave Nate Kenyon a try and read The Bone Factory. It was very spooky. I enjoyed his writing very much and thought it was a taut thriller. I got another of his books, Sparrow Rock. Another delicious read. You know I love my apocalyptic fiction!

I also started Heather Graham's new trilogy with books 1 and 2, Ghost Shadow and Ghost Night. I really enjoyed them, in fact I can't wait to visit Key West this summer, but I think sometimes her writing gets a little formulaic and predictable. In both cases, I guessed the bad guy/guys before the end of the book. But it won't stop me from picking up Ghost Moon!

And I also devoured an Elizabeth Berg. Truly the woman is a genius. I never fail to be completely caught up in her books. She writes characters so easily relatable that you can't help but keep reading because you truly care about them. And The Last Time I Saw You is no exception. It didn't matter that all of the characters were almost twenty years older than my current age. They had hopes, dreams and disappointments that I could understand and echo. I think her books are best served straight through and luckily I was able to do just that and finish it in one non-stop reading session. I recommend you do the same.

Well that's it for me for now kids. But I'm hoping to have a truly awesome surprise soon with an author interview for you. And maybe a chance to win something...


Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer reading!

My only excuse for not being current on this blog is that I have been reading, reading and reading! Oh yes, and being a mommy. There for a while I was on a mission to read all the Stephen King books I had so wrongfully missed out on over the years. Truly I was a fanatic. I gobbled them up with a gusto. All the while with a slightly crazy gleam in my eye, like the veriest addict. For anyone who has read the master, you know exactly what I mean, and are likewise thrilled with the experience! We shall explore all those lovely novels later.
I would like to start my return to you with an author I hadn't read until a few weeks ago. Her name is Lynn Viehl, and she is very creative. The first book I read was Shadowlight. In the first nineteen pages I found myself not only hooked, but emotionally involved. Few and far between are the stories that actually make me verbalize my feelings, and I can tell you crying out "Nooo.." in the middle of a waiting room is rather embarrassing. The story goes on to tell us of a young woman named Jessa Bellamy and her unusual abilities. She is part of a special group of people that have been altered by vampire DNA. The bad guys are a monster corporation called Genhence masquerading as good guys. The good guys are hiding dark secrets and talents of there own. Poor Jessa is taken by Gaven Matthias so he can protect her from Genhence, help her deal with the past and find a safe future. Miss Viehl did a wonderful job of not only weaving an exciting plot with vivid characters, but also whetted my appetite for her other stories.
Dreamveil was the next book of her's I read. It follows one of the characters from Shadowlight and leads into another highly adventurous tale. This time Genhence isn't the only one after our heroine Rowan Dietrich and not even the worst. She deals with two love interests, a dark past fraught with nightmarish memories and a young homeless girl she can't seem to help. I felt like getting up and kicking some butt with Rowan. Of course I don't have any vampire DNA. Nor do I have other Kyndred, as these special people are called, looking out for me from afar. Once again by the end of the book I found myself looking forward to finding out more about these Kyndred and the very intriguing characters they make. If you like anything to do with vampires, fast paced tales of love and deception, secret groups with agendas or just plain love a great story then check out these books by Lynn Viehl. I promise they're worth it.
Well I must be off. Lots more great books to find and read.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 3 R's: Reading, Riting & Rithmetic...

Okay. Not so much of the Arithmetic! But I have been reading...and now it's time to write about it! I can hardly believe how much I've read since the last time I blogged on here!! So here goes-

First, I did get to read The Viscount Who Loved Me, the 2nd in Ms. Quinn's Bridgerton series. I also read Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and To Sir Phillip, With Love, numbers 3 & 4 in the series. I have now completed the entire series! I must say that they will remain on my bookshelf as one of my all time favorite families. All of the books were remarkably good and it's so much fun to have recurring characters. I absolutely fell in love with every book. Thank you Ms. Quinn for many hours of reading pleasure!

Second, I read both of the books I had in the Sabrina Jeffries School for Heiresses series. Both Don't Bargain With the Devil and Wed Him Before You Bed Him were fantastic reads. Again, I absolutely love the recurring characters. It's like reading really good gossip about old friends! And the last book in this series finally ties up the story of Charlotte Harris...the proprietor of the school. I have long been waiting for her "happy ending". I recommend the entire series!

I took a break from historical romance to give The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffeneggar a try. Lulu had bought and read it and raved about how good it was. In fact, she pretty much thrust it in my face and demanded I read it. So I did! It took me a bit to really get into it, but once I did, I was hooked but good! It is a fascinating read with a truly original concept. I stayed up way too late many a night because I didn't want to put it down. You can't help but get caught up in the characters and storyline as it hurls to it's inevitable conclusion. Highly recommended read!

I also took another genre leap and picked up a book called Blood Lite, short stories by different authors, presented by the Horror Writers Association. I thoroughly enjoyed it as well! Some of the stories not as much as others of course. But notable standouts were- Kelley Armstrong's "The Ungrateful Dead". I was laughing so much as I began this one that Jethro asked what was so funny. I preceded to read the story aloud and we laughed alot. There may have even been some laugh/snorting involved. I will have to pick up some of her novels and see if they are just as good. Another standout was- Charlaine Harris' "An Evening with Al Gore". Not quite as humorous, but I liked the theme and the conclusion was very satisfying!! Also standing out (in this readers humble opinion)- Eric James Stone's "PR Problems", proving that vampires and werewolves get all the good press! If you like horror or scifi, like to laugh and are looking for some short stories I'd recommend picking this one up!

Currently I've sunken my teeth into Once... by James Herbert, who in my book is the British answer to Stephen King. I've read many of his works but came across this one in a used book store and picked it up. It promises to be full of creepy situations and things that go bump in the night! Woo hoo!!!

That's all I've got dear readers...so go forth and read!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Romance, romance everywhere!

Finally, I squeezed in some reading time! And turned my attention to historical romance. I did get to read Seducing an Angel by Mary Balogh. And everything it promised, it delivered! Reading it was like seeing old friends you haven't seen in awhile, as it completed the quartet of books that began with First Comes Love. As always, Ms. Balogh crafts a believable world set in regency England. She fills her books with characters you can believe in and root for. I laugh, cry, and fall in love right along with them! It was very well done and definitely a must read! However, I do hope that she's not going to leave us hanging on what happens to cousin Con Huxtable! I know that he's an honorable man, for all that aspersions have been cast upon his character, and wait with baited breath to read his story!!!

I also managed to read another Bridgerton novel by Julia Quinn. I am attempting to read all eight in the series but am woefully out of order. I started with Gregory's story On the Way to the Wedding and as he is number 7 of the Bridgerton siblings obviously, that was not the first book! I did go back and read the first one, and the third and the eighth and finally the sixth. Confusing, no? The sixth book dealt with Francesca, the 6th Bridgerton sibling and the 3rd girl. It was called When He was Wicked. It was good, but not my favorite. I don't think any of this was the fault of Ms. Quinn's writing...it was superb as always, but I don't like characters whose major actions are led by guilt. I'm not a big believer in guilt myself. No regrets and all that. Still, it was a good story and a definate must read when following the lively Bridgerton clan! I finally got ahold of the 2nd book in the series and will read it next! Then there will only be two to go!

I also read What Happens In London, again by the incomparable Ms. Quinn. This one was a follow up to an earlier book called The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, one of the funniest romances I have ever read! This second book follows the best friend of Miranda Cheevers, Lady Olivia Bevelstoke. And while Miranda and her husband (who is Lady Olivia's older brother) are not featured in this book, they are mentioned so that we know all is still well in their world. What Happens In London fully lived up to the first book. It was hilarious!!! I laughed out loud many many times. I also annoyed Lulu by reading aloud funny passages just so I could share it with someone. What a great read! Highly recommended!!

And last but not least, I had the good fortune to find The Bridegroom, the fourth book in the Stone Creek Series by Linda Lael Miller. It follows the life of Gideon Yarbro, younger brother to Rowdy and Wyatt (books 2 &3). It was short, but very good. I love returning to Ms. Lael Miller's recreation of the Northern Arizona Territory. Who doesn't love a good western?! And Ms. Lael Miller is a pro at it! Again...I laughed, cried and rooted for the hero. If you haven't read the series...I suggest you do!

Well I'm going to start another Bridgerton novel tonight. Number 2 in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me. After that I have on my nightstand...Don't Bargain With The Devil and Wed Him Before You Bed Him. Both are part of the Sabrina Jeffries series "The School for Heiresses".

Happy Reading,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Heart sore!

I will skip apologies for tardiness. I have, as you know, been reading Duma Key. It was brought to life by The Master. Stephen King. Ouuu, you nasty man!
Let me say first that I didn't expect to cry while reading one of his works. I expected to be scared stiff, and in that he delivered. And then some! The crying came as total surprise and left me feeling hollow. These people, in Duma Key, were my friends. Crazy? If you say yes then you should put down whatever book your reading and grab the remote. Don't get me wrong, not all authors can sweep you away so thoroughly. But if your a reader, it's impossible not to have lived one of the books you've read before. Mr.Stephen King is an author that won't let you sit on your chair or couch quietly reading his story. He summons you in and you go willingly. After that there is no escape. Not that you'd ask for it anyway. I will be haunted by Duma Key for some time to come. I will hear the shells speaking under Big Pink. My children will never have red-headed baby dolls. And I won't buy any art from the gulf area.
Thank you sir, for some more nightmares, as that is why we read your thoughts! Obviously I recommend reading this one. Just be prepared to lose a day or two, depending on how quickly you read. And don't read it right before bed! Trust me, you'll lose a lot of sleep that way.
Next I intend to read some happy and romantic stories. I have to.

Please don't let the table be leaking! Hildi

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So many books...so little time...

Hello Faithful Readers! Life has been chaotic lately. And I haven't had the opportunity to retreat and stick my nose in a book nearly as often as I'd like. But I have done my best!

I finished Dust to Dust by Heather Graham. It was really engrossing. Could be I'm just a fan of Ms. Graham's or it could be that it was an entirely new idea. A new take on the "end of times". I've always been interested in apocalyptic fiction, both as the Apocalypse happens and afterward. And as you know...it's hard to find an idea someone else hasn't already done and done to death. So kudos to Ms. Graham for doing just that. Also kudos for bring back characters from other books. I love familiar characters...they feel like old friends. All in all, definitely a good read and highly recommended.

I also finished what I believe was the fourth in Eloisa James' Desperate Duchesses series. It was, as is expected of Ms. James, fabulous. It was When the Duke Returns. It brought back Isidore from the 3rd book Duchess by Night and told her story. Again...it's like family. I always get caught up in Ms. James books. I laugh, I cry, I forget where I am. And really, isn't that the mark of a great read? It is in my humble opinion.

Well I have several selections on my nightstand and as I will be recovering from surgery next month...I should have time to get to them! Some to look forward to... Seducing an Angel by Mary Balogh. It is the fourth in the series. Remember how I complained that it was released in hardcover? Well I got it at the library! Yay for free reads! Also looking forward to another Elizabeth Berg. And another Bridgerton novel by the incomparable Julia Quinn.

And on a side note...I have a friend who's going to Maine next month. And guess what??! She's going to take a picture of Stephen King's house for me! I know...I'm a huge goober where he's concerned. He's just a man...blah blah blah. Sorry I'm unrepentant in my blatant admiration. And poor him if he ever meets me in person! I'll probably chat him to death.

good books & crazy fans,