Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30 | Currently Reading

Last week was not made for reading. We are going to be moving soon so I spent most of the week/weekend packing and hauling stuff into our PODS unit. My kids were at grandmas over the weekend so the only downtime I would have normally spent reading I spent watching TV. I do not get to watch much (good) TV with three kids in the house.

Last week posted my review for Greg Gifune's House of Rain. I also posted about the banned books I read with my kids.

I started reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond, but I didn't finish reading it before Doctor Sleep arrived. I had to start Doctor Sleep immediately and so far it's even better than I was expecting.


Did you read anything special for banned books week? I'd love to hear what you are reading this week. Let me know in the comments or leave me a link!


This post is being shared as part of Book Journey's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Banned Books Edition | Storybook Sunday

In honor of banned books week, I picked up a few banned books from the library to read with my kids.


In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

My kids absolutely loved In the Night Kitchen. In the Night Kitchen was banned because the little boy in the story is entirely naked. This is what brought the most giggles and glee to my little boys. They could relate to Mickey, and it's silly for a little boy to go on an adventure without his clothes.

We also had a great discussion on whether Mickey was dreaming or not.


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This wasn't the first time we've read Where the Wild Things Are. In fact, my 6 year old seemed like he's maybe had enough while reciting the words along with me from memory. We are going retire Where the Wild Things Are for a while.

This book has been regularly banned because the boy has horrible behavior and the mother sends him to bed without his dinner. This is apparently psychologically damaging to the children reading the story. Thankfully my kids are unscathed and have not yet required therapy from this book.


Crow Boy by Taro Yashima

Crow Boy was my favorite of the banned books we read, but only for the discussion it created with my kids about bullying. I didn't like the book itself much. I wasn't a fan of the artwork, the print was teeny tiny, the story was very odd, but the discussion with my kids was priceless.

Some other books we read this week that were not banned books:



We finished our read-aloud of the first Hank the Cowdog book. I love Hank the Cowdog so I was really happy at how well my kids took to the first book. I was hoping to find a change of pace for our next book, but they are insisting we read the second Hank the Cowdog next.

The House in the Night was a beautiful book. I can see why it is a Caldecott award winner.

I hope everyone had a chance to read a banned book last week. Either way, I'd love to hear what you read during the week. Let me know in the comments or leave me a link!


This post is being shared as part of Teach Mentor Text's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sept. 22 - Sept. 28 | Notable New Book Releases

This week was crazy awesome for new releases. SO MANY BOOKS. In an effort to show them all, I'm going to skip posting the book descriptions for each of them this week. The image will link to Amazon.

These are the new releases that caught my eye this week:




Did any of these books make it on to your shelves or your wishlist this week? What did I miss? Be sure to let me know what books you were excited about this week!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

House of Rain by Greg F. Gifune | Book Review


House of Rain is a horror novella from Greg F. Gifune.

Book Description

Gordon Cole is a tired and lonely old man. A troubled Vietnam vet and recent widower, he does his best to survive in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood while drowning in the nightmares of his horrific past and struggling with the death of his beloved wife Katy.

And then the whispers begin calling to him from the shadows, terrifying visions stalk him relentlessly, the sounds of angelic singing haunt his every waking moment, and everyone in his life seems to be conspiring against him for reasons he cannot yet understand.

As the rains come, soaking down the city, Gordon realizes he must face his past, and solve a dark mystery that has haunted him for nearly fifty years. Who was the mystifying woman he met in a bar all those years ago? What happened in that seedy motel they went to?

As Gordon searches for answers, something within the mounting rain watches and waits, offering Gordon deliverance from his nightmare. But the keys to Heaven and Hell come with a terrible price.

Welcome home, Gordon.

Welcome to the House of Rain.

Review

I am such a big fan of Greg Gifune. He writes what I would classify as intelligent horror. That's not to say other horror is unintelligent; he simply makes me think on a deeper level. His stories are not wrapped up and tied up; there is a lot to think about and there is always plenty left to your own imagination and interpretation. Other writers I would classify similar to Greg Gifune are Lee Thompson and Gary Braunbeck.

Over the last couple of years, Gifune has made his way on to my "must read" list. I featured House of Rain on my top anticipated books for Spring list, but I only just now managed to give it a read. I was pretty much saving it for the right moment because I knew it would be good, and I knew it would be a read-in-one-sitting type of situation.

This time it turned out to be a read-in-one-sitting-twice type of situation. I had to read it twice to get all of the pieces to fit in my mind.

If you don't like having to work for it, Gifune may not be for you, but there is something about writers like Gifune and Braunbeck and Thompson that make me feel like I'm seeing the world from a different perspective. There's a piece of my imagination no one else seems to touch.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself needing something to read on a stormy night, House of Rain will suck you in and give you plenty to think about.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by publisher

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Queen of the Dark Things by C. Robert Cargill | Wishlist


One of my absolute favorite reads this year was Dreams and Shadows. C. Robert Cargill tweeted out the cover to the sequel last week, and I pretty much hyperventilated. I had no idea there was even going to be a sequel to Dreams and Shadows, but here it is! With a cover and a release date and a flailing fan (me).

Queen of the Dark Things by C. Robert Cargill
Expected publication: February 11th 2014 by Harper Voyager

Queen of the Dark Things by C. Robert Cargill
Book Description

Screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill continues the story begun in his acclaimed debut Dreams and Shadows in Queen of Dark Things, a bold and brilliantly crafted tale involving fairies and humans, magic and monsters—a vivid phantasmagoria that combines the imaginative wonders of Neil Gaiman, the visual inventiveness of Guillermo Del Toro, and the shocking miasma of William S. Burroughs.

Six months have passed since the wizard Colby lost his best friend to an army of fairies from the Limestone Kingdom, a realm of mystery and darkness beyond our own. But in vanquishing these creatures and banning them from Austin, Colby sacrificed the anonymity that protected him. Now, word of his deeds has spread, and powerful enemies from the past—including one Colby considered a friend—have resurfaced to exact their revenge.

As darkness gathers around the city, Colby sifts through his memories desperate to find answers that might save him. With time running out, and few of his old allies and enemies willing to help, he is forced to turn for aid to forces even darker than those he once battled.

Following such masters as Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, Richard Kadrey, and Kim Harrison, Robert C. Cargill takes us deeper into an extraordinary universe of darkness and wonder, despair and hope to reveal the magic and monsters around us . . . and inside us.

If you haven't read Dreams and Shadows, you can check out my review here. Dreams and Shadows is probably the main reason I have been reading so much fantasy lately.

Have you read Dreams and Shadows? What book are you anxiously awaiting this week? Be sure to let me know in the comments or leave me a link!


This post is being shared as part of Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

Today marks the release of one of my most wanted sequels of all time: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. In honor of the sequel to The Shining, I thought it would be fun to participate in today's Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish.

These are my top ten best sequels ever:


My favorite sequel of all time goes to:


I feel like I have a very odd mix of favorites. Do we share any favorite sequels? What is your favorite sequel of all time?

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Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23 | Currently Reading


Happy Banned Books Week everyone! Are you reading anything special this week for Banned Books Week?

It's rare for me to actually read and review a book within the same week, but I posted my review of What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang last week. I also posted my thoughts on The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan.

Last week I finished reading:


What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

In honor of Banned Books Weeks I'm reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I'm also still following Gollancz's read-along of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch.


The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

I'm trying to keep my currently reading list small since Doctor Sleep by Stephen King arrives on my doorstep tomorrow! Hopefully I can knock out The Witch of Blackbird Pond by then so I can devote myself to Doctor Sleep.

Is anyone using BookLikes to track your books? A lot of folks decided to finally try it out after Goodreads deleted a bunch of shelves and reviews without warning last Friday. I'm not leaving Goodreads, but I'm giving BookLikes a try if you want to connect over there.

I'd love to hear what you are reading this week. Let me know in the comments or leave me a link!


This post is being shared as part of Book Journey's It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sept. 15 - Sept. 21 | Notable New Book Releases

Let's face it, September is a badass month for books. I'm scared to start anything new because Doctor Sleep is landing on my doorstep next week, but these are the books that caught my eye this week:

Help for the Haunted by John Searles
Amazon | Goodreads

It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.



3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
Amazon | Goodreads

Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you.



Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaimen
Amazon | Goodreads

"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."

"Hullo," I said to myself. "That's not something you see every day. And then something odd happened."

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.


Dexter's Final Cut (Dexter #7) by Jeff Lindsay
Amazon | Goodreads

With 1.7 million copies of the Dexter novels sold, and ever-increasing critical acclaim, Jeff Lindsay returns to his groundbreaking and beloved character with his most entertaining book yet. Get ready for a grisly send-up of Hollywood, and a full dose of dark Dexter wit.

Lights. Camera. Mayhem. You won't find this story on television.

Hollywood gets more than it bargained for when television's hottest star arrives at the Miami Police Department and develops an intense, professional interest in a camera-shy blood spatter analyst named Dexter Morgan.

Mega-star Robert Chase is famous for losing himself in his characters. When he and a group of actors descend on the Miami Police Department for "research," Chase becomes fixated on Dexter Morgan, the blood spatter analyst with a sweet tooth for doughnuts and a seemingly average life. To perfect his role, Chase is obsessed with shadowing Dexter's every move and learning what really makes him tick. There is just one tiny problem . . . Dexter's favorite hobby involves hunting down the worst killers to escape legal justice, and introducing them to his special brand of playtime. It's a secret best kept out of the spotlight and away from the prying eyes of bloated Hollywood egos if Dexter wants to stay out of the electric chair. The last thing he needs is bright lights and the paparazzi. . . but even Dexter isn't immune to the call of fame.

Jeff Lindsay's razor sharp, devilish wit, and immaculate pacing prove that he is in a class of his own, and this new novel is his most masterful creation yet.



Mirror of the Nameless by Luke Walker
Amazon | Goodreads

In a world controlled by three monstrous gods ready to destroy everything at any point they choose, Dave Anderson knows the only way he can survive is to do the same as everybody else – keep his head down, question nothing and hope he doesn't end up sacrificed to the gods. That's his plan until he discovers his teenage daughter is risking her life in an attempt to rid the world of its rulers.

Terrified of losing his daughter, Dave joins her boyfriend in a frantic search while trying to avoid the authorities eager to offer him to their dark lords. The men must fight their way through a country governed by fear towards a derelict manor where a weapon for change and hope awaits. Here, a long-dead writer has left clues pointing to an object that might free the world of its terrible masters...or lead to something far worse…



Did any of these books make it on to your shelves or your wishlist this week? What did I miss? Be sure to let me know what books you were excited about this week!

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