Saturday, March 31, 2018

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | March 31

Happy Easter to those who are celebrating this weekend. We are enjoying a much needed weekend at home, but we do plan to head out to the beach for Easter tomorrow.

This week was full of gross weather, but the weekend is shaping up to be beautiful. My oldest son made the switch to roller blades this week. I never could get the hang of roller blades when I tried, but it took him all of one minute to learn them. I love anything that gets my kids off of Minecraft/Roblox for a while.

Read Last Week

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon - I posted some of my thoughts about Boy’s Life earlier this week. It's my favorite book of all time so check it out if you haven't seen it.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery -  I think I’m going to DNF Anne. I made it to 25% before I started avoiding her like the plague. I love her, and I think I see why I adored this book as a young girl, but I’m so bored. I feel bad because I was reading it as part of a readalong, but I was only going through the motions before I put her down for good.

Review Copies

Terror is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horrors by Joe R. Lansdale & Kasey Lansdale Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Terror is Our Business: Dana Roberts’ Casebook of Horrors by Joe R. Lansdale & Kasey Lansdale - Joe Lansdale is a must read for me, and I don’t think I’ve ever read his Dana Roberts stories. This looks like an awesome collection.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente - Space Opera is “an over-the-top science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente, in which sentient species compete for glory in a galactic musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.“ This book sounds epic, and I have to read it. Thank you to Saga Press for being there in my time of need.

Recent Acquisitions

Holes in the Ground by J.A. Konrath and Iain Rob Wright Mojo Rising by Bob Pastorella Witch Hunter: Into the Outside by J.Z. Foster

Holes in the Ground by J.A. Konrath and Iain Rob Wright - Thanks, Barb, for mentioning this on your update post! I loved Origin, and I had no idea there was a sequel.

Mojo Rising by Bob Pastorella - Mojo Rising is a strange trip through a world of thugs and junkies, hallucinations and apocalypses. Some doors you walk through, you can’t come back in.

Witch Hunter: Into the Outside by J.Z. Foster - The author is calling it urban fantasy, but readers are calling it horror. Either way, I’m looking forward to reading a book with witches since there’s a serious lack of witch books if you ask me.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading this week or leave me some links!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.


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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Book Review | Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

This year has been about reading a lot of really great books, but not so much about reviewing them. I’ve always had trouble reviewing McCammon, though. It’s impossible to match my words to my emotions when it comes to his work. That being said, I’m going to try to get a portion of my thoughts out about Boy’s Life bullet point style:
  • First of all, thanks to Lilyn (Sci-Fi & Scary) and Clare Favara for buddy reading Boy’s Life with me. Boy’s Life is my favorite book of all time, and I absolutely loved hearing their thoughts over the course of the book. This was my third time to read Boy’s Life, but it had been at least 10 years since my last read so there was plenty for me to discover as well.
  • One of the things I have loved most about Robert McCammon releasing The Listener this year has been seeing people discover McCammon for the very first time. Readers naturally flock to Boy’s Life after discovering McCammon, and it has been a joy watching people discover a new favorite author, a new favorite book, and in some cases their favorite book of all time.
  • Boy’s Life is the coming of age story of 11 year old Cory Mackenson.
Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson -- a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake -- and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible, haunting vision of death. As Cory struggles to understand his father's pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that surround him. From an ancient mystic who can hear the dead and bewitch the living, to a violent clan of moonshiners, Cory must confront the secrets that hide in the shadows of his hometown -- for his father's sanity and his own life hang in the balance....
  • Boy’s Life is often labeled as a horror novel, but the supernatural elements in Boy’s Life are a fraction of a much larger book. If any label is appropriate for Boy’s Life, it’s simply “American Literature”.
  • I'm not one to write in my books, but I think the next time I read Boy’s Life, I'm going to get a copy that I can start highlighting and writing in. There are so many beautiful quotes to take from this book, and each time I have read it, I have gotten something different out of it.
  • I had forgotten the main character Cory was telling the story of Boy’s Life just before his fortieth birthday. I’m a little over a month away from my fortieth, and this was the perfect time in my life to be reading this book again.

    In me are the memories of a boy's life, spent in that realm of enchantments. I remember. These are the things I want to tell you....
  • During my first two reads of Boy’s Life, I really connected to the main character Cory and his coming-of-age story. This read, however, I found myself really connecting to Cory's dad. One of the best things about Boy’s Life is Cory's parents. In most books, the parents are unavailable, uninvolved in a neglectful way, or if they are around, they are just horrible parents. That's not what the reader gets in Boy’s Life. The reader is actually treated to a realistic and loving family relationship. Cory's parents are flawed as any parents are, but they are also available and loving parents. This is unique to most of the books that I’ve read, and one of the many reasons I love Boy’s Life.

    “My father could throw up a fistful of dice to make a decision, but my mother had an agony for every hour. I guess they balanced, as two people who love each other should.”
  • If I had to pick one favorite thing about Boy’s Life, it would be the way McCammon captured the magic of childhood.

    We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand.
  • Everything in Boy’s Life is so well done. Even the setting of Zephyr and the vehicles have their own character arcs.
  • I hope when I'm in the nursing home and nearing my final days, I'm surrounded by people who love me and know me well enough to play me the audio of Boy’s Life or to sit at my bedside and read it to me out loud. If I have to leave this world in the middle of a book, let it be Boy’s Life.

    “They may look grown-up,” she continued, “but it’s a disguise. It’s just the clay of time.”

10/10: Awesome Read


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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | March 18

Happy weekend everyone. This past week was Spring Break for my kids. I love when my kids are off from school. There’s no homework to be had, and I can force my kids to spend time with me.

Posted Last Week

I have had zero reviewing mojo this year. I think it has more to do with the way I’ve been reading lately. Life has been tough and it has been busy, and I’ve been reading for the escape and the pure enjoyment of the story. I’m OK with that, but I’m also ready to get back to writing some reviews.

I did post some quick thoughts on the books I’ve been reading lately:
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
  • The Listener by Robert McCammon
  • Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  • Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

Read Last Week

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

Recent Acquisitions

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson - A few weeks ago I said I haven't read a tremendous amount of fantasy. That was kind of misleading since fantasy is one of my go-to genres. What I meant was I don't feel well read in fantasy. Let's take Brandon Sanderson for example. I've read The Rithmatist and Steelheart, but I haven't read Mistborn or The Way of Kings. Despite reading a lot of fantasy, there's a lot I haven't read that I should be reading! I was planning to read Mistborn during Fantasy Month in May, but it might not last until May. I will probably cheat and read it sooner.

The Sound of Broken Ribs by Edward Lorn - Folks were raving over this one last year, and I snagged it on sale this past week.

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier - I've decided I need more middle grade horror in my life so I'm going on a big MG reading spree.

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen - This is another book I grabbed on sale after seeing some trusted reviews. The Nightmare Room is still on sale for $0.99 at the time of this writing.

The Shibboleth by John Hornor Jacobs - I really enjoyed the first book in the series. I'm looking forward to reading what happens next.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - I lucked out in finding this at the thrift shop. It's been on my wishlist for a while, and I was considering ordering a copy after seeing it over at Bark's Book Nonsense.

Current Distractions

Annihilation - I enjoyed the movie more than the book, but they were quite different from each other. My favorite stuff in the book wasn’t in the movie, and the movie had a lot of new things cooked up by the movie folks. There was one scene that was so awesome it was worth the ticket price.

A Wrinkle in Time - I took my kids to see A Wrinkle in Time. (I never could convince them to read the book!) They loved it. Personally, I wanted more about the time wrinkles and the tesseract, but I enjoyed it, too. I fell in love with A Wrinkle in Time when I was in the 3rd grade so it was pretty awesome to be watching it with my own 3rd grade son. :)

Jumanji - We rented Jumanji this week as well. I'm not sure how much I would recommend it to others, but it was cute. It was a great family movie night pick.

Seriously. How amazing was the lineup of new shows last week? We got new seasons of Hap and Leonard, Jessica Jones, and Sneaky Pete! I can't ask for more than that, but The Santa Clarita Diet comes back this week, too.

So what about you? Let me know what you're reading this week or leave me some links!

This post is being shared as part of Book Date's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Quicks Reviews | What I've Been Reading Lately

This is quick catch up of the books I've been reading lately.

Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious is a new YA mystery series. I realized about halfway through Truly Devious that it was the start of a series. I wish I had known that before reading it. I probably would have skipped the series altogether. As soon as I realized, I became petrified I was reading a mystery with no resolution. I was mostly right. Thankfully, I did get a mystery that had a resolution, but Truly Devious was not a good fit for my reading style. If you love YA books that arc over the length of a series, this could be a fun mystery for you. I probably won't continue on.

6/10: Good Read

The Listener by Robert McCammon

Is there anything better than a favorite book by a favorite author? I loved The Listener. The characters were awesome, and McCammon's writing was as great as ever. If you’ve never read McCammon before, I am absolutely OK with The Listener being your first experience.

9/10: Highly Recommended

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior will likely be my favorite novella of the year. It packed a huge emotional punch for me, and I had trouble getting it off of my mind. It's about a 15 year old boy who begins seeing the ghost of his father. It just won the Bram Stoker for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction, and it was a well deserved win.

8/10: Great Read

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

I can't imagine any book for the rest of the year topping the experience I had with Bird Box. I put off reading it for so long because the premise didn't sound like a book that would be a big hit with me. With the upcoming release of Unbury Carol (which sounds amazing!) and the upcoming movie release of Bird Box, I knew the time had come to see what Bird Box was all about. I'm calling it right now - Bird Box will be my favorite book of the year.

10/10: Awesome Read

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

Summer of Night is a must read for fans of coming of age horror. If you are a fan of Stephen King's IT, you will probably love Summer of Night, too. I found there to be a lot of similarities between the two. I highly recommend going with the audiobook for this one. It's a chunky read, and the narrator does a great job.

8/10: Great Read

I think that covers most of what I read last month. It was an amazing run of books!


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