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text 2017-11-15 18:45
I met Grim & Libromancer's Apprentice!

 

Last night I got to meet both Grim and Libromancer's Apprentice at an author event held at a local library. What fun!

 

This means I also got to meet Scott Lynch, (author of The Lies of Locke Lamora, Gentlemen Bastard Series #1), and Elizabeth Bear, (author of a whole bunch of stuff!). They're a married couple and just so cute together. They were both also very generous with their time and answered all of our questions. I'm so glad that I went!

 

I have to admit to being slightly nervous as I've not met anyone from Booklikes before, but it all went swimmingly. Grim and Libromancer's Apprentice were both as nice in person as they are on line and Grim even brought me books and made cookies! I let her know beforehand that my kitties might not warm up to her, so she brought them a kitty wind-up toy filled with catnip. She was able to pet them both before the night was out, which is unheard of! (They were both adopted and even though we've had them since January, they are still jumpy around strangers.)

 

As I said, I was very nervous about the whole night but everything turned out great! Grim and LA-it was a pleasure meeting you both and I hope we can get together again sometime in the future. :)

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-11-14 23:00
16 Festive Tasks Update!

In the cases where a book task has been completed, the cover of the book is posted in the square. If another task has been completed there's a little Christmas ornament. 

4 tasks completed so far + 1 bonus point from the horserace = 5 points total!

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text 2017-11-14 19:15
Square 6: Saint Nicholas Day & Square 2: Bon Om Touk

Square 6:

 

Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.

 

I read: Childgrave

 

Childgrave - Ken Greenhall 

 

 

Square 2:

 

Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.

 

 

I don't have any recent vacation pictures as we've recently bought a house and adopted two kitties! (Our vacations have been in the back yard ever since, and that's just fine with us.) For the purposes of the 16 Festive Tasks, I've posted pics below of one of our favorite places in the world: Martha's Vineyard. For those who don't know, it's an island off the shores of Massachusetts. It features some quaint towns, a cool little village and some of the most beautiful views anywhere, in my admittedly humble, (and not well traveled!) opinion. 

 

We are lucky to have a friend that owns a home in MV, who welcomes us to stay and who knows all the places with the best food. Let's start with breakfast. We ALWAYS went to Biscuits which is in Oak Bluffs and has the most fantastic food EVER. Yes, you can get chicken and waffles, you can get a bacon-cake, or you can get my favorite: eggs with homemade Linguica hash. Look at those big hunks of potato-YUM!

 

 

 

 

Usually after breakfast we would take a walk. Not far away from Biscuits is the old Methodist Campground. Founded in the early 1800's, originally in tents, this area was set up for worship. There is a big tabernacle there and its reputation grew. Eventually they began to build these gingerbread houses, in place of the tents, and now it's a gorgeous little village of these homes. None of them have cellars and the land itself is owned by the Campground. Most of the homes are so close, they even touch. From what I understand the homes are often passed down through generations and since the land is not owned, banks won't give mortgages for them. Here's my husband in front of one of the super cute homes, (sorry it's crooked!). I loved the little birdhouse on the front, (top balcony) which looks just like the house itself. Some of the homes are themed-there's one Wizard of Oz house that is super cool.

 

 

 

 

Here's a straighter picture for you:

 

 

At the western end of the island is a beautiful place which used to be called Gay Head, but is now called Aquinnah, for the native American tribe that lived here, (and still does). There's a beautiful lighthouse, which they've had to move due to erosion. Back in the day, there used to be a fort here, to protect the shore-the remains of which you can barely see in the water below, at the foot of the cliffs. 

 

 

 

South Beach is one of my favorite places on MV. You can drive right onto the beach and it's not crazy crowded like so many of the beaches on the mainland. Of course, it's private, so you can only go if you're with a resident. (You may be able to buy a day pass even if you're not a resident.) There are no snack bars, no bars whatsoever, just the beauty of the ocean. That land you see in the background on the left is Chappaquiddick. We were told by our friend that sometimes the channel across is connected by the sand that often builds up there and then you can drive right across. I guess that has happened on and off over the last 40 years. 

 

 

 

Lastly, the saddest part of any vacation-going home. This picture was taken from the ferry.

 

 

I hope we can make it back there sometime soon! 

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review 2017-11-14 18:45
Childgrave by Ken Greenhall
Childgrave - Ken Greenhall

 

CHILDGRAVE is a beautifully written quiet horror story, with a sketchy small town lurking in the background. By the time the secrets of the town are revealed, it's too late for the reader to turn back.

 

As I get older, I find myself more and more drawn to quiet horror. I can do without gore and torture and all that if I have a tale that's well written and atmospheric. I also need compelling characters and CHILDGRAVE has that in spades. The main character, Jonathan, is a widowed photographer. He, his daughter Joanne, and his housekeeper Nanny Joy, are so well drawn I feel as if I know them personally.

 

When Jonathan's photos of his daughter seem to show specters in the background, while at the same time Joanne seems to have developed some new invisible friends, Jonathan is intrigued. Are the two events connected? Who is Conlee, the name of Joanne's new invisible friend? Lastly, what is Chilegray and how is connected to Conlee? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'll get it out of the way now-this is a slow moving story. What kept me interested was the quality of the writing and the characters. Jonathan is a quirky man. He has few friends and little interest in fashion or modern day trends. His housekeeper Nanny Joy loves jazz and Jonathan's daughter, but is concerned about the appearance of Conlee and the specters in the photographs. Jonathan's agent Harry is hilarious and his girlfriend, Lee, is interesting as well. NYC of the 70's is the main setting, and it was fascinating to read about the city during that time of social upheaval and change.

 

I was inexorably drawn to the conclusion which leads the reader to a small town hidden in a valley. "Evil in a small town" is one of my favorite tropes and Greenhall knew how to deliver it in a chilling and shocking- yet believable way. You find yourself wondering what you would do in such a situation and I continued to think about it all night long...hours after finishing the book. I can't say that I blame Jonathan for the choices that he made.

 

While CHILDGRAVE isn't the psychological, fast moving story that both ELIZABETH or HELL HOUND were, it was excellent in its own quiet and compelling way. Slowly drawing the reader down into the valley where secrets are kept for generation after generation, Greenhall deftly brings things to a head and left this reader wishing for more.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: CHILDGRAVE

 

*Thanks to Valancourt Books for providing this e-book free, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-11-09 22:30
Sweet Aswang by Anthony Hains
Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains

 

I have to admit that I had no idea what an Aswang was when Anthony Hains asked if I would like a review copy of this novella. I'd previously read his book THE DISEMBODIED and enjoyed it, so I said yes. I'm glad I did!

 

Two eighth-graders, Chloe and Spencer, have one thing in common-diabetes. Rather than spending all their time talking about boys or girls, they have to spend a lot of it calculating carbs and insulin dosages. One night they are each awoken by mysterious noises outside and the next day they discover that a nearby family has been slaughtered in the night. What killed this family and mutilated their bodies? Did the mysterious noises have anything to do with the murders? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Even though YA is not really my thing, I thought this novella delivered the goods. We have a mysterious, scary creature, a few likable kids with some real problems, (diabetes is no joke), and lots of action in the last half, which was fun. The mythical abilities of an Aswang are wide and varied and as such leave a lot of room for imaginative storytelling; which is one of the reasons that made me wish this tale didn't end so quickly.

 

SWEET ASWANG was a lot of fun without getting too seriously bogged down with medical jargon or sappy teenagers stealing kisses on the front porch after dark. With a fast moving plot and a cool creature like the Aswang, this book was over before I knew it and I was sad to be finished.

 

Recommended!

 

You can get a copy here: Sweet Aswang

 

 

*As noted above, I received this copy free, in return for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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