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text 2018-12-05 21:24
24 Festive Tasks, Door 9 - Thanksgiving UPDATED to include Task 2
Amelia: An Autumn Bride - Hildie McQueen
To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 - Adam Hochschild
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner,Courtney Milan
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story - Kurt Eichenwald
The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin
The Jade Temptress - Jeannie Lin
Once Upon a Spine - Kate Carlisle
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro
Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch - Kelly Sue DeConnick
Nightingales Under the Mistletoe: (Nightingales 7) - Donna Douglas

Thanksgiving

 

Book: Today, I read Amelia: An Autumn Bride (Brides for All Seasons #7) by Hildie McQueen (autumn colors).

 

Task #1

The three books I am most thankful for reading this year are:

 

1. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild

          This is what I would recommend to anyone, but especially non-history readers, if they wanted to read one book about World War I. 

 

2. Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole

              I'm not a fangirl of Hamilton or his musical (although I do listen and enjoy the soundtrack), but getting new material from these authors was enough for me to buy it. Courtney Milan's story was my favorite, but Rose Lerner's and Alyssa Cole's stories were wonderful as well. 

 

3. Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald

             This book was a door stopper, but read so much like a novel that it didn't feel over long at all. This is the true story of the rise and fall of Enron.

 

Honorable mention: The Lotus Palace and The Jade Temptress (Pingkang Li Mysteries #1 and 2) by Jeannie Lin.

 

Task #2

My perfect meal, created by a chef and his/her/their team, is inspired by my Italian heritage. It would be time and resource intensive, ergo I would never make it for myself.

1. Starters - Caprese salad and friend calamari

2. Main - Zuppa di Pesce e Frutti de Mare (just a ton of seafood in a clear broth)

3. Sides - Baked Fennel with Parmesan and Mushroom risotto

4. Dessert - Tiramisu

 

Task #3

The book I read this year with the most "stuffing" was Once Upon a Spine (A Bibliophile Mystery #11) by Kate Carlisle. Details about the most mundane things with boring vanilla characters and constant wedding talk - and the murder mystery was an afterthought until the very end. 

 

Task #4

Honestly, I can't remember all the freebies I download in a single month, let alone in a year. So here is what I bought this month:

 

1. Bitch Planet Volume 1 and 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick et al (from Foyles)

2. A Nightingale Christmas Carol and Nightingales Under the Mistletoe by Donna Douglas (from a charity shop)

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review 2018-11-24 20:26
The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister #3)
The Countess Conspiracy - Courtney Milan

I thought I would enjoy this more since I've enjoyed Sebastian and Violet since the first book, and it was pretty obvious they'd end up together. Violet was a much different person than I thought she'd be once we got into her head though, and it took awhile for me to warm up to her. 

 

Seeing Violet and Sebastian both doubt themselves - for different reasons - and trying to prove themselves worthy to their family was frustrating at times. Their insecurities made them vulnerable in similar ways, and they could really only be themselves when they were working together on Violet's theories.

 

Yes, Violet's theories! (That's in the blurb, but also becomes immediately obvious in the first chapter, so it's not a spoiler.) Violet wasn't allowed to publish her theories under her own name, since no one would even read them given that she's a woman. So Sebastian has been presenting her theories as his own, and the constant lies and the derision from some of the public have worn him down. Women having to hide their intelligence and discoveries behind men's names was sadly not unheard of, and I found this aspect of the story engaging, even if it ended a bit more fairy tale than could be believed. (Or the author decided to not focus on any of the negatives

after Violet went to prison.

(spoiler show)

 

I really liked seeing these two friends break down their barriers and become more than friends, but it didn't quite grab me as much as the previous couples. 

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text 2018-11-21 22:30
24 Festive Tasks, Door 8 - Day of Penance
Luck of the Draw - Kate Clayborn
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine - Michael Lewis
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World - Michael Lewis
All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis - Joe Nocera,Bethany McLean
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story - Kurt Eichenwald
Polio: An American Story - David Oshinsky
Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It - Gina Kolata
Homefront Hero - Allie Pleiter
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter

Penance Day

 

Book: I chose Luck of the Draw (Chance of a Lifetime #2) by Kate Clayborn. 

 

Task #1

My guilty pleasure reading is what I call the diseases and disasters genre. Doesn't matter if the disaster happened long ago or more recently, I just love to read a deep dive into those situations. Ditto for diseases. I also really like it when my fiction has diseases and disasters as part of the story and the characters have to overcome some serious stuff on their way to love and HEA. 

 

Non-fiction: Most of Michael Lewis' books, All the Devils Are Here, Polio: An American Story, Flu

 

Fiction: Homefront Hero and Mission of Hope by Allie Pleiter (former has Spanish flu plotline, the latter takes place right after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake)

 

Task #2

I know I am going to get some shit thrown my way, but my favorite team EVER is 

Image result for new york yankees logo

My daughter's T-Ball team was the NYY and I was so happy to see her enjoy playing baseball while dressed out in my favorite team's jersey this summer. My heart hurt a little when they didn't beat the dirty socks in the playoffs, but there is always next year.

 

 

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review 2018-10-01 07:28
Ancient Giants by Xaviant Haze
Ancient Giants: History, Myth, and Scientific Evidence from around the World - Xaviant Haze

TITLE:  Ancient Giants: History, Myth, and Scientific Evidence from around the World

 

AUTHOR:  Xaviant Haze

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  2018

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13: 9781591432937

 

___________________________________________

This is a mostly anecdotal collection of stories and myths about giants from prehistory to more recent times, categorized in terms of region.  There is no attempt at analysis or investigating if the "giants" described in the stories or ancient carvings are actual giants, normal people with medical conditions, or simply over-exaggerated tales that grew with the telling.  All of the giant bone discoveries mentioned in this book have mysteriously disappeared.  The author claims a conspiracy, which may well be true, but this book doesn't help with any details or furthering of knowledge.  This is a short book that brings nothing new to the table.

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review 2018-09-20 23:25
Heavy metal horror masterpiece that is sure to become a cult classic; another hit from Grady Hendrix
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

‘We Sold Our Souls’ is one HELL of a ride. Grady Hendrix, King of horror at Quirk Books, has written a heavy metal masterpiece with a female lead guitarist, Kris Pulaski, as its star.
Less classic horror this time (his previous books are ‘Horrorstör’, and ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’), Hendrix has laden ‘Souls’ with conspiracy theory and real life horrors.

Kris Pulaski was in a heavy metal band called Dürt Würk two decades ago and they were on the brink of success when the lead singer Terry Hunt ripped the band apart and left to start his solo career. And it seems Terry’s rise to success was at the cost of selling the band’s souls.
That’s right, he sold their souls for rock’n’roll…or in this case, heavy metal.

 

Kris’ pitiful present day existence is working at the reception of a Best Western, and if you can stomach the ‘Welcome To Hell’ chapter (good horror always comes at the cost of reading things that make your stomach turn), then you can follow Kris on her journey as she gets whisked from Pennsylvania to a Satanic rehab center, and then across the country again to grimy Las Vegas. Years of grueling, crazy, exciting, challenging (to say the least), and often nasty experiences on the road with the band, were nothing compared to this trip, and it seems like all Kris’ heavy metal years were preparation and toughened her up. The journey to Las Vegas is overwhelming, but Kris has a mission she can’t ignore. There’s also a whole host of colorful characters along the way, but I do have to wonder if Hendrix has a thing against UPS (you will see what I mean when you read the book).

 

The greatest thing about this book is that Hendrix has chosen to write ‘Souls’ with a female protagonist. Not just that: a kickass, middle-aged (even though I hate that word, because that’s what I am now, I suppose), female as its lead. And she plays the guitar like a certain other Hendrix. She doesn’t take any bull from anyone and doesn’t stop fighting back once she starts on her new road trip.

 

While it seems as though she has given up with her hotel job, the revelation that she must stop her old bandmate Terry Hunt, lights a fire in Kris, and the book has that vibe of ‘don’t give up, don’t let the system win, don’t let the bullies push you’. That’s highly clear in the messages of conspiracy theory, our paranoia-laden country, and how culture is selling itself (its soul) particularly out to cell phones and shallow marketing. Reading the book will give you a greater sense of the way the conspiracy theory works in ‘Souls’ - I’m kind of at a loss as how to explain the genius behind how it’s woven in - but Hendrix has cleverly used snippets of radio and newspaper to show how ‘news’ travels and information spreads. This has always been the way conspiracy theories spread and this underbelly of the book is fascinating.

 

If you don’t know all the music in the book, this may be a little daunting, as there are a lot of heavy metal and music references, but I think if you have even the remote interest in or knowledge of decades old music such as Black Sabbath and Slayer, and remember the days when everyone thought that heavy metal listeners were devil worshipers, you will appreciate what Hendrix is doing here (and no you don’t have to actually like the music). Trigger warnings for sexual assault and creepy crawlies; this is definitely rated R.

 

Hendrix is an undeniable force in pop culture literature and has written an unforgettable book, one that’s not for everyone, but will be a cult classic, but not like any of the schlock he writes about in his awesome ‘Paperbacks from Hell’. No one writes like this guy; ‘We Sold Our Souls’ is funny, gross, complex, and a wonderful blend of horror, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and is infused with a heavy dose of music history. Only Grady Hendrix could have done that.

 

**I'm really lucky because this Friday I get to meet Grady here in Seattle at his book signing and I get to have my big stack of books signed. 

*Kudos to Doogie Horner again, for another excellent book cover design for Grady. It's worth noting that the hardcover of this book has beautiful black ink-sprayed pages. 

 

 

 

UPDATE:

What an amazing ‘signing’. To anyone who gets to go to one of the signings on this book tour: Grady will blow your mind with the presentation he has ready for you; I wish I’d been prepared and been able to record it or something, so I could listen to it again (you hear/see that, Grady?).
The whole ‘secret history’ behind heavy metal and how it has rotted so many young minds (aka the wonderful conspiracy theories that set WSOS in motion) is the basis for Grady’s brilliant ‘lecture’, along with a slideshow and I wish I’d at least taken notes, but I chuckled too much to do that. It was the most funny, inspiring, thoughtful signing I’ve been to yet.

 

THANK YOU TO GRADY for revealing the personal background behind writing this book in particular; I really appreciated your message at the end, you have so much heart, especially for a guy who writes some of my favorite books which are complete with things like people getting their scalps ripped off, beetles crawling down their shirts, and high schoolers needing exorcisms. Plus you will say ‘fuck’ a lot right near the children’s department in the bookstore and do the ‘voices’ of the members of KISS.
And I have NO idea how you have the energy that you do (you delivered about 20-25 pages at cutthroat speed), especially since I’m someone who has zero energy most of the time, thanks to MS.
Us Seattlites apologize for the death of metal circa 1991 when Nirvana et al burst onto the scene (I thought it was funny that you started your tour here*), but you must admit jeans are way more comfortable than leather pants, so that was a godsend. I’d love to hear your take on whether that was a conspiracy itself.

So, thank you for coming and signing my massive stack of books, for your presentation, and for your writing genius. Thank you to librarians for buying secret copies of books for kids like a certain one did for you.
You rock.

*We would like to reiterate that we did indeed have a very hot and sunny summer here this year (again) in Seattle, and now that  it’s raining we are actually all quite relieved. Sorry you had to experience it for your trip though. Make sure you come back for your next book.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/37715859-we-sold-our-souls
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