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text 2017-12-15 23:15
Square 10 World Peace Day Task
With Every Letter - Sarah Sundin
The Unleashing (Call Of Crows Book 1) - Shelly Laurenston
The Undoing (Call Of Crows) - Shelly Laurenston
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Lady for Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo) - Sarah Mallory
A Mistress for Major Bartlett - Annie Burrows
Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
Homefront Hero - Allie Pleiter

5 Books I Appreciated this Year....and yeah I kinda cheated, lol:

 

1. With Every Letter (Wings of the Nightingale #1) by Sarah Sundin

     Finally a book that features a military heroine! I really loved this story of Tom and Mellie falling for each other in both letters and in person. Can't wait to read the other two books in the series.

 

2. Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston

     Got to love female rage mixed with Norse mythology and lots of humor. This trilogy is a great read for paranormal romance fans who want actual strong female characters. I refuse to name my favorite, they are all good in their own way. A very cathartic way of dealing with real life news.

 

3. A Lady for Lord Randall by Sarah Mallory/A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

      These were the first two books in the Waterloo Brides trilogy (the last book stank). I loved that Regency romance left the ballroom and went onto the battlefield - such a departure from the normal Regency romance.

 

4. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

     The artwork was stark and evoked such feelings as Satrapi told her life story, along with giving readers a history and cultural lesson on Iran. I would recommend reading both books to understand her fresh approach to the immigrant story.

 

5. Allie Pleiter

    Not a book, but an author of historical romance. This was the Summer of Allie Pleiter - from contemporary bull rider returning home, to 1906 San Francisco just months after the earthquake, to World War I knitters who get the Spanish flu and finally to an post-WWI orphange. There wasn't a moment of reading Pleiter's works that I did not enjoy.

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review 2017-12-15 17:45
Don’t just read this book; ABSORB it...
Reign of the Fallen - Sarah Marsh

I waited with great anticipation to get my hands on an early copy of this book, and somehow when ‘the time came’ for me to read it, I had three early copies in my lap. I was obviously meant to read it, and it definitely spoke to me, just from the cover and description. It was definitely worth the wait!
This isn’t just a story about a master necromancer called Odessa (aka Sparrow), it’s so much more. The author Sarah Glenn Marsh, has done an amazing job of world-building, one of a land called Karthia, so vivid, I could imagine it up on the big screen.
The story is filled with dark monsters called Shades, the shrouded dead who live among the living, and a monarchy that is looking more and more fragile as the book precedes. There’s also a lot of blood and gore as these dark monsters must be slain, so there’s plenty of action, and as a reader, we find out some people have special powers according to their eye color, bringing us a very fantastical and superhuman element as well.
But what this lavish fantasy is really about, is a tale about love, grief, friendship, life and death, and loyalties. I was taken by surprise at the levels of loss Sarah wrote about. My own experiences with grief made me deeply feel emotional at some parts of this novel, bringing me to tears, and the lead character struggles with addiction to cover up her grief. I want to appreciate this attention to what loss can do to someone, because this is a vital part of the novel.
There are also deep friendships and new loves (between same sex characters) that are written about in this book, and Sarah does it with such tenderness and with her beautiful writing, that it’s seamless to the plot but something that many readers have been waiting for. She shows how complex both can be, and describes the ‘newness’ of this for one of the characters, and it’s delightful to read. Loyalty and trust are key elements running through the story with respect to these relationships.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Reign of the Fallen’ and since I do know there’s another book to follow in its tracks, I’m pleased that this world and its characters will be back. I didn’t so much as ‘read’ this book, I ‘absorbed’ it; I really hope that everyone else will love it as much as I did. Savor this one!
*I also have a tiny character part where I die on a page in the second book, so I KNOW there’s another one!

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text 2017-12-14 12:45
Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Audiobooks of 2017!
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt Godfrey
The Lesser Dead - Christopher Buehlman
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman
The Memory of Running - Recorded Books LLC,Ron McLarty,Ron McLarty
Nightmares and Geezenstacks - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Fredric Brown
You Will Know Me: A Novel - Megan Abbott,Lauren Fortgang
Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough
The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel - Matthew Quick,Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.,Darwin Porter
Empire Falls - Richard Russo

 

This has been the year of the audiobook for me. I believe I've listened to more of them this year than ever before. And boy, this year brought two of my favorite authors to life through the power of voice. Let's get on with it, shall we? (Oh, and click the cover to see my original review!)

 

 Blackwater by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey

1. My number one audio of the year, (and indeed, of ALL time) is Blackwater. Written by the fabulous Michael McDowell and performed by Matt Godfrey, this epic tale spans generations of the Caskey family and their matriarch, who may or may not be altogether human. The star of this show is McDowell's writing-he brings his sharp wit and his knowledge of family dynamics to the table and then Matt Godfrey brings it all home. Blackwater clocks out at just over 30 hours of listening, and I was never, ever bored. 

 

Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt Godfrey 

 

 The Lesser Dead written and performed by Christopher Buehlman

2. Christopher Buehlman was unknown to me at the beginning of 2017. Now, in December, I count him among my favorite authors. I've read or listened to ALL of his novels since April, starting with Those Across the River and ending with The Lesser Dead. Mr. Buehlman narrates The Lesser Dead himself and in most cases, I don't think that's wise. In this case, he knocked it out of the park. I later learned that he performs at Renaissance Fairs, sometimes as a storyteller and sometimes as a professional insultor. Perhaps his experiences with performing has honed his voicing skills because this book was KILLER. After I finished listening, I "rewound" it, so to speak, and listened to the last chapter again. Oh my goodness, oh so killer!

 

The Lesser Dead - Christopher Buehlman 

 

Born to Run written and narrated by The Boss

3. I'm not a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, but I'm a bigger fan since I listened to his memoir. I have always been a fan of his songwriting abilities and it seems that that skill transferred well to writing this book. I'm sure a true Springsteen fan would get even more out of this book than I did, but I sure did love listening to that husky voice relate how he got started, learned to dance, (to pick up women), and how he struggled to get and keep a band, not to mention a marriage, together.

 

Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen 

 

Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Steve West

4. Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Steve West was totally and completely INSANE! Some truly scary scenes were depicted in this story and thanks to the vivid writing and expressive voicing, I can still picture them clearly in my head. 

 

Between Two Fires - Christopher Buehlman

 

 The Memory of Running, written and performed by Ron McClarty

5. The Memory of Running, written and narrated by Ron McClarty. I got turned on to Ron McClarty because he narrated Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Then, when I looked for additional performances by him I discovered The Memory of Running. From what I gather, it was originally available only as an audio book which Stephen King highly recommended. Eventually it became available in paper form as well. Anyway, Mr. McClarty used to play a recurring judge on Law & Order, but writing and narrating is most definitely his forte. I loved this weird tale of memories, acceptance and bicycling across the United States.

 

 The Memory of Running - Recorded Books LLC,Ron McLarty,Ron McLarty

 

 Nightmares and Geezenstacks by Fredric Brown, narrated by Matt Godfrey

6. A thoroughly entertaining collection of short stories, some of them super short, but all of them a lot of fun. For the most part, I prefer reading short stories rather than listening to them, but Matt Godfrey's talent made me change my mind about that. 

 

Nightmares and Geezenstacks - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Fredric Brown

 

 

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott, narrated by Lauren Fortgang

7. Competitive teenage girls are just about the scariest monsters out there, and I know scary!

 

You Will Know Me: A Novel - Megan Abbott,Lauren Fortgang

 

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, narrated by cast

8. The book everyone was talking about at the beginning of the year! Usually, I avoid those like the plague. However, the audio was available at the library, so I decided to give it a go. I vividly remember listening to this while I was cleaning and then, for the last half hour or so, I just sat on the sofa, stunned. 

 

Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough

 

 

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, narrated by Ray Porter

9. Audible was giving this one away for free, so what did I have to lose? I loved the movie, but as usual, the book was a little different. That said, I loved the book too! 

 

The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel - Matthew Quick,Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.,Darwin Porter

 

 

Empire Falls by Richard Russo, performed by Ron McClarty

10. This book came to me highly recommended by a fellow reader. Even though a book about small town life with no evil children or haunted houses is really not my thing, Empire Falls MADE IT my thing. I've since listened to two more audiobooks of Richard Russo's work, (Everybody's Fool and Nobody's Fool), and I tracked down McClarty's Memory of Running, (see above.) Now, I just need to track down the HBO series of this FANTASTIC novel. 

 

Empire Falls - Richard Russo 

 

This year I've learned the following:

 

Ron McClarty and Matt Godfrey can both narrate the hell out of any story, and I will happily listen to them perform their grocery lists.

Authors sometimes CAN perform their own stories and do it better than anyone else.

 

I've finally accepted that audiobooks are an acceptable form of reading and I look forward to finding new narrators and discovering new worlds to listen to in 2018.

 

Thanks for reading if you've stayed this far! I hope you'll join me in enjoying audiobooks in 2018! 

 

 

 

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review 2017-12-12 16:48
Anatomy of a Scandal
Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel - Sarah Vaughan

James Whitehouse is a loving father. He's handsome, charismatic, and he's a successful public figure. But he's been accused of a terrible crime. His wife, Sophie, is convinced he's innocent and will do anything to keep their family from being torn apart by lies. But Kate Woodcroft, the lawyer hired to prosecute the case, is certain that he's guilty and determined to make him pay for his crimes.

I was looking forward to reading this one and was excited to get an early copy. Unfortunately, I hated everything about this book. I didn't like it from the very beginning, but I figured it would turn into something really good later on. I was wrong. I found it very boring and repetitious. I didn't like the characters or the writing. Even the twist didn't do anything for me. Around the halfway mark I started skimming. This one was a big disappointment.

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC.

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review 2017-12-06 18:37
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
The Wife Between Us - Greer Hendricks,Sarah Pekkanen

“Even when I’m not there, I’m always with you.”

 

 

Ladies and gents, if a lover ever says this to you, this lover is CREEPY and you should take it as a warning, not as a sweet nothing. So, I read an excerpt of this book over at Bookishfirst when they were first launching the site and reviewed the excerpt in order to be placed in a raffle for the actual book. Strange way to get a book, right? I’m not a fan of reading excerpts because I’m greedy and I want the whole book but I’m also nosey and wanted to see how this program worked and it really only took a few minutes. Fortunately for me, it worked out pretty good as I “won” a copy of the ARC and they sent me a really nice hold in your hands ARC and the story turned out to be pretty damn good. It’s twisty and turny and I did not actively dislike the main character when I fully expected to.

 

When we begin Vanessa is a mess on par with the level of that mess of a woman from The Girl On The Train but Vanessa is intriguing. She’s lost it all; the outwardly perfect hubby, the extravagant house and lifestyle, all of her friends but mostly she’s lost herself. She drinks too much, she looks and feels terrible and she is working a retail job she does not love. She lets out enough little tidbits that you know she is hiding a lot of somethings and I was dying to know what all of those somethings were. She starts to truly lose it when she learns that her ex-hubby is engaged to a much younger version of herself. Nellie is beautiful, sweet and she works with children. Vanessa cannot allow this to happen!

 

This book had me glued to its pages whenever I could sneak away with it. Since I was reading a paper ARC, I could only read it late at night after tucking myself away for the day. This also means I usually fell asleep after a few pages and it took me ages to finish it.



Anyway, I love me nothing better than a good, juicy marriage/ love story with secrets and surprises simmering in every crevice and this book overflowith with them. It was joyous for me to read about people in so much misery and made me realize that perhaps my slump wasn’t me and my crabby mood at all but the fault of the books I was trying to read.

 



My best advice on this one which isn’t coming out until January 9th is to go into this book ice cold. Do NOT read reviews (besides this one, ha, because it’s too late for you) because this is a book that you do not want to spoil for yourself. It’s one with twists and turns that slowly reveal themselves and to know too much will ruin it all for you. Don’t even read the blurb or the accolades on the cover.

I truly enjoyed this book and really dug the female leads and the way their story was revealed in bits and pieces. I was in a high state of anxiety as I read it, dying to learn all of the secrets and also dreading what might be revealed. I thought the characterization was exquisite and if I had one complaint it would only be that the book took things maybe one twist too far. Even so, everything tied in together perfectly and I didn’t feel like a dummy left wondering what I had just read.

I hope this book makes a big splash. It deserves it!

Here's my book and my chubby Patticakes.

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