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text 2018-07-20 11:35
#47 Follow Friday with book bloggers: JL's Bibliomania

 

Hello Friday! Hello Follow Friday with book bloggers! Today let's meet Julie. You need to keep on reading to see those shelfies! :D

 

Follow JL's Bibliomania on BookLikes: http://jlsbibliomania.booklikes.com/

 

 

What are you reading right now? How do you like it?

 

 

I’m reading three things as I write these responses:

 

Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach, which is the concluding volume of a lighthearted romp of a Space Opera featuring a girl and her big gun.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is the story of how Marie- Laure, a blind French Girl, and Werner, a German Orphan, converge in the French town of San-Malo near the end of the 2nd World War.  Slower moving, especially as an audiobook.

 

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee, which is the current selection for the Flat Book Society.  OK so far, but recently I’ve been struggling with sustained attention to non-fiction.

 

Heaven's Queen - Rachel BachAll the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony Doerr, Zach AppelmanThe Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

 

READ & JOIN THE BOOK CLUB ->

 

However, I expect that by the time this is published, I will have finished Heaven’s Queen and moved on to another piece of fiction

 

 

When have you discovered you’re a book lover?

 

If this question is asking when did I (first) discover I was a book lover the answer is: When books were replacing my non-existent friends in Elementary and Middle School and I was devouring a book an afternoon.

 

 

Why reading is important to you?

 

Because I like how reading fills the spaces in my head. Because I crave the escape it offers.

 

Follow jlsbibliomania.booklikes.com

 

 

Which books are you most excited recommending to your followers?

 

I’m currently excited about The Hate U Give, which is getting a lot of buzz, and does a great job personalizing the questions behind the Black Lives Matter (Movie due to release in October)

 

I discovered Maggie Stiefvater relatively recently and loved The Raven Boys and the sequels as an audiobook.  

 

I read them a long time ago and the details have faded, but I think Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay is essential reading.  

 

I also love CJ Cherryh’s work.While a bit older, I particularly like how the Faded Sun Trilogy and Forty Thousand in Gehenna wrestle with the idea of being the “Other” and of becoming the bridge between human and alien.

 

The Hate U Give - Angie ThomasThe Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater,Will PattonTigana - Guy Gavriel Kay

The Faded Sun Trilogy - C.J. CherryhForty Thousand in Gehenna - C.J. Cherryh

 

 

In your bio you write: “Daughter of a Bookaholic. Wife of a Bibliovore.  Mother of 2 Bibliophiles” Did your family had an influence on your reading passion, and how do you encourage your kids to keep on reading?

 

My parents really didn’t watch television much and were always reading, particularly my Dad who always has a book or 3 going, typically Space Opera or military SF.  My parents definitely had an influence on my reading passion by always having books around, and nurtured my love of SF by handing me Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong when I was in Jr. High and complaining that I was bored and out of things to read.

 

This is going to sound trite (or like stock advice), but when my kids were little my husband and I read to our sons, always had a rotating stock of library books around that were age and reading-level appropriate geared towards their passion of the moment, and modeled reading because we often had a book of our own with us. We were lucky. My older son dove into Richard Scarry partway through kindergarten, my younger son got lost in the Warriors series in 3rd grade and we really haven’t had to do much to encouraging since.  

 

Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? - Richard ScarryWarriors #1: Into the Wild - Erin Hunter

 

 

Do you read one book or several at a time?

 

As you can see by the answer to question 1, I typically read several books at a time.

- 1 fiction in print or ebook,

- 1 audiobook for the car,

- and sometimes a non-fiction. 

 

But the print book and the audiobook have to be different genres for me to keep track, which is fine because I like to mix things up.

 

BookLikes Shelf

 

 

Do you review all books you read? How does your review process look like?

 

I don’t review everything I read.  I write when I have something to say and when time permits (and as you can see by the fewer and shorter reviews recently, time has recently been in short supply so I haven’t been as active). 

 

I’m more of a book diarist than a book reviewer.  I started tracking on Goodreads and blogging about books to help myself remember what I’ve read.  I consider what I write to be book reactions rather than truly reviews, which is why many of my entries are a short paragraph or less, and I almost never include a synopsis of the plot. I try not to look at too many reviews before I read a book, but often look at the book page here and at other book-review sites after I finish.  I typically dash off a draft over the weekend, ask my husband to copy edit it, then post the following day.  

 

 

Your Shelf presents many audiobooks. Do you experience the book differently while listening to it instead of reading?

 

I do experience stories differently when I listen to them. Listening to an audiobook forces you to move at the narrator’s pace, which means that you can’t read too fast and miss details.  Sometimes that’s an advantage, and sometimes that leads to tedium.

 

I’m also not one who easily builds a concrete picture of what the characters look like, or imagines what they sound like.  The audiobook narrator often fills in that gap for me, especially the recent productions that turn books almost into audio plays by using multiple readers.

 

The experience of reading an audiobook is also different for me because I mostly listen to them in the car, while I’m driving. A story is different when experienced in 15-30 minute chunks, and with distractions.

 

2018 Reading Challenge Page

 

 

A library or a bookstore?

Definitely a library!

 

While my husband and I spent many pleasant hours in used book stores as a teen and young adult (hence the collection in the basement), we almost entirely stopped buying books as part of the financial adjustment after buying our first house. We are lucky to live in an area with good libraries and I get more than 90% of what I read from the local county library consortium. 

 

 

Your favorite genres are fantasy and sci-fi. Why are they so special?

 

 

SF and fantasy were initially appealing to me because of the escapism. If you’re not happy in mundane reality, SF and fantasy provide ample opportunities to imagine being a heroine elsewhere. 

 

Now I find that SF and fantasy are special in the way that they pose questions about what makes us human.

 

 

What are your three favorite book covers?

 

I'll admit that I hate the share 3 book-covers question since doing most of my book “shopping” in the online library catalog, the cover isn't really something I pay much attention to. However, there’s a strong tradition of SF-related artwork. So instead of book covers I’d like to share 3 of the signed, numbered SF-related prints that I’ve bought at conventions over the years. 

 

Menolly by Robin Wood, originally included in The People of Pern http://www.robinwood.com/Catalog/Prints/PrintPages/Menolly.html

 

 

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Virginia Poyser.  Victoria is currently working under her married name of Virginia Lisi and no longer focusing on SF-related art.  I couldn’t find a good copy of this picture online, but her website is https://victoria-lisi.pixels.com/

 

 

A Stitch in Time by David Cherry (brother of  CJ Cherryh)

https://davidcherryart.com/prints/a-stitch-in-time/  I don’t believe this piece is connected to a specific book, but it appealed to me as someone who occasionally stitches.

 

 

 

A paper book or an e-book?

 

When I’m home, I’m a traditionalist and prefer paper.  When I’m travelling, or when the library only has the ebook, I’ll happily reach for the e-reader for novels. I dislike non-fiction and graphic novels as e-books. 

 

 

Three titles for a holiday break?

 

 

Did I say that I hate giving recommendations?

 

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach  and the sequels (though it looks like others who tried it here on BL haven’t liked it much)

 

When Dimple Met Rishi – light realistic fiction YA – definitely recommend the audiobook.

 

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Suggested in honor of the Summer of Spies.

 

 

Favorite quote?

 

My absolutely favorite quote is

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

(Often misremembered as – Life is short, Eat dessert first)

And when I was in college I spent several years doing just that.

 

Despite coming late to canine ownership, my favorite bookish quote is

Outside of a book, a dog is man’s best friend

Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read

 

Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)

 

The first two pictures are of the two bookcases in the living-room, which contain cookbooks, religion reference works and library books. Life has been so much easier, with many fewer desperate searches for the overdue or missing books since we cleared off shelves a shelf for me and a shelf for my sons to keep our library book in the right hand case.

 

 

The last picture is of a few of the 13 bookcases in the basement library.  We’re in the middle of re-sorting/re-shelving/trimming the collection as we recently decided to store all fiction alphabetically by author and to stop trying to sort by genre.  And while the basement is mostly fiction, there are 2 ceiling high cases full of my husband’s history references.

 

 

 

 

Thank you! 

 

*

 

Have you missed previous Follow Friday talks? Use ffwithbookbloggers tag or click the interviews catch up links below: 

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text 2018-07-06 18:48
35 books for a desert island recommended by book bloggers

It's summer time! If you plan an intriguing trip, a long flight, a dangerous adventure, an escape to a silent and quiet place, like a desert island here's your survival kit. BOOKS. 

 

For the last year we've been interviewing BookLikes book bloggers and gathering reading recommendations. Have a look at 35 reads picked by an amazing group of readers and reviewers, and stay tuned, more is coming!

 

You can also read the interviews with the readers - interview links are attached between the book recommendations. All 46 interviews can be viewed here:

Follow Friday with book bloggers: interviews with book lovers

 

35 BOOKS FOR A DESERT ISLAND

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling  

 

Burdened with the dark, dangerous, and seemingly impossible task of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes, Harry, feeling alone and uncertain about his future, struggles to find the inner strength he needs to follow the path set out before him.

 

 

And Then There Were None - Agatha ChristieAnd Then There Were None - Agatha Christie  

 

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

 

Lessons From a Scarlet Lady - Emma WildesLessons From a Scarlet Lady - Emma Wildes  

 

The Duke of Rolthven's new wife, Brianna, is the perfect aristocratic bride. So what would society say if they saw her with a copy of Lady Rothburg's Advice--a courtesan's lessons for the boudoir? When his innocent wife suddenly becomes a vixen in the bedroom, the proper Duke is truly astounded by her seductive powers. Following a courtesan's advice might lead to trouble-but will it lead to Brianna's ultimate desire: winning her husband's love?

 

Read a full interview: #1 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Jennifer's Books

 

Dreaming of You - Lisa KleypasDreaming of You - Lisa Kleypas  

 

She stood at danger′s threshold-- then love beckoned her in. In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Feilding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven--and into Derek Craven′s dangerous world. A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from, poverty to become lord of London′s most exclusive gambling house--a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world...

 

Branded - Scottie BarrettBranded - Scottie Barrett  

 

Slade Dalton's partner has just dispatched their latest quarry, a member of the notorious Purdy clan. Slade's certain there will be retribution and he's certain that he's damn tired of the bounty hunting business. Returning to the family's cattle spread in the Colorado Territory, he's relieved to find his brother Grady has not claimed ownership of the ranch in his absence. But there is a troubling, new addition to the Lazy Heart Ranch, an irresistible, raven-haired English beauty.

 

Beau Crusoe - Carla KellyBeau Crusoe - Carla Kelly  

 

Stranded alone on a desert island, he had lived to tell the tale. A triumphant return to the ton saw James Trevenen hailed as Beau Crusoe—a gentleman of spirit, verve and action. But only he knew the true cost of his survival! Scandalous! Susannah Park had been shunned by Society. She lived content with her calm existence—until Beau Crusoe determinedly cut up her peace! The beautiful widow wanted to help him heal the wounds of the past—but what secrets was this glorious man hiding?

Read a full interview: #2 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Punya Reviews…

 

The Count of Monte Christo - Alexandre DumasThe Count of Monte Christo - Alexandre Dumas  

 

Young, honest and loyal, Edmund Dantes, about to be promoted as captain of his ship, is accused of treason, and condemned to imprisonment in the isolated Chateau d'If. He endures years of suffering before making a dramatic escape. Newly liberated, he discovers the identities of his accusers, and intent on revenge he assumes a new identity for himself.

 

The Anubis Gates (Ace Science Fiction) - Tim PowersThe Anubis Gates (Ace Science Fiction) - Tim Powers  

 

Brendan Doyle, a specialist in the work of the early-nineteenth century poet William Ashbless, reluctantly accepts an invitation from a millionaire to act as a guide to time-travelling tourists. But while attending a lecture given by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1810, he becomes marooned in Regency London, where dark and dangerous forces know about the gates in time.

 

Quick Service - P.G. WodehouseQuick Service - P.G. Wodehouse  

 

When rich and imperious American widow Beatrice Chavender eats a forkful of inferior ham at her sister's country house near London, it affects the lives of everyone around her - her sister, her brother-in-law, her sister's butler, her sister's poor relation Sally, Sally's fiance Lord Holberton, and, most of all, Mrs Chavender's own one-time fiance, 'Ham King' J. B. Duff, whose rotten product spoils her breakfast.

Read a full interview: #3 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Tigus 

 

Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto,Megan BackusKitchen - Banana Yoshimoto

 

Kitchen is an enchantingly original book that juxtaposes two tales about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Mikage, the heroine, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, Mikage is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who is really his cross-dressing father) Eriko. 

 

Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone - J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the philosopher's stone - J.K. Rowling  

 

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Read a full interview: #4 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Nicole Reads

 

Spectred Isle - KJ CharlesSpectred Isle - KJ Charles  

 

Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense...except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.

 

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - William GoldmanThe Princess Bride - William Goldman  

 

 

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts - who never leaves survivors - her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairytale like no other, of fencing, fighting, torture, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, hunters, bad men, good men, beautifulest ladies, snakes, spiders, beasts, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles.

 

Are You Dave Gorman? - Dave Gorman,Danny WallaceAre You Dave Gorman? - Dave Gorman,Danny Wallace  

 

After a heavy night of tequila, flatmates Dave and Danny set off on what turns out to be a 24,000-mile journey to meet all the other Dave Gormans in the world. They visit Scotland, Israel, America, France and Ireland. They even hold a party in London where 50 Dave Gormans attend, including two women who have kindly changed their name via deed-poll. Silly, but engrossing, fascinating and addictive - and a touching, funny story of two friends who grow to share a mutual obsession.

Read a full interview: #5 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Silence in the library

Magic Bites - Ilona AndrewsMagic Bites - Ilona Andrews  

 

The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

 

Read a full interview: #6 Follow Friday with book bloggers: That's What I'm Talking About ->

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan DoyleThe Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle  

 

Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson investigate the case. This was the first appearance of Holmes since his intended death in "The Final Problem", and the success of The Hound of the Baskervilles led to the character's eventual revival. In 2003, the book was listed as number 128 of 200 on the BBC's The Big Read poll of the UK's "best-loved novel." In 1999, it was listed as the top Holmes novel, with a perfect rating from Sherlockian scholars of 100.

 

Arcadia Falls - Carol GoodmanArcadia Falls - Carol Goodman  

 

Financial straits and a desire for a fresh start take recently widowed Meg Rosenthal and her aloof teenage daughter, Sally, to Arcadia Falls, a tucked-away hamlet in upstate New York where Meg has accepted a teaching position at a boarding school. The creaky, neglected cottage they’ll be calling home feels like an ill omen, but Meg is determined to make the best of it. Then a shocking crisis strikes: During Arcadia’s First Night bonfire, one of Meg’s folklore students plunges to her death in a campus gorge. Sheriff Callum Reade finds the presumed accident suspicious, but then, he is a man with a dark past himself. 

 

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen,Anna QuindlenPride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

 

Mr and Mrs Bennet live with their five daughters at Longbourn in Hertfordshire. Jane, the eldest, falls in love with Charles Bingley, a rich bachelor who takes a house nearby with his two sisters and friend Fitzwilliam Darcy. Darcy is attracted to the second daughter, Elizabeth.

 

 

Read a full interview: #7 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Sailing in a Sea of Words ->

 

Exes and Goals: A Slapshot Novel (Slapshot Series Book 1) - Heather C. MyersExes and Goals: A Slapshot Novel - Heather C. Myers  

 

Harper Crawford is a big fan of the Newport Beach Seagulls, despite their abysmal previous season. It's been a year since Ken Brown's murder and Seraphina Hanson, Ken's youngest granddaughter, just survived her first year as the new owner and manager of the national hockey team. Barely. The last year was dismal to the point where Seraphina is making drastic changes. Like hiring Harper as their official blogger. Harper gets to travel with the team, write character pieces, critiques, game summaries, and the like. It's her dream job.

 

Rules Of Prey - John SandfordRules Of Prey - John Sandford  

 

The "maddog" murderer who is terrorizing the Twin Cities is two things: insane and extremely intelligent. He kills for the pleasure of it and thoroughly enjoys placing elaborate obstacles to keep police befuddled. Each clever move he makes is another point of pride. But when the brilliant Lieutenant Lucas Davenport--a dedicated cop and a serial killer's worst nightmare--is brought in to take up the investigation, the maddog suddenly has an adversary worthy of his genius.

 

Dark Lover - J.R. WardDark Lover - J.R. Ward  

 

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

 

Read a full interview: #8 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Momma Says to Read

 

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley,Maurice HindleFrankenstein - Mary Shelley

 

At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

 

Arabella - Georgette HeyerArabella - Georgette Heyer

 

To Arabella Tallant, the eldest daughter of a penniless country clergyman, the invitation to stay with her London godmother was like the key to heaven, for in addition to living in the glamorous city, Arabella might even find a suitable husband there. Armed with beauty, virtue and a benevolent godmother, the impetuous but impoverished Arabella embarked on her first London season with her mother's wish in mind: snare a rich husband. 

 

Gardens of the Moon - Steven EriksonGardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson  

 

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen's rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

 

Read a full interview: #9 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Midu Reads [Nominated]

 

Immortal in Death - J.D. RobbImmortal in Death - J.D. Robb  

 

When Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas investigates the murder of a top model, she is putting her career on the line, because the prime suspect is her best friend. Eve's investigations lead her into the glamorous world of high fashion.

Read a full interview: #10 Follow Friday with book bloggers: The Book Gourmet

 

The Terror - Dan SimmonsThe Terror - Dan Simmons  

 

The bestselling author of Ilium and Olympos transforms the true story of a legendary Arctic expedition into a thriller worthy of Stephen King or Patrick O'Brian. Their captain's insane vision of a Northwest Passage has kept the crewmen of The Terror trapped in Arctic ice for two years without a thaw. But the real threat to their survival isn't the ever-shifting landscape of white, the provisions that have turned to poison before they open them, or the ship slowly buckling in the grip of the frozen ocean. 

Read a full interview: #11 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Book Cupidity [Nominated]

 

 

Sleeping Beauties: A Novel - Stephen King,Owen KingSleeping Beauties - Stephen King, Owen King  

 

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. 

 

Darkhouse - Karina HalleDarkhouse - Karina Halle  

 

There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts. 

 

Read a full interview: #12 Follow Friday with book bloggers: 99 problems, and a book ain't one 

 

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzieThe Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Soji Shimada

 

Astrologer, fortuneteller, and self-styled detective Kiyoshi Mitarai must in one week solve a macabre murder mystery that has baffled Japan for 40 years. Who murdered the artist Umezawa, raped and killed his daughter, and then chopped up the bodies of six others to create Azoth, the supreme woman? With maps, charts, and other illustrations, this story of magic and illusion, pieced together like a great stage tragedy, challenges the reader to unravel the mystery before the final curtain.

 

The Changeling - Victor LaValleThe Changeling - Victor LaValle

 

When Apollo Kagwa was just a child, his father disappeared, leaving him with recurring nightmares and a box labelled 'Improbabilia'. Now a successful book dealer, Kagwa has a family of his own after meeting and falling in love with Emma, a librarian. The two marry and have a baby: so far so happy-ever-after. However, as the pair settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Emma's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, until one day she commits an unthinkable act, setting Apollo on a wild and fantastical quest through a suddenly otherworldly New York, in search of a wife and child he no longer recognises. 

 

Read a full interview: #13 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Obsidian Blue

 

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories - Francis King,John Blackburn,Richard Marsh,Michael McDowell,Stephen GregoryThe Valancourt Book of Horror Stories

 

Spanning two hundred years of horror, this new collection features seventeen macabre gems, including two original tales and many others that have never or seldom been reprinted. 

 

Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt GodfreyBlackwater - Michael McDowell, Matt Godfrey  

 

Blackwater is the saga of a small town, Perdido, Alabama, and Elinor Dammert, the stranger who arrives there under mysterious circumstances on Easter Sunday, 1919. On the surface, Elinor is gracious, charming, anxious to belong in Perdido, and eager to marry Oscar Caskey, the eldest son of Perdido’s first family. But her beautiful exterior hides a shocking secret. Beneath the waters of the Perdido River, she turns into something terrifying, a creature whispered about in stories that have chilled the residents of Perdido for generations. Some of those who observe her rituals in the river will never be seen again ...

 

Read a full interview: #14 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Char's Horror Corner [Nominated]

 

The Best We Could Do - Thi BuiThe Best We Could Do - Thi Bui

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman  

 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office.

 

Read a full interview: #15 Follow Friday with book bloggers: Bookish thoughts!!! ->

Tweet: 35 books for a desert island -->http://bit.ly/2KTKJND It's #summer time! If you plan an intriguing trip, a long flight, a dangerous #adventure, an escape to a silent and quiet place, like a desert island here's your survival kit. #BOOKS. Recommended by #BookBloggers. #amreading

 

See you next Friday! 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-23 20:50
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill (6-Nov-2014) Paperback - Joe Hill

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Victoria McQueen discovers her mind can do something very special - it can summon a bridge that can transport her anywhere she wants to go. One day, in a fit of dangerous thinking, she finds herself within the vicinity of a very unstable child abductor; Charlie Manx. Escaping Manx was a turning point in her life, and now, years later, she has a son of her own, and Manx seeks revenge on the one that got away.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

Imaginative would be one word I’d use to describe this; crazy would be another. Not only does it implement so many different things, it does it exceptionally well. If I were to list off the elements that Hill includes, I’m sure you would (if you haven’t already read it) raise an eyebrow or two - I certainly did at first. I had no idea just what I was getting myself into, until it was too late and I was swept up into the mind blowing and twisted biography of Victoria McQueen. It started when she was just eight years old; a child that had a mind filled with fantasy, seeking some semblance of freedom upon her Raleigh Tuff Burner. I do favour tales than span a character’s life, from a young to adult age, as it truly highlights development and progression. The journey of Victoria was a rollercoaster of tragedy, and at times I deeply felt for her. This isn’t to say I particularly liked her throughout the entire book, because there were moments she was depicted as a very selfish individual, but over time, I came to love and accept her. Due to her trauma, life shaped her into a broken soul, and none of it was fair.

As for the numerous other characters, there were an interesting mix of personalities. Lou was a hero in his own right, and seriously a lovely person, whilst Bing was quite the opposite. He was the primary source of sexual violence, even if it was mostly glossed over rather quickly. Child molestation in fact didn't play a part at all in this book, thank goodness, so when I mention sexual violence, it relates purely to the abuse of adults. I just wanted to get that out of the way.

Moving on to Manx himself, he wasn’t my most favourite antagonist. I prefer the charming, deceptive sort of bad guy, instead of the Joker-esque insanity, however he was most assuredly entertaining. The version of his inscape, “Christmasland”, had an undeniable, nightmarish vibe to it, and every time more and more of it was revealed, I became increasingly more fascinated. He truly had lost his mind, and I often wondered about his origins and how he came to be. I'm going to come outright and state that he wasn't a vampire, but the play on the title was pretty much summed up in the book itself. Needless to say, I'm sure there's a significant amount of history pertaining to Manx, that Hill could delve into, if he ever wanted to.

Despite Christmas being a prominent theme, it in no way diminished the bleakness that radiated off every page. I found there to be a particular beauty in the dark atmosphere coupled with Charlie Manx’s eternally joyful outlook. I even appreciated the occasional sprinkle of humour, as Manx and his partner in crime truly weren’t the most coordinated of villains. The plot itself was padded out with unnecessary information, yet it’s something I’ve come to associate with works similar to King - and of course the son would be inspired by the father. Sometimes I don’t really mind the veering off; it’s dependant upon the overall story, and if I feel the distractions are worth the outcome. With NOS4R2, it was definitely worth it.

I expected nothing less from the bittersweet ending. I got an idea of what would transpire, and I can't say my prediction was wrong.

In conclusion: A masterpiece of weird. Vic "The Brat" McQueen was a star, in all her tattooed glory. I can't say just how much I loved it, and since it was my first experience with Hill's storytelling, I can't wait for more.

Notable Quote:

She had said she could bring her bridge into this world but that in some way it also existed only in her mind. It sounded like delusion until you remembered that people made the imaginary real all the time: taking the music they heard in their head and recording it, seeing a house in their imagination and building it. Fantasy was always only a reality waiting to be switched on.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/06/23/nos4r2-by-joe-hill
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-21 16:01
Immortown by Lily Markova (2015 Review)
Immortown - Lily Markova

ImmortownImmortown by Lily Markova
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Famous actress Freya Auror suddenly finds herself in a very odd town where the townsfolk spend all their time consuming powerful substances and killing themselves. She soon discovers she's trapped, yet not all hope is lost. Maybe there's a way out for her, a way to escape the clutches of Immortown. Or just maybe she'll remain there until she fades...

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. My thanks goes to Lily Markova for giving me the opportunity!

In truth, I'm not a believer in life after death or anything like that, but Immortown definitely left me thinking and probably will continue to do so for a while to come. I didn't know what to expect and from what initially started off as serious confusion, turned to fascination as the story progressed and events were explained. I've never read anything quite like it before so, for me, it was certainly unique. Markova clearly has a lot of talent, from the way she writes to the overall tone of her work; the latter being how well she implemented the dark, disturbing feel yet could pull off the occasional humour. Despite that, I feel it took me a lot of effort to read it - I had to pay the utmost attention or I feared I'd miss something relevant; even minor distractions forced me to go over passages more than once. It was easy to lose place of what was happening amongst the lengthy narrative which whilst oftentimes beautiful, also dragged on in other areas. I struggled to rate it, but after some consideration I decided firmly upon the four stars; I really think it deserves such, given my overall enjoyment and the unmistakable thought that's been put into it.

Freya Auror was, in short, a troubled character. I know what it's like to lose someone extremely important and feel like letting go, so I could somewhat relate to her in the way that she lost herself to what she enjoyed doing; for her, it was the acting and the roles she played, such as Astra. She was also a woman enthralled by art, which in itself is characteristically attractive as it's so rare this day and age. I didn't particularly understand her connection to Kai, but I think she was the only one to truly see he wasn't the supposed villain everyone thought he was. Yes, perhaps he was a selfish man, but the burning of Immer wasn't exactly intentional. I actually really liked him, even though he wasn't perfect; quite the opposite in fact. He held an air of mystery and attitude that I found appealing. The childish India, her husband Remy and Chace were also good characters and of course, "Dude", who added some comic relief yet still succeeded to be a haunting figure. I wasn't fond of Kristle, but I suppose that was the whole point.

Indeed, the entire book was about death and suicide, but it was an intriguing take on things. It wasn't just a typical, simple purgatory tale, but something I found original. As I've already mentioned, the beginning had me scratching my head several times, but I'm glad I didn't let it scare me away. Eventually, it all clicked and that, when you sit back and realise all the ties are coming together and making sense, is a great and satisfying thing to experience. The two PoV's complimented and fit together nicely and the plot itself, whilst not action-packed, still greatly entertained.

In conclusion: A very deep and thoughtful read; one I found myself impressed with. I can't help but wonder about the aftermath of Immortown. Will there be a sequel? It surely looks like it could be continued, so fingers crossed! I'd be very interested in reading more just like this.

Notable Quote:

"You know, when people lose someone, they are horrendously hypocritical. They don't pity the ones gone; they mourn themselves for being left without something familiar or loved."

© Red Lace 2015


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/06/21/immortown-by-lily-markova-2015-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-16 22:04
The Moor by Sam Haysom
The Moor - Sam Haysom

The Moor by Sam Haysom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Taking part in a school trip, five teenagers and their teacher set out on a long walk across Rutmoor, thinking it to be a fun experience with friends. What they don’t expect is odd noises in the dead of night, and dead animals placed outside their tents. When tensions and tempers arise, the group soon begins to fall apart, until a dramatic turn leads them to fear for their very lives.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I never thought as I started reading this one, that I’d get so much enjoyment out of it. It took me by surprise; one of those moments that make this hobby so worth it. It all began with clippings from newspapers, written in a way that suggested they were merely pieces of a puzzle. Indeed, that set my mind ablaze with theories that wouldn’t subside throughout the entire book. I loved how it gave me a new perspective over the characters, how they interacted with each other, and in general how they were presented. Haysom was clever enough to give enough of a tease that pulled me in, made me want to know more, and I very much appreciated it. As I believe it, this is a debut novel, yet I wouldn’t have guessed. Many of the pitfalls new authors fall into - such as a lack of sufficient editing and typical horror tropes that are almost painfully overused at this point - were largely absent, giving an almost fresh take.

The atmosphere of Rutmoor, of how utterly miserable and arduous the travel became, it created vivid imagery in my head, and induced a very strong aversion to hiking. I can now say it's not something I want to do ever, in my lifetime. Honestly, the dynamic of the hiking group was a highlight; it had that pinch of realism to it. Each individual offered something unique with their personality, and like any real life circle, they all differed and even clashed together. Sometimes it was ugly, other times sweet, but most of all, their friendships were authentic. My favourite had to be Tom; undoubtedly the most sensible of the lot, followed by Matt and James. Even despite the young age of each, I was still able to relate. Yes, there was some immaturity - pretty much what you'd expect from teens, but it wasn't to the extreme.

The format of the plot struck me as quite different, in that rather than waiting until the end to reveal the big twist, it was just after fifty percent that it came into play. I can’t say it was unexpected - in fact, I had my suspicions much earlier, but I adored it regardless. You see, I much prefer when the direction of the story changes so drastically from my initial assumptions. If it’s done well, like it so wonderfully was in this case, then I feel like I’m kept on my toes, like I don’t have time to even look away. The question of survival played a significant part, as due to the parallel running chapters of present day (2015 to be precise), those that endured the horrors of the moor were made known, thus it was not the matter of who’s going to survive, but how do they survive.

The only thing that I found quite awkward, was the continual switch of past / present tense in the style of writing, however I understand it was used as a tool - to obviously convey the period of time, and perhaps even to alleviate confusion. Nevertheless, it was a bit of a challenge to get used to it.

In conclusion: I considered it a great story, and to be completely truthful, it soared above my expectations. With a slow beginning of character and atmosphere building, the story exploded into a creepfest that kept my attention. My applause goes to Haysom, and his impressive debut novel.

Notable Scene:

The rabbit's body was a mangled pulp of flesh, bone and hair. Its eyeless, earless face stared up at him from the grass. Patches of drying blood lay on the grass around it.
From somewhere behind Gary, a tree branch snapped.


© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/06/16/the-moor-by-sam-haysom
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