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review 2018-07-06 14:59
The Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason
The Bleeding Dusk - Colleen Gleason

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I loved this book! This is the third book in The Gardella Vampire Hunters series and my favorite installment so far. This is a series that does need to be read in order since so much of the story builds on events from previous books. I have had this book sitting on my Kindle for several years and I do have to say that I am a little mad at myself for neglecting for so long because it was excellent. I didn't want to put it down for a single moment and was kind of mad that I had to do responsible things, like go to work, instead of read once I started with the book. I had a fantastic time with this story.

This book picks up right after the events of the previous book. Victoria has had a lot to deal with since becoming a vampire hunter. She is now Summa Gardella which means she is now the leader of the group of vampire hunters. Rome is very busy with Carnivale not to mention vampires and demons. Dead bodies are piling up and Victoria and the other vampire hunters are doing their best to keep the city safe.

I have really had a great time watching the characters in this series grow over the course of the series. Victoria is so much stronger than she was at the start of the series. She has been through a lot that has changed her outlook on the world. She cares less about what society thinks of her and feels responsible for the safety of others. When her mother and her mother's friends show up in Rome, she does conform to society's standards but only to make them happy. Max is not in a good place at this point and there are some pretty pivotal changes for him in this installment. Sebastian plays a very important role in this book and some pretty surprising developments with his character that I did not expect.

This was a very exciting book. There were a lot of different things going on and plenty of action to keep things interesting. I was really nervous for the characters several times and I wasn't quite sure how things would work out. I thought that there was a perfect balance between action filled scenes and scenes more focused on the characters.

I would highly recommend this series to others. I love that the series is set in the Victorian period and believe that adds an interesting element to the story. Everything seemed to come together in this book and some really important developments were revealed. I had such a good time with this book that I bought the next book in the series right away because I couldn't wait to find out what would happen to Victoria and the other characters next!

I received a review copy of this book from Avid Press via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this! Why I have neglected this series for so long? This is my favorite one in the series so far. I love how much Victoria, Max, and Sebastian have changed over the course of the series. The excitement level in this book was high. I can't wait to get started on the next book!

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text 2018-06-27 18:45
NIGHT GAUNTS AND OTHER TALES OF SUSPENSE by Joyce Carol Oates
Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense - Joyce Carol Oates

NIGHT GAUNTS sounded so promising to me when I requested it from Edelweiss months ago. (And just look at that alluring cover!) 

 

Since then, I've only managed to complete one story, and it's one that I already read in another collection. I've repeatedly attempted to read two other stories and I just couldn't get into them, so I'm calling it quits. No rating, no review.

 

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for letting me take a shot at this for free. I'm sorry it didn't work out.

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review 2018-06-25 22:30
SPRINGFIELD CONFIDENTIAL by Mike Reiss and Matthew Klickstein
Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons - Mike Reiss

 

SPRINGFIELD CONFIDENTIAL is chock full of exactly what every Simpson fan would want-behind the scenes information, (so to speak, it's a cartoon), a little background on the main writer and all the others, a bit of name dropping, (and maybe a little dirt?), on the hundreds of guest stars, and finally, the stories about how certain jokes came about. It's a quick, breezy, informative and fun book.

 

Mike Reiss has been writing for The Simpsons from almost day one. He and everyone else on the show never thought it would last, but here we are right now, with The Simpsons being the longest running primetime scripted series to ever run in the history of television. With that many years under his belt, you can bet Mike has a lot of information for the die-hard fans and the causal fans alike. Things like the fact that one episode of the show takes 9 months from the idea to the airing. The show is written here in the U.S., but it's animated in South Korea. (Who knew?) There's some celebrity mentions as well, but I'll leave those nuggets for those of you who are interested enough to check out the book. 

 

Remember when Michael Jackson was on?

 

 

Being from Springfield, (MA, which is NOT the home of The Simpsons show, darn it!), I've been a fan of the show since it had a short spot on The Tracey Ullman Show, back in the day. Boy, has it improved since then! I believe that I've always been smart enough to realize that I don't get all of the jokes in every episode, (Mike Reiss reads Voltaire, for heaven's sakes, I do NOT). But I do think I'm smart enough to get most of them, and that's why I've stuck with the show for all these years. If you want to know how Homer got his name or how Krusty's dad became Rabbi Krufstofski, you'll have to read this book!

 

Highly recommended for serious fans of the show, and for the casual fan that wants to know more!

 

*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

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review 2018-06-15 18:30
THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Paul Tremblay
The Cabin at the End of the World - Paul Tremblay

 

THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD takes a look at an American family and asks what are you willing to do to protect them? But this book asks that question in an unique way- right before it rips your heart out and stomps all over it!

 

Eric and Andrew take their daughter Wen on vacation to a remote cabin located on a lake in the woods of New Hampshire. It's been deliberately chosen because it has no cell service, no internet, no nothing. They want to spend this time together, uninterrupted as a family. Unfortunately, their dream vacation came to a screeching halt when a large man named Leonard wandered into their front yard and started talking to Wen. Soon thereafter, three more people join him and together, they all enter the cabin. Things go so downhill from there, it's hard to even talk about. What happens after that? You'll have to read this book to find out!

 

To give away any more about the plot would be spoilery, so I'm just going to talk about my thoughts and impressions and leave it at that. First, I love the way that Paul Tremblay writes families. He always provides honest insights and observations and as such, these parts of his writing are the ones that appeal to me the most. In this case, I loved 7 year old Wen SO MUCH, I just wanted to pick her up, give her a hug and go help her catch grasshoppers. Eric and Andrew were mysteries at first, but the one thing that soon became obvious about them was their love for Wen.

 

When things started to go sideways, I was captivated. I had so many questions but I expected and trusted the author to lead me through. Was I right to invest my trust? Yes and no. This is a very slight and "in general" type of spoiler, but just in case:

I suspect that the end of this tale is going to ruffle some feathers, and I have to admit I felt a bit ruffled myself. I don't need everything tied up in a neat little bow, but I wouldn't have minded a few more answers. That aside, I honestly LOVED how it all came together at the end, (or didn't as the case may be, you'll have to read it!) I think it takes a certain amount of courage on the part of the author to end things the way he did and I'm very interested to see how it goes over with other readers.

(spoiler show)

 

One other thing did bother me: after the group of strangers entered the cabin, the pacing slowed down a bit and there was a lot of talking without much actual explaining, if that makes any sense. Having chapters from different character's points of view helped me gain a little more insight as to what was going on in their heads, but I thought those portions were a little dragged out and for that, I deducted one star. (And to be honest, this issue is most likely mine, and mine alone.)

 

THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD is now my favorite among the works of Paul Tremblay. The writing here was powerful and my heart is still healing from the major break it suffered while I was reading this book, and as such: I highly recommend it!

 

Up for pre-order now HERE and available everywhere on June 26th,2018.

 

*Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-06-03 17:21
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven: The ... The Next Person You Meet in Heaven: The Sequel to The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Harper for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mitch Albom has done it again.  In this delightful sequel to The Five People You Meet in Heaven, we once again meet up with Eddie only this time he is reunited with Annie, the little girl he saved.  This is a story of how we are connected in life and loss.

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, we meet Eddie, a war veteran that worked at an amusement park as a mechanic.  Eddie died a hero when he saves Annie's life.  Forever scared emotionally and physically (Annie's hand was surgically reattached), Annie's life is forever changed when she endures a life of bullying even though Annie cannot remember what happened to her.  She further struggles when her guilt ridden mother suddenly uproots them and moves away.

Finally finding happiness, as an adult, Annie reconnects with her childhood love Paulo.  The novel opens with the two of them marrying.  Unfortunately their wedding day ends in terrible tragedy and Annie finds herself on her own journey to discover her five people that will show her how her life mattered—one of those people is Eddie.

I can't believe it has been fifteen years since The Five People You Meet in Heaven was published. Fans of the book have always wondered what ever became of Eddie and Annie—this is a testament to an inspiring story when it stays with readers and keeps them wondering.  

In true Albom style, this book is full of life lessons and grace.  Whether you are a spiritual person or not, this book will touch you in some way and is a gift.  The lesson that I took away was that every ending is also a beginning, sometimes we are simply just unwilling to see it as such.

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