Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clowns are scary.

My husband and I watched this movie a few nights ago. Him for the first time, me for the second. Normally books written by Stephen King that are turned into movies are crap, in my opinion, but because this one has Mr. Pennywise, the freakin' scary ass clown, in it, I feel different.

I read this book, (my crusty, old picture above) when I was in 9th grade. It was loaned to me by my friend Claire and I took so long reading it, mostly because I was terrified, that she just gave it to me as a present. She even wrote Merry Christmas, Michelle Love Claire inside. I think it was April at the time or something. :)

Clowns are scary. Pennywise is terrifying.

Lesson to all. Don't follow balloons that float around on a cloudy day and don't ever, EVER respond to voices coming from the sewer. Seriously. Run the other way. Or else this guy will get  you.


I'm going to go think of puppies and rainbows now.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by.

red headed book child

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Audio Book Update

Oh how in love I am with audio books! I've been listening to them so fast these days that I have not had the chance to write reviews for everything! So I can going to do a quick review on the last few that I listened to and loved.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.

I posted on Goodreads as my review, "This lady is crazy but she gets shit done!" That was the gist of my review. :) I don't have much to add except that it was fascinating, terrifying and quite a learning experience as a mom. I recommend for it's unique approach to parenthood. Warning, you may get ticked off and want to punch her at times.

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Oh how sweet this was!
For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a "savvy" -a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity . . . and now it's the eve of Mibs's big day.

As if waiting weren't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs's birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman's bus . . . only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up-and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.
This was full of adventure and whimsy and fun loving characters and sweet, sassy kids. I loved it all. I wish I had a savvy of my own! :)
A few gems, though very different, I thought you all should know about. I'm wrapping up The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. It is MARVELOUS!

Happy Reading (or listening) and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, July 22, 2012

B.Y.O.B Book Club Update

I have been an absolute lazybones when it comes to posting about my book clubs. Oh yes, indeed I am MONTHS behind. But I have been reading...well, kind of. B.Y.O.B Book Club is my every other month book group. (Books, Bottle or Bars, if you must know!)

We compiled an organized list for the whole year and everyone could read at their own schedule. It has worked out quite nicely, except for the whole posting about it after the fact.

I wrote a review and post about our January pick, The Maze Runner by James Dashner but have not written since. I blame Blindess by Jose Saramago, our March pick. Holy crap on a cracker. I did NOT get in to this book. In fact, I maybe got 20 pages TOPS. So, I decided to watch the movie instead.

BAAAAAAAD idea. Horrible. The movie was devastating, depressing and just plain yucky! I took a 30 minute shower after that one. If you don't know the book or the movie, here are the details.

Blindness is the story of an unexplained mass epidemic of blindness afflicting nearly everyone in an unnamed city, and the social breakdown that swiftly follows. The novel follows the misfortunes of a handful of characters who are among the first to be stricken and centers on "the doctor's wife," her husband, several of his patients, and assorted others, thrown together by chance. This group bands together in a family-like unit to survive by their wits and by the unexplained good fortune that the doctor’s wife has escaped the blindness. The sudden onset and unexplained origin and nature of the blindness cause widespread panic, and the social order rapidly unravels as the government attempts to contain the apparent contagion and keep order via increasingly repressive and inept measures

Yes, not a light, festive, romp to discuss. Most of the folks read it and had a powerful discussion, though most of us were left a bit chilled. I didn't feel the need to rush to my computer to write about it so...I didn't.

Oh well, I'll make up for it for our May pick right? Delirium by Lauren Oliver! Right?!!! Awesome book. I loved it! Most of the gals loved it. I thought I would have soooo much to say. But no, we talked about it for oh, about, five minutes before diving into Fifty Shades of Grey, which most everyone was reading at that time. That's okay. No worries. I wrote a review about Delirium before. I'll get over it and make up for it in July!

(head plant into desk) No, I will NOT make up for it in July. Because we read The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udal, wonderfully written and powerful but...did I finish it. No. Will I? Probably not. It just didn't fit my mood. And that just plain sucks on my end. But once again, the gals brought yummy food and lively discussion. Always a good time with or without my two cents on the book pick.

On to September. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Seriously, if I don't atleast get half way, I'm going to pull my hair out. I can do it.

I love my gals. I love this group. I've made it to each get together. I'm a better book club attendee than this.

I gotta bring it.

Wish me luck.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

What a gem of a book this turned out to be. Lisa Genova's debut book, Still Alice, from a few years back turned into a bestseller, especially for book clubs. Though heart wrenching and very emotional to read, I still found it to be one of my favorites from that year. I did not go on to read Left Nelgected but have it on my shelf and will probably get to it at some point. Love Anthony was just as good as Still Alice.

I was lucky enough to get a lovely BEA book package from Simon and Schuster because I could not make the trip this year. Love Anthony was included in that as one of their buzz titles for the fall.

My reading pace has slowed considerably this year. I find myself mixing in quite a bit of audio books in my reading time and the number of books I have actually "read" is quite low. Aside from being busy and tired most of the time, I haven't been finding a lot of books that get me from the start and urge me to keep going.

I did not have that problem with Love Anthony.

Told from two different perspectives, both women and mothers and jumping back and forth in time, Love Anthony is certainly another bestseller AND excellent choice for book clubs. 

Here is a description from Goodreads:
Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

I was enthralled with the setting, having been to Nantucket once in my life and falling in love with it. It seemed the ideal atmosphere for this emotional story. 

Though the happenings of the book are certainly sad and tragic at times, the way the women face it all is inspiring. I liked them both equally. The way she writes about autism is beautiful and in my opinion, so right on. Anthony's character makes your heart swell and my motherly instincts kick in. I could just relate to each of the women so much in so many different ways. 

I wanted Olivia to find the peace she so deserved from losing her son. I wanted Beth to find her own happiness she had set aside for so long. These were real women with real stories that Genova so masterfully created. 

Rating: Recommend
If you are a fan of wonderfully crafted women's fiction, this is for you. Though light hearted in some moments, most of the book is a bit sad and heavy. But I do have to say that it is sadness  followed by tremendous strength, hope and love.
Highly recommended for book clubs. 

Author Website:
Lisa Genova

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, Gallery
Release Date: expected release date of September 25, 2012 (from Goodreads), January 15, 2013 (from ARC)

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: July 2012

Before I go into July's pick, I would like to make an announcement. I will be discontinuing The Year of Mysterious Giveaways after August of this year. 

This is happening for a few different reasons.  

1. I can't afford it. I know it sounds lame. I do try to partner with publishers as much as I can but it doesn't always work out that way. 
2. I love all of you who keep coming back to enter but overall, the response is low. I know Marce from Tea Time with Marce(another huge mystery fan) and I have struggled to find the mystery/thriller audience out there. I think I have found a lot of you!! But I was hoping to get more response from my contests. (insert sad face here)
3. I am strapped for time. I have a hard time staying on deadline as it is with so many other things in my life. I am getting tired of saying "Oops, Sorry it's late" over and over.

August will be the last giveaway and I'm really excited about that one! It's a good one to go out with a bang! The new Sandra Brannan will be given away!!!!! Hooray!

THANK you all for entering each month. Seriously, I appreciate it so much!! And I hope I have opened your eyes to some fabulous new mysteries. Please don't go away!

I will continue to read and review one of my favorite genres, no worries there. And who knows, maybe next year I will pick it up again. 

There were no entries for June's Year of Mysterious Giveaway (insert another sad face here) so the first person to comment who resides in the U.S will be the winner!

On to July's pick!

Thank you to the publisher for offering a copy of Fireproof to give away.

Here are the thrilling details from Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling author Alex Kava returns in a blaze of glory with a gripping, action-packed thriller featuring special agent Maggie O'Dell,who is leading the search for a serial arsonist whose crimes threaten Maggie dangerously close to home.

When a building bursts into flames on a cold winter night in D.C., investigators see a resemblance to a string of recent fires in the area. There is one difference, however: This one has a human casualty. The local team insists they're looking for a young white male, suffering from an uncontrollable impulse to act out his anger or sexual aggression. But when special agent Maggie O'Dell is called in, everything she sees leads her to believe that this is the work of a calculating and controlled criminal.

Jeffery Cole, a reporter looking for his big break, is also at the scene of the crime and decides to make Maggie part of his news piece, digging up aspects of her past that she would rather forget. Maggie's brother Patrick is also back in DC where he is working for a private firefighting company and is frequently called in as these fires continue to light up around the city.

As the acts of arson become more brazen, Maggie's professional and personal worlds begin to collide dangerously. The killer may be closer than she imagines.

Contest Rules:
* Runs from July 6-August 3
* Please leave an email address
* Please reside in the United States

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Audio Review: The Unholy by Heather Graham

The Unholy by Heather Graham
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Unabridged Audio
Challenge: 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Purchase: IndieBound

Heather Graham has been on my list to read for some time now, ever since I started my A-Z Mystery Challenge. Though I like the paranormal aspect in movies and am admittedly, a huge fan of the TV show Ghost Hunters, I have yet to really find reading a book or paranormal series as exciting.

The Unholy was my first pick from Brilliance Audio to review and unfortunately, not the best first pick. But it was me entirely. I just don't think reading or listening to paranormal is my thing. So much of the scare of the unknown is visual for me. I am a horror movie junkie. Listening to the ghost of Humphrey Bogart (like in The Unholy) is not spooky. It's kind of cheesy. Sorry!

So, I did not enjoy listening to this and honestly, I don't think the reading of it would be better. The narrator was quite good for what he was working with, very noir feel, very theatrical. I just didn't get into the story.

I did not finish this one so I can not give it a full review. I am eager to review more Brilliance Audio titles and am a bit bummed out my first wasn't stellar. I think I need to stick to literary fiction or memoirs for listening or atleast stay away from campy thrillers.

Rating: Like I said, I did not finish and only listened to two discs so I can't give it a full "not recommended". The narrator was impressive as far as emotion and changing up the different characters but I just got a bit bored with the story.

Author Website:
Heather Graham

Happy listening and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child