November Wrap Up

Hey guys!  November went really fast for me!  I had some quality time with my o’hana, and got a lot of reading done.    Here’s my recap of the month’s books:

1.       Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs  I had been on the fence with this one forever.  So often if there’s a lot of hype about a book, it falls flat for me.  This one, though, was amazing.  It was nothing like I thought it would be.  Five Stars

2.       Kids of Appetite, David Arnold.  Vic and Mad have a story to tell, and everything hinges of them getting it right.  The story revolves around a group of “unwanted” children that banded together to create a family.   Five stars, plus one for creativity.

3.       Killer Chef, James Patterson and Jeffrey J. Keys.  Caleb Rooney is one of the hardest working men in New Orleans.    He and his ex wife own a food truck, plus he is a detective.  When couples start dropping in prominent restaurants due to poisoning, it’s up to Rooney to figure it out. 

4.       Love, Alice, Barbara Davis.  This was my Netgalley pic.  Dovie Larkin has been having trouble getting over her fiancé’s suicide.  Every day she has lunch at the cemetery with him.  One day, she sees an old woman place a note on a headstone.  She becomes obsessed with the woman, Alice, and her mother Dora.  Five stars

5.       The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland, Rebekah Crane.  This was my Kindle First pic.  Zoe and her parents have a differing opinion on her mental health.  She thinks she’s fine.  They decide she needs to go to a camp for at risk teens.  Dealing with a manic-depressant bi-polar anorexic, a cutter, a bulimic, and a pathological liar is a lot.  And then you have Grover Cleveland, who isn’t crazy yet but is sure he will become schizophrenic because his father is.  As she gets to know each person, she finds that maybe she needs help too; and maybe camp is just the place for her to heal.  Five stars

6.       Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, The Original Screenplay(and movie), J.K. Rowling.  Newt Scamander has come to New York on a mission.  Through a few large mistakes his case of magical beasts gets opened and many of them escape.  This screen play is our first look at the wizarding community of America.  It predates Harry Potter and gives us a great look at the magical world.  Five Stars!

7.       Turbo Twenty-three, Janet Evanovich.  Stephanie Plum is back and just as inept as ever.  It is a hilarious ride as we chase down a man that likes to steal semis, a pooping mime, a man with too many snakes, and a killer that likes to turn his victim into a giant ice cream treat.  While all this is happening she has to keep Lula from going too far with her search for reality tv stardom, and keep tabs on Grandma and her new biker boyfriend.  Four stars.

8.       I See You, Clare Mackintosh.  This was a First to Read pic.  Every morning Zoe Walker takes the same commute to and from work, never realizes that someone might be watching her.  In the classified ads there’s a picture of her under Findtheone.com.  She never signed up for this or agreed to it!  Her family doesn’t believe her that it’s her, though.  When others that have had their pics there start becoming victims of violent crime, it’s a race against the clock to figure out what’s going on and get it stopped.  Four stars

9.       I See You, Clare Mackintosh.  *Predates the bookshot*.  The COD is gunned down and an ex cop looks good for it.  Before Cross can get anywhere here he is pulled to a multiple death crime scene.  As the deaths start piling up, it’s obvious that they are working with a team that believes in their cause- and are killing for it.  How do you stop someone that thinks they have justice on their side?  Five Stars

10.   Come On Up to the House, Dane Cobain.  I was given an advanced copy of this book for the price of an honest review.  I really liked it.  It wasn’t my typical read, but it was interesting and creepy.  I consider this a novella with accompanying screen play.  The Jersey family moves in to a new house to find that the previous owners left in a huge hurry.  There’s talk of the house being haunted.  Darren, their teen son, begins to learn about the last inhabitant of his room- a boy named James that killed himself.  James never left, though.  He haunts the place, infecting the occupants.  After a series of terrible events, Alice Jersey decides it’s time to leave.  Will they get out in time, though?  Four stars

11.   Hollow City, Ransom Riggs.  Book two of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar children.  I loved this one, but it’s hard to summarize without giving everything away.  The kids are on a journey to find the last ymbryne that can help Miss Peregrine.  There is a lot of character development along the way- I love Jacob more and I really dislike Enoch.  We get further insight into the world of the Peculiar, which I like, and meet new friends.  All in all a great book- four stars.

What did you read?  What were your favorite bookish moments of the month?

Amber

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Hollow City, Ransom Riggs

hollow-cityspolier alertTitle: Hollow City

Author: Ransom Riggs

Pages: 428

Genre:  YA, fantasy

Part of a series?  Yes, book two of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children

Published:  February 24th, 2015

 

So we left our plucky band of peculiars in the middle of the ocean.  They have to protect Miss Peregrine and get her help, which means finding another ymbryne to help her.  As they move along, they learn hidden secrets to their favorite bedtime book, Tales of the Peculiar, and meet new friends and enemies.  Each character grows in strides, and Jacob discovers hidden talents.  The pictures are still here, and bring the story to life.  I liked this one, but preferred the first one.  It just held a lot more magic for me.  This one seemed to be more about moving the story along.  I still really loved it, and would give it Four Stars.  There just wasn’t much to review.  Character development sharpened and you learned more about their way of life and the loops.  I enjoyed that.  It’s just hard to give a good summary without giving everything away.

On the adult content scale, violence and some language…. I give it a three.  It was all very minor.  General.svg

The book is out!  Go get it!

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

 

 

What’s New Wednesday? Week 30!

Hey Guys, and happy National Mousse Day!  I tell ya, I have been having fun with the “every day’s a holiday” thing, but I’ve got nothing here…  so let’s get started.  Also, this week I am writing a bit early because I am really excited to share.

What’s new with me?

I got to spend Thanksgiving with the O’hana, which was great.  Mom made way too much food, so there were left over casseroles, turkey sandwiches and jook for days.  Warren and I did go over the black Friday sales after the craziness died down and picked up some dvds and a drone.  He loves his new drone.  Then there was Cyber Monday.  Bless the internet for not making me go through crowded stores!  I went through Amazon’s kindle book sales and here is what $10 got me:

What’s new in news?

Okay, this happened November 2nd…. but still.  A Florida farmer’s market was burgled by a man wearing a tutu and his hoodied accomplice.  They ate a watermelon, pineapple, and apples (this was at night while the market was closed).  They broke into a shop at the market and threw stuff around.  Basically I just liked the vid of the guy in a tutu.  Takes all kinds, right?  See video here.

What’s new in books?

amazon-primeI have dreamed of this day!  Book nerds hear me:  Amazon has opened their prime book deals (not to be confused with kindle unlimited) to those of us that do not have a kindle.  I own a windows tablet and have the app there and on my phone.  I did not want to buy another device and have been waiting for this.  Like a petulant child, I have refused to buy a Prime Membership until I get the books.  My wait is over!  For $10.99 a month I get free 2 day shipping, video and music streaming, one free Kindle First book a month, and I can read other books.  Most of my new releases will not be here, but I am not even mad.  This will take the place of Google music, to whom I was paying $9.99 and only getting music.  Great music, mind you…. but seriously!  If you have been on the fence go for it!  Now’s our chance guys!  I haven’t played around here too much yet, but we will keep you posted.

And… that’s it for me, what’s new with you?

Amber

 

TBR December

I have a lot of RFR books to do this month, and there are quite a few bookshots.  I am really excited though!

  1. The Twilight Wife, A.J. Banner.  *Thank you Netgalley*.  A diving accident leaves Kyra Winthrop with a complex form of memory loss.  With only flashes of memory from the last few years, her life revolves around a few close friends and her devoted husband.  But things- memories, maybe?- are coming to her, telling a different story then the one that has been painted for her.  What is real?
  2. The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden.  *Thank you Netgalley.*  Vasalisa has spent her life with her sibling and her nurse, getting through Russian winters listening to stories of the winter demon Frost.  Wise Russians fear him and honor the spirits of the house and land that protect their homes from evil.  When Vasalisa’s mother dies and her father remarries they are no longer allowed to honor the spirits.  Crops begin to fail and evil creeps ever closer.  It sounds like a really neat take on Cinderella maybe?
  3. Lotus, Lijia Zhang. *Thank you Netgalley.*   Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own path. She’s different than the other streetwalkers—reserved, even defiant, Lotus holds her secrets behind her red smile.  (Blurb from the Netgalley page)
  4. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth, Lindsey Lee Johnson.  *Thank you First to Read*  The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral.(Blurb from the First to Read page).
  5. World Chase Me Down, Andrew Hilleman.  *Thank you First to Read*  Pat Crow, once one of the most wanted men in America is now considered a long forgotten folk hero.  This book brings him to life.
  6. Disaster Falls, Stephane Gerson.  *Thank you First to Read*.
    On a day like any other, on a rafting trip down Utah’s Green River, Stéphane Gerson’s eight-year-old son, Owen, drowned in a spot known as Disaster Falls. That same night, as darkness fell, Stéphane huddled in a tent with his wife, Alison, and their older son, Julian, trying to understand what seemed inconceivable. “It’s just the three of us now,” Alison said over the sounds of a light rain and, nearby, the rushing river. “We cannot do it alone. We have to stick together.”
               Disaster Falls chronicles the aftermath of that day and their shared determination to stay true to Alison’s resolution. At the heart of the book is Stéphane’s portrait of a marriage critically tested. Husband and wife grieve in radically different ways that threaten to isolate each of them in their post-Owen worlds. (He feels so far,” Stéphane says, when Alison shows him a selfie Owen had taken. “He feels so close,” she says.) With beautiful specificity, Stephane shows how they resist that isolation and reconfigure their marriage from within.    (Blurb from the First to Read website).
  7. The Good Daughter, Alexandra Burt.  *Thank you First to Read.*  What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?  Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.  (Blub from the First to Read website.)
  8. Library of Souls, Ransom Riggs.  I am currently reading Hollow City and, while I don’t know if I will finish it in the next few days, I am definitely reading the conclusion in December.  I am so excited!!!
  9. The Royals, James Patterson.  Someone is threatening to kill a member of the royal family in front of the queen.  Private has 24 hours… this sounds like an intense bookshot.

There will be other bookshots, and possible other books but these are the ones I know.

What are you reading in December?

Amber

Is Everyone else ill-prepared for the holidays?

santa-sassyThere’s my Sassy Britches in full on Grinch mode.  I have to tell you, I am usually on the whole Christmas shopping thing because I have a limited budget…. this year, though, I am so not feeling it.  I am ending my mini vacation (four days off in a row!) sick as a dog and just exhausted.  I am trying to pull myself together, because as a “happy helper” at my store I will be expected to be bright, cheerful, goofy and lively.  It’s what the kids need.  We direct the customers to lines, make the kids laugh (give them candy), and grab anything anyone forgot.  I was running laps around the store the other day!  Plus, it’s just a better day for me when I am in top form.  To this end, I have been listening to Christmas music to make myself feel more elf-like.  Here are my top three to-go cd’s.

  1. Adrea Bocelli, My Christmas.  I love his voice!  His rendition of Ave Maria slays me.  There is on odd track with Muppets, but I forgive him.
  2. Celtic Woman, A Christmas Celebration.  Carol of the bells is gorgeous.  The whole cd is, really, and I find this one still has a “traditional feel”.
  3. Jordan Smith, ‘Tis the Season.  Did anyone watch this guy on The Voice a while back?  I adored him!  His voice is amazing and it’s obvious that he really cared about each song in this CD.  His rendition of You’re A Mean One, Mister Grinch is the best I have ever heard (though not many play with it).  It’s a little sassy, a little jazzy, and the vocals are perfection.

The links will take you to Amazon where you can buy any of these.  I seriously love them all!

And, of course the movies that get me going on the holidays.

  1. The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I love this movie, the art and the soundtrack are amazing!  It never fails to enthrall me.
  2. Rise of the Guardians.  It’s more of a winter movie for me, but I adore it.  Who can stay in a foul mood watching Hugh Jackman play the Easter Bunny?

Now, if anyone needs help figuring out some gifts that are sure to please, I have ideas.

  • For the makeup fan (or young one getting started in makeup)  I love E.L.F.  brand.  They actually have the best primer I have ever found for my skin- and it’s $6.  The brushes are pretty good, and reasonable.  Check them out
  • For the tea fan: teavana is amazing and really high end, but most of it is loose.  Harney and Sons has tins with tea filled sachets.  The quality is fantastic.

Or there are some great DIY ideas that people love.

  • Body Scrub- just get some good, water tight containers, sugar, coconut oil, and essential oils if you want them.  You can find a million recipes, especially on pinterest, but this one is my favorite.

Green tea sugar scrub

1 cup unrefined coconut oil

1 and 1/4 cup sugar (brown or white)

one table spoon green tea (loose, I use matcha but any will do)

open up two tea green tea bags and add them as well.

Mix it all together and put in containers.  Easy, and it smells great!  I recommend using very little essential oils here- maybe bergamot or mint.

  • moisturizing oil:

Now most people use argon oil in theirs, and it’s fantastic but it can get spendy.  I go to Walmart and buy the argan oil blend for $7.  and then I will usually split it between four of the travel spray bottles, filling the rest with vitamin E, almond oil and grapeseed oil.  I love adding peppermint here because I like the scent- it does dissipate quickly.  For my brother, who has issues with psoriasis, I put a few drops tea tree oil and peppermint.  For my sister I use bergamot.  For my mother I have a jasmine scent- this one does not dissipate and a little goes a long way, so be warned.  This is what I usually do when I have a lot of people on my list because it is nice and relatively inexpensive to make.  Besides, two spritzes usually covers my whole arm and it goes into the skin quickly.  It lasts a long time.

What are you guys thinking of doing for holiday treats?

Amber

 

Come On Up to the House, Dane Cobain

dane-cobain-come-on-up-to-the-housespolier alertTitle: Come On Up to the House

Author: Dane Cobain

Pages: 216

Genre: mystery, horror

Part of a series?  No.

Publish date: December 5th, 2016

I consider this a novella with an accompanying screen play.  Due to money, the Jersey family has taken moved to a new home.  It’s obvious from the get-go that the family left in a hurry, leaving much of their things behind.  Darren Jersey, fifteen, seems to be a fairly normal and adjusted kid at first.  He gets along alright with his parents, and doesn’t have problems with his little brother and sister save bossing them around from time to time as all big siblings do.  As they adjust to their new surroundings, though, there are unexplainable things happening.  It seems that the house has seen tragedy.  A boy, James, committed suicide in Darren’s room- and he isn’t gone.  He wants blood and pain, and he finds an audience in Darren.  As Darren takes more and more of James’ characteristics things start happening around the house.  The family dog goes mad and keeps attacking Darren, people are getting hurt.  The family isn’t happy, and no one is safe.  Darren’s mother, Alice, decides to leave the house, but will they get out in time?

First, it must be said that the novella and the screen play follow one another completely.  I read both, but even the author says you don’t need to.  Personally, I preferred the screenplay as it seemed to move more smoothly.   Watching the change in each character was interesting.  I did enjoy watching the house, and James, change them one by one.  I was intrigued by the premise, and really liked the ending.    I will admit that there were times when actions did not make sense, or the flow of the story stalled for me.  With that in mind, I still really liked it and am giving it four stars.  Four Stars

The adult content scale, is rather large.  There is violence and a lot of language.  Certain scenes are very disturbing.  This is not meant for young teens.  I give it a nine.  adult content rubber stamp

The book  comes out 12-05-2016

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

Do you buy copies of books that you got advanced copies of?

pro_reader_120I am always grateful to Netgalley and First to Read for allowing me access to books for the price of a review.  There have been so many amazing books this year!  I have bought copies of books I read as gifts for friends and family members, but never myself.  Now, this may seem silly because I have already read it, and in many cases have the book still, but I want to give back to the authors that have thrilled me.

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, Scott Stambach is one of the books that come to mind.  I am considering buying myself a hard copy of this book; but it is a lot of money.  In most cases nothing really changes between the review copy and the copy that goes to print save a few typos; thus the cheap part of me doesn’t want to spend half my book money on one book when there are so many I haven’t read yet.  I could buy a used copy off the internet, but the author/publisher doesn’t see anything from that.  For now, I am waiting to see if this one and several others I love are coming to paperback.

How do you handle this, though?  Do you buy all the read-for-review books you liked?  Just the top, say, ten of the year?  How do you decide?

Amber