Monday, August 21, 2017

#MadLibMonday - The Beginning by C.M. Johnson

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Plural noun
2: Verb ending in ing
3: Noun
4: Number
5: Verb, past tense
6: Adjective
7: Plural noun
8: Verb
9: Noun
10: Noun


Genre: Fantasy
Published: January 10, 2012
Pages: 319

"Who are we to argue the choices of the Power?"

"What am I? I am something that has never been seen before; I am the culmination of centuries. I am the last pureblood of my line. I am someone, I am something that will live for (   1: Plural noun   ) and die a little everyday."

With those words Kerrisha Drew-Otlander fully steps into her destiny as the Fifth Knowledge Guardian of the People of Otland Iis. But what are the Guardians?

The Guardians are born in times of change for the People of Otland Iis and the Fifth Guardian has now been born. She is now (   2: Verb ending in ing   ) into her Knowledge. It is her destiny to reunite the Clans but even her own (   3: Noun   ) does not believe she is a Guardian. Orphaned at (   4: Number   )-years old, Kerrisha Drew-Otlander, is Queen of the Drew and Otlander Clans as well as the Fifth Guardian of Knowledge. 

Thousands of years ago, six clans (   5: Verb, past tense   ) in the seven provinces of Otland Iis (Atlantis to the regular humans) until their island home was destroyed by a (   6: Adjective   ) volcanic eruption. The descendents of the survivors of Otland Iis now live among us in modern times with all the Power and Abilities of their (   7: Plural noun   ). Clan wars over the centuries have divided the People into two factions: The Triad Clans and The Lost Clans. In a modern world they work against each other both in battle and in staying hidden from the humans in the cities surrounding them. Kerrisha must (   8: Verb   ) her own People she is who she claims as well as bridge the gaps left by centuries of war with the leaders of the other clans.

This first (   9: Noun   ) in the series follows Kerrisha on her first true undercover mission to Devon Clan and through a series of struggles, battles, and even places the young Queen on trial for treason. She finds love and romance with her Power-Chosen (   10: Noun   ) and begins to learn she is not as alone as she imagines. 

Included after the story is a short dictionary of Otlantesha, the ancient language of Otland Iis with an English-based pronunciation key.

Caution: Some mature content.

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for The Beginning by C.M. Johnson.

"Who are we to argue the choices of the Power?"

"What am I? I am something that has never been seen before; I am the culmination of centuries. I am the last pureblood of my line. I am someone, I am something that will live for centuries and die a little everyday."

With those words Kerrisha Drew-Otlander fully steps into her destiny as the Fifth Knowledge Guardian of the People of Otland Iis. But what are the Guardians?

The Guardians are born in times of change for the People of Otland Iis and the Fifth Guardian has now been born. She is now coming into her Knowledge. It is her destiny to reunite the Clans but even her own clan does not believe she is a Guardian. Orphaned at twelve-years old, Kerrisha Drew-Otlander, is Queen of the Drew and Otlander Clans as well as the Fifth Guardian of Knowledge. 

Thousands of years ago, six clans lived in the seven provinces of Otland Iis (Atlantis to the regular humans) until their island home was destroyed by a cataclysmic volcanic eruption. The descendents of the survivors of Otland Iis now live among us in modern times with all the Power and Abilities of their ancestors. Clan wars over the centuries have divided the People into two factions: The Triad Clans and The Lost Clans. In a modern world they work against each other both in battle and in staying hidden from the humans in the cities surrounding them. Kerrisha must convince her own People she is who she claims as well as bridge the gaps left by centuries of war with the leaders of the other clans.

This first book in the series follows Kerrisha on her first true undercover mission to Devon Clan and through a series of struggles, battles, and even places the young Queen on trial for treason. She finds love and romance with her Power-Chosen mate and begins to learn she is not as alone as she imagines. 

Included after the story is a short dictionary of Otlantesha, the ancient language of Otland Iis with an English-based pronunciation key.

Caution: Some mature content.

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment with your list below so we can all get a chuckle out of it. And be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. - Katie 

#MadLibMonday - Calling California by J.P. Grider

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Noun
2: Number
3: Adjective
4: Verb ending in ing
5: Noun
6: Verb ending in s
7: Plural noun
8: Verb
9: Adjective
10: Noun


Genre: NA Romance
Published: May 20, 2014
Pages: 372

Cali Parker is poor. She has a lot on her (   1: Noun   ) - her father is dying, she's working to help pay the rent, and she's (   2: Number   )-years behind in college.

Griffin Brooks is (   3: Adjective   ). He has not a care in the world - he's acing his engineering courses, his hobby is (   4: Verb ending in ing   ) his fifty-thousand dollar classic car, and he has a different girl on his arm every week.

When Cali sees Griffin on her first day of (   5: Noun   ), she's immediately smitten and thinks she's found the perfect guy. When Griffin (   6: Verb ending in s   ) Cali at the bank, he immediately forgets the blonde he was with that morning. Then they meet, and their (   7: Plural noun   ) collide.

Cali doesn't belong in Griffin’s world, and he doesn't (   8: Verb   ) hers. But just when Griffin convinces Cali that their two (   9: Adjective   ) worlds can blend, a secret is revealed that tears them apart.

Is their (   10: Noun   ) strong enough to bring them back together, or will their worlds drift further apart?

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for Calling California by J.P. Grider.

Cali Parker is poor. She has a lot on her plate - her father is dying, she's working to help pay the rent, and she's two-years behind in college.

Griffin Brooks is rich. He has not a care in the world - he's acing his engineering courses, his hobby is restoring his fifty-thousand dollar classic car, and he has a different girl on his arm every week.

When Cali sees Griffin on her first day of class, she's immediately smitten and thinks she's found the perfect guy. When Griffin sees Cali at the bank, he immediately forgets the blonde he was with that morning. Then they meet, and their worlds collide.

Cali doesn't belong in Griffin’s world, and he doesn't understand hers. But just when Griffin convinces Cali that their two different worlds can blend, a secret is revealed that tears them apart.

Is their love strong enough to bring them back together, or will their worlds drift further apart?

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment with your list so that the rest of us can get a chuckle out of it as well. And be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. - Katie 
SaveSave

#MadLibMonday - Death Knows My Name by Kellie Wallace

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Adjective
2: Number
3: Verb
4: Noun
5: Adjective
6: Plural noun
7: Adjective
8: Noun
9: Verb ending in s
10: Plural noun


Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: August 14, 2017
Pages: 270

After the (   1: Adjective   ) drowning of her brother (   2: Number   ) years ago, Aleida Fuller has lived her life communicating with the supernatural. She can see and (   3: Verb   ) to the dead, as if they were still walking the earth. Despite being welcomed in the spirit world, Aleida lives a closeted existence. Her reclusive (   4: Noun   ) refuses to accept her abilities and the local townsfolk think she’s a fraud.

When mysterious traveler Rafe Jenner arrives in town, Aleida’s (   5: Adjective   ) life is irrevocably changed. He’s handsome, strange, and oddly alluring, with piercing (   6: Plural noun   ) that turn red in the dark…

As Aleida and Rafe are teamed up to solve a crime for the Sheriff’s Office, a (   7: Adjective   ) evil lurks in the shadows. Bloodthirsty for Aleida’s (   8: Noun   ), Hell-bound demon Albinus (   9: Verb ending in s   ) the earth, shedding blood and taking lives in search of her. He will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants. Aleida must draw on her physic (   10: Plural noun   ) and her newfound alliance with Rafe to battle Hell’s agents before her soul is lost forever.

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for Death Knows My Name by Kellie Wallace.

After the tragic drowning of her brother eighteen years ago, Aleida Fuller has lived her life communicating with the supernatural. She can see and speak to the dead, as if they were still walking the earth. Despite being welcomed in the spirit world, Aleida lives a closeted existence. Her reclusive mother refuses to accept her abilities and the local townsfolk think she’s a fraud.

When mysterious traveler Rafe Jenner arrives in town, Aleida’s dull life is irrevocably changed. He’s handsome, strange, and oddly alluring, with piercing eyes that turn red in the dark…

As Aleida and Rafe are teamed up to solve a crime for the Sheriff’s Office, a great evil lurks in the shadows. Bloodthirsty for Aleida’s soul, Hell-bound demon Albinus roams the earth, shedding blood and taking lives in search of her. He will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants. Aleida must draw on her physic abilities and her newfound alliance with Rafe to battle Hell’s agents before her soul is lost forever.

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment below with your list so that the rest of us can get a chuckle out of it as well. And be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. - Katie 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

#SneakPeekSunday - Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman

Title: Gone to Dust
Author: Matt Goldman
Genre: Mystery
Published: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Forge Books
Pages: 304
Goodreads

Synopsis

Set in Minnesota, Gone to Dust is the debut private eye murder mystery from Emmy Award-winning Seinfeld writer Matt Goldman.

A brutal crime. The ultimate cover-up. How do you solve a murder with no useable evidence?

Private detective Nils Shapiro is focused on forgetting his ex-wife and keeping warm during another Minneapolis winter when a former colleague, neighboring Edina Police Detective Anders Ellegaard, calls with the impossible.

Suburban divorcee Maggie Somerville was found murdered in her bedroom, her body covered with the dust from hundreds of emptied vacuum cleaner bags, all potential DNA evidence obscured by the calculating killer.

Digging into Maggie’s cell phone records, Nils finds that the most frequently called number belongs to a mysterious young woman whose true identity could shatter the Somerville family--but could she be guilty of murder?

After the FBI demands that Nils drop the case, Nils and Ellegaard are forced to take their investigation underground, where the case grows as murky as the contents of the vacuum cleaner bags. Is this a strange case of domestic violence or something with far reaching, sinister implications?

Sneak Peek Review

I received a copy of this sneak peek from Forge Books through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

I got to read about the first six chapters of this book, and it was apparent almost immediately that this is not a genre I typically read (because once again I went into the book blind aside from the title). And I have nothing against mystery novels, it's just not a genre I'm particularly drawn to on a regular basis. That being said, this one has me rather intrigued. You see, I'm forever asking random people "What's the best way to hide a body?" (when they post on Facebook that people can ask them anything, I'm not totally deranged). It's even one of the questions I include in my standard interview form for authors because I find the range of answers intriguing. But this sneak peek has almost made that question obsolete. Why bother hiding the body when you can just easily contaminate all the DNA evidence at the crime scene? I mean, it's kind of brilliant. 

Since this was just a sneak peek, I haven't really gotten very far into the investigation yet. They've barely started questioning potential suspects, so at this point it's really hard to even make a guess as to who the guilty party is (and when I do find myself reading a mystery like this, I always try to guess who the perpetrator is.) In spite of that, I'm guessing that it's the ex-husband's current girlfriend, and I don't even know if the ex-husband even has a current girlfriend at this point. 

So would I buy this book for myself? I have added it to my wish list because I am actually kind of interested in continuing the book to see where the investigation leads, but since it's not a preferred genre for me, I'm not interested enough to continue reading right now. - Katie 

Buy the Book


About the Author

Matt Goldman is an Emmy Award-winning television writer. He wrote two seasons on Seinfeld, as well as many other shows, one as a staff writer and the second as a story editor. Goldman won an Emmy Award for his work on Wizards of Waverly Place, was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award for his work on Seinfeld, and received special recognition from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his contribution to "The Puppy," the Emmy Award-winning episode of Ellen.

*Review* Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay


Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: July 23, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 391

Synopsis

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Review


I received an audiobook copy of this through Audiofile Sync's summer reading for teens program absolutely free of charge with no strings attached. This is my honest review. 

This story sort of flips the roles from the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. The beast is the one that becomes the prisoner, but it's quite possible that the beautiful people are the real monsters. 

With this story, I found myself imagining that settlers of this planet were basically us, because they did arrive on massive spaceships to develop new colonies, but then the story "devolved" into fantasy with magic, but all of that happened hundreds or thousands of years before the present time. The inhabitants of this world sort of know of their history, but the stories seem to feel a bit more like myth than actual history. 

Of Beast and Beauty is told from dual points of view, so we get to see things from both Isra's and Gem's sides at different times. Obviously this makes it easier to relate to both characters, but it also leads to some irritation about their stubbornness because things are pretty obvious when you get to see both sides of the story. In spite of how obvious everything was to me, I still found myself rooting for Isra and Gem and feeling a bit unsure about the outcome of things for them. 

The narration of the story was acceptable. It has a single narrator, a woman, and her male voices sound a bit like caricatures, but I got used to them rather quickly, so that didn't bug me too much. 

Overall I give Of Beast and Beauty 4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Buy the Book


About the Author

Stacey Jay is a recovering workaholic (or at least working hard at recovering). She writes YA fantasy romances and adult urban fantasy. Learn more at www.staceyjay.com.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

*Stacking the Shelves* 19 August 2017


(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

Hot Wheels: The Ultimate Handbook by Sam Negley - One of my children wanted this book, I don't remember which one, but it was probably my son. 
Scholastic Encyclopedia of Animals by Laurence Pringle - My daughter asked for this book, but I would have bought it anyway because it's educational. 
The Shiloh Collection by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - I'm pretty sure Shiloh was one of the books we read in grade school. It's at least a good book to add to my collection in case one of my children develops a fascination for dog stories. 
99 Lives: Cats in History, Legend, and Literature by Howard Loxton - I don't really know why I grabbed this book, honestly. 
Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography - I've been buying the Series of Unfortunate Events books, so I figured this would help complete that collection. 
Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen - I liked the cover...and it seemed like a fantasy story, although I think it's actually historical fiction now that I read a bit of the blurb. 
Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War by Anthony Shadid - I like to try to understand all sides of things when I can, and as an American, I don't feel like we hear enough from the Middle Eastern side of the conflict. 
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy - This is a classic. I don't know why it's a classic, but the literary snob in me wanted it. 
Country Baking by Ken Haedrich - I love to bake, so I'm a bit partial to cookbooks about baking. ($3)
Pleasures from the Good Earth by the Stuttgart German-American Women's Club - It's not exactly a church cookbook, but it was created by a similar method, so it's sure to have some amazing recipes in it, with the added benefit of having some authentic German recipes too. ($2.50)
War Trash by Ha Jin - Thanks to the Platypires calls for reading diversity, I pay more attention to those things when looking at books. I don't always follow through by reading the books, but I'm trying. 
The Merlin of St. Gilles' Well by Ann Chamberlin - This book caught my eye before when I was at the thrift store, and then it happened a second time, so I figured I might as well buy it. 
The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure - The Little House on the Prairie books were a staple for reading in childhood in Kansas, so I'm intrigued by this book. 
One With You by Sylvia Day - I'm pretty sure I've managed to buy all five books of this series at my thrift store now. Which means I can finally start reading them, maybe. 
Spellfall by Katherine Roberts - Middle grade fantasy novel with a unicorn on the cover, what's not to love. 
Catmagic by Holly Webb - The story is that I bought this for my daughter to read, but I kind of really want to read it myself. 
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - I know this book is on several of the lists of books everyone should read at some point. And I haven't read it yet. But now I own it. 
I Can Haz Cheezburger by Professor Happycat and iCanhascheezburger.com - I bought this for my kids, I swear. 
World Almanac for Kids 2000 - So it's super out of date (I was still in high school when this book came out), but it will still have some useful information in it, I'm sure. 
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham - This is probably one of those books on those lists that I so love. The copy I got happens to be in pristine condition. 
The Gulag Archipelago: Vol. 1 by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn - There is underlining and notes in the margins of this book. That could prove helpful if I ever get around to reading it. 
The Gulag Archipelago: Vol. 2 by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn - This book also has underlining and notes in the margins. 
The Gulag Archipelago: Vol. 3 by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn - This appears to be the final book in the collection. It does not have any underlining or notes in the margins however. 
Purgatory by Dante Alighieri - This is book 2 of The Divine Comedy. It has underlining and notes in the margins. 
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman - I've heard good things about this book and that it's helpful for couples to learn how to communicate their love better...so I figured I'd give it a shot. 
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up, but my copy includes discussion questions, so that's a good thing, right? 
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner - I might already own a copy of this book, but I couldn't remember for sure, so I grabbed it just in case. 
Clarice Bean Spells Trouble by Lauren Child - It looks like an interesting book for a little girl, like my daughter. 
The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester - This seems to be almost like X-Men meets Harry Potter. I'm probably going to read it before my kids do for reasons. 
Beyond Good & Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche - This book has notes in the margins and underlining. Yay!
Modern Arabic Short Stories by Ronak Husni & Daniel L. Newman - This is a bilingual reader, so if I ever thought I could learn Arabic (I don't think I can, I've had a hard enough time with German and most of those letters were already familiar to me), it could come in handy for that. But otherwise, it still has the stories in English so I can read them anyway. 
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst - This book is set in Europe during WWII, so it was an automatic grab for me...Apparently there are 11 more books in the series that I may or may not need to get at some point. 
Tales to Inspire by the Bathroom Readers' Institute - This is from the Uncle John's Bathroom Readers series. At the rate I'm going, my bathroom will have it's own library. 
Plunges Into Hollywood by the Bathroom Readers' Institute - This book is also from the Uncle John's Bathroom Readers series. I was definitely a bit interested in it because I was in the middle of proofreading a book set in Hollywood when I saw this at the thrift store. 

So far this has cost me $7 because the two cookbooks were so expensive (not really that expensive, but when I got a bag of books for fifty cents, $3 for a single books sure seems like a lot). This is another two visit week for me, so I'll have more books to add later. 

And I'm back for round two of books for this week. The books below this line only cost me $3. SaveSave

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - My copy of this seems old, like it's got that sitting-on-a-library-shelf-forever smell to it. The only copyright date I can find for it inside says 1925. 
Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie - I know that Rushdie is one of those authors that you're just supposed to read. I own a few of his books already, even though I have yet to read any of them. 
The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe - I sometimes like to read political books, so I tend to buy them when I find them, from both sides of the aisle. This one just happens to be about President Obama's 2008 campaign.
Witch Season: Summer and Fall by Jeff Mariotte - The cover of this book made me think of Wicked, which I picked up last week, so even though I realized they were by different authors, I figured this was worth a go. 
Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa - This seems like a good read for a diversity challenge, at the very least. 
Settle for More by Megyn Kelly - My copy of this book happens to be a naked hardcover copy (so the dust jacket is missing) which means I don't have to see Megyn's face when I look at it. Which is a good thing in my opinion because even though she's separated from Fox, and I'm truly interested in reading her side of that story, I'd rather do it without the visual reminder that she fit in with the Blonde Brigade at Fox so well. 
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - I feel like I bought this before, but I also think I maybe just saw it on the shelf and thought about buying it before (because that happens sometimes). 
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray - I bought the second book in this series last week at the thrift store, so finding this, the first book, this week was a nice surprise. 
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo - This is another diversity purchase that I will probably be reading sooner rather than later. 
Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix - I have a few of the books in the The Keys to the Kingdom series, but I can never remember which ones. If I ever found all of them at the thrift store at once, I'd buy them all just to be on the safe side, and return the duplicates. 
Oracles of the Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie - This is a middle grade book, but I think it looks really interesting and will likely read it myself at some point. 
The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds by Rodman Philbrick - This is a fictionalized (I believe) version of the tale of the Donner Party told in journal format from a kid for kids. I have several of these types of books featuring girls, this is the first featuring a boy. 
The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein - No library is complete without some Silverstein in it, and I've somehow misplaced the books I already owned. It happened during our last move, and I hope they're just in a random box in the garage, because they weren't with all the other books at the last house. 
Reading Street, Grade 4 - As a homeschooling parent, I have to buy reading books every year for my kids (just my son really, because I just keep the books for my daughter). I wasn't sure exactly what grade this book was for when I picked it up because it doesn't seem to say it anywhere but figured I could take a chance. It's a year ahead of where we are right now, but oh well. It could come in pretty handy next year. ($2)
The Underground by K.A. Applegate - This is from the Animorphs series, which my son has shown a bit of an interest in based on the covers at least. 
The Familiar by K.A. Applegate - Another Animorphs book. 
The Unexpected by K.A. Applegate - Another Animorphs book. This one isn't available on Kindle yet, but you can pre-order. 
The Journey by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs.
The Hidden by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs, and apparently a lot of these books later in the series aren't yet available on Kindle, but soon. 
The Stranger by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs. 
The Visitor by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs. 
The Secret by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs.
The Arrival by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs.
The Revelation by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs.
The Resistance by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs.
The Sacrifice by K.A. Applegate - Animorphs. Someone was clearly destashing Animorphs books probably for an upcoming move. Their loss is my gain. 

So that's all the books that I picked up this past week. In total I spent $10 for this haul, and that's largely because of the two cookbooks and the reading book for school. Without those three books, this entire haul would have run me only $2.50. I'm so going to miss my thrift store when we move back stateside. 

What books did you pick up this week? - Katie 

*If you are stopping by from the Stacking the Shelves link-up, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can be sure to check out your list too.*

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

*Review* Crazy for a Geek Girl by Nicolette Dane


Genre: LGBT Romance
Published: January 16, 2016
Pages: 128

Synopsis

There was something quite endearing to me about her geekiness. It was a world I had no experience with, outside my purview, and something that, admittedly, excited me greatly. I wanted to know more about her.

A stressful job in finance and investing has made it impossible for Netty to have any semblance of a functional love life. The long hours are taking their toll and as a huge new project falls in her lap, Netty is just about at her wit’s end. Late one Friday night at work, however, life brightens when a knock on her office door unveils adorably geeky Henrietta, her company’s computer consultant.

Henry — computer geek, gamer, sweetheart — takes Netty on a ride that makes her question her notions of life and love, work and play, and acceptance of herself and others. Always the pretty popular girl, Netty finds herself irrevocably changing as she gets intimate with nerdy Henry, prompting her to wonder whether the path she’s been on has actually been the right one for her.

Will Netty be able to shrug off the negativity around her relationship at work, navigate the conflict of interest in getting involved with her company’s consultant, and finally start living true to herself? Or will this lesbian love affair end like all the rest?

Review

I found a few of this author stories for free on Amazon and got them. It's been so long since I'd read a legit romance, and lesbian romances are my favorite. Anyway, I read another of her stories last week, so I decided to try out this one next. I felt especially compelled to read this one because I am absolutely a geek girl. Also, I love nerdy romances. Anyway, so the main character's pretty high up in the finance company that she works for and she has a thing for a younger woman that works in IT. I just want to note that I get the attraction. My husband is both a geek and also works in the IT department for a finance company. So I understand Netty's interest in Henry pretty well, actually. Okay, so there's some drama going on in here. First of all, Netty is a recovering alcoholic. It's mentioned a bit, but it doesn't really get into any depth on that subject. Then there's the conflict of Netty trying to figure out how to balance her relationship with Henry without compromising her job. Going back to Henry being a nerd... She's a gamer, and plays a MMORPG regularly. That was all good and what not. Until she claimed being intimate with Netty was better than a raid. Blasphemy! But seriously, I did appreciate how Netty was accepting of Henry and didn't try to change her gaming habits. For the most part, I really enjoyed the story. Even though there are some repetitious parts and some of issues brought up without any real resolution. But I really like the relationship between Netty and Henry. 3.5 Platypires - Joood - Hooligan

Buy the Book


About the Author

Nicolette Dane landed in Chicago after studying writing in New York City. Flitting in and out of various jobs without finding her place, Nico decided to choose herself and commit to writing full-time. Her stories are contemporary scenarios of blossoming lesbian romance and voyeuristic tales meant to give you a peep show into the lives of sensual and complicated women. If you're a fan of uplifting and steamy lesbian passion, you've found your new favorite author.

Sign up for Nico's mailing list today to get FREE exclusive stories not available anywhere else. Point your browser to: https://readni.co/

https://www.nicolettedane.com
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*Top Ten Tuesday* Book Recommendations for WWII Fiction Fans


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is book recommendations for WWII era fiction fans. I have always had a morbid fascination with the Holocaust so I have read loads of books about the Jewish ghettos and the concentration camps. But I have somewhat recently branched out to start reading just about any book set in Europe during WWII that I can get my hands on. If you are a fan of WWII era historical fiction, you have likely already read a few of these yourself. These books are in no particular order.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. My book club read this and it's one of the few books I actually almost finished before our meeting. This tale is set in Saint-Malo, a walled citadel in France, and also in Germany. We get to hear the story from a few different points of view, and I believe this is the first book I read where I actually sympathized with a Nazi soldier to some degree (and he kind of earned the sympathy with his actions).

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor. I only just recently finished reading this book. It's told from two points of view in two different time periods, the 1930s and early 40s and then in 1989-90, right around the time the Berlin Wall came down. It focuses on members of the resistance in Austria in the build up to WWII, when Hitler was just starting to round up Europe's Jewish citizens, and then a woman with a strange stamp/letter that was never in circulation, but it's darn close to one that was. The mystery of the story is just how did the stamp come about, and what happened to the engraver responsible for it, but there is also a bit of romance to the tale.

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman. This story is told from two different points of view in two different time periods. It follows a woman and her biological grandmother in the time leading up to WWI and the time leading up to WWII. I found the grandmother's story to be more entertaining on the surface, but the woman's life caused me more anxiety because she was half-Jewish, and even though she was raised Catholic (I think), we all know that wouldn't have mattered to the Nazis. I thought this was a unique perspective on the two great wars.

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford. This book is set about fifteen years before the beginning of WWII, but there is a conspiracy involved in the story that relates directly to the rise of the Nazi party, so I really feel like it's connected. Set in England, Radio Girls chronicles the early days of the BBC and had a bit of an Agent Carter feeling to it to me. There were times where the story dragged on, but ultimately I found it fascinating.

The Girl From the Paradise Ballroom by Alison Love. This book doesn't discuss WWII much, but rather frames it. We see London in the time leading up to WWII, and then immediately afterwards, with just a brief mention of the war itself. What intrigued me most about this story is that it follows Italians in London, some of them fascists, and the way they were treated in the time leading up to the war. I saw a lot of parallels to the current treatment of Muslims and refugees in America, reminding me that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I think this is the only WWII era historical fiction that I've read recently with a concentration camp setting. The story rotates through three points of view and is told a bit like a soap opera, where once things start to get a little exciting for one of our characters, we switch to someone else's POV, which kept me glued to the book wanting to know what was going to happen. This book provided a diverse experience of WWII and camp life, even if I had difficult relating to one of the characters.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This was another book club pick that I had almost finished before our monthly meeting. This is another dual point of view tale, following two sisters in France during the war. The two sisters lead very different lives, each with their own priorities. This story made it a bit easier to understand why there was not as much resistance to occupation from every day citizens as I would have thought there'd be. If I had to recommend just one book from this list for everyone to read, it would probably be this one.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. This book gets an honorable mention on this list because I haven't finished reading it yet, but what I have read, I've loved so far. (And to be quite honest, I needed another book for the aesthetics of this post.)

So my list only has eight books on it, not ten (for once I didn't go overboard!) but these are the books I've read recently enough that their plots are still stuck with me. And looking at my list, with the exception of The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom, all of these books feature strong or brave female characters as at least one of the main points of view for the story.

Do you have any books you would add to my list? I'm always looking for recommendations of good WWII era historical fiction books to read. - Katie 

Monday, August 14, 2017

#MadLibMonday - The Journey by S.L. Dearing

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Adjective
2: Noun
3: Month
4: Verb, past tense
5: Noun
6: Verb ending in ing
7: Verb
8: Adjective
9: Color
10: Plural noun


Genre: Dystopian
Published: June 26, 2014
Pages: 190

The Journey has a new cover and new name - It was previously, From the Gathering to the Bridging - Please do not purchase again. Thank you

After the battle at the Black Castle, the survivors have returned home and peace has once again settled on the village of Lia Fail, but the adventure is only just beginning.

The Journey, From The Gathering to The Bridging, Book 1.5 of the Lia Fail Chronicles is a collection of short covering the gap of almost two years from the end of The Gathering and taking the reader into the next novel, The Bridging. A Wish, A Touch, A Kiss, A Birthday and A Storm contain vital information in the continuation of The Lia Fail Chronicles.

A Wish ~ It has been just over a year since the Gathering was last hosted at Lia Fail and peace has once again returned to the (   1: Adjective   ) village, but the scars of the past are affecting everyone in the Stark family. It’s the Christmas/Yule season and Alia Stark is desperate to bring joy back into her (   2: Noun   ). So as she watches the stars flickering in the velvet night sky, she sees several shoot across the void and it’s then she makes… A Wish.

A Touch ~ It is (   3: Month   ) in Lia Fail. The chilly winter air is making ready for spring, and more changes are in store for the Stark family, when a wagon train from Old Idaho arrives. As a relationship dissolves, one is born, and another is rediscovered. The magic of the new world is making itself more prevalent in the form of the tiny pixies, while the untapped powers of those who have (   4: Verb, past tense   ) the goddess are beginning to surface. Darkness once again walks the edge of the tiny village and it all begins with… A Touch.

A Kiss ~ Winter has given way to Spring in the hamlet of Lia Fail, and with the season comes rebirth and new (   5: Noun   ). We continue to learn more about the Fahey and Mercer families as well as how the magic of the New World is growing. In addition, Molly Creegan has always been a dedicated soldier, but now new feelings are (   6: Verb ending in ing   ) inside her. Her courage on the field of battle has never been in question, but is she brave enough to offer up her heart with… A Kiss. 

A Birthday ~ The Stark family comes together to (   7: Verb   ) someone who has become very important and special to each one of them for different reasons. The (   8: Adjective   ) occasion brings hope and closure for many members of the family in… The Birthday.

A Storm ~ Summer in Lia Fail is normally hot and dry, but there is something amiss. When the (   9: Color   ) clouds of a typical June gloom day grow darker and darker and the winds pick up speed, Alia and her people must figure out where the tempest is coming from and what it means. With the help of the (   10: Plural noun   ), as well as the people of Lia Fail, will their strength and love be enough to protect them all from the power of… The Storm.

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for The Journey by S.L. Dearing.

The Journey has a new cover and new name - It was previously, From the Gathering to the Bridging - Please do not purchase again. Thank you

After the battle at the Black Castle, the survivors have returned home and peace has once again settled on the village of Lia Fail, but the adventure is only just beginning.

The Journey, From The Gathering to The Bridging, Book 1.5 of the Lia Fail Chronicles is a collection of short covering the gap of almost two years from the end of The Gathering and taking the reader into the next novel, The Bridging. A Wish, A Touch, A Kiss, A Birthday and A Storm contain vital information in the continuation of The Lia Fail Chronicles.

A Wish ~ It has been just over a year since the Gathering was last hosted at Lia Fail and peace has once again returned to the little village, but the scars of the past are affecting everyone in the Stark family. It’s the Christmas/Yule season and Alia Stark is desperate to bring joy back into her house. So as she watches the stars flickering in the velvet night sky, she sees several shoot across the void and it’s then she makes… A Wish.

A Touch ~ It is February in Lia Fail. The chilly winter air is making ready for spring, and more changes are in store for the Stark family, when a wagon train from Old Idaho arrives. As a relationship dissolves, one is born, and another is rediscovered. The magic of the new world is making itself more prevalent in the form of the tiny pixies, while the untapped powers of those who have invoked the goddess are beginning to surface. Darkness once again walks the edge of the tiny village and it all begins with… A Touch.

A Kiss ~ Winter has given way to Spring in the hamlet of Lia Fail, and with the season comes rebirth and new love. We continue to learn more about the Fahey and Mercer families as well as how the magic of the New World is growing. In addition, Molly Creegan has always been a dedicated soldier, but now new feelings are awakening inside her. Her courage on the field of battle has never been in question, but is she brave enough to offer up her heart with… A Kiss. 

A Birthday ~ The Stark family comes together to celebrate someone who has become very important and special to each one of them for different reasons. The joyous occasion brings hope and closure for many members of the family in… The Birthday.

A Storm ~ Summer in Lia Fail is normally hot and dry, but there is something amiss. When the grey clouds of a typical June gloom day grow darker and darker and the winds pick up speed, Alia and her people must figure out where the tempest is coming from and what it means. With the help of the unicorns, as well as the people of Lia Fail, will their strength and love be enough to protect them all from the power of… The Storm.

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment with your list (if you dare) so that the rest of us can get a chuckle out of it as well. And be sure to share it with your friends. - Katie 
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#MadLibMonday - Forever Mine by Mary B. Moore

When I was growing up, I loved Mad Libs. The excitement of sort of writing your own story really appealed to me. So I thought it would be fun to mesh that love with my love of books by turning blurbs into mad libs and letting you guys write your own book blurbs. 

For anyone that doesn't know how Mad Libs work, I will ask you for certain parts of speech or other specific things (i.e.: date, age, color, etc.) which you will write down. After you have completed your list, scroll down below the cover image to find the redacted blurb. Then read through it substituting your words where applicable. Try not to laugh. (Laughing is actually strongly encouraged, because this is supposed to be funny.)

Some brief definitions of the parts of speech.
Noun: Person, place, or thing.
Verb: Describes or indicates action.
Adverb: Modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb expressing manner, place, time, or degree (gently, here, now, very).
Adjective: Names an attribute of a noun (pretty, blue, large)
Pronoun: A word that can function as a noun (I, we, they)
Preposition: a word that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun (on, after, for)

And with that, here we go.

1: Noun
2: Verb ending in ing
3: Noun
4: Plural noun
5: Verb
6: Verb ending in s
7: Noun
8: Plural noun
9: Plural noun
10: Verb


Genre: Romance
Published: April 1, 2016
Pages: 300

After moving to Piersville to set up her interior design (   1: Noun   ), Maya meets Ren Townsend. 

Ren never expected Maya or the impact that he’d feel from (   2: Verb ending in ing   ) her. Maya never expected to meet a (   3: Noun   ) like Ren. Really when it came down to it, they shouldn’t fit so well together, because how does a playboy become an advocate for (   4: Plural noun   )

Someone has a grudge against Maya's family and is determined to (   5: Verb   ) their business regardless of who gets hurt, and Ren's past refuses to go away. As if that's not enough, someone (   6: Verb ending in s   ) that the Townsends deserve pay back too...and loss of life is an added (   7: Noun   ). Accidents happen, mistakes are made, (   8: Plural noun   ) are broken, but Ren's determination to have a happy ever after with Maya stays strong.

Meet the Townsends, Prices and Montgomerys of Piersville and their (   9: Plural noun   ) in book one of the Providence Series. Who will get hurt next, who will (   10: Verb   ) their happy ever after, and who and why are they doing this?

Now that your fun is through, here is the real blurb for Forever Mine by Mary B. Moore.

After moving to Piersville to set up her interior design business, Maya meets Ren Townsend. 

Ren never expected Maya or the impact that he’d feel from meeting her. Maya never expected to meet a man like Ren. Really when it came down to it, they shouldn’t fit so well together, because how does a playboy become an advocate for relationships? 

Someone has a grudge against Maya's family and is determined to sabotage their business regardless of who gets hurt, and Ren's past refuses to go away. As if that's not enough, someone decides that the Townsends deserve pay back too...and loss of life is an added bonus. Accidents happen, mistakes are made, hearts are broken, but Ren's determination to have a happy ever after with Maya stays strong.

Meet the Townsends, Prices and Montgomerys of Piersville and their friends in book one of the Providence Series. Who will get hurt next, who will find their happy ever after, and who and why are they doing this?

If you enjoyed this mad lib, please comment below with your list so the rest of us can get a chuckle out of it as well. Also be sure to share it with your friends. - Katie 
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