Monday, March 27, 2017

A fun fantasy...

Title & Author:  Nightlife by Rob Thurman
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Setting:  New York City
First lines:  Most kids don't believe in fairy tales very long. Once they hit six or seven they put away "Cinderella" and her shoe fetish, "The Three Little Pigs" with their violation of building codes, "Miss Muffet" and her well-shaped tuffet--all forgotten or discounted. And maybe that's the way it has to be. To survive in the world, you have to give up the fantasies, the make-believe. The only trouble is that it's not all make-believe. Some parts of the fairy tales are all too real, all too true. There might not be a Red Riding Hood, but there is a Big Bad Wolf. No Snow White, but definitely an Evil Queen. No obnoxiously cute blond tots, but a child-eating witch...yeah. Oh yeah.  There are monsters among us. There always have been and there always will be. I've known that ever since I can remember, just like I've always know I was one. Well, half of one anyway.

My thoughts:  Meet Caliban Leandros and his older, very protective, half-brother, Niko. For years they've stayed one step ahead of Cal's monstrous father and the other supernatural beings like him. But now the Grendels have caught up with Cal, setting a trap for him that he might not be able to escape. And suddenly the fate of the human world depends on whether or not Niko can win the fight of Cal's life.

Talk about a roller coaster ride of magic and mayhem! This book is a lot of fun. Mostly because of the relationship between Cal and his brother, Niko, and also because of Cal's smart-ass attitude. They're quite a pair; they reminded me a little of Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural. But they're not all Nightlife has to offer. There's also a seventeen-year-old psychic, a puckish fellow named Robin, and a grundle of Grendels. Thurman's created a memorable cast of characters in this very entertaining and fast-paced fantasy. I can't wait to check out the sequel.

Happy Reading!

Similar books:
    Charming by Elliott James
    Something From the Nightside by Simon R. Green
    Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Friday, March 24, 2017

A bookish update...

Just finished reading:

(I loved this book! Set in Salem, Massachusetts, this mystery dealing with witches and three murders in the more recent past is every bit as good as Barry's The Lace Reader.)

Just checked out of the library:
The Girl Without a Name by Sandra Block
Moonshine by Rob Thurman
Indiscretion by Jude Morgan
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
Where Angels Rest by Kate Brady

Love this quote:
"It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents."

Love this bookish tee:

And also this one:

Am looking forward to:  
My upcoming spring break and being able to spend a few days
 in Arches National Park with my sisters. Gotta love those red rocks, blue sky and sunshine!

Up next:

Happy Reading!

P.S. You can find the above tees at this website along with several other fun bookish gift ideas.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Language of Sand

"We was a term she hadn't uttered in a while. For Abigail, there was no more we. To her, we meant her family, her husband and son. Her main frame of reference was as we:  We bought a new house. We're having a baby. We're going out to eat. Now all that remained was I. It was the second of only two one-letter words in the entire dictionary, the first being A. Each was defiantly singular. The language would be nothing without them. Abigail felt she was nothing without we. She missed we." 

When life as she knows it ends one night in heartbreaking tragedy, Abigail Harker seeks refuge at the lighthouse on Chapel Isle, a secluded island in North Carolina's Outer Banks. It was where her husband loved to go as a boy. Where she hopes to be able to grieve in peace. But the caretaker's cottage isn't exactly the haven she thought it would be:  it's isolated and rundown, very rundown, and it's also apparently haunted by Wesley Jasper, the former lighthouse keeper who experienced his own tragedy in 1902. And while many of the islanders are friendly and welcoming, some are not. And the words that Abby once loved as a lexicographer seem to have failed her. For there are no words to deal with her loss. Still, she's doing her best to keep moving forward. But then there's a rash of robberies on the island. And an approaching hurricane. And Abby begins to think coming to Chapel Isle might not have been such a good idea after all.
"Whether you stay here in Chapel Isle or take the next ferry home, it won't make a bit of difference. It's like trying to serve two masters. You've got the grief and you've got your life. The one you choose to serve is up to you."
 I loved this book:  the lyrical writing, the exploration of words and language, the quirky cast of island characters, and Abby's own reinvention of her life. Ellen Block is an amazing writer, and The Language of Sand is a magical story full of hope and heart. There's nothing I would change about it. Best of all, there's a sequel:  The Definition of Wind. 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bookish Art for March...

Lovis Corinth -- Girl Reading, 1888
I love books. I love that moment when you open one and sink into it;
you can escape from the world into a story that's way more 
interesting than yours will ever be.
--Elizabeth Scott

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A bookish confession...

I love disaster/survival books, both fiction and non-fiction. Reading about how ordinary people manage to survive in impossible situations from plane crashes to blizzards to massive power outtages has always fascinated me. Each story makes me wonder if I'd be able to survive something similar, and how I would go about doing it. So when I saw Jim Cobb's book Prepper's Survival Hacks:  50 DIY Projects for Lifesaving Gear, Gadgets and Kits at the library, I couldn't resist checking it out. And it's awesome!

Did you know a child's crayon can be used as a candle? Or that with a little Vaseline and some cotton balls you can make your own firestarters? Or did you know you can build a buddy burner out of some corrugated cardboard, melted wax and an empty tuna fish can? There are SO many cool DIY projects in this book; I want to try them all! I've been working on my own personal Bug Out Bag all week (which is just your basic 72-hour emergency kit packed in a backpack), and I think this weekend I might  try turning an empty Altoids tin into a candle. Or maybe my own small survival kit. So if you're secretly a prepper at heart like me, give this little book a read.

"Fair warning, though:  Not only can this stuff be fun, 
it can be downright addicting."

Happy Prepping!

Some of my favorite survival stories:
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
One Second After by William Forstchen
Stranded by Melinda Braun
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Trapped by Michael Northrup
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mist of Midnight

"All the while, someone here in England had also
claimed to be Rebecca Ravenshaw."

I love a good Gothic mystery,  especially when it has a touch of romance in it.  The plot of this one revolves around Rebecca Ravenshaw, a daughter of missionaries who was raised in India. Newly orphaned, she's just returned to her family's estate in England only to discover that there was another young woman claiming to be Rebecca Ravenshaw who arrived there before her. A young woman who subsequently died at Headbourne House and was hastily buried at midnight. Now everyone at Headbourne suspects that the real Rebecca is an imposter. And there's no one to verify her claim. Only a distant relative, Captain Luke Whitfield, who's handsome and charming, but not necessarily trustworthy; after all, he stands to inherit her estate if she can't prove she is the real Rebecca Ravenshaw. And if she does, will her fate be the same as the imposter's?

My thoughts:  I had a lot of sympathy for Rebecca's plight. Aside from Mrs. Ross, Rebecca's elderly chaperone (and Rebecca herself, of course), I didn't feel like I could trust any of the other characters in this book. Not even Capt. Whitfield. Which definitely added to the tension surrounding Rebecca's situation. I especially didn't like her French maid. And no one in the household ever seemed willing to tell her the whole truth about the imposter and what happened to her. Rebecca herself had a lot of pluck; I liked that she never lost her head even while she was losing her heart.  My only complaint is that this story didn't read as fast as I think a Gothic mystery should; in fact, there were times that it dragged a bit, but maybe that's just because I was so impatient for everything to be resolved one way or another. Towards the end, this book felt more like a Gothic romance than a suspenseful Gothic mystery, but overall, I ended up really enjoying Sandra Byrd's Mist of Midnight. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bookish Gold...

Looking for some bookish gold? 
Try one (or more!) of these eight "gilded" reads:

1. The Gilded Lily by Helen Argers
(Think Edith Wharton but with a happier ending!)

2. A Gilded Grave by Shelley Freydont
(This is a very fun mystery set among the moneyed elite of Newport, Rhode Island.)

3. The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray
(Set in 1871, this YA gothic revolves around two American siblings 
and the grand estate they unexpectedly inherit in England.)

4.  The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
(Anita Hemmings must pass as white in order to attend Vassar College
in this well-researched historical fiction novel.)

5.  The Gilded Shroud by Elizabeth Bailey
(This is the first book in Bailey's 'Lady Fan' mystery series.)

6.  In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen
(Spunky Molly Murphy is back to solve another mystery.)

7.  Gilded by Christina Farley
(This YA fantasy is set in modern-day South Korea and has 
an engaging heroine named Jae Hwa Lee.)

8.  The Gilded Age by Mark Twain
(No one makes fun of America and Americans like Twain!)

Happy Reading!