Sunday, September 21, 2014

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Title: HorrorStör
Author: Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Quirk Books
Expected publication: September 23rd 2014
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN13: 9781594745263

 My Review: 

HorrorStör is a seriously fun book. It's a quick read with a very unique visual style. Obviously it's supposed to look (on the outside) like an IKEA catalog and is littered on the inside with descriptions and pictures of furniture. I really loved the concept of this story. The plot sounded so very interesting.

The book was fun. The story was creepy at times and interesting, but there were a few issues from the start. I did like the characters, but I didn't really feel like they were given as much development time as I'd like. When the shizz hits the fan, I was kind of hard pressed to care about anyone besides Amy and Basil. I sorta kind of cared about Ruth Anne, but that was just because she was like that sweet crazy Aunt in everyone's family. Character development was really sorely lacking in this book.

The other big thing was the set up. It took waaaay too long for things to get started. I understand that setting up the plot is super important. I get that totally, but it really took too much time to build tension. By the middle of the book the really creepy bits were being thrown at us out of seemingly  nowhere. I really though that Josiah was pretty darn terrifyingly insane, and definitely was a good bad guy, but I think he could have been used a lot more than the penitents to creep things up. I felt like he was pretty underused.

I did have fun with this one though, I really did. It was creepy fun. It really reminded me of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, which is a book that I think did the whole "shifting and changing house/store to mess with your brain and drive you crazy" schtick, so very well. Whereas, HoLs was a bit too long in my opinion,  HorrorStör seemed too short. I think it would have been so much better with maybe another 50+ pages. (Although it probably would have been too thick to fit with the catalog theme?)

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog Tour: Meet Me In Barcelona by Mary Carter

Title: Meet Me in Barcelona
Author: Mary Carter
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 352
Genre: Mainstream fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle/MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audo, Unabridged

Purchase at AMAZON

A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer's current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.

Carrie Ann wasn't just Grace's foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend—until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she's kept from Jake—and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.

Mary Carter's intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try—and often fail—to truly know the ones we love.

Book Excerpt:
Carrie Ann. The words felt like two gunshots to the chest. Just hearing that name come out of her mother’s mouth made Grace’s heart start tripping. She almost shot out of her chair. “I’m Grace,” she said. “Gracie Ann.” Her voice cracked. “Dad?” she said. “She’s confused, honey. The past and the present, it’s just one big, ugly glob.” Pinpricks of shame began forming at the base of Grace’s spine. “I’m not confused,” Jody said. “Carrie Ann came to visit me.” “My God,” Grace said. This time she did shoot out of her chair. Carrie Ann was the only girl foster child the Sawyers had ever taken in. At first she had been like a sister to Grace. “Who is she married to now?” Jody said. “I can’t remember.” “Pay no attention to her, Gracie,” Jim said. “Why can’t I remember?” Jody pressed on her temples with her index fingers, as if she could squeeze the memory out of her head. Grace took a step toward her mother. “When did she come and visit you, Mom?” “Grace, I told you she didn’t,” Jim said. “Don’t egg your mother on.” “I’m not egging her on, Dad, but if Carrie Ann was here, I want to know about it.” Her father whacked his newspaper on the side of his chair. “I told you she wasn’t! And I should know. I’ve been sitting right here!” “She’s still such a pretty girl,” Jody said. “She asked about you, Grace. She asked me all sorts of questions about you.” Jim got up and threw up his arms. “She’s out of her mind!” He began to pace. “Dad,” Grace said. “Hush.” Her mother suddenly became very still, which meant she was listening. Grace took her father by his arm and led him back to his chair. “I’m sorry. She won’t remember me saying it.” “That’s not the point.” “I can’t help it. Carrie Ann this - Carrie Ann that. I thought we’d put that nuisance behind us for once and for all. Is this what it comes to? Reliving your worst nightmare?” “I’ve never heard you speak so harshly about Carrie Ann,” Grace said. Her mom was the one who used to say the worst things about Carrie Ann. She said Carrie Ann was evil. She said Carrie Ann was a curse that would follow all of them to their graves. Once she even said there wasn’t enough Lysol in the world to get rid of that stain. And each insult cut into Grace like her mother was saying it about her. Her sister. Of sorts. Her own Dickens-like drama. Carrie Ann was the best thing that had ever happened to Grace, and she was the worst. She’d been out of their lives for nearly fifteen years. And Grace had spent every one of them trying, and failing, to put the past behind her. She turned to her father. “Why didn’t you tell me?” “Tell you what?” “That Mom's been talking about her.” “Because I don’t want to dredge up all that nonsense. It’s her damn medication. I keep telling the doctor it’s making her worse, and he won’t listen to me.” Her father slammed his fist on the arm of the chair. “These people think just because we’re old that we’re stupid. She wouldn’t be so forgetful if she cut down on some of those pills. How do I know that? Because she’s my wife. Because I’ve been married to this woman for forty-four years. You know what he said to me?” “Who?” “That snot-nosed doctor, that’s who!” “What did he say?” “Put me in my place. In front of my wife. ‘You’re a psychotherapist, correct? Not a psychiatrist? You don’t prescribe medication?’ That’s what the snot-nosed so-called doctor actually said to me. Can you believe that? Some twenty-year-old who just started wiping his own ass. I’m telling you she’s on too many pills! Makes her soupy. He won’t listen to me!” “It’s okay, Dad. Calm down. It’s okay.” “I can’t bear hearing her talk about Carrie Ann. Your mother's the one who told us never to mention Carrie Anne's name again." Forbid us. Forbid us to ever mention her name again. “I know, Dad. I’ll talk to the doctor. Calm down.” “I always wanted to go to Spain,” Jody said. She turned off the television and patted the side of the bed. So she’d heard and understood the conversation. God, the brain was a mysterious thing. Grace went over and sat down. “You never told me that.” “I would hardly share that with a stranger.” I’m your daughter! She wanted to shout. But her mother couldn’t help it. “Just keep talking,” her father said. “At least she’s not dredging up ghosts, or drooling over naked stud muffins.” And now Grace couldn't believe her father had just said “naked stud muffins.” Maybe getting away for a bit wasn’t such a bad idea. Grace turned back to her mother. “Why did you always want to go to Spain?” “My mother went to Spain. All by herself. When she was in her seventies.” “I know,” Grace said. It had been just after Grace’s grandfather had died. Her grandparents were supposed to take the trip together. Everyone thought Annette Jennings would cancel the trip. Instead, she buried her husband and packed her bags. Little Annette who had never been outside of her home state. Grace had had many conversations with her grandmother about that trip. She was proud of her too. “It was really something,” Jim said. “Because in those days seventy wasn’t the new fifty or whatever the kids say today. Seventy was seventy.” “Tell me about it,” Grace said. Jody Sawyer straightened up, and her eyes seemed to take in more light. “Well, it’s not like it is now. Women didn’t travel alone back then. Wasn’t that brave? My mother sent me a postcard from Madrid of a beautiful tango dancer in a red dress. The dress was made of actual material—beautiful red silk right on the postcard. I’ll never forget it. She’d only written one sentence on the back. ‘Robert would’ve loved the landing.’ My father was very picking with landings and always impressed when the pilot pulled off a smooth one. Anyway. As soon as I got that postcard I knew my mother was going to be all right. ‘Robert would have loved the landing.’ After she died I spent hours just touching that silky red dress with the tips of my fingers and imagining my mother dancing in the streets of Spain.” Jody Sawyer looked up and swayed her upper body slightly as if watching her faraway self dance. Then she looked down at her hands, twisting the bed sheet. “Look how ugly and wrinkled I am now.” “You’re not ugly and wrinkled, Mom. You’re beautiful.” “I wish I had that postcard now.” Her mother looked up into space. “I lost it.” Grace hesitated. Did she, or didn’t she? Grace opened the bedside drawer and took out the postcard. Her mother was right. The dress was silky. Grace handed it to her mother and watched her eyes light up. Next her mother gently outlined the edge of the dancer’s dress with the trembling tip of her right index finger. Her fingernail was misshapen, the peach paint flaking. Grace would have to see if they could bring in a manicurist. Jody looked at Grace, her eyes clear and bright. “Gracie Ann you have to go. Film everything. I’m dying to see Barcelona through you.” Grace must have looked stricken, for her mother laughed and then put her hand over her heart. “Sorry, no pun intended.” Like antennas being manipulated for a clearer signal, sometimes her mother tuned in perfectly. Jody Sawyer laughed again, and Grace couldn’t help but laugh with her. “Mom.” “Make me feel like I’m there,” Jody said, closing her eyes. “Help me shut out this hospice. Let me see beautiful Barcelona.” She took Grace’s hand and held it. “Do it for me. I’ll feel like I’m with you. Bring a camera. And your guitar,” she added. “You never know.” When Grace still didn’t answer, her mother opened her eyes, and lifted Grace’s chin up with her hand like she used to do when Grace was a child. “Be brave, Gracie Ann. Just like my mother.” “Like my mother too,” Grace whispered back.

My Review:

This was a very nice surprise! I did not expect this book to be so .. grabey (I couldn't think of another word!) ! I felt pulled in almost instantly, and didn't want to put the novel down for one second! The story flows pretty swiftly and doesn't lag.

I enjoyed the mix of genres in this one. There's family drama, mystery, a bit of a thriller edge to it as well. It certainly felt like a unique read. The characters were all really developed and unique too. I didn't feel like I quite knew what to expect by anyone! That element of surprise really got me and kept me hooked.

Meet Me in Barcelona is definitely a unique story and a fun read!


Mary Carter is giving away 3 books including My Sister's Voice, Three Months in Venice and Sunnyside Blues!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one set of three books by Mary Carter.
  • This giveaway begins August 4 and ends on October 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy #1

(from Goodreads)
Paperback, 350 pages
Published October 5th 2013 by Lowtide Books

When John Wilkes Booth shoots Lincoln with a bullet cursed by the notorious Chicken Man, a local voodoo practitioner, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events extending far into the future. Instead of killing Lincoln, the bullet puts the president into a coma for sixty-eight years, his body remaining limber and ageless. When he awakens in 1933, Abe Lincoln is a man out of time, a revered icon...and a political pariah. FDR and J. Edgar Hoover not only do not want him around, they want him to retire. But their plan to be rid of him backfires and Lincoln is on the run, a fugitive from justice.

Determined to reach Chicago and retrieve the small fortune left in trust for him by his long-dead son, Lincoln discovers that Hoover has confiscated all his money, leaving him destitute. With Bureau of Investigation agent Melvin Purvis in hot pursuit, Lincoln finds his way to a hobo camp where he befriends a young runaway, who agrees to accompany the former president back to Washington. There Lincoln hopes that Hannah Wheelhouse, the Chicken Man's granddaughter, can help him find the peace he longs for.

Then fate deals Lincoln another strange hand when he and the boy end up as hostages to infamous bank robber John Dillinger. Instead of leaving them by the side of the road after the robbery, Dillinger takes a liking to Lincoln and invites him to join the gang, promising him he'll get all his money back.

Will Lincoln survive long enough to recapture his fortune and get away, or will he be hunted down in a manner unbefitting a martyred President?

 My Review: 

This was quite a strange book, and I mean that in a very good way. I enjoyed it very much! I kind of went into this thinking it would be a certain kind of read and got something else entirely! I again, mean that in a good way. This plot could have turned out so very cheesy, but it did not. I really do enjoy how Anthony and Walker told a very usual, but thought provoking story. I started to wonder what other historical figures would react/think if removed from their time and brought into a different one. SO much geeky fun!

Okay, so back to the story. I thought it flowed very smoothly. I enjoyed the way the writers handled Abe and made him out to be a fleshed out character and not someone stuck in the pages of a history book. There are other historical figures woven through, and I thought that was just darn spiffy!

From start to finish, this was my face.

 I love the way this book was written! It should definitely be a movie! So to Mr. Anthony and Mr. Walker...stand up and take a bow! This is one heck of a book!

TLC Review: The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman

Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses
• Hardcover: 288 pages
• Publisher: Ecco (July 29, 2014)
The Tiger’s Wife meets A History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters.

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a magical figure named The White Rebbe, a miracle worker in league with the enigmatic Angel of Losses, protector of things gone astray, and guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

When his granddaughter, Marjorie, discovers Eli’s notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To find the truth about Eli’s origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from 18th century Europe to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, and back to the present, to New York City and her estranged sister Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli’s past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.
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Stephanie FeldmanAbout Stephanie Feldman

Stephanie Feldman is a graduate of Barnard College. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and her daughter.

My Review: 

Okay I'm going to say this straight out the gate, I know very very very little about Jewish folklore. I really loved the family dynamics, the history and the way the writer slide the folklore in. It was fun to read, got me in the feels a few times, and wasn't like anything I've read before.

I wouldn't say this was a "quick" read, but it is one that will make you wanna sit down for a few hours with it. That's what I did, and it didn't feel like that long either!

Were there flat notes for me? Yeah, there was one that got me. I don't know if it's because I read and ARC or what, but the switching of the viewpoints (between the notebook and present day) left me a bit confused a few times. This did snatch me back to reality here and there, but I was eager to get back into the story.

All in all I would say that this was a very solid read. I will definitely keep my eye out for more from Stephanie Feldman. If you are looking for a family drama/folklore-y kind of tale then this is one you should definitely check out!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

~Bad Blood by Nicky Peacock~ Evernight Teen

Bad Blood Cover 
 Bad Blood by Nicky Peacock – Out Now!


 “I am Britannia. I am your protector. I will fend off the hungry hordes of undead hands that reach toward you. I am your steadfast defender. I will stand between you and the zombie masses as they try to taste your flesh. I am strong, unyielding, and dedicated to your survival. All I ask from you… is your blood.”   

A five-hundred-year-old bloody game of vengeance will need to be put on hold if vampires are to survive the zombie uprising. Britannia and Nicholas, bitter enemies and the only two surviving vampires left in London, have to work together to save un-infected humans and deliver them safely to a vampire stronghold in the Scottish Highlands. Unable to drink the zombie ‘bad blood’, the remaining vampires need the humans to stay alive. But will the vampires tell the survivors who they are and what they want from them? Will Britannia be able to hold back her vengeance for the greater good? Is survivor Josh the reincarnation of Britannia’s murdered true love? And can she bring herself to deliver him to the ‘safe’ hold? Survival instincts run deep, but bad blood can run deeper.

Buy Links
 EverNight Teen

Nicki Peacock
 About the Author:
I guess I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yes, most would consider me a disturbed child, but my playmates couldn’t help themselves, they’d huddle around me every break time like an ancient tribe feeding off the fear; and that’s how I learned that horror stories hold a certain power, no matter what some might say, everyone is addicted to a good scare, especially if it is somewhat rooted safely in unrealistic beings… or are they unrealistic? Writing was really a natural progression. Right now I’m obsessed with writing: a YA Urban Fantasy novel, a Paranormal Romance novella series, and several short horror stories! So I’m currently living in a functional fiction coma – and loving it! I’ve so far been published in 5 countries: USA, UK, Australia, Ireland and Canada and had short stories included in 40 anthologies with over 17 publishers.


 We ran to the hospital. On the way, we encountered hardly anyone, alive or dead. Where were they all? When we arrived at the hospital car park, I understood. Zombies were pack animals. A massive crowd of them were crammed in and around the main building like they were waiting for a concert to start, all barely paying attention to their surroundings and seemingly swaying against the force of gravity. The other thing was the smell. When watching horror films filled with shuffling zombies, the horror came from their ghastly looks—the reminder that death has a tight grip on us all, well, most of us. But what the filmmakers should focus on—if they could—was the acidic rank odor zombies gave off. They had been dead barely twenty-four hours. It took a normal human body at least thirty-six hours to really start to smell, and that was with a vampire’s heightened senses. These guys smelled like they’d been out in the sun for three weeks covered in rubbish and besieged by wily maggots. They were mostly intact, though. Maybe this hospital had been Zombie Ground Zero. Most had turned so quickly their comrades hadn’t had time to feed.

 “Maybe we should try a less populated target.”
 Nicholas twitched his nose and turned away from me to dry retch.
“Maybe you should grow a pair.”
“Maybe you should act like a lady.”
He now had his hands on his hips, squaring up for yet another argument.
“Acting like a lady isn’t going to help now, is it? What do you want me to do? Drop my handkerchief in front of the zombies and watch them fight one another to scoop it up for me? Moron!”
“Always to the ‘nth degree with you, isn’t it?”
 “Shut up. Look, the doors are holding, and they’re outside, not inside, which means there must be some people left in there alive to have barricaded this place so tight.”
“Or maybe there are just more zombies in there.”
“Well, there’s definitely a blood bank in there, and that’ll help matters no end!”
Nicholas looked thoughtful then nodded. He of course didn’t want to actually say aloud that I’d had a good idea.
“So, how do we get past them?”
I assumed it was a rhetorical question, so I started down to the car park entrance, where most of the zombies were mobbing. I opened the outer door as quietly as possible.
“Ladies first,” Nicholas whispered in my ear.
“I thought we’d agreed I wasn’t a lady.”
And with that, I shoved him as hard as I could into the throbbing throng of zombies.

Published by Evernight Teen

  Bad Blood Banner

Monday, September 8, 2014

I couldn't help it..

This is funny as fark!

What Are You Reading?
So folks, this week is my week of catching up. I am behind on a few obligations and I want to get caught up. The tour coordinators and authors have been so very understanding to me in this hard time, that I want to do the right thing and take care of what I said I would.

So this week I am reading:

  • the Elemental Magic series by Brynna Curry (link to my promo post)
  • Abomination by Audra Middleton (promo post)
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore (graphic novel)
  • Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba (graphic novel) 
  • 1984 by George Orwell (library paperback copy) 
this will be me by the end of the week.