Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Broken Monsters: A Novel by Lauren Beukes

(Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

A criminal mastermind creates violent tableaus in abandoned Detroit warehouses in Lauren Beukes's new genre-bending novel of suspense.Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?

If you're Detective Versado's geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you're desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you're Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you'll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe--and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world.

If Lauren Beukes's internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

my thoughts:

Wow! What a terrific book! Lauren Beukes thrilled me, chilled me, and kept me spellbound with her latest book, Broken Monsters.  I found myself obsessed with this story and wouldn't put it down for anything - I took it with me everywhere (dinner, doctor appointments, gym, grocery shopping, etc.).  I was hooked!  I just had to find out if Detective Versado would capture the Detroit Monster - the sadistic killer terrorizing the streets of Detroit.  Plus, I wanted to know if she would ever figure out the dangerous cyber antics of her daughter, Layla.  There are just so many layers to this story that you can't help but be fascinated by Beukes' writing abilities and creative imagination - its amazing!

Broken Monsters is not only about a crazed killer, but also the city of Detroit, the homeless plight, mother-daughter relationships and miscommunication, school bullying, sexual assault, sexual predators, and so much more!  Beukes has a knack for exploring so many hot topics and tying them all together seamlessly in much larger and connected story line - I loved it!  Through rich and descriptive details I found myself transported to this urban city and taking in all the sights - from the abandoned, decayed industrial buildings to the famous art scene (specifically, The Heidelberg Project - you know that house with the stuffed animals tacked all over the outside of the house). I could see the bus stops, the crazy busy coffee shops, the thousands of residents milling about and rushing to and from work, along with the chilly wind whipping through the trees and grey sky.  Beukes really showcases the nitty gritty and beauty of an ever-growing city.  We also get an unforgettable cast of characters to follow along - some you can relate to and others will haunt you.  The writing is top notch and flows at a rapid pace that keeps you on your toes.  I absolutely loved it!  I would most definitely recommend Broken Monsters to fans of Lauren Beukes' works and fans of horror/crime thrillers - you will be so glad you read this book!

Another book down for R.I.P. IX - woo hoo! That makes five!  Must be the Halloween in the air. 

Thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Last Train To Babylon: A Novel by Charlee Fam

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Who put the word fun in funeral? I can’t think of anything fun about Rachel’s funeral, except for the fact that she won’t be there.
Aubrey Glass has a collection of potential suicide notes—just in case. And now, five years—and five notes—after Aubrey has left her hometown, Rachel’s the one who goes and kills herself. Aubrey can’t believe her luck.
But Rachel’s death doesn’t leave Aubrey in peace. There’s a voice mail from her former friend, left only days before her death, that she can’t bring herself to listen to—and worse, a macabre memorial-turned-high-school-reunion that promises the opportunity to catch up with everyone . . . including the man responsible for everything that went wrong between Aubrey and Rachel.
In the days leading up to the funeral and infamous after-party, Aubrey slips seamlessly between her past and present. Memories of friendship tangle with painful new encounters, while underneath it all Aubrey feels the rush of something closing in, something she can no longer run from. And when the past and present collide in one devastating night, nothing will be the same again.
But facing the future means confronting herself and a shattering truth. Now Aubrey must decide what will define her: what lies behind . . . or what waits ahead.

my thoughts:

What a well written and engaging debut novel! Last Train to Babylon is a dark and gritty read  filled with flashbacks.  These jumps from present to past help reveal some hard truths that can no longer be ignored by protagonist, Aubrey.  Its time for her to recognize that the decisions she's made have most definitely determined her future and stop ignoring the reality of certain situations.  I will admit that it is heartbreaking at times to read about how damaged these characters are, but its also refreshing how authentic and fully developed they seem to be.  I found myself easily caught up in all drama and intrigue - I enjoyed every minute of it.  Charlee Fam is an author whose work I will most definitely read in the future.  So, yes, I would recommend Last Train to Babylon to fans of women's fiction - you will love this book!

Here's the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Last Train To Babylon
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hello Kitty books!!

The holidays are coming up and you know what that means - shopping! Yep, its time to start crossing off names from your gift list.  And what makes a terrific gift - Hello Kitty books!  Say what?!  I'm serious!  Who doesn't love the stylish and chic little girl dubbed, Hello Kitty?  I know that I do.  Of course, I have a preference for Keroppi, but that's more to do with my love of frogs.  Anyhow, it was announced earlier this year that Hello Kitty was not a cat, but was a little girl who owned a cat.  How crazy is that?!  Talk about a revelation for fans of the popular toy - me included! 

Thanks to Quirk Books, we have two fantastic books to choose from:

about book:
No one does sweet like Hello Kitty! Filled with simple recipes, beautiful yet playful photography, and Hello Kitty’s signature charm, The Hello Kitty Baking Book is a cookbook that’s yummy through and through. From Hello Kitty Cake Pops to Chococat Cake and Pretty Bow Pumpkin Pie, there’s something for everyone to make and enjoy. Featuring over two dozen easy-to-follow recipes, The Hello Kitty Baking Book is the perfect cookbook for anyone who loves Hello Kitty, desserts, or both!

my thoughts:
How awesome does that sound?  Sweets in the shape of Hello Kitty and her cool friends, Chococat and Keroppi!  This is the perfect gift for family and friends who love to bake.  There are recipes for cakes, cookies, cupcakes, candy and more.  They will devour each recipe with relish!  Plus, all the great photos will whet their appetite in anticipation of the yummy, colorful, and delectable desserts they will inevitably whip up!

about book:
Hello Kitty Crochet is all about kawaii: the supercute world of Hello Kitty and her friends meets the Japanese art of amigurumi, or crocheted dolls. With 25 cute and easy-to-make projects, Hello Kitty Crochet is as charming and fun as it is simple to follow.

Whether you’re a seasoned crocheter or have never used a needle, you’ll find tons of helpful tips and tricks for creating kawaii handmade dolls. It’s the perfect way for crafters and cuteness-lovers to celebrate the global icon’s 40th anniversary!

my thoughts:
What a cute book cover! Hello Kitty waving "hello" to her fans - I love it!  This is the perfect gift for your loved ones who enjoy creating scarves, toys, and other handmade treats via crochet.  Yep, crochet!  We all have a friend or family member who is considers crocheting to be their jam - you know its true!  Well, this book is for them.  Imagine all the fun they can have making new dolls for their nieces and nephews.  They will enjoy getting lost in this sweet little book and come out of it with a few new handmade treats.  How fun!

Talk about a great way to toast Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary - two new books dedicated to celebrating this global icon in the form of a cake or a doll made of yarn.  These books will make great gifts for those you love.  Plus, I think they are a terrific way to spend an afternoon with you Hello Kitty obsessed daughter or niece - you can bake or crochet together! 

Thank you to Quirk Books for providing me with copies of these books!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bookish and Non-Bookish Thoughts...

You guys, the weekend is almost here and that means sleep!  This week has been a bit of an emotional drain, but now its time to put those feelings aside and dive into a few days of reading, sleeping, and spending time with family.  And, finally getting to watch some good TV or movies - it is Halloween month after all!
  • Since it is October I baked my Halloween sweet treat that I am famous for amongst family and friends.  Monster cake! Talk about delicious!!  Chocolate cake, butterfingers, cream cheese, caramel and whipped cream - need I say more.  Nom. Nom. Nom.
  • The Walking Dead was super good this past Sunday.  It was chock full of intrigue - like, who is Father Gabriel and what secret is he hiding.  Who is driving that black car and where is Beth?  Were the hunters watching Rick and his gang or was it Morgan?  And, did Bob get bit; if so, does that mean the hunters are eating tainted meat?  Oh, and why did Tyrese lie about killing that creep?  Ugh! So many questions!  I loved it!
  • Look what I bought! Hurrah! I saw her interview of CBS This Morning and went out to buy a copy ASAP.  I love this series and am excited to find out what Becky is doing in La La Land.
  • I'm excited to watch The Good Witch's Wonder this Saturday.  I just love this movie series on Hallmark and look forward to the new movies that air each year.  Especially, as they tend to keep the same cast throughout the movie series - I hate when they swap out actors for new ones.  This film centers on Cassie's stepson getting married and I'm sure there will be plenty of drama surrounding that event, along with a bit of magic.  I can't wait!
  • I'm finally reading my copy of O magazine.  So far I've jotted down a few new book titles to add to my TBR list and have thought about using a few of the recipes mentioned for Thanksgiving.  Plus, I loved Gayle's find - the steps to happiness (because who doesn't want to be happy?)  Here goes:  
          • 1. Decide to be happy
          • 2. Make it a priority
          • 3. Let go of judgements
          • 4. Be present
          • 5. Be grateful

And now, I'm ready for the weekend.  Hope you all are enjoying some great new reads.  Happy reading!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Shining and Doctor Sleep both by Stephen King

I was watching Daria on DVD the other day and there was an episode where she mutters, "redrum" as her family drives up to this huge estate. At the time I had no idea what she was talking about, but I knew she was referring to The Shining.  Of course, after reading the book and its sequel, I know very well what "redrum" means.  Alas, Stephen King has once again captured my imagination with his two novels, The Shining and its sequel, Doctor Sleep.

Two more books down for R.I.P. IX means that I am now done with the challenge - hurrah!  I have read my four horror books and must admit that they weren't as gruesome as I had feared.  Of course, they did manage to keep me up late at night - I just couldn't sleep after reading about the horrifying topiary animals in The Shining, or after learning about Pennywise in It (a book that disappointed me in the end, which is why I'm not posting about it).  Luckily, Doctor Sleep didn't really crowd my dreams with nightmares, so I was able to tackle that book rather easily. 

Alright, so lets begin with The Shining.  Jack Torrance is a pretty shitty dad, husband, teacher, provider, and man.  He's just no good.  He likes his alcohol a little too much and doesn't bother to hide it from anyone.  And he's got a bit of a temper - think, beats up a student and breaks his son's arm.  Yeah, he's not a good guy at all.  His wife, Wendy, knows this and for some reason remains with him, in spite of her desire to pack up Danny (their son) and leave Jack behind.  Of course, lack of money and love play huge roles in their lives - like, why Jack decides to accept a job as the caretaker of a huge hotel (the Overlook) in town (well, its actually a bit out of town, up in the mountains).  He's desperate to keep his family together and desperate to write a new book - he needs this job, because its his last shot at trying to convince his wife that he's turned over a new leaf.  The job will mean that Jack, Wendy, and Danny will relocate to the hotel and live there during the off season, when everything gets shut down due to the severe weather - think snow, snow, and more snow.  They will essentially be cut off from civilization for months and have to fend for themselves - thankfully, the larder is stocked and the boiler is working.  They are convinced that living at the hotel will be a breeze.  They don't know about the ghosts and evil that resides deep within the hotel.  Well, Danny knows.  You see, Danny is special.  He's got the shining, which means that he can see things no one else can - like dead people, the future, and he can even communicate with other folks who have the shining without even talking.  Yeah, he's a special kid alright and he knows that this hotel is bad news.  He knows that nothing good will come out of moving there, but he doesn't know how to tell his folks.  So, Jack, Wendy and Danny settle into their new digs and get ready to take on winter.  Suffice it to say, so much bad stuff happens that you can't stop reading about it.  There are bad dreams, bad sightings, bad experiences, and bad ghosts to contend with.  The Torrance family is at the mercy of this hotel and can't seem to find a way out of it.  Except, they don't all want out of it - Jack becomes convinced that his family is preventing him from achieving his goal and decides that they need to be taken care of - no matter what!   Suffice it to say, I loved this book and easily got caught up in all the drama, mystery, suspense, and creepiness that ensued.  I loved little Danny Torrance and his buddy, Dick Hallorann (he's my hero!) - they were the highlight of the story.  King did an awesome job of creating a chilly, spooky atmosphere within this story, along with characters that you couldn't help but care about.  His details were incredible and made reading the story richer and deeper.  I absolutely loved The Shining!  I plan on watching it later this month - yes, I'll finally get to watch Jack Nicholson's take on Jack Torrance. 

As for Doctor Sleep, well, it definitely kept me on my toes at times.  This book was an interesting way to explore Danny as an adult and also to look at another child dealing with the shining.  I didn't love the book as much as I loved The Shining, but I certainly enjoyed it.  In this story, we find that Danny is still traumatized after his experience at the Overlook - seems that the ghosts from that place still haunt him.  His mom calls their old friend, Dick Hallorann, to come and talk with Danny.  He teaches the kid how to create lockboxes in his mind where he can lock up these ghosts from his past (or present).  This is a great trick that will come in handy when he's an adult.  Of course, adult Danny is chock full of problems - a bad temper and an alcoholic.  You could say that he's a chip off the old block.  Anyhow, he winds up working at a hospice and gets the nickname, Doctor Sleep, because he has a knack for helping the dying leave this world with peace of mind.  He even has a cat who helps him by letting him know whose next.  As Danny settles into his new life as Doctor Sleep, he also gives up drinking.  His life is predictable and he likes it.  In a nearby town, a little girl named Abra is born and she's got a touch of the shining.  Her parents don't really understand what is happening to their daughter, so as she gets older she covers up her abilities.  Abra's pretty good at telekinesis and eventually telepathy (a gift she uses to connect with Danny).  The two form an unlikely friendship and wind up banding together when they catch wind of a terrible group called, The True Knot.  This group has a penchant for children (or adults) with the shining - they feed on their "steam".  When the group learns about Abra, they find their next victim.  In true King fashion, we get the small town, dynamic characters, supernatural forces, and a few horrifying scenes - all of which make for quite a good read.  Now, I'm not going to tell you whether or not Danny can help Abra defeat The True Knot, because I'm pretty sure you can guess that answer.  Just know that a trip back to The Overlook takes place and its integral in putting an end to this nightmare that has been haunting Danny for much longer than The True Knot. 

And there you have it, my thoughts on two of King's bestselling novels.  I have his next book Revival on my Books To Buy list and can't wait to sink my teeth into that tome.  King has definitely made a comeback in my reading repertoire lately.  I remember reading The Stand and The Tommyknockers years ago, but hadn't picked up any of his books since then.  Thanks to Ti's love for King's novels, I've developed a bit of an addiction to his stories lately and have to say that I'm really enjoying it.  So, thanks Ti! 

And now I'm off to read my copy of the latest O magazine.  Just looking at the cover, I can't help but want a white suit - Oprah looks amazing in hers!