Christmas 2013 Book Haul

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And I received a Reading Capybara!

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Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

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WWW Wednesday (December 11)

WWW Wednesday December 11Exhausted! So, Hope you enjoy the visual quickie!

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading…

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Just finished….

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Up next…(probably!?!?!)

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Have a great week!!

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WWW Wednesday (December 4)

WWW Wednesday December 4Ahhhh…young love…and serial killing!

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Voices of the Pacific: Untold Stories From the Marine Heroes of World War II by Adam Makos. I like the style Makos uses to present the stories. Essentially, he has organized the book around certain events, such as the fighting on Guadalcanal and the marines he interviewed tell the story from their perspective. I know I have said this before, but I am always amazed at what these men and women went through. It makes me really thankful for everything we have, because they sacrificed.

I finished Mad River by John Sandford. Two young lovers become serial killers in a twisted tale of greed, love and revenge. Virgil Flowers gets all the answers in his on-the-groud-running style. Sandford pens more than his usual number of twists in Mad River, the 6th book of the Flowers Series. It is those twists that make me like reading his books.

I am not even going to venture a guess as to what I will read next. I rarely seem to read what I tell you. So, I will just have to let you know next week.

Have a great week!!

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WWW Wednesday (November 27)

WWW Wednesday November 27This coming Saturday is Small Business Saturday. It is a day dedicated to supporting locally owned and operated businesses in your local community.

But, how far would you go to get your community out from under the looming shadow of Big Box Development?

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I just finished reading Shock Wave by John Sandford. It is the 5th book in the Virgil Flowers series and, despite its title, it is not the most shocking. But, it is a lot of fun. There is a whackadoodle on the loose blowing things up seemingly to prevent the construction of a new PyeMart (thinly veiled, don’tcha think?!?). You’ve got all the typical characters: the greedy developers, the environmentalists, the local government on the take, and, of course, “that f**king Flowers”.

It is Sandford’s normal mixture of brains and bullets that sails along nicely until the end where the gale-force winds rip the last 80-100 pages out of your grasp.

Since I needed more of the same, I am currently reading the 6th book in the same series, Mad River. It’s a modern day Bonnie & Clyde story. I’m only about a third of the way through and I think there have already been a dozen or so people killed by the duo. Flowers is having a tough time pinning them down. But, when he does, I know it’ll be good.

Next, I think I will head back to the Steampunk world and pick up The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes by George Mann.

Have a great week!

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WWW Wednesday (November 20)

WWW Wednesday November 20“…bodies stacked on bodies, waist-deep, stacked like cordwood,” (The Liberator, by Alex Kershaw)

Sounds like something out of the latest Stephen King novel, huh? Nope, these are words used to describe what Felix Sparks and the Thunderbirds (7th Army, 45th Division) encountered when they approached Dachau on April 29, 1945 —  after almost 500 days of marching across Europe to fight the Nazis. I can’t even imagine!

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Shock Wave by John Sandford. I needed a break from the non-fiction and figured who better to provide a fast-paced read. This is part of the Virgil Flowers series and picks up pretty much where Bad Blood left off. Flowers is called on to investigate a couple of bombings in rural Minnesota, which appear (as far as I have read) to be targeted to stop the building of a “big box” store in the community of Butternut. As usual, his reputation precedes him, both personal and professional.

As you can tell from the opening, I just finished The Liberator by Alex Kershaw. The things that Felix Sparks and the Thunderbirds did/saw while helping to liberate Europe during WWII are nothing short of jaw-dropping. I don’t know how these men and women did what they did, saw what they saw, and came back to live normal lives. Kershaw is graphic, when need be, so this is not a book for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. But, it is one of the best WWII non-fiction books I have read. It would make my Top-Ten Recommended Books list — if I were to do one.

I will probably tackle Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist next. I picked it up at Barnes & Noble last weekend and has been calling to me from the TBR shelf ever since.

But, as usual, we’ll see what my mood is.

Have a great week!!!

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WWW Wednesday (November 13)

ImageVerify that you have the latest version of iTunes. Launch iTunes, and from the iTunes menu select “Check for Updates.” (On a PC, select “Check for Update” from the Help menu.

  • If an update is available, download and install it before continuing.

Back up your old iPhone. Using iTunes, back up your current iPhone to iCloud or to your computer.   Shut down your old iPhone. You will need to do this so that there are not two phones running with the same phone number simultaneously….

This is the type of reading I have been doing over the last couple of weeks. 😉 The company I work for launched iPhone this week and it has been a lot of learning, but fun!

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W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

In between iPhone trainings, I finished Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I understand why people were upset. But, George R.R. Martin once said, “Art is not a democracy. People don’t get to vote on how it ends.”  My feeling is that it is the author’s story, not ours. Our job is to enjoy the tale and maybe pass it on to future generations. Really! Who are we to tell an author they are wrong for ending the story, they created, in a certain way?

I loved it. It was far different than I anticipated it being. I’m not going to elaborate because I am terrible at “not spoiling”.

Afterward, I shifted genres completely. I am about half way through The Liberator by Alex Kershaw. It is the account of the Felix Sparks’ military service in WWII. It always amazes me what these men went through. From blazing heat and humidity to freezing winters in the forest…near starvation…lack of even the most basic of resources…all while serving in the greatest military power at the time!

I am heading south to see family this weekend. That always means at least one trip to Barnes & Noble. So, I will have to update you next week on what I am reading next 😉 Who knows what treasures I will will dig up in the bargain bin!!

Have a great week!

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WWW Wednesday (October 30)

WWW Wednesday October 30You just experienced the loss of a loved one. You are working through the grieving process. The loss, the sadness, the anger and then…

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am just starting Allegiant by Veronica Roth. As you may or may not know, it is the 3rd book in the Divergent trilogy. I have been avoiding the reviews, tweets, etc. like they are the plague. I have seen some grumbling about this book. But, I want to judge it on my own. I really enjoyed the first two books. So, I have high hopes for this one.

This morning I finished Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist. As I stated in last weeks post, this was a whole new take on the Zombie phenomena.

Imagine if you recently lost a loved one. You are grieving and then you get the news that your husband/wife/child is inexplicably “alive”. But, not really “alive”…but among the “reliving”. How would you handle it? What would you feel? This is the zombie scenario that Lindqvist runs with. Hang on, it’s gonna be an emotional ride!

The Daily Mirror (UK) stated that “Lindqvist is Sweden’s answer to Stephen King”. I would agree with that assessment. Both are excellent storytellers and both have a way of getting you inside the story. I have written before about how Stephen King is not “Wes Craven, dripping blood, jump in your face” scary. But, rather he is “bear-hug-your-psyche-until-you-squirm” unnerving. If his stories keep you up at night, it’s going be because you can’t evict him from your brain rather than because the tree branch scraping on your window brings to mind an evil clown under your bed.

Lindqvist is the same way. I found myself thinking about what I would do if a recently deceased loved one came walking through my door. (Not that I have lost anyone recently, thank God!) But, how would I ‘Handle the Undead’? Would I do everything I could to help them or would I lock them in a room and call the authorities? Would their presence be warming or repulsive? (Note: some of the characters in the book had been in the ground for a couple of months…see what I mean? This is the kind of thing that isn’t Freddy Kruger scary, but it kinda has the “eww” factor.)

It was another great book by Lindqvist. I will recommend it to everyone. The last page of the book introduced his next (out in 2011) book, titled “Harbor”. I’m gonna keep an eye out for it.

Lastly, what I am going to read next. Since, I just cracked the cover on Allegiant, I have no idea. I’ll let ya know next week. 😉

Have a great week!

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WWW Wednesday (October 23)

WWW Wednesday October 23What is keeping my eyes sharp and my brain exercised and a look at my new favorite podcast! All in this week’s WWW Wednesday!

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist. One of my favorite books from the 2011 50 Book Challenge was Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, the story about a young vampire and the friendship he develops with a neighbor girl. It wasn’t your typical vampire story.

In Handling the Undead, Lindqvist takes on zombies. I was happy to discover that this book was written in 2005, before the zombie craze was in full swing. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Walking Dead fan. But, It seems like we go through cycles where every other book you see is about Vampires/Zombies/Wizards/etc. I found this book almost buried in the horror section of B&N. The author happened to catch my eye and I was happy to find another of his books.

I am only 40 or so pages in, but it is holding my attention so far.

I recently finished Bad Blood by John Sandford. I went through a phase where I read every of Sandford’s Lucas Davenport books one after another. Eventually, I got to the point where I had to wait for the next one to be published and I lost track. In the mean time, he spun the Virgil Flowers character off into a new series. I burned through the first 2 or 3 of those right away, as well. Now I am playing catch up.

Bad Blood has Flowers investigating murders in a farming community in Minnesota. I will warn you that it is not for the weak-stomached. The reason for the murders, without spoiling anything, involves some taboo sexual subjects (I will note that there are no graphic descriptions). With that said, it is typical Sandford. Fast paced, ass-kicking and full of twists.

I am not sure what I will be reading next. I might grab the next Jack Reacher novel. I might go out and get the next Virgil Flowers adventure. Or, I might grab one of the few historical non-fiction books I have on the TBR shelf. I will let you know next week.

I wanted to end this post by sharing my new favorite podcast.

BookRiot Podcast

Jeff O’Neal (On Twitter as @readingape) and Rebecca Schinski (On Twitter as @RebeccaSchinski) of BookRiot.com produce a weekly podcast about books, reading and interesting things that happen in the publishing/literary world. They have done 24 episodes, each better than the last. You can tell by how casually they interact that they are having fun with a subject they love. Honestly, my favorite thing about Jeff, Rebecca and their podcast is that they are not book snobs! They talk about books of all types and never give the impression that if you aren’t reading the latest in High Literature you are doing it wrong.

You can access the podcast via iTunes, the Android app, or directly from the website. Trust me on this one, If you’re a reader, you’ll never walk away thinking, “Well, that’s ___ minutes of my life I’ll never get back!”

Have a great week!

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WWW Wednesday & Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

WWW Wednesday October 16Tom Cruise as a 6′ 5″ ex-army badass? Now that I am reading the first Jack Reacher book, I am scratching my head at that casting choice. I guess sometimes it really is all about the ratings.

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly reading prompt hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Killing Floor by Lee Child. It is the first Jack Reacher novel. The more I read, the more I like the Reacher character. In the beginning, I thought that the character was gonna be very stereotypical. I am not completely wrong. But, the stuff with his brother really made me like him. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Since last week, I finished the Dark Man by Stephen King. It is a poem that he wrote while in college and was the basis for the Randall Flagg character in The Stand…and the man in the tower in the Dark Tower series. The pen and ink illustrations are wonderfully morbid and the perfect backdrop for the poem. It, also, was kind of neat that the illustrator is from Maine, as well.

I am thinking that I will get caught up with Virgil Flowers next. He is the main character in a spin-off series from John Sandford’s Davenport novels. I like Sandford’s writing style and the books fly right along. I have both Bad Blood and Mad River on the TBR shelves. So, I will pick up the next in the series…I’m just not sure which of the two it is right now and I am being too lazy to look it up. 😉

This week, I also want to share this link to an article by Neil Gaiman in The Guardian. Honestly, I have not read any of his books. I listened to Anansi Boys via Overdrive for last year’s 50 Books Challenge. But, I really like his social media presence and appreciate the sentiment in this speech. Please take time to read it. It’s wonderful. Thank you!

 http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming?CMP=twt_gu

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Catch Up Reading Challenge Review – Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Catch Up Reading Challenge Review Doctor Sleep by Stephen King“Life was a wheel, its only job was to turn, and it always came back to where it had started.”

There have been so many reviews of Stephen Kings latest book that I feel kind of foolish writing another. But, it is part of the challenge that I signed up for. So, here we go…

I am a Stephen King fan through and through. When I turn the first page, I expect nothing more than a great story. I don’t expect to be scared silly — I don’t think most of what he has written was particularly scary…sometimes disturbing, but not really “jump-out-of-the-closet-at-you” scary. I think people need to drop “The King of Horror” moniker and maybe change it to “The King of Tale”? Maybe?? (Be careful with the spelling, though.) Okay, maybe not a great idea. But, you get my meaning. Anyway…moving on.

Okay, what can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? My thoughts:

1) It was a perfect sequel. It’s fitting that Danny, all grown up, joins forces with a young girl that also has The Shining to fight an evil band of steam sucking vampires!

2) As always, there is help from unexpected heros.

3) The main characters are fighting their own inner demons while battling the outer bad guys — one of my favorite parts of most SK books. None of the heroes are perfect.

4) The unexpected can/should be expected.

and, finally…

5)   You’ll always get a great quote that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page (see opening quote).

I don’t know what Stephen is working on now. But, I’ll be waiting and keeping an eye on those convoys of RVs as the roll through my town.

Here is the completed list of books for the 2013 Catch Up Reading Challenge:

  1. Wizard & Glass: The Dark Tower IV by Stephen King
  2. Wolves of the Calla: The Dark Tower V by Stephen King
  3. The Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower VI by Stephen King
  4. The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower VII by Stephen King
  5. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
  6. Carrie by Stephen King
  7. Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King
  8. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King 
  9. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
  10. Joyland by Stephen King
  11. The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
  12. Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
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