Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Indexing by Seanan McGuire

From Goodreads:

“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.

Indexing is New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s new urban fantasy where everything you thought you knew about fairy tales gets turned on its head.

I really liked this, it was a fresh treatment of fairy tales. It was my first novel by this author and also my first try of a Kindle serial.  It was delivered over the course of 24 weeks, an episode every two weeks. What I really would have liked after reading this is that each tale type had been a full length novel, where McGuire could have developed the characters more, and delved deeper into each tale and it's variations. I would still like that, I think it would be fantastic! I feel like Henry and Sloane were pretty well fleshed out, but the other members of the team, especially Jeff and Andy, just aren't as full and alive as I think they could be in a longer telling. So I highly recommend this, even though I almost feel like the idea was a bit wasted in such a quick telling, I'm not at all disappointed in it, I just think it has a lot of potential and it seems more like an outline of what could be, rather than a finished product on it's own. More please! 

Check out Seanan McGuire's Website for more on the author and her work, I know I will be!

I also just learned that Seanan McGuire is Mira Grant!  I did not know that!

Here is a blogpost from Seanan's live journal discussing Indexing, wherein the possibility of second "season" is mentioned though not confirmed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Giveaway: Blog Events and Blogger's Mindset by Amanda Shofner

Have you participated in any online read-a-thons, giveaway hops, seen author tours or book carnivals  and had dreams of one day hosting one of these yourself?  These blog events are harder and easier than you might think.  You must remain organized or the event could quickly grow beyond your control, or not receive the attention you hoped for.

In her book Blog Events Amanda gives some important tips on how to run a successful event, pointing out things you need to consider, and directing you to ask yourself some very important questions on the purpose behind the event, who it is serving, and how is it helping you the event owner?  For more of my thoughts, see my previous review here.

The best thing about Blog Events is that it is general enough to fit any event, so while I mention read-a-thons because those are my passion, the principles in the book can be applied to anything you might want to do whether it's a hobby or business blogging event.

I was able to pick this up as a kindle freebie soon after it was published, but having had the pleasure of participating in many of the read-a-thon's co-hosted by Amanda and getting to know her through Twitter and Facebook, I want to give something back by offering up some copies of Blog Events to you aspiring bloggers out there who I know want to hold more read-a-thons for me!


But wait, there's more!  Hot off the presses, and I mean so hot it's not even out of the oven as I'm writing this, is Amanda's second book, Blogger's Mindset.

From her website The Path of Least Revision, she describes it this way: 

"What makes bloggers give up and step away from their blogs?

Burnout. Feeling overwhelmed or defeated. Over-committing. Jealousy. Life.

Sound familiar? Your blogging experience is shaped by how you approach blogging and how you think about it. The Blogger’s Mindset is about finding your way to the right mindset.

Learn how to build your blogging foundation and keep blogging when the blogging gets tough. Determine your why, who, and focus. Get real about your commitment and the nuts and bolts of blogging. Address your brand and evaluate your approach. Check your attitude. Find out what it takes to stick with it."

I am especially excited about this one because I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, why am I doing this?  Who even cares?  Does anyone even read it?  I can't keep up!  I should just quit.  So I step away for awhile, and find myself missing it.  But then I look at other blogs and think, wow, they're so much better than me, why do I bother? It's just a vicious cycle.  Well, the short answer is, because I like it, and I'm very interested in reading Amanda's take on the topic.

Just in case you're wondering who is this Amanda Shofner anyway, and what makes her qualified to tell us these things? Check out her cred here!

Now for the giveaway!  Two random winners will receive a US Kindle copy of both Blog Events and Blogger's Mindset, to get you excited and on the path to blogging happiness!  This giveaway will run from Oct. 23rd through Nov. 6th.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater

From Goodreads:

Amaliya wakes under the forest floor, disoriented, famished and confused. She digs out of the shallow grave and realizes she is hungry...

... in a new, horrific, unimaginable way...

Sating her great hunger, she discovers that she is now a vampire, the bloodthirsty creature of legend. She has no choice but to flee from her old life and travels across Texas. Her new hunger spurs her to leave a wake of death and blood behind her as she struggles with her new nature.

All the while, her creator is watching. He is ancient, he is powerful, and what's worse is that he's a necromancer. He has the power to force the dead to do his bidding. Amaliya realizes she is but a pawn in a twisted game, and her only hope for survival is to seek out one of her own kind.

But if Amaliya finds another vampire, will it mean her salvation... or her death?


So I'm a read-a-thon addict, which isn't news to anyone. We just finished a read-a-thon called Fraterfest, hosted by Kimbacaffeinate at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the whole point of which, aside from reading in general, is to read books by Rhiannon Frater, Kimba's a fan.  So being in the spirit of things but unfamiliar with the author, I picked out one to try, and managed to not start it at all last year during Fraterfest.  Go me.  This year I was determined, it was Fraterfest, I was going to read a Frater book, darn it!  So I did, and even though I didn't finish it during the read-a-thon, finish it I have, and I enjoyed it!

I like Amaliya, poor thing gets beat up in about every imaginable way yet comes out fighting every time!  She has a feisty little Grandmama too, do not mess with little Mexican Grandmamas, no sir!  The vampires in this world have the traditional weaknesses of legend, so in a way it's a good old-fashioned, but in a modern setting vampire story, with some necromancy thrown in for good measure.  I do like Cian, and even though she's kind of annoying, Samantha is pretty spunky too, but it's definitely Amaliya for me.  She just doesn't quit!

Rhiannon Frater's Website

Monday, October 14, 2013

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

From Goodreads:

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.


I checked this out as an e-book from our local library because I saw it on many lists of various meme's I was participating in. I thought the cover was pretty, and was told it was a good zombie book for those who aren't real excited about zombies, and I have to agree with that. It's American historical, some steampunk, fighting the undead.  I liked Eleanor and Daniel and how she forced the Spirit Hunters to take her seriously.  It was an entertaining story and I'm looking forward to more! 

Susan Dennard's Website

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon



Dewey's is here again!  For 24 hours we're going to read and read and read!  I've got my book pile below with many more than I could get through but I like to have options!  My main goal is to finish Ironside, and if possible Something Deadly This Way Comes, but I may have to take breaks from those and so I have a few shorter easier books to choose from.  Like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!  Who doesn't love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle?!  Oops, am I showing my age?  Probably, but we'll see if I love it just as much now as I did in grade school, lo these *mumble mumble* years ago...




Updates: 

Hours 1-2

8:30 AM for me, and an hour and a half into the Read-a-thon.  My cat alarm made sure I didn't oversleep, and not really being ready to be up and around after hitting snooze on him (read: Fed the kitty!) I decided to start in on a kindle book, so I could read in bed without the light on.  I chose The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and I'm about 29% done.

Hour 1 Mini Challenge:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Kansas, US

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  I think Something Deadly This Way Comes, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, because it's been so long since I read it when I was a kid, I'm interested to see how it measures up to my memories.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  I have two tubs of cookie dough in the fridge, so there will be cookies, oh yes, there will be!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I like Geocaching, playing Guild Wars 2, and am addicted to read-a-thons! 

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I'm not sure how many times I've participated now, it's been a few years, I think I do it differently every time.  I'm considering an energy drink for those afternoon hours when I get so sleepy, I've never done that before, so we'll see.

And now, back to the reading!  See you later!

Hours 3-5



I can't believe we're almost done with hour 5!  I've finished my first book, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer so I now have an official page count! Woohoo! 178 pages!  I'm munching on some chocolate peanut butter Pop Tarts with milk and they are tasty!  Next up is Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison.







Hours 6-11

So errands and lunch had to happen, but I managed to get 100 pages into Something Deadly even so!  I'll keep going on that one and see what happens for dinner.  Also, cookies have not yet happened, but a raspberry white mocha has, so yay!  Hope everyone is doing great!

Hours 12-15



 Well it took me what seems like all day, but I finished my second book! 245 more pages, so I'm up to 423 pages total.  Now it's time for the traditional read-a-thon BBQ feast for dinner, and a computer game break.  It's time to switch to some shorter reads now. I need to visit some other folks too.  Also, thank you to the Cheerleaders!  I have done it myself before so I know it's a fun but also hard job.






Hours 16-19



I just loved Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle when I was a kid, so when I saw them at Half Price Books I had to snatch them up!  Just finished the 1st one as my 3rd read-a-thon and I have to admit, they are still fun!  She can just cure any childish bad habit!  Well, I think this does it for me for this year's Read-a-thon.  My total page count is  542 and 3 books!  Thanks again to the organizers and the cheerleaders, you all rock!






Other Read-a-thoners Visited:
Noumena12
Frodo's Blog of Randomness
Azuki's Book Cafe
Sarah Says Read
Branching Out

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon Oct. 11-20

It's time for the third read-a-thon I'm participating in during October, the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon hosted by My Shelf Confessions!  That's 10 days of read-a-thon people!

I have some serious work to complete my goals for the Seriously Series challenge, so I will be working on those for this read-a-thon.

Goals:

            • Aftermath - Ann Aguirre (307 pages)
            • Ironside - Holly Black (323 pages) - Dewey's goal
            • Endymion Spring - Matthew Skelton - Audiobook (10+ hours)
            • Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors - Molly Harper (337 pages) 
            • Something Deadly This Way Comes - Kim Harrison (245 pages) done!
            • Finish Pretty When She Dies - Rhiannon Frater (Starting at 48%) done!




Updates:

Day 1:  Listened to about an hour and a half of Endymion Spring, liking it so far!  Good, animated narrator.  Got through about 9% in Pretty When She Dies, which may only be about 18 pages, but I don't want to burn out before Dewey's tomorrow!

Day 3: So Dewey's was yesterday and I finished 3 books!  Not at all what I planned, but that's okay!  I finished Something Deadly, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Today has been pretty slow on the reading, though I am almost 2 hours into Endymion Spring, and to 70% of Pretty When She Dies.

Day 5: I finished something! I finished Pretty When She Dies and really liked it, so I'll definitely be reading the rest of those.  I'm on track with listening to Endymion Spring, about 5 hours in and it's around 10 hours long, so that should be no problem.  Now what to start on next?  It's between Ironside and Aftermath.

Day 10 Final Wrap-Up: I have ended with about 1.5 hours left in Endymion Spring, and about 100 pages left in Ironside.  Not as far as I'd like to have gotten, but just taking part is fun, even if I don't make my goals!  See you next #WWReadathon!

Monday, October 07, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven by Corey Taylor

From Goodreads:

In this book, Corey Taylor undertakes something never before attempted in the history of rock superstardom: he takes you with him as he journeys undercover through various ghostbusting groups who do their best to gather information and evidence about the existence of spirits. Some are more credible than others, and, frankly, some are completely insane, but all are observed with appropriate seriousness as Taylor attempts to better understand some of the spooky things that have happened to him in his life, especially that night at the Cold House.

But that’s not all, folks. Taylor once again gives you a behind-the-scenes tour of his crazy life and the many beyond-the-grave events he’s encountered. (You’ll be shocked how often Slipknot has been invaded by the supernatural.) Taylor also touches on his religious background and how it led him to believe in much more than the Man in the Sky.



I was excited to find this in the library catalog, being a fan of Corey Taylor and interested in the paranormal this seemed like it had to be a winner.  Overall I enjoyed the book and Taylor's conversational though rambling, tangented and almost stream of consciousness style.  That and his self-deprecating humor become part of his charm once you get used to them.  He knows he does it and often has to bring himself back on track, which is also hilarious. The stories he tells of his confrontations are great although I'm sure they were terrifying when they happened.  You really get the feel of a late night hang out, pass around the drinks, the walls have come down and we're sharing freely and speculating on life, death and everything session.  We've all had those convo's with our besties, where sometimes we tread ground we wouldn't otherwise dare to go.

The first couple of chapters are a trial by fire in which he rants against religion.  Even agreeing with a lot of what he had to say it was difficult to get through.  I just wanted to get to the ghosts!  But it's his book and he can say what he wants how he wants and if we don't like it, we don't have to keep reading, right?  Right!  So I gave it one more shot and went on to chapter 3, which finally got us to the ghosts, bingo!  The rest of the book was much easier  and quite entertaining, also giving me the chills and thrills I'd hoped for, enough so that I had to quit reading it before going to sleep especially since my husband loves to make cryptic remarks to me and then roll over and pass out, leaving me afraid to turn the light out and wide awake.

In the end I had a greater appreciation for Taylor as a person and his ability to deal with his many and varied experiences.  I absolutely love the pictures on the cover and the chapter headers in his old time outfit.  His expression on the cover just kills me, it's awesome. 

Check out Corey's website for more info on his music and other books.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Fraterfest 2013 Oct 3-8

Caffeinated Book Reviewer


#Fraterfest is the second read-a-thon I'm participating in this October, since it overlaps with #Frightfall I have pretty much the same goals for both. I am actually going to read a Rhiannon Frater title this time, Pretty When She Dies. Click on the picture above to join us!


Goals:


The Vision
by Heather Graham

Pretty When She Dies
by Rhiannon Frater

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
Audiobook

Wrap Up: I had started all of these except Pretty When She Dies before Fraterfest. I was able to finish The Vision and Dracula, and made it to 26% of Pretty, which I really like, so I'm counting it a win!

Thanks to Kimbacaffeinate for hosting!  Now, on to the next Read-a-thon!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Seriously Series Challenge - 3rd Quarter Check-in



We're heading into Fall and 3/4 done with the Challenge!  Well, it's 3/4 over, I can't say I'm 3/4 done!

Since my last update I haven't added to or subtracted from any series, but it's time to take a good hard look at what I can reasonably finish by the end of the year.

I did finish two more series this past quarter, I'm caught up on the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and The Vampire Empire trilogy by Clay and Susan Griffith, so that makes 4 total, all in the Series Started Before 2013 category.  That means I've already achieved the Semi-Serious level.  I haven't finished anything in Series Started In 2013, I'm a slacker!

Books read in 3rd Quarter towards the challenge:

An Echo in the Bone - finished 8/9/13 - series done!
The Kingmakers - finished 8/6/13 - series done!
Valiant -Finished 9/9/13
Dragon Bound - finished 8/24/13
Once Bitten, Twice Shy - finished 8/1/13
Faefever - finished 9/28/13

I've finished 19 of the 34 books/audios/short story/novellas on my list, and I should be around 24, so I guess that catching up didn't happen!
I seem to be averaging 5-6 reads per quarter from the list but I have 16 left.  I'm pretty sure I'll stray from the list, so the question is, do I shoot for Seriously Serious in Before 2013 by finishing 3 more series, or do I try to finish something In 2013 so that I can make it on the board?  Maybe I can do both, let's see!  I only have to finish one to achieve Semi-Serious.

Started Before 2013:

Kushiel's Avatar - This will finish up Phaedre's Trilogy for me
Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors - This will catch me up on Jane Jameson
Aftermath
Endgame - These two will finish up the Sirantha Jax series for me, and get me to that Seriously Serious level with 7 finished.

Started In 2013:

Ironside - This will get me on the board for Semi-Serious!  I've made it my Dewey's goal this year.

So I'll make those 5 my goal for 4th quarter and see if I can't do better than that!


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