Monday, April 21, 2014

In the Blood = Thriller Success

This is the UK edition, which
I like much better than the US cover.
In the Blood, By Lisa Unger
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: January 7, 2014
Category: Literature/Fiction
Source: I received this e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

My reading mojo is back! All it took was finishing up some work projects and starting a fresh - and very good - book. I completely relied on recommendation with In the Blood, because I don't typically read thrillers. Yet, I read it in two days.

In the Blood starts out with college student Lana Granger recalling the death of her mother when she about sixteen. All she recalls is that she is laying under her bed, a safe place, with blood on her hands, while her father goes about taking care of the body and mess, swearing he did not kill her.

Throughout the story, Lana returns to this scene and we see more pieces added to her memory. The difficulty is that Lana grew up a "troubled child," eventually (and currently) heavily medicated and unsure of many things. Although she talks to a counselor regularly, she doesn't trust many of her thoughts and feelings.

The story heats up when Lana takes on a babysitting job for eleven-year-old Luke. His mother, Rachel, admits she has trouble keeping a sitter for him because he is a troubled child who attends a special school for children with emotional, behavioral, and mental instability. Luke is unfeeling, sly, and manipulative and Lana begins to see signs of herself in him, relating to him more than she would ever care to admit.

When a friend goes missing, Lana simultaneously finds herself dealing with the police investigation; facing her death row father's request to speak with her before his execution; and wrapped in a manipulative game of Luke's that quickly becomes life or death. It is more than a regularly functioning person can handle, let alone one already dealing with medicated paranoia and dark thoughts.

What I love about this book is that it had my favorite plot element - twists. Not just a twist ending, but twists throughout. I didn't catch on at all until I was about 65% through the book. And even then, I never figured all of it out until the end. And even the very end wraps up with a great twist in which many readers will find satisfaction.

Have you ventured into any new genres lately and been pleasantly surprised?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Begin the Week with Words

A special quote this I will not soon forget! Not particularly Easter-y, but scripture nonetheless. (And the strawberries quite fitting, being a trademark of mine!)

Galations 5:22-23   But the fruit of the Spirit is...

Happy Easter everyone. God bless.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Multi-Perspective Word Exchange Review

Thought a different cover would
be a good change of pace!
The Word Exchange, by Alena Graedon
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication date: April 8, 2014
Category: Literature/Fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy
Source: I received this e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Are you feeling a little feverish? Do people look at you funny when you talk? If so, you need two things - a doctor and a good book! That's right, you have "word flu" and nothing reverses the effects like reading...what are you waiting for? Keep reading!

It took me awhile to read The Word Exchange, but only because life (work) decided to interfere with my reading. Ain't nobody got time for that! I did like this book and think I would have enjoyed it more had I been able to read straight through, instead of days between chances to read.

All I'm going to say is that The Word Exchange plot reminds me of a more modern mix of Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and 1984 all rolled into one. With those titles, a break down in society is a given. The scary part is the involvement of technology (somewhat like what we currently have) in the break down of what makes us human - our words. Author Alena Graedon had some wonderful narration pieces about words: "Words, I've come to learn, are pulleys through time. Portals into other minds. Without words, what remains? Indecipherable customs. Strange rites. Blighted hearts. Without words, we're history's orphans. Our lives and thoughts erased." Couldn't have said it better myself.

But I figured, why write a big ole review when I've been saving up reviews from my most trusted book bloggers for a couple weeks now? I haven't read these myself as of this posting, so they wouldn't affect my opinion, but these ladies are intense readers and great bloggers, so stop by and see what they have to say about The Word Exchange!

April @ The Steadfast Reader

Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

Catherine @ The Gilmore Guide to Books

Rebecca @ Love at First Book

Shannon @ River City Reading

Monika @ A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Also, here's an interview with author Alena Graedon, by

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Begin the Week with Words

Another amazing quote about words from The Word Exchange:

"Words, I've come to learn, are pulleys through time. Portals into other minds. Without words, what remains? Indecipherable customs. Strange rites. Blighted hearts. Without words, we're history's orphans. Our lives and thoughts erased." 
                                         The Word Exchange, by Alena Graedon

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Lover Gifts

There is a new online book store this month called Book Lover Gifts. There's nothing like a bookish gift...especially a unique item or something that is a perfect fit. Book Lover Gifts offers just such an assortment of items, as well as books. (All pictures belong to and are from the Book Lover Gifts site.)

Based in London, Book Lover Gifts allows you to search their site according to type of gift, author related, or book related. You can also search according to the purpose of your gift, whether it is for a wedding or a gift for a child. They accept major credit cards and PayPal, and also offer email sign ups for their mailing list.

The site is new, so their stock is growing. In the couple of visits I've made, they have added new things each time. They have a mix of things I've seen elsewhere and new-to-me items. For example, by now most of us have seen the literary scarfs; however, they have Alice in Wonderland, pictures included, which I haven't seen yet!

Also among my favorite items was the bag with the text of Mr. Darcy's proposal. 

Although now outdated both in the library and at home (thanks to the code scanning, book sorting apps), the Home Librarian Kit makes me smile. I get that warm and cozy feeling thinking of placing cards in my books to be stamped for check out. 

And last, but not least, I loved the Shakespeare text corsage, which is actually made from pages of Shakespeare books and comes in a number of color choices. 

So when you get the chance, stop by the Book Lover Gifts shop and see what they have in store for you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Official Illustrated Movie Companion

My biggest anticipation of seeing a book-to-movie is the "how." How will they use costumes, make-up, props, special effects, location, etc., to tell my story. (Yes, I meant to say "my story." Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, even says that she have herself a lecture about ownership. Once the book is published, she was, in some ways, giving up ownership of her work. It now belonged to readers and the movie makers as well.)

With that said, I much appreciate the sets of book-to-movie books that have popped up since at least Twilight (I am not aware of them for books-to-movie previous to Twilight). They are always titled The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, along with the title of the book-to-movie it will discuss. I have also noticed that these movie guides are usually made for fantasy/dystopian type books-to-movie, such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, City of Bones, and Divergent (one for each movie made, not one per series). I assume this is in part due to the large fan base these types of series garner prior to the movie and also because there are fantastical elements about which people may be curious. In short, they know these books' movie companions will sell.

These 120+ page books serve a couple of purposes. The books are all slightly different, but typically discuss the topics of casting, movie crew, costume/make-up, special effects, and locations. Each book has more than enough pictures showing the various costumes, locations, make-up sessions, computer/CGI work, and other behind the scenes activities that took place during the making of the movie. The text gives summaries of the book in reference to how the movie makers decided to bring certain events to life. Or, more interesting, discuss how they went about creating something, like the intricate research and study that went into the making of Twilight's CGI werewolves. Numerous quotes from involved parties, such as the author, director, actors/actresses, etc., are given in answer to questions posed by that particular movie guide's author or for insight into character portrayal.

It's really as close as most of us will ever get to an inside scoop. Although I don't think I'm the type who would do well on a movie set, it is definitely cool to know the fun facts of the process. And really, who doesn't want to know everything possible about a book he/she loves?

What is your favorite book-to-movie?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Begin the Week with Words

Reading The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon, and so far, it's like a modern Fahrenheit 451. This quote is just amazing:

"Words are living legends, swollen with significance. We string them together to make stories, but they themselves are stories, encapsulating rich, runny histories."

(PS: Last week was a very. long. week. So I hope you'll excuse the silence of the blog. I didn't even have the energy to whip up a little something to post. Between the emotions of the funeral of my husband's uncle and the energy draining back-to-back meetings and events (at and outside of work) of the other four days, I have read next to nothing, falling asleep every time I tried actually. I also totally dropped the ball on most other blog activity, from social media to reading other blogs. Hopefully this week will bring it all back to normal.)