Zombie books can REALLY suck sometimes. DISAPPOINTMENT!

Slow BurnSlow Burn by Bobby Adair

My rating: 1 of 5 stars (on GOODREADS, 2 on Amazon because their rating systems are different. I DID NOT LIKE IT)

Nothing special and utterly disappointing

Utter disappointment. I don’t care if there is a second book or what happens to ANY of these characters. No real character development took place so I never grew attached enough to care. I read some of the reviews and really was expecting this to be something fantastic and new. I am wallowing between a one and two star and the only reason it is getting two ON AMAZON on is because of the cover, here on GOODREADS a two means I thought it was OK, it is not OK to me, I did not like it, so GR is a harder rating curve. It is getting a one star because of a somewhat interesting concept (slow burn) and the clever title. Anything more would be to much love unfair and dishonest of me and how I felt. I am not trying to be mean, but I do not get how wonderful this supposedly is!?? Mind boggling. I bothered to write this review for a reason.

This is one book I judged by the cover, and the reviews and I regret it, totally regret it! I also learned a lesson, read on.

This was a fast read and I am still shocked it was over 200 pages since I read it so fast. Perhaps it was because I wanted to get to the great part everyone found which caused them to rate so high. I wanted, hoped that all the reviews I read were true. Apparently people have not read good zombie books because this is not one of them. It presented nothing special to be added to the zombie genre. A somewhat interesting concept with nothing to back up other than some speculation and .. it was just bad. Again a great cover but nothing close to a WOW or even a meh. I LOVE this genre, I read anything I can in it. I grabbed it because a friend shared the link because they know I read anything with zombies. I even like bad ones, the ones that do not take themselves to seriously that is. HECK I am a person who likes watching bad movies (as in Uwe Boll… ) as well as b-books because I love this genre so much.

Specifically, the character development is flat and almost missing entirely. I never really got emotionally attached nor did it make me want to know what happens next. I won’t be buying the next one and am glad I didn’t buy this but got it on an Amazon free day.**

It is a zombie book! I am suppose to care for survivors, not LIKED them but care what happens. Have some kind of reaction emotoinally to them. Whether it be wanting them to be the next to be ate or to survive! Of the two most developed characters they were still flat and lifeless (and not in the good aka undead way :) ) If the main character (stupid –redact.. how about beyond cliche and a direct pop-culture reference to the point of meme– name of Zed *rolling eyes*) was killed, I probably would breath a sigh of relief.*** Sorry I just would not waste your time especially if you are a zombie reader!

If I had paid for this I would not have any problem returning it.

** (added a week later) I was informed by one of the editors of the book, after she attacked me over on my Facebook PAGE, that it was perma-free. So every review is a verified purchase, I was also informed I should expect much character development for a book under 300 pages. I beg to differ, I expect it in a flash piece with thirty words).

*** NOT because he started off a mooch who was only needing rent money because he did not make enough as a barista or whatever else he was doing, but because even if he is suppose to be becoming the hero… it never happened, he never was able to make it BELIEVABLE no matter what cute girl he saves!! I really wish I had liked this, it would have me a world of hurt. But when a book has over 80 five star reviews, I felt compelled to give my own critical review because it fell FLAT for me.

((I want it noted that I have been bullied, harassed and attacked from Goodreads to Amazon, my main blog and FaceBook because I DARED post an honest review. Hence why I felt I needed to fill in some of confusing parts on why I did not like the story. I also re-read the book AGAIN to see if I maybe missed something, nope! I will also no longer accept any new review requests from here on out.))

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Bike by Eric Carney gets a new cover design, BY ME!

Bike+by+Eric+Carney+-+#WeeklyShorts

BIKE – a short story by Eric Carney – See it on GOODREADS

Bike by Eric Carney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s an 11 paged blow to the gut causing you to reach for your nearest child or pet—exactly what a short story is suppose to deliver. Eric Carney dips his quill into the mud puddles in the rainstorm and wreaks havoc with your emotions. Everyday items and moments remembered from our own past become riddled with darkness only imagined in our nightmares. I used to love the idea of handing down my son’s old Spiderman pyjamas to his son, but this story has ruined that dream forever.

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The Witch Sea – a beautiful erotica not really an erotica

The Witch SeaThe Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes an erotic story is not an erotic story, at least how we think of as one of ‘those’ stories. This is definitely one of them, no actual peeking under anyone skirts, no actual bow-chicka-wah-wah… This story is reminiscent of elegant and classic Gothic romances. Though labeled as Lesbian Fantasy, it is a story about learning to love and to accept that some people’s truths will never be your own and embracing yours as not only acceptable but truth. It is simply a stunning short story.

Again, the story is not just romance, or erotica, it is not masturbatory material under the waste line but above the nose in the frontal lobe. It is a beautiful and dark story about breaking through what one believes and accepting what is on one’s heart.

Heart wrenching, heart warming and beautifully written. A Witch Sea is a lyrical piece full of complex and wonderful allegory with a dark hidden treasure within the foam coating the edges of the driftwood on a beach full of common seaweed.

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F-ING HELL, this book is AWESOME “Stranger Will”

Stranger WillStranger Will by Caleb J. Ross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THIS BOOK IS OMG awesome!

ANYWAY… WARNING, I use the F-word four times (which I thought I was restraining myself) and ASS twice.. but I don’t think one of them counts, and a couple of the FUCKS were wonderful alterations according to my friends.. so I am down with it! CARRY ON!

F is for a frightening experience (and the F-word)

This review rated M for mature as in Facebook said I swear more than 89% of all my friends. I am making sure I live up to their assessment in this review, and I promise, like Catch-22, it needs to be in here. I am still going “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot what did I just finish reading? WAIT not reading EXPERIENCING?!” Now, I am going to do something different, I am going to rate it first…

glass

Five hundred million Bottles of Awesomesauce – there is nothing more, not even bacon at this point
If language offends you … I really wanted to apologize ahead of time but I can’t! I tried to write this straight, but I can’t! I am still dealing with dropped jaw syndrome! So…*shrugging shoulders* this book would probably not be something you could handle if the occasional fuck bothered you anyway. It takes balls to take this book on! And I know a lot of you have them, so strap them on ladies and hitch them up, gentlemen and take it on, you will NOT be disappointed. Do not eat before you read, hug your children and be happy with your decision to breed and enter a world that extrapolates to the extreme ‘WHAT IF” and, what the fuck! and most importantly? Be careful what you wish for, sometimes someone really can grant your wishes, even if you didn’t mean it!

Ever read one of those books that sticks to you brain pan like duct tape on a shaved cats ass.. oh wait that may not mean something to all of you ummm OK that sticks like extra strength duct tape, let’s leave it at that! It is the foundation for a myriad of messed up bad dreams and unsettled sleep for the last week. I am deeply and quite deliciously disturbed by this. It has darkness in it, it oozes and gushes epically awesome frightening darkness. All manner of messed up people live in this town where  our protagonist Will now lives. And he is in charge of cleaning up behind their worthless lives.

He has a f-ed up but necessary job, he is a human remains removal expert. Car accidents, decomposing bodies stuck to their E-Z chairs… its.. fragrant and ripe with festive insanity. But the bodies are not there just what is left behind. We all wonder what kind of mark we will make in this world and I do not think any of you imagine it will be the puddle of decomp jelly where your fat ass fell asleep watching Jeopardy and stuffing Ho-hos in your gullet. Or spread across the scene that can be hosed away on the interstate. Give up your dreams and forget about clean underwear because it won’t matter at this point.

NOTHING I have read can compare to this except maybe the Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille. Georges may have a 21th century brainchild in Caleb J. Ross and Georges is called the “metaphysician of evil,” specializing in blasphemy, profanation, and horror.

Throughout all of this Will is dealing with a pregnant fiance whom he is trying to convince to be rid of the child of before term or if at term to give up. It is full deep imbibing metaphors to immerse your psyche in. It has dark, cruel comedy, he is pretty much a top-notch prick to his fiance and shes obsessed with the belief everything he does and comes in contact with is a health risk to the unborn child. The cleaning supplies he uses coats his clothes, the cigarettes he chain smokes, now outside for her. Well for him, because he does not want to deal with her complaining. I haven’t read a book like this, ever!

Yet, just when I hate this guy, just when I start climbing on my fancy feminist fuck-off wagon? He does something showing heart. He feels bad.. he doesn’t talk about what he has to do or what his cleanup will be. He convinces himself it is because he doesn’t want to deal with her wrath but there is a part of him that is soft enough to remember why they are together. At least that is my warm fuzzy place I have to think about so when he lights a bird on fire and I am right back on the feminist fuck-off  wagon I do not pull both guns.

My mouth is still hanging open when I think back on what I read. There is one scene that will forever be burnt into my soul, wait a lot more than one..but the first really horrific scene is a house which has a perfectly maintained lawn in a neighborhood of perfectly maintained lawns and houses, but this house? It is falling to pieces like a forgotten and neglected elderly family member. There was so many symbols seeping from pipes and filling up the basement. Melville would have had a field day with the symbolic iconography in just the kitchen alone. I.. I… I want to tell you so much but I am afraid if I do you would miss out on the shock, which like my swear words is necessary   Oh Em Gee try it for yourself, seriously! *mouth hangs open, head shakes, looks at the cat and whispers…” Seriously Asrielle, maybe I better take the squirrel in residence some folks may come after me but then again some folks may be sending me pounds and pounds of bacon!”

Now, I have to leave you here. I probably could go on another 1ooo words because I have not even gone back over in my brain what happens a bit before you hit the halfway mark, or the playing catch with one of the short-bus kids and a decomposing racoon. (do not even go there, there is no way I can be politically correct while trying to explain this. Plus, the short-bus kid? He captures the heart of Will along with me!) Just trust me. Oh and I did not mention the twisted idea of a fairy godmother who leads all this merry mayhem. I would choose her as a fairy godmother mind you she is more like Satan’s spawn of a godmother!

black-duckyI recieved this book as part of a Novel Publicity Tour for a fair and honest review. I do not think it gets more honest than this… I then went and bought it for five of my friends and demanded under pain of death to read or I would send the ninja squirrel assassin, Fred, to their house..

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Review: Dark Spaces – A collection of suspenseful short stories

Dark Spaces - A collection of suspenseful short stories
Dark Spaces – A collection of suspenseful short stories by Dionne Lister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Breathe in Autumn
An Awakening
An Outback Lament
Sarah’s Story
The Presentation
Timmy’s Escape
Amy
Heart of an Angel
Climbing Everest

Reading the list if the eight selected stories for Ms. Lister’s flash fiction anthology had me pondering at what maid between. The cover alluding to just one of the dark spaces which lie there and perhaps within our own sub-concious, nightmares and; for some, memories we’ve chosen to leave in the dark.

Dionne caught me unaware from start to finish. The strong thematic choices in her line up appear to have you climbing up out of darkness to reach the summit if light. But as with most suspense in shorts such as these the small twists and turns will have you going sideways and even tripping you back into the corner before moving you forward to the next.

Flash fiction is a challenging exercise in creativity. For many writers it is just a tool to keep us writing, the tips of our pens sharp. Rarely can we put together such solid prose into any semblance of theme. Not only has she done just this but she leaves you wanting for more.

The only reason I did not give it a five was perhaps my poet within wanting to swap a few around and two stories did not have as powerful of a punch compared to the rest.

Breathe in Autumn dusted off a nightmare. Outback Lament brought me back to my roaming in the hill country. Timmy’s Escape is reminiscent of tales told to innocent ears around campfires and Amy leaves your mouth open in the “oooohhh” position.

Take a chance, shine a lantern over in this dark place and go grab the perfect quick read and taste of the authors expansive talent. She’s well known to many for her young adult fantasty but these will show you another side and leave you want for more.

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Review: Deception Peak

Deception Peak
Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn Gardner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to rush out right now and buy this for my discerning reader and petulant twelve-year-old my wonderful 12 year-old son Liam.

This is a child who is reading at college level and has been since he was 9. It is a constant struggle keeping him in books because it seems these days so many series skip from first chapter books and fly right through the Wonder Years, right past GO and forget the not all the boys play sports or video games, some of these boys read. There are only so many times a child can read Harry Potter or the Warrior Cat Series. Sure, there are books out there written for boys, but as I said, discerning… book snob.. petulant? With such a small pile to choose from, plus being über picky when it comes to what he reads. He read Anchihiiroo – Origin of an Antihero (Toonopolis Shorts, #1) by J.Rodden and though he said it was to short (umm yes Liam, it is a short story) he liked it, in fact he gave it five moose poo’s! (which is a five-star rating in any 12-year old boys mind because at this age forget about bow ties, moose poo is cool), but he was not interested in reading anything else in the series. He needs meat on his bones, he is not Henry Jones (oh and BTW never teach your children old Choir songs you sang when you were in school, especially jazz ones. This is one of his favorite to sing when he decides he does not want to eat what is for dinner or is in the shower or just plain old in high-speed monkey-doodle mode tunes and .. OK maybe you should because it is hilarious every time I hear him sing it!)

Having said and shared all of that, he is also a child who read Ender’s Game, (over one weekend mind you, he would not put it down even when eating, and glared if we even suggested it.) got all hyper, jumped up and down and did a fist pump and a tiny bit of jazz hand action, turned around three times and said with open arms, dropping to his knees (I am not exaggerating here, and yes obviously this is my child) and clasped his hands in front of his chest giving me his best begging for it look and said

“More… mother dear, give me MORE!”
To which I promptly and with aplomb gave him Speaker for the Dead to which he replied with one raised eyebrow, “Hmmmm? Mom, ummm the dead don’t talk, this is not like that stupid movie is it?” OK so he gets to watch weird and bad movies with me, but let us get to the point, the second in the Ender series was just to old for him subject wise, even the title had him going “meh” He got about a third of the way through and set it aside. When I asked him about it he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I just don’t get Ender’s new gig anymore, he is to old for me. I will finish it later.” As in, he will pick it up in a few years and get it. His brother, who is going to be 23 did the same thing at about the same age and at 14 finished the series and re-read it several times. My point is, where are the wonderful books I remember reading as a petulant discerning book snob of 12? We had them in spades! But I was girl…wait I still am I think but I digress. Sure there are the classics, and Liam has read them all. He has a beautiful collection of leather-bound books he has read over and over, especially Tale of Two Cities and Treasure Island.

Deception Peak is a book that will be part of his Christmas pile of plunder this year. This child is going to adore it and the series will be in his favorite pile. He still has typical tendencies of regular 12-year olds, loves video games – (the child is also scary good at them because of his dexterity level. Did you know that dexterity is directly linked to your comprehension and reading skills as a child. Seriously go google it) tells bathroom flavored humor like a pro, and likes to ride his bike over homemade ramps. This book is written at just the perfect pace for a kids his age to stay intrigued and hooked, it does not get muddled down with details, it keeps you holding your breath at the right moments and reads like a classic fantasy. The story structure for the fantasy aspect is somewhat like one of those good old fashioned RPG games on the computer. Liam loves those games and will get all the video game innuendoes and subtleties veiling a very hard lesson being taught for not only the child protagonist, Ian in the story, but also his father Alex. I would highly recommend this book to single fathers to read along with their sons. I get goose bumps when I think of some of the haunting songs the author uses as story breaks throughout the tale.

“Brave on little soldier, brave into the night
Your journeys before you, your song’s in the light
For many you seek and many you save
Though darkness surrounds you, and powers are great
Though night overcomes the sweetness of day
Brave on through despair, Press on in the fight
The tunnel of grieving, imprisoned by might
The worst will be over and darkness will ebb
You will aft find your way, and wake up in your bed”
pgs. 55-56 — Deception Peak -Dianne Lynne Gardner ©2012

Ian is a child I did not really like at first, yes he is a teenager and yes he has had it hard. His mother died and it seems as if his father was barely hanging by a thread he was so wrapped up in his grief. He is a bit, but he was not the kid in school that is always picked on, but just a smart kid that mouthed off, had a flippant attitude and drew beautifully rendered swords in the corners of his in textbooks. Yep, typical geek behavior I would have to say. His father ran a foundry and made medieval armory, he also was a video game designer. It seems to me this was a project which i to be for both of them, Ian is very artistic (text-book – drawing of swords yada yada?). What more could a boy want? Yet he is typical in the fact some of it is taken a bit for granted. Not a totally typical teenager, he has an obvious deep and abiding love and respect for his father, but is continually having inner dialogues questioning his fathers actions. This turns out to be another great story device making it so appropriate and one that should be used in a classroom setting for reading. It really is written with such intelligent and incredibly woven seamless segues. Oh if she was an SCA’er she would be in the Order of the Winged Harp where all great Bards reside!

Right from the start of Deception Peak, you can see there is a lot of love between father and son, but there is also a sense of distance. There is more talking at each other instead of to each other, almost going through the motions, wanting to connect and needing too but never actually making it. The novel starts off with a dream of Ian’s. It is a perfect prologue for what is to come in this awesome tale. But what happens in the next chapter was a complete surprise to me! I was totally taken back by his father’s irresponsible and child-like actions. If it were Ian it would be understandable, being it would have been the actions of a reckless youth. But for a father to thrust his son into this world which started off as rendering a 3D portal engine as a project for father and son, to exploring a world literally within a computer, or at least the computer program created a “portal” to this world, or …. a “window” (I had to giggle a lot when I read this and tittered a bit more when I read it glowed blue, Liam is going to think this is SO cool! He is a Windows™ man!), had my head spinning a bit. I ended up going back and re-reading the first three chapters and felt a bit better about it. Though, that was me, don’t take that as a ding, my brain was not functioning to clearly, I think I fell asleep mid-chapter on that one, anyway moving along.

With trepidation on Ian’s part, and having nightmares or weird prophetic dreams with more quest like songs being song in the air when he is awake and asleep, they enter the portal and begin to explore a little more each day. They even find horses and ride being able to explore more and more. Ian is still not sure what to think of all of this. (oh and by this point I really could not put it down. If I had not been feeling off physically and falling asleep in my book all the time, which is cool with books like this because I just keep going in my own version). The real action starts when Alex decides they are going camping for the weekend, and not just a few hours. By this time, the learn from one of the characters Ian ever rendered while beginning the video game project, there is a dragon (Yes Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave there is a Dragon!). A big, bad scary dragon, and Ian? He does not want anything to do with it. Smart lad as it turns out. His father? Not so much so… To go any further would be doing spoilers, and you all know me, Sweeties, I do not do spoilers.

Parents of boys, and of adventurous girls of the age range from 12 up, because let’s face it I loved the story. Yes it is YA and it is not written for me. This is not a book written for soccer mom’s and labeled young-adult fiction, this is a book for kids of middle school and up who want a good hearty fantasy read. Who like meat on their bones and want dragons, and swords and quests,

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Review: Curveball

Curveball
Curveball by Jen Estes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second in the series, but as is with most of these types of mystery series you will not have to read the first to get what is going on. Sure you miss the initial contact, that first time the bat hits the ball, but the commentator from the press box who is doing his job well will make sure you are up to speed with this seasons progress of the players as they start rolling in. Jen Estes is pretty masterful in this, I had no clue this was a second in the series, I thought perhaps there maybe a novella or a short story she wrote where I could learn about how she took down a baseball empire in Vegas, but really didn’t care because the story started with a home run and kept going from there. The other team? The ones filled with the players with poor editing, and bad grammar use and the jerk who always yells out the obvious clues and spoils it for me? Ohhh I had a feeling from the first this was going to be a grand slam for the home team and I was rooting! Oh ya! *shoving Apple Pie in my craw* and despite the heat of the Santa Domingo and the hot sexy distractions of some of those players, there is no distracting me from trying to solve the mystery before the end.

I loved the book there are not if’s ands or buts (ok there are the aforementioned baseball players buts, but I think you get where I am going). I absolutely love all the characters, including Aiken’s spoiled brat of a daughter who only seems to be a blithering idiot (ok maybe she is a teensy weensy bit of a vapid cow). Cat, our protagonist, is immediately likable. Her sassy border line snarky… oh heck let’s not be diplomatic about it, she has snark down to a science in this book, both inner dialogues and outer! She fits the perfect amateur sleuth requirement for a cozy. Well maybe a bit less of an amateur because she is an investigative reporter who specializes in exposes, but she is still no cop or private detective and she is not meant to solve all the mysteries which crop up surrounding the main one, some are down right dangerous!

Roger Aiken, the owner of the Buffalo Soldier franchise, is played as aloof to us and untouchable as he seems to be to his daughter Paige Party-girl and Prankster, Paige, (yes the vapid cow), is fashionable to a level that threatens her wearing a neon designer label around her head in the shape of a tiara (oh wait I bet she has one from some fashion runway show that was in their swag bag). Unfortunately for Cat, she suffers from ”ME” Syndrome which unfortunately, again, for Cat means the overpowering stench of Chanel No.5 seeps into everything she is around, unable to wash away even with heavy cleanser and bleach. Her application of a life time of all of this has allowed her above and beyond in her obtaining of a PhD in Spoiled Rich Girl.

The rest of the cast, Chase, whose smile shines a bit to brightly with empty promises and dangerous use of a good meal. Junior, a couch and someone from both Paige and Cat’s past and whose hips need to come swing a bit more towards me if he wants to hit that home run. Yep, I went there, but seriously he is the hot dog and beer that makes the game! Two men, one who should be wearing black and the other white, as long as they have rip-aways, are present, as they should be in a good mystery. We have all the ingredients for the what is gearing up to be one of the tastiest of mysteries to hit the diamond in a long time!

As usual my normal requirements for a mystery can be applied:

–Keeps me guessing till at least 75% of the way through

YEP sure did, I was totally clueless. The author had so many different distracting things going on that were also making the story, I kept losing track of clues and hints. I was totally taken off guard in the end.

–Characters are endearing and well flashed out.

I think I covered that above, they are more than that. You want to just take a couple of them home and keep them locked up in the.. oh umm you know what I mean. And there are a few you want to lock up too, but not for fun! They jump off the page and are real.

–At the end, there is an OMG moment.

This was one of the reasons the story is not getting a full five star rating. As obvious as it was not what they thought it was, what it turned out to be was so cliché I was disappointed, And Asrielle was still in my lap, there was no s but really where else could you go. The method of delivering the unoriginal was unique so it did not take away to much at all. Since I mention one issue I have with the story I may as well mention one other reason to bring it down a full rating point, the obnoxious label name dropping. I know so many novels these days do this but I find it obnoxious and distracting. It is the Catch-22 rule. Is that Jimmy Choo shoes and matching handbag necessary for the story? Does mentioning each label hanging in the closet or leaking out of a shopping bag going to make or break the tale? Nope! Establishing Paige is who she is, wears what she does is a story design element that cannot be avoided when filling out her character build. After that however, After that occasionally bring it up, as in when Paige is talking, would have been fine, but the continuing repetition of naming fashion labels and dresses with or without, was not. Not enough to ruin it, but enough to make it annoying and bothersome at times.

OH and as for the other team? They so lost in fact it was a forfeit, they never even made an appearance. The editing was spot on and professional, the structure was well played, and as I mentioned she didn’t tell me anything at all about what was going on. I discovered each clue as Cat did. Mystery the way I like it served up, with a side of pie!

I enjoyed this immensely and have bought the first in the series, which is set in Vegas. I cannot wait to be able to tear through my personal TBR in December (my own Christmas present to me, after NaNo I will need it) so I can read it. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good cozy, who likes their cozy with a bit of a bump in the oh-la-la factor and likes a good belly laugh in top of it all. Even if you do not like baseball you will get a dig-out with this book! (OK that was my worst one ever but it is getting towards the end I promise no more really painful puns), and honestly. My love of baseball goes this far:

I really only like it when I am playing for fun, I do not like the game. Their boring to watch ( I would rather watch golf or bowling), I hate how long they can be and frankly standing up and screaming hey battabattabatta gets really old really fast. The only time I have ever enjoyed going to a game is when we go to the local ones here. We have a great league and they serve Frito Pie and Pabst Blue ribbon from a 100 Gallon Plastic Tub full of Ice, in a can, man! That means it is an outing with decent food and wining and dining can actually be applied. The other way I like my baseball, my rubber ducky collection. Otherwise, who cares. So for me to enjoy a book which is centered around the sport? Kind of makes me wish for spring to come around, I can almost taste that Frito Pie…

SO I am giving this a solid four BALLS, a nice casual walk AKA read which is a whole lot of fun and where the author has masterfully managed to keep me completely in the dark about what was going to come next for at least 75% of the book!

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Welcome Kate Campbell

Welcome Kate Campbell

CABINGODDESS.COM grew a bit big for it’s britches and is currently having some server issues, so I am borrowing a little space on my hidden snow covered corner on the web! Thanks for coming to the backwoods of Cabin Goddess and sharing a little Alaskan Dreaming and being one of the snowflakes in my pocket!

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? Definitely back in time, probably to the 16th Century and the European Renaissance, a time when the Earth and the arts were being widely explored.  It was a golden age, Elizabeth I was queen of England, Shakespeare was madly writing masterpieces and the works of the Italian masters were being celebrated. Although created earlier, the art was and is a marvel. What attracts me to the period is the creative energy and the artistic possibilities. In terms of the entire century, British historian John Guy suggests “England was economically healthier, more expansive, and more optimistic under the period than at any time in a thousand years. Zowie! Take me there.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? Only five? Cheesh. That’s a hard one. There are so many accomplished people I’d like to share a meal with, but for my first soiree, I’d choose from the arts, science, letters, politics and sports. Impressionist painter Claude Monet would be among the guests and I’d insist the party be in his garden at Giverny. I’d select a yellow table cloth and blue chairs. Then I’d invite scientist Linus Pauling, novelist John Steinbeck, diplomat Condoleezza Rice and Olympic athlete Michael Phelps. Understand, however, this is merely the first party. There are many, many others I’d like to meet over a glass of wine and a slice of chocolate cake in a beautiful garden by candlelight.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? This is about what I can’t live without, right? A hard question. Perhaps my feather pillow, a family photo, pen and paper. I know this is four things, but really pen and paper are one in my mind.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Jamoca Almond Fudge with chocolate sauce. If you’re going to go into insulin shock, might as well go all the way. Modern-day Chocolate Moose Tracks works for me in a pinch. Please pass the hot fudge.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pumpkin pie and coffee, boysenberry pie if nothing else is available

Night owl, or early bird? Early, early bird, so early I often meet night owls in passing.

One   food you would never eat? Tomato soup. It’s a long story, but I was once forced to eat it as a child, a contest of wills with my mother: “Eat it or you don’t leave the dinner table.” About midnight I gave in, deciding it was better to lose the battle and win the war. After that, it was game on!

Pet Peeves? Rudeness in all its guises. I hate it in myself and in others.

Skittles or M&Ms? Strictly an M&Ms kinda gal. My sons are named Mark & Mike, plain and peanut.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Adrift in the Sound is about what really happened to us in 1973, the end of an era, a contemporary history rendered with grit, verve and love that offers insights into our lives today.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? My next book is about a third written. It’s set in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in the 1990s. An ambitious, but flawed, young woman is banished to the delta after a major professional indiscretion. She’s charged with creating a five-star resort for a major international hotel chain, but wants to manage a fancy hotel in San Francisco. Shuffled off to the boonies, she finds herself in the middle of California’s water wars. Faced with her own personal problems, teetering on collapse, just like the mansion and estate she’s been tasked with resurrecting, she must come to terms with herself, her employer and a beautiful ecosystem on the verge of collapse.

Future projects include work on my short story collection: Songs from the Caldera, perhaps a sequel to Adrift in the Sound, because so many readers say they want to know what happens to Lizette and baby Violet after the story ends, and a memoir about growing up without a father. The last time I saw my father I was about 10 years old. For nearly 50 years I didn’t know what happened to him. Now I know and I also know what 50 years of longing feels like. Because this is such a personal story, I’m going to have to think very carefully about what needs to be told. I’m currently studying memoir as literary form and researching.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? For me, life is story. It always has been. Ask me a question, you get a story. But, I decided to take my writing and storytelling seriously while attending San Francisco State University, which has an acclaimed English Department and creative writing program. I took my degree in journalism because, as a single mother, it was a way to support my children and practice my craft, which I’ve done for the past 30 years.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Unexpectedly, a friend, a man, (not that kind of friend) sent me a note that he’d taken Adrift in the Sound on vacation to Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California and read it. He loved the book, loved that the story was set to a large extent on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington State, and like most readers, he cared about what happened to the characters after the story ends. He said Adrift in the Sound was the best part of his vacation. I was thrilled by his response.

What is your dream cast for your book? Apparently every novelist harbors dreams of seeing their story turned into a movie and I’m no exception. I try not to be drawn into this fantasy, but I’m weak. So, my main character, the beautiful, fragile artist Lizette would be played by Lindsay Lohan or McKalay Maroney, depending on acting range, like I can be picky, LOL! Would someone please send Adrift in the Sound to Lindsay or her mother?.

Her best friend Marian, might be a scruffy Jennifer Love Hewitt. Rocket, the sort-of love interest, Kato. Toulouse the poet: Johnny Depp looking scraggly. Unfortunately Keith Richard is way too old to play Toulouse, but he would have been perfect in his younger days. Sandy the little snake dancer, let’s see, maybe Britany Spears, but much rougher and more conniving.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? Probably my earliest love was Scottish poet Robert Lewis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, my favorite poem: “Time to Rise.”

A birdie with a yellow bill Hopped upon my window sill, Cocked his shining eye and said: “Ain’t you ‘shamed, you sleepy-head!”

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? I’ve worn out several CDs during the writing of Adrift in the Sound, including blues man Taj Mahal’s albums “Giant Step” and “De Ole Folks at Home.” The lyrics from Taj’s version of “Light Rain Blues” appears with permission in Adrift in the Sound, as well as lyrics from “Six Days on the Road.” When asked if I could use lyrics from his album, Taj’s lawyer wrote: “Taj is cool with this.” Wish more lawyers talked that way.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Put the seat of your pants in the seat of the chair and just do it—write!

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why? At heart, I’m an Edwardian. I grew up in an Edwardian-style home on the edge of the gateway to San Francisco Bay. Our home had touches of Art Nouveau, a beautiful Tiffany-style leaded glass skylight above the stairs to the second floor, gumwood paneling, hardwood floors inlaid with Philippine mahogany, leaded glass doors on the library book shelves, filled with leather-bound copies of the classics passed down from my great aunts and grandmother, and tons of popular books from Book-of-the-Month Club.

While in college I took an English class that required reading the complete works of Joseph Conrad. I’ve read many of the Edwardians: J. M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, which I’ve read many times, dreaming I was Wendy; Rudyard Kipling, loving the short story “Rikki Tikki Tavi; and the plays of George Bernard Shaw, especially “Major Barbara.” Vita Sackville West.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Who wouldn’t want these attributes? I’ve always wanted to be a beautiful, noble warrior.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? In my childhood home, well, maybe not. Maybe West Marin County where my family had a small ranch while I was growing up. I love horses and dogs and long walks on the beach. Afraid I’m not much of an adventurer, more of a homebody. My idea of an exotic destination is Reno, Nevada.

What is your favorite Quote? “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato. This reminds me to go easy for everyone has an important story to tell from their battle. My job is to open my heart to listen and learn, not judge.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? Judith, Queen of France.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? A young Elizabeth Taylor or Vivian Leigh—stunningly beautiful and so much more.

Who are your favorite authors of all time? John Steinbeck, always John, but Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, (maybe I’m a Russian novelist at heart. Who knows my heart? I’m too busy examining the hearts of others) Virginia Woolf, who always makes me feel like writing, James Joyce, Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset, author of the historical trilogy Kristen Lavransdatter set in 14th Century Norway. I love big, meaty books.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I am in all of my characters, there in empathy and some understanding, at the very least. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to conceive them.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? I had a wonderful editor, David Weinstein, when I worked as a freelance writer at the West County Times in Richmond California. I’d fallen down the stairs at home a couple of weeks before Christmas, had a house full of kids and several parties planned. I was late with a story to David. He accepted the story, it was pretty good, gave me another assignment. I was walking out of the news room and he stood at his desk in the far corner and pointed a long finger at me as I reached the door and said loud enough for every reporter hunched over their computers to hear: “Kate Campbell, you do your work!” That admonishment keeps me going, keeps me producing as a journalist and a novelist.

Hidden talent? I’m a very good swimmer, the result of years of training and swimming teams. Breast is my best stroke, but you probably would have guessed that.

Favorite Food? Chocolate

Favorite Candy? Chocolate

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? Michael Chabon’sTelegraph Avenue. I loved Wonder Boys, read it while I was editing Adrift in the Sound and about fell over when I found the wonderful snake scene, which is different, but similar to what I’d written in my book. I felt a special affinity with his work after that, like we were traveling some of the same creative terrain.

How do you react to a bad review? So far I haven’t had a bad review, but when Adrift in the Sound was critiqued in workshop and I got feedback like: “Banal writing. The main character isn’t loveable. Ordinary narrative, not enough drama. The writing sounds like it’s copied from Wikipedia. Who cares about a bunch of junkies? Boring.” I couldn’t write for six months after that. I cried. I doubted. I took up knitting. I hated myself and I got over it. Adrift in the Sound is a better book because of those critiques.

What’s your favorite season/weather? Fall, it’s an end and a beginning.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? I had a big party at the Comedy Spot, a stand-up comedy nightclub in mid-town Sacramento, had a cake made with an edible version of my book cover on it, read too long to family and friends, got bouquets of flowers, kissed and hugged, sold lots of books.

What is your guilty pleasure? Lemon meringue pie, with black coffee, on my back patio in late afternoon, followed by a nap.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? True crime stories, can’t help looking at other people’s train wrecks. My favorite TV show is CSI, especially the gritty Las Vegas version.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…. Orlando by Virginia Woolf, the concept of metamorphosis and gender shifting is so deftly handled. Second place goes to Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. No human being should be allowed to write that beautifully. It’s a crime, really.

Favorite places to travel? I’m not a big traveler. I’ve been too busy working and raising boys by myself, but when I do travel, I love to be in Lake Tahoe, Yosemite or California’s North Coast. To walk in the mountains or stand among the redwoods is to transcend the hum drum of ordinary life.

Favorite music? Low down, funky, black dog blues. I like music with grit that makes me shake my booty. Don’t get me wrong, I like all music, but we’re talking favorites here.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? Joan Didion, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, Janet Fitch, Caroline Leavitt, Cheryl Strayed, Lynn Freed, Pam Houston, Joy Haro. Sorry, can’t name just one. There are so many accomplished writers my list could go on and on. God, I love these women and learn so much from them.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Literary Fiction 

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Kate Campbell on her

Blog http://kate-campbell.blogspot.com/

The Ups and Downs of Being Dead – Pre-Thanksgiving Freebie

Need something to read while your hovering in the kitchen and hiding from your crazed family members this next week? Well M.R. Cornelius has come up with a solution. Amazon and her are offering for today and tomorrow her festive and funr eady of The Ups and Downs of Being Dead. A curious exploratory story into the “what if”. Take a chance, it is free. Personally I would, if I had not already owned the book *smile* I really like this authors writing! One of my favorite 2011 reads was her first pandemic story. All I know is I am actually glad for once I live in a cabin with no room to have a horde eating at my table! Have a great weekend and happy reading!

FREE

November 16 & 17

on Amazon

The Ups and Downs of Being Dead
The Ups and Downs of Being Dead

Fifty-seven year old Robert Malone is the CEO of a successful clothing store chain and married to a former model. When his doctor tells him he is dying of cancer, he refuses to go quietly. Instead of death, Robert choses cryonics. He knows it’s a long shot. His frozen body will be stored in liquid nitrogen for the next seventy-five years, and then he’ll wake up in the future. That is, if technology develops a way to bring him back. He’s willing to take that gamble.

What he doesn’t realize is that he won’t lie in some dreamless state all that time. His soul is very much awake, just like the others who were frozen before him. And like these souls in limbo, Robert begins a new kind of life outside his physical body.

He discovers that he can ride in the cockpit with the pilots, but he can’t turn the page of a magazine. He can sit in the oval office with the president, but he can’t prevent a child from dashing in front of a car. He doesn’t work, or eat, or sleep. He can’t smell, or taste, or touch. These obstacles make it difficult to experience love, and virtually impossible to reconcile with the living.

Over the next several decades, Robert Malone will have plenty of time to figure out The Ups and Downs of Being Dead.

AMAZON (US) | AMAZON (UK)

**below is a pre-practiced or book blogging review. I really enjoy Ms. Cornelius’ writing style and story telling. I would recommend any of her books due to this alone. Her free pre-Thanksgiving offer promised to be even more creative and enjoyable. Based on her H10N1 story, she is not a stranger to thinking outside of the box and coloring outside the lines. 

H10N1H10N1 by M.R. Cornelius My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A totally unexpected surprise wrapped up in a seemingly typical post pandemic package! Everyone has a past, it effects how we handle what the present deals us.

In a nutshell the two protagonists end up thrust together while trying to find a safe place to ride out the storm of a pandemic which is fast wiping out the planets population.

Though sprinkled with moments expected for PA Genre, this novel focused on the human condition, trials and struggles each have while trying to maintain their own civility in a world gone mad.

Fantastic surprise! The end was a bit rushed for me, but I really love the twists and turns of this end of 2011 find for me.

View all my reviews

____________________________

After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, she turned in her non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. Now she works at home, writing novels, ranting on Facebook and Twitter, and occasionally whisking a Swiffer across dusty surfaces.

M. R. Cornelius lives in the suburbs north of Atlanta with her husband and two spoiled cats who refuse to wear socks and dust the furniture. Her two college-aged sons visit regularly for clean clothes, food and money.

You can find her around the net

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