Month: January 2013

What I’m Reading Now: Hitchers

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Two years ago, on the same day but miles apart, Finn Darby lost two of the most important people in his life: his wife Lorena, struck by lightning on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and his abusive, alcoholic grandfather, Tom Darby, creator of the long-running newspaper comic strip Toy Shop.

Against his grandfather’s dying wish, Finn has resurrected Toy Shop, adding new characters,and the strip is more popular than ever,bringing in fan letters, merchandising deals,and talk of TV specials. Finn has even started dating again.

When a terrorist attack decimates Atlanta,killing half a million souls, Finn begins blurting things in a strange voice beyond his control. The voice says things only his grandfather could know. Countless other residents of Atlanta are suffering a similar bizarre affliction. Is it mass hysteria, or have the dead returned to possess the living?

Finn soon realizes he has a hitcher within his skin… his grandfather. And Grandpa isn’t terribly happy about the changes Finn has been making to Toy Shop. Together with a pair of possessed friends, an aging rock star and a waitress, Finn races against time to find a way to send the dead back to Deadland . . . or die trying.

My Thoughts on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

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Hooray for FINALLY being able to recommend a great book!

When Harold Fry receives a letter from an old coworker, notifying him that she is dying of cancer, he quickly pens a reply expressing his sadness. He takes the letter and starts walking to the post office box. But once he gets there, he decides that his reply in insufficient. He decides to walk further, and when he stops for something to eat, a girl tells him that he needs to have faith and help his friend have faith.

There begins the pilgrimage of Harold Fry. He is going to walk to his friend, all 500+ miles of it, though it ends up being more because he gets lost a few times. And since he is older and retired, he can only walk about 6 miles a day.

It is not until the big surprise at the end that the reader discovers why Harold cannot just jump in a car or pick up the phone — why he hates death so much that he refuses to let it win this time. It’s a beautiful and interesting story as Harold encounters many people on his way and is not able to heal his friend, but he is able to heal himself.

I loved this paragraph:

“It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The inhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.”

There are a few f-bombs in here (the English are very free with their swear words) but the underlining story is wonderful. Pick it up!

What I’m Reading Now: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

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Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.

Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him—allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.

And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.

A novel of unsentimental charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.

My Thoughts On Don’t Ever Get Old by Friedman

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This book had one of the best first chapters I have ever read. Informed that one of the soldiers he fought with in World War II is on his death bed and wants to talk to him, Buck asks that man’s daughter for a ride to the hospital.

Once there his friend admits a horrible secret, and instead of forgiving him, Buck whispers that he hopes his ‘friend’ burns in hell.

Shocked and upset by not receiving forgivness at the very end of his life, his friend goes into cardiac arrest and dies.

Buck walks up to the grieving daughter and says, “There’s nothing you can do for him now. . .but I need a ride home.”

And there begins your introduction to Buck.

A true mystery, this book contains many twists and turns. But it also gets dark and violent and there are many, many f-bombs. Nonetheless, the first chapter is incredible.

What I’m Reading Now: Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman

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When Buck Schatz, senior citizen and retired Memphis cop, learns that an old adversary may have escaped Germany with a fortune in stolen gold, Buck decides to hunt down the fugitive and claim the loot.

But a lot of people want a piece of the stolen treasure, and Buck’s investigation quickly attracts unfriendly attention from a very motley (and murderous) crew in Daniel Friedman’s Don’t Ever Get Old.

My Thoughts on Cinder and Ella by Lemon

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Cinder and Ella

What if there was no ‘Cinderella’? What if her story was actually emcompassed in two very different sistes?

That is what Lemon considers in the book Cinder and Ella. Cinder is the patient servant, willing to support her mother and spoiled sisters. Ella is brave and wants more out of her life. But, most importantly, she wants to find her father.

The story, in of itself, is rather disappointing. It’s a little boring and drawn out. The symbolism, however, stayed with me for a long time. The missing father has locked himself into a prison of his own making. He is free to leave when he wants but has allowed evil to take hold of him. It reminds me or other moral addictions. The physical prison cannot be seen but the mental one is very real.

I also liked the symbolism of the king. He has an evil son, and sometimes he has to watch the great evil that his son spreads. But then he banishes him from the kingdom and chooses to intervene at times when he is desperately needed. The symbolism of that story is very interesting to ponder on.

I know that Lemon has written similar novels where she reinterprets a fairytale. I will not read them and believe that they may be more fully appreciated by girls age 12-18.

What I’m Reading Now: Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

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Cinder and Ella


When their father mysteriously disappears, Cinder and Ella struggle to care for their two spoiled sisters and a mother who barely knows them.

As Cinder submits to the abuse, Ella vows not to give in or give up on her beloved father.

The quest to find her father will demand everything–her strength, her tenacity, and even her heart. Now it’s up to Ella to save herself, her family, and the entire kingdom.

My Thoughts on Dissension by Monson

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I must admit at the beginning of this review to a bias against overplayed themes. And vampires, certainly, have had more than their 15 minutes of fame lately.

But this book is a great deal more. The story goes back to the very beginning — two thousand years ago — to the first vampire and the creation of the village’s response to this new, fearful creature: an immortal that is equally matched and able to fight and kill vampires.

Two thousand years later, vampires and immortals still desperately hate each other, even though two of them were married at one time and continue to have strong feelings for each other that transcend what they have become.

Toward to beginning of the book, Leisha, a vampire, is saved from a federal experiment by a mortal teenager who has visions. Leisha must find a way to save this mortal from the vampires who would abuse her power as well as her husband, the first immortal.

Filled with adventure, suspense, a surprise ending and a love story, Dissension will make you forget about every other vampire book as you lose yourself in its pages.

What I’m Reading Now: Dissension by Adrienne Monson

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From the Author:

Fists are pumping, bodies gyrating, sweat dripping—booming music drowns out all other noise in the dark club. Leisha, dressed in skimpy, revealing clothes, eyes her victim. As soon as he sets eyes on her, she knows he’s hers. He becomes excited as despicable thoughts of murder run through his mind, all readable by Leisha’s abnormal senses. After a bit of small talk, they are soon both out the door, Leisha pushed against the wall. The man pulls out a knife, ready to cut up this beautiful woman. Leisha smiles as she deflects the knife and bites into his neck, sucking every ounce of life from this abominable man.

It wasn’t always this way.

Leisha was once a loving mother with an ideal family. Though this was over two thousand years ago, Leisha still holds that time dear to her heart. But for now, she must focus on trying to escape the eternal and bloody war between her kind—the Vampires—and the Immortals, an undying race sworn to destroy her people. Soon, Leisha finds herself captured by the government only to be saved by a young and mysterious human girl. What entails is the beginning of a long and torturous journey as Leisha and her newfound friend run for their lives while searching for the one thing that can end it all—the prophecy child.

DISSENSION will be available where books and ebooks are sold February 23, 2013.

My Thoughts on Marysvale by Jared Southwick

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This was our book club selection for January.

Written by a local author, this is a great pick for anyone who would like and interesting and different read. It’s free on Kindle and .99 cents on Nook, so it’s readily available for everyone.

This book has a little bit of everything: a mystery (where did the beasts come from?) a love story, and adventure as John, Jane, and the others try to find a way out of the prison that is Marysvale.

This is the first book of three. I look forward to reading the second one, Alyth, which is already out.