Library Loot

Posted March 16, 2011 by Hillary in library loot, reading / 0 Comments

Below is some of the books that I have come in for me at the library. There is still more I am waiting on. I have told myself not to order any more until I read these. We shall see how good I keep up with that resolution. My boyfriend was nice enough to let me use his account so most of these I can keep out for 4 months. Yippie!! Of course there is also Boneshaker that I am reading and loving.

libaryloot1

The books listed are:

The Elegant Universe

The Colony

Gravity’s Rainbow Companion

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Happiness Project (The sales pitch hooked me. I want to be happy also)

Getting Things Done (will be a reread but as my procrastination is back in full force I need the kick in the ass he provides)

Darkness Visible

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: Indefensible

Posted March 9, 2011 by Hillary in ARC, Book Reviews, thrillers / 0 Comments

This book was sent to me by the publisher for review.indefensiable

This book is a Legal Thriller. I used to read these all the time when I was younger, and if there is one thing I like about them is that they are very plot driven. A blessing when you have hit a reading slump and need the plot to move along to keep your attention.

A women is killed and her ex-husband is the prime suspect. There are a lot of stories with this theme but this book manages to have a slightly  different take on it. For the first part of the book I was sure I knew who the killer was but then there is a nice plot twist thrown in that keeps the book interesting.

This is the second book in a series. I haven’t read the first book “ Damaged”. While this book can be read as a stand a long there are references to earlier happenings which make the reader curious as to what exactly went on in the first book. The characters also have a history in the first book that may help the reader make sense of the relationships that are in the second book. For example in “Indefensible” we see two characters not liking each other and the description of why refers back to the second book.

The characters were well fleshed out. Everything that happened was believable.The author made you care what happened. The book was good at invoking emotion and pulling you into the story. Since the book was heavily plot driven there was not a lot of background and explaining how the characters would feel. That was accomplished through the characters actions.

Over all I liked this story. At times I wished I had read the first book first but that may just be my extreme need for order speaking. I did feel like I was missing some information however by not reading the first book. I would recommend reading “Damaged” then “Indefensible

four-stars
Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

The Sunday Salon

Posted March 6, 2011 by Hillary in Sunday Salon / 0 Comments

TSSbadge2

February has been a slow month for me. Both reading and blog wise. I spent much of the month with writers block and in a  reading slump. Since I don’t have very many hobbies outside of reading and writing this created some problems.

While in this slump friends tried to help me with advice. They ranged from just getting out of the house more and having an adventure that would spur my brain to start working again. For a while it seemed as though nothing helped. However I did find going on walks to getting out of the house and mixing my routine did help.

Another big part is that it seemed that this never ending winter seems to be kicking my but in a major way. I find myself craving sunlight and wanting to go outside to read and type but with snow accumulating in ever more inches this was not a possibility. Maybe it wasn’t true writers block after all but rather my SADD depression getting the best of me.

With hints of spring and the promise of depression lifting UV rays it seems I am slowly getting my reading and writing mojo back.

Today I am reading Indefensible. It is a review copy. It is also a fast paced thriller whitch is good because I am still iffy on my reading mojo so a book that is plot driven keeps me reading.

I hope everyone has a great Sunday!!

Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: Living Dead in Dallas

Posted March 2, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews, paranormal / 0 Comments

living dead in dallas

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of real bad luck. First, her co-worker gets murdered and no one seems to care. Then Sookie is attacked – and poisoned – late one night by some weird and apparently mythical beast. She only survives because the local vampires roll up and graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it). But in return the blood-suckers need a favor.
Which is why Sookie ends up in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire, on the condition that her undead friends don’t do anything, well, vampiric while she’s there. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly- Summary from Goodreads.

 

This is the second book in Charlene Sookie Stackhouse series. I reviewed the first book here. The second book can be read alone but you will miss background information that will help explain the story. The first book was more world building. The second book is more plot driven.

With some books the first one is great then the second one is not so great, This was not a problem with this book. It was as good as the first one. I think my friend did a good job in hooking me on to this series.

I like seeing a strong female character in a book. Those weepy whiny girl and woman charters annoy me. Sookie on the other hand is strong and does not take crap from anyone. Vampire or human. If vampires were real even in situations where any “normal” person would back down Sookie faces it with courage and conviction.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes paranormal books. I just hope the author writes many many many more books to come.

five-stars
Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: 365 Thank Yous

Posted February 24, 2011 by Hillary in ARC, Book Reviews, LibraryThing Early Reviewers / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: 365 Thank Yous365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
Published by Hachette Books on December 28th 2010
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 240
Goodreads

One recent December, at age 53, John Kralik found his life at a terrible, frightening low: his small law firm was failing; he was struggling through a painful second divorce; he had grown distant from his two older children and was afraid he might lose contact with his young daughter; he was living in a tiny apartment where he froze in the winter and baked in the summer; he was 40 pounds overweight; his girlfriend had just broken up with him; and overall, his dearest life dreams--including hopes of upholding idealistic legal principles and of becoming a judge--seemed to have slipped beyond his reach. Then, during a desperate walk in the hills on New Year's Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn't have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had. Inspired by a beautiful, simple note his ex-girlfriend had sent to thank him for his Christmas gift, John imagined that he might find a way to feel grateful by writing thank-you notes. To keep himself going, he set himself a goal--come what may--of writing 365 thank-you notes in the coming year.One by one, day after day, he began to handwrite thank yous--for gifts or kindnesses he'd received from loved ones and coworkers, from past business associates and current foes, from college friends and doctors and store clerks and handymen and neighbors, and anyone, really, absolutely anyone, who'd done him a good turn, however large or small. Immediately after he'd sent his very first notes, significant and surprising benefits began to come John's way--from financial gain to true friendship, from weight loss to inner peace. While John wrote his notes, the economy collapsed, the bank across the street from his office failed, but thank-you note by thank-you note, John's whole life turned around. 365 Thank Yous is a rare memoir: its touching, immediately accessible message--and benefits--come to readers from the plainspoken storytelling of an ordinary man. Kralik sets a believable, doable example of how to live a miraculously good life. To read 365 Thank Yous is to be changed.

365 thank yousltbird

This is a short and delightful book. The author is at a low point in his life. His small law firm is failing, his ex wife cant agree on a divorce among other things.He decides to start writing thank you notes.It is during this process that he realizes what all he has to be grateful for and his depression starts to dissipate. But first he had this insight:

“Then I heard a voice:Until you learn to be grateful for the things that you have, you wont receive the things that you want.”

From this he concocted the idea of the thank you notes.

While he was really in a predicament that would make most people feel despair and depression (living in a tiny apartment with almost no ac and cold during the winter, 40 pounds overweight etc.) he used this to go after his dreams.

Slowly over the course of the year his life gradually improves. It is by no means perfect but at the end of the project when some ask how is he, he can honestly list  good things that have been happening in his life.

This is one of those ideas that I had myself. When he was wrapped up in his despair it was impossible to see through the dark clouds at the happiness that lay beyond. By writing these thank you notes he was in a sense “forced” to see what he really had to be happy about.

This is a quick short and sweet read. Even though he was a lawyer and now a Judge his writing is written so it is easy to understand from anyone view. This will definitely be on my favorite books of 2011.

Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: Dead Until Dark

Posted February 22, 2011 by Hillary in book review, paranormal / 0 Comments

dead until dark

People who know me long enough will know that I still mourn the death of Anne Rice vampire seris. She was one of my most favorite if not my favorite writer of all time. Yet when she went back to God she stopped writing the vampire stories and we fans were left with getting our vampire fix another way.

I will just be honest, I hate Twilight, and Bella. It saddens me that people actually buy that cheap crap. It infuriates me that teenage girls everywhere say they can relate to Bella on her issues. If that’s what American role models have been reduced to, I fear for this great nation.

A friend had read Sookie Sackhouse books first, and knowing that I was craving something along the Anne Rice spectrum of vampire stories.  She bought me the first two book in the series just to show me how good they are. I was not disappointed. It is almost like having Anne Rice back again. Granted this author does not go into heavy mythology (well at least not in the first book) or religious issues but the rest is still wonderful.

And Charlaine Harris effortlessly combines mystery with the paranormal and even some romance thrown in. The characters development is such that you become attached to Sookie. This is where readers like me has a problem. Since I know that there are nine (soon to be 10) more books after this one so you KNOW Sookie is not going to be killed. Yet the writing is so good that just for a minute you are worried that perhaps in your book she might meet a different fate.

Sookie can hear peoples thoughts. She has spent her whole life trying to block out other people. It is this reason that she could not go to school and is in a low paying job. When a vampire rolls into town Sookie discovers that his mind is blessedly silent. They develop a relationship. Woman turn up dead and Sookie attempts to use her powers to solve the mystery.

One big difference between this book and other vampire books is that the vampires in the Sookie Stackhouse books are “out”. They are part of mainstream human society. This puts a different spin on events.

I loved this book and will be reading all the books in the series.

Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

The Sunday Salon

Posted February 20, 2011 by Hillary in Sunday Salon / 0 Comments

 

TSSbadge2

It has been a while since I have wrote this. The sad fact is that I have been struck with the biggest book slump and writers block in my whole life. It was so bad I could barley type my own name. I did manage to read and review a book last week. Wasn’t my best review ever but it was something. Better than nothing right?

I feel My love of writing and reading slowly coming back so it is at an end. Maybe my friends sugestions to go on walks and get out more helped. Instead of sitting at the computer tearing my hair out I got out of the apt and did stuff I normally don’t do, like goe for walks in 20 degree waether and it seems that a change of pace is just what I needed. Maybe I will incorporate daily walks into my routine.

What have you done to ease a reading slump and writers block?

Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: Total Oblivion

Posted February 18, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: Total OblivionTotal Oblivion, More Or Less by Alan DeNiro
Published by Spectra Ballantine Books on 2009
Genres: Fiction, General, Science Fiction
Pages: 306
Goodreads
five-stars

“I remember the first time I began to understand that things might not be the same again.” What’s a girl to do when her world is invaded by warriors from the ancient world? That’s the problem faced by sixteen-year-old Macy, who sees her quiet, normal life in suburban Minnesota turned upside down when things that should never be possible begin to transform the landscape all around her. The cable stops working, the phone lines die–and then the horsemen come to town. It’s not the same America that she last went to sleep in. Ticketed to a refugee camp by the marauding Scythian armies, Macy and her family come to believe that heading down the Mississippi by boat is their one escape from the encroaching madness. But as they make their way downriver, Macy’s world just keeps getting stranger, and the wooden submarines, wasp-borne plagues, and talking dogs are the least of her problems: For in this upside-down world, old identities warp and family bonds are sorely tested. Acclaimed writer Alan DeNiro has fashioned a completely original, utterly beguiling melding of the surreal and the everyday.

total oblivion

I love dystopian novels. There is something about an imagined world where all went to hell and yet people and things manage to survive. In a way it offers hope for the modern world. If worse comes to worse then if we look to dystopian novels almost everything is survivable.

Total Oblivion is a different kind of novel. It takes place in a future United States that has been invaded by ancient tribes. The tribes all use acient ways of fighting. The US in now divided into an Empire and other entities. There is also a mysterious plague that is going around.

The story is told through the eyes of a teenage girl. It goes from her having a normal life to being upended and having to live in a reffugee camp. Then her father takes the family down river to a supposedly new job. Along the way they encounter armies and other strange obstacles.

It also has a little bit of steampunk thrown in. At first I was taken aback my some of the descriptions (having never read steampunk) but a search online showed that this also falls under steampunk category. I am now curious to read that genre and have resolved to try it out.

I really enjoyed this book. Even though I had many questions left over at the end. What we find out is what the characters in the book would know. The author pulls off the technique brilliantly. This is a risky technique as in some books it would come off poorly written but with this book it seems right that we never find out exactly who the invaders are.It adds a bit of mystery to the story.

This is one of the strangest book that I have read. It is a good kind of strange.

The one thing that bothered me in this novel was the poor character development. Yes, I know this novel is plot driven but I feel more time could have been given to the character so that we can know why they make the descions that they do.

five-stars
Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Posted February 15, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

engulfed

I have read most of David Sedris earlier work and loved them . So I was excited to pick up this one.

However this book I do not feel represents his best work. The essays were not as snarky or as funny.In his earlier work he is gifted in bring out the humor of almost any situation. During the time I read “Engulfed in Flames” I kept waiting for the funny to kick in but it never did.

The essay themselves cover the usual gambit from his family to his health. There was a essay on how and where he quit smoking. I felt that that essay should had been rife with his usual snarky attire but alas it was almost boring.

This brings me to my question. If an author earlier work is more funny or more entertaining than his current one, does that mean that his current book is somehow less than an earlier one?

I mean, if I had picked up this one first I might have said this was a good book. But since I read Naked first, I know this is just so so for him. I am uneasy giving it a lesser rating just because of that. What is your thoughts on this?

five-stars
Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Packing for mars

Posted January 27, 2011 by Hillary in book review, non-fiction / 0 Comments

packing for mars

To the average person being an astronaut is one of the most glamorous jobs out there. What could be more glamorous than going where so few people have gone before?

What most don’t realize and what Mary Roach covers in “Packing for Mars” is that there is a lot of un glamorous things that astronauts have to do.

Roach covers the topic in her usual lighthearted and funny take on things. If you have read and of her previous work she has the same voice albeit a bit more mature.

She also does not back away from “delicate” topics. Like going to the bathroom in space. If you are like me and never have given that aspect a second thought that chapter will be enlightening. It covers everything from the first fecal bag to the now top of the line suction toilet. She goes into her usual depth about how bathroom toilets progresses and the insensitive that emerge from having to deal with not having a place to dump the waste in outers space to if an astronaut misses the toilet.

She also deals with if anyone has ever had sex in space or in weightless gravity. She herself does a lot of research to be able to write detailed book about what it would entail in bringing live humans to Mars.She undergoes some of the same training that astronauts go through. She is complete honest and funny in her findings.

Perhaps the most important thing that she discusses is how people manage to survive in such closed quarters for the duration of the mission. I don’t know about you but I take my space for seriously. Which is why I live alone. But Astronauts when there are on a mission and even in the international Space Station must like in close quarters. So what kind of  effects does that have on them.

Believe it or not they actually have simulations of that here on earth. They put people into enclosed spaces and see how things pan out. Things don’t always pan out the way people hope.

There is a lot more that Roach discussed in her book. The whole thing is a fascinating journey into what really goes into preparing to go out into space. Perhaps, at least for me one of the shocking revelations was that an astronaut is not guaranteed a flight into space. He or she spends most of her time in earth simulations and hope that one  day they will get to see the glory that is outer space.

Hillary
I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!