Monday, April 29, 2013

Author Appreciation Day Blog Hop!

Before I was a book blogger, and before I knew any authors, I didn't realize the importance of book ratings and reviews.  Authors rely on readers to review their books and post those reviews online.  How many times have I been swayed by a review and end up purchasing a book?  I always look at how many stars a book has on Amazon, and how many people rated it, before I purchase.  I've only been rating and reviewing the books I read for a few years now, and only recently on Amazon.

Well, after talking to an author friend and lamenting that a fellow friend should have more ratings for her book than she did, we decided to do something about it.  We have decided that this Friday, May 3rd, shall be Author Appreciation Day.  And we decided to make it a blog hop! 

All you have to do is pick a book you like that you haven't rated or reviewed and post it up on your blog with a sentence or two (or more) about why you liked it.  Then, link your post with the LinkyTool so we can check out who you've chosen.

And since you've done that much, maybe you can put that review/rating up on Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, etc? 

Let's make history today and celebrate those fabulous people who teach us things, transport us to other worlds, make us fall in love and also show us an alarming number of elaborate ways to kill someone. :) 

Use the hashtag #huganauthor on twitter on Friday.  Let's see if we can get it to trend!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Remember and Celebrate

Ok, so it isn't actually Wednesday nor is this Wordless, but the blog hop is open today, so I'm taking advantage.  Yesterday was awful.  As a runner and supporter of the running community, I can only imagine what the people viewing, helping and running the Boston Marathon went through.  The runners are exhausted but elated that they've reached the incredible feat of running 26.1 miles - and at the pace they were going, they had consistently held a sub 10 minute mile pace for 26 miles.  The fans are cheering and screaming their loved ones on, helping to motivate them to push that last tenth of a mile.  The volunteers are also cheering, calling out names if they're on the running bibs, or just yelling general encouragement and enjoying the day.

And then there is not one but two explosions.  Screaming, chaos, blood, tears, heartbreak.  We've all seen the videos and pictures. We've heard the mayor, governor, and president speak.  Now we mourn the losses and support the people effected by this.

Today is the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, and in another 4 days is the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings.  Clearly, something is very wrong with this time of year.  So today we remember all of these tragedies, but we also have to remember to move forward, and to celebrate what we can.

April 15th was not only Patriots Day in Massachusetts, but it was also the anniversary of the first baseball game that Jackie Robinson played in the Big Leagues.  On April 16, 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, so in DC, today is Emancipation Day.  And in my small world, today is my silly dog Riley's 7th Birthday. 

Which brings me to my picture for Wordless Wednesday.  I raced home last night, trying to get to the TV in time for the president's press conference, and my dogs rushed to me and were extra happy to see me, giving me extra kisses and wanting extra hugs and petting.  I may be projecting (ok, I probably am) but I swear they knew something was wrong and were trying to cheer me up.  So today I am still sad, but I'm celebrating life.  So here's to one little life that does nothing greater than make me smile every day.

Happy 7th birthday, RiRi!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Book Blogger Hop

I haven't done one of these in a while and I've missed them!  Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer took over the Friday book blog hop, and I'm so grateful!  Today's question is:

What was the last book you read from a genre you don't normally read?

Answer: Redeye by Michael Shean.  This is cyberpunk/noir/science fiction.  I have read a limited number of science fiction novels, one other cyberpunk and (to my knowledge) zero noir novels.  Thus, this is about as outside my usual reading comfort zone as it gets.  With that said, I'm glad I gave it a try because it was really good!  Action packed and fun and creative.  I reviewed it here, so check it out.  Today is also the official release day of Redeye, so this question could not be more perfectly timed.

Happy Friday to all and Happy Hopping!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Cherry Blossoms and my new Kindle!

Once again, I am joining in on Create-with-Joy's

Spring is in the air!  The weather has finally turned warmer and the trees are in full-bloom.  On my morning commute in to work, I passed a man taking a picture of a cherry tree.  I paused and realized that I should probably do the same.  Once it gets to be 99% humidity and 100 degrees out, I'm going to want to look back at the halcyon days of spring.

Washington, DC Cherry Blossoms

And on a more book related theme, I bought a Kindle Fire HD.  This is totally unrelated to the cherry blossom except that that is a picture and I also have a picture of my Kindle.  It's so pretty.  I love it.  I think I shall call it my precious.

Kindle Fire HD

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eight Series I Stalk

Happy Friday!

Every year I have my list of the series books that I eagerly await the newest book to be released.  However, I never remember when each of them are coming out.  So here are the books that I await each year and am in the process of procuring and reading.  I'm late to the game on some of them (which I didn't realize until I posted this!), but now that I've written them down, I'll be sure to stay on top of the rest.  I also didn't realize until I'd written them down that they're all mysteries.  Hmmm...telling, huh?

Death in the Floating City ...
1. Death In The Floating City, Tasha Alexander, published Oct 12, 2012.  This is book 7 in the Lady Emily series.  The series follows Lady Emily as she uncovers murders in Victorian England.  Romance, mystery, murder and humor, I love this series, but clearly I'm behind on reading it.
Death on Telegraph Hill
2. Death on Telegraph Hill by Shirley Tallman, published October 16, 2012.  This series is about Sarah Woolson, a sleuthing female lawyer in late 19th Century San Francisco.  I love a strong heroine and a female lawyer in a time when men ruled the profession definitely counts.  The 4th in the series, this series has, again, romance, murder and mystery, although less romance and more mystery than anything. UPDATED: READ!
What Darkness Brings (Sebas...
3. What Darkness Brings, C.S. Harris, published March 5, 2013.  The 8th in the Sebastian St. Cyr series, this is about an early 17th Century English lord who goes against popular society and solves murders. Gruesome murders, hot romance and a history lesson thrown in, it's more serious than the other mysteries on my list. UPDATED: READ!
India Black and the Shadows...
4. India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy, Carol K. Carr, published February 5, 2013. This series follows a madam (as in of a whore house) who helps a secret agent for the Prime Minister solve mysteries in Victorian London.  A madam solving mysteries!  Love it! UPDATED: READ!
The Passion of the Purple P...
5. The Passion Of The Pink Plumeria, Lauren Willig, expected publication August 6, 2013.  This is number 10 in the Pink Carnation series.  Set during the Napoleonic Wars, each book in this series features a different spy (with a flower name).  It's a mystery, yes, but mostly it's a romance.  They are fun, lighthearted and sweet.
The Family Way (Molly Murph...
6. The Family Way, Rhys Bowen published March 5, 2013. The 12th of the Molly Murphy mysteries, this series follows Irish immigrant Molly Murphy and her attempts at being a private eye in early 1900s New York.  Once again, romance and mystery with a very strong female character. UPDATED: READ!
Murder in Chelsea
7. Murder in Chelsea, Victoria Thompson, expected publication May 7, 2013.  Sarah Brandt is a member of New York City's upper class, but she deserts that to become a midwife.  She starts helping a policeman solve murders and crimes in early 1900s New York City.  I love the murders and mysteries in this but mostly I love the interaction between Sarah and the policeman, Frank. UPDATED: READ!
Heirs and Graces (Her Royal...
8. Heirs and Graces, Rhys Bowen, expected publication August 6, 2013. Number 7 for the Her Royal Spyness series, this is about Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 35th in line for the throne.  Dirt poor and struggling in England during the depression, Georgie has the bad luck of always seeming to stumble upon murder.  With the help of the dashing Darcy O'Mara, they manage to solve them, but not without a lot of humor and sticky situations.  I love the lightheartedness of these mysteries and the fact that Georgie is not a perfect lady at all.

What about you?  Do you have any book series which you wait on pins and needles for the next installment?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Redeye by Michael Shean

 Redeye (Wonderland Cycle #2)
Genre: science fiction, cyberpunk
Rating: 5 Stars

Number two in the The Wonderland Cycle, this installment takes place two years later and revolves around Bobbi January, club owner and hacker extraordinaire.  Bobbi is still mourning the disappearance of Thomas Walken when she gets an encrypted message from his former partner, Frieda, asking for help.  While they think they are just trying to uncover what happened two years before, they stumble upon a conspiracy and cover up that they could never imagine.  With the help of her long-time friend, and employee, Marcus Scalli, Bobbi tries to take on not just the Genefex Corporation, but a plot that could disrupt their world.

I don't want to go into too deep a review of the book because I don't want to give away the good part; the surprise.  I did NOT see it coming (don't worry, you only have to wait for half way through the book for it) but it is disturbing and different.  Let me say first that this is a very dense book.  There's easy beach reading and there's technical reading.  This falls somewhere in the middle.  The fact that Shean can make up entire new technologies and words and keep them all in his head is amazing (I asked - he doesn't write them down, they are actually all in his head).  But just because it's dense doesn't take away from the enjoyment.  It just means that you can really get into these characters and the scenes better. They are vivid and encapsulating. Shean's use of imagery and detail in descriptions make it so despite having no knowledge of cyber technology, I had no problem imagining it.  In fact, some of the descriptions are so horrible that I wished I hadn't had such an easy time imagining them.

One thing I particularly want to complement the author on is his ability to convincingly write a strong female character.  Sometimes male authors write women who sound like men.  Sometimes female writers overcompensate and take all sensitivity out of their women in an effort to make them seem strong.  Bobbi is definitely strong and smart, but she also has a vulnerability that is very likeable and relate-able.  All his characters are well drawn.  Marcus is my all-time favorite.  He's like a giant teddy bear and I just want to hug him.  I might get killed for that, but hey, I'd still try.

The end of the book leaves us with a tease for the next book to come.  I'm really looking forward to it, and this is coming from someone with little to no science fiction books under her belt and exactly one (now two) cyberpunk books.

The book release date is scheduled for April 12th, which gives you plenty of time to read the first book, Shadow of a Dead Star before then, although this book can stand alone.

Check out Michael Shean at
twitter: @pseudohumanist

By the way, the author did his own cover!  How cool is that?


Wordless Wednesday: Daffodils!

Springtime in DC is beautiful - our cherry blossoms are gorgeous and abundant, but unless you love hoards of tourists (I do not), getting to see them can be a pain in the rear.  Luckily, there are tons of other flower options in DC, and every day on my walk to the train station, I pass a beautiful flower bed.  It's a full block long and it's just daffodils.  Lots of varieties of daffodils.  Yellow, gold, orange and white.  Some small, some large. Some with double flowers, some with double petals.  I felt that I had to document them today before they are gone and summer takes over.

click on picture for larger image

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Danger In Cat World, Nina Post

Danger in Cat World

Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Stars

When Detective Shawn Danger is called to investigate the scene of a murder, he had no idea how weird his world was about to get.  An heiress has been murdered...and so has her pet tortoise.  Add to that his half-heart attempts at dating, the weird staff the heiress had, the heiress's horrible in-laws and the growing number of cats taking over his apartment, Shawn has a lot on his plate.  But he still needs to solve the murder.  Was it one of her family members?  Or the missing staff member?  And why kill a tortoise?

Danger in Cat World was a fun, different take on a detective novel.  Sure, it shows the workings of a homicide, but with a bit of a twist.  A cat twist.  I thought this book was really good.  It's fast pace, I didn't see the ending coming and it made me like cats just a bit more.  Not much, mind you.  I'm still a dog person, but Shawn's cat is pretty cool.

Post is a good writer.  Her plots aren't predictable and the twist she throws in there was totally unexpected.  In a good way.  She also has an amazing vocabulary.  I like to think that I have a good vocabulary, but when I'm going to the dictionary just positive that I've caught the author in a made up word only to be proven wrong, I'm impressed.

So give it a try.  A little mystery, a little romance, a lot of danger and lot of cats!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Teeth, Richard Roberts

Sweet Dreams Are Made of Teeth
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Rating: 4.5 Stars

In the world of dreams, there are two sides: the side where the happy dreams are made and then there is the side where the nightmares are made.  Fang is a nightmare.  He is the large, scary thing that's right behind you, jaws snapping at your heels, just a second away from catching you.  It's not that he's mean or evil or anything, he just really likes chasing, and since he's a nightmare, he's able to.  Fang's best friend is an amazing nightmare, probably the best there is, but he has high aspirations, and they are dangerous.  And they are going to get everyone into trouble.

This is such an interesting take on dreams and nightmares.  Fang is a likeable nightmare.  He knows he's not going to catch you, but he wants to scare you while he's chasing you, just like someone who is waiting behind a corner to jump out at you means no harm.  He enjoys that thrill and he tries to make his nightmares as beautiful as they can be.  His friends are varied and unusual.  There's his muse/girlfriend. She lives in a house (you know the house, where every hallway is never ending and any door you open is never the one that lets you out?) in the nightmare world and she cries constantly.  Fang talks to her, but she never hears him, never stops crying.  But he's in love with her.  Then there's the others: Anna, the girl who wandered into the nightmares from a dream and stayed and her evil counterpart, Lucy; the fallen angel, Lily; the fish shaped dream turned nightmare, Coy; the demiUrge Self Loathing (or sometimes Masochism).  And then there's his best friend, Jeffrey.  Jeffrey is so interesting.  He's so focused on achieving his goal that he's willing to use Fang.  He doesn't care about the wrath that his goal will bring down on them, he only wants to do it.

I really enjoyed the book.  It was odd but sweet.  Who would think that nightmares were sweet, yet Richards has humanized them so they aren't the unidentifiable evil thing lurking behind you.  He's given them fallacies and insecurities and consciences (though not about scaring you). Richards created a whole other world, very detailed, that is fascinating as it is scary.  I don't know if there will be a second book after this, but the epilogue left me to think that there would be.  I hope so - I'm dying to find out how things end up with Jeffrey!

Also, totally unrelated to the book, but does anyone else have the Eurythmics stuck in their heads? Well, if you didn't before, you do now!