Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: July Book Releases + To Be Read

With Book Con and work behind me and summer break in front of me -- plenty of time for reading! I have upped my reading game and try to read at least three books a week; graphic novels included. No slump for this lass! In any event, lets get this show on the road!

New Releases for July

1: Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine
This book sounds like a modern retelling of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I do not mind a modern retelling, remakes/reboots no. This book is set to be released on July 7, 2015. Here is the book description: In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service. When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn.…

2: The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward
I have never been so excited for a book in a long time and because of my excitement I received an ARC of this at Book Con in May. Just read the description below and hopefully it will pull you in too. This book is to be released on July 28, 2015. Here is the book description: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets. As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

3: What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss
This one is a no-brainer for me since I am an educator. Granted, I am not a fan of rhyming books but whatever gets children to read correct? A never-before-seen Dr. Seuss book? Children’s releases don’t get much bigger than this! The book focuses on the life lesson that while it may be hard to make up your mind, sometimes you just have to do it. The book is set to release on July 28, 2015.

What I Will Be Reading In July
As I said above, with myself being on summer break, I have plenty of time to read...when I am not swimming, taking driving lessons, or going out of course. Here is what I have decided to read in the month of July.

1: The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward. Read description above.

2: Friendship: A Novel by Emily Gould:
I happened to stumble upon this on and remembered that I had it on my Amazon wish list. It looked interesting so I bought it. Here is the book description: A Wall Street Journal Favorite Book of the Year · A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice · Named a Best Book of the Year by Vol. 1 Brooklyn and The Globe and Mail (Canada).Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have been best friends for years, but now, at thirty, they're at a crossroads. Bev is a hardworking Midwesterner still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe that derailed her career. Amy is an East Coast princess, whose luck and charm have, so far, allowed her to skate through life. Bev is stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of temping, drowning in student loan debt, and (still) living with roommates. Amy is riding the tailwinds of her early success, but her habit of burning bridges is finally catching up to her. And now Bev is pregnant. As the two are dragged, kicking and screaming, into real adulthood, they are confronted with the possibility that growing up might also mean growing apart. Friendship, Emily Gould's debut novel, is the story of their relationship-a searching examination of a best friendship that is at once profoundly recognizable and impossible to put down.

What shall you be reading in July?

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Q&A Twitter Chat That Went Incredibly Wrong

This afternoon I hope readers of the Internet had their bowls of popcorn ready. Why do you ask?

This happened today:

It became a big huge fireball of failure. E.L. James is doing some publicity campaigns for her latest dren which included a Twitter chat. Unfortunately, she is not answering any more questions, or any questions with actual relevance, but there were some amazing Twitter users asking the important questions filled with snark -- from asking about her “inspirations” and to the blatant call out of James’ horrible glorification of an abusive relationship.

Most people know about my disdain for E.L James. If you do not, here is my opinion in a nutshell -- the 8th grade class from this year who I had when they were in the 3rd grade have written essays, prose, poetry, and narratives with better quality and imagination than this author. Plus, I do not agree with the glamorization of domestic abuse and rape culture. Furthermore, while I do not know about the lifestyle that she horribly wrote about in great detail, I have heard various accounts that she misrepresented it.

I’m not sure which member of the marketing team thought that an open Q&A on Twitter was a good idea. In any event, I did partake in this hashtag and here is what I submitted: ‪

#‎AskELJames‬ Give advice on how you found a editor/publisher that was dumb enough to accept your mindless poorly written drivel.

#AskELJames Must feel great to dismiss an audience as you rack in their money for having no talent and misrepresentation of a lifestyle.
#AskELJames Do you realize that your chat is sponsored by a country that has no regard for women's rights?

#ASKELJames How does it feel to misrepresent an entire lifestyle to a group of women who've never before been exposed to it?

#AskELJames Have any advice on how single women can bag successful British screenwriters so their mindless drivel will get published?

#AskELJames How much breath have you baited for Stephanie Meyer's next novel?

#AskELJames How many nickels did you get for the overuse of the words "and" "then" "said"?

#AskELJames What is the safe word for "stop writing such crap"?

#AskELJames Are you considering retelling the story from the perspective of someone who can actually formulate a coherent sentence?

#AskELJames Have you decided to do research on erotica before publishing another book?

#AskELJames Are you aware that the majority of your writing is compared to that of a middle school student?

Now time to get back to my scheduled reading of English literature.

Monday, June 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: June Book Releases + To Be Read

Well hello there June! So nice to see you. This month is the greatest month in the lives of teachers, especially this one, as it is THE LAST MONTH OF SCHOOL! Which means more reading and not having to get up at 6am, even though my body is already trained to do that. In any event, lets get this show on the road!

New Releases for June
1: Even When You Lie To Me by Jessica Alcott
I love a good love story. It seems that June is coming up with a lot of them but none has me as excited as this one! This book is to be released on June 7, 2015. Here is the book description: Fans of John Green's Looking for Alaska as well as Lauren Oliver and Sarah Dessen will embrace this provocative debut novel, an exploration of taboo love set against the backdrop of a suburban high school. Charlie, a senior, isn’t looking forward to her last year of high school. Another year of living in the shadow of her best friend, Lila. Another year of hiding behind the covers of her favorite novels. Another year of navigating her tense relationship with her perfectionist mom. But everything changes when she meets her new English teacher. Mr. Drummond is smart. Irreverent. Funny. Hot. Everyone loves him. And Charlie thinks he’s the only one who gets her. She also thinks she might not be the only one with a crush. In this stunning debut, Jessica Alcott explores relationships—and their boundaries—in a way that is both searingly honest and sympathetic.

2: Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
What a lot of people do not know about me is that my uncle suffered with the disease known as alcoholism. He wouldn't remember breaking my cousins arm twice, beating up my aunt/his wife, and other various abusive issues. Therefore when this book is released, I will get it and try to relate as best as I can. This book is to be released on June 23, 2015. Here is the book description: "It's such a savage thing to lose your memory, but the crazy thing is, it doesn't hurt one bit. A blackout doesn't sting, or stab, or leave a scar when it robs you. Close your eyes and open them again. That's what a blackout feels like." For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure." She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman. But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn't remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead. A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out getting yourself back in return.

3: A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandria Petri
Every girl in their teenage/early 20's have had their bouts with awkwardness and fear. Not this girl. She, in my opinion, is a role model for all of us awkward girls out there. Her memoir is due out on Tuesday June 2, 2015. Here is the book description: Most twentysomethings spend a lot of time avoiding awkwardness.Not Alexandra Petri. Afraid of rejection? Alexandra Petri has auditioned for America’s Next Top Model. Afraid of looking like an idiot? Alexandra Petri lost Jeopardy! by answering “Who is that dude?” on national TV. Afraid of bad jokes? Alexandra Petri won an international pun championship. Petri has been a debutante, reenacted the Civil War, and fended off suitors at a Star Wars convention while wearing a Jabba the Hutt suit. One time, she let some cult members she met on the street baptize her, just to be polite. She’s a connoisseur of the kind of awkwardness that most people spend whole lifetimes trying to avoid. If John Hodgman and Amy Sedaris had a baby…they would never let Petri babysit it. But Petri is here to tell you: Everything you fear is not so bad. Trust her. She’s tried it. And in the course of her misadventures, she’s learned that there are worse things out there than awkwardness—and that interesting things start to happen when you stop caring what people think.

What I Am Reading in the month of June
This month I am going to try and keep my TBR open but will attempt to read a book a day since I will be on summer break. These are the two titles that I know I will be definitely reading.

1: Yes, Please by Amy Poehler:
Dani needs some laughs and apparently this book, as I am told, will give me just that. Here is the description: Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners? If your answer to these questions is "Yes Please!" then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," "Plain Girl Versus the Demon" and "The Robots Will Kill Us All" Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

2: H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald: I wrote about this book in March of this year. Now I am just getting to it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What Am I Reading: May Book Releases + To Be Read

It is May 6, 2015.

I usually have this blog feature posted on the 1st of each month.

What the heck happened Danielle? Usually you are very meticulous with your deadlines and your writing! This is so unlike you! What the frell???

Now while the above statement is true, I just have one thing to say -- FUCK IT. Life happens. New hobbies happened. Spending time with the love of my life happened. Avengers 2 released!

But I could not leave my fellow readers without this faithful feature. So lets get this palaver started!

Here are the book releases for the month of May that I am excited about as well as what I will be reading this month.

New Book Releases for the month of May
1: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast? Sign me up...well since I am the living and breathing Belle and I am getting my library from my own Beast. This book was released yesterday, literally, and here is the description: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever. Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

2: Day Shift (Midnight, Texas) by Charlaine Harris
Charlaine Harris has embarked herself onto another series, this one title Midnight, Texas. The first book in the series, titled Midnight Crossroad, came out last year in May and the sequel, which released yesterday, is titled Day Shift. If you are a fan of the Sookie Steakhouse series as well as vampires, you will enjoy this series. Here is the description: In Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris “capture[d] the same magic as the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and [took] it to another level" (Houston Press). Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels returns to the one-traffic-light town you see only when you’re on the way to someplace else… There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous. Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular—and very wealthy—clients dies during a reading. Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight…

3: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
This book has come up in my recommendations on Amazon a lot as well as receiving a lot of great reviews and it is inspired by the folk tale A Thousand and One Nights. When I read the description, it sounded interesting so why not give it a shot? This title will be released by May 12, 2015. Here is the description: Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

4: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Apparently this book is being touted as another version of Gone Girl, but instead the heroine is a teenager and not bat shit crazy like Amy in Gone Girl. I will admit, I was not a fan of Gone Girl at first but it grew on me, so upon reading the description of this I figured, yet again, lets give it a shot. Apparently that is my motto for this month of new releases -- hey lets give a shot! This books will be released on May 12, 2015. Here is the book description: HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE. As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything. With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears. The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

5: ReJane by Patricia Park
Another modern day retelling of a classic; this time it is Jane Eyre. Out of all of the Charlotte Bronte novels out there, this one has to be the one that did not put me to sleep. So upon hearing of a modern retelling of this, figured...say it with me my faithful readers....HEY LETS GIVE IT A SHOT! This book was released yesterday. Here is the book description: Journeying from Queens to Brooklyn to Seoul, and back, this is a fresh, contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre and a poignant Korean American debut -- For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops, and nineteenth–century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind. Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is. Re Jane is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one’s self.

What I am Reading in the month of May
1: The Duff by Kody Keplinger
This is the book I am currently reading and is part of the "The Book is Better" campaign since it was made into a movie. I have not seen the movie yet and will not until I finish this book to give my opinion. Here is the description: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush, who calls Bianca the Duff--the designated ugly fat friend--of her crew. But things aren't so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

2: This stack of Farscape trade paperbacks. And maybe give them to my love, if he isn't being evil. Oh you know I am going to pass on the goodness...who am I kidding.
Now it is going to be hard to give a description for each and every trade paperback here so I will give you a general synopsis of what Farscape is all about: Thrown into a distant part of the universe, an Earth astronaut finds himself part of a fugitive alien starship crew. Sounds simple right? It truly is not and is one of those television shows that networks missed the mark on. Watch it on Netflix, get a copy of The Peacekeeper Wars, then get your hands on the comic trade paperbacks. You will be hooked. Sorry for ruining your life. ;)

I am pretty sure I will read other books but this is it...what are you reading in May?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: April Releases + To Be Read

This month does not seem to be a big month for new releases. Well at least ones that I am excited about. Last month there seemed to be a new book I wanted every week but once this is published, I did not want to go back like 20 times to edit it. But that was last month -- it is now all about April!

Here are the upcoming book releases and what I am planning on reading for the month of April

New Book Releases for the month of April
1: Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk (graphic novel series published by Dark Horse Comics)
: One of my favorite authors is Chuck Palahniuk and I enjoyed Fight Club and a fan of it even before the movie came out. Granted, the book at the end had me hurl it half way across my room out of anger, but that is the greatness that is Chuck Palahniuk! Sick and twisted writing....what more can a girl want? This 10 issue series releases on April 7th. Here is the comic description: Tyler Durden lives! Some imaginary friends never go away . . .Ten years after starting Project Mayhem, he lives a mundane life. A kid, a wife, pills to keep his destiny at bay. But it won’t last long; the wife has seen to that. The time has come . . .Rize or Die. “The first rule of Fight Club might be not to talk about it, but tongues are already wagging about Chuck Palahniuk’s sequel to his 1996 novel.” —The Telegraph (London)

“Just wait until you see what happens next.” —Hollywood Reporter Heat Vision, 5 Comics to Look Out For in 2015

2: The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy:
One of the many advanced reading copies I received at New York Comic Con in October. Very excited that this book will see the light of day. It is time travel that meets Spaceballs. SIGN ME UP. This book will be released on April 14, 2015. Here is the book description: It’s Superbad meets Spaceballs in this hilarious extraterrestrial road trip! Just a few days before prom, Bennett pulls off something he never imagined possible: his dream girl, Sophie, agrees to be his date. Moments afterward, however, he watches Sophie get abducted by aliens in the middle of the New Mexico desert. Faced with a dateless prom (and likely kidnapping charges), Bennett does the only thing he can think of: he catches a ride into outer space with a band of extraterrestrial musicians to bring her back.
Can he navigate alien concert venues, an extraterrestrial reality show, and the band’s outlandish egos to rescue his date in time for the big dance?

3: Dentons Little Death Date by Lance Rubin
I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but...THERE IS A HEARSE ON THE COVER. How can that not draw me in? This book is set to be released also on April 14, 2015 and I have signed up for a advanced reader copy from Random House. Here is the book description: Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days—the day of his senior prom. is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war. Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle—as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. (Though he’s not totally sure—see, first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.
Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager’s life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

4: Black Run by Antonio Manzini
While I was perusing The Reading Room and signing up for various advanced reader copies of books to be released, three words flashed in front of my eyes -- Sly, Sizzling, Mystery. Setting -- Italian Alps. Plus it is the first in a new crime series and I will admit thanks to a certain someone, I am addicted to true crime now. This book is set to be released on April 28, 2015 and yes it is on pre-order. Here is the book description: Already an international hit, a sly, sizzling mystery—the first in a sensational crime series—set in the Italian Alps, reminiscent of the works of Andrea Camilleri, D. A. Mishani, Donna Leon, and Henning Mankell. Getting into serious trouble with the wrong people, deputy prefect of police Rocco Schiavone is exiled to Aosta, a small, touristy alpine town far from his beloved Rome. The sophisticated and crotchety Roman despises mountains, snow, and the provincial locals as much as he disdains his superiors and their petty rules. But he loves solving crimes. When a mangled body has been discovered on a ski run above Champoluc, Rocco immediately faces his first challenge—identifying the victim, a complex procedure complicated by his ignorance of the customs, dialect, and history of his new home. Proud and undaunted, Rocco makes his way among the ski runs, mountain huts, and aerial tramways, meeting ski instructors, Alpine guides, the hardworking, enigmatic folk of Aosta, and a few beautiful locals eager to give him a warm welcome. It won't be easy, this mountain life, especially with a corpse or two in the mix. But then there's nothing that makes Rocco feel more at home than an investigation. An insightful observer of human nature, Antonio Manzini writes with sly humor and a dash of irony, and introduces an irresistible hero—a fascinating blend of swagger, machismo, and vulnerability—in a colorful and atmospheric crime mystery series that is European crime fiction at its best.

What I Am Reading in the month of April
1: The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy. See above.

2: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon
Another book recommendation from my amazing love. This time instead of a true crime thriller, he loaned me a memoir of one of his favorite musicians. I do love a good memoir/biography so will definitely give this a shot. Here is the book description: When Warren Zevon died in 2003, he left behind a rich catalog of dark, witty rock 'n' roll classics, including "Lawyers, Guns and Money," "Excitable Boy," and the immortal "Werewolves of London." He also left behind a fanatical cult following and veritable rock opera of drugs, women, celebrity, genius, and epic bad behavior. As Warren once said, "I got to be Jim Morrison a lot longer than he did."
Narrated by his former wife and longtime co-conspirator, Crystal Zevon, this intimate and unusual oral history draws on interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stephen King, Bonnie Raitt, and numerous others who fell under Warren's mischievous spell. Told in the words and images of the friends, lovers, and legends who knew him best, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead captures Warren Zevon in all his turbulent glory.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: March Release + To Be Read

Oh happy birthday month! What a perfect way to start this glorious month off by telling you what books I am excited about that will be released as well as what I am planning on reading. I will admit -- my reading game has been off recently as work and life happens, but I promise that it will come back. In any event, here are the books coming out in March that I would love to get my hands on as well as what I am reading.

New Book Releases for the month of March
1: The Devils Detective by Simon Kurt:
I originally signed up to receive an Advanced Readers Copy of this book simply because of the combination of the supernatural as well as a detective story. Unfortunately I did not get one but does not mean I am not excited about this book! This book is set to be released on March 3rd. Here is the book description: Debut novelist Simon Kurt Unsworth sends the detective novel to Hell. In The Devil's Detective, a sea change is coming to Hell . . . and a man named Thomas Fool is caught in the middle. Thomas Fool is an Information Man, an investigator tasked with cataloging and filing reports on the endless stream of violence and brutality that flows through Hell. His job holds no reward or satisfaction, because Hell has rules but no justice. Each new crime is stamped "Do Not Investigate" and dutifully filed away in the depths of the Bureaucracy. But when an important political delegation arrives and a human is found murdered in a horrific manner—extravagant even by Hell's standards—everything changes. The murders escalate, and their severity points to the kind of killer not seen for many generations. Something is challenging the rules and order of Hell, so the Bureaucracy sends Fool to identify and track down the killer. . . . But how do you investigate murder in a place where death is common currency? Or when your main suspect pool is a legion of demons? With no memory of his past and only an irresistible need for justice, Fool will piece together clues and follow a trail that leads directly into the heart of a dark and chaotic conspiracy. A revolution is brewing in Hell . . . and nothing is what it seems. The Devil's Detective is an audacious, highly suspenseful thriller set against a nightmarish and wildly vivid world. Simon Kurt Unsworth has created a phantasmagoric thrill ride filled with stunning set pieces and characters that spring from our deepest nightmares. It will have readers of both thrillers and horror hanging on by their fingernails until the final word. In Hell, hope is your worst enemy.

2: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
One of the many conversations my love and I have had is our love for birds of prey. Him -- its all about the red tailed hawk. Me -- its all about the owl. So when I saw this book in one of my many book blogs that I follow, I took it as a sign of fate. This book is set to release on March 3rd as well. Here is the book description: When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White's chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself "in the hawk's wild mind to tame her" tested the limits of Macdonald's humanity and changed her life. Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer's eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

3: The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith
Another book involving a bird of prey that my love and I have discussed, and of course I got excited about it. This book is set to be released on March 10, 2015. Here is the book description: Skillfully blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, award-winning Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith chronicles the story of Ariel, a refugee who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel's story is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century . . . and a depressed, bionic reincarnated crow.

4: The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige
This is the long awaited sequel to Dorothy Must Die penned by the same author. I will admit -- I am not a big Wizard of Oz fan but I am a big fan of having the villains have the last laugh so I throughly enjoy DMD. This book set to be released on March 31, 2015. Here is the book description: In this sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, who is good—and who is actually Wicked? My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas. After a tornado swept through my trailer park, I ended up in Oz. But it wasn't like the Oz I knew from books and movies. Dorothy had returned, but she was now a ruthless dictator. Glinda could no longer be called the Good Witch. And the Wicked Witches who were left? They'd joined forces as the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and they wanted to recruit me. My mission? Kill Dorothy. Except my job as assassin didn't work out as planned. Dorothy is still alive. The Order has vanished. And the home I couldn't wait to leave behind might be in danger. Somehow, across a twisted and divided land, I have to find the Order, protect the true ruler of Oz, take Dorothy and her henchmen down—and try to figure out what I'm really doing here.

5: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (Book One) by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa Sheinmel
Supernatural elements in this book? Check. Story about a strong heroine that does not need a love angle? Check. Falls into the thriller/suspense genre that my love got me into? Check. Of course I am exited for this! This book is set to be released on March 24, 2015. Here is the book description: Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just ... creepy. In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

6: Kick Ass 3 by Mark Millar and John Romits
From time to time, I do read graphic novels/comic book from time to time and this series pulled me in like no other. I am a DC/independent comic book reader by the way if you are wondering, my faithful reader. This graphic novel is set to release on March 17, 2015. Here is the book description: The grand finale of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s blockbuster! With Hit-Girl in jail, Kick-Ass must lead the super-hero team Justice Forever. But heroes have been outlawed, leaving Kick-Ass to dodge both cops and some terrifying new foes! For the first time, Kick-Ass begins to doubt. Is he in too deep? Meanwhile, Hit-Girl starts running all the gangs in the joint, and a broken Red Mist gets an education from a terrifying crime boss. Soon every costumed hero is not only running from the law...they're running for their lives. As the body count rises, Kick-Ass must decide if bringing justice to the city is truly worth the price. Plus: the secret origin of Hit-Girl! How did litt le Mindy McCready earn her assassin stripes? Find out as KICK-ASS comes to its epic conclusion!

What I Am Reading in the month of March
It is Dennis Lehane marathon month for me! My boyfriend has tried to get me to read his books as Dennis Lehane is his favorite author and well now it is time that I do. Here are the Dennis Lehane books I am reading.

1: A Drink Before The War by Dennis Lehane
Now before George had me delve into this series, he did prime me with other true crime/detective/thriller stories -- namely Robert B. Parker. I instantly fell in love with the three series that he exposed me to (Jesse Stone/Spenser/Level 26) and wanted more. steps in Dennis Lehane. Here is the book description: As richly complex and brutal as the terrain it depicts, here is the mesmerizing, darkly original novel that heralded the arrival of Dennis Lehane, the master of the new noir—and introduced Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his smart and tough private investigators weaned on the blue-collar streets of Dorchester. A cabal of powerful Boston politicians is willing to pay Kenzie and Gennaro big money for a seemingly small job: to find a missing cleaning woman who stole some secret documents. As Kenzie and Gennaro learn, however, this crime is no ordinary theft. It's about justice, about right and wrong. But in Boston, finding the truth isn't just a dirty business . . . it's deadly.

2: Darkness,Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
Here is the book description: The master of the new noir, Dennis Lehane magnificently evokes the dignity and savagery of working-class Boston in this terrifying tale of darkness and redemption.Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro’s latest client is a prominent Boston psychiatrist running scared from a vengeful Irish mob. The private investigators know something about cold-blooded retribution. Born and bred on the mean streets of blue-collar Dorchester, they’ve seen the darkness that lives in the hearts of the unfortunate. But an evil for which even they are unprepared is about to strike as secrets long-dormant erupt, setting off a chain of violent murders that will stain everything—including the truth.

3: World Gone By by Dennis Lehane
Now this book is not part of the Kenzie/Gennaro series. In fact, this is the latest work of Lehane's in which I received an advanced copy of! This book is actually not slated to be released until March 10, 2015; so yes I could have included it above but decided to keep all of the Lehane books together. Methods to my madness my dear is the book description: Dennis Lehane, the New York Times bestselling author of The Given Day and Live by Night, returns with a psychologically and morally complex novel of blood, crime, passion, and vengeance, set in Cuba and Ybor City, Florida, during World War II, in which Joe Coughlin must confront the cost of his criminal past and present. Ten years have passed since Joe Coughlin’s enemies killed his wife and destroyed his empire, and much has changed. Prohibition is dead, the world is at war again, and Joe’s son, Tomás, is growing up. Now, the former crime kingpin works as a consigliore to the Bartolo crime family, traveling between Tampa and Cuba, his wife’s homeland. A master who moves in and out of the black, white, and Cuban underworlds, Joe effortlessly mixes with Tampa’s social elite, U.S. Naval intelligence, the Lansky-Luciano mob, and the mob-financed government of Fulgencio Batista. He has everything—money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity. But success cannot protect him from the dark truth of his past—and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full. Dennis Lehane vividly recreates the rise of the mob during a world at war, from a masterfully choreographed Ash Wednesday gun battle in the streets of Ybor City to a chilling, heartbreaking climax in a Cuban sugar cane field. Told with verve and skill, World Gone By is a superb work of historical fiction from one of “the most interesting and accomplished American novelists” (Washington Post) writing today.

So what books are you reading? Any books that I missed that are coming out this month that you are excited about? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: February Releases and To Be Read

It seems my first blog of this monthly feature was such a hit that it will continue! Here are the February releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of February.

New Book Releases for the month of February
1: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Three words -- MY FAVORITE AUTHOR. The title of Neil Gaiman's new short story collection, Trigger Warning, is, according to the book's introduction, a term used online to warn people about content that "could upset them and trigger flashbacks or anxiety or terror." Although I prefer the more delightful Gaiman (like Stardust), his last novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was, in fact, a little terrifying. This latest collection includes some previously published work and a new American Gods story. This title is set to be released on February 3, 2015. Here is the book description: In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection. Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In Adventure Story—a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane—Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience A Calendar of Tales are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year—stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale The Case of Death and Honey. And Click-Clack the Rattlebag explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.

2: The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty: A Novel by Amanda Filipachi
When I read the description for this book, my inner fangirl started screaming ITS THE MASKS EPISODE FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE!! You read this description and you tell me if I am right. Very excited about this book. It is set to be released on February 16, 2015. Here is the book description: A magical and comedic take on modern love, the power of friendship, and the allure of disguise. In the heart of New York City, a group of artistic friends struggles with society's standards of beauty. At the center are Barb and Lily, two women at opposite ends of the beauty spectrum, but with the same problem: each fears she will never find a love that can overcome her looks. Barb, a stunningly beautiful costume designer, makes herself ugly in hopes of finding true love. Meanwhile, her friend Lily, a brilliantly talented but plain-looking musician, goes to fantastic lengths to attract the man who has rejected her--with results that are as touching as they are transformative. To complicate matters, Barb and Lily discover they may have a murderer in their midst, that Barb's calm disposition is more dangerously provocative than her beauty ever was, and that Lily's musical talents are more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Part literary whodunit, part surrealist farce, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty serves as a smart, modern-day fairy tale. With biting wit and offbeat charm, Filipacchi illuminates the labyrinthine relationship between beauty, desire, and identity, asking at every turn: what does it truly mean to allow oneself to be seen?

3: Get In Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link
One of my reading goals for this year is to read a short story collection. Granted my favorite author is coming out with another short story collection, but I can not choose him all the time. Plus he has praised this collection so it can not be all that bad? This book is set to release on February 3, 2015. Here is the book description: She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll. Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.

4: My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
There is one thing I can not stand is people who think they are charmed and entitled to everything. So when I read the description, my heart jumped with glee. Plus it is a crime novel -- a genre that my love has gotten me addicted to. This book is set to release on February 10, 2015. Here is the book description: It was the summer everything changed.… My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too. In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

What I Am Reading in the month of February
1. Revival by Stephen King
One of the things that the boyfriend and I have in common is our love of Stephen King. He was out shopping for Christmas presents and he asked me what I thought of him, said I liked his writing and that I wanted to read his new book titled Revival. I got the book the next day. :) Here is the book description: A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life. In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

2. Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkin
I have had a lot of things happen to me recently that have changed my mindset, most importantly the fact that while I am always there for others and will do anything for them -- the same attitude is not represented back to me. Case in point: the "blizzard" New Jersey was supposed to have -- my school building had a half day. I did not want my father to come out and drive in it so I asked a couple of people in my school building, who I have gone out of my way for in the past, only to be met with a song and a dance and a excuse. I hardly ask anyone for favors or for help. This one time I thought they would reciprocate but alas I was wrong. I was severely disappointed and hurt. Just ask the boyfriend and my family about it. Other things have happened as well that finally led me to just say "fuck it" but I need coaching. This is where this book comes into play. Here is the book description: In this inspiring and humorous book, John C. Parkin suggests that saying F**k It is the perfect Western expression of the Eastern spiritual ideas of letting go, giving up, and finding real freedom by realizing that things don’t matter so much (if at all). It’s a spiritual way that doesn’t require chanting, meditating, or wearing sandals. And it’s the very power of this profanity that makes it perfect for shaking us Westerners out of the stress and anxiety that dominate our daily lives. With the help of this book, people around the world are now saying F**k It to their worries and concerns, to the “shoulds” and the “oughts” that dominate their lives, and finally doing what they want to, no matter what others might think. “Self-help for the time-poor and psycho-babble intolerant.”

3. I did receive the January Releases I wrote about last month so I might read those too this month.

There you have it. These are the February releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of February. All of these books can be found at your local bookseller or conveniently right on Amazon or Book Depository. Happy reading!