Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Sunday Salon and Four Days before Christmas... Last Minute Bookish Gifts!

It's Four Days Before Christmas and all through the house... Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the day of the week we kick back and relax, and virtually talk books with all of our bookish friends. So, grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and let's chat...

It's almost Christmas! Do you have all your gifts hidden away or wrapped and put under the tree? I love wrapping presents and putting them under the tree.With the twinkling of the Christmas tree lights and the sounds of Christmas music floating through the air, it always puts me in the Christmas Spirit.

Are you scrambling for last minute bookish gifts? Well, here are a few suggestions for the readers in your life...

How about a Pillow Tray?  I purchased a pillow tray for one of the readers in my life so they could sit up in bed or on the sofa with their book or eReader and a drink comfortably on their lap. Now, the pillow tray I bought also doubles as an animal pillow when it's all closed up. It is so cute! The animal pillow trays are really made for kids, but would be big enough for you and your eReader and beverage. I actually was able to put my 17 inch apple laptop on it turned diagonally to be able to also have a bottle of water in the beverage holder. The animal trays I bought at QVC.com, but there are other pillow trays available if the animal pillow is not your thing. Price range from $30 for kids pillow tray to around $49 for adults pillow tray. There should be a lot of different trays at different prices out there though.

Personal Library Kit... Not that I like to "deface" my books with bookplates, but this is just too cute. If your bookish friend tends to lend out her book, this little kit is like the old fashion checkout's from the library, with a self adhesive checkout card pocket and checkout cards, with a date stamper to let the person borrowing the book know when the "return" date is. I might attach the card pocket with something removable, so as not to damage the book, but otherwise I love this kit!  Average price about $16.


Book Lover's Calendar! I love this calendar! Every day you get a new book to discover and I'm always learning something new! Either about a book or author. This year my public library was selling these as a fund raiser for $6! The list price is normally $14.

Other ideas.... Mugs, bookmarks, book totes... and always appreciated for a book lover is a gift certificate to their local bookstore! Picking out books is nice too, but if you're not sure if the person has a particular book, save the receipt (just in case). And if you are thinking about eReaders, the basic Kindle starts at just $59! And the Nook GlowLight sells for $99.

Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope you enjoy Christmas! And when all the presents are unwrapped and you've received bookish gifts, come back here and share what bookish delights came your way!

Next week... back to finding your next great read right here! Lots of new books to share!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Revival by Stephen King... A Review

I cringed... I was hesitant, I was apprehensive, I was frightened when I cracked the spine of Revival... Not because I was scared of the book, but scared that I would be, yet again, disappointed in another "recent" Stephen King novel... BUT I wasn't! I kept reading and kept waiting for the story to fall off the edge and disappear down some secret hidden doorway in the book, but instead I was just on the edge of my seat experiencing the thrill of Stephen King.. the old Stephen King I loved as a young teenager while reading The Shining.

Revival is just that - classic Stephen King horror that innocently starts off on a warm summer day and transforms into nail biting blizzard of terror!

In a small rural town in Maine, the new preacher comes to town. He's young, charismatic, handsome with a beautiful perfect wife and a small cute son. All the boys are in love with the beautiful wife, and all the girls in love with the Reverend Charles Jacobs, a man with an obsessive interest in the power of electricity. Jamie Morton was 6 years old at the time and begins a life long relationship with the Reverend Frankenstein... I mean Jacobs. In the Church youth group, Jacobs teaches the children about God through the power of electricity, where God is infinite, so is the power of electricity. Find the secret to electricity and also find the power of God. Now, the Reverend's theories and interest in electricity seem innocent enough, but when a horrible accident takes his beautiful wife and son from him, the Reverend goes off the deep end and interest turns to obsession.

The story revolves around the reincarnations of the Reverend Jacobs, from a small town preacher to a carnival sideshow huckster, to a faith healer, to mad scientist, with Jamie innocently witnessing these transformations as he navigates his own life over the years. And like a bad penny, Reverend Jacobs keeps popping up in Jamies' life, sometimes in a good way, sometimes bad, but always as though there is this invisible thread that binds the two together. And the ending?! OMG! It's unsettling to say the least, but pure horror at its best.

King's writing is great! The story has great characters that are so well developed. You understand these characters, heck they don't even feel like characters, they feel more like people that you know! And then you start to feel vested in what is happening. Then there is the plot, which is just spot on, especially the way it develops over the course of the book. There are so many great elements in this book (great storytelling, the supernatural, the questioning of man's faith and even a bit of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) that will capture and keep the reader's attention.

I really enjoyed this book! I felt a whole range of emotions as I got lost in the pages - nostalgia, remorse, butterflies, and ultimately horror. Best King I've read in a long, long time. AND best horror story I've read in a long time too. Definitely put this on your TBR list and for any horror fans out there, this would make a great Christmas gift!

This was part of my library loot this month, but I may have to pick up a copy to put on the shelves, so I can reread this sometime!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday! It's a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.


It's been a wonderful week in my mailbox! An unemployed art historian arrived, along with a hero reporter, a police procedural with international danger, a woman who was wondering if you can find love twice in a lifetime and to top it all off there was a Predator Drone was circling inside my mailbox too! Here's a little more about what came in...

And The Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass... Kit Noonan is an unemployed art historian with twins to help support and a mortgage to pay—and a wife frustrated by his inertia. Raised by a strong-willed, secretive single mother, Kit has never known the identity of his father—a mystery that his wife insists he must solve to move forward with his life. Out of desperation, Kit goes to the mountain retreat of his mother’s former husband, Jasper, a take-no-prisoners outdoorsman. There, in the midst of a fierce blizzard, Kit and Jasper confront memories of the bittersweet decade when their families were joined. Reluctantly breaking a long-ago promise, Jasper connects Kit with Lucinda and Zeke Burns, who know the answer he’s looking for. Readers of Glass’s first novel, Three Junes, will recognize Lucinda as the mother of Malachy, the music critic who died of AIDS. In fact, to fully understand the secrets surrounding his paternity, Kit will travel farther still, meeting Fenno McLeod, now in his late fifties, and Fenno’s longtime companion, the gregarious Walter Kinderman. 

I'm very excited to receive this book! From the author of Three Junes, which I had enjoyed, comes this new story that welcomes back some familiar faces. Published by Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House, and was published earlier this year in April.


Last Words by Rich Zahradnik... In March of 1975, as New York City hurtles toward bankruptcy and the Bronx burns, newsman Coleridge Taylor roams police precincts and ERs. He is looking for the story that will deliver him from obits, his place of exile at the Messenger-Telegram. Ever since he was demoted from the police beat for inventing sources, the 34-year-old has been a lost soul. A break comes at Bellevue, where Taylor views the body of a homeless teen picked up in the Meatpacking District. Taylor smells a rat: the dead boy looks too clean, and he’s wearing a distinctive Army field jacket. A little digging reveals that the jacket belonged to a hobo named Mark Voichek and that the teen was a spoiled society kid up to no good, the son of a city official. Taylor’s efforts to protect Voichek put him on the hit list of three goons who are willing to kill any number of street people to cover tracks that just might lead to City Hall. Taylor has only one ally in the newsroom, young and lovely reporter Laura Wheeler. Time is not on his side. If he doesn't wrap this story up soon, he’ll be back on the obits page—as a headline, not a byline. Last Words is the first book in the Coleridge Taylor mystery series. 

Just paging through this book and picking out bits and pieces to read, gave me the feeling that this was going to be a good read. I liked the writing and the setting. AND, I look forward to reading a police procedural, which I haven't done in a long time. Published by Camel Press, Last Words is 237 pages, which means it can make for a pleasant evenings read, and it's a Kindle bargain price right now too at $4.95.

Perfect Sins by Jo Bannister... Four years ago, Gabriel Ash was working with the British government investigating hijackings in Somalia. But when his wife and sons disappeared, presumably taken—and probably killed—by pirates, his life fell apart. He has sudden reason to hope when a senior policeman suggests that his sons might still be alive—until that policeman is murdered. Still, there seems to be some link to a local operation, and Ash, no longer a government agent, is determined to find it.

Meanwhile, his friend Hazel Best has been having a tough time of her own. A police constable whose last case ended with her shooting someone dead, she is just beginning to regain her balance. Hazel and Ash are both beginning to take more of an interest in the outside world, when a neighboring archaeologist decides to dig up a curious mound of earth near the ice house on his land. It might be a burial mound, he thinks. It is, but not the ancient one he expects; it holds the bones of a little boy from perhaps thirty years ago, carefully laid to rest with twentieth-century toys. As Hazel is slowly drawn back into police work, Ash finds himself under threat from someone who must think his investigation into his family's disappearance is finally getting somewhere...


Jo Bannister is well known for her suspense novels, mysteries and police procedurals. I'm really looking forward to cracking the spine on this one! Under 300 pages, and recently released by Minotaur Books, this should be a good one.
 
The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel... In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.


I had never heard of Kristin Harmel, but the description above piqued my interest, because I loved the movie Sliding Doors. (I'm such a romantic!) Then I opened the book to read the first few pages and fell in love! I loved the way Kristin wrote and I was beginning to love the story too! This is going to be a wonderful read, I am sure!  Published by Gallery Books and Simon & Schuster, stay tuned for my review AND for the release date, which is December 30th!


Global Predator by Jack Maclean... High above the mountains of the North West Frontier, a Global Predator circles waiting to unleash its Hellfire missiles. The trail of Osama Bin Laden’s deputy, the elusive Egyptian terror master, Ayman al-Zawahiri has gone cold until a chance recording identified by a translator at the National Security Agency offers new clues. A special intelligence team assembles and plots to catch at him at a meeting with other high ranking al Qaeda leaders. In Pakistan’s beautiful Swat Valley, the local Taliban have been stepping up their attacks on anyone educating girls. English aid worker Sally is taken hostage while visiting one of her schools. When Wilkins, escaping his reckless trading mistakes at his London bank, is forced to rescue her, he finds himself trapped in a world of blind fear and terror. Only one person can now make sense of what is happening and stop a massacre of innocent schoolgirls.


A bit different from my normal reading, but taking a peek through the book, the writing is good and I will definitely be cracking the spine to see how Jack Maclean can entice me to keep reading this politically charged thriller. This is published by Amazon and is at a Kindle bargain price of $3.03!

I am so excited to have these books come in the mail! Thank you to the generous publishers! I look forward to reading each of these and look for my reviews coming soon!



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller... A Review

K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller... 
What if reincarnation had a sense of humor? Or better yet, a sense of justice?... 

Justin Andrews is a smart, "smart-ass" kid, who is going to turn 14 soon, has a sister with a nose ring and pink hair, and a father who is trying to manage life and the kids without their mother. It's not working very well and to top it all off, the family was just in a serious car accident that has left Justin severly injured and depressed...

Now meet Lieutenant Spencer Watley, who, along with his canine companion Pepper, is hunting down the "Cyber Killers", until fate would intervene with mortal consequences... Spencer is killed. As Spencer ascends into what he thinks is heaven, he learns that being a good cop isn't enough to get him through the pearly gates... he needs an attitude adjustment. He needs to redeem himself. He needs to go through the Jerk Redemption Program! And to do this, not only is he sent back to earth, he's sent back as a dog... he reincarnates into his K9 companion,  Pepper. And his job assignment is Justin...

Fun, well written and a good adventure, K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller is an enjoyable read. Erna Mueller does a great job of melding the story of Justin and Spencer together and the twist of Spencer coming back as a dog is very creative. I'd almost say K-9 Cop leans towards being a "cozy", since the story really doesn't have any blood and guts, but it's really more substantial than that. Written with Young Adults in mind, this is Adult friendly too! Definitely put this one on your reading list if you like dogs, cops & robbers, or a great murder mystery!


About the Author... I was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.

I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.


My new book, K-9 Cop, is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay.  The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by awomenswrite.com.


Please visit my web site at http://www.k9cop-woofwoof.com  for more reviews and other info.
For More Information
Visit Erna Mueller’s website.
Connect with Erna on Facebook and Twitter

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Chick with Books is a stop on the Virtual Book Tour of K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller's hosted by Pump Up Your Book! I want to thank Pump Up Your Book who gave me a eGalley of K-9 Cop for my honest review! K-9 Cop is available right now in paperback or as a Kindle book (and the Kindle book was ONLY .99 cents when we checked it out recently!) Happy reading...
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