Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween & A Bit of Edgar Allen Poe...

The Raven
By Edgar Allen Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--
For the rare and radient maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Nameless here forevermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door;--
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darknes peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," I said, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door--
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the nightly shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door--
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered--not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before--
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never--nevermore.'"

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God has lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!--
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted
On this home by horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!--
By that heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and the night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of the lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor; 
Shall be lifted--nevermore!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Release Tuesday with Reads to Inspire You

Let's be inspired! Life can be so complicated these days and yet when we get to take a moment to slow down, to relax, everything can look so different. Here are 3 books just released today that are meant to inspire us. Richard Paul Evans is an amazing author, who usually writes an inspiring Christmas novel each year and whose newest book The Four Doors, is meant to share his wisdom on how to have a loving and meaningful life. Astronaut Chris Hadfield takes us on an adventure to teach us his take on life, and how his experiences shaped the way he lives to this day. Finally, Anne Lamont's newest book published today, Stitches, is meant to show us how to sew our lives back together when chaos takes over.

The Four Doors: A Guide to Joy, Freedom, and a Meaningful Life by Richard Paul Evans...More than a decade ago, Richard Paul Evans gave a talk to an auditorium full of students in Dayton, Ohio, about what he wished he had known at their age. The response that day was electric: the students took notes, cried, and, after a standing ovation, rushed up to the author to share with him their feelings and personal epiphanies. Since that initial presentation, he has given that talk hundreds of times and all around the world, in places as diverse as the Harvard Club and Sundance, the Utah State Penitentiary and Opryland—and to all kinds of groups, from recovering drug addicts to recently graduated Ivy League MBAs. Now, for the first time, the wisdom and insight that Richard Paul Evans has imparted to thousands is available in The Four Doors. This simple yet powerful approach to happiness is based on four essential components of joy and fulfillment: believing in your destiny, escaping internal captivity, leading a magnified life, and choosing a love-centered life. The Four Doors will set readers on the beginning of a journey to their own unique version of a meaningful life, providing life-changing inspiration to be shared with family and friends for generations. Here are the links for the Hardcover , Kindle Edition , and Nook book.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield... Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it. In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff. You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your ownHere are the links for the Hardcover , Kindle Edition , and Nook book.

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne Lamont... A wise and compassionate exploration of how we can make sense of life’s chaos. What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one other and to what’s sustaining, when evil and catastrophe seem inescapable? These questions lie at the heart of Stitches, Lamott’s profound follow-up to her New York Times–bestselling Help, Thanks, Wow. In this book Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin, Lamott says, by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time. It’s in these stitches that the quilt of life begins, and embedded in them are strength, warmth, humor, and humanity. Here are the links for the Hardcover , Kindle Edition , and Nook book.

Hope you enjoy today's inspiring new releases! Feel free to share what books inspire you!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Sunday Salon and World Book Night Books with Buzz

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! This is the day during the week where we get together and talk books! So grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and relax! What bookish things have you been doing this week?

It's been a very bookish week here at Chick with Books. With the World Book Night books announcement, there were plenty of books to add to the need to read list! I thought this week we'd take a peek at a few of those World Book Night picks that I think stand out...

First of all, are you familiar with World Book Night? On April 23rd, World Book Night is celebrated. This is the third year that the United States have celebrated. Why April 23rd?

 "April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday. It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one."

It's also a wonderful way to spread literacy world wide, and with the help of sponsors, authors, publishers, readers and givers, World Book Night spread's the love of reading by giving away great books for free! Authors give up their royalties for the books chosen, publishers publish special editions for free, and readers like you and me, apply to give books away. When you apply to be a giver, you pick out a book from the list of books chosen for World Book Night. If you are chosen to be a giver, you get 20 books of the title you chose, or your second choice, to be given out in a public place on the night of April 23rd. It is so much fun! My reading group has done it for the past 2 years with lots of success. Last year we had 80 books to give away!

Here are a few of my top choices of the WBN Books this year...

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford... from the publisher: In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept... Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko.

I loved this book! My whole reading group loved this book! It is such a wonderful love story, set in a time that is so interesting historically. The writing is wonderful, and if you haven't read it yet, YOU SHOULD! It's available is Paperback , Kindle , and Nook.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed... At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State “and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise. But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

I have been meaning to read this for some time. Wild has gotten so much great buzz, I think it's a perfect choice to introduce readers and nonreaders to memoirs. I recently downloaded this for my Kindle and was immediately hooked on the writing and the adventure. It's available in Paperback , on Kindle and Nook.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein... from Goodreads: I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do. That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again. He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two. We are a sensational team.

Lots of great buzz about this book! It's YA, it's WWII, it's a spy novel, it's about friendship, it's got great heroines and it's got adventure. What more can you ask for? This is definitely on my TBR list! Especially since it has great female characters, which is always refreshing in an adventure story. It's available in Paperback , on Kindle and Nook.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller...  A riveting, powerful novel about a pilot living in a world filled with loss—and what he is willing to risk to rediscover, against all odds, connection, love, and grace.

Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life—something like his old life—exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return—not enough fuel to get him home—following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face—in the people he meets, and in himself—is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.

This book sounds wonderful and fun! And how can you resist an adventure with a guy and his dog?! Dystopian, sci-fi, adventure. Lots of great buzz on this book too! With over 15,000 ratings at Goodreads, it came in at almost 4 stars! A great novel to add to World Book Night! It's available in Paperback , on Kindle and Nook.

The Week in Review...

Tuesday we looked at New Releases! There were some great ones included the long awaited Allegiant by Veronica Roth! Click on my LINK to read the post if you missed it! More great books coming this tuesday too!

Thursday we talked a little about World Book Night and listed all the books that are going to be distributed world wide that night! Click on my LINK to read the post and see what great choices there are! You can apply to be a giver at

Friday I reviewed The Last First Day by Carrie Brown. What a fabulous book! It was slow paced, but it set the tone perfectly for the story to unfurl wonderfully. Click to read my REVIEW.

Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Last First Day by Carrie Brown... A Review

The Last First Day by Carrie Brown is simply amazing! The story innocently invites you in and wraps itself around you in a warm comfortable embrace. The story is a quiet one, but powerful. And I have to say, this is one my favorite reads of the year.

It is a love story, it is a story of the reflection of life as one looks back in their twilight years, and it is beautifully written.

The book opens with the first day at the New England Derry School for Boys, the school where Peter and Ruth have spent most of their adult lives, the place where Peter started as an enthusiastic teacher, with Ruth as the dutiful wife and where now, as the couple is in their eighties, and Peter approaching the need to retire as headmaster, is the place they must learn to live without. As Ruth drags the vacuum cleaner out to get ready for the annual first night get together at their home with the faculty, memories slowly emerge. And that is how we learn of the love story of Peter and Ruth. Through Ruth's eyes, the story of their lives unfold in perfect harmony with the present tense to let us experience their love, their passion, their struggles and commitment over the decades. It's also the story of Ruth, how she accepts her life, the role she chose for herself, and the life that she had no choice over.

The book itself is in two parts. The first part is Peter and Ruth on that "last first day" at Derry School, with the smattering of memories of their lives. The second part starts Ruth's story from the beginning- from when she was twelve, living out of a suitcase with her father, and her first sighting of Peter. We learn so much about Ruth in part two and understand her so much better. The love story, of Peter and Ruth, which really emerges from its' humble beginnings in the second part of the novel, is sweet & wonderful, sad & devastating, and ultimately blossoms into a full shared life together.
                              "What had Peter seen in her all this time?
                               It was a mystery, wasn't it, why people loved one another?"
I read this book in a day and a half... This is a story that will linger with me for quite some time. I loved the way Carrie Brown made this complex story flow so easily from the page, slowly unfurling & perfectly putting the words down on the page. It is honest, it is heartfelt, I thought it was wonderful... and I did cry at the end.

I want to thank Pantheon Books, a division of Random House for sending along The Last First Day by Carrie Brown for me review! Published in mid-September, The Last First Day is available in Hardcover , Kindle and Nook. If you enjoy good stories, stories where the characters reflect back on their lives,  or love stories, you will enjoy this book. It is a slow paced, wonderful story. Find yourself a comfy chair and read this book!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

World Book Night... and the Choices Are...

Last night was the World Book Night book choices reveal event. It was a live event that you signed in for via the internet, which had so much interest from the reading community that the host site crashed! But the books were revealed anyway, and what an amazing group of titles there are!

Do you know about World Book Night? Well, it's one night of the year, April 23, (It's UNESCO's International Day of the Book, and it's also Shakespeare's birthday) when people all over the world share their passion for reading by giving away books! The event is sponsored by a whole host of people, and 30 - 35 books are chosen to distribute that one night of the year. This is the 3rd year that the United States is participating, all the authors waive their royalties and publishers print these books with special covers all at their own expense. People apply to be Givers, and if you are chosen, you are given 20 copies of the book you picked to distribute the evening of April 23rd! It is so much fun!

Here are the 2014 World Book Night titles...

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1 by John Flanagan

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Large Print edition) by Jamie Ford

The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Pontoon by Garrison Keillor

Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Cuando Era Puertorrique├▒a by Esmeralda Santiago

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Large Print edition) by Maria Semple

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff

100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith

Interested in getting involved? You can learn all about it at the US World Book Night website!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Releases Tuesday

Tuesday's are the day you can find those much anticipated new releases from your favorite authors! And today I have 4 that I can't wait to share with you... Dystopian, Mystery, Courtroom thriller & Adventure.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Have you been reading the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth!? Allegiant is Book 3, the long anticipated final book to the series.... and it is finally out!!!
What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
This is dystopian at its' best! Here are the links to grab a copy...

                  Available in Hardcover, Kindle or Nook.

Next, The Goldfinch by Donna Tart... a haunted odyssey through present day    
America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.  As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

I have read so many great pre-publication reviews about The Goldfinch. This sounds like it's going to be the book everyone is going to want to read! Here are the links for the Hardcover (which is just $11.68 on Amazon right now), Kindle and Nook!

Sycamore Row by John Grisham... Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial-a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history. Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

I use to be addicted to John Grisham novels. His courtroom novels are just a thrill to read, fast paced and gripping. Sycamore Row revisits the site of his first novel A Time to Kill, written in 1989. If you enjoy courtroom thrillers, you should enjoy this one! And if you missed A Time to Kill, it's available on Kindle for just $2.99! You do not need to read A Time to Kill first, Sycamore Row is a fresh story. Here are the links for Sycamore Row in Hardcover , Kindle and Nook. And here's the link for A Time to Kill on Kindle at that great price!

Outlaw by Ted Dekker... The story of how I, Julian Carter, and my precious two-year old son, Stephen, left Atlanta Georgia and found ourselves on a white sailboat, tossed about like a cork on a raging sea off of Australia's northern tip in 1963, is harrowing. But it pales in comparison to what happened deep in the jungle where I was taken as a slave by a savage tribe unknown to the world. Some places dwell in darkness so deep that even God seems to stay away. There, my mind was torn in two by the gods of the earth. There, one life ended so another could begin...  an epic adventure of two worlds that perhaps only he could write. Full of harrowing twists, sweeping violence, and wild love, Outlaw takes us beyond the skin of this world to another unseen.

Ted Dekker is such a diverse writer. I love his psychological thrillers, but he also writes Christian books. Whatever he writes, he knows how to tell a story! His thrillers have you at the edge of your seat and heart pounding. When I heard Ted Dekker was coming out with a new book, I was excited! And this sounds like a great adventure! This is on my wish list! Here are the links to get yourself a copy: It's available today in Hardcover , Kindle and Nook.

*Stop by next tuesday for some other great books being released Oct. 29th!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Sunday Salon... And Crashes in Your Reading Life

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...

Some of you out there know that a little while back I was in a pretty serious car accident. A teenager on his way home from school decided to run a stop sign, going so fast I didn't even see him when he hit me, and the rest is history. I was lucky because it could have been so much worse. I survived with cuts and big bruises and a concussion and all sorts of lumps all over, and lots of pain (still), and a leg that doesn't function anymore because my knee is torn in a zillion places, and frustration, etc. Someday, I know this will be all behind me. In the meantime, the word crash makes me cringe. SO, I thought since the "crash" is ever present in my mind these days, I'd see what kind of books I could find that had the word "crash" in them. It seems that crash can be more than a car crash...

Crash by Lisa McMann... From the back flap:
Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that. What she can’t handle is the vision. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode... and nine body bags in the snow. She has no idea why this is happening to her or if she’s going crazy. It hardly matters, because the visions are everywhere--on billboards, television screens, windows--and she’s the only one who can see them. But it’s not until the vision starts coming more frequently, and revealing more clues, that Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it's someone she knows. Someone she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.

I love this cover! This is a YA, that I think would appeal to the Adult Crossover crowd. The author, Lisa McMann is well known for a 2 other YA series, The Unwanteds , which is a dysptopian trilogy that sounds fantastic, and the Wake Trilogy , and has gotten rave reviews for all her writing. I like the premiss of her getting these visions and her determination to put the pieces together to make sure none of it happens. This book is available in Paperback , Kindle , or Nook!

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson... From the publisher: Weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age. In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately.

Neal Stephenson writing is sometimes referred to as a cyberpunk, or a postmodern kind of world with a good dose of technology thrown in. How can you not like a warrior prince who delivers pizza for a living?! Sci-fi fans should like this, as well as cyberpunk enthusiasts. Snow Crash dates back to some of Neal Stephenson's earlier works, this dating back to 1994, and this book has gotten great reviews! It's available in Paperback , Kindle , or Nook!

Crash and Burn by Artie Lange... from the publisher: Veteran comedian and radio personality Artie Lange turns an unflinching eye and his signature wit on his perilous descent into drug addiction, life-threatening depression, and ultimately, his recovery, in the follow-up to his hilariously raw debut, #1 New York Times bestseller Too Fat to Fish. At a high point in his career, Artie Lange played a sold-out show in Carnegie Hall and totally killed—yet during his standing ovation, all he could think of were the two bags of heroin in his pocket. In the midst of a deep, self-destructive depression, addicted to heroin and prescription drugs, he lashed out at everyone around him— from his fellow cast members on The Howard Stern Show, to celebrity guests, his longtime friends, and even his own family. By turns dark and disturbing, hilarious and heartbreaking, and always drop-dead honest, Crash and Burn lifts the curtain on Artie’s dangerous slide, and offers a new, crystal-clear window into the mind of the addict... With the help and support of friends and family, Artie claws his way back, turning his life and career around. And despite his slipups, backslides, and permanent losses, Artie forges on. With Crash and Burn, Artie Lange goes all-in, confessing a story that is as shocking as it is funny, ever tempered by his characteristic humor, self-awareness, and inimitable way with words. 

I do enjoy a good memoir, but I burned out on celebrity tell-alls a while back. BUT, Artie Lange isn't a celebrity to me, I never heard of him. His crash on drugs is a familiar one to many celebrities, but when I read an excerpt of this from Rolling Stones magazine and I was immediately drawn in to the story and the writing! His story seems fresh and human. The story of someone who has it all, but can't see that until "you only realize how big your mountain is once you're laying motionless, helpless, and hopeless in the valley below." That is Artie Lange's story. This is definitely on my reading list. Crash and Burn will be published Oct. 29th by Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster. You can pre-order the Hardcover , and it will be available for the Kindle and the Nook the same day as the hardcover!

Other Bookish news... 
*Author Alice Munro, who writes short stories, won the Noble Prize for Literature on Oct. 10th! "Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction" Congratulations Alice Munro!

*Have you heard about the backlash of self-published erotica? Well, it seems that there is a sweeping attack & delete at the major eBook stores of their self-published erotica. A news report about finding "questionable" material in the self-published section even made WH Smith shut down their site entirely. You can read the full story at The Digital Reader

Chick with Books Blog News... Chick with Books is available on Kindle now! If you own a Kindle, YOU can subscribe to Chick with Books via Amazon and have the blog delivered to your Kindle automatically! You can get all the details at my Amazon Kindle Page!

The Week in Review...
On tuesday, Oct. 11th, I reviewed The Nine Fold Heaven by Mingmei Yip. It was a sexy fun thrill ride through the Shanghai of the 1930's! 

On friday, Oct. 14th,  I blogged about eBook subscriptions or the "Netflixing" of the eBook industry. It's coming, and I highlighted 3 of the top choices.

On saturday, Oct. 15th, I reviewed Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel. Folklore, mystery, romance & the open sea all make for a wonderful story, that also happen's to be a graphic novel beautifully rendered in soft charcoal with hand lettering of the text. Do not miss this one even if you're new to graphic novels!

NEXT WEEK, look for an update on some great books coming out this week and next! And of course there's always bookish news.

Happy reading.... Suzanne

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel... A Review

A mysterious 19th century steamboat with a lonesome captain sails the Hudson River... The romance of the sea, a bittersweet legend , a bit of magic and a vengeful mermaid all fulfill the promise of a wonderful read. If the story weren't enough to capture your heart, the artwork is simply dreamy.

Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel is a graphic novel that goes beyond what you would expect from one. The story is a thrilling adventure, sprinkled with romance & a love story, draped in folklore and beautifully rendered in soft charcoal drawings. Even the text is hand written, which is so refreshing. Truly a work of art.

I do enjoy graphic novels, but I'm not your typical reader. I'm not your Superman kind of girl, but give me a great story with compelling characters and wonderful hand drawn art and I am hooked! That's what you'll find in Sailor Twain. I knew it was special when I saw it's dust jacketed spine and pulled it from the bookstore shelf.

If you enjoy folklore with a bit of romance, you will enjoy this! If you are undecided about graphic novels, give this one a chance! (I shared this with one of the guys at work who never read a graphic novel before and he loved it!)

Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson is available in Hardcover (paperback coming in March 2014) AND it's available for your Kindle too! And all are published by 01:First Second

Friday, October 18, 2013

EBook Subscriptions or "Netflixing" the Publishing Industry

Remember the "Library Checkout Card"? That little piece of paper tucked in the back of your library book, that the librarian stamped with the date and your name? They went out way ahead of the card catalog, but in the day, it was the way you checked books out. Until now...

Ever hear of Netflix? It's that movie subscription service that made renting movies in your PJ's easy. Well, eBook subscriptions are making a soft entry into the world of readers who use eReaders. eBook subscriptions have been around for a while, mostly for technical books, where the technology is changing faster than the days on the calendar, and books just don't stay current. But for literary reads there hasn't been much interest. Publisher's Weekly writer Calvin Reid, wrote this past week about how "the subscription e-book model is finally gaining traction in the publishing industry" and how Oyster, eReatah, and Scribd are all coming out with rental plans for eBooks, just like Netflix has for movies.

We subscribe to Netflix for our movies, we subscribe to Audible for our audiobooks, why not a monthly subscription to download eBooks? Here's how they work...

Oyster... for $9.95 a month, Oyster will give you unlimited downloads to their 100,000 books. I couldn't browse to see what kind of titles were available, but that would be important to me. Right now Oyster subscriptions are only for your iPhone or iPod Touch. They say they have plans to release an iPad friendly app later this year. You can learn more about them at

eReatah... for $14.99 a month, eReatah will let you download 2 titles a month. You'll need to install the eReatah app, which works on your iPhone, iPad and Android devices with a work around that should work for Kindle Fire. They have an interesting take on all this though, you get to keep the books you download on eReatah. BUT, you can only read them with the app, so you have to keep the app on your device. Their website is beautiful, they have a person that comes on chat immediately to answer any question you may have, and it appears that there are current popular titles available. You can learn more about them at

Scribd... for $8.99 a month (and the first month is free), Scribd offers unlimited downloads. You can read on your iPhone, iPad, Android or browser. This means Kindle Fire or Nook HD, not the regular Kindle or Nook Simple Touch. Scribd has been around a long time with access to all sorts of reading material. Their selection of available books is amazing, and you can browse their FULL CATALOG to  see for yourself. You can learn more about them at

What do you think?! Are eBook subscriptions practical? Do we really need to purchase and keep all those eBooks forever? And what about pricing? I think that at $8.99 a month with unlimited downloads may be great if you are a voracious reader, but would your reading habits support the expense? Remember, there's always the library. Even though they got rid of the checkout card, libraries have both books and in most cases now, free ebooks to download!

 I have to say though... I still miss that good ole card catalog!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Nine Fold Heaven by Mingmei Yip... A Review

The Nine Fold Heaven by Mingmei Yip is the allure of Shanghai, with a twist of funny. Sexy and passionate painted upon a canvas of Chinese folklore, ghosts and dreams. This is all you can expect and more from Mingmei Yip's most recent book, The Nine Fold Heaven. The story centers around Camilla, and her quest to find her lost lover and baby. A baby that she thinks may be alive, even though she was told he died in childbirth. But her baby visits her in her dreams and gives her cryptic messages, and so her quest begins. But Camilla is no ordinary Chinese girl, she's been trained many years to be a sly covert spy by one of the most powerful gang leaders in Shanghai. She is beautiful, a woman who knows how to seduce any man, a talented singer,  pretty good with a knife and funny. Camilla will lead you on a journey through the exotic underworld of Shanghai, to an adventure that will surely grab you and have you turning those pages faster than a cherry blossom fades.

I am never disappointed with Mingmei Yip's writing. It is simply wonderful. Her stories are always an adventure, with exotic settings, and with a heroine that is so real, with flaws & feelings that the reader can always relate to. AND her stories are fun! Her female protagonists always have a fiery independent attitude graced with the humility to manipulate her situations.

Camilla, is from her previous book, Skeleton Women, where we first meet her as an orphaned girl living in Shanghai. She is adopted and brought up in luxurious surroundings, but as she finds out later, there is a cost to everything. And as she develops into the beautiful and talented woman she was meant to be, she finds out what that cost will be. And I just love that Mingmei brought Camilla back in another story! Don't you wish more authors would do that with great characters?! But even though Camilla's origins are in a previous story, you do not have to read the previous book to thoroughly enjoy this book. The Nine Fold Heaven is a stand alone read. (But if you like Camilla as much as I do, you'll want to read more of her anyway!)

What more can I say except that I loved The Nine Fold Heaven!  I want to thank Mingmei Yip for sending along a copy of The Nine Fold Heaven for review! It is always a pleasure to crack the spine on any of her books.

The Nine Fold Heaven is available on Kindle, Nook and in Paperback , all published by Kensington Books. (BTW, Skeleton Women is at a Kindle Bargain price of $2.99 right now if you wanted to read Camilla from her start.)

Here are a couple of links to my first interview with Mingmei Yip in April 2011, and my review of her book, Song of the Silk Road.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Sunday Salon, My Evolution of eReaders and How I Fell for That New Kindle!

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! This is the day during the week where we get together and talk books! So grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and relax! What bookish things have you been doing this week?

On Saturday, much to my surprise and delight, a package came from Amazon. Though it was suppose to arrive on Oct. 18th, my new Kindle came Oct. 12th! I have long held a certain affection for eReaders, which started out as a novelty for some, but way back publishers were starting to use ePub files to distribute some of their galleys and I needed to have one. At that time, the early Nook was the winner in this department because the Kindle was not ePub friendly. I liked that first Nook, but wasn't thrilled. I've tested quite a few eReaders since then- the Kobo, the Sony eReader, the iPad and the many generations of Kindles. My favorite out of all of them has been the Sony eReader Pocket edition. It is thin, the screen is amazing, and it is small. It fits in my hand (which is small), and it is so easy to put in my purse. But Sony never succeeded in pushing its way to the top and remains to be a hidden gem. Unfortunately, it seems that Sony is not developing any new eReaders which may eventually lead to them getting out of the eReader business. Hopefully that does not mean them getting out of the eBook business, because the Sony Bookstore is very nice. But I imagine that the profit is in the eBooks, not the eReader, so the eBookstore should remain viable. The easiest eReader to fill up has always been the Kindle, in whatever form you have one. Amazon is just a mega giant when it comes to advertising and ease of shopping. (amazing what you can find in the store!) And I have been happy with my Kindle touch, though I never quite felt that the e-Ink display was all "That".

Then came along the Nook HD and I was in love. The screen was color, which I could adjust for reading, and it was a comfortable size to hold. Amazon came out with it's Kindle Fire's then, but Nook really blew them away. The Nook HD was lighter, thinner and had a crisper (more pixels) display. Soon-to-be Hubby bought me one for Christmas and I was so happy.... until Google. Yes, Google. Barnes and Noble suffers from the same advertising problems as Sony. Kindle just "has" the eReader market in its pocket. As a result, Barnes & Noble after successfully pushing the new Nook HD, made a deal with Google and let them take over the Nook with Google Apps. One day I woke up to Google Play, which I loved because it made it possible to read my Kindle books on my Nook, but then I had all sorts of other Google Apps I didn't want! I ignore all those Apps when I turned on my Nook, because my Nook is really for reading.

I've been so happy with my Nook HD even with the Google takeover. I've had it for about a year. Rumors of a new Kindle started circulating. It was going to be thinner, sharper and had something called Second Screen, which really intrigued me. And so, with some reward points lingering around for a long time, I ordered a Kindle Fire HDX. It is thinner, the screen is beautiful and it is so much lighter than the Kindle Fire. Second Screen is what really tempted me and that is not up and running yet. Basically Second Screen (also referred to as Mirroring or Miracast) is a way for you to throw what's on your eReader screen to your TV. You will need a device that will do this though, such as a smart TV or a "box" hooked up to your TV. This all works wirelessly from your Kindle, and I was thinking how it would be great for Skype! More details coming about all that as Amazon works out any bugs and comes up with their own "device" to sell you.

There are a few "negatives" with the Kindle Fire HDX. Maybe more pet peeves... Even though it is thinner, it is still just a smidge too wide to fit comfortable in my small hand for a long time. And I have found that when I'm holding the Kindle HDX with both hands, my fingers tend to touch the screen, which could cause a little havoc with what you are doing. I think it's just a matter of getting use to holding it though. The on/off button is on the back and so are the volume controls, which make it a bit cumbersome to work with. I would have preferred to have them on the side, but to keep the thin profile they had to do this. And something that may matter to some people, there is no rear camera. So if you want to actually take a photo, you can only aim the front of the HDX at whatever and not quite know what you are shooting. This camera feature is really for video chatting, which I think would be fantastic. I'm also waiting for a more reasonable priced case too. Right now, you can buy an Orgami Case , which also serves to prop up your Kindle, for either $49.99 or $64.99 depending on if you want genuine leather or faux leather, a slip case for $19.99 or an OtterBox case for $69.99, which is built like a tank, and kind of defeats the new slim design of your Kindle. After market cases should be coming soon.

So, what eReader is dear to your heart? And are you going to be looking at one of the new Kindle Fires? Share what your pro's and con's are!

BTW, since we're on the subject of eReaders, how about a great source for eBooks? If you haven't heard about it yet, BookBub is a great source for free and reduced price eBooks for all the different eReaders. You signup at the sight with your email and check off the types of books you like to read and the platform you read them on. Then you'll get a daily email with the bargains for that day, and it's not just no name authors, there are well known authors also represented. AND you'll find some cookbooks in the selections sometimes.

My eReader Blogging Memories... 
        Sept. 5, 2010: Are eReaders Taking Over the World?
        June 22, 2010: eReader Price Wars
        May 12, 2010: The Digital World Welcomes ANOTHER eReader!
        Dec. 21, 2012: Seniors Re-Kindling a Love for Reading
        Oct. 22, 2009: The Kindle Korner and The Nook
        July 29, 2010: The Third Generation Kindle Revealed!
        May 6, 2009: Is Bigger Better?

Happy eReading... Suzanne

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Sunday Salon and Mail Call...

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! This is the day during the week where we get together and talk books! So grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and relax! What bookish things have you been doing this week?

Thought I would share some of the great books you should see arriving in your bookstore soon! These wonderful pages arrived in my mailbox the past few weeks and I am so excited!

Charming by Elliott James... Not all Princes are Charming... He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt. That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right?

Just when I thought I was all through with Vampires and the like, Charming by Elliott James arrives in my mailbox to WOW me. The story is fun, the writing drew me in with it's easy laid back style and I loved the characters! Look for a full review soon, but for now, let me just say READ it! Charming was published late Sept. by Orbit books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, and can be found at your local bookstore now!

Harvest by Jim Crace... On the morning after harvest, the inhabitants of a remote English village awaken looking forward to a hard-earned day of rest and feasting at their landowner's table. But the sky is marred by two conspicuous columns of smoke, replacing pleasurable anticipation with alarm and suspicion. One smoke column is the result of an overnight fire that has damaged the master's outbuildings. The second column rises from the wooded edge of the village, sent up by newcomers to announce their presence. In the minds of the wary villagers a mere coincidence of events appears to be unlikely, with violent confrontation looming as the unavoidable outcome. Meanwhile, another newcomer has recently been spotted taking careful notes and making drawings of the land. It is his presence more than any other that will threaten the village's entire way of life.

This book was a finalist in the Man Booker Prize, and has earned a lot of praise for it's writing, which has been referred to as "haunting" and "thought-provoking". The author puts us in the midst of an English village, probably in the mid 1600's, and the villagers that call it home. Published by Vintage Books, it is available on the bookstore shelves now, and it's a Kindle bargain at $7.99 right now! I always tend to pay attention to the books that are in the Man Booker lists, and I look forward to cracking the spine on this literary runner up!

The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black... Mourning for her daughter and her crumbling marriage, photographer Clare Porterfield returns to her childhood home in Galveston, Texas, hoping to find distraction in mounting an exhibition featuring the island’s vivid history. Things haven’t changed much during her decade away: her relationship with her mother and older sister is still fraught and competitive, and their neighbors, the Carradays, wield the same moneyed influence they have for generations. But Clare finds that she is now an outsider, out of step with the unique rhythms of Galveston life. As she copes with her grief by digging deeper into the past, she discovers secrets that have grown and multiplied like the wildflowers that climb up Island walls and fences—secrets that will give her a new understanding of her own history.

This sounds like a great reading group pick! Uncovering secrets long buried usually always spells interest and Elizabeth Black has gotten some great reviews for The Drowning House. Published by Random House, this will be on the shelves Oct. 8th!

The Antagonist by Lynn Coady... A piercing epistolary novel, The Antagonist explores, with wit and compassion, how the impressions of others shape, pervert, and flummox both our perceptions of ourselves and our very nature. Gordon Rankin Jr., aka “Rank,” thinks of himself as “King Midas in reverse”—and indeed misfortune seems to follow him at every turn. Against his will and his nature, he has long been considered—given his enormous size and strength—a goon and enforcer by his classmates, by his hockey coaches, and, not least, by his “tiny, angry” father. He gamely lives up to their expectations, until a vicious twist of fate forces him to flee underground. Now pushing forty, he discovers that an old, trusted friend from his college days has published a novel that borrows freely from the traumatic events of Rank’s own life. Outraged by this betrayal and feeling cruelly misrepresented, he bashes out his own version of his story in a barrage of e-mails to the novelist that range from funny to furious to heartbreaking.

This looks to be fun! I love epistolary novels! That is, novels that are written as a series of letters. Actually this is written in the form of emails that are dated and time stamped at the beginning of each one, and the ones I read so far are funny. But it's not all fun and games for Rank, who pours out his version of "the story". This is a kind of coming-of-age tale, and there are heart breaking moments as well. This is definitely on the top of the reading pile and has gotten a lot of early praise. It is published by Vintage Books, an imprint of Random House, and I think it would make a good reading group read, with what appear to be good discussion questions from the publisher. This will be available on the book shelves Oct. 8th! If you enjoy epistolary novels, you have to check out this one! Look for a review soon!

A BIG thank you to the publishers and reps who sent along these great books for me to review!

What Else Happened This Week?... On Monday, I wrote about Marcella Hazan,  a cookbook writer, Italian cooking extraordinaire, who died last Sunday. Her legacy will be the wonderful Italian cooking she taught from her home, cooking schools and cookbooks. I recently picked up a copy of her Essentials of Italian Cooking and not only was excited to read the recipes inside, but the wealth of cooking information she shares at the beginning and thru-out. I will be reviewing this and sharing what I decide to cook too!

Tom Clancy, author of numerous thrillers, including The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games, died this past week. Fans of Jack Ryan will get one more chance to tag along, with Tom Clancy's last Jack Ryan novel Command Authority, coming out Dec. 3rd. This book was written with Mark Greaney, the second collaboration with Tom Clancy, which will probably keep the Jack Ryan legacy alive. 

How was your reading week?! Any great books you'd like to share?! I always like to hear what you're reading too! 

Happy reading... Suzanne
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