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

Monday, February 29, 2016

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox... I've received some great eGalleys last week! And I decided I would join in on the fun sharing them with you and the other bloggers participating in Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is 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.

I think ghosts are a theme for me this week, with almost all the books here having some sort of ghost involved. All except for The Passenger, which is a thriller that involves a death, but no ghosts to speak of. ( I think) Here's what landed in my eReader this week...

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase... Ghosts are everywhere, not just the ghost of Momma in the woods, but ghosts of us too, what we used to be like in those long summers . . . Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family's country estate, where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, of course, it does. 

More than three decades later, Lorna is determined to be married within the grand, ivy-covered walls of Pencraw Hall, known as Black Rabbit Hall among the locals. But as she's drawn deeper into the overgrown grounds, half-buried memories of her mother begin to surface and Lorna soon finds herself ensnared within the manor's labyrinthine history, overcome with an insatiable need for answers about her own past and that of the once-happy family whose memory still haunts the estate.

Ahh, a ghost story in a country estate in London! Need I say more? I am so looking forward to diving into this one! (and actually I have!) Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and G.P. Putnam 's Sons.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz... A blistering thriller about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

"In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it..."

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time. She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born. It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

I have been wanting to read this after all the great reviews for a long time! I kind of feel like I won the lottery here, but in all seriousness this sounds like a great read and Lisa Lutz has the talent to do it! Thank you to Simon & Schuster!

Fell side by M.R. Carey... From Kirkus Reviews: A woman in prison must fight violent inmates and suspicious ghosts to find some measure of redemption.

Jess Moulson wakes up in the hospital with no memory of where she is or what has happened. High on heroin, she started a fire that burned her own face beyond recognition, severely injured her addict boyfriend, and led to 10-year-old Alex Beech’s death by smoke inhalation. Jess is found guilty of Alex’s murder and sentenced to Fellside, a notorious women’s prison in the remote Yorkshire moors. Alex’s ghost visits her in prison, assuring her that she was not the one who hurt him and begging her to uncover the truth behind his murder. Soon Jess is projecting into “the Other World” with Alex while simultaneously navigating the very dangerous real world of Fellside.

You know, I love a good ghost story and the hook here for me was Alex's ghost coming back and visiting Jess in prison. I thought that was interesting. And I'm also interested in how well M.R. Carey handles Jess visiting "the other world", which I presume to be the place in-between life and death.  Thank you to Orbit Books!

Summer lost by Ally Condie... It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what's left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They're just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar. 

This was just a 6 chapter sampler released by the publisher, but it sounded like a wonderful "summer" read, and hints of a coming of age tale, so I happily downloaded the sample eGalley!  Thank you to Penguin Group, Penguin Young Readers Group, and Dutton Books for Young Readers.

That's my mailbox this past week, what kind of books arrived on your doorstep?! Hop on over to Mailbox Monday and check out what everyone found waiting for them!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Leap Year 2016... Extra Day, Extra Reading!

Extra Day, Extra Reading!

Once every 4 years we readers get an extra day. Okay, once every 4 years everyone gets an extra day, but it's so much more fun if you are a reader... because you get an extra day of reading! Over at Goodreads, there is a mini-challenge to read a book today! Yes, a whole book! Up for the challenge? I sure am! After taking a serious fall and recuperating from the injuries this week, I have a little extra reading time on my hands (and I can at least use one hand to click pages). But even if you don't have a whole day to read, the book you choose doesn't have to be the length of War and Peace! This challenge is really meant for novella length books... Under 150 pages.

SO, what book am I going to read?!

I'm going to read, Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valence, which was recommended by the moderators (Khadijah, Winter, Cassandra, Kara & Zara) of the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge. This book is way out of my normal reading, but the reviews say it is an amazing read, "mesmerizing, tender, emotional", and I am going to embrace the challenge. Silently and Very Fast is Science Fiction/Fantasy, it was a 2011 Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novella, a 2012 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novella and here's what the Goodreads blurb says about it...

Fantastist Catherynne M. Valente takes on the folklore of artificial intelligence in this brand new, original novella of technology, identity, and an uncertain mechanized future.

Neva is dreaming. But she is not alone. A mysterious machine entity called Elefsis haunts her and the members of her family, back through the generations to her great-great-grandmother—a gifted computer programmer who changed the world. Together Neva and Elefsis navigate their history and their future, an uneasy, unwilling symbiotic.

 But what they discover in their dreamworld might change them forever... 

Are you going to get some extra reading in today? 
What book will you be reading?

*Update... I have finished Silently and Very Fast and have no words to describe it properly yet. It was mesmerizing, like actually being in a dream, tender, confusing, beautiful. Will be working on a review for this soon.

Take Control of your TBR Pile Challenge...

I am going to take control of my TBR (aka To Be Read) Pile! Or at least make a dent in it. Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer is hosting this challenge to encourage readers far and wide to attack those books on your shelf that you should have read by now! The rules are simple...

  • For the entire month of March read (or listen if it's an audiobook) to any books in your TBR pile.
  • Book/audiobook must be released before March 1st, 2016
There will be a twitter party, a 24 hour read-a-thon, and a giveaway too! If you'd like to participate you can sign up at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and you can get the full details there too. 

This should be fun! And no matter how many books I read during the month from my TBR pile, it will be one more off the shelf!

Memoir Monday and... The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse.  (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and “black belt sinner,” providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre.

Anchored by excerpts from her favorite memoirs and anecdotes from fellow writers’ experience, The Art of Memoir lays bare Karr’s own process. (Plus all those inside stories about how she dealt with family and friends get told— and the dark spaces in her own skull probed in depth.) As she breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate.

Joining such classics as Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, The Art of Memoir is an elegant and accessible exploration of one of today’s most popular literary forms—a tour de force from an accomplished master pulling back the curtain on her craft.

It only seems fitting to include this book in Memoir Monday. While reading an excerpt from The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, the opening line of the first chapter struck a chord...

“At unexpected points in life, everyone gets waylaid by the colossal force of recollection. One minute you’re a grown-ass woman, then a whiff of cumin conjures your dad’s curry, and a whole door to the past blows open…”

And isn't it true? Our memories float around waiting for opportunities to show that they are still hanging around. But the process of creating a memoir, and one that would interest someone you don't know, well that is talent and I'm curious of the process. On my TBR list!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Sunday Salon and the Winner Is... 5 Best Picture Nominees based on a Book (with 3 more movies based on books you may or may not want to see)!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news!!

I thought we'd talk a little about the Oscars this week. There are so many movies based on books, and it's not surprising. Why not adapt something that's already written. Though it sounds like it may be easy, it's not. Sometimes the results are great, and I put all the Harry Potter movies based on the J.K. Rowling books in this category, and sometimes the movies fall short (this I'm going to have to think further on because I can't think of any that were that bad off hand).

3 Movies based on Books I enjoyed...

1. True Grit by Charles Ports... One movie I LOVED based on a book(that I also loved) was the 2012 version of True Grit! Starring Jeff Bridges, this was so well done. The original with John Wayne, I thought more of a comedy, but the 2012 version really held true to the feel of the book. The book was True Grit by Charles Portis, and tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory

2.The Reader by Bernard Schlink...  I also LOVED the book AND the movie based on The Reader (although they changed the ending in the movie, the ending in the book was better). The movie was devastating and the book was just as gripping. The Reader takes place in postwar Germany, with 15 year-old  Michael falling ill on the way home from school, and 30-year-old Hanna helping him. They become friends, then lovers and then then she disappears, only to reappear years later on trial for war crimes. When they finally meet again she is an "old" woman.

3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Gold... And lastly, I LOVED the book Memoirs of a Geisha (can we say how amazed a MAN actually wrote this book one more time!) but I did not really care for the movie. It was beautiful to look at, the scenery, the Geisha's, but I don't think it really brought the characters to life. The book was so wonderful, but the movie didn't do the story justice.

But tonight night are the 2016 Oscars, and here are the 5 movies up for best picture that were based on books...

1. The Big Short based on The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis about the build-up of the housing and credit bubble during the 2000s. This kind of movie (or book) isn't really my cup of tea, so I have not seen it, but hey, it's up for best picture! Have you seen it or read the book?

2. Brooklyn based on the book Brooklyn by Colm Tobin. Set in 1952, the film tells the story of a young Irish woman's immigration to Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within them for her. This is on my list of movies to see. The cinematography looks beautiful! And the book is in my TBR pile. Anyone see this movie yet? How about reading the book?

3. The Martian based on the book The Martian by Andy Weir. About a research expedition to Mars gone wrong. One astronaut gets injured, is presumed dead and left on the planet during an evacuation. When it's found out that he survived, it's a race to see if they can rescue him before he runs out of food and water. I really enjoyed the book, which I wasn't really sure about at first, but to me the movie was not as good as the book. Book was just so much better probably because I was reading about those long periods of not much happening instead of watching them on the screen. Definitely you should read the book. It is science fiction, but so much more than that! What did everyone else think?

4. The Revenant based on the book The Revenant by Michael Punke. About a fur trapper who is mauled by a bear and left for dead, but doesn't quite die and seeks revenge on those that left him. I have heard that this movie is pretty grizzly (no pun intended), but it looks like the movie to see these days. Has anyone seen this and what did you think?

5. Room based on the book Room by Emma Donoghue. About the mother and her 5 year old son who are held captive in a room. The room is all the 5 year old has ever known, but the mother devises a plan to escape.When this book came out many moons ago I had a copy, but just found it so hard to read. Not because of the writing, but because of the story itself. What
did you think? And have you seen the movie?

I'm more curious about how the movies I saw do at the Oscars than what movies get what awards. This year my hubby and I saw a handful of movies up for awards (Bridge of Spies, The animated movie Inside Out,which is absolutely wonderful! (and yes, it was not one of hubby's first choices to see), The documentary What Happened Miss Simone, which if you like Jazz music and like Nina Simone you will love this movie as I did, Ex Machina, and of course The Martian.), but I have a few more books to read before seeing these other movies, because I like to read the book first! Enjoy the Oscars, and enjoy these books!


  • What movies have you enjoyed that were based on a book?!
  • Do you like to read the book before you see the movie?

Weekly Wrap up...
 Last week we started with Mailbox Monday and ended with a feisty little girl and her Dinosaur...

Happy reading... Suzanne

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur...A Marvel Comic and A Review

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is a new series released by Marvel... and it is fun, fresh and full of potential! I'm not really the super hero kind of comic book reader, but when I heard about this new series I just had to check it out...

What's is all about? Moon Girl is really Lunella Lafayette, a 10-year-old, little girl, who is super smart (genius) and nerdy, with no friends, and a strange alien time bomb in her DNA that will eventually change her into something inhuman.  She'd rather invent things to try and solve the whole alien DNA problem, than live a normal preteen life, which makes her kind of not fit in too well with the world she lives in. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view at the moment) Lunella finds an alien orb that creates a time portal and Devil Dinosaur leaps into the present day along with 5 prehistoric cavemen called Killer Folk, because basically they kill people. This causes a bit of havoc, with Lunella getting captured by Devil Dinosaur. Eventually the story is suppose to have Lunella and Devil Dinosaur team up together and become the BFF's they need.

Issue #1 introduces us to Lunella, her school, and family. Shows us how she doesn't really fit in and no one really understands her. She's smarter than her 10 years and looking forward to getting into a better school. We also are introduced to Devil Dinosaur in a brief "backstory", where he is with Marvel's original character, Moon Boy, Devil Dinosaur's original sidekick. We also meet the Killer Folk briefly and are introduced to the orb that first originates in prehistoric times with the Killer Folk and Devil Dinosaur until the time portal opens and Devil Dinosaur walks through "the gate" followed by the cave guys. The cave guys are after the orb, Devil Dinosaur is after the cave guys (because they killed Moon Boy) and Lunella is trying to hold onto the orb because she thinks it's the key to solving the alien DNA problem she has.

Issue #2 finds Devil Dinosaur, who still has Lunella, causing all sorts of havoc in the city where Lunella lives. At the same time, the 5 cave guys are causing their own havoc in the subway and then with a couple of policemen. I don't want to spoil anything here, but Lunella finally gets away from Devil Dinosaur only to be captured by the cave guys... you'll have to read the comic to find out what happens.

Issue #3 has Devil Dinosaur save the day, first saving Lunella and then ... Okay, I don't want to spoil any of the fun of the story. Basically Lunella and Devil Dinosaur are becoming the BFF's they were intended to become, they have a pretty cool adventure and then walks in the Hulk, yes that Hulk (the big green guy), and tries to save the day, because Lunella is just a little girl (right) and can't handle a big hulking dinosaur, right? And that's where issue #3 ends...

What do I think of the Series so far? So far, I am enjoying it! The beginning of the story was a little much with first Moon Boy & Devil Dinosaur and the Killer Folk. Just too much going on that didn't seem necessary. I guess the writers felt they had to somehow get Devil Dinosaur into the present day somehow and without Moon Boy, since these 2 were beloved characters many years ago.

After we get all that straightened out, the story seems to flow better. Lunella is just perfect! She is really thought out and well developed. Her storyline is great - nerdy little girl who doesn't really fit in, uses her brains to good advantage and just so happens to have a pet Dinosaur, who can crush any living thing. By issue 3, Lunella and Devil Dinosaur are working together to help others. The artwork is great, particularly Lunella, who is so adorable! I like the fact that Lunella is a strong female character, but we can also say that Marvel has shown some diversity here by making Lunella African American.

I look forward to reading the next few issues to see this Marvel World take shape. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur have such great potential and I have high hopes. One point Marvel had in developing Moon girl was to offer something to the younger crowd, someone they could relate to and I think Lunella (aka Moon Girl) can serve that purpose. I also think that adults will enjoy this too. It's fun (those cave guys have potential to really be funny as they adapt to 21st century life), and the camaraderie between Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has the potential of bringing out the kid in you!

I give this series 3.5 Cavemen, with a good potential for a 4 plus rating in the future if they make this into the great series I think it can be. The first 3 issues are already out, #4 will be at your local comic shop on Feb. 24th and the trade paperback, collecting #1 - #6, will be out July 5th, 2016.  Published by Marvel Comic. Writers: Brandon Montclair and Amy Reeder. With art by Natacha Bustos and Amy Reeder.

*BTW, do you think you're not a comic book reader? I never thought I was either. Someone handed me a graphic novel and told me to read it. I was curious, but I didn't think it would have me reading comic books. It did though. The storyline was great and the artwork was too. Even the lettering was nice. Of course not all graphic novels and comic books have artwork that I like or that you may like. And for the most part I hate computer generated lettering, much preferring hand lettering. BUT, the point of my little speech here is to say, if you thought comics were silly, they may surprise you. Things have changed since we were kids, and you should step out of the box and try one. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Congratulations! We Have A Winner!

Harvee L. is the Winner! Congratulations!
February 18th was my Blogiversary, and as a thank you to all my readers at Chick with Books, I had a giveaway for one lucky person to chose ANY book I've reviewed or highlighted during the 7 years on the blog! Harvee was the winner! What book did Harvee choose?! She chose The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende! It was my first book of 2016 and has gotten almost a 4 star rating with over 1500 reviews on Goodreads. I hope you enjoy it Harvee!

And THANK YOU to EVERYONE who helped me celebrate my Blogiversary with greetings and by entering in the Giveaway!

First Lines Friday...

"The thing about Simon Limbres’s heart, this human heart, is that, since the moment of his birth, when its rhythm accelerated, as did the other hearts around it, in celebration of the event, the thing is, thathis heart, which made him jump, vomit, grow, dance lightly like a feather or weigh heavy as a stone, which made him dizzy with exhilaration and made him melt with love, which filtered, recorded, archived—the black box of a twenty-year-old body—the thing is that nobody really knows it."

                                                  ... the heart by Maylis De Kerangal  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Memoir Monday and ... Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong... In this important and thought-provoking work, Karen Armstrong—one of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—provides an impassioned and practical guide to helping us make the world a more compassionate place.

The twelve steps she suggests begin with “Learn About Compassion,” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up self-love, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody.” She shares concrete methods to help us cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion, and provides a reading list to encourage us to “hear one another’s narratives.” Armstrong teaches us that becoming a compassionate human being is a lifelong project and a journey filled with rewards.

The First Step: Learn About Compassion
The Second Step: Look at Your Own World
The Third Step: Compassion for Yourself
The Fourth Step: Empathy
The Fifth Step: Mindfulness
The Sixth Step: Action
The Seventh Step: How Little We Know
The Eighth Step: How Should We Speak to One Another?
The Ninth Step: Concern for Everybody
The Tenth Step: Knowledge
The Eleventh Step: Recognition
The Twelfth Step: Love Your Enemies

Not a memoir, but more of a guide by Karen Armstrong, who is best known as a  religious historian and former nun. In 2008, she won a $100,000 TED prize to spread an idea- her idea was compassion. She created the Charter for Compassion, and this book is a result of her original idea. Here is a link to her Ted Talk Wish: The Charter for Compassion.

What a wonderful idea! And to help you along with your road to compassion, Joy of Joy's Book Blog, is hosting Compassionate Sundays, where each month one of the steps will be discussed over at Joy's Blog. A gathering place where people can share their thoughts. Thanks Joy for hosting such a gathering place. You can learn more by going to Joy's Book Blog.

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox... I've received some wonderful books last week! And I decided I would join in on the fun sharing them with you and the other bloggers participating in Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is 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.

I was so excited to open up my mailbox this week! In particular was a book from romance writer Sharon Struth! When I went to see the movie Love Between the Covers on Valentine's Day, Sharon was one of the romance writers who belonged to the local branch of the Romance Writers of American, known as CoLoNy, that was helping out with the movie. The women of CoLoNy had a lovely table set up with some swag and a nice display of the books that some of the ladies in the group had published. It was fun to meet local authors and chit chat with them. Though I did not get to actually meet Sharon that day, we chatted afterwards online and she asked me if I'd like to review her book! Of Course I would! The movie was inspiring, but so are these women who've actually been there and gone through the whole process from start to finish! Sharon has published 4 books, and has generously sent along Harvest Moon. Here's the blurb from the publishers...

Trent Jamieson isn’t one for virtual romance, but there’s something about the intriguing woman he meets on the Internet he can’t resist. Then the small town bachelor discovers the mystery woman who shares her secrets with him online is the laced-up librarian in his self-defense class! Veronica Sussingham may just be his toughest student yet. Because how can he show the vulnerable beauty that some men are worth letting your guard down for?

Veronica returned to her hometown seeking shelter for her shattered spirit. The last thing she needs is a blue-eyed charmer who wants to show her how to live—and love—again. Then she discovers Trent is not just another admirer, but a man who knows her deepest secrets. Now Veronica must choose between running from her past—or finding future happiness with the kind of man she swore she’d never fall for….

Doesn't Harvest Moon sound like fun?! I love the idea that Trent and Veronica start a relationship of sorts online and then Trent figures out that the mystery woman he's been chatting up online is the "laced-up" librarian in his hometown! I can't wait to dive into this one this week! Keep your eye out for my review.
Courtesy of Penguin, I have an eGalley of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh on my eReader. It's a psychological thriller, said to be the next "Girl on the Train", with a lot of positive buzz and a twist at the end that seems to be taking everyone by surprise and, which will take me 384 pages to get to!  I've enjoyed these thrillers as of late and look forward to riding along for the investigation. And don't you just love that cover?! Here's the blurb from the publishers...

On a rainy afternoon, a mother's life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . . I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past. At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. 
I also received a copy of Meg Cabot's, Remembrance, which is another fun installment in her Mediator series. Basically, her protagonist, Suze can talk to the dead and it always leads to trouble and little romance. Here's the book blurb...  

Suze Simon—all grown up and engaged to her once-ghostly soulmate—faces a vengeful spirit and an old enemy bent on ending Suze's wedded bliss before it begins. All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight. From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child, to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

Love Meg Cabot and her writing. It's fresh and tinged with just the right amount of wry humor! Thank you William Morrow!

I also did win a copy of the audiobook of Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington from LibraryThing and Algonquin Books...

Six-year-old Rocky worships his older brother Paul - 16 and full of rebel cool, smoking cigarettes, driving around in his Nova blasting Neil Young - until the day Paul, in an ill-advised act of vengeance against their father, picks Rocky up from school and nearly leaves him for dead in the woods. Paul then runs off with his beautiful, fragile girlfriend, never to be heard from again. Eight years later Rocky is a teenager himself. Although he's never forgotten the abandonment of his boyhood hero, he's now getting over it, with the help of the wealthy neighbors' daughter, Patricia, 10 years his senior, who has taken him as her lover. Rocky's in love - or thinks he is - but the affair sets off a sequence of events that bring ruin to the lives of both families.

It's been a long time since I've listened to an audiobook and I look forward to relaxing to someone else reading to me for a while! This has been on my TBR list too!

That's my mailbox this past week, what kind of books arrived on your doorstep?! Hop on over to Mailbox Monday and check out what everyone found waiting for them!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Sunday Salon and You Gotta Have Heart... or 3 Books that Have a Heart (in their title)

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news!!

 My biggest bookish news this week is that it's my Blogiversary! 

7 years ago on February 18th I posted my first post on Chick with Books! It was a review for Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, one of my favorite books still to this day! I didn't know where I was going to go with the blog, I just wanted to talk books! But in the 7 years I've been book blogging, I have met so many wonderful readers, bloggers, authors, publishing reps and all around great people! I've read so many great books and shared them all with YOU! Thank you for sticking around and taking this journey with me! As a thank you, I've got a little giveaway going on! Want to pick out a book from Chick with Books? One lucky winner is going to get to pick out any one book that I reviewed or highlighted on Chick with Books from the last 7 years! Enter HERE! Don't be shy!

And on to some new books I've spotted this week... 

It's still February, and so there still is a little romance in the air. Or at least our hearts are still going pitter patter. Well, here are 3 books that have heart...or at least heart in the title.

The Heart by Maylis De Kerangal... Just before dawn on a Sunday morning, three teenage boys go surfing. Returning home, exhausted, the driver lets the car drift off the road into a tree. Two of the boys are wearing seat belts; one is sent through the windshield. He is declared brain-dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. His heart is still beating.

The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved--grieving parents, hardworking doctors and nurses--as they navigate decisions of life and death. As stylistically audacious as it is emotionally explosive, Maylis de Kerangal's The Heart has mesmerized readers in France, where it has been hailed as the breakthrough work of a new literary star.

Finally translated from the French to English, and just released here in the States, The Heart has won praise and accolades already in France, and seems to be following the same path here. I've read that it's beautiful and thought provoking. On my TBR list.

Your Heart is a Muscle The Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa.. On a rainy, cold day in November, young Victor--a nomadic, scrappy teenager who's run away from home--sets out to join the throng of WTO demonstrators determined to shut down the city. With the proceeds, he plans to buy a plane ticket and leave Seattle forever, but it quickly becomes clear that the history-making 50,000 anti-globalization protestors--from anarchists to environmentalists to teamsters--are testing the patience of the police, and what started out as a peaceful protest is threatening to erupt into violence.

Over the course of one life-altering afternoon, the fates of seven people will change forever: foremost among them police Chief Bishop, the estranged father Victor hasn't seen in three years, two protesters struggling to stay true to their non-violent principles as the day descends into chaos, two police officers in the street, and the coolly elegant financial minister from Sri Lanka whose life, as well as his country's fate, hinges on getting through the angry crowd, out of jail, and to his meeting with the President of the United States. When Chief Bishop reluctantly unleashes tear gas on the unsuspecting crowd, it seems his hopes for reconciliation with his son, as well as the future of his city, are in serious peril. In this raw and breathtaking novel, Yapa marries a deep rage with a deep humanity. In doing so he casts an unflinching eye on the nature and limits of compassion, and the heartbreaking difference between what is right and what is possible.  

I've seen this book EVERYwhere, and with reviews ranging from "powerful & ambitious" to "a symphony of a novel". This looks like a "borrow from the library book" for me because it just isn't quite what I'd look for in a read, but I am curious enough to want to read it.This book was released in January of this year.

Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway... Rachel and Drew Snow may be sisters, but  their lives have followed completely different paths.

Married to a wonderful man and a mother to two strong-minded teens, Rachel hasn’t returned to her childhood home since being kicked out by her strict father after an act of careless teenage rebellion. Drew, her younger sister, followed her passion for music but takes side jobs to make ends meet and longs for the stability that has always eluded her. Both sisters recall how close they were, but the distance between them seems more than they can bridge. When their deferential Japanese mother, Hikari, is diagnosed with dementia and gives Rachel power of attorney, Rachel’s domineering father, Killian becomes enraged. In a rare moment of lucidity, Hikari asks Rachel for a book in her sewing room, and Rachel enlists her sister’s help in the search. The book—which tells the tale of real-life female samurai Tomoe Gozen, an epic saga of love, loss, and conflict during twelfth-century Japan—reveals truths about Drew and Rachel’s relationship that resonate across the centuries, connecting them in ways that turn their differences into assets.

Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway has 2 things right off the bat that call my name- it's about 2 estranged sisters (I generally love reading about the complex relationships between sisters) and there is a Japanese sword on the cover (I love reading stories taking place in Japan or with Japanese folklore) This seems to have a quiet fanfare, with wonderful reviews. In particular most reviews note what a great job Margaret Dilloway does weaving the stories of the past and the present together. On my TBR list and will be released April 7th, 2016 by G.P. Putnam's and Sons.

Weekly Wrap-up...

Mon. Feb. 15th... Memoir Monday (Between You & Me by Mary Norris)
Tues. Feb. 16th... Review of the movie, Love Between the Covers
Wed. Feb. 17th... It's Twenty Questions! Get to know me a little better!
Thurs. Feb. 18th... My Blogiversary and GIVEAWAY!
Fri. Feb. 19th... The Passing of Harper Lee and some interesting links
Sat. Feb. 20th... Review of The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer


Looks like a busy week now that I've written it all down! How was YOUR week?! And what great books did you find that made your heart go pitter patter or at least made you take it home with you?!
Share your finds in the comments! I love hearing about books that caught your eye! AND Don't forget to enter the giveaway! I can't wait to see what book someone chooses!

More reading and books next week! In the meantime...

Happy reading... Suzanne

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer... A Review

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer is a really good book. It's not often that I start a review with such a simple observation, but as I tried to wrap my thoughts around the book I just read, that's what stuck in my head. I read it steady from start to finish, but not in a desperate kind of furor. It held my interest, I enjoyed it, it just wasn't an OMG kind of read. And that's okay. Not every book I read has to be the second coming...

The gist of the story... Single mother, Beth, has always worried that she'd lose her daughter. Then one day it happens... When a moment's distraction at a crowded fair separates Beth and Carmel from each other, a man posing as Carmel's estranged Grandfather takes the opportunity to whisk her off with the words, "Carmel, it's your mother. She's had a terrible accident."And so begins the story of Eight-year-old Carmel's abduction, told in the alternating voices of Beth and Carmel, mother and daughter. Beth's story is the struggle to find Carmel and live through the process. Carmel's story is a bit more complicated... how she learns to grasp the lies she is told and keep true to herself. We also come to find out that Carmel's abduction wasn't some random kidnapping, but a more deliberate action because the man posing as Carmel's grandfather believes there is something very special about little Carmel... As life slowly moves forward for Beth and for Carmel, the ending of the book fulfills the need for some kind of closure.

The plot was very well done. This is NOT your typical child kidnapping mystery! I really liked reading the two perspectives of the story, and Carmel in particular was interesting because you generally never get to "hear" what the victim is thinking along the way. But then again, Carmel doesn't quite think she's a victim, at least not because of being taken away by "Grandad".

This is a story of loss, of moving on with your life after a loss and a story of the close ties of a mother and daughter. It's also the story of every parent's nightmare- their child being abducted. It's not a loud story, but one that is quietly powerful. Well developed characters and a good story make this definitely a good read. And as I said, I really liked the alternating voices of Beth and Carmel moving the story along. Would I recommend the book? Yes!

*This book is part of my I Love Libraries 2016 reading challenge! Because I borrowed this book from my local library! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Harper Lee... An unfortunate passing of an important writer

"My book had a universal theme,” she told the Birmingham Post-Herald in 1962. “It’s not a ‘racial’ novel. It portrays an aspect of civilization, not necessarily Southern civilization.”

Today the world has lost Harper Lee at the age of 89... 

Known as the recluse writer who wrote a book called To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 that changed the world. It has sold over 30 million copies, and is required reading. Most recently, Harper Lee was back in the news with the publication of a new book, a prequel that was dripping with controversy as to its authenticity, Go Set a Watchman. Though the world always wanted more from Harper Lee, it will have to be satisfied with her one crowning achievement - To Kill a Mockingbird. And what an achievement is was! 
Here are some interesting links about Harper Lee and her passing...

Harper Lee's Novel Achievement by Charles Leerhsen,

How Harper Lee's Long-Lost Sequel Was Found by Russel Berman of The

First Lines Friday...

Pale light crept into the black stanchions of pine, the ashen ground the red center of dying coals. The camped men rose, silent, and broke the bread of old pillage between blackened fingers. One of their number looked at his own. Soot and powder, ash and dirt. Neat crescents accrued underneath the nails, trim and black, like he’d tried to dig himself out of a hole int he ground. Or into one.

                                                               ... Fallen Land by Taylor Brown

What I've read about the book, makes me want to read this. A kind of Cold Mountain type of love story and setting. But do these First Lines make you want to read more?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

It's My Blogiversary! And a Giveaway!

That's right, Chick with Books readers, it's my 7th Blogging Anniversary! And I couldn't have done it without YOU! Thank you so much for reading, subscribing, commenting and joining in on whatever is going on at the blog! I've made so many great friends! Met so many nice people! Read so many great books and shared it all here! The blogging community is a welcoming one! 

To celebrate, I'm having a GIVEAWAY! Yes! Now, I've reviewed and highlighted a lot of books on Chick with Books, so why don't we make this fun... One winner will have their choice of ANY ONE Book I've either reviewed or highlighted during the last 7 years! Now for the Rules...

1. The winner must live somewhere where or The Book Depository delivers.
2. The book you choose must be still available as "new" from or The Book Depository (no third party sellers please)
3. After I contact you via the email you gave me, you must email me back within 3 days. 

Sounds simple enough, right?! So let's get going! Enter below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Twenty Bookish Questions

Twenty Bookish Questions...

Ever play 20 questions? Thanks to Trish of Love, Laughter and Insanity for sharing these bookish questions with her fellow bloggers to enjoy! Here's my answers...

1. What is your favorite fictional food or drink? Although I have not actually drunk any, I would love to try some Butterbeer! A favorite in the world of Harry Potter, you can actually find a recipe from The Food Network now. I may have to give it a go!

2. How long did it take you to finish your last book? I took me 9 days to finish Concussion by Jeannie Marie Laskas. I would have finished it sooner, but I started reading Find Her by Lisa Gardner on my Kindle and couldn't stop reading it (I took 5 days to finish Find Her!)

3. How many times do you stare at your books or bookshelves each day? Since I have books in almost every room, I would have to say I am constantly starring at my books. Some are on bookshelves and some are piles of books.

4. How many Goodreads friends and books do you have? I never really checked to see how many friends I have until today... I have 510 Goodreads friends! And I have 388 books on my Goodreads shelf. 

5. Do you ever quote books in public? No. Wish I could remember quotes from my favorite books! 

6. Do you ever re-read books? Very rarely... the last re-read was Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, and that's because the 60th (I think it was the 60th) anniversary edition of the book came out and I bought it and thought I would read it again. 

7. Do you judge a book by its cover? Yes... Sorry, but it is true. If there is an awful cover, it just puts me off. That doesn't necessarily mean I won't read it, but if no one has recommended it, I've never heard of it, and it has an ugly cover I will usually pass it by. 

8. Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr? Definitely Twitter, then Tumblr, and one of these days I'm going to post to Instagram.

9. Which genres take you the longest to read? I would probably say Classics. I feel obligated to concentrate more.

10. Who are your favourite BookTubers (or Book Bloggers)? Too many to mention. I love the Book Blogging community and they're all great people!

11. How often do you pre-order books? Rarely. I did recently pre-order The Ex by Alafair Burke, because I had read a sample of the book and HAD to continue and knew I wouldn't get to a bookstore any time soon. But by the time it came, I had my nose in another book and have not had a chance to get back to it!

12. Are you a shopaholic? When it comes to books - yes! I'm not really a Mall kind of girl, but tell me about a bookstore and I'm there!

13. How many times have you re-read your favourite book? Never. I'm just not a re-reader. Although I save my favorite books, almost like a shrine on the bookshelves, and one day I may just open one up and start revisiting them. What book would I love to read for the first time again? Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone! 

14. Do you own a lot of books? Yes! I hate to part with books! In an effort to downsize my growing numbers, I have donated many to the local library and given many away to friends. I moved from a house to smaller digs and had to put books in storage!

15. Do you take pictures of your books before you read them? No... I never heard of anyone doing that. I guess I have photographed them for a post before, but that would be the only time.

16. Do you read every day? Yes, I usually read at lunch time. I sometimes read before going to bed.

17. How do you choose a new book? I look at lots of bookish websites, blogs, and publications to see what sounds interesting to me. Sometimes I'll be in a bookstore and just browse until something reins me in. That's the most fun.

18. Do you always have a book with you? Yes. At the very least I have my Android phone with Kindle and Google books available. And if I know I'm going to be "waiting" somewhere, I'll take either a book I'm reading or an eReader.

19. What are your biggest distractions from reading? Work, photography, ukulele playing, crafts, cooking, a great husband I like to spend time with!

20. What is your favourite place to buy books? My favorite place to buy a book is a Indie bookstore, but since I generally don't have time to get to the one that's the next town over from me, I end up online at either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


Wasn't that fun! What are some of YOUR answers to these questions?
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