Monday, September 30, 2013

Life after Life.

Title/Author: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson.

Read by: Fenella Woolgar.

Genre:  Speculative Fiction.

Publisher:  Regan Arthur Books.

Source:  Library.

Synopsis:  On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual.

For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

My Thoughts:  Imagine if you could do your life over and over again, until you got it perfect.  What would you do?  Take a different turn?  Choose a different major in school?  Date a different person?  These are choices that main character Ursula Todd faces.  Although her understanding of her situation isn't clear to her, it's interesting for the reader to see what will happen time and time again.  As each decision by her and her family differs, her life goes on a different path as do people's lives around her.   I think this book could lead to a fascinating discussion in theological topics, such as fate, reincarnation, nature vs. nurture, etc. 

I thought the characters were very appealing.  I became attached to Ursula and really wanted to see her happy.  In some lives she was and some she wasn't.  The characters that revolved around her were enjoyable too.  I loved the relationship that she and her father had.  He called her "Little Bear," which I took to be a reference to the constellation Ursa Major and Minor.   I also liked her older sister, Pamela, who was very practical and kind to her younger sister.  

Life after Life spanned WWI and WWII and highlighted the brutality of war.  At times it was harsh and dark yet so well done that my sympathy of the characters was palpable.  

The only thing was that I really didn't see the entire point of the story.   Nothing was resolved and there wasn't a huge lesson learned.  Even one huge event that she was trying to change, wasn't explored. However, this didn't diminish my enjoyment of finding out what was going to happen to Ursula in each version of her life.   And, perhaps the exploration of different paths in one person's life was the point.  I was also hoping for more of a paranormal element when I picked this book up, and it certainly could have gone there, but other than a few oddities and eerie feelings and deeds of Ursula there wasn't much.  At times she did seem to have a vague understanding of what was happening.  Deja Vu and reincarnation was explored a bit as well, but personally I would not consider this a paranormal story.  

Narration:  Fenella Woolgar has a beautiful voice.  It reminded me of Julie Andrews, but softer.  I think I would be happy listening to her read a phone book. 

To Wrap it UpLife after Life was an enjoyable book to listen to, not just because of the lovely Fenella Woolgar's voice, but because of the sympathetic and well fleshed out characters. 

Other Editions:

Find more books like these at Indigo.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Midnyte Finds - Digital Costumes.

One of my contributors pointed me toward these Digital Costumes and I think they are wicked cool!  If you want a unique idea for Halloween, check these out.  I bet you'll be the only one at your party wearing one.

Basically, you download an app made specifically for whatever costume you choose, the beating heart seems to be the most versatile, then you put your smart phone *in* the costume.  There is a strategically placed pocket for it.  It's kind of like you are wearing your phone as part of the costume.  Just make sure it has plenty of power before you go out!

They are being sold at Morph Costume Co. in the UK.  I couldn't grab a photo to re-post here (I guess because of the movable component), but click HERE to see the costumes in action and to purchase them.  I was told they are also for sale in the U.S., so keep your eyes peeled.
(Click on the link for funny costumes too to see "Little Miss" and "Mr." costumes.)

What do you think?  Would you ever wear one of these costumes?  What other apps or videos can you think of that would go well in a costume?  I'm thinking lightning for a Frankenstein or mad scientist or kooky eyes in a mask.

Please note I am not receiving any compensation for posting this.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Glitter and Mayhem.

Title/Author: Glitter and Mayhem. (ARC).

Genre: Sci/Fi, Fantasy, UF.

Publisher:  Apex Publications.

Source: I received this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated for this review.

Favorite Quote:  Be certain of what you want, and be more certain still of what you are willing to pay. ~Morain from With Her Hundred Miles to Hell.

Synopsis:  Welcome to Glitter & Mayhem, the most glamorous party in the multiverse.
Step behind the velvet rope of these fabulous Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror tales of roller rinks, nightclubs, glam aliens, party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, and debauchery.

Dance through nightclubs, roller derby with cryptids and aliens, be seduced by otherworldly creatures, and ingest cocktails that will alter your existence forever. Your hosts are the Hugo Award-winning editors John Klima (Electric Velocipede) and Lynne M. Thomas (Apex Magazine), and the Hugo-nominated editor Michael Damian Thomas (Apex Magazine).

Join glittery authors Christopher Barzak (One for Sorrow) and Daryl Gregory (Pandemonium) on the dance floor, drink cocktails with Maria Dahvana Headley (Queen of Kings: A Novel of Cleopatra, the Vampire) and Tim Pratt (Marla Mason series), and skate with Seanan McGuire (InCryptid series), Diana Rowland (Kara Gillian series), and Maurice Broaddus (The Knights of Breton Court series). The fantastic Amber Benson gets the party started with her floor-rattling introduction (Calliope Reaper-Jones series).

We’re waiting. ~Goodreads.

My Thoughts:  An anthology of stories with the theme of  disco, roller derby and magic? I'm there!  Intrigued further by an introduction from Amber Benson and stories penned by Seanan McGuire, Caitlin Kiernan and Diana Rowland (to just name a few) I jumped at the chance to read this.

The stories are a delightful escape into fantastical places that include outer space, fairy worlds, existential domains, and discos, which are at times a mixture of each.  Amber Benson's lyrical and insightful foreward brings excitement and anticipation to the stories ahead.

The collection starts out with a rollicking rendition of the 12 Dancing Princesses with characters I could relate to as they ventured out of their confined life to sample an exciting nightlife.  The story made me feel that I may have run into one of the Princesses dancing and drinking the night away.

Apex Jump features a rollerderby team who gets to play another team, in a very "cosmic" location.  With Her Hundred Miles to Hell dreams, fantasies and what you'd pay for them to come true are tested.  The characters from Bad Dream Girl popped off the page and not only provided me with a greater understanding of roller derby, but also a great story about Annie Thompson aka "Final Girl."

Sooner than Gold is about a man who has a rather unfortunate deal going that he's trying to get out of and Subterraneans is a dark tale about drugs and addiction with a twist.  The Minotaur Girls is a standout because it sucked me in from the start.  A beautifully written story of dreams, fantasies and realities.  I still think about this one.  It's about being wanted, and feeling special.  The premise, a  club that *everyone* is dying to get into, but once you do, it can be more treacherous than you realized.  I love the slang of the story. "That's so glitter!" is something that is awesome and magical and if something is "unglitter" it's not cool at all.  I find myself using the phrases in my head. Maybe it will catch on in pop culture.   Such and Such said to So and So is a brilliant piece.  It reads like a hard boiled mystery, yet the writing is ethereal.  Imagine if cocktails became people and then personified their ingredients.  It felt like a metaphore for drinking and indulgence.

Horror fans may appreciate Bess the Landlord's Daughter.  I didn't really know what was going on as I reading (but I still loved it) and I had to keep reading and try to figure out the mystery.  Who *were* these characters?  It's intriguing and haunting and maybe others will figure out the ending, but I was surprised.   Inside Hides the Monster is another dark tale about a Siren.  I loved this one because not only is the writing lovely and filled with pretty similes, but I feel sorry for the sea creature, Lygeia. She is powerful and helpless at the same time. It's a great thriller and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Blood and Sequins is Diana Rowland's offering of two cops who are into costuming and enter a Halloween contest. Unfortunately, something is going down that night in the club they are in and they have to intervene.   All That Fairy Tale Crap is told in Cinderella's point of view.  But this Cindy is irreverant and crass and wants to express her opinions on the state and mindset of fairy tales and princesses.  It's an FU to stereotypes with both middle fingers raised high, or maybe it's just a dissection on how folklore and cultures change.

There are several more stories to explore in this anthology and with any collection, I enjoyed some more than others.  The ones with a heavy sci-fi flavor with existentialism thrown in weren't my favorites but mostly, this is a collection of gems.  Even the stories that I didn't love had strong characters and were well written with strong plots, clever twists and characters that pop off the page.  Also, I learned a lot about rollerderby.

To Wrap it Up:  Glitter and Mayhem made want to grab a pair of roller skates, turn up some music and go out into the night looking for adventure and magic.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Title/Author: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake.  (ARC)

Genre: YA.

Publisher:  Tor Teen.

Source: BEA.

Favorite Quote:  "Two thousand years ago, the three of them had made theworldburn.  Now it seemed they would do it again." ~Athena.

Synopsis:  Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god. 

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning. 

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out. 
Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin. ~Goodreads.

My Thoughts:  When I was little I played Barbies with my best friend quite often.  One of the games we liked to play was Greek Gods and Goddesses.  Her Barbie was always Artemis.  Mine was Athena.  I loved her power, her wisdom, and her generosity.  I loooved that she had an owl.  I'm not sure if that was the beginning of my small obsession with them.

The apple.  That little fruit has caused so much mayhem.  (Remember Eve?  Snow White?) When Athena reflects on her behavior in this time of her life she is not so proud. Aphrodite won the beauty contest and as the Goddess of Love and Beauty, what were the other's thinking?  There is no competing with love.  And Paris, as judge, chose to have Helen of Troy and a war started.  Politics and jealousy - in humans and deities alike - drove this chapter in history.   Now, the chaos has started again.   It is Gods against Gods with humans caught in the crossfire.

Antigoddess features a modern day Athena who is trying to survive her demise.  All the ancient Gods and Goddesses it seems, are dying.  She and her brother Hermes are on a quest to stop it before it's too late. Athena does not want to die gracefully. She is fighting it tooth and nail. To make matters worse, certain members of her family are in direct conflict with her, working on their own immortality at the cost of hers.  Also featured is Cassandra, the doomed princess of Troy who had second sight that no one believed.  In this lifetime she also has second sight and is the key to helping the Gods and Goddesses recover their health.

I just love the insighfulness of Athena.  As a Goddess she is proud and arrogant.  Being in the human realm, she starts to experience regret, guilt, fear and even romantic feelings for her favorite hero the reincarnated Odyssyus. The main players in Antigoddess work well and pop off the page moving the story forward and creating twists and turns.

Told in multiple character's perspective, I didn't always want to hear from everyone.  I did enjoy Athena and Cassandra the most.  Also the last few chapters weren't as strong in my eyes.  The back and forth of one group trying to skip town and then go back and then perhaps leave again was a bit counterproductive.  However, this was an ARC so I don't know how the final product played out.

To wrap it up:  This is a book that I liked reading and didn't want to put down.  The characters are fresh and fun and the story moves at a pretty good pace with some surprises thrown in.  The ending broke my heart a little bit, but I'm hoping for a happy ending as this trilogy continues.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Title/Author: Angelology (Angelology #1) by Danielle Trussoni. 

Narrator: Susan Denaker.

Genre: Fantasy/Speculative Fiction.

Publisher: Penguin Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite Quote: Wait long enough and soon, the devils come ~Gabriella.

Synopsis:  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.  Genesis 6:5

Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.

For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.
My Thoughts: A while ago I read Darkeva's review of Angelology.  I took it out of the library once, but returned it quickly.  I couldn't get into it.  However, I decided to give it another try.  I'm glad I did because this is really quite an epic story.   At the heart of the tale is a family who become involved in the study of Angels, Angelology.

The characters are plentiful and at first I had a difficult time following who was who, but in no time, I settled into the story and got to know each player.  The characters are not the most fascinating but their stories are and the plot is so rich that I didn't really notice and it doesn't seem to matter.  They play their roles well as they pertain to the story.

The mythology and details of the plot are so intricate and clever that they practically ring true because they are so convincing and clever.  They just make sense.  I even saved my notes because they are just so interesting and open up a myriad of possibilities.  I don't want to give a lot away but let's just say that there are explanations or theories as to why Angels are luminous creatures, why harps are important, the significance of the Great Flood and even the physiology of the creatures.

What I also loved is that much of the story took place basically in my backyard.  The settings of the Hudson Valley and New York City are vivid and familiar. Towards the end the story kind of had a DaVinci Code feel to it utilizing famous structures as clues. I will never look at the exhibits in The Cloisters in quite the same way again.

There is some telling of the history of Angels and their factions and was conveyed as lectures. While telling usually bothers me, the subject was so fascinating that I felt as if I was a student along with some of the characters, taking courses on Angelology. I also kind of felt that this story was about research and finding the truth. The goal of the Angelologists is to uncover hidden truths, conspiracies and history. The methods of several characters is impressive.

My only complaint is the romance.  There is not a lot of it in the book, but what there is between two main characters just comes about too quickly in this story.  I can see that they could be attracted to one another, and maybe danger brings you closer, but it just seemed more like infatuation than love.  But of course, I'm kind of a hardass when it comes to romances.

Narration: I enjoyed the narration by Susan Denaker.  I felt the French accent of one of the characters wasn't quite convincing and it distracted me, but it wasn't a deal breaker at all. The voices of males and females alike are well done and her voice carries the story well.

To wrap it up:  For everyone who has an interest in theology, the myths and stories of the bible, Greek mythology and even history, this novel will satisfy you.  It is an epic and imaginative story.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


How.  Cool.  Is this?  Everything about it.  The name, the graphics, the levels.  I am sooo happy I found  this Challenge.

R.I.P. or R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril is the brainchild of Carl V. Anderson of Stainless Steel Droppings.  This Challenge runs from September 1, 2013 to October 31, 2013 and it is not just a reading challenge, you can participate by watching movies too.  As long as they invoke the following emotions through their storytelling:

Dark Fantasy.

The rules:
1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.

  • I am going to go for the following level:

Which means my goal is to read 4 books, any length (yay) that I feel fit R.I.P. literature.

  • And also:

Because, hello?  This is like most of my air time.  This part of the challenge allows participants to watch shows and movies that fit the challenge as well.

I love that this Challenge is so casual and I am looking forward to getting back into posting some reviews.  What I'm looking forward to most is the discovery of new blogs and bloggers.  Hopefully, there will be lots of people who are into scary and creepy books and shows as much as me.

My list of books (subject to change).

If you like a spooky read or a spooky show/movie at this time of year (or year round like me) and are interested in R.I.P. VIII visit the sign up page HERE.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Halloween Hootenanny - 2013!

Please join me for my 3rd Halloween Hootenanny, celebrating all through October!

  • Creepy reviews. 
  • Ghoulish giveaways.
  • Scary posts. 
  • Frightening interviews.
  • Spooky goodness.

If you would like to contribute with a guest post, please contact me at

Please grab the button!

 photo 36dcf516-daff-496e-b195-4fb1f3d6fb74.jpg

If you are hosting your own Halloween bookish event on your blog sign up here so that others can celebrate Halloween all over the web!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Authors After Dark 2014 Reading Challenge.

Welcome to the Authors After Dark 2014 Reading Challenge and Sign up Page.
Hosted by Midnyte Reader and Bookswagger.

The goal of this challenge is to let readers, whether you are going to AAD 2014 in Charlotte, NC, or not, get better acquainted with some of the authors who will be attending this event.

Sometimes I go to conferences that feature authors who I am unfamiliar with. Then, when I read their books later I want to kick myself for not reading their work sooner, so I could have talked to them about their stories, gotten a book signed or just gushed properly.

Stella Price, the organizer of Authors After Dark was kind enough to give me the green light to host the challenge again this year and Robin from RLD Design, the AAD website designer provided the button.  Thank you Stella and Robin!

To find out more about Authors After Dark 2014 visit their website!

To sign up for the Challenge please read the following carefully:


•You can sign up here at Midnyte Reader or at Bookswagger.

•This Challenge will run from September 1, 2013  through August 10, 2014, the last day of the AAD 2014 Conference.

•You can join at anytime during the year.

•Anyone can participate (not just book bloggers). If you don't have a blog: You can link to Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, etc.  The easiest way may be to make a separate shelf for this Challenge or a post.  Links back to the Challenge are appreciated and will help others if they would like more information.

•If you are using Facebook for this challenge, please write a post (you can just use a few sentences) about the Challenge.  Links back to the Challenge are appreciated and will help others if they would like more information.  When you review a book or short story, please do not write a sentence or two.  Please write a full review, even if it is just a few few paragraphs.  

•Write a post about this challenge on your blog with a link back to this post or the sign up post at Bookswagger.

•Include a list of the AAD 2014 books you hope to read in anticipation of the Charlotte conference. You can check out the authors on the AAD 2014 website HERE. Please note that your list is not written in stone! You can change it at anytime.

•Grab the button and add it to your post or sidebar.

•Sign up on Mr. Linky below. Please make sure your sign up link goes to your 2014 AAD Reading Challenge post, or your list on Goodreads, Facebook, etc.  Please do not just link to your blog.  (If you link to your main blog page, unfortunately it will be deleted.) 

My Book Goals for this Challenge:

~As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding
~Another Kind of Dead by Kelling Meding
~Wrong Side of Dead by Kelly Meding
~Requiem for the Dead by Kelly Meding

~Darkest Edge of Dawn, The by Kelly Gay
~Hour of Dust and Ashes, The by Kelly Gay
~Shadows Before The Sun by Kelly Gay

~Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter
~Bad Blood by Kristen Painter
~Out for Blood by Kristen Painter
~Last Blood by Kristen Painter

Sign up for the Challenge below!

To post a review for the Challenge click HERE

Please note that I am simply attending AAD 2014 and am not affiliated with the event, nor am I receiving any compensation for hosting this challenge.

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