Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Fever - Audio.

Title/Author: The Fever by Megan Abbott.

Narrators: Cynthia Holloway, Jonathan McClain, Sarge Anton.

Genre: Mystery.

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks.

Source: Library.

Synopsis:   The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher and the father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school, and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town s fragile idea of security.

My ThoughtsThe Fever follows one family as they navigate their way through a community crisis.  High School student Deenie witnesses one of her best friends, Lise, have a seizure in class.  Another episode puts her in a coma.  Then one by one, a few more students have "episodes."  Deenie's other best friend Becca and another girl who makes conspiratorial videos from the hospital and posts them on social media.  Gossip spreads and before you know it, parents are concerned, the press is intruding and the police are investigating.  

Is it the vaccines that the teen girls in town have been getting?  Is it toxins in their environment?  Is it poison in the forbidden lake?  These are questions that are constantly being thrown around and it seems to become the center of the Nash family lives.  At one point I even had a fleeting thought it had something to do with the tights the girls were described as wearing only because they were mentioned repeatedly.  

Meanwhile, they are dealing with other issues.  Deenie seems kind of lost and confused.  Her mom cheated on her father and left the family.  Now Deenie is on her own with two males in her household.  I can't help but feel a mother could help her navigate what she is going through, but it is obvious it is not her own mother.  Deenie doesn't seem to trust her anymore.  Eli is the school's heartthrob and he seems to take it in stride.  He's a nice guy but has had more than his share of girls.  Tom, their father comes off as a nice man who is simply trying to be the best father he can.  It is clear he adores his children and yet raising them also proves to be a riddle that he is constantly trying to solve.  I think the character development is solid and I felt as if the Nash family could be my neighbors.

There are a lot of questions and few answers, at least until the end.  I liked the constant questions.  The Fever has a feeling of a cloak and dagger plot in the modern world.   At times I felt like Deenie had the answer all along.  Maybe it was because of the way she seemed haunted by the events, perplexed by not having the answers, the feeling that some of her friends had secrets from her.  Maybe someone else will know what is happening right away, but I certainly didn't.  

The only thing I really didn't like is the big red herring.  This is going to sound cryptic but I'm trying not to give too much away.  I thought it was a great plot device, but where it is placed in the book gave it more importance than it should have.  However, I think putting a hint of what was really going on, may have given the truth away.

The book is told via first person through Tom, Deenie and Eli.  I liked the way you got to know the characters through each other's eyes and how they themselves were dealing with events.  It wasn't confusing to me and it also served to increase the tension.  Just when you were about to discover something about Deenie, the book switched to Eli, and so on.  

Narration:  I thought the narration was good.   The voices were all age appropriate and I enjoyed that they used three different people to portray each character, like in the book.  
The Fever is a thriller that comes off as so much more.  It leads you through the twists and turns of an event that effected a whole town and how one family in particular is at the center. 

Other Editions:


Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Post by Susie Cornfield - Introducing Piccolo.

Sometimes a character arrives fully formed in your mind. This was the case, for me, with Piccolo who arrived as I was writing the first chapter of Black Light, the first book in The Chronicles of Dekaydence. The moment I saw him, I knew Piccolo, his past and his future. He was a born musician; he was of mixed race. Abused as a child, he saw his mother and her boyfriend murder his adored dad who had given him a wooden piccolo. Piccolo didn't have to tell me anything because I knew already  who and what he was. So I was delighted to open the door for him to Chapter 3, where he made his entrance.

Understandably, Piccolo enters as a loner. Later, much later, and again, understandably, he battles terrible depression. But he learns how to make connections, to live and work alongside others, and it's a delight to watch him develop in his music, and yes, nudge me into writing more lyrics for the Dekaydence songs. And, of course, it was a joy to write his part in the conclusion of the trilogy, The Chronicles of Dekaydence.

So, I say, thank you to you, Piccolo, because you've given so much to me and to others who look to make the world a better, kinder place. So, until we meet again...

© Susie Cornfield

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fit Readers - Check in: January 24, 2015.

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog

#FitReaders hosted by Geeky Bloggers Book Blog and That’s What I’m Talking About.

I've been forgetting to post each week, but I have been walking on the treadmill (most) every day and I went back to Weight Watchers.  It helps me to either watch music videos while I'm walking or watch the tv shows that I've always wanted to. I started watching True Detectives, which I do like, but it's kind of slow.  Then I tried Downton Abbey because it's free.  I resisted watching so long because of the hype, but now that I am, I love it!

I also taped a calendar right next to the treadmill so I can mark off the days I walk and see how much I've done.  I've been doing pretty well on WW, but today I had too many potato chips, so we'll see how that effects my weigh in on Wednesday. 

So how are you doing in your quest to get more fit?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Feature & Follow - Doubles of Books? (1/15/2015).

Feature and Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Click on the links to visit their blogs and find out more about this great meme.

This weeks Question:
Do you own any doubles of books?  What led you to getting that second...or third...or fourth copy?

The Night Circus is one of my all time favorite books.  I received my first copy as an ARC at BEA autographed by Erin Morgenstern.  The next year, she was signing again and the line was shorter so I just picked up another copy so I could express how much I loved it.  Then my friend gave me a copy. Then, I bought a finished copy and I also think I have another copy somewhere because it has a slightly different cover.  

These Broken Stars.

Title/Author: These Broken Stary by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner.

Narrators: Cynthia Holloway, Jonathan McClain, Sarge Anton.

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi.

Publisher: Listening Library.

Source: Library.

Synopsis: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Midnyte Musings:  These Broken Stars is a solid story that includes adventure, romance, and Sci-Fi.  It's a simple tale, in a way, two people survive a spaceship crash and try to survive and get rescued.  However, their differing personalities, social classes and mis-judgements about each other make this more difficult than it has to be.  Tarver is a soldier and Lilac is an upper class heiress.  They work through their issues and their own prejudices and beliefs and learn to work together and trust each other.  Through their trials and tribulations they develop admiration for each other and romantic feelings.  Actually, on their first meeting on the spaceship there was an attraction, but they both realized that their different stations in life would make anything, even a friendship, impossible.

I liked how their backstories were sprinkled throughout the book.  As they got to know each other, I got to know them as well.  Their families, dreams and even lost relationships.  It felt natural and helped the character development.

The strange elements that happen on the planet they've crashed on have an eerie supernatural feel, which I enjoyed and the surprises get creepier.  I have to admit there were several plot points that I did not see coming that astonished me.  I don't mean to be overly dramatic, but I was quite surprised by certain events.  I love when that happens when I read a book. 

Although it uses a familiar trope, female, upper class damsel and wrong side of the tracks, male soldier stranded together and fall in love, it could have definitely gone wrong and become cliche and predictable.  However, there are a lot of surprises in this story that kept it fresh.

The novel is told in first person through Lilac and Tarver and in between, are sections of Tarver being interrogated.  I think it flowed well.

The only issue I had is that Tarver seems older to me than 18.  Not  just because of the narrator, but I had a hard time reconciling all he had done not picturing Gen. and all his experience and not picture him as at least in his 20s.  Also, I wasn't quite sure what happened toward the end, but I got the overall picture, and I just went along with it.

Narration: I liked the narration a lot.  The only complaint was I thought Tarver sounded older than he was supposed to be.  I also really loved the sci-fi feeling sound effects in between the pages of the story when he is being de-briefed.  It made for a lot of interest and lent itself well to the genre.

These Broken Stars was an easy book to listen to and very enjoyable.  I definitely want to listen to the next book in the series.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Announcement - Kraken Bake.

Kraken Bake by Karen Dudley.
Ravenstone Books $16.95 (paperback) ISBN: 9780888014665 Amazon 
Barnes and Noble
Read an excerpt!

About the Book:
It’s a great day for Greece when Perseus defeats the dreaded kraken. But victory begins to lose its lustre when the remains of the beast swamp the shores and fishing nets of the Aegean. Now after weeks of kraken cakes, kraken kabobs, kraken fritters, and kraken stew, everybody is getting decidedly sick of kraken—none more so than Chef Pelops. In response to the “kraken crisis,” the city of Athens announces the inaugural Bronze Chef competition. Normally, Pelops would jump at the chance to prove himself the best celebrity chef in Greece. The trouble is, the competition’s secret ingredient is sure to be kraken—and, having once offended Poseidon, Pelops can’t cook kraken to save his life. To make matters worse, a loathsome rival has vowed to win the contest by fair means or foul. Now, Pelops must overcome the sea god’s curse to show once and for all that he is the better chef—a task made all the more difficult by the insufferable antics of a most unexpected relative… Kraken Bake, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Food for the Gods (a finalist for the Boney Blithe Award, The High Plains Awards, and the Aurora Awards) mirthfully re-imagines the world of ancient Greece like you’ve never seen before.

About the Author: Karen Dudley has worked in field biology, production art, photo research, palaeo-environmental studies and archaeology. She has written four environmental mysteries and a several wildlife biology books for kids. Her Epikurean Epics, including the Aurora-nominated Food for the Gods, are historical fantasy novels set in ancient Athens. Born in France, she now lives in Winnipeg.


Thursday, January 8, 2015


Title/Author: Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff.

Genre: YA, Supernatural.

Publisher: Razorbill.

Source: Purchased.

SynopsisClementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

Midnyte Musings: Love.  Totally love Brenna Yovanoff.  She writes the way I would want to if I was talented and creative and imaginative.  Fiendish is Southern Gothic and Magical Realism combined and combined at its best.  It includes folklore that is original and unique, but yet has a familiar echo like everything makes sense.  You don't have to try too hard to make sense of the oddly bent rules of this world.

Magic runs through the small, close knit, southern town of New South Bend.  It lives more strongly in certain places and in certain people.  This is not a good thing to the townspeople who fear and loathe the "crooked" folk as they are called.

The story follows Clementine a young teen who has been "binded" like a voodoo doll and hidden in her old burned down house.  She is found and set free by Fisher, who is a mystery himself.  The two are drawn to each other and Clementine tries to unwind his secrets, her own and the town's.  Clementine and Fisher have a shaky romance, due to Fisher's own past, and how he is trying to fit into the norms of New South Bend.  There are several times when I don't like him.  At all.  But in his defense, it makes him a more realistic character.  He is definitely an angry young man, but there are reasons for this.  What I really didn't like was the way he treated Clementine at some points in the story.  Oh sure, he had a good "reason" but I was still angry.  I think Clementine gave him more of a second chance than I would have.

The way he was looking at me seemed too full of secrets.  Like he already knew me. ~Clementine.

The other characters in the book are just as intriguing, compelling and mysterious.  Clem's cousin Shiny, a fierce townie girl with a chip on her shoulder and fire magic in her fingers.  Rae, another friend with psychic gifts and Davenport, the girl who lives down the lane and has to contend with an abusive father.

The stories say they walk in and out of the world through the hollow the way a normal person would go through a door. ~Fisher.

When too much magic seeps into town, the residents blame the "crooked" folk, as they are known, the ones with gifts.  Clem and her friends have to figure out why this is happening again, since last time tragedy struck and they do not want history to repeat itself. 

There were just a few times I felt events were a bit anticlimactic, but overall this is another favorite.  It was easy to read, beautifully written and I loved the story. 

Other Editions:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Challenges 2015!


Hosted by: The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog and That's What I'm Talking About.

I did this for a little while last year.  The support is so great and you also find out tips and tricks and apps to help you keep going. 

I already walked Monday and Tuesday, so I feel I'm ahead of the game.  I actually have a goal.  I want to lose a little weight, and get in better shape by Feb. 6 because I'm going to be on vacation for 10 days in Louisiana.  I hate feeling sluggish and tired and out of shape when I'm trying to sightsee.  So I'm hoping this will help me.


Hosted by: The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog and The Book Nympho.

I love the library and utilize it frequently.  In fact, I get all my audio books from the library.  How easy is this?  I'm going to go for Dewey Decimal level which is to read 12 books from the library.

What Challenges are you doing this year?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

31 Days of Better Blogging.

Why, why...whyyyy does Parajunkee come up with all these awesome challenges and projects?  I resisted her December challenge because I knew I wouldn't have time, but I really want to do this one.  What I like about it is you can do it at your own pace, or follow the guidelines of doing one task per day.

Why not hop on over to and join in?  Here are the list of topics.

Day 1: Let’s Get Commenting
Day 2: Time for Spring Cleaning
Day 3: About Me Refresher
Day 4: Top Commentators
Day 5: Friendly Feedback
Day 6: Planning Ahead
Day 7: Highlight Your Popular Posts
Day 8: Recycle Your Posts
Day 9: Social Media Checks & Balances
Day 10: Email Signatures
Day 11: Forums & Such
Day 12: Menu Systems
Day 13: New To Your Blogs
Day 14: Your Competitors
Day 15: Idea Journal
Day 16: The Buddy List
Day 17: Gals & Missions
Day 18: Social Network…Go!
Day 19: Change it up
Day 20: Reader Survey
Day 21: Blogger Love Note
Day 22: Check under the SEO Hood
Day 23: Pros & Cons of Blogging
Day 24: The Big Interview
Day 25: Blog Schedule
Day 26: Share a bit…
Day 27: Target Audience
Day 28: Contact Info
Day 29: User Friendly
Day 30: Brainstorm Time
Day 31: Put your blog to the test.

2015 Horror Reading Challenge.

Nope! Not hosted by me this year.  I've passed the bloody axe to Tracy from Cornerfolds and I'm very excited to see how I do by participating in this challenge instead of hosting it.  I know Tracy will do a great job and I'm sure you'll be seeing me over there adding my links and maybe hosting a giveaway or two.

I'm going to try to read 6-10 Horror Books in 2015 for a Brave Reader level.  If you want to join this challenge, click on the button above.

Challenge Guidelines
  • This challenge will run from January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015, and you can join at anytime.
  • Books must be read and reviewed in 2015.
  • Audiobooks, re-reads, short stories, and crossovers are fine.
  • If you're a blogger, grab the button below and create a post or page about this challenge and your goals with a link back to this post.
  • You don't have to be a book blogger to participate! You can track your progress on Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc.
  • Sign up on the designated Mr. Linky below with your post, shelf, etc. and comment on this post.
  • I will make a post each month for you to link your reviews.
  • There will be giveaways at the halfway point and at the end of the challenge in December.

Challenge Levels

1-5 horror books: Running Scared
6-10 horror books: Brave Reader
11-15 horror books: Fearless
16+ horror books: Horror Hound

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