Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review: I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story

I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story
I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story by Glen Duncan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Literary Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: People who like to look at things from a different perspective
Trigger Warnings: This is a story told from Lucifer's point of view, so he often thinks about things that aren't at all nice, such as possibly raping a woman, or killing people, etc. It's mostly just thoughts, but be aware of them. Attempted suicide.

My Thoughts: I'm still trying to make sense of this piece. The book isn't much about anything but the journey, Lucifer's experiences spending time in a mortal form and how he spends that time, his thoughts on various things, and his determination to write a book that will once and for all set things straight and tell the story from his point of view. As such, it tends to be rambling, wandering from topic to topic (often self-consciously so), and somewhat disjointed. It will not be for everyone, that is for sure, but I found I rather enjoyed it. Lucifer has a sort of wry voice that I found appealing (when he wasn't thinking appalling things), and his descriptions of the things around him made me see things in a new light. I mean, just imagine that you've spent all this time immaterial and suddenly you're in the material world, feeling, smelling, hearing, seeing... it would be overwhelming. I think the author did a good job of portraying that idea. The one problem I had with this is that everything is left up in the air. What happens with Lucifer? I know I”d like to know. That wasn't enough to detract from the story, though; it just left me with burning questions that I wanted answered. If this sounds like the sort of thing that would appeal to you, be sure to check this book out.

Disclosure: I purchased this e-book for myself. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The Prince of Darkness has been given one last shot at redemption, provided he can live out a reasonably blameless life on earth. Highly sceptical, naturally, the Old Dealmaker negotiates a trial period—a summer holiday in a human body, with all the delights of the flesh.

The body, however, turns out to be that of Declan Gunn, a depressed writer living in Clerkenwell, interrupted in his bath mid-suicide. Ever the opportunist, and with his main scheme bubbling in the background, Luce takes the chance to tap out a few thoughts—to straighten the biblical record, to celebrate his favourite achievements, to let us know just what it's like being him.

Neither living nor explaining turns out to be as easy as it looks. Beset by distractions, miscalculations and all the natural shocks that flesh is heir to, the Father of Lies slowly begins to learn what it's like being us.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

#Cancer Journey - short update

Hopefully some of you noticed I was gone and wondered why... Long story short, I became very ill over the weekend - my body was purging or something - and since I was also extremely fatigued I was not awake enough to drink enough Gatorade to keep me hydrated, so I ended up in the hospital from Sunday night until today. I'm home now, more and more hopelessly behind. Plus my cats are seriously hacked off at me, since Dmitry does not understand his proper place in the household and kowtow to and spoil them properly... So, lots to do to fix this. As always, your support and encouragement are appreciated.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review: Catapult: When Cats Fly

Catapult: When Cats Fly
Catapult: When Cats Fly by Mr. Higgs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just an adorable little book full of pictures of cats set against various backdrops so they appear to be floating in space or parachuting from a plane, etc. Doesn't take long to leaf through, but I plan to look at it more closely later on.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Thalo Blue

Thalo Blue
Thalo Blue by Jason McIntyre

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

DNF at 54 percent. I am not rating it, but here is the review I started which will explain why I'm not finishing it.

Book Info: Genre: Horror
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for:
Trigger Warnings: drug use, underage drinking, attempted murder, child molestation, rape

My Thoughts: Every now and then I go through my Amazon library and use to pick a “random read” in order to read some of the books I've picked up for myself; that is what this book is, a random read.

Apparently the editing was random, too. I noticed the following typos, many of which should have been caught by spellcheck: thier; “taught fishing line” should be taut; Theif repeatedly during a single paragraph but correct elsewhere; whooly (wooly); volume nob (knob); phalically... I don't think phallic can be made into an adverb, but if it were, it would have two “l”s in phallic. This was just in the first half of the book.

I had a really difficult time finishing this one, because it wasn't engaging me and I kept falling asleep. I had a hard time following the plot and it just didn't make sense to me. I might try again someday, but... I just can't finish this one right now.

Disclosure: I picked this book up on Amazon during a free promotion. I am not aware of having had any contact with this author, and no review has been solicited, but I am happy to provide an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: A young man on the brink of true adulthood experiences the trauma of his life when a trespasser breaks into his home. Sebastion Redfield and the psychiatrist assigned to help him recover from the break-in begin to unravel a more disturbing truth about his ordeal: that someone, or something, has been hunting him.

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Chemo Treatment #3 #Cancer Journey

So, yesterday I had my third chemotherapy treatment. After treatment #2, my arms and legs spasmed and cramped for three days, and when they started up yesterday with the addition of a tic on my left eye and tics around my mouth  making me sneer, I was a bit worried. On top of that, my fingers started having really bad needle and pin sensations, and touching anything felt like an electric shock. I discovered that warming up my fingers would stop that, but of course as soon as they were cold again... And my toes did the same thing once I was home and took off my shoes and socks.

Well, today I'm still having the needles and pins, but the muscle spasms in my arms and legs aren't bad at all *knocking on wood* Last week I would barely walk, but this week, while I'm a bit sore, I am moving just fine. I think most of this is due to the incredible amount of support and prayers and long-distance healing that is being sent my way. So thank you, everyone, for giving me the strength I need.

I managed a lot of sleep. I had a nap yesterday evening, and then ended up going to bed around 1 a.m. and didn't crawl out until 2 p.m. I woke up a few times in there, but not for very long! However, I think I'm losing my mind, because I brought a bottle of juice in here to drink and now I can't find it. I know it's here, I know I put it on the bed, but it's nowhere to be found. I think the bed ate it up...

Oh, for those who aren't following me on Facebook, I decided Monday to shave my head. Yeah, I was a bit carried away and shaved myself pretty much bald. There's a teensy bit of peach fuzz, but that's about it. Still, between the bandanna/turban things my friend Judith sent me, my two cosplay wigs, and my hats, I have plenty to wear on my head while the hair grows back. I'm very interested to see what it looks like, as I haven't done something like this since I G.I. Janed my hair back in 2006, after which it wasn't cut until just recently...

So, that's my update for this week. I'm shaky, and a bit sore, and my fingers and toes are cold so I have the heat on in here even though it's in the lower 60s today, but all-in-all I'm doing better than after my 2nd treatment. Keep those thoughts, prayers, and good vibes coming - they're working! Much love to everyone.

Monday, April 14, 2014

@SharonBayliss @CuriosityQuills DESTRUCTION #decemberpeople #Release day Blitz

Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.


An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!

A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

Destruction (Book One of 

The December People Series)

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The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: Messenger

Messenger by Scott Rhine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: Fans of character-driven YA fantasy, sword and sorcery, alternate worlds, role-playing games, Native American legends and lore
Trigger Warnings: fighting, bullying including attempted murder, violence, killing, murder

My Thoughts: This is book 1 in the Behind the Walls of Sleep series. While I normally edit for this author, I was unable to do so for this book due to my recent cancer diagnosis, so instead I am reading it for review.

This is not a book for someone who likes a lot of shoot'em up bang-bang action, as a great deal of the story revolves around Daniel learning who he is, both in the waking world and in Astra, and his abilities and talents begin to manifest in both areas. Overall this is quite different from most of Rhine's other works, but still a great story. If you like strongly character-driven coming-of-age YA fantasy, including elements of sword and sorcery, role-playing and even Native American lore and legends, then snatch up this new book. It actually just became available on Amazon today, 4/13/14.

Meanwhile, book 2, Shaman, should be out by summer, if not sooner. Watch for it.

Disclosure: I was given an early version of this book and asked for my opinion. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: When we close our eyes at night, we all see the same ancient place. Exploring Astra is like living a video game. Tomorrow, I’m going goblin-tipping with some of the other wizards. The first rule of being a dream wizard is “no photos.” You don’t want the bad guys finding you where you have no powers. The waking world sucks. 

Since Mom went to prison, the Nevada foster system sent me to Minnesota to meet an Uncle Joe I never knew I had. Snow loses its charm after five days. Only music and the dreams make my life bearable. 

The weird thing is that elements of the worlds are bleeding into each other. Someone is trying to kill me, and I’m not sure who: the criminal underworld, the elves, or the crazy wizard causing these freaky storms.

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Review: The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense

The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense
The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Literary Suspense
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of the series, of gothic fiction, those interested in reincarnation theories
Book Available: In hardcover, Kindle, MP3 CD, and Audible formats
Trigger Warnings: Euthanasia, murder, suicide, torture, brother beating his sister with a whip

My Thoughts: M.J. Rose's latest Reincarnationist book is as beautifully evocative as previous entries into the series. Generally speaking, the Reincarnationist series is set up in two trilogies—books one through three, then books four through six—so this book concludes the Jac trilogy.

This book, like the The Book of Lost Fragrances and Seduction, deals with scents and sensualness with a lushness that is intoxicating. The scents are described so well I can almost smell them, and the few sex scenes are beautifully sensual without being crude.

The ideas raised on reincarnation are fascinating to me, and resonate strongly to me with a sense of truth. M.J. Rose appears to have done a great deal of research into theories of reincarnation, and it shows in this book. Like any book by this amazing author, I strongly recommend this latest. I do recommend starting at least with The Book of Lost Fragrances if you don't want to start all the way at the beginning of the series.

Series Information: The Reincarnationist series.
Book 1: The Reincarnationist; I read in 2010 or 2011, but didn't review. 5 stars
Book 2: The Memorist; I read in 2010, or 2011, but didn't review. 5 stars
Book 3: The Hypnotist; I listened to audiobook in 2010 or 2011, but didn't review. 5 stars
Book 4: The Book of Lost Fragrances; read and reviewed March 2012. Review linked here where formatting allowed.
Book 5: Seduction, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Book 6: The Collector of Dying Breaths, Available April 8, 2014
If you like this author's style, you can also check out The Butterfield Institute series.
Prequel: Lip Service; I read in 2010 or 2011, but didn't review. 5 stars
Book 1: The Halo Effect; I read in 2010 or 2011, but didn't review. 5 stars
Book 2: The Delilah Complex; I read in 2010 or 2011, but didn't review. 5 stars
Book 3: The Venus Fix; I read in 2010 or 2011, but didn't review. 5 stars

Disclosure: I received an e-galley ARC from Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion… and past and present.

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

#Random Read: "Thalo Blue" by Jason McIntyre

So, it's been awhile since I selected a random read book. While I have a few books I need to read first, I plan to read Thalo Blue as soon as I can fit it in.


Sebastion Redfield is being hunted.

A young man on the brink of true adulthood, Redfield experiences the trauma of his life when a trespasser breaks into his home. The psychiatrist assigned to help him recover from the break-in begins to unravel a more disturbing truth about his ordeal: that someone or some thing has been hunting him.

Touted as "Jason McIntyre's most complex, multi-layered, and disturbing work," THALO BLUE delves into the life and times of Sebastion who, through his unique condition, may be the only person alive able to stop the mysterious "thief". This figure is unstoppable, even by death it seems, and he wants something that only Sebastion possesses. An explosive confrontation in his home during the middle of a brutal winter begins their terrifying encounter, one that will eventually stretch across a city, a township and a country.

Recovery is Sebastion's next phase of life--and not just physical recovery but an emotional healing from a life of family drama and the burden of being 'gifted'. Sebastion and the psychiatrist assigned to help him deal with the break-in quickly realize that the ordeal is not over. Now, to save his own life, he and the therapist must dredge up his dark, painful past for clues as to who or what the terrifying thief may be. 

Part literary noir, part mystery, and part horror, THALO BLUE is sure to paralyze readers and keep them gnawing at their nails at each startling revelation.

Sounds pretty cool, eh? So, I'll be looking forward to reading this book and letting you know what I think!

Updating you #Cancer journey

Poor Prometheus. I'm starting to know how he felt...

But I'm starting at the end. For those of you who have been following along, I had a liver biopsy a few weeks ago. You can follow that link if you want to refresh your memory. Anyway, the following Tuesday (April 1) I went in for my second chemotherapy treatment and learned that yes, there is cancer in my liver, too. And I'm anemic. I'm taking daily iron supplements, I eat lots of broccoli, and I'm still anemic. So, they added two new drugs to my treatment - one was just an iron supplement, but the other was specifically for the liver cancer. It apparently constricts the blood vessels, which will hopefully starve the tumors. Of course that means I'm ending up with a lot of headaches. The doctor recommends caffeine, since I can't have anything with aspirin or ibuprofen in it. Apparently the caffeine will dilate the blood vessels again and help stop the headache.

Anyway, this last chemo treatment was tough. Once again my hands started to cramp, and then my feet started to cramp. It was so bad, and it lasted three days this time. It was late on Friday before I could walk with any sort of a normal gait. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning I could only walk very slowly, taking very small steps, and sort of waddling. Which was actually kind of funny to see, I imagine... But hey, my legs HURT, and so did my arms.

My next chemo treatment is coming up on Tuesday, which is tax day. That seems strangely ominous, doesn't it? I have my nice, warm Huf socks that someone was kind enough to buy for me from my wishlist (they came without any paperwork, so I have no idea who sent them), and some nice fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm and still let me use my computer if I wish, plus my healing blanket sent by Schledia Benefield from Mississippi and my plush Cthulhu (which another kind person sent to me), so I'm all set to keep warm, since the weather is supposed to cool off dramatically that day. And also my doctor said that the chemo treatment itself might make me feel cold, which increases the likelihood of more cramps.

I continue to receive so much support and encouragement from folks on-line, and I really appreciate it. I appreciate those who have sent me things off my wishlist, and I appreciate those who are thinking of me, praying for me, and/or sending me healing energy and positive vibes. I do want to mention that a number of items show as purchased on my wishlist but have not arrived. I try to thank people publicly when I receive a gift, so if you sent something and haven't heard from me, please check on the status of your order.

I generally update much more regularly on Facebook, but I'm still very far behind on posts there. So, if you want to keep better track of me, friend me on Facebook!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Wingless

Wingless by Holly Hood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please Note: Read and reviewed in June, 2011. Updating formatting and adding disclosure that I received a free galley from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book: Eve is a willful and independent 18-year-old. One of her brothers, Marcus, the one she had felt the closest to, was murdered during a robbery four years ago; she has taken to hiding out in the woods with her best friend Vanessa and drinking in order to numb the pain. One day, while walking home, she falls into a stream and is pulled out by a tall, powerfully built young man, who introduces himself as Ace. Ace turns out to be a nickname (his given name is Evan); he is 22. Eve and Evan connect immediately and begin to see each other; much to the annoyance of Eve’s other brother, Gray. In a short time, against her family’s wishes, Eve moves in with Evan.

But Evan is not what he seems; his destiny is one of power and awesome responsibility, but also of devastating consequences to those around him. His people have rules and regulations by which they live; they don’t approve of relationships unless the couple is going to stay together – there is no option. Can the love Eve and Evan feel for each other keep them steady through the trials of Eve’s adjustments to this life? Can Evan maintain his love for Eve against her rages and moods?

My Thoughts: Overall I rather liked the story – unlike many stories with a basis of romance, the couple doesn’t spend the whole book hating each other and fighting over stupid things. It is true that Eve is remarkably moody, tending to swing into blind rages, screaming fits, and extreme melancholy under the slightest provocation, but then again, she is only 18. Eve also is often inconsistent – stating that people need to be nice to one another and treat one another with respect, and then completely ignoring her family’s wishes, refusing to even discuss certain situations with them, and basically leaving them cold. Apparently there are issues with her family that she has never resolved, which comes out later in the story, but this isn’t addressed early on where it should be, so Eve simply looks hypocritical, amoral, and spoiled.

One thing I would like to address are the many errors, typos, usage mistakes and punctuation errors in the ebook that I downloaded from Smashwords. I discussed with the author whether this was a final draft, ready for publication, or a proof being provided for reviewers to read. She indicated that she had the book edited some time back and thought perhaps I had downloaded the wrong file, but as it turns out it is entirely possible that she inadvertently uploaded the wrong version. So, please, don’t let those sorts of things count against the story; give her a chance to rectify the problem.

Fans of paranormal romances should enjoy this story.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

@JTaylorPub and @TerriRochenski #Cover Reveal "Secret of the Souls" Pool of Souls Book 2

Secret of the Souls

Release Date: October 6, 2014
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Fantasy
Back of the Book

Thrust out of their homes by a human High Priest on a vengeful mission, the Natives of Derlund no longer have a place to call their own. One escaped capture, however, and now she, Hyla, is the only one who can save her people.

For Hyla, though, saving her nation isn’t her ultimate goal—returning to the Pool of Souls is. Becoming its Guardian and preserving their faith is her heart’s desire. The perils of her current journey, though, could leave her unable to fulfill that dream.

To find her way back to the Pool, Hyla must live among dangerous, powerful humans willing to defend the Natives, and must submit herself—her Talents—to them. While her protection is paramount, plots to end Hyla’s life will push her to her physical and emotional limits.

On the edge of sanity, her courage tested, and convictions nearly broken, Hyla’s final test of loyalty to her faith comes with the death of one she could have loved.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities

Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities
Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities by Chris Kluwe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Nonfiction/Essays
Reading Level: Adult (language)
Recommended for: Thinkers
Trigger Warnings: mention of school shootings

My Thoughts: I don't necessarily agree with all of Chris Kluwe's opinions (but then again the world would be mighty boring if everyone thought the same of everything), however I found this peek into his brain to be fascinating. This is a guy I would love to sit down and shoot the breeze with about all sorts of things. This book ranges from poetry to stream-of-consciousness, to political satire, to letters written to various people and in response to various people regarding marriage equality. Chris Kluwe is funny, sharp-witted, and highly intelligent. If you enjoy having your thoughts provoked, then check out this book of fun essays. It will make you think.

Disclosure: This book was purchased for me by a friend as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Hi. In your hands, right now, you hold the culmination of thousands of years of human intelligence, ingenuity, and brilliance. Now put your goddamn phone down and pay attention to my book. 

What is in my book, you ask? (I'm really glad you asked, by the way, because now I get to tell you.)

Time travel. Gay marriage. Sportsballing. Futuristic goggles that DO NOTHING.

Tiny brags from my publisher, stuff like: "This is an uproarious, uncensored take on empathy, personal responsibility, and what it means to be human."

Excessive brags about myself: "An extraordinarily clever, punishingly funny, sharp-tongued blogosphere star, NFL player, husband and father, one-time violin prodigy, voracious lifetime reader, obsessive gamer, and fearless champion of personal freedom."

Oh, and also an essay on the Pope's Twitter account. Honestly, if that doesn't draw you in, there's no hope left for humanity. I also give my own funeral eulogy, in case you were hoping I'd go away and die now!

So please, join me in the glorious art of windmill tilting by reading this "collection of rousing, uncensored personal essays, letters, and stories" (I have no idea why that's in quotes).

Join the herd of Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies.

(You know you want to.)

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