Monday, April 30, 2012

NetGalley April Wrap Up Post

I believe it is pretty safe to go ahead and do a wrap up post for the Netgalley April Read-a-thon hosted by 
Red House Books. You can read my original goals here. But, as a handy breakdown, see below:

Grave Mercy (LaFevers) *already started
Lets Pretend this Never Happened by Lawson
Tomorrow Land by Mancusi
Hanging By a Thread by Littlefield
Girl in the Clockwork Collar
Innocent Darkness (Lazear)
Touched by Cyn Balog

Okay, so I managed to read some Netgalley titles that I either picked
up after starting the challenge, or had on there before and did not list. 

Hanging By A Thread: loved it review here
Touched: loved this as well review here
A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty (to say I became obsessed with
  EW after that, you would be right) review here
Blackwood (this I didn't care for) review here

Overall, I read 11 books in April and 4 were Netgalley titles. For some reason, I can't get 
through Grave Mercy, I have not given up on Innocent Darkness, and because I am reading a bunch of 
tween titles and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter in prep for the movie release, the rest will probably have to wait. Sigh. I hope for better numbers in October.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Insurgent

By Veronica Roth
Drops off the train: May 1, 2012
Review copy from a friend

The second Divergent ended for me, I started the countdown to the next book. This story is  a hard sell, whenever I explain the premise to someone their eyes kind of glaze over. Those that I have convinced to try it, have come back and given me a hug. It is the first book I give to anyone who asks me what  to read now that they are done with the Hunger Games series.

I wrote and begged for an arc a couple of months ago. I didn't get one and figured I would have to wait, but a friend of mine who knows how much I love this series loaned me her copy. Thanks, Kathleen!

So, I will not get into the story too much. And I will stay away from spoilers. Just know this: I wish I had reread Divergent right before I read this. Also, this is one of the best second novels I have EVER read.

Roth's storytelling is magic. There is zero recap in this story, so as it has been a year since I read Divergent I was a little lost. Three chapters in, I felt like I was right back in the thick of things. The action never stops in this installment, but along the way we really get to experience the other factions, fall in love with Tobias (cause, we already LOVE Four) and we watch Tris grow even more kick ass. She makes some gut wrenching decisions in this story that made me want to smack her, but otherwise she has to be one of the bravest characters I have read about in a long time. This one is worth buying and I plan to buy both of them and reread them before I start the third one. This is a world I do no mind exploring over and over again. Insurgent will make you throw your Dauntless fist in the air and scream "Yeah!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Hanging by a Thread

Hanging By a Thread
by Sophie Littlefield
Out: September 11, 2012
Review copy via NG

Finished as a part of Netgalley April Read-a-thon

I have read Littlefield before, and especially liked Banished. Now, as I am learning to sew myself the premise of Hanging By A Thread really appealed to me. Here is what's up: overall there are several stories going on here and the least interesting is the mystery. In some ways, it reminded me of a Scooby Doo episode. The "bad guys" spill their guts the second someone looks at them suspiciously. In fact, there is too much spilling going on here. People barely know or remember Clare, but within seconds they are telling her their deepest, darkest secrets. And why? She already knows from touching the fabric of their clothes! So don't read this if you are looking for a good mystery.
I know I wrote this backwards, with the bad in the beginning and the good at the end, but I want to point out what really worked in this story. First, Clare's relationships with her mom and Nana. I found her connections with them and the family's history really cool. The house in which Clare lives with her mom sparked my imagination. In fact, the entire town of Winston is in itself a character with a charming personality. I loved Clare. She was artsy and smart and more than a little nosy. I didn't "feel" the relationship with Jack (if one could call it that).
I wish more time would have been spent examining Clare's gift and I am a little sad that there is a way to rid oneself of this gift. It's a great gift! Me, I would break into museums and touch the clothes of famous dead people. Where's Blackbeard's treasure? Who shot JFK? Etc.
So, not too shabby (chic?) and not great either. Why are they releasing this in September when the story takes place on Fourth of July weekend? Why do we not see Clare's outfit on the cover? I wish I could touch a publisher's t shirt and get the answers...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Review: Take Shelter

To begin, I am a reader and not a film critic. As a result, I am always on the hunt for a movie that has a certain feel to it, and Hollywood has been letting me down for years. With the decline of independent features being released, I find myself ignoring film altogether and getting my visual candy from TV (now that Game of Thrones is back, I can breath easier). I judge movies on the story, and less on how cameraman three was shooting a angle on scene six. Get me?
Anywhoo, until Wes Anderson starts making a movie a month, I will continue to view many, many duds.
Here is a diamond in the rough (the rough being the stacks of new releases at my branch):

Take Shelter

This is the story of Curtis and his family. Curtis is one of the last of the really handy men. You know, the ones who can go out and fix stuff (with his hands!) and drive construction vehicles. I have never met one of these guys, but I have read about them in books. His beautiful wife runs their home and supplements their meager income by hand embroidering pillows to sell at the flea market each weekend.
Their daughter is a doll-faced angel who cannot hear. Don't you just love them already?

Curtis begins to dream of horrors. First, a storm arrives and funnel clouds appear and the rain looks like motor oil. Then, when the rain touches someone, they go insane and try to attack Curtis and his daughter.
He is plagued with these dreams.

The dreams cause Curtis to doubt his mental health and to build up the storm shelter the family has in the backyard. This shelter starts out as a set of "Dorothy doors" and becomes a full-on condo.
He is bankrupting his family. Curtis is no longer "present" and it is destroying his career and relationship with his friends. He is checking the skies on a constant basis.

The downward path this family is on is destructive and part of you screams: No, Curtis, don't take out a second mortgage when that money is for your daughter's hearing aid!! The other part of you WANTS him to be right. Maybe the apocalypse is coming! Build the damn shelter!

I will not give away the ending. Just know this. I thought the movie was perfect, but my companion who watched with me complained it moved too slowly for her (she has a short attention span, however).
I loved it.

Here is the spoiler-free best part: When Curtis first begins to doubt his mental health, his FIRST stop is to the local LIBRARY!!!!! Yes, I love this guy. Then he goes to Sparkle (a grocery chain) to buy about 300 dollars worth of canned goods, but hey! Good for him for knowing where to go first. Anyone with the library this high on the priority list in a crisis is my kind of guy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Free Kindle ebooks that you may actually read.....

Thank you Kindle Fire Dept.!

If there is anything I love more than  a free book.....well, there are very few things I love more than a free ebook. Two titles sound good today. I  am especially excited about the Mechanist. Automatons, people, automatons!
All books below are free as of the time of posting but can change at any time. Please be sure to check the prices before you click!

Starting off with a reminder for our excellent Kindle book of the day, Rippler, which is FREE for today! Be sure to take advantage of this one. :)

Rippler - Paranormal Romance
4.5 stars over 96 reviews

Description: Invisible. In Love. In Peril.

When Samantha Ruiz turns invisible in front of team mates on a rafting trip, she knows something's wrong with her. According to her knowledgeable friend Will, she's got a rare genetic disorder. Fearing a lifetime sentence as a lab-rat, Sam wants to keep her ability secret.

But she also wants to know if there's a connection between dark Nazi experiments on others like her and her own mother's death eight years earlier. At the same time that Sam is sleuthing, she's falling hard for Will. And soon, she'll have to choose between keeping her secrets hidden and keeping Will safe.

Get your free copy of Rippler!


The Mechanist - Fantasy
5.0 stars over 1 reviews
Description: Essie Gray just wanted to be a thief. And she was damned good at it.

Issington is a city under a century-long siege from the air. A curfew and blackout have driven many citizens underground for business and pleasure. Automatons originally designed for war patrol the dark streets of the city at night, now used as a means of keeping the uneasy domestic peace.

When a job goes horribly wrong, Essie finds herself on the wrong side of both the criminals she once thought allies and the law. Now Essie faces a difficult task: to find out what she stole, and who hired her.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Time to clean the Netgalley Titles off the K-Fire, already

I, Karmagrrl, hereby swear to kick butt in the April Netgalley Read-a-thon hosted by Redhousebooks
this month. I looked over all of my NG titles on the Fire and have decided to tackle:

Grave Mercy (LaFevers) *already started
Lets Pretend this Never Happened by Lawson
Tomorrow Land by Mancusi
Hanging By a Thread by Littlefield
Girl in the Clockwork Collar
Innocent Darkness (Lazear)

and more if I can get approved for the new Cyn Balog (I LOVE Cyn Balog, and not just because she is local). Come on, NG, let us at Touched!

And can someone explain to me why I should read China Mieville? I read the first chapter, and, I don't know.....I can handle a great deal of weird......but there has to be a point to the weird. What do you think? Is Railsea maybe not the best title to start with?

Go check out the challenge at redhousebooks! Then come back and tell me what NG titles you are going to read this month!

A big, huge thank you

A big shout out of "Thank you" to the awesomeness that is the gang at the Pinkraygun blog. I was very lucky and won a prize pack that included the pictured items. Well, minus the did that sneak in there?
In addition to this, I also received a print from JR Pepper that features a ghost boy playing cars in someone's living room. I have this in a special place so that nothing bad will happen to it until I can buy a frame for it.  Thank you so much, I love your blog and read it every day (that sounds gushy, but it's true).

Thank you, thank you:
Spagetti Kiss
Michael Bracco for creating Novo
and JR Pepper (I swear, everytime I look at that print I see something that was not there before).