Monday, December 11, 2017

Berkley's Bookmas! Christine Feehan's Christmas with Christine!

I am excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I'm hosting Christine Feehan today! Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more! Check out the calendar of events below:

For tomorrow’s fun, head to one of the following blogs:
· Bambi Unbridled
· Read-Love-Blog
· We So Nerdy
· MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It

There's also an awesome giveaway you can enter for one $100 Visa gift card, and a book/galley/bound manuscript by each of the authors participating. Please follow this link to enter.

Christmas with Christine Feehan

We take Christmas very seriously in my house! I have four Christmas trees.

The tree in the kitchen is for my grandchildren, but started with my darling little Shylah’s suggestion. It was 2 feet tall when we started and it is 6 feet tall now! All of my grandchildren help to decorate this tree and it warms my heart to see it.

This is the I-spy tree. We have so much fun playing I-spy, looking for certain ornaments with the children. This tree is located in the living room with a train that circles around its base.

This is my beautiful peacock tree and I absolutely love it! I love peacocks and peacock colors. This is located downstairs in the rec room and it’s the tree we put all the gifts under.

My Favorite Holiday Memory

I have so many wonderful holiday memories, but the one that stands out and really makes me happy happened many years ago when my brothers and sisters and I were all children. My Mom was always very good at guessing what we got her each year, so one year my Dad, who was quite the prankster, put weights in her gift boxes, to weigh down the presents and made each box the same exact size to thwart her attempts to guess what they were by simply lifting them and shaking. That year we caught her late at night checking out the gift boxes when she thought we were all asleep. She got busted! Dad made all of us kids take turns guarding the gifts so Mom couldn’t check out what she got ahead of time.

Favorite Holiday Ornament

My Mom gave me my very first set of Christmas ornaments. They were a set of early Enesco ornaments and even after all of this time a few of them have survived numerous moves, children and grandchildren. I also love the ornaments that my readers send to me. I have received ornaments from all over the world and those are very special to me.

Favorite Holiday Tradition

By far, my favorite holiday tradition is playing I-spy with my grandchildren. We gather around the I-spy tree looking for specific ornaments as part of our game.

Christine Feehan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels. Her next novel, Judgment Road, begins the Torpedo Ink series about a motorcycle club of men and women who were trained from childhood to be the perfect assassins. Christine has received numerous honors throughout her career, including a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews and the Borders Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in northern California. Readers can connect with her online at,,, and

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Night Shift by Debi Gliori

I received a copy of this book for review.

Depression is a difficult topic to explain to someone who has never experienced it. It can manifest in different ways for different people but it visits a lot of us. In fact, about 7 percent of the adult population in the United States suffers from depression.

Debi Gliori has written and illustrated a beautiful picture book about depression and how it feels. Because you can talk and try to explain with words but still fail, this is a very effective method.

The illustrations are lovely and evoke the actual feeling of depression. The young girl who is at the center of the story experiences a fog that rolls in...and she doesn't remember when. She experiences it at night and also during the day. The pictures and text continue to describe the feelings and illness that persists even while the character does not know how to describe them herself. The book doesn't end in a deep dark fog though the reasoning for the shift may seem hard to understand.

Ultimately, I found this book to be effective and I think it would be a great conversation piece to discuss depression as well as a good gift to someone who suffers from it. The gift of being able to express what it's like to experience such an internal condition is appreciated and I think Night Shift can add to our conversations and understanding.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

This post contains Amazon links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a tiny commission. I received an ARC of this book for review consideration from the publisher.

Josh Malerman seems to be interested in the horrors our senses can visit upon us and not in any light way. Both of his works, thrillers that verge on being horror novels tease the concepts of what would happen if something could threaten us so completely through one of our senses. By exploring this idea, other philosophical questions gain entry even as we rapidly turn the pages to find out what happens next. In Bird Box, the horror was what our eyes would see and once seen, could never be unseen. In his latest, Black Mad Wheel, he turns the spotlight on our hearing.

This is not only a thriller/horror but also a work of historical fiction! It takes place about 13 years after the conclusion of World War 2. A small group of men who served in the military during the War have started a band. Their history and their musical talents make them attractive to the military who feel they have discovered a brand new weapon. This weapon seems to render all other weapons useless and makes men sick. It's in the deserts of Africa and they need someone to go and locate its exact source.

Like with Bird Box, Malerman alternates between the present and WHAT HAPPENED in order to build a suspense and a deep desire to know what happened. I enjoyed this book and once I had time to read I read it one day. It was a fast read but it does venture into philosophical questions or originy type questions so there's some depth. I don't think it's as effective a novel as Bird Box or as enjoyable overall, but comparison isn't always helpful as I did enjoy the book overall. There are some definite science fiction aspects to it. it's not real world grounded but it is interesting.

It's hard to imagine a sound so terrible it's a weapon itself, but that's what the characters face in Black Mad Wheel.


Monday, September 4, 2017

A Look Back at August

I hope everyone had a nice Labor Day! I did! I relaxed, read two books, and went to see Annabelle: Creation.

This blog saw some activity in August, so just in case you missed it, here's a quick wrap-up.

I read, reviewed, and loved The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. This book definitely cemented her status as a favorite author for me and I do recommend it.

I also reviewed The Breakdown, BA Paris's follow up to Behind Closed Doors. While I wasn't as enthralled with this book as her debut, I did find it to be a solid and entertaining read.

And I reviewed three creative YA books all of which I enjoyed. INFJoe's Text, Don't Call, You're Weird, and Surprise Yourself. All of these would make great gifts depending on who you would like to gift them to.

Finally, I reviewed Mad by Chloe Esposito which was a hugely entertaining book and a great read for summer or anytime.

The blog will stay active in September! As mentioned I've read some books I already want to review and I'll throw in some movie reviews, too. Plus, I hope to share some recommended reading lists and share some other things I've been thinking about.

Times have been tough and our world feels very uncertain as we face continual change brought on by governments, climate change, and our own bodies that war against us. Every moment is precious even in the face of thinking about a future that feels dark and grim. I'm thinking of you all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Surprise Yourself by Lisa Currie

Surprise Yourself by Lisa Currie

This book was sent to me for review consideration by the publisher, Tarcher Perigree. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on one of them and make a purchase, I might make a tiny commission.

Surprise Yourself is a life workbook designed, in its own words, to be both "an adventure guide and a comfort blanket." I think it fulfills that purpose quite well! I really love the idea of having a journal like this that requires you to be both introspective, but also gives you opportunities to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and do some fun things. There are a lot of different topics covered from exploring the world that is already deeply familiar to you, to creating your own works of art, interviewing people who are different than you and more!

There are also checklists included so that you can keep track of the different parts of the book as you do them. It's not necessary to do the book in order, you can pick and choose which parts you want to do at which time.

I really like the idea of this book because it can also serve as record for yourself. The ideas to push you out of your comfort zone are fun and seem designed to really make you a better more thoughtful and empathetic person. They can even lead to new friends! And the tasks about yourself also seem fun and like they will cause you to really think about yourself and why certain things are the way they are. I think books like this are great because sometimes we need to be forced to slow down and look at things differently and really consider the people around us and also why we feel and think the way we do. But Surprise Yourself makes all of that fun and accessible and easy and possible for anyone.

For example, there is an activity that asks you to focus on some traits you notice about your co-worker. I think this is great for really becoming a more thoughtful person. A lot of times we do notice things about people without really reflecting on them. There is also an activity to host a themed dinner party. This resonated with me because it's the sort of thing that always seems like it would be fun to do but I haven't. But making it a goal to finish the activities in this book makes it more likely.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mad by Chloe Esposito

Mad by Chloe Esposito

I received a galley of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summer's not over yet! Despite some cooler than normal weather we've been experiencing in Southern California, the kids heading back to school, and even though the Halloween and Fall decor is hitting store shelves much my extreme delight, the temperatures are starting to rise again and well summer technically has some time left.

I say all of that because Mad by Chloe Esposito is a perfect summer read. It's what you might call a beach read, but not everyone gets to go to the beach, so instead we'll just stick with summer read! This book is not so unlike it's's crazy! It's a kind of shock read, but I kept turning the pages to see what would happen next. It was also kind of funny. The compulsively readable nature of it makes it easy to recommend, but I gotta say...

If you can't stand unlikable characters, by which I mean characters that may not even be particularly clever and completely out for themselves, you might not like this. However, for me the fact that I was reading a book with a female character like this was kind of a novelty! I also didn't feel like I neeed to like Alvie to enjoy the story because there were plenty of twists and turns that kept me engaged and going with it.

In short, Alvie is kind of a mess. She's working a job she doesn't particularly love and makes some pretty poor life decisions when her twin sister invites her to come visit Italy. (Alvie is located in England). She decides to go once she realizes it will be paid for and she basically has no other choices. However, not everything is as it seems when she arrives and she quickly finds herself in a situation much bigger than she imagined..which will only be intensified by her selfish poor decisions.

This was a unique and fun read for me and I do recommend it! I think it's perfect for summer! So if you're looking something a little light that veers towards fun you might want to pick this one up. However, if you're easily offended, it might not be for you. Also, it looks like it's part of a trilogy which makes sense. Looking forward to more.

Friday, August 18, 2017

You're Weird: A Creative Journal for Misfits, Oddballs, and Anyone Else Who's Uniquely Awesome by Kate Peterson

You're Weird

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I really do love these hand-lettered books! I love that they are creative in and of themselves and I also love that they encourage creativity. This one is for letting loose your inner oddball and the topics are pretty fun and what you might expect. The pages encourage writing, coloring, and drawing. If you aren't a great artist like myself, I still think you can use this book (and this kind of book) because really it's for you.

Since You're Weird is all about, well, being weird the pages inside encourage the participant to focus on what makes them unique and celebrate it. Some of the topics include thinking about what you do differently than other people, thinking about famous people who are a little different that you admire, picking words that describe you, and reflecting on the events that shaped you into your uniquely wonderfully weird self.

Some of the creative activities include drawing an apple that fell really far from the tree and coming up with a slogan for yourself. There are also some challenges of weirdness to complete.

The book is delightfully hand-lettered and illustrated. It's cute, spunky, and fun. I think it would make an ideal gift for any young person that might be struggling with accepting their own weirdness or rather uniqueness. It really gives you space to celebrate the things that make you different which is needed and important especially at ages where peer pressure is intense, but really at any age. A book like this can be considered a journal and become a respite against difficult times or simply a tool to help you enjoy your unique oddballness even more.

Recommended fun!

I haven't done a Things You Might Want to Know About in ages but I do want to mention the book uses the term "spirit animal" and while I know it's used popularly in the mainstream culture, it has come to my attention that it's cultural appropriation. It's not a term I ever really understood in the pop-culture sense and learning that actually helped make sense of it for me! It's just one page/activity, but it's worth mentioning. If you give this as a gift to your teen you could talk about the use of that word and why other words like patronus are better to use.