...never judge a book by its movie

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Bird House by Kelly Simmons - BOOK REVIEW

The Bird House by Kelly SimmonsTitle:  The Bird House
Author:  Kelly Simmons
Publisher:  Washington Square Press, a division of Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: February 1, 2011 (originally released in 2010)

Paperback, 288 pages
ISBN 10:   1439160937
ISBN 13:  9781439160930

From Publisher's Weekly:

Simmons (Standing Still) smoothly shifts between past and present in her complex and poignant second novel, told from the point of view of a courageous woman suffering from dementia. Ann Biddle, a venerable Main Line lady, may have trouble remembering current dates and times, but she clearly remembers the details of her daughter's death, her troubled marriage, and the man who has always truly loved her. When a school project gives Ann the opportunity to spend time with her eight-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, Ann is determined not to allow Tinsley, her controlling daughter-in-law, to sabotage their burgeoning relationship, even if it means a little extortion. By the end, Ann can declare: "We had our own constitution now, our little family, built on a solid foundation of lies, secrets, regrets, and debts. But even dark underpinnings can support something solid and light, can they not?" Enthralled readers will agree.

My Take: 

First Sentence:  Beneath the surface of any problem, if you scrabble a bit, you'll find a secret.

The description above makes it sound like the protagonist is a likable person.  She isn't.  She's bitter; she seems to have resented and maybe even disliked her children when they were small; she was unfaithful to her husband, and she is full of pettiness.

In spite of this, this novel is a tightly-woven tale that swings from past to present - a dark family drama that pits Ann, 70 years old, a graduate of Bryn Mawr and a Main Line fixture, against her daughter-in-law Tinsley, an over-protective mother to Ellie, Ann's only grandchild from her remaining son, Tom.

As Ellie begins to spend more time with Ann working on a generational family project for school, Tinsley seems to go out of her way to keep them from doing so.  Ellie chooses bird houses as the theme, having seen them in old photographs and one currently in Ann's tree branches and Tinsley seems to go out of her way to discredit Ann as an influence on "her" 8-year-old daughter.   Through their interplay, and the memories that Ann begins to bring to the surface, we see how Ann's circumstances were greatly reduced as a child when her father left her mother, taking all of her mother's money with him through fraud.  We read about generations of faithlessness and it's impact, and we learn about Emma, Ann's daughter, who tragically died when she was young.  As the battle of wills heats up between Ann and Tinsley, Tom ends up in the hospital with a heart issue at 39 years old, and  memories of Theo, his father, dead of a heart attack while playing tennis, are forcefully brought to the surface.

Within this family circle, more secrets are brought out and played on, and in spite of my dislike for Ann, I still experienced a sense of justice in her small victories.

Character-driven and rather intense, this author manages to pull the reader into the battle.  Which side will you pick?


Forty years ago, my young daughter died because of something I did.

What a waste, to be chaste in high school.  What silly fools we were.  Were we saving ourselves for infidelity, for cheating and lies?

I sighed.  These were my coworkers - the toddler, the baby.  This was my job - the meals, the dishes, the diapers, the tantrums.  The world's tiniest, most claustrophobic factory. The hours were unbearable and the conditions were apparently not going to improve.

Writing: 5 out of 5 stars
Plot:  4 out of 5 stars
Characters: 4 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:  4 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Read an Excerpt

Visit the author's website

BUY IT:  At Amazon, through the publisher's website,  and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.

This book is listed as one of my titles for the ARC Reading Challenge 2011
Disclosure:  I  received a  complimentary eGalley of this title from the publisher through Galley Grab to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.
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It's Monday! What are YOU Reading? - January 31, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"What Are You Reading?" is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  Click over to see what other readers are into this week and add to your TBR pile!

I've been reading a lot faster than I've been able to post reviews, so I'm planning to start posting more reviews until I'm caught up!


A Widow's Story:  A Memoir by Joyce Carol Oates
A Widow's Story:  A Memoir by Joyce Carol Oates - Review scheduled for February 3, 2011
A Woman and Her Workplace by Rosemary Flaaten
 A Woman and Her Workplace by Rosemary Flaaten - Review Upcoming

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
  The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa - Mini-review upcoming

Kick by Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman
Kick by Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman - Review Upcoming

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
 Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann - Review Upcoming

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett  - Mini-review upcoming

 End Game:  The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Bobby Fischer by Frank Brady - Review Upcoming

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa - Review Upcoming

  The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn - Review upcoming


Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
 Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - Review Link

Human Blend by Lori Pescatore
Human Blend by Lori Pescatore - Review/Giveaway Link

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Review Link   

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - Review Link


The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor
The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor - Review scheduled for February 1, 2011

Anyone Can Die by James LePore
Anyone Can Die by James LePore - Review scheduled for February 2, 2011

The Iron Fey Series - The Iron King, Winter's Passage (a novella set between the 1st and 2nd books in the series), The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen - Scheduled for the weekend

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Kindle Edition) - Should be finished today

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


The Next Ten Minutes: 51 Absurdly Simple Ways to Seize the Moment by Andrew Peterson, EdD

Mark Penn Goes to War by Michael Springer

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashano

Anyone Can Die by James LePore

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - BOOK REVIEW

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Title:  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Author:  Tom Franklin
Publisher:  William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins
Publish Date:  September, 2010
Hardcover, 274 pages
ISBN 10:   0060594667
ISBN 13:  9780060594664

Goodreads description:

Tom Franklin's extraordinary talent has been hailed by the leading lights of contemporary literature—Philip Roth, Richard Ford, Lee Smith, and Dennis Lehane. Reviewers have called his fiction "ingenious" (USA Today) and "compulsively readable" (Memphis Commercial Appeal). His narrative power and flair for characterization have been compared to the likes of Harper Lee, Flannery O'Connor, Elmore Leonard, and Cormac McCarthy. 

Now the Edgar Award-winning author returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town. 

More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades. 


My Take: 

"M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback, humpback, I.

-How southern children are taught to spell Mississippi"

First Sentence:  The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house.

... and just like that, the reader is pulled into a book teeming with suspicion, intrigue, secrets, and mystery.

In Chabot, MS, Silas Jones is the only law enforcement officer.  He is backed up by Roy French, the Gerald County Chief investigator, a former game warden and Vietnam vet.

Larry's father Carl didn't really like him; he was a sickly bookworm, not the strapping athlete that he would have liked to have for a son.  As the owner of the Ottomotive Shop, Carl liked to tell stories to the audience that gathered for him daily - stories full of macho swaggering and bravado, and Larry didn't fit into that world.  The kids at school called him "Scary Larry", as he was always lugging around a horror story, and he had no friends.  His mother Ina's nightly prayer for him was for him to have a friend all his own. 

Silas and his mother Alice moved to Chabot in 1979, and Larry's father used to pick them up, coatless in the winter, on the way to school.  When Larry's mother found out about it, the rides stopped, but Larry and Silas became uneven sort of friends, secretly and against Carl's wishes.  In an incident instigated and provoked by Carl, the boy's friendship disintegrated, and Larry was once again without a single friend.  And Silas kept working on his baseball game while he and his mother lived in an unheated shack on Carl's property.

When his nearest neighbor, Cindy Walker, asks him to take her to the drive-in, Larry is beside himself with joy.  When Cindy never makes it home, all eyes are on Larry as the culprit, and he is ostracized.  He eventually drops out of school and joins the Army, where he emerges as a certified mechanic.

Silas goes to college, and eventually returns to Chabot as a law enforcement officer.

25 years later, Larry is 41, living a solitary existence in his parent's house (his father died in a drunk driving accident and his mother is now in a nursing home) - going to the Ottomotive Shop every day with his only customers being a few people straggling through the town - outsiders all, as no one in the town will take their business to him.

Then Tina Rutherford, 19 years old, the daughter of the mill owner in Chabot, comes home from college for a visit  ... and goes missing.

In an instant, tongues start wagging and suspicion points to Larry - he got away with it once, right?

DON'T pick up this book unless you have some time to spend, because once you start it, you won't want to put it down.  It's a page turner; you'll keep saying, "OK, just one more chapter."  I started reading this about an hour before I planned to go to sleep, and two hours later, I MADE myself close the pages.  I went to sleep and dreamed about the book (seriously, THAT'S a sign).  The next morning, as soon as Bebe Boy James was off to school, I opened it again and didn't put it down until it was finished.

You can't help feeling sympathy for Larry, who is so desperate for friendship, for conversation, that he even befriends Wallace Stringfellow, a young and cruel man-boy who seems gruesomely fascinated with the mystery of Cindy Walker and what Larry may have done to her.  And WHAT made Ina tell Carl he couldn't give Alice and Silas a ride to Larry's school?  And what about Cecil Walker, Cindy's drunken stepfather?  And who killed the neighborhood marijuana dealer, Morton Morrisette, who used to play baseball with Silas?  What made Alice move from Chicago to this rather segregated backwater?

As secrets slowly ... oh, so slowly and deliciously .. unravel, you are left shaking your head, and wondering, "Why didn't I see THAT coming?"  There is ONE secret that you may end up having a sort of suspicion of before it is revealed, but you're not ... quite  ... sure.  This is the best kind of mystery as well as a study in human relationships and the secrets that we all keep.

If it's not on your shelf, it needs to be.  It's character-driven, but with mystery, human drama, suspense, and murder all tossed into the mix - a great literary sort of work.  No matter your preferred genre, you will probably love this book.


As he did each night before sleep, Larry prayed for his mother, that the following day might be a good one for her, that his cell phone might ring or that, if it was time, the Lord take her quietly.  In her sleep.  And that God would forgive him his sins and send him customers.

"You know what else?" he said.  "I don't care if you done it or not, took that girl. We'd still be friends if you did."
"I didn't."
"I wouldn't mind, is all I'm saying.  If you had a done it.  If you'd a raped that girl.  And killed her.  Sometimes women can make you crazy can't they?  You ain't got to tell me that"

What's missing out of you, Silas?
Courage, he thought.
No wonder he felt at ease among these damn chickens.

Writing: 5 out of 5 stars
Plot:  5 out of 5 stars
Characters: 5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:  5 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:  5 out of 5 stars

Sensitive Reader:  There are some curse words, but they are essential to the character of the person saying them.

Visit the author's website

BUY IT:  At Amazon, through the publisher's website,  and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.

My thanks for this title go to Sharon at Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews, where I won this book in a giveaway.  I can't find her original review post, but here is a link to her giveaway post.


This title is listed in my 2011 Books Won Challenge List
This title is listed in my 2011 3 R's Challenge list
This title is listed in my Off The Shelf Challenge list

Disclosure: This is a review of my personal copy.
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Mailbox Monday and In My Mailbox - January 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday
"Mailbox Monday" is the brainchild of Marcia at The Printed Page.  Martha has closed The Printed Page effective December 18th and set up Mailbox Monday on it's own blog here:  http://mailboxmonday.wordpress.com/

January's host is Rose City Reader!  February's host will be Library of Clean Reads!  Be certain to stop by, link up, and visit other fabulous mailboxes!

In My Mailbox
"In My Mailbox" is hosted by The Story Siren

Every week we'll post about what books we have that week (via your mailbox/library/store bought)! Everyone that agrees to participate will try to visit each other's list and leave comments!  Everyone is welcome to join! You can join at anytime and you DO NOT have to participate every week. 

My mailbox this week:


When the Thrill is gone by Walter Mosley
When the Thrill is Gone by Walter Mosley - ARC for Review from the publisher through Shelf Awareness - Releases March 8, 2011

Leonid McGill is back, in the third-and most enthralling and ambitious-installment in Walter Mosley's latest New York Times- bestselling series.

The economy has hit the private-investigator business hard, even for the detective designated as "a more than worthy successor to Philip Marlowe" (The Boston Globe) and "the perfect heir to Easy Rawlins" (Toronto Globe and Mail). Lately, Leonid McGill is getting job offers only from the criminals he's worked so hard to leave behind. Meanwhile, his life grows ever more complicated: his favorite stepson, Twill, drops out of school for mysteriously lucrative pursuits; his best friend, Gordo, is diagnosed with cancer and is living on Leonid's couch; his wife takes a new lover, infuriating the old one and endangering the McGill family; and Leonid's girlfriend, Aura, is back but intent on some serious conversations...

So how can he say no to the beautiful young woman who walks into his office with a stack of cash? She's an artist, she tells him, who's escaped from poverty via marriage to a rich collector who keeps her on a stipend. But she says she fears for her life, and needs Leonid's help. Though Leonid knows better than to believe every word, this isn't a job he can afford to turn away, even as he senses that-if his family's misadventures don't kill him first-sorting out the woman's crooked tale will bring him straight to death's door.

ONE BOOK!  ALL week!

I'm seeing my reading piles start going down; I have just a few books left to send out, some to remaining winners and a huge box to Pine Ridge Reservation for their library.  At this rate, I may be able to get books off of the tops of my filing cabinets and our task table!  And then I won't feel so guilty about buying more!  Maybe I'll get to work on buying the books I need for the Get Steampunk'd challenge.

Anyway, what goodies came in to YOUR mailbox this week?  Please feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments section; I'd love to swing by.
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Author Q & A with Lori Pescatore - Author of Human Blend

Lori Pescatore
I'd like to take a moment to introduce Lori Pescatore, author of Human Blend.

About the author:

A preschool teacher by day and a wife & mom by night. Although I love all of these titles, I can now add published author to the list of things I can consider myself. I was proud the day I got married, I was proud the day I gave birth to each of my boys, (now grown men) and I was proud when I got my certification to teach. My newest accomplishment in being a published author is my latest proud moment. Writing all my life for fun, family and friends, creating my own story and original characters has been a wonderful journey, one I hope is long lived. It is what I want the rest of my life to be about.

Human Blend is the first of a trilogy of books in the romance/fantasy/science fiction genre. It is what I love to read and what I love to write. I hope you enjoy my labor of love.

Lori graciously agreed to a Q & A session about herself, about her book, and with some of my weird random questions thrown in :)

1.  What is your favorite genre to read and why?

My favorite genre to read is anything paranormal or fantasy with a touch of romance. I write what I like to read. But that does nto explude other genre's. I mostly like a great story with likable characters.

2.  What are your top three favorite books of all time?

The Outsiders, The Hunger Games and Marked

3.  What is your writing space like?

Spacious. My writing space is everywhere. Have notebook will travel. I hand write my work then type it later so I can write anywhere. Most of Human Blend was penned in bed and in the car waiting for my husband who was out looking for a job.

4.  Pistachio or Rocky Road ice cream?

Rocky Road, more for the name. Not a nut person.

5.  Since "Human Blend" is the first in a trilogy, around when do you think we'll be able to read the next book in the series?

It is in production now and I'm shooting for an April release for the second in the series.

6.  If "Human Blend" were made into a movie, who could you easily picture as the main characters?

Krystin (sic) Bell would be my choice for Laney/Julie.
Jesse McCartney for Austin, I've seen some of his earlier acting gigs and he was wonderful
Chris Pine for Eli

Orlando Bloom for Marcus

(Orlando is hot; I've been in love with him since LOTR)
7.  Because a hospital setting makes a good portion of this title, have you worked in or volunteered in a hospital or been impacted by someone who has?

I've spent a lot of time in hospitals and have encountered so many wonderful people. It really takes a special person to do that type of work and I admire them all immensely.

8.  Who has been your biggest inspiration when it comes to pursuing your writing career?

I get most of my inspiration from other Indy writers. There are so many talented unsigned writers out there as well as many who are unsigned for a reason. The publishing industry is changing in so many ways now that it allows some amazing voices to be heard. So that is my inspiration, to proudly be an independent and promote other amazingly talented writers.

9.  On the subject of ice cream (I know, I have an obsession):  Cone (dipped or not) or sundae?

Cone not dipped. All obsessions are good.

10.  Team Austin, Team Eli, or Team Marcus?  (I'm kinda partial to Team Eli myself)

So not a fair question. LOL. I'm afraid if I pick one it will tip the direction in which the story is going. So let's say Team Julie.

(You can't say I didn't try)

11.  Any final thoughts to share?

I hope to have book two ready by April. It will actually start as a prequel giving more details to the fantasy creatures in the book as well as some background information before picking up where book one left off. I'm having a blast writing it. 

 About the Book:

Human Blend by Lori Pescatore
Human Blend: Escaping from them had been difficult enough, now Laney needs to keep hidden. All she wanted was to be on her own. Laney is not like other girls... she has very special abilities that set her apart from others. How or why she came about these abilities is a mystery she has yet to unfold.

Haunted by memories and flashbacks of the suffering she endured at the hands of her captors, she changes her appearance and hides out in a small town. Ignoring her own warnings, she begins a relationship with a local boy.

The relationship turns dangerous when the boy begins developing similar abilities. This development does not fall under the radar of the men who are trying to recapture her.

A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's new life falls apart when she meets a young intern that seems to have all the answers to her questions. The information sends her into a tail spin. Thoughts of going on the run once again are thwarted as those whom she was running from find her.

Thanks to Lori for taking time out of her day to let us know a little bit more about her.  Check out the review of Human Blend here on this blog and you can even enter to win your own copy through February 9th!

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday Book Blogger Hop (on Saturday) - January 28, 2011

Friday Book Blogger Hop

It's that time again!  Time for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books!

What is it?  Well, it's a way to for bloggers and readers to find each other.  You write a little post about the subject of the week and link it up.  THEN (and this is the important part), you hit a few of the other linked up blogs (take your time; you can spread it throughout the weekend), visit, comment, follow if you like what you see, and make new friends.

Each week, to encourage participation, we get to answer a different question.  This week's question is:

What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011?  Why are you anticipating that book?

For thousands of years the Meq have existed side by side with humanity—appearing as twelve-year-old children, unsusceptible to wounds and disease, dying only by extraordinary means. They have survived through the rise and fall of empires and emperors, through explorations, expansions, and war. Five sacred stones give a few of them mystical powers, but not the power to understand a long-destined event called the Remembering.

In the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of Japan in 1945, Zianno Zezen finds himself alone, while the fate of the other Meq and his beloved Opari, carrier of the Stone of Blood, is unknown. But Z’s archenemy, the Fleur-du-Mal, survives. In the next half century Z will reunite with far-flung friends both Meq and human, as American and Soviet spies vie to steal and harness the powers and mysteries of the timeless children. With the day of the Remembering rapidly approaching, Z must interpret the strange writing on an ancient etched stone sphere. In those markings, Z will discover messages within messages and begin a journey to the truth about his people and himself.

Lyrical and mesmerizing, The Remembering spans the world and history, from the first humans to a secret that has never been told before. The Remembering is the moving saga of the Meq—their purpose, past, and future among us

For FOUR years, we've been checking Amazon every now and then to see when this one would be published.  As soon as we saw it, it went on pre-order (it releases February 22nd).  Are there other books that we're looking forward to here?  Definitely - Book 4 of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (City of Fallen Angels) is one of them.  Are there other books that we've been waiting forEVER for?   Umm .. no .. and this is not high literary fiction; it would probably even be deemed YA or fantasy .. but the first two books were so compelling that my Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn, my bff and myself BLEW through them and now we just want to see how the story ends.

How about you?  Feel free to leave a link to your post or simply comment in the comment box about which book you are most looking forward to this year.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - BOOK REVIEW

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Title:  The Road
Author:  Cormac McCarthy
Publisher:  Various (my version by Vintage Books)

Paperback, 286 pages
ISBN 10:   0307387895
ISBN 13:  9780307387899

Goodreads description:

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, The Road is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation


My Take: 

This is going to be a mini-review of an extraordinarily good, minimalist book.  We have Papa and the boy.  The boy is his Papa's son.  The world is destroyed, and we never really find out why.  They are journeying towards the coast in hope of finding warmth.  Along the way, they come across a few bands of 'bad guys', as well as some other solitary survivors (both good and bad).  The little boy was born into a world without a past, to a mother who eventually stopped fighting.  There is the despair of the father, who tried to keep his wife from giving up.  He knows he is ill, and he sees his son, his only reason to keep on going, becoming more downhearted and less child-like by the day.  This is not an action-packed novel, but as you read, you can feel the sense of growing despair, a despair born of walking through days of twilight and nights so black you may as well be blind through a world where, years after the event, trees continue to fall and burn, nothing grows, and some have resorted to trapping and eating other humans for sustenance.

This is not a book for the faint-of-heart or for those who want a happy-go-lucky tale.  There's no real happiness in these pages (although there are flashes of humanity and light), only a deep, dark trudge that you feel in your bones, and an ending with a spark of hope.


This is my child, he said. I wash a dead man's brains out of his hair.  That is my job.  Then he wrapped him in the blanket and carried him to the fire.

The boy lay with his head in the man's lap.  After a while he said:  They're going to kill those people, arent they?
Why do they have to do that?
I dont know.
Are they going to eat them?
I dont know.
They're going to eat them, arent they?
And we couldnt help them because then they'd eat us too.
And that's why we couldnt help them.

When we're all gone at last then there'll be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too.  He'll be out in the road there with nothing to do and nobody to do it to.  He'll say:  Where did everybody go?  And that's how it will be.  What's wrong with that?

BOOK RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

BUY IT:  At Amazon, and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.

Disclosure: This is a review of my own personal copy.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Wednesday! Time for Cym Lowell's Book Review Party! January 26, 2011

It's Wednesday, and if you have a book blog or even a blog that occasionally reviews books, you should be participating in the Book Review Party!


It's easy to participate:

Link up any (old or new, any genre) book review that you have written to the McLinky on Cym's site. (Mclinky will not be available until 9pm EST on Tuesday evenings).

Get some traffic to a review that you want more exposure for; and visit the other sites on the hop to find some more books for your list!

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Human Blend by Lori Pescatore - BOOK REVIEW/GIVEAWAY {CLOSED}

Human Blend by Lori Pescatore
Title:  Human Blend
Author:  Lori Pescatore
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Paperback, 234 pages
ISBN 10:   1453765131
ISBN 13:  9781453765135

Goodreads description:

Escaping from them had been difficult enough, now Laney needs to keep hidden. All she wanted was to be on her own. Laney is not like other girls... she has very special abilities that set her apart from others. How or why she came about these abilities is a mystery she has yet to unfold.

Haunted by memories and flashbacks of the suffering she endured at the hands of her captors, she changes her appearance and hides out in a small town. Ignoring her own warnings, she begins a relationship with a local boy.

The relationship turns dangerous when the boy begins developing similar abilities. This development does not fall under the radar of the men who are trying to recapture her.

A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's new life falls apart when she meets a young intern that seems to have all the answers to her questions. The information sends her into a tail spin. Thoughts of going on the run once again are thwarted as those whom she was running from find her.

My Take: 

Laney looks 16, but is quite a bit older .. you see, she does not age normally.  She also has remarkable abilities - the ability to heal and the ability to foresee numbers.  The latter ability makes her very valuable to the men who forcibly took her from her father at a young age and have held her ever since.

Now she has escaped them, and in her new life as Julie Miller, an 18-year-old, she finds herself in Marion, Virginia, where she meets a boy named Austin Dorsett, and gets a volunteer position at a local hospital.

Can she keep the men who are after her from finding her?  Why is she so attracted to Eli Ellsworth, a senior doctor at the hospital?  What are the hazy memories of when she was first abducted trying to tell her?  Are there others like her?

As Laney tries to live her new, normal life, is her past is catching up to her?  Will she be able to outrun it, or is she placing her new friends in danger as well?

There were some editing issues, although, as a whole, they didn't take too much away from the story.  As this is a YA book, I was somewhat taken aback at the physical relationships that seemed to move far too quickly for me.  Although an explanation for this eventually appears, I would have felt more comfortable if it had appeared earlier.

I loved this plot concept, and Laney's character (known as Julie through most of the narrative) was compelling.  I loved her instinct for healing, even though it meant that she had to take the pain of the sickness she was healing inside of her for a while; the selflessness she showed in doing so was wonderful and endearing.  As this is the first in a planned trilogy, I think we will see a bit more character development in the secondary characters; I never really understood how the "bad guys" came to meet Laney or her father or how they knew of her abilities - these are two things I'm looking forward to finding out.

All in all, I liked this read; although it didn't grab me from the start, I eventually found myself pulled into the plot and felt so much sympathy for Laney and for the life she had been forced to lead.

As with all of the YA books that come in for review, I gave this one to Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn to read, and she blew through it in less than a day.  She said, "Well, she's a pretty fast girl" (speaking of the physicality), but she also said, "I understood more later, and I really liked it ... can I loan it to Jasmine (her bf) to read?", which is high praise, since she only wants her friends to read the books that she really likes.


My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn's Rating:  4 out of 5 stars


BUY IT:  At Amazon,  and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.

WIN IT:  Thanks to the author, I am able to give a copy away to one of my readers!  I am making the giveaway international (although, if international shipping costs for a physical copy are prohibitive, the winner's copy may be in eBook format)

MANDATORY ENTRY:  If you could have one psychic ability, what would it be and why?


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ELIGIBILITY:  Open Internationally

End Date:
Thursday, February 9, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST

Disclosure:  I  received a  complimentary copy of this title from the author to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.
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