12 Days of Giveaways – Day 9: For the Science Fiction/Fantasy Lover

Hello again and welcome to day 9 of the 12 Days of Giveaways! For those of you still playing along, we’re in the home stretch, with only 3 days left to go. Today’s giveaway is for the science fiction / fantasy lover, with two groups of two books each up for grabs. Personally I’ve always found myself to side more with the science fiction half of things, but as I’ve read more I’ve found some great fantasy offerings, such as the Vineart series by Laura Anne Gilman. It’s an easy transition from science fiction to fantasy, just substitute some of the science for mysterious and magical themes and you’re all set. If you’ve yet to get involved with the fantasy genre winning one of the packages below is a great way to get yourself started. Good luck!

Science Fiction / Fantasy Package 1:

Heart of StoneHeart of Stone by Debra Mullins – Darius Montana is a Seer. With his gift of empathy, he can see into the hearts of others, both human and Atlantean. When his family comes into possession of one of the legendary power stones of Atlantis, Darius is sent to find the Stone Singer.

Faith Karaluros is the last Stone Singer. Manipulated all her life for her rare ability, she is widowed after her husband tried to steal her power for the Mendukati, an extremist group that hunts Seers. Faith wants nothing more than to stay out of this war when Darius comes to find her—just in time to rescue her from being kidnapped.

Faith goes with Darius, determined to do the job and be on her way with the money that can set her up where no one can find her again. She didn’t count on the Mendukati sending a hit man after her. Darius swears he can protect her, but when she discovers he is one of the rare Atlanteans whose powers work on their own kind, can she trust him to keep his word, or is she being used again?

(Giveaway copy is a paperback)

WarriorWarrior of Fate by Debra Mullins – Warrior Adrian Gray has dedicated his life in service to his people, and has never doubted his calling… until now. Three mystical Atlantean power stones were assumed lost for centuries, but one by one the Seers of Atlantis have tracked them down in a tireless race against the extremist Mendukati. Adrian’s mission? To ensure that the stones are acquired and protected by the right people—his people.

Adrian has always been uncompromising in his dedication to the cause. But the True Seer Tessa Montana proves a sensual distraction in his quest, and he soon finds his discipline wavering. Torn between his sacred duty to the Warriors and his desire for Tessa, will Adrian and his secrets cost them the war?

(Giveaway copy is a paperback)

Science Fiction / Fantasy Package 2:

BasiliskVoyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan – Devoted readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed—until now. Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril. Accompanying her is not only her young son, Jake, but a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal.

Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.

(Giveaway copy is a hardcover)

ShardsShards of Heaven by Michael Livingston – The beginning of an epic historical fantasy that rocks the foundations of the ancient world

Julius Caesar is dead, assassinated on the senate floor, and the glory that is Rome has been torn in two. Octavian, Caesar’s ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, vies with Marc Antony and Cleopatra for control of Caesar’s legacy. As civil war rages from Rome to Alexandria, and vast armies and navies battle for supremacy, a secret conflict may shape the course of history.

Juba, Numidian prince and adopted brother of Octavian, has embarked on a ruthless quest for the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures said to possess the very power of the gods—or the one God. Driven by vengeance, Juba has already attained the fabled Trident of Poseidon, which may also be the staff once wielded by Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, even if it means burning the entire world to the ground.

Caught up in these cataclysmic events, and the hunt for the Shards, are a pair of exiled Roman legionnaires, a Greek librarian of uncertain loyalties, assassins, spies, slaves . . . and the ten-year-old daughter of Cleopatra herself.

The Shards of Heaven reveals the hidden magic behind the history we know, and commences a war greater than any mere mortal battle.

(Giveaway copy is a hardcover)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to TOR for our giveaway copies!)

Two lucky winners will have the opportunity to win ONE of the two packages listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about a science fiction / fantasy book you love and would recommend to others.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only. Good luck!

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12 Days of Giveaways – Day 6: For the Lover of Thrillers

Does the thought of a thrilling book make your pulse quicken? Do you go to the movies to see action and adventure flicks rather than dramas or romances? If so, you may want to check out the books in today’s giveaway! We’re giving away three different packages of exciting and fantastic books that are guaranteed to keep you up until the last chapter. Just check below the book blurbs to see how you can enter to win one of these packages. Good luck!

Thriller Package 1:

tjcjvThe Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant – Héctor is trapped. The water truck, sealed to hide its human cargo, has broken down. The coyotes have taken all the passengers’ money for a mechanic and have not returned. Those left behind have no choice but to wait.
Héctor finds a name in his friend César’s phone. AnniMac. A name with an American number. He must reach her, both for rescue and to pass along the message César has come so far to deliver. But are his messages going through?

Over four days, as water and food run low, Héctor tells how he came to this desperate place. His story takes us from Oaxaca — its rich culture, its rapid change — to the dangers of the border. It exposes the tangled ties between Mexico and El Norte — land of promise and opportunity, homewrecker and unreliable friend. And it reminds us of the power of storytelling and the power of hope, as Héctor fights to ensure his message makes it out of the truck and into the world.

Both an outstanding suspense novel and an arresting window into the relationship between two great cultures, The Jaguar’s Children shows how deeply interconnected all of us, always, are.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

tmtmThe Marauders by Tom Cooper – When the BP oil spill devastates the Gulf coast, those who made a living by shrimping find themselves in dire straits. For the oddballs and lowlifes who inhabit the sleepy, working class bayou town of Jeannette,  these desperate circumstances serve as the catalyst that pushes them to enact whatever risky schemes they can dream up to reverse their fortunes. At the center of it all is Gus Lindquist, a pill-addicted, one armed treasure hunter obsessed with finding the lost treasure of pirate Jean Lafitte. His quest brings him into contact with a wide array of memorable characters, ranging from a couple of small time criminal potheads prone to hysterical banter, to the smooth-talking Oil company middleman out to bamboozle his own mother, to some drug smuggling psychopath twins, to a young man estranged from his father since his mother died in Hurricane Katrina. As the story progresses, these characters find themselves on a collision course with each other, and as the tension and action ramp up, it becomes clear that not all of them will survive these events.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

Thriller Package 2:

wskgmWhat She Knew by Gilly Macmillan – In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.  

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

mcghMotherless Child by Glen Hirshberg – It’s the thrill of a lifetime when Sophie and Natalie, single mothers living in a trailer park in North Carolina, meet their idol, the mysterious musician known only as “the Whistler.” Morning finds them covered with dried blood, their clothing shredded and their memories hazy. Things soon become horrifyingly clear: the Whistler is a vampire and Natalie and Sophie are his latest victims. The young women leave their babies with Natalie’s mother and hit the road, determined not to give in to their unnatural desires.

Hunger and desire make a powerful couple. So do the Whistler and his Mother, who are searching for Sophie and Natalie with the help of Twitter and the musician’s many fans. The violent, emotionally moving showdown between two who should be victims and two who should be monsters will leave readers gasping in fear and delight.

Originally published in a sold-out, limited edition, Motherless Child is an extraordinary Southern horror novel that Tor Books is proud to bring to a wider audience.

(Giveaway is a hardcover)

Thriller Package 3:

idbcIndependence Day by Ben Coes – Dewey Andreas, former Delta and newly recruited intelligence agent, is sidelined after screwing up his last two operations. Still drowning in grief after the tragic murder of his fiancé, Dewey has seemingly lost his focus, his edge, and the confidence of his superiors.

A high level Russian hacker, known only as Cloud, is believed to be routing large amounts of money to various Al Qaeda terror cells, and the mission is to capture and render harmless Cloud. At the same time, a back-up team is sent after the only known associate of Cloud, a ballerina believed to be his girlfriend. Unwilling to sit out the mission as ordered, Dewey defies his superiors, and goes rogue, surreptitiously following and tracking the two teams. What should be a pair of simple snatch and grab operations, goes horribly wrong—both teams are ambushed and wiped out. Only through the unexpected intervention of Dewey does the ballerina survive.

On the run, with no back-up, Cloud’s girlfriend reveals a shocking secret—a plot so audacious and deadly that their masterminds behind it would risk anything and kill anybody to prevent its exposure. It’s a plot that, in less than three days, will completely remake the world’s political landscape and put at risk every single person in the Western world. With only three days left, Dewey Andreas must unravel and stop this plot or see everything destroyed. A plot that goes live on July 4th—Independence Day.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

btngBlood Ties by Nicholas Guild – Homicide detective Ellen Ridley of the SFPD is tracking a serial killer terrorizing young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ridley is sure she’s cornered her most likely suspect: Stephen Tregear, a hacker and code breaker who works for U.S. Naval Intelligence. But Tregear is not the killer… he’s the killer’s son.

Ridley and Tregear team up to look for Tregear’s father, Walter, in an elaborate game of murderous cat and mouse. As the body count rises, Ridley must race against the clock to stop Walter before he kills any more women–and Tregear must finally confront the father who has been trying to kill him for twenty years. Blood Ties is an elegant and frightening thriller from Nicholas Guild.

(Giveaway is a hardcover)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Crown Publishing, Houghton Mifflin, William Morrow, St. Martins, and Tor/Forge, for our ARC giveaway copies!)

Three lucky winners will have the opportunity to win ONE of the three packages listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about the most action packed book you’ve ever read.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only. Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 3: For the Lover of the Sciences

Hi everyone! I’m excited to introduce the third day of the 12 Days of Giveaways! As you know, I’m the resident science nerd and admirer of all things science related. Therefore, I hope that this package will go to a reader that shares my excitement and will put these books to good use. There is a good mix of social and environmental sciences in these giveaway prizes, so I’m confident that they’ll appeal to a bunch of different readers. Instructions follow the book blurbs below. Good luck!

tpotgwtdtThe Psychology of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo edited by Robin S. Rosenberg PhD & Shannon O’Neill – Lisbeth Salander, heroine of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, is one of the most compelling, complex characters of our time. Is she an avenging angel? A dangerous outlaw? What makes Salander tick, and why is our response to her—and to Larsson’s Millennium trilogy—so strong?

In The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 19 psychologists and psychiatrists attempt to do what even expert investigator Mikael Blomkvist could not: understand Lisbeth Salander.

• What does Lisbeth’s infamous dragon tattoo really say about her?
• Why is Lisbeth so drawn to Mikael, and what would they both need to do to make a relationship work?
• How do we explain men like Martin Vanger, Nils Bjurman, and Alexander Zalachenko? Is Lisbeth just as sexist and as psychopathic as they are?
• What is it about Lisbeth that allows her to survive, even thrive, under extraordinary conditions?
• How is Lisbeth like a Goth-punk Rorschach test? And what do we learn about ourselves from what we see in her?

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

eitbEarth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit by Al Gore – Re-released on the heels of Al Gores #1 New York Times bestseller, An Inconvenient Truth, comes the paperback edition of his classic bestseller, Earth in the Balance. First published in 1992, it helped place the environment on the national agenda; now, as environmental issues move front-and-center in the public consciousness, the time is right to reflect deeply on the fate of our planet and commit ourselves to its future. While An Inconvenient Truth closely examines one menace to our environment–global warming–Earth in the Balance takes a broader approach, focusing on the threats that everyday choices pose to our climate, water, soil, and diversity of plant and animal life. A passionate, lifelong defender of the environment, Gore describes in brave and unforgettable terms how human actions and decisions can endanger or safeguard the vulnerable ecosystem that sustains us.

(Giveaway is a paperback)

ranachRain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett – Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive.

It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world’s water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.

Cynthia Barnett’s  Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our “founding forecaster,” Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Smart Pop Books and Crown Publishing for our ARC giveaway copies!)

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win all three books listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about why science interests you.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Todd’s Review of Deck Z: The Titanic by Chris Pauls & Matt Solomon

Every now and again, Kim hands me her Nook and asks me to scroll through a list of books that are highlighted, usually for a sale or a particular event or 51hhDGkGAEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_season. One time I was flipping through a list of science fiction titles and one book in particular stood out. A creepy and undead hand was reaching up towards a picture of the Titanic steaming along the ocean. Intrigued, I began to read the synopsis. Two minutes later, I purchased Deck Z:The Titanic by Chris Pauls & Matt Solomon.

It is 1912, and the White Star Line is preparing to flex its muscle as one of the most powerful British shipping companies in the world with the debut of its flagship, the Titanic. Meanwhile, in a remote village in Manchuria, a mysterious sickness is spreading. Characterized by a black, oily substance that exits the mouths and noses of those infected; the patients often beg for death before descending into a subhuman state. Theodore Weiss, a German scientist, is sent by Kaiser Wilhelm II himself to investigate. What he finds is purely terrifying, and he is able to capture one of the infected and retrieve a vial of what he notes is “the Toxic” from which this infection spreads. Meanwhile, he discovers that he is not the only one who is interested in this mysterious disease, and he runs for his life as he is pursued in order to gain access to “the Toxic.” Weiss finds safety on the Titanic just as it weighs anchor and leaves port. None of the thousands of passengers aboard have the slightest idea of the grave danger they face on a ship which they believe to be unsinkable. What follows next is a tale of terror and action that doesn’t stop until the very end.

Being such a fan of science fiction and zombies, I knew that I was going to find this book entertaining. What I was curious about was the level of detail the book would provide about the zombies. If it was just going to be a gory zombie-fest with the undead chasing Titanic passengers around their cabins, I was going to be a little disappointed. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I read the opening chapters. In fact, there is a good amount of time before any action happens aboard the Titanic at all. Pauls and Solomon do a great job at setting the stage and describing “the sickness” in vivid detail. I felt as if I was with Weiss, investigating the illnesses in remote villages and his own lab, with little-to-no idea of the gravity in which he was placing himself.

After things get going on the Titanic itself, the action only picks up more, chapter by chapter. Weiss is a likable character, and I found myself rooting for him throughout the story. Pauls and Solomon also add a touch of softness with a side story line involving a young girl, which helps to round out all the horror and action that is going on otherwise. Overall, although things do get a bit predictable at points (there are only so many ways to describe a zombie, I suppose), the authors did an admirable job keeping me entertained and cheering for Weiss to the end. This is well worth a pickup for a quick read that will leave you turning the pages (or in my case, tapping the screen) until you discover what really happened on the Titanic that day.

4 out of 5 stars

Deck Z by Chris Pauls & Matt Solomon
Chronicle Books (2012)
eBook: 218 pages
ISBN: 9781452108032

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 9 – KOP Killer by Warren Hammond

kkwhNext up for our 12 Days of Giveaways….an apocalyptic dystopic thriller novel! If you’ve ever read my reviews of other dystopic novels on the blog, you’ll know that it’s probably my favorite genre. I love the fight to overthrow the oppressive governments and regimes that exist in these stories. KOP Killer by Warren Hammond is one such novel, and you won’t be bored with this one! Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

From Goodreads:

Juno Mozambe once had a life. That was when he was a dirty cop, married to a woman who suffered such profound abuse that she murdered her vile, drug kingpin father. Juno loved his wife and did his best to help her survive her guilt, her drug habit, and her desire to end her life on the dead-end planet of Lagarto.

When she died, however, Juno’s life went downhill. And then his first partner, the corrupt chief of the Koba Office of Police, was murdered. The man responsible, Emil Mota, is using the KOP for his personal gain. Juno has been laying low, but now he’s ready to do whatever it takes to take down the bastard.
Rather than working from inside the system, he’s decided that the only way to take down the KOP is to create an independent base of power. So he gets involved with a team of dirty cops and starts working as a rent-a-thug for a whorehouse that needs protection.

Juno’s last partner knows that his risky plan has a purpose, but she’s that rarest of creatures on the hothouse planet of Lagarto: an honest cop. She can’t help him.

When Juno discovers a series of profoundly twisted murders, he faces a bleak possibility: in his desperate quest for vengeance against the man who targeted him for death, Juno may have placed himself beyond any hope of redemption….

whAbout the Author:

Warren grew up in the Hudson River Valley of New York State. Upon obtaining his teaching degree from the University at Albany, he moved to Colorado, married his wife Kathy, and settled in the Platt Park neighborhood of Denver where he can usually be found typing away at the local coffee shop or browsing the selection at the Tattered Cover.

Splitting his time between devouring science fiction and classic crime noir, he lists among his important influences Arthur C. Clarke, Orson Scott Card, Jim Thompson and James Ellroy. Warren is a serious music listener, specializing in blues, reggae and surf.

Always eager to see new places, Warren and Kathy have traveled extensively. Whether it’s wildlife viewing in exotic locales like Botswana and the Galapagos Islands, or trekking in the Himalayas, they’re always up for a new adventure.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of KOP Killer by Warren Hammond!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 2 – The Thieves of Legend (Michael St. Pierre #4) by Richard Doetsch

10816298Day 2 in the 12 Days of Giveaways here! Today I’m giving away a great adventure book that I was lucky enough to read last fall. It’s entitled The Thieves of Legend by Richard Doetsch and is the fourth in his Michael St. Pierre series. Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

From Goodreads:

The next ingenious thriller in the Thieves series after The Thieves of Darkness —reformed thief Michael St. Pierre and his crew travel to China on behalf of the U.S. government to obtain a legendary diary that holds the clue to a long-forgotten mystery.

In a baffling world where East meets West and ancient meets modern, a horrific act sets former thief, Michael St. Pierre, on the trail of a mystery with roots more than a half- millennium in the past. Michael and his ex-girlfriend KC Ryan are coerced by a U.S. Army colonel to travel to opposite ends of China, each responsible for stealing an artifact to help solve an ancient puzzle. With their lives depending on each other’s success, they face off against the complex underworld of the Chinese triads, a twisted female assassin, and a madman whose only desire is to possess the secret held within the pages of a diary supposedly lost to time—a secret that would give him frightening power and lead to the downfall of nations.

Moving from the glittering casinos of Macau to its dark and dangerous backstreets; from the palace at the heart of China’s Forbidden City to the medieval castles of Spain; from the seaside mansions on the Amalfi Coast, to an uncharted pacific island, Michael is in a race against time to solve the riddle and save KC from certain death.

About the Author:

Richard Doetsch is the bestselling author of five previous thrillers, including The Thieves of Heaven, which is currently being developed for film by Twentieth Century Fox, and The 13th Hour, which will be adapted by New Line Cinema. He lives in New York with his family. Visit his website to find out more. You can also connect with him on Twitter.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of The Thieves of Legend by Richard Doetsch!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Living With a Book Addict: Where Do You Read?

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Our Deck!

I know it’s been a while since my last post, so hello there! For those of you whom I have not acquainted myself with yet, I’m Todd, Kim’s husband and chronicler of life with someone (cough) who is addicted to reading. Yes, it has its ups and downs, and I aim to tell you all about them (with a healthy side of humor) here. Today my aim is a little more physical, rather than emotional or intellectual: where do you read?

It seems an innocuous enough question on its face. “Well that’s easy,” you might say, “I always read on the couch” or “I always read in bed.” Sure, this is boring and vanilla, and I’m sure it’s perfectly true. But, when you come to think of it, you probably read in many more places than just at home on the couch. Planes, trains, car trips, and white water rafting all see their fair share of reading (okay so perhaps not the last one.) Point being, if reading is a big a part of your life (as it very well is with Kim,) physical location and comfort take a back seat to reading. I’ve seen her read cramped into impossible angles in the car, or with her Nook inches from her face in the darkness of our bedroom. I’ve seen her fall fast asleep with a book tented open on her face, or rolled over a few times myself in bed on a book that’s made its way under the comforter. I’ve even seen her read on the toilet and in the tub!

However, this summer has seen the rise of a new reading location: the deck. You see, we’ve never really had “an outside” as I like to say. Our old apartment in CT did not have a porch or patio, but our new apartment does have a deck. Although it’s only about 5 feet by 10 feet or so, it’s our own slice of the great outdoors. We’ve decked it out (pun definitely intended) with chairs, a small table, and a grill! Now that we have this space, Kim has taken no time in setting up a nice reading spot in a deck chair, complete with a giant umbrella overhead to block out the sun (before the umbrella, there was much sunburn to be had.) I’ve come home from work to find her out on the deck, oblivious to the world driving by below, fully immersed in a book.

So, that brings me back to my original point: where do you read? Is it a special place that you’ve cordoned off in your home, or is it anywhere you happen to have a book? Is it a special part of your daily routine, or do you catch a quick chapter here and there on the train ride home? Whatever the case may be, we can all agree that taking some time out to connect with a good book is invaluable. It’s whether or not you can get over that kink in your neck afterwards that’s the problem. So, let us know below about your favorite reading spot!

Living With A Book Addict: A Bookseller

Kim at the bookstore

Kim at the bookstore

In this, the latest installment of the Living With a Book Addict series, I’m going to chronicle the recent development that has happened with our favorite book addict: she got a new job!  Now, along with the titles of blogger and book addict, we can add bookseller.  Kim recently started working at a book store and has happily immersed herself in the world of book selling for several months now.  It’s safe to say that she has taken her love of books and reading to a new, professional level, and I get to offer my insight (as always) on the changes that have taken place since this new opportunity!

First and foremost, I’m happy that she gets to do something that she is truly passionate about when she goes to work.  Many times she’s come home and happily told me about the people she’s turned on to new series and authors, and there was even one special time when she convinced a young girl to read Pride and Prejudice.  As you can imagine, there is no shortage of recommendations that she offers, and I think it’s great that she gets to interact with so many others who are interested in reading.  Even now as I write this, she’s telling me about another customer who came back into the store and thanked her for recommending a series that he ended up really enjoying.  It’s been awesome to see the impact that a fulfilling job has had in increasing her overall drive and motivation to go to work.

Secondly, how about those discounts?  Now, if I ever need to buy a book, I can look forward to a sweet discount!  I’m kidding, although the discount is neat, what’s more interesting to me is hearing about a whole new industry that I know basically nothing about.  After Kim comes home from work she tells me all about how the store operates and how certain books are destined to appear on certain shelves, etc.  I think it’s quite interesting, and between those stories and some interesting stories about the general public (anyone who has worked in retail knows how “unique” some of the general public can be at times), there’s always something new to talk about.  This new job has been a great source of new stories and new friends, and I imagine that there is much more in store for the future.

Finally, I’m just happy that our favorite book addict has been able to surround herself with her passion, making her happy.  I know it sounds self-explanatory, but after all the hectic adventures we’ve had due to my job, I’m glad to see her just as vibrant and motivated as she was before all of this happened.  The ability to bring her love of books to others is worth more than the money she gets to make as a bookseller, and knowing that makes both of us happy.

So, next time you enter your local bookstore, take a look around at the employees and see if there’s an extra spring in their step.  If so, perhaps they too have the same passion for books and want to share it with others.  Make sure you say hello!

Todd’s Review of The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd

At a time when the average temperature across America is a balmy negati15801724ve 300 degrees, it was a nice change of pace (and scenery) to read Lloyd Shepherd’s The Poisoned Island, which partially takes place in Tahiti.  It was an altogether warmer and intriguing story that kept me from thinking about the chills outside!

From Goodreads:

LONDON 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti.

When, days after the Solander’s arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked – their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles – John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen’s dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship’s principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain’s new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti’s floral riches now growing at Kew?

Horton must employ his singular methods to uncover a chain of conspiracy stretching all the way back to the foot of the great dead volcano Tahiti Nui, beneath the hungry eyes of ancient gods.

The Goodreads description doesn’t do this book justice; Shepherd packs so much imagery and description into his prose that my imagination had to work overtime to keep up.  I could only imagine the Solander’s arrival, laden with a multitude of colors and scents as it pulled into the docks of dreary London.  This was the backdrop for a creepy murder mystery, where all of the victims were found with looks of pure delight frozen on their faces as they were brutally murdered.  The constable appointed to look into this mystery is Charles Horton.  I took an immediate liking to him, as his natural inclination to investigate connected with me intellectually, and the fact that he is an all-around good guy didn’t hurt either.  As these were the days before detective work was commonplace, Horton is forced to do much of his work alone and in secret.  What’s more, his wife is inadvertently pulled into the fray, making the level of suspense even higher.

Additionally, Shepherd doesn’t just keep us confined to London, as we travel to Tahiti itself and get to view the mystery from the point of view of a young prince.  This added another level of complexity to the story, as this point of view begins to intersect with those of Horton, Horton’s boss, the magistrate of the River Police, and the proprietor of the Solander herself, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society.  With all of these characters so expertly depicted and developed, it was easy to fall right into the story from the first page.  My only complaint is that Shepherd got slightly too descriptive at times, which made things lag slightly.  Other than this, Shepherd has written a solid work that makes me excited to check out his other novel, The English Monster.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd
Simon and Schuster UK (2013)
Hardcover: 386 pages
ISBN: 9781471100345

Special thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for my review copy!

Todd’s Review of Buzz (The Game #2) by Anders De La Motte

16130351Fresh off of the nail-biting adventures of Game by Anders De La Motte, I was excited to see what else was in store for HP and his fight against the Gamemaker and his empire.  Not only did Game end with an amazing climactic action scene, but there was a definite cliffhanger that made me want to start Buzz as soon as possible.  I knew it was only a matter of time before HP found himself ensnared in the clutches of The Game again, and Buzz did not disappoint in this respect.

From Goodreads:

It’s been four months since he was dragged into the Alternative Reality Game that nearly cost him his life, and HP is still on the run. He has everything he ever wished for—freedom, money, and no responsibilities, but he still isn’t happy. Plagued by insomnia and paranoia, HP misses the rush and attention of The Game. Sometimes he almost wishes the Game Master would find him.

In Dubai, HP meets Anna Argos, a sophisticated and beautiful Swedish IT millionaire. When she disappears, HP is questioned by the police. Fearing he has been found by The Game, HP returns to Sweden after being released from custody. Determined to uncover the truth about Anna’s disappearance, HP uses a fake identity to apply for a job at ArgosEye, the company Anna worked for. In the business of online information management, ArgosEye is involved in some questionable practices, under the control of Anna’s husband, the CEO Philip Argos.

Meanwhile, HP’s sister Rebecca has started dating Philip Argos. When she unknowingly reveals her brother’s real identity to Philip, the police try to bring HP in for questioning again. On the run again, HP refuses to give up and tries to uncover what is really happening at ArgosEye. Before he can find the truth, HP is stopped in his tracks. Thinking he’s about to be thrown in prison, HP is taken to the outskirts of the city and left in the woods, where an elderly man hands him a piece of paper. HP believes the game is over, but is it really just beginning?

I think the best part about this series is the fact that it is multifaceted.  Just when you think that you’ve figured out The Game and HP’s place in it, your preconceptions are turned on their head and you are thrown for a loop.  Not only does this make the plot multi-layered, but it keeps you (and HP consequently) in the dark until the last possible moment.  Not only that, but HP’s overall likability and aloofness makes him an easy character to get along with and root for.  I found myself drawing some parallels between the twists and turns of this series (thus far) and my favorite TV show, LOST.  The plots of both of these franchises are complex and deceptive, and I think that’s what draws me in and makes me want to uncover the truth about The Game so badly, just as I wanted to find out the identity of “The Others” in LOST.  Therefore, it’s not surprising that I’ve rated Buzz so highly, and I cannot wait to read the exciting conclusion to this series: Bubble.

5 out of 5 Stars

Buzz by Anders De La Motte
Atria Books (2014)
Paperback: 496 pages
ISBN: 9781476712918

Special thanks to Atria Books for my review copy via Netgalley!