Thursday, October 16, 2014

Currently Reading



Title: Tracy Tam: Santa Command
Author: Krystalyn Drown
Genre: young adult
Page #er: ?


SUMMARY
Tracy doesn’t believe that Santa can deliver all of those presents in one night with out a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. In order to test her theories, she sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh and ends up at Santa Command, the place where a team of humans monitors Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus to their system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world. Before the night is over, Tracy has to fix time and help Santa finish his deliveries. And she has to do it all with Santa’s magic, which she doesn’t believe exists.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Review ~ 11/22/63 by Stephen King

TITLE: 11/22/63 
AUTHOR: Stephen King
COPYRIGHT: 11/8/2011
TYPE: Fiction
PAGES: No pages this was audio
SERIES:  no

REASON FOR LISTEN:
I am a case manager that is on the road way too much and need to calm down before and during travel times. I thought it sounded interesting and decided to give it a try.

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away . . . but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke. . . . Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten . . . and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.(

THOUGHTS/OPINION:
First and foremost I do not under any circumstances read Stephen King due to horror and to be honest I just don't do horror. When I found out he did a time travel novel and it involved JFK I immediately yelled SOLD! Also this was my first audio book sort of... I listened to a nonfiction book as a beginner so in a way this was my first attempt at fiction in audio format. I enjoyed the man who did the audio and his attempts at accents as well as pitches. This led to giving each character their own thoughts. It also separated them in my head to help with any confusion that might have occurred. Needless to say that part was very enjoyable. 
I admit that I did and yet didn't realize how long of a time commitment this was going to take on my end. 30 CD's seriously look at that again 30 and each one was at least 45 minutes to an hour long. A HOUR LONG I just gave 30 hours of my life. While the book was good, it wasn't 30 hours of my life good. There were parts where I seriously rolled my eyes, wondering did you just take a hour to describe a 5 minute fight and than turned around and took 5 minutes to describe something I would've been good with having a hour long conversation about?!? That's a Stephen King novel. They are long and very, very, very detailed. Some like that I do not. So I fast forwarded a lot toward the end, which should've been the exciting part and had the first part of the novel moved quicker I'm sure I would not have felt the need to fast forward the latter half. 
The story in general was good. There were a few moments of stunned graphic detail that made me either want to stop or continue but felt dirty afterwords. There were moments where I sat back and thought about it and he did make you think about the cause and effects of time travel. I do like how it all tied in and well needless to say had a lesson to think about that made me go... that actually makes total sense. There were parts where I questioned if he was serious and he had parts in his story that made me want to go and research more of the JFK saga. 
There was a lot of cussing (so be warned if that turns you off) and there was violence (that was described graphically as well). Also there was sex scenes and I can't say it would have matter if a man or a woman wrote it there was a lot of sex involved which of course not shockingly enough was with a *gasp* virgin that makes me mad (why did she have to be a Mary Sue with sex she was divorced seriously?!) anyway that would be a side rant. 
Clearly there were things I enjoyed Mr. King is an excellent writer with a lot of details. The story does make you think and has stuck with me. Those are 2 qualities I look for in a book. 

FINAL GRADE: I would give it a B- (cussing, sex, and violence plus a quick peek at IT another novel involving a killer clown was thrown in for fun).

Would you recommend this story? If you don't mind the above warnings then sure.

Is this a part of a reading challenge? new author and yearly reading challenge.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Currently Reading



Title:  11/22/63
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Audio book
Page #er: 894





Summary: 
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review ~ Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel

TITLE: Man's Search for Meaning
AUTHOR: Viktor Frankl
COPYRIGHT: 11/9/2004
TYPE: audio book
PAGES: 184
SERIES:
no

REASON FOR LISTENING:
I have been wanting to read this book for a while and thought it would be a great first audio read.

SUMMARY
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America. 

THOUGHTS/OPINIONS
This was a deep book and at times I found it hard to continue to listen to it. Which could be a good thing that I used it as a audio or a bad thing depending how you look at it. This was an honest to God approach of a therapy discovered through heartache and trials. This man went through things that most of us couldn't even phantom in our worst of nightmares and yet came out of it was positive thoughts and regards. He also set forth on a "purpose" driven quest to help others find just that their purpose. Logotherapy isn't a hard therapy to grasp. Sure it has a lot of different phrases or meanings but in general the purpose behind it is simple. When people have a why they can survive almost any how. When people have a meaning or purpose to live for the things done to them won't matter and they can forge through it.

WHAT I LIKED
* The man was very honest with his experience and trials. He admitted the times that it didn't go the way it should of the times he had all but given up. He admitted his faults things he wishes he had done different and the times where sheer luck is what prevented him from passing. Yet at the same time he also admitted the good things he had done in such a humble manner it was as if he didn't realize what a difference they had made.
*It was a hard book to listen to and yet it was an easy book to get sucked into. The horrors where the hardest but the way they were told were so real, so vivid, you almost couldn't help but image what it was like for him.
* The therapy issue at the end was easy to understand and came with great examples of how to use logotherapy and when to use it. As well as numerous stories that came with it and examples that proved when to pull out what technique and why.

WHAT DID NOT WORK FOR ME
* The person reading the book attempted accents that lost me.
* The person reading the book at times was almost too dry (not his fault it was a hard listen)
* This was a very difficult book to listen to in a car heading to a place that was also going to tell me of horrors and terrors. Not really a "light" listen to or "light read"

FAVORITE PART/FAVORITE QUOTE
"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how"
"Emotion which is suffering ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and concise picture of it"
"What is really needed is a fundamental change in our attitude towards life"
Fear brings about that which one is afraid of

RECOMMEND TO A FRIEND?
I do recommend this book. It is heavy but the lessons learned from it are so worth it.

READING CHALLENGE
new author challenge

TOTAL BOOKS READ THIS YEAR
34

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I did it I finally caved and started listening to great suggestions


And began my audio book journey down the rabbit hole if you will. For a living I drive (a lot) I am a case manager so there are some days I am in the care 4 to 5 hours and others when I am in the car 5 minutes. So I need something different to do than listen to the same top 40s or older music sound list on repeat. Even my music on Ipod (which sadly I have lost) tends to get old real quick. After listening to fellow case managers talking about how they kill time in the car I came to realize that what I need is to try an audio book.

Now I've heard the horror stories and the wonder stories of audio books. I've listen to both sides and I admit I'd rather read a book than listen to someone read it to me (personal thing I tend to skim books while others read word for word). So I thought well what do you have to loose...

First up I listened to

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
I have to say was very interesting and a book I have been wanting to read but haven't had time for a while now. However, that being said it was also a very dry read mainly due to content but also due to the reader who was reading it in a variety of accents that kind of threw me off.

The content was deep and talked a lot about very hard stuff (after all Mr. Frankl was in a concentration camp for being a Jew during WWII b/c of his experience he developed his own form of therapy). So the content might have been too heavy to attempt to listen to on the hour journey of going to visit a client.

Currently I am listening to 11/22/63 by Stephen King.
Why? I am not sure. I do not like Stephen King (mainly b/c horror scares the absolute crap out of me). Also because he is so descriptive that I tend to get bored when reading and skim way more of the material than needed. However, With this particular book I have been hooked. Even going so far as to listen to it while at home and finding a CD player to continue listening to it.  Needless to say it is blowing my mind. The only down side to it is I am on Disc 12 out of 30 and it feels as if I shall never finish this book.

So that leaves me with questions? Do you read audio books (or rather listen to them?) do you like them? If so what ones do you suggestion? Obviously 30 discs is a lot and I am hoping to be able to finish it without loosing interest but do you know of any I just HAVE TO READ or LISTEN TO? Where do you go to get your audio books? Thus far I have been checking my out from the library due to the shear fact I probably will never listen to them again or read them. Do you keep audio books like you do regular books?

Anywho any suggestions, tips or ideas always appreciated. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Predator blog tour!!!


Join me in giving a big warm welcome to Janice Gable Bashman!!!!

Welcome to the blog Janice!

Let’s start with some basics!
Tell us about yourself? Where are you from? Do you have any pets? What was your first book? Those kind of things.
 Predator is my first novel and my first solo book project. It was so much fun to write. I wrote my first book, Wanted Undead or Alive (non-fiction) with Jonathan Maberry.
 I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my family. I have lived in this area for most of my life except for when I attended college and worked in New York City for a few years after graduating. I was always into playing spots growing up – softball and basketball. Today, I’m more into exercising on the treadmill. I had a cat named Pele’ who loved to bat a ball around the house, but he died a few years ago, so I’m pet-free at the moment.
I enjoy reading. I always have a huge and varied pile of books waiting to be read and am open to suggestions in any genre. I’m into photography and have been for as long as I can remember. I also love to travel. And spending time with my friends and family is very important to me.

When would you say you first considered yourself an author?
I considered myself a writer when I published my first article in 2006. But it wasn’t until I published my first book a few years ago that I considered myself an author.

How did you come up with the title Predator?
Wolves are predatory creatures that must hunt to survive. Werewolves take this to the extreme. The rogue soldiers in the novel become unstoppable killing machines, so the title seemed fitting.

What did you base your ideas off of when writing Predator?
I came across some articles on bog bodies and was fascinated by how the bodies were preserved and how the people died – most were murdered. I’ve always been interested in science and genetic engineering. And, I researched and wrote about werewolves in Wanted Undead or Alive, so it all naturally came together, with a lot of hard work of course.

Did you get inspiration from a song or pictures? If so can you share that with us?
There wasn’t a particular song or picture that inspired Predator as a whole, but I did get inspiration from pictures when writing particular scenes. I found pictures of bog bodies, bogs, werewolves, and other items related to the book and used them to help me visualize the scenes.

How do you keep track of your world? Do you have spread sheets, post its, or just tables and tables of stuff?
First I create an extensive outline of the book. Then I make a character list in a separate document. Once that is completed, I use a Post-it to represent each chapter by writing a brief description, chapter number, and main characters for the chapter on the Post-it. The Post-its are then placed sequentially onto a tri-fold science fair display board that stands on the floor of my office. This process gives me a visual feel for the novel and enables me to see its structure all at once. I can move the Post-its however I wish to see how things would look if I changed the ordering of the chapters.

Can we expect a series from this world? If so will it be same characters or different characters same world?
Predator is a stand-alone novel, but can easily spin out into a series of YA novels.

Who is your favorite author to read?
There are so many good writers out there it’s hard to pick just one. I love reading P.T. Deutermann—thriller writer, Walter Mosley—never disappoints, Mark Bowden—non-fiction writer, and Tim O’Brien—explores the Vietnam War through his fictional characters. Young adult writers whose books I enjoy reading are Jandy Nelson, John Green, Jonathan Maberry, Nancy Holder, Veronica Roth, Marie Lu, Jay Asher, J.K. Rowling, Allen Zadoff, Markus Zusak, and many others.

How do you pick a book online or in a store? Do you look at covers or actual book blurbs?
I prefer to look for books in a physical bookstore. I like to check out the cover, read the blurbs and the back cover copy, and then read a few pages to see if I’m interested in the book.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?
I had to make sure all the science was plausible within the plot of the book. Creating super soldiers had to have a scientific base that made sense. Making sure readers understood that science amid the high pace and high action was important. I gave readers only the information they needed and not a bit more so that the science didn’t drag down the story.

And since we are a nerd blog… do you nerd out about anything (i.e. starwars, comics, amine, tv?)
I never miss an episode of The Big Bang Theory – I love it. I always have. The characters are fantastic and the show always makes me laugh.

How do you define a nerd?
I think a nerd is a person who has a passion for a particular subject (for me it was the TV show M*A*S*H) and devours everything about it. They are intelligent people who are highly-knowledgeable in their area of expertise and enjoy sharing that knowledge with others.

Anything extras you want to share with the readers or feel that we should know?
I interviewed a world-famous geneticist to help me figure out how to create the werewolves using modern-day science and how it can go horrible wrong. I hope readers enjoy the book and that they relate to the themes of loss, hope, strength, and perseverance that inform it. Predator is fast-paced with lots of action, romance, and suspense—it should be fun read.

Here’s the blurb for Predator:
Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.
When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares.
Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines. Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them.
As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all. Predator gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil) as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.
 She will become the thing she hates, to protect those she loves!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of PREDATOR (Month9Books 2014) and WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (w/NEW YORK TIMES bestseller Jonathan Maberry) (Citadel Press 2010). She is editor of THE BIG THRILL (International Thriller Writers’ magazine). Her short fiction has been published in various anthologies and magazines. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and the International Thriller Writers, where she serves on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology.

  
Thank you so much for joining us today I can’t wait to read Predator!

Thanks so much for having me. It’s been fun.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Currently Reading



Title: The Princes in the Tower
Author: Allison Weir
Genre: historical non-fiction
Hardcover or paperback: large paperback
Page #er: 304
TBR since 2011


 Summary 

Despite five centuries of investigation by historians, the sinister deaths of the boy king Edward V & his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, remain two of the most fascinating murder mysteries in English history. Did Richard III really kill "the Princes in the Tower," as is commonly believed, or was the murderer someone else entirely? Carefully examining every shred of contemporary evidence as well as dozens of modern accounts, English historian Alison Weir reconstructs the entire chain of events leading to the double murder. We're witnesses to the rivalry, ambition, intrigue & struggle for power that culminated in the imprisonment of the prince & the hushed-up murders that secured Richard's claim to the throne as Richard III. A masterpiece of historical research & a riveting story of conspiracy & deception, The Princes in the Tower at last provides a solution to this age-old puzzle.