TBR Thursday #23

My tbr is getting out of control.  My books are are closing in on one another.  It is time take action and remind myself of all those goodies on my shelf.  To get motivated I started a meme, TBR Thursday.  Each week, I will highlight one book that I physically own, be it arc, bought, paperback or ebook and is on my tbr.  It could have been there for months or just acquired it yesterday, but the point is to spotlight novels that scream "read me".

On The TBR This Week

 The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Lia Lee was born in 1981 to a family of recent Hmong immigrants, and soon developed symptoms of epilepsy. By 1988 she was living at home but was brain dead after a tragic cycle of misunderstanding, over-medication, and culture clash: "What the doctors viewed as clinical efficiency the Hmong viewed as frosty arrogance." The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions, written with the deepest of human feeling. Sherwin Nuland said of the account, "There are no villains in Fadiman's tale, just as there are no heroes. People are presented as she saw them, in their humility and their frailty--and their nobility."

Why It is On My TBR

I have tried to read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down several times but the subject matter is heartbreaking to me and a bit personal as I am also epileptic that I become emotional and must set it down.  Although, I still long to read it hence its appearence on TBR Thursday.
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Review: Misery

Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication Date: 1987
Source: Library
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Kathy Bates ruined the novel Misery. She was just too good. Her role has become so iconic that it is hard to picture anything else.

Having said that, the novel is creepy and much more gruesome than the film and to be honest, I'm a bit neutral about it. It wasn't so over the top that I was repulsed by it but wasn't exactly what I was expecting either.

One thing Stephen King managed to do, that Kathy Bates could not accomplish was that there were moments where I actually felt sorry for Annie, what occurred in her life that led her to be so fucked-up or was she doomed from the start. This lingered in my mind throughout. Although, I was reminded of how evil she was when the ax went through Paul Sheldon's bone, so one cannot say she was innocent by any means.

I will say that I skipped over the excerpts of Misery's Return that were included in the book. It felt cheap to me and I don't think Stephen King's novel would have suffered without them. Secondly, the amount of paper that was filled with Paul screaming out in pain did get a little repetitive and tedious, just move along already.

Overall, Misery is a great horror novel who's mouse hunt keeps one spellbound and is the perfect read for a cold winter's night.

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TBR Thursday #22

My tbr is getting out of control.  My books are are closing in on one    another.  It is time take action and remind myself of all those goodies    on my shelf.  To get motivated I started a meme, TBR Thursday.  Each    week, I will highlight one book that I physically own, be it arc,   bought, paperback or ebook and is on my tbr.   It could have been there   for months or just acquired it yesterday, but  the point is to  spotlight  novels that scream "read me".

Hello From the Gillespies by Monics McInerney

For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth....

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways....

Why it is on my TBR

Christmas is just around the corner and Hello From the Gillespies sounds like a cute Christmas card read with a bit of dysfunction mixed in.
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HoHoHo Read-A-Thon 2015

HoHoHo Read-a-thon 2015

The HoHoHo Read-a-Thon is hosted by Bookshelfery & Caffeinated Book Review and takes place on November 12 - 17th.

Our Hosts say:
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, so break out the cocoa, the coffee, and cookies! Grab those holiday theme books and bring your holiday spirit. This is our third year hosting, and we are excited to get together with you. Prepare to enter challenges, win prizes, meet new friends and Twitter chat with us. You can join for a day or sit by the fire and hang out every day. The more you participate the more entries you will earn for the Participant Giveaway. As always, we are looking for Challenge Eleves hosts. Please email, tweet or message Jennifer or myself. We’ve posted early so that you have plenty of time to find those holiday/winter reads and clear your schedules.

The read-a-thon is still a week away so there is stilll time to sign up but for the present I'll list the books I plan to read and when the thon does start will track my progress here.

Christmasy Reads:

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron
Hello From The Gillespies by Monica McInerney
A Last Goodbye by J.A. Jance
A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd
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Review: The Spanish Patriot #hfvbt

02_The Spanish Patriot_CoverThe Spanish Patriot
by Nicky Penttila

Publication Date: September 3, 2015
Publisher: Wondrous Press
Source: Blog Tour

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Some fly to war. Others flee it. No one is safe.

When the British army is sent into Spain to help expel Napoleon invaders, nothing goes as expected. Not for London newsman Sam Kerr, hunting a story that will win him the editor chair, who discovers one that could wreck his career. Not for the Wakefield family, loyalist refugees from America seeking peace among people of their faith, who find war has followed them even here. And certainly not for the British troops, whose mission of support turns into a fight for all their lives. Historical fiction set in Corunna 1808.



At first, The Spanish Patriot felt a little chick-flicky, a man comes in on his horse and creates disdain for the almost certain love interest in the novel.  Kerr and Louisa certainly had that down but it was the characters around them and actions outside of this bubble that compelled me to read on.  While I usually gravitate towards books that inclde a tete-a-tete which The Spanish Patriot had, but I enjoyed the editions that included the use of publishing and the times current events, with the the ball scenes and speed dating not interesting me as much, which I found odd as it is usually the opposite.  


For whatever her reasoning I really enjoyed Louisa getting involved (or trying to) in the paper with my favorite quote coming from her:

Men could be such peacocks, but it was the hens that got the job done.

This just felt very Gloria Steinem, and as I have always ravished strong women in books was a big bonus.  

Like in An Untitled Lady, Nicky Penttila created, vibrant characters with vivid descriptions  and largely captivating plot that had me reading for large blocks of time.


Penttila shows a deft hand with complex, believable characterizations that accurately reflect the historical period. Publishers Weekly
The social turmoil in Manchester leading to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 is the unusual setting for Penttila quietly stunning, memorable debut novel. A very highly recommended book. Historical Novel Society


AmaliaG-web-600wNicky Penttila writes stories with adventure, ideas, history, and love. She enjoys coming up with stories that are set in faraway cities and countries, because then she *must* travel there, you know, for research. She lives in Maryland with her reading-mad husband and amazing rescue cat.




Sunday, November 1
Guest Post at Please Pass the Books

Monday, November 2
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, November 3
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, November 4
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, November 5
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 6
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Monday, November 9
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, November 10
Review at She Is Too Fond of Books

Wednesday, November 11
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, November 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads

Saturday, November 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, November 16
Guest Post at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, November 18
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Thursday, November 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, November 20
Review, Interview, & Giveaway at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

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Spotlight: Aurelia (Roma Nova, #4) by Alison Morton #HFVBT


Aurelia (Roma Nova, #4)
by Alison Morton

Publication Date: May 5, 2015
SilverWood Books
Paperback & eBook; 270 Pages
Genre: Alternative Historical Fiction

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B.R.A.G. Medallion Winner

Historical Novel Society Indie Editor's Choice

Late 1960s Roma Nova, the last Roman colony that has survived into the 21st century. Aurelia Mitela is alone – her partner gone, her child sickly and her mother dead. Forced in her mid-twenties to give up her beloved career as a Praetorian officer, she is struggling to manage an extended family tribe, businesses and senatorial political life.

But her country needs her unique skills. Somebody is smuggling silver – Roma Nova’s lifeblood – on an industrial scale. Sent to Berlin to investigate, she encounters the mysterious and attractive Miklós, a suspected smuggler, and Caius Tellus, a Roma Novan she has despised, and feared, since childhood.

Aurelia suspects that the silver smuggling hides a deeper conspiracy and follows a lead into the Berlin criminal underworld. Barely escaping a trap set by a gang boss intent on terminating her, she realises that her old enemy is at the heart of all her troubles and pursues him back home to Roma Nova...


"Morton raises the bar on her Roma Nova series with a thrilling and intriguing history of what might have been. Effortlessly weaving fact and speculative fiction, AURELIA explores a 1960s that is at once familiar and and utterly different - a brilliant page turner that will keep you gripped from first page to last. Highly recommended." - Russell Whitfield, author of the Gladiatrix series

"What if the Roman Empire hadn't fallen? Alison Morton handles this intriguing premise with her customary panache in AURELIA." - Ruth Downie, author of the Ruso Medicus series

"Yet again, Ms Morton delivers a fast-paced story set in a world slightly - but fundamentally - different from our own. Roma Nova as a country does not exist - not really - but Ms Morton paints this alternate world of hers with such colours, such details, that by the time the book has ended it comes as a surprise to return to a world without Roma Nova, without strong, impressive women like Aurelia Mitela. I am already looking forward to the next instalment - in fact, I crave a next instalment!" - Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga

"Meticulously researched. Wonderfully imagined. Alison Morton's Roma Nova will stay with you long after you have closed the pages." - Liesel Schwarz, author of Chronicles of Light and Shadow;

"Brilliant! Alison Morton's alternative world of Roma Nova - a feisty soldier heroine plunged into the depths of criminal conspiracy, and mind-blowing action all the way to the tense finale. Aurelia is a fabulous read." - David Ebsworth, Historical Novel Society award-winning author




03_Alison Morton_AuthorEven before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. Brought up by a feminist mother and an ex-military father, it never occurred to her that women couldn’t serve their country in the armed forces. Everybody in her family had done time in uniform and in theatre – regular and reserve Army, RAF, WRNS, WRAF – all over the globe.

So busy in her day job, Alison joined the Territorial Army in a special communications regiment and left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things no civilian would ever know or see. Or that she can talk about, even now…

But something else fuels her writing… Fascinated by the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain), at their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women…

Now, she lives in France and writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines:

INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series

– shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award
– B.R.A.G. Medallion
– finalist in 2014 Writing Magazine Self-Published Book of the Year

PERFIDITAS, second in series

– B.R.A.G. Medallion
– finalist in 2014 Writing Magazine Self-Published Book of the Year

SUCCESSIO, third in series

– Historical Novel Society’s indie Editor’s Choice for Autumn 2014
– B.R.A.G. Medallion
– Editor’s choice, The Bookseller’s inaugural Indie Preview, December 2014

Fact file

Education: BA French, German & Economics, MA History
Memberships: International Thriller Writers, Historical Novel Society, Alliance of Independent Authors, Society of Authors
Represented by Annette Crossland of A for Authors Literary Agency for subsidiary and foreign rights.



Monday, October 19
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Tuesday, October 20
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, October 22
Interview at Back Porchervations

Friday, October 23
Spotlight at Teatime and Books

Sunday, October 25
Spotlight & Excerpt at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Tuesday, October 27
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, October 28
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Friday, October 30
Spotlight at The Writing Desk

Monday, November 2
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, November 6
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Saturday, November 7
Spotlight at She Is Too Fond of Books

Monday, November 9
Spotlight at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Friday, November 13
Spotlight at Passages to the Past


To win a signed paperback of Aurelia by Alison Morton please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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TBR Thursday #21

My tbr is getting out of control.  My books are are closing in on one    another.  It is time take action and remind myself of all those goodies    on my shelf.  To get motivated I started a meme, TBR Thursday.  Each    week, I will highlight one book that I physically own, be it arc,   bought, paperback or ebook and is on my tbr.   It could have been there   for months or just acquired it yesterday, but  the point is to  spotlight  novels that scream "read me".

 Broken Sleep by Bruce Bauman

Spanning 1940s to 2020s America, a Pynchon-esque saga about rock music, art, politics, and the elusive nature of love

Meet everyman Moses Teumer, whose recent diagnosis of an aggressive form of leukemia has sent him in search of a donor. When he discovers that the woman who raised him is not his biological mother, he must hunt down his birth parents and unspool the intertwined destinies of the Teumer and Savant families.

Salome Savant, Moses’s birth mother, is an avant-garde artist who has spent her life in and out of a mental health facility. Her son and Moses’s half-brother, Alchemy Savant, the mercurial front man of the world-renowned rock band The Insatiables, abandons music to launch a political campaign to revolutionize 2020s America. And then there’s Ambitious Mindswallow, aka Ricky McFinn, who journeys from juvenile delinquency in Queens to being The Insatiables’ bassist and Alchemy’s Sancho Panza. Bauman skillfully weaves the threads that intertwine these characters and the histories that divide them, creating a postmodern vision of America that is at once sweeping, irreverent, and heartbreaking.

Why it is on my TBR

I recieved Broken Sleep for review but perhaps the more important reason is because this book sounded fun and funky, and just looks like it would be an enjoyable read.
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Review: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1982
Source: Library
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A wrongly convicted man finds himself in a prison run by a sadistic warden.

The Shawshank Redemption is a film I have watched countless times. It is a fantastical story of innocence and escape and is well presented on the screen. I finally decided to read the short story it is based on, not only due to my love for the novel's film counterpart but also because I have been to Zihuatanejo Mexico several times. While it does not play as prominent a role as Rita Hayworth is still an important aspect to Andy Dufresne's story.

I should note before I begin this review, that it is partially a comparison between the book Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and the film it was based on.

Sadly, the movie was too perfect, it captured everything perfectly and because I already knew how Andy escaped, the warden pulling back the pin-up poster held no surprise for me. The other thing I did not like about the book was that I didn't feel like there was any justice where the warden was concerned. In the movie, he kills himself but in the short story he quietly retires. Considering what an ass he was, I really wanted to see him get his comeuppance. The last thing I liked more about the film is that they showed how Andy escaped whereas in the book, as Red is telling the story it is only speculation.

What I did like about the book was the immense detail that Stephen King is so well known for and the little touches, such as an inmate noting Andy's cell was drafty.

I am by no means trying to say it is a bad story, far from it, the story is engrossing and escaped into another world while reading. I think the problem was that I have seen the movie so many times and know the story so well that the surprise for the final plot twist was taken away from me and despite the unique story left a ho-hum ending.
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Blogger Interview with Jessica Samuelson from Writing Pearls

In celebration of all those marvelous book bloggers out there I am participating in  Blogger Thon hosted by Bemused Bookworm.  Today I am sharing an interview with Jessica from Writing Pearls.  I've been reading her blog for a while now and enjoy reading her thoughtful reviews.  I appreciate her thoughts even more now after learning of our shared admiration for Jane Austen and coveting of the same books growing up.
1.  What is your first bookish memory – 
Reading The Secret Garden and The Little House on the Prairie books on a cross country trip from Mississippi to Alaska.

2. What were your favorite books  growing up and what are they now? 
Growing up my favorites were The Secret Garden, Little Women, and The Little House on the Prairie books. I read them over and over again! Now my favorites are anything C.S. Lewis, Mysteries, And Cozy Mysteries.

3.  If you could eat lunch with any author (living or dead) who would it be and why? 
It would be Jane Austen. It's possible that she is a distant relative of mine. I also envy her success of writing classics that have survived the test of time over and over again.
4. In your "about" page you describe pearls as a gorgeous thing provoked by junk name one "pearl" you have read and and on junk read.

Kate Triumph by Shari Arnold is one of my top Pearl reads. I don't advertise the “junk” on my site because I am about building writers up not putting them down. If I don't like something, I just put it aside and forget about it. Being a writer myself, I need to be careful how I critique my contemporaries. 

5. What was the last book you read and would you recommend it? 
 I just finished Dead Lies by Cybele Loening and Merry Mary by Ashley H. Farley and I would recommend them both highly!
6.  If you could visit any fictional setting where would it be? 

Right now it would be Numaterra. It is a fictional world I created for my Revelation series starting with the Revelation of the White Stone which will be coming out early next year... I kind of live in this world right now as I am writing the series so I guess that makes me partial to it. 
7. Who are your favorite fictional characters? 

Auntie Scotty from Ms. Conception by Jen Cumming

8. How do you decide what to read next? 
 Usually by what Blog Tour is coming up. I do a lot of those. Then it's the ARC's that are set to be published. Then after that it's pretty random. I have asked my husband to design me a TBR application that I can enter all my books into and it chooses for me. That will be coming soon.

9. Do you have an author who is an "instant buy" 
Right now it is Jennifer Peele
10. I love descriptive books and draws me into the story. What captivates you to read/continue a novel 

I'm drawn into solid story-arcs paired with solid character arcs... I would say I am more drawn to the characters and how they progress through the story.
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Weekly Update: 11/1/15

Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer is a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading  is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey her meme is exactly as it sounds, share what you are reading and/or what's next on the ever growing TBR.

Last Week On The Blog

Participate in Write On Review-a-thon

Book Review: In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

TBR Thursday

Month in Review

This Week On The Blog

Interview with Jessica from Writing Pearls

Book Review: The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

TBR Thursday

Spotlight on the novel Aurelia

For Review



Currently Reading


*Book Covers Linked To Goodreads
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