Whimsical Wednesday

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Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music.

~ George Carlin ~

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Monday Mishmash

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Hi everyone. I want to apologize for being MIA on so many of your blogs. I haven’t been feeling well and as a result have been neglecting my blogging duties. I hope you’ll bear with me while I get myself sorted out.

There’s been a few news stories that have been weighing on my mind, so I thought I’d touch upon each of them briefly. First, there’s Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Manghut which have wrecked devastation on the southeast coast of the U.S. and the Philippines. I just wanted to say my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who’s been affected.

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Mr. Trump’s depraved indifference regarding the almost 3,000 Americans who died due to Hurricane Maria after she hit Puerto Rico last year has left me speechless, so I’m going to let my favorite gif to the talking.

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor has come out with a credible sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. As of right now Judiciary Committee is set to vote on his nomination on Thursday. I can’t say this strongly enough, they MUST postpone this. The FBI needs to investigate this and both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh deserve to have the opportunity to address these accusations in front of the committee. This position is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Judge Kavanaugh, if approved, will be making decisions regarding all sorts of women’s issues. I for one would like to know where his moral compass is especially since he’s already committed perjury.

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And finally, the list of things minorities can’t do in this country without being reported to the police or physically accosted has hit a pinnacle as twenty-six year-old Botham Shem Jean was shot and killed in his own apartment by off duty police officer Amber Guyger, who claims she mistook his apartment for hers and thought he was an intruder. There are several things that don’t add up, and not helping is the Dallas Police Department obtaining a search warrant for the victim’s apartment with the sole purpose of trying to find something incriminating. The worst they found was a small amount of marijuana and a grinder for it. Jean was a legal immigrant from St. Lucia and was a college graduate and worked for the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Texas. He was also a loving son and brother with a powerful singing voice who enjoyed helping others. What happened needs to be investigated fully and without bias. I personally believe the Dallas Police should be kept as far away as possible from the investigation.

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If you’ve made it through this hodge-podge of things I needed to get off my chest, thank you for reading. And I’d like to thank you again for sticking with me. I promise to do my best to catch up with all of you as soon as I get a lobotomy, um, I mean as soon as I feel better.

The Dark Days Blog Tour ~ Hosted By Penguin Young Readers

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Penguin and Viking have put this re-read campaign together to get everyone ready for the third book, The Dark Days Deceit which is set for release November 20th, 2018. I’m especially excited to be part of this campaign and blog tour for the next three months because I never got a chance to read the first two books: The Dark Days Club and The Dark Days Pact. They’ve been on my tbr, but somehow I just never found the time. Well, after finishing the first book, I’m now figuratively hitting myself over the head for waiting so long. Without further ado, I present:

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Release Date: Available Now

472 Pages

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Synopsis: London, April 1812. 

On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears—and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

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One thing I always look for in a historical fiction book is whether it actually makes me feel like I’m in that time period. Dark Days Club delivers on this. Alison Goodman has obviously done her research and makes it apparent that the Regency era wasn’t all pretty dresses and balls. There are some “ew” moments like what ladies had to put in their hair to keep their elaborate hair styles, and even what some had to do while waiting the many hours when being presented to the Queen and needed to go to the bathroom. Don’t worry. I won’t share any details with you! Suffice it to say I’m quite happy now to have born in the modern day era.

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What I’ve loved about Goodman’s previous books is that she always brings something new and unique to the YA fantasy genre, and she does so with this book as well. She takes the beautiful dresses and balls, and shadows and gritty streets of 19th century London and adds her own creative touch. The world building is phenomenal and the paranormal elements are blended in perfectly. The exquisite detailing helps further bring this story to life. 

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Strong-willed Lady Helen Wrexhall is not only dealing with the high expectations of the Ton, but also those of her well-meaning aunt and disagreeable uncle, who have raised her and her older brother Andrew after their parents mysteriously perished when they were young. Adding to this are the gossip and rumors which say that her mother was a traitor. She tries to fit in, but she knows there’s something different that sets her apart. And once she learns what that something is, she has to chose between the role in Society she’s been bred for, and the more exciting but dangerous world of Lord Carlston and the Dark Days Club.

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When the dark, brooding Lord Carlston enters the picture, things begin to make more sense, and Helen is introduced to a whole new world where her unusual abilities are desperately needed. Their relationship doesn’t quite evolve into romance, but there’s definitely chemistry between them, and I can’t wait to see how their relationship evolves.

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The action doesn’t actually begin until you’re about 150 pages in, and I confess I was getting a little impatient because I wanted to know what was going on, but that’s not to say the preceding pages are boring, especially if you love Regency novels. The ending perfectly sets things up for the second book which I’m now quite eager to dive into.

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Overall, The Dark Days Club is a delightful beginning to this series and I highly recommend it for older teens and adults who like historical fiction mixed with paranormal elements. It’s an engrossing and enjoyable read that has left me wanting more! 

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About the author:

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Alison Goodman writes in a variety of genres, ranging from the genre-bending DARK DAYS CLUB titles to the EON/EONA fantasy duology, to the YA science fiction thriller SINGING THE DOGSTAR BLUES. She was a D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellow at Melbourne University, holds a master of arts degree and mentors emerging writers. A long-time lover of the Regency period, she has a treasure trove of material to be viewed at https://www.pinterest.com/alisongoodman/ She is online at http://www.darkdaysclub.com and on Twitter at https://mobile.twitter.com/AlisonGoodman

The Dark Day Club can be found at:

 

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dark-days-club-alison-goodman/1121865109?ean=9780670785476&st

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15993203-the-dark-days-club

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Tour Schedule:

WEEK ONE

September 10 –  Eater of Books ~ https://eaterofbooks.blogspot.com – Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Read The Dark Days Club

September 11 – @darkfaerietales ~ https://www.instagram.com/darkfaerietales_/ – Creative Instagram Picture

September 12 –  Darque Dreamer Reads ~ https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com – Review with gifs & Moodboard

September 13 – My Friends are Fiction ~ https://www.instagram.com/myfriendsarefiction/ -Review & Creative Instagram Picture 

September 14 – By Hook Or By Book ~ https://cadburypom.wordpress.com – Review with gifs

WEEK TWO

October 8 – Eater of Books ~ https://eaterofbooks.blogspot.com – Moodboard

October 9 – @darkfaerietales ~ https://www.instagram.com/darkfaerietales_/ – Creative Instagram Picture

October 10 – Dark Dreamer Reads – https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com – Review with gifs & Moodboard 

October 11 – My Friends Are Fiction ~ https://www.instagram.com/myfriendsarefiction/ – Review & Creative Instagram Picture

October 12 – By Hook Or By Book ~ https://cadburypom.wordpress.com – Review & gifs

Week Three 

November 12 – Eater of Books ~ https://eaterofbooks.blogspot.com – Favorite Quotes

November 13 – @darkfaerietales ~ https://www.instagram.com/darkfaerietales_/ – Creative Instagram Picture

November 14 – Dark Dreamer Reads ~ https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com – Review with gifs & Moodboard 

November 15 – My Friends Are Fiction ~ https://www.instagram.com/myfriendsarefiction/ – Review & Creative Instagram Picture 

November 16 – By Hook Or By Book ~https://cadburypom.wordpress.com – Review & gifs

Not A Success … A Damn Disaster!

As the U.S. prepares itself for the monster known as Florence, Mr. Trump is still in denial over his epic failure to help Puerto Rico last year. And now this morning he’s gone further, tweeting that almost 3,000 Americans didn’t die in the aftermath of Maria and that the numbers have been inflated by Democrats. I don’t even know what to say anymore. Thank you Jill for this post putting everything together.

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On Tuesday, Donald Trump made the following statement:

“The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the Governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous. I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success. If you ask the governor, he’ll tell you what a great job.”

Not content with that, on Wednesday morning at 5:51 a.m., he tweeted …

“We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!”

Undoubtedly, some fell for his braggadocio, but for most of us, it was a jaw-dropping moment, knowing as we do that our response in Puerto Rico was anything but ‘great’.  A year later, Puerto Rico still…

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The Exes’ Revenge, by Jo Jakeman ~ 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing Group for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

352 Pages

Synopsis: A wickedly dark debut thriller about three women who’ve all been involved with the same man and realize the one thing they all have in common is that they all want revenge against him…

Divorces are often messy, and Imogen’s is no exception. Phillip Rochester is controlling, abusive, and determined to make things as difficult as possible. When he shows up without warning demanding that Imogen move out of their house by the end of the month or he’ll sue for sole custody of their young son, Imogen is ready to snap. 

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable—something that puts her in control for the first time in years. She’s desperate to protect her son, and to claim authority over her own life.

But she wasn’t expecting both Phillip’s ex-wife and his new girlfriend to get tangled up in her plans. These three very different women—and unlikely allies—reluctantly team up to take revenge against a man who’s wronged them all.

The Exes’ Revenge is a book that I really shouldn’t have liked as much as I did. It’s insanely over-the-top, with completely ridiculous and unbelievable plot twists, and characters that make truly horrendous decisions, yet despite all this it somehow worked and I don’t even know why. I do want to include a warning though for any reader who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, both physical and psychological. There are quite a few scenes that could serve as triggers so this might not be the right book for you.

Imogen is the despicable Phillip’s soon to be ex-wife. I liked her a lot and her devotion to her son Alistair. I found her very empathetic, so much so, that when it’s her appalling decisions and actions that set everything into motion, I was still rooting for her much to my shock. Ruby is Phillip’s first wife and she doesn’t really make a personal appearance until about halfway through the book. Out of the three women, she was the one who annoyed me the most with her persistent and sickening devotion to Phillip. But something changes and I did wind up liking her near the end. Naomi is Phillip’s current girlfriend and initially comes across as selfish and callous. There’s a lot more to her though and after Imogen, she wound up being my favorite character. Which brings us to Phillip who is one of the most despicable characters I’ve come across in a very long time. I’m not usually a violent person, but I wanted him to die slowly and painfully.

The story, as I said is completely bonkers and I kept shaking my head in disbelief, yet I couldn’t tear myself away. There are some truly brutal scenes that made me wince, but there’s also some unexpected black humor which had me laughing a few times. The ending is perfect and ties everything up in a nice neat bow.

Overall I think the Exes’ Revenge is a highly entertaining thriller that captured my attention from the very first page. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys thriller and would just advise that before you jump in, leave any expectations of believability at the door and hang on for a roller coaster of a ride!

 

 

 

September 11th ~ Seventeen Years Later

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I really hate this day. It’s been 17 years since terrorists gave this country a brutal and lasting reminder that America is not invulnerable, yet it feels like yesterday. Every single moment of that horrific day stands out with crystal clarity. So many lives lost, and not just Americans but scores of others from across the globe. Here’s the unfortunate top 10. 

1. United States ~ 2,605

2. United Kingdom ~ 67

3. Dominican Republic ~ 47

4. India ~ 41

5. South Korea ~ 28

6. Canada ~ 24

7. Japan ~ 24

8. Columbia ~ 18

9. Jamaica ~ 16

10. Philippines ~ 16

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All together there were 2,977 victims including 372 foreign nationals from 61 countries. It rather boggles the mind doesn’t it? I usually try to find something inspirational to mark this day, but today I really struggled to find something that reached deep inside me. But then I stumbled across “I Heard an Owl”, written and sung by Carrie Newcomer which I think is perfect.

I also found this meaningful quote from Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl. 

If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn life is short and there is no time for hate.

Words to live by my friends. Words to live by.

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The World Trade Center Complex Today/photo by Curbed NY

Creature, by Hunter Shea ~ 5.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: September 6th, 2018

256 Pages

Synopsis: The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal. But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead. Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.

I’ve read quite a few books by Hunter Shea and I know I can always rely on his stories to be fun, totally insane horror mixed with subtly sly humor. Creature is completely different, in that it’s more character driven, and it’s one that will reach many readers at a deeply personal level.

For fans of his books, I have to caution the “monster” doesn’t really rear its head until the last third of the book. There’s obviously something going on as poor Kate and Andrew try to enjoy their getaway, but the usual blood and gore doesn’t come into play until the latter part of the book. Instead, the main focus is on Kate and her battles against several autoimmune disorders including Lupus and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that have impacted her life in some truly horrible ways. The author writes Kate with such emotion I knew even before reading the afterward, that he must know someone who suffer from these debilitating illnesses. I have to be honest and say this isn’t the easiest read, especially if you struggle with chronic pain and illness. While Kate is far sicker than I am, I connected with her completely and there were several scenes where I was reduced to tears. Andrew is Kate’s soulmate in every sense of the word. He tries so hard to help his wife and his worry, frustration, and love are palpable. Their relationship in the face of such hardship is the backbone of this story.

The ending is not happily-ever-after, but then Hunter Shea’s books rarely are. This one was especially difficult for me though because I loved the characters so much and became personally invested in them. In my opinion, Creature is Hunter Shea’s best novel to date and that’s really saying something. If you choose to pick this up, make sure to read the afterward as it’ll make you understand how and why this story came about. 

Not Her Daughter, by Rea Frey ~ 5.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now 

352 Pages

Synopsis: Emma Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes, brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker, Sucsessful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the grey-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal. When a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her—far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure whether she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now Emma is gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakable bond. But what about Emma’s real mother, back home?

Not Her Daughter asks that age old questions: is doing the wrong thing ever right? It’s also not a typical missing person storyline. It’s thought-provoking and will make you question your own moral compass. The story is told from the perspectives of both Sarah and Amy, so you get a real sense of who these women are. And what makes it even more interesting is that both women had childhood issues with their mothers and this is affects how they interact with Emma. It’s a suspenseful tale that will constantly have you questioning not only the actions of the characters, but also your own if you were in a similar situation. Not Her Daughter is a spectacular debut by Rea Frey and I can’t recommend it highly enough.