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On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
A true account of a multiple murder and its consequence – In Cold Blood was truly a chilling read.
This is my second book for TFGs book of the month and I enjoyed it tremendously which I wasn’t expecting. I am so not a fan of non-fiction, in fact I loathe them but because the peeps from TFG assigned it for September I went ahead and bought a copy.
In Cold Blood was a retelling of the heinous murder of the Clutter family which put Holcomb, Kansas on the map. The year was 1959 and the crime was a shocker in the quiet town of Holcomb especially since the victims were a staple in this quiet town. The story goes back and forth giving us detailed descriptions of the Clutter family and their killers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. The story was told in four parts which I might add helped me a lot to better understand the story.
Part I (The Last to See Them Alive) was a retelling of how the Clutters were before they died and how influential they are in Holcomb. This is also a chapter wherein we get to see a glimpse of their killers – Perry and Dick. I loved this part because it gave me a sense of the Clutters and of how life was in he 50’s in Kansas.
Part II (Persons Unknown) was the part I got bored the most. I don’t know why but I just got bored reading Dick and Perry’s life yet this part was important to somehow understand what went on these two guys head. This was the part that I just wanted to know the motivation of these two for killing the Clutters and how the investigation went.
Part III (Answer) was the start of the chasing of the murderers by the authority. This is also the section wherein we understand how the investigation got its break from what seems to be the perfect crime. I actually thought that it was indeed perfect – there was really no connection and it seemed like the Clutters were just unfortunate souls in being killed that night.
And lastly IV (The Corner) was the account of Dick and Perry in jail until their death in April 14, 1965.
Overall, In Cold Blood was a good retelling but there are parts of the book that I got too bored that I wanted to stop reading it. The accounts were horrifying and just by thinking about the incident, you can never really tell how a persons mind work until that crucial moment. A single thought can snap the calmest mind. The crime that both Perry and Dick committed was so senseless that I end up thinking if $50 was worth the lives of 4 innocent people. I do get the why they killed them but for a measly $50 that’s a very cheap way to die. I can’t imagine the fear and torment the town of Holcomb endured during those moments. Sadness doesn’t sum up what I felt after reading In Cold Blood. I don’t just recommend this book to non fiction lovers but to everyone who is curious about the event and murder/mystery enthusiasts as well. I need to watch the movie now.
The Solitary Bookworm and Reading Addiction Blog Tours presents Jennifer Westall, author of Love’s Providence (which I might add that I enjoyed a lot and review to follow) so let’s all give it up for Jennifer Westall!
Jennifer Westall: About nine years ago, I started reading a story my little sister was writing and posting on a website called Fictionpress. I started reading other stories, and one night I just decided to start writing the story of how my husband and I met on St. Simons Island. I had always thought it was pretty romantic, and it was a lot of fun reliving those days and dramatizing them. It was such a horribly written story! I don’t even have that story anymore. I got stuck several times and put it down for a month here and there, but I finally realized it was much more fun to write a fictional story than to try to write the true story. So I rewrote the whole thing, adding twists and playing around with it. I just fell in love with the whole process of creating this imaginary world.
JW: Zora Neale Hurston’s book Their Eyes Were Watching God has been my favorite book since I read in high school. The opening paragraph alone makes me dream of being a write than can paint pictures in readers’ minds with such beauty. Oddly, though I don’t really enjoy his stories, Stephen King was an inspiration when I picked up his book, On Writing. He gives such wonderful, simple advice that made me believe I could actually be a writer.
JW: I’d love to sit down and chat with Jodi Piccoult or Joshilyn Jackson just to talk about how they manage writing so much with children and family.
JW: I would love to be Lucy Pevensie, and I would go exploring Narnia.
JW: Too many pet peeves! Grammar mistakes bug me, especially if they’re obviously from misunderstanding and not just a typo, but I can deal with it if the story is interesting. One of my major pet peeves is lengthy exposition that disrupts the momentum of the story. know the whole concept of “showing” versus “telling” is subjective and difficult to navigate at times, but I get bored with being told about the characters rather than getting to discover them and form my own idea of who they are.
JW: I really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, as well as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
JW: It’s a story I think a lot of young women can relate to, with heroes you can fall in love with. It’s a chance to fall for a human “Edward vs. Jacob” (who aren’t as perfect as their vampire/werewolf counterparts, but I think that makes them more appealing).
I’ve started working on a trilogy based on some events in my grandmother’s life during the Great Depression. My cousin and I recently discovered some well-guarded family secrets that have been amazing. I can’t wait to share my grandmother with others through this story. I hope to have it completed by spring of next year.
Later that evening, Lily stood on the playground and squeezed the sand between her toes as a warm, moist breeze swirled strands of hair around her face. The village shops by the pier had been teeming with tourists all afternoon, but most of them had closed down hours ago. The sounds of traffic and screaming kids had faded into a gentle lapping of the ocean against the nearby rocks.
Her feet ached from walking around for the past several hours, and her head was beginning to throb as well. To make matters worse, her dad had insisted that she keep an eye on Kara and her cousin Rachel, which meant an evening full of aimlessly wandering through tourist shops and listening to shallow comparisons of one guy after another. At this point, she wanted nothing more than to go back to the beach house, put her feet up, and relax with a good book.
A few yards away, Kara and Rachel competed to see who could swing the highest. As much as they insisted on being treated like adults, it was amazing how childish they could be. She rolled her eyes and sighed, glancing down at her watch. Nearly time to go.
“Y’all about ready?” she called.
Rachel jumped out of her swing first, followed by Kara who narrowly missed landing on her rear. Rachel doubled over with laughter, and Lily couldn’t help but laugh too. Kara flushed bright red as she glanced around to see if anyone else had seen her stumble.
“Nice,” Lily said.
Kara ignored her and straightened her clothes. Rachel slid her feet into her sandals and tugged her shorts back into place, though they still left little to the imagination. She smoothed her dark hair and picked her purse up off the ground. Then suddenly she squealed like a mouse and waved Kara toward her.
“Look, those cops over there are cute!”
Lily followed her gaze to the massive live oaks that provided a canopy over a picnic area of the park. It was empty now except for two officers talking quietly at a picnic table in the lamp light, their bikes resting in a rack nearby. From several yards away they appeared similar—broad shoulders, dark hair, well-built. Nothing spectacular.
“You’re hopeless,” Lily said. “They’re way too old for you to even think about.”
Rachel shrugged. “So? Cute is just cute. Age doesn’t factor.”
Lily looked at them again. Maybe Rachel was right, but she wasn’t interested in another lame discussion about guys like they were a tasty dessert item.
“They’re all right, I guess. Not really my type.”
Kara snorted. “Oh please. I think you have to date more than one person to have a type.”
Rachel laughed and looked away from Lily’s glare.
“Well, you are the expert,” Lily said. “How many boyfriends have you had?”
Kara took a few steps closer and jutted her chin at Lily. “I know a lot more than you think. I know that hanging out with one guy since you were nine years old doesn’t make you an expert. You wouldn’t even know what to do if a great guy was interested in you.”
“Sure I would. I’d say thanks but no thanks.”
“Oh my word, Lil.Seriously. There’s something wrong with you.”
“I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t want to date right now.”
Rachel’s mouth fell open. “Really?”
“Look, I just want to enjoy my vacation. You know, relax a little, read a good book, take a walk on the beach. I don’t need drama.”
Kara shook her head. “I’m not talking about a serious relationship here. Look around. There are cute guys everywhere. Loosen up and have some fun.”
“I don’t need a guy around to have fun.”
Kara winked at Rachel. “Well, if you’re going to be hanging around us, you better get used to cute guys being around. In fact, I think we should start right now.” She nodded toward the tree where the cops were still seated. Rachel’s face lit up.
“Oh no,” Lily said. “We’re going back to the house. It’s nearly midnight.”
But they sped away before she could stop them, so she threw her hands in the air and followed. This was going to be humiliating. As she approached the officers, the girls sang hello in unison. She could just imagine what these two gentlemen must be thinking. Leaning back on their elbows in identical poses, both of the officers grinned at the girls.
Then she caught a glance from the one on the left, and his eyes traveled down her legs. A sliver of a smirk played at the corner of his lips. Maybe gentleman wasn’t the right word. Kara rattled off introductions, oblivious to the amusement on their faces.
“I’m Kara. This is my sister, Lily, and our cousin, Rachel.”
Lily offered a polite nod. There had to be a way to exit gracefully, but she couldn’t think of one. Kara and Rachel dropped onto the bench of a picnic table opposite the officers, looking entirely too eager. They were practically panting.
“I’m Steve,” the one on the right said. “It’s nice to meet you, ladies.” His smile lit up his whole face, and his eyes had a warm puppy-like expression. Lily relaxed a little. At least one of them was friendly anyway.
“You can just call him Poindexter.” The other officer’s eyes sparked with mischief, and Steve slapped him across the chest.
“I know you don’t want me to tell them what they can call you, Rambo.”
“Rambo?” Rachel asked, tilting her head.
He waved his hand to dismiss the question. “Forget it. It’s not that funny anyway.”
On closer inspection, the nickname seemed fitting given his dark waves and bulging muscles. He probably did think he was some sort of action hero. She could practically see him admiring his biceps in a mirror.
“So what is your name, Rambo?” Lily asked.
Their eyes met, and his lips tipped into a smirk.
“Walker. Alex Walker.”
Yep, definitely an action hero.
“So what are you supposed to be?” she asked. “Double-oh-six-and-a-half?” The retort slipped out before Lily could catch it.
Steve snickered and looked away from Alex’s murderous glance.
“Well, you can just call me Daddy.” He cocked an eyebrow at her, an obvious challenge, but his grin never changed.
Lily held his gaze, irritated by the way her stomach flipped. Must have been something she’d eaten.
Rachel finally broke the awkward silence. “So, um, is it usually this quiet around here?”
Steve shook his head. “Nah, it’ll pick up tomorrow, trust me. This place’ll be crawling with people and screaming kids.”
“And plenty of little boys for you girls to play with, I’m sure,” Alex added.
Rachel’s chest sprang out as she huffed. “We are not little girls, and we are not interested in little boys.”
“How old do you think we are anyway?” Kara asked.
Lily couldn’t wait for this response. Alex had wandered into dangerous waters, but he seemed oblivious. He put his fingers to his chin and assessed them.
“Hmm, let me see.”
Steve waved off the challenge. “I can’t ever tell.” He sent a knowing grin at Lily, and she couldn’t help but smile back. At least he had some sense.
“Well,” Alex said, looking first at Kara, then at Rachel. “With all the make-up, you look about twenty-one. So I’d have to say you two are about thirteen, maybe fourteen.”
Kara’s mouth dropped open and Rachel gasped. Lily could barely control her laughter.
“What?” Rachel exclaimed. “I am fifteen, almost sixteen!”
“And I am already sixteen!” Kara folded her arms across her chest.
“Whoa! Don’t get your panties in a wad.” Alex threw up his hands in surrender. “I was just giving you a hard time.”
As the girls continued to sulk, he winked at Lily. Something about him sent a shiver down her arms.
“And how about you?” he asked.
She hesitated. She shouldn’t let him bait her into comments she might regret. Arrogant or not, he was an officer of the law, a position she had always been taught to respect.
Rachel finally spoke for her. “She actually is twenty-one.”
Kara lifted a brow, a puzzled look that seemed to ask if she was okay. Lily decided to ignore it and Alex as well.
She turned and looked out over the ocean, wishing she could enjoy it alone. The ocean and sky had melted into one large black expanse, but she could hear the waves tumble into the rocks not far away.
“So, how long have you been police officers?” Kara asked.
“Seven years for me,” Steve answered.
“You’re kidding. You don’t seem that old.”
Steve laughed. “I went into the police academy right out of high school. Been doing this since I was eighteen.”
Lily glanced at Kara and caught the slight nod toward Steve. She knew she was being rude, but what did Kara expect? Flirting with a stranger wasn’t going to fill the hole in her chest. Still, she supposed she should at least be polite.
“That’s pretty young to become a cop,” Lily said. “You didn’t think about going to college?”
“Nah.” He grinned like the thought was absurd. “I never wanted to do anything but be a cop. Dad’s a cop. Mom’s a cop. Just seemed natural.”
He smiled at her again, and the warmth of it reached out to her. It wasn’t much, but it made her smile. Maybe getting to know Steve wasn’t the worst idea in the world.
Alex caught the flush in Lily’s cheeks as she smiled at Steve, and he took a quick glance at his partner. Steve was the nicest guy he’d ever met. Too nice. And he wasn’t about to let some snobby chick get the wrong idea about him. Besides, no matter how nice he was, even Steve could be tempted by a hot girl, and he had to admit this one was a looker. Her legs had caught his attention first—long, athletic—but it was her eyes that he kept coming back to. They were cool and aloof, wandering over everything in the park, except him. He could tell from the moment she walked over that she’d rather be anywhere else. Until now.
He’d have to nip the flirting before she mistook Steve’s goofy grin for something more than friendly conversation.
“So that makes you about, what, twenty-five?” Lily asked.
“Yep, I’m getting old.” Steve’s chest shook with his chuckle.
“Thankfully you finally found a good woman to take care of you in your waning years.” Alex darted his eyes over to Lily as he spoke, satisfied with the subtle fall of her smile.
Steve’s face lit up with his crooked grin, unaware of the hope he’d just crushed.
“Yeah, I got a good one alright.”
“How long is it to the wedding?” Alex threw that one in for good measure.
Steve looked up at the stars as if he expected the answer to be spelled out as a connect-the-dots puzzle.
“I guess about six weeks or so.” He looked back down at the girls and grinned. “I don’t have much to do with the planning. I’m just supposed to show up on time.”
The younger two dove into questions about the wedding, though Steve never seemed to give good enough answers. Lily hung back, of course, her eyes drifting down the beach. She crossed her arms over her chest and shifted her weight back and forth like she couldn’t wait to get out of there. The lights of the ice cream parlor across the parking lot went dark, and she looked down at her watch with visible relief.
“We should probably get going.”
The blond glanced at her watch as well. “We still have a little time left. What’s the big hurry?”
“You two are supposed to be back by midnight.” Lily pointed a look directly at the brunette with all the make-up. “Your parents would kill me if I let you stay out late, and you know it.”
“A few minutes isn’t going to hurt anything,” she whined.
He watched Lily squirm. She looked like a kid in desperate need of a bathroom break. Too damn good to hang out with public servants probably.
“Yeah, Lily,” he said. “What’s the hurry? Don’t you like us?”
“Uh, well…” she stammered. “It’s not that. I just don’t want them to get in trouble.”
“Let me guess,” he said. “You do everything you’re told and you’ve never disappointed anyone.” She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off. “You’ve never missed a single curfew in your life, have you?”
“What’s it to you?”
“Well, that must be an exciting life.”
She swung her weight to the other hip and shot bullets of contempt from her eyes.
“Just because I take my responsibilities seriously doesn’t mean I can’t have a good time.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’re the life of the party.”
Little Miss Perfect was making this way too easy. She turned and jerked her head at the other two.
They stood up and flashed adorable smiles. Then they sang their goodbye as bubbly as they had their hello. The brunette flipped her hair and winked, and he stifled a laugh. That girl was going to be trouble in another year or two.
Lily, on the other hand, was already trouble. He could feel it. Something about her still lingered after she’d disappeared, like the aftertaste of an expensive wine. It reminded him of why he hated the stuff.
Collegiate athlete Lily Brennon has always been the piece that doesn’t quite fit in the puzzle, especially in her fragmented family, and no amount of rule-following perfection seems to bring her any closer to the love and acceptance she desperately seeks. If not for Jackson Carter, her childhood best friend and the only boy she’s ever loved, she’s sure she would have run away years ago. But when Jackson loses his father and a future basketball career within months of each other, his faith is so shattered, he shuts out everyone, including Lily.
After months of heartache, Lily begins to piece together a life without Jackson, and while vacationing on a beautiful island off the Georgia coast, she begins a long-distance romance with Alex Walker, a police officer with a quick wit and a cocky grin. He revives her hope in love again, but their intense attraction and his devastating secret test Lily’s values, stretching them until they break. Through her struggles to remain true to her principles, an agonizing choice between Alex and Jackson, and a series of terrifying events that threaten all of them, Lily must endure losing everything she’s been grasping so tightly. Only then will she discover the depth of the love that already surrounds her.
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and Holly Pond, Alabama, two very different towns that I love for so many reasons. Holly Pond is my soul, the place where I go to remind myself of who I am and where I come from. It’s a quiet place that allows me to reset when I’ve fallen off track.
Birmingham is my heart, the place where I lived out my story. I go there to remember my best friend, my first love, my first job, my first heartbreak.
And then there is Saint Simons Island, the place I go to feel alive, to feel the breeze off the ocean, the salt on my tongue, the excitement of my first (and only) summer fling.
I may reside in the suburbs of Atlanta, creating memories with my sweet boys, but I call several places home.
The long wait is finally over! One of the most anticipated book releases of the year, J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, will be launched in the Philippines on September 27 at exactly 3 pm by National Book Store.
J.K. Rowling is the author of the biggest selling young adult series of all-time, Harry Potter, which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide. The Harry Potter books have also been adapted into eight blockbuster movies.
The Casual Vacancy is Rowling’s first book in five years and is her first book aimed at an adult readership. It tells the story of the little town of Pagford, which is left in shock after the death of Barry Fairbrother. Pagford, seemingly an English idyll, is a town at war. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council triggers the biggest war the town has yet seen.
Today, The Solitary Bookworm welcomes Laurel Osterkamp author of November Surprise, Campaign Promise, Starring in The Movie of my Life, Looking for Ward, and Following my Toes. Without further ado, Laurel Osterkamp everybody!
Laurel Osterkamp: Definitely! Lucy, the main character, even states the theme towards the end. “It’s our history that brought us to this point, and it’s made us who we are.” Since the whole book is about finding parallels between Lucy’s personal dramas and the country’s public dramas, I think that’s pretty fitting.
LO: I have a writing group where we share our work and give each other feedback. They always tease me about the lack of setting in my books, and when I actually describe the setting, they tease me for that too! I forget to provide details, so that’s something I really need to work on.
LO: I’ve written three full length novels: Following My Toes, Starring in the Movie of My Life, and November Surprise.
Also, two novellas: Looking for Ward and Campaign Promises I think my favorite is a tie between Starring in the Movie of My Life and November Surprise. I really pushed myself and discovered new things about my writing while working on both of them, but in different ways.
LO: That’s hard. Whoever plays Lucy has to come off as smart, pretty without realizing it, and believable from the ages of 17 to 37. Perhaps Gennifer Goodwin.
LO: I’ve been writing things for fun, like journals and short stories, for as long as I can remember. I started writing sketch comedy about 15 years ago, and my first book, Following My Toes, was written about eight years ago.
LO: The first draft took about six months, but all the revisions took well over a year. I guess all total, it was around two years.
LO: Oh, sure. There are tons. Today I’ll mention Jennifer Weiner. She’s very prolific, and I love how she helped to redefine the romantic heroine. Good in Bed was one of the first “chick lit” novels with a flawed main character, who was beautiful and strong in her own way.
LO: Probably revisions. By that time I know the characters and the story arc really well, and I can work on refining the details and making it as perfect as possible. The challenge can be a lot of fun.
LO: Awesome political love story!
LO: I have a blog written in Lucy’s voice about the current election and her marriage to Monty. It’s fun to continue their story. You can read it at http://novembersurprises.blogspot.com
This spring I was on a federal jury, and of course the whole time I was thinking about how I could use the experience for my next novel. I have some ideas, so that’s what my next book will be about. Since it’s going to be fiction, I can make jury duty much more exciting than it actually was!
Laurel Osterkam is hosting a giveaway for $30 Amazon gift card. Want to know the details?
Winner will be chosen on Oct 12th. Good luck!
Title: November Surprise
Publisher: PMI Books
Date Published: 8/2012
Purchase Links: Amazon
For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?
Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.
November Surprise is a companion piece to Campaign Promises, which is free on Amazon. They can be read in either order. Both have a liberal slant.
Monty and I have been dancing together all evening. The slow songs are the best, but we also do the Macarena and even the Chicken Dance. I can’t stop laughing the entire time I’m quacking my hands.
Jack and his new wife, Petra, have fed each other cake. Petra has thrown her bouquet, and all the toasts have been given. The night is winding down, and Monty leads me off the dance floor.
“I’m really glad neither of us had dates,” he says.
“Yeah, me too.” My heart beats just a little bit faster than normal.
“And I’m sorry about earlier. Hitting on you like that. It was clumsy. Will you forgive me?” His face is flushed and his tie is loosened. I’m sure I’ve noticed before how good looking he is, but this is the first time I’ve let myself appreciate it.
“There’s nothing to forgive.” I look around, make sure nobody is watching, and then I stand on my tip-toes and plant a kiss on his cheek. When he doesn’t flinch or pull away, I give him the barest whisper of a kiss on the lips.
It’s all the encouragement he needs.
With a conspiratorial smile, he takes my hand and leads me outside the reception hall. I follow willingly.
When we get to a dark, hidden spot, he wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me deeply. I can feel it everywhere, my entire body is tingling, my knees are weak, and I’m sure that at any moment, my heart will explode.
I don’t want him to stop. But he does.
“Where are you staying tonight?” he asks.
“I was going to drive back to my parents’ house.”
“Hmm…” he leans in and kisses me some more. I press up against him like I can’t get close enough. He tilts his head back ever so slightly, so he can talk.
“That’s a long drive. Do you want to stay with me, instead?”
“You have a hotel room?”
“It’s close to the airport,” he whispers. “I fly back to New York really early tomorrow.” Then he baby kisses my eyes, nose, and chin.
I don’t answer immediately. I’m trying to steady my breathing. “So you can make a clean get away?”
“It’s not like that.” he smiles. “And you haven’t even said yes, yet.” But he knows I’m going to. “You can’t ever tell Jack,” I say.
“He just got married, Lucy. Do you really think he’ll care?”
I rub my hands down his back and across the taut muscles in his arms. “I never had sex with him, and we dated for months. If he finds out you and I had a one night stand…”
Monty cuts me off with another kiss. “I promise I’ll never tell him,” he murmurs, between kisses.
We make out a few seconds more, but our kissing is interrupted when I’m consumed with a fit of giggles.
“What’s so funny?” Monty asks.
I shake my head. “Sorry. It just occurred to me. I’m about to do it with the homecoming king.”
Monty chuckles. “Does that turn you on?”
“Yeah,” I admit. “Kind of. Is that okay?”
He kisses my neck. I tilt my head back and sigh in pleasure.
“Are you kidding?” His lips are a mere centimeter from my skin as he mumbles, and his arms tighten around me even more. “If I had known, I would have worn my crown.”
Now we’re both laughing.
“You know this isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”
He raises his face so he’s looking me in the eye. “I know,” he says, and he smiles. Crinkles form around his green eyes, and I feel a moment of panic. There’s no way I’m casual enough to be with him for just one night.
“Let’s make it special, okay?” He reaches down and clasps my hand, and I let him lead me somewhere, again. This time, I follow him to the parking lot. Tonight, I’d follow him anywhere.
Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women’s Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.
These past two weeks I’ve been relying on scheduled posts. I don’t know what happened but I have not been actively blogging lately due to some urgent
work related problems obligations. I’ve been to occupied with tons of work on tight schedules and been juggling clients left and right, its crazy. The Solitary Bookworm isn’t really something that I full time but for fun and to relieve stress. I do hope that the upcoming weeks will be better though.
– HUNTER –
This mini schnauzer buddy of mine (3 months old) came home 3 days ago and its been
crazy tiring amazing! You know how it is when you have a new puppy and you’re house breaking them, wow that alone really takes a lot of work. He’s sweet, adorable and so playful. He likes to snuggle and sleep at odd places and I just love him to bits.
– BOOKS –
I’ve been trying to not buy books this September but whenever I go to the mall and see our bookstore, I just can’t help myself. This is where I fail miserably. Arrrgh so here’s what I got for the month of September –
So I got 11 books in the span of 2 weeks alone excluding the books I got a week before that.
See where my problem is? Gosh, when it comes to books, I just cave in.
– BOOKSHELF –
Okay so to make space for Hunters stuff, I’ve evacuated the lower shelf and maximized the 5 spaces above. I’ll just like to tell you now, I don’t know how I’m going to organize this bookshelf properly. Arrgh!
And since I forgot to take a picture of the 4th and 5th level, here’s the picture of the whole shelf in its glory.😀 So I tried to organized it by genre but since I sucked at that I tried to organized by height but I wasn’t too happy with how it looked so I organized it next by color and still left me unsatisfied. Eventually I decided to organize it by priority. 1st and 5th shelf are for future reading, 2nd and 4th shelf for urgent reading and the middle shelf is for priority.
Okay, that’s t for me this week guys. Hopefully next week will be better but no regrets so far. Watch out for the tours and giveaways scheduled for this week and have a smashing weekend. So how is your week so far?
SIDE NOTE: I haven’t posted any FGH recently since I decided that I’ll do that via my Tumblr page. Whoever has a Tumblr account, add TSBs Tumblr page! Would love to connect with ya’ll.
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
Reading Beautiful Disaster was such a whirlwind experience. My experience and emotions was synonymous of how Travis and Abby was in their relationship – hard to focus when you have that much emotion circling inside you. I think the story stayed true to the title of the book though.
Travis was so volatile. One moment he’s your knight in shining armor and on the next moment it was like flipping a switch and you have a very aggressive, angry and immature guy. Abby had the same approach – one moment she’s mature and composed then very ill tempered and bitchy. Sometimes I could not understand their relationship and it can be very irritating yet heartfelt.
Indeed their relationship was very dysfunctional as mentioned by Abby but it the reason for me wasn’t the owning part, it was I think being too dependent with each other. Travis acted like an a-hole and Abby tolerated it until she couldn’t anymore. The relationship was very destructive.
Do you know what co-dependecy is Abby? Your boyfriend is a prime example, which is creepy considering he went from having no respect for women at all to thinking he needs you to breath.
I don’t know how many of you felt in the first part all gooey, cute and mushy about these two and when they became a couple all hell broke lose too. The ending, wasn’t too believable in my opinion. I can do without that, it just doesn’t fit for me in this case. The mob and Mick, that I would love to have read more. Created more drama and friction but hey I could only hope.
Even I am becoming uncertain of how I’ll rate this book (if that is a good thing, I do not know yet) I’m torn with giving this a 2 or a 4 but most of the time it’s a 3. Let me explain, there are parts of the book that I so hate Abby and Travis and everyone around them who just tolerates their sh*t – that’s a 2 but there are moments that they are soo uber cute and darn romantic and perfect for each other – here’s your 4. 3 is just the middle ground and no matter how I contemplate on the rating, I remember Abby and Travis and it goes from 2 to 4 or the other way around again.
I’ve got to say though – I do understand that there are troubled lovers out there who makes a relationship work and my heart is with you guys but Abby and Travis’ relationship is very
(can’t even think of an appropriate adjective here) alarming but as I said there were highlights in the relationship part. I think the reason why I focus mainly on Abby and Travis rather than the whole story is because they drove the story end to finish and I also have to say that this book needs to be read with caution due to its nature. For rating purposes, lets use a 3 and I hope I got my point as to why it’s a 3 but to help you decide I’ve linked a couple of reviews below.
The Solitary Bookworm & Reading Addiction Blog Tours presents Death’s Dream Kingdom by Jessica Penot
Death’s Dream Kingdom is the story of a woman who is ordinary in every
way. She’s an average mother and wife and is happy living every day mired in the ins and outs of the mundane, until she is murdered. After her death, Cera finds herself lost in a nether land somewhere between life and death where demons, ghosts, and old gods roam the streets preying on the living. In this strange world, Cera is told that she is everything but ordinary. In death, she alone can help heal the rift between worlds and help bridge the gap between life and death. Caught somewhere between her desire to live again and the desire to find heaven, Cera fights those that would pull her into the politics of the netherworld. But the will of the Fates is stronger than Cera’s will and Cera quickly finds herself pulled into a quest that will drag her to hell and back and into the arms of an ancient demon lover. She will find that she is a child a Fate and that she alone can challenge Death himself for dominion over his kingdom.
Death’s Dream Kingdom was an exhilirating read. Death’s Dream Kingdom is a story about life today and life after death. It had entricate characters that gives more depth to the story which only makes the adventure more exciting especially with the inclusion of Greek mytholody. I have loved Greek mythology as long as I can remember and Penot’s version of it through Death’s Dream Kingdom was beautiful. I think the only think I can comment negatively about the book is that the first part has been confusing on my end but Penots use of her imagination in writing Death’s Dream Kingdom has proven to be a talent.
Check out TSBs Facebook page to have a chance to win a copy for yourself. Just fill out the form and good luck!
I am a therapist and writer who lives in Alabama with my three corgis, children, husband, and other strange creatures. My short stories have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies including CSM, Summer Gothic, Bound By Blood, and Outer Darkness. I have ghost story columns in theValley Planet and White Cat Magazine where I share my love for ghost stories that send shivers down your spine and keep you up at night. I also share my passion for all things ghostly and haunted at my blog, ghost stories and haunted places.
I am currently working on my next Haunted America Book for History Press, Haunted South Alabama. Follow me at my blog to learn about the ghost stories I am chasing and collecting for this fascinating addition to Haunted America. I’m also workng on the next book in my Circe series. The demon is awake and waiting for my new heroine in the swamps of Southern Alabama. Click Here to Follow My Blog!
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Solitary Bookworm & Reading Addiction Blog Tours presents Glimpse by Sara Daniell
Orion Draper is not your typical Dweller. She is a non-conformist with an insatiable appetite for adventure. And trouble. So it is no surprise when she finds herself eavesdropping on a Constable meeting. One word that makes no sense, “Earth”, sends Orion on a quest for answers.
What is this “Earth”? And why has it never been mentioned before? Her search is soon over, but not without a heavy price to pay. Forced to leave behind the only home she has ever known, Orion fights for the chance to return. Every corner holds a new danger, and every shadow hides a secret. No one can be trusted, and no town is permanent.
Will Orion ever return to Dandux? Or is she forever condemned to repeat this hell she now knows?
Glimpse is a story about Orion and her life as a Dweller in the Sphere, speficially Dandux. Orinio is tagged as a troubled teen according to the Spheres code and that doesn’t suit well with Orion. She maybe a little different but troublemaker she is not. Together with her friend Sage she snoops around the perimeter of Dandux after eavesdropping at a secret meeting and that night turned her and Sages life around.
Orion is a bull headed girl who doesn’t take sh*t from anybody as long as she does what she think is right. Someone who will do anything to prove her point eventhough death can be a possibility. Sage is a very faithful friend. Very colorful character, street smart and devoted to her friend. Together they try to fight hunters to survive inevitable death. They meet Plath, a lead hunter who seems to be on their side after an encounter where Plath left them and helped them live but is Plath one of the good guy or bad guy?
The world building was phenomenal, I couldn’t put it down. The pacing was fast and I finished this book in one sitting. The story felt like dystopian-ish (a genre that I don’t usually read) but it worked well for me. The end of the story was intriguing so I can’t wait to read on what will happen to Orion in the next book. An awesome book to start what seems like a great series. For only $.99 this is definitely recommended and worth it.
It’s that time again to win one awesome book so head over at TSBs Facebook Page, fill out the form and good luck on winning!🙂
Sara Daniell is a 27 year old from a small town in Arkansas. She is married to her best friend, has two amazing daughters, and is a full time college student working towards her Masters in Special Education. When not busy with working, doing homework, and being a mom, she loves to read and write.
Sara Daniell is the author of The Holly Nather Trilogy & The Dwellers series.
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is YOUR day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ~ Dr. Seuss
The Solitary Bookworm & BB Book Tours presents Guardian of the Moon Pendant by Laura J. Williams
The MacAlpin women are of a fierce clan, born from a rare bloodline that harbors a dark and powerful secret – a mystical heirloom called the Moon Pendant. It is the key to controlling the MääGord standing stones, a magical Portal into the Otherworld, the realm of the Fae.
Anabel and Izzy’s MacAlpin are two sisters, polar opposites, living separate lives.
Anabel’s life is going precisely according to her plan, a ring on her finger from her steady beau, Edgar, and medical school in the fall.
Izzy’s life is filled with scars and wounds from her past. Dubbed the “spare child” by her family and treated poorly, she rebelled, and now lives life by her own rules.
These two sisters’s worlds are about to explode when one of them must go to Scotland and fulfill her duty as the Guardian of the Moon Pendant, by recharging this magical heirloom with four elementals, air, earth, water, and fire, and then finally close the Portal.
There’s only one problem…
The Baobhan Sith – a vampiric faery who lures men in with her hypnotic voice, feeding on their blood or transforming them into Màrmann, her zombie-like warriors who do her bidding – desires the Moon Pendant to take control over the Portal, opening a gateway into the realm of man, helping her to seek revenge on the MacAlpin clan, and to quench her eternal thirst for human blood.
Anabel finds herself torn between a sinfully handsome Scottish warrior, Blane and her fiancée, Edgar. Izzy finds herself, angered by her sister’s lack of faith in her.
Both sisters are forced to help one another, but may end up killing each other in the end.
Will these two sisters put aside their differences before the final task to charge the Moon Pendant or will the Baobhan Sith, the vampiric faery, be successful and open the Portal into the Otherworld?
Guardian of the Moon Pendant is my first highland/Scottish book, and it was incredible. It was a story with amazing characters, strong story line and thrilling action screens. Although 30% of my journey with Williams’ book was a confusing, that didn’t stop me in enjoying Guardian of the Moon Pendant.
Characters. Main characters Izzy and Anabel are a sisters and they don’t get along. Though most of the time they quarrel and whine a lot (which makes them somewhat childish to some point) about each other and almost anything, the characters for me felt genuine – capturing sibling rivalry to the dot. I myself quarrel with my younger sister a lot and we fight with almost anything but the love is there – which also reflects with the MacAlpin sisters. They are like north and south and it seems like there’s no way to find the middle ground with the two but in the end, everything worked out. Blane on the other hand I was not feeling so much love. I think part of it is because as I stated this is my first highlander story so I may not be feeling the appeal compared to some readers but character wise he’s okay. Anabel and Blane’s attraction is one of my “huh” moments. I didn’t feel it. For me the story could have done without it and still get an amazing story but it’s there so yeah.
POV. Guardian of the Moon Pendant goes back and forth between Izzy and Anabel and I don’t have any issues with dual or multiple POV as long as the story flowed flawlessly, and in Guardian of the Moon Pendant it did. Dual POV is a good way of knowing what the other character is feeling and thinking making a story more in-depth in my opinion and I love that about this book.
Story. The story started out with the MacAlpin family (Izzy, Anabel and their mother + Edgar) and that gave me a little glimpse about the characters but it was a bit rushed going to the main plot itself which confused me a little bit. It was like Anabel was designated guardian and all the information was dumped rather than being explained – so that’s where my main issue lies. The fae element in the story added spunk coupled with Izzy’s sarcastic dialogues was what really made me enjoy the story in spite my issues.
Overall. I did enjoy reading Guardian of the Moon Pendant. The plot and story line was intriguing and promising but the characters needed more details for me. The ending was okay as well and no loose ends so that was double okay for me. I think I’ll enjoy this better if I had read highlander/Scottish stories in the past more so maybe I’ll re-read this in the future, we’ll see. And I have to add this: that cover is so captivating. Lovely, lovely cover.
Laura J. Williams is a hopeless and lost cause, tucked away in her dark sleeping chamber, in her gloomy abyss of a writing cave, separated from the realm of man, chomping on chicken legs and quenching her thirst with large glasses of red wine. She is consoled daily by her rescued cat, baby-kitty, who only gives her love when she wants to.
Aye, it is a sad life she lives…
But, God danced the day Laura was born, the angels rejoiced, and the demons trembled.
She’s just another day-dreamer with a story to tell, doing her best to kick arse. She hides behind a shroud of anonymity, creating a world of lost mythical creatures, breathing life into them, and praying that someone will take pleasure in her work.
She is the warrior of the heroine, the sorceress of words, yielder of magic, teller of dark secrets, and the jester of tantalizing tales.