Death: A Life by George Pendle

 

3845819Death, have you ever thought about him, not actual physical death but the spectre called Death. How did he come about, when did he find his calling or his thoughts a feelings? Well if you ever did then this book is for you.

Death calls on George Pendle to write his life story, to clear up any misunderstandings and to show how he almost became ‘human’. The story starts in Hell. Sin, Death’s mother and Satan, his father, gave him the usual demonic upbringing of fire, torture, abuse and overall hatred, all of which he enjoyed. He guarded the Gates of Hell with his mother for a while until dad decided to take his wife and son to the new planet of Earth. Creation had just begun and Satan and his wife decided to cause a bit of a stir while Death wandered around trying to find his purpose in life. He hung out in the Garden of Eden talking to the trees and other new life there, stumbled onto the cave where Adam and Eve were living when God called down to earth to tell them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, but as the name tags of all the trees were mixed up it took some finding to get to the tree. Death talked to God and told him he had a purpose but didn’t know what it was, God said something would come up and it did in the form of a unicorn. That unicorn was Death’s first victim. Death doesn’t cause death, he just gathers the souls to move them on.

We see the whole of history from the stories of the Battle of Heaven right through to modern times through the eyes of Death, how he goes from botched attempts to collect souls to gathering them on mass scales. He talks to the souls, finds out more about them before he sends them to the darkness, but things start to change and Death gets tired of death and wants to live, to have a life and to do all the things he can’t do. He suffers a breakdown after joining forces with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he hates the destruction of all the death and embraces life…. Naturally he is put into rehab to overcome his happiness.

This is one funny story! I rather enjoy satirical books about religion and this one is no exception.   I know that a lot of people don’t like books that poke fun at religion thinking it as sacrilege but I take them as they are meant to be, a bit of fun and a laugh.

 

4/5 stars

Crash

 

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Book Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

18693716 Jess is essentially a single mother of her daughter Tanzie, 8, and stepson Nicky, a teenager, and the whole family is extremely own on their luck. Jess can barely make ends meet working two jobs, Nicky is plagued by constant bullies and Tanzie is a genius at Math but is different and picked on as well. The quirky family is just trying to get by when Jess tries to take advantage of a huge opportunity for Tanzie that could open up doors for her future.

Ed Nichols is the complete opposite and has a huge fortune from his software company. However, he made a large mistake and may be in trouble for inside trading. He can’t go into the office, see his work friends and he is too embarrassed to see his family.

Even just re-reading the above I’m amazed that the author was able to make this story come together in a way that made sense. But not only did it make sense this book was so touching and funny yet raw that it made me cry a few times. This isn’t really a romance per se as much as a contemporary fiction but there were parts that struck a chord with me and I think it would with most readers as well.

All of their lives become intertwined in a completely crazy, mishap kind of way that doesn’t seem crazy or mishap at all. Instead, it reads as a glimpse into a portion of their lives that happen to be pretty awful at the moment.

What I found so great about this book was the humor. The humor is kind of dark at times since everyone is pretty down on their luck but Tanzie and Nicky in particular were hilarious. Tanzie looks on the bright side at every opportunity even though she has a pretty crappy life right now. Their dog provides the greatest comic relief for me but I’m kind of partial to animals in books.

The author’s writing is really wonderful in the characters she creates leave an impact. I’ve read a few books by her now and while the books are vastly different in their plot, tone and characters, the characters are very memorable and stick with you. I can’t wait to read more from her.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Melinda

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Book Review: Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

bookOkay, so there are many, many, many reasons why you should own this book. But in all honesty, the only real reason is the illustrations. I mean, look at that penguin! Look at it!!! How freaking cute is that thing?! And they’re floating around in an umbrella! AN UMBRELLA!!!

I first encountered this book in a cute little bookstore in our mall, in Brazil. Needless to say, the whole book was in Portuguese. But I didn’t care, the cover had me hooked. So I flipped through the pages, absolutely mesmerized by the illustrations. I wanted the book right then and there, but decided against it because of my inability to read it. Luckily for me though, my sister decided to send me a copy in English! Best. Day Ever.

What would you do if you opened your door one day and found a sad looking penguin? Well that’s where our story begins. The boy assumes the penguin must be lost and tries to find out where the penguin belongs. He asked around, but no one seemed to be missing a penguin. Then he discovers the penguin’s home is at the South Pole. So together they sail off in a rowboat to the South Pole. They spend many days and nights on the ocean, bonding over the stories the boy tells.

When they finally reach the South Pole and drop off the penguin, he still seems sad for some reason. I wonder what could be wrong. Does the story end there? Guess you have to read it for yourself!

Short review. Deal with it. It’s an adorable kids book.

Some birds are like that.

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Noble Metals by L.A. Witt

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Noble Metals! Thank you to Happiness is a Book for hosting me.

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Noble Metals) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on July 19th, and winners will be announced on July 20th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

*****
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website , and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

NOBLE METALS Blurb:
Ever since Robert Belton gambled away the money to stake his claim in the Klondike gold fields, he’s been stranded in Seattle working as a prostitute. When an attractive customer needs help hauling provisions to the frozen north, Robert eagerly volunteers.
Dr. John Fauth is only searching for one thing, and it isn’t gold. He needs platinum for the prototypes of his revolutionary inventions, and if he doesn’t find it in the Klondike, his university career—and his research—is over.
Getting to the Klondike is a grueling, dangerous journey, and just hours after leaving Seattle, John and Robert find themselves in over their heads. John is carrying an invaluable device that his competitors will do anything to get their hands on. And as the cold nights and mutual desire pull John and Robert closer together, they discover that they have much more to lose than gold or platinum.
(Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)
Noble Metals is available July 7th from Riptide Publishing. Precious Metals, a novel set in the same steampunk/Klondike Gold Rush world, comes out this fall.

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Book Review: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett

18722882 I have been such a bad reviewer lately and I don’t even have the fun excuse of the World Cup as an excuse like Eddie does! Just work and life getting in the way of doing the actual reviewing. However, I have been reading so I’m jumping back in.

I love fairy tales and getting a retelling of Cinderella is always exciting to me. In this version we follow Jane and her sister’s noble family who is basically struggling to make it. Jane is responsible for almost all of the household chores and feels like she is what is keeping the house from falling down around them. Then suddenly their mother comes home married to a rich man and toting his spoiled daughter, Ella, to the house.

Ella’s been spoiled by her father and has no idea how to do any work which rub sisters Jane and Maude the wrong way. At the same time the sisters have always been criticized for their lack of polish and looked down on by their noble peers. So without fail the three girls do not get along which causes much chaos in the newly joined households. When Ella’s father dies suddenly things only get worse all around and Jane doesn’t know how they will survive it all, especially when it appears he wasn’t exactly telling the truth.

What I liked the most about this book was the way the author painted each character. In fairy tales most characters are black and white and in this the author did a great job of making them not nearly so straight forward. Even Ella who could easily have one very clear and spoiled side has multiple facets and throughout this book we get to see many of them. Jane is definitely my favorite character in this retelling though. She was a sensible and clear headed YA character and those are few and far between.

There is also a kind of side story that happens a little later in the book with the forest people who have been displaced from their homes. This part of the story did have a direct tie in to Jane’s story and brought some romance elements to the story. It just didn’t jive with the rest of the pieces of the book as well to me. But overall this was a good retelling with the characters shining as the best part.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

3.5 Stars

~Melinda

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Then Came You by Jill Shalvis

Blurb:
Veterinary intern Emily can’t believe she wound up in the small town of Sunshine, Idaho, instead of the Los Angeles clinic she had always imagined. Now she has to put her plans to move to L.A. on hold for a whole year while she fulfills the obligation of her vet school scholarship.

Then Wyatt, her gorgeous one-night stand from a Reno vet conference, introduces himself as her new boss. And Emily is just as drawn to his seductive looks and quiet strength as she was on that very steamy night. She soon learns that Wyatt isn’t just a laid-back doctor, but a delicious alpha male tempting her away from her carefully laid-out plans…

Excerpt:
Emily sat on a fallen log and leaned back. When she was little, she’d loved to try to star watch. In LA, this was tricky because of all the city lights, not to mention smog. Doing it here, in the land of the big sky, was a whole new ball game. “I’m not lonely,” she said to the horse, who snorted again and swished his tail.

“Good. Cuz you’re not alone.”

Two long legs came into her peripheral. Wyatt crouched at her side and looked into her face. “How are you?”

“Fine,” she said.

Nodding, he sat on the log at her side and leaned back, presumably to look at whatever she was looking at. “Pretty night.”

His hands were behind him, his shoulder and a part of his chest brushing her arm and shoulder. Actually it was more like he was encircling her within his arm span, which was considerable. It was a guy move, an alpha guy move, and it made her feel … protected.

She was getting far too used to that, she thought with a sigh. “Where is everyone?”

“Gone,” he said, and there was an odd quality to his voice that had her taking a second look at him. He didn’t take his gaze off the sky so she got him in profile, the tousled hair, the fine lines crinkling the corners of his eyes from long days out in the sun, the square, scruffy jaw. A broad shoulder built to take on the weight of the world.

He’d been working his ass off, here at Belle Haven, helping Dell take up the slack for the out-of-town Jade, and then going home and helping his sisters with the monstrous house they were fixing up. He did so much for everyone, and she found herself wanting to do something for him. Make him smile. Make him relax. Make him forget, even for a few minutes… She nudged him with her shoulder.

He nudged her back and turned to look at her then, his eyes dark and unfathomable behind his glasses.

Chickening out, she turned her head this time, and stared up at the sky as he had been only a few seconds before.

“Emily.”

When she didn’t tear her gaze off the stars, he leaned in and nipped her ear.

Sucking in a breath, she looked at him again. His was still dark, but there were things swirling in those dark depths now. Need. Heat.

Affection.

He stole her breath.

“Let the record state,” she said, reaching out to snatch off his glasses, “that I don’t always make the first move.”

He blinked in momentary confusion, and probably also because he could no longer see. He opened his mouth to say something, but she sank her fingers into his hair and kissed him, hard and long and deep.

“Emily,” he said when they broke for air, his voice rough and husky.

She climbed into his lap and then pushed him backwards off the log so that he fell to his back in the wild grass with her straddling him.

Laughing, he slid his hands beneath her top and up her back, drawing out a delicious shiver from her. Then his hands slid slowly down her spine, and into the backs of her jeans. “Let the record also state,” he said in a delicious growl. “Who made the rest of the moves.”
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Biography:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Follow Jill on Social Media:
Website: http://www.jillshalvis.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jillshalvis
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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22370.Jill_Shalvis

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Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

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Saint Michaels Academy is a hotbed of hazing and brutality. 80 years of tradition dictate that the seniors haze the freshmen. It schools degenerates and troubled teens who no one else can handle. It’s a run down building that is falling to pieces as we first see in the very start of the book when an upperclassman goes berserk on Open House Day and is found running along the rooftops pushing crumbling statues of saints onto the crowd below. Three boys touring the school that day get their first glimpse of what is to come.

Three freshmen start the next year, Peter Davidek, Noah Stein and Lorelei. They must navigate the halls while also dodging the bullies and harassment that all freshmen get in their first year. Can they pull together as a team to hit back at the bullies or fall prey to them? It’s hard to tell who are the worse of the bullies, the students or the teachers who can be just as bad. It’s hard to fight when you are surrounded and have nowhere to turn. Can they make it to the end of the year Picnic when all the freshmen have to act out whatever “their” senior tells them to, it’s the end of the year humiliation that is traditional and St Michaels is all about tradition.

Everybody seems to be hiding a secret, something that, if it got out, could be used to hurt and torment him or her for the year to come. From the priest who has a rather large secret of his own, down to the lowest freshman, everybody has something to hide. Each is fighting either physical or mental abuse back home as well as in school. There is only one rule You can’t hurt anyone who can hurt you back. If you thought your high school years were tough, you haven’t seen anything like this!

I found this book gripping but hard to read as well. I understand this is a book about bullying and what harm it can cause but I found it overwhelming in the brutality of it and how anarchic the students were, the teachers who joined in the bullying and the teachers who stood by and did nothing to stop it. The whole school was in on the act to make the freshmen lives a living hell. I found that I would have wanted to kill myself if I was going to this school. Only one or two people bullied me in school but and it stopped when I stood up and fought back but what happens in this book is a bit much and a stretch of the imagination for cruelty on such a large and all encompassing scale.

This is a topical book at the moment but again I think the overall scale of it in the book is a bit much and over the top. I was going to give this book 3 stars but I will stretch to 3 and a half.

ARC provided by St Martins Press/Netgalley

3 ½ stars

Crash

 

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