New Year reading resolution.

I was never any good at New Year resolutions. My diet attempts failed miserably within a few days and never mind getting into shape. The only shape I resemble is  round in my belly. I know, I should take better care of myself now that an unmentionable milestone birthday isn’t that far off but I will hold my hands up and admit I lack willpower.

I will try to make a resolution that I can stick to, or at least will have more success with, and that is a reading resolution.

While I have a vast  amount of unread books glaring at me from my Kindle,  I have an incredible urge to reread some old favorites and some series. I feel guilty putting new books on the back burner to visit some old friends that I haven’t read in 10 or more years. I also have the first 7 books of the Outlander series I bought a few years ago in a bundle on sale that has been languishing on my kindle unread.  I also have had The Tale of Genji on my shelf, as well as on my kindle, for 10 years now and have still not read it.  It’s daunting at just under 1300 pages and a character list that is about 5 pages long.  I keep telling myself this year will be the year I finally get to it….. let’s hope that 2017 is the year it gets read!

I also feel a twinge of guilt when reading older books and review them for this blog. I know a lot of people read book blogs to get reviews on the latest books. So this will be something else I will try to deal with in 2017. That isn’t to say I won’t be reviewing new books, I will, but some old ones might be making an appearance here. Who knows, you might discover some older books that you never heard of before.  Fair warning, I loved fantasy and sci-fi books growing up so those will be popping up on here.

Reading should be a joy, something to treasure, and so I want to rediscover the joy of some older books this year. I hope you come along for the discovery with me.

Wishing all of you a very happy New Year!

Crash

 

 

 

 

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The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

imageThe Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

 

I bought this book on Christmas Day figuring I would read it sometime in the new year. But with her death yesterday I moved it up my pile.  I bought it knowing it would have a bit about her affair with Harrison Ford but also hoping that it would have more about her time on the set of Star Wars but it wasn’t as much as I thought it would be.

While she does admit to the affair, it is written in a way that gives no details to the actual act of it and is quite respectful in that way.  In the days of some celebrities going into very intimate details about things that shouldn’t be detailed, it was refreshing to read that it happened without all the bits that can be filled in with your own imagination.  I have to admit that she seemed to have really lost herself in him for the three months they spent together.  You get her point of view, not his.

The first third of the book was about her growing up and her acting as a back up singer for her mother and her first role in Shampoo.  She also talks about her casting for the role of Leia and how it came about.  The second third of the book was from her diaries at the time of making Star Wars, mostly about her feelings about herself, her inadequacies and her feeling for Harrison.  There are poems, again you surmise is about Harrison.  The last third of the book is the sudden fame and everything it entails along with conventions and the people she meets.

There are parts, especially the last third of the book where your brain is scrambled from trying to keep up with her train of thought, it’s like looking into the brain of an ADD sufferer mixed with someone on speed.  It gets a bit confusing.  I did find myself relating to some of the middle third of the book when she writes about her isolation and worthlessness, how messed up her mind is and how she worries about what people think of her.  I feel like that myself at times to be honest.

She did write three times about envisioning things happening after her death, like this quote.

” The hairstyle that was chosen would impact how everyone would envision me for the rest of my life. (And probably beyond– it’s hard to imagine any TV obituary not using a photo of that cute little round-faced girl with goofy buns on either side of her inexperienced head.)”  Well she was right, sadly.  

While it was a good read, it was at times hard to follow as she just wrote what popped into her head without much filtering.  To be honest the inside of her head reminds me of mine, scattered and can’t follow one train of though for any length of time.  It’s sad to see that she has passed away, she was a part of my childhood.  She was the princess that empowered girls of my age in a way, she was young, strong minded and helped save the day and as little girls she was the first one to do that for my generation, well for me anyway.  Thank you Carrie and rest in peace.

3/5 stars

Crash

 

Buy:Amazon

Buy:Amazon UK

Top 15 books of 2016

I have read so many amazing books this year and have decided to post my top fifteen  of the year. It’s so hard to just pick fifteen as my personal list of my top favorites for 2016 comes in at 28. Whittling it down was a tough choice and while there were so many,these are the books that have made an impact on me.

 

imageWhen Breath Becomes Air

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageHome is Burning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageShtum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageUnraveling Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageThe Mandibles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageThe Summer That Melted Everything

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageThe Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageAnd Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageFrom Sand and Ash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageA Man Called Ove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageSiracusa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageThe Perfect Son

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageIt Ends With Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageYours

Freaks by Amanda Hocking

imageWelcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

 

I have to admit, I have discovered a love of circus books recently. That coupled with this amazing cover drew me to this book.  I want to say that I loved it as much as I love the cover, but I can’t.

I found the characters a bit flat and lackluster.  The plot was reasonable but you figured out who was behind it not far along into the storyline but really don’t get confirmation until almost at  the very end.  I didn’t find it all that engrossing and to be honest it was too long as well.  I found it dragged on and on and on.  Boredom set in and I was glad to see the end of it. I was also sad to see that the majority of the interesting action that did get me hooked was in the last few pages.  It wasn’t enough to save the whole book for me though.

I find it a hit or miss when it comes to Amanda’s books and I have to say that for me, this one was a miss.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2/5 stars

Crash

Buy: Amazon

Buy: Amazon UK

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

imageCharlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

When we first meet Charlie she is being wrapped up in a sheet and brought to a hospital where she floats in and out of consciousness for a while before fully coming around in a mental health facility. She is surrounded by other girls who self harm in various ways.  She is a  selective mute, unable or unwilling to talk to anyone.  She is happy to be where she is, she is safe, fed, has shelter and most of all, away from one of the people who has abused her.

When after being in the facility for a month she is told that she has to leave because there is no more money coming in to care for her.  She is put on a bus out to Arizona where things seem to look up for her, but not for long.

This is a hard, brutal, raw and depressing read.  It’s a struggle to battle through it, it’s like you are living the struggle with Charlie as she trades one form of addiction for another.  The person she puts her trust and love into isn’t an easy person to deal with either and is battling his own demons.  Life seems to keep kicking her down no matter how much she struggles to get back to the the little bit she does have in her life.  How much tragedy and bad luck can one person have and continue to go on.  She has more strength that she knows and her tenacity to keep going without giving up was inspiring.  She deals with abuse, rape, alcoholism, self harm and so many things that most people would have just rolled over and given up.This isn’t about a girl who becomes cured of her self harm but learns to live with what she has done and how to cope with things better.

While this is an extremely hard read, it is beautifully written by someone who knows what it’s like to self harm. It’s a testament to the human spirit that just doesn’t give up and for that you end up admiring Charlie for never giving up. We all have scars, but most aren’t visible. A remarkable read!

 

5/5 stars

Crash

Buy: Amazon

Buy: Amazon UK

Dark Surrender by Rachel Van Dyken

imageI grew up as a prince…
And lead the life of a King.
There isn’t anyone or anything that doesn’t want me, that isn’t attracted to me. They can’t help it. And I sure as hell don’t want them to. I live for their lust, I crave touch like an addiction, I make them beg on their knees for one, simple, caress.
As a male siren it’s my job to feed off emotion.
And I was happy to do it.
I am happy to do it.
What I’m not happy about? Being told I have to mate with some withering human and stay loyal to that one person for the next few centuries. There’s a war coming and being the idiot I am–I offered to take one for the team in order to help a friend.
Now my sexual appetite is taking a freaking kick in the nuts.
And I’m left wondering if it’s worth it.
If she’s worth it, with messy hair and dirty human hands.
But I have a world to save.

 

Alex has always been a selfish individual. As a siren he  takes his  power from having sex and used his powers to get what he wants without thinking of anything beyond his own needs.

Hope is a gardener, an orphan who has had trouble with her own thoughts, and has found herself in the position of being Alex’s mate.  Neither she or Alex wants nothing to do with it, but powers beyond them have thrown them together.  Alex has changed and isn’t what he seems to be, but then again, neither is Hope.  Can she discover just who she is in time to help Alex discover his true potential?

Holy crap but there is a lot of emotional turmoil here!  Sexual and mental turmoil that threatens both Alex and Hope until they can both discover what immortal life holds for them.  Their story was a fantastic read and I didn’t want it to end.

I love delving back into this series and wondered just what kind of woman would be able to take on the siren.  It’s interesting to see how all the immortals interact and how Cassius throws things at the others and watch them struggle with what he means and wants from them. More characters make an appearance in this book so which leads me to thing that there will be more to this series beyond what is surely will be Mason’s book next time around.  Speaking of Mason, he is freaking awesome and funny!  I loved watching him wind up Alex!

Another fantastic instalment to this series and can’t wait for the next one!

This can be read as a stand alone.

ARC provided by author in exchange for a fair and honest review

4/5 stars

Crash

 

Dark Surrender is LIVE and only $1.99! So snag this complete paranormal stand alone and read all about why having a male siren try to seduce you isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2htmYRu

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2he9Hv0

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2gpT0bO

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2hjomp6

iBooks: http://apple.co/2gJFTmO

B&N: http://bit.ly/2eUpon5

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2fjEAgq

 

About the Author:

image

 

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Q&A with Duffy Brown

I want to welcome Duffy to the blog and for agreeing to take time out of her busy schedule to do a Q&A with us here. It’s a real pleasure to have you here Duffy 🙂

Crash: I know you used to write romance novels years ago, what made you stop writing romance books?

DB: My love of mystery. After writing more than 25 romances I realized so many of my books had mystery in them and I loved writing the mystery part more than the romance. I love romance, I really do but mystery is my first love. There is so much fun built into mystery if you keep it light and I’m all about the fun and humor and having a good time. I read for escape and figure most other do to.

Crash: What gave you the inspiration to write cozy mysteries?

DB:Nancy Drew when growing up! I just love Nancy. I’m sure she is a big reason I am who I am today. Back in the day it was a man’s world…think Mad Men. It was for real, men did all the cool stuff. Then there was Nancy Drew. She was smarter then the guys, figured out stuff on her own, went on adventures on her own, and drove a really cool car. My hero. I figured if Nancy could do all that stuff so could I.

Crash: When did you start writing and why?

DB:I used to write romance and even those have a lot of mystery in them as mystery is my true love. I love Savanna and Mackinac Island and every time I visited I thought…Gee this is a great place to kill someone off. I’m telling the truth. It’s what mystery writers do. So that’s how I got the settings then the characters are all about having fun with murder. How do you have fun with murder you ask? I just kill off the people who have it coming. That makes for a great list of suspects and no one’s running around boo-hooing that Peephole Perry…or whoever…is dead. My books are fun and we laugh and drink martinis and find the bad guys. I just love having fun with mystery so the cozy mystery genre is a perfect fit for me.

 

Crash: Which genre do you like?

DB: Anything mystery…it’s all I read and all I write. There are so many different aspects of mystery. You can read light like a cozy or if you’re in the mood for something heavy there’s plenty of that too. And there are historicals, paranormals, pets, families etc. I like the aspect of trying to figure out who-dun-it in other books and visiting other places I would never go. It’s a fun trip.

 

Crash: What kind of books do you read when you have the time?

DB: It’s always the mystery and then there are how to books for writing and research books…that’s how I learned to pick a lock in Geared for the Grave. ☺ I love travel books and cookbooks. I have my family over for Sunday dinners and always looking for new recipes.

 

Crash: Who is your favorite writer?

DB: Janet Evanovich is my hero. I simply love her Stephanie Plum books. I think she’s up to 21 in her series now and all are good but the first three…One for the Money, Two for the Dough and Three to Get Deadly are magic. They are funny and exciting and the characters are a hoot and unusual with tons of personality that make them real. After reading a S. Plum book you will want to become a bounty hunter and live in Jersey just for the fun of it all.

 

Crash:  I know, as most of your readers know, that you love Sherlock Holmes.  Is that the inspiration behind you writing mysteries?

DB:I think Sherlock inspires all mystery writers in some way. The cleverness, the humor, the settings, Dr. Watson, the setting and how it reflects the mood of the story. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did a great job on continuing the series and keeping readers engaged. A lesson for us all.

 

Crash:What are your joys in life?

DB: I love good fun movies and shows and watch them to unwind. Gilmore Girls, Miss Fisher’s mysteries, Psyche, Midsommer Mysteries are some of my faves. They are light and cleaver and the dialogue is fantastic. I garden and love my flowers and I have for kids and two grandkids who I adore and spend tons of time with. If I really get away it’s to the mountains. We have incredible National Parks in the US and they are amazing. Glacier National Park is as close to heaven as we get on this Earth. Go!

 

Crash: Tell us something that we might not know about you?

DB: -Guilty pleasure is eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon, or finger.

-I think Snickers is a gift from the gods.
-Everyone should take in a rescue animal.
-Anyone who mistreats an animal should rot in hell for all eternity (and I really mean that)
-I have met the most amazing people though writing. It is the single best thing about what I do!!

 

Crash:I want to thank Duffy for taking part and for being such a great guest, It was fun having you here!

 

You can find out more about Duffy here

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Duffy-Brown/e/B008CI1380

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorduffybrown

Blurb Braking for Bodies
No one knows why Peephole Perry came all the way to Mackinac from LA, but when he winds up dead things are looking bad for Evie’s BFF who once worked for the jerk. Now Evie has to gear up and get a grip on the truth if she wants to clear her friend and find a killer.

It’s murder and a mystery weekend on Mackinac Island for the rag reporter, his mistress and the wife who wants them both dead.