Good Books That Were Simply Too Easy to Put Down

August 12, 2015 at 3:38 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Some books are great, the kind of books that you can’t live without and can’t understand how you ever lived without them.  We’ve all read them, the books that leave you forgetting to eat and avoiding the restroom – or bathing – for as long as it takes to finish the book.  You simply can’t tear away.  And when a moment arrives that you have to set it down, you moan, weep, you begin to go through withdrawals and ache until the moment you can pick it up again.

And then, there are books that are really good, but you don’t feel that way about them.  At all.  Like that dude in college you friend zoned.  Like that pie you ate, because after all it IS pie, but it doesn’t taste like your Grandma’s.  Like that pretty song you’ll hum, but you won’t go out of your way to learn the lyrics or play on repeat…

So here’s to the good books I’ve read recently that I genuinely thought were good, but still found far too easy to put down.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Fun paranormal fantasy noir fiction – however, Dresden finds every female he encounters attractive.  Either this guy is the most appreciative wizard ever, or he just doesn’t get out much.  Felt like I was reading a sixteen year old living in his mama’s basement dream hero, which is all well and good and entertaining, but in between readings, I wasn’t exactly itching to get back to the story.  Still read the book in a few days, but it’s the genre and length of something I’d usually devour in one sitting and… I just didn’t.

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell

I checked this out from the library.  Absolutely adored the first few chapters, but set it down for some reason or another and never felt compelled to get back to it.  Due date came and I turned it in.  One day I’ll finish, but it doesn’t seem like a pressing matter.

Which brings me to my next review…

UnknownTitle: The Pharaoh’s Cat

Author: Maria Luisa Lang

Genre: Fiction

Length: 178 pages

I got this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  It’s cute.  I was actually pretty excited about it.  It seemed like a fun cozy for an ancient Egypt nerd like myself.  But, I discovered as I read that being narrated by the Cat isn’t as cute as I thought.  Instead, it’s highly distracting and I find it hard to get caught up in the story because the cat brain is awkward.

Lang’s writing is good.  The setting is fun, I always enjoy a good bit of ancient Egypt; and I love that the author considers herself an amateur Egyptologist, it shows in her writing.  I’d even go so far as to say that I might read The Pharaoh’s Cat again some day – with my daughter, perhaps.  But I wasn’t riveted and the character of the cat didn’t move me, like it moved the Pharaoh, I did not feel the bond that was formed throughout the novel.  I didn’t really laugh…

Read a more glowing review of Lang’s novel here: http://ebookreviewgal.com/review-of-the-pharaohs-cat-by-maria-luisa-lang/

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Author Karen Rose Smith Guest Blogs

August 15, 2012 at 10:49 pm (Guest Blogger) (, , , , , , , , , )

I find interacting with authors on Twitter to be very exciting, and it’s always fun to share my twittering adventures with my fellow readers and blog subscribers.  Karen Rose Smith is a best-selling, award-winning author.  Her 80th novel will be published in 2013.  Below, she shares a little bit about her life as a writer.

What Inspires Me

Writing and living are interchangeable for me.  They are so glued together that I realized while writing this blog that whatever inspires me for one inspires me for the other.  Peaks and valleys in one affect the other.  So when I think about inspiration for either writing or living, I can lift my heart in these ways.

Ever since I was a young girl, music has made a difference in my life. (That is probably why one of the romances in my new series revolves around music.) Until I was five, my parents and I lived with my grandfather and my aunt.  After that they lived next door.  I come from an Italian heritage, and my grandfather was an immigrant.  He played the mandolin beautifully.  On weekends friends would stop by with guitars and an accordion, and he and his friends made music.  That music brought into the house fellowship, fun and a sense of well-being.  Also in my grandfather’s house was a player piano.  We inserted what was called a “roll” and a melody magically played while my mother and I would sing along.  She played the piano herself, and I would accompany her, too.  It was natural for me to learn to play the piano myself.  Through the years I learned to express emotion through the playing.  I found joy and inspiration in the music.  With this history, I never just listen to a song.  I feel it.  Today I listen for artists and music which can stir that deep creative part of me, whether it does that by bringing back memories, lifting me to a mountaintop, soothing pain and stress away, or urging me to write a particularly emotional scene.  Music lifts me over the writing bumps or life’s bumps.

Traveling to a place with power also renews me.  I believe everyone can find places that fill them with peace and an overwhelming sense of well-being.  When I was a child, I had access to a relative’s farm.  There was something about the fields of grass, the scent of orange blossoms and honeysuckle, the playfulness of kittens around the barn and the beauty of horses in the corral that always washed over me in a particularly healing way.  I loved just being there and soaking it in.  As an adult I feel drawn to places where I can feel a power greater than myself–the ocean, the cliff dwellings in the southwest, the Appalachian mountains, the big blue sky over Santa Fe, Sedona and the Grand Canyon, a memorial garden my husband and I created in memory of my parents in our own backyard.  All of these places, as well as the memories from being in them, fill me up when I am empty and help me to keep going.

Since emotion and my creative energy are also integrally linked, the people I love and who love me also inspire me.  My husband reminds me that I always say each book is different and eventually my characters show me the way.  Talking to my son long-distance reminds me the bonds between a mother and child are never-ending.  When my BFF’s daughter runs to me for a hug, I am inspired to look at the world through her eyes–in a more innocent, unspoiled way.  My writing friends listen and help me get unstuck when a scene or character is being stubborn.  Also my three cats, Ebbie, London and Zoie are constant companions who remind me to be playful.  Ebbie joins me when I work or listen to music.  London curls on my lap or beside me for an afternoon break.  Zoie exhibits pure kittenhood. Their presence fills me with a sense of  joy and contentment.

Inspiration surrounds me in many forms.  I just have to know how to listen, where to go and whom to turn to in order to find it.  Somehow I always do and life and writing flow on.
Buy Her Books Here!

Readers can visit her websites:

http://www.karenrosesmith.com/

http://www.karenrosesmithmysteries.com/

http://twitter.com/karenrosesmith/

Facebook (Karen Rose Smith author)

Access her e-zine In Touch at karenrosesmith-ezine.blogspot.com for new releases and contests.

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Music You Can Read To

June 9, 2012 at 4:25 am (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Best Gift Ever

When starting my day, I almost always flick on the switch to the radio and set my mood.  There’s cooking breakfast music, dancing music, workout music, sex music… there’s music you write to, music you relax to, music you mow the lawn or party to, there’s I’m working on the car music, there’s its raining outside music… and of course, every book lover has their favorite reading music.

Lately, my favorite reading music has been Andreas Vollenweider‘s Cosmopoly album.  As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I still listen to most my music on cassette and cd, and some all time favorites are still on vinyl.  So, even though I love making playlists on my computer, I’m a big fan of purchasing cd’s and have yet to invest in an ipod or whatever is the new greatest way to listen to stuff.  This particular purchase was a fabulous $3.00 item from a clearance sidewalk sale at my favorite Half Price Books store about a year ago.

While listening to the calm, but not sleepy, tunes of Vollenweider’s many instruments, his work suits both jazz and classical moods, and I’ve found it to be a perfect companion to Ayla’s school time.  School time is quite short, as she’s only a year and a half.  But while she masters holding a writing utensil and hanging out at the kitchen table while snacking on cheerios, I’ve been reading segments of Susan Wise Bauer‘s History of the Ancient World to her each morning.  I know, its silly, but I feel so much more cultured when listening to World Music while reading World History.  (We also throw in a story from the children’s bible if she’s being extra focused that day, its got more interesting pictures for a toddler.)  When she’s had enough of sitting still, we put her work away for later, I hang out on the couch and continue my reading and she has a dance marathon in the living room.  Its kind of our thing, and Vollenweider manages to be both soothing enough for me to read and peppy enough for Ayla to go all Flashdance and Footloose with the dogs.

from Eric Carle’s The Very Quiet Cricket, features great reading noise for baby at the end of the book

After Ayla goes to bed at night, I usually read while my husband watches TedTalks on Netflix.  After he falls asleep, though, the music I read to is a little bit different.  Its the music of a quiet house.  My tea pot steaming on the stove, my beagle jingling around the house as he nestles into a cozy place to sleep for the evening.  Through open windows comes the singing of crickets, frogs, and cicadas.  Sometimes I can hear Solovino, our stray cat, pad by the front patio windo.  You would think cats would be quiet and stealthy, he can be, but mostly he likes to taunt my dogs.  Solovino was born under our deck, the other kittens from the litter found homes via neighbor friends and moved away, but Solovino now stalks our street and kills our mice population.  There are about four houses that ‘share’ him.  My next door neighbor gave him his name, she says it means he is “an univited guest that doesn’t want to leave,” but if we were all true to ourselves we would admit that we would hate to see him go.  He is the loudest meower that has ever lived, you can hear that cat all the way across the neighborhood and some days I spend my reading time blocking out his competitive high pitched sing song MEOW while also intermittently egging him on with a cat call of my own.  Now, while I type, the gentle hum of a fan is buzzing and I can just barely hear the hubby breathing in his sleep.  As soon as this post is done, its back to the books, because the sound right now is in that happy soothing place (teetering on the virge of annoying, but too calming to quite get there).

Do you listen to music while you read? What is your favorite music to read to? If you don’t, what is your reading environment like… indoors, outdoors, do you start the kettle to hear the whistle blow, do you wait until night to hear the cicadas chirp?

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