Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Halloween! Time to... Trick or Treat on Monster Street by Danny Schnitzlein

Welcome to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, I’m afraid the “chef” couldn’t join us…she’s a bit tied up at the moment. *insert evil smile*  I will be your host the day, so please, please…get comfortable.
~motions to big creepy chair in the corner away from light~

I am Count Reads-A-Lot and though my night activities differ from your own in some fashions, there is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a deliciously good book…well, almost nothing.  Before we get started on today’s feature, the “chef” did want me to mention that there are a few contests going on right now, two of which end TONIGHT….so if you haven’t gotten your entries in yet, please do.  Trust me, you ant to enter…. ~stares at you with hypnotic gaze~

Now, moving on to the creature feature!  Today’s title of interest is a spooky delight that would make a PERFECT addition to anyone’s Halloween activities; friends, family and “dinner guests” alike will be dying to see what happens.  Are you ready for the main course?  (I know I am…)  Here it is.  Today’s book of choice is…

Danny Schnitzlein
Illustrated by
Matt Faulkner

This is the story of one young boy, his candy greedy brothers, and one faithful Halloween night they won’t soon forget.  Out making the rounds for tricks or treats, he’s separated from his siblings…good riddance too if you ask me, they’re pretty hard on the little guy!  It’s not HIS fault after all that his costume is a big pink bunny in lieu of something hairier (as if) or scarier…but scary is all in the eye of the beholder, as they’re about to find out for you see, he hasn’t merely lost his way amongst the other children on this Halloween night.  He’s stumbled upon
Monster Street
and as one could guess from the name, the usual is not behind every door or around any corner.  Though he’s lost, he finds his way thanks to some less-than-usual friends that he makes along the way. 

Surprisingly, he comes to have a good time despite the lack of sugary sweet treats currently residing in his trick-or-treat bag (trout anyone?) and he also learns a thing or two about others…or in this case monsters.  No matter the size, shape, color, or species…we’re all looking for the same thing in life, happiness and a place where we belong….and on Halloween, a costume that will scare the pants off everyone!  Whether werewolf, vampire, witch or bunny, there’s always something some will find funny while making others run for the nearest blankie and nightlight.  So go ahead, makes your scariest face, wear a mask, or dress all in lace and ruffles….it’s Halloween; time to bring out your inner “monster” and have a ghoulishly good time.

A great book for all ages that will keep you in scares and stitches year after year, this is definitely a family friendly read for all your Halloween celebrations.  The rhyming pattern of the story is reminiscent of the classic "Night Before Christmas" while doling out all the spooky goodness we look for this time of year.  The story combined with the detailed illustrations that always have a surprise or two to reveal, and you've got one title worth writing home to the Transylvanian homestead about.  (^_^)  Review copy courtesy of Emily at Peachtree Publishers.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, feel free to visit them online, check out their blog, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter! 

So, my fellow readers…did you enjoy your glimpse of this spooky treat?  I sure hope so…for the “chef’s” sake.  One more question if you would be so kind as to indulge my curiosity.  What’s the scariest costume you’ve ever donned for Halloween?  What are you dressing up as this year?  The comments are open…feel free to let your thoughts flow like a red river….

Until next time…have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN…and happy reading!

In My Shopping Bag

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Got your wish list ready?
The Fourth Stall, Part II by Chris Rylander
(ARC courtesy of Kellie at Walden Pond Press)
Can we just say that this is totally going to make me the popular kid on our block?  Yep, sure will!  Book 1 went over well, can't wait to see what's in store for us in book 2.  From the cover?  Looks like Mac means business!  Look for this title to hit store shelves everywhere this February 2012.

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex
(ARC courtesy of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
This arrived as a total surprise but can I just sounds like fun!  Seriously, the lead character's name is Scottish Play Doe.  The first line on the back cover....A magically delicious new trilogy ... how can resist?!  This title hits store shelves February 2012.

Kevin's Point of View by Del Shannon
(Review copy courtesy of the author)
Ironically I had just learned of this title from my good blogging friend (Nayuleska) and BAM, the author got in touch with me for a review.  Sounds like it will be an interesting read to say the least and it never hurts when you have a recommendation from a friend as well.

Never Give Up byRuthe Rosen
(Review copy courtesy of Babs at PR By the Book)
This is the book that one of YOU lucky readers had the chance to win this past week.  Seeing as the contest ended yesterday, watch your email!  The winner will be announced very soon.  As for me, I'm preparing for this one by buuying an extra box of tissues.  It sounds very moving and full of hope.

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
(Review copy courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers)
This was another BIG surprise.  I mean really, I had NO IDEA it was coming!  Needless to say, I'm thankful indeed and though I have yet to read the prior books in the series, it seems this one contains a bit of a summarization of them to catch readers back up to speed.  Yes, I did peek inside...hehe.  Will be tackling soon so stay the mean time I believe it's actually about to hit store shelves so for faithful fans of the series, take note!

Tomorrow's Guardian by Richard Denning
(Review copy courtesy of the author)
Time travel and "walkers" had me thinking of JUMPER right off the bat, but it seems this one has a bit of a twist to it what with events actually being able to be changed when he travels...for better or worse.  Sounds intriguing, no?

Trick or Treat on Monster Street by Danny Schnitzlein
(Review copy courtesy of Emily at Peachtree Publishers)
When the call went out to see if anyone was interested in a Halloween title or two, I jumped at the chance to share this one with you.  Watch for the review coming later today as our featured "spooky" title of the day!



One of my birthday presents....a vanity tag for the front of my car!
Of course it HAD to say...BOOKISH!  ^_^
Funny thing coworkers saw it last night, or rather two of them did.  One was all...that's so cute!  I love it!  The other....umm, what does that mean?  O-O  *shakes head*

SIGNED "Damned" Book Tour promo poster
Yep, that's right!  One of the lovely goodies obtained for participating in the blog tour last month.  SO much fun both to read, share, and the work with this group.  If you haven't checked out the works of author's Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, I highly recommend it (and of course the site of their illustrious assistant Erin!).

That's all for this week.
Anything catch your eye?
Have a "new to me" title you HAVE to share?
Do tell!

The comments are open.

Until next time....happy reading!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Roving Reader

Whoa. This is too strange and yet interesting of a cover NOT to share it!

The Call of Crhulhu and Other Weird Stories
H.P. Lovecraft

So, what did you discover when out and about this Halloween weekend?
Do tell!

Until next time ....happy reading!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Day 2: Guest Post with Author Ryan Jacobson + Giveaway!

Calling all readers....calling all readers!
*looks around*
Oops!  There you are!

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers, the place to get your fill of bookish treats any day of the week....and today, is no different.  Yesterday, we played host to a blog tour featuring a new addition to the choose-your-own-adventure genre in which readers are introduced to Jack London's classic wintry tale...with a twist.  The book?  Can you Survive:  Jack London's Call of the Ryan Jacobson.  Fascinating story if I do say so myself...and I do; you can see my results from braving the "elements" in yesterday's review.  (Just click over to the post...I'll wait.... *tick*tock*tick*tock)
Today...well it's a brand new day and so we have something bright and shiny to bring to the table.  Are you game?  Good.  I was hoping you'd be.  Today, my friends, we welcome day two of the tour with a special Ryan Jacobson!  That's right.  The author was kind enough to indulge my curiosity and share with us a few words on how he came to be the writer he is today.

Without further adieu....please join me in welcoming, author Ryan Jacobson!


Guest Post:  Author Ryan Jacobson

I love guest posts, especially when bloggers suggest topics. Gina asked some great questions, which caused me to evaluate my path to authordom. I’ve decided that I can only be described as an “accidental author.” I mean, an author is someone who grows up devouring books, making up stories and dreaming of the day he finally gets published. Right? Um, not so much.

I grew up a reluctant reader—I started writing not because I loved stories but because I loved football. When I learned that our middle school sports reporter got to stand on the sideline during games, I volunteered. As it turned out, I rather liked writing and was pretty good at it.

Nevertheless, it took the rest of high school and three years of college for me to choose English as my major. I planned on writing radio commercials or greeting cards or mattress warning labels. Not once, though, did I think, “I should write a book.” And certainly not children’s books, as I’d never really read them.

Fast forward a few years, and I was writing radio commercials and greeting cards and mattress warning labels for Corporate America. Children’s books were the farthest things from my mind. But, as luck would have it, my wife’s brother became an editor for Capstone Press, assigned to work on history-themed graphic novels. He knew I was a comic book nerd and asked if I’d like to write one.

A comic book nerd asked to write a comic book? Are you kidding? I jumped at the chance. And, okay, I’ll admit it: The result was a boost to my ego that became addicting. (I remember my younger brother, whose said three nice things to me ever, saying it was “pretty cool” to look me up on Amazon.)

I did two more books for Capstone and realized (a.) comic books are more fun to read than they are to write, and (b.) I don’t love nonfiction. So I called it quits.

But then something funny happened. My kindergarten-teaching wife brought home the Magic Tree House book, Dinosaurs Before Dark. I don’t know why, but I read it—my first ever early reader chapter book. I simultaneously fell in love with the format and said, “I could totally write that!” And I did. I wrote a story called Santa Claus: Super Spy: The Case of the Florida Freeze. I loved it, stuffed it into a file cabinet and forgot about it.

That’s when heartbreak happened: infertility. My wife and I went through a very dark time, but we eventually found hope in the form of adoption. The problem? How would we ever pay for it?

We did everything we could, including several fundraisers, but the money didn’t come fast enough to keep our new dream alive. We decided to try something a little crazy. We dug out my Santa Claus: Super Spy manuscript and self-published it.

It worked! Twenty books (some self-published, some not) and two adoptions later, I’d say our gamble paid off.

Wow...what a story.
From fan to creator, heartbreak to a life of fulfillment....sounds like it was quite the journey but one well worth taking.  Thank you for sharing your experience and I have to agree with your assessment of the middle grade CAN totally do it.  ^_^  Now my fellow readers, it's time for you to discover that very same truth.  Drum roll please..... *ratta tat tat tat ratta tat tat tat ratta*
Thanks to the generosity of the author, YOU have the chance to win a copy of this fun-tastic book all your own.  Here's the scoop!

(1) copy of Can You Survive:  Jack London's Call of the Wild:  A Choose Your Own Path Book by Ryan Jacobson

Open to US residents only, no P.O. Boxes please.
Entries will be accepted from Saturday, October 29th, 2011 through midnight CST on Sunday, November 6th, 2011.  Winner will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond with their mailing information if it was not submitted with their initial entry.

How to enter:
Fill out the form below and POOF, consider yourself entered.

Special thanks to author Ryan Jacobson for the opportunity to participate in this tour.  It's been fascinating to say the least and has given me another great way to get young readers interested in the classics I grew up loving.  Be sure to connect with the author either via his site, Facebook, or Twitter!  Remember, next stop on the tour is Lost For sure to check it out!

Also special thanks as well to my friend and blogging buddy Danielle of There's A Book for making this connection possible.  If you haven't checked out her site, you definitely should...there's always something new and exciting from the world of children's literature.

Until next time...good luck....and happy reading!

Friday, October 28, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Day 1: Surviving the Classics in a Whole New Way

Hi there!

Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….the place to get a taste of your next read (potentially at least). It’s Friday, it’s Friday…woo-hoo! Congratulations! You’ve made it through another week and for your reward, I grant thee…a weekend and THREE chances to win! Just check out the right hand sidebar for all the details. You’re welcome! ^_^ (Hehe…) Anywho…there’s plenty more reasons to celebrate the day that is today another of which will present itself right now….in the form of a blog tour!

That’s right! Today we play host to day one of a two day stop over for a blog featuring a children’s author that is taking the classics we know and love to a whole new level. How so? Read on my friend…read on.; for today’s feature is a review of the title, while tomorrow…let’s just say there’s a little surprise in store, so stay tuned. Without further adieu, today’s book of choice is….

Jack London’s Call of the Wild:
A Choose Your Own Path Book

From the publisher…
Stolen. Shipped. Enslaved.Can You Survive?

You find yourself in Alaska, a dangerous world of greedy men and savage dogs. Every moment, your life is at risk. Do you have what it takes to survive as Buck, literature’s most famous sled dog? Or will the freezing temperatures and rugged wilderness lead to your doom? Step into this adventure, and choose your path. But choose wisely, or else…

Okay, so as you probably ascertained from the title, this is a “choose-your-own-adventure” book…you know, like the ones from days gone by where you controlled your characters destiny? Yep….they’re BBBAAAACCCKKKK…with a vengeance and a few tricks up their proverbial sleeves. No sirree…this is certainly not your average book.

You start out in modern times as a young boy forced to endure a camping trip with dear old dad…and to make matters worse, you have to foot part of the bill. There goes your summer vacation of vegging around the house playing video games. Needless to say you don’t want to go which leads to a tantrum, an ill fated meeting with the family dog and a parent mad at you beyond compare. Good thing you actually LIKE being stuck in your room because that’s where you’re headed til a proper punishment is devised. At least it gives you time to think and ruminate on how your parents are ruining your life…or at least it would if those darn dogs would pipe down. I mean geesh! They sound like a pack of wolves they’re so loud….but wait, you’re not in the snowy northwest and that sound isn’t coming from outside your room but rather inside. O-O On the bottom shelf of the bookcase you discover something unimaginable…a paper copy (OMG…paper! Just kidding….) of Jack London’s timeless classic. Could a book POSSIBLY make all that racket…and if so, how? Only one way to find out…or to avoid it all, the choice is up to you….and so begins (or ends) the potential thrill (or not) of a lifetime.

I must say, I absolutely LOVED this read. Why? Well for starters, I was always a fan of the “choose-your-own-adventure” book format. I remember checking out several different ones from our school library as a child. I had the guilty habit of marking my spot so if something went wrong with my choice, I could always rewind the last scene. Second point to love….the way the book plays directly off of the classic story by Mr. London. It’s a great first exposure to the classic for little ones and a wonderful refresher for those that have read it previously. Trust me, the details are what’ll get you in the end. I speak from experience as I’m guilty of choosing the wrong option a time or two and dying miserably, but with the turn of the page, I was back again. By book’s end you’ll have a general outline of all the highlights in Buck’s life from innocent pup to dog of the wild from his point of view. The author did a splendid job of staying true to the original story and the imagery his words evoke truly transports you to the scenes taking place.

In summary, a familiar title with a new twist to shake things up a bit. You’ll learn the Law of Club and Fang. Make friends with John Thornton and enemies with Spitz as you journey through this harsh terrain. The path you take is in your own hands, but remember there is only one true way out, one way to survive. Do you have what it takes? We shall see….but at the very least you’ll pick up a skill or two along the way as well as the opportunity to immerse yourself in the classic from a whole new angle. Challenge your memory as you dive into the timeless tale or discover it for the first time. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Ryan Jacobson
 Recommended reading for middle grade readers on up. This title just released this month so it should be readily available at a bookstore near you. Additional good news for fans of these adventure/classic combos….there’s ANOTHER book in the series being released in the early part of November dealing with none other than Sherlock Holmes! Exciting stuff!

ARC for review courtesy of Adventure Publications and author Ryan Jacobson. (THANKS!) To check out the publisher’s full catalog of titles, seek out their website. To learn more about Mr. Jacobson, feel free to visit his site, ‘like’ him on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter. Tomorrow’s stop on the blog tour, right here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. Then on October 31st, the tour continues on making a stop off at Lost for Words. Be sure to check it out!

Until next time…happy reading!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vampire in Denial by Dale Mayer

Hi there fellow readers!

How are you this fine day?
Okay…I have no idea why I’m so chipper today as I am OH-SO-TIRED …not whining, just stating the obvious…but hey, it works to our advantage, right?  I mean you get another review to peruse and I get to hopefully pass the day (well, the dull parts anyway) a little quicker than it first started.  I’d say that’s a win-win situation…how bout you?

A quick reminder, or rather a few quick reminders, before we jump into the meat of today’s post…don’t worry, they’re all exciting fun things I don’t want you to miss out on.  ^_^  Tomorrow, we have a special TWO DAY blog tour event passing through for a great children’s book that…well, you’ll want to “tune in” for all the details but trust me, it’s worth it.  In the mean time, there are three…no wait, that wasn’t loud enough…-clears throat-…THREE CONTESTS going on right now, all of which are drawing to a close very soon.  You’ve got one for an inspirational story of family and hope, and two for titles (and other prizes) more along the lines of Halloween reading fun.  For all the details and the easy entry forms, simply click on the right hand tool bar where it says CURRENT CONTESTS.  Moving’s time for today’s post!

Today’s title came to my attention thanks to an email from the author…a month or two ago.  (What?  Don’t give me that look like I’ve been holding out on you.  Just try to tell me YOU don’t schedule your reading/reviewing time too… uh-huh.  That’s what I thought… ^_^)  It’s a short story (under 200 pages) perfect for this time of year (considering the creature feature) and one that you’ll definitely want to take a crack at (okay, maybe not a crack considering it’s an ebook and cracks are never good when dealing with electronics…).  Ready for your next to-be-read list resident?  Here we go.  Today’s book of choice is…


From the author…
Like being a sixteen-year-old vampire isn't hard enough, Tessa's throwback human genes make her an outcast among her relatives. But try as she might, she can't get a handle on the vampire lifestyle and all the...blood.

Turning her back on the vamp world, she embraces the human teenage lifestyle—high school, peer pressure and finding a boyfriend. Jared manages to stir something in her blood. He's smart and fun and oh, so cute. But Tessa's dream of a having the perfect boyfriend turns into a nightmare when vampires attack the movie theatre and kidnaps her date.

Once again, Tessa finds herself torn between the human world and the vampire one. Will blood own out? Can she make peace with who she is as well as what?

So, can you see why though my reading schedule is far from empty (*eyes books in waiting…gulp*) I said yes to this little beauty?  If you answered yes, YAY!  You know me, you really do!  If nay… *-*.  …just kidding.  I wouldn’t hold it against you, after all a little explanation goes a long way, and that’s just what I intend to do.  I must ask your pardon up front though as I may run into the problem of not knowing when to stop rambling on this one.  Seems to happen with short stories I enjoyed.  (Hehe)

Aside from the obvious reading choice of vampires with Halloween hot on our heels, Tessa’s voice in the synopsis simply spoke to me.  I could hear her slightly snarky attitude right from the start (score 1 point) and the concept of her being an outcast among her “kind” due to “human genes”, begged to be explored (point 2…yay!).  It seems that her “condition” is rather rare, especially coming from a pure blood line and yet, here she is in all her vampire-human glory.  It lends several interesting talents to her full arsenal like being able to see normally (human) and enhanced (vampire)…and maybe even something halfway between (nope…not telling you…that’s for me to know and you to discover).  Even her gawkiness that’s plagued her (she is only 16 after all) turns out to be something advantageous that she has simply yet to understand. 

Her relationship with her family was rather interesting as it seemed oh-so-close at times and yet at others like they were from different planets.  I suppose that’s not just the vampire issue getting in the way there because let’s face it, teenagers and parents don’t always see eye to eye but regardless of the difference of opinion, they were always there for her (point 2!)…and not just her parents, but her brothers as well.  They play minor roles in the story overall, but if she’s ever in the need for some tail kicked, they’ll be there in a flash.  Speaking of brother’s there’s one particular friend of a brother that DOES end up playing a rather key role by the name of Cody.  In Tessa’s quest to rescue her friend (and human crush) Jared, he ends up playing sidekick (not for long…he’s the take charge kind), ally (definitely good to have on your side), defender (ditto on previous comment)…and just maybe something more (I’ll let you read into that what you may). 

It’s a fight for their lives as they struggle to uncover just who or what stole her friend and ends up being oh-so-much bigger than they could have imagined.  As people…err, vamps too…keep disappearing along the way; you’ll be on the edge of your seat hoping against hope that your favorites won’t be next.  But just when the real mystery is starting to reveal itself…BAM…something new is added to the mix…and you know what?  It TOTALLY works…and not in a pretentious, I’m-just-saying-that sorta way either.  As I drew closer and closer to book’s end, I was completely ensconced in Tessa’s story as well as her character’s growth.  At book’s end, my mind was blown…so be prepared.  (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

To summarize, though relatively short in pages this story packs a YA punch you might not have expected.  It explores the value of friendship, the strength family can provide, the glow of your first (and/or second) crush, and the fact that growing up is hard to do, even if you have vampire genes to help you out along the way.  We’re all looking for our place in the world, for those we fit in with best to make our lives complete.  It’s not always easy road to that discovery, but the journey makes the reward that much sweeter.

Dale Mayer

Recommended reading for Young Adult fans in their teens and above…there’s nothing truly controversial here that would limit the book’s audience, but the little kiddos may not fall in love with the evil plans working behind the scenes (best to keep their dreams sweet and happy).  This title was released August 2011, so feel free to seek it out at your favorite ebook selling site.  (I hear Amazon has it and Smashwords at the very least, according to the author’s site.)  Also…if you’re curious to check out more, the short story collection Entangled includes a work by this author and it just so happens to be a story that involves a minor character from THIS book.  (Yep, it’s pretty safe to say that it just made my wish list… ^_^) 

Ebook for review courtesy of author Dale Mayer.  (THANKS!)  For more about this title (including an excerpt) as well as a complete listing of her works (fairly prolific!), be sure to visit her online, ‘like’ her on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.  (..and if the author is reading this, I’ve love to know if Tessa’s story might one day be continued?!?)

(Oh, and one more thing…if you’ve read the book or end up reading the book, I’ve LOVE to know your pick for Tessa and why… *curious*) 

Until next time…happy reading!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Death's Dream Kingdom by Jessica Penot

Hi there readers!
How are you today?

Me?  Rushed…but what else is new, right?  After cramming in as much fun as possible yesterday (twas my birthday… ^_^) while working both jobs, let’s just say I can’t WAIT til FRIDAY.  Whew!  Oh…and one of my cool presents?  A vanity plate for my car…you know, the one you can put on the front bumper?  Yep.  Mine now says…are you ready?  BOOKISH.  (hehe)  Love it. 

Enough about me already; you didn’t come purely for my drivel…you came to read all about what’s been circulating through my “now reading” stacks of late, am I right?  Of course I am….and today’s choice will not disappoint.  It’s a “spooky-with-a-dash-of-romance” tinged story that shows just how far true love will take you…beyond the borders of life and breath…and explores one persons surprising destiny.  Shall we begin?  Here we go.  Today’s book of choice is….


WARNING:  Language (explained around review’s end)

From the author’s site
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.

As you may (or may not) be able to tell from the synopsis there, the story is rather heavy…much more so than I first thought when viewing it from the outside.  Filled with life and death (and the in-between), gods and goddesses, demons and myths…everything from the light to the darkest dark comes to life as the Fates (yep, they’re in there too) weave their tapestry throughout this tale.  It had me pondering whether or not I may have bitten off more than I could chew.

Cera, our leading lady, begins life in a most ordinary way, but it’s ended very suddenly (within the first page or so) leaving her in spirit form to continue on her journey…and although she doesn’t know it, carry out a prophesized upheaval within Death’s Dream Kingdom (the place not the book title, though they are one in the same).  It’s a task she’s not prepared for but one that in time will come as naturally to her as breathing albeit much harder thanks to events yet to unfold.  One of those events is her meeting the “ruler” of this purgatory-type kingdom, Dismis.  Let’s just say this is one fellow (or whatever he was/is) that you DO NOT want to tangle with… ~shudders~ .  Second meeting to note (and a much happier one at that) is her introduction to Adewyn.  Though she doesn’t know it (yet), he’s the love of her life (lives?) and the connection fostered between them is irrepressible…the stuff legends are made of.  There’s neither rainbows nor tiptoeing through the tulips, but there is definitely a love that is felt deeper than most will ever know (*sigh*).
Out of the love fest and into the fire, we have another character whose name will cause you a curious grin…Sin.  Sin’s character (a reaper – sorta --, whom Cera encounters just after passing away) is hard to puzzle out as her allegiances are murky at best.  One moment she seems friend, next your instincts are screaming foe….the truth is uncovered over the course of the story though, leading to a fitting end and a well of respect for the hardships endured.  One of my favorite appearances was the presence of the Fates as I’ve always found their lore most intriguing…complex and a bit scary, yes…but intriguing nonetheless. 

As the story does not take place purely in the pre-afterlife (yeah, made that term up…sorry, “writers” licensing and all…), there are numerous other characters to which I can make reference (Cera’s mother, Marcus, Mary, Dr. Blackwell, the gargoyles, etc), but I shan’t….I’ll allow you the chance to discover them on your own for they are a mixed bunch and whilst mostly dark, they have a moral code all their own that adds to the “fun”.  It’s a mix of myth, legend, and religion all blended together to make one heck of a brew.

Now I must spend a brief moment on a “not-so-pleasant” thing or two, starting with that WARNING I issued further up in regards to the language.  The few sensual scenes are chaste enough, drawing beauty rather than the visuals one might have presumed as the book is toted as a Romance in one of its genre listings…but the language?  Oye, my head!  It’s no ‘Trespass’ (which if you don’t get that movie reference, I understand…but Google it for a taste of THAT “colorful” film) and most of it is sporadic…during the first half.  The second half, in my opinion, is over powered in a few places with vulgar references.  To put it somewhat bluntly, just because one is talking with a demon or happens to be one, does not mean you have to call someone vulgar names multiple times in ONE conversation. 
Second item on the table for discussion is sentence structure…or what I like to call “run-spot-run” syndrome.  A large portion of the text had me wincing to some degree because of the continual use of short sentences.  Not sure what I mean?  Here’s a make believe example.  I looked in the refrigerator.  I discovered I needed milk.  Soda was also short in supply.  I wrote the items on a list.  The list went in my purse.  When I arrived at the store I looked at the list.  See what I mean?  It’s a bit too step by step and breaks up the flow of the story for the reader.  Again, purely my opinion, and obviously neither “point” was so strong that I had to stop reading (not that I can recall any book I’ve picked up that I’ve had to do that before) but I had to make mention for full disclosures sake…moving on…

Last but not least, something that either gets too much discussion or not enough…the cover image; beautiful is it not?  At first glance, I merely saw the young woman at the top looking up (back?) to the heavens for what…I wasn’t certain….and the predominantly red cover.  As with most books, there was careful planning when this particular combination was decided upon and after completing my journey through the story, I can now see how they fit together.  Did you catch the graveyard in the back image there?  How about the expansive river?  Each is a piece of the overall puzzle that when finally revealed, brings things to a natural order.

Jessica Penot

All in all, though I began the book perplexed as to how much I would enjoy the story, in the end…I felt satisfied with the journey taken.  It’s a beautiful (the Tree of Life) world that author Jessica Penot has created, though not always in the conventional sense of the word (the Tree of Death).  The paths she’s given her characters are riddled with choices and believe you me, there is a right option and a wrong option even if it’s not always clear.  The decisions made determine the outcome just as much as the Fates choice in yarn and keep you guessing as to how everything will fit together in the end.  A picture perfect masterpiece?  Depends on your point of view….but from where I’m sitting, it’s certainly a book worth your notice.

Intrigued?  Good deal…and now for a sequel alert!  According to her ‘About Me’ section on the site, she’s currently working on the partner to this book entitled The Lunar Baedeker.  Now, if you’re like me, that title makes you curious and after a (semi frustrating) Google search, I’ve discovered what I think may be a link to what we might be seeing in the next installment.  Apparently, ‘Lunar Baedeker’ is a poem by Mina Loy that speaks of hallucination, ladies/men of the night (interpret that as you will) and all manner of devilish creatures offering things one knows is wrong but in such abundance that saying no is VERY hard.  (For a closer look, seek out the poem…or check out this interpretation I found fairly helpful…)  Anyway you cut it, it should be interesting to say the very least.

Review copy courtesy of author Jessica Penot.  (THANKS!)  For more information on her complete listing of works as well as current happenings, visit her online (1 or 2), check out her blog, or follow along on Twitter. 

Until next time…happy reading!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taste Testing Tuesdays

Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
On the menu this week...a book that is surprising me in many ways and reminds me of a classic many of you may have read.  Ready for a taste?  Here we go....
It may seem obvious to you that my brother Force was not an Arabian prince switched at birth, and that Miss Spivey had indeed made up a story, possibly one that she did not expect me to believe any more or less than I believed in Alaeddin and his lamp.  I was eleven, after all, old enough to know better.
-- pg 75, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia by Mary Helen Stefaniak
If that voice sounds strong for an eleven year old, you're does...but does it not also evoke that classic work of fiction that works its way on the scene during Banned Books Week (as well as many other times throughout the year)?  You know the one...initials TKAMB?  Another romp through Southern literature, thus far...I'm enjoying it immensely.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR.* 


Until next time....happy reading!
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