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...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren

Hi there!
Welcome back to the site that likes to celebrate the bookish side of life in some fashion every day of the week…Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we’re diving into a title that I finished during the very last days of November.  It’s a time usually associated with giving thanks and counting our blessings; a time for remembering all we’ve been through and looking ahead to all that we can positively affect in our own and each others futures.  Today’s spotlight title works wonderfully with all of these ideals and then some.  It takes a look at our past somewhat fictitiously but with enough grains of truth to make it feel real…scary real at times and shocking, but real nonetheless and that emotional investment in the story makes it THAT much greater in my eyes.  Ready to greet today’s selected title?  Open your heart and mind and get ready to be faced with a history we’d like to forget but would do best to remember and learn from; today’s book of choice is…

The Clock of Life
Anthony Ann Books

This is the story of young Jason Lee as he discovers himself, his family’s history and that of those surrounding him.  He’ll make friends that others think he ought not to have, save the lives of those that wouldn’t have that helping hand coming otherwise, and even lose someone whom he proudly calls brother…all in the span of about a decade.  It’s a lot for anyone to take in, let alone a young boy growing into the man he’s destined to be.  Funny thing about destiny though; you never really can see quite where it’s leading you and the connections it holds to our pasts are there whether acknowledged or not, for better or worse.

I gotta say, I REALLY enjoyed this story.  It was well written, the characters were believable as were the situations into which they were placed.    It was wonderful to see young Jason Lee learning about his father, J.L. , and creating that connection to the man versus the “legend”.  He was finally able to broach the subject of how he passed with his mother, breaking down some of the walls that she had built for her heart’s protection over time.  Let us not forget the capacity with which he had to understand others, feel for his fellow man, and care for his friends and family through thick and thin.  He is touched by much heartache but he is also blessed in turn and discovers a life path for himself that will lead to greater rewards both now and in the ever after.  Quite a lad indeed.  Now to examine in brief his friends and “acquaintances”…

Samson, his best friend and partner in crime half the time (in those “good” [sorta] boyhood ways), was a stand up fellow with a good head on his shoulders despite the fact that life in these particular times was not giving him his fair shake…well, at least not EVERYONE was.  Same goes for Uncle Mooks for that matter, only in a different way…his obstacle was created by conflicts that weren’t talked out as they are meant to be.  Anywho…one person included in this group of wasn’t was Reba…though I have to hand it to her, she surprisingly comes around.  Another in the “wasn’t” ‘s but at a much LARGER distance, as in a group by himself because no man, woman, or child would want to be counted among his number, is Grover Peek.  Feel bad for him?  Don’t…at least not too much.  He’s made his bed and now he has to sleep in it.  Whether a product of upbringing or not, I do believe people can change and that they DO have a choice…his were simply bad and so his final lot in life doesn’t seem as ugly as it might for your average Joe or Jane.  Lucky for him in his time of need, there was someone around like Jason Lee.  That’s all I’m sayin’. 

In the end, it’s a book that will move you in more ways than one with a story that could have been ripped from our own histories and characters memorable long past the final page turn. It’s that touch of actual history that brings it to life in the here and now…plus it gives readers a starting point for further investigation into our darker past as a nation and an insight into how we can avoid similar issues in the future.  Oh and of course, it also provides a great story of friendship, ignorance, acceptance and more…so whether historically drawn or not, you’re in for a great read.

Recommended for teen readers and beyond due to a few harsh situations and issues dealt with; it’s all things that can be found in history one way or another but we’ll let the wee ones wait a few years to catch up to the concepts.  Signed review copy received courtesy of author Nancy Klann-Moren.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as her other works, be sure to stop by her official site, or friend her on Facebook.  This title was released via Anthony Ann Books, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you. 

Until next time…happy reading!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend

Hi guys!
Welcome back to the site that aims to stick with you these final days of 2013...Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Can you believe it? 2014 is almost here!  I don't know about you, but this year has flown by and I'm still enjoying the reads I've read and those I'm still trying to devour at an ever increasing pace.  (Eeek!)  Deadlines aside, I thought I might help you ring out the old and ring in the new with one of my more recent reads that certainly deserves your attention.  It falls squarely in the land of Young Adult books with a air of Mystery for good measure.  It'll appeal to all you classic YA lit fans as the structuring will look familiar but trust me, it's only just.  Ready to meet the book with an ironic title considering the characters come from anything but poverty?  Make way for the...

Merit Press

About the book…
Is it a game?Or is it murder?The first time she is blindfolded and kidnapped, star athlete and posh boarding-school newbie Sadie is terrified.  She wakes up in a dark room surrounded by hushed whispers, hooded strangers, and a mysterious voice whispering not-so-sweet nothings in her ear.  But once the robes come off, she realizes it’s just an elaborate prank designed to induct her into the group that’s been pulling the strings at Keating Hall for generations.  The circle has it all – incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges.  The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the unexplained marks on her body, the creepy ceremonial rituals, and the incident that befell one of her teammates the year before.  So the next time Sadie is kidnapped, she isn’t scared, but she should be.  The worst of Keating Hall is yet to come.

Oh Sadie.  You REALLY should have stuck with your gut feeling of “terrified”.

Just when you thought you had your fill of Young Adult stories set at uber fancy boarding schools with a newcomer that isn’t necessarily from money like all the rest about to step right into something they never saw coming, comes THIS story.  While a lot of the aforementioned been-there-read-that’s are accounted for, this one has a few new twists that keep things fresh AND interesting.  Don’t believe me?  Okay.  I understand your need for proof.  Let’s see…

First off, there’s the whole secret society bit where, as you read in the synopsis, they kidnap our new arrival and put her through the ringer only to induct…hey, wait a second!  Where are you going?!  That’s not ALL that happens silly.  You see there’s this crazy ceremony, and a hospital, and procedures done under the guise of goodness and...oh, NOW I have your attention.  Alrighty.  Let’s build upon that foundation.  

Add in a layer for access to high profile events that many would sell their left arm for and mingling that would set you up for almost ANY future.  Another layer for friends like Jessica and surprisingly the Brit twins (you’ll read all about them), with a semi solid layer for those in the questionable friendship category like Brett and Jeremy.  Sorry Jeremy but YOU are definitely a conundrum even if your case is made for you one way or the other by book’s end, and a handsome one at that.  (What?  You thought I’d spoil it for you?  Ha ha ha ha HA!  ^_^) Now, let's not forget that upper crusty layer for those that feel themselves to be better than the rest though their own morals are more than questionable, like Finn and Thayer.  A match made in heaven?  Maybe....but not really once you know the whole truth.  Speaking of truths...

We've built our platform with a formidable base of interest, and we've barely even talked story line!'s much more than expected, in fact if you're not paying attention to the details, you might miss something.  ~whistles~  What?!  I reread the part I spaced on and was right on track thank you very much.  *humpf*  True truths are not something that run rampant in this story.  More often than not someone is trying to manipulate someone else and by the time you figure out what, why, or who, we're spinning off in another direction...but don't worry readers, it all connects in the end, FOR THE BETTER!  (well, not for ALL parties involved *ahem*)

To close (because if I don't I'll just keep going on and on and ruin the whole darn thing), mystery and intrigue abound in this familiar and yet not story about a new girl in new-to-her surroundings with connections to her past she never dreamed possible and a dark hazy future lurking just beyond the bend.  If she doesn't watch where she steps not only will she lose her spot on the lacrosse team for which she was brought in to play on (supposedly), but her very chance at choosing a life that suits her inner self....oh, and her life.  Yeah, suppose that part is the BIGGEST worry then.  (^_^)  

Review copy courtesy of Bethany at Merit Press Books.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, be sure to stop by their site, friend them on Facebook or follow along on Twitter.  This title is available now so be on the look out for it on a bookstore shelf near you....STAT!

Until next time...happy reading!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Santa Claus League by Stephen Miller

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the site that doesn’t shy away from holiday themed reads just because old Santy Claus’ BIG DAY has passed; the spirit of Christmas should remain with us the whole year through. 

 Today’s pick follows that train of thought to a “T”.  It’s a title I pledged to review this month, intended to hit before the holidays but alas with all the hustle and bustle, I fell a few days short.  No worries because as I mentioned, though this is the season of giving and jolly men in red, it’s something that we can aim to feel and share the other 364 days to come too.  What’s that?  Oh, you caught my jolly MEN in red bit, did you?  Good eye.  Yes, MEN as in plural…as in not simply ONE Santa Claus but an entire league working to bring joy to the world every day of the year and in more ways than simply giving the best toy of the season to a child demanding it.  Nope.  These guys and gals are of a richer cut.  Would you like to meet them?  Well, they’re dying to meet you!  Today’s book of choice is…

Stephen Miller
V&E Enterprises / Ivory Dusk

About the book….
Julia Martin is the most incredible girl in school, and Mason Howell is hopelessly smitten by her.  Julia is in charge of the local Charity Christmas party and she’s pleased at how well everything is going…until her Santa Claus calls in sick.  In a panic, she begs Mason to help her by wearing his grandfather’s heirloom Santa Claus suit.  Mason agrees, to impress the beautiful girl, but things don’t go as planned…as soon as he puts on the suit, he gets all the powers of Santa Claus!

Together with John Patton, Mason’s best friend, they learn his grandfather was a member of an ancient league of men and women dedicated to helping St. Nicholas use Christmas magic to save the world.  The three of them could become the newest members of the Santa Claus League…if they can learn the secrets of Christmas magic!

This is not the author’s first venture into writing but it was MY first time reading his work.  I must say…I was rather impressed.  True, there were some areas that didn’t feel quite fleshed out enough and a couple of transitions that were a bit rough around the edges but the overall story, the overall idea and presentation….WELL DONE!  Despite the fact that many of us are still letting this season’s shine wear off (aka withdrawal from the crazy holiday overload), I found myself raring to go for another round of Christmas cheer.

The trio of friends we come to know and love, Mason, Julia and John, are an exceptional group.  They all have kind hearts, similar affection for the season, and a penchant for wanting to drop a group of unsavory characters in the ocean, but we won’t talk about that…just now anyway.  *ahem*  Anywho…the variety of lead characters allows readers the chance to connect with someone on a more personal level, and if none of our new inductees to the SCL suits you, there’s still Rudolph (who is decidedly not a four legged furry friend with a shining nose), Mr. Warner (a kindly older gent that’s known Mason his whole life…and more about him than he even knows), Mrs. Warner (a gentle spirit but with a strong heart to keep the likes of Mr. Warner in line and enjoy every step in this world as well as the other dimension…but her warning, so cryptic!), and several dozen more…including the original St. Nicholas!  But I digress, you’ll make their acquaintances along the way…let’s get back to that story.

If you take A Christmas Carol, add in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and mix it with The Night Before Christmas, you have a pretty good recipe for what’s in store…though that first one REALLY comes into play in the next book (well, hopefully the next book…there will be a next book, right?  *blink blink*).  We have the miserable misers trying to ruin the holidays for one, for all, for all time…all because their former objections of their attention were rescued from their sinister clutches.  Serves them right.  Evil does no one any good.  Anywho…the only thing standing between them and mistletoe oblivion is the SCL (that’s Santa Claus League in case you didn’t catch that before).  Only problem is…the official SCL won’t be stepping in…they’re leaving it to the newbies.  Good luck!  No, really…they don’t need it.  I have complete faith in this trio to save the day as well as the season….just like St Nick.  A few supersonic travel expeditions, some touching of noses that results in visiting other dimensions and secondary time stops later and we have a formula for an entertaining read that will delight readers of multiple genres and generations.

In closing, a highly recommended read for all those looking to help spread the true magic of Christmas.  It may be hard to find at times, especially once December has come and gone, but it DOES still exist.  Help to nurture it even in it’s smallest most unnoticeable forms and make the world a better place one moment at a time.  Oh and of course by doing so, YOU become an honorary member of the SCL…and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!  Review copy received courtesy of Earle at V&E Enterprises.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, be sure to stop by their official site.

Until next time…happy reading!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when you’re looking for your fortune, as long as it’s bookish that is.  ^_^

So, we’re still exploring the realm of books-that-I’ve-read-and-still-need-to-review…I know, I KNOW, bad reader; don’t worry, I’ve berated myself enough for the both of us.  Anywho…time to step back through the literary time line and visit a title that might be aimed at the Young Adult crowd but I wouldn’t be surprised to find it in the hands of an older reader either.  How come?  Well, it deals with dealing in sage advice presented in a virtual fortune cookie type package…and what happens when such advice hits too close to home.  Ready to make this book’s acquaintance?  *cracks open fortune cookie*  “You will share an adventure between the pages with many, on your life path.”  Sounds like a YES to me.  Today’s book of choice is…

Henry Holt and Company, LLC

About the book…
A teenage girl with a secret advice blog finds herself in need of advice.
Meet Erin.  Smart student, great daughter, better friend.  Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie.  Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy.
It all begins when her ex-best-friend sends a letter to her blog – and then acts on her advice.  Erin’s efforts to undo the mess plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance.
What’s a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate?  Hopefully nothing like…”You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life.”

Don’t let the cool-ish cover fool you…it’s not all sweetened folded cookies and Twitter-count-or-less messages to both inspire and boggle the mind; it’s also a touching read. 

Erin is the star player in our “dinner theater” tonight and her life is about to go from comfy cozy to all-shook-up.  Grant it, it’s about that time seeing as the days of college applications and figuring out what you want to do with your life are just around the corner, but still, having to deal with friendship restructures when that support system is what you’ve depended on, first go’s at love, and parental judging whether warranted or not, on top of it all, can send any girl spinning off their axis.  For the most part, she handles it well and her outlet for dosing out her friendly advice (as the “voice” of Miss Fortune Cookie) provides for many smiles as well as frets…it’s in the frets though that things get interesting.  You ever want to give your two cents to your best buds but then realize, perhaps it’s something that you shouldn’t be nosing into?  Yeah…well Erin steps right in it while wearing her “Miss Fortune” persona and things go from sketchy to OMG-how-can-I-fix-this-without-ruining-my-friends-carefully-constructed-life-and-blowing-my-cover.  Yeah…like I said, interesting times ahead for all. 

I definitely liked the way the characters were portrayed; all their similarities and differences, ups and downs, changes made for both better and perhaps-not-so-much, felt real.  It made you see both the good and the bad side of dishing out advice and to never undertake it just willy nilly because no matter how much you think you understand a situation, if you’re not inside of the events unfolding, you are only affected SO much…and that can create waves not so easily overcome.  The way the story is steeped in multiple cultures also gives you a new look at how the age old institution of higher education is viewed…some as a stepping stone, others as a must and still others who couldn’t care less.  Good stuff.  Oh!  Speaking of “good stuff”, there are some things portrayed within the book, like the hate picketing balanced with a showing for love, that were inspired by TRUE events!  Pretty cool, right?  To check out actual footage from the 2010 protest and perhaps to be inspired to take a stand of your own, click on over to YouTube.

In closing, a book that leaves room for interpretation much like the fortunes in those slightly sweetened little cookies you get at holidays or at your favorite Chinese restaurant.  You’d be surprised how much can be boiled down to one short line of wisdom…just remember to take it with a grain of salt.  ARC for review courtesy of the fab folks at Henry Holt and Company, LLC Books for Young Readers, an imprint of MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their growing catalog, be sure to stop by their official site, friend them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.

Until next time…happy reading!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Reader's Read: Last Train to Omaha by Ann Whitely-Gillen

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place to be when you’re in the mood for something different, something off the cuff, something you may not have paid attention to otherwise, but thanks to moi, you’re bound and determined.  ^_^  Just kidding…well, sorta. 

 Today, we are featuring a title that’s what I would call a reader’s read.  What I mean by that is it’s not a book you simply pick up and breeze through.  This is one of those titles that you take in slowly, form a connection of some sort with the characters and really have to feel your way through.  It doesn’t make it a bad read by any means, but it can make it a bit weighty; perfectly understandable when all the secrets we’re dealing with come to light.  Ready to meet today’s book of choice?  All aboard for the…


About the book…
What happens when a bright young man’s promising future is tragically derailed at the age of eighteen?
Thirty-five-year-old James Milligan, the solitary and impenetrable chief architect at one of Chicago’s leading design firms, has never recovered from the gruesome death of his best friend nearly two decades before.  He’s learned that a distant heart is the only way to shut out the nagging guilt and pain that threatens to capsize him at any moment.  Only the dying veterans at the Aaron Milligan Palliative Care Center know the depth of the overwhelming compassion that James harbors within himself, and he is determined never to let anyone else into his heart – or his future – again.
However, when caring and patient palliative care nurse Rebecca Doyle enters his world, his hardened exterior begins to crack against his will.  Will Martin Diggs, the charismatic and perplexing Vietnam War veteran convince James that it’s not too late to reclaim his future?

This is a hard book to describe, hence the definite inclusion of the “about” section above.  It reads almost like a memoir in that we are truly living in the hearts and minds of the characters we touch and yet  as real as it all seems, it is still a work of Fiction.  Something to remember while living through the pages…

James had it all…he just didn’t know it.  Though this can be said of most of us from time to time for when the true value of something is staring us in the face as we are blinded by all the distractions surrounding said blessing, James’ shadows and demons are a tad more opaque than most.  His stem from the passing of a dear friend when he was but a youth in a rather traumatic fashion.  As he was there at the time, James blames himself for being unable to stop him…but there’s more to it than that, more than he’ll even admit to himself.  It’s amazing what the mind can protect us from whether we recognize the need for it or not. 

In this case, he needs it initially but not to the extent that it’s carried.  You see, James is a feeler…someone who not only feels deeply himself (though he could use a lesson in expressing those feelings) but can help others feel their way through the roughest patches including their final journeys.  You might think it an enviable skill, but remember, though things may seem greener on the other side, that tall grass swaying in the breeze may be hiding an accident waiting to happen.  James uses his ability for good but also as a shield to avoid having to deal with his past.  Funny thing about the past, you can never REALLY escape it; it’s always there, lying in wait for its time…and its time it will have, make no mistake.

In James’ case, the time came from his every day life; his relationships, his ability to make personal connections and simply to let those he loves most in.  Don’t get me wrong, in the work realm, he was a success…but that’s not how you get the true measure of a man or woman.  He was a good man at heart but trying to know that person within, making it  past the walls was impossible…well, at least until Rebecca came into the picture.  Somehow she managed to connect with the man beneath the issues but only just; guess the heart knows what it wants even if the rest can’t seem to get in sync.  Anywho…Rebecca and her little girl make quite an impression both on James, those in the community, and readers.  These girls have been through a lot, and though Mom tries to make things look easy for the sake of her kiddo, times are tough…especially on the personal side of things, but that’s a story I’ll let you discover more of on your own.

Author Ann Whitely-Gillen
In the end, if I was pressed to sum this one up in a word…it would be “journeys”.  It’s about the path you’re on, the one you’re aiming for and that golden brick one lying just out of reach over the horizon.  It’s a moving story taking you closer to that Omaha destination with every mile traversed, just not on the Amtrak-ish fast train…more of an old steam engine from yesteryear.  No matter…we all get there in our own time, or as Martin Diggs would say, whenever it’s our turn to ride.  Recommended for adult readers due to some content, themes, and a few “close encounters” between the sheets.

Review copy received courtesy of author Ann Whitely-Gillen.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as her future works in progress, be sure to stop by her official site.

Until next time…happy reading!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Grounded by Angela Correll

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the place to be when you need a break from your busy day.  It's pretty safe to assume, we've got you covered.  ^_^

So, when I started this one, I had several deja vu moments all at once.  No, seriously!  First off, page one was read the day before my birthday, which coincided with the lead character's day before HER birthday.  *blink*  Then, the milestone birthday she was celebrating...was MY birthday too!  *blink blink*  Her crisis of job, life, and love...okay, well admittedly my propects are FAR smaller in that area...but all hit very close to home making the story even more personal and affecting.  Don't worry readers, I didn't let it color my final opinion on the read.  I gave it a fair chance and in the end...found it...well, you'll soon see.  Today's book of choice, also known as the-review-that-hid-from-me-until-this-late-date, is...

Angela Correll

About the book....
New York City flight attendant Annie Taylor is grounded, putting a halt to weekends in Rome and her jet-setting lifestyle. Soon her noncommittal boyfriend’s true nature is revealed, and to top it all off, she loses her apartment. With nowhere else to go, Annie leaves the city for the family farm in Kentucky, a place she’s avoided for years. She finds a shotgun wielding grandmother, a farm in disrepair, and a suspicious stranger renting the old stone house.
The country quiet haunts Annie with reminders of a past that can’t be changed. She tries persuading her grandmother to sell the farm, but is met with stubborn refusal? Yet in the midst of her crashing life, Annie sees a glimmer of hope for a second chance. Jake Wilder is contemplating jumping off the corporate ladder to follow his passion for sustainable farming. He’s almost ready to propose to Camille, a girl who wants more, not less. Annie believes Jake is about to make a terrible mistake, but does she have the right to tell him?
As the summer heats up, so do Annie’s unexpected feelings for Jake and her interest in the land. When a sudden phone call comes from New York, Annie is forced to choose between coming to terms with her past or leaving it all behind.

Though a myriad of characters to which you can relate, my closest relationships developed with three in particular.  First up and in most detail....Annie.

Annie, I saw so much of myself in you it wasn't even funny.  Okay, well at times it was, but more often were the moments that kept me smiling, that invited me in for a cup of hot tea (sorry, I don't do iced) and a friendly conversation.  Even if you didn't know just what to say or do, it didn't make you imperfect, it made you human...and considering you're technically a 2-D character, you came off very 3-D.  I love how oyu came to find yourself in your own time, allowing others to share their wisdom indirectly and learning from the mistakes you've made.  I feel like we've become good friends over the course of your story and I would love to pay a visit to your family's farm one day because despite the impressions you give, I knkow you'll keep it.  It's a part of you and became more so as you spent time as your adult self with Grandma Beulah.  Speaking of the grand dame...

Beulah is my second gem of a character to note, though my illumination of her will remain brief.  How come?  Good question, but I can only say grow to love her in the details.  She's not perfect, tries oh-so-hard, is stubborn sometimes to a fault but gives of her whole self to everyone and anyone in need.  I'm pleased to have made your acquaintance and Annie was lucky to have someone like you in her corner, even though you grated on each other like opposite pulls in a magnetic stream.  Another giving soul, for the most part, would have to be childhood friend and new hang about, Jake.  Let's just say there are definitely some unresolved issues (*ahem*  feelings  *ahem*) there.

Author Angela Correll
In conclusion, I'd like to give a hearty bookmarks up to the author on a job well done, or a book well written.  This may be her first novel but it reads like a good friend's welcomed company.  I certainly hope to read more from this author in the future and will keep an open spot on my wish list just for her.

Review copy received courtesy of Amy with McAllister PR and Koehler Books.  (THANKS!)  For more information on what Amy's up to next, be sure to follow her feed on Twitter.  To find out more about the author behind this work, be sure to stop by her official site.

Until next time...happy reading!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas everyone! From my family to yours...wishing you the best of the season today and always.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the place that knows JUST what you wanna do right now.  JUST. WHAT. YOU. WANT. TO. DO.  *wink wink*

I meant R-E-A-D!

Today’s featured title is a blast from my reading past coming at you in the here and now.  How so?  Oh, you’ll see…I guiltily admit to everything as usual (which also helps me square myself with Santa for tonight), but it’s the thought that counts, right?  *looks pleadingly at readers*  Believe me fair readers, my intentions were only with you and yours in mind.  Today’s book of choice is…

Elizabeth Percer
Harper Perennial

About the book…
Afraid of losing her parents at a young age, Naomi Feinstein prepares single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor.  But when her only friend and confident abruptly departs from her life, Naomi isn’t sure she will ever recover, even after a long-awaited acceptance letter Wellesley arrives.

Yet Naomi soon learns that college isn’t the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined.  Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness – until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi’s introduction to Wellesley’s oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students.  As Naomi immerses herself in this exciting and liberating world, her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings devastating consequences.  Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

TRUTH:  I read this book a good time ago; it was still this year, but several months back.
TRUTH:  The review of said read was delayed by my own ponderings over the story…one thing led to another and it fell into the “need to review” stack with a light but noted thud.
TRUTH:  I DID in fact enjoy getting to know the characters, but the storyline lost me a time or two.

FINAL CONCLUSION:  I would have to say that the general gist of this story, or what I took away from it, is about finding ones own way in the world, ones own sense of self in spite of or perhaps in light of the positive and negative forces that influence our lives over the years.  Naomi’s story intertwines with both that of those in her present, like Teddy, Jun, and her father, but also those from the past, particularly the Kennedy’s daughter, Rosemary.  The “relationship” she forms with this historical-type figure through letters found from yesteryear as well as her days spent visiting those times in their former local homestead, allow her to forge bonds with the men in her life.  The secret society she uncovers at the university makes it possible for her to break the ice with the gals there, letting friendship even in its faintest forms form where none existed before.  Naomi’s dedication to becoming a doctor to not simply save the world but save her parents is heartwarming, though she finds over time, not as realistic as she might have hoped.

By book’s end, we’re all tied up like a package ready to be placed under the tree.  The story, the experiences are not always pretty…a matter of fact, sometimes they are PRETTY ugly, but they are realistic and the threads of mystery running throughout provide readers the chance to chase down an ending they might not have expected.  So whether you’re a fan of Shakespeare, a sap for “coming-of-age” tales, or merely a curious reader looking for your next weekend escape, this book may be right up your ally…in my opinion of course.

Review copy received courtesy of Liz at Harper Perennial.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, be sure to stop by their official site or follow along on Twitter.  To discover more about the woman behind the work, pay a visit to Elizabeth Percer’s site and read all about her.

Until next time...HAPPY HOLIDAYS...and happy reading!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Dickens Junction Mystery: The Edwin Drood Murders by Christopher Lord

Hi there!
Welcome back to the site that aims to please the reader in you every day of the week, Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

So, the Christmas holiday is almost upon us.  Are YOU ready?  AS for me, I’m trying to be though I DO think that this season has flown by WAY too fast.  Missed out on enjoying the whole kit and caboodle thanks to being so busy with work and what not….le sigh.  At least there were good reads to be had, right?  RIGHT!  Speaking of which, today’s blog tour guest fits that bill and another quota of my own, just right.

What’s that second quota?  Why, my Dickens requirement of the season!  Didn’t know about that one now did ya?  ^_^  Those that follow my site now for  more than a year, might remember this from last season but allow me to enlighten you.  Each year, I endeavor to read a version of that classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol.  I already accomplished that tradition this year thanks to the awesomely adorable work via BabyLit but that doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop there.  When I saw this Dickens stewed work come through the old email box, I read about it…pondered it…and more quickly than not decided I needed to be in on the action…and trust me, there is plenty to go around.  Ready to meet today’s blog tour guest and book of choice?  Let’s!  Gents, don your top hats; gals, grab your bonnets.  Time to celebrate the day Dickensian style with…

A Dickens Junction Mystery:
Christopher Lord

About the book…
The Droodists have arrived in Dickens Junction.  Local bookstore owner Simon Alastair has his hands full in his role as co-chair for the latest convention honoring Charles Dickens’s uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  A movie star, a pesky blogger, dueling scholars, a stage hypnotist, and an old family friend (among others) all have claims on Simon’s time.  In addition, some Droodists are clearly more – or less – than they appear, including a mysterious young man by the improbable name of Edwin Drood.

When a priceless ring and a rare Dickensian artifact go missing, Simon and reporter-partner Zach Benjamin learn that someone will do anything – including murder – to obtain an object of desire.

The first sign that something was amiss should have been all the last minute attendees…considering this is something of an UBER fan event, eyebrows should have been rising.  The second tell tale sign, the fact that one of the participants is named (or at least registered as being so) after the character of unknown fate in the novel at the center of their society’s planned discussions.  Just a little too coincidental for my taste to not raise suspicion.  Anywho…

What we have here is a meeting of the literary minds with a large helping of drama, a dash of mystery, and a little romance thrown in for good measure.  Whatever side of the Dickensian camp you fall into or out of, you’re sure to find some enjoyment from this little gem…or rather NOT so little.  The gem, not the book.  The Heart of Helsinki  is the gem at hand, out of hand, and back again, though not the only treasure at risk…we’ll get to that part in a minute.  This sparkly number currently belongs to one Osma Dilber, a sweet little elderly lady who is smart as a whip, and nice as can be.  Whomever would set their sights on bringing harm to her deserves it back on them twice fold.  Strong and steady, that’s who she is…and a kindly friend to those in the Dickens know and even those not quite so.  Also on the so side of things…

Meet Simon.  He’s our leading man in a sense; full time bookstore proprietor, Dickensian enthusiast, and amateur-ish sleuth.  He had his hands in the crime solving cookie jar once (in book 1) and found he liked the taste; though he would not wish the circumstances he’s found himself ensconced in on anyone, especially to simply practice his detective skills.  Anywho…Simon along with his partner Zach make an formidable and enviable pair.  How so?  Well, it’s not their stature, though their standing with the community is flawless, but rather the way they work together and help balance each other out both professionally and personally.  These two gents are genuine high quality and the results they produce in all they tackle are held to the same standards.  But I digress, I am getting way off topic…let’s circle back to the story.

Many are introduced in this “play” but only MOST will see it through to the very end.  That’s right my friends…it’s called The Edwin Drood MURDERS for a reason.  The way things unfold is rather curious, both as they progress and the final curtain call.  There are staged scenes straight out of the suppositions of dedicated Drood fans as well as those with less than cultured taste.  Think Bonesbut less on the morgue research and with English accents.  Does it work?  You bet…as does the flash of personal events our lead couple is sorting through.  Random note…I couldn’t help but notice a greater number of same sex relationships represented than in most stories I’ve read.  Whether done with intent or simply an after thought inserted subconsciously due to the author’s preference, I shan’t guess but trust me, it makes them no more or less likeable; just another set of literary characters to know, enjoy, and welcome back the next story round.

In conclusion, though a bit too Clue-ish for me at times, I still enjoyed my time in Dickens Junction and in fact wouldn’t be too surprised if you heard of me visiting once again in the near future…bookishly of course.  There’s a little matter of not having read book 1, The Christmas Carol Murders, that I would like to clear up, if you know what I mean (*adds to wish list*).  ^_^  The characters were many, those notable fewer on my roster…then again, I am rather picky about who I pick up and take with me upon book’s end.  Come ride the literary roller coaster and see if you can’t guess who’s who and done what with whom where, why, and how…before Simon says (Ha!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist that pun.)

Review copy received courtesy of Jessica at Mindbuck Media.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this promotion as well as those forth coming, be sure to stop by their official site.  To learn more about Dickens Junction both past, present, and future, start your journey now with a virtual visit and see what lies in store for you. 

Until next time…happy reading!

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