29 October 2010

Book Blogger Hop...

The Friday Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy For Books, and today's question is:

"What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

Ahhh....this is a very, very dangerous question.  Similar to Crazy for Books, and I'm sure you all may feel the same way, too...I'd be super ecstatic to have my very own separate large library in my home.  You know the kind -- the kind you find in London or Italy, dark wood, an open middle with a spiral stairway leading up to the second level...this is the closest picture that I could find.

Sigh.  One day.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


27 October 2010

Blood of the Prodigal, by P.L. Gaus

I picked this one up at the SIBA Trade Show last month in Daytona Beach, and had no idea that it was being re-released this year after it's original publication in 1999 by a different press.  I also had no idea that this book could be categorized and accepted in Christian fiction -- I don't think I've read one novel in that genre, and really never thought that I would.  Not sure why, but I just never thought I'd be interested by it.

Well, this book has certainly changed my perception of Christian fiction, and mysteries as well.  Blood of the Prodigal, by P.L. Gaus is a mystery novel set in the Amish countryside of Ohio.  Early one morning, young Jeremiah Miller is abducted from the farm, and his grandfather Bishop Miller, is forced to enlist the help of one of the "English," a person outside of the Amish world.  As one of the Plain People who does not associate with those outside of his community, the Bishop is now forced to ask for help from it.  Professor Branden, however, has earned the Bishop's trust, and begins to investigate where his grandson may be.  He has been asked to not involve the police, and Professor Branden honors this request.

The Bishop, surprisingly, isn't as concerned in finding his own son, Jonah, a young man who never took his Amish vows and left the community ten years prior.  He went through the Rumschpringe, which is a permitted period of time in which teenagers starting around the age of sixteen begin to "run around" as some term it -- officially, it's a time to court and find a spouse.  Unofficially, and embraced by the press in order to sensationalize it, it's viewed as a time when young Amish boys and girls explore non-Amish ways.  Either way, Jonah Miller was pretty wild, and subsequently was shunned from the community, a ban that Bishop Miller placed on Jonah himself.  Soon, the mystery develops into a two-fold one, in which not only is a kidnapping to be investigated, but also a murder, and Professor Branden is trusted and tasked to make sense of it all.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. Although a quick read, it's an exceptionally smart mystery, and it certainly does an effective job in telling a sound story full of absorbing insights into the Amish way of life. There are intelligent layers within this story, of both the personal lives of the Professor and his wife, but also of the Amish community and the politics of the English living side by side with the Plain People. The characters were exceedingly interesting with each scene (my personal favorites: the Professor, his wife, and Sheriff Robertson), and I was caught up in the mystery of it all. I had no idea who did the kidnapping, who committed murder, until the scenes unfolded before me. P.L. Gaus has combined the surrounding Amish countryside and charming characters into a developed and well-researched journey of a mystery. This is book one in the Amish-Country Mystery series, so there's no doubt that I'm interested to pick up the next one.

I also must admit that there were times, especially towards the end, when my throat closed up as I read, and I'm pretty sure if someone asked me a question at that exact moment, or tried to talk with me, I'd have to blink back some tears and collect myself before trying to speak.

Additional Thoughts
This is educational to the core, and it all began to tantalize that greedy little bone in my body that loves to learn as much as I can about anything. I have visited the Amish countryside in Pennsylvania once or twice as a kid, and loved it. There was one particular time in which the bus that I was on slowly drove past a group of children playing in the fields, and one little boy quickly stuck his tongue out at us. I used to think it was funny, and of course as I got older, in looking back at that event, and reinforced by reading this book, I quite understand that little boy's frustrations at all of the "English" tourists. It wasn't a zoo that the bus was traveling through; this was their home. I have made a mental note to myself that I would like to visit the Amish country again, but I will definitely ensure that I am more respectful than the silly tour company that I was on twenty-some years ago.

About the Author
Paul Louis Gaus lives with his wife, Madonna, in Wooster, Ohio, just a few miles north of Holmes County, where the world's largest and most varied settlement of Amish and Mennonite people is found.  His knowledge of the culture of the "Plain People" stems from more than thirty years of extensive exploration of the narrow blacktop roads and lesser gravel lanes of this pastoral community, which includes several dozen sects of Anabaptists living closely among the so-called English or Yankee non-Amish people of the country.  Paul lectures widely about the Amish people he has met and about the lifestyles, culture, and religion of this remarkable community of Christian pacifists.

Visit the author's site by clicking here.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


26 October 2010

Asylum, by Patrick McGrath

This is my first time reading a Patrick McGrath story.  It will not be my last.  I don't know how I haven't come across his work before, and I feel I have to catch up on all that I've missed out on.

Normally, I finish a book and immediately pronounce to myself whether it was good or bad, and then I'm off to the next selection from my burgeoning bookshelves.  It's been awhile, however, since I closed the pages of a story and had to sit and reflect for a few moments afterwards.  Without question, this was an excellent book, and I needed more time to think on the very nature behind the story, the characters, and events. Needless to say, I brooded and ruminated on the ending for quite some time.

Asylum, by Patrick McGrath has done all of this.  It has all the elements of a story that I like -- a haunting setting in the gloomy and sweeping English countryside, a dark love affair, secrets, and ambiguity.

Stella is the mother of a young boy, Charlie and the wife of Max, an esteemed psychiatrist at a maximum-security institution for the criminally insane just outside of London, England, in the late 1950s. Her day to day life of wife and mother is mundane, and her husband really doesn't have the drive or passion to keep her interested.  Only a few patients are granted access to the grounds around the house on the institution, to work on the garden or to redo the old conservatory, with a watchful group of staff nearby. Unbeknownst to all, though, Stella becomes the lover of an incredibly dangerous patient, Edgar.  He's quite an artist, but he's also destructively jealous -- his unending stay in the institution was determined because he killed his wife in a brutal and mutilating manner, apparently because she was seeing other men.  Stella, however, still finds herself uncontrollably drawn to him and caught up in the passion of this bizarre love.

This is an absolutely fascinating story and it is incredibly written, told through the perspective of another doctor at the institution, the older and wiser Dr. Peter Cleave. I initially thought I wouldn't care for this character, but I ultimately found that not only was it necessary in order to describe a general understanding of the mind -- the breakdown of Stella, the depth of manipulation by Edgar, and the ultimate weaknesses of Stella's husband, but it also explained the neurosis and psychosis of the characters.  The insight Dr. Cleave provided was so critical to understand how these fictionalized people became completely devoid of reality only to succumb to the obsession everyone represses -- the ability to become thoroughly self-obsessed, whether or not it destroys innocent lives.

With Peter telling the story, in some scenes almost clinically, it created a much more haunting feel and I felt completely entrenched in the story. Several times it seemed to intensify so sadly and in such a disturbing nature, that I couldn't fathom it to turn more grim than it already was, but the author was able to continue down that path even further.  Peter provides a trusting credibility that lends quite a bit to the pleasure that I had in the twists that occurred.  I was mortified, angry, heartbroken, and completely engrossed in the story.

Patrick McGrath has created a suspenseful psychological thriller of obsession with oneself.  It is haunting and dark, deeply erotic in some scenes, and altogether disturbing.  Highly recommended, and I will be on the lookout for more Patrick McGrath books.

Side Note:  Patrick McGrath grew up near Broadmoor Hospital in London (a high-security psychiatric hospital), where his father was a medical superintendent.  He is a British novelist whose work has been categorized as Gothic fiction, and his fiction is "principally characterized by the first person unreliable narrator, and recurring subject matter in his work includes mental illness, repressed homosexuality, and adulterous relationships."(Source: Wikipedia)

Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick

FTC Disclosure...I requested this book from Paperbackswap after reading The Literate Housewife's blog -- she loved this book and Patrick McGrath is one of her favorite authors.


25 October 2010

Giveaway Winners of Stephen Jay Schwartz's BEAT

Put it on this bookshelf
A little behind schedule on this one, but... the winners of BEAT (click here for my review), by Stephen Jay Schwartz are:
  1. Pop Culture Nerd
  2. Knitting and Sundries
  3. Anne in Alabama
Congratulations!  A separate note will be sent to you requesting your mailing address!

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


23 October 2010

Missing 33 Pages??

My week has been busy.  I've been traveling for work and just flew back home from Dallas after a two day meeting.  Not much time to read.  At all.  Tired even on the plane.  I haven't blogged, I've barely been able to catch up on everyone else's blogs...

And I have this really, really good book.  I was planning to finish Asylum, by Patrick McGrath today, so I could post a review and literally moments ago, I came across the most bizarre thing.  Immersed in a specific conversation between two characters, I continued onto the next page, and immediately became confused.  A completely different conversation was transpiring.  Wha??  I looked down at the page numbers and saw this...

WHA??  How could this happen?  It jumped from page 116 to 149??  Could 33 pages be ripped out and I never noticed that??

No.  The pages are not ripped out, but the book has literally skipped over 33 whole pages?  Nooo.....!!  Not at this point in the book, I'm sucked in!!

So I'm off to my local independent bookstore in Neptune Beach, Florida, The BookMark.  I called ahead and they have one copy, and they have assured me that all the pages are there!  (I'd like to also point out that the other chain stores didn't have a copy but the independent bookstore did!)

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


16 October 2010

Evenfall, by Liz Michalski

I'm not sure how else to say it but this way -- I really, really didn't want this one to end.

Scheduled for release in February of 2011, Liz Michalski's debut novel, Evenfall is quite a story, and one I intentionally slowed down in my reading towards the end because I really didn't want to commit to the fact that all stories have to end.  I'm so happy that I picked this one up at the SIBA Trade Show last month.

Each chapter of Evenfall takes a third-person point-of-view of three important people: Andie, Frank, and Gert, living on beautiful land in Connecticut called Evenfall. It's land that has been owned for a couple hundred years by one family, and at one time, it was the talk of the town with money galore.  But over the past fifty years or so, it's been hard farmland to work, and it's now become simply just a home with work to be done.

The characters are...

Andie is the young woman who's just returned from Italy -- she's caught her oh-so charming boyfriend with another, and it's time to get away. Her Aunt Clara has already passed, and now so has her Uncle Frank. It's time for her to come to Evenfall to help Aunt Gert clean it up to possibly sell. She has no bond with her own father, who dropped her off at a boarding school each fall when she was a kid, and then dropped her off at Evenfall each summer. She's been lucky to have her two aunts and uncle to give her a sense of family. And although this summer will be a hard one filled with memories that jump out from every room of the old house that will be looked at by real estate investors, she's especially unprepared for the young boy she once babysat who has now grown into quite a capable young man. A break from men and life's decisions she will not get.

Aunt Gert, nearing eighty, has spent a lifetime as a take-charge nurse who also served in WWII -- she's not a woman to be messed with. Aunt Gert has lived on the land in a small cottage since Andie was a kid, while the love of her life, Frank, was married to her sister, and living in the main house just a short walk away. I could imagine that feeling and how difficult it must have been for Gert. It's built her toughness to the point when it's not often anyone or anything can really crack it.

And Frank. Frank may have been my favorite character, but it's hard to say since I enjoyed each one. He's now dead, but he's certainly not gone, and he hovers about the house, having the ability to move from place to place simply by thinking about it. Gert is really the one he was always meant to be with, but bad timing and perhaps the subtle thought that there was always time, kept him from making the right choice. Regret can almost feel like its own character, and in Evenfall, the weight of its presence was felt through every page. Frank, though, is not ready to have it be part of him any more -- he's going to make it right, and sometimes he can project his presence to the point where Gert can feel him around her. It's not the time anymore for him to just sit back and let time slide by.

Evenfall is genuine.  Every character had its own peculiarity and distinct personality that it never once felt jarring when the point of view switched from chapter to chapter as it sometimes can in other stories.  Their actions were real and organic to who they ultimately were.  Even the movements and thoughts of Frank's ghost were written so authentically that I felt confident that this truly would be what a ghost would be able to do, to think, to feel, in their afterlife.

I felt surrounded by so many things as I read this.  Enveloped by the humid richness of the New England summer, the descriptions of farmland, peaches, and the setting sun so real I could see it before me.  And reminder.  Regret makes an incredible story, as Liz Michalski does with Evenfall, but it certainly does not make a good life.  I was reminded to enjoy the moment, to see what was before me, and to not just pay attention to what, but most especially to whom.

Liz Michalski has effortlessly crafted a story that resonates about love and life, and how strong longing can be in the afterlife.  What's right is always right, and it doesn't matter when it happens, but making the effort to make it right is a lot better than living a lifetime of regret.

This comes out in February - I envision book clubs really enjoying this one.  And especially good for anyone on a rainy day.

Visit Liz Michalski's blog by clicking here.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


11 October 2010

Monday, Monday! What Are You Reading?

It was a great week for the Mailbox last week! Where, oh where, do I put these books, and when, oh when, can I read them??

Thanks to all of the fabulous Mailbox Monday hosts!  The Printed Page and Avis of She Reads and Reads.  A thank you to Sheila from Book Journey as well!

Here's the stack!  I received the Georgette Heyer books from the new blog Austen Authors.  It's a new site that celebrates all the Austen-inspired fiction that is out there, and I'm happy to have won their Grand Prize Giveaway in September! Still can't believe it, and it came in the mail so quickly last week!  Check out my Georgette Heyer collection!! *screams with excitement*

I also received from Erin Grace with Peachtree Publishers the superbly illustrated Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach.  From Paperbackswap, I received Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson and Rembrandt's Whore, by Sylvie Matton.

Woohoo!  What are you reading this week?

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


09 October 2010

Dewey's Nine Lives - by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

It's a cold morning in Iowa, the ice creeping through every crevice of the city street and buildings.  So cold that perhaps it seemed merciful to put a kitten through the book chute of a library, when really there was a drop into a cold metal box, with up to an additional twenty-four hours before the kitten could be found.  There was no warmth where he landed, only what was really an ice-cold refrigerator.

We've all heard about Dewey, the library cat from Spencer, Iowa, and his special ability to bond with anyone who walked through the library doors.  He knew what each person needed,  whether it was to play a game with him, or for him to simply curl up in a lap and fall asleep.  He just knew what you needed.  This is Dewey's "magic."

In Dewey's Nine Lives -- The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions, Vicki Myron partners with Bret Witter to tell us about his magic once again. Scheduled for release this Tuesday, October 12th, there are two new stories about Dewey and seven other stories of those who were inspired to tell Vicki about how their cat brought out the very best in them.  It is a book to inspire us all to remember how valuable our animals are.

Just so you know...I cry a lot through books about how an animal can make you feel, their inspiration, and their complete and total unconditional love to us, but it's such a good cry. I just love to be reminded of how incredibly important animals can be in our lives and how they deserve our mutual love, respect, and protection.  An animal can't speak for themselves and tell you what's right and what's wrong, or what hurts. We have to do that for them, to help them, and care for them, to stand up for them when something is wrong or inhumane.  But sometimes it's forgotten what an animal's love can do for them, the inspiration that they can provide.
Dewey's Nine Lives reminds you that the magic of an animal's love and devotion can be found everywhere, not just in one library in Spencer, Iowa -- but one little cat named Dewey had such an amazing story that it brought out the personal stories of people with their own cats, in such an incredible outpouring of love, inspiration, and most especially, the amazing bond one can have with their precious pets.
Dewey's Nine Lives is such a feel good book that reminds us of the importance of animals in our lives, perfect for the holidays!

So in honor of Dewey, and in preparation for the new release this Tuesday, I figured I'd do a short tribute about the cat that is in my life.

Three years ago, I would have told you that I was a dog person only.  But that was before a small dark gray and white kitten began to hang out in our backyard.  My husband and I never really knew what to do with him, especially since every time we opened our door, he took off.

A couple of weeks later on Valentine's Day, it was a cold night in North Florida -- about twenty degrees.  We were packing to go on a short vacation and I was excited -- it was my birthday present to my husband and he had no idea where we were going.  In the midst of our packing, we happened to look out our slider door and saw the little kitten sitting at the door and facing us.  And he was mewing.  Loudly.  I'm sure I actually heard him say, "let me in," but that could just be me...

We opened the door and instead of running off, he walked in with a bit of assurance that made us smile.  When we sat on the floor, he immediately got onto my lap and fell asleep.  Twenty minutes later, he was still asleep, and needless to say, I hadn't finished any more packing for our early 6 a.m. flight.

We managed to give him a little food and some water but we didn't know where to put him in the house, considering my husband was incredibly allergic to cats.  Putting him back outside seemed like a bad idea, but we weren't sure what else to do.  So we crafted a home for him out of one of our thick plastic storage boxes, layered it with blankets and towels and shielded it from the cold, facing it towards the house in a protected corner.  We were terrified that it wasn't enough, but when we looked outside later on in the night, we saw he had curled up deep down into the blankets and looked incredibly comfortable.  We put food and water out in the back and left for our short trip.  We were nervous, but typically characteristic for North Florida weather, we knew it was going to warm up the next day, and warm up it did.

We came back and found that the cat was still in the backyard, and he was still purring.  I was ready to take him to the local shelter, but I held back.  I was getting used to seeing him in the backyard, running to see me when I opened up the back door, and I was jokingly calling him Puppy the Cat.  And my husband was building up some sort of tolerance -- he didn't sneeze or get red and puffy eyes anymore.  After many doctor visits, it was clear that he was ours.  And we never considered changing his name -- it's fun to take him to the vet and announce that Puppy the Cat was ready.  But what truly made him our cat, so ferocious we are now to protect him, was when we learned that this kitten had actually been a pet of someone in our neighborhood.  And when this neighbor's girlfriend left him, he decided to get back at her by kicking the tiny kitten out of his house in the cold weather.  There was no doubt anymore, this cat was mine.

About three months later, we found a stray Vizsla/Pit Bull mix that we brought home.  There was no fur on her chest, and the collar had grown into her skin.  We immediately fell in love with how peaceful and sweet she was and named her Roma after the city we love so much, but we questioned if this dog and this cat could get along...

I've shared this picture with you before, but I think it answers the question we had.  What do you think?

Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick


07 October 2010

Book Review
Let me first say this -- you have to have thick skin to deal with this book.  It's laden with sexually graphic detail and language since the primary character is a homicide detective with an addiction to sex.  Generally speaking, he's not opposed to internet porn, prostitutes, and the like.  (Is this a trend for what I've been reading this week...?)

Hayden Glass is an LAPD homicide detective and in the prior book, he's encountered some fairly gruesome situations in which he's looked at as a hero by the public, but his file is completely sealed.  Only he and a few others know what he really did.  He's got some time off right now (forced medical leave), and he's making use of it by finding someone he really likes...who he happens to have met through an internet porn site, and then met in real life after obsessively traveling to San Francisco.  He is a "recovering" sex addict, after all.

Cora is the girl he's met online, and he likes her a lot.  He thinks there's more between them, and maybe so.    Not only does he like her, but she happens to be a primary link to a sex slave trade that's run by the Russian mafia.  But right now, she's gone missing after being brutally taken from Hayden right in front of him, and he wasn't able to do anything about it.

If you can get past the graphic subject matter and those first few pages particularly (literally, page two would make Tiger Woods blush), then you're in for a well written mystery/suspense/thriller.  Although it's gritty and disturbing, Stephen Jay Schwartz finesses the images to keep you thoroughly unsettled but racing to find out who's behind the corruption supporting the sex slave trade, and more importantly, where Cora is. It's also a fascinating portrayal of a character who has a debilitating and ruling addiction that he's at the early stages of overcoming. Fans of Stephen Jay Schwartz and his character, Hayden Glass, won't be disappointed.

This is the second book for the Hayden Glass character, but you can read this as a stand alone.  There's enough references and background provided to not make you confused and wonder what happened in the first book, but only enough to make you want to go pick it up and read it.
I received Beat, by Stephen Jay Schwartz from Ashlee at PR by the Book, so many thanks to her.  The book was released on September 28, but thanks to Ashlee, I have THREE FREE COPIES to give out -- all I need is for you to enter a comment to this post with your email address.  As I always say, you don't have to be a follower, but I love feeling the love...
Entries accepted through Thursday, October 14, 2010, and winner announced Friday, October 15, 2010.

About the Author (from the author's Amazon site)
Los Angeles Times Bestselling Author Stephen Jay Schwartz spent a number of years as the Director of Development for film director Wolfgang Petersen (whose credits include Das Boot, In the Line of Fire, Air Force One, The Perfect Storm, Troy) where he worked with writers, producers and studio executives to develop screenplays for production. Among the film projects he helped developed are Air Force One, Outbreak, Red Corner, Bicentennial Man and Mighty Joe Young.

Stephen's own film work has exhibited at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival, the Directors Guild of America, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
He also worked as a screenwriter and freelance "script doctor," developing concepts, treatments and feature films for independent film producers. His writing credits include Inside the Space Station, narrated by Liam Neeson and produced as a "Watch with the World" special for The Discovery Channel.
Boulevard, a very dark crime thriller set in present-day Los Angeles, is Stephen's first novel. His second novel is due out in Summer, 2010. In addition to writing novels, Stephen plans to direct feature films through his production company, Picaro Entertainment.

Stephen Jay Schwartz currently lives in Southern California with his wife and two young boys. Learn more about Stephen by visiting his website at stephenjayschwartz.com. Stephen also blogs regularly at the crime/thriller author blogsite www.murderati.com.

Visit the author's site by clicking here.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


06 October 2010

Catching Up On a Few Awards and the Autumn Air...

I have been slipping a little bit...but I attribute it to the fact that it's actually getting cooler in North Florida.  I almost feel like my Northeast blood is somehow subliminally convincing North Florida to start playing along with the fact that it's the fall weather.  Pumpkins!  Halloween!  Cool, crisp air!

Normally, it does get cold in North Florida in the middle of winter, and although it doesn't get as cold (or any snow) as the Northeast does, we still get twenty degree weather.  But this year, it's getting cooler sooner!

So...here's where I've been slipping...the Coffee and a Book Chick blog has received a few awards from some other fantastic blogs in the past few days, and it's taken me a bit to catch up!

There are just such fantastic and amazing book bloggers out there and I'm so excited to introduce you all to these four, in the event you haven't come across their blog yet!

I received The Versatile Blogger award from Kittie Howard's blog on her stories and life experiences -- I so love catching up on her site!  Thank you!  No rules on this award this time, so I get to just issue this out -- yay!  So I'd like to issue this to and introduce you to:

The Versatile Blogger
  1. Tedious & Brief -- books and film, and my fellow co-host for The Historian Readalong at On the Ledge Readalongs
  2. Down The Rabbit Hole -- I love YA books, and that's what is discussed here, and I so love her blog name and her site address (AmberInBlunderland)
  3. My Reading Room -- I just came across her site, and it's fantastic!
  4. Peppermint, Ph.D. -- Wonderful insights at this blog, you must stop by!

And then from Page Turners Gone Wild, I received the Cherry on Top Award!  Woohoo!!  Thanks!!  All you have to do is answer one question, pass the award on to six people, and thank the sender to the award -- so again, thank you!  (And I love her blog name, too!)

Question:  "If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in life, would I, and what would it be?"
Answer:  Heck, yeah!  I could go on and on... and would probably pick I should have tried to everything I could to be the chick version of Indiana Jones.   Indianette?  Love it.

And I'm issuing out this Cherry on Top Award to...
  1. Living Outside the Stacks -- Great book reviews and fabulous social issues discussion!
  2. Buttery Books -- Oh, yes, a book blog dedicated to taking the wonderful books we all read and review, and using that as inspiration to creating recipes that are based on that book!  (Example:  Corelli's Mandolin Greek setting in Cephalonia generated some amazing Greek food -- breads, baklava, ahhh...)
  3. Under My Apple Tree -- The site is clean and beautiful, and the reviews are fabulous!
  4. Vintage Reads -- Just because.  It is absolutely wonderful.
  5. Wicked Awesome Books -- How could you not like this YA site?  Check it out!
  6. The Unread Reader -- I adore this site, simply fun!

And then, last but not least the One Lovely Blog Award...

I received the One Lovely Blog Award from Book Loving Mommy and Bibliosue!  Thank you!!  The rules are to thank the one who awarded you (gracias!) and pay it forward to 15 other bloggers newly discovered!  So, here goes:
  1. The More You Read
  2. The Reading Life
  3. The Literary Amnesiac
  4. The Infinite Shelf
  5. Tell Me A Story
  6. Beachreader
  7. A Writer's Review
  8. Literary Musings
  9. Bookgirl's Nightstand
  10. Reads, Reviews, Recommends (Kate Evagelista)
  11. Steampunkery & Book Reviews
  12. Giving Reading a Chance
  13. e-Volving Books
  14. Another Book Junkie
  15. Fragments

Now, back to reading! :)

Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick


Friends, let me tell you.  Jump onto FiveChapters.com as soon as you can.  I don't even know how I stumbled across this site, but it's incredible -- I friended their Facebook page and I've been caught in this whirlwind of reading one chapter a day from Monday through Friday ever since. And it's free...

Last week's installment was five chapters from the short story "A Week Apart," taken from Daniel Stolar's compilation entitled The Middle of the Night: Stories.  Apparently, the title comes about from the fact that there is something in each of the short stories that keeps the reader up in the middle of the night -- and with the five chapters that were posted online for "A Week Apart," it certainly was thoroughly warranted for that to happen.

In "A Week Apart," a woman just in her forties, is married with two daughters and living a quiet and good life in Chicago.  And she's married to a wonderful man. He's thoughtful and sweet -- not to mention he's a good father to their children.

But, he's got one slightly ruinous flaw that she happens to stumble across one day on his computer -- it's not internet porn her husband is dabbling in, it's far worse.  He's actually utilizing a service to meet women and has appointments, or "dates" with them.

I won't say more because you should jump onto this site and read right now.  In the five chapters that were posted, I was literally swept up in this woman's life, in her pain, indecision, and sadness.

Suffice it to say that reading this short section is probably what may make me want to actually read short stories again.  To be honest, I haven't read short stories in ages, simply because whenever I've read them, I always turn that last page of the story and I never feel like it's quite complete.  I get a little antsy, I feel unsettled, and I always feel like I need another few pages to solidify everything.  But, these quick five chapters of Daniel Stolar's book were so incredibly engaging that it seems to be all the invitation I need to try to get back into reading the stories that may be restricted with their pages, but are simply overflowing with content and beautiful writing.

Really, seriously, and right now -- jump onto FiveChapters.com and take a few moments to read a little bit of their selections that they post.  I'm so caught up in it.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


04 October 2010

Teaser Tuesday...

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.  Anyone can play -- just do the following:

--  Grab your current read
--  Open to a random page
--  Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
--  Be CAREFUL not to include spoilers!
--  Share the title and author, so that others can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser
    My teaser:
    Hayden exhaled, laughing at his embarrassing display of caution. He stood and stepped absently into the street and collided with an eight-ton cable car and was sent flying.  (p.26, Beat, by Stephen Jay Schwartz).
    REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY coming this Thursday!

    Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesday's post, or if you don't have a blog, share your teaser in the comments box!

    Happy Reading!
    Coffee and a Book Chick


    03 October 2010

    Monday, Monday! What Are You Reading?

    As always, thank you to all of the fabulous hosts for the Mailbox Monday meme that I get to participate in!  The Printed Page, BermudaOnion, and BookJourney!

    This past week was a busy mailbox week -- a couple copies came in from Paperbackswap, but mostly everything was from some pretty fantastic publishers.  Not sure when I'm going to be able to read everything, but I've got to find the time -- no one ever said you needed to get some sleep, right?

    I've been really looking forward to these, and I'm scheduled to post reviews this week for a couple of the ones below:

    Okay, here's what it looks like from the bottom up:
    I've got a busy week ahead for me, huh?  Might take me a bit longer, though...  How about you?  Have you read any of these?  And what did you get in this past week?

    Happy Reading!
    Coffee and a Book Chick