Interview With The Vampire by Ann Rice

Ann Rice has been on my hit list for quite a while.  She feels to me like one of those authors you should experience at least once.  I tried reading this one a long time ago and it didn’t take.   For Christmas, one of my friends sent me her beautiful copy of the Vampire Chronicles so  could give it another try as she said I must.  Wanting to read the book, as well as the beauty of the book and gesture brought me to this moment… where I can tell you – yes, read Interview With The Vampire.  ~Sheila

 

As the book begins, Daniel Malloy is set to interview the vampire named Louis.  Louis is wanting to share his life story from the time he was human and the details surrounding his change as well as the time and events that followed.  Daniel, nervous (as one would expect) yet excited for this opportunity, records the telling.  Louis shares his life from human form, to the events surrounding his change and the time and happenings that followed.

 

The copy I received form my friend Amanda
The copy I received form my friend Amanda

It’s still a little hard for me to explain all that this book is even though I finished it a few days ago.  I always have enjoyed reading stories that are not a cookie cutter outline of other stories and this one certainly fits the breaking the mold description.  Ann Rice’s idea to write a book about a vampire sharing his life (and death) story is in my opinion, brilliant.  I devoured the book.

I preferred Louis to the Vampire Lestat, not only because it is Louis’ story – but that Louis still for the most part, maintains some feelings for the preciousness of human life and does not (for the most part) use his new ways for evil.  I think that helped me ease into this book, knowing that Louis still maintained somewhat of a heart and feelings.

I found the book to me enlightening. Once into it – I could not put it down.  I wanted to know what would happen to all of them involved and in the end…  it was somewhat sad.

My rule on spoilers is you need them if the book is less than 20 years old and not well-known you dont allow them in a review.  In this case, I feel it is safe to say that I wish Louis would have found love and I hoped he would in Claudia, or in Armand, and I was saddened that as much as he wished to find others like himself, when he did, he found them wanting and for the most part – lived a life of solidarity pushing others who cared for him away.

Overall, I enjoyed this read and I am glad I finally read it.  There are three books within the book I was given – The Vampire Lestat is the second and Queen of the Dammed is the third.  While I am taking a break from them at the moment, I do plan to one day return to this book and read on.

 

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green w/ Bookies Book Club Review


Ahhh John Green… you are one of those authors that can do no wrong.  When I hear you have a book coming out my spidey senses tingle and I eagerly await the release date to see what brilliance you are going to add to my life as well as how the tears will this time form in my eyes.  ~Sheila

 

16-year-old Aza is constantly in a battle with her own mind… germs, ways to die, diseases occupy her thoughts beyond her control.  She is trying so hard to be like everyone else but if they only knew.

When her friend Davis’s billionaire dad disappears and there is a hundred thousand dollar reward on the line, Aza’s best friend Daisy is eager to get involved solve what happened and claim that reward.  Imagine what they could do with that kind of money!  Aza wants to be a part of it all despite all that goes on within her, and doesn’t it just feel good to be of something?

A long time ago I was told that when someone reads John Green, their first John Green will be their favorite.  I will never know if that is true as my first John Green was The Fault In The Stars and yup – that was my favorite.  I have since read all of his books and still feel while they are good, nothing has come close to The Fault In The Stars.

Coincidence?

I still hold to that after reading Turtles All The Way Down.  The book is good, it is a John Green after all which is like owning something classy and name brand, like “OOOH… is that a John Green?”    Yet my thoughts, as well as my book club who recently read it, is there is no big WOW.  Much happens, and perhaps this one is sadder in its own way as a John Green book goes – and plenty to think about – yet left none of us with a big WHOA.

Should you read it?  Yes.  If you have liked John Green in the past, or even if you are new to John Green – yes.  It is after all a John Green… it is deep, it is about young adults, and it hold its worth, for me however it landed as an average read.

In Bookies fashion of course we had food for our review… there were plenty of Turtle candies, a mock turtle soup, and extras.  One of the girls even made turtle bars… gooey caramel and chocolate… need I say more?

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

This book hit the spot and was the right mix of quirky crazy physiological craziness to make me laugh and cringe and SOOOOO glad I chose this book as my first book of the year.  ~Sheila

 

Paul Strom is so excited.  He is finally getting away for a lovely weekend with his wife Mia.  She has not been feeling well lately and Paul feels that perhaps this break from the pressures of running a household, working and their children has been perhaps a little too much for her lately.  This day- THIS DAY, will be the best day ever.

Yet things are not as they seem.  Mia seem out of sorts and edgy, and Paul is having interference from people calling him that know they should not be calling him.  He has already gone over this.  How can he keep their day on track and keep it the best day ever?  And in they could just get to their special place, so he can give Mia the special surprise he has awaiting for her.  She will be so surprised!

 

Oh I needed this.  I absolutely loved listening to YOU by Caroline Kepnes  and reading this synopsis made me wonder if lighting could possibly strike twice.  The answer, is awfully darn close.  While Paul does not quite hit the craziness level of Joe in YOU and Hidden Bodies, he sure is a good runner up.

I devoured this book.  I could not get enough of the story line and where it was going.  I wanted badly to know what was going to happen.  Paul made me laugh and he made me think…  professional crazy at its finest.

If you love a good physiological thriller, that is not over the top graphic or gory – this book is one to try.  An absolute delight on audio – Graham Halstead (Narrator),‎ Amy McFadden (Narrator) nailed it. 

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings: My Crazy Amazing Encounter with Sue Grafton

 

Good morning.  Or Afternoon.  Or evening.  Wherever you are and whenever you are reading this.  It is morning here in Minnesota on this exceptionally COLD day.  The coffee is brewing and I am capturing a few minutes to myself before my day explodes into activity.

You are probably familiar with the name Sue Grafton.  She was the author of the long running books that started with A is for Alibi, a series she started after having penned 7 previous books.  It was this alphabet series that went on to make her the famous author she had become.  She passed away in December, and although she was not an author I read (yet) she is one that holds a special place in my heart.

I have a personal story about her.  It was at the Penguin Bash in New York during the Book Expo of 2013.  I was at this event with my good friend Allison and my roommate that year Cindy (Cindy’s Love of Books).

I was siting and talking with a group of book reviewers when I believe it was Jill (Rhapsody in Books) who ran up to me and grabbed my arm.  “You have to come and meet Sue Grafton!” she said.  I remember feeling like a little kid putting the breaks on. I had not read Sue Grafton’s books and what would I say to a big name author who I had not read?

I was introduced and I came up with something awkward and surely cheesy by saying, “So.. you are on W.  What happens when you get to Z?  I mean, AA already means something and AAA means something else.”

GAH.

For some reason, she liked me.  We talked for about 15 minutes about writing and my wanting to do so myself and having yet (even now) to find my direction.  She gave me her email and told me to write her anytime to discuss writing.

Wait…

what?

Well as most things Expo for me…  I have HUGE plans when I return home, however life kicks back in and many things, such as emailing Sue Grafton about writing… fall to the way side.  It was a few weeks later the letter arrived.

It was a beautiful letter from Sue Grafton hoping that she was mailing the girl that she talked to about writing.  (Gulp)  I had not given my information to her but somehow she had come up with my mailing address and sent me this personal letter encouraging me to follow my passion.  It was beautiful.  Amazing.  And somewhere I still have that letter.

From that year on, she sent me a Christmas card every year.  Now, January 12th, I have put away all the Christmas cards of 2017… except hers.  Hers is still on my refrigerator.  I am savoring the memory of her, the conversation, the letter and knowing that this is the last Christmas card I will receive from this amazing author…  who changed the world – and ended the alphabet with Y.

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Sue Grafton and I  2013

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

There are some constants in life that you can cause you to breathe a little easier because you know they are there.. or they are coming.  Elin Hildebrand’s book releases are on of these constants.  She is consistently good in her writing, and consistent in putting out a book a year just as I am craving a little of that Nantucket sand between my toes.  ~Sheila

 

Harper Frost is that laid back girl next door with a beer chaser.   She has her own style and it is casual.  She doesn’t care what anyone thinks.  She tends to leap… and suffer the consequences later.  She is typically in between jobs and that is ok.

Tabitha Frost is dignified.  She wear only designer clothes and is much like her fashion icon mother, Eleanor Roxie Frost.  Appearance – is everything.  Tabitha’s teenage daughter Ainsley, begs to differ.  She is abrasive to her mother in full on teen rebellion…  what she needs, well what she needs is a dose of Harper – Tabitha’s identical twin.

The sisters, have lived on islands 11 miles apart yet have not connected in over a decade.  As their lives are splintering, the twins call a truce to see what they can do to fix things before it is all too late.  By switching places can they repair the damage done by lies, deception and gossip?  And is there any hope that what threw the sisters apart all those years ago can be repaired?

MMMMM  I love me some Hilderbrand.  Her books tend to be of the Nantucket persuasion which I love.  A little of knowing what you are going to get, at least setting wise… but there is so much more.

Harper and Tabitha are well-developed characters and I enjoyed this story line so much.  Hilderbrand does a nice job of fully developing the story lines of their worlds separately as well as together.  I love love LOVED Eleanor.  If you have not tried Elin Hilderbrand, I recommend highly that you do.  There are some delightful laugh out loud moments here, as well as a wonderful story of sibling rivalry, family secrets, and well.. basically a typical family trying to make it work.

SON by Jack Olsen


I admit, I have always been a bit fascinated with true crime.  That – I realize feels weird to say.  How to put this… the human mind is a fascinating thing, when you add in whatever makes psychopath’s do what they do… and usually justify it – I don’t even know what to say.  ~Sheila

 

Disclaimer…  I see as this year starts out my reviews have been ummmm… border line murderous?  Those of you who have read my reviews (or look at my review list) know better.  I read all over the board – just for some reason as I am catching up on reviews I see I have had a series in a row of these reads – not as dark as this one I am about to share with you.. but mystery dark all the same.  I assure you, lighter stuff is on the way 🙂  There have been some re-reads for book groups I am involved in such as Left Neglected (sooooo good), The Husbands Secret (ooh!), Big Little Lies (I will talk about this discussion soon), and Turtles All The Way Down for my book club that meets tonight).  See – they are coming 😉

SON.

I believe, if I recall correctly, I found SON while choosing audio on Audible.com.  I do, as I mentioned, enjoy (cringes at the word) the occasional true crime and SON’s synopsis of being an old crime and then rewritten with a new forward by another author.  That caught my attention.  Why rewrite a true crime? 

SON is about a serial raper in the Spokane Washington area in the 1980’s.  Fred Coe raped more women than can be actually known over a two year period.  He was described as handsome, kind, and a down to earth attitude that would not make you think twice about him (Bundy?).  He mainly watched bus lines or jogging trails for women alone.  The crazy think IMO – was he was not that good at it and I was mostly baffled by how long it took to capture him.

What do I mean?

Well, often his face was not covered.  He threatened the women of course to not tell or he would be back, and they did not.  Often – he could not perform.  He would ask the women if they enjoyed what he was doing, using vulgar language, etc…

A newspaper offered a reward for the rapists arrest – as it turns out, Gordon Coe, the editor of the newspaper took the calls that came in about the reward, only to later find out it was Fred Coe – Gordon’s son who was the rapist.

This book (I went with audio) was way longer than it needed to be.  The narration took a bit of getting used to, a monotone style voice that was used when they described the rapes and what the women said or what Fred said, grated at me for a large part of the audio as I felt it did not fit the scene.  The book is (IMO) over detailed, dragging out way longer than it needed to be.  I mainly kept listening as I was baffled by all that was said, that it took local law enforcement so long to capture him.  I had to know what finally happened.

As true crime goes, I would not recommend this one.  As mentioned, it was too drawn out for me, and while it held my attention, it was not something I could not wait to get back to. Unless you have connection to the Spokane area or the crimes themselves, I would say pass on this.

 

Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens


Yes, my Esken’s gush continues from yesterdays posting of The Heavens May Fall.  A brilliant writer who I have found to capture a bounty of talent within a binding.  Allen Esken’s never ceases to surprise me.

~Sheila

 

Detective Max Rupert has never come to terms with his wife’s death, the result of a hit and run.  When evidence is found that proves Max’s suspicions, that her death was no accident but cold-blooded murder,  Max falls into a world of grief and despair and an unquenchable desire to seek revenge on those involved.

As Max follows the clues he becomes more consumed to the point of not carrying what his decisions going forward could mean for himself.  When his obsessive need for revenge brings him to a cold and frozen lake on the far outstretches of Minnesota somewhere where his actions may never be brought to light, Max steps over a line that he himself had convicted many people for less.

Whoa and whoa.  Seriously whoa.  This book, and its nature really starts in Heavens May Fall as you learn more about Max’s growing obsession with his dead wife.  As heaven’s May Fall comes to a close, facts (bread crumbs) are dropped into the reader’s mind that all that surrounds Jenni Rupert’s death is not as it was to seem.  Deep Dark Descending really is all about what Max does with this new-found knowledge that his friend Boady placed in his care.

Deep Dark Descending is dark, however I will say understandably so.  If you follow Max’s love for his wife and her untimely death as well as other factors that are revealed in this book, you can indeed follow Max down the spiral rabbit hole of Deep Dark Descending.

For myself, I am fascinated with what Allen Esken’s brings into a book.  Knowing his background as an attorney makes it all the more fascinating for me as I imagine he is pulling from his own experiences and then adding his own spin to what happens when someone is pushed right to their breaking point.

I devoured Deep Dark Descending on audio, listening every chance I had to know what would happen as Max uncovers hard truths and makes even harder decisions of what to do with these truths now that they are fully revealed.