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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Book Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong




The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (Paranormal / Romance)
Date Published: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Harper

Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel...different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

The Gathering is the first book in the Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong. Maya is an excellent main character, and I enjoyed learning about things right along with her. Daniel and Rafe are interesting too, or I think they will be. We learned a little more about Rafe than Daniel, but I feel like there’s much more.  Daniel seems to know more than he’s let on too, or maybe he’s running on instinct at times. I don’t know, but there’s definitely more going on with him. This book did a great job introducing us to Maya’s life and the story that’s to come. I’m definitely on board and can’t wait to read more.

“I was rounding the local theater, planning to circle back, when Daniel’s shout pulled me up short.
I turned. He barreled toward me, his eyes wide with alarm. Right, like I was falling for that one.
I started to run again. I should have been able to outpace him easily. I always could. But the next thing I knew, I was being tackled. He knocked me into an alcove, both of us hitting the wall, then collapsing to the ground.
“Stay down!” he said.
Not much chance of doing anything else with him on top of me. But when I glanced up into his eyes, I saw that the panic wasn’t fake. He looked around as if expecting a posse of armed gunmen to round the corner at any moment. When footsteps sounded, he tensed, muscles bunching, prepared to leap up and defend us against--
Two preteen boys passed the alcove. One of them saw us and whispered to his friend. They grinned our way and shot Daniel a thumbs-up.
When they’d gone by, I pushed him off me.
“Okay, I might have overreacted,” he said as we sat up.
“You think?”


author
Kelley Armstrong believes experience is the best teacher, though she’s been told this shouldn’t apply to writing her murder scenes. To craft her books, she has studied aikido, archery and fencing. She sucks at all of them. She has also crawled through very shallow cave systems and climbed half a mountain before chickening out. She is however an expert coffee drinker and a true connoisseur of chocolate-chip cookies.

To learn more about Kelley Armstrong  and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, FacebookTumblr, and Twitter.

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Book Review: The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells




The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Genre: Adult Fiction (Science Fiction)
Date Published: January 1, 1897
Publisher: William Heinemann of London

They came from outer space -- Mars, to be exact.

With deadly heat-rays and giant fighting machine they want to conquer Earth and keep humans as their slaves.

Nothing seems to stop them as they spread terror and death across the planet. It is the start of the most important war in Earth's history.

And Earth will never be the same.

This edition of War of the Worlds includes a Introduction, Biographical Note, and Afterword by James Gunn.

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells was told by an unnamed main character. It’s told from his personal perspective. There isn’t a built up plot with character building. We don’t even know his name. It seems to be told after the fact, almost like he’s remembering the past events and telling us about it or journaling. I know there are supposed to be hidden meanings within the story about England at the time and whatnot, but I wanted to read it as the story I’ve heard so much about. I’ve seen the movie, a Tv show, and heard about a radio show based on the book. Supposedly the radio show is a pretty darn good re-telling. So good that people at the time thought it was going on in real life. I remember learning about it in a college journalism class and completely forgot about it until now, so I’m going to check that out, and include a recording below. As far as this book is concerned? I don’t know. I was disappointed. I mean, I think it’s super cool that this is one of the first books about aliens attacking earth, but it all fell a little flat for me.

Book One:
The Coming of the Martians

Chapter 1
The Eve of the War No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

The planet Mars, I scarcely need remind the reader, revolves about the sun at a mean distance of 140,000,000 miles, and the light and heat it receives from the sun is barely half of that received by this world. It must be, if the nebular hypothesis has any truth, older than our world; and long before this earth ceased to be molten, life upon its surface must have begun its course. The fact that it is scarcely one seventh of the volume of the earth must have accelerated its cooling to the temperature at which life could begin. It has air and water and all that is necessary for the support of animated existence.

Yet so vain is man and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer up to the very end of the nineteenth century expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far, or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor was it generally understood that since Mars is older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from the sun, it necessarily follows that Mars is not only more distant from life’s beginning but also nearer its end.

The secular cooling that must someday overtake our planet has already gone far indeed with our neighbor. Its physical condition is still largely a mystery, but we know now that even in its equatorial region the midday temperature barely approaches that of our coldest winter. Its air is much more attenuated than ours, its oceans have shrunk until they cover but a third of its surface, and as its slow seasons change huge snowcaps gather and melt about either pole and periodically inundate its temperate zones. That last stage of exhaustion, which to us is still incredibly remote, has become a present-day problem for the inhabitants of Mars. The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts. And looking across space with instruments, and with intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope—our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and gray with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through drifting cloud-wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow navy-crowded seas.

And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is indeed their only escape from the destruction that generation after generation creeps upon them.

And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?

The Martians seem to have calculated their descent with amazing subtlety—their mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours—and to have carried out their preparations with a well-nigh perfect unanimity. Had our instruments permitted it, we might have seen the gathering trouble far back in the nineteenth century. Men like Schiaparelli watched the red planet—it is odd, by the way, that for countless centuries Mars has been the star of war—but failed to interpret the fluctuating appearances of the markings they mapped so well. All that time the Martians must have been getting ready.

During the opposition of 1894 a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk, first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin of Nice, and then by other observers. English readers heard of it first in the issue of Nature dated August 2nd. I am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk into their planet, from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar markings as yet unexplained were seen near the site of that outbreak during the next two oppositions.

The storm burst upon us six years ago now. As Mars approached opposition Lavelle of Java set the wires of the astronomical exchange palpitating with the amazing intelligence of a huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the planet. It had occurred toward midnight of the 12th; and the spectroscope to which he had at once resorted indicated a mass of flaming gas, chiefly hydrogen, moving with an enormous velocity toward this earth. This jet of fire had become invisible about a quarter past twelve. He compared it to a colossal puff of flame suddenly and violently squirted out of the planet, “as flaming gases rushed out of a gun.”

A singularly appropriate phrase it proved. Yet the next day there was nothing of this in the papers except a little note in the Daily Telegraph, and the world went in ignorance of one of the gravest dangers that ever threatened the human race. I might not have heard of the eruption at all had I not met Ogilvy, the well-known astronomer, at Ottershaw. He was immensely excited at the news, and in the excess of his feelings invited me up to take a turn with him that night in a scrutiny of the red planet.

In spite of all that has happened since I still remember that vigil very distinctly: the black and silent observatory, the shadowed lantern throwing a feeble glow upon the floor in the corner, the steady ticking of the clockwork of the telescope, the little slit in the roof—an oblong profundity with the star dust streaked across it. Ogilvy moved about, invisible but audible. Looking through the telescope one saw a circle of deep blue and the little round planet swimming in the field. It seemed such a little thing, so bright and small and still, faintly marked with transverse stripes and slightly flattened from the perfect round. But so little it was, so silvery warm—a pin’s head of light! It was as if it quivered, but really this was the telescope vibrating with the activity of the clockwork that kept the planet in view.

As I watched, the planet seemed to grow larger and smaller and to advance and recede, but that was simply that my eye was tired. Forty millions of miles it was from us—more than forty million miles of void. Few people realize the immensity of vacancy in which the dust of the material universe swims.

Near it in the field, I remember, were three faint points of light, three telescopic stars infinitely remote, and all around it was the unfathomable darkness of empty space. You know how that blackness looks on a frosty starlight night. In a telescope it seems far profounder. And invisible to me because it was so remote and small, flying swiftly and steadily toward me across that incredible distance, drawing nearer every minute by so many thousands of miles, came the Thing they were sending us, the Thing that was to bring so much struggle and calamity and death to the earth. I never dreamed of it then as I watched; no one on earth dreamed of that unerring missile.

That night, too, there was another jetting out of gas from the distant planet. I saw it. A reddish flash at the edge, the slightest projection of the outline just as the chronometer struck midnight; and at that I told Ogilvy and he took my place. The night was warm and I was thirsty, and I went, stretching my legs clumsily and feeling my way in the darkness, to the little table where the siphon stood, while Ogilvy exclaimed at the streamer of gas that came out toward us.

That night another invisible missile started on its way to the earth from Mars just a second or so under twenty-four hours after the first one. I remember how I sat on the table there in the blackness with patches of green and crimson swimming before my eyes. I wished I had a light to smoke by, little suspecting the meaning of the minute gleam I had seen and all that it would presently bring me. Ogilvy watched till one, and then gave it up, and we lit the lantern and walked over to his house. Down below in the darkness were Ottershaw and Chertsey and all their hundreds of people, sleeping in peace.

He was full of speculation that night about the condition of Mars, and scoffed at the vulgar idea of its having inhabitants who were signaling us. His idea was that meteorites might be falling in a heavy shower upon the planet, or that a huge volcanic explosion was in progress. He pointed out to me how unlikely it was that organic evolution had taken the same direction in the two adjacent planets.

“The chances against anything manlike on Mars are a million to one,” he said.

Hundreds of observers saw the flame that night and the night after about midnight, and again the night after; and so for ten nights, a flame each night. Why the shots ceased after the tenth no one on earth has attempted to explain. It may be the gases of the firing caused the Martians inconvenience. Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth as little gray fluctuating patches, spread through the clearness of the planet’s atmosphere and obscured its more familiar features.

Even the daily papers woke up to the disturbances at last, and popular notes appeared here, there and everywhere concerning the volcanoes upon Mars. The seriocomic periodical Punch, I remember, made a happy use of it in the political cartoon. And all unsuspected, those missiles the Martians had fired at us drew earthward, rushing now at a pace of many miles a second through the empty gulf of space, hour by hour and day by day, nearer and nearer. It seems to me now almost incredibly wonderful that, with that swift fate hanging over us, men could go about their petty concerns as they did. I remember how jubilant Markham was at securing a new photograph of the planet for the illustrated paper he edited in those days. People in these latter times scarcely realize the abundance and enterprise of our nineteenth-century papers. For my own part, I was much occupied in learning to ride a bicycle, and busy upon a series of papers discussing the probable developments of moral ideas as civilization progressed.

One night (the first missile then could scarcely have been 10,000,000 miles away) I went for a walk with my wife. It was starlight, and I explained the signs of the zodiac to her and pointed out Mars, a bright dot of light creeping zenithward, toward which so many telescopes were pointed. It was a warm night. Coming home, a party of excursionists from Chertsey or Isleworth passed us singing and playing music. There were lights in the upper windows of the houses as the people went to bed. From the railway station in the distance came the sound of shunting trains, ringing and rumbling, softened almost into melody by the distance. My wife pointed out to me the brightness of the red, green, and yellow signal lights hanging in a framework against the sky. It seemed so safe and tranquil.

"War of the Worlds" 1938 Radio Broadcast

author
Herbert George Wells was an English writer. Prolific in many genres, he wrote more than fifty novels and dozens of short stories. His non-fiction output included works of social commentary, politics, history, popular science, satire, biography and autobiography. Wells is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and has been called the "father of science fiction."

To learn more about H.G. Wells and his books, visit him on Goodreads.


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Thursday, November 3, 2022

Book Review: Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain





Title by Author
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: March 2, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Books

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an arrogant bachelor insistent on a wife who meets the strictest of requirements--deserves his comeuppance.

The Honourable Mr. Jeremy Malcolm is searching for a wife, but not just any wife. As the target of matchmaking mothers and desperate debutantes, he's determined to avoid the fortune hunters and find a near-perfect woman, one who will meet the qualifications on his well-crafted list. But after years of searching, he's beginning to despair of ever finding this paragon. Until Selina Dalton arrives in town.

Selina, a vicar's daughter of limited means and a stranger to high society, is thrilled when her friend Julia Thistlewaite invites her to London, until she learns it's all part of a plot to exact revenge on Mr. Malcolm. Selina is reluctant to participate in Julia's scheme, especially after meeting the irresistible Mr. Malcolm, who appears to be very different from the arrogant scoundrel of Julia's description.

But when Mr. Malcolm begins judging Selina against his unattainable standards, Selina decides that she has some qualifications of her own. And if he is to meet them he must reveal the real man behind... Mr. Malcolm's List.

Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain was such a cute story. It has a strong Jane Austen feel to it, which I didn’t mind at all. It wasn’t as heavy or serious as Jane Austen can be at times. I was okay with that too. This was a clean and super adorable little story. All the characters, aside from Julia, we’re completely lovable. This is the kind of book I love with all it’s funny cuteness. It was a fast read and provides a perfect escape, which is exactly what I was looking for. Now, i can’t wait to watch the movie! I’ll also be checking out some other books by this author.


author
Suzanne Allain is a screenwriter who lived in New York and Beijing before returning to her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, where she lives with her husband.

To learn more about Suzanne Allain and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, InstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Book Review: Court by Tracy Wolff





Court (Crave #4) by Tracy Wolff
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Entangled: Teen

No one survived the last battle unscathed. Flint is angry at the world, Jaxon is turning into something I don’t recognize, and Hudson has put up a wall I’m not sure I’ll ever break through.

Now war is coming, and we’re not ready. We’re going to need an army to have any hope of winning. But first, there are questions about my ancestors that need answers. Answers that might just reveal who the real monster is among us.

And that’s saying something in a world filled with bloodthirsty vampires, immortal gargoyles, and an ancient battle between two gods.

There’s no guarantee that anyone will be left standing when the dust settles, but if we want to save this world, I have no choice. I’ll have to embrace every part of me...even the parts I fear the most.


Court is the fourth book in the Crave series by Tracy Wolff. This was a very long book, and a lot happened within its pages. There are a lot of different characters to get to get to know, and the author does an excellent job of setting them a part from one another rather than a lump in the background. I wouldn’t mind if some, like Isadora, would eventually get their own book. As for the plot? I love this story line. My only gripe would be that at times, I felt things were drug out too long, like the final battle, and at times I felt not enough time was given to things, like the ending itself. But ultimately, I’m happy with how it all played out, and I’m super excited to read Charm, and finally get all the details of Grace and Hudson’s secret time together while Grace was stone.


Have you read the other books in this series?


author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff is a lover of vampires, dragons, and all things that go bump in the night. A onetime English professor, she now devotes all her time to writing dark and romantic stories with tortured heroes and kick-butt heroines. She has written all her sixty-plus novels from her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her family.

To learn more about Tracy Wolff and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.



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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Book Blitz! I Still Love You by Sara Tallary




I Still Love You (Quaint #2) by Sara Tallary
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: October 25, 2022
Publisher: Self

LAYLA
Two years ago, I fled.

I have no choice but to pack up and move back to Quaint when a tiny computer glitch screws me out of my next traveling nurse opportunity. At first, it makes me anxious. Because he’s there. My ex, the man I pulled away from instead of leaning on after tragedy struck.

Then I realize I’m being gifted another chance to redeem myself from past mistakes and release the guilt I’ve been harboring. The problem? Luke Sacks has no intention of forgiving me. He spits nasty insults at me every chance he gets. Glares at me with those brilliant green eyes that used to worship me.

It only worsens when I put my foot in my mouth and lie to a coworker that Luke and I are together again. Only, we’re far from it.

LUKE
Two years ago, she fled.

After a bar fight leaves me with a nasty little gash, my twin brother forces me to the emergency room. In a flash, it’s as if the past two years haven’t gone by because she’s there. My ex, the woman I lowered to one knee for.

The chance encounter is short-lived, but then suddenly, she’s back in Quaint, declaring to a coworker that we’re back together. I go from being her ex-fiancĂ© to her fake boyfriend in seconds. Stunned, I don’t clear the air. First, because this guy rubs me the wrong way. Second, the heartbreak is too real, the anger too palpable.

So, I strike up a deal that I’m positive will have her leaving Quaint permanently. Because there’s no way I’ll ever forgive Layla Robinson for what she did to me, for the shockwave she leveled me with when she pulled her Houdini act.

This time when she leaves, I’ll be looking forward to it.

TRIGGER WARNING – SEXUAL ASSAULT, VIOLENT BEHAVOIR


I STILL LOVE YOU is a full-length enemies to lovers, second chance, fake dating romance with a hot twin, hilarious side characters, angsty tension, and past mistakes that eventually lead to a happily ever after! Recommended for 18+.

author
Sara Tallary lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and dog. When she isn’t spending her days writing or brainstorming new ideas for stories, she’s homeschooling her kids, cuddling up with her gorgeous Malinois pup, and binge-watching TV shows with her husband or playing Mario Kart (and winning, hah!). Though she tries to stay on a healthy diet, she has a love for sweets, is constantly adding books to her TBR, and loves a good laugh.

To learn more about Sara Tallary and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, BookBub, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter.


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