07.28.16

Waste Not: And Other Funny Zombie Stories by Rhonda Parrish

Posted in Review at 8:29 pm by Amber

Title: Waste Not: And Other Funny Zombie Stories
Author: Rhonda Parrish
Publisher: Poise and Pen Publishing
Source: Author

Book cover of Waste Not: And Other Zombie Stories

Full disclosure: I’ve been online friends with Rhonda for several years and I tend to think anything she does is pretty great.

Waste Not is a very small collection; it contains a total of three stories. You can either drag it out over several days or buckle down and read it all in one sitting.

The first story is a realistic look at the limitations placed upon a farming family when zombies are out and about. It’s about payback with a chuckle.

The second story is a cat’s eye view of what happens when a pet’s owner doesn’t come home. The cat’s observations are wry. How fitting for an aloof cat!

The final story involves a drunk munchkin who thinks the Wicked Witch may not be as dead as everyone thinks. Or is it the alcohol which has his nerves on edge?

I was expecting more stories but sometimes what you want is just a little taste of something different to tide you over until you can jump into something which requires a time commitment. This is going to be one of those short story collections to fit the bill.

07.19.16

Keep Calm by Mike Binder

Posted in Review at 10:27 pm by Amber

Title: Keep Calm
Author: Mike Binder
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Keep Calm

When a bombing at 10 Downing Street wounds the Prime Minister and tests Great Britain’s resolve, American ex-cop Adam Tatum must confront a conspiracy in the highest halls of power

Former Michigan detective Adam Tatum receives an unexpected offer, a golden opportunity that seems almost too good to be true. He travels to 10 Downing Street to participate in a high-stakes conference. Immediately after his visit, a bomb detonates, wounding the prime minister and placing Adam Tatum squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion.

Sensing a setup, Tatum flees with his family, desperately fighting for survival in an unfamiliar country. The lives of his children, the future of his marriage, and the fate of a nation depend on Tatum exposing the conspirators who pegged him for a fall.

Georgia Turnbull, the chancellor of the exchequer, and Davina Steel, the lead investigator, both stand to gain from the successful manhunt of Adam Tatum. But, as motives emerge and desires ignite, each must decide what they’re really after.

Layered plots, crackling dialogue, and propulsive action mark Keep Calm, the riveting debut thriller from award-winning actor, director, and screenwriter Mike Binder.

I had high hopes for this but it just didn’t work for me. There were switches between points of view which took me out of the story.

The plot was well-paced. Some characters fell flat but for many of them their motivations rang true to me. I finished this a few months ago and thought the main motivation for the bombing was spot on.

07.02.16

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast and Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home by Laura Vanderkam

Posted in Review at 8:28 am by Amber

Title: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast and Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home
Author: Laura Vanderkam
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin
Source: Columbus Metropolitan Library

Three powerful mini e-books about high productivity, now together in paperback

Laura Vanderkam has combined her three popular mini e-books into one comprehensive guide, with a new introduction. It will help readers build habits that lead to happier, more productive lives, despite the pressures of their busy schedules. Trough interviews and anecdotes, she reveals . . .

  • What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast—to jump-start the day productively.

  • What the Most Successful People Do On the Weekend—to recharge and prepare for a great week.

  • What the Most Successful People Do at Work—to accomplish more in less time.

I read this so you won’t have to! Just kidding. I was on a big self-help kick towards the end of last year and it petered out. I finally finished this a few weeks ago. Everyone is going to get something different out of this collection. I put post-its on items I wanted to remember.

From What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast… minimize the have-to-dos. The key thing with chores and weekends is not to focus so much on easily seen and measured goals, such as scratching everything off the grocery list, that you divert energy from your highest value projects: nurturing your relationships, nurturing your career, nurturing yourself.

One way to do this is to set aside time for small chores. You feel less guilty about not doing something right then because you know you’ll do it during the small chore time.

Schedule in hours for top work priorities like strategic thinking or creative work. This makes these priorities seem like a commitment. Do the same for leisure activities. If it’s written down it’s more likely to get done.

Schedule something fun or meaningful for Sunday night. It stretches out the weekend and gives you a good way to start off the week. This really hit home because so many people I know hate having something scheduled for Sunday; they want to set aside the entire day to gear up for the next week. To me that’s wasting an entire day being mopey.

From What the Most Successful People Do at Work one of the hardest things for me to do is to increase my capital with others. Your next opportunity can come from an unexpected place. For example, I told one friend I would want to volunteer for events at a mutual friend’s business. The next day I was helping Simon Mujamdar with a cooking demo.

Create a log for a week or so to find out what can be eliminated or cut down. This is one of the first things to do in the weeks leading up to NaNoWriMo. It can show a better time to do a task. For example, taking a walk around the block or building every 45 minutes instead of working in 2 hour blocks is great! When powering through I can get restless. But taking a short walking break is refreshing. It clears the mind and lets me get in some steps.

The appendix includes 50 time management tips. A lot of these I can get behind such as: take naps, work from home a day or two a week, lower your housekeeping standards, and if you plan something fun go ahead and do it (even if you’re tired).

04.19.16

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

Posted in Review at 10:23 am by Amber

Bite Size Book Review

Why did I read this book?

It was a book club pick.

What did I think of this book?

I really enjoyed it. It’s a dense book so don’t expect it to be full of fluff. I was worried that I wouldn’t finish it in time.

Who should read this book?

Anyone who is willing to read a dense book which, on the surface, appears to be about women boxers set in 18th Century England.

04.12.16

Release Day for C is for Chimera

Posted in Event at 11:23 pm by Amber

You know what today is, right? It’s the official release day for C is for Chimera. I received an electronic ARC for review but haven’t read it yet. I misplaced my kindle cord and the poor thing has been sitting dormant for over a month. To date, I still haven’t found it so I ordered another one which arrived yesterday. Guess what book I’m looking forward to reading this week? 🙂

Below is the official info about it.

This installment of Rhonda Parrish’s alphabet anthology series asks skilled storytellers to write around the theme of chimera. The resulting tales are part fable, part poem, part dream. But like any chimera, the parts make up a greater whole.

Blend reality with fantasy. Mesh science fiction with mystery. Mix history with what should have been. They are all chimera.

A shadow tells a tale of schoolyard bullies. A long-vanished monster returns from the cold dark. Make-up makes up a life. Alchemy, Atlantis, and apocalypse. These 26 tales bring both chaos and closure to dark and elusively fantastic geographies.

Contributing authors include:

~ Alexandra Seidel ~ KV Taylor ~ Marge Simon ~ Pete Aldin ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Simon Kewin ~ BD Wilson ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Sara Cleto ~ Megan Engelhardt ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Lilah Wild ~ Laura VanArendonk Baugh ~ Milo James Fowler ~ Brittany Warman ~ Michael B. Tager ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Beth Cato ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Sammantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Steve Bornstein ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ Michael Kellar ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Amanda C. Davis ~

11.01.15

Jewish Book Month – November 6th to December 6th

Posted in Event at 7:09 am by Amber

In another week or so is Jewish Book Month. The Jewish Book Council designates this month as a time to celebrate and promote Jewish books. It seems most of the Jewish books anyone ever talks about are tales about the Holocaust but there is so much more. Immigrant tales, short story collections, biographies and cookbooks. Will you be reading anything this month?

09.30.15

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Posted in Review at 9:34 am by Amber

Bite Size Book ReviewWhy did I read this book? I saw the book cover, liked it and noticed the book was written by Holly Black.

What did I think of this book? I really liked it! It has female empowerment and is set in an alternate world where fairies and humans co-exist. Being a hero is sometimes scary and that’s okay. It has action, romance, and is a great example of sibling love.

Who should read this book? I actually told my friend her soon to be thirteen-year-old daughter would like it. It has teens living with the consequences of decisions made years before; while it acknowledges some of the trouble kids can get into I don’t recall anything sexually explicit. Recommended for anyone with an interest in adventures.

09.26.15

Kreativ Blogger Award

Posted in Event at 7:55 am by Amber

Note: The below post is from 2010 and I found it while reviewing what was in my draft folder. I decided to share it instead of deleting it as much of it is still quite true. I think it was never posted because I was tasked with awarding it to five people and I didn’t know who would want to do it.


 

The lovely Lisa Damian of Damian Daily has awarded me with a Kreativ Blogger Award.  Now I must tell you five things you do not know about me.  I can’t guarantee this information will be new to all of you; my husband is one of my regular readers and he knows quite a bit about me.

Kreativ Blogger Award

1 – In college I wrote a senior thesis on nature symbolism in literature on a Brother Word Processor.  At that point it was the longest piece of writing I’d ever done.  And it was before computers were a must have for every college student.  Only the computer science majors had computers in their dorm rooms and no one I knew had a laptop.  The word processor was a life send because I could work on homework anywhere that had an electrical outlet.  I remember I used examples from Native American tales and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce to uphold my thesis.

2 – I am allergic to animal dander.  I grew up with a dog but it wasn’t until middle school that I realized I was allergic to some animals.  The first clue was the angora sweater that made me itch every time I wore it.  I didn’t get tested for allergies until 10 years later.  I had spent several hours in a one bedroom apartment with friends who had a cat and ended up at emergency care at Duke Medical Center several hours later because I was having problems breathing.  That experience made me get allergy tested once I was at home.

3 – I am rarely spontaneous.  This post has been in the works since 2/7/10 with multiple updates.  My husband has been talking about a new refrigerator since mid-2009 and I’ve come around to the idea in the last few months.  For over a week now I’ve been looking into manufacturer rebates, government rebates, different models and pricing.

4 – Last month I went for my first facial and it was nothing like I expected.  I honestly thought it was a facial massage with multiple applications of cleansers placed on the skin.  This was like going to see a massage therapist who uses aromatherapy.  It included a foot rub and several massages – arms, hands, neck and shoulders.

5 – I am lost without an electronic to do list.  Paper lists always get lost or I still forget an item.  I like the sight of the strikethrough font or once my task is completed it disappears.

09.25.15

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Posted in Review at 9:24 am by Amber

Bite Size Book ReviewWhy did I read this book? I kept hearing good things about it without anyone giving anything away other than the title character is an unreliable witness to something.

What did I think of this book? I listened to this during my commute to and from work. The voice actresses were great and didn’t detract from the story one bit. I highly recommend it but with reservations. It has some violence which will turn off some readers.

Who should read this book? Fans of Rear Window or Gillian Flynn. It’s dark. It goes to unexpected places and though it involves more than one character they are all nicely tied together.

09.23.15

All Hallows Read 2015

Posted in Event at 10:30 am by Amber

Guess what time of year it is? It’s time for All Hallows Read! And I’m going to celebrate it in style. This year I belong to a book club where we do bookish things on a monthly basis. Each month has a different hostess and the book choices are varied. I won’t post the picture of the books I picked until after the next book club meeting.

All Hallows Read Bat

The poster above was created by Introverted Wife who has made some great posters for this holiday of book giving. Are you celebrating All Hallows Read this year?

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