Thoroughly Modern Monsters by Jennifer Rainey

Posted in Review at 1:29 am by Amber

Title: Thoroughly Modern Monsters
Author: Jennifer Rainey
Source: My personal library

Thoroughly Modern Monsters by Jennifer Rainey

Monster – (noun) an imaginary creature that is typically large, ugly, and frightening.

In Thoroughly Modern Monsters, most of the stories take place in the present time. Each story features a different monster. On first reading, they don’t meet The New Oxford American Dictionary definition of monster. On a second or third reading you ask, “Who are the real monsters? The werewolves, ghosts, or sirens? Or the humans who created the Monster Relocation and Employment Act which exploits the monsters?”

My only complaint about Thoroughly Modern Monsters is the length. It’s comprised of seven stories and I was not ready to let go of this alternate universe. The heart of the stories are the emotions. We can all identify with the desire for a fulfilling job, the wish to be left in peace, and the nervousness caused by a new path in life. If you’re a fan of literary fiction then you’ll probably like this one.


Mailbox Monday – October 29th

Posted in Event at 1:10 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia for originating Mailbox Monday. She’s the host this month.

The Chocolatier’s Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer promises to be a mixture of mystery, adventure and romance.

A short listen if you’re interested is “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” by Neil Gaiman. It’s about 10 minutes long and is scary but not too scary. 🙂

My first audio book in years is Legion by Brandon Sanderson. This novella is a thriller with a psychological bent.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


All Hallow’s Read

Posted in Event at 12:50 pm by Amber

Before yesterday I hadn’t heard of All Hallow’s Read. What is it? The week before Halloween or Halloween night give someone you love a scary book. Neil Gaiman proposed this holiday two years ago. Sounds like as good an excuse as any to give someone a book, right?

This year you can win a signed copy of The Graveyard Book, an unsigned copy of Coraline, and an official poster through HarperCollins.

But wait… there’s more! Neil Gaiman narrated a story for Audible.com. For all downloads of “Click-Clack the Rattlebag”, Audible Inc. will donate to one of Neil Gaiman’s chosen charities. The charity in the US is DonorsChoose.org and the charity in the UK is BookTrust.

Here is the US (and other countries) link for “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” and here is the UK link for “Click-Clack the Rattlebag“.

Enjoy the holiday!


Thurber House Evening With Authors – Susan Orlean

Posted in Event at 8:05 pm by Amber

Thurber House Susan Orlean Ticket

With my ticket and paperback copy of Rin Tin Tin in hand, I rushed into the Columbus Museum of Art and found a nice aisle seat for the event. When Susan walked down the aisle to take her seat, the women in front of me commented on her skirt. It was a showstopper!

Ron Shaull, former Thurber House Board of Trustees member, introduced Susan Orlean and proceeded to invite Linda Hengst from the Ohioana Library to the stage. Orlean won the 2012 Ohioana Award for Nonfiction and wouldn’t be able to return for the award ceremony on the 26th. This was only the second time the award was presented outside of the Ohioana Awards Ceremony.

In addition to receiving the award, Orlean also learned earlier in the day Rin Tin Tin had made The New York Times Bestseller list. So it was a special night.

Orlean began with how Rin Tin Tin captured her attention as a child and moved on to a 5-minute video which gave an overview of Rin Tin Tin’s career. Orlean then read some passages from the book before answering questions from the audience.


Mailbox Monday – October 22nd

Posted in Event at 8:00 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia for originating Mailbox Monday. She’s the host this month.

I received ebook copies of Lakebridge: Spring and Lakebridge: Summer by Natasha Troop from First Rule Publicity as part of her book tour with them. They’re described as supernatural horror literary fiction. I’ve read KWatch for the reviews in the next two weeks.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


Mailbox Monday – October 15th

Posted in Event at 1:07 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia for originating Mailbox Monday. She’s this month’s host.

The paperback edition of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and The Legend by Susan Orlean was released last week. I was interested in reading the book after hearing the NPR Interview with Orlean earlier in the year. This Thursday I’ll get to meet her at another Thurber House event.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


Thurber House Evening with Authors – Chris Cleave

Posted in Event at 11:32 am by Amber

My review of Little Bee is very short and understated. There was so much to talk about but I was afraid I would spill some beans. 🙂 Everyone I recommended the book to loved it.

It was a no brainer for me to get a ticket to the Thurber House Evening with Authors featuring Chris Cleave. It was nearly a packed house at the Columbus Museum of Art. His energy radiated from the stage. He joked about being let out of his (writing) shed to go on tour for Gold.

His latest novel is about two women who are friends and rival speed cyclists. Cleave discussed how he came to pick that sport and read a portion of the novel so we’d get a feel for it and to introduce one of his favorite characters. He spoke about rivalry and his own cycling training before he took questions from the audience. Cleave was very funny. I’m not sure how many people were in attendance but the museum theater was very full and everyone seemed engaged.

Some of the questions included: Why does he usually write female main characters? Who is his favorite character out of all of them? Does Little Bee survive and would he be interested in writing a sequel if she does?

All good questions with good answers. I’ll paraphrase short answers to the first two questions.

Why does he usually write female main characters?

He wanted to write characters who weren’t him so he’d pay attention to the details that make their lives real. His goal is to combine those details with emotional truths and if he were writing another version of himself he wouldn’t pay attention to those details because he already knows them. With this book he wanted to write male main characters but then Zoe happened.

Who is his favorite character out of all of them?

Zoe from Gold. She’s a mess. If she were a male athlete no one would think to criticize her for her behavior. She does what she wants without thinking about the consequences to the people around her but she’s starting to realize she needs to change.

Cleave did sign books and spoke with everyone who wanted to chat with him. A book club waited in line together and had a picture taken with him. It was cute. He and I chatted for a few minutes while he signed my copy of Gold. I made a comment about Little Bee being devastatingly heartbreakingly beautiful and he said that made his night.

Chris Cleave has a tumblr full of behind the scenes photos of his tour if you’d like to see where he’s been on his travels.


Waiting by Ha Jin

Posted in Review at 8:38 am by Amber

Title: Waiting
Author: Ha Jin
Publisher: Vintage Books
Source: Personal book collection

The winner of the 1999 US National Book Award for Fiction, a poignant and deliciously funny love story, set in China during and after the Cultural Revolution.

For more than seventeen years, Lin Kong, a devoted and ambitious doctor, has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in his traditional home village lives the humble, loyal wife his family chose for him years ago. Every summer, he returns to ask her for a divorce and every summer his compliant wife agrees but then backs out. This time, after eighteen years’ waiting, Lin promises it will be different.

What happens when you wait 2+ years to marry the person you love? That is what Ha Jin explores in Waiting. And it doesn’t seem to be very pretty for either side. Manna Wu becomes bitter over time and Lin Kong wonders if he’s made the right decision after all this time.

I really wanted to connect with the characters but couldn’t for some reason.


Mailbox Monday – October 6th

Posted in Event at 8:44 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Marcia for originating Mailbox Monday. She’s this month’s host.

On my wishlist for a few years is Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. The ebook is on sale this month so I treated myself to it.

I also bought a copy of Chris Cleave’s new book, Gold for when I got to mee\t him on Thursday night.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


Goblin Tales by Jim C. Hines

Posted in Review at 8:30 am by Amber

Title: Goblin Tales
Author: Jim C. Hines
Source: My Personal Library

Goblin Tales by Jim C. Hines

A vengeful ghost trapped in a goblin’s ear … a flaming spider who must help stop a goddess from conquering a science fiction convention … a goblin nursery worker who finds herself trapped in the middle of a war. This collection features five humorous short stories that explore the fantasy realm from the perspective of the lowest of the low, the unlikeliest of unheroes: the goblins.

You don’t have to be familiar with the Goblin Tales Trilogy to enjoy these stories. This was my way of dipping my toe into the goblin waters and find out if I’d be interested in reading the entire series. It worked. If you like your fantasy slightly skewed and humorous then you’ll like Jim C. Hines.

This was a quick read which I finished in a few days.