Book map for the bookworm

This would make a very neat gift for those bookworms in your lives! 🙂

Book of words

Book Map
In this age and era, most of us do not really need a map in our lives since we can pull out an interactive one straight away on our smartphones.

But when I saw this gorgeous book map, I stopped and marvelled at it because contained within the labyrinth of streets and alleys, there are more than 600 literature titles packed into it. Doesn’t that already make this fictional work droolworthy? A Christmas gift idea for your bookworm friend perhaps?

Book Map 2

Book Map 3

The map can be bought online HERE.

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Shake by Carli Davidson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Who would have thought that slobbery shaking dogs could make such a hilariously fun picture book for anyone of any age!  I won this book and when it came in the mail, I could not contain myself!  I have two boxers, who slobber and shed.  After looking at these pictures, I can now understand why I am constantly wiping my walls and vacuuming my floors!  This book would make an awesome christmas gift for children or adults!  Carli Davidson has a talent which show through her photography and of course, her love of dogs!  I highly reccomend picking up this book for someone or yourself this holiday season, this book will have you laughing!!  Don’t forget to watch the YouTube video of the making of SHAKE (at the bottom of this page!)

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Here is the link to her website to learn more about the author! http://www.carlidavidsonphotography.com/

Innocent Blood (The Order of the Sanguines Series #2) By James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Expected publication: December 10th 2013 by William Morrow & Company

This is the second book in the series, The Order of the Sanguines written by an amazing author duo!  If you have not read the first book in the series, please check out my review of The Blood Gospel!  The Blood Gospel was the first book I have ever read by James Rollins or Rebecca Cantrell.  It was such a great book that I decided I wanted to get a review copy of Innocent Blood right away!

Once again, this follow up to The Blood Gospel does not disappoint, full of adventure, suspense, and supernatural mystery involving a female scientist, a highly secret eternal spiritual order, and a terrifying power who must join forces to bring down a ruthless and cunning enemy and prevent the Apocalypse.

The story continues from their exploration into a hidden tomb while in Masada, Israel.  Erin Granger, the scientist and archaeologist is starting her journey to recover an ancient artifact that is tied to Christ himself.  What she didn’t expect to find was a diabolical enemy determined to discover the artifact as well and use it for their own dark powers.

Though Erin is back to teaching, an unexpected attack outside Stanford University, throws Erin back into the nightmare and back to the Order of Sanguines.   As the brink of worlds end is upon the thinnest thread, Erin must try an halt the plans of the persons determined to see the world to an end.

For being the first books I have ever read of James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, I’d have to say I am beyond excited to read some their own books.  This author duo will knock you off your feet with this series!  We are introduced into a world where the fight for good and evil is far more complicated, far more fragile that anyone could have imagined!  In Innocent Blood, we are taken back into the world of secrets with hopes that the evil can be stopped before the utmost impossible can happen!  

Highly recommend this book to everyone who is ready for a real adventure!

Once again, here is the link to my review of The Blood Gospel, the first book in the series:

https://simpletasteforreading.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/the-blood-gospel-the-order-of-the-sanguines-series-1-by-james-rollins-and-rebecca-cantrell/

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Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I will confess that I have never read any if Ellen’s books. This book was given to me by her publisher. Smoke is the second book following the first titled, Burned. Before the book came to me, I discussed this author with some library friends of mine. They gave her a flying color recommendation! I really didn’t know what to expect, only that my friend had told me that her writing looks as if it’s in poetry format, but reads just like flowing story, which intrigued me. She also told me that she loved Ellen’s books so much, that she would have to hide the book so she could get other things done, or she would just sit and read the whole thing! Now that I have read the book myself, here is my review.

The cover is very intriguing, I have since looked up her other books after I finished this one and they are great as well. Smoke if full of tragic, loss, love and learning how to rise from the ashes. Her writing flowed well and I felt as though I was standing with the characters through their lives. This story follows the lives of two sisters, Pattyn and Jackie Von Stratten. The story is told in in the alternating voices of the sisters; Pattyn is on the run from the community and the law and still dealing with the death of her beloved Ethan and their child, and the abuse she suffered at the hands of their father. Meanwhile, Jackie is home and having to deal not only with the aftermath of the shooting, but also with trying to pick up the pieces of her life and figuring out what is left for her after everything that has happened. Can either sister find their peace, or their voice, in the paths that they’re forging? Or will everything crumble to ashes and smoke?

Smoke is not to be taken lightly, and has a lot of trigger points for victims of abuse (both physical and sexual). Told in verse style, the voices of Pattyn and Jackie strike through to the core of readers and never let go, and readers will be flipping the pages to find out what happens. Finding hope and their voices is a central point within the story, and it gives hope to those looking for a way out of the darkness. As being the first book of Ellen’s I’ve ever read, I was blown away by how she does not ‘sugar coat’ the realities that some teens are facing in the world today.

This was a very powerful, eye opening book. Young adult readers will not be disappointed as well as readers my age, which is 24, will also find the subject matter to be informative and mindblowing. Who knew you could learn so much about real life crises that affect the lives of more people than you think, through the eyes of a fictional character, written by an author who thrives to help those in need.

The Dream Thieves (Raven Cycle #2) By Maggie Stiefvater

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A Secret is a strange thing.

 

 

Series: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

There is a very good reason why Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite author, there are few writers in the world who can tell a story with as much emotion as Maggie Stiefvater!  It’s a rare and momentous occasion when a sequel as anticipated and sought-after as The Dream Thieves lives up to its predecessor and surpasses expectations in every possible way. It’s rarer still for that sequel to make you fall in love with the original story all over again, to make you open your eyes to the once-hidden character quirks and clues, and to make you want to re-read all 400 or so pages again (for the fifth time!) with a new sense of urgency and insight. The Dream Thieves is, in all my personal definitions of the word, a perfect book. Maggie Stiefvater said that it had all her favorite things in it, and it quite clearly has all my favorite things in it too as I finished this book in a little over a day!

The Dream Thieves takes up with Blue and the gang shortly after the events of The Raven Boys, and we follow the cast as they struggle to uncover the secrets of lost kings and the hidden depths of their own dreams.

Haunting and clever and vividly painted, The Dream Thieves focuses on Ronan and his power to takes things out of his dreams. Each chapter unravels a small part of the mystery and allows us to see the magical wonders that surround our characters, and Ronan’s story is slowly revealed. That’s not to say the other characters don’t feature heavily, because they do. In particular, I liked being in Adam’s head, Gansey is amazingly flawed, and Blue is still my hero in so many ways. Of all their stories though, it’s Ronan’s that struck a chord within me, and I like that he got some resolution in the end.

Blue is always honest with herself, and it’s very interesting how her quirks and upbringing translate into the romantic arena. She’s determined not to love Gansey, determined not to kiss Adam for fear of hurting him, and above all, wants to keep her friendships intact.  The secondary romances amuse me greatly, including that of Blue’s mother, and I have theories about Persephone’s future as well (hopefully they pan out in the next book).

Like The Raven Boys, this novel is superbly plotted and filled with unexpected twists that will keep readers guessing. There is so much going on, and many seemingly unrelated story-elements, but as a reader I was extremely satisfied at how they culminated into a magical conclusion of epic proportions. The things in the background, like Ronan’s relationship with Matthew and Blue’s increasing dissatisfaction within her family make the book all the more interesting and realistic – it’s witching hour, but some of the problems our characters face are refreshingly human.

Stiefvater’s books are always a pleasure to read, and often find myself wanting to savour and devour them in equal measure. She’s proven herself as a master storyteller, and I think everyone should try her books. The Dream Thieves is a quality sequel to The Raven Boys, and I am (very) eagerly awaiting news of the next installment of the adventures of Blue and her raven boys!

Check out my review for the first book in the series The Raven Boys:  https://simpletasteforreading.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/the-raven-boys-raven-cycle-1-by-maggie-stiefvater/

 

Featured Author of the Month…Rachael Hanel

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I would like to introduce to you my featured author of the month, Rachael Hanel.  Author of  “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down” , which I have reviewed here: “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down“!  Check out my amazing interview with her!

Rachael is a lifelong Minnesotan—she lives 25 miles from where she grew up. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history, and a master’s degree in history. She has worked several jobs over the years—newspaper reporter and copy editor, freelance writer, adjunct professor (of English, history, humanities, and journalism) and university curriculum manager. She now teach mass media at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

 

Sierra: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

 

Rachael: I wrote the first piece that appears in the book in 2000. I had a first draft by 2005. Then it took several revisions to get it into the form you see today. I did the last revisions in 2012 after it was accepted for publication by the University of Minnesota Press.

 

Sierra: Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

 

Rachael: My book, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, draws upon my experiences growing up with a dad who worked as a gravedigger. My dad and mom also mowed and maintained cemeteries, so I spent a great deal of time in graveyards. This upbringing helped to shape my perspective on mortality and death, and the book explores the stories of tragedies and accidents that echoed out of our cemeteries. I also write about the losses my grandparents endured. Toward the end of my book, I write about my father’s unexpected death when I was 15 years old. Only then did I realize that while I knew a lot about death and how people died, I knew very little about grief.

 

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

 

Rachael: The genre chose me! From a very young age I wanted to be a journalist, so I’ve always written in the nonfiction genre. Making up stories never appealed to me. I was always more fascinated by people’s real lives.

 

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

 

Rachael: Because of my journalism background, I was much more comfortable and more enjoyed writing the stories of others. My book is filled with stories of particular gravestones and also the stories of my grandparents. I’m not as comfortable writing about myself, so chapters that are closely focused on me and my immediate family were more difficult to write.

 

 

Sierra: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

 

Rachael: It’s all real! But you have to remember that memoir is one person’s version of the truth. We all see life in different ways. My book represents the way that I viewed my childhood and adolescence. I never made up anything or chose to represent something as happening differently just for story’s sake.

 

 

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

 

Rachael: As a child, my favorite book was Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I even write about this book in my own book. Even though it’s a work of fiction, the story of a young boy experiencing the death of a close friend felt very real to me. Now as an adult who is a writer fan of true stories, my favorite book is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I read a lot of memoir and I find Fun Home to be the most perfectly structured memoir I’ve ever read. The book was a great help to me as I was organizing my own memoir.

 

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

 

Rachael: My biggest challenge is not necessarily staring at a blank screen, but finding the time to write in the first place. Once I sit down at my computer the words generally flow. I attribute this to my journalism career; in journalism, you can’t use writer’s block as an excuse! You have to write something, anything, to meet deadline! But sometimes I feel like I have to be in just the “right mood” to write, and that’s a big mistake because if you wait for the right mood, it will never come! I need to get better about sitting down to write whether I feel like it or not.

 

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

 

Rachael: I’m pretty good about meeting authors that I want to meet! I try to make that happen as often as possible by going to readings. But meeting the real “celebrity” authors is a challenge I would like to tackle! Someone like Stephen King comes to mind, or Chuck Klosterman.

 

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

 

Rachael: I do not have any new books planned for any time soon. I am still writing, mostly essays, so we’ll see if something comes of that!

 

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

 

Rachael: I’m actually so pleased the way that everything turned out. While I was working on the book, I wished that the process would move along more quickly. But in hindsight, everything worked out for a reason. I revised so many times to make the book as good as it could get. With memoir especially, it takes time. I was constantly growing and reflecting and learning as I was writing about myself. The book, had it been published three or five years ago, would be much, much different (and I think not as good) as the version you see now.

 

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

 

Rachael: Stick with it! If you feel like you have a story that needs to get out, it will find its way out into the world. There were times when I wanted to give up, but the story wouldn’t let me. I knew I had something to say, and I needed to stick with it to see it to fruition. Really listen to your gut and instinct and let that guide you.

 

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

 

Rachael: I so appreciate hearing from people! The best gift you can give an author is telling people about a book if you like it. This can occur through word-of-mouth, but it also can occur by posting a short review (or even a simple rating) on Goodreads, Amazon, or any site that accepts reviews. I try to do this in practice myself.

 

Thank you so much!!

hanel