Update!!!

Hello!!

Today I finally got back into my account!!!

I was locked out for awhile.  I forgot my password and was run around in circles until I finally emailed WordPress and got back in.  Today.  Just now.

I have also put reading on the back burner.  I have read a few good books so far this summer, namely The Resurrection Trilogy by Elizabeth Davies and the Ansible stories by Stant Litore, but I started back to work full time and that has seriously cut into my reading time.

I am also having difficulty with starting books and not being able to finish them.  This is for various reasons.  Either the content is something that I just can’t deal with on a personal level, i.e. child abuse or sexual abuse I didn’t expect, it doesn’t hold my interest, it is too confusing or jumbled or it is too poorly written.  I will get back to those writers individually.  But I don’t think it is fair to me to post a review for a book I haven’t fully read.  And I truly despise posting negative reviews.

I know fledgling writers send me books in hopes that I’ll read and review.  But I started this as a hobby.  And it is still a hobby and something that I do in my free time.  When my free time is seriously compromised, the reading is the first thing to be put on the back burner.

I also have another resource for you hopeful indie writers.  I started this blog after writing reviews for bookbloggers.org.  This was a site started by Rob Kroese, one of my favorite writers of such hits like the Mercury series, Schrodingers Gat and more recently, Starship Grifters.  I was also introduced to the absolutely amazing works of Stant Litore through this site.  Indie writers can post and connect with reviewers through this site.  So give it a try.  It was how I started in the review game.

So if you have sent a request in the last two months, I will be filtering through my email in the next two weeks.  If I have told you I will review your book, I will.  If I started your book and I can’t read it for above mentioned reasons, I will email you directly with a reason why.  Again, thank you for your patience.

Mail call!!!

EBW now has a PO box if any authors are interested in sending us a physical book:

The Eclectic Bookworm

c/o Amanda Amaya

4500 East Palm Valley Blvd

Ste 108

PMB 17

Round Rock, Texas 78665

Quick note, I should be back to fully functioning as a reviewer by October 1.  Special thanks to Jennifer Hines Smith and Mindy Bigham @ Hines and Bigham’s blog for helping out with the back log.  Look for their reviews here in the next few days or over at their site.

Thank you for your patience!!!

WANTED: books of all genres

Wanted - Dead or Alive!

WANTED: Books for review. I am looking for any books to read and review to post on this site. I am currently in a book drought. I have started and stopped several books that failed to captivate me and keep me interested.

If you are a self published writer, a publisher, or just an avid reader like me, please send me ideas or books or something.

As per this site, I read almost anything. I do have rules that I try to abide by, you can read them here.  But if it doesn’t seem like something I will read, my guest blogger might.

I love books that I can completely immerse myself in. I love strong characters, believable action. I love books that can make me think. Feel free to read through the reviews I have posted so far to get an idea of what I am looking for.

I read very quickly and I have ample free time and I usually read 2-3 books a week. I am prompt with reviews and willing to post to any book sites (amazon, smashwords, goodreads etc).

I read on the kindle platform, as does my guest blogger.  Any input or ideas or books would be greatly appreciated.

You can email at the new address for this site: theeclecticbookworm@gmail.com

Thank you!!

AA

Favs for 2012

As of right now, I have read 125 books this year.  All kinds of books, across all genres.  Mainly ebooks.  Due to my financial situation during the last half of the year, most of the books were free via the kindle lending library or on smashwords.  I also review books posted on bookbloggers.net.

This year I started branching out of my usual reading patterns and started reading more horror, romance and erotica.  Thanks to the phenomenon of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, apparently most women have started on the “mommy porn” craze.  You can read my ideas on “Fifty” here and here.

And zombies!! I started watching “The Walking Dead” after the first season, yet I didn’t start reading zombie books until this year.  And now I’m hooked.

Here is a list of my favs (that I read) this year, in no particular order:

Crossfire trilogy by Sylvia Day– I love this romance/erotic series much more than “Fifty”, I outlined my reasons above.  I just feel that it is more realistic, better written, and takes in to account that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in some way during their lifetime.  This in mind, some of the BDSM presented in “Fifty” are huge triggers for survivors.  Can’t wait for the next book in May 2013.

Future Perfect by Tony Bayliss– My fav religous/political statement book.  Very intense and thought provoking. For another amazing read, try Past Continuous as well.

There Goes the Galaxy by Jen Thorson – Fun, hilarious, an epic journey through space.  Absolutely loved it.

Double Cross:  The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre – I am a huge fan of these books.  Yes, spy books are fun, but these are TRUE spy books outlining the missions and lives of real spies who helped to save the world.

Automaton by Cheryl Davies – futuristic sci-fi with a romantic twist.

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – what more can be said?

Faking It by Elisa Lorello – my first foray into a different kind of chik lit.

War Brides by Helen Bryan – I love historical fiction, this book was very emotional and provided a different perspective on WWII.

And I can’t pick a favorite zombie book…I loved all of the ones I read, check through my reviews.  I love the Zombie Bible series by Stant Litore, I finally read World War Z by Max Brooks and the Zombie Orgins Series by Kristen Middleton is funny and thrilling.

Any suggestions for 2013?  Any new genres I should explore?  What are your favs for this past year?

Book Review: Adulation by Elisa Lorello

I love Elisa Lorello’s books.  I read some of the reviews on amazon and I think “they just didn’t get it”.  Her books tend to look into the deeper parts of women and relationships.  Their flaws, why they are who they are today.  And not all of her characters are lovable.  Most in fact are stubborn and stuck in some sort of rut.  With this in mind, I read Adulation knowing full well what I was in for.

The basics:  Sunny is turning forty.  She is still working in the storeroom of a bookstore, she is divorced, childless, and kind of in a rut.  Her friends help her devise a “40 for 40” list of things to do in her 40th year.  One of them is “sleep with Danny Masters”.  Mr. Masters happens to be Sunny’s celebrity crush, a screenwriter who just happens to be coming to town to premiere his latest movie.  And as a gift, Sunny and her friends will be there.

Danny Masters should be on top of the world.  His latest movie is getting Oscar buzz.  He has a wonderful daughter, a girlfriend who is a movie star and he has money and good looks.  He is also in a rut.

Danny and Sunny meet outside of the premiere and it is one of those perfect moments.  Then Danny insults the audience during the Q & A session after the movie and Sunny spits his insults right back at him in the autograph line.  But what about that perfect moment?

Both of these characters can’t get past something in their life that happened years ago.  Most of the world has moved on, but they have remained still.  Much of this book is about how they move on beyond their significant events.

There are also elements of forgiveness and profound friendship.  Throw in a little romance and “just knowing” who you are meant to be with.

I enjoyed how the chapters alternated from Sunny to Danny.  I liked the glimpse into celebrity life and how it is not always what it is cracked up to be.  With most Lorello novels, she gives insight on the writing process and with this one, a peek into self publishing.

If you are looking for a light-hearted romance, this isn’t what you will get.  This is deeper, more of a commentary on relationships, how people cope with significant events and how they chose to move on.

I am a fan of Elisa Lorello and will continue to be.  I plan on posting my reviews of her other works in the near future.  I read and reviewed them on amazon prior to me starting this site.

Books, books and more books!!

The Eclectic Bookworm has her hands full!!

I am usually a speed reader, but a combination of events has conspired against me, and I now have a backlog of books that I want to write about.

I am currently reading Past Continuous by Tony Bayliss.  I recently reviewed his book Future Perfect and it was incredible.  This one is shaping up to be just as good.

I was recently send Adulation by Elisa Lorello, and as I have loved her other works, and have reviewed them on amazon.com (but not on this site), I am anticipating more magic.  Her books are usually chick lit, very character driven with some romance.

This morning I was sent Shiver by Kristen Middleton.  It is the sequel to Blur which I reviewed here.  This series is about vampires.  I hate vampires, but I absolutely love her work  and she has hooked me.  I’m also anxiously awaiting her latest installment of Zombie Games.  You can read the review here

Thank you!!

And last, but not least, a friend from high school was kind enough to physically mail me her copy of two books that she thinks I will enjoy.  She is the one that started me on the whole romance/erotic genre and recommended Fifty Shades of Gray.  She feels that I will like Bared To You and Reflected in You by Sylvia Day just as much as I loved Fifty.  You can read my take on the whole phenomenon of bodice rippers here.

So I will be deep in the world of plasma picochips, interpersonal relationships, vampires and erotica for the next few weeks.

Happy reading!!

Giving Thanks

I am extremely thankful for the printed (or electronic) word.

I have been losing myself in books since I was 7 or 8 years old.  Good novels have taken me away to far away places, taught me about other people, other cultures, other time periods.  Because of books, I kill at Trivial Pursuit.

I am thankful for good authors, those who pour their dreams into print and  share them with the world.  They produce characters that stay with readers for a lifetime.  They spin intricate tales, paint vivid settings, they use the simple word to convey emotions and report on the human condition.  Regardless of genre, it isn’t easy to sit down and start writing something from nothing, and then to make it capture the imagination of readers.  I am truly thankful that they do.

I am thankful to the good people at amazon.com for inventing the kindle.  The e-reader has revolutionized the institution of publishing and writing and has enabled authors who might not have been able to have their voice heard in a traditional setting to share their work with the world.  Through the kindle, I can store hundreds of books in a slim device, which is paramount for someone with health issues and can no longer hold up huge, lumbering tomes.  I can access a library of works, many of them for free, without leaving my bed.

I am thankful for Dr. Seuss.  He started me on this journey, and I am eternally grateful.

I am thankful to the historical authors, Stephen Ambrose, James McPherson, David McCullough, who have found away to sift through tons of musty historical records and found a way to make history interesting.  They found a way to appeal to the masses and make battles and military campaigns read like movie scripts.  Because of them, and authors like them, Americans have more respect and reverence for their veterans.  They know what was sacrificed for their freedoms.

I am thankful for the voodoo culture and to George Romero, who have brought on the current zombie craze and have provided me with hours and hours of entertainment reading about the apocalypse and impending zombie uprising.

I am thankful for sites such as bookbloggers.net that allow me to read amazing books for free in exchange for a review.  I am extremely low on funds, can barely pay for my bills, yet I can keep up my reading habit by doing something I was probably going to do anyway.

I am thankful to those of you who read this blog.  I obviously love reading, and I love being able to share it with the world.  In a perfect existence, I would get paid to do this, but I haven’t found that perfection.  Yet.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!!

 

Book Review: Future Perfect by Tony Bayliss

Look familiar?

I’m not sure why this book struck such an emotional chord with me. Perhaps its because I’m a woman. Or perhaps because I read news stories about women in other cultures, and some in the U.S., that endure some of the brutality that is found in this book. Either way, it is a remarkable book.

Here is my review on amazon.com:

Think about all of the really BAD parts of the major organized religions, we’re talking evangelical Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, Catholicism. The subjugation of women, rules about sex, marriage, the denial of all things scientific. The rejection of the modern medical system. The worship of church elders, the belief that they are gods on earth. The literal interpretation of a “holy book” and using its basis as law. Honor killing. Arranged marriages. Polygamy. What if you blended all of those ideals together with a dash of 1984 and a heaping spoonful of the ideology of Nazi Germany? And then garnished it with technology 100 years in the future?

That is this book.

It truly frightened me, as I live in the Bible belt and I can actually see this book come to fruition if certain sects were allowed to flourish unchecked in society.

A theocracy that encourages society to report on its citizens. Encourages children to spy on their parents. That views women as only good for two purposes, and classifies them as such starting at age 12. Compulsory church attendance, “Eyes” that can notice hormone changes, expressions that can indicate subversive activity and that hears all as well.

“Apostles” that are nothing more than the S.S. in Nazi Germany.

And the women. The hate of women in this society. From the Christians and original sin, to mikvas with Jews and to burkas with the Taliban, kick it up a notch with this society and add in an element of slavery for both the wives and “earthangels” (you have to read it to believe it).

Abel is a dutiful civil servant that works for the Diocese. He keeps his head down, he “toes the line”, he does what is expected of him as a man of his age and class. But he has questions.

His life changes when he meets Lizzie. He is shocked that a woman can speak the way that she does, but is intrigued. Together they work to change their society.

Despite the subject matter, the doom and gloom of it all, I was greatly surprised to find a tender love story underneath.

I am currently recommending this book to everyone I meet. I found it engrossing, I couldn’t put it down. Despite the graphic nature of the sexual/female issues, it brought to light the fact that a society like this is not far off. Everything mentioned, with the exception of the technology, has some basis in reality. Mr. Bayliss just took the next step and wove together an amazing story.

Highly recommended to anyone looking for an intellectual read.

I recently read a non-fiction book about a fundamentalist Mormon sect that wasn’t too far off from this book.  Daughters of Zion: My Family’s Conversion to Polygamy by Kim Taylor was horrifying.  It was completely true and took place in the U.S. and Mexico in the 1970s and 80s.  It actually made my heart hurt, reading about how young women were pressured/brain washed/encouraged into polygamous marriages with older men.  They were encouraged to get pregnant year after year to produce more children for the glory of God.

I also live in the Bible belt.  A few years ago I took my kids to a museum on the campus of UT @ Austin.  The top floor had an exhibit on evolution.  Now, where I come from (the northeast part of the country), evolution is not up for discussion.  It is an established fact.  The argument for evolution ended at Scopes Monkey trial.  Texas, however, is behind the times. In the “guestbook” at the exhibit, there were page after page of notes written by the visitors to the exhibit proclaiming their dismay that an exhibit even mentioning evolution should exist in Texas.  The comments were along the lines of “evolution is blasphemy and goes against the plan of God”.  Scary stuff.

The recent election also highlighted a shift in the view of women by some of those in the right-leaning political parties.  The “legitimate rape” comments, “life begins at conception”, and here in Texas “we are trying to save women from herself” talk (the ultrasound before abortion law) blatantly illustrates how little men think of women in some segments of American society.  Currently the U.S. is #22 in the world with regards to the living standards of women.

So this book will remain with me as I continue to see signs of “Future Perfect” in today’s society.

The Real World: Memoir

The first true events or memoir type book I read was The Diary of  a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  That book shook me to the core.  In school, you learn bits and pieces about WWII and the Holocaust.  I read about Anne Frank when I was in middle school, and I couldn’t believe what had happened to her.  Later in high school as a junior, part of a semester was devoted to Holocaust literature (Primo Levi, Eli Weisel) and culminated in a trip to the National Holocaust Museum in D.C..  That was an education.

I don’t have any particular type of memoir that I look for when I’m browsing, if it catches my eye, I’ll bite.  Assuming that the writer is being completely honest, they are putting themselves out there for examination, and you have to admire that.  Seldom are memoirs published about regular, everyday people who have everyday lives and are doing the right thing.  Most memoirs are written by people who have screwed up a bit, even if they aren’t in the public eye.  Accepting responsibility for those actions, in print, and in a location where everyone in your family, town, and the world can read is pretty ballsy.

Famous people memoirs:

Other than Anne Frank (who became famous as a result of her diary), I have read a few famous people memoirs.  What is the appeal?  I don’t particularly like the paparazzi and the TMZ crap, but my husband is a rock n roll encyclopedia.  He argues that he was born in the wrong decade.  I, on the other hand, came into this relationship without such an education.  I know the music if I hear it, but only recently have I begun to tell the difference between the wailing of Robert Plant and Steven Tyler.  Or the guitar expertise of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan (blasphemy coming from a Texan).  And it doesn’t help that Stevie covered Jimi.  And that Jimi often covered Bob Dylan.

Music is a very important part of my relationship with my husband, has always been since we were teenagers, and when the older gents started writing down their memories (while they are mostly intact), I decided reading them might help me out a little.

I have read Keith Richard’s  (and James Fox)”Life”.  It is well written and it does read like you are having a conversation with “Keef”.  I am not a huge Stones fan, I never really listened to them before seriously being with my husband, but I enjoyed reading this book.  I enjoyed reading how he came up with some of the signature sounds on particular songs, how he had the idea for lyrics and parts of songs.  I can’t do it (songwriting or instrument playing), so it is fascinating to me.  And the anecdotes about his legal issues, drug use, and affairs were amusing as well.  Keith owns up to his drug use, relationship issues, etc.  I admire that.

I have also read Steven Tyler’s “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?”:  A Rock and Roll Memoir.  It is not credited with another person as a writer.  As much as I enjoyed the same things I enjoyed while reading about Keith Richards, it was like Steven was holding things back, or glossing over parts.  I knew considerably more about Aerosmith as they enjoyed a comeback during the 90s on MTV and I am a part of that generation.  I just expected a bit more…honesty?

Non-famous people (yet) memoirs:

Browsing through the Kindle books one day I came across this gem:  Dying for Triplicate: A True Story of Addiction, Survival and Recovery by Todd Zalkins.  It intrigued me because as a nurse, I come across addiction, particularly prescription pill addiction, all the time.  I once worked in a pain clinic and my daily duties included looking out for patients that were diverting or who were abusing their medication.  This memoir is about a young man who had severe addiction issues.  He starts in childhood and with his early memories of drugs and alcohol.  He describes how the addiction started: he had an injury, they gave him a powerful pain killer.  He got addicted.  He tried rehab several times, but again relapsed.  He describes exactly what happens when a person is addicted to these powerful substances, that are intended to be prescribed to cancer patients, but are being prescribed for back pain.  His descriptions of the behavior he engaged in, the methods he used and why he did it, how he recovered has actually helped me in my practice as a nurse to understand the addiction process.

In the same category of drug books, Closet Full of Coke: A Diary of a Teenage Drug Queen by Indra Sena, piqued my interest.  I also posted my thoughts about this book on my post about books that haunt me.  As I was a child through the entire 80s, I know nothing about the “War on Drugs”, other than they had a bunch of assemblies at school and we got stickers that said “Say NO to drugs”.  Right.  This memoir had me completely hooked.  Written as a type of journal or diary, it is sad and did make me cry a few times.  I could not believe that this girl, at her age, could do what she did and no one really cared.  At 15, she is basically abandoned by her parents and is forced to find her own income.  As she had been selling “uppers” at school for a few years already, she meets a dark and handsome man at her regular dealer’s house who promises her that he has a new product that can make her rich.  Cocaine.  And so begins a whirlwind of dealing, dancing, spending, trips to Florida, evading the police.  Totally had me mesmerized from start to finish.

Not a sad memoir! I picked this one up via bookbloggers.net.  The Snitch, Houdini and Me: Humorous Tales of Death-defying Childhood Misadventures by Johnny Virgil.  I often look for books that will make me laugh or smile instead of war, zombies, and the apocalypse.  This was exactly what I was looking for.  Even though the author is much older, I did find similarities that I guess are universal when you grow up in suburbia.  I will come out right now and identify myself as a Snitch, or in my family, Squealer.  To this day, I don’t know how it happens, but I still Squeal.  My brother is Houdini and the author mixed into one.  I loved all of the stories provided by the author, especially the ones about snooping for Christmas presents, his death defying feats (that is my brother), and war on the teenagers.  They really could have killed someone.  I’m not sure if I would have said that last sentence if 1) I wasn’t a nurse and 2) I wasn’t a mother. Overall, extremely funny and made me nostalgic for my childhood.

I decided to exclude any historical memoirs because then this post would be much, much longer than it already has become.  Another post for another day.

And don’t get me started on the non-fiction.

I read all 🙂

Book Review: Blur (Night Roamers) by Kristen Middleton

Blur

I don’t do vampire books.  I have my own personal reasons.  Mainly because I was stalked by someone who actually thought he was a vampire in high school.  For other book taboos, read my post here.

I loved this author’s zombie books (Zombie Games).  If you have read through this blog, you can see that I like zombies in general.  But since I thoroughly enjoyed Kristen Middleton’s writing style, wit, and humor, I decided to give the blood suckers a try.

And she did not disappoint.

I would reserve these books for the upper range of young adult.  I would say 16 and above.  There are some steamy scenes throughout.  Although I was reading the seedy sex scenes in Stephen King when I was 11 or 12, I would say use your judgement.

The main character in this series is Nikki who, along with her twin brother and her mother, move to a new town in order to escape her abusive father.

Something in the town seems off.  Some of the residents they meet have something different about them.  Gleaming white teeth.  Always wearing sunglasses.  They receive ominous warnings from other residents.  And there is something out in the woods that is watching them.

I really liked the suspense, the story, and how it flows.  I enjoyed trying to figure out who was who and what was what in the story.  I still don’t care for the vampire genre, but for this author, I will definitely make an exception.

I cannot wait for the next installment of the series.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: