Archive for January, 2010

Jacob’s List

[openbook booknumber=”0764203266″][rating:3/5]

When you lose a child it is considered “the worst loss”. For the Nolans the loss of their son doesn’t just risk destroying their world, it also risks tearing them apart, as he was the only thing that was keeping them together.

When I saw this book I assumed it was going to be a book about a married couple completing the things on their son’s list and going on a lot of adventures together in his memory. Pretty naive considering how the book turned out.

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Hum Drum

by Gary McMahon


The short story “Hum Drum” turned out to be a really intriguing horror/psychic/ghost mystery with a truly chilling nemesis and a very interesting psychic protagonist Thomas Usher. This short story can be found in The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 and The First Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories.

In it Thomas Usher works as a psychic detective, he can see and communicate with the dead and helps people unfortunate enough to be in dangerous circumstances with these ghosts. His job is to try and find out what they want, why they are there, and get them what they need to go back to where they came from. In this story a man purchases a sinister toy drum from an antique shop and feels compelled to drum it. Doing so summons the ghost and results in him having to find Thomas Usher as the ghost is even more sinister than the drum. What does the ghost want? Why is the ghost bothering this man? Why is the drum still sounding on and on and what will it take to make the beat of the drum finally stop?

This short story would have made a terrifying TV Show. I could just picture the drum, innocent at first, but slowly resembling more and more an ancient relic made of human bone and flesh. The ghost was at times truly terrifying and the ending was, well not totally unexpected, but what happened after certainly was. Thomas Usher was fascinating to read about and I loved how the ending showed so much about him and who he was and that there were more stories to tell. In fact the author is writing more about him and is publishing a book with further tales in To Usher, The Dead which is coming out later this year, but isn’t on Amazon yet.

Glowing Reviews

As a book blogger I actually find it really hard to write lengthy glowing reviews. If I love a book I can succintly wrap up why I love it in four paragraphs tops and often I feel like I’m stretching myself thin even with that. When it comes to listing all the things I enjoy about a book or putting it into witty phrases – or (let’s be honest here) any phrases at all – I stumble and find myself at a loss to say anything. Like a teenage girl with a crush I am completely tongue tied to explain even the beginning of why I like this boy book so much. It’s just hot!

For example, the book An Assembly Such As This is the only book that has ever given justice to the concept of a Jane Austen spin off. I’ve read dozens, but this trilogy (completed in Duty and Desire and These Three Remain) caused me to not only become a die hard Jane Austen fan all over again, they reminded me of why I loved reading so much and I wondered that I ever could have left it for as long as I did. None of those reviews really convey how much those books impacted my life and how honored (yes, honored) I was to read them.

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Bloggiesta! 2010

The 2nd annual Bloggiesta starts today and I am looking forward to participating! I have a lot of little things I’ve been meaning to do around this blog that I want to get to, and a small back log of reviews that need to get done. I always reorganize and facelift in the new year anyway, so why not do it with friends?

Things I would like to get done include:

  • New color scheme for the blog.
  • Create some CSS short cuts.
  • Increase compatibility with IE 7.
  • Tweak to get idiosyncrasies worked out for Safari & Chrome.
  • Drop down menus for Chatter, Challenges and maybe Reviews.
  • Increase user-friendliness on the main page.
  • Change social networking options on post pages.
  • Add threaded comments.
  • Write Review Policy for Contact page.
  • Do write-ups for LOTR read-a-long and for Social Justice Reading Challenge.
  • Get caught up on back-log of four reviews.

It’s going to be an interesting weekend. If my site suddenly looks broken for some reason, well, just give me a few minutes!

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2009 Year End Wrap-Up

In 2009 I picked up this book blog after a semi-hiatus and really started working with it as part of my 101 Goals in 1001 Days. I wanted to read and review all of the unread books in my collection, totaling about 300 books at the time. Then I discovered the book blogging community in October and participated, unofficially, in my first read-a-thon to try and get caught up on my back log of reviews. After that things just started to take off for me.

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