Book Review: Ten Sheep To Sleep by Nidhi Kamra

Time for another book review!! I had the pleasure of reading this picture book directed towards children as a bedtime story. The book is about a young child that is counting sheep to fall asleep but she has too many sheep. She tries to find someone else to take some of her extra sheep so she can fall asleep after 10 instead of more.

Overall, it is a very short book but the illustrations are entertaining and the plot is very simple and easy for children to understand. There is even a reference to superheroes in the book so it won me over right there.

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Book rating: 3.5/5

You can check out the author’s website for more information or you can buy the book on Amazon.

Disclaimer: The author sent me a pdf version of the book for my honest review and I am not being compensated in any way.

Stay on the lookout for more book reviews coming soon, I have some new reviewers on the team that has all been given their first assignments! Talk to you soon bookworms.

 

Book Review: The Dark Gray Blanket by Howard Burns

I recently finished a book called The Dark Gray Blanket by Howard Burns. This book is a fictional account of a real-life investigation of a serial killer in the Detroit area. It was a pretty fascinating read in the fact the author actually lived through this and turned it into something that can be shared with the world but also bring awareness to the incident.

Backstory: In the harsh Detroit winters of 1976 and 1977, four children were kidnapped and brutally murdered. This infamous serial killer has been dubbed the “Babysitter Killer” from the way they carefully cleaned, dressed and cared for the victims’ bodies before placing them in plain sight to be found. The murders still remain unsolved to this day.

Author H. Burns was living and working in the peaceful Detroit suburbs during the time of the murders with his wife and two daughters, who were the exact same age as the victims. With the last victim found less than three miles from their little suburban home, the story of the Babysitter Killer and Burns time right in the middle of all the action has haunted him to this day and would become the basis behind his novel, The Dark Gray Blanket.

Synopsis: The Dark Gray Blanket is a fictional account of an over the hill detective, Frank Pellegrini, and his strange obsession in the pursuit of the Babysitter Killer. During the snow-swept dark Michigan months, Frank, a brash and washed up yet lovable cop, makes plundering attempts at solving these mystifying crimes. The unique blend of fact and fiction weaves a captivating mystery set in a Detroit of days gone by and culminates in a killer that will surprise just about everyone.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this book. I liked Frank as a character with his constant pursuit of justice and that he always went with his gut feeling and trusted his instincts. I felt that the story was a little weak in the second chapter because it was basically just a history lesson about Detroit and not much storyline (if you like history, then you would really enjoy this chapter). But as soon as I got past the second chapter, I was in it till the end, adventuring along with Frank in his pursuit of the serial killer and solving the crimes! And the constant thought in the back of your head on why Frank chooses to take on the cases of children being murdered….what happened to him that makes him want/need to solve these cases and how does he do it while keeping his emotions in check?

I will not spoil anything because I think if you are interested, you should pick up this book! Howard Burns is a very generous person so, in remembrance of the victims, a donation in their name from the proceeds of The Dark Gray Blanket will be made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free by Smith Publishing to read and review. The copy for the backstory and synopsis was provided by Smith Publishing, everything else is my own writing.

You can find the book on Amazon:

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What inspired you to write The Dark Gray Blanket?

Burns: I and my family lived in Northville Michigan during these horrific events. Our daughters were the exact age of the victims, 10 and 12. The last victim was found less than 3 miles from our home (skateboard sticking out of the snow). Due to me and my wife working, our daughters had to walk one mile to school by themselves.  1/4 mile through a wooded area. We had to drill into their minds “if someone approaches you, even if it is your grandmother, your teacher, a neighbor, a policeman, a fireman, someone looking for a lost puppy, just run to the closest home, bang on the door and scream for help.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Burns: Never aspired to be a writer – just wanted to tell the story and if possible assist the foundation that searches for missing children.

What do you hope readers will take away from your novel?

Burns: The treasure of a child and the importance of protecting them.

When you are not writing, what do you do for fun?

Burns: Movies, concerts, fishing, hunting (for food, venison, elk, pheasant), dining out, and travel vacations on bus or train enjoying all the beauty and intrigue our wonderful country has to offer. But most of all, spending my life with the woman of my dreams! Just sitting on our deck, looking out over the lake and sipping a cup of tea is one of God’s greatest gifts.

 


And there you have it. Another great book to peek your interest. Talk to you soon bookworms.

Book Review – I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

I recently finished I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid and man oh man was it ever intense! I was sent this book by Simon and Schuster Canada for winning their Book Club Pick of the Month contest. Now this happened in the summer and I had a huge list of books to go through but I am finally getting to it.

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I read this book on a flight to the great northern city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada over the Christmas break to visit my friend Jordan. I had my nose in this book from takeoff to landing on the flight home and was completely engrossed in the intricate web of a masterpiece Iain Reid created.

The story starts with a woman in a car with her boyfriend and they are travelling to his parents house so that she can meet them for the first time. Meanwhile, she is thinking of ending the relationship and a lot of the book is her constant struggle in her head about what to do in this situation since she no longer wants to be in the relationship. They get to the farm and she meets his parents but things seem to be out of place and she starts to notice a lot of things that are “off”. Thus ensues a crazy twisted nightmare of a story that I never expected in the least.

I will be spoiling the ending because holy crap it was crazy. But I will clearly define where the spoiler is so don’t worry. Before that though, I wanted to share the best quote from the book.

You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.

This line is so haunting once you know what the ending is. Alright without further ado, spoiler time…

*SPOILER INSERTED HERE, DON’T READ FURTHER IF YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK*

So it turned out that this woman was one of multiple personalities inside the boyfriend’s head and she was never real the entire time. When she is thinking of ending it, she is meaning ending his life. After you come to this realization, the entire book becomes so much creepier.

I also never caught it till after but the author just says “a woman” instead of giving the main character a name because she is the one telling the story. It made so much sense at the end but it was a very intense plot twist.

*SPOILER ENDED*

If you wish to read this book, you can find it here: http://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/Im-Thinking-of-Ending-Things/Iain-Reid/9781501103452

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review in any way. I chose to write it because I wanted to.

 

 

 

Book Highlight – Star City by Edwin Peng

So I have been sent a book call Star City by Edwin Peng for free to review. I am doing a book highlight first before I finish the book to give everyone a little taste of this science fiction adventure and to give you a little insight into the author by sharing an author interview!

It isn’t every day you read a debut novel that you know will be just the beginning of a successful career, but with Edwin Peng’s Star City (Evolved Publishing, December 4, 2017), it’s clear from page one that this book is something special. Star City is more than just a world-shaking sci-fi adventure for YA readers, with a dash of romance and a super cool alien race who happens to love blueberries. From Peng’s unique take on human/alien first contact, to his diverse cast of characters, and a protagonist with strong ties to her STEM roots, the book feels lively and well thought out on every level.

Synopsis: Eighteen year old Emma Smith is exactly where she wants to be: she’s headed to the University of Nebraska with a full scholarship to, and on top of that she’s been selected by the U.S government to participate in an exclusive medical research project. The project, as it turns out, isn’t an average college internship. Emma has been selected as a student ambassador to liaise with the Ba’ren, an alien race that has recently made contact with Earth in order to share medical technology. The project will kick start Emma’s biomedical engineering career, as well as give her a chance to interact with this mysterious alien race she – and all of humanity – are very curious about.

Unfortunately for Emma, her Ba’ren counterpart, Sepporinen, has very little interest in her humanity as a whole. He is most excited about the opportunity to explore and mine the asteroids of Earth’s solar system, but is compelled by his government to take part in the research project. As the two work together, they begin to draw closer, and form a friendship – and perhaps more. In the meantime, they discover far more is at stake with their project than what their respective governments have let on. Political and cultural clashes between the humans and the Ba’ren intensify, and Emma and Sepporinen must risk everything to help maintain the fragile peace between their two species.

Star City is the best kind of YA – it encourages readers to enjoy the story, and yet to think beyond its pages. Fans of Rick Yancey, Melissa Landers, and Claudia Grey Alexandra Bracken will gravitate towards this series, and will be so glad that they discovered Edwin Peng, a debut author we’ll certainly be hearing more from.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What inspired you to write Star City?

Edwin Peng: I have always loved YA, so that’s the genre that I always knew I would write. I really hope that my fandom shines through, but at the same time that my novel is  different than what’s currently out there. The other thing that inspired this novel was my experience in the highly competitive Early Entrance Program at California State University, Los Angeles. I was 13 when I went to college, which is a little bit out of the ordinary (to say the least!). Some of the very smart, very driven, and very geeky characters in my novel are loosely based on that experience.

Why did you choose to set the book in Nebraska?

Peng: I moved to Lincoln, NE five years ago. I are to love this state and its people. One of my favourite books is Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. There are enough books – not to mention movies and TV shows – set in New York City or Los Angeles. I believe there should be more novels set in “unpopular” places such as Nebraska.

What do you hope readers will take away from this novel?

Peng:  My hope is that Star City provides pertinent social commentary and challenges the average YA reader’s preconceptions while still delivering a funny and exciting story. The most obvious theme of the Ibook is the need for peaceful relations with other cultures. In our increasingly connected world, we must be much more understanding and tolerant of others.

Why was it important for you to feature a diverse set of characters in the series?

Peng: Traditional publishing, especially within the young adult genre, has a long history of excluding marginalized groups, both in their fiction and for real life readers and authors. In the rare instance that a young adult novel features minority/lower class/LGBT+ characters, they are often stereotyped and/or whitewashed on the cover or movie adaptation. The Star City series fights for diversity with many, non-stereotypical characters, who readers from marginalized groups can identify with.

When you’re not writing, what do you do?

Peng: I am a postdoc doing materials engineering research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Some of the alien technologies in Star City actually are inspired by the research I’m doing!

Connect with Edwin Peng at www.edwinpeng.com, on Twitter @edwinPeng88, Facebook, and Instagram @edwinpeng88.

Star City can be purchased on Amazon:

Disclaimer: All copy was provided by Smith Publicity and they own the rights to the materials provided.

I hope to talk to you bookworms soon about this one when I am finished it.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: You Should Come With We Now

I recently finished a book sent to me by STORGY for review called You Should Come With Me Now by John Harrison.

‘You Should Come With Me Now’ an anthology by M. John Harrison from the wonderful Independent publisher Comma Press boasted a collection of short stories that were quite different and a joy to read, this due in part to the range Harrison possesses; the storylines ranged from people with schizophrenia (are they schizophrenic or were there ghosts living among them), different worlds that only some could see and tales of stalking etc.

What I really enjoyed most about these short stories is that Harrison leaves each one open to the interpretation of the reader. In so much as to say I could think that it means one thing and someone else could have a completely different interpretation and reaction to the same story.

Some of the stories were slow burners at first; hard to get into the story, but by the time the ending drops it leaves you with one line that at first you wouldn’t think is a good ending but plays on the mind long after reading, giving you an understanding of why Harrison concluded the story in this way. These short stories really make you think out of the box in the way Harrison uses descriptions of characters and settings.

Reflecting about which was my favourite, the one that stands out in my mind was about a man and his close friend; whom you can tell he loves but she is married and her husband is a hermit that lives in their attic. He is always up there working on some project but no one knows what it is and the story trundles along to show how his absence from their lives is affecting everyone else. When it gets to the ending, the house gets almost torn apart! My interpretation of it is that he has been working on defending himself from another dimension, which is revealed masterfully at the end for
the rest of the characters to see. Someone else might interpret this story in a different way which is so cool because then it would spark a discussion about why and how they see it their way.

Overall, this collection of short stories was pretty interesting and they didn’t ramble on as many short stories do, being reminiscent of Novellas instead of the delicate craft of the short story. Each time I returned it felt like reading a new book each time, once again highlighting Harrison’s range of writing and the intricate craft of the short story form.

M-John-Harrison

M John Harrison – M. John Harrison is the author of eleven novels (including In Viriconium, The Course of the Heart and Light), as well as four previous short story collections, two graphic novels, and collaborations with Jane Johnson, writing as Gabriel King. He won the Boardman Tasker Award for Climbers (1989), the James Tiptree Jr Award for Light (2002) and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Nova Swing (2007). He reviews fiction for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, and lives
in Shropshire.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book to review by STORGY. I am in no way being compensated for this review.

Here is the link to the STORGY article.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Bookworms!! Happy Holidays or whatever you prefer 🙂 I have been catching up on all my favourite Christmas traditions like watching White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life, reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and even going to a Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad. Our tree looks really nice (Mom decorated it, I am at my parents for the holidays).

Tomorrow morning I will be on my way to Fort Frances to bring some Christmas Cheer to my good friend Jordan who had to work on Christmas. He is a paramedic so he has to make sure everyone else is being safe over the holidays and give up his own to do so. My flight is at 7am tomorrow but I have a new book to keep me entertained for the journey there and back on New Years Eve.

Also Max says Merry Christmas too. As you can see we both just got out of bed 😛

Well have a great Christmas Day everyone! Eat lots of turkey and drink lots of spirits and keep the good cheer a flowing.

Talk to you soon bookworms.

We are born to change the world, not just add to the noise.

Alright spoiler, this post is not about books! But I have been getting ready to go home for the holidays and I have been listening to a lot of music. I like all types of music but I have a sweet spot for songs that can just make you feel strong emotions. I have an entire list I could suggest but I want to know what songs make you guys feel something. Music has such a way of getting through to you. Certain songs can hold a memories or just change your day with a beginning note. It’s like how certain smells can trigger memories. So can music.

I will hear a song an be instantly somewhere else. Abbey Road by the Beatles takes me back to the first time ever hearing it on vinyl in my cousin’s basement. Feeling the record as it spun and hearing the crackle of the needle as the track went round and round.

I heard this line in a movie trailer but the music behind it gave it so much more meaning. We are born to change the world, not just add to the noise. There is so much noise but we are meant to make our own melodies. Any way we can. I just really like that line and it stuck out to me.

Here is a link to my playlist on Spotify of songs that make me feel if you are interested:

Not really sure where I was going with this post 😛 but anyway I am done with my random ramble. Let me know in the comments what songs make you feel something. Talk to you later tune worms? sound worms? Nah back to bookworms!