Winner Announced in the Wake of the Bloody Angel Giveaway!

wotbaabOne person has been chosen the winner in the Wake of the Bloody Angel giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. Craig who left a comment on December 28th

Please contact me with your mailing address by Saturday, January 11, 2014 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Living With A Book Addict: …and their bookish emotions

aeOne of the main side effects of having a spouse that is bookish, is a general loss of said spouse to a book if it is good enough to pull him/her in.  In my particular case, I’ve lost Kim to a number of books now, only to have her emerge hours later in a general state of emotion.  I use this general term, as there is not one particular emotion that predominates over the others.  She can experience sadness, elation, anger, misery, or any number of feelings in an instant.   It’s almost like she’s an emotional time-traveler!  Of course I say this almost tongue-in-cheek, as I’m glad Kim’s found something that makes her passionate, regardless of which way the emotions happen to pull her at the time.

One great example of this phenomenon is the book One Day by David Nicholls.  I happened to be reading a funny book at the same time, and was sitting next to Kim on the couch and laughing.  I looked up, mid chuckle, to see tears coming down Kim’s face!  Imagine my surprise and immediate searching thoughts of what I had done in the past 5 minutes to produce these tears.  Fortunately it wasn’t anything I did to pull them out, but it was the story that brought her to tears.  So, here we sat, laughing and crying, both wrapped up in completely different worlds.  I suppose that this is the power books can have over us, but I have to admit that Kim’s bookish emotions do trump my own.

I suppose the best analogy I have to explain the situation is comparing her love of books to my love of science.  It’s not that Kim doesn’t appreciate science, but she doesn’t deal with it every day and have as deep an understanding of it as I do.  The same goes with my understanding and connection with a book.  Granted, I do enjoy books immensely and get a lot of joy from reading, but I feel as if I don’t have the same special relationship with them that Kim does.  I always enjoy seeing the sense of wonderment and amazement that she exudes when she is reading a book that she truly enjoys.  Of course, she always lets me know just how much she LOVES a book, but as I said before, I’m glad that she can have such a great response to a truly good book.

So, I guess that brings me to the obvious question: how involved do you get with reading?  How bookish are your emotions?  Let me know in the comment section below!  Happy (or any other applicable emotion) reading!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Wake of the Bloody Angel (Eddie LaCrosse #4) by Alex Bledsoe

wotbaabWith Alex Bledsoe’s fifth novel in the Eddie LaCrosse series, He Drank, and Saw the Spider, coming out in January, I figured now would be a great time to give away the fourth installment of this series.  Thanks to Tor/Forge, we have a copy available for the winner of this giveaway (see details below!)  Here’s a quick synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.

For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel,went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned.

To find the truth, and earn his gold, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew and solve the mystery of the ghost ships.

About the Author:

Alex Bledsoe is the author of three previous Eddie LaCrosse novels, The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, and Dark Jenny.  Bledsoe is also a contributor to Tor.com.  Connect with him on his website, Twitter, or Facebook.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor/Forge for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of The Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Friday, January 3, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Saturday, January 4, 2014.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Living With a Book Addict: Baking With a Book Addict

IMG_20131219_212051I have a confession: this post has nothing to do with books.  It does, however, have everything to do with cookies.  Tons and tons of cookies.  You see, for the past week Kim has been baking non-stop.  I don’t think our oven has been turned off once (don’t freak out: I turn it off at night, I’m just being facetious.)  After a few trips to the store to get a metric ton of flour, sugar, butter (hello Paula Dean!) and other groceries, it’s been a patisserie paradise here.

This all began earlier this month, when Kim’s mom decided to forgo her normal tradition of baking Christmas cookies.  In order to fill the void, Kim has stepped up to be the cookie provider of the family.  Now that we’ve moved (see details here), we have a much larger kitchen in which to do the baking.  So far, we’ve made oatmeal raisin, oatmeal scotchies (raisins replaced with butterscotch pieces), snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, jelly thumb print, and lemon squares.  There is now a constant rumble of the Kitchen Aid mixer whirring to go along with all the wonderful smells of cookies in the air.

So far, I’ve brought cookies to work, we’ve given them to Kim’s family, and plan on giving more to my family.  That will then leave only 10,000 dozen left (kidding), so we had some friends over last night to help with the baking and eating.  It was a lot of fun, and to be honest I lent my skills to drink mixing instead of baking for the evening.  When I am conscripted to help with the baking, my talents are limited to forming the dough into balls and putting them on the cookie sheets.  Real 1st grade stuff, I know.  But, it needs to get done, so I’m happy to help.

And, all jokes aside, I hope this becomes more of a tradition for us.  It brings a bit more joy to the holiday season and makes me happy to see Kim taking up the reins of this tradition from her family with such enthusiasm.  She does a great job!  Also, as an added benefit I get to test my body’s abilities to produce insulin in mass quantities (sorry, had to throw at least one science joke in.)  Speaking of holiday traditions, let us know below what you like to do during the holiday season!  Baking?  Volunteering?  Gift wrapping?  It’s a time to give back to others and reflect on the year, so I encourage everyone to do something this year.

And, from all of us at Reflections, we wish you all the happiest of holidays and a safe and healthy new year!

Todd’s Review of Game (The Game #1) by Anders De La Motte

GameWhen I first mulled reading Game by Anders De La Motte, I was quite familiar with its premise: A main character becomes involved with a perception-altering, omnipotent company/overlord that they were not aware of previously.  It’s something I was introduced to via The Matrix and am very familiar with.  In fact, I felt so familiar and slightly overloaded with this trope that I almost passed on reading Game.  And now that I’ve finished it, I’m incredibly glad I didn’t!  It was amazing and I can’t wait to read the next two installments in the Game trilogy.

Game begins with a man named Henrik Pettersson (“HP” for short), who is an average Swede with a slight criminal streak.  HP doesn’t have many friends, lives alone in a flat, and often commits small crimes such as petty theft to finance his lifestyle of generalized laziness and the occasional joint.  One day while on the train, he finds an expensive cell phone with the number 128 mysteriously printed on the back.  Just before he decides to pocket the phone and sell it, it asks him a question.  And not just any question, it’s a personalized one: “Do you want to play a game, HP?”  Although he is slightly alarmed, HP decides to play, thinking that it is a prank played on him by a childhood friend.  However, all is not as it seems…

At the same time we are introduced to Rebecca, a member of Sweden’s Special Protection Unit, which is analogous to the US’s Secret Service.  She is everything that HP isn’t: dedicated, cold, calculating, responsible, and predictable.  She’s rising through the ranks, and finds herself protecting the Prime Minister as he travels through the country on various matters for the European Union.  However, she doesn’t know that soon her world and HP’s will soon be inexorably linked, and that she will be facing a threat to her own safety and those around her that she could never have imagined.

As I said above, I was a huge fan of this book.  It was one of those instances where the beginning hook (the whole novelty of this “game” existing beneath the surface that the majority of the public is not aware of) was just enough to keep me interested.  It really wasn’t anything to write home about, but I stuck with it to see where De La Motte was going with the whole concept.  After this beginning phase, however, I really started to become invested in HP and his place within the game.  Although he doesn’t sound like the cream of the crop of society, he does have a good heart, which made me more sympathetic towards him from the start, and once the game began to take control over him, I really started to root for him and hope that he would find a way to fight back.

Additionally, when HP and Rebecca’s stories do align, it was in a way that I didn’t really see coming.  This was the start of several interesting revelations in the book, which added another layer of complexity that I definitely appreciated.  De La Motte takes a good amount of time to delve into the back story of both Rebecca and HP, so the revelations at the end of the book are especially poignant as they tie both the past and present together in a way that left me with goosebumps.  I can’t tell you much more than that, as this is a story with such great plot points that are so important that if I gave any of them away the whole setup would be ruined!  So, go grab a copy yourself and see what you’re missing.  I guarantee you won’t regret it.

5 out of 5 Stars

Game by Anders De La Motte
Atria Books (2013)
eBook: 384 pages
ISBN: 9781476712888

Special thanks to Atria Books for my review copy via Netgalley!

Winner Announced in the Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway!

13547225One person has been chosen the winner in the Spooktacular Halloween giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. sugarmammal who left a comment on October 31st

Please contact me with your mailing address by Friday, November 15, 2013 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway!

In the sp13547225irit of everyone’s favorite scary holiday, loosely based on Pagan rituals and gifts to spirits that somehow evolved into a candy filled day of wearing costumes (not that anyone’s complaining), I figured we at the blog should do a Halloween-themed giveaway!  As some of you may remember, I previously reviewed two books by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, of Ghost Hunters fame (you can read the reviews here and here!)  Now they’re back with another work, Ghost Town!  It’s their second fictional work, with the first being Ghost Trackers.  The ghost hunters Amber, Drew, and Trevor are back in Ghost Town, this time taking place in Exeter, which has the distinction of being “the most haunted town in America.”  They encounter an uprising of the town’s normally quiet ghost population, which is further exacerbated by the ghost of one of their former teammates, who  died years prior and has returned to complicate matters.  It will take all their strength and skill to put these ghosts back in their place and deal with their past at the same time.

So, if this sounds up your alley, leave a comment below telling us about your favorite part of Halloween.  Or, let us know what you’re going to dress up as!

Giveaway – Special thanks to Gallery Books for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of Ghost Town by Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, and Tim Waggoner!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight of Thursday, November 7th, 2013.  A winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, November 8th, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Living With a Book Addict: Moving With a Book Addict

IMG_20130821_210811

The beginning of book packing!

For those of you that don’t know, due to my recent job change Kim and I moved to North Brunswick, NJ from our apartment in Hamden, CT.  Of course, with this move came all the fun of packing our apartment.  Fortunately we had a professional moving service take care of the larger items for us.  Unsurprisingly, we all know that our most prized possessions (books) were the first things packed.

One important fact to consider about books is that they are relatively heavy for their size.  Pack a standard cardboard box full of books and it’s going to weigh a lot.  At first, moving these boxes around the apartment wasn’t too cumbersome, but after the tenth box was packed and moved, I seriously considered digitizing everything and putting it all on Kim’s Nook (just kidding, she’d never allow that).  Finally, after everything was packed and labeled, we had around 27 boxes chock full of literature!  I know it seems like a lot, but in all honestly we had a good amount of giveaways and donations leading up to the move, so we were able to pare down the collection a bit.  I’m sure the Hamden Public Library was pretty sick of me coming by with bags after a while!

Another thing to consider is the bookcases!  Once we finally moved in, we had a lot more wall space, which you may think equals more bookcases.  So far, we only have one more, but that doesn’t mean that this place won’t look like a library some time soon.  So, after one trip to Ikea to replace one of the broken bookcases, we are officially back in business!  Also, now that we’ve made room in our collection, we now have more room than before to fill out the shelves with new books.  So, let us know below if you’ve had to move your own book collections.  Was it painless or did you collapse among an avalanche of paper?

Happy reading!

Todd’s Review of The Thieves of Legend (Michael St. Pierre #4) by Richard Doetsch

10816298After trying out a few different genres of books recently (check out my genre snob post), I decided to go back to the action/adventure side of things and check out The Thieves of Legend by Richard Doetsch.  Featuring Michael St. Pierre as the main protagonist, The Thieves of Legend follows Michael and his ex-girlfriend KC as they travel to China to steal ancient artifacts.  Part spy novel and part thriller, the novel is the fourth part of the Michael St. Pierre series and promises to be the most exciting installment yet.

The Thieves of Legend begins with Michael St. Pierre on a dangerous mission in Italy, working to obtain a secret file and mysterious Chinese puzzle box.  Unfortunately for him, the items are missing, and he finds bodies in their stead.  Later, after witnessing even more murders, Michael is able to escape.  Soon afterwards in New York, he is propositioned by an Army Colonel to do some clandestine contract work.  The strange part is that Michael is certain that the same Colonel was also in Italy committing some of the very murders he witnessed days earlier.  Michael flatly turns down the Colonel’s request, but a strange turn of events forces another meeting with the Colonel hours later in an NYPD interrogation room, with Michael as a suspect in a murder.  Even stranger, the Colonel has files on all of Michael’s past exploits, and threatens to expose him if he doesn’t accept this assignment.  With no other options, Michael agrees to fly to China to do the Colonel’s bidding.  Additionally, a recent fight between Michael and his girlfriend KC leads her to leave him and fly to her hometown in England.  Unwittingly, KC winds up on a different flight and finds herself working on the same plot that Michael is.  What will happen once they begin this new job in China?  Who is ultimately behind their involuntary employment?

I’m no stranger to the strong male protagonist/inferior female character dynamic in spy/adventure thrillers (i.e. Dirk Pitt, Jordan Sandor, etc), but this one seemed different.  In most of the novels I’ve read, the male lead is coupled with an adventurous but slightly inferior female whom he works with or must save at some point.  It’s not really a damsel-in-distress type of thing going on, but usually the female characters opposite the male lead are usually in need of rescue at one point or another.  However, in The Thieves of Legend KC is different.  She is just as capable as Michael and just as determined.  It was refreshing to see the conflict between the two of them and it really fleshed out their characters.  It give this story a bit more characterization, which I often feel is the weak point in these fast-paced action works.  I found the rest of the book to be exciting and more than adequate for the genre.  Michael was a likable character who didn’t overplay the hero role, and the plot twists and turns kept me turning the pages.  In all, if you’re a fan of my other reviews of the Jordan Sandor series, this will definitely be another book (and series in general) to check out.  I can’t wait to dig in to the first three books in the series myself!

4 out of 5 stars

The Thieves of Legend by Richard Doetsch
Atria Books (2012)
Hardcover: 406 pages
ISBN: 9781416598985

Special thanks to Atria Books for my review copy!

Todd’s Review of Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius

17619843As you may or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Marsha Cornelius’ work ever since I read the thrilling H10N1 (find the review here).  Sure, it could have been the fact that I work with the flu virus that made that book so exciting, but I soon followed it up with her next work, The Ups and Downs of Being Dead (review here.)  So, once I heard that she had a third book coming out, Losing It All, I knew I had to give it a try.  The only problem was that it had a romance-type feel to it, of which I am not accustomed to reading.  But, since I am working on overcoming my tendency to be a genre snob, I figured I should give it a try!

Losing It All tells the story of Frank Barnes and Chloe Roberts.  Frank is a Vietnam veteran and a drifter, kindhearted yet down on his luck and accustomed to living on the streets.  Chloe isn’t any better off as her husband abandons her and her children, leaving them to fend for themselves.  She and Frank eventually meet randomly at a soup kitchen, with Chloe taking note of Frank’s kind manners and gentle actions despite his living conditions.  Frank decides to help Chloe, who seems scared and awkward at her first trip to the soup kitchen.  Although both decide that this chance meeting was just that, a brief encounter that wouldn’t bear repeating, both seem to find it impossible to forget the other.  Sadly, a terrible accident leaves Frank badly injured, and it is many weeks later before he sees Chloe again, and she is in far worse shape than when he met her for the first time.  Frank, on the other hand, finds a steady job and a place to call his own.  Now that Frank’s luck has turned for the better, will Chloe allow him to help her and her children?  What will become of these two battered individuals?

I have to admit that my self-imposed stigma against romance-themed novels was unfounded.  I’ve come to find that I enjoy the part in most stories when two main romantic interests finally come together after many chapters of waiting.  I’ve just never noticed it before.  It’s funny how authors can write a plot line where most everyone knows that these characters will eventually end up together, yet there is a ton of enjoyment in getting to that point, waiting impatiently for the characters to realize that they are in fact perfect for each other.  I guess that I was doing this all along, but it took Cornelius’s work (as well as some introspection) to realize that this is the case.  In short, I really enjoyed this story.  It had an engaging plot with plenty of sub-plots that kept my attention span.  Cornelius’ characterizations are spot on, and I felt as if I was on the streets with Chloe and Frank at some points.  The sense of pride that I felt for Frank for taking charge of his life and turning it around was definitely palpable.  In all, this is a great and enticing story that will make you want to keep reading, even if it happens to be labeled as romantic-leaning.

5 out of 5 stars

Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius
CreateSpace (2013)
eBook: 378 pages
ISBN: 0615764894

Special thanks to Marsha Cornelius for my review copy!