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Night Shift by Charlaine Harris (Early Review)


Night Shift is the final book in a trilogy based on the (fictional) paranormal town of Midnight, Texas. Its residents (Fiji, Bobo, Lemuel, Olivia, Manfred, Teacher, Madonna, Mr. Snuggles the cat, Diederik, Quinn, Joe, Chuy, the Rev, and newcomer Sebastian) are faced with mysterious suicides in the crossroads in the center of their town. Lemuel dedicates his nights to the daunting task of translating a werewolf-bound book written in a language that only 3 vampires know (excluding himself) to find out what is going on and how they can solve the problem.

I have never been let down by Harris's writing abilities, and this book is no different. I've loved all the books I've read by her, and this trilogy somehow makes an odd, small town really interesting to me. Most of the 14 residents have close-to-equal page time and we have gotten a pretty decent background on most of them. I have really enjoyed reading these books and getting to know the characters as their personalities are carefully revealed throughout the course of all three books. I highly recommend this trilogy!

5/5 Stars

The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain


The President's Hat is described by the author as a "modern fairy tale for adults" and he couldn't be more right. Which is good, because it's his book.

This book, though timeless, is set in the 1980's and Francois Mitterand is president. One night he leaves his hat in a restaurant, and it winds up falling into the hands of four different people. When each person acquires the hat, their lives are affected in such a completely transforming way, definitely for the better. There's a fun twist at the end. It's magical and makes me want to stalk public places for unaccompanied hats.

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain


The Red Notebook is Amelie in book form, perfectly. 

One morning on the way to a cafe, Laurent comes across a woman's purse sitting on top of a dumpster. He quickly realizes that it must have been stolen from the owner, and from that moment he sets out to track down and get it back to her.

Since the phone and wallet were (obviously) taken from the purse, the only piece of information he has about her identity is her first name, which is a book signed by an author. A fitting clue because Laurent owns a bookstore.

This book is cute, funny, real-life, and whimsical. It too has the magical essence that Amelie does, which makes me believe that the English version of this book was made great, in part, by the translator, Emily Boyce. I can't wait to read the author's other book, The President's Hat!

5/5 Stars

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman


In The Book of Blood and Shadow, we follow Nora (hehe), a smart senior/Latin nerd at a prep school, and her three best friends. They land spots in a special study class to try to interpret a book that no one has been able to in the 400-some years since it was written. It turns out that an organization is keeping and eye on everyone who shows interest in the book, and once they start to make progress things start to heat up.

This is a really long book, and for most of it I thought that it was a really long book for such an okay story. It was an interesting read and the ending really picked up, but I feel like a lot could have been cut. There are several twists and surprises that keep the book moving and really engage the reader.

3/5 Stars

The Autumnlands, Volume 1


Magic is failing in The Autumnlands so Gharta creates a spell to bring the Great Champion to their world so he can restore their magic. They weren't able to give the spell enough power so it took from the city's reserves, thus causing it to fall from the sky. Many died, and an attack from Seven-Scars and his bison tribe cause even more destruction. Learoyd, the Great Champion, was successfully brought into the Autumnlands and helps save the city from the bison. Dusty, our main character, naturally trusts people but is quickly learning that others are not always how they portray themselves.

I was so happy to find the Autumnlands. There just aren't enough fantasy comics out there and this is a fantastic one with magic, anthropomorphic animals, more magic, more animals, and the most amazing illustrations around. Seriously! If you like them as much as I do, check out other works by Benjamin Dewey: I Was the Cat and The Tragedy Series.

5/5 Stars

Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta

Oakland Cemetery gets huge points from me for having a visitors center and gift shop. A GIFT SHOP. In a cemetery. This should be mandatory and I will work all of them.

A few issues here.


Natural vignetting

It was freezing, raining, and snowing by the time we got here. We saw much of the cemetery by car except for a quick little run-around when I got out to visit the gift shop. I really hope I get to spend more time here someday.

The Winemakers by Jan Moran


I finished this book late one evening and went to bed soon after. As I laid in bed I digested the book and realized that I liked it so much because it made me feel happy. It also gave me the itch to travel, but if you must know one thing about the book, know that it made me happy.

In The Winemakers, the reader is fed little bits of information along the way. This can either be done well or not well, and Jan Moran definitely does a great job with it. The reader is given just enough to wonder and guess about what has happened but not enough to spoil the turns of the novel. The points of view go back and forth between Caterina in the 1950's and her mother, Ava, in the 1920's. Ava's back story largely takes place in Italy, while Caterina's is shared between California and Italy.

Largely, this is a story about a young woman looking to uncover the secrets of her family while finding her place in the world. There's loss, wine, love, and much more to this book. I highly recommend it! I also look forward to reading more from Jan Moran, found here.

5/5 Stars

I am delighted to have been chosen to be a part of the launch for The Winemakers. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Morning Star / Pierce Brown Book Signing

On February 9th, 2016, the final book in the Red Rising Trilogy was released.

This was a big deal.

I read Red Rising last fall and really liked it. Then I read Golden Son and that book shifted something inside of me; it is a book that really means something important. So as you can guess, I had high hopes for Morning Star.

It's not at all like it was a bad book. It just didn't get exponentially better in the way that Golden Son did following Red Rising.

Unfortunately I can't mention any specifics without spoilering the heck out of everything, so I'll be vague.

Basically, there were a bunch of badass characters throughout two and a half books who did what they needed to do and kill who they needed to kill and then they all went...soft. It really felt like an easy ending rather than an awesome one. I really miss the old characters and the ending was pretty corny.

The signing was pretty awesome though...

NOW FOR THE SIGNING!! Pierce did a signing in Seattle two days after the book released. I went right after work so I wouldn't have to worry about parking or being there in time for a seat and I got there two and a half hours early. I talked a little with the other girl who was there super early but mostly read since I was barely halfway through. Pierce read the prologue then answered questions and joked around for about 30 minutes. A lot of the questions asked I recognized from the AMA he recently did so I didn't take any notes. It was also recorded by the bookstore.

Since I was there so early I had my choice of seats. Front row it was! Which also means I was *second* in line for the signing so I wasn't there for hours and hours and got to go home at a reasonable hour. He was so nice when I went up to get my books signed and patiently listened to me stumble over the two things I wanted to tell him.

Despite not liking the ending, I still think it's a great trilogy with really awesome writing and characters and do recommend reading it.

3/5 Stars

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts


Oh god I was so happy when this story was over. Dark Witch is the worst Nora Roberts book I have ever read; I didn't even know she could write them this horribly. And the narrator, the narrator! What a grating voice in all of its forms. She sounds like an enthusiastic theater student on the verge of an orgasm.

The bones of the story itself were good: an American woman moves to Ireland to meet her cousins. It turns out they are descendants of a powerful witch and her three children. They tried to defeat an evil warlock and failed, so it now falls on the three of them to finish him. Such potential.

So, the bones are good but the meat is rotten. The words she used and the way we see characters fall in love... it's very... old fashioned. In a terrible, hokey way. Maybe someone 50+ would be into it? I will definitely not be finishing this trilogy.

1/5 Stars

John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography


John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography is an extremely comprehensive, yet not intimidating, guide to how to best use your camera, especially with nature photography. It walks you through how to properly set up your camera, managing exposure, many different types of lenses, manual exposure, composition, and much more. Shaw presents this information in a very interesting and approachable way, unlike many photography books that tend to go on and on and lose you in the process.

If you're looking to get more comfortable with your camera and really put it to use, I highly recommend this book. Plus it is littered with amazing pictures!

4/5 Stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books to review.

Fort Pulaski + Tybee Island

Fort Pulaski (located on Cockspur Island) and Tybee Island were both a dream. It was the first super sunny day and definitely the first warm day of the trip (at 60 degrees, such a shame).


Look at that tiny observation platform >.<

Dream table

I like lighthouses so much I got married at one :-)

Beach swings. They belong everywhere.