Monday, April 29, 2013

CONTEST: Win a $300 Home Depot gift certificate (or $300 USD via Paypal) and a copy of Brood X

Brood X Michael Phillip CashWelcome to the Brood X $300 Home Depot Gift Card Giveaway!


Hosted by Giveaway Promote.
Sponsored by author Michael Phillip Cash.

Are you prepared for the invasion of Brood X? It's here and you need to get ready!

Nothing will stop this 17 year swarm from happening. All humanity can do is hope that they will not stay around long.

Introducing Michael Phillip Cash's new book, Brood X. It is available on Amazon and coming soon to online book stores near you. Now you can win a copy of Brood X and a $300 Home Depot Gift Card or $300 USD via PayPal to help you get prepared for the invasion!

About Brood X:

Seth is laid off from work. His wife Lara just found out they are expecting a baby this summer. Seth plans on documenting the entire pregnancy with his brand new digital camcorder.

During an evening home watching television, the news reports that a swarm of cicada (Brood Ten) are expected to overwhelm the entire Northeast.

Brood Ten is vicious and ready to invade.

During a sweltering summer night, Brood Ten emerges and wreaks havoc with the electric grid, phone and cell service, wi-fi, food and water supply. Civilization as they know it is gone.

Seth and Lara are thrown back to the stone age in their own home with trillions of cicada trying to deposit their eggs and breed.

Will Seth grow up and take responsibility for his family? Or will the devastating bugs destroy humanity?

About Michael Phillip Cash:

Born and raised on Long Island, Michael Phillip Cash has always had a fascination with horror writing and found footage films.

He wanted to incorporate both with his debut novel, Brood X. Earning a degree in English and an MBA, he has worked various jobs before settling into being a full-time author. He currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.



Enter to win a $300 Home Depot Gift Certificate and a copy of Brood X.

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One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries to receive a $300 Home Depot Gift Card or $300 USD via PayPal and a copy of Brood X (English version).

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Ends at 11:59pm EST on May 12th, 2013.
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review and GIVEAWAY: Replacement Child

Replacement Child, by Judy L. Mandel.

I never met my sister, Donna. My other sister, Linda, was burned nearly to death. I was conceived as the salve on the burns, to fill the abandoned chair at the gray Formica table. My place in the family was cauterized by the flames.

This is the story of my family's trials and triumphs as a result of a tipping of fate, and my own struggle to live up to the role burned into my psyche from the time my mother first dreamed me up as her salvation.


Judy L. MandelThis story is perhaps one of the saddest books I've read lately, and the scary part is, it's nonfiction: a memoir. Judy Mandel never knew her 7-year-old sister, Donna, because Donna died when a flight bound for Newark airport crashed into the house that her other sister, Linda, lived in with her mother and father. Judy wasn't yet born at the time, and her mother and Linda escaped from the wreckage, although not unscathed; Donna was not as lucky. This is the story of how Judy was born as a "replacement child" for Donna, and how she grew up and later made her own family.

Official synopsis:
Replacement Child tells the true story of a horrifying accident: A plane crashes into a family’s home, leaving one daughter severely burned and another dead. The death of the child leaves a hole in the family that threatens to tear it apart. In an attempt to fill the painful gap, the parents give birth to a “replacement child.” But what is life like for a child that was born only be replacement and how does that unique position in the family affect them into their adulthood?

In this powerful story of love and lies, family and hope, Judy L. Mandel tells the story of being the child brought into the world to provide “a salve for the burns.” As a child, she unwittingly rides the deep and hidden currents of her family’s grief—until her discovery of this family secret, years later, changes her life forever, forcing her to confront the complex layers of her relationships with her father, mother, and sister.

This powerful memoir switches between the history of the family before the accident, the day of the accident and Judy’s memories of her own life in a fascinating way of connecting the “before” and “after” families.
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I'm not sure if I had heard of the term "replacement child" before - I feel like there has to be another book or a movie that's explored this topic, but I can't recall any right now. This book could actually be made into a movie; at times, it resembled fiction more than fact, because even though there are plane crashes every day, it's hard to imagine a place crashing into your house, on what previously was a normal day.

Much like with 9/11, it was crazy to read who was in the Mandel house when the plane crashed. They lived in the second story of a triple-decker; the tenants on the 3rd floor were killed. Judy's father was still at work, and only an hour or so earlier, there were three or four girls over at the Mandel's working on a school project. Donna was in the living room and Linda was in the kitchen when the plane hit. Another tenant of the building would have been home, but was a professor and delayed his university class by ten minutes and so he was not home when the plane hit.

I really liked how the author parceled out bits and pieces from the day of the crash - pieces collected from her parents' and Linda's memories, even though Linda was only two years old at the time, and from newspaper articles and other reports about it - but also jumped back and forth between her childhood and growing up, and her present-day (2005/2006, at the time) life and family. I was curious to know why the crash happened, and the aftereffects of it; you learn about the aftereffects before you read about the crash itself, for the most part.

The other scary thing was that planes flying to/from Newark airport had multiple crashes in 1951-53, including this one; yet, they continued to happen, and if you lived near an airport, there was nothing to do but pray that it didn't happen to you and your family.

4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I have one copy of Replacement Child to giveaway to a lucky reader of Books I Think You Should Read! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on Wednesday, May 8th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email on Thursday, May 9th, and have 24 hours to respond to my email, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

A Shade of Blood

A Shade of Blood, by Bella Forrest.

Sensing how deeply she had begun to mean to me, I was unable to keep myself from voicing out what was going through my mind. I knew it was selfish of me to ask it of her, but the words flooded out of my lips before I could second guess them.

"Sofia, stay."

I hoped that the words wouldn't come across as a command, that she would know them for what they were - a plea. I, Prince of The Shade, was begging her - supposedly my slave - not to leave me, because I knew without a doubt in my mind that her departure would only serve to plunge me deeper into the darkness that took over my life five hundred years ago when my own father turned me into the monster that I was.


Bella Forrest vampires supernaturalA Shade of Blood is the second book in this series, the first being A Shade of Vampire that I reviewed last month. I was feeling a little cheeky that day and called A Shade of Vampire "much like Twilight on crack," but A Shade of Blood delves more into the world of The Shade and is much more detailed and delicious to read than the Twilight series ever was.

Official synopsis:
When Sofia Claremont was kidnapped to a sunless island, uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet, she believed she'd forever be a captive of its dark ruler, Derek Novak.

Now, after months of surviving an endless night, the morning sun may soon rise again for Sofia. Something has possessed Derek's heart and he offers her a gift no human slave has ever been given in the history of his cursed island: escape.

High school, prom and a chance to move on with her life now await her.

But will she be able to forget the horrors that steal her sleep away at night? ... or the feelings that haunt her for that tormented prince of darkness?
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When A Shade of Blood opens, vampire prince Derek Novak has just given Sofia and her friend Ben a choice: they can stay at The Shade - not as slaves - or can go home. Ben immediately chooses home, but Sofia has to think about it a bit; she's in love with Derek. She feels like she can't abandon Ben, though, so she chooses home as well. After a few weeks, she realizes she has to go back to The Shade, and when Vivienne Novak, Derek's twin sister, comes to her world to convince her and show her the way back, she takes her up on it.

ASOB is a lot more detailed than ASOV, even though I liked ASOV and gave it 4 out of 5 stars, and it really draws you in to the world of The Shade. We find out about a competing vampire clan, and also a number of secrets about Sofia's father, who left her with Ben's family to take care of when she was little, and her mother, who was declared insane when she was young, as well.

Even though Derek is supposed to be "the bad guy" and Ben "the good guy" in this novel, I was still rooting for Derek and Sofia to get together. Derek has never really loved anyone the way he loves Sofia, and although he definitely has a dark side, he's not a bad guy overall - just a guy who has made some bad choices in the past.

I think the first novel was completely from Sofia's point-of-view, as I recall, and this book is from everyone's point-of-view: we get chapters from Derek, Sofia, Ben, Lucas (Derek's no-good brother), and others. This really helped to round out the novel as a whole, in my opinion.

Read A Shade of Vampire before you read this one - ASOB is okay as a stand-alone book, but it's better to have read the first to completely understand The Shade and all of its inhabitants.

5 stars out of 5.

(PS: isn't that cover gorgeous? You can buy A Shade of Blood as an Amazon e-book or paperback from this link, too.)

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the author to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest Post: Judy Mandel, author of Replacement Child

*I will have a review of Replacement Child up next Wednesday, April 24th, as well as a giveaway of the book. Meanwhile, enjoy this guest post from the author of Replacement Child, Judy Mandel.

About the book:

Judy Mandel is the replacement child for her sister who was killed in a tragic accident. It would be years before she would understand how the event, that happened before she was born, shaped her life.
Judy Mandel author of Replacement Child
Judy Mandel

A plane crashes into a family’s home. A two-year-old girl is critically burned and a mother is forced to make an impossible choice. The death of a child leaves a hole in the family that threatens to tear it apart.

In a great act of hope, the parents give birth to a "replacement child," born to heal wounds and provide a "salve for the burns." The child unwittingly plays her role throughout childhood, riding the deep and hidden currents of the family tragedy.

In this powerful story of love and lies, hope and forgiveness, Judy Mandel discovers the truth that changes her life forever and forces her to confront the complex layers of her relationships with her father, mother, and sister. When she has her own child, her epiphany comes full circle.

http://www.replacementchild.com


How Writing Replacement Child Changed Me

Replacement Child Judy L. Mandel
There are times when I am jealous of my friends who don’t write. They seem to go on about their lives bounding from one event to another without a writer’s internal reeling, analyzing and recreation of every nuance of feeling. An anniversary, a birthday, a bad lab report, a diagnosis, a death. We all live through them with varied degrees of pathos and introspection. But writers wring out the last drop. For those lucky enough not to want to write, it appears to me that life swirls by willy-nilly. It is a state of bliss that seems damned attractive sometimes and I want to hurl my laptop out the nearest window. Take me wind of happenstance, sweep my hair in my eyes and blind me!

I may be oversimplifying. But, I know other writers feel this way toward those who don’t subject themselves to the self prescribed torture that may or may not emerge as a piece of art. Let’s face it, sometimes the result is just crap. Brain vomit. No doubt the essay or story had its origins in a lofty premise, an anguish that needed to be recorded for all time, an insight not to be dismissed or unshared; but it still may end up a crushed ball, or a deleted file, giving us some measure of satisfaction in destroying it beyond readability.

Despite the agony to find the right words, we can’t seem to stop. We writers feel we are wasting time if we are not doing it. As Gloria Steinem said:

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

Through the entire writing of Replacement Child, I was afraid I was spewing incomprehensible dribble. Even through the thirteenth and last revision, I wondered if I got it right. It seems impossible to shake the doubt.

What I know now is that I had no choice but to write the story. When authors say writing their memoir was a journey, we are not talking about a cruise in the Mediterranean. It’s more like a trek along the Appalachian Trail with a limited water supply and thin-soled shoes. I was parched and ragged at the end.

Graham Greene said this about writing, which explains a great deal about why I had to write my memoir:

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”

My particular journey led me to an understanding of my fears, my choices, and possibly my future, that I could not have arrived at in any other way. Conventional therapy didn’t touch on my replacement child status. But writing through my family’s tragedy, from their different perspectives, gave me the ability to look at myself as a character in a story; dispassionately dissecting the origins of my own strengths and failings.

Knowing that I was susceptible to the questions of identity and worth that go along with being a replacement child, after I stumbled on that insight, I understood why I never felt like I belonged. Why I looked to men to validate my worth. It had started with my family. Of course.

When I understood, through my research and writing, the reality of a plane crashing into my parents’ home, killing my sister and changing all of our lives—I had my first awareness of how I came to my view of the world. Before writing Replacement Child, I only knew how I felt; now I understood why.

When planes fall out of the sky into your mother’s kitchen, you know deep in your bones that anything can happen.

-

About Judy L. Mandel

Judy L. Mandel made her living as a marketing professional for over 20 years before writing her first book, Replacement Child. She grew up in New Jersey, but when she went to college in Connecticut, she knew she had found her home.

Her writing life began as a newspaper reporter. She later worked in public relations and advertising and somehow found herself in corporate communications at various insurance companies. Her memoir grew out of early essays and the promise she made to her family to tell their story.

Judy now balances her business writing for clients with writing fiction, nonfiction and articles.


Follow Judy on:

Psychology Today:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/replacement-child

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/judymandel

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/replacementchild

Her blog:
http://www.judymandel.com/blog

Monday, April 8, 2013

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris.

I'm a huge fan of David Sedaris's books, and this one was no exception, although it was a little more bizarre than his usual fare. He has a preface that says that some of the chapters will be written like fiction - from the point of view of characters - and those chapters were not immediately apparent until he started talking about "his" son (I don't think he has kids) or situations that he himself would probably not have been in.

Official synopsis, from Amazon:
David SedarisFrom the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new book of essays taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist's shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.
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The reason I love Sedaris's books - which are memoirs - is because he's always funny. One of the funniest stories by him, that I still remember, was about when he worked as an elf in a department store, and the things he said to the kids there about Christmas and Santa.

I'm still not entirely sure of the meaning of the title of this book, except one of the chapters was about taxidermied owls, and how David went to buy one for his husband, Hugh, and the hilarity and awkwardness he experienced in the taxidermy shop - so I'm assuming it's something to do with that.

Some of my favorite stories in this one was the owl story and also one about David's first colonoscopy - which, as you may know, are usually not pleasant, but Sedaris will entertain you and make you laugh because of the way he recounts his. It also was interesting to hear about an experience he had with someone stealing his computer bag, including his passport, in early 2008, because I heard him speak in Ann Arbor in October 2008, and it turns out that he almost didn't make that tour because of it.

He will be in Ann Arbor at Hill Auditorium this Saturday, as well (April 13th), and I have tickets to see him speak - it should be great.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls will be in stores on April 23rd. 4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Entering the Blue Stone

Entering the Blue Stone, by Molly Best Tinsley.

The masks had been peeled away. Impatient mother. Passive-aggressive wife. Perennial outsider, suspicious and critical. Woman besieged by fear.

All those past selves had vanished. Maybe they'd died with our father. Maybe Chris had banished them by refusing to listen when she complained of persecution. Maybe Cathy and I had exorcised them by encouraging the details of her wildest dreams until she lost interest in them herself. Or was it just that the brain-plaque of Alzheimer's had clogged the machinery of neurosis along with everything else, filled in the ragged, badly meshing grooves?


assisted living, AlzheimersEntering the Blue Stone is a memoir, told by Molly Best Tinsley, about her parents in their twilight years and what happened to them when they enter an assisted living home, and later a nursing home. It's one of the saddest books I've read in quite a while and also one of the scariest, since conditions in "old age" homes like these may be prevalent all over the country.

Official synopsis:
What happens when one's larger-than-life military parents - disciplined, distinguished, exacting - begin sliding out of control? The General struggles to maintain his invulnerable fa├žade against Parkinson's disease; his lovely wife manifests a bizarre dementia. Their three grown children, desperate to save the situation, convince themselves of the perfect solution: an upscale retirement community. But as soon as their parents have been resettled within its walls, the many imperfections of its system of care begin to appear.

Charting the line between comedy and pathos, Molly Best Tinsley’s memoir, Entering the Blue Stone, dissects the chaos at the end of life and discovers what shines beneath: family bonds, the dignity of even an unsound mind, and the endurance of the heart.
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When their parents can no longer care for themselves, Molly and her siblings decide to put them in a group home, but it's one where everyone is independent; they believe their parents can "fool" the admittance employees long enough to be accepted into the home. Later, when her parents are having trouble taking pills, they get moved to assisted living, and finally, before their deaths, to the nursing home part of the facility.

It took me a little while to get into this book, as I mostly like to read fiction. After about a third of the novel had passed, however, I became more interested in the subject matter, and the book was easier to read. It's scary to think of our loved ones in these homes; Molly's father was given Haldol, an anti-psychotic drug, and it was basically what killed him, because his body didn't respond well to it. Her mother was later given the same drug, without telling Molly or her family, and it locked up her body very badly, so much so that she was completely rigid. My grandma, before she passed away, was in an assisted living home, but it was not bad at all, luckily; the home where Molly's parents resided sounded like a nightmare for most of the novel.

3.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review and CONTEST: Lost in Suburbia

Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs, by Tracy Beckerman.

I know I had been cool once ...

I don't remember all that clearly what made me so cool except I have this vague recollection of wearing a lot of black, drinking a fair amount of scotch, and being single. Of course, that could describe almost anyone attending an Irish wake, so maybe those are not good indicators of what makes someone cool.


Tracy Beckerman Tracy Beckerman writes a nationally syndicated humor column, also called Lost in Suburbia, and this is her first "momoir" (memoir). Parts of this book definitely made me laugh out loud, and for the most part, the book almost read like fiction because it was so detailed.

Official synopsis:
Tracy Beckerman's story starts in Manhattan where she works at a high-powered TV job, has an apartment in the city, and a loving husband to boot. Flash forward and soon Tracy is pregnant, and her world is starting to change. Gone are the days of expensive haircuts and spending her lunch hour at sample sales. Her time is quickly taken over with play dates, school projects, and trying to find herself in her strange new home - Suburbia.

Tracy delivers her stories about motherhood, living in the Garden State, scrunchies and peanut allergies with wit and a sharp sense of humor. Anyone who traded in their skinny jeans for mom jeans (or refused to) will relate to Tracy and find her tales impossible to put down. While her humor shines through in this "Momoir," there are significant moments of self-exploration, where she struggles with her identity and self-confidence as so many new moms do.

Whether she's being ticketed while driving in her bathrobe, attempting to have the oven self-clean or making changes in her life in order to find herself, Tracy Beckerman will make readers laugh along the way. For fans of Chelsea Handler and Jen lancaster, LOST IN SUBURBIA is about what you give up to be a mother - and what you get back.
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The bathrobe scene mentioned in the description, by the way, is one of the funniest scenes in the book - she gets pulled over while wearing a bathrobe, and her daughter accidentally "sasses" the cop, too.

You don't have to be a mom or parent to relate to this book (I'm not), although I assume that if you are, some of the scenarios mentioned throughout might resonate with you more than a single person. It's a bit repetitive throughout - Beckerman talks a lot about "regaining her cool," and trying to find out exactly what "cool" is, or what it used to be for her. The best scenes are actually ones like the bathrobe scene, where she recounts certain situations or events that happened to her.

3 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I have a copy of Lost in Suburbia to give away to one lucky reader! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter. The contest will end on Wednesday, April 10th at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted on Thursday, April 11th and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Call of the Vampire

Call of the Vampire (The Vanderlind Castle series, #1), by Gayla Twist.

I drove about two blocks before I got the shakes so bad I had to pull over. What was I doing? I'd just invited an admitted vampire to meet me at my house. That was insane. I had gone completely insane. For almost two weeks, I had done nothing but obsess over Jessie. And once I had his attention, I was freaking out  because there was a good chance he might kill me.

But I didn't really think that would happen. Not really. I mean, he fought Viktor to save me and told me how to escape the castle and sent Viggo to help me because he knew I wouldn't leave Blossom behind. Those are all things someone does because they want you to be alive and happy, not dead and drained of all your blood.

vampires supernatural TwistAs you may know from reading this blog, I read a lot of vampire/supernatural books; just recently, I've read A Shade of Vampire, Gates of Paradise, and the first three books in the Beautiful Creatures series. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Call of the Vampire, and can't wait for the next book in the series. It was refreshing to read a vampire book that had both good writing and also humor throughout, and the plot in Vampire will quickly draw you in.

Official synopsis:
Aurora Keys has dreamed of the Vanderlind Castle ever since she was a little girl. But the fiercely private Vanderlinds keep the massive structure strictly off limits to visitors. Until one night, the wealthy family throws a party —- not just a small soiree, but a huge black-tie affair. No one from the town of Tiburon, Ohio, is invited —- not even the mayor. But Aurora’s best friend, Blossom, has a foolproof plan for the two of them to sneak in.

At first, everything goes smoothly: the girls enter the castle undetected, and there is free champagne. But then the handsome Jessie Vanderlind sweeps Aurora into his arms, crushing her to his chest and whispering, “I knew you’d come back to me.”

Aurora understands it is a case of mistaken identity, but she feels connected to him somehow. And the boy is so beautiful, she believes she would be happy if he never let her go.

Once Jessie realizes he is mistaken, his smile quickly changes to a scowl. “You must leave,” he tells her in a low, urgent voice. “Immediately. Come! I’ll find a way to get you out.”

Unbeknownst to Aurora and Blossom, they have snuck into the home of one of the most prestigious vampire families in the world, and it is doubtful the two young women will ever be allowed to leave. Aurora’s resemblance to Jessie Vanderlind’s lost love just may be the only thing keeping them alive.
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So Jessie Vanderlind is your usual hot, tormented vampire, and he even knows how to fly, much like Edward from Twilight (with the jumping into trees thing). However, there's a lot more going on behind-the-scenes in this book. Jessie is still in love with a human, Colette, who mysteriously disappeared eighty years ago, and Colette happens to be Aurora's great-aunt. He thinks that Aurora is Colette when she and her friend Blossom appear at the castle, but of course she is not; because of that resemblance, though, he starts to get to know her.

There were some very funny lines throughout this novel that had me laughing out loud. At one point, Jessie offered Aurora some of his "birthday" presents, including some jewelry, and Aurora muses to herself that "it probably wasn't good manners to try to shake a vampire down for jewels."

What really intrigued me about the book, though, was all of the questions it raised. Colette's disappearance eighty years ago - was it related to Jessie, and if so, did he have a hand in it? What secrets are Aurora's great-grandmother (Colette's sister), who is still alive, still keeping? And why was Aurora obsessed with the castle from an early age - could it be related to the dreams she has every night, which seem to be Colette's memories?

Hopefully the author will answer these in the next book in the series, Heart of the Vampire, which I definitely plan on reading; it's out on July 1st.

4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book to review from the author. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Loop

The Loop, by Shandy Lawson.

"Maggie?"

"Mmm."

"I'm sixteen years old. I don't want to die in a Walgreens."

She smiles, sad and sweet. "It won't be the first time, Ben. And hey" - she lets go of my arm and takes my hand - "maybe this is the one. Maybe we get it right this time around."

"Maybe." But I don't believe it.


I'm a sucker for any books involving time travel or manipulation of time, and The Loop definitely pulled me in. It's similar to Groundhog Day, except that instead of just experiencing a series of embarrassing events each day, Maggie and Ben are on the run - and their lives depend on the decisions they make and if they are able to resist the pull of Fate from the very beginning.

Official synopsis:
The Loop Shandy Lawson time manipulation time travelBen and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate’s clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie’s only shot at not dying is surviving apart?
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This book was definitely interesting. The reason that they are being stalked and eventually killed in each loop is both that they won a ton of money at an OTB establishment (off-track betting), and also because their murderer, Roy, is also in a Loop, and he feels that he must kill them each time in order to get out of his loop.

I would have liked more explanation as to why they ended up at OTB in the first place, but you can probably just chalk everything up to Fate. I did like that the book partially takes place in New Orleans, as I visited there in 2011 and was able to know some of the landmarks that Ben talks about throughout it. Maggie eventually makes a few small changes that affect their outcome, and the way these are set up are very interesting and also smart.

I'd recommend this book for fans of Groundhog Day or time travel (The Time Traveler's Wife, for example) and it will definitely keep you hooked throughout the novel.

The Loop will be in stores on April 30th. 4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received a NetGalley of this book to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

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