Monthly Archives: August 2013

Saturday Steals: 8/31/13

This is a new feature. Free or pretty darn good deals!

Free Kindle Book: The Haunted House A True Ghost Story by Walter Hubbell

During the years 1878-1879 in Nova Scotia, Canada a haunting took place known as the Amherst Mystery. Walter Hubbell visited during the summer of 1879. He gives first- hand accounts of the poltergeist activities he witnessed. The haunting primarily surrounded home owners niece, Esther Cox.

The first half of the book is a bit slow, Hubbell gives details of the family’s everyday life. I suppose in an attempt to show normality. If you just want the spooky it may be a trudge. But the remainder of the book is astonishing in the attempts to communicate with the ghost. Some of the reports exceed believability. This book was released in 1888 and was a blockbuster for the time.

Another Kindle Freebie: Familiar Quotations. I say, why not? It is free.

STEAL! I’m in no Mood for Love by Rachel Gibson only $0.99 for Kindle today. Who isn’t in the mood for love and laughs?

8 31 13 Electronic Deals

Only $699 for 50 inch TV. DEAL. Hurry.

Halloween Food! Time to plan for ghosts and goblins. Free.

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Review: The Haunting of Maddy Clare

  The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

I say:

“Superb, scary and satisfying. A moody ghost story with chills and a touch of romance.”

In the 1920s London, Sarah Piper is alone in the world. She lives in a boarding house and works for a temporary agency to make ends meet.  The agency offers her an unconventional job. Sarah accepts the position as an assistant to wealthy ghost-hunter and World War I veteran Alistair Gellis. Gellis is not just a ghost hunter, he is an obsessed ghost hunter.

He hires Sarah because his regular assistant is on leave and special circumstances surround this potential haunting. Sarah accompanies Gellis on a trip to a rural small town. Summoned by Mrs. Clare the property owner Gellis will be allowed to document the haunting but he is not allowed to enter the building. The ghost will not tolerate men.

They visit Mrs. Clare and learn that the ghost arrived at their door one night as a brutalized young child. She damaged physically and traumatized emotionally. The family took her in and named her Maddy. Incapable of little the family cared for the girl until she committed suicide in the barn leaving a note, “I will kill them.” Mrs. Clare wants Alistair Gellis to rid the barn of Maddy and her rage.

With no training or skill Gellis sends Sarah into the barn with a recorder and a camera. Sarah is to document the ghost and ask her to leave. Nervous but determined Sarah calls to the ghost. She senses the spirit then a door start to move. The ghost taunts her in a terrifying encounter.

They return to the pub where he has secured them rooms. Gellis is euphoric with the manifestation. His assistant, Matthew Ryder, arrives eager as well. Sarah is attracted to Matthew and accidentally sees the burns scars covering his body. Sarah learns that the two men met and developed an enduring bond during the war, WWI.

Further encounters with Maddy escalate the violence and threat. Three damaged people suffering from trauma must uncover the mystery. The poverty-stricken and lonely Sarah, sophisticated Gellis and rough edged Matthew must learn what happened to Maddy, what she wants and how to put her to rest because Maddy is very angry and will stop at nothing to get her revenge.

The story is told in first person by Sarah. Her narration is filled with nuance and details setting the mood and building the characters. The feeling of loneliness and isolation radiate from the Sarah and the men, each trying to overcome a trauma just as Maddy herself suffered.

The mystery is easily determined by the reader. Yet the tension ratchets higher with each page. The author, Simone St. James does a superb job of engaging the reader. I was engrossed with this un-put-downable book. My reading of the book lead to my blog of Review Interruptess.

St. James is the winner of two RITA Awards from the Romance Writers of America ,best new book and best book with strong romantic elements also, the Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She deserves these awards for penning a chilling, scary read that draws you into the lives and fear of her characters.

Product Details:

  • Print Length: 335 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0451235681
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 Original edition (March 6, 2012)

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Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I say:“Compelling, intense and important. Heartbreaking, haunting and hopeful.”

“I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

This book is about suicide. How one character reaches the point that she kills herself and how both her death and the message she leaves impact and haunt another character. Jay Asher has written a compelling, intense and important work.

This is a dark novel about a dark subject. Do not take the subject or the book lightly. I recommend this read before my review, for many reasons, and ask whether you read the review or not – Please read the book. Please think about the topic.

Clay Jensen is a good kid. He receives a package of 7 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker.  Hannah was a beautiful, fragile girl and Clay had a crush on her. Hannah killed herself, committed suicide two weeks before.

Hannah’s voices tells Clay, “I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

On each side of the tape Hannah narrates to the listener her thirteen reasons why she killed herself.  If the person is sent the tapes and his listening to them, they are one of the reasons. This is not a suicide note but an explanation.

Clay is horrified and distraught that he is a reason for her death. He listens to each tape as he walks throughout day and night following Hannah’s own path as she recorded them, a voyeuristic tour of events that created the snowball leading to her suicide.

Clay experiences fear, frustration and guilt as he becomes obsessed wondering what he did, how Hannah came to this point and how could her death have been prevented.

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own.”

The first reason in the start of Hannah’s downward spiral is the story of how she meets a boy named Justin and her first kiss. New in town her innocent interlude with Justin starts rumors.

Intentional and unintentional acts of others impact Hannah as her ability to cope is fractured and broken. Some of Hannah’s reasons are due to acts of violence, others the impact of having not acted.

The suspense builds even though the reader already knows the ending. The experience of all the missed opportunities and thirteen of the reasons a delicate girl with a tenuous grasp on life both emotionally and mentally.

Everything. . . affects everything.

Told in a unique dual narration that Asher skillfully weaves together both Hannah’s thoughts and actions fueling the escalation of despair, depression and hopelessness along with Clay’s anguish and misery as he listens.

This book is a young adult book and a big part of the message is intended for the young reader. I hope the message is conveyed and understood, as I believe it is, that actions, careless or not impact others.

As an adult I enjoyed, though the term seems strange given the subject) this novel. I thought the book was well written and I highly recommend reading if for no other reason that everyone needs a reminder to be kind and careful. I read the book with obsession, the suspense and grief so gripping I was compelled to read.

It occurs to me that the author at some points fails to show Hannah’s emotional despair and loss of hope. But then when she is recording her tapes she has in fact already made her decision. The last tape is her final grasp for help and hope.

Before I wrote my review, I did research and read other reviews. This book made me cry and devastated me. I know how as survivor of a loved one’s act of suicide.  The issue is important and not to be mistreated.

I do not think the author mistreated the subject in his book. Some negative reviews are justified in the evaluation of the writing. But other negative reviews are written by people that not only did not grasp what the book said and intended, they also failed to understand that suicide is a result of how the person sees their life. That suicide is not just a result of an act of violence or PTSD. Suicide is an emotional and mental crisis.

Suicide is an emotional and mental crisis.

Symptoms of suicide are even mentioned in the book and while not thorough as this is not a text-book, they are accurate. One symptom is asking about, talking about, and even mentioning suicide.  Which Hannah does early in the book. Also, change in character or personality and acting is a risky or destructive manner, again Hannah clearly exhibits these signs.

One reviewer, “It was hard to sympathize with her because it seemed like she created these situations for herself. She willingly made stupid decisions… purposely did them anyway against her better judgment.” This review/reader obviously missed the point of the risky and destructive behavior.

I read a review by a teacher that said yes these type of petty cruel things happen but as some other reviews said (paraphrasing) they do not think these are good enough reasons.  The point is that people are affected differently and their reasons are theirs alone. And we don’t know why or how someone is impacted.

Quotes from the book: “You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”

“But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”

Suicide is not isolated to young people, though they are the more vulnerable. To learn more and help prevent suicide:

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MLK Speech, Enduring, Historic and a Call to Action to & for Humanity

MLK Speech, Enduring, Historic and a Call to Action to Humanity and for Humanity.

Martin Luther King gave a speech 50 years ago today, August 28, 1963. It is difficult to believe that 150 years later our society still suffers divides and discrimination for all creatures on this earth, regardless of race or species. I say this as a believer in civil rights and animal rights.

Below is a speech of such magnitude that the basic tenets hold true for all humanity, yesterday, today and in the future.

I have a dream today

The force and strength of the message is due to both the writing and delivery. His delivery as a great orator and preacher enhanced the power of his message. King prepared a speech that through the structure Anaphora, a rhetorical device of repeating of a sequence of words at the beginning of each sentence, gave not just emphasis but powerful delivery that resonates as our zeitgeist.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.
We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.
Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.
We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends — so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi — from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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Tuesday Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is weekly bookish meme. I have decided to participate for the same reason I review books and read must read / top X # book lists – exposure to new genres and books.  These books do not have to be just released. In fact in many ways I prefer the older titles.

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Take care not to include spoilers.
  • Share the title and other so that other participants can add to their TBR lists.

In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan

“In short, if human consciousness was the time-sensitive entity she believed it was, this device could be called a time machine – although that would be a clumsy, inexact way of describing it. It would meld the latest discoveries in physics with the latest discoveries about biology – a connection that very few scientists, with the exclusion of James Watson, ventured to consider.”


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Review: Keepers of the Lost Cities

 Keepers of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger.
Sophie Foster is a twelve year old prodigy. Younger than anyone in her class, her mind is constantly buffeted with the thoughts of others due to her telepathic ability, Sophie is a misfit. Then she learns she is not human, she is an elf.

An elf searching for Sophie sends his son to earth to bring her to the Elvin world. Sophie expects to return to her family and she is concerned about the strange fires in her city. A young elf named Fitz brings her to meet his father Alden.
Alden convinces Sophie that she does not belong with humans, her place is in the elf world.

She learns that the elves have shut their world away from humanity. Places like Atlantis and Shangri-la exist, they are the lost cities. The human world is forbidden. Sophie agrees to remain and learn on the condition that her family will never know she existed for she does not want them to feel pain and is concerned for her family’s safety.

Sophie is brought by Alden before the elves council. They discover she has a stronger telepathic ability than any elf. She is sent to the best school and is given to the care of foster family. Young Sophie makes friends with a boy named Dex and develops a crush on Fitz. She struggles in school but sometimes she knows things she should not know, secrets buried in her brain.

Is Sophie a tool of the Black Swan, a group of exiled elves, or are they protecting her. The mystery of why she was hidden on earth and her hidden knowledge involve her in a dangerous game. Someone is setting deadly fires on earth and clues are being left for her to discover.

The author has created a sweet protagonist with a strong sense of right. Messenger does an admirable job of complex world building and introduction of characters. Readers only know what Sophie knows and learns. She is naïve by both her age and he newness to the elvin society. We are never certain which character can be trusted or their motivation.

Keepers of the Lost Cities is targeted to middle grade readers, ages 8 and up. The story is strong enough to engage adults. The writing does not talk down to the reader. I am not around readers this book is targeted for but they will be drawn into this world and the world of books. The dialogue is well done and young readers will connect with the characters.

I enjoyed the book and found the ending acceptable knowing this is the first in a series. I hope the author can adequately explain and bring resolution to the mystery of the Black Swan.
I recommend this book to all readers that enjoy fantasy.

The second book, Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities) will be released October 1, 2013.
Product Details
• Age Range: 8 and up
• Grade Level: 3 – 7
• Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book 1)
• Paperback: 512 pages
• Publisher: Aladdin (August 6, 2013)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1442445947
• ISBN-13: 978-1442445949


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Andrea’s Dictionary Word of the Day

Words – Thought of the Day.
If we take words and catch phrases out of our common history – what would they mean?

Today’s example:
captivated by famous people or by fame itself.
[Origin: 1960–65] Unabridged (v 1.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006

New Definition from the Andrea’s Brain and Strange Thought Processes Dictionary:

1. Struck by a star or star-struck.
verb – to strike with a star

noun – one who is struck by a star
Those individuals who are star-struck:
1. have a heck of a lawsuit (especially if the star struck when camera’s were around)
2. stand to make some money selling the story
3. being punched, shot or run over with a car or horse by a sheriff – archaic
4. are dead.
“John walked through the cornfield and was star struck. Since nothing remains to be buried, a memorial service will be held Wednesday.”

Disclaimer. Andrea’s Brain and related thought processes cannot be reproduced or copied unless this is the sci-fi future or a William Gibson novel.


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