Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014

These are my favorite books of 2014 and that got a solid 5 out of 5 gnomes. I loved all of these books for different reasons and I can't recommend them enough, they all are just so great. 

You can check out my reviews if you click the titles of the books.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space Edited by David Thomas Moore

How The White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back by Diana Rowland

Blue Sea Burning by Geoff Rodkey

Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Universal Alien by Gini Koch

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review - Unidentified Funny Objects 3

Unidentified Funny Objects 3 Edited by Alex Shvartsman

* Received from the author for review

5 out of 5 gnomes

This anthology is so much fun and has a wide range of authors and themes. There is plenty to love and only one story or so that made me say WTF. The little illustrations throughout the book are awesome too.

Here’s what I thought of the different stories:

On the Efficacy of Supervillain Battles in Eliciting Therapeutic Breakthroughs by Jim C. Hines

Love this story and Puff’s unique take on being a superhero. Jarhead was great too and his whole deal kind of reminded me of Futurama.

Favorite Quotes: “It’s like they don’t know what to do with a problem they can’t blow up or feed to a shark.”

“Never underestimate the appetite of a blowfish or a teenager.”

The Right Answer by James A. Miller

This was a great look at the whole visiting alien trope and the ending was good.

Favorite Quotes: “Whether this was an alcohol induced fantasy or plain old reality, I decided I had plenty of free time to roll with it.”

“Humor has the ability to cure your planet of its ailments.”

The Gefilte Fish Girl by Mike Resnick

Funny look at a mother/son relationship with a great ocean twist.

Master of Business Apocalypse by Jakob Drud

Workplace drama taken to a magical level. Would make for an awesome TV show.

Carla at the Off-Planet Tax Return Helpline by Caroline M. Yoachim

Call center plus off planet taxes plus IT support equals pretty darn funny.

Favorite Quotes: “I will eat the extras. Thank you.”

Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School by Nathaniel Lee

I love the title of this one, that alone made me want to read it. Now this was an awesome short story. Love the whole angels aspect of it all and having to choose. That is also a tremendous last line.

Favorite Quotes: “Everyone else was kind of looking the other way. Fiddling with their cell phones. Avoiding eye contact. You know, like you do around angels.”

Company Store by Robert Silverberg

Such an interesting take on the whole traveling salesman approach. I like their interactions and the solution they come up with.

The Door-to-Door Salesthing from Planet X by Josh Vogt

The tone of this one is great, reminded me a little bit of a bad infomercial.

Favorite Quotes: “Sadness abounds.”

Picture Perfect by Matt Mikalatos

Puns aplenty plus a vampire equals pretty darn funny.

Favorite Quotes: “But ghosts are surprisingly resilient.”

The Discounted Seniors by James Beamon

A look at what future nursing homes might bring and also has some great characters.

That Must Be Them Now by Karen Haber

Great story and I could so see humans just missing out on seeing alien life.

Notes to My Past And/or Alternate Selves by Sarah Pinsker

Short but sweet and really tells a whole story in so few words.

The Real and the Really Real by Tim Pratt

Great story about robots and what may or may not be real.

Into the Woods, with Zombunny by Camille Griep

Now that was quite an interesting take on a fairy tale.

Live at the Scene by Gini Koch

Great look at how TV news might inform people of an alien invasion and really funny too.

The Newsboy’s Last Stand by Krystal Claxton

This story is so darn cute, it kind of feels like a fairy tale. One of my favorites that I read in this anthology.

Favorite Quotes: “Now, as you’ve all heard before, girls make everything better. But that isn’t exactly accurate. Because girls are not magical, they’re really very much like men in that they can be good or bad, but are mostly mediocre.”

“It seemed ridiculous, but, sometimes life is worthy of ridicule.”

“But it did make everyone equally inconvenienced, and that’s really the core of a good compromise, don’t you think?”

The Full Lazenby by Jeremy Butler

Such a cool take on genetics and James Bond and other properties.

Favorite Quotes: “Quit Bond after one adventure? That is so Lazenby.”

Do Not Remove This Tag by Piers Anthony

Piers Anthony is as always strange/funny. Liked this look at magic.

Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day! by Tina Connolly

Now this is a fun story/great take on super powers. Plus now I want to know more about this super powered preschool.

The Choochoomorphosis by Oliver Buckram

WHAT WAS THAT...weird+weird=weird. Quite the dream…

The Fate Worse than Death by Kevin J. Anderson and Guy Anthony De Marco

Dracula is always a fun character to see twisted around.

Elections at Villa Encantada by Cat Rambo

Gives neighborhood associations a new look. Liked the ending.

Infinite Drive by Jody Lynn Nye

Nice look at a futuristic/alien mystery.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sentence Sneak Peek - Unidentified Funny Objects 3

Unidentified Funny Objects 3 Edited by Alex Shvartsman

The first sentence from each chapter of Unidentified Funny Objects 3, it's a mini summary of what you can expect to read.

* Received from author for review.

Patient Name: Tamara “Puff” Jones

Insurance: Silver Shield State Coverage w/Metahuman Rider.

“While I certainly didn’t plan on an alien encounter, my life had been in such a downward spiral that I had gotten used to expecting the unexpected.”

“So I walk up to her and say, “Ma, we gotta talk.”

“For the last one hundred thirty-one years my job at Mundo Perpetuo has been to stop all the probable and improbable apocalypses that people accidently invoke.”

“This is Carla at the Off-Planet Tax Return helpline, how can I help you?”

“When I came out of the coffee shop with my latte and my fresh walnut brownie, the Archangel Michael was beating the ever-loving shit out of Satan down on the corner.”

“Colonist Roy Wingert gripped his blaster with shaky hands and aimed it at the slimy wormlike creatures wriggling behind his newly deposited pile of crates.”

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Dearie.”

“Richard the unfriendly ghost woke me.”

“I was faking a nap, checking out the booties of the few ladies in the dayroom under half-closed eyelids, when I saw the delivery man out of the corner of my eye.”

“Number Twenty-Nine watched as three suns set below the blue rim of Eridnae 7 and felt the taste of sour nuglak in his mouth.”

“— The time machine runs on dryer sheets.”

“So you know how everybody else in the world except me is a robot,” I said, and Jimbo nodded and poured a generous dollop of bourbon into the cracked Happy Bear Farms coffee mug on my counter.”

“Squire Ulrich’s very worst day began with cold tea at breakfast, followed by the discovery of a hole in his right greave, and culminating with a lost battle flag.”

“We interrupt your regular programming with a breaking news story from the Tri-County’s favorite local news channel, K-STAR, where the news is the star.”

“There was a man who, like any man at the start of a story, was malcontent.”

“The cardboard box held fewer books than I expected.”

“Nate stared at the purple tag.”

“From: Stef Jones - Tanaka
Subject: Intros
Hey Super Moms!”

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into Neville, the Crime-Fighting Locomotive.”

“Lying in the dark in a perfectly restful daytime nap, feeling sated with fresh warm blood (Type O Negative, his favorite), Vlad sensed the intruding presence even before the silent alarm triggered his vibrating watch.”

“A few weeks beforehand, the notices began to appear throughout the complex.”

“Detective Sergeant Dena Malone studied the panel in the plush elevator as it bore her and Detective Sergeant Mario Ramos toward the Castana Tower’s 300th floor penthouse.”

Friday, December 26, 2014

Weekend Read - My True Love Gave to Me

I love just about all of these writer’s stories and it seems like the perfect book for the holiday season.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays

Here's hoping that everybody has an awesome holiday and a happy book-filled new year.

Our library version of Rudolph as put on by Edgar Allan Crow and friends. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

It’s been an interesting holiday season. We have no grandparents left after this year so holidays are a bit different now. Not just sad different more a bit melancholy though but does let you remember well how awesome family can be. Though we continue to celebrate in our own ways and keep traditions alive. 

There is plenty of good stuff too like the normal holiday good times. Also the great bonus of working at a Community College Library that means I get a paid week off work. I'm looking forward to Christmas and hopefully organizing my space more at home aka actually organizing all my books, and starting off the new year right.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rachel Reviews - Zodiac

Zodiac by Romina Russell

* Provided by the publisher for review

I’ll admit, when I first started reading this book, I was worried it was just another Hunger Games and/or Divergent wannabe that would follow the same formula. It starts out with all of the same elements: 12 Houses (districts), with a mysterious 13th; each house has its own attributes, strengths, etc.; a female, adolescent main character; and two male love interests. So Russell does use a lot of the same elements. However, she uses a very different formula.

After the first few chapters, Zodiac takes off at breakneck speed and keeps going until the end of the book. What I thought was going to be the “twist” ending turned out to be part of the world building in the very beginning of the book! And this enjoyable unpredictability continues through the rest of the book (though we will see how it lasts through the next book, which I hope Russell is working on). While it could be because I don’t read a lot of YA books, in my opinion this book is a nice, fresh mixture of storytelling elements. Predictability is low.

Of course, the pace Russell sets does have its own problems, it’s sometimes difficult to remember who is who because so many people get introduced at once. Also, some of the story elements seem too sudden for logic. To Russell’s credit, however, this is a good match for how things are going for the main character, Rho. She doesn’t exactly get time to process all that’s going on and the story is told from her perspective.

Zodiac is a delightful, fast-paced adventure that is a welcome break from some of the more formulaic YA books I’ve read. While there are familiar elements, I find this story to be well written and enjoyable. I look forward to reading more from Russell! 4 Gnomes!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Recipe - Cream Cheese Mints

Have you tried any new recipes this holiday season?

I finally looked up how to make cream cheese mints (because I adore these mints when other people have made them), it is awesome/time consuming. The overall product is just so tasty. I used a recipe I found at the Betty Crocker website. The blue are peppermint and our first try at mints, the purple are rootbeer flavored and what we did after buying molds.

This is my not so fancy presentation of them at work today. :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Story Time - Holiday Spirit

* Please add a line to the story and determine where it goes.


1.) Only write 1 to 2 sentences
2.) Keep it clean
3.) Have fun and spread the word so the story grows

Holiday Spirit

After last year I was just about ready to be on speaking terms with this whole holiday season but then well it’s hard to believe but everything changed after my phone rang.

On the other end of the line there was just static and first and then I swear I heard bells start ringing and then I heard a voice that I never thought I'd hear again.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekend Read - Hellhole

I loved Damico’s Croak series even with that brutal ending which made me cry. I can’t wait to see where she goes with this book because it looks like it’ll be pretty darn hilarious.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday - Next Top Villain

"Waiting On"  Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on...  

Next Top Villain by Suzanne Selfors

* Book will be released January 6, 2015

Check out the description from Goodreads:

"A brand-new series of school stories from the world of Ever After High!Duchess Swan and Lizzie Hearts are roommates at Ever After High. While their personalities are very different, they bond over not quite fitting in with the other Royals. Lizzie, however, has one thing that Duchess doesn't: a happily-ever-after at the end of her story. While Lizzie and the other princesses train for the day when they will rule their kingdoms, Duchess is torn between her role as the perfect, dutiful princess and her rebellious ambition to be a queen. When both girls are selected to attend General Villainy class, Duchess sees an opportunity to be a rebel while following the rules. But can she play a prank on her roomie to ace the class? Find out if Duchess' desire to change her destiny will make her Ever After High's Next Top Villain!"

This is the first book of a new set of Ever After High books after the original three were written by Shannon Hale. It’s a bit weird but I guess they’re going to have a different author write every three books or something like that. This book looks interesting but maybe a little younger writing wise than the first set was. Either way I’m going to try this book out.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Story Time - Holiday Spirit

* Please add a line to the story and determine where it goes.


1.) Only write 1 to 2 sentences
2.) Keep it clean
3.) Have fun and spread the word so the story grows

Holiday Spirit

After last year I was just about ready to be on speaking terms with this whole holiday season but then well it’s hard to believe but everything changed after my phone rang.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Top 5 Sundays - Characters You Want to Get Their Own Stories! (Spin-off, POV, Special Book, Episode or Movie, etc.)

This feature was thought up by the awesome Larissa & Friends’ Bookish Life


1 - Write a post listing your TOP 5 choices within the theme I chose (or was chosen on a poll) for the week.
2 - Mention this Blog on the post and link back to it.
3 - Feel free to use the Features image
4 - After you've finished your post, add your link (of the post, not your blog's main page) to the Mr.Linky at the end of that week's post.
5 – If you don’t have a blog to post, just leave your list in the comments =)   

Characters You Want to Get Their Own Stories! (Spin-off, POV, Special Book, Episode or Movie, etc.)

This world is so darn intricate that I love all the characters and want to know more. Mrs. Beale and her husband would be awesome to know more about and just so many other characters too.

I love these characters so much that I pretty much want more stories about everybody.

There is a great story in here about Reader's origin/how he joined the ACs. I want to know more though. :)

I want to know more about Percy's mom her life before and after meeting Poseidon.

I adore this show and would love for more stories/special episodes where you find out more about Lucas and Abe.