Thursday, May 25, 2017

Note to Self by Connor Franta

Note to Self
by Connor Franta

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Just released: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Atria/Keywords Press
Genre: Biography, Poetry, Photos
Hardback pages: 320
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
I'm a private person, ironically. "Ironic" because I'm in the business of public disclose, and I'm part of a generation that shares everything.

In his New York Times bestselling memoir, A Work in Progress, Connor Franta shared his journey from small-town Midwestern boy to full-fledged Internet sensation. Exploring his past with humor and astounding insight, Connor reminded his fans of why they first fell in love with him on YouTube—and revealed to newcomers how he relates to his millions of dedicated followers.

Now, two years later, Connor is ready to bring to light a side of himself he’s rarely shown on or off camera. In this diary-like look at his life since A Work in Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment—with others and himself.

Told through short essays, letters to his past and future selves, poetry, and original photography, Note to Self is a raw, in-the-moment look at the fascinating interior life of a young creator turning inward in order to move forward.


PeekAbook:



My two-bits:

I got this copy at an author meet/greet photo shoot session held at Book Passage, Ferry Building, San Francisco last month (previously mentioned here).

I found this to be a book gem with modern day reflections in essay and poetry forms and personal photos that make this reading a special experience.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

The Art of Asking
by Amanda Palmer

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Published: 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Feminism, Memoir
Hardback: 352
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
A decade or so ago in Boston, Amanda performed on the street as a human statue—a white-faced, eight-foot-tall bride statue to be exact.

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world's most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn't alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.


My two-bits:

I listened to the audio version of this and was treated to a narration by Amanda.

Loved it! Very inspiring.

The concept of "asking" was fascinating to learn about especially in the context of artists.

Loved also learning of her life as a rock star - her dream in the living.

A few of Amanda's songs are performed and included.

Now, off to listen to her Ted talk (here).


~*~


* image source: Amanda as statue

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Excerpt: The Second Jezebel by Peter Mowbray

The Second Jezebel
by Peter Mowbray
-Historical
Amazon | Goodreads

The wedding between the Princess Marguerite de Valois and Henri King of Navarre was intended to be a celebration that would at last bring peace to the warring Catholics and Huguenots in France.

Instead, it was a precursor for the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew.

By the time the bloodshed had abated, none was seen as guiltier of creating the horrors of that night than the Queen Mother - Catherine de Medici.

Seventeen years later, as Catherine's life hangs in the balance, the mob threatens to drag her body through the streets.

To them she is no longer Queen Mother, merely the second Jezebel in history to be thrown to the dogs.


Excerpt:

It did not take many hands to hold her down, as the woman was old and frail, her muscles weak against the strong arms of her assailants.

Someone pulled roughly at the black skullcap on her head, exposing the thinning auburn streaks. Some spat at her, the warm phlegm trickled towards her eye, but she had no free hand to wipe it away. All around her noise, shouting and screaming and a red haze of fire. She looked through the smoke and her eyes focussed on the frightful images in front of her.

People everywhere were running around, their swords and daggers seemed to appear from nowhere, but their swift work created so much blood; it was splattered onto cobbled streets, streams of it clung to her shabby gown, her hands dripped with it as though it was pouring from her own body.

All around her, corpses began to pile up, slowly at first and then so many that they fell closer and closer to her but she could not move to pull away. All manner of severed limbs and headless cadavers reeked of the foul stench of death and seemed ready to swallow her up.

Then, suddenly she was staring at a figure clad in a long dark cowl, without image save for bony, white hands that gripped a dagger, the tip of which was pressed lightly against her throat, its point just piercing her skin. The figure spoke in a deep, hateful snarl “Welcome lady to your own Saint Bartholomew’s night.”

The last thing she heard was the crackling noise as the dagger was pushed straight into her throat…

~*~
Excerpt courtesy of publisher (here)

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Beast of London by L.D. Goffigan

The Beast of London
by L.D. Goffigan

Find out more about this book and author:
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Just released: April 17, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Thriller
Paperback: 286 pages
Rating: 3

Mina Murray series:
The Beast of London
Fortress of Blood - June 2017

First sentence(s):
Walking through the streets of the East End, I felt the sudden unnerving sensation of a gaze prickling the back of my neck.

Mina Murray once lived an adventurous life, but after a tragedy in the forests of Transylvania, she left it all behind. Now she has settled into a quiet routine as a schoolteacher in London, engaged to the respectable solicitor Jonathan Harker, attempting to fit into the stuffy upper class London society to which he belongs.

Her dark past comes careening into her present when Jonathan is abducted by a group of vampires from a society ball. Determined to rescue him, she teams up with her former paramour Abraham Van Helsing and his colleague, Scotland Yard Inspector John Seward.

As they pursue Jonathan’s abductors from England to the Low Countries and beyond, Mina realizes that Jonathan’s abduction is tied to a larger threat against humanity…

An electrifying retelling of a classic tale, THE BEAST OF LONDON is the first book of the Mina Murray series. If you love adventure, romance, and mystery with a paranormal twist, then pick up your copy today.


My two-bits:

Nice start to a vampire series set in late 1800s London and Transylvania. There are interesting scenes set in London's upper class society with its strict etiquette.

The story jumps right in with some world building vampire action. But it is a bit slow in providing details of the main characters and their individual background and personality to gain empathy.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of author

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Revived by Ernesto Pavan

Revived
by Ernesto Pavan

Find out more about this book and author:
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Published: February 23, 2017
Publisher: self
Genre: Dark Humor, Zombies
ebook
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
It started like a bad influenza — one that game me constant, terrible headaches, made my muscles feel like wet rags, and prevented me from holding anything in my stomach.

For deadpan snark queen Violet Sharpe, death is not the end.

If you think life sucks, wait until after you're dead. After finding out she's contracted porthmeos, a nasty parasite, Violet is faced with a choice: either meet her end before her thirtieth birthday, or become one of the Revived, which is the politically correct word for... well, a zombie.

But the challenges of her new un-life are way worse than she thought. As part of a new minority, she faces discrimination and hatred, not to mention a laundry list of physical limitations and the looming ghost of depression. Can she meet these challenges with her usual strength and dark humor? Or is being Revived a fate worse than death?


My two-bits:

Some of these zombies had a choice before becoming zombified. This story takes you into the life a such a creature. The issues that arise from being a functioning zombie are tackled moreso than stereotypical "braaaaains" zombie action.

Living with a decaying body (mind still intact) and its complications made me think of people who go through cancer or a long term illness.

Makes you wonder - If the price to living is a gradual decay, is it worth it?

~*~

* review copy courtesy of author

* May - Happy zombie awareness month!

 
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