My Constantly Evolving List of All-Time Favorites.

Kyle 's favorites books montage

Gone Girl
The Night Circus
The Woodcutter
The Graveyard Book
Sharp Objects
Dark Places
Shutter Island
The Passage
The Twelve
Rules of Civility
The Aviary
Heir to the Glimmering World
Wool Omnibus
The Weird Sisters
A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones

Kyle Uniss's favorite books »

Friday, September 27, 2013

Daily Deals Worth Reading for September 27th

If you're one of the many people eagerly waiting for the last installment of Veronica Roth's Insurgent trilogy, Allegiant, on October 22nd , than "The Transfer" and the other singles written by Roth from different points-of-view will whet your appetite. $1.99. 

This is the third in a trilogy that is pure Margaret Atwood. MaddAddam brings together the two groups from Atwood's previous dystopian books Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. This book is a new release and is a deal at $6.49. If you haven't read the previous two, they are not bargains (at $9.99 each), so get them from the library and then read this. Well worth your time, if you want to read adult Dystopian.

Vincent Zandri has done a great job hooking me with his mysteries, and I'm buying this one in the hope that it will do the same. A woman abducted as a child must face her past to solve a mystery involving an autistic child and her dead (and also abducted as a child) sister. Great reviews, so, for $1.99, I'll give The Remains a try.

 The Visible World is a wonderfully moving story told by the American-born son of Czech immigrants, telling the stories and fairytales he overhears in his boisterous, immigrant New York neighborhood. $2.51.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Doctor Sleep and Deals for September 26th, 2013

So far, Doctor Sleep is really good. Granted, I have had virtually NO time to read; younger daughter's birthday, Wine Wednesday, swim practices, parent/teacher conferences--they are all getting in the way. Not to mention that I have not read the book for our book club on Friday (which is a crime in and of itself).

I have not reached Danny's adulthood yet, and have realized this book has its own bad guys that have very little to do with The Outlook Hotel or Danny's own demons (although those do show up). So far, so good. I haven't read any reviews; I like to form my own opinions unless I am deciding on a book.

So, that's where I am. More updates to follow!


Kindle Deals

The 1965 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for literature, "The Keeper of The House" is the story of a successful family following the War of 1812, whose success is threatened after their mixed-race heritage is discovered. A story of love and hate, acceptance and prejudice. $1.99.

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" was a hit a couple of years ago, although I couldn't bring myself to soil Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (and I LOVE zombies). But I do love the opening line:
       "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains
        must be in want of more brains."
Elizabeth Bennett is a determined zombie hunter, but when she meets Mr. Darcy she is thrown off her game. $2.79.

The Arthur C. Clarke classic, although we know that it did not come true in 2001. $1.99. 
Kindle Singles are a quick read and usually well written, and this one is funny and poignant all at the same time. "Almost Tall" is the story of a 14 year-old midwestern ballerina sent to live with her rich uncle and his 'mercurial" partner in NYC. $1.99. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Doctor Sleep is FINALLY available and The Deals of The Day

Today is the day I have been waiting for--Doctor Sleep is finally here!! At 5:00 this morning I checked my Kindle and it had downloaded--I still think it is amazing that books arrive just like that. But I also loved the pre-Kindle days when I would order a book (thinking the later Harry Potters) and it would arrive the day of release. I also got excited, and still get excited, when the a book I requested from the library is FINALLY available.

I haven't started reading yet, and I realize that all my excitement will probably lead to some sort of let-down. But I'm kind of a King geek (my college lit profs and I would go round and round about him. I still think he is a great writer, and just because he can scare the bejesus out of me doesn't mean he can't set a scene and create real, deep, believable characters), so even a little let down will make me read it again. And maybe again after that.

I also am nearly finished with a book that I am enjoying, and it is a library book that I waited for and downloaded as soon as it was available (and said a quiet 'yes' when it did become available.) It isn't as good as I hope Doctor Sleep will be, but it is good. It is another series I have followed for years--Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus by Faye Kellerman. The latest one is The Beast, and I will finish it before I read King. But I am hoping to start Doctor Sleep tonight or tomorrow. So, I will slog through work today, read the other book during stolen moments, and get to my newest book as soon as possible.


Deals For Today

$.99 This version is awesome for Kindle Fires, as it has pop-up text that shows up beautifully over vivid pictures. Fun for kids AND their parents.  Curious George and The Birthday Surprise is also available for $.99. 

This looks like a really great book. "The Disenchanted Widow" is the story of a widow in the 1980's and her young son in Ireland, running from the IRA who believe they have the ill-gotten gains from a bank heist. She ends up in an Ulster town, where a mystery needs to be solved. $3.99. 

Very much chick-lit and lots of fun. "Changing Lanes" is the story of Abby Halliday, a woman whose dreams of a perfect life fall apart and she comes to terms with imperfection. $1.99.

I loved this book. I bought it as soon as I found out it was JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith. I actually had been looking at it prior to that, but just hadn't bought it. She does a great job of setting up a mystery and creating a believable cast of characters. "The Cuckoo's Calling" is worth a read. $5.99. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Good deals for Monday, September 23rd

Lately there's been a lot of Vonnegut available at unbelievable prices. "Slapstick" is a little 'unstructured' but is an interesting read. It is supposedly pretty biographical. It's the story of twins who are very 'in sync' (not like Justin Timberlake) in feelings and communication, relating to Vonnegut's own relationship with his sister, who died of cancer in childhood. $1.99.

"Descent" is a memoir by the author of "Snow Falling On Cedars" (which, if you have not read, you should), telling the story of his descent into depression following 9/11, and his slow ascent back to his family, friends and writing. $2.99.
I have not read this one yet, but I bought it when it was a little more expensive than this price. It looks very good. "The Sisterhood" is the story of a child adopted after a tragedy in South America and raised in the US by a good family. At age 19, on track to have it all, another tragedy derails her. She travels to Spain to finish her college thesis on a 16th century artist who has connections with her past. $3.99. 

A wonderful children's book by Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman from cookbook and Food Network fame. Charlie, The Ranch Dog is very cute, very loveable, and a favorite of my younger daughter. $1.99. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Good deals for today and re-scaring myself with The Shining in anticipation of Doctor Sleep

Every day I scour Amazon for the best deals, trying to find the gems among the dirt and dust. Mind you, there are a lot of great authors writing today, and many are doing direct publishing, so I know I miss a bunch. Thinking too hard about this can make me crazy--I want to read everything worth reading, but this means sifting through the others that might not be so worth my time. But then there are those books that may hold in them lots of promise; the book might not be great, but you know that author will do well.

I'm going to take some time every few days (maybe everyday? but no promises) to highlight 'GEMS' I have found. I know there are a lot of places to find the 'deals', so I really only want to do those that are worth buying. A deal is only a deal if you're going to read it, right?

P.D. James is always a good bet, especially for $1.99. "Unnatural Causes" revolves around a famous author found dead in a lake with both hands cut off, and Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is called upon to solve the mystery. James creates a cast of unlikable authors, making you wonder WHO she's talking about.

I LOVED this book. Vincent Zandri had some set backs in his earlier career, but took to direct publishing to get his books and himself back out there. "The Innocent" is a great mystery for $1.99.

Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News" is one of the best books I've read. I loved this book, and love her as a writer.  This story of a writer who returns to his 'ancestral' home of Newfoundland with his two daughters after his wife is killed, this book won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Well worth the $1.99.

"That's your job in this hard world, to keep your love alive and that you get on, no matter what. Pull your act together and just go on."

I decided to re-read The Shining in anticipation of Doctor Sleep and was pleasantly surprised. I first attempted to read this book when I was eight, at which point my mother discovered it and took it away from me in horror after nightmares kept me awake for a few nights. I went back to it in my teen years, and read it at least three more times. And then I put it away as childish.

Don't get my wrong, I love Stephen King. And The Shining was a must for a child of Colorado, growing up not far from Estes Park. The Stanley Hotel is said to be The Overlook, although it is in Estes Park and not higher up, and it is reachable in the winter. But there came a time when I believed I had outgrown that kind of scary, forgetting how psychologically scary The Shining actually is.

I re-read this just in time for the sequel Doctor Sleep, about 35 years after The Shining. And it is just a creepy-scary, just as real. Just like many books, re-reading it creates a different feeling. Reading it as a child I identified with Danny, the young son with "the shining." This time I'm a mother and a wife and I read it identifying with Wendy AND Jack. Both are flawed but wanting to be better, but sometimes the demons find you.

And, like most Americans, the movie has snuck into my thinking. I remember both Jack and Wendy differently because of the movie (which is good, but doesn't do them justice). In the movie, Jack lets the evil in easily, which doesn't happen in the book. And Wendy is a dishrag of a woman, which she definitely is not in King's original version of her.

So, this book still scared me, maybe more than in my youth, because you know, as an adult, how hard it is to keep all the demons out (although we usually don't have to deal with a possessed hotel). Even beyond that, it scared me in a things-that-go-bump-in-the-night kind of way. It made me wished I had read it just slightly slower, because I still have two days to wait for Doctor Sleep.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Why I Only Read On My Kindle and The Wondrous Kate Atkinson

I never thought I'd be that person. I never thought I would give up real books and go completely digital. I mean, I love real books. The feel, the smell, the touch . . . but I've given it all up.

A few years ago I got my first Kindle. It was the same one as in the picture up there. And it rocked. It changed my world. Suddenly I really only had to think about a book and BOOM! there it was (well, I had to pay for it, but still . . .). But I continued to check books out of the library because Amazon wasn't, at the time, library compatible.

And then BOOM! again, Amazon became library compatible. And books prices dropped, and went up, and dropped again, but I could get books from the library (which has become a little tougher, but that's a different story) and I could get books at a pretty good price. And I could carry six or seven books with me (actually, six or seven HUNDRED, if you count the ones in my cloud) wherever I went. And I switched it up and got a Kindle Fire, then a Kindle Fire HD, and I could listen to my Audible and library books while driving. Or I could watch a movie, but that's a different story . . .

I have some great shelves with some beautiful old books, and I love the look of them. But I realize I like having my entire library at my fingertips. I also like being able to have some fun books in my library and not feel judged for reading what I call 'brain candy.' (I know the judgment is in my mind, but I still feel the judgment. Mostly from myself.) I like that if I read about a great book (on my Kindle, my phone, my laptop), I can immediately link to it on Amazon and purchase it right then. I don't have to drive anywhere when I'm out of reading material--it is instant gratification at its finest.

I am happy with my choice. I love my Kindle, and I love Amazon for providing me with books at the moment I need them. I also love that it has given so many authors a chance to be published, authors who may never have had a chance with an agent, a publishing house, and the traditional route.

The only thing that worries me about my Kindle and my choice is the zombie scenario (aka the end-of-the-civilized-world). How will I get to read if we have no electricity? I'm going to have to get a great generator just for my Kindle . . . .


"What if we had a chance to do it again and again," Teddy said, "until we finally did get it right? Wouldn't that be wonderful?"

Kate Atkinson, what can I say. I am in love. I don't know how I am just discovering her. I began early in the summer (maybe May) reading "Life After Life" and I was hooked. This is the story of Ursula Todd, who dies at birth in pre-World War I England when the doctor is waylaid thanks to a snowstorm. Or, it is the story of Ursula Todd, born in pre-World War I England because the doctor got there in time. And the book goes on, trudging through different tangents, all telling us how different Ursula's life, and the lives of those around her) could have been if she had done things slightly differently. Atkinson does the wonderfully, mapping out so many different paths that it made me think about the small choices I make every day.

I have since gone on to read her Jackson Brodie series; "Case Histories," "One Good Turn," and "When Will There Be Good News?" They are considered mysteries, and I guess they are, in the most general way. Brodie is a police man who left the force to open his own agency, dreaming of retiring in rural France. The books have mysteries in them, but you follow Brodie and watch as his 'clients' lives unfold, and in the end you care more about their outcome than the solving of the mysteries. The BBC made these into a television show a couple of years ago, but I haven't gotten around to watching them. It has been shown on PBS as well, or so I have heard.

This writer will be on my watch list for years to come.