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 »

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Listening Versus Reading and Deals of The Week

I love reading, and mostly I love reading fiction. I mean, I love movies, too, but it a totally different way. Reading allows me to fall into the story, to create my own vision and picture the characters in my own way. This is why I do and don't like it when they make a book into a movie; sometimes it's great to see my vision come to life, or to change my vision into something even better. Usually I'm disappointed by the movie; they edit out the 'best' parts, they change the characters or they completely decimate a great story to make it a box-office hit.

I often listen to books, too, because I'm home alone all day, or I'm in my car, and I like to keep the fiction going. Sometimes a book is just better when it's read to you. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is such a book. I read it the second time around, but it didn't match the audio version. A story about a future world where everything is done in an online world created by a guy who grew up and LOVED the 80's. The heir to his online creation is to be determined by a contest comprised of a maze of 80's trivia, including music, movies, books, and video games. The story is told in first person, and is wonderfully read by Wil Wheaten-an 80's piece of pop-culture himself. The book was great when I re-read it, but it wasn't as good as the audio version because of Wil Wheaten.

But there are many more books that are better when read, in my humble opinion. Take the book I'm listening to now, The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. It is the story of a painting told in two parts, from WWI France and present day England, and the passion it instills in people that fall into its spell. It is a wonderful story so far; I have about 1/4 of the book to go. Now, I love the story, but I almost gave up on it because of the beginning of the book. The first part of the story, maybe the first third, is told through the eyes of a woman in a French town occupied by the Germans in WWI. The narrator of the audio book uses an effective French accent, but it is a little off-putting and took me away from the story a bit. I almost gave up on the story, but powered through and I'm glad I did. I find myself loving this story. I have cried for the characters and felt sadness for a time when the characters are sad. I think, for me at least, that this is one that I would have loved more if I were reading it.

But reading is nothing if not arbitrary and very personal. One person's perfect listen is another person's perfect read, and a third person may dislike the story altogether. And that's okay. That's what makes it such a great hobby.

Amazon Kindle Deals

$6.99. This is the third and final installment of Veronica Roth's great YA series (but we all know that half of the YA readers are adults). Allegiant is a brand new release, and the $6.99 price has been in place since pre-release, but this is cheaper than the second book, so you might want to scoop this deal up before they get wise and raise the price!

$3.99. While I'm on this tangent, This is the first book in the series. Divergent is a good, quick read in the whole Dystopian, I'm-a-teenager-and-I-want-to-control-my-own-destiny genre. Worth the two days it takes to finish it.

$5.99. Yes, it's that James Franco and it's gotten pretty good reviews. Actors Anonymous is the a bunch of stories of members of Actors Anonymous, a 12-step group with a high power known as The Great Director. It's a look into the actor's world from the view of an insider who finds it all a little ridiculous and funny.

$1.99. I reviewed this one awhile ago and it was good.The Neighbors gets off course a few times, but I enjoyed it. A great read for Halloween, especially for $1.99.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My 2013 goal of 150 books and Kindle bargains for today

In January I set myself a goal to read 150 books. Really ambitious, right? Especially considering I have a job (I'm lucky, I get to work from home), two children (one with special needs), a home, a husband (he should come further up on the list, and he does in my heart, but there are somethings that don't care what I love, they just want what they want. Like my job, and my house, and kids . . .), activities, homework, working out, and this wonderful blog. But somehow, this year, I have read almost 107 books (I will finish number 107 today), which leaves me 8% behind where I should be to reach my goal (thank you Goodreads for setting up that wonderful counter to keep me on track, I say with disdain dripping from my voice).

107 isn't bad. Some may say I cheated to get to this point; I listened to books, I read a few Kindle Singles, which counted on Goodreads as a book. I would love to only read, but I have to make a living and get my kids to where they need to be and make sure they're doing what they're supposed to do. And I do have a social life, so I sometimes talk to people when I should be reading (GASP!!).  I sometimes drink wine instead of read, or watch a movie, or just hang with the family. But I do read a lot of those times, too. Because reading is a wonderful way to get through a swim meet, or a swim practice, or a family movie that you just cannot watch (any Barbie movie, for instance) but you want to seem like you're watching.

So, I keep plugging along. And I try to fill you in on the books I enjoyed on my journey, and some that I hated, and some that I haven't read that I want to read. I'm trying to fill you in on the bargains, but sometimes life gets in the way.


Amazon Kindle Deals 

For $1.99Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson looks really good. Miss Buncle is looking for money, and writing a novel seems to be the best way. But she has no material. So she takes stories from her friends and neighbors and uses them to write a novel under a pseudonym. The small village of Silverstream is in a uproar, and so is Miss Buncle when the village people start sharing experiences with their fictional counterparts. I just scooped it up; you should, too!

$1.99, Joyce Carol Oates is sometimes wonderful, sometimes really out there (I just finished Zombie), but I always find reading her worthwhile, The Tattooed Girl is about a reclusive novelist who is forced to take an assistant, this book treads on anti-Semitism, sensuality, "our excepted limits of desire." Sounds good.

$3.99Carved in Darkness is the story of a Melissa, a teenaged girl, abducted, tortured, and repeatedly raped for 83 days, and the woman she becomes, trying to put the darkness behind her.  As an adult, she changes her name to Sabrina, gets a new face, and becomes a homicide detective. But when someone from her past finds her and claims that his sister was killed by Sabrina's abductor, she is drawn back into a world she has tried desperately to forget.

$3.79. This one looks really good and very Halloween-y. Hemlock Grove is the story of a Pennsylvania town and the old family that runs it. Their fortune was built on steel, but they now are turning to new industries, namely biotech. When a body of a young girl is found, all eyes turn to the White Tower, the biotech facility which fosters rumors of unethical biological experiments. "An exhilarating reinvention of the gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mr. Penumbra, The Magic of Words and Deals For Today

This week I finished reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Actually, I finished listening to it. I should have read it. I usually love listening to books, but this one was all about reading and the wonders of books AND technology, and how the two can work together, but can also be wonderful apart. How magical the written word, printing and FONTS can be. Who knew? So, yes, I felt like I was betraying books by listening to a book about reading. I probably would have felt guilty reading on my Kindle, but I rarely buy 'books' any longer. I guess guilt was going to happen no matter what.

This was a wonderful story, combining many of my favorite things. The wonder of words, the beauty of books, and the mystery that books and history can hold. It also was the story of two types of people we all know; those refusing to embrace technology (call them Luddites if you will), and those who believe only in technology. This book shows that there is a middle ground, and in that middle ground lies the mystery and the answer.  It was a wonderful listen, but I think it would have been a better read.

Kindle Book Deals of The Day

$6.99--This is a deal on the pre-release of Allegiant, the third and last book in the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth. This is a REALLY GREAT deal. And the best part of buying a pre-release book (especially when you get it for a great price)? On the release date (in this case, October 22nd) it automatically and auto-magically downloads on your Kindle. I love that!!!

$3.99--This one is on my to-read list. Christopher Finch's Good Girl, Bad Girl is the story of Alex Novalis, a New York City private eye in the sixties hired to find a construction mogul's missing 18-year old daughter in the crazy Manhattan art scene. It s said to be a great look at NYC in the swinging sixties.

$1.99--I'm currently reading The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. This is her second book in as many years to make it to the National Book Award longlist. Set in the seventies, this is the story of Reno, a young woman fascinated with art and speed and the turning of speed into art. She begins an affair with an older Italian artist, the semi-estranged son of an Italian motorcycle and tire mogul, and then falls in with a radical Italian group on a visit to Italy. So far, it is really good.

$2.99--This one is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction. It's a really good price on an award winning book. Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America is a look at Florida in the late 40's and early 50's and the rise of Thurgood Marshall and the Civil Rights movement. Well worth the $2.99.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sad News, Good News, Doctor Sleep and Kindle Bargains

I have to start off today with a bit of a tribute. I have loved Tom Clancy since my twenties, when I devoured his spy novels like candy; an Everlasting Gobbstopper that goes on and on with many layers and different flavors that surprise you at different times. I fell for Jack Ryan and his wonderful family, for John Clark and other super-secret spies. I gave him up for a few years--when he wrote less about the Ryans and the people I knew and more of his books that centered around video games. Lately, though, he found the Ryans again, and let us read about young Jack Ryan Jr., and "The Campus."

I was very sad today to learn that Clancy had died. I loved the Ryans, and, although I believe he was probably cantankerous and curmudgeonly, I loved Clancy. He will be missed.

Now, some happy news, at least for me. My new Kindle Paperwhite is on its way!!! I cannot wait.


And a quick review:
"God’s a connoisseur of fragile things, and decorates His cloudy outlook with ornaments of finest glass."
Doctor Sleep was incredible. It made me laugh and cry, and it brought Danny Torrance full circle. It was scary and creepy but also really well written with wonderfully real characters. It did make Danny the main character without making it all about Danny and his life after coming to terms with his "Shine".  In other words, Kind does a great job on this one, showing us his creepy literary-ness as only he can do. I wish it wasn't over, but on to other stories.


Amazon Kindle Deals

I kinda have a crush on this awesome young writer, who happens to be the son of the esteemed Stephen King. What a household this must have been--and how macabre their family gatherings must get! I have not read Heart-Shaped Box, but I snatched it up for $2.99

This one looks pretty good, in a chick-lit, Lifetime movie kind of way. Megan is the mother of three beautiful girls, but goes slightly crazy when her youngest daughter, Emma, goes missing. She never gives up hope, although her husband and friends keep telling her to give up and realize Emma will never come back. And her hope may just pay off. Steena Holmes wrote at least two follow up books, so I'm thinking this book must have some steam. $1.99. 

Mystery Girl is the story of a failed novelist who takes a job as a private detective when his wife walks out on him. The job is simple: follow a mysterious woman around L.A. But he starts falling for her, and is drawn into a murder mystery. $1.99.

All My Friends Are Superheroes sounds amazing. A quirky love story that has some
amazing reviews behind it. I'll definitely be reading this one soon! $2.99.