Book Tour: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

When I first read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, I was stunned by how much I liked it. I was just plain blown away. How could that be? I’ve never been one for ghost stories or vampires or anything smacking of woo-woo. I don’t know how I was taken in, but I’ve now read that book three times! When asked if I’d participate in a book tour for the Tenth Anniversary of American Gods, you bet I said, Yes!

About American Gods

Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; The Tenth Anniversary Edition

Now a STARZÆ Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber | Premiering Sunday, April 30, at†9pm EST

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadowís best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesdayís bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewingóan epic war for the very soul of Americaóand that he is standing squarely in its path.

Purchase Links†for the TV Tie-in Paperback

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Find out more about Neil at his†website, find all his books at his†online bookstore, and follow him on Instagram,†Facebook,†tumblr, Twitter, and his†blog.

My Thoughts:

All through this story I kept shaking my head and saying. “Neil Gaiman is an Amazing Storyteller!” I said this with various degrees of emphasis on Amazing. He created this mix of mythology and fantasy with a strong message. He made me, this non-myth and fantasy reader, believe it all.

There were so many things I loved about this novel. Here are just a few:

  • Shadow, the main character, had my sympathy at first and then my admiration. He is a modern hero, flaws and all.
  • Meeting all the other characters – the immigrants and the ancient gods and learning their  beliefs.
  • The  Road Trip around America!
  • How much the book made me think – really think – about what we consider “gods” in modern America. Can it really be social media? Its all those things we worship. Some people are going t think this is a book about modern politics, but keep in mind this was written over ten years ago.

I don’t have the Starz channel so I wasn’t able go see the TV series. However, I did listen to the audiobook which was superb. It was a full cast of actors including Ron McLarty and Daniel Orekes. I highly recommend listening to this book.

P.S. I do have one caution: American Gods is not a children’s book. There are plenty of f-words and other adult content here. I didn’t mind it as it fit the story, but I’m letting you know in case this bothers you.

___________________

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour. The full tour schedule is here:  Neil Gaiman Tour Schedule

Posted in Book Tour | Tagged , | 5 Comments

My Week . . .

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by to check on me. I’ve had a good week all around. I’m back to full use of my computer, thanks to my son, the tech-wizard. I’m also back to full use of all my audiobooks – both cds from the library and downloadable audios from Audible. Thanks to Ti I found a used Classic iPod for a fraction of the cost. I don’t know why I didn’t think to look for a used iPod. Audiobooks have become very important to me in the last few years since my eye-sight is no longer 20/20.

I’ve become a loyal Audible customer and I especially love all their Daily Deals and other special offers. A couple months ago they ran a special offer on books that are #1 in a series. It was a great chance to try new authors and/or series I haven’t read before. I indulged in quite a few of them. You’ll be hearing about them over the upcoming months, but this week I read two of the best:

Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon just blew me away. This is the first novel of approximately 75 books featuring Inspector Maigret. It was first written in 1930 in French, but now its been translated and published by Penguin.

The story begins when Inspector Maigret receives a description of a wanted criminal, Peter the Latvian, and warning of his imminent arrival in town. When the Inspector spots a man matching the description, he is on it. But then a man also matching the description is found dead on the arriving train. Immediately there are lots of questions for the Inspector to chase. He is a good old-fashioned intrepid detective. Also, the incredibly descriptive writing had me right there with the Inspector seeing the people, the rooms, the streets. I loved it! I’m looking forward to more.

_____________________________

The other book I read this week was book #1 in Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series. This book is also set in the 1930s, this time in the U.K. The main character is Georgie, a young woman a few years past her “season” with still no prospects for marriage. Since she’s thirty-fourth in line to the throne, the Queen feels compelled to help find a suitable mate for Georgie. Unfortunately, the Queen’s picks are not what Georgie wants.

The Queen also asks Georgie to do a special favor for her. She wants Georgie to “spy” on the King’s brother who’s been causing a lot of gossip. He’s been seen cozying up to a twice-married American woman. Georgie’s assignment is to find out what’s really going on and what kind of person is the American woman and what are her intentions.

On top of all that, Georgie has a couple of problems. For one thing she has very little money. And then there’s the problem of a dead man in the bathtub. There’s a lot more but I’ll save that for you to enjoy as you read the book. It was actually great fun and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

___________________________

In the other part of my life: I want to share some pictures from last week. As I told you then, we joined our son, his family and many of their friends as we celebrated our grandson’t fourth birthday.

We camped at Salt Point which is a California State Park a little over an hour away. It’s a lovely campground close enough to walk to the ocean. The section in th4e picture above is overlooks a big area of boulders that is a favorite with seals.

Our little guy wanted to make his own birthday cake and well, why not? He and I have discovered rainbow cake videos on You-Tube and that’s what he wanted. Here’s how he did it – with a little help from his Nana: Once the cake batter was mixed we divided it into six small bowls. Then he used food-coloring to make the batter in each bowl with a different color. In the bottom of a greased cake pan we put each color in blobs sitting next to each other. Once we had all the batter in the pan we carefully drew a knife down the length of the pan – about four times – and then did the same thing in the opposite direction. It just barerly mixes up the colors. The baked cake is what you see above.

We did all of that at home. At the campground we frosted the cakes and then let all the kids shake rainbow colored sprinkles over the top. Its not bakery-style, but it made the birthday boy happy. It was fascinating, even for the adults to see how the colors turned out when the cake was cut. In addition, the cake was actually very tasty.

In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Posted in Weekly Review | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Wondrous Words #394

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

Only one word again this week. I heard this word on a CNN interview between Anderson Cooper and Congressman Adam Schiff:

incipient: “We are interested in hearing from incipient witnesses.”

Incipient is an adjective when it refers to a person. It means having a good understanding of things.

_______________________________

That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

Posted in Wondrous Words | 1 Comment

First Paragraph: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I’m participagting in a book tour for the tenth anniversary of American Gods. I missed reading the book when it was first published so I am glad for this chance to read it now. It’s also been make into a TV series which started las night on STARZ  The book is quite good, just right if you’re a Neil Gaiman fan.

I decided to share the opening of the Author’s Introduction. I found it very interesting. Here it is:

 

Introduction

I don’t know what it’s like to read this book. I only know what it was like to live the writing of it.

I moved to America in 1992. Something started, in the back of my head. There were unrelate ideas that I knew were important and yet seemed unconnected: two men meeting on a plane; the car on the ice; the significance of coin tricks; and more than anything, America: this strange, huge place where I now found myself living that I knew I didn’t understand. But I wanted to understand it. More than that, I wanted to describe it.

 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

____________________________

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

Posted in First Paragraph | 10 Comments

Weekly Review

I’ve been reading/listening to Save Room For Pie by Roy Blount, Jr. for a couple of weeks now. It’s the kind of book that, for me, is best read in short pieces because what he has just said makes me think of an experience or a person in my own life and I want to stop and remember that. For example, in one of the earlier chapters, Roy remembers a typical comments made at a meals during his growing up years in Georgia. I was not raised in the South, but it seemed very similar to what was said at our Wisconsin table and I had to think and talk about that for a while.

The subtitle of this book is Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations. That’s the best way to describe how the book is written. Someone said the author “just rambles.” I disagree. Maybe because I listened to the author read the audio version, but I thought he told his tale in a chatty-shooting-the-breeze sort of style. Most of the time I imagined myself sitting at a round table in a local diner, reminiscing about old times and the food we ate.

The subject is always food. Sometimes he tells a joke, sometimes a poem or what he calls “songs,” but always he’s trying to make me laugh or at least smile. Let me share a little bit of one of Roy’s songs:

Song To Hamburger

Whether you’re a dean or a minor,
a sommelier or a turpentiner,
a critic or construction worker,
you no doubt enjoy a burger.
You can get into its juices,
you appreciate its uses,
you can feel the steady pull of one,
you would like your right hand for one,
and all the way with everything.
Do bleu cheese, bacon, pickles spring to mind?
Okay, there’s plenty room. . .

Roy Blount is a former journalist and the author of well over twenty books. He is well known for his comic wit, especially on the NPR show Wait Wait and was a frequent guest on Garroson Keilor’s Prairier Home Companion. I thought Garrson Keilor summed up this book quite well when he said this:

In poems and songs, limericks and fake (or sometimes true) news stories, Blount talks about food in surprising and innovative ways, with all the wit and verve that prompted Garrison Keillor, in The Paris Review, to say: “Blount is the best. He can be literate, uncouth, and soulful all in one sentence.”

On Tuesday I attended a book club meeting which is always so enjoyable. This month we read and discussed The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan Phillip Sendker. There were a few members who weren’t crazy about the book, but the majority of us were positive about the book.

This is an emotional story about a young boy who goes blind around the age of four and then is abandoned by his mother after his father dies. The story of his survival, challenges and tremendous accomplishments makes for a compelling story. There were some parts of the story that stretched believability, especially near the end. Overall, I liked it and will give it a 3.5 stars.

_____________________

In the other side of my life I had some positives and some negatives. My husband and I camped with our son and his family and about six other young families. We were celebrating our grandson’s fourth birthday. He loved having all his friends around him. We camped at Salt Point Campground, a lovely state park right by the Pacific Ocean.

My negatives this week are all technical. First my Classic iPod died. I’ve had this reliable friend for 12 years. I am truly in mourning. They no longer make this wonderful tool any more. It’s hard to even think of it, but I’m looking for something suitable as a replacement.

My next technical failure is not one with as much emotional attachment as my iPod, but absolutely critical: my computer! I have no idea what’s wrong. It just stopped last night. If my son (my personal tech specialist) can’t fix it, I’ll be taking it into the Apple Store. This computer is only about four or five years old so I think that’s too young to be dead.

We’ll see. I’m finishing this post on my iPad. (Thank God one tool is still healthy.) Unfortunately I’m not able to share any of my camping photos with you. Hopefully, if the technical gods allow, I can share them next week. In the meantime  – have a great weekend.

Posted in Weekly Review | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Wondrous Words #393

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I only found one new word again this week. I found it on Politico in an article about Planned Parenthood and Ivanka Trump.

conflate:  “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” she (Ivanka Trump) said.

Conflate is a verb which means to combine (two or more texts, ideas, etc.) into one.

_______________________________

That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

Posted in Wondrous Words | 3 Comments

What Am I Reading? Save Room For Pie by Roy Blount

I’m reading a fun foodie book, Save Room For Pie by Roy Blount. I’ve heard the author on NPR shows such as Wait, Wait, but I have yet to read one of his books – until now. By the end of the first page I was smiling. Here’s the first paragraph:

 

IT’S GOOD TO EAT

My wife, Joan, and I live partly in rural western Massachusetts, where one minute people are discussing the different tastes of bear (very strong) and woodchuck—I guess you don’t ever want to try muskrat, though people do—and the next minute the topic turns to whether turmeric has to be organic. Just the other night in the midst of a hearty meal, we were Googling to see how much more nutritious sesame seeds are with the hulls on than with then off. Not a simple matter, because while the hulls o have food value they also contain—never mind. I try to keep things light by asking how MANY sesame seeds you should take daily. But these are, after all, matters of life and death.

 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

____________________________

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

 

Posted in First Paragraph | 8 Comments

Book Review: Red Leaves by Paulina Simons

A few weeks ago, a fellow book-lover and I were having a conversation about how we’ve each gotten into a “reading rut” – each of us reading only our favorite genres. We tried to describe what kind of book we’d like to read as an alternative or a “take-a-break-book.” We found it hard to describe what we wanted. My friend said, “I’ll know it when I’m in the middle of it.” I wasn’t so sure, but then – Bam – I picked up Red Leaves, a book coming up on tour, and by the middle of the second chapter I knew I had my”take-a-break” book.

First, let me share the book’s synopsis:

As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.

One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes…

When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.

Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.

The publisher calls Red Leaves a Suspense Thriller, but I found it more than that. It was definitely a character-driven novel, focusing as it did on the four  Ivy League college kids and the detectives. These “people” were different, maybe a little edgy or strange. They were hard to figure out. I like Spenser, the detective, although this guy’s also different.

There were a couple times the story dragged a bit, but that’s a minor complaint. Overall, and especially the last section, the story flew. The nicest thing about this story was that it really involved my brain. Just when I had something figured out and thought we were sailing in one direction, boom – it turned around and went in another direction. Normally this might bother me, but not in this story. In this author’s hands these turns added to the pleasure of the puzzle. Now you see why I called this my “take0-a-break” book. If you’re looking for something different, give Red Leaves a try.

______________________________________

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About†Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Find out more about Paullina at her website, follow her on†Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

________________________________________

Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of it all. To see other stops on the book tour, visit the schedule here: Paulina Simons Book Tour

tlc tour host

Posted in Book Tour, Literary Fiction, Mysteries | Tagged , | 4 Comments

My Week In Review

Hi! Thanks for stopping by to check on my week. We had a lovely Easter weekend – nice and calm. The highlight of Easter was watching our little guy with his first Easter Egg Hunt. He helped Mommy dye bright speckled eggs – real ones. Then I filled some plastic eggs with some little treats inside – a marshmallow bunny, jelly beans, small matchbox-sized cars and some change, dimes and quarters. He really loved the hunt and wanted us to hide them all over again!

What I Read This Week:

I started in on Book #5 of the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger. This one is Mercy Falls, named for the place where a murder victim was discovered. The man who was killed was the son of a very wealthy Chicagoan with a shady background and a strong desire for revenge.

As Cork, now the county Sheriff, and his team begin to investigate the murder, the victim’s brother shows up to help. This complicated crime really ratchets up. It turns out Cork’s wife, Jo, used to date the brother and, in fact, the brother believes he is still in love with Jo. In addition to all of that, someone is taking shots at the sheriff. Cork and his team have a lot to do.

There is a lot going on and I’m trying hard not to spill the beans and spoil it for you when you read the book, but I do have to tell you that something happens at the end that had me running straight to Book #6: Copper River.

Cork is lying low in a resort cabin in upper Michigan owned by his cousin Jewell. There’s a contract out on his life, plus he’s been injured. Jewell and her fourteen-year-old son, Ren, are a kind and caring team, just what Cork needs. They are also smart and intuitive, which will help as a variety of problems and challenges open up.

This novel is also named for the place where a victim’s body was found, Copper River. A teenage girl’s body is discovered in the river, and it’s not an accident. The girl is known to Ren and his good friend Charlie. When Charlie’s dad is killed and another friend is shot and almost killed, everyone suspects something is seriously wrong in this small-town, back-woods area. This situation is way over the local constable’s abilities.

Cork is more than willing to help, but he’s limited by his physical injury and his need to stay hidden. I enjoyed watching him play a behind-the-scenes role. He relied on Jewell, Ren, Charlie, and ex-FBI agent, Dina. Together they all discovered something horrendous that I did not see coming at all.

I hope I have conveyed by now how good I believe these books are. You don’t have to take my word for it on Mercy Falls. It received the Anthony Award for Best Mystery Book of 2006. I actually thought Copper River was even better. Good writing, good plots, great characters – you ca’t go wrong. I do recommend you read these two in order.

_________________________

That’s it for me this week. I’m posting early as we are heading out this afternoon for a weekend camping trip down by the beach. The weather is supposed to be sunny, so we shall see. I’ll try to share pictures with you next week. Have a great weekend everyone.

Posted in Weekly Review | Tagged , , | 4 Comments