Daily Archives: January 1, 2013

What’s On My Plate – January 2013

On My PlateCan you believe it’s 2013?? I can’t. But I’m ready to start fresh, get über-organized and kick butt when it comes to my reading lists! I have to apologize big time to the indie authors who have been patiently waiting for me to get to their books. I failed miserably in December with my schedule…I’ll have to remember next December that I need to plan on reading about half of what I’d normally read. The month is just too busy, and unfortunately I made too many promises. So, sorry indie writers! I had planned on reading three indie books last month and didn’t get to any of them:( So they will be pushed to this month, if I have time. I’ve got a pretty loaded plate with NetGalley and Edelweiss ARCs for January, and they just have to come first. So here’s what I’m attempting to read (click on the covers to go to Goodreads):

For Review:

BrokenMadmans jkt Des1.inddMad Scientist's DaughterSix-Gun TarotHysteriaThe Best of all Possible WorldsSpeaking From Among the BonesAsher's Dilemma

Yes, that’s eight books from Edelweiss and NetGalley! And I’m pretty excited about all of them. Wish me luck:)

Blog Tours & Giveaway Hops:

Oxford front copy

Oxford Whispers Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway. My tour stop is on January 28th and I believe there will be some kind of giveaway.

YA Fairies HopBad Boy Hopback to the future hop

Wow, I went a little crazy with Giveaway Hops this month! Kinda like I went a little crazy with book requests…oh well! The first one is closed, but the other two hops are still open (as I write this), so if you want to join in the fun, just click on the images above to find out more.  Blog Hops are fun and pretty easy. I just have to come up with a good giveaway book for each one. I already know for the Bad Boy Rehab Hop (what a crazy name, right?) I’m going to be giving away a copy of a recent read that I gave five stars to, a book with a really bad boy that I absolutely loved: Splintered by A. G. Howard, and the bad boy is Morpheus:)  So make sure to stop by next week if you want to enter!

Time permitting, I will try to start catching up on my indie books. Maybe for dessert…

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THE MINIATURE WIFE and OTHER STORIES by Manuel Gonzales – Review

The Miniature WifeThe Miniature Wife and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzales

Genre: Adult Speculative Short Stories

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Release Date: January 10 2013

Pages: 304

five stars

I just finished reading the stories in this amazing collection several hours ago, and they are still haunting me, tickling at the edges of my brain like the unholy tongue of a zombie (yes, two of the stories are about zombies). These stories were unsettling and disturbing at times, humorous and bizarre at others, but in all cases brilliantly written gems that look directly into the heart of what it means to be human. Each story seems innocent at first, but eventually things go horribly wrong, leading to that unsettled feeling I was talking about. The stories are all told in first person in a slightly detached way, as though the strange events the characters find themselves in the middle of are simply run-of-the-mill occurrences. The deadpan delivery and overall lack of emotion from these narrators might lull you into thinking these stories are safe, but they aren’t. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorites:

Pilot, Copilot, Writer – One of my favorites, this strange tale is about a hijacked plane that has been flying in circles over the city of Dallas, TX for twenty years. The reasons behind what the hijacker wants and why he’s flying in circles go unexplained, but the curious way the passengers handle this problem is part of the charm of this story.

The Miniature Wife – A man accidentally shrinks his wife and then tries to atone for his horrific mistake by building her a dollhouse. What starts as an almost funny premise takes a darker turn when things begin to escalate out of control, and the narrator and his wife wage war on each other. I won’t go into details, because this is one story you’ll want to read for yourself, but let’s just say the family cat is involved…

The Artist’s Voice – A story about a man whose compulsion to compose music has not only resulted in him becoming nearly paralyzed, but has caused him to speak through his ears. One of the odder stories in this collection, and a great example of how Gonzales is able to convince the reader that the absurd is actually normal.

Cash to a Killing – I loved this one! It starts out like this:

We had spent the past hour burying the body and were on our way to grab a hamburger.

This story, written with dead-pan humor, is about two men who are burying a body and the comedy of errors that ensues when one of the men loses his wallet.

All of Me – The first of two zombie stories, this one is oddly sweet, a story about a very conflicted man who has recently become a zombie and how he tries to disguise that fact when he continues to go into the office every day. His human side and his zombie side are fighting each other, and one of them is about to win…

One-Horned & Wild-Eyed – A quirky tale about a man, his friend and a unicorn. A man yearns for a different life after an encounter with a unicorn makes him realize he isn’t the person he wants to be.

“Wolf!”

His claws fell away almost immediately upon his death, his snout shrank back to a reasonable size, his body returned to its previous near-bald state, and the madness leaked from his eyes, leaving small orange tracks, like painted tears, down his cheek, his innocent brown pupils surrounded once more by a pure white sclera.

Another of my favorites, this werewolf tale is bloody and terrifying, and once again, told by a very matter-of-fact narrator, whose father has become a werewolf and is devouring his entire family, including his eight children. As in many of these tales, Gonzales explores what it means to be human by placing his characters in not-so-human situations. By the end of this story I was crying…

Farewell, Africa – What starts as an absurd premise (a museum installation that demonstrates how the continent of Africa has sunk into the ocean) turns sobering when the reader begins to realize what’s happening…

Escape from the Mall – Another zombie story, with a nod to George Romero, about a group of strangers trapped in a janitor’s closet at the mall during a zombie attack. Both a horrific story of survival and metaphor for starting over, this was a great way to end the book.

Scattered throughout are very short “Meritorious Life” stories about fictional famous people. My favorite was William Corbin: A Meritorious Life, which is a bizarre and scholarly explanation of the history of clowns.

Manuel Gonzales is a unique new voice, and his first collection of stories should not be missed. These stories are guaranteed to linger in your mind long after you finish them. If Gonzales leaves you feeling slightly uncomfortable, then he has done his job well.

Many thanks to Library Thing for a review copy. Quotes from the book have been taken from an Advance Review Copy and may not reflect the final version.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday2Happy 2013, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful year full of marvelous reading! As happens every year, I am not quite able to squeeze in all the reading I want to, so I’ve compiled my list of the Top Ten Books I was never able to get to, but I’m going to try my darnedest to read in 2013. Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting Top Ten Tuesday!

Here’s my list, in no particular order:

1. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. It’s unbelievable that I haven’t read this yet! I will not let it get away this time…

2. The Diviners by Libba Bray. I’ve read so many rave reviews and seen this book on so many top ten lists, and I’m so excited to find the time to see if everything I’ve read is true!

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I don’t think this book is for everyone, because some readers that I really trust say they didn’t like it at all, but I still want to see what all the fuss is about.

4. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. Here’s another book that’s had its share of mixed reviews, but I love J. K. and I’m curious to see her in a different light.

5. Talullah Rising by Glen Duncan. I rated the first book of this series, The Last Werewolf, in my top ten for 2011, and so I was really looking forward to the next story.

6. Origin by Jessica Khoury. I was really looking forward to this book months before its release, but by the time it came out, I was buried under my TBR pile…

7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie has written two of my all-time faves (Lament and Ballad) and I certainly don’t want to pass this one by.

8. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I saw this pop up on some top ten lists, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t have the chance to put it on my list this year.

9. Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen. Not to be confused with the other Scarlet that comes out this year, I saw this book on at least four or five top ten lists, and now I’m resolved to read it this year!

10. Team Human by Justine Larbalestier. This humorous vampire spoof never made it to the top of my pile, but I plan to remedy that!

How about you? What books are you resolving to read this year?

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