Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving Thanks

Oh Thanksgiving, the one time a year that I am proud about the amount of mashed potatoes I can eat in one sitting instead of being ashamed.Hope everyone had at least one grand meal, spent time with friends and family, enjoyed a day or two off work if you're lucky, and maybe even got some good deals on Black Friday.

Not pictured,me trying to button my pants the next day.

I've seen a few people on Facebook writing everyday one thing that they are thankful for, for each day in November. I thought I would do that but keep it into one little post that will only pop up in your feed once instead of multiple times,because that can be annoying.

So, here she goes. In no particular order I am thankful for these things:
  1. Books (mmm duh)
  2. Libraries (where you get books that you don't have to pay for, except you know, taxes)
  3. Social Media (Sometimes you're annoying but you're usually handy)
  4. My husband (who is awesome. Even if sometimes we think the other one is crazy)
  5. My sisters
  6. My parents
  7. Cricket and Kwik -and Neptune (I love dogs, especially my families.Usually more than people)
  8. A reliable car (especially after having an unreliable one that gave me heart palpitations)
  9. The apartment
  10. Faith
  11. Modern medicine (so many horrible things that can be fixed. Except tetanus.Freaking tetanus)
  12. Friends who are like family (I've got a wonderful group of friends. A tremendous blessing)
  13. A job
  14. Nice coworkers (you spend more time with them then practically anyone and I am blessed)
  15. A short commute (25 minutes on a slow day)
  16. A passport (passports are like little glimpses that dreams can come true if you save your pennies)
  17. Airplanes (I don't love to fly but I'd rather be on a plane for 8 hours then however long a boat to Europe takes)
  18. Hour long lunch breaks (this is where the reading - and occasionally eating-happens)
  19. Living near family
  20. Good health (how easy this one is to take for granted)
  21. My future dog (no dog has been so wished for as that dog has been)
  22. Target (when you need tights, thank you cards and bananas)
  23. Health Insurance
  24. Yoga class (anytime you don't have to wear shoes to work out is a good thing)
  25. Crock pots (I wouldn't do much cooking without these)
  26. The Internet
  27. Meteorology
  28. Not having to do the cooking everyday (crockpot chicken again?!)
  29. My sewing machine (it's a love/hate relationship but I love having one of my own!)
  30. You all! I can't believe that anybody takes the time out of their day (even if you're just trying to not do work) and read what I have to say. Wonderful. I'm so thankful for you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Favorite Book Review: "The Gargoyle" by Andrew Davidson

This story has one of the best beginnings of any book I've read.

Our narrator is drunk driving down a lonely,scenic California highway. He takes his hands off the wheel to take a swig out of the bottle of liquor he's holding between his legs. Suddenly he think that he sees hundreds of flaming arrows raining down from the sky. He jerks the wheel and his expensive car goes barreling down a ravine and catches fire. He wakes up in the hospital, his body covered in very serious burns. This is especially bad because our narrator is a porn star, and the bottle of liquor has accelerated the car fire around his..."primary money maker" shall we say...and it has been burned beyond recognition and use.

How is that for a great start for a book ?! A self destructive porn star with no willy.Classic.

He wakes up in the hospital in bad shape, and he quickly begins to plan his suicide. However he begins to get a visitor named Marianne Engel. She sits with him and tells him about her work as a sculptress and her life story. Our narrator is pretty sure she is certifiably insane because she tries to convince him that they were medieval Germany. He doesn't believe her but he listens to her stories because all of his former friends have abandoned him and ran off with his money; and he has nothing better to do since he will be in the hospital for a long time. She tells him stories of convents, illuminated manuscripts, sadistic knights, building cathedrals, being on the run and about their own love story.

Their relationship grows and changes and the narrator slowly, slowly heals (and becomes addicted to morphine!)  but abandons his plan for suicide. He comes to live in her home with her and her doggie, Bougasta (which is a kind of dessert that his fur matches) and begins to piece together his broken spirit and life.

Food bougasta, not dog Bougasta.

The two timelines (Marianne's memories and the current timeline) are woven together throughout the novel so deftly that you wouldn't believe that this is Davidson's first (and so far only) book. I loved this book. I loved this book so much I forced my Mom and my one sister who reads to read it to so I'd have someone to gush about it with. I love that these people (not just our narrator) have had some terrible experiences which leave them a little broken and sad but that there is always hope. Always there is hope.
4.5 out of 5 stars for Mr Davidson and his broken but hopeful people!

(Picture from in case you want the recipe!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Series Recommend: The Chaos Walking Trilogy

Guys, this is our next installment of "series recommend" and it's a bad ass one. There is murder, deadly viruses, space travel, and man eating bayou creatures. Patrick Ness is the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy, and he is a consistently interesting writer.These were the first books that I read by him and I'm really excited to share with you, probably more of his books will show up here in the future.

The first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy is called "The Knife of Never Letting Go".

Todd Hewitt is about to turn 13, and lives in a rural/swampy farming community eking out a living subsistence farming with his two adopted parents Cillian and Ben. (Pretty normal so far, right? That changes right about now). Todd, like every other person in his community can hear the thoughts of everyone and everything around him. But not in a way that he can control. When he walks past someone the thoughts that that person has flies into his own mind unbidden. This means there is never a moment of peace for anyone in his community, they call it The Noise.He can even hear his dog's thoughts, which is kind of like listening to a toddler.

It hasn't always been this way. His community had been settled by a small group of Christian farmers from earth (did I mention we're not on earth? Because we are not on earth. We're basically in Space Louisiana, God helps us) who had lived peacefully for quite sometime.However a germ had been released by the planet's native species (called the Spackle) which KILLED all the women and left the men with the constant "noise" in their heads. Though recently Todd has found a spot in the woods that is absolutely silent....

I know that's a lot. Let's have a cuppa while that settles in.

Todd tells Ben and Cillian about the silent spot in the woods. They react strangely and tell Todd that he has to run away, right now. They hand him a knapsack with some possessions and a book that he didn't know had existed before, his mother's diary. Todd is pissed because he doesn't know what's going on but he does as he is told, faithful dog Manchee in tow. When he gets to the swamp he is attacked by the town's preacher named Aaron, who has never liked Todd. Todd manages to escape when Aaron is attacked by a crocodile.Todd continues to run through the swamp and stumbles across the silent place. He sees a girl, who is silent but shows him that she has crash landed in a spaceship that has come from (our) earth. They are soon pursued by more townsmen who are intent on killing Todd and this new girl.

I know that that is a lot to take in and this is pretty long already so I'm just going to say that Todd finds out the terrible truth about what actually happened to the women of his settlement,what ritual he would have had to perform to "become a man" at 13 in Prentiss, and that there is a cure for The Noise. He and the girl run far beyond Prentiss's borders to placs that Todd never knew existed.

The next 2 books in the trilogy are called "The Ask and the Answer" and "Monsters of Men". Patrick Ness has also written very small stories that go between the books and one following "Monsters of Men".

Hopefully this has intrigued you enough to go and read this trilogy. I think it'll blow your mind and make you really thankful that you can't hear anyone else's thoughts!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review: "Red Son" by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, and Killian Plunkett

Who is the most dyed in the wool, patriotic, all American that you can think of? George Washington? Patton? Chuck Norris? Let me offer a suggestion, what about Superman? (I know I set you guys up for failure on that one since technically he's not real and technically he's a space alien but the point still stands). For being an alien and not real, Superman is an iconic American. But what if he wasn't?


In  the graphic novel "Red Son" the Superman legend is turned on it's head. Superman landed in Ukraine instead of the United States and when he grows up he goes to Moscow to be Stalin's right hand man. Though he is Papa Stalin's best boy Superman tries to always do what he feels is best and is necessary, not just what is according to Party lines. (Like, he saves Americans when they need saving. Even though they are capitalist monsters).

In America, Lex Luthor is a mad science genius whose lady love is Lois Lane.The CIA hires him to find a way to destroy this Soviet threat. He makes several different monsters/super hero type things to go up against Superman but it's all for naught.Beating Superman becomes his obsession into which he pours all of his energy and pretty much abandons Lois, who is still a reporter at the Daily Planet.

Another of Superman's enemies is Batmankoff, who is a bomb happy anarchist. (He wears one of those fuzzy ear flap hats over his Batman mask and bat ear thing and it's Adorable even though I don't think that it's supposed to be.) Another familiar face is Wonder Woman. She's a princess from some idyllic paradise that has no need for men (...) and she's Superman's little comrade in crime and she harbors a long standing crush on Superman that even with all of his superpowers he still is too blind to see. (He still is a man after all).

There's huge battles, unrequited love, betrayals, KGB, America in turmoil, and a twist ending. Kind of everything you want in an action packed story, right?

I am a newbie to the graphic novel genre, and am pretty unfamiliar with the Superman canon but I really enjoyed this little tale, I give it 3 and a half stars out of 5. I have always been interested in Russia's turbulent history, especially during it's time in Communism's stranglehold which I think helped. I really wish they would have called him Supercomrade though.I liked the artwork. It was all very much in the style of Russian propaganda of the past, which kept with the continuity of the idea and the overall feel of the story.

Tip of my military styled government issued hat to my friend Oliver who suggested this book to me and is my graphic novel comrade.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"The Good News is Dessert is Free, the Bad News is We Sing Off Key!"

(The movie "Waiting" is pretty underrated.Ryan Reynolds is his regular gorgeous and hilarious self and it makes you be very nice to all of your waiters in the future).

My birthday was on Sunday. I turned the ripe old age of 28.

I like 28.Its a nice round number, divisible by 2. I make no bones about my age because I think it's petty and weird when women have their 2 anniversary of their 20th birthday. There's nothing wrong with being 40.A lot of people don't get the privilege to get to 40 so calm your self. (That's a pet peeve of mine, in case you hadn't guessed.)

Friday I gave myself the day off of work, quite a nice treat.

After a couple minutes on the treadmill, a shower and a bank run I cuddled up on the couch and caught up on some Supernatural (Team Dean).When my sister joined me in the afternoon we did some major shopping at the Boston Store Clearance Center (you have to be prepared for the chaos when you go but it's worth it), got a sparkly purple pedicure (was told it looked like a Lisa Frank binder - it totally does) and a few other stops before dinner and drinks with family and friends. Such a nice way to spend a Friday.

Also this was a gift. It's a silicone manatee, you fill his tail with loose tea and you put him in your cup of water! A Manatea! I love it.Cracks me up.

Laid back...with my mind on my Manatea and my Manatea on my mind. Also pictured my Le Cruset kettle that I adore.

On Saturday I got quite a surprise. The blog post from Saturday was an author highlight of Father James Martin. Just for fun I tweeted him a link to the blog. Imagine my surprise when he not only tweets me back ("thanks!") but also retweets my tweet to him. Did I mention that Father Martin has over 34,000 followers?! The blog got a lot of traffic that day, and while it might not add up to a lot of long term traffic it was quite the thrill and I'm very thankful to the Padre for exposing my little blog to a much larger audience.(If you're here because of Father Martin, welcome! And thanks for totally making my day!)

Sunday (actual birthday) brought an all day tornado warning. And as a wuss who is still scared of thunderstorms that was a most unwelcome birthday gift.There was some hiding in the basement of the apartment building. Lots of flooded roads and soggy feet but not much worse for wear in our neighborhood. Cap of the night with a superhero movie (Avengers,assemble!) and a delicious home made dinner.

So back to the grind today! And we're back to book content on Wednesday!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Author Highlight: Father James Martin

Another new feature that I thought would be fun is to highlight an author. Highlighted authors will be authors that I have read multiple books by.(Man that was a clunky sentence, but you know what I mean). Today is our inaugural post, and I think we're starting off with a good one!

Father James Martin is...wait for it...a Catholic priest. You may have seen him on places like "The Colbert Report"; he's the show's official "Chaplain". He shows up there a lot with other Catholic Colbert kingpin Cardinal Dolan. Fr Martin is also very active on Twitter: @JamesMartinSJ. He is not a religious figure who hides his head in the sand. He knows whats up and acknowledges that things are not always perfect in his church. He LOVES Pope Francis. Loves him. It's a little adorable.

Fr Martin is no slouch. He entered the priesthood after a few years in an unsatisfying career in the corporate jungle. What intrigues me most about his path to the priesthood is that while he and his family were Catholics growing up, it's not like he was on fire for the priesthood from a very young age. He had several life experiences before joining up and I think that makes him a better/more understanding priest.

I was introduced to Father James Martin by my coworker, who is also Catholic. She knows that I'm always looking for new and interesting books and she lent me a few of her own copies.(Also we have a weird love for popes in our Lutheran house. J. is more partial to JPII. I like JPII but I'm pretty fond of the new one. Did you see the picture of him kissing the man covered in boils?!)

You might think "Am I going to care about this if I'm not Catholic? Because I don't know the secret Catholic passwords or whatever it is they do." I'm not Catholic and I thought all of these books were worthwhile. Even if you didn't believe in God and you just want to be a better person these books are worthwhile. Don't let the fact that the author is a priest, or that you are not a Catholic, deter you from these books.

Picture break! St Patrick's in Dublin...because I thought a church picture was appropriate.

Here are the three books that I have read by Fr. Martin:

"Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of Our Spiritual Life"
   Laughter and joy is such an important part of our lives. It enriches it beyond measure, but is that element lacking in our spiritual lives and practices? Fr Martin talks about why this should be more important to us using examples from the lives of the saints and his own life. This is the book from the three I enjoyed the most.

(Side bar: In "The Name of the Rose" which is a book (Umberto Eco) and a movie (Sean Connery and a VERY young Christian Slater); one of the characters talk about how he believes Jesus never laughed. Which I think is ridiculous. Of course Jesus laughed.)

"My Life With the Saints"
   As I mentioned before, growing up Fr Martin was Catholic but not a fervent Catholic. When he entered the seminary he found himself at a bit of a deficit in his knowledge about the saints. His fellow seminarians helped to introduce him to saints that were important to them. Fr Martin talks about the saints that have had a profound effect on his life, and outlines the life of the saints as well.

 I thought this was so interesting. Not being Catholic I don't know saint back stories but these are people who had extraordinary faith in extraordinary times. One of my favorite examples was about a priest who spent years ministering to people in Japan in the 1940s and survived Hiroshima.

"The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Anything: A Spirituality for Real Life"
   This books mission is simple. We can't make our faith something we only think about on Sundays. Faith needs to be apart of our everyday lives, and this book tries to show us how we can live our faith daily. Simple message, hard to put into actions sometimes!

There you have it! Do you guys like this idea? Anyone that you'd like to see highlighted?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: "Company of Liars" by Karen Maitland

Before we talk about this book at all take a nice long look at this book cover. It is my favorite book cover of all time. Just looking at it you know you're in for a scary, kick ass book. I'd like to give whoever designed it a laurel and hardy handshake (Blazing Saddles reference,anybody? Anybody?)

The Company of Liars takes place in Middle Ages England. It's not a good time to be alive, frankly.Plague is ripping it's way through the European continent and quickly making it's way to (what will become) the UK.

Our narrator,Camelot, is aware of this and tries his best to stay ahead of it. He is a peddler of religious relics that frequents fairs and festivals and has an incredibly nomadic existence. He decides that is goal is to get as far north as he can to a popular shrine and hopes that the upcoming winter will kill the plague before it reaches him. The narrator is aware that he sees the same strange child appear at several fairs and it unnerves him.The child is a little girl named Narigorm. (Which I think is a weird name for this character.It sounds like a Japanese game show character.Whatever.Make your own choice about that one, its a personal preference). She reads runes and tells fortunes and shit gets really strange when she is around.

As Camelot travels north he is joined by a strange assortment of fellow travelers and they become a sort of Chaucer-like band of misfits traveling on the same path. Among is a painter and his very pregnant wife, a mysterious one armed man who makes his living as a storyteller, a midwife,and a musician and his young apprentice.Camelot is NOT comfortable traveling with this many people, especially strangers and one of them being heavily pregnant.They aren't together long when strange things start happening. It seems like a wolf is stalking them at night. Narigorm starts to predict terrible things will happen to the group.People start dying.Slowly all of the lies that they tell themselves and each other slowly come unraveled and their truths laid bare. The whole time they continue to travel north as the plague starts creeping up the English coast and into the countryside.

Also it rains and is cold and is miserable the whole time.Hooray England!

The best way that I can describe my emotions reading this book is gleefully scared. I was so excited to hear what happened next but I was scared as to what was going to happen next, especially once people started dropping like flies.

I give this book 4 out of 5.When I finished reading this book I started instantly recommending it to everyone I knew.A lot of people are miffed about the ending, but I think those people want everything spoon fed and explained to them and sometimes I think that's okay but sometimes I think it's decidedly less fun.

Read this book. Be scared and thrilled all at the same time!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Favorite Words!

What good are books if you can't pick up a fun new word to add to your vocabulary every once in awhile? Here are some of my favorites:

Mea Culpa (technically a phrase, so sue me)

Mmmm...words. I seem partial to the words with u's.

What are some of your personal favorites?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Goodreads: A Love Story

Guys, I love me some Goodreads.
Its the easiest way I have found to keep track of all of my book comings and goings.

All of your books are categorized first into: "currently-reading", "to-read" or "read". Then beyond that you can make your own bookshelves to further categorize them like "cookbooks", "non-fiction" or whatever.
I love the bookshelves because though I am generally a somewhat organized person, I try to be  very organized about my books. Some of my bookshelves are:

-on-deck: the next books I will be reading
-batters circle: the books that I'll order from the library once I'm reading my "on deck" books. (Yes, I have since been informed that this baseball metaphor doesn't quite work but I like it so who cares?)
-vacation reads: light-hearted fun books that I am saving to read while lounging pool side or waiting in the airport.

The two other great features of Goodreads is the recommendations and the giveaways.

Goodreads will make recommendations based on books that are on each of your shelves. So if you had a whole bookshelf that only had books about cooking and baking they would recommend those kind of books for that shelf. I have found a lot of great books that I never would have found otherwise this way. It's been great when I'm in a reading slump too!

The giveaways are just what they sound like! Publishers that have new books coming out will list them and you can enter to win them.The expectation is that you read it and then rate it and write a review. I have won about 10 in the past 4 years. This doesn't sound like a lot but I only enter for the books that I am genuinely interested in reading.

You can also "friend" other people on Goodreads to see what they are reading and to get recommendations from them. I'm a bit of a voyeur that way, I love to peep in on what others have on their shelves.

It's easy to sign up, just create an account (or use your Facebook or Twitter accounts) and get to stocking your shelves so you can get recommendations! If you need any assistance let me know and I'd be more than happy to get you started!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Know I'm Supposed to Like These, But I Don't. Or I Don't Care Enough to Try...

We've already discussed my snobby aversion to reading incredibly popular books, and that bad attitude probably plays a strong part to some of these book choices. There seem to be some books and authors that are nearly universally loved that I just don't understand. I don't mean any of this in a book bashing way, and feel free to persuade me otherwise if you really adore any of these books.

Jane Austen.I don't have a good track record with Ms Austen. I have started and stopped "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense & Sensibility" after getting no further than 30 pages in. I just wanted to strangle the Mom in the first couple pages of P&P. Blegh! Maybe it's because I'm not a hopeless romantic or maybe I will just appreciate them more when I'm older, I don't know. But for right now I'm taking a pass. 

Though I am pro-Colin Firth in anything.

This place is probably haunted by the spirits of women who weren't married of by 18 and died being old maids at 30.

The Harry Potter books. Don't chase me with torches and pitchforks. I don't have anything against these books I just don't feel the need to read them.It probably has something to do with Harry Potter overexposure. I mean, just the Pinterest boards alone are enough to keep the Potter Phanatics up and at it for years. Also probably has something to do with my aversion to reading overly popular books.

Though having said all that I do enjoy some of the movies.But I have to say my boarding school experience was less magical. But also less ghosts.

Shakespeare's comedies. I love Shakespeare. I am in awe and wonder of most everything he writes. His comedies,not so much. I love his tragedies; they are emotional and sweeping and show us characteristics in humans that we pray are not reflected in our own selves. 

But the comedies...Maybe I'm just a Morbid Milly (?) but the "Oh I love him but he can't know because I'm cross dressing and he thinks I'm a man because I'm on the run" blah blah blah just gets on my nerves and annoys me. Again, not being a hopeless romantic is a problem here too? I find myself thinking "if everyone was just honest with everyone else right away this play would be 30 pages max!" 

Though in "Winter's Tale" (a tragi-comedy) someone gets eaten by a bear. So that's good.

I talk about cross dressing a lot. Is that weird?

So I'm sure that some will think I'm being vapid or unfair but that's what great about books, everyone gets to read what they want and it's all good.

Are there any books that you just can't finish or that you feel like you should like and you just don't?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Favorite Book Review: "The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History" by Robert M Edsel

Out of all of the books that are written in the world, one of the most popular topics has to be World War II. Whether you're looking for biographies of famous generals, stories from just a particular country, exploits of one branch of the military,Nazi atrocities, Pacific POW camps, the amount of books and the details they go into are staggering. I have read several books on the topic. Though I have to be careful to space them out between other books or else my already vivid nightmares taken a very scary turn. There is only one book that I have found,so far, that has so wonderfully told a true (!) story about 2 topics that interest me so much: World War II and art.

I can not emphasize enough that "Monuments Men" is a true story. Keep that in mind while I weave the magical summary for you:

World War II is in it's last year ; death, destruction, bombs and terror are still spreading across Europe. A small group of men and women (only about 345) from around the world are recruited to the newly minted Monument,Fine Arts, and Archives division. The intimidating task given to these men and women is twofold: recover art that the Nazis have stolen (usually from museums or private collections) and try to prevent the destruction of cultural monuments (historical buildings, churches, etc). What makes this group of people even more impressive is that they were not soldiers. They were historians, museum curators, archivists, artists,sculptures and art restorers.They found themselves in an overwhelming position usually with little manpower or resources. They even faced ridicule from their own people at time (Why risk your life for a few smudges of paint or an old building? Especially if they were German, the people who are trying to kill you as you are trying to protect their cultural heritage.) They recovered huge caches of art: sometimes hidden away, sometimes proudly displayed in huge Nazi estates. Herman Goering, that fat bastard, was particularly proud of the art collection that he had looted and pillaged from across the continent. The book follows a small group of these men as they travel around the continent in a desperate bid to save it's heritage and cultural important places.

The MFAA were amazingly successful.However there are some monuments, artworks, and pieces of cultural history that have been lost, seemingly forever. The book details the frustrations and triumphs that the group experienced.

If you are a keen observer (or spend time on the internet) this story might already sound familiar to you. It's because it's going to be a movie. Some small, little known indie actors will be some of the stars: George Clooney,Matt Damon, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin (good looking Frenchmen). The release date is right before Christmas, December 18th. Which means you have a little more than a month to get thee to a library or bookstore so you can get this one read BEFORE you see the movie. (Or after, but the important thing is that you read it.) Also, I need a date to see this with me when it comes out because the husband is not interested...

When I think about all of the wars and battles that have been fought in Europe I'm amazed at the beautiful structures that still remain. I mean, Notre Dame has seen a lot of action. Likewise St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, St Basil's in Moscow and so many other historical buildings.

REAL WORLD APPLICATION! In a case of fortuitous timing check out the news story that broke this morning about 1,500 looted pieces that were found in a mansion in Munich.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Favorites Book Review : "Serena" by Ron Rash

A few years ago I started a book club called "Get Drunk and Read". (We were a pull no punches kind of book club). The book club didn't last for very long, but I think this book is our legacy.When we read this book it was universally loved. 

George Pemberton is a lumber baron in the making. The forests of North Carolina are falling beneath his companies saws and George enjoys his privileges as boss man and fathered an illegitimate child. However, he goes up to Boston and meets a woman named Serena who he wifes after a pretty short time. Serena is ambitious,smart, efficient and beautiful. She's everything that George needs in a business and life partner.

(because hooray for deforesting efficiently?)

However, Serena is also a bit unhinged. But we will get to that in a minute.

Things are going just as planned for the couple, until tragedy strikes and they realize they will always be childless. This has a profound psychological effect on Serena (we are building this empire and we won't have a son to give it to and carry on the family name!?) and this where the unhinging begins. This tragedy softens George's feelings towards his only living child but it makes Serena hard and calculating.Mysterious things start happening around camp and people start dying in mysterious accidents and things get very much out of hand.

It concludes with a huge, shocking twist and an amazing epilogue. I can't even emphasis how much you should NOT skip the epilogue.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.The characters (all of them, not just George and Serena) are interesting and deep.The descriptions of the countryside and the logging camps are detailed and vivid. (Ron Rash lives in North Carolina, this is his backyard,he knows what's up.) Towards the end of the book my heart was in my throat the whole time, very high tension!

Another reason you should read this book, and maybe the most important of all, is that this is being made into a movie that starts filming next year. Starring.....wait for it....Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
So now you can be the person who knows how awesome this movie will be before it even HAPPENS.

God help them if they mess up that movie. The members of "Get Drunk and Read" will find them.