The Dinner List by: Rebecca Serle

The Dinner List

We’ve been waiting for an hour. That’s what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That’s the thing I think first. Not: Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner, but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends within her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day,and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.

When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.

Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a romance for our times. Bon appetit.

 

My Review:

When I first heard about this book, I was so excited to read it.  I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publishers unsolicited.  I have finally gotten around to reading it and I really enjoyed it.  It was by no means astounding in any way but the premise was one in which we have been asked several times.

If you can invite 5 people, dead or alive, to have dinner with, who would they be?  Audrey’s choices were interesting and the conversation that occurred at this birthday dinner, was important for Audrey.

This was a sweet read and I gave it 4 crowns.

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Dracul by: Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

Dracul

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a riveting novel of gothic suspense that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s — and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen — a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen — and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.

 

My Review:

A few confessions:  1.  I have never read Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

2.  I have never seen any of the movies about Dracula.

3.  J.D. Baker is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  (see his other books in early book posts)

I listened to Dracul in the week before Halloween and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was narrated by a full cast.  I love it when it sounds like I am listening to a play.  Dracul did not disappoint.  It was the perfect blend of historical fiction and creepiness.  Each character brought so much to the story.

Ellen was the tie between Dracula and Bram and the rest of Bram’s family played such an integral part to the story.  There were definitely times that I was a bit creeped out while driving to and from work, but I had a great time listening to this.

A few days ago, I came home to the finished book in the mail from the publisher and couldn’t be more grateful.  I love the way it looks on my shelf.  It also had PR info about the way in which this book was done.  Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker had an connection that worked so well for this story.  By being able to utilize Bram’s notes and diaries, they were able to create something that I had a hard time distinguishing if it was non-fiction or not.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

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A Thousand Doors Edited By: J.T. Ellison

A Thousand Doors Publishing Date: November 5, 2018

Description from the publishers through Netgalley

 

My Review:

I think it’s fair to say that I am OBSESSED with this story and the way it was written.  I love J.T. Ellison’s work already but this idea of starting a story and asking some of the best female authors around to add pieces to it is Genius!  Each snip-it of Mia’s life was captivating and a pleasure to read.  I was so invested in this story, I couldn’t out it down.

Although this is considered an anthology, it is unlike any I’ve ever read before.  I am not a fan of short story anthologies usually because of the lack of flow but this one is PERFECT!  I can’t gush about it enough.  Please pick this one up, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

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I received this E-ARC from the Publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Wedding from Hell parts 1 & 2 and Consumed by: J.R. Ward

The Wedding from Hell part 1                The Wedding from Hell part 2

These are two prequel novellas to J.R. Ward’s newest series Firefighters that stars with Consumed.

I have only read the Bourbon Kings series by her and loved them.  I was so excited to be approved to read the advanced copy of Consumed.  I was then contacted by the publishing house to read the prequel novellas.  These two stories are about the wedding of a fellow firefighter.  Unfortunately, no one in the fire house wants this wedding to happen and as you read the first book in the series, you can see why.

Consumed

Description from the publishers through Netgalley

My Review:
I absolutely loved this story.  I was hooked from the very first page.  Anne and Danny had a working relationship to admire and their story is a heart-wrenching one.
It was the perfect balance of mystery, intrigue and romance.  J.R. Ward has a way of writing romances that makes your heart race a bit.  I can not wait to read this series and I am going to pick up one of her other series as well, I am just not sure which one yet.  Any suggestions?
I gave this book 5 crowns.
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I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Check out this new tool: Archivos Created by: David Robison Nerd Blast & GIVEAWAY

Archivos Nerd Blast Banner

Please visit all stops on this nerd blast tour: http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2018/09/nerd-blast-archivos-by-dave-robison.html

Archivos Logo

With ARCHIVOS, storytellers are empowered to be the architects of their stories. Through an interactive visual representation of an entire story world, storytellers and fans can examine the interconnections between characters, places, and events. Produced by Wonderthing Studios, ARCHIVOS provides – at a glance – a deep appreciation and comprehension of the interaction between story elements composition, superior to any wiki or blog.
 

DESCRIPTION
ARCHIVOS is story mapping and presentation application developed by Wonderthing Studios, designed to support storytellers in the creation and promotion of their story worlds.

HISTORY
Wonderthing Studios LLC was founded in January 2015 by David Robison to celebrate and foster the storytelling community in all its forms and facets. The studio develops multiple channels of engagement – from podcasts to board games to software – in order to support storytellers and provide tangible opportunities for the creative community to interact and share wisdom and experience.

ARCHIVOS has been in development for over a decade, built upon the idea of a visual representation of the network of interaction between story elements. It’s creator, David Robison, conceived a framework of documentation and relationship that would articulate the dynamics of a story setting more effectively than any wiki or blog. The application serves as both a development tool for narratives as well as a presentation framework for sharing those narratives.

THE STORY WEB
Explore the associations and connections between story elements with The Story Web. This interactive display allows you to analyze the networks of association in your story setting and navigate its length and breadth with a few clicks of the mouse!

THE LIVING MAP
Highlight the significant events and locations of your story world in the Living Map. Geography, city maps, floor plans can be showcased in this interactive and searchable display.

THE TIMELINE
Chronicle the significant events of your story world – from deep history to current events – and then explore the entire continuum on the Timeline! Zoom in to see days or zoom out encompass decades, ensuring continuity and consistency across your story setting.

Archivos Icon

Praise for ARCHIVOS

I am very excited by the potential of Archivos for authors and storytellers of all stripes. I am truly enjoying watching Archivos evolve! ―Mary Layton, Author

There’s no better way to get a visual recap of any story than there will be when ARCHIVOS hits the streets. Watch out. ―Jay Swanson, Author, Vlogger, and Chronic Transient

Archivos provides individuals and organizations with an extraordinary tool, one where the structure and breadth of a narrative can be deftly visualized, shared, and explored. My team of creators is delighted to be working with Archivos and making use of their fantastic system! ―A. David Lewis, Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective

Dave Robison

ABOUT THE CREATOR
 

Dave Robison is a storyteller who has been captivated by tales and legends his entire life.

He’s contributed vocal fabulousity to dozens of audio drama and fiction productions for EscapePod, Pseudopod, Cast of Wonders, and Podcastle, as well as The Drabblecast, StarShipSofa, Tales to Terrify. He has narrated several audio books for Tantor Media, J. Daniel Sawyer, Scott Roche, and John Meirau and appeared in audio dramas by Jay Smith and Bryan Lincoln.

As a child, he wrote Curious George and Paddington Bear fan fiction to the indulgent delight of his family. He was drawn to the immersive storytelling of live theater at an early age, participating in community workshops and school productions, a passion that continued through high school and college. He was also drawn to role-playing games which led to a deep appreciation of speculative fiction, cutting his genre teeth on Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and JRR Tolkien.

He attended the University of Michigan, majoring in Theater and Dance but transferred to the University of Wyoming when tuition costs got too expensive. Securing his Theater degree, Dave pursued a degree in Graphic Design and, in the years that followed, worked at dinner theaters, design studios, and ran a used bookstore. When he was hired teach computer classes at New Horizons Computer Learning Center, it began a decade-long exploration of programming, education, and web development.

In 2012, Dave launched The Roundtable Podcast with friend and colleague Brion Humphrey. The podcast gave writers the opportunity to brainstorm their story ideas with established authors and editors like Lou Anders, Cat Rambo, Kameron Hurley, and Hugh Howey. The unique format combined with Dave’s over-the-top delivery and enthusiasm earned the podcast a small but dedicated following.

In 2015, Dave formed Wonderthing Studios, LLC and brought the Roundtable Podcast under its banner. The studio is the launching point for several creative endeavors including Vex Mosaic, a monthly review of essays inspired by speculative fiction media, and Manifest, a board game combining the positional strategy of chess with the fantastical diversity of Magic: The Gathering.

In 2016, Dave was honored to be invited to help lead The Ed Greenwood Group (TEGG) as its Vice-President assisting in the initialization of the diverse processes required to execute a massive shared world collaborative storytelling publishing venture. Later that year, he was appointed Executive producer of Onder Media Group (OMG) overseeing the development of multiple media channels that celebrate speculative fiction culture in all its forms and facets.

In 2017, Dave released Archivos, a story mapping and presentation tool, through Wonderthing Studios.

 
PHOTO CONTENT FROM DAVE ROBISON

WEBSITE: https://archivos.digital/
TWITTER: 
@ArchivosStories  
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ArchivosStories/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/archivos.stories/

Giveaway Banner (23)
GIVEAWAY:
Giveaway is open Internationally | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

– 1 Winner will receive an Exclusive 1-year free of ARCHIVOS (at any level) service. 

 1 Winner will receive a $25 Dollar PayPal/Amazon Gift Card.
ENDS: NOVEMBER 12, 2018
This is an amazing tool for Authors and readers alike.  Check out the YouTube video:
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Under My Skin by: Lisa Unger

under my skin

Description from the Publisher

MY REVIEW:
This is the second book that I read from this author.  I read Ink and Bone and reviewed it on my blog.  I enjoyed this new thriller but thought it was a bit too long.  I had a hard time getting into the story but was compelled to finish it to see how it ended.  I wish there were more realistic, thrilling moments in this book and not just at the end.
I don’t want to say too much about this book as it is a thriller and the best way to go into them is blindly.
I gave this book 3 crowns.
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I received this E-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A Spark of Light by: Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light

Description from the Publisher

Jodi Piccoult has a way of writing about controversial topics and invoking beautiful conversations.  This latest novel is no exception.  Abortion is a hot button topic and has been for many years.  I did not find the story to be a solicitor of anger; or take one side over the other.  I really was invested in this story and its conclusion.
What I find interesting and had a bit of a hard time getting used to was the fact that the story was told backwards.  It took a while to get a grip on that but once I did, I was in it.
Hugh’s role in this book as not only the hostage negotiator but a parent and sibling to two of the hostages was a twist to the “regular” trope of hostage negotiator.  It was so well done.
I must confess that I have already gone out and purchased a beautiful hardback edition for my bookshelves.  This is up there with my other favorite Jodi Picoult novel, Nineteen Minutes.  
I gave this book 5 crowns.
5_crowns
I received an E-ARC of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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