Sunday Salon: It's Been Awhile

The Sunday Salon was originally started in 2008, but over the years has grown too large to accept new members. They are now a facebook group and open to all. Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....

Past Week - Personal Stuff

Ironically, the last post I did for Sunday Salon was last February. To say I've been lapse on the weekly memes is an understatement.

This month the blog turned 8 years old. It's been a fun few years with a lot of changes for the site and myself in creating it and keeping it up. As a fun bonus, the facebook page for The Paperback Stash has reached over 500 likes - thank you all!

Nothing too fancy happened to me this week, but I did participate Saturday in the 4-hour Nationwide reading marathon. National Reading Day was the first read-a-thon I've participated in awhile, so I got all excited about it for some reason people will likely never be able to fully figure out. Goodreads announced it in this blog post as sponsors, and Twitter kept up a steady stream through the hashtag #timetoread  It was good to do a read-a-thon to kickstart my reading as my progress has kind of sucked this year. January's been a pretty dry month. Ever since reading on Saturday, my dry spell seems to have ended and I've been reading a lot more this week.

TV Shows - Besides that, still addicted to TV Shows. Didn't like Supernatural's Tuesday episode much, but The Flash did a good follow-up to last week's offering. Still four hours behind on Gotham, but planning to catch up on that today. Gage and I caught up on Big Bang Theory last night, and are continuing are spree of Friends on Netflix today in the background. Arrow was a little lackluster Wednesday night, and Grimm was decent but I expected more after the surprising cliffhanger the week prior. It feels empty now that American Horror Story is gone, but hopefully a better season is coming up soon. I finally tried the first episode of Orphan Black - don't know what's going on with it, but it's interesting so far. Of course everyone's excited about the return of The Walking Dead in February. 

Friend Outings: 

This week wasn't too busy, but the week prior was. Since I never posted anything, may as well post it here. One of my best friends is pregnant, so I attended her baby shower, which was great. Her daughter threw it and did an amazing job. It's funny but in the past two years, I've been to two friend's baby showers, when in my twenties I never went to any. I got her a diaper bag she wanted off her target wishlist, diapers, and of course bottles.

We also went to another close friend's birthday dinner at Red Lobster - delicious food and the best company ever. Also went on a nature walk Saturday with my mom - we love this place. The bridge is over the water and woodland area, it's stunning. Not an ideal reading place really, too many people going back and forth - but maybe one day I'll try it. The only thing they have is the occasional  uncomfortable bench, though. But the view and shading of the trees - divine.

Reading Updates

Read This Week

Currently Reading

Website Progress

Reviews Posted

Weeklies Posted

None this week


I redid the header and updated the site design a bit these last few weeks, something I like doing at the beginning of the year.

City Infernal

(City Infernal, #1)

Hell is a city. Forget the old-fashioned sulphurous pit you may have read about. Over the millennia, Hell has evolved into a bustling metropolis with looming skyscrapers, crowded streets, systemized evil, and atrocity as the status quo.

Cassie thought she knew all about Hell. But when her twin sister, Lissa, committed suicide, Cassie found that she was able to travel to the real thing—the city itself. Now, even though she's still alive, Cassie is heading straight to Hell to find Lissa. And the sights she sees as she walks among the damned will never be in any tourist guidebook.

Edward Lee again goes full frontal on the gore assault front. This beginning of a series is worthy with it's world-building, unusual premise, and build-up.

Since I'm more of a character-orientated reader than a plot-driven one, the characters being a bit one-dimensional wasn't welcome. Cassie's powers seem to come too easily without training but again, that belongs in the story. She's reasonably likeable, although her sister is not. The dad is also enjoyable but was kept in the background as fodder. Cassie's sidekicks were amusing for the most part with their dialogue lines and motivations, although that can amp up the cheese sometimes.

The monsters? Creepy as can get. Lee takes time to focus on a large assortment of horrifying demons, abilities, scenarios, and gritty details - things he gets kudos for. The internal battles are particularly interesting and work well with the world building he's constructed.

I can't complain on the pacing at all - from a surprising family drama in the beginning to almost constant horror through a creative hell. Lee is talented with convincing dialogue but I'm hoping the second book makes me warm up to the main players more.

   Reviews for other horror novels:

Let Me In

(No Series)

It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last---revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.
But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door---a girl who has never seen a Rubik's Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night.
Sweeping top honors at film festivals all over the globe, director Tomas Alfredsson's film of Let the Right One In has received the same kind of spectacular raves that have been lavished on the book. American readers of vampire fiction will be thrilled!

" I'm only twelve. But I've been that for a long time.” 

 Vampire stories are considered a dime a dozen any more - they've been done and redone to death. Let Me In is different, at least in that the vampire is a child, not with a seductive bite, not even with a specific gift or mission, but a cold creature who adapts as she meets a neighbor boy.

This book's pacing is slow; it's more of a drama piece over a horror one, although it does have eerie moments. There's violence, but most of it isn't through the vampire's hands directly. Gore and blood does not exist just for shock value.

Characterization is...interesting. The main boy-child, Oskar, is enjoyable to read about because he has a violent tendency of his own, is back and forth between two completely different homes, and finds his life surrounded by bullies at school and semi-pals at his apartments. There was a big factor in the story about bullying, trouble at school, summoning up courage, trying to adjust into difficult worlds where you just can't fit.

Eli isn't anything special to me, not that interesting, although the character isn't horrible to read about. Her caretaker was intriguing - what a weird man struggling with such twisted desires!

What I found a turn-off with the book was too much head-hopping and the detailed side stories. These sidelines distracted too much from the overarching storyline. Sure, they come into play later with the vampire angle and what can happen, but I still didn't care much. Too much time was invested in that, which is probably why the page count is larger than the main story warrants.

The dialogue didn't suit me either. It was stilted, often cut off and hesitant. The overdoing of this took me out of the story at times.

There is a cold feel to the main characters, which only makes sense. The distant and sometimes dry tone of the writing compliments that. Slow pacing is the only thing that would well with that mixture. I can easily imagine some subtle and gorgeous musical score accompanying this book if one was composed.

This is not 'another vampire story.' The focus isn't on vampirism, but of a strong bond that develops between two isolated souls who feel a connection. It's certainly not a match made in heaven, but it's a match that works in their world.

The ending...well, it was nifty. Nothing in your face, nothing shocking, not alarming, but suitable. It begins quietly but with power, and then it ends on that same note.

   Book Quotes:

“Keep your relationships brief. Don’t let them in. Once they’re inside they have more potential to hurt you. Comfort yourself. You can live with the anguish as long as it only involves yourself. As long as there is no hope.” 

“-there was something in her, something that was...pure horror. Everything you were supposed to watch out for. Heights, fire, shards of glass, snakes, Everything that his mom tried so hard to keep him safe from.” 

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