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Confuzzled Books

If you are wondering what kinds of books I review and events I host, this little section is the place to look. Books I love to read: Children's, Young Adult, Paranormal and Fantasy books. Books I like to read: General Fiction, Romances, Religious Fiction, Mysteries and Biographies. So those are the genres of books I will generally review. If you send me a book outside of those areas, I'll consider it, but it may not fit my tastes. Reviews will take about 2 months to post; I try to post them around the time the book is released. On giveaways: Sending me a signed book to give away on the site is a great way to get your book noticed. I do a "mystery book" giveaway about every 2 weeks, where I read the book and twitter about it without revealing its title, then reveal what I've been reading and give it away. The whole event takes a couple weeks, and I feature the giveaway book on my blog for most of that time.

Currently reading

Blood Lite II: Overbite
Heather Graham, Jeff Strand, Kelley Armstrong, J.A. Konrath, Janis Ian, Derek Clendening, Amy Sterling Casil, Sam W. Anderson, Aaron Polson, Brian J. Hatcher, John R. Little, Joel A. Sutherland, Jordan Summers, Allison Brennan, Lezli Robyn, Scott Nicholson, Sharyn McCrum
V is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone: An ABC for Grownups
Seth Godin
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman
Parting the Veil: The Art of Nene Thomas
Nene Thomas, Bruce Coville
The Art of Amy Brown (Bk. 1)
Matthew(Read by) Ryan, Ilyana(Read by); Brown, Amy Kathleen?(Author) ; Kadushin
The Creativity Book: A Year's Worth of Inspiration and Guidance
Eric Maisel

Sickly Sweet

The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story - Nancy     Rose
This picture book is part of a series called The Secret Life Of Squirrels. This edition Mr. Peanuts has found love.  He takes his new love to bookstores, restaurants and, of course, the park.


I read this one around Valentine’s Day, which it is perfect for.  It is filled with very cute pictures of real squirrels in made up sets reenacting a couple dating.


Now the pictures are cute and so is the story. For me, I have to say it’s too cute. Like overwhelming sweet, which is why I took some stars away.  Don’t get me wrong I love squirrels they are adorable but the story gives me heartburn.


I am sure that children will love this book and not be overwhelmed by the sweetness. I am interested in checking out the previous books to see if I feel differently about them.

Looking For Something New Can Lead To Suspense

Rowan's Ruin - Mike Carey, Mike Perkins, Andy Troy
Our heroine Katie is looking for a place to relax and somewhere new to rejuvenate herself.  She finds a young woman in England is looking to house swap.  Katie soon finds the home she has found herself in has hidden skeletons. Spirits began to show themselves to Katie. Whether they are there to help or to hurt is something she must figure out and hopefully not too late.


There is a mixture of realism and mysticism which makes this graphic novel thrilling to read. The main character, Katie, finds out things about herself that she thought was bad but is just really a part of herself others don’t understand.  For example she is empathic and a medium of sorts as she sees ghosts.  When in previously in her life when mysterious things would happen her family made her take a trip to a psychiatrist who would then put in her on medication.


The story ends with sadness but also with hope as Katie learns that she is a strong woman with special abilities that can help herself and others once she learns to use those abilities.  I had hoped that there was going to be a series after this graphic novel.  I really liked Katie’s and the characters around her. The story moved quickly and was exciting.  I wanted more and I am sad to say that as of now Rowan’s Ruin is a stand alone.  


Author Mike Carey is known more for writing other comics like Lucifer, Neverwhere,
Unwritten and some X-men. Rowan’s Ruin is a hidden gem with art that may not be spectacular but fitting for the story.  

World Full of Wondrous Women

She Persisted - Chelsea Clinton, Alexandra Boiger
Daughter of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton brings a picture book about 13 women who are a part of U.S. history and are the reason women and men have many things to feel blessed for.


I knew many of the women in this book, some just by name and others I had never heard. Each woman is given two pages, with wonderful art and a short but sweet description of each womans’ contribution to the world.


The writings for each lady is as I said short and makes me itch for more about them.  I can only hope that children get the same feeling and want to read more about these wonderful people.


Written by a very smart woman and mother this book is a great add to bring knowledge of people we should always remember.

Creepy Is Good, Scary Is Better

Salem's Lot - Ron McLarty, Stephen King

A struggling author returns to the town he grew up in to revisit some skeletons of his past for a new book. He finds romance, friendship and more evil then he can deal with as townspeople start disappearing.


Stephen King can really describe a setting and get you settled in.  He gets the reader the feeling of being comfortable and then boom here comes the creepy.  The creepy just increases and increases.  For me I keep thinking wait let's go back to the comfiness.  I want to see author, Ben, connect more with townie, Susan.  


When I read King I expect major scariness, the creeps and...not completely welcomed nightmares.  This one had some creep factor but it was not really scary to me.  I find his short stories scare me the most. It was a decent book.  I was not thrilled with the ending either.  In some ways it set up for a sequel although I do not know if there is one or not.  I know there is a short story prequel called Jerusalem’s Lot which I have never read.


For a vampire book it had some interesting takes on the usual mythos. Other than that I say there is better Stephen King books if you want scary but it is some very good writing.


Dragons Are Simpletons

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (unknown Edition) [Paperback(2012)] - Adam Rubin

A young boy who likes dragons finds out that dragons love to eat tacos but not spicy ones, with a good reason. The illustration by artist Daniel Salmieri is whimsical and fun to look at. The story is a little silly which some children could really love. Honestly I thought it a little too silly for my taste. I have read other children books on dragons and I think this was my least favorite. The writing is very simple, maybe too simple. I wanted to like it because I love dragons and it is very rarely that I find one I do not like. Unfortunately this was one that was unlikable to me but I am not the demographic. I think if you have child from ages 2 to 7 and is easy to make laugh they will probably enjoy.

A Curiously Strange Group Of Stories.

Doctor Strange: The Flight of Bones - Tony Harris, Daniel Jolley, Ray Snyder, Kieron Gillen, Paul Chadwick, Frazer Irving, Frank Brunner, Ted McKeever In this graphic novel we see Doctor Strange has fully accepted his role in the world of magic and still looking for ways to heal himself physically. He has become one of the world’s greatest magicians. He fights evil trying to take over the world while combating his own troubles. This is my first delve into the world of Marvel’s Doctor Strange. I became interested after seeing the Doctor Strange movie with Benedict Cumberbatch (which was awesome!). There are about 4 or 5 stories in this graphic novel. The best one is the first story about Strange fighting a magic infused cult that takes one of his friends into its grasp. The other stories are pretty dull. Most of the other stories are also in black and white. To be honest because of the lack of color, and in some cases lack of dialog, made it hard to understand what was happening. I would say that this probably isn’t the best of Doctor Strange to start with. I especially do not think it is the best if you have not seen the movie or have no knowledge of Doctor Strange. I just feel this could have been much better stories than the ones in this graphic novel.

Repetitive But Charming

Blood of Ancient Kings - V.J.O. Gardner
The story begins with a death of a Queen  and a birth of a Princess.  A hated King is removed and made a peasant, as highly decorated knight becomes King.  As the old king raises his daughter the new King and Queen raises a son.


There is a lot of repetitive story in Blood Of Ancient Kings and foreshadows, so much that you know where the story is going.  Like the fact the prince has no true name and only his true love can give him a name is set on repeat, along with other parts of story line.  Although the repetitiveness was slightly annoying but the story had charm to it that had me hooked. I still fell for the couple who were foreseen to be.


The repetitiveness was really the only issue I had.  It just sometimes felt like filler to make the book longer, but once I got to the end it was definitely rewarding.


I did fall for the characters therefore I would love to read the next book in the series.   It may not end surprising but it was a fun and comfy read.

Whimsical Ride

Rocket-Bye - Mateya Arkova, Carole P. Roman
The story of two children zooming around on a rocketship is written with dream like quality. With artwork that is fun, whimsical and smart, this book is a great before bedtime tale.


Author Carole P. Roman has a knack for coming up with cute and informative children's books. Rocket - Bye is no different, as it goes through the planets names and a view of the stars. You and any child will be filled with calm wonder.
I had only one issue with Rocket-bye is that in the part where the children learn the names of the planets, Pluto is the last named.  To my knowledge Pluto is no longer cataloged as a planet.  Or I could be wrong and it may have been changed it back.


Rocket - Bye is for both boys and girls. It is not too challenging to read and is a joy to view as is all of Carole P. Roman’s books.

Voices of the past are awakened in this historical fiction

The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel - Melanie Benjamin
Based on a real friendship of socialites and an author taking place at a different time in the USA.  Author Truman Capote made a name for himself after writing  Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood.  His fame gave him a ticket to parties in New York that would introduce him to a group of woman famous in their own right, for being fashionistas and marrying men with wealth and stature.  Truman’s favorite lady socialite was Babe Paley and he was her favorite as well.  This historical fiction author Melanie Benjamin imagined conversations that probably happened within the “Swans”. Eventually leading towards the downfall of Truman Capote and the change of what is fame and who has it. .

Melanie Benjamin really has a knack for finding the voice of the people she is writing about. Everything feels so truthful as if she was actually in the room with the characters she wrote about.  Since what she is writing about is historical fiction, the characters are real people but the social interactions are imagined by author.

This book did take me a little longer to fall into and really believe the voices.  This could also be because it was the first by Melanie Benjamin that I read in ebook format. I find that I do not connect to the story as well as I do with a physical book.  I also like to draw out reading the end of her books because they are just so good.


Historical fiction books are good after a reading slump because if it is written well enough you want to read other books about people the book is based on. This is the 4th book by Melanie Benjamin all historical fictions and all have been so enjoyable. I now have to wait for her next one.  I hope the wait is not too long.

Talents leads us through life

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel - Mitch Albom
Born with a musical talent no one can deny. Frankie Presto life is told by “Music” itself. We learn about the life of Frankie, as those who loved him come together to celebrate a man who can not be replaced.


There is something I love about Mitch Albom books. The inspirational way the stories are told and each one get more creative than the next. The fictional story of Frankie Presto and his talented life, show that you can’t run away from what god given talent you have because it is part of that person’s being. I may not have musical talent but I have artist talent. I have known how to draw from the time I was little. Like Frankie Presto there were times I stopped doing anything artist but it found it’s always back to me.  The same happens for Frankie, many times.


Even though the book goes back and forth through Frankie’s life and death.  I was still not prepared to say goodbye.  I wanted to know more about Frankie, his wife and daughter.  Even though I wanted the story to go on. I disliked that fact that the author felt he had to reveal Frankie’s true history, who his mother and father was.  I think I would have been okay for Frankie to have never known this info because in real life you do not get all the answers.


Mitch Albom has written another inspirational book.  It sparks questions about life, death and what talent we grabbed for ourselves while being born.  We reach for the stars and some of us, like Frankie, become one.


Part Of Irish-American History

Lament for the Molly Maguires - Arthur H. Lewis
A somewhat historical account of the rise and fall of the Irish group called The Molly Maguires.  The Molly Maguires took law into their own hands, trying to find justice for miners and their family who were poorly treated. This book tells of the Molly Maguires group and The Pinkerton Spy that brought them down.


I knew the basics about the Molly Maguires.  I also knew of rumors that my family helped The Pinkerton Spy hide.  My great grandparents and grandparents on my father’s side grew up in the Pottstown area called St. Clair.  I think while reading it I was a little hopeful that I would see a familiar last name connected to me but… I did not.  The book did mention many names, so many that I got confused at who was who.


Most of book was... pretty boring. I kept comparing it to the beginning of the bible. Just listing this person did this and this other person did that.  I feel like the most emotional moment was at the end of the book where some Molly Maguires were hung.


I had hoped for more from this book but I think most of it went over my head or my eyes gazed over no matter how many times I read the same spot. I think that the reason I did not like a lot of the book is because of the author’s “voice”.  For a book with so much death and violence, it seemed very slow and boring.  


Don't Dream It, Just Be It

Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? - Mateya Arkova, Carole P. Roman
In a dreamy, pastel colored world for two little girls that imagine themselves as every job under the moon and why shouldn’t they?  As they are encouraged by an accompanying adult to keep dreaming and never stop.


For children it is pretty common to envision themselves of having many jobs when they become an adult. Jobs like being a veterinarian and artist or a princess and a firefighter.  Even though as an adults we change the careers we wished to have or only work one career.  Adults know we can do what we set our minds to which is why we cheer children to think big.  This picture book is that optimistic way of aiding children to be awesome no matter what job or career they have.  


While the book is reassuring to children the wording of some of the sentences seem awkward.  The flow is a little forced in some places.  


I believe we can never have enough books encouraging children to do or be what they want to be.   Along with cheering them on to try different job or jobs until they find their happy place.

Interesting Start Loss Of Interest in Middle

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale - Herman Melville, Andrew Delbanco, Tom Quirk
A shiphand named Ishmael meets other seafaring men including the strange and hypnotic Captain Ahab.  Captain is obsessed with catching the the great white whale named Moby Dick.


I started the book knowing there would be a lot about whales...probably too much.  I thought I would give it a shot anyway.  At first it was actually better than I thought. We meet Ishmael, and Ishmael meets Queequeg. Together they get to know each other a little and decide to join the crew of Captain Ahab’s ship.   The story with just Ishmael and Queequeg was interesting I wanted more and it made me hopeful as I read for a bit….but then the direction of the book changed.


Unfortunately about as soon as they get on the Captain Ahab’s boat, all the interesting things about Ishmael and Queequeg were gone, not just in one chapter but way too many.   By the time I start reading a chapter that is basically a page from an encyclopedia I had enough.


I could not continue reading.  I really dislike not finishing a book but my brain could not take the drawn out details about Ahab and the white whale or other whales. Whales are magnificent creatures but man did this just make them really boring.  

To Balance Or Not To Balance? That Is Karmacks True Question...

Karmack - J.C. Whyte
A young group of boys bully kids at school. Suddenly the boys start to get injured after bullying a kid.  The leader of the group, Sully, notices a little gnome like creature appearing when their bullying rubber banded back to them.  Sully tries to make a deal with the nature spirit, Karmack, not understanding that what they were doing hurts others and Karmack was balancing good and bad to be even.


Excellent way to explain laws of karma to children.  I think it was a great idea to have the bully as the main character.  Stories like this are usually written with the kid who is getting bullied not the one dealing it out.  It a  refreshing change.  

I could see the character Karmack getting a series of books. Since Karmack is a nature spirit we could see his family and friends.   If there is spirit that balances his people when or if they do something bad.  You could pretty much go anywhere with a fantasy character like Karmack.

Fun And Light...But No LOL

Bossypants - Tina Fey
Actress, and writer, Tina Fey writes her memoir with a little whining and humor.


I loved Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live and have been a fan of her movies, so I was eager to listen to this audiobook. Listening to Fey talk about her childhood and knowing where she is at now in her life, seems to me that her life has gone in the direction she was meant to be in.


As funny as Tina Fey is as a actress, I found this book to be funny but not laugh out loud funny.   Although I was listening to the audio and my hubby was listening as well.  He did laugh out loud quite a few times.  So maybe something is wrong with me and/or I wasn’t fully listening.  I was looking for the laugh out loud but for me it just was not there.


Although I could not relate to many things that Fey has been through, I still enjoy her as an artist in whatever field she may proceed in.  If you like Tina Fey and enjoyed 30 Rock (I did not) you will probably enjoy this more.

Angels We Have Heard...Are Nothing Like We Thought.

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror - Christopher Moore
A town that is full of crazies to begin with get’s sent an angel to grant the Christmas wish of a young boy.  The angel who gets the job is a little bonkers himself and...well more chaos ensues as the angel tries to give the child what he wants.


The book is pure silliness which seems to be a theme of Moore books and it is why I like them but sometimes too much silliness can bore a person.  Like the saying “ You can’t have too much a good thing”.


I have been recommended The Stupidest Angel many times over the years.  Many have said that this is author Christopher Moore’s best book.  It is the third book I have read by him and I have to said it is in third place for me.  I like A Dirty Job and then You Suck for first and second.


Although it is not my favorite Moore book I still like his humor even if sometimes it goes a little too far. I will read more of his books because I do enjoy the characters.