Guest Review: A Monster Call by Patrick Ness

There are books you pick up with no idea of what to expect...and sometimes those end up being the best reads, the ones you didn’t even know you needed. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, based on an idea by late YA author Siobhan Dowd, has the added poignancy of Dowd’s own lack of time, her untimely death at the age of 47 after writing only 4 novels (all highly acclaimed). Winner of the Cilip Carnegie Medal, I finished it in a few hours---stunned and blindsided by the sheer power, emotion and depth of this deceptively simple story. I’m trying to remember the last time I cried so much while reading a book and coming up with a big recent blank.

Giveaway! Black Widow: Red Vengeance

Hi folks! Once again, we've teamed up with the folks at Marvel to celebrate the release of an installment in the Red Widow series--this time, Black Widow: Red Vengeance by Margaret Stohl. Thanks to Marvel Press for sending me a copy, and for providing a prize pack.

About the Book:

Red Vengeance is out October 11th, 2016

Stream-It: The Wine Show

I'm always on the verge of canceling my Hulu subscription. It provides little to no value 92.3% of the time. And yet, they keep reeling me back in with some exclusive programming: Moone Boy, The Mindy Project, and now, The Wine Show

You guys, I love wine. I'm not a lush or anything, but I just love wine. I am a member at two local wineries, walk down to my neighborhood wine shop's Friday wine tastings, recently took a class with Josh about winemaking and somehow managed to order a hundred pounds of wine grapes to try our hand at making our own. 

I don't know how this all happened, but it did. 

So, we were cruising around hulu this summer and happened upon The Wine Show, which was, obviously relevant to our interests in the Moon Casa. 

Inessential Guide to Review

Andy Daly seems the nicest man around, whether in print or on a podcast, he just exudes decency and good humor. Andy Daly has created one of the darkest, funniest shows on television. His character, Forest Macneil, has non threatening looks and sincere love of reviewing, with the misguided belief that his reviews of life itself, he will improve, life itself.

Guest Post: How Discovering Sandra Cisneros Helped Me Find My Own Path in Writing

Today we're happy to welcome Phillippe Diederich to Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, whose new novel, Playing for the Devil's Fire, is out now from the excellent Cinco Puntos Press (this is an outstanding independent press--seek out their books if you're looking for fresh voices). 

I started reading seriously when I was in tenth grade. I had a great English teacher and we were reading Italian and Russian short stories. I really took to the Russians. It led me to read Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina. I didn't read that much for the rest of my high school days, but that was mostly because I didn't like the books I came across. We had to read Ordinary People and The Old Man and the Sea. Well, for a 16 year old boy who'd never gone fishing, I couldn't imagine more boring books.

Book Review: The Man Who Loved Dogs

I was perusing the stacks at Book People in Austin on our recent trip and ran across The Man Who Loved Dogs, on an “Author’s Recommend” shelf. As I mentioned, that title and the back cover jacket was perfumed with praise and compared the book's importance to Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa and Tolstoy, two of which I love for real and one I should, plus it mentioned a noir sensibility. I was hooked, congrats to the marketing department of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, great job. I would have bought this book even if I never planned on reading it. 

ATX Fest: Thoughts & More

Last month, my husband and I headed down to Austin, Texas for a vacation and ATX Fest. In case you haven't heard of the festival, it focuses on television, with panels, reunions and other events about television past and present. This was the final year they were incorporating Friday Night Lights into the festival, and so I thought this was the year to go.

I wanted to share a bit about the fest, the good and bad, and the whole experience, even though I'm a bit late in doing so. 

ATX Fest: Day #1

Five Recommended Verse Novels

Stories well told have the power to open our eyes and enlarge our hearts. They’re kind of magic that way. We wander into the world of a story and emerge changed—sometimes in small ways, and sometimes big, with lasting impressions that shape how we think and feel about the world and our experiences in it.