Bookish Ramblings: Fall Book Events

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Good day, book people. I hope you’re all able to find some time to read this weekend. I’m on my way to a regional book festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Bookmarks Festival of Authors and Books has events happening this weekend, with most presentations occurring today. I’m excited to see and hear Grady Hendrix, Jason Mott, Vanessa Riley, Farrah Rochon, Kaia Alderson, Anne Bogel, and more. This is my first in-person festival since 2019 and it’s an interesting mix of in-person and virtual. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit Bookmarks. BTW, if you’re ever in Winston-Salem when the festival isn’t happening, you’ll probably want to stop by the Bookmarks Bookstore.

Next month I’ll be participating in two virtual bookish events. Up first is the West Virginia Book Festival. Although preliminary plans were for an in-person festival this year, plans changed. This event will still take place but will be virtual rather than in-person. This year’s author lineup includes Colson Whitehead, Jon Scieska, Josh Malerman, Melinda Falgoust, and Kara Vuic, as well as West Virginia authors Eric Eyre, Denise Giardina, Homer Hickam, Brett Armstrong, Cat Pleska, Bonnie Proudfoot, David Mould, JoAnn Dadisman, Joe Geiger, and Judi Tarowski. The WV Book Festival will be taking place on October 22nd and 23rd. You may want to mark your calendars for this event.

And last, but not least, is the first Black Readers Con. This con will be taking place virtually on October 30th and 31st. There are 45 speakers lined up to appear over 19 sessions across the two days. “Join the Black book community of Bookstagrammers, Booksellers, Book Bloggers/Reviewers, and Book Clubs.” The purpose of this event is “to enhance and amplify the voices of Black Readers and the Book Clubs they love.” I’ll not only be attending this event, but I’ve been kinda/sorta working with the organizers and will be assisting behind the scenes. I initially learned of this event through one of my online book clubs, Mocha Girls Read and via posts on Instagram. Quick shout out to everyone that has worked tirelessly to make this event happen. Thank you, Mocha Girls Read, Black Men Read, Books & Brown Sugar Co., Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, and #BeeJacksCorner. For those of you that are big Romancelandia fans, I have two words for you: Beverly Jenkins!

Will you be participating in any upcoming bookish events? Let us know. Until next time, Happy Reading y’all!


2017 Book 368: STRANGE WEATHER by Joe Hill

Strange Weather by Joe Hill
ISBN: 9780062663115 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062663139 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062694447 (audiobook)
ASIN: B01HXK8LNW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 24, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow

A collection of four chilling novels ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill

“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.

A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”

On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.

In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.  

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This seems to be the season of thrills, chills, and terror. No, I’m not talking politics (although that might be appropriate), but rather literary thrills, chills, and terror with a haunting collection of four novellas by Joe Hill in his latest release, Strange Weather.

I’ve got to say from the jump that I don’t read a lot of short-fiction, i.e., novellas, short stories, etc., but I did jump at the chance to read and review Strange Weather by Joe Hill. No, it wasn’t just because he’s a featured speaker at the upcoming West Virginia Book Festival this weekend (although that didn’t hurt). It was primarily because I had the opportunity to read The Fireman earlier this year and loved it. How could I not grab the chance to read something else by this author?! Okay, back to the book…I found Strange Weather to be a disturbingly haunting yet engaging and quick read. Each story provided a different story, set in a different locale, in a different time, with wholly different characters, yet they all seemed to work together. Each story offers a bit of horror, some a bit of science-fiction, and all a bit of macabre drama. I liked all four stories, but “Snapshot,” “Rain,” and “Loaded” where my personal favorites with “Loaded” being a story that could have been ripped from today’s headlines. I could rant and rave about the individual characters, the action taking place, the settings, etc., but I won’t (if I get started, I may not stop). I’ll just say this, if you’ve ever read anything by Joe Hill then run out and grab yourself a copy of Strange Weather today. If you haven’t read anything by Joe Hill (and why haven’t you, I told you to get a copy of The Fireman earlier this year…did you think I was joking?!) and you’re looking for something completely different from your everyday reads, then look no further and get a copy of Strange Weather to read. I’m incredibly grateful to the publisher for affording me the opportunity to read this wonderful collection of stories and thank you, Mr. Hill, for crafting such wonderful reads!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author/publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Strange Weather: Four Short Novels

Strange Weather: Four Short Novels

Strange Weather




Bookish Ramblings – Fall 2015

      I consider myself very fortunate to have good friends and family to support me throughout the year with my host of medical problems (chronic migraine headaches, fast-developing cataracts, and more). I treasure these people and thank them for all manner of things, especially for facilitating my continued attendance at various book festivals. Before having cataract surgery, it was close to impossible for me to drive great distances due to obvious vision issues. Add to that the fact that I have a migraine headache each and every day (yes, I do mean every day!), it becomes problematic to drive great distances simply because I have no way of knowing if the migraine headache will ratchet up from moderate to severe and thus interfere with my ability to safely travel home. As a result, I’m usually in need of a travel companion whenever I’m attempting to go more than an hour away from home.

Festival #1: 
      This year, one of my friends from a local book group, Shelley, was gracious enough to travel with me to a regional book festival in August, the Lewisburg Literary Festival. (Also met up with another book group friend, Veronica, and her husband.) I’m the type of person that’s willing to drive up to four hours just to meet one of my favorite authors, so the day-trip to Lewisburg was nothing more than a scenic drive to me. Of course, getting to hear both Wiley Cash and Kathryn Stockett, as well as getting books signed by both authors was the highpoint of the day. Spending the day with two of my bookish friends, Shelley and Veronica were additional bonuses. An extra bonus was not having that day’s migraine interfere with driving to and from Lewisburg or being able to enjoy the presentations by Mr. Cash and Ms. Stockett. BTW, if you ever get the opportunity to hear either of these authors speak, go!

Festival #2:

     I’ve spent the past few years raving about the BookMarks festival in Winston-Salem, NC to friends and family. I’ve had the pleasure of taking my nieces to this festival and they’ve enjoyed it as well. This year, one of my bookish friends from North Carolina (a fantastic romance author and former local librarian) decided to attend the festival and we talked another local librarian into attending. My youngest brother, twin diva 8-year-old nieces, and I drove down to spend the weekend in Winston-Salem and attend this year’s festival. The author lineup was amazing: Garth Stein, R.L. Stine, Sandra Brown, Diane Ackerman, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Ron Rash, Candace Bushnell, Damon Tweedy, Elizabeth Berg, Patricia Park, Kwame Alexander, Aisha Saeed, and many more. For me, the hardest decisions were which presentation to attend (I wanted to hear everyone) and which books to buy (I wanted them all). My nieces were excited to get books and have them signed by the authors. One of the twins deliberated for close to 10 minutes over what should be signed in her book (told you they were divas). This one-day festival is well worth the trip in my not-so-humble-opinion. Of course, since I didn’t have to drive, I spent the trip down and back reading.

Festival #3:

     The West Virginia Book Festival returns this year, YAY! Due to budget cuts and funding issues, this festival has been on hiatus for the past two years. However, the WV Book Festival returns this weekend with a bang. Friday evening features Neil Gaiman. Yes, Neil Gaiman will be at the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston, WV on Friday, October 23rd at 7:00 PM at the Charleston Civic Center. Saturday, October 24th will feature Homer Hickam, Jacqueline Woodson, Jeff Shaara, and Jodi Picoult. To say that I’m excited about this festival is a major understatement. This year’s book festival is part of FestivALL Fall, so there are plenty of events happening around town for everyone. I’ll be with the books and book people!

Do you attend any local or regional book festivals? 

Regional Book Fests Coming Soon

For book lovers that reside in the West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio tri-state areas the next two weekends will provide two great book festivals. The first is the West Virginia Book Festival. This two-day event is scheduled for October 13th & 14th at the Charleston Civic Center, in Charleston, West Virginia. 

This year’s West Virginia Book Festival will once again provide a variety of authors, including Charlaine Harris, Craig Johnson, Tamora Pierce, Marilyn Sue Shank, Tamera Alexander, Lynn Austen, Julia Klassen, and more. The West Virginia Book Festival will be held Oct. 13 and 14. The event is presented annually by Kanawha County Public Library, the West Virginia Humanities Council, The Library Foundation of Kanawha County, The Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail. The festival offers something for all age groups. A variety of authors will attend, participating in book signings, readings, workshops and panel discussions. Activities for children include special programs and a section of the Marketplace filled with children’s activities. Admission to the festival is free. 

The second festival is the Books by the Banks festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. This one-day event is scheduled for Saturday, October 20th. Some of the authors featured this year include: David Bell, Duffy Brown, Gillian Flynn, Katherine Howe, Nancy Jensen, Karen Robards, and a host of children’s, teen, and non-fiction authors. For information on author panels, please click HERE. Admission is free. There will be books available for purchase and special programs for children.

I know how I’ll be spending the next two weekends. What are your plans?

Weekend Ramblings 4

I know I’ve been a little slow in posting lately but sadly I suffer from chronic migraine headaches. These headaches interfere greatly with my vision and therefore with reading (and writing). For the millions of migraine sufferers out there I feel your pain and empathize with you. 

Today is the 267th day of the year and I’m on migraine #275. Generally I try not to let my headaches slow me down too much, but this week has been unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, the pain is often unbelievable and the only thing I can do is rest and pray that it ends soon, but I’m not seeking sympathy because there are millions of people suffering worse than I can imagine. I’m only telling you this because periodically I may fall behind in my reviews and posts and you deserve to know why.

Now on to more pleasant things…

For those of you in the Washington D.C./Baltimore MD areas you have a double treat this weekend. Of course this is the weekend of the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. sponsored by the Library of Congress. According to the Library of Congress website, this year will feature more than 100 authors including: David McCullough, Russell Banks, Amy Chua, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Garrison Keillor, David McCullough, Terry McMillan, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Toni Morrison. For a full list of authors appearing, visit the Library of Congress at:

Baltimore is also hosting a book festival this weekend. More information is available at:  Authors presenting during this festival include: Common, Myla Goldberg, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Terry McMillan, Erin Morgenstern, Tavis Smiley, Lisa Unger and Laura Lippman.

Regrettably I’m unable to attend either of these festivals this year, but hope to make one or both next year. Have you attended a local or regional book fair/festival this year? Is there a book fair/festival coming up that you’re looking forward to attending? If so, please share. 

Personally there are two festivals happening on the same weekend in one month that I’m looking forward to attending. The first is in Cincinnati Ohio, the Books by the Banks festival scheduled for Saturday October 22nd. A variety of authors will be available including: Chris Bohjalian, Judy Clemens, JT Ellison, Dennis Lehane, Paula McLain and Martha Southgate. For a complete list of authors, please visit: The second is the West Virginia Book Festival, scheduled for October 22-23 in Charleston, West Virginia. This year’s festival will feature presentations by: Lee Child, Jaimy Gordon, Deve Pelzer, Bonnie Stewart, and Jerry West.

I’ll be posting reviews soon of Where All the Dead Lie by J. T. Ellison, Blood Trails by Sharon Sala, and Red Fox by Karina Halle within the next few days. Upcoming reads include Reverb by J. Cafesin, Twilight Fulfilled by Maggie Shayne, The Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy, and Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion by Janet Mullany. 

Last, and by no means, least, today is the beginning of Banned Books Week (September 24 – October 1). Like many readers, I may not appreciate some books but that doesn’t mean that I have the right to tell others they can’t read it. For a list of frequently challenged books, please visit: You may be surprised at the titles that made this list. Please plan to read at least one title from this list of books this week. I may be revisiting To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

I hope you all have a pleasant weekend and happy reading.

Weekend Ramblings 2

I’ve been suffering from both reader’s and writer’s block over the past week. I finished my reading (yeah!) but have had difficulty starting anything new or writing the reviews for what I’ve read. This is due in part to the fact that I LOVED The Lantern and feel that my review just won’t do it justice…it’s also (possibly, probably, highly likely — take your pick) due to the series of migraine headaches suffered over the past week. Since I generally have a migraine (or two) each and every day this shouldn’t have been anything out of the norm but add in a sinus headache component along with severe allergies and it made for a doozy of a headache for a few days.  On the plus side, I had a few hours of sinus and allergy respite yesterday and went to see The Help movie with some family members. I’ve got to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was and how closely the movie followed the book. For those of you that have read the book, go see the movie! For those of you that have seen the movie, go read the book!

The West Virginia Book Festival made an exciting announcement earlier this week: Jerry West will be speaking at the festival on Saturday, October 22nd at 6:00 PM on his book West by West. Mr. West will also be signing autographs after his talk. Another author of note at the festival is Bonnie Stewart, No. 9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster. Ms. Stewart’s book is scheduled to be released in November by the West Virginia University Press. This year’s festival looks to be just as exciting and interesting as previous years. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for October 22-23 to attend this year’s West Virginia Book Festival!

I guess I should spend some time writing reviews and get back to some reading. My TBR list is huge so I can’t say I don’t know what to read…  Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. 

If you’re spending a few hours reading this weekend please share your reads with us.