Tag Archives: Chuck Hogan

Snapshot: June 25, 2015

Time: 1:05 pm

Feeling: Revved up and motivated—yay!!

Eating & Drinking: I have fallen in love with savoury green smoothies. Last week we bought a NutriBullet blender/liquifier and I’ve been having a blast with it. I searched for savoury green smoothie recipes, then ended up making up one of my own based on seeing what other people are using in theirs.

Basically I throw in a tomato, some cucumber, a handful of cilantro, a cup of plain kefir, a quarter of a small onion, a clove of garlic, a tablespoon of flaxseed, a half a tablespoon of potato starch and salt to taste. Zap it for about a minute, and it’s the most delicious veggie drink ever. And the bonus? It’s pretty filling, so easily substitutes for a light lunch.

Reading: I’m in a reading slump. Yes, I figured I should just bold that for good measure. I think it’s because I’m feeling both productive and busy, and I’m scared if I pick up a good book, I’ll end up sucked in for hours on end.

Whatever the reason, though, I haven’t picked up either a print book or a physical book for a week, other than continuing with my reading of Patricia Highsmith’s Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction. It’s not really a “how to write” book, but rather more a memoir type book in which Highsmith describes how she came to write several of her works.

But I’m headed to the library later today to pick up some holds, so something enticing might get my out of my slump. I can hope, anyway!

Watching: On the other hand, maybe what I just wrote above about being scared that picking up a good book will blow my productivity right out of the water is just an excuse. Because I started watching season 2 of “Agents of Shield” on Netflix last night …

Listening:

audiolistensJune.jpg

I’m skipping around between a bunch of things (which is often what happens when I’m in a reading slump): Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny (I have the omnibus in print version in my TBR stack—all the books in the series will be rereads for me); The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, another reread/relisten; and Bryant & May: The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler.

Writing: I’m finally working on those first 20 pages of my dark fantasy, for my summer writing workshop class with Kelley Armstrong. Memory gave a me some great developmental feedback, and my older son also read my first draft and pointed out the things which puzzled him or weren’t clear. I’ve got lots of good points to work on now, and both of them tell me what I’ve got so far is very interesting, so I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Working: I’m back on a productivity binge. I’ve decided to try doing a daily braindump to-do on Trello and so far (for today, anyway), it’s been working. Doing the braindump turns out to be quite the relief for my poor brain which has been trying to juggle everything.

And having a list of things, big and little, seems to be helping, too. I pick and choose depending on my mood. Like this blog post.

I’ve already moved several things to the “done” list, which feels great.

Kijiji: Ward and I finally got around to listing something on Kijiji—a computer desk we no longer need or use—and I can’t believe how easy the whole sales transaction went. I listed the desk late Monday night, and someone emailed us at 7:00 in the morning the very next day. The desk was gone by early afternoon!

I have a friend who recently downsized from a huge house to a condo; she had a blast selling her too-big furniture on Kijiji. She told me it becomes addictive. I can certainly see how that could happen!

So that’s been my week so far. How’s your week been? Any tips for battling a reading slump?

Review: The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The StrainA Boeing 777 packed full of passengers lands at JFK and begins its way across the tarmac when it suddenly stops dead – the engine’s turned off, all window shades are down, all the lights are off, and no-one on board is communicating with the outside world, not even passengers screaming about delays through their cell phones.

The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, begins with this eerie situation, and continues to pull you deep into the story at a full gallop. If you’ve been reading MsBookish.com for a while, you’ll know that I saved this book to take with me on holiday to Nova Scotia, where I then proceeded to read it one fog-filled morning, and didn’t put it down until I finished the book, late that same evening.

Perhaps not surprisingly, considering Del Toro’s film credentials, the book reads very much like an action-packed movie. Chapters are filled with shorter scenes that take the reader back and forth from place to place and character to character, all at a wonderfully thrilling speed that makes it difficult to put the book down until the very end.

Can you tell I enjoyed this book a lot? You’ve got a vampire virus thing going around, tons of suspense, the beginnings of some dark and evil mastermind plot and a motley crew of unlikely heroes – so yes, I loved it!

Be warned, though. The vampires in The Strain aren’t dark and handsome. They’re not about to play the romantic lead in any play, that’s for sure. Think more along the lines of brain-dead zombie-like creatures that just happen to want to suck your blood, and you’ll be on the right track.

Even though these ugly zombie-like vampires are involved, I wouldn’t call the book a horror novel. Nor did I find it extremely violent, either (although there are ample chopping and slashing scenes). I would put this book in the suspense thriller category, with just the right touch of spine-tingling suspense – the kind of suspense that makes you jump if someone comes up behind you while you’re reading it, especially when you’re reading it at a cottage by the Atlantic Ocean on a dark and foggy early summer night.

You don’t really want to read this one on a dark and stormy night when you’re home alone by yourself. But then again, maybe you might …

Where to buy The Strain:

U.S. (Amazon.com) | Indiebound | Canada (Chapters) | UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Review copy details: published by William Morrow/HarperCollinsPublishers, 2009, Hardcover, 401 pages

Holiday Mode, The Strain, and Writing

This morning two technicians from Aliant swung by and set us up with a new modem – and now we are back online. But having the bit of downtime made me realize I was being a bit unrealistic, expecting to blog regularly while on holidays. I will definitely keep blogging, but won’t stress myself about missing a day here or there.

Much as I love Twitter, I suspect I’ll also be mostly absent from the Twitterverse while on holidays (I admit, IF my new-to-me BlackBerry hadn’t died on me, and IF we had cell reception here, I’d probably be tweeting regularly …)

The Strain

I read the The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan yesterday – I started it in the afternoon and found I couldn’t put it down. I finished it last night before going to bed. It was such a good read, and yes, I can definitely see it as a movie.

It’s got such a lovely mix of ingredients: science, vampires, zombies, evil mastermind plot, rag tag band of heroes … the kind of thriller I like to read. I know it’s billed as a horror, but it felt more to me like an action-packed thriller that just happens to have zombies/vampires in it. You definitely want to clear a chunk of time for it, because it is an extremely exciting read and if you’re like me, you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away for mundane things like dinner.

On Writing

I won’t be working on NANTUCKET while I’m away – most of my files are on my desktop, and I think I’m in need of a break from it anyway. Instead, I have this dream that I might actually finish HARPER. I need to rewrite it from the beginning anyway, since I’m changing the tense of the sections that are in first person narrative. I’m aiming for 60,000 pages, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that I might actually be able to write 6,000 words a day …

I won’t stress out about it, but I’m definitely going to write every day, so keep your fingers crossed for me and HARPER!

The Touristy Stuff

The sun is fighting a battle with the clouds right now – it’s likely to be cloudy and rainy for much of the time we’re here, although we knew that when we booked our holidays. But it’s more warm than not, and since we just lived through a heat wave in Toronto with a broken air conditioner, the weather actually feels rather perfect to me. Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons, and it definitely feels spring-like.

I’ll post more pictures later – I’m just lazing around right now, having my coffee and enjoying being online.

Incoming! The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The StrainAbout the Book:

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.

First line: "Once upon a time," said Abraham Setrakian’s grandmother, "there was a giant."

Received from: Part of the stash from my "No BEA, Books Anyway" book-binge weekend

My initial thoughts:

I know I’ve mentioned getting The Strain a few times already, but I’m chronicling all new book arrivals so I wanted to make sure this much-anticipated book (much anticipated on my part, I mean) gets its own Incoming! page.

I am very excited about this read, and I’m saving it to savor while I’m on vacation at the end of this month, when I will be on the beach along the foggy South Shore of Nova Scotia – perfect atmosphere for reading a book like this. There is just such an epic feel to this book, and the anticipation has been half the fun. I have high hopes that this will be a read that lives up to expectations.

(And I didn’t dare entertain the thought of getting this in audio; way too scary.)

Related Links and other Fun Stuff

Here’s the first of three video trailers for the book:

And here’s Del Toro talking about his inspiration for The Strain:

Where to buy The Strain: U.S. (Amazon.com) | IndieBound | Canada (Chapters) | UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Looking for reviews?

The Strain has been reviewed at the following:

The One Ring

Flames Rising

Sci-Fi Wire

Debbie’s World of Books

Fantasy Book Critic

King of the Nerds