Friday, February 28, 2014

Tripping With a Psycho-Thriller

Thought for the day:  We cannot all do great things in life, but we can all do small things with great love.  [Mother Teresa]

Today's the day for the monthly gathering at the  Cephalopod Coffeehouse, where bloggers can rant and/or rave about books, under the leadership of ye olde (not really!) host armchair squid. (He sent me the linky list thing-a-ma-bobby, but I couldn't figure out how to integrate it into my post properly, so if you'd like to check out the other spiffy book posts and maybe sign up, grab a cuppa and pop on over to his blog.) I'm strapping on my water wings and jumping into the pool with them  for the first time, but out of deference to those of you who don't give a good diddle which book I most enjoyed this past month, I'll touch on something else first, and then follow with the review. Those of you who don't give a good diddle about the something else and only came here to see the darned review, feel free to scroll down.

                                             As for the rest of us? Let's hit the road!



Courtesy of the creative folks at dribbleglass, who granted me permission to share these images with you, we're gonna take a virtual road trip to check out some make-believe billboards. Things we'd kinda like to see on the side of the road... but never will.

Ready? Um, better put your drink down. Some of these might make stuff squirt out your nose...










Okay, so which bogus billboard was your favorite? I kinda like 'em ALL. Come to think of it, that usually applies to the books I read, too. With rare exception, I usually enjoy all the books I read, and I've read about a dozen very good ones this month... as well as a couple stinkers.


But if I can only highlight one book, that's gonna be Black Chalk, by Christopher Yates. I received a pre-release promotional copy from the publisher earlier this month, and the book will be available for you guys to purchase on April first. (No foolin'!)

Here's the review I posted on Goodreads:

In this stunning character study, six college students, encouraged and monitored by the mysterious Game Soc, create and play an ultra-secretive game that tests not only the limits of their friendships, but threatens their sanity and well-being, as well. With each round, the consequences escalate. The lowest-scoring players can either fulfill the prescribed consequences... or quit. 

Friends know secrets about each other, sometimes deep, dark secrets. They know where weaknesses lie, and where the soft spots hide. The question is: how willing are these students... these friends... to use that private information to inflict public psychological pain and humiliation on each other? How far are they willing to go in an attempt to break the other players? To what lengths will they go to force other players to quit? 

What are people willing to do in the name of competition? When does it stop being about fun, and become more about survival? In a win-at-any-cost game like this, can anyone truly win?

A brilliant book. I highly recommend it.
***

I really do recommend it. Think of the Lord of the Flies kids all grown up and attending Oxford University. Brilliant kids. Competitive kids. Friends. Or so they start out...


Before I waddle off into the weekend, a quick reminder: The e-version of my book Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade went on sale today... February 28...  at 8 AM PST, and it'll remain on sale until 12 AM PST on March 6. That's on Amazon, and the price is only ninety-nine cents. (You can get to its page in a jiffy by clicking on the book's cover pic in the sidebar.) Please help me spread the word, y'all. I'd really like to treat Smarticus to a fancy dinner out, and he might like to have fries with his burger...


                                                   Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

107 comments:

  1. How glad I am that I took your advice and put my drink down. There are some gems there, though I am leaning towards the Cryogenic Sperm Bank as my favourite.
    Love your review. It reminded me of a current world 'Hunger Games' and sounds psychologically disturbing. Or is that just me?
    Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good! I'm glad you didn't snort your beverage.

      It IS psychologically disturbing, but also fascinating. I'm gonna have to break down and read "Hunger Games". I thought it was just a bunch of vampire books, and didn't have much interest in reading them, but now I'm intrigued. They're obviously a lot more than that.

      You have a super weekend, too.

      Delete
  2. Black Chalk sounds amazing.

    Those billboards are hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good. I'm glad it sounds amazing, because it truly was.

      Delete
  3. Great review for Black Chalk! I'll definitely be on the lookout for it. Funny signs, and I have to agree with EC about the sperm bank! Hope everyone takes advantage of your wonderful deal on Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade. I can't think of a better way to relieve the winter blues.

    Julie

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the review; I think you'd like the book even more.

      (Gee, you'd make a great publicist... thanks!) Happy weekend.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. When I read the egg billboard I thought of John right away. If anyone would love this one he would. Plus it sound like something he would say.
      Great post today !

      cheers, parsnip

      Delete
    2. Yeah, it does seem right up his alley, doesn't it?

      Glad ya liked it!

      Delete
  5. The bogus billboards were hilarious... so much of what we want to really say... and funny spins on everyday things... I always leave here with a smile, which is pretty great... have a wonder weekend Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah, that is pretty great. Thanks for telling me. Now I'M smiling...

      You have a super weekend, too.

      Delete
    2. I want to thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments, I was wrapped up in that blog world for the past few months... I would rather spend the time reading a blog and leaving a nice comment :)

      Delete
  6. I hope everyone ventures to Amazon and grabs the e-version of your book - at a sinfully low price. Your review of Black Chalk is very intriguing.
    As for the billboards - - funniest road trip I've been on in a long time! Believe me, I needed the laughs.....

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, cowboy! I hope they do, too...

      I'm glad. We can never get too many laughs.

      Delete
  7. The billboards are awesome!
    The book review sounds intriguing, like a Hunger Games mixed with Enders Game, without the dystopia or space ships or aliens. will have to check it out!

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    1. I'm glad you like the billboards. They always crack me up.

      Hmmm, another reference to "Hunger Games", I really MUST read that.

      Delete
    2. ARRRRRGH! I read your great book review, Katie, and tried to comment on your blog, but it wouldn't let me. I'm not on Google+, so I guess I'm not one of the "cool kids". (It's weird: some google+ blogs let me comment, and some don't.)

      Anyhow, I loved your review. I'm far from YA, and don't read much in the way of paranormal, but you make that book sound downright tempting. I just might have to give it a whirl. Thanks!

      Delete
  8. It's a shame those billboards aren't real. It might make some long trips more interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah! Better than Burma Shave, even. (Although some of those old ads were pretty darned good.)

      Delete
  9. I rather like the medical marijuana sign although they were all pretty good. Looking forward to your reviews.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That one cracked me up, too.

      Thanks. Happy weekend.

      Delete
  10. The Boeing sign made me el-oh-el. For real. And I love that Ikea sign LOL

    ReplyDelete
  11. I admit I haven't yet read Lord of the Flies. Someday, someday. :) And this one sounds like a great follow-up!

    Though I'm not a pot smoker and never have been, I like the marijuana billboard best I think. haha.

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    1. I'm not sure if I would have read "Lord of the Flies" on my own; it was required reading in the '60s.

      Yeah, that one is funny, isn't it?

      Delete
  12. Love the billboards! Almost spewed my tea.

    Black Chalk sounds really interesting. Might have to wait until I'm in the right mood, though. Lord of the Flies made me squeamish, so I hesitate to go down that path again. ;)

    Also, yay for your Kindle sale--what a bargain! There are some lucky readers just waiting out there.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Almost spewed your tea? And after I warned you to put it down, too...

      "Black Chalk" is definitely intriguing. Not many laughs in it, but at least nobody's head ends up on a stick...

      Thanks. Let's hope they stop waiting, and start buying... HA!

      Happy weekend.

      Delete
  13. I like the Ikea sign. I just got one of the tall stools for my stand-up desk (for when I want to sit, not stand) But I have stools all over the house.... the lower kind, usually and I love foot stoos. Always nice to put my feet up.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Can't have too many stools around the house. I'll, um, leave it at that.

      Happy weekend!

      Delete
  14. Those slogans were hilarious. Have you ever seen the 80s movie Crazy People? If not, you will appreciate it if you enjoyed those.

    As for the book... Maybe it indicates this in the blurb, so it was unnecessary for repeating in a review... but what do these kids have to gain by winning? What do they win? What would be worth destroying one another over? I'm certain that the author lays that out straight away, but that was the question that plagued my mind as I read your review. It would have to be pretty darn good to go to those lengths. At least I hope so.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, we loved that movie. One of my favorite lines is, "Because Caucasians are just too damned tall."

      The winner would get money, but not enough to make it worth what they endured in the game. It starts with a group of intelligent college nerds seeking a fun challenge, and since they were making the rules of the game, and they were establishing the challenges and consequences, they had no idea how out of control it could... and would... get.

      Delete
  15. I love your thought for the day....just what I needed to hear right now.
    I thought the billboards were all very funny and I much appreciate a tip toward a book that would I would probably really like but would not been aware of otherwise.
    Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good. I'm glad Mother Teresa's words hit the spot for you today.

      You have a terrific weekend, too.

      Delete
  16. That looks very interesting: I added it to my Goodreads list. It does sound like a mix of Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. (HG, if it helps to know, has no vampires at all. It's not paranormal, just futuristic.) I also looked up "do eggs come out a chicken's ass," because I was thinking it's the chicken's ladyparts, not her ass, and I learned something new: those two parts are the same. There's a little flap that separates them, so at egg-time, the pooper shuts down. There. Now we both know something we kind of wish we didn't!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Great! I hope you like it.

      Thanks; it does help. Now I'm much more likely to read HG.

      HA! Is there no end to the things we teach each other? I guess if the chicken has the runs, egg-laying could get very messy.

      Happy weekend!

      Delete
  17. Sounds like a pretty high stakes "game"! Yeesh! It's clearly an intriguing premise. Can the book be finished in one day? Because I went almost sleepless for the weekend I took on the Hunger games series...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm a bad person to ask if it can be finished in one day. I'm a reading machine who reads most novels in a day. (Some non-fiction take a little longer.) It's only 343 pages long, so you should be able to finish it in a day or two.

      Delete
  18. And, goodness, those billboards are a riot!

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  19. A nice post that I enjoyed reading with some good humour within. Thanks for the review. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, Andrew. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Bye-bye. Happy weekend.

      Delete
  20. Funny-your thought for the day kind of encapsulates the comment I just left on Tossing It Out.

    Larry

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    Replies
    1. Cool. If you're gonna be on the same wavelength as another person, Mother Teresa's a great choice!

      Delete
  21. haha those billboards were great
    And never thought of that at my gate
    As I don't eat such crap
    But eggs could be considered crap across the map

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    1. You're pulling my leg—
      You won't eat an egg?
      If it's crappy, I never could tell;
      But then, I make a point of not eating the shell.

      Delete
  22. Those billboards were hilarious! I can't believe people come up with this stuff and post it for the world to see. It's hard to pick a favorite. I like the last one. It makes a pretty good point.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Glad ya liked 'em. Yeah, that last one definitely makes a point.

      Delete
  23. Very clever billboards. I like the IKEA one the best. I enjoyed your book review too. Now I'm off to check out your book on Amazon. Have a great weekend!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the book review. Thanks for checking on my book... I hope you decide to adopt a copy. HA!

      Happy weekend to you, too.

      Delete
  24. Love those fake billboards! I do like the egg one - makes me wonder who the first person eating an egg thought...

    Wow - you read a lot! I used to be a voracious reader as a kid. Now I'm a very slow reader (I savor my books like fine chocolate - ha!) and read maybe one book a month.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I know what you mean. It must've been an adventurous person, just like the first person who ate an oyster.

      Yeah, I DO read a lot. (I'm not very good about savoring chocolate, either. I gobble!)

      Delete
  25. Oooh this sounds like a great book. Definitely going to check it out. Love the Marijuana Association billboard LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a terrific book. Yeah, the dude in that marijuana billboard is definitely feeling groovy.

      Delete
  26. Thanks for the laughter. Now I wonder how you spell stool, the kind you sit on, and I am an excellent speller of you crazy language. Typical for IKEA to get you confused! Just like with their screws, pun intended.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. My pleasure. Same spelling of stool, but two verrrry different meanings.

      Delete
  27. SUSAN ~
    Oh, I liked several of those billboards. But if I had to choose just one... I think the one that tickled me most was 'DENNY'S'. Hard to deny that's sometimes the case.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. The Denny's one struck a chord with me, too. It's more of a last resort than a first choice kinda place.

      Delete
  28. Great post, Susan, and I hope your book does well --it deserves to!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Writing books, reading books, reviewing books, and still somehow having time to post great stuff on your blog. I can barely find the time to find out what time it is.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh my gosh, I'm howling at those billboards! The Boeing one especially :) And Black Chalk sounds amazing--definitely going to have to grab myself a copy! Thanks for sharing. And now, I'm going to go spread the word for your book!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks so much for helping spread the word. (Very tweet of you!)

      Delete
  31. I like the Denny's one best.

    The book sounds like fun. Best of luck with your own new release!

    So glad you've joined us.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I dunno if I'd call "Black Chalk" fun, but it is a very different and interesting read.

      Thank you, dear sir. And thanks for inviting me.

      Delete
    2. Manipulative teenagers in a psychological Survivor-type game - not fun? Oh well, there goes tomorrow's lesson plan...

      Delete
    3. There ya go. I suppose SOME people might consider it "fun". It's all a matter of perspective.

      Delete
    4. By the way, delighted to see you've signed up again for March. It's a pleasure having you join us.

      Delete
  32. Liking the cheery signage (all of them) and the Black Chalk- nasty but interesting. Ninety-nine cents is a bargain: hope it sells well and you can both get the fries!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah, I reckon those two parts of the post didn't exactly "go together." Oh well.

      Thanks. I'm starting to think even bigger... like maybe a strawberry shake!

      Delete
  33. Black Chalk doesn't sound like my kind of book, I wasn't a fan of Lord of the Flies either. I do love the cartoons you put up though.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Okay, then the cartoons were just for you. Ignore the review.

      Delete
  34. Hunger Games is book one of a trilogy, two is Catching Fire and three is Mocking Jay.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great signs, all of them made me chuckle. A good review, I'll look out for the book.

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    1. Hi-ya, Sally. Nice to meetcha. Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you liked the billboards and review.

      Delete
  36. Hey Susan,

    Ah do I like double meaning billboard interpretations. I've ridden a Greyhound a few times. However, that's another story. I note your recommendation and also, like the amazing chap I am, I'll spread the word about, "Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade" being now available in eek-version,sorry, e-version.

    Take care of yourself,

    Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not fooling ME. You like double meaning ANYTHING. All wits and punsters do.

      Thank you so much. I do appreciate it.

      Delete
  37. I'm still cracking up at the Boeing. Loved, loved, loved this post. Many thanks. You've made my Sunday.

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Laughter really IS the best medicine.

      Delete
  38. Love the billboards! Too funny.

    BLACK CHALK is just my cup of tea and already on my TBR list. Nothing but nothing thrills me more than a good psychological thriller, and this one sounds reminiscent of THE SECRET HISTORY—a favorite of mine.

    VR Barkowski

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    Replies
    1. Glad ya liked them.

      Cool. Now I guess I'm gonna have to look into "The Secret History." Thanks!

      Delete
  39. Replies
    1. Good pick! (I wonder if anyone eats there because the love the food...)

      Thanks for stopping by and for signing on as a new follower, Sandra. Nice to meetcha. Welcome aboard!

      Delete
  40. I scrolled down to write my comment, and VR Barkowski above stole my thought. In regards to college kids, The Secret History is a great book.
    the Black Chalk sounds intriguing. Easy to remember April Fool's Day. Thanks for the recommendation.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ah, a second mention of "The secret History." Okeydoke, that does it. Going to Amazon as soon as I visit your blog.

      Delete
  41. Okay, I LOVE your header photo. And thanks for the billboard laughs!

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    1. Thanks! Isn't he a cutie? I'm glad you liked the billboards. Happy blitz day!

      Delete
  42. Hey Susan just wanted to thank you for the follow and comment. See you soon.

    ReplyDelete
  43. The IKEA sign must be real! I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hello Susan, you're a riot. I love the eggy billboard! And I love the sound of the book. Great review!
    Thanks for following my blog!
    I thought we already were following each other, so who knows these days?
    I'll follow you and see what happens.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the wacko billboards.

      You're right. Who knows? I think I've been following you for a while, too, but... who knows? At any rate, welcome aboard. Surely, Google wouldn't let you sign on if you were already a follower, right? ( Yeah, right. I'm a bit naive.)

      Delete
  45. Hi Susan .. they are crazy those billboards, but out of context such fun to read .. the stool one made me laugh, but I'd have to recover from the sperm bank one first!

    I think I rather like the sound of Black Chalk .. but as I'm lazy I'd rather someone translated it into a tv programme for me to watch, then I can switch off if I get frightened!

    Cheers Hilary

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, that sperm bank one is a real corker, isn't it?

      HA! I dunno if that book will ever make it onto the screen, but is isn't frightening as much as it is fascinating. It's a startling look at human behavior. Which, okay, you're right... can be a little frightening.

      Cheers!

      Delete
  46. Gosh! That book sounds really intense. If I didn't already have your book on my Kindle, I'd rush right over and snap it up :)

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    1. Yeah, that book is pretty intense... but more on a psychological level than a shoot-em-up action kinda way.

      Thanks.

      Delete
  47. Yikes. Not really my slice of cheese, seeing how I despise Lord of the Flies, but I can totally see where this would appeal to others. The story sounds awesome.

    I laughed out loud at pretty much all of these signs, but honestly, I have to go with the cheese. It's like, mandatory.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah, I know whatcha mean. Some people like American cheese, and some like pepper jack. (I like both!)

      Uh-huh. Again with the cheese. I'm beginning to see a pattern here...

      Delete
  48. Well, pooh. I'm going to being here for an hour trying to pick a favorite billboard. They were all just so dang funny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Take your time... I'll put the kettle on.

      Delete