ANNOUNCEMENT
After a lot of thought, I've decided to take a break from blogging for the foreseeable future. With my little C creeping its way back into my life and possible long term treatment now, I need to take a couple of things off my plate for the time being, and the blog is going to be one of those things. As it is, it felt like it was becoming more of a chore than anything else. I need my reading time to be more enjoyable right now, more of the escape that I really need, and what I don't need is the little voice in the back of my head telling me how many reviews I'm behind and trying to come up with what I need to say about the book.

I simply want to read.

I'll more than likely occasionally post on here what I've been reading, and if there is something that really blows my mind, I'll probably have more to say about it and may write up a proper post, but for right now, things are going to be very quiet around here.

As always, happy reading!
2017 edit
I will continue to blog according to my health and ability, and connecting my posts thru Goodreads, so please be patient if things get quiet around here again this year.

2017 edit #2
I am happy to report that my bone marrow transplant was a success and that I'm feeling more like myself everyday. That said, I'm going to try to start blogging a little more frequently, but please bear with me as I still continue to recover.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Epic Reads at Schuler Books!

www.epicreads.com

Schuler Books hosted an interesting event tonight in conjunction with Epic Reads, hosting Victoria Schwab (Our Dark Duet), Madeleine Roux (House of Furies), and Joelle Charbonneau (Dividing Eden), all for the releases of their respective new books. Instead of the usual multi-author panel with all the authors at one table in front of a crowd, tonight's event was set up in a speed dating style, with a smaller group of readers all sitting together and the authors rotating between the groups every 10 minutes or so. When I first heard this was going to be the format, I'm not going to lie, I was a little hesitant about it. However, the execution of the idea was great and I found that I actually had much better time than I thought I was going to. With the smaller groups for each individual author, I felt like we had a much more intimate conversation, even in the allotted 10 minutes, than if we had the usual set up. I'm really hoping that these types of events will be set up in a similar fashion in the future.


Victoria Schwab

Madeleine Roux

Joelle Charbonneau





https://www.schulerbooks.com/aff/tapestry100/book/v/9780062380883https://www.schulerbooks.com/aff/tapestry100/book/v/9780062498618https://www.schulerbooks.com/aff/tapestry100/book/v/9780062453846
To purchase these books from Schuler Books, just click on the covers above! You'll be getting an awesome book, supporting a great local independent bookstore, and helping me get more books!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton
Published by Broadway Books • June 5, 2012
400 Pages • ISBN 978-0307887443 • Paperback

 photo 4stars_zps18ba61d5.jpg

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

LibraryThingGoodreads
To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!



Book description:
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape


I feel like I may be on of the last people to have gotten around to reading this dystopian scifi thriller, but I'm glad I finally listened to it (I downloaded it off of Audible). While Cline's necessity to drop some 80s reference (however obscure) in what seems like every other paragraph started to feel a little forced by the end, it was still a rollicking good story, and any 80s kid will completely dig this.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

A House at the Bottom of a Lake
by Josh Malerman
Published by This Is Horror • October 31, 2016
118 Pages • ISBN 978-1910471012 • Paperback

 photo 4stars_zps18ba61d5.jpg

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

LibraryThingGoodreads
To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!



Book description:
Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.

It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and beer in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water’s surface that changes their lives forever.

It’s got two stories.

It’s got a garden.

And the front door is open.

It’s a house at the bottom of a lake.

For the teens, there is only one rule: no questions. And yet, how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo plays house beneath the waves, one reality remains:

Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.


A novella that seems to fall somewhere between coming-of-age fantasy and horror. I won't lie, I'm not even sure that I understood what this book is about, but it's so well written that I don't care that I don't understand what it means. Coming to the climax of the story, I simply could not read fast enough; Malerman creates such a sense of immediacy that it would have been impossible to put the book down by the second half.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Blog Tour: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass
by Philip Pullman
Published by Yearling Books
May 22, 2001 (1995)
432 Pages • ISBN 978-0440418320 • Paperback

 photo 5stars_zps4271af39.jpg

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more, click the links above!

LibraryThingGoodreads
To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!


Book description:
Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

Philip Pullman's award-winning
The Golden Compass is a masterwork of storytelling and suspense, critically acclaimed and hailed as a modern fantasy classic.

This Yearling paperback edition includes 15 pages of bonus material: some found letters of Lord Asriel, his scientific notes and other archival documents. This edition also features artwork by Philip Pullman at the opening of each chapter.

A
New York Times Bestseller
A
Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
An
Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction

"Very grand indeed." --
The New York Times

"Superb… all-stops-out thrilling." --
The Washington Post

"A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." --
Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"
The Golden Compass is one of the best fantasy / adventure stories that I have read. This is a book no one should miss." --Terry Brooks (Goodreads)


Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass will forever be one of my favorite books. I remember reading it when it was first published in 1995 and thinking then I had never read anything like it before, and each subsequent reading (along with the other books in the His Dark Materials series, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) still brings that feeling of wonder. The ideas and themes that Pullman introduces in these books challenged me as a reader then, and still do over 20 years later.

Lyra's story of friendship and loyalty found in the most unlikely places, and opposing and challenging those whose beliefs may be strong but not necessarily in the right, resonated strongly with me right out of high school, and I still think that these are important themes for any young reader to experience, especially told through Lyra's eyes. Her strength of character and resolve in what she believes right creates a fantastic role model for anyone, but especially those, I think, who are trying to find their way in the world and are looking to literature to help them. Of course, Pullman disguises much of this in a fast-paced adventure story filled with political intrigue and suspense around every corner, so it will keep readers both young and old eager to find out what happens next. Not every book deserves the title "unputdownable", but I think this was one of my first experiences with a book that earned that description for me. An alternate universe, witches, daemons, polar bears who talk, and more make this book one of the more unique books you'll read, and Philip Pullman's writing is beautiful and poignant.

Now, I have exciting news for those of us who have read Lyra's story and have longed to be back in her world: Philip Pullman has recently announced that he is working on a new companion trilogy, with the first volume The Book of Dust coming out this fall! Here is more information from the official press release:

Two decades after The Golden Compass (1996)—the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages—THE BOOK OF DUST (#BookofDust) will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. The plot will remain under wraps until publication in October, but it can be revealed that the book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, daemons, and the Magisterium return to play their part, and Pullman also introduces a host of new characters.

Pullman says: “I know from their letters and tweets that my readers have been waiting patiently (mostly) for THE BOOK OF DUST for a long time. It gives me great pleasure and some excitement at last to satisfy their curiosity (and mine) about this book. So, is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, THE BOOK OF DUST is… an ‘equel’. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.”

Personally, I can't wait for this new volume to be released! To be able to revisit Jordan and its inhabitants again is something I've been wanting for many years now. In the meantime, I'll be re-reading the rest of the His Dark Materials books in preparation.


Thanks for stopping by today, and as always, happy reading!


I received a finished print copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.


If you are interest in the other books in the His Dark Materials series, or the companion volumes that have already been released, you can check those out here:

The Subtle KnifeSchuler BooksAmazon
The Amber SpyglassSchuler BooksAmazon
Lyra's OxfordSchuler BooksAmazon
Once Upon a Time in the NorthSchuler BooksAmazon

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Extraordinary X-Men, Vol 1: X-Haven by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Humberto Ramos

Extraordinary X-Men, Vol 1: X-Haven
by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Humberto Ramos
Published by Marvel Comics • May 10, 2016
120 Pages • ISBN 978-0785199342 • Paperback

 photo 3stars_zpsd6da9bd9.jpg

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

LibraryThingGoodreads
To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!



Book description:
The fate of mutantkind is decided here! Staring down the threat of extinction once more, veteran X-Man Storm pulls together the team she'll need to ensure her race's survival. Together, these EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN will struggle with the familiar burden of being hated and feared, while facing threats the likes of which they've never seen. Here's hoping they survive the experience!

COLLECTING:
EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1-5


I won't lie, I miss the X-Men of my younger years (late 80s/early 90s). I've been trying to reconcile their fall from popularity and the direction their stories have been taking in light of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (don't get me started on the X-Men movie franchise **shudders**), but I've been sticking with it. This book, my first post-Secret Wars X-Men experience, has left me torn: even tho every aspect of this book has already been done before (mutants being hated for being different; mutants needing to go into hiding; mutants being on the edge of extinction for about the third time in a decade now; Sinister conducting his weird experiments and playing around with famous mutant's DNA), it did leave me wondering what was going to happen next, so that's at least somewhat good storytelling, right? Right?! Sigh.

There are things I don't understand in this post-Terrigen bomb/Secret Wars world: what exactly is the difference between being an Inhuman or mutant and why is one seen as seemly being acceptable by the populace at large? Other than needing to push the Inhuman as the new version of being a mutant in the MCU, I see no distinction. What does it matter if the Terrigen mists are making mutants sterile? Don't normal humans give birth to mutants, as well? Maybe it's changing the structure of the entire world's DNA? What if a human with dormant Inhuman genes gives birth to a mutant? What would the Terrigen mists do to the mutant? How long does the Terrigen mist linger in the atmosphere? I'm hoping some of this is addressed at some point.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King's Daughter
by Karen Dionne
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons • June 13, 2017
320 Pages • ISBN 978-0735213005 • Hardcover

 photo 5stars_zps4271af39.jpg

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

LibraryThingGoodreads
To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!



Book description:
Praised by Lee Child and Karin Slaughter, and sure to thrill fans of The Girl on the Train and The Widow, The Marsh King’s Daughter is mesmerizing psychological suspense, the story of a woman who must risk everything to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and threatens to steal her future: her father.

At last, Helena Pelletier has the life she deserves. A loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a business that fills her days. Then she catches an emergency news announcement and realizes she was a fool to think she could ever leave her worst days behind her.

Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No electricity, no heat, no running water, not a single human beyond the three of them. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature—fishing, tracking, hunting. And despite her father’s odd temperament and sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too… until she learned precisely how savage a person he could be.

More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marshland he knows better than anyone else in the world. The police commence a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.


Helena Pelletier's life is more or less exactly what she wants: a husband and two daughters she loves deeply, a home business that keeps her busy during the days, her past a secret that she keeps hidden from everyone. Helena has worked hard for these things and she prides herself in her accomplishments, until the day her father escapes from prison and she immediately understands that her past is going to catch up to her, whether she wants it to or not. She also knows that the only way to keep her family safe and put her father back in prison is to find and deal with her father herself, since he was the one who trained her to live in the marshes of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where he was keeping her mother captive after he had kidnapped her as a young girl.

With the main part of the story taking place over 24 hours "real time" with Helena tracking her father, the actual meat of the story all takes place in flashbacks as Helena thinks back on her childhood in the marshes of the UP and how her father treated her and her mother, who her father kidnapped as a young girl and made his wife. As she closes in on her father, she goes over various aspects of the only life she knew as a child, until her mother's past starts to catch up to her and Helena realizes that much of her life has been a lie perpetrated by both her father and mother and isn't exactly what they told her it was. As she grows older and finally starts to understand that even though this is the only life she's ever known, it may not be the life that either she or her mother deserves, and when she finally escapes her father's control she discovers that there is in fact an entire world she never knew about outside the marsh.

To be honest, the story of Helena's childhood is what really makes this book. Personally, I felt the entire portion of the book that is taking place in "real time" where Helena knows that she's the only one who can find her father, regardless of the large police force searching for him, and that she knows exactly where to look for him in the entire area surrounding her home and the prison he escaped from all seemed far to convenient, and only plausible in order to make this portion of the story move forward. Helena's memories of her childhood and the psychological aspects of being a child who has been raised in an extreme situation, but one that seems normal to her only because it's all that she knows, was fascinating. Her recollections of her father teaching her how to hunt and live in the wilderness, and her childhood idolization of him in this respect juxtaposed against her later feeling towards him as she starts to mature and gain some sense of adolescent independence, and her eventual discovery that her whole life has been based on lies and the kidnapping of her mother, was remarkable storytelling, and Karen Dionne delivers this entire sequence of events deftly and with sharp storytelling. While the "real time" story requires quite a hefty amount of suspension of disbelief, the background story well makes up for this and creates a truly mesmerizing and atmospheric story that will keep you up late into the night, turning the page for more.


I received a print ARC of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 2017 Recap


  1. Spawn Origins Collection, Vol 1 by Todd McFarlane
  2. Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan
  3. everyone's a aliebn when ur a alienb too by jomny sun
  4. Stormwatch, Vol 1 by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Tom Raney & Jim Lee
  5. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  6. Star Wars: The Rise of a Hero by Louise Simonson, illustrated by Walt Simonson
  7. Snotgirl, Vol 1: Green Hair, Don't Care by Bryan Lee O'Malley, illustrated by Leslie Hung

Top Book of the Month
everyone's a aliebn when ur a alienb too by jomny sun


May 2017
Number of books read: 7
Number of pages: 1,128

Number of books acquired: 38
Number of those books read: 5


First month out of the hospital, and feeling better. Concentration isn't exactly up to par yet, so there will still be an abundance of graphic novels for the time being.


YEAR TOTALS
Number of books read: 37
Number of pages: 5,816

Number of books acquired: 144
Number of those books read: 25

Snotgirl, Vol 1: Green Hair Don't Care by Bryan Lee O'Malley, illustrated by Leslie Hung

Snotgirl, Vol 1: Green Hair Don't Care
by Bryan Lee O'Malley, illustrated by Leslie Hung
Published by Image Comics • February 28, 2017
136 Pages • ISBN 978-1534300361 • Paperback

 photo 4stars_zps18ba61d5.jpg

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

LibraryThingGoodreads
To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!



Book description:
WHO IS LOTTIE PERSON? Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess? Enter a world of snot, blood, and tears in this first collection from New York Times Best Seller BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds) and dazzling newcomer LESLIE HUNG!

Collects
SNOTGIRL #1-5.

I picked this up on a whim (I find that I really enjoy most Image titles), and what started out as a seemingly fluff story about fashion bloggers and their rather shallow lives takes a surprising turn into something more... sinister? A mysterious "resurrection", possible supernatural elements, a stalker, a police investigation into the possible death of the possibly resurrected friend, and another possible murder. Or is it all just an allergy drug-induced hallucination? We'll have to wait until the next collected edition to find out more, but needless to say I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly intrigued to find out what happens next.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Star Wars: The Rise of a Hero by Louise Simonson, illustrated by Walter Simonson

Star Wars: The Rise of a Hero
by Louise Simonson, illustrated by Walter Simonson
Published by Disney Lucasfilm Press • May 30, 2017
48 Pages • ISBN 978-1484799338 • Hardcover

 photo 4stars_zps18ba61d5.jpg

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

LibraryThingGoodreads
To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!



Book description:
Blast into hyperspace and relive Luke Skywalker's exciting adventure as he goes from being a farm boy on the dusty desert planet of Tatooine to the rebel pilot and hero who destroys the Empire's most powerful weapon--the Death Star!

Star Wars: The Rise of a Hero reunites legendary Star Wars comic book creators Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, and Tom Palmer, along with Laura Martin, they deliver an all-new, action-packed retelling of A New Hope just in time to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of that landmark science fantasy epic.

May the Force be with you!


A very simplistic retelling of Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope told entirely around Luke Skywalker's actions in the movie, Star Wars: The Rise of a Hero is an extremely quick read and one that I think most adult readers will probably skip, only because it is so simplistic. However, for early readers who are fans of Star Wars, I think this would be perfect. Since the story is not bogged down by all the myriad details of the movie and is written in such a way as to make everything easy to understand, and is only told from one character's perspective, beginning/early readers should find this volume extremely accessible. And while from an adult reader's POV, I found the story a little too streamlined and the art a little too basic (I know Walt Simonson's art is generally very straightforward and linear, this is even more pronounced here and not up to his usual levels of detail, IMO), I know I'm not the target audience and know for the right reader, this will be a perfect reading experience.