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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Copyright: 1953
Pages: 204
ISBN: 9781451673319
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Author Website:
Twitter: @SimonSchuster
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5 stars

Well, I don't honestly know what more I can say about Farenheit 451 that hasn't already been said before. I recently read the book for the first time in quite awhile as I'm entering the contest Simon and Schuster has opened to design the cover for the 60th Anniversary Edition, and I wanted it fresh in my head while I was designing. That said, it has probably been since high school since I read the book last, so I don't think I truly understood the implications of the book, and how relevant so much in the book is, even today, 60 years after Bradbury wrote it.

The story follows the journey of Montag, a fireman, as he begins to grow a realization that perhaps his life's work may be wrong. As a fireman, Montag's job isn't to prevent fires, but cause them. The firemen in this dystopian world burn books, as they have been outlawed, and when we meet Montag, it seems he may already be questioning this practice. He may or may not already be seeing the importance of books in society, and what follows is his own discovery of what books mean to him. It's a fascinating story, and if you haven't ready it yet, I highly recommend it.

What also surprises me now, and as something that may have seemed more like science fiction than not even when I was in high school, is how accurate Bradbury was in predicting certain technological advances that we now almost take for granted. The earbuds (or seashells) that many of the people use in his book are very similar to current bluetooth devices and earbuds for our smart phones, as well as the wall-sized television screens. While we don't have television screens the full size of our walls, nor do they surround us on all four sides of the room, our current flat screen televisions are getting bigger and bigger, and how long until it takes up the space of an entire wall? Bradbury's prescient descriptions of so many things we take for granted now seems almost eery to me.

Needless to say, I find that Fahrenheit 451 is just as relevant now as it probably was 60 years ago, and if you haven't read it yet, you should. I think this is one of those books that everyone should read at least once in their lives.

Highly recommended.

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Once Upon a Time Machine edited by Andrew Carl


Title: Once Upon a Time Machine
Authors: Andrew Carl (Editor), Lee Nordling (Author), Jason Rodriguez (Author), Tara Alexander (Author), Various writers (Author), Charles Fetherolf (Author), Chris Stevens (Author), Khoi Pham (Illustrator), Nelson Evergreen (Illustrator)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9781616550400
Publisher: Dark Horse
Format: eBook received for review from NetGalley
Rating: 4/5 stars

Once Upon a Time Machine is a collection of fairy tales that we're all familiar with, set in time periods that are unfamiliar to these stories.  Each of the fairy tales holds true to its origins, but they are retold in a a whole new fashion, with each of the tales taking on a science fiction flare. Told by some of the new, up and coming writers and illustrators in the comics business, these fairy tales are both familiar and fresh at the same time.

I wouldn't recommend reading them all at once. Take your time reading the tales, as rushing through them (like I did, unfortunately, for the first half of the book) seems to take something away from the. It's when I would read one or two and set the book down that I was able to really appreciate the storytelling that went into the retelling of the fairy tales. I'd have to say my favorite of the tales is actually the first story in the collection, Pinocchio. It really keeps the innocence of Pinocchio intact while transporting him to an entirely new time.

Recommended for fans of fairy tale re-imaginings.

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I've entered a contest hosted by Simon and Schuster to design the cover for the 60th Anniversary Edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Wish me luck!

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness


Title: Shadow of Night
Series: All Souls Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Deborah Harkness
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 592
ISBN: 9780670023486 (Audio 9781611760705)
Publisher: Viking
Audio Production: Penguin Audio
Author Website:
Twitter: @DebHarkness, @VikingBooks, @PenguinAudioUS
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4/5 stars

OK, so I may not have gotten around to reviewing A Discovery of Witches yet, but I really do love that book. I love the pacing, the characters, the world building, everything about the book. I had taken quite a while to get around to reading it, despite the pressure from some friends to get to it sooner than later. I decided the best way to do this was to get the audiobook, and I'm so glad that I did. Jennifer Ikeda does a fantastic job on the audio; as far as I'm concerned, hers is Diana's voice. When Shadow became available at my library, I jumped at the chance to check it out.

Harkness doesn't waste any time throwing us into the story, with this book picking up directly where Discovery leaves off. It opens with Diana and Matthew arriving in 1590s England, and a good portion of the beginning of the book deals with Diana adjusting to her new situation. Eventually, she adjusts to the time period, being able to somewhat pass herself off as a lady if the time. During this period, however, one of my main complaints in the story begins to build, and that is just how well connected Matthew is in this time. He seems to know everybody, from Shakespeare to the Queen, and everybody in between. He seems to be involved in every secret society, attached to several government bodies in some sort of secret capacity, and Harkness doesn't mind reminding the reader of these facts at every turn. After awhile, I just wanted to yell at the book, "I get it. He's important. Move the story along." It just seemed like a bunch of name dropping to me after awhile.

Eventually, we get past all the connecting and name dropping and adjusting to life in the 1590s and the story is able to move along. I liked how Harkness handled their time traveling, with the choices Diana and Matthew make affecting how the future changes in small, seemly insignificant ways, unless those in the present know what is happening and know what to look for. I thought this was a clever way of handling their traveling back to the past.

Diana learns about herself as a witch and what exactly her powers may be, and how to control those powers. This, in my opinion, was the best bit of the book. The character of Goody Alsop is also my favorite new character in this book, and if really like to see a book all her own someday. I think her story deserves telling.

I don't want to give too much more away, as it's too easy to get too spoilery with the story, but eventually Diana and Matthew do make it back to present day after a few more (some surprising!) adventures in 1590s Europe. However, there was something about the end of the book that just didn't sit well with me, and I haven't been able to put my finger on it. I thought it had to do with Diana and her reaction to leaving London after having only been there less than a year, and how hard it was to say goodbye to the people she met there. I thought maybe she became a little too attached to the era too quickly, but I'm not sure that's what it is. Don't get me wrong, the book is still fantastic, but it left me wanting just a little more than Discovery did. Of course, I'll be picking up the final book in the series, and will probably be looking out for anything else Harkness writes in the future.

Recommended, especially on audio.

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WWW Wednesdays 11-14-12 - What am I reading this week?


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading who asks you to answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

And.... I'm still working on Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake. This is a very slow going book. I'm enjoying it, but can only read chunks at a time, as it's a very densely written book. I'm hoping that I can just hunker down this weekend and finish it up. I've got other books calling my name!

I started listening to Anne Rice's Angel Time, and seriously, I don't even know if I'm going to be able to finish it. I'm about halfway through the book, and nothing has happened yet. Nothing. The audiobook only takes up 7 CDs and I'm just finishing up CD 3, and I don't feel like I'm any more vested in the story than I was just looking at the CD cover at the library. I don't know. It's so short, I'll probably stick with it, but I'm not impressed. The book is about a serial killer, Lucky the Fox, who I'm assuming is unknowingly working for the devil, and a seraph has come to him to try to lead him away from the life he's currently living. That's basically all I've gotten out of the book so far.

I picked up Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version yesterday, and I think I'm going to work on one fairy tale at a time in this one. They are fairly short, so this won't be a problem. What I especially love about this book is after each fairy tale, Pullman also gives a short history of how the Brothers Grimm discovered the tale, and also how similar tales turn up in other cultures. For fans of fairy tales, I'd highly recommend this book!

What did I recently finish reading?

I read the collected edition of the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline from Marvel comics. Some of their stories have been a little scattered lately, but I really think Marvel got this one right. Naturally, there was some points to the story that I felt jumped around too much (I actually think this story would have benefited from a couple more issues), but overall I really enjoyed this story. It brought back one of my favorite aspects of the Marvel universe, the Phoenix force, so that was a definite plus for me. I'll be interested to see where the events of this story take the rest of the characters in the future.

What am I reading next?

My local Indie Schuler Books is hosting Cherie Priest as part of her tour to promote The Inexplicables, and I know I said last week that I was going to get around to reading this, but I've been busy with life, so I'm putting it off until this weekend. 

Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates


Title: Zombie
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Copyright: 1995
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9780061778919 (eBook 9780061960116)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Twitter: @HarperCollins
Format: eBook
Rating: 4/5 stars

I'll be straight forward, Zombie is a highly disturbing book to read. Not only is the subject matter disturbing (this isn't about your typical zombie, but that's all I'm saying about that. Spoilers!), but Oates' writing from the view point of the main character is equally disturbing. You see, her main character is a serial killer sexual deviant psychopath, and there is nothing in the book that is even remotely uplifting. We are witness to his thoughts and his actions, while also seeing how he portrays himself to the rest of the world. The book is a disturbing look into the mind of a very dangerous, sick person, and I don't know that I'd recommend this book for anyone unless you have a strong disposition.

Saying all that, I think the book is fascinating. As a character study, Oates does an amazing job, but she also makes sure that she never sugar coats her character to try to make people feel for him. No, by the end of the book, I didn't have any emotion other than repulsion about the character. I honestly can't get away from the word disturbing when I try to think of another way to describe, the book, the character, the writing style... it is simply disturbing. I've never experienced Oates' writing before, and even though the nature of this book isn't something that I would read on a day to day basis, I think I'd be interested in reading more from her in the future.

Guardedly recommended.

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WWW Wednesdays 11-7-12 - What am I reading this week?


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading who asks you to answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

First off, what happened to the last week? I've barely read anything. What did I do the last week, you ask? Good question! The week apaprently just got away from my. I'm still working on Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake, the first book in The Gormenghast Trilogy. For those that asked last week, even though the majority of the beginning of the book is one big character introduction/study, I am enjoying it. It's very wordy, so it's not necessarily a breeze to read through, but I'm determined to stick with it and finish it!

My next audiobook selection is going to be Anne Rice's Angel Time. This is a fairly short book, which equals a fairly short audiobook, so I think I should be able to zip through this one fairly quickly. I won't be starting this one until tomorrow, so I don't really have anything to say about the story yet, but I'll hopefully be able to get it finished and reviewed by next week.

What did I recently finish reading?

I finished Deborah Harkness' Shadow of Night on audiobook. I ended up enjoying this one as much as A Discovery of Witches, but at some point along in the book, I was beginning to wish that the story was moving along just a little bit faster, and there were a few things that I didn't think held together all that well.

For instance, at some point at the beginning of the book, it comes to light that Matthew is a member (and usually a high ranking member) of just about every secret society that you could find in 1590s London. At some point, even with a pretty heft suspension of disbelief, this began to feel a little forced. At some point, I just wanted to scream at the book, "I get it! He's important! He's got even more secrets than I knew about in the first book! Let's move along now!"
**end spoilers**

Other than a few instances such as that, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I love her character development (I particularly liked Goody Alsop. I'd like to see a book all about her!), and am looking forward to see how she's going to tie up all the plot threads she has going in the final book.

What am I reading next?

My local Indie Schuler Books is hosting Cherie Priest as part of her tour to promote The Inexplicables, and I am thrilled to finally be able to meet her. (I'll have met both of my two favorite Steampunk authors now this year, having met Gail Carriger earlier in the year.) I have all of her books, so am looking forward to getting everything signed! So, in anticipation of the event, I'm going to be working my way through her books that I haven't read yet, and up first is her Southern Gothic ghost story, the Eden Moore trilogy, the first book of which is Four and Twenty Blackbirds. I've read this one before, but it's been quite some time, so I'm going to start at the beginning to make sure I remember everything that happened. If I remember correctly, this was a fairly quick read, so I don't think I'll have any trouble getting through at least this series before her signing.

Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WWW Wednesdays 10-31-12 - What am I reading this week?


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading who asks you to answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

This week, I'm working on Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake, the first book in The Gormenghast Trilogy. It's the October selection for the book group that I belong to, and so far I'm really enjoying it. I'm about halfway through the book, and am planning on finishing it this weekend. (I know what you're thinking... This is the last day of October, what am I doing waiting until the first weekend of November to finish the October selection? Well, this book is a chunkster, and everyone in the group is running behind on this one, so we're all in the same boat together.) Peake was a contemporary with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but he just never became as popular in the US. There is so much character development at the beginning of this book, that I'm really not even sure what the story is really about, as I'm still being introduced to the characters. I'll post up a review next week when I finish it.

I'm also working on Deborah Harkness' Shadow of Night on audiobook right now. I am so thoroughly enjoying Harkness' books. This book deals with time travel, and while this can be a tricky subject sometimes, Harkness is dealing with it very well. I also love her characters. She does such a great job fleshing out her characters! The audiobook is read by Jennifer Ikeda, who did a superb job with the audiobook of A Discovery of Witches, and I wanted to continue listening to the series based on her performance alone. If you enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, I'd highly recommend continuing with Shadow of Night. It picks directly up where Discovery ends, and deals with Diana and Matthew's journey to London, 1590. Highly recommended!

What did I recently finish reading?

I just finished Joyce Carol Oates' Zombie this morning, and all I can say is what an extraordinarily disturbing book! Told from the point of view of a serial killing sexual deviant, the book is not necessarily easy to read, and Oates does a good job at making the reader feel uncomfortable with not only the content of the story, but with the actual act of reading the story. Written in broken sentences and structures, we are seeing the world through the eyes of Q__ P__, and the world through his eyes is not a very pretty place. Recommended, but not for the squeamish.

I also recently finished with Ransom Riggs' Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past. This is a collection of photos found at rummage sales and garage sales, and the captions that accompany them. Some are funny, some are touching, and all shine a light on times long past, even though we really have no frame of reference to what's going on with the photos, who they are of, or who they were supposed to be for.I really enjoyed this book and would look forward to another such volume from Riggs in the future.

What am I reading next?

To be honest, I'm not really sure what I'm going to be reading next. I've got quite a pile on TBR sooner rather than later books, so I think I'm just going to blind-grab something out of the pile and surprise myself! Happy reading!

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher


Title: Wishful Drinking
Author: Carrie Fisher
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 163
ISBN: 9781439102251
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Author Website:
Twitter: @simonschuster
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4/5 stars

I'm not generally a fan of the celebrity memoir. They often seem more self-serving than anything else, but when a friend of mine left Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking at my house one day, I thought I'd at least give it a try. It's a fairly slim volume, and I was able to zip through it in an afternoon, and I'm actually glad that she forgot the book. What Carrie Fisher offers (as a written version of her one woman show of the same name) is a fairly frank, no holds barred look into her life as both the child of a celebrity couple (her parents are Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher) and then as a celebrity herself. She's straight forward about her drug and alcohol problems and talks freely about her mental problems as well. She tells both touching and frankly quite funny stories and writes with an ease that makes the book very readable. Probably my favorite section of the book is the "Hollywood Incest 101" chapter, where she tries to figure out whether her daughter is somehow related to Elizabeth Taylor's grandson, which ends up with her saying they are "related by scandal."

Wishful Drinking is a unique peek into a celebrity's life and the struggles they can have with their fame, and Carrie Fisher handles it all with a writing flare that makes this memoir one not to miss. Recommended!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury


Title: The Halloween Tree
Author: Ray Bradbury
Copyright: 1999
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9780375803017
Publisher: Yearling
Author Website:
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4/5 stars

On a race through history with the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud, 8 boys must learn the secrets and origins of Halloween night in order that they might save the life of their friend, Pipkin, who has been stricken ill on Halloween. Ray Bradbury weaves an imaginative story that creates a rather simplified but no less interesting history of Halloween night and the customs and cultural significances throughout history that help to create the holiday that we celebrate today. With his usual imagery, Bradbury's story is steeped in the eerie and sometimes scary nature that is Halloween night. One of my favorites to read this time of year.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor Lavalle


Title: Lucretia and the Kroons
Author: Victor Lavalle
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 100
ISBN: 9780812984378
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Author Website:
Twitter: @spiegelandgrau, @victorlavalle
Format: eBook provided through NetGalley
Rating: 5/5 stars

Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too.

Never heard of Victor Lavalle before? That's OK, neither had I until I received a notice from NetGalley saying that this book was available for review. After reading Lucretia, I think this is something that I think I need to fix. Lucretia and the Kroons is a prequel of sorts to Victor Lavalle's The Devil in Silver and if The Devil in Silver is anywhere near as good as Lucretia, I think I'm in for a treat. A creepy treat, but a treat all the same. (Full disclosure here, I had no idea that Lucretia and the Kroons was anything more than a standalone story. I only discovered it was a prequel after I looked up Lavalle after reading the story.)

After Lucretia's (or Loochie's) mom tries to throw her a birthday party (to disastrous results), all she wants is for her friend Sunny to come home from hospital, where she is undergoing cancer treatment. On the big day of Sunny's return, Loochie's brother comes to their apartment and tells Loochie about the Kroons, a family of druggies who lived 2 floors above them in their apartment building. According to her brother, the landlord boarded the Kroons into their apartment to let them fend for themselves, as they had become far too dangerous to deal with, and nobody had seen them in quite some time. Loochie isn't sure if her brother is telling the truth or if he's just trying to scare her, but either way he tells her to be careful, as terrible things can still happen to her even though she is young. When Sunny is kidnapped by none other than the Kroons, Loochie takes it upon herself to rescue her best friend.

What follows is hard to describe. It is equal parts horror, magical realism, and coming of age. Loochie finds herself in a world gone wrong, yet one that is strangely familiar. Loochie eventually finds Sunny and saves her, but at what cost to either girl, or the one Kroon sister that has come to their aid? Based on the description of The Devil in Silver, the events of Lucretia and the Kroons is the explanation as to how Loochie ends up in the situation she finds herself in.

I know this all sounds really vague, but it needs to be. The story is too easy to spoil and really too hard to explain it without sounding crazy. I felt like I was reading a lost Twilight Zone screenplay. I could imagine what the world Loochie finds herself in easily, and could easily picture what this would look like as a television program or even on the big screen. Everything about this story is just like our world, just a little off. I thoroughly enjoyed ever bit of it, even though it is fairly short, and will definitely be checking out The Devil in Silver in the near future.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff


Title: The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories
Authors: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780761375272
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Author Website: The Merry Sisters of Fate
Twitter: @CarolrhodaLab, @msteifvater, @tessagratton, @brennayovanoff
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4/5 stars

The Curiosities started out as a collection of short stories that Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff were writing on their blog, The Merry Sisters of Fate. I don't know that they even intended for these to be printed, but they were there for the public to read, for the three authors to practice and possible write things stories that were not their normal fare. However, what really makes this collection stand out, at least to me, is that each of the three authors were asked to go through and mark up a manuscript, jotting down their notes, thoughts, and critiques on their own and each others' stories. There are notes written to each other, little doodles, inside jokes, and other fun facts strewn throughout the stories. I had almost as much fun reading their notes as I did reading the stories.

Now, I have books by all three authors on my shelves, but I've never gotten around to reading any of them, but when Maggie Stiefvater was doing a signing at my local indie, Schuler Books, they had this for sale, and it seemed like such a clever idea of a book, I decided to pick up a copy. Needless to say, I know want to read at least one book by each of the authors by year's end. I so thoroughly enjoyed working my way through this collection that I would like to see what each author can do with a full length novel.

The stories in the collection are:
The Vampire Box by Tessa Gratton
A Murder of Gods by Maggie Stiefvater
The Power of Intent by Brenna Yovanoff
A History of Love by Maggie Stiefvater
Girls Raised by Wolves by Brenna Yovanoff
Date with a Dragon Slayer by Tessa Gratton
Scheherazade by Brenna Yovanoff
The Spiral Table by Tessa Gratton
The Madness of Lancelot by Brenna Yovanoff
The Wind Takes Our Cries by Maggie Stiefvater
Auburn by Brenna Yovanoff
The Deadlier of the Species by Maggie Stiefvater
Puddles by Tessa Gratton
The Bone-Tender by Brenna Yovanoff
Death Ship by Tessa Gratton
The Last Day of Spring by Maggie Stiefvater
Cut by Brenna Yovanoff
Philosopher’s Flight by Maggie Stiefvater
Ash-Tree Spell to Break to Your Heart by Tessa Gratton
Rain Maker by Maggie Stiefvater
Dumb Supper by Tessa Gratton
Neighbors by Brenna Yovanoff
Council of Youth by Maggie Stiefvater
The Summer Ends in Slaughter by Tessa Gratton
Blue as God by Brenna Yovanoff
Thomas All by Tessa Gratton
Heart-Shaped Box by Maggie Stiefvater
Berserk by Tessa Gratton
Lazarus Girl by Brenna Yovanoff
Another Sun by Maggie Stiefvater

Nothing against the other two authors, but I think I found myself enjoying Yovanoff's stories the most. There was something about her writing and storytelling that just really clicked with me and I think I'd like to start one of her books sooner rather than later.

Overall, an excellent collection and highly recommended!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New gift edition of Stardust by Neil Gaiman coming from William Morrow


William Morrow is publishing a new gift edition of Neil Gaiman's Stardust next week on October 30, 2012. The book includes a new introduction and an extended acknowledgements by Gaiman as well as an original frontispiece and chapter headers by the incredible Charles Vess.

The book itself is just lovely. Gaiman mentions in his introduction how he hoped that the new edition could be printed as if it were a volume published in the 1920s, and I think that William Morrow accomplished that task very well. The cloth bound cover, lack of a dust jacket and duotone printed illustrations all come together to create a fantastic edition that will make the perfect gift for both new readers of Stardust and old friends of the book alike.


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning, illustrated by Lorin Morgan-Richards


Title: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Series: Folklore Mini-Series I
Authors: Robert Browning, illustrated by Lorin Morgan-Richards
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 28
ISBN: 9780985044701
Publisher: A Raven Above Press, in conjunction with Rorshoq Books
Format: Hardcover, handmade using recycled bookbinding material
Rating: 5/5 stars

The Pied Piper of Hamelin is "the first in a series of miniature books that focus on original folklore classics" and the latest edition from Lorin Morgan-Richards' A Raven Above Press. The wonderful thing about Morgan-Richards' books is that they are all handmade originals. He creates each book individually, so each is unique in its own way. Quite frankly, as far as I'm concerned, his books are miniature works of art. 

Lorin Morgan-Richards art reminds me of a modern day Charles Addams or Edward Gorey. He dabbles in the unusual and strange, yet there's just enough of the familiar in his artwork to keep it grounded. His artwork is perfectly matched to the tone of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, the familiar folklore tale of the strange Piper who comes to Hamelin to rid them of the rats that are infesting their town, and who then takes the children of Hamelin away with his magical, musical pipe after the townsfolk deny paying for his service. 


The book itself is rather tiny, measuring at just 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide, which really adds to its charm. I so thoroughly enjoy the books from A Raven Above Press, and I'm looking forward to future editions in the Folklore Mini-Series.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Treasures from the library

I love finding little treasures like this on the library free shelf. There's really nothing special about the volume, it's just a 1960s paperback edition, but I just love the look and feel of vintage books like this.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Justice Leage, Vol 1: Origin by Geoff Johns, art by Jim Lee


Title: Justice Leage, Vol 1: Origin
Series: Justice League
Authors: Geoff Johns, art by Jim Lee
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781401234614
Publisher: DC Comics
Twitter: @DCComics, @JimLee, @geoffjohns
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3/5 stars

So, late last year, DC Comics decided that they were going to reboot their entire line of comics, starting all the series over with new #1 issues, paring the lines offered down to 52 titles, giving some characters new origins while only updating other characters origins a little. (I'm still not sure if the new titles and characters in their new universe "know" about the old universe or not; that all seems rather vague.) They called this The New 52, and it was kind of a bid deal at the time. Their new flagship title for the entire lineup was going to be Justice League, written by Geoff Johns with art handled by Jim Lee. DC was so sure of the power of this one book that it was the only title released that week from their company. Of course, I got all wrapped up in the hype and was down at my local comic shop at the midnight release for the title. I got home, read it, and after all the hype and excitement was left with a decidedly "Meh!" feeling over the whole thing.

It reads like a big, blockbuster summer movie. Lots of explosions! Lots of excitement! It's fast paced! There's a lot of visual coolness to the whole thing. And... that's about it. I decided to wait to pick up the rest of the series until they released it as a collected edition, and I don't know that the "Meh!" feeling ever left as I read the first six issues, which is all basically about how Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg all joined forces to become the Justice League. That first issue was all about Batman and Green Lantern arguing back and forth, with the subsequent issues bringing the other heroes into the group one by one, to fight their big nemesis, Darkseid, whom they seem to be able to beat without much struggle, just a lot of explosions! And excitement! And fast pacing! And it looks so cool! And... that's about it.

Now, don't get me wrong. Jim Lee's artwork is, as usual, stunning. But he does fall into some of his same old patterns, where the guys all kinda look the same, and Wonder Woman was amazing impossible proportions, but he's still the best artist in the business as far as I'm concerned. Geoff Johns writing also isn't bad, but it isn't great either. For their flagship title, I guess I was just expecting something more. Will I pick up the next collected edition? Probably, but really it would really be just for Jim Lee's artwork more than anything else. If the next story is still so much flash and not enough substance, I think I may be passing on this after Jim Lee has finished his run on the title.

Obviously, it's worth reading if you're interested in The New 52 or are a big DC fan (which I'm not - I'm a Marvel guy, really). Just make sure you pop yourself some popcorn, get a big soda, and check your brain at the door.

To purchase any of the books in this post, and help my local Indie bookstore, and help me buy more books, click the links above!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Humble eBook Bundle

Here is a great opportunity to pick up some fantastic eBooks. Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, John Scalzi, Paolo Bacigalupi, Lauren Beukes, Mercedes Lackey, and Kelly Link have gotten together and are offering a Humble eBook Bundle. The Humble Bundle is a "pay what you want" order, and you can have a portion of what you pay go to charity, the books are DRM-free and multi-format, so you can move them from platform to platform.

Check out the video below to learn more and then go and order yourself a Humble eBook Bundle!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Another great giveaway from #bibliopunkk

Bibliopunkk is hosting yet another awesome giveaway. This time she's got a complete set of ARCs of Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy. This includes the final book, Requiem, which isn't out until March of next year. So, stop by her blog for all the details and enter for a chance to win. The giveaway is open internationally and will be open until September 12, 2012.

Friday, August 24, 2012

HUGE YA Giveaway from #bibliopunkk

Fellow book blogger and all-around awesome person, the Bibliopunkk, is hosting a FANTASTIC giveaway over on her blog. Seventeen books total are up for grabs to one lucky winner! The books include:
  • Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto
  • Outpost by Ann Aguirre
  • The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox
  • Spirit's Chosen by Esther Friesner
  • Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
  • The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
  • Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
  • The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
  • Arcadia Burns by Kai Meyer
  • The Innocents by Lili Peloquin
  • Feedback by Robison Wells
  • Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Kiss Me Again by Rachel Vail
  • Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
  • Quaranteen: The Loners by Lex Thomas
  • Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Not a bad haul, is it? So, if you're interested in trying your hand at winning this bunch of great books, stop over to Bibliopunkk and enter the giveaway, which is open until the end of August.

Good luck!

Lost Worlds, Coveted Ones | Shelf Awareness

Beth Kephart is the author of Small Damages (Philomel), about 18-year-old Kenzie, sent to Spain to hide her pregnancy, who learns to love the country, its people and herself
Lost Worlds, Coveted Ones

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge adapted and illustrated by Rod Espinosa


Title: Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge
Author: Adapted and illustrated by Rod Espinosa
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 99
ISBN: 9781595829917
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Author Website:Rod Espinosa
Twitter: @DarkHorseComics, @Rod_Espinosa
Format: eBook provided through NetGalley for review
Available: October 3, 2012
Rating: 3/5 stars

Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge adapted and illustrated by Rod Espinosa is a rather straightforward graphic novel adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, with the rather obvious change being that Ebenezer Scrooge is now Eliza Scrooge, running a textiles shop instead of a banker/solicitor. Why this change was made, I'm not entirely sure. When I read the premise, that Ebenezer was now going to be portrayed as Eliza, I assumed that there were going to be some significant changes to the story, but there aren't. I guess I think if you're going to make a change that significant, it should have some sort of ramification on how the story is told. I mean, if all you're doing is changing the gender, just stick with the original and Ebenezer. Maybe Espinosa like drawing women more?

That said, the art isn't bad. Espinosa has a nice clean style, reminiscent of an anime/manga look. I actually wouldn't be put off checking out some of his other works, but as far as this volume is concerned, it just didn't seem to be necessary to make such a drastic change.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


Title: Rose of Fire
Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books Prequel
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 42
ISBN: 9780062237040
Publisher: HarperCollins
Author Website:
Twitter: @HarperCollins, @ZafonOficial
Format: eBook 
Rating: 4/5 stars

Rose of Fire is a free ebook prequel to the Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The story is described as telling the history of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, which intrigued me as this remains on of the main mysteries for me in the first two books of the series, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. However, while the story does tell the origins, it doesn't tell the complete history of the Cemetery, so while it answers some questions, it really just leaves as many questions. Part of me would like a more complete history of the Cemetery, but there's still a part of me that doesn't want it explained, that feels that the origins of the Cemetery should remain shrouded in mystery.

The ebook also includes the first four chapters of the final book, The Prisoner of Heaven, so if you are a fan of Zafón and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, this would be an excellent read. Of course, the ebook is free, so really, how can you go wrong?

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Templeton Twins Have An Idea, Book 1 by Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes


Title: The Templeton Twins Have An Idea, Book 1
Series: The Templeton Twins
Authors: Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 232
ISBN: 978-0811866798
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Book Website:
Author Website:
Artist Website: Mutt Ink, Jeremy Holmes Templeton Twins page on
Twitter: @ChronicleBooks, @EllisWeiner, @jeremydraws 
Format: eBook provided through Edelweiss for review
Available: August 15, 2012
Rating: 3/5 stars

This was a cute and clever quick little read. I'd place this somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I certainly liked) and The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (which I distinctly did not). It's not surprising then that this book fell somewhere in between as far as my enjoying it. One thing that this book has going for it, above and beyond its story is the actual look of the book. Everything in the book is printed in a blue tone, almost giving the book the feeling of blueprints, which is apropos given the Twins' father is an inventor of some renown and the Twins like to pride themselves of coming up with ideas of their own.

When their father is accused of stealing an idea that is used in his latest invention, the Twins find themselves in some very precarious predicaments (hence the Unfortunate Events vibe) and then they go on an adventure to try to prove their father's innocence (where Pseudonymous Bosch vibe comes from - the adventure part, not the trying to prove their father's innocence part). Needless to say, precarious predicaments that the Twins find themselves in are wildly unbelievable and the adventures are fun, but for me at least, the book just lacked a certain something. Of course, there's also the fact that I'm not the target age for this particular book, but I do think my younger self would have loved this book. The adult me can appreciate the work that is put into the overall packaging though, since the book is quite nicely presented. Let your younger ones have a go at this, as I think it will appeal to them immensely.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What I'm reading now...

Somehow, this one got past me in middle/high school and some friends are doing an online book club discussion about it as a re-read for them, so I volunteered to be the virgin and give it a go.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan


Title: Talulla Rising
Author: Glen Duncan
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780307595096
Publisher: Knopf
Twitter: @AAKnopf
Format: eBook from NetGalley for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Well, no one is more surprised about me liking Talulla Rising than I am. The Last Werewolf may top the list of books I've read recently that I thoroughly disliked, but I had been sent an eBook copy of the follow up, and thought I'd at least read the first couple of chapters to see if it was still as bad, in my opinion, as the first book. Jump ahead 3 hours later, and I hadn't put it down yet, and then finished it today. It's like Talulla Rising is written by a completely different man. Different storytelling technique; different pacing; different everything to me.


I think what really did it for me was the fact that Jake was just sitting around, waiting to die in the first book, and in this book, Talulla actually has a purpose in trying to rescue her children. Her life has meaning, whereas by the time Jake meets her in his book and has meaning in his life again, I just didn't care if he lived or died. I'd spent so much time in the first book just slogging through him whining and whining and whining about being old, not caring, blah blah blah, that I didn't care for him. At all. I know I probably should have felt for him and his plight, but I didn't.

The action is fairly non stop in this book. It picks up roughly 9 months after The Last Werewolf, and Talulla and Cloquet have hidden themselves away in Alaska, waiting for the birth of her child. The vampires discover their hideout and attack, only to have Talulla go into labor, where they subdue her and take her newly born son right from her. However, the vampires escape before they realize there are two children, and Zoe is born shortly after. What follows is a whirlwind adventure across the globe as Talulla tries to rescue her son from the vampires and the Helios project.

I now have to take back what I said about Glen Duncan's writing before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and if there is a follow up to this story, I'm sure I'll be picking it up. I know this is quite a reversal of attitude, but that's the amazing thing about books; they can reform your mind and opinions constantly, and that's why I love reading.