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.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Morning Comics

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One of my favorite things to do as a kid was watch Saturday morning cartoons. Every week, I'd jump out of bed and wouldn't leave the TV for several hours. Sometimes, my dad would join me. We'd eat a couple bowls of cereal and, honestly, I think he like pretending to be a kid again just as much as I enjoyed being one. Eventually, like so many things, Saturday morning cartoons worked their way into being just a memory. Well, I want to change that and be a kid again, if just for an hour or two! So, in memory of Saturday morning cartoons, I'll be hosting Saturday Morning Comics! Every Saturday I'm going to read a graphic novel or two and talk about them here on the blog. Join in on the fun! I'd love to hear from you, about your favorite graphic novels, what you're favorite Saturday morning cartoon was, and what your favorite "kid" escape is now that you're older.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fresh start

You'll have noticed a distinct lack of content here for the last couple of months. I've had some personal issues that needed dealing with, and somethings had to be set aside for a while, and the blog was one of them. I've made some changes, and I'm looking forward to next year as being a good year. I'm giving the blog a minor refresh, I've got some fun ideas for reading goals and challenges, and I'm feeling ready to tackle the year to come! Bring on the books!!

Happy reading, everyone!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Winners of The Eye of Minds ARCs by James Dashner

A big congrats to

Jessica J. and Kevin H.

for winning the ARCs of The Eye of Minds by James Dashner.


Happy reading, and please stop back by and let me know how you like the books!

...slump

Reading is slow. Blogging, even slower. I've hit a slump. I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things soon, but October was such a stressful month I'm still just too burnt out to pick up a book.

Sigh.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their reading!

Friday, November 1, 2013

October 2013 Recap

Books Read

3 books finished (embarrassing...)
  1. Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls by Elliott James 
  2. What If? AVX 
  3. The Story of Walter the Whale with Wings by Edward Lahti
225 pages total

Gender of author:
3 male

Year of Publication:
3 - 2013

Books Acquired

14 books total

2 graphic novels won as door prize at local Indie
6 hardcovers purchased at various brick & mortar stores
4 paperbacks purchased at used book store on vacation
2 paperback purchased new on vacation


0 have been read

2013 Year to Date Totals

Books Read: 73
Pages Read: 14,934

Books Acquired: 194
Books Acquired Read: 32

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Meeting James Dashner for The Eye of Minds


that right there is me with James Dashner, author of The 13th Reality and Maze Runner series. James is on tour promoting his new book, The Eye of Minds, the first book in his Mortality Doctrine series.

I've actually known James for several years now. I received an ARC of the first book in The 13th Reality series, The Journal of Curious Letters way back when and we started chatting on LibraryThing then. When the first book in The Maze Runner series was released, James came in for a quick signing at Borders in Ann Arbor, so I drove over for that and finally got to meet him in person.

When Whitney told me that she had booked him for The Eye of Minds, I was excited to get to see him again. James is a great guy. He's a fun speaker, and really appreciates his audience and really likes to interact with them. If you ever get a chance to see him, go. You'll have a good time.

Now, that big stack of books in front of me in the pic up there? Those are all the books that I took to get signed in addition to picking up The Eye of Minds. What's up with the two copies on top of that stack of books, you ask? (And if you didn't ask that, you should.) Well, I also had two copies of the ARC of The Eye of Minds  that I asked James to sign so I could give those away on here! All you need to do to enter is sign up using the Rafflecopter below and that's it!

Good luck to the winners and happy reading!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Beekman Boys!

That's me in the middle of a Beekman Boys sandwich, with Brent on the left and Josh on the right!

A couple weekends back, my local Indie hosted Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, otherwise known as The Beekman Boys, for the release of their newest cookbook, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden. Brent and Josh are a really great pair and are fun to talk to. We had the largest group for their signing tour yet (around 150 people) and they really appreciated everybody being there for the signing. Josh also signed copies of his two memoirs (I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir and The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir) and his novel (Candy Everybody Wants).

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The cookbook itself looks delicious and I can't wait to cook my way through it. In fact, there is a blog set up for that very purpose! Bake Like a Beekman will be selecting one recipe per week to create and share experiences with cooking the recipe with others in the group. Feel like learning to Bake Like a Beekman? Sign up and start baking! I was out of town for the first recipe (a Walnut Cake), but I hope to be joining in for this week's selection.

If you ever have a chance to go meet Brent and Josh, do it! They are great guys.




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 2, 2013

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young

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Title: Fortunately, the Milk
Author: Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9780062224071
Publisher: HarperCollins
Author Website: www.neilgaiman.com
Illustrator Website: www.skottieyoung.com
Twitter: @neilhimself, @skottieyoung, @HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
Available: September 17, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars



Neil Gaiman's latest, Fortunately, the Milk, is a goofy little tale of a father, a bottle of milk, some pirates, aliens, dinosaurs, vampires, and volcano gods, all steeped together in the space-time continuum.

One morning, a brother and sister find themselves with no milk for their breakfast cereal, and their father, when realizing this means he also has no milk for his tea, decides to stop to the corner store for a bottle. When the father finally returns after making the children wait and wait, the story he has to tell of his adventures in keeping the bottle of milk safe for them is quite sensational, starting off with being abducted by aliens. What follows from there is an imaginative romp through space and time that is nothing but fun. There's nothing challenging here, and the story certainly doesn't take itself seriously. Skottie Young's stylized sketches throughout really highlight the story and add to the goofiness. He has a style that's uniquely all his own, and that style meshes with this story perfectly.

This would be a great book for a dad to read with his kids, but adults without children (like me) can enjoy it just as much. 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, October 1, 2013

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrator: Jake Gyllenhaal
Copyright: 1925 Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright renewed 1953 by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan (P)2013 Audible, Inc
ISBN: 9780743273565
Publisher: Scribner
Audio Production: Audible
Twitter: @ScribnerBooks
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4/5 stars

I'm not really going to review The Great Gatsby, because I'm sure most people would either have read it already, or at least have a working knowledge of the story. Surprisingly, this book somehow slipped past me in high school as required reading, and I'm glad it did as I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much, nor understood it as well, but when I heard about the Baz Luhrmann film production, I knew I was going to go see the movie (I love Luhrmann's films) and decided I should familiarize myself with the original. I found it on Audible (narrated by one of my favorite actors, Jake Gyllenhaal), so I downloaded it and gave it a listen. What I discovered in the story surprised me.

I didn't know what the story was about, but I wasn't entirely sure I was going to like it. I felt it was one of those books that I avoided in high school, and there was probably a reason for it. I found myself really capitvated by the story. The story of Nick Carraway as he is sucked into the extravagances of his neighbors in the Jazz Age city of New York; the story of Jay Gastby, and the mystery surrounding his impossible wealth; the love story of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, and what that love means to Daisy's family. It is all these things, and so much more, all layered together into a subtle and nuanced story that I'm certainly glad I came to in my adult years, as I was able to appreciate it more.

As for the audio production, Jake Gyllenhaal really captures Nick's semi-detachment from what's going on around him perfectly. There isn't much emotion in Gyllenhaal's performance, but it's done that way on purpose, as Nick is remembering back with some level of revulsion about what happened during that time with Gatsby. It's not an easy performance to listen to, but I don't think it's supposed to be, just like the book itself isn't the easiest story to digest. A pretty spot-on performance in my opinion.




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, September 30, 2013

September 2013 Recap

Books Read

10 books finished
  1. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
  2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  3. The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski 
  4. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
  5. The Homecoming by Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Dave McKean
  6. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young 
  7. Avengers vs X-Men: Consequences
  8. Charmed, I'm Sure by Elliott James
  9. Uncanny X-Men, Vol 1: Revolution
  10. Little Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Daniel Egneus
2,077 pages total

Gender of author:
3 male
7 female

Year of Publication:
1 - 1880
1 - 2005
2 - 2006
6 - 2013


Books Acquired

26 books total

16 acquired at publisher rep breakfast at local Indie
3 hardcovers purchased at local Indie
3 paperbacks purchased at local Indie
1 paperback from author for review
1 paperback from publisher for review
2 ARCs picked up from library


3 have been read

2013 Year to Date Totals

Books Read: 70
Pages Read: 14,709

Books Acquired: 180
Books Acquired Read: 32

The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski

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Title: The Fifty Year Sword
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780307907721
Publisher: Pantheon
Author Website: MZD
Twitter: @markdanielewski, @PantheonBooks
Format: Hardcover
Available: October 16, 2012
Rating: 2/5 stars

Really more a concept than an actual story/book, Mark Z. Danielewski's The Fifty Year Sword is a horror story, of sorts. The story is told from the point of view of five children, in one long stream of conscious dialogue, with the only distinction about which child is speaking made through the color of the quotation marks set around each sentence. It almost reads as one large, run-on paragraph, so it would seem that the children almost speak in a collective, each continuing the sentence from the previous speaker. I gave up fairly quickly trying to determine who was speaking and just read through the story as if it were being told from just one person.

The story, as it were, is simple enough (and is really nothing more than a glorified short story drawn out into a 280+ page book). The five children are at a Halloween party when a stranger arrives carrying a long black box. The story the stranger tells is of the Fifty Year Sword, and his journey to acquire it. What follows is a display of the power of the sword, much to the dismay of one of the party goers. And that's it. The story the stranger tells is vaguely atmospheric, but the ending is reasonably predictable given the outcome of the strangers journey and his story.

About the length of the book. As I stated earlier, it's a glorified short story, and all the text in the book is presented on the left-hand page only. If there is some significance to this placement, it went above my head. I'd be willing to bet there aren't more than 40 words per page, and pages with that much text are few and far between. This was released as an ebook as well, and I think that the ebook had animated graphics and music accompanying it, so I think this was meant to be viewed on an ereader as opposed to something actually physically published. The story has also been performed live, on Halloween, as a shadow show, and I have a feeling this is where the true impact of the story would be felt, but presented in this static, printed format, the story falls short.

I don't think I'd actually recommend this book to anyone except those that enjoy uniquely published works that have physical distinction that sets them apart from other physical books, which is the only reason I'm keeping this in my library.




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!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cursed Pirate Girl by Jeremy Bastian

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Title: Cursed Pirate Girl
Author: Jeremy Bastian
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 152
ISBN: 9781936393602
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Author Website: Jeremy Bastian's blog
Twitter: @Archaia, @JeremyBastian
Format: Hardcover
Available: January 1, 2013
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Cursed Pirate Girl is more than just a story or a graphic novel, it's more a piece of art.  The story, about the Cursed Pirate Girl who is trying to find her pirate father on the great Omerta Sea, is not bad, but it's not great. the story is reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as the characters all seem more like caricatures of themselves rather than the actual person that they are. (Does that even make sense? It does in my head, so there you go.) There is a certain amount of the fantastical going on in the story, so that adds to the similarity for me. Beyond that general similarity of feeling about the story, that's as far as it goes. This is a swashbuckling, scurvy-filled story of pirates on the high seas as the scrappy young heroine of our story, the Cursed Pirate Girl, is convinced of her parentage because of the dreams she has, is in search of her pirate-king father.  The story is fun, but overall, not that exceptionally engaging.

What is engaging, however, is the freakish amount of detail that Jeremy Bastian puts into his art. Seriously, there is a lot of detail. You'd-better-have-a-magnifying-glass-handy kind of detail. And from what I understand, he creates his pages at the size printed, so unless you have a copy of the book in your hands, you won't appreciate this fact and how amazing an artist Jeremy Bastian is for this fact alone.

The book itself is beautiful. The folks at Archaia did a bang-up job of producing this volume. The paper that the book is printed on looks like parchment, complete with rough, deckle edges on the pages. It's really quite the production overall, and really adds to the look and feel that Bastian creates with his artwork.

So, while the story left me a little wanting, the overall experience of the book is enough to make me likely pick up the next volume when it is released.




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, September 18, 2013

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

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Title: Help for the Haunted
Author: John Searles
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780060779634
Publisher: William Morrow
Twitter: @WmMorrowBks, @searlesbooks
Format: Hardcover
Available: September 17, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

John Searles' quiet thriller spins out it's web of plausibility slowly and carefully. We are introduced to the daughters of two murdered spiritualists -- a couple who spent years helping those who are haunted or possessed -- through the eyes of the younger daughter trying to keep secrets in and horror out. The perspective in this novel is one of the best uses of point-of-view I've seen in a while -- the reader peels back the pages of this family's history with the same pace and the same occasional confusion as that young woman. We see what might be true and what should be doubted with the clear trust of a child, a teenager, a daughter. The puzzle pieces come together in measured fashion throughout the novel -- until the very end, when the reader is jolted into a sudden understanding of something we might have thought was a throwaway line 200 pages ago. Whether you will take pleasure at the twisting reveal or hum with rage at having your attention tricked toward other distractions depends on what kind of reader you are. Either way, this is a pretty good mystery to take on.

(Guest reviewed by Sarah G.)




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, September 17, 2013

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

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Title: Perfect Ruin
Series: The Internment Chronicles, Book 1
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781442480612
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Author Website: laurendestefano.com
Twitter: @LaurenDeStefano, @simonteen
Format: Hardcover (I borrowed an ARC from a fellow blogger)
Available: October 1, 2013
Rating: 5/5 stars

I'll just put it right out there, I love Lauren Destefano's writing. Love it. Several years ago, I received an ARC of Wither, the first book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy, and I honestly wasn't so sure about it. Based on the blurb, I didn't think I was going to like it at all, and to be honest, after reading, I still wasn't so sure but I liked the premise and world-building enough to check out the second book, Fever. That was when my love was firmly cemented for her writing. Now, to be fair, I haven't yet read Sever, the final book in the trilogy, only because I wasn't ready for the books to end and didn't want to wait too long until her next book came out. I'll be remedying that this week.

To see the jump in crafting her writing from Wither to Fever, and now onto Perfect Ruin, has been a pleasure. DeStefano is clearly learning how to hone her writing, and it is obvious in Perfect Ruin. Her style is so immersive and minimalist, she can pull you into a story with such little effort and ease. I quickly grew attached to not only the main characters of the story, but the secondary characters as well. Everyone in the book is an important part in how the story plays out, and she doesn't squander any of her characters.

The story takes place on Internment, a floating city in the sky above what I believe is Earth. Because of the limited space for the current population and no room for an increase in that number, the people of Internment live by some fairly strict rules set in place by the ruling family to make sure the peace is kept (Betrothals, birthing queues, forced lifespans among these rules). The people of Internment live in a forced peace, mostly content with their lives on the floating island, but there are some that wonder what is at the edge of Internment and what is on the ground below them. Those that get too close to the edge are never the same afterward, having been changed both mentally and sometimes physically by the experience, but what it is that forces these changes is never quite explained. In fact, while there is a tremendous amount explained about the workings of the city of Internment (if not explained outright, then through the explanations and reactions of the characters), but there is so much left to discover: What is Internment, exactly? Why is it floating above the Earth? What keeps it afloat? Much of this is kept secret from the reader, much like the residents of Internment are kept in the dark, and I think (hope) we'll find out the answers to these questions as they do. (I already have my suspicions. I'll be curious to see if I'm correct or not.)

These and many more questions secretly float around in the head of Morgan Stockhour. She knows that these thoughts would label her as an irrational, but much like her brother, Lex, who did get to close to the edge of Internment and is now paying the price, she can't get the thoughts out of her head. She knows that she should follow the rules, finish her schooling, marry her betrothed, and carry with her life like she should. She just can't; her mind wanders to the edge too frequently. When the first murder in a generation occurs, it throws the tight knit community into turmoil. Morgan finds herself in increasingly difficult situations, she slowly begins to realize that life on Internment may not be all that it seems to be. The cliffhanger ending to the book is pitch perfect, seriously leaving me gasping for more! I finished the last sentence and had to put the book down for a moment before going back and re-reading the last bits again. The sense of adventure and wonder that I was left with was palpable and I can't believe that I have to wait until who knows when for the next book. Alas and alack, first world problems and all that, right?

Needless to say, DeStefano has created a damned fine book. She avoids some of the YA stereotypes in this volume (Hello, lack of love triangle! So refreshing to see you again!) which I find as a huge plus for this book. Her characters are believable, and I feel for each and everyone of them. The mystery of Internment is fantastic, and as for what that happens next? Well, I will be waiting with bated breath for the next volume of The Internment Chronicles. Thank you, Lauren DeStefano, for crafting us such a fantastic book!

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!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Holly Black, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and a Giveaway!


Last week, my local Indie, Schuler Books, hosted Holly Black on the last stop of her tour to promote her newest book, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I've seen Holly before, and she's always a delight to meet and listen to. It was hard to get a picture of her because she's so animated when she talks. You can tell she really enjoys meeting her fans and sharing in all of our mutual love of good books.

Speaking of good books, I thoroughly enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. In a sea of recent YA trilogies that seem to all follow the same basic template, it's refreshing to discover a one-off volume that breaks some of those templates and is able to stand on its own. Haven't read Coldest Girl yet, or would like to get your hands on a signed edition? This is for you! I had received an ARC copy prior to publication of Coldest Girl and then ended up buying a copy at the signing. I got both copies signed and I'd like to share my ARC copy with you. Just enter below for a chance to win!

Good luck and happy reading!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer Falls by Amelia Williams

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Title: Summer Falls
Author: Amelia Williams
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 70
ISBN: 9781448141531
Publisher: Random House UK
Twitter: @bbcdoctorwho, @DoctorWho_BBCA, @atrandom, @RandomHouseUK
Format: Kindle
Available: April 4, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

I've really enjoyed these ebook tie-ins to the Doctor Who television show. They're nice little nods to the fans and do help to expand the story in their own way. In the first episode of the second part of season seven, "The Bells of Saint John", one of the children that Clara is taking care of as nanny is reading a book titled Summer Falls by Amelia Williams, who Doctor Who fans will know as Amy Pond, the Doctor's previous female companion. (And just in case some readers aren't caught up, I'll not reveal any spoilers as to why Amy isn't traveling with the Doctor by this point.) Clara asks about the book Artie is reading, says it's a good one, and it was basically left at that.

BBC then released an ebook version of the book, and what follows would seem to be Amy Pond's love song to the Doctor in print form. The story revolves around Kate and her adventures trying to keep the The Lord of Winter at bay. The Doctor clearly makes an appearance, but he his role is more of a background one, as Kate and her reluctant friends try to solve the mystery of the Lord of Winter.

I really enjoyed this quick read and obviously for Whovians, there are little Easter eggs spread throughout. Whovians may be the only ones to get some of the inside jokes in the story, but it's written well enough that I think even the most causal fan of Doctor Who or general reader will be able to enjoy the story.




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, September 11, 2013

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

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Title: The Thirteenth Tale
Author: Diane Setterfield
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9780743298025
Publisher: Atria Books
Twitter: @AtriaBooks
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5/5 stars

The Thirteenth Tale is one of those rare books that come along, grabs you from the first page, won't let go until the very end, and then leaves you wanting more. Harkening back to Gothic novels such as Jane Eyre, The Thirteenth Tale weaves an intricate spell in its telling, leaving you feeling slightly dazed at the conclusion.

When Margaret Lea receives a mysterious note one day from England's premier storyteller, Vida Winter, little does she know that what commences will be a story unlike any she has ever heard. Vida Winter is the consummate storyteller of her day, providing no less than 19 versions of her life's story. Margaret Lea is a biographer who deals in only facts. When Vida Winter finally decides to tell the truth to Margaret, naturally she can only be suspicious. Margaret asks for 3 verifiable details from Miss Winter's life, and when Miss Winter offers those up, she knows that she will be given the truth. The truth is a story so compelling and well-written that she becomes lost in its telling and the fabric of Miss Winter's life.

For the reader, Diane Setterfield has created an amazingly haunting ghost story. There are so many twists and turns that I didn't even realize were occurring that when I discovered them, I would backtrack just to see how cleverly she placed them in the story. Compared to some of the greatest works of Gothic romance and mystery, you'll find a little bit of everything here: secrets, mysteries, murder, madness, obsession, ghosts. Setterfield brings all the elements familiar to the genre together into her own masterfully written tale, creating a book that is both spellbinding and unforgettable. This is one of those books that I would place at the top of my all time favorites and can read and reread over again. If you are looking for a great paced, well-written Gothic adventure, then this book is for you!




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, September 10, 2013

Book release: Spirit Animals, Book 1: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

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Title: Wild Born
Series: Spirit Animals, Book 1
Author: Brandon Mull
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780545522434
Publisher: Scholastic
Author Website: brandonmull.com
Twitter: @brandonmull, @Scholastic
Format: Hardcover
Available: September 10, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

Spirit Animals, Book 1: Wild Born by Brandon Mull from Scholastic is released today! Read my review of this fast-paced middle grade adventure here.

You can pick it up at your favorite bookstore and play along online at Scholastic's website.




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, September 9, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

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Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9780316213103
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Author Website: www.blackholly.com
Twitter: @hollyblack
Format: Hardcover
Available: September 3, 2013
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I'm not going to lie, I was a little concerned going into The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I've been mildly burnt out on YA recently, with many of the current reads seeming vaguely formulaic. The biggest thing that constantly bugged me was the inevitable love triangle between the heroine and the two (predictably) hot guys, one being the friend who may or may not be already involved with the heroine, and then the "bad" guy, who may or may not actually be bad, but is clearly out of the heroine's comfort zone. A fellow reader told me that Coldest Girl was not like that, yet when the book opens with our heroine, Tana, waking up after a party to find everyone in the house dead with the exception of her ex-boyfriend and another vampire, I immediately thought, "Sigh. Another love triangle. And so soon!" I trust my friend, though, so I persevered and continued on without setting the book down after the first couple of chapters, and I'm not disappointed I did.

Black constructs some nice world building around her vampires and what it takes to infect a person and turn them into a vampire. Instead of an instantaneous transformation, humans can come down with an infection, known as going Cold, and it is possible to fight off the infection and not turn. Yet, if an infected human drinks human blood, then they will turn into a vampire. In order to quarantine both those infected and turned, certain cities across the country are walled off (known then as Coldtowns) and those inside try to get by as best they can. Like most of Black's stories, this isn't a fairytale world. These Coldtowns are dirty, grungy, dangerous places with their own sense of glamour and beauty.

Tana proves to be a strong protagonist throughout, not generally needing help from others. This was refreshing, as is the fact that this is a stand alone story. Black seems to have intentionally tried to downplay anything that makes for a "typical" YA paranormal story these days: Trilogies. Strong, but not strong, female protagonists. The love triangle. All of these things are almost there, but she pulls back before toppling too far into that territory, and for that I'm thankful.

Black's writing again leaves me in a love/hate relationship. Her writing is solid and clear, yet it always leaves me wanting. I'm never quite sure what I want, but it always seems that whatever that "thing" is that will push me over the edge to simply loving her writing is always just out of reach for me. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is really good storytelling, and fans of her work shouldn't be disappointed and should be a good introduction for those not familiar with her work.




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Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 2013 Recap

Books Read

6 books finished
  1. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
  2. Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet by Gerry Davis
  3. William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher
  4. Spirit Animals, Book 1: Wild Born by Brandon Mull
  5. The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting 
  6. Night Film by Marisha Pessl 
1,684 pages total

Gender of author:
2 male
4 female

Year of Publication:
1 - 1920
1 - 1926
1 - 1976
3 - 2013


Books Acquired

12 books total

1 hardcover purchased at Schuler
1 paperback purchased at Afterwords in Chicago
5 used hardcovers purchased at Schuler in Grand Rapids
2 used paperbacks purchased at Schuler in Grand Rapids
1 hardcover received as gift
1 ARC received from publisher
1 hardcover purchased thru Subterranean Press

3 have been read

2013 Year to Date Totals

Books Read: 60
Pages Read: 12,635

Books Acquired: 154
Books Acquired Read: 31

Friday, August 30, 2013

William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher

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Title: William Shakespeare's Star Wars
Author: Ian Doescher
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781594746376
Publisher: Quirk Books
Author Website: www.iandoescher.com
Twitter: @iandoescher, @quirkbooks
Format: Hardcover
Available: July 2, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

I'm fairly certain that one on going into this book is going to take it seriously. Shakespeareans and hardcore Star Wars fans could very well be appalled by the very existence of this book, but I think geeks in general will love this. The book is exactly what the title says it is, the entirety of Episode IV (A New Hope - here titled, Verily, A New Hope) presented in all the glory of iambic pentameter as if the Bard himself had written it, complete with archaic turns of phrase and punctuation. Ian Doescher is clearly well-versed in Shakespeare's writing style to have pulled this off so well.

Is it goofy? Yep. Is it a great work of literature? Nope. Is it still fantastic fun? Hell, yes! Do I want to see the other two episodes from the original trilogy presented just the same? Absolutely! Everything about the book and presentation, from the writing to the illustrations of scenes from the movie as if they were from an Elizabethan stage production (the illustrations are made to look like wood engravings) is just spot on to create a book that is damn fun to read.

Sometime soon, I think I may need to pop the Bluray of A New Hope in and read this while watching it at the same time. That should be an interesting combination! Happy reading!




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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

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Title: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Series: Hercule Poirot, Book 4
Author: Agatha Christie
Copyright: 2004 (1926)
Pages: 358
ISBN: 9780425200476
Publisher: Berkley
Author Website: www.agathachristie.com
Twitter: @penguinusa
Format: Paperback
Available: August 31, 2004
Rating: 5/5 stars

My reading group's selection for July was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, so instead of rehashing what I wrote before, I'm just going to copy and paste my thoughts from when I first read the book several years ago.
I'm still relatively new to the world of Agatha Christie as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is only the third book that Dame Agatha wrote that I have read. I've heard that she has been known to reuse plot devices and that sometimes, some of her stories can become repetitive, but if they are all written like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I would be happy with that. This will easily top my list of favorite books.

I don't want to go into too much detail, as I'm always afraid that I'll let something slip that will spoil the end of the story for newcomers to Christie's writing. The book is so complex that I wouldn't even know where to begin. There is a suicide, blackmail, cocaine abuse, secrets, and of course, murder. In his usual flair, Hercule Poirot (who happens to be in the right place at the right time) is brought in to investigate. Through the course of the book, suspicion is plainly brought on each of the main characters in the Ackroyd household, and you will never have a clue as to "who done it" until the very end. Every chapter, I was sure I knew who had committed the murder, yet every time I was wrong. An ingenious book.




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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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Title: Night Film
Author: Marisha Pessl
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 624
ISBN: 9781400067886
Publisher: Random House
Author Website: marishapessl.com
Twitter: @marishapessl, @atrandom
Format: ARC picked up at ALA
Available: August 20, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

Marisha Pessl's sophomore novel, Night Film, is a hard creature to categorize. Part occult thriller, part mystery, part WTFery, part paranormal chiller, part crazy, drug-induced reading material, I had no idea half the time where the story was going. I kept thinking, "Oh, this must be It! The Thing. The Thing causing all the crazy in these people's lives!" But no, I was wrong, every time.

The book opens with the apparent suicide of Ashley Cordova, daughter of legendary film director Stanislas Cordova, whose films are so gut wrenching and insanity inducing that they have been more or less banned from theaters and only available as bootlegged editions or played in catacombs around the world in the middle of the night (hence, the name, Night Film. Disgraced journalist Scott McGrath (who became a disgraced journalist due to his earlier work trying to uncover the secrets around Cordova) decides to investigate Ashley's death, to see if there is more to it than a simple suicide. What follows is this rabbit hole of a twisty, turny nightmare for Scott and Hopper and Nora, two people Scott reluctantly take on as "assistants" and who may or may not have something more to do with Ashley than they initially let on.

The story starts off relatively normal (for lack of a better word), but with each discovery made about Ashley's life, the stranger the turns in the story become. Most of it seems highly implausible, but the nature of the book makes even the most implausible turns in the story seem plausible in this book's particular world. Once the characters start down the rabbit hole of piecing together the last couple of days of Ashley's life, the reader needs to stop trying to make sense of what is happening in the story. Just go with it. It inevitably works in the end, even though there are sections of the book that made me feel that I may have been going a bit crazy myself. This is the thing with Pessl; I don't know that I can honestly say that she's a great writer. She's a good writer, just not great. What she is great at, though, is telling a story. Crafting it, honing it, making you feel a little like you're going down your own rabbit hole while reading the story, and when you finally come out the other end, you're left honestly wondering what just happened. It's been several days since I finished Night Film, and I can honestly say I don't really know what to make of the book. There are bits referenced towards the end of the book that I don't actually remember reading, but I'm sure are there. There are bits of the story that I had to read two or three times to make sure I could understand what exactly was happening, and I'm still not entirely sure I know what was going on. Most of what I'm talking about doesn't occur until the last 1/4 of the book, but once you read it, you'll know what I'm talking about. So, Pessl isn't a great writer, but she's able to carry off a damned good story over the course of a 600 page book with her own style and sense of ease.

However.

Dear lord, somebody needs to tell that woman that intelligent readers are able to figure out when emphasis or sarcasm are being implied in writing, and she doesn't need to italicize Every. Single. Instance. Every. Single. Time. No joke. Pessl wields italics like a child with a new toy; as if she just discovered the italicize function on her computer, so therefore must use it everywhere. There are at least 6-10 italicized words/phrases per page. PER PAGE! When you take into account this book clocks in around 600 pages, that is a staggeringly overused amount of italics. It's not always used for inner dialogue. If there was quite a bit of inner dialogue, that would be one thing, but sometimes it's just random words in a paragraph. Maybe she does it on purpose, and I'm sorry to keep going on about this, but damn, it is seriously distracting. I would find myself ripped out of the story, just to count the number of instances per page. Less is more, Marisha Pessl. Less is more.

OK. I got that out of the way. (Seriously. The italics bugged me. A lot.)

Now, I also need to talk about a very, very cool aspect of this book. Pessl is clearly very aware of the digital age we live in, so uses some very clever techniques in the book to create a sort of multimedia presentation in print form. Included within the pages of the story are text messages, web pages, court documents, phone transcripts, photos, magazine articles, etc., all of which help to tell the story and carry it along. These techniques also help to blur the line between fiction and reality, giving the book a slightly otherworldly feel, almost as if we may actually be reading the true account of the real-life journalist Scott McGrath and his real-life investigation into the larger-than-life, mysterious presence that is Stanislas Cordova.

And just take a moment to appreciate that cover up there. I LOVE the cover on this book. Whoever put the entire package of this book together did a bang up job.

So, I guess I can recommend the book, but with some reservation. I don't think it's going to be for everyone, but no book ever is, right? All I know is that Marisha Pessl impressed me enough that I picked up her first book, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and am looking forward to starting that. If you like something a little out of the ordinary, something that is a little unique, you'd be hard-pressed to find something better than Night Film.

Happy reading!




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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spirit Animals, Book 1: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

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Title: Wild Born
Series: Spirit Animals, Book 1
Author: Brandon Mull
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780545522434
Publisher: Scholastic
Author Website: brandonmull.com
Twitter: @brandonmull, @Scholastic
Format: ARC picked up at ALA
Available: September 10, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

Spirit Animals is the next series in Scholastic's multi-author, multi-platform, multimedia book series for middle graders, along with The 39 Clues and The Infinity Ring. I haven't had any experience with the other two series, so I don't know how this one holds up to those two, but when I saw this book available at ALA earlier this year, I thought I'd give it a chance.

I was actually pleasantly surprised by Brandon Mull's world building. He doesn't waste much time before we are thrown directly into the story and are given history to the character's world and mythology right away. In the world of Erdas, when a child turns 11, they are given Nectar to see if they can call a spirit animal to them. Not every child calls a spirit animal, and it is never known which animal they will call. The spirit animals become a companion to the child and they learn to work together, the child gaining some more than natural ability that is attributed to what their spirit animal is. When the animal is dormant, it becomes a tattoo on the person that it is bound to.

Four children from around the world (very deliberately multi-cultural, and very PC with 2 boys and 2 girls) each are given Nectar and they then each call one of the Four Fallen great animals of legend. It has been prophesied by a member of the Greencloaks (those in charge of protecting the Nectar and Erdas) that these four children were going to call on the great animals because their world is endangered as the Devourer, a great evil from the past, has also returned.

What follows from here is a fast paced adventure where the children must take on their first challenge and learn to work together with both themselves and their spirit animals. I really think this series will be a hit with both boys and girls, as Mull does a great job of portraying the kids in the book realistically, showing that kids can be smart and strong, but at that age, they still have insecurities to get over, and that it's OK to have those insecurities because their still young. I think the fantasy elements will go over well with kids, as they are portrayed as grand in scope, but not overwhelming, so I think a younger audience will really go for this. I'm sure the online interactivity will also be a big draw for kids. You will be able to go online and create a character and call on a spirit animal and it looks like you'll be able to play online games and check in with other friends who are playing as well. Like I said before, since I've not had any experience with Scholastic's other books that tie in with an online element for kids, I can't really give much more information than this, but I'm assuming they are doing well, as this is the third such series that Scholastic is putting out.

I'll be picking up the next book to see how the continuing authors carry on with the groundwork that Mull has set. The next book in the series, which if the cover is anything to go on deals with the wolf spirit animals, is written by Maggie Steifvater, who is no stranger to wolf-based fiction with her Shiver Trilogy for young adults. That book will be released in January, 2014.

You can pick up a copy of Spirit Animals, Book 1: Wild Born by Brandon Mull from Scholastic on September 10, 2013, at your favorite bookstore!




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, August 14, 2013

Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet by Gerry Davis

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Title: Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet
Series: Doctor Who Library
Author: Gerry Davis
Copyright: 1976 (2012)
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781849904742
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Twitter: @EburyPublishing, @bbcdoctorwho, @DrWhoBBCBooks
Format: Paperback
Available: May 10, 2012
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is a current reprint from BBC Books of a vintage Target Books novelization of the Doctor Who story, The Tenth Planet, the First Doctor's final adventure. Target Books would release novelizations of just about every Doctor Who episode, though not necessarily in the order that they serials were released to television. For instance, Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet was released in 1976, while the serial it was based on was broadcast in 1966. I have not seen the episodes this novelization was based on, but I'm familiar with the events and feel like the novel did a more than adequate job of translating the story to print. In fact, I think given that the story was written a decade after the episodes aired, Davis was able to improve on the story in some ways, since the future that was being described in the 1960s episodes was far closer to the 1970s story being told here. In the afterword, it is revealed that there are some changes made to the story, replacing scenes where the Doctor was missing from the aired episodes (William Hartnell was absent from an entire episode of filming due to illness, so changes to the script had to be made to include that absence), slight changes in time (the television episodes took place in 1986, the novelization takes place in 2000), and changes to the way the Doctor regenerated.

This adventure was also the introduction to the Cybermen, who came from Earth's sister planet Mondas, and who were coming to destroy the Earth. Mondas was a dying planet, and when it came back into our solar system, it started to leech power away from the Earth, so that eventually Earth would be laid to waste and Mondas would be a strong planet again. The Cybermen come to Earth to keep the security forces of the planet from interfering with the energy transference to Mondas. Naturally, the Doctor and his companions, Polly and Ben, find themselves in the right place at the right time (or the wrong place at the wrong time, depending on how you look at it), and the Doctor seems to know exactly what's going on and helps to defend the Earth.  Through the course of this adventure, the Doctor grows more and more weak, eventually resulting in his first regeneration.

I really enjoyed reading this novelization. One of the things that made it really work for me was how contemporary the writing and feel of the story is for something that was written 35 years ago. Had I not know when the story was written before I read it, I would have thought it had been written more recently. I felt that the changes Davis made to the story worked well, especially since he wrote the original screenplay for The Tenth Planet and is responsible for the creation of the Cybermen, and was asked by Target to write this novelization ten years later.

This is my first experience with the Target Books edition of Doctor Who stories, and I'm fairly sure I'll be picking more up as I find them.  Recommended for Doctor Who fans!




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, August 13, 2013

New book in the mail



I almost fainted yesterday when I opened this package from Simon & Schuster. I know what I'm reading next!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Glitter & Doom: A Masque of the Red Death Story by Bethany Griffin

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Title: Glitter & Doom: A Masque of the Red Death Story
Series: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 50
ISBN: 9780062225665
Publisher: Under the Green Willow
Author Website: www.bethanygriffin.com
Twitter: @_bethanygriffin, @GreenwillowBook
Format: ebook
Available: 3-26-13
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is just a short bridge between Masque of the Red Death and Dance of the Red Death, so there really isn't a lot of necessary information in this book (having not read Dance yet, this is an assumption, but I'd be surprised if there was something vital to the overall story in this novella). What we have here, though, are a couple of scenes seen through April's eyes, so it's interesting to get her perspective on what's going on around her. I am anxious to get to Dance of the Red Death. These books constantly surprise me by how much I enjoy them!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July 2013 Recap

Books Read

5 books finished
  1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  2. Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger
  3. A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson
  4. Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint 
  5. The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton
1,006 pages total

Gender of author:
2 male
3 female

Year of Publication:
1 - 1993
1 - 2012
3 - 2013


Books Acquired

2 books total

1 hardcover purchased at book signing at Schuler
1 paperback purchased at Schuler

1 has been read

2013 Year to Date Totals

Books Read: 54
Pages Read: 10,948

Books Acquired: 142
Books Acquired Read: 25

Monday, July 29, 2013

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate & Patricia Castelao (Illustrator)

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Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Katherine Applegate & Patricia Castelao (Illustrator)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780061992254
Publisher: HarperCollins
Author Website: theoneandonlyivan.com, www.pcastelao.com
Twitter: @kaauthor, @HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
Available: January 17, 2012
Rating: 5/5 stars

Truth be told, my reading this book and my reviewing are somewhat far removed, but as I'm trying to get caught up on my reading/reviewing for the year, I'm going to talk about the impressions the book left me with, even after this amount of time. Ivan, a gorilla, has lived most of his life in a circus-themed shopping mall where he has been the star. There is also Stella, the elephant, and Bob, and stray dog who has befriended Ivan and Stella. When the owner of the mall decides that Ivan and Stella aren't pulling in the audience that they should, he purchases Ruby and tries to force her to perform for the shoppers, but she is young and scared and takes to Stella immediately. What stands Ivan apart from other gorillas is that he likes to draw, and the daughter of the custodian of the mall helps nurture this talent in him. As Stella grows older, Ivan promises to Ruby that he will watch over and find a way to get her out of the mall, even though he's really not sure how he's going to be able to keep that promise.

What follows from there is a story full of love, hope, and humanity. Ivan proves to be able to reach above his lot in life and keeps his promise for Ruby, but it's really how he goes about keeping that promise that is so amazing. This was a book that I'm glad that I read, and I know I'm not doing it any justice with this review, so just trust me when I say that this is a book full of magic and love, and if you have small children, this would be a perfect book to read aloud to them and to share and to talk about.

Highly recommended.




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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hanging out with authors


So, I don't have any pictures from this weekend, which I'm a little sad about, but I volunteered to help my friend Sarah sell books at the Young Authors' Conference on Saturday this past weekend, and I got to hang out with Mary Robinette Kowal (author of Shades of Milk and Honey, Glamour in Glass, and Without a Summer), Jim Hines (author of the Jig the Goblin series, the Princess series, and the Ex Libris series), Courtney Moulton (author of the Angelfire series), and Aimée Carter (author of the Goddess Test series and the upcoming Blackcoat Rebellion series).

Needless to say, I was pretty excited about the whole thing. Mary is hands down one of the most interesting people to talk to. I mean, the woman does everything. In addition to writing novels, she is a professional puppeteer (she does everything from sock puppets to shadow puppets to 125lb life size puppets), she is an audiobook narrator, she makes her own Regency dresses based off of authentic patterns, she teaches classes on both writing and narrating. Honestly, the list goes on and on and she's always a delight to talk to. Jim is an all around fun guy to talk to, and this is the first time that I've ever had a chance to really sit down and talk to him. We discussed ALA and discovered our shared love of Doctor Who, as we were both there in our Doctor Who t-shirts. Aimée and Courtney are always a blast. The two of them are best friends, so it's always fun to see how they play off of each others strengths at these events.

I would say the event itself was a success for everyone. The kids seemed like they were really enjoying themselves, the authors thought the kids were really engaged in the seminars, and even the parents were enjoying themselves. I'm looking forward to volunteering again next year!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Destiny of the Doctor Parts 1-3

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Title: Doctor Who: Hunters of Earth
Series: Destiny of the Doctor, Part 1
Author: Nigel Robinson
Narrator: Carole Ann Ford & Tam Williams
Copyright: 2013
ISBN: 9781471311567

Title: Doctor Who: Shadow of Death
Series: Destiny of the Doctor, Part 2
Author: Simon Guerrier
Narrator: Frazer Hines & Evie Dawnay
Copyright: 2013
ISBN: 9781471311680

Title: Doctor Who: Vengeance of the Stones
Series: Destiny of the Doctor, Part 3
Author: Andrew Smith
Narrator: Richard Franklin & Trevor Littledale
Copyright: 2013
ISBN: 9781471311697

Audio Production: Big Finish
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4/5 stars (combined)

So, this is an interesting 50th Anniversary story for the Doctor. Each of these stories can stand on their own, but there is also a background thread that is tying all these stories together as Eleven is contacting his previous regenerations and directing them to an end means that I'm sure will be revealed as more productions are released.

I've never listened to any of the Big Finish productions before, and I'm thoroughly enjoying them. Having previous companions come in to do the voice work for the stories is really quite a treat for me. I like that these are original stories written for these productions as well, as I thought at first that these were just older productions being re-released for the 50th anniversary. When Eleven contacted One in the first production, and then contacted each subsequent Doctor, that's when I realized that these were all new productions with the running thread through them of Eleven directing his previous selves so that they didn't destroy the future. Or something like that. Clearly there is an overall story arc going on in the background that won't be revealed until I assuming Eleven's story is released.

The first story, Hunters of Earth, is a decent story. It seems to take place before the events of An Unearthly Child, as Ian and Barbara don't seem to be involved in Susan's life yet. Susan is trying to fit in with the current school that she's attending, but there seems to be something wrong, as the other teenagers in the area are becoming increasingly violent and hunting down anyone who isn't normal, or who are "alien". Carole Ann Ford reprises her role of Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter, and does a great job.

The second story, Shadow of Death, is IMO the best of the three that I have listened to so far. Frazer Hines reprises his role as Jamie and does a fantastic job of also reading for the Second Doctor. His rendition of Two is spot on. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, after an emergency landing on a remote planet sometime in the future, discover a human outpost there, where scientists are studying an uninhabited city. They need to be careful, as the star this planet orbits causes time to move differently than normal, so when inside the base camp, time moves "normally", while outside time moves much slower. The Doctor needs to begin to piece together what is happening to the inhabitants of the city before the scientists and the Doctor and his friends are killed.

The third story, Vengeance of the Stones, was the hardest to follow. There are several characters in the story, and sometimes it's too difficult to follow who is speaking. Richard Franklin is back as Mike Yates, and he also does a decent job of acting for Three as well, but overall, I felt that there were just too many characters for only two voice actors to act out. The story wasn't exactly clear on what was happening either, something to do with the recumbent stone circles that are found around Scotland and how an alien race is going to use the power found in the circles to exact revenge against the Earth for a past grievance. Overall, not bad, just too much going on all at once.

Eleven pops up in each of these stories via messages that he is sending to the past. I'm going to continue downloading these as I'm really enjoying the audio productions and I'm intrigued to see what has Eleven so troubled that he needs to contact all his previous regenerations. Overall, I'm really pleased with these productions and will probably look for more from Big Finish in the future!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton

Happy release day to Meg Waite Clayton for The Wednesday Daughters! You can find her new book at your favorite bookstore today, and I highly recommend picking it up.

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Title: The Wednesday Daughters
Author: Meg Waite Clayton
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 289
ISBN: 9780345530288
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Author Website: www.megwaiteclayton.com
Twitter: @MegWClayton
Format: ARC provided by author for honest review
Available: July 16, 2013
Rating: 5/5 stars

So, I'm not going to lie. When I received The Wednesday Daughters in the mail, I anxiously picked it right up and started reading, having loved Meg Waite Clayton's two previous novels. Then I thought for a moment that I was reading something a little too familiar. I felt like The Wednesday Daughters was treading too similar waters, that the characters from The Wednesday Sisters had been dropped into the setting of The Four Ms Bradwells, where friends go off to a cottage in the woods to deal with a major life change. Well, I was wrong. Yes, it does seem at first as if the Daughters borrow heavily from her previous two novels, but that's not really the case. At all.

The book opens with three of the Wednesday Daughters, Julie, Anne Page, and Hope, arriving at Ally's (Hope's mother) writing cottage shortly after Ally's death. They've come here to help Hope sort through her mother's belongings, and almost immediately on their arrival, Hope begins to discover there is an entire portion of her mother's life that she didn't know about. What follows is a lovely story on the discovery of family ties and friendships, and how those ties can bind, even through the years and beyond death.

Intermixed in the story is a biography of sorts of Beatrix Potter. Ally had been working on this biography when she died, and how Clayton has her go about working on it is actually quite clever.

Quite frankly, once I really got into the story, I couldn't put it down. I actually read the entire book in two sittings, and I'm honestly embarrassed by my initial reaction to the book. Meg Waite Clayton has clearly had some amazing female friendships in her lifetime, as she knows how to write about them and create realistic and believable characters and the experiences and emotions, both good and bad, that flow between friends who are more family and who have known each other their entire lives. I liked how Daughters isn't a direct sequel to Sisters. Yes, there is mention of the Wednesday Sisters from the first book, and there are even guest appearances, but this isn't really their story. This story deals directly with the Wednesday Daughters, and the challenges that their generation can face in the real world. You don't need to read Sisters to enjoy Daughters, but being familiar with the first book does enhance the reading experience for Daughters.

I love Meg Waite Clayton's writing. She writes in such a familiar fashion that is so easy to read, and moves the story along with such beautiful imagery. I enjoy her characters, I enjoy her pacing, I enjoy her language. So basically, ignore everything I said at the beginning of this review and pick up the book. If you've read her previous novels, you'll be reminded why Clayton is such a great writer, and if you are new to her writing, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Highly recommended and happy reading!




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