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Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 2013 Recap

Books Read

8 books finished
  1. Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown
  2. Snow White by The Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia
  3. Building Stories by Chris Ware 
  4. Gris Grimly's Wicked Nursery Rhymes by Gris Grimly 
  5. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger 
  6. Doctor Who: A Big Hand for the Doctor: Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Eshorts, First Doctor by Eoin Colfer
  7. Soulless the Manga, Vol 2 by Gail Carriger, illustrated by Rem
  8. Saga, Vol 1 by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples
1261 pages total

Gender of author:
6 male, 2 female (3 of these were illustrated by females)

Year of Publication:
1 - 2003
1 - 2007
3 - 2012
3 - 2013

Books Acquired

5 books total

1 hardcover purchased at local store
1 graphic novel purchased at local comic shop
1 Kindle book purchased thru Amazon
1 hardcover was a gift

All were new and I read 3 of those

2013 Year to Date Totals

Books Read: 8
Pages Read: 1261

Books Acquired: 5
Books Acquired Read: 3

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Doctor Who: A Big Hand for the Doctor: First Doctor by Eoin Colfer

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Title: Doctor Who: A Big Hand for the Doctor: First Doctor
Series: Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Eshorts, #1
Author: Eoin Colfer
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 41
ISBN: 9781405912051
Publisher: Puffin Books
Author Website:
Twitter: @eoincolfer, @PuffinBooks, @bbcdoctorwho, @DoctorWho_BBCA
Format: ebook
Available: 1-23-2013
Rating: 3/5 stars

OK, so maybe not everybody that reads my blog (those few that do, thank you!) know this, but I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan. Possibly bordering on obsessed. It's hard for me to explain really, but the show makes me profoundly happy. I just love it. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the show, and I don't think there's a better time to be a fan of the show. So much is being done to celebrate the anniversary, and one of my favorites is a series of 11 new eshorts celebrating all 11 Doctors being written by some of the biggest names in young people's literature. Each eshort is going to be released on the 23rd of the month, with the eleventh story released on the 50th anniversary date, November 23. They are keeping each of the writers under wraps until early in the month of release for their story, so really, nobody knows who is writing which Doctor.

Eoin Colfer (of Artemis Fowl fame) was selected to write the First Doctor's story. In this new adventure, the Doctor is facing off against the Soul Pirates, a vile alien species that kidnaps children and harvests either their brain power to power their ship or their organs to repair themselves, allowing them to live inordinately long lives. The Doctor had been tracking them and wanted to put a stop to their evil ways, and along the way his granddaughter, Susan, is also kidnapped by the Soul Pirates, thereby making this a personal fight for the Doctor. What follows is a brief but exciting adventure as the Doctor does what the Doctor does best, saving the day.

(Full disclosure here: I've come at Doctor Who more with the New Who than the Classic Who. I remember watching Doctor Who in the late 70s/early 80s with Tom Baker, but I never really understood what I was watching, since I never saw a full story in a row. I've watched several of the William Hartnell stories now, but haven't seen them all.)

The First Doctor was portrayed by William Hartnell from 1963-1966, and his characterization of the Doctor was different from just about every regeneration of the Doctor that we've seen since. He's slightly grumpy, slightly curmudgeonly, and not very proactive. He was more of the think it through type rather than a call to arms type of Doctor, and I've read several reviews of this short that find fault in Eoin Colfer's First Doctor, as that is not necessarily the characterization that Colfer went with. Colfer's Doctor is a little more witty and adventurous than Hartnell's Doctor, and for hardcore Whovians, I can see where this would be a problem.

However, I think Colfer is creating a First Doctor for a new generation. Kids today, and especially their attention spans, probably wouldn't hold up well to Hartnell's characterization of the Doctor, so Colfer took the basic idea of the First Doctor and updated him a little bit. He still thinks things through, but he's a little more proactive in his execution of a resolution. He's still slightly grumpy, but has a certain wit that runs through that grumpiness. I've read complaints that the Doctor drops too many current references (Harry Potter, for instance). I'm sorry, but if he went around in this story only dropping references to things that happened in the 1960s when Hartnell was portraying him, kids today wouldn't understand those references. I think that's the point that many hardcore Whovians are missing, that these stories are written not for them, but for kids, and modern day kids, not kids in the 1960s. Maybe I'm wrong, and Colfer is actually doing a disservice to the memory of the First Doctor and William Hartnell, but for this reader, I think he did an admirable job of taking the old and making it new again.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

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Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Series: Finishing School, Book 1
Author: Gail Carriger
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780316190084
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Author Website:
Twitter: @gailcarriger, @littlebrown
Format: ARC paperback
Available: February 5, 2013
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I have been a huge fan of Gail Carriger since I first read Soulless several years ago, and have been following her Parasol Protectorate series. (Full disclosure here: I haven't actually finished the final book, Timeless, as I really don't want the series to end.) When I heard that she was going to be writing a YA series set in the same universe, I was thrilled. When I was given an opportunity to read an ARC of the book, I was beyond thrilled. I'm happy to report that Ms. Carriger has not let me down with this new series.

Sophronia Angelina Temminnick is, by all accounts, a tomboy in an era when such shenanigans by a female is frowned upon, at the very least. She likes to see how things work, she likes to be active, and she could care less about the finer points of civilized, ladylike behaviour. All in all, she's the bane of her mother's existence. Enter Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Sophronia's mother is hoping that sending Sophronia off to finishing school will help curb some of her more unappealing attributes.

Unbeknownst to her mother, Mademoiselle Geraldine's is not your typical finishing school, for Mademoiselle Geraldine's teaches its girls not only the finer points of ladylike behaviour, but also the finer points of subterfuge, seduction, poisoning, and various other talents necessary to a successful life of espionage. At first, Sophronia does not want to go to finishing school, until she discovers the underlying nature of Mademoiselle Geraldine's and finds that her particular skills help her to fit right in at the school.

One of the things that I liked most about Etiquette & Espionage is how Ms. Carriger works it into her preexisting universe. Taking place roughly 25 years before the events of the Parasol Protectorate, we find ourselves meeting the younger versions of some of the characters we're already familiar with. (I won't tell you who, as that's part of the fun!) I was curious how/if Ms. Carriger was going to tie these two series together, and I think she did an admirable job. If you come to Etiquette & Espionage already familiar with the Parasol Protectorate series, you'll find yourself recognizing some of the characters. If Etiquette & Espionage is your first outing with Ms. Carriger's characters, these younger versions stand perfectly well on their own, and you can use this book as a gateway drug into the more sophisticated world built in the Parasol Protectorate.

This draws me to the only fault I have with the book. The Parasol Protectorate is so witty and clever and sophisticated in so many ways, and knowing how Ms. Carriger is able to write, to see her scaling back on her sophistication to make it more palatable for a YA audience took me aback a little. I'm not even quite sure that that's the best way to put it. I can see all the hallmarks of her usual cleverness, but somehow it just didn't seem to hit the mark every time, and the book did seem rushed sometimes, as if she were forcing it to be shorter. Now, don't get me wrong, I was giggling through almost the entire book, but it did seem to be lacking something. Perhaps, being Ms. Carriger's YA debut, she needs time to grow into her YA voice, to get the pacing down and learn how to write a shorter story. I don't know. Maybe I'm analyzing too much. You can be sure that this one little thing won't be keeping me from picking up the rest of the series as it is released.

So, in my opinion, Ms. Carriger has proven that she can hold her own as a YA writer as well as an SciFi/Fantasy writer, and while there is the argument that there might a little room for improvement, she hasn't disappointed this reader at all. If you are a fan of the Parasol Protectorate, or are curious about Ms. Carriger's writing, I wholeheartedly recommend Etiquette & Espionage!

Etiquette & Espionage will be available from Little, Brown & Company on February 5, 2013.

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!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mila 2.0 Origins: The Fire by Debra Driza

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Title: Mila 2.0 Origins: The Fire
Series: Mila 2.0 ebook prequel
Author: Debra Driza
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 15
ISBN: 9780062262936
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Author Website:
Twitter: @DebraDriza
Format: ebook
Rating: 3/5 stars

It's hard to really review/rate these little ebook teasers, as that's all they are, teasers. I guess, this one did its job, though, since I'm intrigued enough by the opening sequence and the first couple of chapters to want to check the rest of the book out.

The opening sequence deals with the burning of Mila's house, and the panic she feels as she tries to find her parents in the inferno to rescue them. Of course, we're not given much more than this, but I won't spoil the rest.

The several chapters from the beginning of Mila 2.0 leave me curious about the rest of the book, so I'm sure I'll be picking it up eventually.

Also, since this is such an incredibly short read (basically, just one chapter if you count just the prequel bit), I'm not counting against my reading goal of the year.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 23 I 2013 - The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

My "can't-wait-to-read" selection for this week is:

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The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton

Product Description:
For readers of Sarah Jio and Karen Joy Fowler comes the eagerly-awaited new novel from the nationally bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters, following three of the Sisters' now-grown daughters as they delve into the life of a great author to discover a family history riddled with secrets.

When Hope is called from her California home to clean out the far-removed cabin her mother used as a writer's retreat in England's Lake District during the final years of her life, the last thing she expected to find were questions that shake the foundation of her identity. Accompanied by two other daughters of "the Wednesday Sisters"—Anna Page and Julie—Hope discovers that the Beatrix Potter biography her mother was supposed to have been writing actually offers clues to her own family history—a history shrouded in secrecy. The daughters encounter coded journals, secret puzzle boxes, unexplained happenings, ghosts, and charming men as they hike, cook, and even write their way around this land of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls. And in uncovering the truth about Ally, the daughters address the legacies they've inherited from their mothers—failed marriages, mixed heritage, and breast cancer—in what is ultimately a celebration of the power of friendship in this next generation of women, as well as a love story.

I've been a fan of Meg Waite Clayton's writing since I read her book, The Wednesday Sisters, so was thrilled when I heard that she was writing a sequel of sorts to that book. I'll definitely be at the store on July 30 to pick myself up a copy!

The Wednesday Daughters will be released on July 30, 2013 from Ballantine.

Want to preorder a copy of the book? Just click here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gris Grimly's Wicked Nursery Rhymes by Gris Grimly

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Title: Gris Grimly's Wicked Nursery Rhymes
Author: Gris Grimly
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 32
ISBN: 9780972938877
Publisher: Baby Tattoo Books
Author Website: Mad Creator Productions
Twitter: @GrisGrimly
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4/5 stars

I do love Gris Grimley's art, and his Gris Grimley's Wicked Nursery Rhymes is no exception. Here, Grimley takes familiar nursery rhymes such as "Little Miss Muffet" and "Jack Be Nimble" and turns them upside down, giving them a decidedly darker and twisted flavor. His accompanying illustrations are just as deliciously dark and twisted. These are definitely not your childhood nursery rhymes, but are perfect for anyone who enjoys things just a little bit macabre.

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, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 16 I 2013 - The Silver Dream: An InterWorld Novel by Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

My "can't-wait-to-read" selection for this week is:


The Silver Dream: An InterWorld Novel by Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves, based on a story by Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves

Product Description:
New York Times bestselling authors Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves deliver a thrilling sequel to the science fiction novel InterWorld, full of riveting interdimensional battles and alternate realities.

After mastering the ability to walk between dimensions, Joey Harker and his fellow InterWorld freedom fighters are now on a mission to maintain peace between the rival powers of magic and science who seek to control all worlds.

When a stranger named Acacia somehow follows Joey back to InterWorld's base, things get complicated. No one knows who she is or where she's from—or how she knows so much about InterWorld.

Dangerous times lie ahead for Joey and the mission. There's a traitor hidden among them, and if Joey has any hope of saving InterWorld, the multiverse, and the mission, he's going to have to rely on his wits—and, just possibly, on the mysterious Acacia Jones.

With a story conceived by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves and written by Michael and Mallory Reaves, this mind-bending follow-up to the exciting science fiction novel
InterWorld is a compelling fantasy adventure through time and space, in which the future depends on a young man who is more powerful than he realizes.

I thoroughly enjoyed InterWorld when I read it a couple of years ago, so I'm hoping that The Silver Dream will be just as enjoyable. I'll have to go back to read InterWorld, since I'll admit I don't actually remember all that much about it, but since I remember I liked it, I'm hoping that still holds true now.

The Silver Dream: An InterWorld Novel will be released in April, 2013 from HarperTeen.

Want to preorder a copy of the book? Just click here!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Building Stories by Chris Ware


Title: Building Stories
Author: Chris Ware
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 260 (according to Goodreads)
ISBN: 9780375424335
Publisher: Pantheon
Twitter: @PantheonBooks
Format: Various presentations in a boxed set
Rating: 5/5 stars

Chris Ware's Building Stories is a graphic novel presented in a boxed set of 14 connected but not connected stories, told through various types of formats. In the box you will find pamphlets of various sizes, a book that resembles an over-sized Golden Book, a couple of softcover books, one clothbound hardcover book, a newspaper, a board that resembles the board from a board game, and a handful of other layouts. Not one of these needs to be read in order as you find them in the box (even though that's how I read it), but as you read them, they all find a way to interconnect to tell a story greater than their individual parts, hence you're building the story.

Building Stories is the story about a three-flat apartment building in Chicago and the people that live there: the elderly landlady, the married/possibly not married couple on the second floor who never seem to be happy with each other, and an amputee who lives on the third floor, and chose to live there as a means of getting exercise due to her lost leg. There is nothing fanciful in these people's stories; there is nothing idyllic about their lives. If anything, this is the only complaint that I have with the story as a whole: nobody ever really seems to be happy. I know that Ware is trying to show people and their real lives, but as I finished reading, I was filled more with a morose feeling than anything else. Don't get me wrong, the emotions that Ware is able to pull from his simplistic art and bare dialogue is astonishing, I guess I just wish there was something of a "happy ending" in the book, even though there is no true ending per se. We see certain parts of the character's lives, but like any life that we witness from the outside, I still think there is so much more to the characters than what we have been shown. We are presented with snippets of their past and present, but we don't really know what their future holds, much like any person that we may know. I think I would be interested to see Ware revisit these characters in a couple of years, and show us where their lives took them.

I'm torn on whether I want to read anything else by Ware. There was such a pervading sense of melancholy throughout the entire collection, I don't know that I would trust anything else of his to not have that same feeling throughout. Yet, he presents these emotions so well that I think it would be a shame not to read something else of his again sometime. Maybe I just need to give myself some time to absorb everything from Building Stories before I move on to anything else of his, as I think this story is going to stick with me for some time.

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, January 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday 9 I 2013 - Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

My "can't-wait-to-read" selection for this week is:


Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Product Description:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson, comes the first book in a new, action-packed thrill ride of a series— Steelheart.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

I've been finding myself more and more impressed by Brandon Sanderson, so I was excited when I heard he's got a new YA trilogy coming out later this year. I'll be picking this one up for sure!

Steelheart will be released in September, 2013 from Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

Want to preorder a copy of the book? Just click here!

WWW Wednesday 9 I 2013 - 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?

I'm working on Inverted World by Christopher Priest right now. It's a science fiction story about a city that has to constantly move on tracks that are being constantly built in front of it. I'm not exactly sure why the city has to keep moving (I haven't gotten to that bit of the story yet), but so far it's rather interesting. One clever bit is it seems that everyone's age is based on how far the city had traveled since they were born (for instance, when one of the main characters has reached the age of 650 Miles, he is able to join the work force). As I get farther along in the book, I'll post more about it.

I'm also working my way through Chris Ware's Building Stories. It's a graphic novel told in 14 individual stories that are all unique in their presentation. The whole thing comes in one big box, and the stories are either little pamphlets or posters, one is like a board game, another resembles an over-sized Golden Book. The whole thing is just a fantastic presentation. I love books that are unique in their construction. The stories follow a group of tenants (an elderly landlady, an unhappily married couple, and an amputee) in an old apartment building in Chicago. What comes across as most surprising for me is the emotional impact the stories have, both individually and as a whole as you begin to get a broader picture of what is going on in this apartment building. I've worked my way through about half of the contents of the box so far, and can already say that this will be on my list of favorite books for the year.

What did I recently finish reading?

I picked up a copy of Snow White by The Brothers Grimm the other solely because it is illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia. I picked up a version of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by her a couple of years ago and love it, so was thrilled to see that she had illustrated another book with HarperDesign. The graphic design and typography of the book, set with her artwork, really makes for a visually stunning book. I'm hoping that she does more books like this one. I'd love to see her take on The Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan.

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!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Snow White by The Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia


Title: Snow White
Authors: The Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 80
ISBN: 9780062064462
Publisher: HarperDesign
Illustrator Website:
Twitter: @harperdesignbks, @camillergarcia
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5/5 stars

I'm fairly certain everyone is familiar with the story of Snow White, so I'm not going to go into details about the story. What I am going to tell you, though, is you should go pick up this edition of Snow White! Right now!!

Camille Rose Garcia's art is so visually striking and unique, and the typographic design of the book really works with her art style to create something rather beautiful. I was first introduced to her style when I picked up the edition of Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland that she illustrated a couple of years ago, and fell in love with her work then. I was thrilled when I found this new volume of Snow White at my local bookstore the other day, and am really hoping that she continues this partnership with HarperDesign and continues to illustrate more classic fairy tales. One book I'd particularly like to see in her vision is The Wizard of Oz. I'd be willing to bet she could create a truly stunning version of Oz and its inhabitants.

Check out the YouTube link above for some examples of Garcia's artwork and watch as she brings some of her illustrations for Snow White to life!

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, January 5, 2013

Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown


Title: Incredible Change-Bots
Author: Jeffrey Brown
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781891830914
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Author Website:
Twitter: @topshelfcomix
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3/5 stars

I'm almost embarrassed to say this is my first book of the year. I bought this sometime during the last couple of years, it got shuffled into a box during a move at some point, and I just found it again the other day. Basically, it's nothing more than one big parody of Transformers, especially the original 80s cartoon. It's not a great parody; it's not a terrible parody. There are some genuinely clever riffs on the original 80s cartoon, but it feels like it gets too bogged down in its own cleverness in other parts of the book. I personally can't see anyone who wasn't a fan of the cartoon from the 80s appreciating this at all, and even then it's more or less just a middle of the road caricature.