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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:
Illustrator Website:
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!