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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January 2014 Monthly Recap

Books Read
  1. No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
  2. Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Vol 1 by Scott Tipton & David Tipton, illustrated by Simon Fraser (One), Lee Sullivan (Two), Mike Collins (Three), Gary Erskine (Four)
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  4. Encounter in April by May Sarton
  5. Doctor Who and the Invisible Enemy by Terrance Dicks 
  6. Wolverton Station by Joe Hill 
  7. Uncanny X-Men, Vol 1: Revolution by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Chris Bachalo & Frazer Irving
  8. Uncanny X-Men, Vol 2: Broken by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Chris Bachalo & Frazer Irving
  9. X-Men, Vol 1: Primer by Brian Wood, art by Oliver Coipel & David Lopez
  10. The Single Hound by May Sarton 
  11. Inner Landscape by May Sarton 
  12. All-New X-Men, Vol 1: Yesterday's X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Stuart Immonen
  13. The Bridge of Years by May Sarton
  14. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
  15. FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, Vol 1: The Paradigm Shift by Simon Oliver, art by Robbi Rodriguez
  16. The Ape Man's Brother by Joe Lansdale

2431 pages total

Gender of author
10 male
6 female

Year of Publication
1937 - 1
1938 - 1
1939 - 1
1946 - 1
1979 - 1
2007 - 1
2011 - 1
2012 - 1
2013 - 6
2014 - 2

Books Acquired
16 Total
2 - free downloads from iTunes
1 - purchased from iTunes
1 - ARC received from publisher
1 - hardcover purchased at signing at local Indie
1 - paperback from Amazon
1 - graphic novel from Amazon
2 - hardcovers from Amazon
6 - hardcovers from Friends of the Library bookstore
1 - hardcover given to me as a gift

2013 Year to Date Totals
Books Read: 16
Pages Read: 2431
Books Acquired: 16
Books Acquired Read: 4

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

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Title: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
Author: Karen Foxlee
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9780385753548
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Twitter:@randomhousekids
Format: Hardcover
Available: January 28, 2014
Rating: 5/5 stars

I received Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee from Random House Kids early last week and while I was in the middle of some other books at the time, I thought I'd at least sit down and read a couple of chapters to get a feel for the book. Half the book later I realized I needed to set it aside or I wasn't going to be getting to bed at any sort of a reasonable hour that night.

Foxlee takes the fairy tale The Snow Queen and gives it a lightly modern spin. In an unnamed town, Ophelia's father has taken a job organizing an exhibit of swords at an unnamed museum, being the international expert on swords that he is. Ophelia and her sister, Alice, try to find ways to amuse themselves while their father is hard at work on the exhibit. Exploring on her own one day, Ophelia discovers a young boy locked away in a room deep in the sprawling museum. She befriends the boy, and the story he tells her of how he came to be locked away in the room in the museum with the name the Marvelous Boy is its own story within the story.

As Ophelia journeys through the museum on various quests to help the Marvelous Boy escape so that he can finally defeat the Snow Queen, she creates her own fairy tale. There are elements here that will be familiar with all readers of fairy tales, but Foxlee handles them all beautifully, so that you don't really feel like you are treading too familiar water. I found myself re-reading entire chapters because I simply loved the way that Foxlee was telling Ophelia's story. It's a middle grade book, so there are elements that are fairly predictable and foreshadowed rather heavily, but even knowing how the story was going to end, I still enjoyed every bit of it. There is an ethereal quality to the story that is both charming and magical. I don't want to give too much away about the ending, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Ophelia doesn't try to handle everything on her own, as in other young reader books. I find that annoying. I suppose it's to instill a sense of independence in young readers, but sometimes there are things in life that are just too much for a young person to handle, and it's perfectly normal to go to your parents for help, which Ophelia does. This was refreshing for me.

I think anyone who enjoys a good fairy tale and a beautifully written story will absolutely enjoy this book. Highly recommended!

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee will be released through Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 28, 2014.





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!

I received this ARC for free from the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Morning Comics 25 I 2014 - All-New X-Men, Vol 1: Yesterday's X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Stuart Immonen

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Title: All-New X-Men, Vol 1: Yesterday's X-Men
Series: X-Men
Authors: Brian Michael Bendis, art by Stuart Immonen
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 136
ISBN: 9780785168201
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Twitter: @Marvel
Format: Hardcover
Available: April 9, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

Characters:
  • Beast
  • Storm
  • Tempus
  • Cyclops
  • Emma Frost
  • Magneto
  • Iceman
  • Kitty Pryde
  • Triage
  • Magik
  • Beast [1]
  • Iceman [1]
  • Cyclops [1]
  • Angel [1]
  • Marvel Girl [1]
  • Wolverine
  • Benjamin Deeds

In one of the more interesting story lines to come out of AvX, Beast decides that the only way for Cyclops to see what damage he is doing by trying to bring about a mutant revolution is to go back in time and bring the original five teenage X-Men (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel) to the present, to either shock the current Cyclops into realizing what he has become, or to make sure that the teenage Cyclops does all that he can to not become like his current self.

Honestly, there isn't a lot that goes on in this story arc, which isn't a bad thing. The teenage X-Men need time to understand what exactly is happening in their future, and if they were to throw everyone into a wild adventure right off, it would have felt out of place. Not that there isn't adventuring to be had. The teenage X-Men are able to confront Cyclops and Magneto while they are trying to rescue/recruit another new mutant to their new Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters (the former location of Weapon X), and since this is a comic, of course this meeting can't go down without a fight. But really, this volume is about coming to terms: current Cyclops and crew coming to terms with what he did during the Phoenix Event; teenage X-Men coming to terms with what their future has in store for them; everybody else coming to terms with the fact that current Beast did what he did by bringing them to the teenage X-Men to the present. Of all the characters, it's young Jean Grey who seems to mature the most rapidly, and I'm excited to see what is in store for her character. Jean Grey has always been my favorite character (in any and all of her identities), so to have her back in the X-Universe in any sort of fashion is exciting for me.

Bendis does an admirable job of holding everything together nicely with this story. I think his big, sprawling crossovers always end up a little too big and sprawling, but he can handle a single issue story line and character development quite nicely. Stuart Immonen's art is very clean and fresh, and I like seeing his take on the original X-Men.

While not a lot happens, I'm anxious to see where this story line is going to go, and see how the teenage X-Men deal with learning even more about what has happened over the years to get them to this point.





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 23, 2014

Cherie Priest Announces A New Book!

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You guys! YOU GUYS!! Cherie Priest announced a new book coming in September! (I totally stole this right off the Barnes & Noble Book Blog) ((& I really adore Cherie Priest - that's she and I in the pic up there when she was doing a signing at Schuler Books in 2012 - so I'm SUPER excited about this!!))

With the major story arc of Clockwork Century concluded and no new Clockwork novels in the foreseeable future, what’s your current project?

The thing I’m most excited about—and I do mean ridiculously excited—is a novel coming in September through Roc entitled Maplecroft. I’ve been fiddling with the project for several years; in fact, I think I starting drawing up the notes back before Boneshaker was published in 2009. It’s a return to my horror roots, I suppose you could say. There’s a high and a low pitch for it, so I’ll just give you both:

High pitch: Maplecroft is a 19th-century gothic epistolary novel, a love letter to Dracula as filtered through Lovecraft.

Low pitch: It’s Lizzie Borden fighting Cthulhu with an ax.

One day I found myself down a research rabbit hole on the internet, and stumbled across the [Borden] murder trial transcripts…and they made for fascinating reading. The case was much stranger than a nursery rhyme would lead you to believe, and some of the more peculiar details gave me the idea for Maplecroft. I finally sat down and wrote it last year, and Roc took a chance on it. So here it comes! And just to be clear, this is not an alternate history of the trial, or anything so specific as that; this is what happens afterwards. With fish people.



It’s Lizzie Borden fighting Cthulhu with an ax. Have I mentioned that I adore Cherie Priest?!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I'm reading now...


I received Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee yesterday from Random House Kids, and thought I'd just sit down to read a chapter or two to get the feel of the story. Well, half a book later I realized I needed to put it down since it was already past my bedtime. What I did read last night is the beginning of a charming fairy tale/adventure that was just perfect for a chilly winter's night reading. I'll be finishing tonight!

Waiting on Wednesday 22 I 2014 - Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke


"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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Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

Book Description:
Laura Kasischke, the critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling poet and author of The Raising, returns with Mind of Winter, a dark and chilling thriller that combines domestic drama with elements of psychological suspense and horror — an addictive tale of denial and guilt that is part Joyce Carol Oates and part Chris Bohjalian.

On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens with the fragments of a nightmare floating on the edge of her consciousness. Something followed them from Russia. Thirteen years ago, she and her husband Eric adopted baby Tatty, their pretty, black-haired Rapunzel, from the Pokrovka Orphanage #2. Now, at fifteen, Tatiana is more beautiful than ever — and disturbingly erratic.

As a blizzard rages outside, Holly and Tatiana are alone. With each passing hour, Tatiana’s mood darkens, and her behavior becomes increasingly frightening... until Holly finds she no longer recognizes her daughter.

Laura Kasischke is hands down one of my favorite authors. The way she writes is mesmerizing, and her stories are based in the here and now, but always seem to be a step or two off the norm, so what may seem like an ordinary occurrence actual is not normal at all through her eyes. When I heard she was coming out with a new novel, I knew I'd be picking it up on release day before I even knew what it was about. After reading the description, I was even more sold, and then I saw the cover and fell in love.

Mind of Winter will be released on March 25, 2014, from Harper.

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Inner Landscape by May Sarton

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Title: Inner Landscape
Author: May Sarton
Copyright: 1939
Pages: 94
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
Format: Hardcover

ADDRESS TO THE HEART

You cannot go back now to that innocence—
the pure pain that enters like a sword
making the bright blood flow
and the slow perfect healing, leaving you whole.
This is a deeper illness,
a poison that has entered every tissue:
Cut off your hand, you will not find it there.
This must be met and conquered in each separate atom,
must be lived out like a slow fever.
No part is mortally afflicted.
Each part will have its convalescence surely,
and yet you will arise from this infection
changed,
as one returns from death.

Sarton's second book of poetry seems to suggest her later need of solitude and the sanctuary that can entail for some people. The poems are still strong, though, but they speak to me of a need to center in on ones self and find the peace you are seeking in life there.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Morning Comics 18 I 2014 - X-Men, Vol 1: Primer by Brian Wood, art by Oliver Coipel & David Lopez

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Title: X-Men, Vol 1: Primer
Series: X-Men
Authors: Brian Wood, art by Oliver Coipel & David Lopez
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 112
ISBN: 9780785168003
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Twitter: @Marvel
Format: Paperback
Available: December 10, 2013
Rating: 3/5 stars

Characters:
  • John Sublime
  • Jubilee
  • Shogo Lee
  • Bling
  • Mercury
  • Storm
  • Rachel Grey
  • Kitty Pryde
  • Rogue
  • Psylocke
  • Beast
  • Arkea
  • Karima Shapandar
  • Hellion
  • Pixie
  • Primal
  • Armor
  • Oya
  • Wolverine

This started off as a great premise, with the women of the X-Men getting their own title. However, what could have been a pretty cool first story arc was compressed into a rushed and cobbled together three issue mess. Sublime has returned, and this time he's asking for the X-Men's help as his sister, Arkea, has made her way to Earth and will destroy everything. Or something like that.

In a wildly coincidental coincidence, Jubilee just happened to take a baby from a hospital near where a meteor crashed. This meteor happened to be carrying the Arkea microbe, which just happened to attach itself to the baby that Jubilee rescued (kidnapped?), and Sublime knew this and then proceeded to follow Jubilee on her around-the-world trek to get to the X-Men, because she's freaked out that some guy keeps following her. I mean, I know that comics are the ultimate suspension of disbelief, but really? All of this is way too convenient to place all the people in the right place at the right time to make this story work.

Arriving at the Jean Grey School, Sublime enlists the help of the senior X-Men members there (who happen to all be women - I haven't been keeping up as much as I should, but where did all the guys go at this school?) to help him intercept Jubilee before she gets to the school, but of course it's too late for that! Arkea is already in the school's security system (she travels via technology, apparently - so where does that leave Jubilee's baby?) and eventually makes her way into Karima Shapandar, who has been in a forced coma to recover from a battle from quite some time ago. Beast, the only guy around, is incapacitated rather quickly, leaving the women to take on Arkea, who has escaped in Shapandar's body to the location of the original meteor crash. Kitty Pryde is left behind to fix the mess left over at the school, and along with some of the students, discovers a mysterious box counting down to zero. But, what's the box for? Who knows.

Anyway, Storm, Psylocke, Rogue, Rachel Grey, and Jubilee (with the baby, because taking a baby into battle is always a good idea) track down Arkea to the hospital where Jubilee got the baby. After a quick battle, Psylocke is in the position to kill Shapandar in order to eliminate Arkea, and Storm wants her to do this, but Rachel tells her to stop, as Shapandar could still be in there somewhere. Which she is, and she overcomes Arkea at the last minute, thereby setting up tension in the team about what lengths they'll go to to get a job done.

All of that in three issues.

I thought this could have been a cool story, but just way too crammed to make it work well. Brian Wood does good with what he has, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he had to pare this story way down to make room for the Battle of the Atom storyline that follows shortly hereafter (same with the Magik/Darkchylde storyline running concurrently over in Uncanny X-Men).

The fourth issue in the collection starts off with the X-Women in the Blackbird. I assumed that this story takes place right after the initial story, but nope, Kitty Pryde is here and Jubilee is absent, and the X-Women just happen to be in the jet, flying off somewhere. That somewhere just happens to pass over a commercial jet that has lost an engine, so they need to work together, put aside their personal issues after the Shapandar/Arkea debacle, and save the flight! So coincidental again that they are in the right place at the right time!

The other portion of this issue deals with Jubilee hanging out with the baby and Wolverine on the beach and in the mall that we first encountered her way back in Uncanny X-Men #244. Honestly, not a whole lot happens here, except Jubilee and Wolverine having a heart to heart about her wanting to be a mom now to a baby that I'm still not sure whether she's kidnapped or not. I think this issue could have been scrapped to give Brian Wood at least one more issue to work with for the previous arc.

And because at $18, Marvel can't justify only collecting 4 issues, they also throw in the previously mentioned Uncanny X-Men #244 by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri. I loved Claremont's writing back in the day, but seeing his writing put up against current writers, and it's clear just how clunky his writing could be sometimes.

Anyway, a series with a lot of potential, but not given the right amount of time to establish itself before throwing it into a multi-book crossover. I'll keep reading, as Brian Wood's writing is usually very good, and Oliver Coipel's art is beautiful. I hadn't seen David Lopez's art before that I'm aware of, and it isn't bad, but it doesn't live up to Coipel's, in my opinion. If you're a fan of the X-Women, I'd pick this up, but I think we need to wait until after the Battle of the Atom story concludes to really see it hit its stride.





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 15, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday 15 I 2014 - The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey


"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 Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Product Description:
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin and Neil Gaiman.

I discovered this series through Facebook, where they have been releasing a chapter per 100 likes to the page. As of today, they are up to chapter seven, and I can't wait to get this in my hands to read. There is just something about these few short chapters that's already sucked me into the book, and I'm wildly curious to see what the outcome of this story is!

The Girl with All the Gifts will be released on June 10, 2014, from Orbit Books.

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

Author Meet & Greet 13 I 2014 - Laurie Halse Anderson for The Impossible Knife of Memory

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Nicola's Books hosted Laurie Halse Anderson this evening for her new book The Impossible Knife of Memory, so Sarah and I drove over to meet her. I've never read anything by Anderson before, so I was going in with no expectations, but she was actually a great speaker. She was very honest and frank to the kids there (the majority of the audience was teachers from the local schools and students), giving them some really solid advice about writing, what to do after high school, and what to do when you're striking out on your own. I was thoroughly impressed with her. I picked up her new book, and had my copy of Speak signed. Sarah had given me the copy of Speak ages ago when she found out I hadn't read Anderson before, and I hadn't really thought much of it since then. I think one of those two books will be moving up the TBR pile sooner than later.





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 12, 2014

The Single Hound by May Sarton

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Title: The Single Hound
Author: May Sarton
Copyright: 1938 (reprint 1991)
Pages: 256
ISBN: 978-0393307856
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This first novel, published in 1938, shows the importance that poetry plays in the life and writing of a young Sarton. This story is brimming full of poetic imagery and turns of phrase.

The story centers around the friendship of three elderly teachers, the "Little Owls": Doro, the teacher and poet; Annette, who likes to be in charge; and finally Claire, the beauty. In one phrase that describes the characters interactions within their combined lives perfectly, Sarton writes, "the truth is that they had adapted themselves to each other so completely that when one was absent it was just like a trio without a violin. Nothing quite came off." The story also revolves the meeting of two poets, Mark Taylor, and the poet he turns to for help when his life starts to unravel, Jean Latour.

Largely autobiographical, Sarton describes her own writing habits through the writing habits of Doro. I'm sure that each of the "Little Owls" is in some way inspired by Sarton herself. The writing can become very dense at times, and a little flowery in the use of poetical phrases, but it is her first novel, and such techniques diminish as she becomes more sure of herself as a novelist in her later years. You can definitely see the spark here that will grow as she develops as a writer.





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 11, 2014

Saturday Morning Comics 11 I 2014 - Uncanny X-Men, Vol 1: Revolution by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Chris Bachalo & Frazer Irving and Uncanny X-Men, Vol 2: Broken by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Chris Bachalo & Frazer Irving

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Title: Uncanny X-Men, Vol 1: Revolution
Series: Uncanny X-Men
Authors: Brian Michael Bendis, art by Chris Bachalo & Frazer Irving
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 136
ISBN: 9780785168461
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Twitter: @Marvel
Format: Hardcover
Available: July 3, 2013
Rating: 5/5 stars

Characters:
  • Maria Hill
  • Cyclops
  • Emma Frost
  • Magneto
  • Magik
  • Triage
  • Tempus
  • Fabio Medina
  • Benjamin Deeds
  • Sentinels
  • Captain America
  • Iron Man
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Hulk
  • Black Widow
  • Spider-Woman
  • Hawkeye
  • Kitty Pryde
  • Iceman
  • Storm
  • Stepford Sisters
  • Wolverine
  • Angel (from the past)
  • Agent Coulson
  • Dormammu

So, with all the Marvel NOW! changes that have been happening, it's been hard for me to keep up with what's going on. While I think DC handled their reboot better only in that every series restarted at the same time, I like how Marvel kept the stories going, just freshened them up a bit. But, as they started new series at different times during their reboot, I lost track of what's what, so am just sticking to the series that I'm interested in, like Uncanny X-Men.

I never understood why they ended the original run of the flagship X-Men title, other than to try to gain some sales, so when I heard then that they were bringing the title back, I was hardly surprised. This time around, Bendis has taken the reins of the series, and while I absolutely think he needs to be removed from being the writer for the big universe-spanning crossovers (such as Age of Ultron - ugh), I think his take on the rogue team of X-Men is fantastic!

This story takes place fairly shortly after the events of AvX and the Phoenix event and finds the rogue band of X-Men (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, and Magik) trying to find new mutants before the government does, and protecting them. They have opened a new school at a secret location, where they hope to train these mutants in the use of their powers and uphold the Xavier dream. However, this is a team of broken X-Men. During the Phoenix event, Cyclops went mad and stole the Phoenix power from the other hosts, and in the ensuing battle, damaged the powers of several of the X-Men. So now, not only is this team of X-Men training other new mutants, they are having to retrain themselves and see if they can restore their powers. These are characters that now that they are broken, and are aware of what they were trying to do during the Phoenix event, and are now trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

The first arc finds the team trying to rescue Fabio Medina, a new mutant whose powers just emerged. Almost as soon as the team arrives to help Medina, a new breed of Sentinels arrive on the scene as well. They have no idea who sent the Sentinels after them, or how whoever did send them knew they were going to be at that precise location, but they assume that it is SHIELD.

Cyclops then decides to go to the Jean Grey School to see if he can recruit any of the students there for his new Xavier School (so many schools!). After a brief argument with the X-Men at that school, they return to the Xavier School, only to have the Stepford Sisters and Angel (from their past - see All-New X-Men for that story) join the team.

They no more than get these students to the school than Magik is ripped out the room, and thrown back in a swirl of demon fire. It is revealed that part of her broken powers have been ripping Limbo apart, and Dormammu's realm is now in danger, so he brought her to Limbo to kill her and take over Limbo as well as the Dark Dimension. Magik thinks this worst is over, but it's only just begun.

Frankly, I loved this volume. This new take on Cyclops, where he's almost maniacal in his devotion to rescuing new mutants is impressive. Add to that his dealing with his broken powers, and you've got a great mix for characters development. Bendis handled all the characters, in my opinion, and I'm really anxious to see how he plays this series out. Chris Bachalo and Frazer Irving's art is fantastic. I've always been a fan of Bachalo, and this is my first time experiencing Irving's art, but his style suited the issues that dealt with Limbo perfectly.

So while I still think Bendis needs to have his influence on the bigger spanning events scaled back quite a bit, I'm pleased with how he's handling this title.


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Title: Uncanny X-Men, Vol 2: Broken
Series: Uncanny X-Men
Authors: Brian Michael Bendis, art by Chris Bachalo & Frazer Irving
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 136
ISBN: 9780785167853
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Twitter: @Marvel
Format: Hardcover
Available: November 6, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

Characters:
  • Hijack
  • Cyclops
  • Emma Frost
  • Magneto
  • Magik
  • Triage
  • Tempus
  • Fabio Medina
  • Benjamin Deeds
  • Stepford Sisters
  • Angel (from the past)
  • Dormammu 
  • Doctor Strange
  • Dazzler
  • Maria Hill
  • Blockbuster Sentinel

Continuing directly where Revolution left off, the team has been forced into Limbo by Dormammu, who plans to kill her friends while making Magik watch, and then kill her. In the ensuing battle, Magik loses control and the Darkchylde is released. In order to end Dormammu's bid to overtake Limbo and to prevent the death of her friends, the Darkchylde absorbs the entirety of the dimension into herself and presumably kills Dormammu. Not knowing what this will do to her, she travels back in time to enlist the aid of Doctor Strange, but a Doctor Strange that is not an Avenger and does not bare ill will against her.

The next story arc finds the team assisting David Bond (Hijack), a new mutant (who seems to be older than most new mutants), who has discovered that he can control vehicles. They then hear that Fabio Medina's house is being surrounded by SHIELD (they had returned him to his home at his request after going to Limbo), so they decide to help. While Fabio is on the Helicarrier, they are able to track his location, and Magik transports them into the Helicarrier, they rescue Fabio, and Hijack takes momentary control of the ship.

After rescuing Fabio, they learn of a demonstration being held at U of M in Ann Arbor in support of mutants, so Cyclops decides to go and thank them for their support. Almost immediately, a new type of Sentinel, the Blockbuster Sentinel, is there to apprehend the X-Men, at any cost. Cyclops finally understands that they are the reason that the Sentinels keep coming, and decides that maybe if he died the attacks would stop. Of course, Magneto keeps this from happening, and after finally subduing the Sentinel, it self destructs before any information can be gleaned from it.

My problem with this volume was everything was so rushed. The Magik story, rescuing Medina, and then the Sentinel attack all seem to take place over the course of 2-3 days. I may be misreading the time span on these issues, but there was just so much happening, so fast, it's hard to feel really pulled into an of the arcs. I'm hoping that after Battle of the Atom, which is what all these issues are leading up to, that we get a chance to slow down a little and really get back to the character development. Again, Bachalo and Irving's art is top notch, my only wish being that Bachalo handled the arc with the Blockbuster Sentinel. Irving's art is just fine, but I would love to see Bachalo's take on the Sentinel design. While rushed, the book still delivers and I'll be continuing to follow this series.





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, January 10, 2014

I found my reading challenge for the year!

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This Bingo card was shared over on Retreat by Random House, and I think this is going to be the only challenge I go for this year. I can already think of a couple of books that I want to read that will fill up squares!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wolverton Station by Joe Hill

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Title: Wolverton Station
Author: Joe Hill
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 31
ISBN: 9780062341594
Publisher: HarperCollins
Author Website: joehillfiction.com
Twitter: @joe_hill, @HarperCollins
Format: eBook
Available: January 7, 2014
Rating: 3/5 stars

A quick tale from Joe Hill, Wolverton Station doesn't take much time to throw us into the meat of the story. Saunders, who works for a Starbucks-esque coffee house chain, is in England to open the latest international branch. Not a particularly nice person, Saunders thinks very highly of himself and his ability to turn a profit, regardless of the consequences to those around him. While taking the train to his next destination, Saunders is surprised to discover a wolf has boarded the train at the last stop. Not just any wolf, mind you, but a businesswolf. And what exactly does a businesswolf eat?

Not one of Hill's best, he still injects his unique style of creepiness into the story. I'd recommend it for hardcore Hill fans, but if he's not your cup of tea, this will be an easy pass for you.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday 8 I 2014 - The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley


"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 Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley

Product Description:
In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late.

An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.

At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.

I've been excited about this book since I saw the cover, which is worth the price of admission alone, wouldn't you think? Then the first 7 chapters were released as an eBook download, and while you can't get a full sense of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed what I read. I'm supposed to be holding off buying books for the new year, but I may have to break down and get this one.

The Emperor's Blades will be released next week on January 14, 2014, from Tor Books.

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Doctor Who and the Invisible Enemy by Terrance Dicks

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Title: Doctor Who and the Invisible Enemy
Series: Doctor Who Target novelizations
Author: Terrance Dicks
Copyright: 1979
Pages: 112
ISBN: 9780426200543
Publisher: Target Books
Twitter: @bbcdoctorwho, @DoctorWho_BBCA
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4/5 stars

An adventure with the Fourth Doctor and Leela, this story also introduced K9 to the Doctor Who universe. In the far flung future, mankind has traveled into space and set up colonies on far off worlds. On a routine expedition to the refueling base on Titan, a moon of Saturn, a crew on a space shuttle comes into contact with a mysterious cloud that is floating through space. Upon contact, the crew become slaves to the Virus and overtake the base in order to convert it to a breeding tank for the Hive. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela are in the area and also come into contact with the cloud, and this time the Nucleus takes over the Doctor because of his immense intelligence.

Leela and the Doctor go to the Foundation in hopes of curing the Doctor, only to discover that they are going to have to go on a journey into the Doctor's actual mind in order to rid it of the Nucleus. However, they unknowingly release the Virus into the world and it takes some cunning on the Doctor's part, Leela's hunter instinct, and K9's assistance to defeat the Virus and prevent the Hive from hatching.

I haven't seen this episode, but I'm fairly sure that I could just read right along with what I'd be watching on screen. It certainly doesn't feel like the story was embellished in any way. Part of me almost doesn't want to see the episode either, as I'm fairly sure the limited-budget special effects will certainly not live up to the picture in my mind of how this entire story played out.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Encounter in April by May Sarton

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Title: Encounter in April
Author: May Sarton
Copyright: 1937
Pages: 85
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
Format: Hardcover

REQUEST

Silence
is infinitely more precious to me
than any word.
For silence reveals
and words envelop
in a pattern difficult to flavor
with eternity.
Silence alone
lets one understand,
therefore be still
though beautiful is the language
that you speak.

Truth be told, I always have a hard time reviewing poetry. Poetry can be so ethereal; each reading can give me something different to think about, so I never know quite what to write.

With Encounter in April, both May Sarton's first book of poetry and her first published work, you can clearly see the beginnings of the life-long poet that she would become; the works are structured and clean, but don't quite have the polished emotion and raw confidence of her later poetry. These aren't poems to be taken lightly, however, as they are still powerful in their own right.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday Morning Comics 4 I 2014 - Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Vol 1 by Scott & David Tipton, et al.

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Title: Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Vol 1
Series: Doctor Who
Authors: Scott & David Tipton, illustrated by Simon Fraser (One), Lee Sullivan (Two), Mike Collins (Three), Gary Erskine (Four)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 104
ISBN: 9781613776537
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Author Website:
Twitter: @IDWPublishing, @bbcdoctorwho, @DoctorWho_BBCA
Format: Paperback
Available: May 28, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars

2013 marked the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, a television show that has quickly captured my imagination in recent years. There was a plethora of anniversary celebrations, including the actual 50th Anniversary episode, several Big Finish audio productions, a collection of novel reprints (1 for each Doctor), a collection of new eBook shorts written by some of the biggest names in YA (again, 1 for each Doctor), and also a comic series from IDW Publishing, Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time. Each of the first 11 issues handles each of the 11 Doctors and their companions, while I'm assuming that the twelfth issue will have a 11 Doctors present. Each issue is illustrated by a different artist, which I found refreshing, giving each Doctor their own distinct style. I feel like the writers got the Doctors pretty spot on with their personalities, as well.

As for the story, there is a mysterious villain who is traveling through the Doctor's timeline and kidnapping his companions. To what purpose is part of the mystery! Each of the issues contains an adventure on its own with the Doctor and his companions, yet by the end of the story, the companions have disappeared much to the Doctor's dismay. I'll definitely be picking up the subsequent volumes to see how the story plays out.

I think this would be a solid choice for any Whovian.





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, January 3, 2014

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 by Jeff Kinney

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Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1
Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Author: Jeff Kinney
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780810993136
Publisher: Amulet Books
Author Website: Wimpy Kid.com
Twitter: @wimpykid
Format: Hardcover (I read an ebook version)
Available: April 1, 2007
Rating: 3/5 stars

iTunes gave this one away free today, so I thought I'd go ahead and download it to give it a read. Since it's geared towards a much younger audience, I zipped through it pretty quickly. I don't know that as a kid I would have enjoyed it all that much (unless it had a dragon or some other mythical beast on the cover, I generally ignored it), but for the right young kid, this would be a great book.





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 1, 2014

No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

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Title: No Place Like Oz
Series: Dorothy Must Die Prequel
Author: Danielle Paige
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 196
ISBN: 9780062280763
Publisher: HarperCollins
Twitter: @daniellempaige, @HarperCollins
Format: eBook
Available: November 12, 2013
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Well, this is certainly an unexpected surprise! To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this novella prequel to the upcoming Dorothy Must Die (see my previous post), but if that book is as good as this prequel is, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy it.

It's been a couple of years since Dorothy returned from Oz, and life has slowly gone back to normal on the farm. Dorothy was the focus of a bit of celebrity status for a short time, but as all things, interest in her surviving the tornado waned. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry have told Dorothy to keep her stories of Oz to herself, as nobody likes a storyteller, since no one would believe her stories anyway. On the occasion of Dorothy's Sweet Sixteen birthday party, which turns into a disaster, she wishes nothing more than to be able to return to Oz. To her surprise, there is a birthday present waiting for her in her bedroom, a pair of dazzlingly red high heels...

Knowing exactly what they are for, she quickly puts them on, just as Aunt Em and Uncle Henry come into her bedroom. As she takes several steps, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are swept with her and Toto to Oz, realizing now that she wasn't telling a tall tale. However, things aren't as Dorothy left them in Oz. Time works differently in Oz than it does in our world, and many years have passed since she was there last and not everyone remembers her anymore. The Scarecrow isn't King of Oz, as Ozma has taken her rightful place on the thrown. Glinda has gone missing. And what's with the shoes?

Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed Danielle Paige's take on Oz. It's a wonderful place, but is equally dangerous as it is magical. She handles Aunt Em and Uncle Henry's amazement at Oz perfectly, and her version of Ozma is fantastic. Her writing is very visual, as I could clearly picture in my mind every moment of the book. I read this in one sitting (which for me these days says something) and while I vaguely had the ending predicted, it still played out perfectly.

I'm highly anticipating the release of Dorothy Must Die and subsequent books in the series. I'm sure Oz purists will have a hard time enjoying this book, but for those that can handle a revisionist version of Oz, I'd highly recommend this series.

Waiting On Wednesday 1 I 2014 - Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige


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

Happy New Year!

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

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Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Product Description:
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.
What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

I stumbled across this book when I was perusing GoodReads one day and it caught my eye. The Oz books are some of my favorite stories, and I don't mind revising the story a little, but not all of them are to my liking. For instance, Gregory Maguire's Wicked? Did NOT like it, at all. The Broadway production of Wicked? LOVE it. The film, Return to Oz, made in the 80s, is great, but don't get me started on the mess of a film from Disney, Oz the Great and Powerful. I can't really put my finger on what makes a certain adaptation/retelling/revision work for me and what doesn't, but I'm going to give this one a try. I've got the eBook prequel, No Place Like Oz, on the iPad, ready to start reading this morning, so I'll be back later in the day to leave my thoughts on that.

Dorothy Must Die will be released on April 1, 2014, from HarperCollins.

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