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 bare with me as I still continue to recover.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015 Monthly Recap


Books Read
  1. A Shower of Summer Days by May Sarton
  2. The Land of Silence by May Sarton
  3. I am Princess X by Cherie Priest
  4. In Search of Lost Dragons by Elian Black'Mor, Carine-M, & Jezequel
  5. In Time Like Air by May Sarton
  6. Avengers: Revelations by Jim Starlin, Rick Remender, Frank J. Barbiere, & Kathryn Immonen, illustrated by Ron Lim, Paul Renaud, Marco Rudy, & David LaFuente
  7. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
  8. Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall
  9. The Fur Person by May Sarton
  10. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

1806 pages total

Favorite Book of the Month
    The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Gender of author
4 male
6 female

Year of Publication
1952 - 1
1953 - 1
1957 - 1
1958 - 1
2015 - 5

Books Acquired
14 Total
9 - books received at #ALAMW15
1 - used books purchased at local Indie
2 - books purchased from Amazon
2 - books purchased at author signing at local Indie

2015 Year to Date Totals
Books Read: 20
Pages Read: 3194
Books Acquired: 51
Books Acquired Read: 7

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

 photo e27fb1d96e715ea597672776a77437641506f41_zpsro1an1p0.jpgThe Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Published by Riverhead Books, January 13, 2015
336 Pages • ISBN 978-1594633669 • Hardcover
I received a finished copy of this book at #ALAMW15

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Book description:
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable,
The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.


So, here's how I got a copy of The Girl on the Train: I was looking at a display of books at #ALAMW15, when somebody tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a copy of the book. I wasn't sure what was going on until I realized the line for the signing with Paula Hawkins had formed around me while I was looking at the display, and they thought I was in line for the book. Not knowing anything about The Girl on the Train, but figuring since I had the book in my hand and I was already (unintentionally) in line, I might was well get it signed, especially since everyone else in line seemed so excited about the book and getting to meet Paula Hawkins. It was only when I got back to my hotel that night that I discovered what the big deal was over The Girl on the Train. So, really not having a frame of reference on what to expect with the book, I can say that I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

I'm not going to talk much about what goes on in the book, because, you know, spoilers, but it a nutshell: Rachel takes the same train at the same time everyday. She's very lonely since her divorce, and this train goes past her old home where her ex-husband now lives with his current wife, so this in itself is a little weird. The other weird thing about Rachel taking this particular train is that she has developed a "relationship" with a couple that lives a couple of houses down from her ex; she doesn't know them at all, but she's created this entire story about their lives in her head, a life to her that is perfect. So, every day Rachel gets on the same train, goes by her exes house and the house of these people that Rachel has never met, and she pines for the life she had as well as the life she imagines these perfect strangers to have. That is until one day, the woman goes missing, and Rachel is certain that she knows something about the disappearance, if only she could remember what had happened the night the woman disappeared while Rachel was blind drunk in the same neighborhood, stalking her husband.

See, this is where the book was most interesting for me. The mystery of the disappearance and possible murder of the woman that Rachel is obsessing over really fell to the side for me as her true problems came to light: Rachel is an alcoholic and has some increasingly disturbing mental problems that grow and become very prominent in the story, to the point that Rachel truly becomes an unreliable narrator of the entire story, and it is fascinating. This is what really made the book for me. Paula Hawkins is a decent enough writer, but the overall mystery really doesn't hold up so well on its own; it's Hawkins handling of Rachel and her neuroses that really hooked me into the story. A friend and I were talking and wondered if Hawkins doesn't suffer from some of these problems herself, as she writes them almost too well into the story.

Hawkins and her writing ability is also something of a mystery to me. There are some definitely clunky bits in the book, but I'm not sure if these are intentional or not; they could almost be seen as idiosyncrasies of Rachel's view on the world, or they could just be genuinely clunky writing patterns. If its the former, Hawkins is a genius writer; if its the latter, I just figure its because she's a debut author. Either way, I do know that I'm definitely a fan of Paula Hawkins and will be picking up her next novel.

And a side note on the cover: I love this cover, simply because of the typography. I love the way that they created the type to look as if it's sliding by your view while in motion on a train. Such a great design element for the book.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sarton Sunday 22 II 2015 - The Fur Person by May Sarton

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 photo 039334990X.01._SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zpsxnneddv1.jpgThe Fur Person
by May Sarton
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, December 1, 2014 (1957)
120 Pages • ISBN 978-0393349900 • Paperback

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Book description:
A delightful, whimsical tale—one of the most popular books for cat lovers ever written, now newly illustrated. May Sarton's fictionalized account of her cat Tom Jones's life and adventures prior to making the author's acquaintance begins with a fiercely independent, nameless street cat who follows the ten commandments of the Gentleman Cat—including "A Gentleman Cat allows no constraint of his person, not even loving constraint." But after several years of roaming, Tom has grown tired of his vagabond lifestyle, and he concludes that there might be some appeal after all in giving up the freedom of street life for a loving home. It will take just the right human companion, however, to make his transformation from Cat About Town to genuine Fur Person possible. Sarton's book is one of the most beloved stories ever written about the joys and tribulations inherent in sharing one's life with a cat.

The Fur Person is a book that I think any cat lover will cherish. I reread it every couple of years and can always see so much of my cats in Tom Jones (even though my cats are girls). We follow Tom Jones on his journey from a Cat About Town to his discovery of a loving family, and his evolution with his new family, Brusque Voice (May Sarton) and Gentle Voice (Judy Matlack), from Gentleman Cat into a Fur Person. I would imagine that May Sarton took some literary freedom in relating Tom's early years before he became part of her and Judy's family, but his time with them is based on his true adventures. It's a charming little story that I think any cat lover can relate to.

I would have to say that this is by far Sarton's most successful book commercially, only due to the fact that this is the most reprinted book she has published. Just in the last couple of years, there have been two new gift editions published, a hardcover edition and this paperback edition.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall

 photo 0062252070.01._SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zpsqz2xljme.jpgRed: A Crayon's Story
by Michael Hall
Published by Greenwillow Books, February 3, 2015
40 Pages • ISBN 978-0062252074 • Hardcover
I picked up a copy of this book at #ALAMW15

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Book description:
A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis in the new picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It's an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!


A blue crayon, mistakenly labeled red, has a hard time of things as he is constantly bombarded by others to be red: his teachers try to get Red to draw strawberries; Red's mother sends him on a playdate with a yellow crayon and tries to convince him to draw an orange with her; the scissors trim his label down, thinking maybe it's too tight. Yet no matter how hard he tries, Red simply cannot be anything other than what he is: blue. Finally, through a new friend who see's him for what he really is, Red finally accepts his blue self and learns to love himself despite the label that others think he should be following.

A charming, clever tale letting kids know that it's ok to be who you are, despite what others say, Michael Hall's Red: A Crayon's Story is a story that adults can enjoy just as much as kids will.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Avengers: Revelations by Jim Starlin, Rick Remender, Frank J. Barbiere, & Kathryn Immonen, illustrated by Ron Lim, Paul Renaud, Marco Rudy, & David LaFuente

 photo 078519340501_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zps264d7d7b.jpgAvengers: Revelations
by Jim Starlin, Rick Remender, Frank J. Barbiere, & Kathryn Immonen, illustrated by Ron Lim, Paul Renaud, Marco Rudy, & David LaFuente
Published by Marvel, February 3, 2015
136 Pages • ISBN 978-0785193401 • Paperback

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Book description:
Four oversized tales that will rock the Avengers' world! First, Jim Starlin and Ron Lim return to Thanos! Learn how a devastating defeat in Thanos' past will soon redefine the Marvel Universe, as the Mad Titan faces Mephisto, his future self, the Avengers and more! Then, can the Uncanny Avengers survive the wrath of an unleashed Spirit of Vengeance, and the all-new, all-creepy Avengers of the Supernatural? Meanwhile, when Doctor Strange is called upon to fulfill an old debt to an enclave of Himalayan technomonks, even the good doctor may be beyond his limits!

COLLECTING: Thanos Annual 1, Uncanny Avengers Annual 1, New Avengers Annual 1, Avengers Annual 1


A fairly disappointing collection, the only story that I felt worth reading is the story from the Thanos Annual, where we meet Thanos sometime both before and during the Infinity Gauntlet event. The art in the Doctor Strange story from the New Avengers Annual is so distorted and jumbled that I wasn't even able to read it. Ended up skipping that story altogether. The Mojo story in the Uncanny Avengers Annual is OK, a typical Mojo/Mojoverse story (even though he is typically an X-Men villain - it's clearly evident that the Avengers are the golden children of Marvel now and can hijack any characters they want now, regardless of where they originated from). The Avengers Annual is a jumbled mess, and another story that I skipped right over.

Overall, yet another disappointing collection from Marvel. I think I'm going to be just sticking to the main series from now on; these add-on series just never even remotely live up to their hype or potential. Despite the title of the collection, the only revelation going on here was that I didn't need to pick this up at all.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud


 photo 159643573901_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zpscacb94d6.jpgThe Sculptor
by Scott McCloud
Published by First Second, February 3, 2015
496 Pages • ISBN 978-1596435735 • Hardcover

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Book description:
David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier!

This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world's greatest city. It's about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life… and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.


The Sculptor is the story of David Smith, who has given his life, literally, for his art. After agreeing to a deal with Death (David only has 200 days to live), he now has the ability to create anything he wants with his hands; any sculpture that he can think of, he can now create. Of course, now that he has a time limit on his life, he finds it even more difficult than ever to decide what to create. However, when he meets Meg at the last moment, he reconsiders everything and only then truly begins to live.

This is a beautifully told story. David's frustrations as an artist are real; Meg's mental problems are handled well; the story paces along well with the knowledge of the finite time David has left (Why 200 days? That's the only question I really have.) McCloud's artwork and coloring is very well constructed and makes for a lovingly and well-crafted story and book. Highly recommended.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What I'm #reading now

Sarton Sunday 15 II 2015 - In Time Like Air by May Sarton

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PhotobucketIn Time Like Air
by May Sarton
Published by Rinehart & Co, 1958
80 Pages • Hardcover

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REFLECTIONS IN A DOUBLE MIRROR

There is anxiety hot in the throat,
The dark wood where even lovers get lost,
The axe held loosely, dangerous in the hand,
That might slip, those cloudy dreams of threat.
There is always ahead some next, more awful test,
Or again the bog, indifference, dragging quicksand;
There is the never-ending battle with
The unforgiven, unforgiving self for truth.
It may all prove untenable for lack of hope,
Something we cannot deal with or escape—

These are the things we lie awake to ponder.

There is in each of us a healing mother;
There is the hand cradling the axe, breaking
Dead wood down, held lightly with clean grace;
There is the help we can give each other,
And every morning, light at our first waking
As if each day a blessing did take place.
Despite all fumbles, bungling, we endure,
Manage to go on building the hard inner core,
A free self that might harbor faithful love.
There is more in us than we have learned to give.

These are the things we lay awake to ponder.


My favorite poem from the collection.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In Search of Lost Dragons by Elian Black'Mor, Carine-M, & Jezequel

 photo 160690464701_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zps3fd82984.jpgIn Search of Lost Dragons
by Elian Black'Mor, Carine-M, & Jezequel
Published by Dynamite Entertainment, February 3, 2015
224 Pages • ISBN 978-1606904640 • Hardcover

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Book description:
On the trail of dragons forgotten, an intrepid illustrator and reporter journeys from Europe through the Middle East and finally to Saigon in search of the dark caverns and mountaintop perches where the elusive winged serpents dwell. With the gift of seeing the invisible, our explorer friend records each encounter in a journal of gorgeous, fully painted artwork, capturing every majestic and fearsome visual detail of the scaly behemoths, and accompanies his findings with snippets of local lore as evidence that these hidden beasts continue to shape the world in ways we may never expect!



In Search of Lost Dragons is a travel journal kept by a reporter as he travels the world in search of dragons. The journal entries are very disjointed, to the point where I thought I was missing pages in my volume, but in the end, there is something of a cohesive story being told throughout as the journalist continues his search for dragons, discovering long lost nomadic tribes and long hidden cities in the process; still, I'd have to say that the "story telling" is rambling to say the best. The art in the book, however, is gorgeous. Presented as photographs and sketches of the various species of dragons discovered on the journey, the art in this book is stunning. Just take a look at the book trailer above to see what I'm talking about. I didn't know a thing about this book, and ordered based on what I saw in that trailer, and I'm so glad that I did. The dragons are simply gorgeous.

So, what the story lacks in cohesiveness, the art absolutely makes up for it detail. This would be a great addition to a fantasy library!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest, illustrated by Kali Ciesemier

 photo 054562085601_SX175_SY250_SCLZZZZZZZ__zpsd240f214.jpgI am Princess X
by Cherie Priest, illustrated by Kali Ciesemier
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books, May 26, 2015
240 Pages • ISBN 978-0545620857 • Hardcover
I picked up an ARC of this book at #ALAMW15

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Book description:
Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen, & illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There's an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby's story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon - her best friend, Libby, who lives.


Libby and May, best friends in school, created Princess X. They wrote and drew her adventures, creating a world all their own. Yet, when Libby dies in a car accident with her mom, Princess X and all of her adventures are lost to May, who now has to find her way in life without her best friend. Several years go by, and one day May is wandering Seattle when she discovers a Princess X sticker on a window. Slowly, she discovers that everywhere she looks now, there is Princess X. She soon finds out that there is a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com, and there is an entire mystery surrounding who is behind its creation. May thinks she knows, but that would have to mean that her best friend isn't actually dead after all. With the help of Trick, the computer hacker from upstairs, May goes on a search to discover the truth behind IAmPrincessX.com and the truth behind Libby's death.

I was talking with a friend about the book and asked me how I would describe it, and I found I couldn't really categorize it. I've been thinking long and hard about this, and I think I'd have to call it an urban mystery. It definitely has a fantasy feeling to it with the inclusion of the webcomic in the story, but that's not really the best way to describe it to someone.

This is Cherie Priest's first jaunt into YA, and it is actually quite the satisfying adventure. While there are aspects of the story that seem a little farfetched to me (I can't really go into them, as they all relate to parts of the mystery), everything comes together nicely in the end. The pacing of the book also felt a bit rushed to me, as sometimes May and Trick jumped to conclusions a little too quickly and accurately, but it kept the story moving along and there really is no part of the book that drags. The inclusion of pages from the webcomic is a great touch given that so much of what goes on in the books stems from what is happening in the webcomic. I'm actually hoping that Priest and Ciesmier continue the Princess' adventures online at some point. I'm hoping the final copy is printed in the pinkish-purple ink that the ARC is; a clever connection to the color of Princess X's dress.

The one thing that made me most satisfied with I am Princess X is the lack of an immediate love connection between May and Trick. Too often in YA, I feel like the girl falls for the boy for all the wrong reasons (sometimes for the right reasons), but it so often feels forced, just to give that romantic tension in the story. It is refreshing to read a YA where there is no tension between the the girl and the boy, because I just don't think it would have worked at all in this book. This story is truly all about May and Libby, and if Priest had created that romantic tension in the story between May and Trick, then that would have absolutely felt forced to me. For this reason alone, I want to give Cherie Priest a high-five over this book.

You can pick up a copy of I am Princess X by Cherie Priest on May 26, 2015. from Arthur A. Levine Books.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sarton Sunday 8 II 2015 - The Land of Silence by May Sarton

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PhotobucketThe Land of Silence
by May Sarton
Published by Rinehart & Co, 1953
99 Pages • ISBN 978-0393009255 • Paperback

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I send you love forward into the past.

from LETTER FROM CHICAGO

Many of the poems here begin to speak of Sarton's search for solitude and how she is becoming familiar and even accepting of the need and benefits of a solitary life. One of my favorite lines from her poetry came from this book, as well. "I send you love forward into the past." came from her poem, Letter from Chicago, which was written for Virginia Woolf, as she was thinking back on Woolf's life and the personal pain that Sarton felt for her loss. I can't help but think of this line whenever I think of those close to me who have left my life.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits


So, I made a last minute decision this weekend and attended the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting Exhibits.

I had planned to only go on Saturday, but the Super Bowl Blizzard thought differently, so if I was going to be stuck in Chicago, why not make the best of it and go on Sunday too, right?! I got to meet a slew of authors over the two days, and picked up a fair number of books for myself and friends. (How many books you ask? 153. Don't judge me.) I'll have a complete list of the books up this weekend.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sarton Sunday 1 II 2015 - A Shower of Summer Days by May Sarton

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 photo a450e9aad6f466d593849795267437641506f41_zpsa4d9a8b9.jpgA Shower of Summer Days
by May Sarton
Published by W. W. Norton & Co., February 17, 1995 (1952)
244 Pages • ISBN 978-0393009255 • Paperback

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Book description:
"At long last in early June the Gordons were expected home at Dene's Court, the house in Ireland which Violet Dene Gordon had inherited."

So begins May Sarton's evocative early novel about Violet Gordon's return, after thirty years, to her childhood home, where much had to be settled in one brief summer—fateful decisions about a marriage, a love affair, and a career. No influence was more important than the splendid old Dene's Court itself, and the memories it held.


A quiet novel, that at first seems to be about the relationships between the protagonists: Violet Dene Gordon and her husband, Charles, who have recently returned to Violet's family home of Dene's Court in Ireland, and Violet's American niece, Sally, who has made a poor attachment to an actor in the States, when in fact the entire novel is truly about emotion, and what happens when emotions become too volatile within a small group of people in an enclosed space. The enclosed space, in this case, is Dene's Court itself, which could almost be considered a character on its own, as its presence in the novel is just as important as the main characters are. There is no plot, per se,as we seem to be just dropped into these people's lives for one summer, but Sarton handles this smoothly and poetically, not needing a lot of back story, just telling the story in its own present. This could be one of my favorites.