April, 2020 - I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!

Friday, June 30, 2017

June 2017 Recap

  1. The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne
  2. Extraordinary X-Men, Vol 1: X-Haven by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Humberto Ramos
  3. Extraordinary X-Men, Apocalypse Wars by Jeff Lemire & Rick Remender, illustrated by Humberto Ramos & Victor Ibanez
  4. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
  5. Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, and Other Stories: Free Comic Book Day 2014 by David Petersen (Writer/Illustrator), Royden Lepp (Writer/Illustrator), Adam Smith (Author), Kyla Vanderklugt (Illustrator), Sean Rubin (Writer/Illustrator), Tom Hammock (Author), Megan Hutchinson (Illustrator), Ramón Pérez (Writer/Illustrator)
  6. A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman
  7. The Wicked + the Divine, Vol 5: Imperial Phase Part 1 by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, colored by Matthew Wilson
  8. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton
  9. Mother Panic, Vol 1: A Work in Progress by Jody Houser, illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards & Shawn Crystal, colored by Tommy Lee Edwards & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
  10. Mayday by Alex de Campi, illustrated by Tony Parker, colored by Blond
  11. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey 
  12. Mostly Void, Partially Stars: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 1 by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
  13. The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 2 by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
  14. Marvel Comics Digest, No 1: Starring the Amazing Spider-Man
  15. The Great Divide by Ben Fisher, illustrated by Adam Markiewicz
  16. Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Book 9 by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello, illustrated by Andy Kubert
  17. The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, Vol 1 by Nagabe

Pick of the Month
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

June 2017
Number of books read: 17
Number of pages: 3,201

Number of books acquired: 39
Number of those books read: 9

First month out of the hospital, and feeling better. Concentration isn't exactly up to par yet, so there will still be an abundance of graphic novels for the time being.

Number of books read: 54
Number of pages: 9,017

Number of books acquired: 183
Number of those books read: 35

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Great Divide by Ben Fisher, illustrated by Adam Markiewicz

The Great Divide
by Ben Fisher, illustrated by Adam Markiewicz
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
August 1, 2017
144 Pages • ISBN 978-1524103347 • Paperback

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
In the near future, humanity awakens to the horrifying reality that the faintest touch from another's skin results in agonizing death. The survivors isolate themselves, many driven mad by fragments of memories absorbed from those they've killed. Two years after the "Divide", a pair of thieves stumble upon the means to save their species... but not everyone is eager to see the old world order restored!

Includes free digital bonus content to download, including the song "Teotwawki" (mood music for the apocalypse), a coloring book, RPG content, a self help book from the perspective of villain Sebastian Gibbs, dystopian short stories, and a song by the band City Below!

A dark and gritty near future dystopia where a mysterious plague has fallen on mankind, where the slightest contact of bare flesh will cause immediate death for one of those being touched, but there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who lives or dies. On top of that, the survivor also then carries around in their head the persona of the person they killed. This can sometimes cause madness in the survivor, but some can coexist with their new passenger. Of course, with no physical skin-to-skin contact possible, sex is off-limits but brothels survive, with watching, no touching, rules in place. Isolation becomes the means of survival, but with that isolation also comes the end of the human race. That is, until two unlikely allies possibly discover the cause of the plague, and possibly a means to undo it.

The Great Divide is definitely not for the lighthearted. This is a very grim look at humanity and what happens when all means of physical contact is stripped away. It is a violent, sexualized dystopia that Ben Fisher and Adam Markiewicz give us, but it is still a story about the resilience of the human spirit.

I received an eARC of this title thru NetGalley for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Epic Reads at Schuler Books!


Schuler Books hosted an interesting event tonight in conjunction with Epic Reads, hosting Victoria Schwab (Our Dark Duet), Madeleine Roux (House of Furies), and Joelle Charbonneau (Dividing Eden), all for the releases of their respective new books. Instead of the usual multi-author panel with all the authors at one table in front of a crowd, tonight's event was set up in a speed dating style, with a smaller group of readers all sitting together and the authors rotating between the groups every 10 minutes or so. When I first heard this was going to be the format, I'm not going to lie, I was a little hesitant about it. However, the execution of the idea was great and I found that I actually had much better time than I thought I was going to. With the smaller groups for each individual author, I felt like we had a much more intimate conversation, even in the allotted 10 minutes, than if we had the usual set up. I'm really hoping that these types of events will be set up in a similar fashion in the future.

Victoria Schwab

Madeleine Roux

Joelle Charbonneau

To purchase these books from Schuler Books, just click on the covers above! You'll be getting an awesome book, supporting a great local independent bookstore, and helping me get more books!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton
Published by Broadway Books • June 5, 2012
400 Pages • ISBN 978-0307887443 • Paperback

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

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Book description:
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape

I feel like I may be one of the last people to have gotten around to reading this dystopian scifi thriller, but I'm glad I finally listened to it (I downloaded it off of Audible). While Cline's necessity to drop some 80s reference (however obscure) in what seems like every other paragraph started to feel a little forced by the end, it was still a rollicking good story, and any 80s kid will completely dig this.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

A House at the Bottom of a Lake
by Josh Malerman
Published by This Is Horror • October 31, 2016
118 Pages • ISBN 978-1910471012 • Paperback

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.

It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and beer in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water’s surface that changes their lives forever.

It’s got two stories.

It’s got a garden.

And the front door is open.

It’s a house at the bottom of a lake.

For the teens, there is only one rule: no questions. And yet, how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo plays house beneath the waves, one reality remains:

Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.

A novella that seems to fall somewhere between coming-of-age fantasy and horror. I won't lie, I'm not even sure that I understood what this book is about, but it's so well written that I don't care that I don't understand what it means. Coming to the climax of the story, I simply could not read fast enough; Malerman creates such a sense of immediacy that it would have been impossible to put the book down by the second half.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Blog Tour: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass
by Philip Pullman
Published by Yearling Books • May 22, 2001 (1995)
432 Pages • ISBN 978-0440418320 • Paperback

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To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

Philip Pullman's award-winning
The Golden Compass is a masterwork of storytelling and suspense, critically acclaimed and hailed as a modern fantasy classic.

This Yearling paperback edition includes 15 pages of bonus material: some found letters of Lord Asriel, his scientific notes and other archival documents. This edition also features artwork by Philip Pullman at the opening of each chapter.

New York Times Bestseller
Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction

"Very grand indeed." --
The New York Times

"Superb… all-stops-out thrilling." --
The Washington Post

"A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." --
Kirkus Reviews, Starred

The Golden Compass is one of the best fantasy / adventure stories that I have read. This is a book no one should miss." --Terry Brooks (Goodreads)

Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass will forever be one of my favorite books. I remember reading it when it was first published in 1995 and thinking then I had never read anything like it before, and each subsequent reading (along with the other books in the His Dark Materials series, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) still brings that feeling of wonder. The ideas and themes that Pullman introduces in these books challenged me as a reader then, and still do over 20 years later.

Lyra's story of friendship and loyalty found in the most unlikely places, and opposing and challenging those whose beliefs may be strong but not necessarily in the right, resonated strongly with me right out of high school, and I still think that these are important themes for any young reader to experience, especially told through Lyra's eyes. Her strength of character and resolve in what she believes right creates a fantastic role model for anyone, but especially those, I think, who are trying to find their way in the world and are looking to literature to help them. Of course, Pullman disguises much of this in a fast-paced adventure story filled with political intrigue and suspense around every corner, so it will keep readers both young and old eager to find out what happens next. Not every book deserves the title "unputdownable", but I think this was one of my first experiences with a book that earned that description for me. An alternate universe, witches, daemons, polar bears who talk, and more make this book one of the more unique books you'll read, and Philip Pullman's writing is beautiful and poignant.

Now, I have exciting news for those of us who have read Lyra's story and have longed to be back in her world: Philip Pullman has recently announced that he is working on a new companion trilogy, with the first volume The Book of Dust coming out this fall! Here is more information from the official press release:

Two decades after The Golden Compass (1996)—the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages—THE BOOK OF DUST (#BookofDust) will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. The plot will remain under wraps until publication in October, but it can be revealed that the book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, daemons, and the Magisterium return to play their part, and Pullman also introduces a host of new characters.

Pullman says: “I know from their letters and tweets that my readers have been waiting patiently (mostly) for THE BOOK OF DUST for a long time. It gives me great pleasure and some excitement at last to satisfy their curiosity (and mine) about this book. So, is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, THE BOOK OF DUST is… an ‘equel’. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.”

Personally, I can't wait for this new volume to be released! To be able to revisit Jordan and its inhabitants again is something I've been wanting for many years now. In the meantime, I'll be re-reading the rest of the His Dark Materials books in preparation.

Thanks for stopping by today, and as always, happy reading!

I received a finished print copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.

If you are interest in the other books in the His Dark Materials series, or the companion volumes that have already been released, you can check those out here:

The Subtle KnifeSchuler BooksAmazon
The Amber SpyglassSchuler BooksAmazon
Lyra's OxfordSchuler BooksAmazon
Once Upon a Time in the NorthSchuler BooksAmazon

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sky break!

Those eyes, tho

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Extraordinary X-Men, Vol 1: X-Haven by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Humberto Ramos

Extraordinary X-Men, Vol 1: X-Haven
by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Humberto Ramos
Published by Marvel Comics • May 10, 2016
120 Pages • ISBN 978-0785199342 • Paperback

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
The fate of mutantkind is decided here! Staring down the threat of extinction once more, veteran X-Man Storm pulls together the team she'll need to ensure her race's survival. Together, these EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN will struggle with the familiar burden of being hated and feared, while facing threats the likes of which they've never seen. Here's hoping they survive the experience!


I won't lie, I miss the X-Men of my younger years (late 80s/early 90s). I've been trying to reconcile their fall from popularity and the direction their stories have been taking in light of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (don't get me started on the X-Men movie franchise **shudders**), but I've been sticking with it. This book, my first post-Secret Wars X-Men experience, has left me torn: even tho every aspect of this book has already been done before (mutants being hated for being different; mutants needing to go into hiding; mutants being on the edge of extinction for about the third time in a decade now; Sinister conducting his weird experiments and playing around with famous mutant's DNA), it did leave me wondering what was going to happen next, so that's at least somewhat good storytelling, right? Right?! Sigh.

There are things I don't understand in this post-Terrigen bomb/Secret Wars world: what exactly is the difference between being an Inhuman or mutant and why is one seen as seemly being acceptable by the populace at large? Other than needing to push the Inhuman as the new version of being a mutant in the MCU, I see no distinction. What does it matter if the Terrigen mists are making mutants sterile? Don't normal humans give birth to mutants, as well? Maybe it's changing the structure of the entire world's DNA? What if a human with dormant Inhuman genes gives birth to a mutant? What would the Terrigen mists do to the mutant? How long does the Terrigen mist linger in the atmosphere? I'm hoping some of this is addressed at some point.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King's Daughter
by Karen Dionne
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons • June 13, 2017
320 Pages • ISBN 978-0735213005 • Hardcover

Schuler BooksAmazon
To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

To add your book to LibraryThing or Goodreads, click the links above!

Book description:
Praised by Lee Child and Karin Slaughter, and sure to thrill fans of The Girl on the Train and The Widow, The Marsh King’s Daughter is mesmerizing psychological suspense, the story of a woman who must risk everything to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and threatens to steal her future: her father.

At last, Helena Pelletier has the life she deserves. A loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a business that fills her days. Then she catches an emergency news announcement and realizes she was a fool to think she could ever leave her worst days behind her.

Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No electricity, no heat, no running water, not a single human beyond the three of them. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature—fishing, tracking, hunting. And despite her father’s odd temperament and sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too… until she learned precisely how savage a person he could be.

More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marshland he knows better than anyone else in the world. The police commence a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.

Helena Pelletier's life is more or less exactly what she wants: a husband and two daughters she loves deeply, a home business that keeps her busy during the days, her past a secret that she keeps hidden from everyone. Helena has worked hard for these things and she prides herself in her accomplishments, until the day her father escapes from prison and she immediately understands that her past is going to catch up to her, whether she wants it to or not. She also knows that the only way to keep her family safe and put her father back in prison is to find and deal with her father herself, since he was the one who trained her to live in the marshes of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where he was keeping her mother captive after he had kidnapped her as a young girl.

With the main part of the story taking place over 24 hours "real time" with Helena tracking her father, the actual meat of the story all takes place in flashbacks as Helena thinks back on her childhood in the marshes of the UP and how her father treated her and her mother, who her father kidnapped as a young girl and made his wife. As she closes in on her father, she goes over various aspects of the only life she knew as a child, until her mother's past starts to catch up to her and Helena realizes that much of her life has been a lie perpetrated by both her father and mother and isn't exactly what they told her it was. As she grows older and finally starts to understand that even though this is the only life she's ever known, it may not be the life that either she or her mother deserves, and when she finally escapes her father's control she discovers that there is in fact an entire world she never knew about outside the marsh.

To be honest, the story of Helena's childhood is what really makes this book. Personally, I felt the entire portion of the book that is taking place in "real time" where Helena knows that she's the only one who can find her father, regardless of the large police force searching for him, and that she knows exactly where to look for him in the entire area surrounding her home and the prison he escaped from all seemed far to convenient, and only plausible in order to make this portion of the story move forward. Helena's memories of her childhood and the psychological aspects of being a child who has been raised in an extreme situation, but one that seems normal to her only because it's all that she knows, was fascinating. Her recollections of her father teaching her how to hunt and live in the wilderness, and her childhood idolization of him in this respect juxtaposed against her later feeling towards him as she starts to mature and gain some sense of adolescent independence, and her eventual discovery that her whole life has been based on lies and the kidnapping of her mother, was remarkable storytelling, and Karen Dionne delivers this entire sequence of events deftly and with sharp storytelling. While the "real time" story requires quite a hefty amount of suspension of disbelief, the background story well makes up for this and creates a truly mesmerizing and atmospheric story that will keep you up late into the night, turning the page for more.

I received a print ARC of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.