Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

Another manga! So, this one was a random grab on my way out of the library without any other mangas. It caught my eye, I enjoy the game, so I thought why not. The problem: I have been reading more adult manga lately and this is most definitely a kid's story. Despite being a rather thick book with a very twisted story line, it didn't entertain me as I had hoped. Bigger fans of the games would probably enjoy it more than I.

Sorry the review is short. So I am going to ask for anyone that had played all of the games or read all of the manga to please explain it to me! There were just too many things left unsaid and this story picks up after the first big story line as far as I can tell, which added to my confusion. It was fun, don't misunderstand me on that point. It just wasn't something I will be continuing.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Marriage?!

I found this when looking for something new to read a few weeks back, but put it on hold to finish the Library Wars that I was able to get my hands on. Now, after reading Warrior Song, I thought this was kind of perfect for reading next. It keeps to the theme of an unwanted marriage.

In this story a young woman, Chiwa, is faced with the very heavy debts of her father who is not the most business savy man, Then one day she is called into the offices of the president of the company she works for only to find out that her grandmother is one of the reasons why the company is what it is. And because of that the Chairman of the company has a proposal: he will cover her father's debts if Chiwa agrees to marry his grandson, the president whose office they are in. While not happy with the idea, Chiwa feels like she has no other choice but to agree. And things get rocky.

It's a bit of an overused theme, I will say that. But then, it is overused because there is so much that can be done with it, so many paths things can take, so many things that can go wrong in this type of story. And being in a manga gives the story a more entertaining aspect that I thought would be fun.

So far, I was right! It's not as simple as marrying a guy and pretending to be happy for this young woman. First, she has to play the part because grandpa is watching! Then she has to deal with her insecurities which have her thinking that there is no way this man could want to be married to her. And she also has her own drama to deal with, like an idiot father and nosey friends.  In just one volume the story is fun, bright, sweet, and crazy! I am loving it already! Give it a shot!

Warrior Song

December: Re-Reading Favorites

So, this was the first romance I ever read, way back when I was a teenager. I picked it up because it was about a girl raised to be a warrior by her father at a time when girl's were not meant to be anything of the sort. Chandra is beautiful and brave and wants nothing more than to stay by her father's side and play at being a boy. I could so relate to this character! But then the men come to bid for her hand and Chandra is made to marry and watch as her whole world is turned upside down. And even though she really likes the man she is married to, Chandra strives to keep ahold of herself while being forced to give over to another's wishes.

The first time I read this book I loved it. I was completely in love with everything about it from the settings and characters to the constant life or death peril Chandra was thrown into and the love story she found herself in. This month I read it for what must have been the tenth time. And I still love it! Sure, this is an old edition so there are problems with some spelling and grammar, but with a favorite you can ignore it. And it may not be the most amazing story for everyone else, but I still love it just as much as the first time I picked it up.

So if you are looking for a story with a strong-willed female lead trying to figure out the sudden change in her life, give this one a chance. If you are looking for slightly cliche romance with an unbelievably understanding male lead, pick this one up. Or if you are looking for a quick read, something fun and fast paced, here it is! And let me know what you think of it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Library Wars: Love & War vol. 9

This series has been amazing so far! Along with a love story that has me squealing and mumbling under my breath on every other page, this manga tells the story of the library. As Iku, now a Defense Force Member, works her job and figures things out, the library is put through some serious trials. From the threat of a pervert targeting patrons to rumors of one of their own burning books, Iku and her friends deal with a lot in the year and half that is covered in volumes 1 through 9.

My primary reason for writing the post is to talk about how awesome these books have been. Yumi is an incredible writer and artist as she turns the story into a manga that is both exciting and sweet. I even loved the little skit panels at the start of every new chapter.

But I also wanted to note that this is as far as I can go with the help of my local library. I know there have been at least 6 others published, but the library does not have any copies at this time. That leaves me to buy them myself or find an alternative method of reading the series. So, for now I have to put it down, which just breaks my heart because I am so enthralled by this story. If I manage to get my hands on more I will let everyone know. Otherwise I am currently moving on to a new series and book.

So, if you haven't read these yet, please do, the story is incredible. And if you have, let me know what you think of it. Especially if you know where I can find more of them! Until next time!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Wrinkle In Time

December: Re-Read Favorites

A Wrinkle In Time was the first book that I read in which the main character was so much like myself that I felt a connection immediately. Meg is just an ordinary girl, unassuming, a little better at some subjects, and very protective of her family with a temper that could get out of hand, I loved her instantly.

In this story Meg has to take an incredible journey through space and time to find her father and bring him back. With the help of her little brother and a new friend, Calvin, she finds a strength inside herself that allows her to do incredible things.

And all these years later, I still love this story so much, Even though Meg kind of annoyed me at times as I was reading it, it was fun, because the younger me would no doubt annoy me too, now. What's more, I found this graphic novel version of the book I love so much and it gave me a new way to see the story I have memorized. What better way to close out a year of books than by joining something I love with a new format I am finding myself more and more in love with, with each new story I discover.

If you haven't read this classic, take a minute to pick it up, in what ever form you can, and discover the joy of Madeleine L'Engle. If you have read it before, pick it up again and read it with different eyes. It's always fun to see things from a new angle, and this is a story you can enjoy more than once!

Dead Zone

Note: May contain spoilers if you have not read Blackout, the first novel.

Ok, so here is the sequel to and resolution of Blackout. It took me a little time to sit down and read this one since I got distracted by other books, but once more I was pushed to rush through this book in a little over 24 hours by the incredibly fast paced story line. To give you an idea of how short of time frame this story takes place over, near the end of this book Aubrey, our favorite invisible girl, is thinking about the dance that started the story. It took place two and a half months before. So from start to finish these two books capture about 11 weeks in these kids' lives. And a whole lot of hell happens in those weeks!

So, in this book we get to meet the Russians. In particular we have two Russian lambdas who are leading the charge onto American soil to supposedly shift the populace out of areas they want to inhabit. The Russians claim that they will allow the Americans to go peacefully, however, a whole lot of people end up dying in the process.

Once more, Aubrey, Jack, and their team are thrown onto the front lines to find the two lambdas helping the Russian war effort. And this time, they are considered full fledged soldiers, expected to follow orders and take lives when necessary. Again we see Aubrey's issues with authority, Jack's determination to save her, and the chaos that comes when you rely on teenagers to take on too much weight.

As I said before, I believe Wells does a great job of capturing the real possibilities of using teenagers in such a situation. Sure,t hey are the only ones that can do what they do, but the Army does not like it, the teens don't like it, and things fall apart frequently enough to make everyone doubt what they are doing. I love Wells for pointing out the faults in his own story.

And I loved the ending to this story! It was another action packed, fast paced, chaos filled, wonderfully written book! I look forward to reading more of Wells' works if they are as imaginative and well written as this one! So look for more of his titles among my future posts.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Library Wars: Love & War vol. 1

Ok, so looking through the teen manga section at the library led me to this new discovery. Which, thank goodness because I just found out that Sword Art Online: Progressive only has three books in the series. So I have read as much of that as I can. So here we have another series that doesn't go very far as of yet, but I am still enjoying it.

The story is that censorship of books got out of hand. So, governments got together with libraries to start an army to protect their collections from those trying to get rid of books they find wrong in some way. When Iku was younger she had to wait 10 years for a book of fairy tales that she wanted to read. And when it finally came in it was going to be taken from her. Instead, an agent from the Library Defense Force showed up and stopped the confiscation and gave Iku back her book. Since then she has been determined to join the DF and save books for other young readers. This is about her journey starting with training, trying to make proud a man she barely remembers while dealing with a commanding officer that is a bit too hard on her.

I love this story. Not only is the concept of a nerd army going out to protect books just awesome, but I am really loving the characters Iku and Dojo who seem to have the face they show the world and then the part of themselves they are slowly showing to each other. In this first installment alone Iku learns some important things about being in the forces and pushing herself to new heights.

I am really looking forward to reading more in this series. Even though I went in knowing that there are only 9 books available to me right now. This will be a new series for me to follow as it come out. You should check it out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sword Art Online: Progressive vol. 1

So, during my long wait for whoever else is reading the Attack on Titan series to finally return it, I started looking among the other mangas. And look what I found! I absolutely love the anime series with all my little heart (ask me about a cross over fanfic I wrote) and was so excited to see this on the shelf.

So, this is kind of a retelling of the story we love. Except it goes back to the beginning and gives Asuna's side of the story. In this first one we have just a taste at why she started to play the game, when she first met Kitito, and even a couple of mildly inappropriate drawings of her taste in undergarments. But hey, the story is rated Teen for a reason.

I love that we get the chance to see Asuna more. In the show she takes a little while to show up and a little longer to be someone awesome. This is her half of things. I hope. Only one book in isn't going to give me much. But I am excited for the series anyway.

As with other graphic novels I will let you know more about what I think when I reach a pivotal point in the story, or when I finish. Until then, let me know what you thought about SAO! Or the manga. Or if you have any recommendations for new manga/anime inspired by this title!


So I actually picked this one up at the library for my husband to read, because it sounded perfect for him. But he had picked up another series, which I will no doubt read in the near future and tell you all about. On top of that, the book I picked out was bad. No, I will not mention the name because the writing style got to me instantly so I barely gave the book a chance and so I don't feel that it would be fair for me to say anything about it. Anyway, I ended up picking up this book instead and woah am I glad that I did before turning it in!

Ok, I feel that both the descriptions on the jacket and are not entirely accurate enough to really portray what this book is about, so I'm going to try and tell you. Look at the three and get the average gist of things, 'k?

Alec, Dan, and Laura are terrorists. This point is clear from the beginning. What is a little less clear is how they have anything to do with Aubrey who is simply trying to live her life and gain a few friends. Well, they are all teenagers for starters. Oh, and they all have superhuman abilities that have somehow turned into a virus and are infecting teens around the world. What's worse, the US government finally figured that part out and are now putting all teenagers in camps to figure out if they are infected or not. Because those with powers would be really useful fighting against the terrorists with powers.

So, I'll start this time with the problems with this books since it is kind of right there in my description. Because that description is half the book. Maybe even more than half. At first Wells moves at a normal pace, or at least normal enough, with events happening, the reactions, the capture of all these kids. And you get the sense that maybe everything feels like it is taking way longer because they are teens and they exaggerated time. Because in reality from the start of the book to the end is maybe 3 weeks and a hell of a lot happens in that time. It all moves way too fast! Kids are being turned into weapons and they are barely given time to adjust! I get it, America is at war, but really, we are going to just toss a 15 year old girl in the mix and hope she doesn't collapse under the strain!

And that's about my only real problem. The fast paced and therefore unpreparedness of this plot. Because at the same time it is kind of realistic. America is being attacked from forces unknown at a very rapid pace and the government is simply trying to keep up. And with this half baked plan of theirs comes the consequences. Things fall apart, people slip through the system, more people die and places are attacked. So I think that fast paced world worked out in the end for this book. It had me reading quickly to find out what was going to happen next. And after only 2 days (during which I was also busy so only had a few hours to read between loads of laundry) I am already picking up the next one.

So yes, I encourage you to pick it up! This is a unique take on the superhuman powers plot. These kids are not ready for what they have been given and they are being used by everyone! The world is in peril and we are trusting teenagers to help fix it. And everyone is power has a big problem with this but they are running out of options! It is really interesting! (Done with the !'s for now, I promise.)

Oh, and if you would like to start a little sooner in the story, Wells did write a prequel in the form of a novella. However, it is only in ebook format, for the Kindle, so it may take me a minute to find it and actually get to read it. But if you read Going Dark first, let me know how it effected the others. I am going to move on to the next book, Dead Zone, for the time being. I'll let you know what I think.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

East Of The Sun

October - Bestsellers

I know I am a full month late on this one, but with National Novel Writing Month I got distracted and am just now managing to finish this one. I want to be up front and claim all the fault for this. This novel was great, I enjoyed it for reasons I will expand on in just a moment, but there were parts in the narrative that sort of slowed down just a bit. With those parts lining up with me having to put the book down for whatever reason, I was slow to pick it back up for a few days. This meant this book took far longer than it should have when it was actually a good read. All my fault.

Let me tell you what the story is about: Viva was young when she left India after her parents and sister had died, but now she has reason to return thanks to a letter from an old friend of her mother's saying that she had found a trunk of Viva's parent's and would she kindly do something with it. So to help pay her way, Viva takes on the job of chaperone for other young people making the trip to India: Guy, a young man rejoining his parents after being away at school for so long. Rose, a young woman headed to India to get married to a soldier who had proposed after a very short acquaintanceship. And Tor, Rose's best friend and bridesmaid who is looking to find an escape from her mother. All three women find themselves in a very different world with their lives turned upside down. While maintaining their friendship in this new land, they also grow individually into very different people.

So, why did I like it? Because it was complex. Gregson took three main women and put them in a foreign land and left them to their own devices. Things got chaotic. Specially when the women were so different from each other which led to very different paths begin taken and a very wide range of events to tell of. Which is why this book was a bit longer than what I have been reading lately (with the very notable exception of Game of Thrones). There was far more story for Gregson to tell. And she did it wonderfully!

Not only did the story wind along various paths, but the characters she gives us changed greatly over the course of the novel. Even the characters that we would consider minor, unimportant to the main story, seemed to develop thanks to the things the leading ladies did. I greatly enjoyed the final result of this.

So I encourage everyone to take a chance on this. Pick it up and enjoy the wonderful characters and story that Gregson works with to make a tale that is truly fascinating and touching.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Game of Thrones

I will freely admit that a friend got me hooked on the show a few months back and when I ran out of episodes to watch I immediately jumped to the book series. Just like with Attack on Titan, I was looking to find out what happened next. I also wanted to know how the two compared. Wow, they are so incredibly similar that it really is like HBO brought the books to life.

I wont give away any spoilers by telling you where the book ends in comparison to the series, but I will say that more than just season one is in this first book. Sh, that's all you're getting.

So, in case you have absolutely no idea what these books or the show are about (because you are cozy under your rock) I will try and give you the briefest overview:
Martin created a vast world where most of the land is united under a King with Lords that have sworn fealty to him. This first book starts with King Robert making the trip north to Winterfell to ask his old friend (and almost brother-in-law) Eddard Stark to be his right hand man, the Hand of the King to be exact. Meanwhile, across a sea are the last two members of the Targaryen family, the former rulers of the kingdom before they were overthrown by Robert. Viserys, the brother, is trying to amass an army to help take back his throne, only things are not going his way.

So much goes wrong, chaos fills this world as people betray others, families fight, and the common people kind of get stuck in the middle of it all. And all the while Winter, a years long frozen season, is coming, bringing bad things from the North.

Martin weaves an incredibly complex tale aptly titled that resembled a very intense game of chess. There are a few good guys, plenty of bad guys, and even more people with intentions that are so muddled I am not sure how Martin himself kept them all straight.

I do have to warn you, there is plenty of inappropriate moments throughout the book as well. Scenes of gore that made me a little sick and other...intimate moments that made it a little awkward since I was listening to the book on my phone. It is also a long read. Something like 50 hours on audio that took me a full month to listen to.

All that being said, I think this is an incredible read! If high fantasy, intrigue, plot twists, are your thing, this book will fill your heart with glee. Right before someone you like dies, but that is a risk you won't mind taking because there will be someone new to love!

Pick this one up! Let me know what you think! Or if you have seen the show, let me know too, I love fangirling over it with people!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

October - Bestsellers

My mother, a huge fan of Gaiman, had this book autographed and then gave it to me. As soon as I saw the theme for this month, I knew I was going to pick this one up. Gaiman is a bestselling author, and for very good reason, and this book is one among many that have earned a spot at the top of any list.

In true Gaiman fashion, this is a story set in the mundane world, completely possible events happening interwoven with elements of the fantastic. The story follows a man who has gone home for his father's funeral and decides to visit the house of a childhood friend. But sitting in front of the pond in her yard, memories come rushing in, of an event he had forgotten, that was so incredible it is hard to believe fully, and yet looking back on it, he never questions the validity of the memory.

The story moved a little slower than I would have liked, although I think that may have been due to the fact that this wasn't the book I wanted to be reading right now. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. And of course I did, because Gaiman is such an incredible writer, there is no "not liking" his works. I am so glad that I got to read this one, too, because it was all such an incredible tale with an ending that left me thinking simply "wow, huh".

I think this is going to be one that I come back to again in the future, to see if it is different for me, because it was great even n my slight disinterest this time around. Have you read Gaiman? Have you read this one? What do you think? Let me know.

Attack on Titan v. 9

I have been reading the series since I started it two months ago, reading on the mangas between other books and when I was out of the house (yes, this was my purse book). Finally I have reached the point at which the anime stopped with volume 8. Here in volume 9 is what comes next in the story! And wow, in just one manga, a total of 4 chapters, so much more of the story has been revealed, only leaving me with a ton more questions! It is nonstop action for our characters as they are not given a moments rest before the next attack occurs. And we get to see more of the 104th training corp Eren was a part of as they are watched closely and backstories are revealed. Because there are more secrets among these new recruits than anyone could have guessed!

If you are looking to pick up where the anime left off this is the book to pick up. Although,  would recommend reading volume 8 because there was a single scene in it that may prove to be important as we move forward.  Or, you can wait until 2017 when, rumor has it, season 2 will finally be released!

Let me know if you do, did, or will read the manga, I love finding fellow fans of this incredible series!

Friday, October 7, 2016


I discovered Joe Jimenez at this year's Texas Teen Book Festival. I attended a panel, "Pieces of Me", on which he spoke and I discovered that I just had to read this man's work. Quickly I dashed back to the book sales, picked up a copy of Bloodline, and hurried to the signing tent to have him autograph it. Actually, I intend to send it to my friend, Abby, so I didn't have him personalize it to me. But I got to shake his hand, tell him his words on the panel were amazing, and confess I just couldn't wait to read this book. I'm glad for that opportunity.

Bloodline is the story of Abraham, a junior in high school with no real male role models to speak of. When he gets suspended from school the second time, for his third fight, his grandmother decides to invite her other son, Abraham's Uncle Claudio, to come live with them to give the boy direction. What follows is Abraham's struggle to deal: with his uncle being back, his growing feelings for his friend Ophelia, his uncontrollable desire to fight. It's the story of a boy struggling to grow up.

Two things I need to say about this book as a warning: 1) It's written in second person. With this, Jimenez makes you live the story, makes you feel Abraham's struggle. It is now a popular style of writing, and that's ok, because it adds to the impact Jimenez delivers it with. I actually, really enjoyed this style for this story! 2) This is the story of Hamlet. There are some differences, a few details changed to make this story its own, but it is Hamlet, know that.

With those two things clear, I have to say this was a really good read. At first I wondered if I could make it through, not only because of the point of view, but because it seemed far too heavy in metaphor. But as I read on, it grew on me. We feel things n ways that are sometimes hard to describe except by comparing them to other things. Jimenez effectively captures emotions raging in this young man and makes t easier to grasp while giving it more depth. I began to love his writing quickly. Just a few chapters in and I couldn't put the book down. It was an incredible story.

I really look forward to passing this book along, to hearing what my friend thinks of it, to discussing it with her. I would love it if everyone gave it a chance. I think that a lot of people would love the tale Jimenez tells. So go read it! And let me know what you thought of it!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Sisters

In the beginning was Mabel and Bertie. In the summer of 1927 Mabel knew something would soon happen to Bertie and that the only way to escape would be to take her sister away. She thought she planned out the only way things could be done to give them a restart at life. Only, something went wrong. Bertie never got on the train. Suddenly both Mabel and Bertie are thrown out into the world, alone and uncertain, and full of emotions they keep tucked away from prying eyes.

What follows is a story like most others, Mabel finds herself in photography and unusual friendships, Bertie marries and devotes herself to making sure her little family holds together. But the original tragedy colors everything.

Jensen weaves a tale that may seem simple enough, only that there is a thread running through all of it that most of the characters are never aware of even as it changes things for them permanently. This family that hides truths about what they are doing, what they feel, and they change the course of each other's lives with these hidden facets. Amazingly, something that happened in 1927 effects the great-granddaughters in 2007, even as the child has no idea of the events that occurred.

Not only is this an amazing story to show how tragedy colors each and every one of us without us having gone through the event itself, Jensen is an incredible writer. Her imagination is vast as she develops this family and chronicles their lives. At the worst moments in the book she gives us just enough of the scene to make it stick with you, make you cringe, without having to take it too far. And her characters are so diverse and real that you can't help but feel for each and every one of them.

I am so glad that picked up this novel and I will be looking for more of Jensen's works in the future! I recommend everyone pick this book up!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stars Above

September: eBooks/Adiobooks

This was the perfect conclusion to the series. (Yes I am aware there is another novella, Fairest, but I got enough of Levana in the books, thanks.) Here we have a collection of short stories surrounding the pasts of our characters, including one other new one, and a bonus epilogue that takes place 2 years after the events in Winter.

I loved being given a little closer look at some of the things that had been hinted at throughout the series, more detailed accounts of events that helped shape our favorite characters. Along with another, somewhat random, story of an android that only briefly touches Cinder, but is powerful in its own right. Then, the epilogue! Oh wow, it was perfect in the way it finished off the stories of the characters I have grown so close to in the past few weeks. Yes, I found myself wiping away tears more than once while listening to this one.

It is going to be sad saying goodbye to this series. But let's be honest, I will be coming back, perhaps frequently, to revisit these amazing people and their stories. For now, I happily tuck them away among my favorites, and look forward to reading more of Meyer's work in the future. Let me know what you think of the series!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


September: eBooks/Audiobooks

Oh wow! How do I even write this review? My mind is all over the place because this series was just so incredible. Trying to tell you how amazing it is while not giving away any spoilers in case you have not read it, or any of the series, is hard. There is so much that is incredible about this book and the series in general. Let me try to tell you.

In Winter we have finally reached the end of the story. But things are not as simple as tying up a few loose ends. No. There is a whole bunch to be taken care of! With plenty of characters and many different story lines coming together to get tangled up, it is no wonder that this book is so much longer than the ones before it. And Meyer does an incredible job of handling it all! She weaves these stories, moving around all the knots in the threads effortlessly to bring everything to various points of epic importance, and then the threads are off headed for a new knot the author must work through. There is a lot going on in this book!

Meyer is such an amazing author! Many times I found myself so worried about these characters, I finally had to turn to my friend, the one who recommended the series, and demand "Just let me know it all ends up alright. No details, just reassurance." Because the drama just got so complex, I was sure there was no way this would end well. Hint: It does. Sorta.

After all, things can't magically be made better by the end of the tale. There are still issues to be dealt with. And the fact that Meyer knows this, that she gives you a happy ending with a few issues, makes the story that much better. She gives you hope though, and that is what is important. I really look forward to reading the collection of short stories next in Stars Above.

Let me restate: Meyer writes an incredible story with amazing characters that will stay with you forever after!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


September: eBook/Audio book

While most of this series has been nonstop action due to the nature of the story, I think this books really brings it all to the front. From the beginning we have our characters running, moving to not only keep ahead of the Queen and the soldiers from Earth, but also to get to the next thing they have to do in order to make things right. Slowly a plan starts to come together for Cinder and her little band of misfits, but in order for her to make things work a lot has to go exactly right. Which of course means that it doesn't.

Without wanting to give away too much I will say that there is plenty of action, drama, and feels in this third book in the Lunar Chronicles. We are also given new characters to complicate the web that Meyer has been spinning, characters with backstories that add not only to the background picture, but to how things will turn out. We get the chance to figure out some more key details to the plot and they are intense revelations.

Even being much longer than the first two books, I had no trouble at all getting through this one just as quickly, the story pulling me along effortlessly. And I eagerly anticipate an incredible final book as I hit download to Winter, the conclusion of the series.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


September: eBooks/Audio book

Of course I rushed to start the next book in the series, and I was not disappointed. While this one starts with new characters, we are quickly shown how Cinder is doing as she bursts onto the scene, literally. In an escape attempt. Thus we meet Captain Thorne whose relationship with his ship rivals the one between Dean Winchester and his Impala. Elsewhere the story actually begins following Scarlet who is looking for her grandmother.

Two separate journeys take us racing through France in an effort to find answers that only one woman can give. And when the stories finally converge it is in full on chaos.

Once more Meyer delivers an incredible story with characters we love from our past as they are re-imagined in this new world.  She also gives us incredible humor that had me laughing out loud as I listened and drama that had me throwing my hands up in need of resolutions. So hang in there, because the next book promises to do more of the same! And I will be starting it as soon as possible!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 1)

As a lover of the video games, I of course had to pick this one up when I saw it at the library. It took a while to read because I ended up lending it to a friend's daughter so that she could read it first. She enjoyed it and is eagerly waiting for me to pick up the next one for her, which is awesome. So I finally read it today and I love the story just as much as I enjoyed playing the video game.

Himekawa tells Link's tale, from being an odd kokiri with no fairy to becoming the Hero of Time himself. This is only part one, following Link up to a point in middle of his quest to freeing the sages from their curses to help save Hyrule. So if you are a fan be sure to have the next one on hand so you can continue the story.

I will be quickly picking up the next one when I go to the library next for both me and my young friend to read. I may even search out the older games so I can play and delve back into the world of Hyrule!


September: eBooks/Audio book

A friend of mine has been a huge fan of this series since the first one came out and has been hounding me to pick them up. I'm pretty sure the only reason she gave me access to her Audible account was so that she could take away my last excuse for not reading them. And now I owe her an apology for putting it off for so long. This book was fantastic!

As I am sure you can tell from the title and cover art, Cinder is a retelling of the Cinderella story. But this one is unlike any you have ever heard. For starters, Cinder is a cyborg. That's right, our leading lady had metal limbs that she hides from everyone around her because of the unveiled contempt people feel toward the half-humans int heir midst. But that part of her sure comes in handy when one of Cinder's stepsisters contracts a deadly plague and Cinder is signed up as a research volunteer to help find a cure. Throw in a prince that needs the renown mechanic, again Cinder, to work on an android of his caring valuable information but has no idea what Cinder is, and you have a story wrought with opportunities for everything to go wrong. And so of course it does.

This story does not have a happy ending. In fact it has no ending because Meyer continues Cinder's tale into the next book, but that is another post. What this story does have is humor that will have you laughing out loud, a love story that is endearing and awkward, intrigue that will have you on the edge of your seat, and a villain you will despise for all the best reasons.  Not only am I going to encourage you to pick this one up and read it right now, but I am going to heavily suggest that you have the next book on standby so that you don't have to wait to know what happens next. (I am already 4 chapters into it.) Even more, I am going to nudge you to listening to the book on tape because the narrator does an amazing job!

In every way this book was wonderful. So go read it!

Monday, September 5, 2016

This Dark Endeavor

August: Texas Teen Book Festival

Held in Austin, TX, TTBF highlights YA authors and their audience by bringing the two together for a weekend to talk about the stories we are falling in love with.

Kenneth Oppel is one of the authors that will be at the Texas Teen Book Festival this year. Focus will be on his book Every Hidden Thing, but I couldn't find that when I went to the library. Instead I was intrigued by this previous book of his. This Dark Endeavor follows the story of a young Victor Frankenstein as he undertakes an adventurous quest into the world of alchemy to find a cure for his ailing brother. Full of action, intrigue, and passion, most of which is embodied by young Victor, Oppel's story gives us a look into Victor's past leading to hid dark curiosity into the world of the dead and the driving force behind his later experiments.

I really did enjoy this one. Oppel did a good job of creating not only a dire situation for Victor that would push him so urgently forward, but he gave an overwhelming amount of chaos behind the endeavor. Add a love triangle that leads to an internal war Victor wages as he tried to help his brother, and it makes for an amazing tale. And Oppel is a gifted writer!

My only draw back was that I was expecting Mary Shelley. This was my own fault and I should have seperated my love of the classic with my curiosity for this new tale. When Oppel's voice, a great one in its own right, was all I read it made the beginning of the novel a little slow going. hat being said I look forward to reading the next book in this little series as well as the book being highlighted at the festival this year. As I said, Oppel is a fantastic writer.

I highly encourage fans of the classic Frankenstein give this one a chance.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Attack on Titan v. 1

After a long dry spell in the book department, I immediately went to the graphic novel/manga section at the library. Because what doesn't push you back into the mindset of reading like a good comic? I started the show Attack on Titan last week and after getting half way through season 1, I saw this sitting on the shelf. Of course I had to pick it up because the show is awesome but there is only one season available at this time. Reading the manga, I was hoping to get further into the story that is so interesting. I am so glad I did!

Attack on Titan is the story of 2000 years from now when these giants have appeared to try and wipe out the human race, simply for the pleasure of killing off humans. Eren Jeager is the main focus of the story as he watched his home town destroyed by titans and his mother eaten by one five years before the main story takes place. Now the titans have attacked again and Eren is a cadet in the army and determined to kill every last one of them. But things are never that straightforward.

I've only picked up the first volume because sometimes the differences are too great or maybe the story telling isn't as good. . . Now I am kicking myself for not getting the first 10! The only real difference between the show and the manga is the added training scenes that showed a little more of what the cadets went through to become soldiers in the show. But maybe those will come a little later, I don't know. Either way I like the quick pace of the manga that throws you right into the story and makes you keep moving forward.

That being said, I didn't breeze through this one like I have with other mangas. Not because I didn't want to, no, I think if I had all day I would have read it all in one sitting. But as it was I was forced to put the story down at chapter 3 to get things done. And the story if heavy. It isn't just a couple of nice pictures with dialogue bubbles. Even watching the show first I had to slow down, take a little more time with each page, really let it all soak in. And if you ask me that is what makes it great!

Bonus: I was reading it at the DMV and the kind lady that got me my ID replacement smiled and said she loves Attack on Titan. Already I liked her and things went smoothly.  And my husband and I may have scared a few others waiting with our talk of killing titans and Vertical Maneuvering Devices.

So if you are cool with manga and haven't already, pick this one up! The story is intense, the thought behind every aspect of the story is incredible, and the characters and plot are just awesome. Check it out!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Lucky Life In And Out Of Show Business

June: Book written by a celebrity

I grew up on reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was a good, clean show filled with humor that my mother enjoyed and I would gladly sit down and watch it with her. There are still some scenes, like the nightmare-filled episode about walnuts, that have stuck with me over the years. And of course everyone was at some point drawn to the lively chimney-sweep Bert in Mary Poppins. So when I saw this book sitting on the shelf at the library as I was browsing (despite having my own stack of books to read) I thought, why not throw it onto the list for the month. It went right along with the theme! And what's more, it was the complete opposite of the two books I had read already. While all three celebrities share humor, fame, and very real issues, Van Dyke's story is very different from Felicia and Lindsey's. Jokingly you can see the differences just by looking at the book: it is longer and in large print. Why? Because Dick Van Dyke has a much longer story to tell!

The small similarities between the three books I choose for this month extend to the fact that I greatly enjoyed each and every one of them. Dick Van Dyke tells his story from his youth in Danville all the way up his current plan, which are a little vague since he is so fond of going where the wind take him. Of course the book is filled to the brim with humor and wonderful anecdotes from nearly every project he has worked on in his fifty plus years in showbiz. But also in the narrative are moments of truth. Painful memories of barely making it by, loosing people close to him, his battle with alcoholism. While Dick Van Dyke continues to be the larger than life man I have always thought him to be, after reading this book I am  made to love him a little more because he is merely human. Despite his shortcomings, his weaknesses, his tribulations, Van Dyke has always remained an exceptional man.

Please, if you enjoy any of Van Dyke's work, I think it is completely worth reading this book. See the man that pushed himself to the brink to make these parts come to life because while he has always loved what he does, he did still missed his fourteenth wedding anniversary. There is so much more to the man that sings and dances for children with cancer. And he felt the need to tell people hi story, share with his fans tales of his life in front of and behind the camera. So read this one, listen to what he has to say. Because after 85 years, he has a lot to say.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Demigod Files

So this book was fun, a little addition to the original Percy Jackson series written by Riordan that so many love. It contains three short stories about the demigod's adventures along with some short, funny interviews with the other characters, and to go with it all a few pictures like a map of Camp Half-Blood and character pictures. So it was a short fun read that took me back to the series I love so much for a quick visit.

But it was a little less than I was expecting. The stories were right on par, letting us see a little more into what Percy got up to in between books. But the last one was interrupted with the character pictures and that was a little distracting. The interviews were also humorous but shorter than I was expecting. And when they said they would be showing the contents of campers' trunks so any other demigods would know what to pack, they didn't say it would only be one, which was kind of a let down.

Like I said, I enjoyed it, it was fun. But if you are looking to really get a dose of Percy Jackson, maybe pick this one up along with another one of the books, because this little side trip back into the world of the demigods will not be enough. Still, I hope fans of the series do pick this one up, it's a nice read!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Between Worlds

Finally I got around to reading this second novel in the Cemetery Tours series and my only regret is not getting to it sooner!

After Micheal Sinclair declared to the world that yes, he does in fact see ghosts, his friend Luke Reiner approaches him once more asking to join him on his show Cemetery Tours. This time, his presence is a stipulation one of the home owners has placed on their allowing the tv show to film there. Michael reluctantly agrees after Luke and Kate, Micheal's now girlfriend, team up against him. We join Michael, Luke, and Kate once more on a ghost hunt that gets out of hand as the crew learns more about the ghost haunting a home in Maine.

I loved getting to join the team once more for a wild and humorous ride. Jacqueline has a unique gift in building up the world of Michael Sinclair where he can talk to ghosts, Kate can sense them, and Luke likes to poke them with a stick. The banter between the characters, including Brink, Michael's ghostly roommate, really makes you laugh out loud at least a half dozen times. Also in this one is a tragic love story that focuses around the ghosts the team is trying to find evidence of, and the heartbreak leads to some pretty crazy moments for everyone.

Jacqueline also steps outside her zone and takes us to the stunningly beautiful Maine, describing an incredible home and a quaint town that made me wish I could take a trip up there while reading this one.

Of course I am going to recommend everyone read this second great novel from Smith. Specifically to those that took the chance in reading the first one. This was a great follow up novel and I am looking forward to the third one.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Only Pirate At The Party

June - Books written by celebrities.

This was the perfect book to read shortly after reading Felicia Day's You're Never Weird On The Internet (almost), because it is now my firm belief that if these two women have not met they need to. They are so similar in so many aspects, and maybe that is what drew me further into Stirling's book, well that and the fact that there were so many times when it sounded like it was being narrated by one of my closest friends.

Another good friend of mine told me I had to read this book when she found out what my book club's theme was this month. She is a fan of Stirling and had bought this book on Audible and wanted me to read it. I agreed since I needed a second book for the theme, but now I, too, am a fan of Stirling.

If you don't know who Stirling is, let me give you the quickest of updates. Lindsey Stirling was a contestant on America's Got Talent (don't remember the year) but she didn't make it very far, because even though she has a very unique gift on the violin, she may not be everyone's cup of tea. But Lindsey did not let that stop her (for very long) and now she is a big performer where she tours playing hip hop violin. Yeah, you read that right. If you have never seen her work I think Shadows and Elements are incredible places to start.

This book gives us a very deep insight into Stirling's life, from her first forays into violin to her battle with an eating disorder, and she does it in incredibly funny and moving ways. I highly recommend listening to the book since it is narrated by Stirling herself, because it gives you the chance to hear her words in her voice, which packs quiet a punch. I found it incredibly moving as she spoke of the people closest to her and ached to give her a hug as she spoke of Jason Gaviati, a band member who has since passed.

Stirling is filled with life and hope and passion not only for what she does but for life in general. And getting a chance to listen to her story is something I am grateful for. I am so glad I listened to a friend's recommendation and I am passing it on to all of y'all. Read this book! And check out her videos! Which, by the way, while writing this post I found a new incredible video, so go check out Master of Tides.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Serenity Vol. 2 & 3

Vol 2 - Better Days

Following the example of the first book in the series, this one begins with a letter from one of Serenity's crew members: Adam Baldwin who played Jayne Cobb, the "Hero of Canton." It's nice to see his words, the excitement he had for the show and his characters, and his admiration for Joss Whedon. It's a great way to start a book.

Another day, another crime for the crew of Serenity, and another chance for things to go epically wrong. This chapter in the story focuses around two men hunting down the crew for very different reasons, one to get revenge on Mal and his crew for destroying something he created for a job, and an Alliance Special Ops guy looking to take in a former terrorist. Of course there is action, misunderstanding, chaos, and humor as the crew deals with this new problem.

Again, I loved the story!

Vol. 3 - The Shepherd's Tale

One of the biggest mysteries in the series has been Shepherd Book's past. How is it that the priest is so good at fighting, knows so much about the internal workings of the Alliance, feels such heavy guilt? Well, here is the glimpse into his past that fans have been waiting for. And it is everything I could have asked for and more.

Being a graphic novel, and I suspect it would have been the same if this story had been told in an episode, there is little space for a story to completely unfold, and Book's story goes way back in his life. But using a reverse timeline and focusing on pretty pivotal moments, this chapter gives us a ton of insight on Book! A great addiction to the story in my opinion.

In a change of protocol this chapter is ended with a letter to the reader. Instead of getting words from Chris Samnee, the man who played Book, we instead get Zack Whedon's take on this story line, the man who actually wrote it. And it lends the perfect parting words for this character and his story.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Circle Trilogy

Last month I read Black: The Birth of Evil, a graphic novel by Ted Dekker. Well, I finished the series and here is my follow up with the next two.

Red: The Heroic Rescue

Sticking with what I said about Black, I wasn't thrilled with this one.

While it has an intreguing premise, it just doesn't translate well to the graphic novel format.

This one starts off simultaniously years after the events in the last one and only moments later. Let that mess with your mind. And while you get glimpses of what filled those 15 years in one world, mostly you are just expected to live with the gap. Because the story must move on.

Also, while the Christian God/Elyon correlation was there in the first one, it goes above and beyond in this one with Elyon sacrificing himself, demanding the followers "drown" in his blood (baptism), and then offering a salvation. If the Christ story is not your thing, you'll want to avoid this series.

And yet I was still interested to know how Dekker was going to make ends meet. So on to the next one.

White: The Great Pursuit

Reading this one led me to believe that with each installment, this story got just a little harder to read. The gaps between them in terms of years going by in one reality, coupled with all the story Dekker tried to cram into just three short books, became just too much. And with this last one, my suspension of disbelief was stretched too thin, making it hard for me not to roll my eyes and think "well of course things fell into line for this guy."

With each new event, particularly in this book, things just got harder and harder to "roll with." Of course so-n-so was someone conveniently placed in a position of influence in both worlds. Of course Thomas magically convinced the bad guy to help his cause. Of course everything was just a little too convenient and easy to fix. I was expecting more from Dekker and I just don't think graphic novels are his medium.

All that being said, I still find the concept mildly intriguing and perhaps in the future I will still pick up the novels, read the story in a format that gives Dekker more room to move and tell his story, and hopefully the result will be better.

Until then I can only willingly encourage hardcore Dekker fans to pick up these graphic novels. Sorry. They just weren't my thing.

Friday, June 10, 2016

You're Never Weird On The Internet (almost)

June: Books written by celebrities.

When did I first become aware of Felicia Day? I don't even know. I remember seeing her on Eureka and recognizing her immediately, so I had to have seen Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog by then. I don't know if I saw the episodes of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer before or after I knew her name. But I know for a fact when I saw her on Supernatural I fangirl squealed and did a jumping dance in the middle of the living room because Felicia Day was so cool and on my new favorite show! I didn't get to watch her show The Guild when it first aired but I have since made up for that by watching it multiple times and mentioning it to all my friends. So basically it's like I've always been aware of Felicia Day, even though she has only been an actress since 2001. Maybe it's like Joss Whedon said in his intro: "She's something more than a self-made woman - I sometimes think she's not a human woman, that she willed herself into existence, before willing the world to make a place for this new, unfathomable creation." Felicia Day willed herself into my life, and it has been glorious ever since.

In her memoir Felicia tells the incredible tale of how she grew up home-schooled, managed to start college at age 16, and obtained two Real Degrees while never getting her GED. Than she moved to LA with the feeling that she was just meant to be an actress. And it seemed that anything she wanted to do, she put her mind to, and rocked it.
Only, it didn't keep happening that way.
While most of the world sees Felicia Day as this incredibly bubbly, happy, bright person who is not only beautiful but is also a gamer, which is just awesome, people don't suspect the underlying anxious, over-worked, neurotic that hides behind the games she played until she had pushed most of the world out.

And this is why I love Felicia Day. On top of the fact that I always love her bigger characters, I started to catch glimpses of the real Day sometime after she stared in Eureka and what I saw fascinated me. I'm not a major gamer, but I love to sit and loose myself in some Zelda when I can. I spent most of my teen years behind a computer screen in RPG chatrooms because I could be better than who I was IRL. I am addicted to stories because they are the easiest way for me to loose myself (and reading is something that people will encourage). And with all the convention panels I was getting to watch on YouTube, I started to see someone that I could relate to. And she was awesome!

Reading this book I got a closer look at Felicia Day than I ever had before. She opens her soul for the readers and welcomes them in to follow her journey through not only her childhood and move to LA, but the tough years including the two she spent literally addicted to WoW and then later when depression and anxiety got a hold of her so bad that her health took a turn for the worse. Day does not sugarcoat how hard things got for her, and I love that, because people that go through the same need to see that other have it just as bad. And her making her way out of it and doing something incredible, gives the rest of us real hope.

When I saw that Felicia Day wrote a memoir I got so excited, because she is awesome and I love to read about peoples' lives, how they got to where they are, and what they take from that experience. I got so much more in this book. I got to see hope that even though I am incredibly anxious and what people think of my work terrifies me, I can still put it out there, because I made a think #LookIt.

I really encourage everyone to read this one. It's full of laughter and sweet stories and awkward moments. And then it's full of truth and honesty. For the gamers, the women, the socially awkward creative people. Everyone feeling like maybe their passion is just too weird. Everyone that overthinks things to the point of insomnia. Here is a book written by a woman that gets it. And says that it is ok to be like that, you can make something of it, you just got to try. So give the book a read, and tell me what you think about it!

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Dark Rose

Within The Dark Rose are two main characters, Louisa and Paul, both with dark pasts that have brought them to work at the sight of Kelstice Lodge to help restore the grounds to their former glory. Along with revealing what happens at the Lodge between these two people, Erin Kelly also weaves in the stories of their pasts where both have come far closer to death than either would have liked.

Kelly does an excellent job of winding three different stories together in a way that does not distract from any of the plots, avoiding the problem of the reader wanting to get back to a certain thread when the others are being given. With each chapter I was just as thrilled to read whatever new bit Kelly was going to give me, no matter which part of the story it was about. Slowly, Kelly unravels two stories that come together in  multiple ways before the end and had me sitting on the edge of my seat as every event unfolded. And wow, I was not prepared for the ending at all! The epilogue was just icing on the surprise cake!

If you've seen any of my other reviews you may know I am not one for mystery, and yet here I am again stepping out of my comfort zone and loving it! This is one of the darker novels I have read, with the exception of Sleeping in Eden earlier this year. And just like that novel, I was a bit shaken by this book, given a few ideas for a darker story of my own, and intrigued enough to look for more by this author!

I definitely recommend everyone pick this books up ad get pulled into these character's lives as well as the excellent writing style of Erin Kelly. And if you have read her work before and have recommendations for me on her other books or perhaps more in the genre, please leave a comment! I will be giving more books like this one a chance in the future.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Black: The Birth of Evil

Oh guys, I really hate to say this, but this was not a good read. Let me explain a little further, you may still want to give this one a chance, especially if you prefer graphic novels.

Ted Dekker is an amazing writer. My husbands loves his work, I have many of his books, and I always look forward to them. In fact, I have the book Green which is book zero in the Circle Series, I just haven't had the chance to read it yet. So imagine how thrilled I was to find a graphic novel version of his circle series, sans Green though.

However, despite being a great storyteller, Dekker does not translate to graphic novel so well. I don't know, this is just my personal opinion and without the comparison of the books this series imitates, so take all this with a grain of salt.

The Circle Series follows one Thomas Hunter who falls asleep after a gunshot grazes his head and finds himself in another world, where he is just waking up. What follows is a crazy switch between two worlds, the second o which could be the future of this one if a giant talking white bat is to be believed. Thomas then continues to bounce back and forth between the two worlds to save one and live in the other (complete with learning to fight and wooing a woman). The back and forth is just too much for this format. I think it was missing a little too much in the narrative, something that you have to be careful with when writing a graphic novel. Because of this, I find some of the conversations and events to be a bit ridiculous. And it actually took me 2 days to finish this one.

That being said I sat down at my computer fully prepared to tell you that not only did I not enjoy this, I had no plans to pick up the next two installments. But, no, you know what, I think I will. After all, they are simply graphic novels, short and easy to read. Dekker took the time and believed that it was worth moving his story to this format, I can give him a little bit of my time to finish the series, see if it gets better. And even if I don't like these I will also be picking up the novels, because I already told myself I was going to read them, and I believe this concept will be great as told by this writer.

So I won't tell you not to read these, I just won't push it on you like I have other books. And check back in a day or two for the reviews of the next two books. I'll attach them to this one for convenience.

Edit: I finished the series and posted my review of Red and White.

Monday, May 23, 2016


This is Cath's story. Well, actually Carry On, Simon is Cath's story, her fanfiction story that she wrote about her favorite book character and his sub-textual love for the guy the original author painted as the bad guy. Because in Fanfiction anything goes, any ship is welcome, and the story never ends. Cath firmly believes all of this. And it's ok, because in that world she knows her characters, she knows the way they really feel (about each other), and she knows what comes next. And thousands of fans think she is an amazing writer, so that's got to count for something, right?
But now Cath is starting college and her twin sister doesn't want to room with her, and her actual roommate is kind of like a force of nature, and her roommate's boyfriend(?) smiles way too much, her father is really having trouble coping with being alone in the house, and her fiction writing professor does not approve of faniction. Could anything else go wrong? At least she has Simon and Baz.

This book was everything. For me at least. While reading, I stopped and told me husband that I was so glad that I didn't find fanfiction until recently because I would have been Cath, locked in the world someone else had created. Although, if I admit it out loud I was already like that, even without fanfiction, and even now I tend to get too far caught up in stories for my own good. But more than that, I could relate to Cath's anxiety, her fear of change, her shut down mode to avoid it all. I saw so much of myself in Cath while reading this book, maybe that's what had me reading in in just two days and getting downright giddy over every good thing that happened to Cath.

Of course it could also be because Rainbow Rowell is an incredible writer. Her characters are amazing. They are stunning in all their little imperfections and it's those flaws that make you love them and want to hold them close. The fact that her main character is a hot mess is wonderful. Rainbow is letting the reader know that it is perfectly fine to be a little crazy, a little obsessive. Just come out of your shell every once in a while.
And her humor! So many times I found myself laughing out loud, having to close the book to let it out for a long minute. And once I was forced to put the book down completely to wipe away the tears from laughing so hard and walk away to gather myself to keep reading. She really had just stunning dialogue throughout the whole thing!

And, yes, the subject matter was a big draw for the book. Fanfiction is such a big movement and it is also the most frowned upon literary genre out there. And yes, it's a genre. When thousands of people write it, when people have to update servers to support it, when so many people read and follow stories, when books get published (shhh, I know, but it supports my point), it is more than a hobby, it's a movement. I read fanfiction, I have read some astonishing works by incredible writers that would put some books I've read to shame. I even write it. But it's not something we bring up in polite conversation because so many people look down on it. Rainbow brings it to the forefront and says "Here, it's a thing, it changes lives, and it's actually ok." And I applaud her so much for that. For writing a book with a character people can relate to and feel better about something others may put them down for.  And that's awesome.

This book was so many kinds of amazing. You need to read it. I don't care if you like fanfiction or not, you'll fall in love with Cath anyway. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go track down every other book by Rainbow I can get my hands on. Right after I update my fanfic!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Serenity: Those Left Behind

Well, I found this little surprise at our local library and of course had to pick it up. As a huge fan of the show (and Fillion and Whedon in general) I was happy to have yet another reason to return to the story. After all, I just rewatched the show and movie a couple weeks back and was starting to feel the familiar ache of loss.

So here we have a short graphic novel looking into that time between the ending of the show and the start of the movie. In classic Whedon fashion it helps explain why Inara and Shepard Book are not on the ship at the start of Serenity without having to explain anything at all!

The story was too short, much like an episode of Firefly, but also like the show it is filled with sharp witty comments and near death moments. Although, I feel obliged to point out that a comic does not have the same punch as a show, this comes close with a few surprises and new escapes.

And bonus, there is a letter from Nathan Fillion to start off the story recounting his love of comics and superheros that led him to eagerly sign up for the role of Malcolm Reynolds.

So if you like the show, find this little bit more and get some more story on Mal and the crew. I will be looking forward to finding the others in the series to continue this story line and get my fix!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thirteen Reasons Why

May - Books with numbers in the title.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a unique book. The majority of the book is told from one boy's point of view, Clay Jensen as he listens to a series of cassette tapes that were sent to him in the mail. What is he listening to: Hannah Baker's story of her thirteen reasons why she killed herself.

I found this book in a Half Price Books last year after the Texas Teen Book Festival, but I didn't have the money to get it at the time so I made a point of taking down the title and author so that I could get it as soon as possible. Then my sister said she was listening to the audio book for this month's book club read and I thought that would be perfect, it gave me the chance to talk to someone else who had read the book. So I bought my copy and waited anxiously for it to get to me in the mail. And read it in one day.

This book hits close to home for me. There was a point in my life when I thought that suicide might be the answer to my problems. Lucky for me I am kind of a wuss and couldn't go through with it. It doesn't keep me from stopping every so often to think about it, from considering what it would take and what it would affect. I am also lucky enough to have a best friend who had also been at that point in her life and knew how to talk me down. I now have more people to turn to, including that first friend. But to this day I can still name the people and events that led to that first real consideration. Much like Hannah picked out her list of reasons, I could still do it thirteen years after I was in that same place. Wow, thirteen years ago. Is that serendipity? Ok, this got pretty heavy for a book review.

So, this book. It was incredible, I really think so. There were a few times when maybe I wasn't thrilled with a sentence, or maybe something seemed just slightly less than amazingly written. But those times were very few, far between, and not worth note. What is important was how well Jay Asher brings to life this story. Not only does he give the reader this unique format of having parts of the chapters told from a cassette tape, but he does a wonderful story of interjecting Clay's world into it. Not just his thoughts about what is being said, but what he is does as he listens to the tapes, as if the reader is also hearing Hannah in the background as Clay lives. What's better, you can hear parts of the cassette tapes on YouTube, as posted by a "friend".

And as Clay listens to the tapes, as he anxiously waits at the start of each new story to find out if this one is for him, I waited anxiously. I am pretty sure that I felt every thing that Clay felt, including the heartbreak for his story and the start and stop of tears as he listened. Asher does an amazing job of turning the reader into Clay. Part of me really hates that I read the book instead of listening to it on tape because I hear the way it alternates between narrators is fantastic. I'll ask my sister's opinion on that matter when she gets done with listening to it. Maybe I'll listen to it some time in the future.

Which leads me to what I plan on doing with this book. I am going to put it on my shelf. I am going to loan it out to anyone that even looks in its general direction. I am going to hold on to it until my son is getting ready to start high school and I am going to make him read it before he starts. I will do the same for my daughter (who I am really worried has the potential to be a bully) and have a good long talk when she is done with it. Because I think everyone needs to read it. No one ever realizes the impact their little thoughtless acts have on others. People don't think about the possibility that others are fighting their own battles and that one wrong push can really tip their scales. I need at least my children to think before they act. This is a lesson this book paints so vividly as it tells stories that may seem so simple and innocuous individually but add up to be just too much for Hannah. So I will pass this book on. Frequently.

If you have your own take on this book, on this story, let me know. Or check out ThirteenReasonsWhy to share you story or see others.

I also want to leave you with a few things. Like the number for a hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE. A website: . An organization: To Write Love On Her Arms. A campaign: The Semicolon Project. Even a name: Jared Padelecki. Please, if you think that you are at a place in your life where nothing else can help, try just once more. And remember, you can always reach out to me, through a comment of email. And always keep in mind that others may be struggling, so try to always be kind to each other.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Supernatural: John Winchester's Journal

I was looking for a book to read as I wait for my order from Barnes and Noble, something light that I could finish in a day maybe, that would help me clear my palate so to speak before picking up my next book club read. Well, I had been putting this one off for a while now since I am not a big fan of John Winchester, but it did the trick, got me thinking about Supernatural which I think about all the time anyway, and I was done in a day and can move on to the next book tomorrow. After I watch this week's episode of Supernatural that is.

So, if you are unfamiliar with the show, as you live under a rock, let me give you the highlights: John Winchester was just your average father of two boys, Dean (4) and Sam (6 months), loving husband of Mary, and a small town mechanic. Until November 2nd, 1983 when John stepped into his youngest son's nursery to find his wife pinned to the ceiling and catching fire. After getting his sons out of the house and discovering that he was not crazy, he had seen something unexplained, John became what is known as a hunter. This book follows John over the course of the next twenty-two years as he tries to find out what killed his wife, raise two boys, and kill the monsters that go bump in the night. The journal ends right as episode one of the show begins.

This book did a great job of reminding why I don't particularly like John Winchester. And it does that by being well written with the approval of the show's creator, meaning that fans get to see a little more of what happened in those absent years, learn a little more about the man that taught the two greatest hunters in North America, and even find out some more about the monsters the show is prided on bringing to life.

If you choose to read this one keep in mind that it is a journal, written by a man that never talked about his feelings and was slowly working his way further into the world of the supernatural to find out what killed his wife so that he could finally avenge it. That all means that the narrative is disjointed, the time line is full of gaps, and increasingly the story if more focused on the information gathered on monsters than thoughts or reflections of the boys John is raising to be soldiers. There are four dates every year John consistently marks: Dean's birthdays, Sam's birthdays, John and Mary's wedding anniversary, and the date of Mary's death. And with each year that passes the notes about the first two get smaller while the pain of the last two never diminishes. This book did an excellent job of showing the slow progression from the smiling, proud father to the obsessed, hardened hunter. It does an excellent job at complementing the series.

I recommend all fans of the show give this book a read, as it helps pull a little more from the backstory to explain a bit more about why the boys are the way they are, why they were so driven to find the demon that killed their mother, even Sam who had tried to take a step back from the hunting life. Just keep in mind, maybe John Winchester was not the best dad.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Three Good Things

May - Books with numbers in the title.

I loved the premise behind this book, the story of two sisters, one a recent divorcee with a bake shop that's just trying to figure out life after her husband, and the other a successful lawyer and new mom trying to figure out how to balance her life. Loosing their mother at just sixteen and six, they have only her imparted words of wisdom to help them these years later: "At the end of every day, find three good things about it."

I think the fact that I rarely pick up mainstream books has effected me. While I greatly enjoyed this book, loved the story and the writing style, even found myself talking aloud at the characters near the end, I felt the book was a little watered down. I believe this to be a side affect of far too many life and death harrowing storylines in my recent read list. Something so simple almost fell flat for me. That is not to say that I didn't love the book, that I don't recommend it, on the contrary, I suggest everyone, especially women, pick this book up. Join the McClarety sisters on their path to trying to discover themselves in their own little ways at a time when most people expect to have all their shit together. This book is wonderful, so much like life with moments of joy, confusion, pain, misunderstandings, awkward moments, The characters are so adorable in their little Wisconsin town where the worst that can happen is a little too much snow to make someone late for work. Well, at least on the surface, because under that is two women who are a little too scared of making the wrong move and having everything they want in life slip through their fingers. And what's a little pastry without a side of drama?

This was a really enjoyable read and I look forward to holding on to it to recommend for all my friends that ask me for a good book and they don't want anything too heavy. And if you read the book and try the recipe for kringle, something I am really considering, let me know how it turns out!

Friday, May 6, 2016


I'll be completely honest with you on how I picked this book to read. My husband was rushing me out of the library, I wanted a new book to get me through the end of April until I could pick up my book club read for May, and I reached over and grabbed the first book at hand. I had already read the jacket, so I had a vague idea of what the book would be about, but I was unsure if it was really something I wanted to read. Wow am I glad that I took the chance.

Panic is the story of a game played in a small town by recent high school graduates. During the school year everyone in the high school gives up a dollar for every school day. At the end the money is divided between two secret judges, and a winning pot. Then seniors decide if they are going to compete or not by jumping off a rock wall into a lake. The game thus begins. Over the course of the summer that follows the contestants are put through more and more insane challenges to determine who is brave (crazy) enough to make it out the other end and claim the money. This year the story follows two contestants, Heather, who had not intended to compete at all, and Dodge, who  had been planing on joining the game for two years.

This book was a roller coaster from beginning to end as I followed the story of these brash, crazy new adults as they fought to not only win the game but get their lives under control. Lauren Oliver does an incredible job of bringing each challenge to life, making each character something special, and making sure the reader is too immersed to do anything but keep turning pages. I found myself not only eagerly pushing on to the next chapter, but also recounting the challenges and outcomes to my friends, who at the age of 30 were calling these kids insane for what they did. But we were all interested to see how it would end with bated breath.

If you like The Hunger Games I am sure you will love this story about these kids trying tot fight for a way to improve their lives and willingly risking their lives to do it. However, this is a much tamer version as everyone else isn't watching, but those that know about Panic are actually trying to stop these kids from continuing. But sometimes, the reward is just too good.

EDIT :: So give this book a shot! If you want to take a look at the world of Panic, this is where you can find the Origin of Panic. It is in two parts, each only six pages long, but it is a teaser to see what kind of insanity is behind the game these kids play, and how it started. Check it out!