Sunday, December 25, 2011

Batman Noel

Author: Lee Bermejo
Year: 2011
Publisher: DC Comics

This is a retelling of the Dickens' Christmas story with Batman center stage as the Scrooge character. I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It was like most all reincarnations of Dickens story but it was much darker - kind of like the most recent Dark Knight Batman movies. Fun read for any Batman lover.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Handmaid's Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood
Year: 1986
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin  Company

The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel (no surprise I'm reading another one of those). The story is told in first person from the point of view of Offred (not her real name). Offred is a handmaid in a new society called the Republic of Gilead and lives somewhere around Bangor, Maine. In this society, women have no power and are possessions of men. Some women are Wives, some are Marthas, others, like Offred, are Handmaids. Their function in society comes from the story in the Bible where Rachel gives her maid to her husband, Jacob, so that he can have children by her. Offred is placed in the home of a high ranking Commander where she must hope that he can make her pregnant. If she is not able to have a baby, then she will either die or be made an Unwoman and shipped to the Colonies.

This society is new and the story is interspersed with stories from Offred's life before this happened - when she had a job, money, freedom, a husband and a daughter. She can remember what she's lost and, at times, can not decide whether she pities the younger girls who cannot remember a time before or if she thinks it is better that they don't remember.

I've heard about this story for a very long time. And it's always been good reviews and high praise for The Handmaid's Tale. I must agree that it is a very well-written and captivating book. My biggest complaint is that I didn't feel completely connected with Offred and I wanted just a little more. I don't know if I was looking for more emotion, more story, more background, more conclusion. I just felt like there was a little something missing. Don't misunderstand, I thought this was a terrific book. There was just a little something missing for me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blood Bound: Unbound, Book 1

Author: Rachel Vincent
Year: 2011
Publisher: Mira

Olivia Warren is a blood tracker. She can find anybody just by smelling their blood (like a bloodhound). In her world, a world of Skilled people, people are bound to others by oaths made with blood and one never quite knows who is bound and who isn't. So, Olivia trusts no one. But now the husband of her one of her oldest childhood friends has been killed and it looks like her daughter is next. Olivia is forced to work with Cam - the lover she left behind.

I love Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series and that is the sole reason I picked up this book as I don't read that much urban fantasy. I really enjoyed it. I could feel the tension between Olivia and Cam - both sexual and anger. The world is incredibly imaginative and well built. I sat up way too late on a work night finishing this book. Of course, I hated the cliffhanger of an ending. ;)

The Iron King: The Iron Fey, Book One

Author: Julie Kagawa
Year:  2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Meghan Chase's little brother is kidnapped by fey and replaced by a changeling child. Meghan has to travel into the Nevernever to save her brother. There Meghan learns that nothing in her life is really what she thought it was. Her father is actually a faerie king. Her best friend, Puck, is the king's trickster who was protecting Meghan in the human world. Meghan also learns that the mysterious stranger who she had spotted several times in the human world is Ash - a prince of the winter court and her real father's enemy. But the danger doesn't stop there. Turns out, the fey kidnapped her brother are a new breed. They're made of iron and plan to take over the Nevernever and destroy it. 

I was surprised at how much I had enjoyed this book. I've read several book about fey and have not been impressed with them. The stories are all the same and fairly lackluster at that. I heard Julie Kagawa in an interview and she intrigued me so I decided to give her books a try. I'm glad a did. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Author: Sophie Jordan
Year: 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

After the events of Firelight, Jacinda is forced to leave Will behind and return to the Pride with her family. On top of the heartbreak of leaving Will behind, Jacinda is tormented by the fact that Will's memory was altered and he doesn't even know why she left him. But Jacinda hasn't forgot Will and now she has to decide if she can live without him even though she is back with her Pride where she thought she wanted to be? Life with the Pride isn't easy now either. Before Jacinda was special and important. People revered her and liked her. Now, Jacinda is considered a traitor and, if not for Cassian's protection, her wings might be clipped. Will had promised to never stop looking for Jacinda. But will he even remember that promise? And, if he does, will Jacinda be brave enough to follow her heart.

I liked Vanish much more than Firelight. I felt like Jacinda grew a lot and faced up to her faults. I missed not having as much of Will in the book. Also, reading the actual book instead of listening to the audiobook decreased my frustration as I was able to follow Jacinda's thoughts and words by seeing the punctuation in the book. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Sherlock Holmes: Year One: Volume 1

Written by:  Scott Beatty
Illustrated by: Daniel Indro
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Year: 2011

This graphic novel is an origin story of Sherlock Holmes. It includes the introduction to Dr. Watson and a back story as to how they became roommates and partners. It has an interesting mystery that introduces us to Dr. Moriarty (and boy is he evil) and sets up their rivalry quite well. It wasn't a great mind-blowing mystery but still good and I felt like this collection was more of a set up for future graphic novels than anything.

I thought the graphic novel had very good artwork. I didn't like that the characters had purple skin. There is a possibility that was just because I was reading it on my nook and maybe the colors were off.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Author: Sophie Jordan
Year: 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Narrator: Therese Plummer

Jacinda is a draki (otherwise known as a dragon decedent). But not only is she a dragon, Jacinda's a firebreather which makes her an extra special and rare dragon. Her Pride not only wants to own her, they want to control her. She's forced to leave her Pride with her mother and sister and live among the mortals in a barren desert that is slowly killing Jacinda's draki. Jacinda must deny her true nature and pretend to be human. When she meets Will, he becomes her oasis in a desert. Beautiful, kind and sexy, Will feeds her draki and keeps her alive. But Will and his family are hunters. Their family hunts Jacinda's kind and kills them. They are the ultimate starcrossed lovers - a hunter and his prey.

I liked this story a lot. It was different and fun and Jordan writes heartbreaking and hot romance. I did get a bit frustrated. I listened to the audiobook and Jacinda tends to have lots of thoughts about how she should answer questions or about her real feelings and, listening to the audiobook, it was difficult to tell at times whether Jacinda was really saying something or if she was thinking it. So, I'd get really excited thinking she was confessing her feelings and she was just thinking them. That is no fault of the narrator who did an excellent job. I think the way the story is written it doesn't come across well on audiobook. I recommend reading this book instead of listening to it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blood Wounds

Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Year: 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

I normally wouldn't have picked this book up but it was written by Susan Beth Pfeffer and I loved her Life As We Knew It books. I recommend those books to just about everybody I come in contact with (so if you haven't read them, go out, get them and read them. They're terrific.) Blood Wounds centers on Willa. Willa is part of a blended family and has two stepsisters who she likes but also envies and resents. Her stepsister's mother pays for them to go to fancy schools, travel and compete in very expensive hobbies; whereas Willa doesn't have the money to do these things. Then, one day, Willa gets word that her biological father (who she hasn't seen since she was a toddler) has killed his current wife and daughters and may be heading to Willa's home to kill her. The story focuses on the ramifications from her father's actions and how it affects Willa and the people she loves. 

I didn't identify with Willa because I've never been in any of her situations but I did root for her. I wanted Willa to find her way through these problems and come out on the good side. I felt for her. In the end, that's what I think the author wanted. There's some hard and raw stuff to deal with in this story and I think that won't appeal to a lot of readers. But I liked it. Pfeffer is very good at fleshing her characters out and making them real. 

Also is very fun to follow on her blog:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Leviathan: The Unwritten, Volume 4

Authors: Mike Carey & Peter Gross
Year: 2011
Publisher: Vertigo Comics

This fourth installment of The Unwritten series was probably the most difficult to read. Tom Taylor gets separated from Lizzie and Savoy and travels through multiple stories, faces the great white whale and must figure out how to get back home. I feel like there was a lot I missed in this story so I'm going to have to go over it again before the fifth volume comes out but I did still enjoy it. I love the premise of these comics and how they illustrate how much the stories we read influence our lives. I also love the way the authors define stories through the series. One particular set of scenes in this volume stuck out to me. Our hero, Tommy, is being read a book by his father as a child and they begin discussing happy endings and how, as readers, we expect everyone to live happily ever after. Tommy's father tells Tommy, 

"Nobody ever lives happily ever after, Tom. If that were to happen the story would have to stop. Because it's sustained on the endless agonies and exertions of the hero. . . At the close of each book, we promise him a respite. A moment's peace. And a moment's all it is."

I liked these lines a lot because they remind me that life isn't a happily ever after. We're going to have good days and bad days but neither one is going to last forever. So, when the going gets tough, we need to put on our big girl panties and muddle through it and know that better times are around the corner. Of course, we can't get too complacent in the good times because there are going to be bad days ahead. 

This series also has some of the best and most interesting artwork I've seen. There are all kinds of hidden gems throughout the story. I recommend this series to anybody who's a lover of literature. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Poor Neglected Blog

So, I've been very remiss in updating my blog this summer. Not many excuses except that I've been busy and time has gotten away from me. But, I have been reading! It looks like I've read 22 books since the last time I posted. Woops.  Instead of overwhelming everybody with a comprehensive listing of every book I've read since that time, I'll just go over some of my favorites. I'm going to skip book summaries in this post because it'd just be too long and take up too much of your valuable reading time.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Author:  Z.Z. Packer
Year: 2004

This book had been sitting in my To Be Read stack for a long, long time. I read Z.Z. Packer's short story, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, while in college and loved it. Overall, I loved this collection of short stories. She's got a way of writing that is so down to earth yet beautiful. Terrific stories. I definitely recommend them.

Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Year: 2011
Narrator: Wil Wheaton

I loved this book. I was a child of the 80s and this book made me extremely nostalgic for my childhood. The entire book was riddled with references and call outs to all those movies, books and songs that I used to love. I think that a person that's not a huge geek like me might get a bit overwhelmed or bogged down in the story but for those like me, it's tons of fun. Wil Wheaton was a wonderful narrator. I'm thinking of checking out other books he's narrated. 

The Magician King
Author:  Lev Grossman
Year: 2011

Another very good read. This book picked up after the events of The Magicians. It was a lot like Voyage of the Dawn Treader (which was my favorite of the Narnia stories. Quentin and his friends are now kings and queens of Fillory and have been peacefully ruling. In fact, Quentin is a bit bored. So, Quentin finds himself a quest. These are definitely books meant for adults so don't let your kids read them but I like them a lot. Oh, and I was totally unhappy with the ending. I think the first thing I did was start searching the web for the release date of the next book (it's unknown by the way).

Author: Richelle Mead
Year: 2011
Narrator:  Emily Shaffer

This book takes place in the Vampire Academy world. This book focuses on the alchemist, Sydney, that helped Rose in the Vampire Academy stories. Sydney is sent to protect Jill Dragomir. I've heard a lot of people complaining about how they didn't like this book or didn't care for Sydney as a narrator but I liked it. It took me a little longer to warm up to Sydney than it did Rose but I did and I liked her. Plus, I loved getting to see more of Adrian who was one of my favorites from the Vampire Academy books. I'm still not sure how I feel about Emily Shaffer as a narrator. She annoyed me at first but by the time I got most of the way through the book, I was okay with her.

13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Year: 2005

I got this book as one of the Free Friday reads from Barnes and Noble for my nook and didn't know what to expect. I liked it. 17 year old Ginny receives a package from her recently deceased aunt. The packages contains 13 blue envelopes. Each envelope has instructions for Ginny to follow as she's sent gallivanting over Europe to fulfill assignments for her aunt. This book was not a particularly intelligent read but it was fun. 

Author: Josephine Angelini
Year: 2011

I devoured this book. It took me a couple of chapters to get started but once I did, I didn't set it down all day. It was all about Greek gods and goddesses in today's world. The main character, Helen, is a reincarnation of Helen of Troy. There's love, war and magic. Loved it.

Author: Ally Condie
Year: 2010

This was another book I couldn't put down. It's one of those young adult dystopian novels. I loved Cassia and loved both Xander and Ky. I still can't choose between the two. Maybe the new book, Crossed, that just came out this week will help me make a decision between the two guys. One of my favorite aspects of the book was how much influence the poetry of past generations had on the main character, Cassia. I can totally see a poem meaning that much to me and can't imagine a world where there are only 100 poems. Or a world where people can not write. Definitely recommend this one.

The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Year: 2011
Narrator: Jim Dale

This book left me a little conflicted. Morgenstern created a beautiful world in The Night Circus and painted such vivid pictures of the circus, the tents and the people that I had no problem imaging exactly what it would be like to be at the circus. And I loved the characters. But the actual story seemed to slog along. But, Jim Dale is my absolute favorite narrator and he made the audiobook come alive and, by the time I was halfway through the book, I could not turn the audiobook off. Jim Dale is just amazing. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the book at all if I wasn't listening to it but I would definitely recommend checking it out and giving it a chance - especially the audiobook.

All These Things I Have Done
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Year: 2011

Another great dystopian novel. Loved it. This is in my top books of the year. I loved the main character. Anya was so easy to identify with and sympathize for. In her world chocolate and caffeine are illegal (I'd definitely be on the run). Her family business is chocolate; so, she's considered to be part of a mob like family. Then, Anya falls for the new boy at school who just happens to be the town's new DA's son. I read this book on vacation and spent an entire vacation morning hiding on the  deck of the cruise ship reading it. Plus, the book is absolutely beautiful. 

Girls in White Dresses
Author:  Jennifer Close
Year: 2011

This book was not what I was expecting at all. For some reason, I thought it was going to be one story about a group of college friends. Instead, it was a collection of interweaved short stories about girls who are friends. It was still a good book and I enjoyed the stories a lot. I just had a hard time getting past the book being something different than I thought it was. 

Author: J. Courtney Sullivan
Year: 2011

I loved this book. It's about an extremely dysfunctional family that gathers every summer at a beach house owned by their mother and the complicated relationships that they have and their just trying to reach some kind of understanding with each other. The ending was fantastic and a bit unexpected even though I should have totally known where the book was going.

Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Year:  2010

This might just be the best teen romance I've ever read. Anna was a wonderful character. The dialogue was smart and funny. Etienne was completely lovable. I reread the last 30 pages about ten times once I finished the book. If you like romance at all, read this one.

If I Die
Author: Rachel Vincent
Year: 2011
Narrator:  Amanda Ronconi

This series just keeps getting better and better. I love Kaylee (and Tod). In this book the tension and suspense as to what was going to happen nearly killed me. I feel like with every book Rachel Vincent keeps upping the consequences and the importance of every event for the characters. I listened to this audiobook on my nightly walks and my walks were two hours long on those nights. I couldn't put the book down and just walked until I was exhausted. For anybody who loves paranormal romances, I definitely recommend this series. It's at the top of the list. And, you have to start with the first book. Don't start here or you're going to be terribly spoiled for the other books. I can't wait to see what happens to Kaylee (and Tod) next.

OK, that's most of the books that I've been reading over the summer (and fall). Now, let's see if I can stay up to date on the blog. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

Author: George R.R. Martin
Year: 1996
Publisher: Bantam Books

Yeah, I finally read it. I also figure if you don't know what this book is about then you've been living in a cave somewhere for the past year; so, absolutely no descriptions from me. I will say that it took the book a while to get going and that I needed that appendix of the great multitude of characters in this book but that, once the book got to going, I loved it. 

The Snowman

Author: Jo Nesbo
Year: 2011
Publisher: Knopf 

Mothers are disappearing and left behind in their place are snowmen - the only clue that a serial killer is at work. Detective Harry Hole is convinced that the killer is playing a game with him because of a letter left for him.

This is a Scandinavian serial killer mystery by Jo Nesbo who is hailed as the next Steig Larrson. I can't comment on the comparisons to Larsson as I have got to be the only person left who hasn't read his Dragon Tattoo books (it is in my TBR stack). But, I can say this is a very good mystery. Nesbo's hero, Harry Hole, is tough, gritty, damaged goods who reminded me a lot of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. Could be because they share the same name but I don't think it is. I think the characters are very similar.

This book was quite scary for a murder mystery and I felt that Nesbo dared to go further than many American authors would. And I liked it.

Water for Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen
Year: 1996
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

When he is 21 years old, Jacob Jankowski walks out of college in the middle of his veterinary final exams and joins the circus. It's not a pretty life. This story takes place during the Depression and the circus Jacob joins is not a top caliber circus. Animals go without food, workers without money and sometimes "disappear" during the night. 

I almost stopped reading this book before I got into the heart of the story because the first 75 pages was not at all what I expected and was much more explicit that I was prepared for. Once the Gruen got into the actual story, it was a beautiful story. The details of circus life were amazing - not necessarily pretty or something that made me want to run out and join the circus - but amazing. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher
Year: 2007
Publisher: razorbill

Clay Jensen finds a shoebox with seven cassette tapes in it on his front doorstep. When he starts listening to them, Hannah Baker's voice tells him that if he's listening to these tapes, then he's one of the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide. Hannah tells him that he must listen to the tapes to find out why he is on her list and then forward the tapes to the person behind him on the list. Clay's dumbstruck. Why was he a reason that Hannah committed suicide? He had a crush on her! Through the night, Clay keeps listening. 

Again, another wonderful and emotional YA novel. I don't know how this book stayed off my radar until it came out in paperback. It's terrific. I was impressed with Jensen's use of the dual narration (not many authors could pull this off). Once I started this book, I couldn't stop reading. I had to keep going and find out who all was on Hannah's list and what did Clay do to Hannah that led to her suicide?
Very good read.

Hate List

Author: Jennifer Brown
Year: 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company

In her junior year of high school, Valerie's boyfriend opens fire on the student body in the Commons area of school, killing classmates, before turning the gun on himself. Nick's targets are people that he and Valerie had put on their Hate List - a list of people that they didn't like and thought should die. Now, in the aftermath, Valerie has to come to terms with  her boyfriend's actions and her role in them. After all, she did start the Hate List. For a while, the police question whether or not she was an active participant.  

This was an excellent book. It was very well written, tight lines, there wasn't a wasted sentence in the book. In addition, Jennifer Brown did an amazing job making me feel for the characters, sympathize with them and hope that somehow they were able to work everything out right. I highly recommend this book.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Wizard of Mars: Young Wizards: Book 9

Author: Diane Duane
Year: 2010
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

I've been reading the Young Wizards since I was in middle school and I absolutely love these books. When I heard that A Wizard of Mars was coming out, I rushed to Amazon and pre-ordered the book so that I would have it delivered to my home on release day. And then let it sit in my TBR stack for over a year. I finally picked it up this week and started reading it and have been asking myself the same question all week: why did I wait so long to read this book?

In this ninth book, Nita Callahan and Kit Rodriguez find themselves having to deal with Kit's infatuation with Mars. Nita and Kit (but mostly Kit) are working to try and figure out the secrets of Mars and the truth to the question about was there ever life on Mars and what happened to Mars' planetary kernel. Kit accidentally triggers events that leads to the life emerging on Mars again. Unfortunately, the Martians' plans could destroy Earth. 

As always, I loved this book. I enjoyed seeing Nita and Kit growing up and starting to examine their relationship with one another and finally starting to start thinking about romance (come on it's been thirty years!). I also enjoyed seeing the friendships between Nita and Carmela and Kit, Darryl and Ronan.

Now, how long until the next book comes out? I definitely won't be letting that one sit on my TBR stack for a year.

Grave Sight Comic Book

Author: Charlaine Harris
Year: 2011
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

This comic features Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly character. Harper was struck by lightening as a teenager and since then she is able to see how people died. She can sense their ghosts and the places that they've died and the method of death. Harper can't always see who killed them but she can tell if they were murdered. Harper travels with her stepbrother, Tolliver, who works as her manager. 

I enjoy this character more than I do the Sookie Stackhouse character. I liked this comic a lot; although I did feel that the story was a bit short and I could've used more of it. I felt that it was well drawn but it did load a bit slowly on my nook. 

Smoking Seventeen

Author: Janet Evanovich
Year: 2011
Narrator: Lorelei King
Author Website: 

Every year I look forward to the release of the latest Stephanie Plum book. These books are fun, sexy and just plain out make me laugh. And the latest book is no exception. In this book, dead bodies are showing up on the lot of the burned out Vincent Plum bonds office and Stephanie appears to be the target of the killer (or at least on his  mind). On top of that, Stephanie's feeling the pressure to make a choice between the two men in her life - Ranger and Morelli. Her mother thinks she should drop both of them and go for the former high school football player that's returned to Trenton. 

As I said before, I love these books. They're not high class literature and I don't walk away from them feeling like I've experienced some cosmic revelation. They're just fun. And, I have to listen to the audiobook on every one of them. Lorelei King is amazing. I tried reading on of the actual books before and couldn't do it. I had to hear Lorelei King's narration. In short, if you want something fun and light-hearted to read, give the Stephanie Plum books a listen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Girl in the Steel Corset

Author: Kady Cross
Year: 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Finley Jane isn't like the other girls. She has a duel, dark side that lives inside her. One that she can't control. When the "gentleman" that she works for comes after her one night, Finley fights back and runs away. And right into the path of Griffin King. Griffin King isn't like other lords. Like Finley, Griffin has a gift - as do most of the others that live with him. There's Emily - a petite, but extremely intelligent woman that works with the automatons and talks to them (oh and Emily 100% reminds me of Kaylee from Firefly). And Sam - the man whose half-machine himself and possesses superpowers that rival Finley's. And now the group must work together to find The Machinist - a killer that's using automatons in his plan to take over England.

I loved the world of this book. I am fascinated with the steampunk genre and I think that Kady Cross did a very good job of bringing it out and fluidly working it into her world. It felt very natural. I liked the characters a lot, too, and look forward to seeing more of them.

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes

Author: Brandon Mull
Year: 2011
Publisher: Aladdin

Jason Walker is a normal teenage boy who spends his time working hard to get good grades in school, practicing baseball and working up the courage to talk to the cute girl in school that he has a crush on. Then, one day at the zoo, he takes a strange and unusual trip from the hippo tank and ends up in the magical world of Lyrian. In Lyrian, all the people live in fear of their evil wizard emperor, Maldor. Jason ends up with the quest of finding the magical word of power that will defeat Maldor. In this quest, he meet Rachel, another girl from America who was also magically transported into Lyrian. Together, they work on finding the word of power which they hope will lead to a way home. 
I came to this series extremely excited because I'm a fan of Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series. I was not disappointed. This was a fun creative book. Mull did a very good job of developing the world of Lyrian. He  came up with some amazing characters that I don't want to spoil any of the surprises for any readers out there. It's a completely different premise than the Fablehaven books. I'd say it's more related to Lord of the Rings

You can find more about the book here:

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Author: Kristen Cashore
Year: 2008
Publisher: Graphia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Katsa lives in a world where some people are born with Graces - special abilities that make the person stand out from others. These people are marked with two different colored eyes. Katsa is the niece of the king of one of the Seven Kingdoms and should, by all rights, be able to live the "high life." However, her Grace is extra special - she is graced with the art of killing. Her uncle uses her as an assassin and enforcer for his kingdom. Then, one night, Katsa meets Prince Po of the Leinid kingdom and everything changes. Prince Po is graced with combat fighting skills. Together they set off on a mission that brings them closer together and teaches them both new things about their Graces. 

First off, this book has been sitting in my TBR stack for over a year! I bought it because the cover is absolutely beautiful, brought it home, sat it down and never picked it back up. Now, I'm wondering why I waited so long to read it. I totally enjoyed this book. I can see where there is room for improvement; however, once I got into the book, I could not put it down. Katsa is a very strong, female character. Prince Po is completely loveable. I hated to see the book end - mainly because I wanted just a little bit more from the main characters. Maybe I'll see that in a future book.

The Sixth Gun, Book 1, Cold Dead Fingers

Author: Cullen Bunn
Illustrator: Brian Hurtt
Year: 2011
Publisher: Oni Press

During the time of the Civil War, a group of heartless men come into possession of six pistols with strange and evil powers. Then one day, the Sixth Gun (the one with the most dangerous power) vanished. Years later, Becky, a young, innocent girl gains possession of the Sixth Gun and the cutthroat men, long thought dead, come after her to regain the gun and it's magnificent powers. The only person who can help Becky is Drake Sinclair - a gunslinger with a shady past of his own.

 This is the first comic that I read on my nook and it looked beautiful. I was impressed with the colors and the drawings. I also liked the setup for this comic series. It's a western which is considered a mostly dead genre but it's got a bit of science fiction mixed in. The characters were developed well enough to get me invested in them but not quite enough that their mystery was gone. I'm looking forward to seeing more in this series.

Darke: Septimus Heap: Book 6

Author: Angie Sage
Year: 2011
Publisher: HarperAudio
Narrator:  Gerard Doyle

A Darke Domaine has settled over the castle and is quickly heading over the castle grounds, destroying everything in it's path. The last thing standing in it's way is the Wizard Tower. In the sixth Septimus Heap book, Septimus must figure out a way to destroy the Darke Domaine and rescue Alther Miller from the Darke after Marcia accidentally banishes him.

I look forward to every single Septimus Heap book. I love listening to them. I think that Angie Sage is a master wordsmith and I get giggles over her use of language. I highly recommend these books. Every time I listen to them, I find myself driving very slow on the way home wanting to get more of the book listened to before I have to turn it off. In addition, Gerard Doyle is an excellent narrator. (Of course, I'm sure it helps with my narration that I am seeing Gerard Butler in my head when I listen to these books).  

I'm just really glad that Angie Sage hasn't decided to stop these books at seven - I know that I'll have Septimus around for a while.  

The Fifth Witness

Author:  Michael Connelly
Year: 2011
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Narrator:  Peter Giles

This latest story finds Mickey Haller in a different spot than we're used to seeing him. Business has been down for Mickey; so, he's expanded into the foreclosure field. Then, one of Mickey's clients is arrested for murdering the banker that was foreclosing on her home. Now, Mickey's in the middle of a high profile murder case that puts his life in danger.

I really love Michael Connelly's books and I did enjoy this one a lot; HOWEVER, I have to admit that I prefer the Harry Bosch books. I like Harry better as a character and find his character much more interesting. In addition, I felt a couple of times during the book that it was written with twists and turns for the movie adaptation in  mind. Still, it was a good read that kept me very occupied on  my daily trip back and forth to work.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Author:  Veronica Roth
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Katherine Tegan Books/Harper Collins

This book takes place in a dystopian Chicago where all citizens are divided into five factions that value or prize a certain virtue in their members - Candor (honest), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (brave), Amity (peaceful) and Erudite (intelligent). Each year all sixteen years must pass a take a test that shows their natural inclination towards one faction. Then, the next day, they must choose to which faction they will belong. If the person chooses a faction that their family is not from, they effectively shun their families and will not see them or take part in their prior lives. The main character Beatrice must choose whether she will stay with her family or be the person that she really is. 

This book as been hailed as the book for anybody who is suffering from Hunger Games withdrawal to read. I must say that it did keep me reading much as The Hunger Games did. It also features a strong, brave, female character. That's about where the comparisons to The Hunger Games ends. The situations that Beatrice and Katniss are in are highly different. The Hunger Games is much more intense. But don't take me wrong, Divergent is an excellent book and it's a very good start to the series. When the book ended, I was left wanting more. I saw more of The Giver and The Uglies series in this book than The Hunger Games.

I really enjoyed the book and recommend it to anybody that likes dystopian novels.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Author: Cornelia Funke
Year: 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown

Once upon a time. . .  

Cornelia Funke decided to tell another tale about stories coming to life (much as she did in Inkheart) and although this book sounds a bit like Inkheart, it is a completely different story. In Reckless, Jacob Restless has discovered a world beyond the magic mirror in his father's study. In this world, Jacob learns that fairytales do exist; however, they're not exactly the same stories we learned growing up. One day, Jacob's little brother, Will, follows him through the mirror, is injured and all seems lost as Jacob is now must figure out a way to rescue his little brother or he will lost him forever.

Ms. Funke is a master storyteller and, like Inkheart and Dragon Rider before it, I was enchanted and loved the book. I found myself lost in her magical world and when the story was over, I wanted more. Great book.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Unwritten: Volume 3: Dead Man's Knock

Author: Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Year: 2011
Illustrator: Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Vertigo Comics

This is the third volume in The Unwritten series. It continues the story of Tommy Taylor and includes such adventures as the release of the new Tommy Taylor novel, Tommy's confrontation with this father and his discovery of more details about his purpose.

I continued to love this series. I like that way it blurs the line between fiction and reality and brings into question what is a story and what is not a story. I also love the references I see in the story to Harry Potter. I know it makes me sound like a huge fangirl but I get all giddy everytime I see a Harry Potter reference anywhere.

I think this series is a must for any lover of books.

Decision Points

Author: George W. Bush
Year: 2010
Publisher: Crown

"Decades from now, I hope people will view me as a president who recognized the central challenge of our time and kept my vow to keep the country safe; who pursued my convictions without wavering but changed course when necessary; who trusted individuals to make choices in their lives; and who used America's influence to advance freedom. And I hope they will conclude that I upheld the honor and dignity of the office I was so privileged to hold. Whatever the verdict on my presidency, I'm comfortable with the fact that I won't be around to hear it. That's a decision only history will reach."

The is George W. Bush's memoir of his time in office. Here he explains what he considers to be some of the most important or dramatic events of his presidency. Bush approaches each situation in a matter of fact way, explaining the information that he had at the time, the steps he took to gain more information and how he came to his decisions whether they be right or wrong.

I found some of the stories heartbreaking such as Bush's experiences of 9/11, his visits to Ground Zero, and the decisions he had to make after that. I also found many parts enlightening; in particular, more of the story was revealed relating to the Federal government's slow response to Katrina that shows that there is more than one side to every story. Or how the "Mission Accomplished"

I appreciated Bush's candor in the book in overcoming his own personal demons such as alcohol. I also enjoyed reading about his obvious love and devotion to his wife and family.

Parts of the book got bogged down with details about the minute decisions in government that would probably bore the most avid political science major. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Red Herring Without Mustard

Author: Alan Bradley 
Year: 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press

This is the latest installment in the Flavia de Luce mysteries. This time Flavia gets mixed up with a traveling gypsy and, of course, murder follows her around. I love these stories. They are delightful tales that take place in an idyllic time even though Flavia's family circumstances are anything but idyllic. I love the way that Flavia seems to outwit the local police in solving the murder cases. I also like the way that there's always the understory about Flavia's mother and what happened to her.

I highly recommend these books.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean

Author: Justin Somper
Year: 2006
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Fourteen year old twins, Grace and Conner Tempest, grew up listening to their father's tales of a ship of Vampirates sailing the seas. He sung a shanty about the Vampirates to them to comfort them when they were scared. After their father's death, Grace and Conner decide to run away. They steal his boat and set out to sea and straight into a storm. Their boat is destroyed and the twins are picked up by two different pirate ships - one of them by the Vampirate ship. Each child struggles to deal with ship life and with the possible death of their sibling and their undesirable need to continue looking for each other.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn't great but it is a different idea and storyline and a good, if shaky, start to the series.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Emerald Atlas: Books of Beginning

Author: John Stephens
Year: 2011
Publisher: Knopf Books
Narrator: Jim Dale

I found this book while wandering through Barnes and Noble and was enchanted by the cover (because green is my favorite color). Then, I saw where the audiobook was narrated by Jim Dale and knew I had to listen to the audiobook. I love Jim Dale and have listened to every book narrated by him.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. It's the story of Kate, Emma and Michael. Three orphaned children who are constantly being moved from orphanage to orphanage. Ten years after being abandoned, they end up being the only children at an orphange in Cambridge Falls. While exploring the orphanage, they come across a green book which they later learn is called The Emerald Atlas. The Atlas allows the children to travel back in time where they end up where their adventures begin.

I loved this story. It was fun and engaging, full of magic and reminescent of so many great fantasy series (such as Narnia, Harry Potter and The Golden Compass). Jim Dale, as always, was brillant. I loved his work so much that I didn't even mind that the obviously three American orphans spoke with a British accent.

This book left me wanting for more and I highly recommend it (although you might want to wait until closer for the second book to be released).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Curse of the Spider King: The Berinfell Prophecies: Book One

Authors: Wayne Thomas Batson and and Christopher Hopper
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Narrator: Greg Whalen
Year: 2009

The elven world of Allyra is attacked by the Spider King and destroyed in one battle. In the midst of the battle, the seven heirs of the leaders of Allyra are kidnapped and hidden on earth. There they are adopted and raised as normal earth children. They have no idea of their real heritage. Now thirteen years old, the Age of Reckoning, the elven lords are coming into their powers as teenagers on earth, learning the truth about their identityand being hunted down and attacked by the sentinels of the Spider King. 

I got this audiobook during a sale on audible. It took  me a long time to get around to listening to it and when I finally did, I enjoyed immensely. The narrator was good and the story was very good. There is lots of background and mythology development. It's definitely from the Lord of the Rings family tree.

I would normally recommend this book without hesitation but I learned after listening to the book that (1) it is part of a planned trilogy and (2) the publisher is dropping the series. I'm extremely disappointed that there's a possibility that I won't get to finish the series someday. Hopefully, if they can't find a new publisher, the authors will considering self-publishing as an ebook. 


The Walking Dead: Volume 2: Miles Behind Us

Author: Robert Kirkman
Illustrator: Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Image Comics
Year: 2009

I'm loving this series. I'm amazed at how much of a storyline and plot the comics have. The author continues to develop the characters and makes me emotionally connected to the characters.

I can't wait to get the next volume from the library!


Author: Brian Wood
Illustrator: Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Oni Press, Inc.
Year:  2008

This graphic novel is a collection of twelve short stories  featuring Megan McKennan. Megan is a young girl who leaves her home with nothing but a backpack and sets out to discover herself and find out where she belongs. Each story is set in a different city and follows Megan's attempts to succeed. 

I really enjoyed this set of stories. At times I found Megan's adventures were a bit unrealistic but there was definite strong emotions in this story. Megan was very believable and I wanted her to find herself and be happy. 

I definitely recommend this graphic novel. It's got a great storyline. The artwork's pretty good too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Let's Take the Long Way Home

Author: Gail Caldwell
Year: 2010
Publisher: Random House

"It's an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too." 

So, I never quote parts of books but that one opening sentence convinced me that not only did I have to read this book but that it was going to touch a special cord with me. It made me instantly think of a friend that means the world to me. Gail Caldwell calls this book "a memoir of friendship" and so it is. It's the story of Gail and her friend, Caroline, who became friends because of their shared love for their dogs and who came to mean the world to each other. Caroline gets cancer and dies and it becomes the story of how Gail survives her friend's death. 

I loved this story. It was a beautiful testament to the author's friend and to friendship period. I bawled my eyes out. Not because the story was so sad but because a part of me fears the day that I have to live through the death of one of my friends.