Thursday, July 17, 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Author: Matthew Quick
Year: 2013
Publisher:  Hachette Audio
Narrator: Noah Galvin

Goodreads Summary:

How would you spend your birthday if you knew it would be your last?
Eighteen-year-old Leonard Peacock knows exactly what he'll do. He'll say goodbye.
Not to his mum - who he calls Linda because it annoys her - who's moved out and left him to fend for himself. Nor to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing the unthinkable. But to his four friends: a Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour, a teenage violin virtuoso, a pastor's daughter and a teacher.
Most of the time, Leonard believes he's weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he's not. He wants to thank them, and say goodbye.

Wow! That's the one word I'd use to describe this book. It was intensely emotional. I think I cried for half the book and not because it was sad and bad things were happening but because Quick was tugging at every single heartstring I have. I felt for Leonard and was dying to know what it was that drove him to make the decisions that he had made. Noah Galvin's narration was spot on. I absolutely loved this book. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All Our Yesterdays

Author:  Cristin Terrill
Series: All Our Yesterdays, Book 1
Year: 2014
Publisher:  Tantor Audio
Narrator:  Meredith Mitchell

Goodreads Summary:

What would you change?
Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I had no clue what to expect going into this book. I didn't know it was a time travel novel or exactly what was going to happen. I did figure a couple of things out pretty fast but I was pleasantly surprised at this story. I came to care about the characters and wanted Em to succeed in her task. I thought the book was very well crafted. It was fast paced and well plotted (is that the same as well crafted?) I especially liked the audiobook version and thought the narrator did an excellent job. I thought it ended well and am quite surprised that there will be a sequel coming up.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness With Pictures of All Kinds

Author:  Neil Gaiman
Illustrator:  Eddie Campbell
Year: 2014
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Pages:  73

Goodreads Summary:
You ask me if I can forgive myself?
I can forgive myself . . .
And so begins The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure. This gorgeous full-color illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman and renowned artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman's award-winning story. In this volume, the talents and vision of two great creative geniuses come together in a glorious explosion of color and shadow, memory and regret, vengeance and, ultimately, love.
. . . for many things. For where I left him.
For what I did.

If there's one thing I absolutely love about Neil Gaiman, it's his versatility. He can write these dense fantasy novels and then follow it up with a childrens book and then follow that with something like The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains. I would best describe this book as a flushed out parable. I loved the way he takes a story that seems simple on the surface and then  makes it all complicated and difficult and dense. The artwork was superb. In truth, I just wish I had also bought the audiobook and let Gaiman himself read it to me. 


Friday, July 11, 2014


Author:  A.G. Howard
Series:  Splintered, Book 1
Year: 2013
Publisher:  AudioGO
Narrator:  Rebecca Gibel

Goodreads Summary:
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

I didn't know much going into this audiobook except that it was based off Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It took me a bit of time to get into the story. I wasn't sure about Alyssa and none of the characters really caught my attention at first. Then as the book went on and it shifted over to Wonderland, I got interested in what was happening. I liked seeing how Howard used the setting from Carroll's Wonderland and, like Carroll, played with words and showed how at first the words you read can be deceptive and mean something totally different than what you can expect. So, in the end, Howard pulled me in.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Lost Prince

Author:  Julie Kagawa
Series:  The Iron Fey: The Call of the Fey, Book 1
Year:  2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages:  377

Goodreads Summary:
Don’t look at Them.
Never let Them know
you can see Them.
That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
My name is Ethan Chase.
And I may not live to see my
eighteenth birthday.

This book has the same feel and pacing as The Iron Fey series so if you loved that series, you're going to love this one. I almost think I like Ethan better as a main character than Meghan. I guess I'll figure that one out for sure as I read on through the series. I did enjoy the story. It was one of those books that I just sat down and read in a couple of hours and came away from relaxed and feeling happy. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Orange is the New Black

Author: Piper Kerman

Publisher: Tantor Audio
Year: 2012
Narrator:  Cassandra Campbell

Goodreads Summary:
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

Yes, I finally got around to reading this book - or listening to it. I have to admit, I didn't think this book was going to be a right fit for me but I ended up loving it. I thought Piper's story was compelling and sympathetic. I appreciated the way she went to do her time and didn't feel sorry for herself. The plethora of characters Piper met inside the prison were so interesting and each one's tale was worth hearing about. I'd  kinda like to know what happened to them after the book.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Afterlife with Archie

Author:  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Illustrator:  Francesco Francavilla
Publisher:  Archie Comics
Year: 2014
Pages:  160

Goodreads Summary:
When Jughead's beloved pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, Jughead turns to the only person he knows who can help bring back his furry best friend-Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Using dark, forbidden magic, Sabrina is successful and Hot Dog returns to the land of the living. But he's not the same... and soon, the darkness he brings back with him from beyond the grave begins to spread, forcing Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang to try to escape from Riverdale!

Who knew I'd be reading Archie comics again at my age? And absolutely loving them! Afterlife With Archie is so much fun. It's a great zombie story on it's own but there's these familiar characters that I grew up reading. Plus, no person is safe as some very beloved characters bite the dust in these first novels. The artwork is fabulous. I so enjoyed this first graphic novel collection, that I am sorely tempted to go out and buy the individual issues but I'll do my best to wait. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pretty Deadly, Volume 1

Author:  Kelly Sue Deconnick
Illustrator: Emma Rios & Jordie Bellaire
Publisher:  Image Comics
Year:  240
Pages: 120

Goodreads Summary:
KELLY SUE DeCONNICK (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) and EMMA RÍOS (Dr. Strange, Osborn) present the collected opening arc of their surprise-hit series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher. Death's daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.

I didn't know what to expect going into Pretty Deadly. I just knew that a lot of people whose book recommendations I respect had recommended the series and raved about it. I can definitely see where they are coming from. It's very  unique. The artwork is very unique and "artsy." It features some very strong women and has a unique storyline. I am definitely enchanted enough to keep following the story and see what happens.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Some Girls Bite

Author:  Chloe Neill
Series:  Chicagoland Vampires, Book 1
Year: 2009
Publisher:  New American Library
Pages:  341

Goodreads Summary:

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but I was doing fine until Chicago’s vampires announced their existence to the world. When a rogue vampire attacked me, I was lucky he only got a sip. Another bloodsucker scared him off and decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead.
Now I’ve traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed,
four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude—and servitude. Right…
But someone’s out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches?

My initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.  I'm not a huge fan of the vampire books these days but I still read them (because they are wonderfully prevalent in so many of the stories that I want to read). And I do keep my mind open on them. And this one was pleasant and fun. The main character and her best friend have a terrific relationship and are super sarcastic and funny. I also liked Merit a lot. She reacts the way I think I would react to a lot of situations. Now, I will admit that the whole set up was very familiar and that it worked with a number of vampire tropes that were just a little too unoriginal but I will definitely be picking up the next books in the series. I'm curious and definitely want to know if Merit ends up a Master vampire. And, maybe just a little curious to see if she ends up with Ethan. ;)