It’s Almost Bout of Books Time Again

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun | 0 comments

It’s that time again. I’m joining in for my sixth Bout of Books.

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 13 starts on Monday May 11th.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.  For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I haven’t made any specific goals yet but that’s one of the things I love about this read-a-thon. I don’t have to. It’s all about a low key week long focus on reading more than usual. I will put together some official goals and post them on the 11th. I typically make my goals about time spent reading or listening to audiobooks rather than specific books or numbers of books.

I hope you’ll check it out and decide to join in on the fun.

Read More

It’s Monday What Are You Reading #31

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, Fun, What Are You Reading? | 1 comment

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

This weekly reading roundup is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Finished in Print

The Broken Places by Ace Atkins

The Broken Places by Ace Atkins

I really enjoy the Quinn Colson series and this one was good too. I have another one on my shelf and the newest will be out this summer.

Started in Print

March Book Two by John Lewis

March Book Two by John Lewis

This is the second of a three part memoir in graphic novel format by one of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement. The first book was wonderful and the second is also very good so far.

Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber

Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber

I picked this one up at Powell’s this weekend and it looks like a nice change of pace from my recent reads.

Continuing on Audio

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I started this one on this past Monday and it has certainly made my commuting and errands entertaining. I’m so glad I got the audio format for this one.

What are you reading?

Read More

Weekend Update – The I Went to Powell’s Twice Yesterday Edition

Posted by on Apr 26, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 3 comments

Weekend Update

Yesterday was fun. I met up with a few friends from my LibraryThing group at Powell’s Books downtown. We met in the coffee shop to chat for a bit then separated for some browsing. I wandered the stacks. I had a few books on a list that I was looking for but I enjoy just browsing when I’m at Powell’s because you never know what kind of treasures you’ll find.

I’d found a few books but realized that it was close to the time we’d agreed to meet at the entrance to head out to lunch. I made my way to the checkout line with my purchases and then found the rest of the group.

We went to a nearby pub for lunch and the continuation of our conversations about books. It was just lovely.

In order to get to my train back to where I’d left my car at the park and ride lot I had to go back by Powell’s. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t done browsing for the day so I went back in and wandered some more. I found a couple more books and was glad I’d gone back.
Powell's stack April 25th
Here are the books I ended up bringing home yesterday:

Vanished by Joseph Finder

Vanished by Joseph Finder

This is the first in the Nick Heller series. I have only read one of his short stories about Nick Heller so I’m looking forward to starting the series.

Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber

Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber

This is an author I discovered at the Left Coast Crime Convention last month. I have been looking for this book. The author won me over when she described her protagonist as a yoga instructor with an anger management problem.

Doc by Mary Doria Russell

Doc by Mary Doria Russell

I already have this in eBook format but I wanted print too.

City of Slaughter by Cynthia Drew

City of Slaughter by Cynthia Drew

This is another author I discovered at Left Coast Crime. This one is about Jewish immigrants in early 1900’s New York who end up working at the doomed Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks by Simon Garfield

On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks by Simon Garfield

This one wasn’t on any of my lists but when I picked it up I was pretty sure that both The Hubster and I would enjoy it. It’s all about maps and we love maps.

I wasn’t the only one in the family who had a busy day yesterday. Howie got to help The Hubster work on the car.

Howie checks the brake fluid

Howie checks the brake fluid

Abby wore herself out napping

Abby needs a fainting couch

Abby needs a fainting couch

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Read More

Nutshell Review – Audiobook – How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse by Cressida Cowell

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in 2015, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Cressida Cowell | 0 comments

How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse by Cressida Cowell, Narrated by David Tennant

HowToCheataDragonsCurse

Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Series: #4 in the How to Train Your Dragon series
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2006 for the book, 2013 for this audio edition
Length: 3 hours, 12 minutes
Read by: David Tennant
Source: Library


The Book:

From the back of the paperback edition:

Hiccup’s best friend, Fishlegs has been stung by the deadly Venemous Vorpent! The only cure is the Vegetable-That-No-One-Dares-Name. In order to get his hands on this legendary prize and save his friend, Hiccup must travel tothe wintry island of Hysteria and battle the crazy Chief of the Hysterics, Norbert the Nutjob. Can he find a way to cheat the Vorpent’s curse or will he be too late?

My Thoughts:
This series has become our favorite for road trips. They are such fun they keep us entertained on even the most boring stretches of Interstate highway.

The scene where Hiccup, Camicazi and Toothless flee by riding a food tray down a snowy slope reminded me of my days in college in Texas when we stole trays from the cafeteria and used them as sleds when it snowed.

I may have started secretly nicknaming some of my co-workers with character names from this series. I’ll never admit who I think of as who but Norbert the Nutjob, Dogsbreath the Duhbrain, and The Doomfang are now my personal nicknames for a few of my co-workers.

David Tennant is simply fabulous as the narrator of this series. You can almost hear a slight smirk in his voice. The Hubster commented that he sounds like he had fun recording the series,

Let your inner 8 year old have fun and listen to this series.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

Read More

Nutshell Review: Bone Vol. 3: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in 2015, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel | 0 comments

Bone Vol. 3: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith

Bone Vol. 3: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith

Genre: Fantasy
Format: Graphic Novel
Series: #3 in the Bone series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2006 (originally 1996)
Pages: 168
Source: Library


The Book:

From the publisher:

Hair-raising escapes. Long-buried secrets.
The stakes for the Bone cousins are getting higher.

Life in the valley isn’t getting any easier for the Bones and their newfound friends. Lucius, Smiley, and Phoney are attacked by the rat creatures and barely make it back to Lucius’s tavern. Then it doesn’t take long before Phoney is back to his old tricks.

Back at the farm, Fone Bone and Thorn are troubled by strange dreams, and Gran’ma Ben’s reaction is stranger still: She reveals long-kept secrets and unexpected dangers. In fact, they may have to leave the farm forever.

My Thoughts:
This is just such a fun series. I almost want to finish it quickly so that I can read it over again from the beginning. I plan on buying the compiled one volume edition once I finish all 9 volumes.

The characters are such a fun mix of fantasy creatures. The Bone cousins look like something out of the Walt Kelly Pogo comic strips. The residents of Barrelhaven look like humans. The rat creatures are, well I’m not sure how to describe them other than rat creatures. The red dragon cracks me up.

The original black and white artwork has been redone in color for the Scholastic editions and the pages are vibrant and full of action, emotion and detail.

The series is written for kids but has plenty of appeal for adults. It light and funny but it’s also kind of dark and scary (for kids) in places.

If you haven’t tried this series you should. It’s just a whole lot of fun.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read More

Essex County Vol. 1: Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in 2015, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Essex County Vol. 1: Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire

Essex County Vol. 1: Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Fiction
Format: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Top Shelf
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 112
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Ten year old Lester lives with his uncle after his mother’s death and they just don’t seem to understand each other at all.

Why I Read It:
I am unabashedly a huge fan of Jeff Lemire’s work. I have been looking forward to reading this trilogy that comes highly recommended by several friends.

The Book:
From the back cover:

Xeric Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire illustrates the tale of Lester, a recently orphaned 10-year-old living on his Uncle’s Farm in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. As their relationship grows increasingly strained, Lester befriends the small town’s hulking gas station owner, Jimmy Lebeuf, a damaged former hockey star. The two escape into a private fantasy world of super-heroes, alien invaders, and good old fashioned pond hockey. Tales From the Farm is the first in a trilogy of graphic novels set in a fictionalized version of Lemire’s hometown of Essex County, Ontario.

My Thoughts:
Personally I think Jeff Lemire is an extremely talented genius. I am amazed at the emotion he can convey in a sparsely drawn page with no text. After reading his Sweet Tooth series and a couple of other stand alones I was eager to start this trilogy that has been so highly recommended.

Lester’s feeling of loss and being lost in a life where his uncle just doesn’t understand him just oozed off the page and drilled into me as I read it. His uncle never expected to be solo parenting a child and feels unable to build a relationship with a loner child who likes to wear his superhero cape and mask all the time. I felt for everyone in the story. I really liked the way that the black and white art was done in a lighter gray for the flashback scenes.

When Lester meets Jimmy it’s a case of two damaged people helping each other to cope with the world by living a rich fantasy life. Their unlikely friendship helps them both to move on from their losses.

Once again I’m strongly recommending another of Lemire’s books. This is clearly a trend. Every one I’ve read has been wonderful. His spare and sometimes rough artwork is so full of emotion that his characters always stick with me long after I’ve finished the books.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read More