10 December 2014

Comics!

I read Criminal: Coward and Criminal: Lawless by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips which together collect the first 10 issues of the comic Criminal.  It is a really fabulous series.  Very noir, more of a straightforward, less splashy Sin City.  Very good, a 6.

I also read Fatale: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  This one was also noir but it also was a little...weird.  Without giving anything away, I'd say there were some horror elements that I hadn't expected that sent the story off in a different direction.  Fine but I don't think I'll continue.  a 4.

I also caught up on American Vampire by reading volumes 4 and 5 by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque.  We get a LOT of Skinner Sweet and learn about Dracula, who is like the worst of the worst and incredibly powerful.  I liked volume 4 better than 5 I think and I've got 6 on the way to me at the library.  a 5 for each. 

I've found I REALLY enjoy comic series that have the same author/illustrator throughout.  The stories often seem more coherent.  You don't have to figure out which character is which when the artist changes.   

09 December 2014

Wow. I haven't updated in FOREVER!


There are various reasons I haven't updated in about 6 weeks.  I got a job (finally!) and started at the end of October so that's taking up lots of time.  I've also been sick the last 3 weeks so I haven't felt like doing much.  I've also got a personal thing going on that I'll probably feel like talking about in a few weeks. Overall, I've been super busy and, while I've been reading a bit, I haven't felt like writing anything.  I need to start getting caught up on my reviews so I can write proper year end wrap ups!


All that to say I need to write this RIP Wrap-UP post!  I ended up reading 7 mystery novels, most of them involving a murder.

A Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie: these were rereads.  I've read Styles probably 5 times and Vicarage at least once.  Styles is a really good story; it's the first Poirot book and has a pretty intricate story.  Vicarage is ok but I've never really taken to Ms. Marple.

A Taste for Death by P.D. James: I read a couple P.D. James books last Christmas at B's parents. I wanted to read another and this one, the seventh, was the only one available at my library for Kindle.  It's a good murder mystery that takes place in the 80's so it's newer than most Agatha Christie. 

And I read 4 by Martin Walker: Black Diamond, The Dark Vineyard, The Crowded Grave, and The Devil's Cave.  All of these mysteries are take place in France and star Bruno, the police chief and sole full time officer in the little town.  A lot ends up happening there and Bruno has to navigate both local and national politics to solve the crimes and put his town back together.  I really love these books and highly recommend them to fans of "cozy" mysteries. 

 Overall, these all get 6's! 

19 October 2014

Readathon Wrap Up

Didn't get as much reading done as I wanted to.  B, pesky man that he is, put on Gremlins when he got home from work so I ended up watching most of that! I did end up finishing The Devil's Cave by Martin Walker but didn't get to work on any of the graphic novels like had hoped.  My final stats:


  • Total minutes read:  5 hours, 50 minutes
  • Total pages read: 487
  • Books finished: The Hobbit, The Devil's Cave
I wonder if reading on my Kindle affected me? All day i felt a bit unfocused.  It wasn't that I didn't feel like reading or that the books weren't grabbing me; I just kept drifting away from what I was reading (even before B came home).  Perhaps next time I'll try an experiment where I read for X amount of time on Kindle and paper each and compare.  

Hope the readathon went well for everyone else!  

18 October 2014

First Readathon Update.

I got started pretty late today.  We went to an Ok Go concert last night which was amazing; I highly recommend seeing them if you have chance.  Even though we were home by midnight, I ended up sleeping late since the power blinked sometime during the night.  After having breakfast and watching some soccer, I started reading about 12:30.  Here are my stats so far:
  • Total minutes read:  3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Total pages read: 228
  • Books finished: The Hobbit
  • Currently reading: The Devil's Cave
I'm jumping in to a contest!  I have a pig roast I'm going to tomorrow and I am bringing Pumpking Pasties (from Harry Potter)! So for the next hour or so I'll be working on this recipe from Chew Out Loud.   

Hopefully they will turn out ok; I've never made them before.  

Happy Reading!

UPDATE ON RECIPE:  you're going to want to double the stuff to make the filling, I ran out about halfway through.  also, you'll want to half (at least) the milk in the frosting because it is too runny otherwise.  These taste fabulous though!  

16 October 2014

The Readathon!

Crap!  I just now realized Dewey's Readathon is this weekend!  This may be the first October one that doesn't coincide with the Southern Festival of Books (which was a bust for me this year; i didn't even go) so that is great!  B and I are going to the OK GO concert here on Friday night so I know I won't be starting on time.  I'm still off coffee/caffeinated beverages so that's a bit of a handicap as well.  I am a bit excited to put some real time in reading.

I plan on doing some Kindle reading this time!  I've got The Hobbit (though I might finish that before Saturday), Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, Dawn by Octavia Butler and The Devil's Cave by Martin Walker loaded and ready to go. 

For physical books, I've got The Unwritten 8 and 9, S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst, The Infinity Gauntlet gigantic graphic novel and Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell (a Doctor Who book).  Overall I've got a lot of choices.  Of course, I always reserve the right to go digging in a box for a book if I feel like reading it.  

Best of luck to everyone!
 

06 October 2014

I read some Octavia Butler

I've had a mixed experience with Octavia Butler.  I read Wild Seed years ago and really didn't like it, mainly because of the female character's passivity.  After meeting B, he had me read Fledgling and I loved it.  So when my sci-fi reading group picked Parable of the Sower I wasn't sure what to expect.  Sower is about a teenage girl named Lauren living in California in a not-quite-apocalyptic future.  She and her family live in a walled subdivision.  Her father and a few others leave the compound to work but most people stay within the walls.  They have to grow most of their food and while there is a government, it does little to help people or stop the hordes of homeless from preying on those with a home.  Lauren feels the future of humanity is in the stars and begins writing the scriptures of her new religion, Earthseed. When the community is attacked, Lauren and a few others escape and begin making their way north to find work or a place to settle.

I both liked and didn't connect with this book.  Strictly plot- and setting-wise I found the book to be scary and believable.  The time Lauren spends on the roads is harrowing but you can see how she becomes the leader of their band.  While I liked Lauren, I didn't understand the motivation behind the Earthseed scripture.  As a strong atheist who was never a believer, I find it hard to connect with characters who feel a strong desire for religion and spirituality.  It is a need I just cannot fathom.  Overall though, this book is well worth reading.  a 6. 


I went on to read Kindred, which is Butler's most popular book. I really liked it.  The main character, Dana, is an African-American 20-something married to a white man in 1976. She suddenly gets thrown back in time to save a young boy.  By the third time it happens, Dana understands she's going back and saving her white ancestor. It explores race and how people lived during slavery, but also feminism and marriage and ties that bind us, for good or ill, to other people.  I can't stop thinking about it!  a 7.

05 October 2014

I can't believe I forgot about RIP!


So it suddenly struck me that it is October and that I hadn't signed up for the RIP challenge! I've been doing this challenge pretty much since I started blogging and it is in it's ninth year.  Carl does an amazing job of running this great challenge. We all get together to ready mysteries, horror stories, gothic tales, thrillers, and spooky ghost stories to celebrate fall, Halloween, and great stories! 




So, since I'm starting so late, I think I'll try to just read 2 books.  I've got several on my Kindle and shelves that will qualify.  I'm sure I'll manage to catch a few movies and spooky shows as well.  Guess I could have saved that Twin Peaks rewatch for this month!  Also, have you seen this October Horror Movie Challenge? While I could probably manage it, even starting late (a benefit of unemployment is all the tv you want) I don't know if my mental state could handle it.  Still, it's a good place to get some ideas for movies.  

Best of luck to everyone! 

04 October 2014

Circus of the Damned

I am reviewing another Netgalley book. Circus of the Damned by Cornelia Grey is about a young man named Gilbert Blake in a quasi-Victorian city.  Blake is a con-man who uses real magic to fleece his victims.  When running for his life from some thugs, he comes across the Circus of the Damned led by Jesse, the hot redheaded ringmaster.  Desperate for help, Blake agrees to join the circus.  However, he finds out he can't ever leave the circus; he's joined up for life (and the afterlife).  Thinking to bide his time to figure out a loophole, Blake becomes a magician for the circus and begins a relationship with Jesse. When the circus gets into trouble and Blake's past catches up with him, they have to work together to survive. 

What I liked: 1) the gay romance! it was pretty well done and didn't shy away from sex scenes  2) the circus family atmosphere 3) how the circus "kept" its performers from leaving permanently 4) the ending was great

What I didn't like: 1) There wasn't enough world building.  Where does the magic come from?  Why does Blake have a seemingly sentient mouse as a pet?  What sort of religion is there?  What's the deal with some of the performers in the circus who seem to be intelligent creatures or AI automatons? 
2) There were a few really bad lines that stuck out terribly to me.  Just phrasing and images that were just wrong.  Like saying a room was pitch black, except for the light coming through the cracks in the ceiling.  Now, I was reading this off Netgalley so it could be that some of this would be corrected in a final edit.  

It wasn't a bad book.  I'm glad I read it and I can imagine the author getting a lot better quickly.  I give it a 5/7.