Tuesday, January 29, 2013

rasl, vol 1 through 3

rasl: the drift
rasl: the fire of st. george
rasl: romance at the speed of light
jeff smith
graphic novel/scifi
cartoon books
published 2008, 2010, 2011

Cartoon Books proudly presents Jeff Smith's new adventure series, RASL - a stark, sci-fi series about a dimension-jumping art thief, a man unplugged from the world who races through space and time searching for his next big score - and trying to escape his past. In this first of three graphic novels, Rasl faces an assassin's bullet and stumbles across a mystery that not only threatens to expose his own illicit activities, but could also uncover one of the world's most dangerous and sought after secrets!

Just not my thing.

After reading the entire Bone series this was....disappointing.  The art just wasn't as rich and detailed as Bone and it wasn't really all that exciting to look at.  And I just wasn't into the subject matter.  Maybe because Tesla played such a big part and there was SO MUCH EXPLAING I just couldn't get into it.  Not that I don't think Tesla is cool, but Odd Apocalypse was all about Tesla too and I'm just a little burnt out at this point.

I'm not sure if I'll read the last one.  I got these three at the same time from the library and they don't have the fourth so I'm probably not going to go out searching for it.  Just....not my thing.

bad island

bad island
doug tennapel
graphic novel/ya/scifi
published 2011

Something on this island is up to no good . . .

When Reese is forced to go on a boating trip with his family, the last thing he expects is to be shipwrecked on an island-especially one teeming with weird plants and animals. But what starts out as simply a bad vacation turns into a terrible one, as the castaways must find a way to escape while dodging the island's dangerous inhabitants. With few resources and a mysterious entity on the hunt, each secret unlocked could save them . . . or spell their doom. One thing Reese knows for sure: This is one Bad Island.

Much of this story depends heavily on the graphics, which are beautiful!  Everything was happening so fast, there was so much to take it and I wanted to madly flip through the pages to find out what happened next, but I was captivated by artwork.  

The story itself was suspenseful and exhilarating.  I could see this easily turned into some sort of mini series or movie.  There felt like there was so much more that was left unexplored, unexplained although the story didn't feel incomplete.

A true family story, everyone working together, learning to trust each other and no one being treated as if they were the weaker one.  It was thrilling!


doug tennapel
graphic novels/ya/supernatural
published 2010

A page-turning adventure of a boy's journey to the land of ghosts and back.

Imagine Garth Hale's surprise when he's accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don't have, and he's stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth's newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather's ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.

Definitely a page turner.  Fun, creepy in a kid friendly way.  I thought it would be sad and it was a bit, but it was much more interesting and sweet than I thought it would be!

marshmallows for breakfast

marshmallows for breakfast
dorothy koomson
bantam dell
published 2007

How do you explain those unexpected moments of love?...When Kendra Tamale returns to England from Australia she rents a room from Kyle, a separated father of two, and begins a new job. She's looking forward to a fresh start and a simple life.

Kyle's six-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon, have other ideas and quickly adopt Kendra as their new mother - mainly because she lets them eat marshmallows for breakfast. Kendra eventually becomes a part of their lives, even though she's hiding a painful secret that makes her keep everyone - especially children - at arm's length.

Then Kendra bumps into the man who shares her awful secret, and everything falls apart: she can't sleep, she can't eat, she's suspended from work, and the kids are taken away by their mother. The only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made all those years ago. But that's something she swore never to do...

There are sometimes books that I buy that sit on my shelves forever.  I don't read them.  Something else comes along first and since I own these books I don't have to read them right away.  Finally, I pick one up and read it and kick myself for having waited so long to get to it.

Marshmallows for Breakfast is one of those.

My sister-in-law gave me My Best Friend's Girl years ago.  It was Dorothy Koomson's first US release and it tore me in half.  I think I cried through most of the book.  Marshmallows for Breakfast was different, but no less stunning.  There was so much going on and it felt like it happened so quickly.  It was a constant series of gut punches.  And you thought you knew what was happening, but you didn't.

Koomson writes the most realistically flawed and perfect characters.  There is something you can instantly relate to in everyone.  They become friends, people you know or wish you did know.  Their hurt, their joys, their fears are absorbed into you and you are better for it.  There were times when I found myself touching the words on the page wishing I could comfort Kendie or Summer or Ashlyn or someone, anyone.

I didn't cry like I did when I read My Best Friend's Girl.  This book was happier, even with the sad parts.  But I loved it just as much I think.  These aren't romance novels, though they deal with love.  There is always something more in them.  Something that aches.  They aren't just about loss or grief or terror, they are just about people and the choices they make and how they live with those choices.

There is no way that I can't read all of her books now.  After the first book I went online and found that despite her having written 5 books at the time only My Best Friend's Girl and Marshmallows for Breakfast were available for purchase in the US.  I fear I must now stalk the interwebs until I can find them all!


covenant series #1
jennifer armentrout
spencer hill press
published 2011

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi—pure-bloods—have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals—well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the pure-blooded Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

Sooooooo.....I got to page 18 and almost put it down for good.  I found myself constantly rechecking the front cover.  Was I reading a Vampire Academy book without knowing it?  It was really hard to stomach the blatant rip off this book was.  I thought I couldn't possibly be the only one who thought that the similarities between Armentrout's fictional world and Richelle Mead's were one too many.  On Goodreads the reviews were about the same.  Some even claiming this couldn't be legal, but there were a couple that claimed while the book bore stunning similarities at some point Armentrout branches off into her own world and it was actually really good.

There were very few good reviews for the book from people I suspect read the Vampire Academy series, but the few there encouraged me to read on so I did.

If I had never read the Vampire Academy series I probably would have loved this book, but the fact remains that I did and so I struggled with Half-Blood.  Alex is Rose.  Plain and simple.  You could insert each into the other's book and there would be no difference.  Both half-bloods ran away from their respective academies (where they were training to become some sort of assassin) and lived in the mortal world until the guardians catch up to them and bring them back to the school.  There they are judged to be hopeless, too far behind in their training so they will be sent off until one guardian volunteers to train them personally on their own time.  That guardian is also the person that Alex/Rose is in lust for and completely forbidden.  Aidan is Dimitri.  Plain and simple.  Even the Daimons/Strigoi are strangely alike.  They were always solitary hunters until recently they began hunting in groups!

And at some point she does begin to branch off into her own story.  Alex is special, unlike the other half-bloods (although, Rose too was special being shadow-kissed and unnaturally bonded to Lissa - which now that I think about it is VERY much the same as Seth & Alex) and she has a great purpose.  But before all this really needs to be dealt with she must do something she never thought she would have to do.

Armentrout can write a good book, but a book that is so steeply based in someone else's world it's hard to judge.  Half-bloods, pures, Daimons, Strigoi, mastering the elements, Aidan, Dimitri, Alex, Rose, Caleb, Mason.....there were just too many.  I probably won't read the rest of the series, though I won't say I definitely won't, but reading the synopsis for the next book in the series I still find it too much like the plot from another Vampire Academy book and that's just disappointing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

gregor the overlander

gregor the overlander
the underland chronicles #1
suzanne collins
scholastic, inc.
published 2003

When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it -- until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

When my friend told me that she loved this series more than she loved The Hunger Games I was doubtful.  Actually, I thought she was just plain crazy.  But I thought I should try these books out nonetheless.  I remember looking them up after I read Catching Fire and was waiting impatiently for Mockingjay to come out.  But they seemed not my style and so I didn't look too hard for them.

Boy was I missing out.  I can imagine being a young kid and loving these books.  There is adventure, it's scary, Gregor is brave and he loves his family fiercely.  There is sacrifice and treachery.  It has all the elements any good book should have, but it's not so much that you wouldn't want your kid to read it.

I think what struck the chord in me was Boots.  I just loved her to pieces and I ached that she was homesick or that Gregor was terrified to leave her or take her with him on his journey.  I loved how he took care of her and I was genuinely sad when sacrifices were made in her name.  She is the embodiment of any child at that age.  Trusting, sweet, honest and loving.  She was, as Gregor put it once, the ultimate secret weapon.

I didn't think I would love this book as much as I did so I didn't line up the next from the library and now, as I get ready to go to sleep, I am kicking myself!

tick tock

tick tock
michael bennett #4
james patterson & michael ledwidge
little, brown & co.
published 2011

A bomb set in one of New York's busiest places is discovered before it explodes. But relief turns to terror when the police realize it is just a warning of greater devastation to come. The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside vacation with his ten adopted children and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine--leaving his entire family open to attack. Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Beth Peters. His affection for Beth grows into attraction and then something stronger, and his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. Another horrifying crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern--and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan.

Despite having become disillusioned with James Patterson I continue to read his books.  More out of habit than any sort of excitement or anticipation.  However, since the first in this series I've enjoyed the Michael Bennett books.  I still continue to love Alex Cross, although the last few I read not as much as I used to.  Still, they're always a good read for me.

Now, fourth in this series we find Michael & his family on a beach vacation battling Westie bullies and catching some rays.  Michael's slow flirtation with Mary Catherine (the 'nanny') is starting to boil up a little more and life is pretty good for the Bennett clan.  But when someone leaves a bomb at the New York City Library it looks like this cop's vacation is about over.

The bad guy is your standard Patterson bad guy.  Crazy and lethal, the perfect killing machine.  Nothing really new and exciting there, but there are a few twists and turns that make it more interesting than boring.  And I have to say, I loved the ending.  It was good, I mean, good in an unexpected way.  At first I thought maybe it was a cop out (har har), but it fit the environment so perfectly.  I will admit that coming near the end I had a sneaking suspicion it would end similar to the way it did, yet I was surprised nonetheless.

And if I'm being perfectly honest I felt that the bad guy was a little too easy to find....but that's just me.

So I'm a happy camper with Michael Bennett's latest adventures.  Which is good considering I have the next one, I, Michael Bennett sitting on the shelf waiting for me.

cold light

cold light
jenn ashworth
harper collins
published 2011

I’m sitting on my couch, watching the local news. There’s Chloe’s parents, the mayor, the hangers on, all grouped round the pond for the ceremony. It’s ten years since Chloe and Carl drowned. You can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong. But I’m the one who knows straightaway that the mayor has found a body. And I know who it is.

Jenn Ashworth’s gripping and unforgettable Cold Light is the story of a friendship unsettling in its intensity and of one terrible summer when lies, secrets, jealousy, and perversion result in tragedy more twisted and evil than one unsuspecting community can handle. A dark tale with a surreal edge, it follows two fourteen-year-old girls, best friends, as they confront the dangers of a predatory adult world, where truth is cruelly sacrificed in the name of innocence.

I hated this book.  Hated.  It.

I did not like one character, except for maybe Donald.  Though, I didn't really like him, I mainly felt sorry for him.  This is truly one of those times when my judging books by their covers utterly failed me.

I think what bothered me most about this book is from the description you expect some sort of mystery/thriller, but instead you're trapped into reading about the pathetic whining of a selfish, disturbed fourteen year old girl.  Her mother is a complete and utter horror, her 'best friend' could care less about her and her father suffers from some sort of dementia.

Something awful does happen and in a painfully slow pace we get to that part.  And when you think that the horrible thing is ultimately as bad as it would seem you learn something else that erases any sort of sympathy you might have had for Lola.  There is no redeeming qualities of Lola.  She is utterly disgusting.  At times I thought she wanted to do the right thing, but she didn't.  She only wanted to make her life better.  She was only ever thinking of herself.

There was no one to root for.  Even the 'famous' talk show host is disgusting and self-serving.  I couldn't give two shits about anyone in this book.  For all I cared they all could have drowned in that lake.  That might have made a better story.  Ugh.  This book just made me angry.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

the witness

the witness
nora roberts
penguin group
published 2012

Twelve years ago, a young woman named Elizabeth went wild for just one night, and, eventually, tipsy and confused, wound up at the house of a man with a Russian accent. Now, obsessed with keeping her secret, she lives under an assumed name in a remote part of the Ozarks. Her intelligence and secretiveness have captured the attention of local police chief Brooks Gleason, who begins to wonder whether this quiet, attractive programmer might be harboring a dangerous secret.

I really, really liked this book.  I usually always love a Nora Roberts book.  Though they generally follow a certain formula they're always entertaining and always interest me.  This time though, I truly fell in love with Elizabeth Fitch, or rather Abigail Lowery.

To be honest, I'm not sure if it's just because she was an awesome character or if it's because she reminded me so much of the television version of Temperance Brennan.  She was clinical and completely oblivious sometimes but so dang smart.  She was so much fun to read I was very sad when it was over.  I could read a series about her although, I'm happier with the ending Roberts gave her.

Brooks is more or less the typical.  Nora Roberts tends to pair her traumatized, but strong and suspicious women with carefree, but careful men who have breezy, affectionate mothers and welcoming and brazen sisters.  But he was still fun to read with his sharp wit and easy going manner.  He was much more fun than The Search's Simon, that's for sure.

Like I said, I always enjoy a Nora Roberts book, but this is the first book in awhile that made me so deliciously happy!

bone: tall tales

bone: tall tales
tom sniegoski & jeff smith
graphic novels/ya
published 2010

Long before the Bone cousins were ever lost in the uncharted desert on the outskirts of the Valley, Big Johnson Bone, the discoverer of the Rolling Bone River, founded Boneville. But little is known of the mighty explorer's adventures before he started his famous trading post. So when Smiley Bone sits down with a group of young campers to retell the legendary stories of Boneville's origin and its tough, no-nonsense founder, what they hear are tall tales in typical BONE fashion--wild antics complete with rat creatures, dragons, and a snarky little monkey!

This was a fun collection of stories about Big Johnson Bone, founder of Boneville.  How he was born and what he was like as a kid and then his super adventure saving the forest from the rat creatures.  The rat creatures always make me laugh and while there was no Fone Bone, Thorn or Gran'ma Ben it was still an extremely fun adventure.

I tried reading about the adventures of Rose, but since Jeff Smith didn't do the art it was kind of a bummer.  Luckily here he did with Tom Sniegoski writing the story and sticking pretty true to the rat creatures' attitudes.  Big Johnson Bone was kind of like all the Bone cousins combined with Phoney's penchant for exaggeration, Smiley's personality and Fone's bravery.  It was a great book for someone who wasn't ready to leave the Bone cousins behind quite yet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

locke & key: clockworks

locke & key: clockworks
locke & key series #5
joe hill & gabriel rodriguez
graphic novels/horror/supernatural
idea & design works, llc.
published 2012

The sprawling tale of the Locke family and their mastery of the 'whispering steel' thunders to new heights as the true history of the family is revealed to Tyler and Kinsey. Zack Wells assumes a new form, Tyler and Kinsey travel through time, and surprises beyond imagination will be revealed before the sixth issue ends!

So here we finally have the volume and (almost) all is revealed.

Kinsey & Tyler find the Timeshift key and first go back to where it all began.  We find out how and why the first keys were made.  After returning from their trip back in time they head back again to see what their dad was like as at their age and get much more than they bargained for.

I can't say it enough, but this really is such an amazing, well thought out story.  I get lost in it whether it be the present time or the past.  Everything's just so damn interesting.

But now I'm almost caught up.  The next volume Omega won't be out for some time, though the first few issues are.  I might just have to read them as they come out and I think I'll put the entire series on my wish list!

locke & key: keys to the kingdom

locke & key: keys to the kingdom
locke & key series #4
joe hill & gabriel rodriguez
graphic novels/horror/supernatural
idea & design works, llc
published 2011

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's Locke & Key unwinds into its fourth volume in Keys to the Kingdom. With more keys making themselves known, and the depths of the Locke's family's mysteries ever-expanding, Dodge's desperation to end his shadowy quest drives the habitants of Keyhouse ever closer to a revealing conclusion. 

Aaahhhh!  Just when you think these kids might get cut a break all hell breaks loose!

And now Bode?!  Bode!

The story is still so damn impressive.  More and more keys doing fantastical things and yet we still don't know what the Omega key will do or how many other keys are out there.  And what exactly did happen with Rendall Locke and his friends?

Curiosity is killing me.

locke & key: crown of shadows

locke & key: crown of shadows
locke & key series #3
joe hill & gabriel rodriguez
graphic novels/horror/supernatural
idea & design works, llc
published 2010

The dead plot against the living, the darkness closes in on Keyhouse, and a woman is shattered beyond repair, in the third storyline of the Eisner-nominated series, Locke & Key! Dodge continues his relentless quest to find the key to the black door, and raises an army of shadows to wipe out anyone who might get in his way. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Locke children find themselves fighting a desperate battle, all alone, in a world where the night itself has become their enemy. 

Every volume I get more and more engrossed.  This story is just sucking me right in at every turn.

Focused more on the mother this time we get a glimpse at how completely fucked up she is.  She's barely trying to keep up appearances depending more and more on Tyler and Kinsey to take care of Bode and keep their shit together despite them having lived through insanity as well.

There are more keys....and endless amount of keys and it's amazingly fun to discover what they do and how they'll be used.

The art is just amazing.  The beginning scenes with the ghosts, I just love them.  It gets me more stoked to read the book.  Usually, if I love the art the story takes second place and vice versa, but with Locke & Key I love the art as much as I love the story.  It's just some really good stuff.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

wicked lovely

wicked lovely
wicked lovely series #1
melissa marr
published 2007

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.


When I think about all the fae books I've read I can't believe that it took me this long to get to this one.  When I got my first eReader this was the the first book I picked up because I got a short by Melissa Marr that was part of the series for free.  I just never got around to reading it.

I thought it was fantastic.  Aislinn was the perfect heroine and despite this weird love square thing I actually couldn't decide who to root for.  I loved Seth, Keenan and Donia just as equally!  

The story starts off quickly with Donia's quick test so you feel as if maybe you missed something.  You're off balance.  But then things start getting really good and I found myself engrossed.  I was afraid that, being a series, I would be left on some kind of cliffhanger, but she ends the story nicely with the promise of more to come.  One could be satisfied with that ending and never read another book in the series, but I now have to read them all!

odd apocalypse

odd apocalypse
odd thomas series #5
dean koontz
bantam books
published 2012

Once presided over by a flamboyant Hollywood mogul during the Roaring ’20s, the magnificent West Coast property known as Roseland is now home to a reclusive billionaire financier and his faithful servants. And, at least for the moment, it’s also a port in the storm for Odd Thomas and his traveling companion, the inscrutably charming Annamaria, the Lady of the Bell. In the wake of Odd’s most recent clash with lethal adversaries, the opulent manor’s comforts should be welcome. But there’s far more to Roseland than meets even the extraordinary eye of Odd, who soon suspects it may be more hell than haven.

A harrowing taste of Roseland’s terrors convinces Odd that it’s time to hit the road again. Still, the prescient Annamaria insists that they’ve been led there for a reason, and he’s promised to do his best for the ghost on horseback. Just how deep and dreadful are the mysteries Roseland and her masters have kept for nearly a century? And what consequences await whoever is brave, or mad, enough to confront the most profound breed of evil? Odd only knows. 

There was much about this book that went well over my head.  Similar to Brother Odd in the sense that there is quite a bit of science fiction & fact intertwined in the story.  While I did love Brother Odd, Odd Apocalypse was slightly less amazing.

Odd is still the same person, although the events in Odd Hours have changed not only himself, but the way he travels.  He is now directly on a path that has some meaning, though none of us, save for maybe Annamaria know what this path leads to.

The book was both quick and slow.  Slow in parts I didn't think necessary, quick in parts where I would have rather seen more character development.  I didn't feel like the bad guys were really evil because there was hardly any interaction with them.  We heard about their exploits and got small glimpses into their true natures, but they never seemed any worse than ordinary bad guys.  There were too many forces to contend with, too many things to explain and just not enough pages.

I hate to say it, but Odd Thomas has let me down.  Save for Darkness Under the Sun, Dean Koontz has been striking out with me quite a bit lately.

Monday, January 21, 2013

the age of miracles

the age of miracles
karen thompson walker
random house
published 2013

“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

I finished this book about 5 minutes ago and then I sat staring off into space, my chest tight and a sob trapped in my throat.  Incredibly sad, haunting, disturbing, beautiful, lonely.

I was struck most of the time at how lonely Julia was.  How awful sometimes being 11 can be.  Not having any siblings to lean on, Julia looks towards her parents for strength, but they are falling apart in their own ways much faster than she ever does.  Her quiet sadness permeates through the book, but not in a way that makes her seem whiny or pouty.  She's accepted.  She is the most unafraid of them all.

And while I ached for this child I was frozen with the terror of 'the slowing'.  It is something that at first seems so silly, so made up.  And you think for a minute, seriously, what's the big deal.  While it is so much science fiction, it is so believable that you begin to fear that something like this is just beyond our horizon.  It is a science fiction that feels more science than fiction and it is frightening.

As the days stretch into weeks Julia's life moves as it must.  Despite the seemingly end of the world feel, she still dreams of sweet boys and best friends that left her behind.  Her grandfather's stories of Alaska and the mystery and allure that surrounds the 'real timers'.

The tightness in my chest is still there.  I kept waiting, expecting some miracle as the title promises, but I don't know.  I don't know if I can accept the miracle that Walker provides.  The book is astoundingly good.  I just don't know if I was ready to read something like that.


malinda lo
little, brown books for young readers
published 2009

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

A sweet and beautiful spin on the class Cinderella story.  I first saw this book at the San Diego Comic Con and I was captivated with the cover.  You know how I feel about book covers.  It wasn't until a couple of years later that I got the eBook and then now, finally am reading it.

Ash is a sweet, but somber story of a girl who loses everything she holds dear.  Actually, when she loses her mother she seems to have lost everything.  Her father, though there is no doubt that he loves her and she him, doesn't really know what to do with her.  When he marries Lady Isobel things only go from bad to worse.

The writing is magical.  Malinda Lo has set the story on the edge of the Wood, no matter where they are.  With hints and nods towards the Cinderella we've grown up knowing, we are brought into a different and despite the setting, a modern retelling.  Ash is bright and courageous, but she's not the blonde sunny princess from Disney.  She's darker and more determined.  She doesn't expect everything to come from wishes and pleas, but she does dream.

This is the first book by Malinda Lo I've read and I'm sure it won't be my last. 

bad love

bad love
alex delaware series #8
jonathan kellerman
random house publishing
published 1994

It came in a plain brown wrapper, no return address - a tape recording of a horrifying, soul-lacerating scream, followed by the sound of a childlike voice delivering the enigmatic and haunting message: 'Bad love. Bad love. Don't give me the bad love...'

For Alex Delaware the tape is the first intimation that he is about to enter a living nightmare. Others soon follow: disquieting laughter echoing over a phone line that suddenly goes dead, a chilling act of trespass and vandalism. He has become the target of a carefully orchestrated campaign of vague threats and intimidation rapidly building to a crescendo as harassment turns to terror, mischief to madness. With the help of his friend LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, Alex uncovers a series of violent deaths that may follow a diabolical pattern. And if he fails to decipher the twisted logic of the stalker's mind games, Alex will be the next to die.

1994 doesn't feel that long ago to me.  Maybe because I graduated from high school only a year prior to that, but it has been 19 years.  The thing I love the most, or maybe just the thing that makes me chuckle throughout the book are instances when we're shown just how far technology has come since 1994.  Alex doesn't own a computer or a cell phone.  When he wants to find something he drives himself over to the college library and looks stuff up.  In my head I say, why doesn't be Google it?!?!

Maybe because Kellerman's professional life is mirrored so perfectly in Alex Delaware or maybe because he's written so many books in the series.  Either way, Delaware is a fully fleshed out character.  He acts kind of hokey sometimes, but it's 1994.  Wasn't everyone hokey in the 90's?

He writes the psychology mumbo jumbo without making you feel like you're at a boring lecture or like you're a dummy.  The clinical aspects of the story are brief yet thorough.  You understand the psychosis discussed, the methodology of the treatment and it's not boring.  The story is suspenseful and intriguing.  You can't wait to get to the end to see how it all plays out, how it's all connected.  And you're taken by surprise at times.

A really, really good book.  Having taken a break from Alex Delaware for a little more than 3 years (because the last book I read, Devil's Waltz was so boring I could hardly stand it) this was a good book to start my journey back into his world.  He still does the weird navigation commentary that I don't enjoy, but I've learned to skim over those parts quickly!

darkness under the sun

darkness under the sun
dean koontz
random house
published 2010

There once was a killer who knew the night, its secrets and rhythms. How to hide within its shadows. When to hunt. He roamed from town to town, city to city, choosing his prey for their beauty and innocence. His cruelties were infinite, his humanity long since forfeit. But still . . . he had not yet discovered how to make his special mark among monsters, how to come fully alive as Death. This is the story of how he learned those things, and of what we might do to ensure that he does not visit us.

I read an article a while back about how with the advent and popularity of eReaders authors are now having a hard time keeping up with the demand of readers.  Authors generally would publish one book a year.  More prolific writers like Nora Roberts (aka JD Robb) and James Patterson would sometimes release two to three books a year, but now people are reading and they're reading a lot.  In order to satisfy impatient readers more authors are spitting out short stories, or novellas in between novels.

Everyone's doing it.  Carrie Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth series has a short, as does Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures series.  Lee Child has released two shorts in the Jack Reacher series and to precede the release of her newest book Chevy Stevens is publishing a short prelude to her next novel a month before the novel comes out.

Now, horror writer Stephen King has always been a short story writer.  Having at least three collections of short stories and I tend to like his short stories better than his full length novels.  With the shorts it forces him to rein himself in.  His superfluous, ad nauseum depictions of the color of concrete tend to get on my nerves and cause in me a great amount of hatred for all books written by him.

Dean Koontz's books have generally always entertained me, however lately, the last few books I've read have left me feeling sad and irritated.  Two years ago I read What the Night Knows and gave it only two stars on Goodreads and Shelfari.  It was just not very exciting.  His books are starting to become somewhat cookie cutter to me.

Darkness Under the Sun is a 60-page novella taking place nearly twenty years before the events in What the Night Knows.  It tells how both innocence and evil have things in common.

It was creepy, it was direct and to the point.  It was a perfect example of storytelling in merely 60 pages.  The only problem is that it ties very deeply into What the Night Knows and I feel that the story is not complete unless you read both (and you should read What the Night Knows first) and that wasn't a fantastic book. 

So I leave it up to you intrepid reader.  If you want to slog your way through What the Night Knows to get to a decent short story, by all means....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

y: the last man

y: the last man
one small step
ring of truth
girl on girl
paper dolls
kimono dragons
whys & wherefores
brian k. vaughan/pia guerra/jose marzan, jr.
graphic novels/science fiction/thriller
published 2003

From Shelfari: When a plague of unknown origin instantly kills every mammal with a Y chromosome, unemployed and unmotivated slacker Yorick Brown discovers that he is the only male left in a world inhabited by women. Accompanied by his mischievous monkey and the mysterious Agent 355, Yorick embarks on a transcontinental journey to find his girlfriend and discover why he is the last man on Earth. With a gang of feminist extremists and the leader of the Israel Defense Forces hunting him, Yorick's future, as well as that of the human race, may be short-lived.

Like most good books, Y: The Last Man had its valleys and peaks.  Yorick was not my favorite person most of the time, especially in the first few books.  He was kind of irritating and single minded.  Stuck on this romantic fantasy that his girlfriend was waiting for him in Australia and he really just needed to get to her.

The books had their tense moments and, most definitely nearing the end, very technical kind of science moments (that I would tend to zone out on).  Many sad moments, with very few triumphs.  Even when it was over, when the journey could end and the worst had past, there were no smiling faces.

There were moments when the crazies made sense and other times when I was ashamed that I shared the same gender as some of these idiots, but then I guess both sides have them, right?

I don't want to give much away.  I want you to read for yourself, because it is worth reading.  It's dark at times, probing, forcing you to really think about what kind of world this would be.  Is it so much science fiction or more science future?  Not necessarily a plague such as this, but other aspects.

It was, in the end a series written by a man who was trying his best to get into the head of women.  Did he do it?  Sometimes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


bone: out from boneville
bone: the great cow race
bone: eyes of the storm
bone: the dragonslayer
bone: rock jaw
bone: old man's cave
bone: ghost circles
bone: treasure hunters
bone: crown of horns
jeff smith
graphic novels/ya/supernatural
scholastic, inc
published 2005

Fone Bone and his cousins Smiley & Phoney have been run out of Boneville because of another one of Phoney's greedy plans.  After running into a swarm of locusts they are separated and Fone finds himself in a strange valley where the animals talk and find him odd.  They direct him to Thorn who knows everything.  He finally finds his way to Thorn and they become fast friends.  But what seems like a quiet valley is actually a world on the brink of war from a spirit that is more powerful than Thorn or Fone are ready for.

I really don't know how I never picked this series up before.  And I'm so sad that I didn't.  Bone is an amazing graphic series!  The story was fantastic & the art was engaging. 

There was humor, I mean how can you not have humor with Smiley Bone around.  There was action and sadness and elation and suspense.  The mystery was always there in the background and for once having to wait so long to know what is actually going on didn't bother me.  I loved the little crumbs of the background story that Smith would leave throughout the series.

By the time I got to the last book I was biting all of my nails off!  I had no idea what would happen and there were times when I gasped audibly.  So glad I finally picked up this series.

Monday, January 14, 2013

mistresses of the spaghetti mess

Spaghetti for dinner tonight and it would seem that we just don't have enough napkins!

I got a new phone yesterday.  Went from my iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy S3. Guess what that means? Blogger app!! Now I can post from my phone without having to use that horrid phone workaround! I don't know how pretty this is going to look, but maybe this will get me to post more often.

Friday, January 11, 2013

i've got your number

i've got your number
sophie kinsella
fiction/chick lit/idiotic ramblings
random house
published 2012

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill, but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

When it comes to Sophie Kinsella we sort of have this love/hate relationship.  I hate the Shopaholic books.  I loved Remember Me? and The Undomestic GoddessTwenties Girl was okay.  Unfortunately, I've Got Your Number falls into the 'hated it' category.  And the saddest part?  I only got to page 21.

Sophie Kinsella has a knack for writing the most asinine, bubbleheaded, idiot female characters.  At first, with Shopaholic it was endearing, but by the time I started in on the 4th book she was the same idiot she'd been before.  She didn't learn anything.  She didn't change for the better.  She was still making the same idiotic mistakes!  It drove me nuts.  So I picked up The Undomestic Goddess because my sister liked it and I was surprised to find I liked it too!  Then I read Remember Me? and decided it must just be that I have to take Kinsella's characters in single serving doses.

But then first I was annoyed by the footnotes.  Since I was reading this on my Nook it requires me to touch the footnote number, read the footnote and then go back to the page I was reading.  I couldn't just glace down to read the stupid footnote that she added because the character thought it was clever.  Uh-noying.

And then the character, Poppy is almost more irritating than Becky Bloomwood.  She finds a phone in the garbage and when she's called out that it's not her phone she uses the 'possession is 9/10ths of the law'.  Are you serious?  She continually does this thing where if she just ignores the problem it will go away or the solution will just fall into her lap.  She acts like she's a 5 year old who knows she's going to get in trouble.  Is this supposed to be cute?  Is this what chick lit has come to?

So I closed out of the book, removed it from my library and decided that was the last attempt I make at reading a Kinsella book.

The end.

locke & key: head games

locke & key: head games
locke & key series #2
joe hill & gabriel rodriguez
graphic novels/horror/supernatural
idea & design works, llc.
published 2009

*****Spoiler alert if you have not read the first volume*****

Following a shocking death that dredges up memories of their father's murder, Kinsey and Tyler Locke are thrown into choppy emotional waters, and turn to their new friend, Zack Wells, for support, little suspecting Zack's dark secret. Meanwhile, six-year-old Bode Locke tries to puzzle out the secret of the head key, and Uncle Duncan is jarred into the past by a disturbingly familiar face. Open your mind - the head games are just getting started! 

Now things are really starting to get meaty.

So we learn so many new things in this second installment.  And it takes a bit for things to get un-confusing.  Then all of a sudden Bode finds out what the key he found in the water does and things get nuts!  It really started to remind me of Koontz and so awesome in all color.

So many times I wanted to yell 'noooooooooooo!!!!!' but of course, I'm reading a book.  They wouldn't hear me.  Regardless, I've become invested in Tyler, Kinsey & Bode.  I loved Kinsey's experience with the head key.  I know plenty of people who would love the have that experience!

I'm extremely sad that I don't have the rest of the books in my hands right now.  RIGHT.  NOW.

locke & key: welcome to lovecraft

locke & key: welcome to lovecraft
locke & key series #1
joe hill & gabriel rodriguez
graphic novel/horror/supernatural
idea & design works, llc.
published 2008

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all!

I loved this book.

One terrible day Tyler Locke's family's world is torn apart and they move from the West Coast to the small island where his father's family house resides.  When his little brother Bode starts talking about doors that can turn you into ghosts and how he made his echo come alive Tyler isn't sure if his little brother is cracking under all the stress or if there's maybe some truth to what he's saying.  But when they finally discover what Bode's talking about it might just be too late.

There's just something about color graphic novels that I adore, but this one had so much more.  It was like a good Dean Koontz novel.  A little gory, a little scary, a little sad and a whole lot crazy.  I thought it was insanely fun.  I surprisingly loved all the characters.  Usually there's a couple I don't care for too much, but I wanted to know ALL OF THEM.

Seriously, it was amazeballs.

you have killed me

you have killed me
jamie s. rich & joelle jones
graphic novels/thriller/mystery
oni press
published 2009

From Shelfari: Things just can't get any worse for Antonio Mercer. A private eye by trade, a dame from his past has re-surfaced in his life as a client along with all of the emotional baggage he thought he'd left behind forever. Of course, this unusual client doesn't have just any case - her family is mixed up with seriously dangerous people and the body count is just starting to pile up!

Your typical sort of noir story with the washed up detective, the powerful mobster and the beautiful 'dames'.  The art was good, the story was okay.  I liked it enough, but it wasn't something that I could sit and extol its virtue.  There just weren't that many of them. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

death: the high cost of living

death: the high cost of living
neil gaiman/chris bachalo/mark buckingham/dave mckean
graphic novels/supernatural
dc comics vertigo
published 1994

From the pages of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN comes the young, pale, perky, and genuinely likable Death. One day in every century, Death walks the Earth to better understand those to whom she will be the final visitor. Today is that day. As a young mortal girl named Didi, Death befriends a teenager and helps a 250-year old homeless woman find her missing heart. What follows is a sincere musing on love, life and (of course) death.

I have always loved Neil Gaiman's Death character.  She is so opposite of what you think Death should be (the cloaked bony figure playing Chess with Bill & Ted).  She's bubbly, fun, honest and beautiful.  I used to have a t-shirt with her picture on it and it said 'You get what anybody gets - a lifetime'.  So it goes without saying that this compilation of the 3 issues of Death: The High Cost of Living and Death Talks About Life is one of my favorites.

The story sort of revolves around 3 characters, some more than others.  Sexton, Didi & Mad Hettie.  Mad Hettie is a 250 year old woman who is looking for her heart.  She knows Didi (Death) can find it.  Sexton is a boy on the brink of suicide when he meets Didi.  Death gets one day a century to walk as a mortal.  To eat, to breathe, to laugh and to ride taxis.  Everything is wonderful and it doesn't matter much what she does as long as she does something.  

The art is creepy and sad with Didi Death a shining beacon in the pages.  Gaiman's story is simple and concise.  The only thing I wish I got to read more about was the Eremite, but I guess that's another story.  The Tori Amos as Death PSA thing at the end was a little spooky too.

It definitely makes me want to go back and read Sandman again....


joss whedon/karl moline/andy owens
graphic novel/supernatural
dark horse comics
published 2003

Hundreds of years in the future, Manhattan has become a deadly slum, run by mutant crime lords and disinterested cops.  Stuck in the middle is a young girl who thought she had no future until she learns she has a great destiny.  In a world so poisoned that it doesn't notice the monsters on its streets, how can a street kid like Fray unite a fallen city against a demonic plot to consume mankind?


I picked this up just because it was written by Joss Whedon.  My standard m.o.  Got a couple of pages into it and realized this was the most amazing thing ever!  He followed up the Slayer story a hundred years after Buffy!  With flying cars!  And crime bosses who live in fishtanks!  Brilliant!

Melaka Fray is what I imagine Faith could have been.  She's daring, reckless, grumpy and good.  But it's not your standard slayer story.  She doesn't have the memories, the dreams of all the slayers before her.  She doesn't have the drive because she doesn't have her history.  She's just a girl who can fight pretty good.  But there's a reason and it was surprising, but it made perfect sense.

Of course, I wish this was a series.  At the same time, I'm glad it's not.  It was a good complete story with a bit of mystery at the end that leaves you alone with your own imagination to fill in the blanks. 

Loved it.

speed of light

speed of light
amber kizer
random house
published 2012

Meridian Sozu and Juliet Ambrose are Fenestra: half angel, half human.  Their job is to transition the dead to the next world.  But that's all they have in common.

Meridian is close to mastering her destiny, but she doesn't know how to embrace her future with Tens Valdez, her soul mate and Protector.  Can they build a life together?  Or will the coming storm sweep away their love?

Juliet has been molded by a childhood filled with abuse and neglect.  Unable to trust others, she's never formed lasting friendships, and the select few she's loved haven't been able to stay.  Trapped in her loneliness, she finds it all too easy to fall back into the familiar patterns of fear and rage.  Can she uncover her past without betraying her new family?  Or will she be faced with an impossible choice?

When Meridian, Juliet, and Tens uncover an Aternocti plot to kill innocent spectators at the Indianapolis 500, every relationship will be tested.  Time is running out for the hundreds of thousands of people gathering for the huge race.  In a climactic battle, Light and Dark will fight for control - and not all will survive.

I agree with a lot of readers who said that this book was unnecessarily long.  It really is.  I wasn't really bored, but I was comfortable reading it.  There wasn't any excitement.  Seriously, none at all.  And the Indy 500 being the focal point for the Nocti?  Lame.  Seriously, lame.  And you spend about 375 pages slowly trodding to this complete clusterfuck of a Light vs. Dark ending.  It was so dang confusing at that point that sometimes I had to re-read paragraphs and was still completely lost at exactly what was happening.

Meridian continuously talks about widening the rings of their influence.  Opening their circle to more people, trusting more people and that's wonderful, but near the end there were just too many characters to keep track of.  Not only that but I swear that at one point Meridian asked Nelli if Bales was her boyfriend and then in the next chapter they were EdwardandBella in love and insane out it.  I'm pretty sure that happened in a day.

Kizer does such a great job of setting scenes and Meridian & Tens character development, but then she kind of flubs everything else.  It kind of felt like this was the last book in the series and I hope that's true.  I know there's another book called Counting Tens that's in development.  I hope that it's just Tens story and not a continuation of the main story.  I don't think I can take another book!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

liesl & po

liesl & po
lauren oliver
harper collins
published 2011

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother.  Her only friends are the shadows and the mice - until one night a ghost appears from the darkness.  It is Po, who comes from the Other Side.  Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery.  He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

A sweet, sad story.  The first book I read by Lauren Oliver was Before I Fall.  It was excellent and surprising so I picked up Delirium when that one came out and found it to be good, but so very different than Before I Fall.  And now this book.  Quite different from them all!

Liesl is sweet and brave.  Po is grumpy, but sweet nonetheless.  Will is a bumbling goof, but somehow manages to be a hero.  The story reminded me of Roald Dahl's Mathilda (which I love) and a touch of Cinderella.  Kei Acedera's illustrations were few and far between, but when you turned the page to find one it was magical.

Though I got this one from the library, I'm tempted to buy it and read a chapter a night to Emma.  With ghosts and evil stepmothers, alchemists and an adventure it's the perfect bedtime story!

the fault in our stars

the fault in our stars
john green
published 2012

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis.  But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Let's face it, when you pick up a book with that sort of description, a book about kids with cancer you know what's going to happen.  You're picking up a book of grief.  Someone's going to fall in love and someone's going to die.  But you still pick it up.  You still read it because (for me) it's written by John Green and sometimes you just want to read a book you know is going to make you cry.

You don't think about all the thinking it's going to make you do.  Despite the mostly predictable story I worried.  I worried the book would end like An Imperial Affliction did.  I worried something would happen to either Augustus or Hazel while I was reading the book.  I just worried.  And then I thought about their parents who are ever present in the book.  Again, John Green writes parents who are flawed, but normal.  Loving, protective and people their children do not hate.  It's refreshing in a YA novel.  I thought about how devastating it would be to live that life.  How would I function with my child in that situation.  How do these thousands, if not millions of parents deal with having a child they know is going to die before they do.

And it clearly defined the term 'terminal' to me.  I had always just thought that to have terminal cancer meant that you would die from it soon.  You had a few months, maybe a year, but the idea that you could live in this suspended sort of state....I never knew that was possible. 

To be a teenager and be confined.  Knowing that you cannot do the things that your friends are doing and just being resigned to it because let's face it, what else can you do?  But Hazel gets this incredible opportunity to do what most people who live their entire lives into adulthood never get the chance to do.  She falls in love.  Truly and deeply.  She gets a magical event.  She gets happiness.

And that's why you read books like this.  Because the writing is beautiful.  Because in the midst of tragedy and horror there can be humor.  Because you want to experience these gorgeous moments.

Because you have to.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

looking for alaska

looking for alaska
john green
published 2005

before.  Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Francois Rabelais, poet) even more.  He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe.  Because down the hall is Alaska Young.  The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself.  She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

after.  Nothing is ever the same.

I fell so hard and far into this book that I would look up every now and then and for a brief moment felt like I was living that experience.  That those events happened to my friend and I was living in that grief.  It doesn't happen very often to me, but it's both wonderful and painful when it does.

I think that I connected with this book so much because Alaska reminded me of a very good friend of mine.  I seriously considered that John Green knew this friend of mine, but logically that doesn't work out.  *sigh*

I loved Alaska, Colonel & Takumi and I even loved Pudge most of the time.  Like others before him, Pudge was another self-absorbed sort of boy, but then when you experience what he does how do you not make it all about you?

John Green writes so clearly that I could picture every scene in my head as if I had been there.  I felt the oppressive heat and the frigid January cold.  I knew what everyone looked like without really needing to think about.  They were just there, already in my head.  I could see the Smoking Hole, hear Satan the Swan at the lake and smell the wet hay in the barn.  He has a way, I think, of describing everything so perfectly, but without going into so much detail that you have to stop to think about.  It flows seamlessly and you're reading without realizing that you're reading.  You're just there.  You're present.

an abundance of katherines

an abundance of katherines
john green
dutton juvenille
published 2006

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine.  And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped.  Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judy Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines.  Colin is on a mission to probe the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself...

As it stands I've read two and a half John Green novels.  Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  I can easily say this was my least favorite of the two and a half.  Had I read this book first instead of Paper Towns I probably wouldn't be so in love with John Green's work. 

Currently, I'm two thirds of the way done with The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska so I feel I can compare them all pretty fairly.  I read an quick review on Goodreads after I read WG, WG about how all of John Green's characters are the same and I've discovered that is mostly correct.  They generally all center around a slightly nerdy, friendless and awkward boy who somehow manages to attract beautiful, quirky, if not altogether nutty girls.

Colin Singleton is no different.  When he was three years old her was able to read the newspaper and that turned his life upside down.  The typical gifted child he is forever chasing the idea that he is meant to do something bigger than everyone else.  Held up to these standards by his slightly bullying father he lives his life in a constant state of defeat for not being able to reach the goal of genius.

However, amidst all this studying and working and trying Colin manages to meet and 'date' 18 different girls named Katherine.  And then also get dumped by them which creates an obsessive compulsion to be with a Katherine and not get dumped.

It is after the 19th dumping that Colin's best friend Hassan says he needs to go on an adventure and drags Colin on a road trip to nowhere that lands them in Gutshot, TN, population 864 and things begin to change.  Not just for him, but for Hassan as well.

The story in itself is good.  And maybe it was the act of reading this one, The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska at the same time that did it, but I just didn't love this one.  I hardly liked it.  I found Colin to be annoyingly self centered and self absorbed and Hassan was just kind of funny, but more desperate.  I also just couldn't get past the idea that someone dated 18 different Katherines.  I don't think I've known 18 different anyone named the same.

But the main reason I don't think I liked this book?  Math.  There was math in it and that my friends, is a downer.


There is an interesting, yet horrifying phenomenon that occurs that no one tells you about after you've been given a no-more-cancer-bill-of-health.  You think everything afterwards is cancer.

Every pain, every ache, every twinge is cancer.  And even the nothingness, the no symptom days, it's cancer.  Part of you knows that this thinking is crazy and the other part knows that it's not because before you never thought about cancer.  In fact, for me I didn't ever feel the cancer.  It was just there, so why can't it be just there somewhere else?

It's a thought that invades my head at least 165 hours out of the week.

And I think about how my cancer wasn't really cancer.  There was no real feelings of illness, no chemotherapy, no radiation, no drugs of any sort.  I didn't lose weight, lose my hair, lose my strength.  I look at what some friends have or are going through and I feel guilty.  That survivor's sort of guilt.  I can't possibly ever feel sorry for myself or complain about what I went through because it was nothing compared to what I have seen.

So I don't complain.  I don't think back on it because really, in the grand scheme of cancer situations, mine was cake.  But I fear.

I fear that it is something that I have now passed onto my daughters.  Now, when they fill out health history forms they will have to check the box that says there is a history of cancer. 

I fear that it will come back.  In some other form, in some other way, it will come back and I will truly appreciate how easy I had it before.

I fear that because it was in me that maybe it is somewhere in my mom, in my sister, in my aunties.  I fear more that I will lose someone I love than I will lose myself.

Although, what I fear the most is that in losing myself I will lose this precious life with my husband and with my daughters.

But it is what it is.  And for now I'll watch how Emma always makes Olivia laugh giant, belly laughs while she looks at her sister with such love and adoration and be happy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

reading challenge addict

I can't believe I've never done this challenge before seeing as I love my reading challenges!

This challenge is all about entering and completing challenges.  I'm 'In Flight' with 11 Challenges.  You can read the details and sign up here!

My Challenges
Completed 1st goal of 168 5.10.13
Completed 2nd goal of 200 8.14.13
Completed 3rd goal of 225 9.19.13
Completed 4th goal of 250 10.30.13

Completed 3.17.13

Completed DVD Level (25) 4.3.13
Completed Memory Stick Level (50) 8.15.13
Completed Hard Drive Level (75) 10.31.13

54/71 books
12/15 series
47/20: Completed 3.7.13

123/24: Completed 1.19.13

Completed 2.18.13

      Completed 3.5.13

      73/73 Books Read
      completed 10.28.13

      Disqus for know-it-not-so-much