Monday, October 5, 2015

#FrightFall Readathon Master Post

Here we go!  Time to start the #FrightFall Readathon.  This goes for one week, but I'm going to be even more relaxed about it than I usually am with these sort of events.  The one rule is that I must read at least one scary book - which isn't a problem.  I have several sitting on my shelf that will work wonderfully!  I will update this post everyday with my progress....

Monday:  I started this readathon off with a bang - I forgot to bring a book to work to read at lunch!   Thankfully, I am a librarian, and a couple holds I placed came in that morning.  I grabbed I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 and read that - even though it scared me to do so, I kept it together - and will be talking about it with my son once he finishes reading it.  Then, I picked up and read half of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.  I am kind of familiar with the story, but had never read it!








Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Review: "Stand Off" by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West has returned to Pine Mountain for his senior year, and it is immediately clear that this year is going to be very different for him.  Yes, he is a fifteen year old senior - but he is, in fact, a senior.  But somehow he is stuck rooming with a twelve year old freshman - down in the freshman rooms of the boys dorm.  He also can't seem to shake this awful anxiety and fear that something terrible is going to happen.  He can't sleep, he's not eating...  and it is affecting his relationship with Annie.  What is going to happen to Ryan Dean?

Oh, my - Ryan Dean - I've missed you so much!  I didn't even realize how much until I started reading just the first few paragraphs.  This book is the perfect sequel to Winger, which I highly recommend as well.  I am so thankful we got to see how Ryan Dean comes back from what happened last year.  He's just such an endearing character.  I mean he's hysterically funny, kind of an asshole and has his head in the gutter 90% of the time...  but he's also a little bit broken and has a very good heart.

Besides Ryan Dean and Annie, there are only a handful of returning characters - mainly Seanie and JP.  But Ryan Dean's new roommate - Sam Abernathy - and their relationship is just too much.  I was laughing so hard at Ryan Dean's entire living situation, and how he talks about it.... so funny!!  Sam provides more than just comedy though, and it is a possible little insight into what freshman year might have been like for Ryan Dean - except I don't think Ryan Dean was ever exactly like Sam.  At all.

I could go on and on... but trust me, this is awesome.  But read Winger first, if you haven't already.  Trust me.

Stand Off
by Andrew Smith
Simon & Schuster, 2015
401 pages
Series:  Winger #2
Source:  Purchased New


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Reading Events in October!

Um....   So I think I may have gotten a little carried away here.  Fall is my absolute favorite, and I love reading while all cozy under a blanket... and I'm just enjoying the idea of reading whatever I want again....  so I kind of got myself signed up for no less than 4 reading/blogging events for October.  RIP X is already going on, and I've read 1 of the 2 scary-type books I promised to read.  The Frightfall Readathon is happening all next week, and I need to read at least one scary-type book for that as well.  I have no less than 7 scary-type books ready to go, so I should have this covered.  Then Dewey's 24 hour readathon is coming up on October 17th, and I just can't miss that.  PLUS Andi at Estella's Revenge is doing a #15in31 challenge in which an attempt is made to read 15 books in the 31 days of October.   15 books is a lot to read in a month, but I'll try it!  Why not?

If you are curious about any of these events - click on the links and check them out!

I think October is going to be a great month for reading!!

Image property of Abigail Larson


Monday, September 28, 2015

Graphic Novel/Comic Review: "Saga Volume 1" by Brian K. Vaughan

I am so late to the awesomeness that is Saga.  Why?  Why did I wait so long????  This comic is incredible.

I saw that Saga is on the list of the top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2014 as per the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom.  And since this is Banned Books Week where we celebrate our freedom to read - well, I finally picked it up and read devoured it.

What is it about?  Basically, it is set in a future time where there is this massive war going on between two worlds/races of people.  This war has spread throughout the galaxy.  Alana and Marko were born to be on opposite sides of this war, soldiers the both of them, but they abandoned their posts and want to just live peacefully.  They are married and have just had a little baby girl.  Of course, the powers that be on both sides of the war don't like this one bit and are out to get them - and are hiring freelance assassins to do so.  This is a fast paced survival adventure story built on love and peace.  The story is smart, funny, meaningful and suspenseful.  The art by Fiona Staples is incredibly beautiful.  I went to work the day after I read this and immediately checked out the next volume.

So, in a book this wonderful, why all the challenges?  I'm sure the cover art gives a clue. So many people can't handle a real life human mother breastfeeding their child in public view, that I'm sure one look at this had some people clutching their pearls.   The official reasons for challenges include:  Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.  The "anti-family" charge amazes me.  I mean, look at that cover art again - this is all about loving your family and keeping them safe!  I don't get this at all.  As for the "nudity" and "sexually explicit" challenges - yes, there are breasts and penises shown.  At one point a character visits a brothel, but then tries to rescue a very young sex slave which should be seen as a good thing, I would hope.  Children sold into sex slavery is a thing that actually happens in this world, as awful as that is, and ignoring that does not make it go away.  "Offensive Language" - yes, they swear.  Just as much as in the movies or HBO or whatever.  Get over it.  "Unsuited for age group":  this is a tricky challenge because it does not give any context.  Is this appropriate for middle school?  No, probably not.  High School?    Like it or not, I think the upper grades (older teens) can absolutely handle this material.  They are also old enough to look at something and decide for themselves if they want to read it or not.  But that's just my humble opinion.

Bottom line - I loved loved loved this, and cannot wait to read the rest of the series.  I know that Volume 5 was just processed at our library, so I need to get reading!!

Saga Volume 1
by Brian K. Vaughan
Image, 2012
160 pages
Source:  Borrowed from a friend


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book Review: "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

I realize that I am just about the last person ever to read this book.  I've had it on my shelf for years, but just couldn't do it....  the hype around it was too much and it turned me off.  I've put it on my TBR Challenge for the past two years, and this year I'm participating in RIP X and finally, finally told myself to suck it up and read the damn thing.

I wish I hadn't.  I'm sorry, but it's true.

Amy Dunne disappears from her home on the day of her 5th wedding anniversary to her husband Nick.  Their marriage hasn't been the greatest lately, as there was still the lingering stress over both of them losing their awesome NYC jobs and deciding to move back to Missouri to care for Nick's ailing parents.  Now Amy is missing, and the clues start adding up to homicide.  It really starts to look like Nick killed her.

I think everyone got all excited about a story with a ton of crazy twists thrown at them.... that's my guess anyway.  But in my opinion, you could see all those twists coming a mile away and they seemed crazy because they were.  Crazy as in impossible.  Crazy as in unbelievable.  And I didn't even like these characters.  I didn't like Nick and I didn't like Amy.  Even as the book went on and it was clear that you were supposed to soften toward one or the other, or maybe take sides on who did it?  or what really happened?  or who is to blame?  The fact is that they both suck.  I'm not one who feels like I need to bond or relate to a character to like the book - but my intense dislike of just about everyone in this book helped to kill this book for me.  Maybe I like Nick's twin sister a bit.  But that's not enough.

The story doesn't even start to get interesting until about 100 pages in, and I really really should have just stepped away.  Lesson learned.

Oh, and my husband actually liked this movie and thinks I should watch it.  I think I'll pass.

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Crown, 2012
415 pages
Source:  Gifted


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#FrightFall Readathon is coming!

You know, I think I'm just giddy with the opportunity to sign up for all of these blogging events that I had denied myself while in school because here comes another one:  FrightFall.  This is another relaxed, week-long readathon designed to get you in the Fall frame of mind.  There is one requirement:  You have to read at least ONE scary book.  I still have one more to read for RIP X, so that isn't an issue.  It wouldn't be an issue anyway, but I don't want to neglect RIP either.

If this sounds interesting to you, click HERE to sign up too!  I think there is some sort of prize giveaway by the host blog ( too, but I'm not really into it for that.  But you may be - so check it out!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Book to Movie: "I Capture the Castle" (2003)

Not too long ago, I posted my thoughts on the novel I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.  Fiona was kind enough to alert me to the movie version of the book and I was instantly curious.  I requested it from the library, and on a drizzly, cool, Sunday afternoon - I watched it.

The casting choices were perfect - and so many recognizable faces!  I was not familiar with Romola Garai who plays Cassandra, but Rose Byrne plays her sister Rose and Bill Nighy plays her father.  Not only that, but Henry Thomas is Simon, Marc Blucas is Neil and Henry Cavill is Stephen!  And they each nail their parts perfectly.

This is one movie adaptation that is very close to the book.  A few scenes were taken out, subplots were shortened or removed (like Cassandra never goes boozing with the Vicar in the movie), but the overall feel is right in line.  Some scenes even played out a bit funnier than in the book, which is always enjoyable.  If I had any complaint, it would be that the movie threw down a few too many clues as to the ending - and early on.  But to make up for that, I felt like the movie left me a bit more confident in Cassandra's choices and hopeful for her future.  Not that I wasn't before, but watching the screen and getting swept in a little music...  it just happens that way sometimes.

Fans of the book are sure to like the movie!  Thank you Fiona for the suggestion!

I Capture the Castle
Directed by Tim Fywell
Sony Pictures, BBC Films
1 hour 53 minutes
Rated R


Friday, September 18, 2015

Dog Days of Summer Readathon Master Post

I think I may have forgotten to do an "announcement" type post for this, and for that I apologize.  You can still sign up at EstellaSociety though!

This is basically just a laid back and relaxing readathon to mark the end of summer.  It starts today and goes through Sunday... easy peasy.  I know that I won't have time Sunday - we have an annual Football Party to go to.  I'll be prepping some food Saturday, and will actually have to go to work for like an hour to announce an author who is presenting at our library....  but the rest of the time will be spent relaxing and reading.  Promise.

As we are also in RIP X mode, I will be focusing on books that fit that theme as well.  So my goals for this readathon have nothing to do with page counts, time spent reading, or number of books completed.  I'm going full-out with the relaxing and will state that my goal is to do as much as I can.  That is it.

I'll mark down updates throughout the weekend on this post.  Have fun everyone!

Friday:  I worked all day, watched a movie with my kids and a comedy special with my husband - and still read the first 5 chapters of The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.  No, it doesn't fit with RIP, like at all, but I need to read something like it as I just finished Gone Girl on Thursday.

Saturday:  Took care of stuff around the house, went to work for an hour or so to introduce an author (Randy Susan Meyers - who is awesome, by the way) and went to the in-laws for an impromptu family dinner.  Still finished The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord and LOVED it.

Sunday:  Zero reading done today, which was expected.  We all went to a Patriots Football Party which was most of the day, and came home to watch the Emmys.  It is completely ironic that I wanted to watch the Emmys, since I barely watch any television at all...  but it was entertaining.  I don't think I could have paid close attention to a book anyway.

So another readathon done.  I received an email this weekend about another weeklong readathon coming in October - I think - I need to go back and check out the details.  I'll let you know!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Review: "Tell The Wolves I'm Home" by Carol Rifka Brunt

It is 1987, and fourteen year old June Elbus has just suffered the biggest loss of her life thus far:  the death of her beloved uncle Finn to AIDS.  The loss of Finn affects June's entire family in different ways, and definitely brings the worst out in her relationship with her older sister Greta.  June, though, feels as though she is suffering the most from this profound loss.  At the funeral, June notices a strange man who was somehow "not invited".  Then, the man sends June a note, asking to meet as he was Finn's "special friend".  June warily agrees to meet with Toby, and finds comfort in commiserating in her grief.  Finn really did know only the best people.

This is the first book of the year for the book club I'm co-running at work, and what a great choice it was.  I cannot wait until we meet and see what everyone else thought about it!

June is such an old soul.  I really liked seeing the world through her eyes.  I had issues with some of the others in her family, but my issues made them seem or feel more authentic and true.  This also includes her budding relationship with Toby.  It starts off a bit rocky (and creepy if you ask me), but when you realize the loneliness felt by each and the other motivations they have....  it turns into something wonderful and important.

There is so much to love about this book, even though it is maddening at times and heartbreaking at others....   it is so wonderful.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home
by Carol Rifka Brunt
Dial Press, 2013.  First published 2012.
355 pages
Source:  Purchased New

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