Posts Tagged: Books

Reading Notes: On Reading an Author’s Final Work

September 9, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 8

Reading Notes: On Reading an Author’s Final WorkThe Shepherd's Crown
by terry pratchett
Narrator: stephen briggs
Length: 7 hours 49 minutes
Published by Harper Audio
on 9.1.15
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. ¬The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.

There will be a reckoning. . .



For your information, I’m not really going to write a review of The Shepherd’s Crown. If you’ve read Terry Pratchett, or at least the Tiffany Aching series, you’re going to read this book. If you haven’t even read the Tiffany Aching series, you won’t read this book, at least not yet. This is going to be more of a discussion of the experience of reading this book, for me anyway. It’s going to be hard for me to write, it’s probably going to be disjointed, and emotional, yes, there may be some tears, and run-on sentences, and maybe even a touch of hysterics(!) but you know what? I don’t care. I have some things I need to get, this is my forum for getting things out and so, it is going to happen.

The Shepherd’s Crown tore my heart to pieces. And then, it put all back together again in the most beautiful way….

On March 12, 2015, the beloved author Terry Pratchett died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. I came late to his work, when, after getting several recommendations as to where exactly to start, I started with Nation. That, as they say, was that. There was no looking back. While I still haven’t come close to reading all his books, I became a die-hard fan. When he died, I cried just as hard as his longtime fans had, and, begrudgingly began to look forward to what was suddenly his last book; The Shepherd’s Crown. It is not impossible to read an author’s last book. Thousands of writers have lived, and died, and left behind a last work. I think perhaps a last book is seldom written by an author who has stared death in the face for years and knows, beyond a shadow of doubt, that He is near. Terry Pratchett knew.

And it glows throughout his last book.

Death has always been a prominent figure in Pratchett’s books. He has appeared several times to usher a character into the next world. He appears early on in this book, and, while he is speaking to another character, one can’t help but feel that the author is “breaking the fourth wall” so to speak and using Death to speak directly to the reader.

I HAVE WATCHED YOUR PROGRESS WITH INTEREST, ESMERELDA WEATHERWAX, said the voice in the dark. He was firm, but oh so polite. But now there was a question in his voice. PRAY TELL ME, WHY WERE YOU CONTENT TO LIVE IN THIS TINY LITTLE COUNTRY WHEN, AS YOU KNOW, YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ANYTHING AND ANYBODY IN THE WORLD? “I don’t know about the world, not much; but in my part of the world I could make little miracles for ordinary people,” Granny replied sharply. “And I never wanted the world—just a part of it, a small part that I could keep safe, that I could keep away from storms. Not the ones of the sky, you understand: there are other kinds.” AND WOULD YOU SAY YOUR LIFE BENEFITED THE PEOPLE OF LANCRE AND ENVIRONS? After a minute the soul of Granny Weatherwax said, “Well, not boasting, your willingness, I think I have done right, for Lancre at least. I’ve never been to Environs.” MISTRESS WEATHERWAX, THE WORD “ENVIRONS” MEANS, WELL, THEREABOUTS. “All right,” said Granny. “I did get about, to be sure.” A VERY GOOD LIFE LIVED INDEED, ESMERELDA. “Thank you,” said Granny. “I did my best.”

He did his best indeed.

Endings figure prominently throughout the book. Yet, most beautifully of all, so does reassurance

Tiffany thought of the little spot in the woods where Granny Weatherwax lay. Remembered.

And knew that You¹ had been right. Granny Weatherwax was indeed here. And there. She was, in fact, and always would be, everywhere.

and change

Why? Why not do things differently? Why should we do things how they have always been done before? And something inside her suddenly thrilled to the challenge.

and comfort

“The end of times?” said Nanny. “Look, Tiff, Esme tol’ me to say, if you want to see Esmerelda Weatherwax, then just you look around. She is here. Us witches don’t mourn for very long. We are satisfied with happy memories – they’re there to be cherished.”

For in the end, Terry is still here. His many books, thoughts, and wisdom live on to be cherished, to be learned from, to be loved. Thank you Terry and mind how you go.

¹sidenote: You is Granny’s cat.




Reading Notes – August 27 ,2015

August 27, 2015 Books, Reading Notes 7


I feel kind of weird doing a Reading Notes post, seeing as I’m still not doing a ton of reading, but it’s part of my new schedule and I want to get off on the right foot. I just typed food, so I think you can see where my mind is at.

fivedaysatmemorialAs for reading, I’ve been listening to Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink and Holy Cow Guacamole. The full title is Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink and for good reason. I knew Katrina was bad, who didn’t know Katrina was bad, but I HAD NO IDEA and I bet you didn’t either. The news focused so much on the looting and the mismanagement by the government that this story, and so many others I’m sure, went ignored. I’m glad it wasn’t ignored for long.

Emergencies are crucibles that contain and reveal the daily, slower-burning problems of medicine and beyond – our vulnerabilities; our trouble grappling with uncertainty, how we die, how we prioritize and divide what is most precious and vital and limited; even our biases and blindnesses.

And hopefully those that need to know, learned from it. I can’t wait to get back to my listening. And how serendipitous that I managed to be listening during the anniversary of the storm. Way to go me!

Another book I’m reading The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Syndey Padua. lovelaceandbabbageAda Lovelace and Charles Babbage were real people. Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron and, somewhat surprisingly, something of a mathematical genius. Charles Babbage was something of an inventor who had the idea for a proto-computer, but never really built anything. I have been fascinated by Lovelace for a long time. How does the daughter of such a celebrated poet become interested in mathematics? How does she write what is basically the beginnings of computer programming theory? Where does that come from?

And what could she have done if she hadn’t died so very young?

This book explores that. I have just reached the end of what was real, and am entering the part of the book that imagines. I wish I had more time to pick it up. I can’t wait for the weekend!

therestofusLastly, being such an impatient cuss, I started The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I would say I feel a little apprehensive about this book and I’m pretty sure a few of you would understand why. I seriously LOVE Patrick Ness. Adore him. Feel he can do no wrong. And that can be dangerous, because more often that not, an author like that will let you down. Plus, I don’t read as much young adult as I used to because, well, it sometimes gets on my nerves.

Happily, even though I’m only about 25% into the book, it is NOT getting on my nerves. Unhappily, I’m not exactly sure what it is doing to me. The premise is great. What WOULD it be like to not be the star? To be the one on the outside of all the adventure? To be the one looking in, wondering what it’s like to be the hero?

I will let you know.

So, how is your reading week going?



Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen King

June 25, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 4 ★★★★½

Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen KingThe Long Walk
by Stephen King
Published by Signet
on July 1979
Genres: Horror
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

100 boys. 100 boys, assembled on a hill in Maine. They are from all over the country. They don’t know each other, have never even seen each other before. But they are about to embark on a journey, a journey where only one will come out alive, for they are to walk. Walk until there is only one boy left standing. Along the way, profound things will be learned, friendships will be made, and at the end…does anything really change?

I’m so take it or leave it with King. And it’s not because I don’t think he’s a fantastic writer. I do! I looooooved The Stand. I’m so terrified of The Shining that I am 99.9% sure I will never touch it, even with that proverbial 10-foot pole. I thought Misery was tolerable (I was a teen when I read it, so I really barely remember it). I adored his book On Writing. The movie Pet Sematary threatened my relationship with cats for quite some time and I am a cat. lover. In short, I’m never quite sure where I stand on the guy. Basically he warms by belly in anticipation and chills my blood with apprehension.

So, when I read this book was compared to The Hunger Games, I was unsurprisingly interested and wary.

And, as these sorts of comparisons usually go, I found it remarkably different from The Hunger Games and I was completely okay with that. In many ways, The Long Walk isn’t as political. The reader is never told exactly why these boys walk every year. There is no feeling that they are a sacrifice. There is no visible government, other than the Major and the soldiers who follow the boys, and kill them when they fall. There is obviously a winner and the winner does win a prize (seemingly of a large sum of money). The focus of The Long Walk is more on the boys, their thoughts, their feelings, the process of the long walk and what it does to their minds and bodies. I’ve never really thought about it, but walking, without stopping, at a certain speed, for a long period of time would wear on your body and your mind.

In short, I know I would go completely nuts.

This book was more thought-provoking and interesting than I anticipated and I’m actually really glad I read it. I’m glad Uncle Stevie and I are starting to see things the same way. I appreciated that nothing really changed. No governments were overtly challenged, no minds were changed (except those boys), and the reader can imagine that the same thing will happen next year, and the next, and the next. Sometimes things don’t have to be all wrapped up in a bow and I love the occasionally ending that embraces that. Way to go Uncle Stevie!






Reading Notes: Some More Thoughts on Pirates and Adventure

June 18, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 3 ★★★★★

Reading Notes: Some More Thoughts on Pirates and AdventurePirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
by Robert Kurson
Published by Random House
on June 16th 2015
Genres: Biography, Mystery, Nonfiction
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
A thrilling new adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of the New York Times bestseller Shadow Divers

Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister’s exploits would have been more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s, but his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.

Fast-paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Is there anything better than a good pirate book? Especially in the summer? Arrrr! I didn’t think so.

Way back when, I read a fantastic book about German U-Boats and deep sea divers called Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson. One of the divers, John Chatterton, may perhaps be familiar to you? If not, you are missing the adventures of one of the last, great adventurers.

John Chatterton (born 1951) is an American wreck diver. Together with Richie Kohler, he was one of the co-hosts for the History Channel’sDeep Sea Detectives, for 57 episodes of the series. He is also a consultant to the film and television industries and has worked with 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and CBS. – From Wikipedia

After reading Shadow Hunters, I (and my extension, my husband, being the history nuts we both are) became obsessed with deep sea diving. We watched Deep Sea Detectives and other such shows frequently. I read Kurson’s next book, Crashing Through; A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See, even though it had nothing to do with diving, because I just loved his writing. In other words, I really loved the book, the author, and the topic. So imagine my delight when I saw that not only did Robert Kurson had another book coming out, but it featured John Chatterton again! And pirates! Yo ho!

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship has it all. Adventure. History. Danger, greed, and of course, riches. Pirate riches. Gold doubloons, cannons, fine china, and more. I appreciated it all. The reading is fast paced. The research meticulous but not so didactic that it bogs everything down. The tension exquisite. And all to find, not on the ship, but the man who manned it; John Bannister, gentleman pirate. Bannister, lost to history and other pirates more famous, was a singular man with a fascinating story.

One feature of all of Kurson’s books are of man’s determination to be more, to push themselves to be more, than they ever thought possible. In Shadow Divers, Chatterton, Kohler, and company risk their lives to dive to unthinkable depths. Mike May, from Crashing Through, was blinded at the age of three, yet he went on to break records in downhill speed skiing, he joined the CIA, and became a successful business man, inventor, and family man. And again, in Pirate Hunters, Chatterton is thought by many to be too old to be diving at such depths. Now in his sixties, he does it anyway, risking his life, to find the impossible; a real, authenticated pirate ship and make history for finding the actual SECOND pirate ship ever to be found (and authenticated). In my mind, this outlook on life can be inspiration for anyone who wants to be more than they think they can be. Just get out there and do it!

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this fantastic book. It will look great in your beach bag!




Reading Notes: What is it about a Book with a Book on the Cover?

June 10, 2015 Book Reviews, Books, eBooks 12 ★★★★★

Reading Notes: What is it about a Book with a Book on the Cover?The Library at Mount Char
by Scott Hawkins
Published by Crown
on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 388
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
"Neil Gaiman meets Joe Hill in this astonishingly original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy."

Carolyn's not so different from the other human beings around her. She's sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course--before the time she calls "adoption day," when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.
Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn't gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient Pelapi customs. They've studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.
Sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library--and with it, power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She's sure of it. What she doesn't realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price--because in becoming a God, she's forgotten a great deal about being human.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


There are (quite) a few things that make me pick up a book immediately. Things I am helpless against. First, putting a book or books on the cover. It appeals to my bookish nature. Second, compare it to a favorite author. I know I shouldn’t let this work on me, because more often than not, it doesn’t actually work out that way, but I can’t help it. Marketing works, sometimes. Lastly, Let me read it for free for a review. I’m a sucker.

The Library at Mount Char has a burnt book on it’s cover, with comparisons to Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill, and the publisher let me read it for free FOR MY HONEST OPINION. So I’m going to give it to you: I loved it. So there you go.

I don’t know much about Joe Hill. I’ve only read his comics. So, I’m mainly coming at this as a Neil Gaiman/Fantasy fan. And I felt so many shades of American Gods, in the best possible way, and I also felt shades of something new. Something unique. Something undeniably Scott Hawkins. The world he has created here, the characters, the story; all remarkable. He’s created a whole new world, a world where people can become gods, where a Library can hold all the power in the universe, where a person can be brought back to life again and again, and where a person can learn incredible things, like reincarnation, terrible savagery, and startling humanity. And behind it all is the sly, deadpan, quirky voice of a new talent. Surprising at every turn, The Library at Mount Char is not to be missed.

Favorite Bits:

“The librarians I know are into, like, I dunno, tea and cozy mysteries, not breaking and entering.”

“Yeah, well. This is a different kind of library.”

“It’s about the Library,” Carolyn said. “Right now the only thing that matters is who takes control of Father’s Library.”

“Library? Who gives a damn about a library?”

Carolyn rolled her eyes. “Americans.”

“With this particular species of crazy, you stop trying to make things better. You start trying to maximize the bad. You pretend to like it. Eventually you start working to make everything as bad as possible. It’s an avoidance mechanism.” Jennifer looked Carolyn directly in the eyes. “It can’t actually work. That’s why they call it crazy.”

Steve walked over and squatted down. There, almost invisible in the shadows, he found it. “It’s a book?”

She smiled. “Of course it’s a book.”



Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin

May 28, 2015 Book Reviews, Books, eBooks 1 ★★★

Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance RubinDenton Little's Deathdate
by Lance Rubin
Series: Denton Little #1
Published by Knopf
on April 14th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that's tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend's hostile sister. Though he's not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton's long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton's life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager's life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


You know, I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I’ve been going through something of a book identity crisis. You see, I used to LOVE young adult books. Then I didn’t love them quite so much any more, but I still read my favorite authors. And then, I wasn’t feeling the pull to read my favorite authors (of YA that is) either. Yet, somehow, inexplicably, this book called to me from the shelf of NetGalley and I was like sure. What the heck. It might be good.

It was good.

But, just good.

In the world Denton Little lives in, everyone knows when they will die. Down to the very day. And everyone celebrates their death day, because, why not? Denton’s death date is, tragically, early. He will die on prom night, in his 17th year. Dude has been busy. So many firsts in his last days! As the book opens, Denton has his first hangover. Upon waking he discovers he’s had his first sex (and totally missed it because booze) which leads to his first love triangle (because dude has a girlfriend and sex was not with her).

Things are dramatic.

Then he discovers the beginnings on a rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? He’s disappointed. Because teenage boy.

If things don’t seem dramatic and crazy enough, things are about to get worse, when a strange man shows up at his funeral. Since you know when you’re going to die, you go to your own funeral. Fun times.


  • It’s funny. Very witty. Lance Rubin is quite the funny, witty, guy.
  • It is fast paced. I can see kids (boys especially) appreciating the quick action.
  • There’s a mystery. Mysteries are always fun.
  • The characters are fun. I’m saying fun a lot, am I not?
  • The sex isn’t handled lightly. The cheating isn’t either, which I appreciate. The drinking kind of is.
  • The adults are present, which is nice. Adults tend to go missing in YA.

All in all, it’s a fun read. Kids will love it. I finished it, which I think says a lot. I may even make an effort to read the next one. And, if I had a kind old enough for it, I would push it off on them.

Recommended, for those younger than me.



Audiobook: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

May 15, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 1 ★★★★

Audiobook: The Buried Giant by Kazuo IshiguroThe Buried Giant
by kazuo ishiguro
Narrator: david horovitch
Length: 11 hours 48 minutes
Published by Random House Audio
on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 317
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
You've long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it's time now to think on it anew. There's a journey we must go on, and no more delay..."

The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


You guys, I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve never read a book by Ishiguro, prior to The Buried Giant. It’s not that they haven’t appealed to me either; it’s that he intimidated me. To me, he’s up there with Atwood, Auster, Murakami, and Eugenides. And lots of others. So, yeah, I’ve steered clear of Ishiguro.

Until now.

The Buried Giant pushed all the Must-Read-Buttons.

  • The writing is impeccable. Even during the slow parts, the writing was gorgeous and atmospheric.
  • The many themes: memory, love, betrayal, forgiveness, religion, loyalty. The facing of reality. And they are all dealt with so richly and with compassion.
  • The characters and their story. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple living just after the time of King Arthur, are struggling with memory and acceptance. In their village, they are outcast from the rest of the villagers and missing their son. One day, they decide to leave to go visit their son, whom they miss very much. They know something is wrong, something is very off, and the hope they can find out what it is along the way. There is a mist, covering the land, and it is affecting memory.
  • The supporting characters are just as interesting. A knight, a foreigner, an orphan. A dragon. Some devious monks. Pixies. And the mist. That dangerous mist.
  • It’s such a serene story. It puts you in mind of a fairy tale or a fable. That feeling of magic, lying over everything, is prevalent.
  • The feelings. I could feel Axl and Beatrice’s pain, love, confusion, everything. I came to love them and hated to leave them at the end of the book.
  • The ending. It was…not what I expected and I love it when a book can surprise me.
  • The reader. David Horovitch. His voice was the perfect match for the book and his accent lovely.

I knew reviewing this book properly was beyond my skills, but I hope I have conveyed just how much I loved this book. It was a surprise, a lovely surprise, and I hope I can find more from Ishiguro soon.

Som favorite quotes:

But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn’t like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I’m wondering if without our memories, there’s nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.

But God will know the slow tread of an old couple’s love for each other, and understand how black shadows make part of its whole.

When it was too late for rescue, it was still early enough for revenge.



Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey

May 6, 2015 Books 8 ★★★★★

Girl in the Dark by Anna LyndseyGirl in the Dark
by Anna Lyndsey
Narrator: Hannah Curtis
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
Published by Random House Audio
on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Autobiography, Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
A gorgeous memoir of an unthinkable life: a young woman writes of the sensitivity to light that has forced her to live in darkness, and of the love that has saved her.

“Something is afoot within me that I do not understand, the breaking of a contract that I thought could not be broken, a slow perverting of my substance.”

Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst, she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audio books and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission she can venture cautiously out at dawn and dusk, into a world that, from the perspective of her normally cloistered existence, is filled with remarkable beauty.

And throughout there is her relationship with Pete. In many ways he is Anna’s savior, offering her shelter from the light in his home. But she cannot enjoy a normal life with him, cannot go out in the day, and even making love is uniquely awkward. Anna asks herself “By continuing to occupy this lovely man while giving him neither children nor a public companion nor a welcoming home—do I do wrong?” With gorgeous, lyrical prose, Anna brings us into the dark with her, a place from which we emerge to see love, and the world, anew.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Imagine a world that is dark. So dark that light doesn’t even shine through the cracks. No glimmer of light through the blinds. No shimmer beneath the door. Complete. Total. Black.

This is the life Anna Lyndsey lives every day.

Burns? Burns like the worst kind of sunburn. Burns like someone is holding a flame-thrower to my head.

Anna has an extremely rare and terrible form of photo-sensitivity. At her worst, she stays in complete darkness. At her best, she is able to go out after dusk or before daybreak to take a walk. Sunlight, indoor light, computer light; all of it burns her skin. This means no reading, no television, no work, no cooking, nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And the pain can be unbearable.

How she shares her journey through this debilitating illness is nothing short of beautiful. Her prose is clear and captivating. Reading (or in this case, listening) to her story and how she has made it through is nothing short of inspiring. Being invited to witness her private thoughts on her life and her feelings throughout (is she being selfish, living with the man who loves her, but can’t have her as a normal companion? Does she want to live out her life this way? How does she keep her sanity?) feels like a privilege.

You guys. This book. I mean, this book. You guys. Seriously. It feels kind of horrible to say I loved it, but I loved it. This is the first book I’ve listened to that was narrated by Hannah Curtis and I hope it isn’t the last. Her narration was perfect. As I’m discovering, I love memoirs in audio and this one is no exception.

Highly recommended.

Favorite quotes:

Friendship plants itself as a small unobtrusive seed; over time, it grows thick roots that wrap around your heart. When a love affair ends, the tree is torn out quickly, the operation painful but clean. Friendship withers quietly, there is always hope of revival. Only after time has passed do you recognise that it is dead, and you are left, for years afterwards, pulling dry brown fibres from your chest.

My ears become my conduit to the world. In the darkness I listen—to thrillers, to detective novels, to romances; to family sagas, potboilers and historical novels; to ghost stories and classic fiction and chick lit; to bonkbusters and history books. I listen to good books and bad books, great books and terrible books; I do not discriminate. Steadily, hour after hour, in the darkness I consume them all.

Most of the time, I do not want to die. But I would like to have the means of death within my grasp. I want to feel the luxury of choice, to know the answer to “How do I bear this?” need not always be “Endure.



Mars and the First Person POV

April 2, 2015 Books 10 ★★★★

Mars and the First Person POVThe Martian
by Andy Weir
Narrator: R. C. Bray
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes
Published by Crown Publishing Group
on February 11th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

What the heck is up with that title, eh? I’m getting to it. I just have a few things to say about First Person Point of View (or FPPoV). It kind of took over my thoughts on The Martian. Sorry Andy Weir.

I’m sure you’ve heard of The Martian. It was one of the “IT” books last year. Everyone read it. Everyone and their mother read it. Everyone except me. And I really, really wanted to. And I tried. But it didn’t click. Damn that pesky first person narration. I still struggle with it. But, thank God for audiobooks. Me and FPPoV are complete BUDDIES when it comes to audiobooks.

This audiobook completely rocks.

See, the thing about me andFPPoV…I’m not sure what it is. I’ve always had trouble with it. I mean, it stands to reason that I would. It’s a more intimate form of storytelling. A character can become something of a best friend, within the story that is. You get an “inside look” at what the character is thinking and feeling I love unreliable narrators andFPPoV has always felt unreliable to me. It’s the character telling their story. How do I know they are being honest? I love the mystery of that. Lastly, it makes one feel like one is IN the story, more than any other POV, again, for me.


FPPoV imprisons me. One is stuck with one character and that character’s thoughts and feelings. One can only get what THAT CHARACTER THINKS about another character. I do like knowing what another character thinks of the events of the story. It helps ME decide what I think about what’s going on. I feel like it also limits the scope of a story. I like to know everything that’s going on! Also,FPPoV, in my experience, is a TELL TRAP. I like to see what’s going on, not told about it. BIG, HUGE PET PEEVE.

When I first tried to read The Martian, I had so much trouble getting into Mark Watney’s mind and the story. The story starts with an accident, and, I imagine since I was only getting Watney’s side of it, I had a hard time figuring out exactly what happened. His character was off-putting. I immediately didn’t care for or about him. I think I made it about 20 pages.

Yet, I just knew this was a story for me. A lot of my favorite bloggers loved it. Andi, my reading twin/soulmate, loved it. I was determined to try again. I can be pretty persuasive, even with myself. Because, when I saw The Martian for $3.99 on Audible,I snapped it up. And then I devoured it.

Obviously, The Martian is in FPPoV. An astronaut is left behind, stranded, on Mars after a terrible accident separated him from his crew. What follows is the events after that accident, told from that astronaut’s point of view. There really is no other way to tell that story. He is all alone, on an uninhabited planet. So, somehow, for me, hearing someone read the story is much more successful than trying to read it for myself.

Why, I don’t know AND I don’t know why I can’t remember this. This isn’t the first time. It won’t be the last.

C’est ma vie. Le sigh.

Here is where I actually talk about my feelings on the book, if you skipped down. 

So, my advice is, if you couldn’t get into The Martian, give the audiobook a try. The reader suffuses Mark Watney with so much personality and I couldn’t help but root for him. The reader, R. C. Bray, made me care. He has an excellent range of voices and his voice really matches the character and tone the book. He made me laugh out loud a few times, just with the delivery of a line. Andy Weir’s writing was great. The technical aspects of a flight to Mars and the mission to get a stranded astronaut back to Earth were not completely over my head. It was just great fun. And a nail-biter for sure. I got my uncle to listen to it and he loved it too.

Highly recommended. In audio anyway.




Everybody Needs One

March 11, 2015 Book Reviews, Books, eBooks 10 ★★★★½

Everybody Needs OneStrong Female Protagonist
by brennan lee mulligan, molly ostertag
Series: Volume 1
Published by Top Shelf Productions
on November 2014
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 220
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
With superstrength and invulnerability, Alison Green used to be one of the most powerful superheroes around.

Fighting crime with other teenagers under the alter ego Mega Girl was fun — until an encounter with Menace, her mind-reading arch enemy, showed her evidence of a sinister conspiracy, and suddenly battling giant robots didn't seem so important.

Now Alison is going to college and trying to find ways to help the world while still getting to class on time. It's impossible to escape the past, however, and everyone has their own idea of what it means to be a hero....

After a phenomenal success on Kickstarter, Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag bring their popular webcomic into print, collecting the first four issues, as well as some all-new, full-color pages!

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Everyone needs a Strong Female Protagonist, that is.

I hate to admit it, but I had never heard of this comic until I saw it on NetGalley. It’s a webcomic. It had a very successful Kickstarter campaign. It fell into my lap and y’all. I am so happy about that, because this protagonist is right up my alley.

Alison Green is one of those protagonists you can’t help but identify with. Sure, she has superhuman abilities, but underneath all that strength and super-ness, lies a very uncertain girl with real world problems like money, family, friendship, lack of confidence, and a past she just can’t escape. And then yes, on top of it all, Alison has superpowers. What does she do with that? Is she obligated to save the world? And who really cares anyway?

There is so much to love in this little comic. The writing is great. The art is too. The thing I love most though, is the message. That no matter how smart, how super, how strong you are, you are also human. With human fears, feelings, desires, and just messed up.

Highly recommended.