Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra
Book Review / September 23, 2017

Title: Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra Series: Zodiac Starforce, #1-4 Author: Keven Panetta Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Books Release Date: March 9th, 2016 Format: Trade Paperback Pages: 136 Source: Library Illustrator: Paulina Gancheau They’re an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren’t just combating math tests. They’re also battling monsters–not your typical afterschool activity! But when an evil force from another dimension infects team leader Emma, she must work with her team of magically powered friends to save herself–and the world–from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions! From Kevin Panetta (Bravest Warriors) and Paulina Ganucheau (TMNT: New Animated Adventures, Bravest Warriors), this super-fun and heartfelt story of growing up and friendship–with plenty of magical-girl fighting action–delivers the most exciting new ensemble cast in comics!  Collects Zodiac Starforce #1-#4 (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   One of my friends, Sarah Stern, is a comic artist. For her day job, mostly, she is a colorist and she is amazing (for real – check out her website!). Recently,…

Dumplin’
Book Review / September 17, 2017

Title: Dumplin' Series: Dumplin, #1 Author: Julie Murphy Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Harper Collins Release Date: September 15th, 2015 Format: Audionook Source: Library Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne’s House of Dreams
Book Review / September 14, 2017

Title: Anne's House of Dreams Series: Anne of Green Gables, #5 Author: L.M. Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Starfire Release Date: November 1st, 1993 Format: eBook Pages: 248 Source: Owned First Published: 1917 Anne’s own true love, Gilbert Blythe, is finally a doctor, and in the sunshine of the old orchard, among their dearest friends, they are about to speak their vows. Soon the happy couple will be bound for a new life together and their own dream house, on the misty purple shores of Four Winds Harbor. A new life means fresh problems to solve, fresh surprises. Anne and Gilbert will make new friends and meet their neighbors: Captain Jim, the lighthouse attendant, with his sad stories of the sea; Miss Cornelia Bryant, the lady who speaks from the heart — and speaks her mind; and the tragically beautiful Leslie Moore, into whose dark life Anne shines a brilliant light. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon     Wow– I thought I would never see y’all again by mid-last-week. I came down with a summer cold (worst), and now with changes at work and some personal things we are deep in the busiest time of the year for me. But it feels…

Snow Crash
Book Review / September 3, 2017

Title: Snow Crash Author: Neal Stephenson Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Bantam Books Release Date: August 2nd, 2000 Format: Paperback Pages: 470 Source: Library First Published: June 1992 In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I am both in love and completely over Snow Crash at the same time. Talk about confusing. Snow Crash reads like watching The Matrix for the first time– it’s mind blowing, action-packed, brilliant, and annoying all simultaneously. That said, I couldn’t put it down. Stephenson rebooted the cyberpunk genre with this novel, and for good reason.  But it runs you over a bit like a steamroller. So, instead of my traditional review, I am giving you a loves/hates list. Because… my brain cannot really comprehend this whole this: All information looks like noise until you break the…

Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand
Book Review / August 30, 2017

Title: Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand Author: Leela Punyaratabandhu Genre: Cookbook Publisher: Ten Speed Press Release Date: May 9th 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 368 Source: NetGalley From one of the most respected authorities on Thai cooking comes this beautiful and deeply personal ode to Bangkok, the top-ranked travel destination in the world.  Every year, more than 16 million visitors flock to Thailand s capital city, and leave transfixed by the vibrant culture and unforgettable food they encounter along the way. Thai cuisine is more popular today than ever, yet there is no book that chronicles the real food that Thai people eat every day until now. In Bangkok, award-winning author Leela Punyaratabandhu offers 120 recipes that capture the true spirit of the city from heirloom family dishes to restaurant classics to everyday street eats to modern cosmopolitan fare. Beautiful food and location photography will make this a must-have keepsake for any reader who has fallen under Bangkok s spell. (via Goodreads) Amazon In right under the wire! My 4th #ARCAugust review! Finally making a dent in that TBR. 🙂 My Better Half and I love to cook and explore new recipes. We are constantly checking out new cookbooks…

Flame in the Mist
Book Review / August 27, 2017

Title: Flame in the Mist Series: Flame in the Mist, #1 Author: Renee Ahdieh Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Penguin Teen Release Date: May 16th, 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 393 Source: First to Read The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath. So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace. The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for…

Sleeping Giants
Book Review / August 22, 2017

Title: Sleeping Giants Series: Themis Files, #1 Author: Sylvain Neuvel Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: April 26th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 304 Source: Borrowed from Lexi A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected. But some can never stop searching for answers. Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But…

Jogging with the Great Ray Charles
Book Review / August 19, 2017

Title: Jogging with the Great Ray Charles Author: Kenneth Sherman Genre: Poetry Publisher: ECW Press Release Date: October 11th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 88 Source: NetGalley A poetic masterclass from a writer at the height of his craft  Kenneth Sherman’s work has always displayed a vibrant lyricism, so it’s no surprise that his powerful new collection contains a number of poems with musical motifs. In such pieces as “Clarinet,” “Transistor Sister,” and the book’s titular poem, Sherman ponders our human transience while searching for “a voice to stand time’s test.” Sherman also confronts health concerns in a language that is Shaker-plain. The book concludes with the sombre, compassionate, and truly remarkable seven-part “Kingdom,” a meditation on the plight of the dispossessed. In a Globe and Mail review of The Well: New and Selected Poems, Fraser Sutherland notes, “Sherman always seems to be listening to the voice of Canadian soil and landscape at the same time as he is attentive to the great European metaphysical theme of the soul in conflict with the world and time.” So it is with Jogging with the Great Ray Charles. Sherman has also included three brilliant translations of Yiddish poets that appeared in the Malahat Review’s “At Home in Translation”…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of Windy Poplars
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / August 17, 2017

Title: Anne of Windy Poplars Series: Anne of Green Gables, #4 Author: L. M. Montgomery Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Turtleback Books Release Date: December 1st, 1983 Format: Paperback Pages: 288 Source: Library First Published: 1936 Anne Shirley has left Redmond College behind to begin a new job and a new chapter of her life away from Green Gables. Now she faces a new challenge: the Pringles. They’re known as the royal family of Summerside – and they quickly let Anne know she is not the person they had wanted as principal of Summerside High School. But as she settles into the cozy tower room at Windy Poplars, Anne finds she has great allies in the widows Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty – and in their irrepressible housekeeper, Rebecca Dew. As Anne learns Summerside’s strangest secrets, winning the support of the prickly Pringles becomes only the first of her triumphs.  (via Goodreads) Amazon   I really, really, really wanted to love this book. Reading all of the Anne of Green Gables books in a row is something I’ve really enjoyed. However, I was warned early on that the even number books are the more challenging ones to read. But Anne of…

The Best We Could Do
Book Review / August 12, 2017

Title: The Best We Could Do Author: Thi Bui Genre: Graphic Memoir Publisher: Abrams ComicArts Release Date: March 7th, 2017 Format: eBook Pages: 330 Source: NetGalley Illustrator: Thi Bui An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam from debut author Thi Bui. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home. In what Pulitzer Prize–winning…

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