Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume 3: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger
Book Review / January 22, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 3: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger Series: Lone Wolf and Cub Author: Kazuo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: November 28th, 2000 Format: Paperback Pages: 314 Source: Library Join renegade samurai Itto Ogami and his infant son, Daigoro, in five more adventures on the dark road to Hell. What do three mysterious Shogunate assassins, a street entertainer, and the crests of the dead have in common? “The Baby Cart Wolf” continues his dealing of death for gold and encounters one roninwho is bent on putting a stop to his journey. Will he succeed? Follow the monthly adventures of Lone Wolf and Cub, one of the true classics of comics literature, available in America for the first time in over a decade! This volume contains the following stories: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger Half Mat, One Mat, A Fistful of Rice The White Path Between the Rivers The Virgin and the Whore Close Quarters (via Goodreads)   After reading the first Omnibus, Volume 3 picks up two stories before the first omnibus ends. Unfortunately, my library didn’t have the second omnibus, so we’re resorting to individual volumes now. Picking…

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Book Review / January 20, 2016

Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Author: Jesse Andrews Genre: Fiction Publisher: Amulet Books Release Date: March 1st, 2012 Format: Audiobook Pages: 295 pages; 6 hours 9 minutes Source: Library Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight. (via Goodreads)   If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you. – Greg Gaines Greg Gaines has an overbearing Jewish mother and an affinity for avoiding real friendships. He finds the lack of…

Pet-Friendly Francie Scores a Pooch
Book Review / January 18, 2016

Title: Pet-Friendly Francie Scores a Pooch Author: Kat E. Erikson Genre: Children's Literature Publisher: Self-Published Release Date: May 4th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 67 Source: eBook Eight-year-old Francie Waggit wants a pet so badly it hurts. But like her dad says, caring for pets takes time and money, and the Waggit family can’t spare much of either – especially with Francie’s mom off in Africa rescuing baby elephants. No matter how much Francie plays pretend that her dad is a type of PET (Physical Education Teacher), he just can’t fill the shoes, or paws, of a real furry friend. So when a loveable stray named Scrimmy literally leaps into Francie’s life at a San Francisco 49ers football game right before Christmas, her father finally agrees to “tryout” a pet. Francie’s wish came true! Almost. Turns out, her new rescue dog is loyal to a fault: be it high fences, locked doggy doors, or elementary school rules, Scrimmy will stop at nothing to stay by Francie’s side. Can Francie help her faithful foster pooch make the Waggit team for keeps? Or will she have to give up her Best Furry Friend forever? Pet-Friendly Francie is ideal for children ready to advance…

The Heist
Book Review / January 13, 2016

Title: The Heist Series: Fox and O'Hare Author: Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg Genre: Chick Lit/Crime Publisher: Bantam Release Date: June 18th, 2013 Format: eBook Pages: 295 Source: Library FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one. Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman . . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has…

Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Vol. 1
Book Review / January 11, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Omnibus Volume 1 Series: Lone Wolf and Cub (#1-3) Author: Kauzo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: May 1st, 2013 (Original Manga Publication Date: 1970) Format: Paperback Pages: 713 Source: Library Shogunate executioner Ogami Itto is framed as a traitor by the agents from a rival clan. With his wife murdered and with an infant son to protect, Ogami chooses the path of the ronin, the masterless samurai. The Lone Wolf and Cub wander feudal Japan, Ogami’s sword for hire, but all roads will lead them to a single destination: vengeance. A samurai epic of staggering proportions, the acclaimed Lone Wolf and Cub begins its second life at Dark Horse Manga with new, larger editions of over 700 pages, value priced. The brilliant storytelling of series creator Kazuo Koike and the groundbreaking cinematic visuals of Goseki Kojima create a graphic-fiction masterpiece of beauty, fury, and thematic power. This volume collects material previously published in Dark Horse graphic novels Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 1: The Assassin’s Road, Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 2: The Gateless Barrier, Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 3: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger. (via Goodreads)  …

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Book Review / January 8, 2016

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: The Dial Press Release Date: July 29th, 2008 Format: eBook Pages: 274 Source: Library “ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”  January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about…

The Situational Leader: The Other 59 Minutes
Book Review / January 6, 2016

Title: The Situational Leader: The Other 59 Minutes Author: Paul Hersey Genre: Business Publisher: Warner Books (NY) Release Date: March 1st, 1985 Format: Hardback Pages: 128 Source: Owned The Situational Leader is the story of a manager responsible for achieving, developing people, and contributing to organizational success. (via Goodreads)   I read portions of this book back in 2009 when I was training to become a Store Manager for Starbucks. (That’s right people, at one point I was training to become a Starbucks manager. I loved working there.) That is when I received this specific version of the book. This book is actually a first edition published from 1985. However, life led me elsewhere, and I recently took Situational Leadership II (SLII) training at my new company. This program is an updated version of The Situational Leader content for the 2000’s along with a classroom-led component. My new company did not give me a book to read, but instead we used workbooks designed for classroom training. This sparked my memories, and I pulled this book off the shelves with intending to read it all the way through for a post-class refresher. This book is in majority duplicative information from the course I…

Lock In
Book Review / January 3, 2016

Title: Lock In Series: Lock In (#1) Author: John Scalzi Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Tor Books Release Date: August 26th,2014 Format: Hardback Pages: 336 Source: Library (Books n' Booze Book Club) A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi. Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge. A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a…

Ready Player One
Book Review / December 31, 2015

Title: Ready Player One Author: Ernest Cline Genre: Gamer Fiction Publisher: Random House NY Release Date: August 16th, 2011 Format: Hardback Pages: 372 Source: Library In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. (via Goodreads) Amazon   This book hooked me on the first page when one of my favorite Ghostbusters quotes appeared: “Cats and dogs living together… mass hysteria!” – Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters   At that moment, I knew this was a book for me. I was immediately addicted and thought about canceling long-standing plans so I could stay at home and…

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