Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Monster Squad is Made of Awesome

In celebration of today, Halloween, one of the most ridiculous yet hilarious of holidays, I thought I'd share my love for the 1987 camp classic The Monster Squad.

I discovered this gem several years ago, and it quickly became one of my favorite October "scary movies. In case you're not familiar:

Basically Dracula sets out to find all of his badie friends who converge on one small town in particular.  A group of teens (and pre-teens) discover his plot to use Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman, and the Mummy to take over the world.  They form a club known as The Monster Squad to stop the ancient vampire in his tracks.

I thought I'd compile a list of 5 reasons why The Monster Squad is made of awesome and you should absolutely check it out at your earliest convenience:

  1. It's got all of the stereotypes: mean teachers that resemble their pets, a scary neighbor who turns out to be more helpful than mean, the need for a virgin to save the world, the bad boy, the ditzy blonde, the best friends, the annoying sibling, and, of course, the unpopular kid who ends up totally kicking butt.
  2. It's got killer dialogue and one liners (which I realize only works if you've seen the movie or their said out loud with sarcasm and enthusiasm :)  Come find me.  I'll be happy to re-enact these precious moments) :
    • Rudy: [after defeating the mummy] See you later, Band-Aid Breath!
    • Horace: [after kicking the wolfman] Wolfman's got nards!
    • Patrick: [after having the "virgin" read the spell to stop the monsters] You're not a virgin? Patrick's sister [shakes her head] No?  What do you mean no? Patrick's sister: Well, Steve...but he doesn't count.  Patrick: DOESN'T COUNT!
  3. It's got all the best monsters.  All of them.  In really cheesy costumes.
  4. Sean, The Monster Squad president of sorts of, can sit on his roof and watch a drive in movie with binoculars.  Kind of my dream.  A few months after I bought my house, I saw an ad for an apartment available at a local drive-in theater.  You would live above the concession stand.  Oh dear goodness that would have been awesome.
  5. Movies made in the 1980s are, basically, by definition, made of awesome.  No really.  Think about it. Big hair, stonewashed jeans, and the repeated use of the word "bogus." The 80s gave us John Hughes, Back to the Future, TheGhostbusters, and the 1985 Michael Schultz's classic The Last Dragon.  It doesn't get better than the 80s.
So there you go.  I dare you to argue the awesomeness of this masterpiece with me.  If you do get yourhands on it, please oh please let me know what you think!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hunter x Hunter Vol.1: A review

Author: Yoshihiro Togashi
Info: VIZ Media LLC, copyright 2005, 184 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Who knew becoming a Hunter could be so much fun?!

Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts, and even other men. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information, and the right to call themselves Hunters.

THE DAY OF DEPARTURE
Gon might be a country boy, but he has high aspirations. Despite his Aunt Mito's protests, Gon decides to follow in his father's footsteps and become a legendary Hunter. The Hunter hopefuls begin their journey by storm-tossed ship, where Gon meets Leorio and Kurapika, the only other applicants who aren't devastated by bouts of seasickness.

Having survived the terrors of the high seas, Gon and his companions now have to prove their worth in a variety of tests in order to find the elusive Exam Hall. And once they get there, will they ever leave alive...?

~Goodreads Description~

Man, it feels like FOREVER since I've read a manga.  Thank goodness I really liked Hunter x Hunter!  I will definitely be following up with the remaining volumes.

Gon dreams of being a Hunter, chasing treasures and creatures, just like his father who is, apparently, a hunting legend.  But becoming a Hunter isn't a walk in the park.  Despite his aunt's protests, Gon decides to make the journey to the Exam Hall and test his skills to earn a license and follow in his father's footsteps.

The characters are quirky, I actually understand the plot (which is always helpful!), and there's plenty of action to keep me interested.  Just a fun read that I definitely recommend.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten Scariest Looking Book Covers

Top 10 Scariest Looking Book Covers

I came to realize as I put this particular list together that teen book covers, in general, are not that scary. Teen books in general are not that scary.  (There are exceptions...I considered putting I Hunt Killers in the freezer like Joey on Friends).  But here's what I got.

1) Bliss by Lauren Myracle
I've been meaning to read this FOREVER.
The poor girl is all happy-go-lucky, but something sinister seems to be happening.

 2) Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Maberry
The hand reminds me of the hand on The Addam's Family...
or that terrible movie Idle Hands.  I don't really like detached body parts that can 
move on their own.  It's just not natural :)

3) Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Masks are just creepy...especially plain white ones without an expression.
And no...you may not come at me with a white mask.  That would be rude.

4) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Dude...the girl is floating in the air...and she looks like she has an evil secret.

5) Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Slimy things in jars are always creepy.

6) The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The visual of a knife and scissors hanging over a baby carriage is just not right.

7) Unsouled by Neal Shusterman
Scary...scary...scary...especially the one with its eyes open.  No...no...no!

8, 9, 10, 11)  Not scary, just HILARIOUS!  Silent Night is a personal favorite.  The tag lines really bring everything together.  "Nighttime is the right time for terror!"  "C-A-T spells murder." "Will Lily get an A in murder?"  "Happy holidays-you're dead!"  Brilliant.  Just brilliant.  And I've read them all :)

What made your list?

Happy reading!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Blue Tulip

One of my favorite college buddies interviewed me for her blog The Blue Tulip!  Her commentary to my ridiculous answers had me in stitches.  Check it out at http://thebluetulipblog.wordpress.com/!

Charm & Strange: A Review

Author: Stephanie Kuehn
http://stephaniekuehn.com/
Info: St. Martin's Griffin, copyright 2013, 224 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): "Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself"...and the wolf that lives inside him.

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . . 

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. 

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 


Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Win is living with a wolf inside of him,  He's dangerous, unpredictable, and terrified that his season of change will be coming soon.  His violent past always bubbles right beneath the surface, and unless he can face it head on, the wolf might over take him.

The Awesome
This book is subtle.  The author does a fantastic job of releasing information gradually, in bits and pieces.  Part of the time you're trying to figure out what is really going on, but then you realize that Win is experiencing the same feelings.  He's on edge at all times, lingering just on the edges of sanity.

The Not So Awesome
The not really knowing what's going on gets in the way a bit.  I'm pretty sure that was the intent, but it was frustrating after awhile.  Luckily the book was short.  Not too short, but short enough that the frustration didn't become unbearable.  I had several "I know what's going on" moments followed closely by "Do I really know what's going on?" moments.

Warning...this is a dark story.  Stephanie Kuehn tells a story that is, sadly, all too real.  Saying anything really gives too much away, and I'd hate to spoil it for the next reader :)  This is one I find hard to say I liked, but I was definitely surprised and impressed by the unique storytelling and style.  It's a quick read, so consider picking it up at your local library.

 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Comic #8: Tales From the Farm (Essex County Vol. 1)

Author: Jeff Lemire, http://jefflemire.blogspot.com/
Info: Top Shelf Productions, copyright 2007, 112 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): An orphan looks for a friend and finds a family.

Xeric Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire (Lost Dogs) illustrates the tale of Lester, an orphaned 10-year-old who goes to live on his Uncle's farm. Their relationship grows increasingly strained and Lester befriends the town's gas station owner, and damaged former hockey star Jimmy Lebeuf. The two escape into a private fantasy world of super-heroes, alien invaders and good old-fashioned pond Hockey. Tales from the Farm is the first volume in a trilogy of graphic novels set in a fictionalized version of Lemire's hometown of Essex County, Ontario.

~Goodreads Description~

I decided to take a break from super heroes and high gloss images and found Tales From the Farm on someone's must-read list.  What a pleasant, beautiful story.  Lester has been orphaned by this mother, and his uncle has brought him into his home to care for him.  But they're not connecting well...at all.  It's a story about fantasy, imagination, but most of all, it's about forgiveness, family, and second chances.  Both Lester and his uncle have the chance to start over.

The artwork is deceptively simple.  Each frame seems quickly sketched, but the story is is completely flushed out, showing action and emotion in exciting ways.  My only complaint was the test.  Sometimes it was difficult to read the story which was frustrating.

All in all, an excellent choice.  I can't wait to see what other stories come out of Essex County.






Up next: Y: The Last Man, Vol.1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan Jr.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Check out my new look!

The Gnoming Librarian got a face lift!  What do you think?  Super BIG thanks to my awesomely talented friend who made my wicked new header.  Thanks Linz!

I'll be back tomorrow with a for-real post.  Something interesting and random.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top Ten Character Names I Love

Top Ten Character Names I Love or
Unusual Character Names
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I love a good character name; a name that really brings out the personality of the character without being distracting.  If I'm struggling to say the name every time I come across it in the text, I'm annoyed.  If the name in no way shape or form fits the character's behaviors, attitudes, environment, or time period, I'm annoyed.  A name that roles off the tongue.  A name that stays with you long after the story is done.  A name that you want to use over and over in your own life...now that's a good name.

1) Luna Lovegood
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Loved this one so much that I named my puppy after this fantastic character.

2) Augustus Waters
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I didn't like it at first, but now it just rolls off the tongue.  And "Gus" is just an adorable nickname.

3) Blue Sargent
The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater
"Blue Ivy" made me gag, but Blue Sargent is just kick butt.

4) Flint
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
A manly name.  A mysterious name.  

5) Atticus Finch
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A perfect example of the name totally fitting the character.

6) Ford Prefect
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Just like it...cause it's cool.

7) Elvie Nara
Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
Just a pretty name.

8) Etienne St. Clair
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Predictable...I know...

9) Bilbo Baggins
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Just rolls off the tongue!

10) Finley Jayne
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
In another life I want to be known as Finley Jayne.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Crown of Midnight: A Review

Author: Sarah J. Maas
http://sarahjmaas.com/
Info: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, copyright 2013, 420 pages

My Throne of Glass review [July 2012]

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  "Where do the assassin's loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?" (Loved this too much from the Goodreads description)

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Calaena Sardothien is now, reluctantly, the King's Champion, and he is wasting no time sending her out to do his violent bidding.  News of a rebel movement has reached the throne, and the king wants nothing more than to put an end to any threat of attack.  But the trick is finding creative ways to make the king believe she is fulfilling all of his requests.  Then there's the strange cloaked figure that is stalking the kingdom hallways at night and her growing attachment to a certain Captain of the Guard despite the lingering affection from the Crown Prince.  Calaena is fighting a past, her present, and the future.  Will she have the strength to win?

The Awesome
Now that's how a sequel should be done!  Seriously awesome.  Really.  No un-needed recapping, plenty of action, a continuation of fabulous character development, and a cliff hanger that leaves you wanting more.  Oh, so much more.

Calaena's dark past is really flushed out as the story continues.  Her time in the mines of Endovier still haunt her, and she carries a darkness inside of her that is truly terrifying.  But at the same time, she's aware of the darkness. She's trying so hard to keep it at bay, and she fights the king silently so that she doesn't become the assassin she's capable of being.

A corrupt king, the threat of dark magic, hidden family secrets, unexpected love, and unbelievable grief.  Sarah J. Maas has put together a rather remarkable fantasy that is definitely worth checking out.

Now for the LONG wait for the next installment :(


Friday, October 18, 2013

Are garden gnomes allowed in the Empire State Building?

Does anyone know if foot tall garden gnomes are allowed in the Empire State Building?  You see, Mike and I are preparing for our next big adventure, but I'd like to make it through one vacation together where I'm not approached by security.

It feels almost wrong to be considering taking a "Flat Mike" on a popsicle stick to the BIG CITY of big cities.  What if, by some miracle, I run into somebody of note and I don't have the real life thing...just some laminated image on a stick?  They'll think I'm weird.  

Yes.  I know the real life thing is a bit weird too, but don't knock it til you've tried it.  Garden gnomes are great conversation starters, and for folks who hate having their pictures taken, they make for a great alternative.  Can't you just see it?  Mike the Garden Gnome checking out the city through one of those binocular thingies on the top of the Empire State Building?  Or reenacting the scene from Ghostbusters in the New York Public Library?  Or looking like a small fish in a big sea in Times Square?

Luckily my best friend and fellow New York go-er isn't afraid of a good Mike the Garden Gnome photo-op. Life's too short to be embarrassed by lawn ornaments.

This will be my first journey to the Big Apple.  I'm pretty darned excited to say the least (less than a month away!)  So maybe I begged my best friend to go because I really want to see Zachary Levi on Broadway, she's a good sport, and a great friend. We plan on hitting the big museums and spending some time in Central Park, but any other attractions or restaurants we must see?  Looking for ideas to make this trip as awesome as it can be.  We both could really use some awesome.

And yeah...I'd love to get your opinion on the "real" Mike vs. "flat" Mike.  How many security officers would I be likely to meet if I decide to walk around with a foot tall ceramic statue?

See you next week!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Library GrabBag: Zombie Fest 2013

Zombie Fest 2013

Zombie Fest 2014 is just around the corner and here is this year's itinerary:

Budget - $75
Grades 8-12 (I've tried 6-12, but the maturity level between 6th and 12th grade is just too different)

4:45-5:15pm
Welcome / Icebreaker 
Guess the Organ or Body Part) / Costume Contest / Zombie Walk Contest

5:15-5:45pm
The Apocalypse Story
The apocalypse  is happening!  Participants will race to collect survival supplies.  After all of the supplies have been collected, we will read a pre-written apocalypse scenerio.  Points will be awarded to participants who have collected certain materials.  The person with the most points by the end of the story is the survivor and winner!

5:45-6:45pm
Zombies vs. Humans

  • Chaperones will choose (2) zombies and will then ask the zombies to look up and recognize each other. (Everyone else must keep their eyes tightly shut.)
    • Regular Zombie has no intelligence.  You cannot run.  You cannot guard the doctor if you’ve found him, and the only thing you can say is “Brains!”.  You can say brains to scare your victim, or to ask another person if they’re a zombie.
    • Runner Zombie, obviously, can run, unlike regular zombies.  You cannot guard the doctor if you’ve found him, and the only thing you can say is “Brains!”.  You can say brains to scare your victim, or to ask another person if they’re a zombie.  Chaperones will announce when zombies can walk and when they can run.
  • The "doctor" (any pre-designated item) will be hidden before the game.
  • The zombies (regular or runner) have to wait one minute before they turn from humans into zombies.  Set a timer with a ring if it’ll help.
  • At least two humans must find the doctor (he or she has the antidote, of course) and bring him or her to a designated spot.
  • If the humans bring the doctor to the designated spot safely, then it’s a human victory.  If everyone is zombified, then it’s a zombie victory.
    • (Start the game over and over, keeping whoever is a zombie, a zombie.  The winner is the last human standing.)
    • (We hide paper brains so that zombies have something else to do during the game.  1 point for every brain.)
    • (To keep things moving, we also set a time limit with some sort of penalty.  Ex.  The humans only have so long to find the doctor.)

6:45-7:15pm
Zombie Dolls
Dissecting old dolls and recreating them...barbie head on transformer body??

7:15-9pm
Pizza & a movie
Warm Bodies

9-9:30pm
More Zombies vs. Humans

Do you have any fun programs planned for October?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Comic #7: The Maxx Volume 1

Author: Sam Kieth, William Messner-Loebs, Dave Feiss
Info: Wildstorm, copyright 2003, 144 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  The Maxx is fighting for good, but he's really bad at it.

An extremely imaginative and profound series, THE MAXX tells the tale of a fractured woman whose repressed emotions and memories prevent her from living a normal life and the hulking purple super-hero who tries to save her. A master of denial, Julie Winters created a magical dream world where she unknowingly escapes to when reality is too much. But when the two planes of existences momentarily connected, her supernatural spirit protector merged with a homeless man and the Maxx was created. Now existing in both worlds but suffering from amnesia whenever he crosses over, the Maxx tries to battle his apparent fits of insanity as he protects Julie in both realities from the murderous sorcerer Mr. Gone and the Isz, his magical minions.

~Goodreads Description~

Found this one on a Buzzfeed list of comic books everyone should read.  Not really my style.  In fact, I never really figured out what was going on.  A giant purple guy moves around our world, no one seemingly the wiser, fighting for justice and being watched over by a busty blonde who also thinks is some jungle queen.  There's a bad guy, and these little black creatures, and apparently another plane of existence...just not sure what was happening.  I did really enjoy the artwork though.  The colors were super vivid and the Maxx, despite his appearance, seemed like a pretty cool guy.

Maybe I should try another?  Does anyone know of the story flushes out a bit in volume two?



Up next: Tales from the Farm (Essex County #1) by Jeff Lemire

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read

Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

1) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
School assignment.  One of my absolute favorites.

2) Native Son by Richard Wright
School assignment.  One of the hardest books I've ever had to read.
But so good.

3) Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
School assignment. A story that stuck with me.

4) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
School assignment.  Almost one of my absolute favorites...then Tom Sawyer arrives.
But excellent nonetheless.

5) Sabriel by Garth Nix
Book club.  I tell myself I would have gotten around to it eventually, but chances are, that's not true.
So glad I had a book club to encourage me.

6) Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Book club.  So sweet.

7) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
School assignment.  Two kleenex box book.

8) Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Book club: Newbury Award winner that stole my heart.

9) The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Book club:  An adult fairytale of epic proportions.

10) Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Committee assignment.  An unexpected find.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Dream Thieves: a review

(The Raven Cycle #2)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
http://maggiestiefvater.com/
Info: Scholastic Press, copyright 2013, 439 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Cabeswater has been woken which means Henrietta is about to become a beacon for a whole lot of crazy.

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
 Gansey is still obsessed with finding Glendower, but things have gotten complicated when two of his friends exhibit powers beyond his understanding.  And then there's Blue...mysterious, quirky Blue who is still cursed but finds herself falling in love.  And a new guy has come to town, Mr. Gray, who is looking for something and isn't afraid to get blood on his hands to find it.

The Awesome
Go Stiefvater!  Very little recapping of book one made this sequel pretty darn excellent right off the bat. Beyond that, this book takes the storyline to a whole other level.  We already knew Ronan was deeply troubled, but the dude can pull things out of his dreams.  Crazy!  And the Sargent household gets some much deserved attention.  They're sarcasm and wit are enjoyable in every single scene.  Then there's the cliffhanger.  Stiefvater rules at cliffhangers!

The Not So Awesome
It came out in September...and I finished it in September.  Now I must wait.  Ugh.

I desperately want to be a part of this group.  I want to run around Henrietta with moody Ronan, stubborn Adam, transparent Noah, good-hearted Gansey, and independent Blue, hunting for a long lost king, drinking really bad tea at 300 Fox Way.  I want this SO bad.  I want this more than I want to run around Hogwarts with Ron, Hermione, and Harry (which is almost blasphemy, I know).  But I love this gang.  This world. This story.  And I can't wait to find out what happens next in the third installment.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Comic #6: Jack of Fables Volume 1

Author: Bill Willingham
Illustrator: Tony Akins, Andrew Pepoy
Info: Vertigo, copyright 2007, 128 pages

Last seen hitchhiking from Hollywood, Jack's now a wayward Fable in the heartland of America. His extreme road stories and encounters with other notorious, renegade Fables are just a few of the situations in store for this fan-favorite character.

~Goodreads Description~


I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but I love fairy tales.  I also very much enjoy fairy tale retellings and reimaginings.  While Jack of Fables isn't my favorite retelling, it was still a whole lot of fun.  What if story book characters lived in contemporary America?  Jack of Jack the Giant Killer and a variety of other tales is a shunned Hollywood mogul who is found hitchhiking with a suitcase full of cash.  Unfortunately for Jack, the Golden Boughs Retirement Community, a sort of jail for story book characters, has been keeping an eye on him, and they want him to be their newest resident.

Volume one of Jack of Fables is clever and full of action.  Jack isn't the most likable character, but he's got spunk, and I'm exited to see where Willingham will take him.  I did have a bit of a problem with the "evil" characters being referred to as Librarians.  Hmm.  But perhaps they're not the evil characters...I guess I'll just have to read to find out!






Up next: The Maxx: Volume 1 by Sam Keith, William Messner-Loebs, Dave Feiss

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Me Before You: a review

Author: JoJo Moyes
http://www.jojomoyes.com/
Info: Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, copyright 2012, 369 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Small town Lou is about to meet someone who can give her the world.

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Lou Clark just can't seem to get her life together.  She lives at home with her family, struggling to get bills paid.  She has been dating the same boy for years with no signs of a commitment in the near future.  And she has just lost her job at a local cafe, a job she loved but knew was never going to take her out of the small town she has lived in her whole life.  And then she meets Will Traynor.  A motorcycle accident has left him all but paralyzed and the adventurous world he once knew is over.  They both need something, someone. And  for Lou, Will is just the bit of hope she's been looking for.

The Awesome
An unconventional love story.  Lou Clark isn't your typical romantic lead.  She dresses a little crazy, talks a little too much, and is struggling to get her life together.  She was so refreshingly real, and her journey so refreshingly genuine, that I went on a rather emotional ride.

The Not So Awesome
It didn't end the way I wanted it to end.  I'd explain a little further, but I don't want to give anything away.  While I adored Lou, I had some serious issues with her family.  Goodnatured ribbing is one thing, terribly sarcastic criticisms are another.  And her sister...oh don't get me started on her sister.  Nothing like a terribly selfish character to make you crazy.

Need a good cry?  Give this book a read.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm an extremely sensitive reader.  Books get to me.  And this book turned on the water works.  I just enjoyed Lou so much and enjoyed watching her relationship with Will develop that the end really hit hard.  Jojo Moyes is most definitely an author that I will have to visit again.


Waiting On Wednesdays: Curtsies & Conspiracies

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
Author: Gail Carriger
Info: Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 320 pages
Released:  November 5, 2013

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.


~Goodreads Description~

The covers are gorgeous, the world is exciting and interesting, and Carriger has created a cast of characters that are fun and mysterious.  A dose of the supernatural and a lot of corsets...just my kind of story.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top 10 Best/Worst Series Enders

Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

This series business is killing me!  I so, so, so need to finish a few on my list.  Some authors got it right.  Not perfect, but right.  Others, not so much.

Best
1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
So the epilogue wasn't great, but ending was pretty awesome nonetheless.

2) Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
He travels to the ends of the earth.  Literally.  Sigh.

3) Specials by Scott Westerfeld
A hard ending, but a hard fought victory.

4) The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
When Frodo and company board the boat...perfect.

5) Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Love triumphant!

Worst
6) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I hated Katniss by the end.  I tried not to, but I just couldn't help myself.

7) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
It didn't actually end!  So frustrating!

8) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
A huge build up and no one dies!  Ugh.  I really wanted someone to die.

Check back with me in a few months when I finish up some series I've started, because I am going to finish them.  Really.  Hopefully.  Probably not.  A girl can dream.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Q&A: The Librarian Way - OCTOBER!!!


Oh fall, how we love you!  Tis' the season for all things creepy and scary.  This week we're talking October celebrations.  And then we get a bit off topic and talk moose and movie extras.  It was just that kind of a day :)


So how do you celebrate fall...October...Halloween in your library?  Be sure to check us out at TheLibrarianWay.com all week and keep the conversation going!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Comic #5: Unwritten Volumes 1-5

Author: Mike Carey
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9018.Mike_Carey
Illustrator: Peter Gross
Info: Vertigo, copyright 2010, 144 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  What if Harry Potter was real and magical objects were possible?  Now mix in a pretty wicked secret society and you've got yourself an adventure.

Vol 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity - Tom Taylor discovers that the fictional epic based on his real life might not be as fictional as he once believed.

Vol 2: Inside Man - Tom arrives at Donostia prison in Southern France and falls into the orbit of another story.

Vol 3: Dead Man's Knock - Sinister forces have created a fake book in Tom's father's name designed to destroy his literary legacy -- and coax the reclusive author of hiding so they can destroy him once and for all.

Vol 4: Leviathan - After the shocking return of Tommy's father, the mysterious Cabal audition a new assassin and Tom seeks out "the source."  The source of what?  He's not really sure, but it looks like a whale, and apparently it can be found in the Nantucket farmhouse where Moby-Dick was written.

Vol 5: On to Genesis - Tom Taylor begins a journey to uncover the truth behind how he came into this world.  Was he born of flesh and blood, or written into existence by sheer storytelling magic?

~Goodreads Descriptions~

Loving this!  I couldn't stop at just one!  Perhaps because it's book related...perhaps because the main character can jump into stories using a magical doorknob...perhaps because it's well-written and the artwork is interesting...perhaps because of all that mixed in together.  A character that looks a lot like Harry Potter finds himself in a conspiracy of epic proportions.  A secret society has been controlling the written word for years, unfortunately for them, Wilson Taylor decide to go his own way.  Now his son, Tom Taylor, is discovering just how real the written word can be.  The message throughout each adventure is the power of words.  Words can sway ideas, fight wars, express emotions, flourish imaginations, and lead us to truths. Pretty darn cool.  I can't wait to see where this one leads.

Next Up: Jack of Fables Vol. 1 (The Nearly Great Escape) by Bill Willingham

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Yellow Birds: a review

Author: Kevin Powers
http://www.kevincpowers.com/
Info: Little Brown, copyright 2012, 226 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  How do you beat the war that follows you home?

"The war tried to kill us in the spring," begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger.


Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails Sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes impossible actions.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Only a part of Bartle returned home from the war.  The other part is still in Iraq praying that he isn't the one-thousandth casualty.  He's still in the desert, rifle on his shoulder, talking to his best friend and bunk-mate Murphy.  But Murphy didn't make it back from the war.  Bartle promised Murphy's mother that he would protect her son.  But he couldn't.  Murphy didn't make it back, and Bartle knows why.

The Awesome
This is a quality book.  Powers does an amazing job of portraying a man broken by war.  He moves seamlessly between the present and the past, slowly revealing Murphy's deterioration and Bartle's own difficulties after the war.

The Not So Awesome
Sometimes the seamless movement between two time periods was a bit confusing.  Time stamps attempted to let you know where and when Powers was taking the story, but sometimes it was difficult to switch perspectives.

I'm not lying, the book was really well-written, but  just not my cup of tea.  Perhaps it was too real; too heartbreaking.  I have no basis for comparison, and I don't fully understand what our brave military goes through on a daily basis.  I do know that I fear for them coming home.  I fear for their families who are waiting eagerly for their return.  Do the same men that left really make it back?  If you like gut-wrenching relevant realistic fiction, then this might just be the book for you.

So I'm giving it 4 gnomes for quality, but





cause it's just not my thing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tiger & Bunny: a review


Art by: Mizuki Sakakibara
Story by: Sunrise / Script by: Masafumi Nishida / 
Characters by: Masakazu Katsura
Info: VIZ Media LLC, copyright 2013, 168 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): A reality show that turns heroes (and would-be heroes) into celebrities.

Superpowered humans known as NEXT appeared in the world 45 years ago. Some of them fight crime in the city of Stern Bild while promoting their corporate sponsors on the hit show “HERO TV.” The people love their superheroes, even if they don’t completely understand them, and not all of the NEXT use their powers for good.

Veteran hero Wild Tiger has years of experience fighting crime, but his ratings have been slipping. Under orders from his new employer, Wild Tiger finds himself forced to team up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie with an attitude. Overcoming their differences will be at least as difficult for this mismatched duo as taking down superpowered bad guys!

~Goodreads Description~

I must be in movie mode, because every book I read seems to remind me of cult classics.  Well...in this instance "classic" might be pushing it, but it's a classic in my household.

Tiger & Bunny depicts a world of superheroes...and reality TV.  A media company has purchased the rights to the superhero "franchise" of sorts.  When evil strikes the town, the heroes are dispatched and earn points for capturing the villain.  Tiger is just about the worst superhero ever, and his new partner Barnaby, a.k.a Bunny, thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread.

Have you ever seen Running Man starring Arnold Schwarzenegger?  He's a criminal who is let out of prison and placed into a reality TV show where super villains earn points for killing off participants.  While, at first glance, Running Man and Tiger & Bunny seem opposites, they're also a bit the same.  Each hero has a quirk, something that makes them popular.  Viewers tune in at home and in public spaces to cheer on their favorite regulars.  And media is deplorably power hungry and care more about ratings than the common good.

Tiger, despite being a klutz, has his stuff together, and I can't wait to see where they take his character.  Bunny, on the other hand, seems a bit shifty, so this could get exciting.  Check out this fun and funny manga gem; you won't be disappointed (unless you are...and I'm sorry for that, but you could just pretend for my benefit :)

Happy Reading!
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