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Weekend Update September 29, 2013

>> Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Cross by James Patterson. Yes I read the occasional James Patterson but this one left me annoyed at the ending.

I did start Mortal Bonds by Michael Sears. It’s the second in a series featuring Jason Stafford as a financial investigator. He’s got an autistic six-year old son too. I just love the relationship between Jason and “The Kid” and I’m surprised at how much I enjoy something that could be described as a financial thriller.

On audio I’m still listening to Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters (narrated by Barbara Rosenblat). I’ve got about one and half CDs left to go and I should finish it up this week. I’ve enjoyed this installment of the series and it’s such a good mix of fun adventure, mystery and humor.

I kicked off my October Graphic Novel Reading binge a bit early and read the fifth book in the Y: The Last Man series by Brian K. Vaughan. I’ve got the next one requested from the library already. I picked up a couple of other graphic novels at the library on Friday so my shelf for a binge of them is well stocked at this point.


Other than books and reading:
Last week I mentioned that I tried a new cookie recipe and made Specudoodles! Oh my, they were good. Even Abby was interested. I was working at home on Monday and heard the container of cookies land on the floor and when I went in the kitchen this is what I found.

You’d think we never fed the silly cat. A cat treat got knocked under the fridge and she was determined to get it. All that fat got in the way though.

Sometimes she exhausts Howie. He takes his napping seriously.

Other random phone photos:

Sunrise on Friday made me miss my train and have to take a later one because I had to stop at the transit center and take a picture.

In my kitchen this week




Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Y: The Last Man Vol 5: Ring of Truth by Brian K. Vaughan

>> Friday, September 27, 2013

Y: The Last Man Vol 5: Ring of Truth by Brian K. Vaughan

Y: The Last Man Vol 5: Ring of Truth by Brian K. Vaughan

Series: #5 in the Y: The Last Man series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 189
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Two years after a sudden plague killed every male mammal except one young man and his pet capuchin monkey, he and his friends are still trying to find out why and stay alive long enough to do so.

Why I Read It:
This series has had its ups and downs but it’s picking up again and I’m in it for the long haul at this point.

The Book:
This volume 5 is a compilation of issues 24-31 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

It's been nearly two years since Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth, set out to cross North America with his pet monkey Ampersand [the only other male mammal left alive after the plague of 2002 killed everything on the planet with a Y chromosome]. Now Yorick and his companions - government Agent 355 and bioengineer Dr. Allison Mann - have finally reached Dr. Mann's laboratory in San Francisco, where she can begin trying to unravel the secret of Yorick and Ampersand's survival.

After months of constant travel, staying in one place is a blessed relief - and also a chance for the various pursuers stalking the trio to finally catch up with them. But while Yorick's band can confront these newly arriving threats head-on, it's the danger they cannot see which may mean the end for the last man - and with him any hope for mankind's future.

My Thoughts:
As I mentioned this series has had it’s ups and downs but the previous volume and this one have really advanced the story and also filled in some missing information.

I was happy to see the section that recapped what Yorick’s sister Hero has been up to and been through since she was last seen apparently brainwashed by the whacked out Daughters of the Amazon freaks.

It was also good to have the mysterious ninja reappear. I still don’t quite understand who she is and who she works for but it’s definitely got me intrigued.

The story is getting more and more interesting as the series goes on. Some of the seemingly random things from previous volumes are starting to come together. I’m still curious to find out what’s up with Yorick’s girlfriend Beth who we last saw two years ago in Australia.

The artwork in this series is good but rather average. I’m ok with it though because it’s been mostly consistent.

I’ve already requested the next volume from the library because I just have to find out what happens next.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Cross by James Patterson

>> Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cross by James Patterson

Cross by James Patterson

Genre: Mystery
Series: #12 in the Alex Cross series
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 377
Source: purchased



The Short Version:
When a new case might have connections to the still unsolved murder of his wife, Alex Cross joins his friend and ex-partner to investigate.

Why I Read It:
I am unapologetic about the fact that I enjoy the occasional James Patterson book and this series and the Women’s Murder Club series are my go to choice when I need a palate cleanser between books.

The Book:
From the back cover:

Alex Cross was a rising star in the Washington, D.C., Police Department when an unknown man gunned down his wife. But his need for vengeance was placed on hold as he raised his children himself. Years later, Alex leaves the FBI to work as a full-time psychologist. His life finally feels like it's in order--until Cross's former partner, John Sampson, gives him a chilling phone call. Sampson is tracking a serial rapist whose brutal MO includes threatening his victims with terrifying photos. Now Cross and Sampson need the help of the rape victims to stop the predator. When the case triggers a connection to his wife's death, Alex may finally catch the murderer. Is this a chance for justice at long last? Or the culminating scene in his own deadly obsession?

My Thoughts:
This was pretty much exactly what I expect from an Alex Cross book by James Patterson. It was a quick read that didn’t require much attention or thought. It was the book version of channel surfing until I landed on a formulaic detective show to watch.

This time around the investigation leads to hints that the sick and twisted killer they’re tracking may be connected to the unsolved murder of Alex’s wife. Finally through some flashbacks the story of her death is told in more detail than in any of the previous 11 books in the series. All the other typical elements of an Alex Cross story are there. It’s all formulaic at this point and the only departure this time around is the focus on Alex and his family.

The ending of this one really annoyed me so it’ll be a while before I continue with this series.


2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #206

>> Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sunset
Tierra Del Mar, Oregon

Sunset - Tierra Del Mar, Oregon
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Weekend Update September 22, 2013

>> Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished my re-read of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. It’s nearly 40 years later and I was still thoroughly creeped out all over again. It was a book that was definitely still hanging around in my head after I finished so I was cautious about what to pick up next. My perfect palate cleanser book is Cross by James Patterson. I’m unashamed to admit that I do enjoy the occasional James Patterson book. I still read his Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club series. This was a perfect choice when my brain still had a hangover from Salem’s Lot.

I think this afternoon I’m going to start Mortal Bonds by Michael Sears. It’s the follow up to the very excellent Black Fridays which was accurately described to me as a “Thriller with heart”. I’m looking forward to spending some time with Jason Stafford and his autistic son “the Kid”.

On audio I’m still listening to Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters (narrated by Barbara Rosenblat). I just love the audio editions of the Amelia Peabody series. I don’t think I’d enjoy them nearly as much in print.

Other than books and reading:
Oregon had a bye week this week so we had a week off from football other than to randomly watch games all day yesterday.

I did some Weekend Cooking! I made Specudoodles!! (you kind of have to say it with the exclamation marks),

Specudoodles
Specudoodles!!



Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

We picked up this jar of Biscoff Speculoos Cookie spread as a giveaway after a race we did earlier this year and then promptly forgot about it being in the pantry.

Last week some of my co-workers were raving about Trader Joe’s version of the spread they call Cookie Butter. Coincidentally I saw a post on The Tasty Kitchen Blog the next day about cookies made using this cookie butter. I’m a big fan of snickerdoodles and the idea of snickerdoodles with this cookie butter added to the dough just sounded too good to pass up. I picked up the ingredients I didn't have and made up a batch of the dough Friday night and let it chill in the fridge overnight.
ready for baking
rolled in sugar and cinnamon - ready for baking

I made the cookies yesterday and I can promise you that I will be making these again. They are so good. The Hubster says “they’re snickerdoodles on steroids” not because they're bigger but because they have a more intense flavor from the cookie butter.
fresh out of the oven
fresh out of the oven

I do like that this is a relatively small batch recipe. Since it’s just the two of us making a gazillion cookies in one batch is just too much This is enough for us to enjoy them and not end up having to waste or freeze half the batch.

The original post by Emily at The Blonde Buckeye includes a printable version of the Specudoodles recipe. Check it out and enjoy!

Favorite photo of the week:
Lastly I want to share my favorite of my Photo A Day photos from this week. Monday’s assignment was “Frame” and honestly I was stumped. I just didn't want to take a photo of a framed something on my wall. I ended up taking an empty black frame out to my front porch and taking a photo of it. Then after playing with it a bit in one of my editing apps I was super happy with how the final photo turned out.



Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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October looks like a Graphic Novel Reading Binge

>> Friday, September 20, 2013

It's beginning to look like October is going to be a bit of a Graphic Novel Reading Binge for me.

Graphic Novels, comics, whatever term you prefer, I've become a fan.

About a year and a half ago I read my first Graphic Novel (which also happened to be my first Manga also). It was The Drops of God and I loved it. These are not the Archie and Veronica comics I grew up with.

Following the advice of some wise friends I have explored a variety of graphic novel series in the past year or so. I've even got The Hubster reading a couple of them with me.

Most of these are definitely not comics for kids. There are adult themes including sex and violence. Fortunately for me comics and graphic novels are extremely popular in Portland and my library has an extensive collection.

These are a few of my favorites and some of what I'll be reading in the next several weeks:

Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
This is an amazingly beautiful and intricate story that's difficult to categorize. It's a litte science fiction, a little family saga, a little romance, a little action adventure and mostly just fantastic. I've read (and so has The Hubster) the first two trade paperback collections.

I cannot wait for the next collection to be released to continue with this story. I'm going to start getting the individual issues to read on my ipad and then buy the trade paper collection when it's released. I had an e-galley of volume 2 and it was actually quite nice to read on my ipad. I liked being able to zoom in and look a bit closer at the artwork.
Fables #01: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham Fables by Bill Willingham and a variety of artists.
This series is another one that The Hubster is reading and enjoying along with me. The premise is that all of your favorite fairy tale characters have been exiled from their homeland by an adversary and are living among us mundane folk (Mundys) without our realizing it. Yes Prince Charming and all his ex wives (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella). It's truly inventive and fun.

This series is quite extensive with spin-offs and associated print works so it's going to take me a while (I'm only on volume 6).
Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity: The Unwritten #01 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
This one is also quite inventive. Tommy Taylor is an adult who is tired of people thinking he's the real life inspiration for his Father's books about a Boy Wizard. Tommy doesn't really have a job and makes his living appearing at comic book and fantasy conventions. It soon turns into an adventure that includes some startling revelations for Tommy and an exploration of the relationship between fiction and reality.

There is a planned crossover between The Unwritten and Fables that makes total sense because they both deal with well known fictional characters reimagined in new ways. There is also a new book that is billed as both a prequel and parallel story with a totally new relaunch set for next year. I'm excited to see where this series will go.
Those are my top three graphic novel series but I'm also reading several others. I'm caught up with SAGA and The Unwritten but I've got volume 6 of Fables out from the library to read soon.

I highly recommend any of these as an introduction to Graphic Novels if you haven't explored it as a format yet.
The Drops of God by Tadashi Agi The Drops of God  by Tadashi Agi is a Manga style story about a competition to earn the right to an amazing wine collection. I need to read volume 3 next
Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughan Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan  is post-apocolyptic story about the sole surviving male after a sudden plague kills off all the male mammals on earth. Volume 5 is next for me
Runaways Volume 1: Pride & Joy The Runaways is a new to me series that I'm going to be starting next month along with BethFishReads and Kailana from The Written World. This one is for a younger audience but looks like a lot of fun.
Boxers & Saints #1: Boxers & Saints Boxed Set by Gene Luen Yang Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang is for Young Adult audiences and is about the Boxer Rebellion in China. I don't know much about this period of history and I've heard nothing but praise for these two and I'm among the first on the library waiting list for them.

So be prepared to see a bunch of posts about Graphic Novels from me in the next month or so.

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Wordless Wednesday #205

>> Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Playful duck
Oregon Zoo

Ruddy Duck
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Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

>> Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

Series: #3 in the Rachel Knight series
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 495
Source: e-galley provided by publisher

The Short Version:
When the daughter of a powerful Hollywood Director is kidnapped DA Rachel Knight gets involved in the case from the very beginning.

Why I Read It:
The Rachel Knight series is one of my favorites and I’ve been waiting for this one ever since I finished the last.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Would you kill to protect your career? Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight is about to find out just how far--and how deadly--Hollywood ambition will go in her latest harrowing case. It started with the disappearance of a pretty young socialite who's the daughter of big-time producer Russell Antonovich. When the girl turns up murdered, Rachel is pitted against Hollywood's biggest power players as well as her own boss, who is desperate to stay on Hollywood's good side. Along with her fierce and loyal sidekick, Detective Bailey Keller, Rachel uncovers an oily darkness beneath the glittering surface of the Hollywood elite. It began with the commission of Hollywood's most cardinal, and most common, sin: the theft of a groundbreaking idea. And it quickly becomes clear that those who know the truth will kill to keep it secret....

My Thoughts:
Rachel Knight is a prosecutor with the Special Trials unit. This allows her to be involved in the potentially high profile or complex cases from the very beginning. For that reason when the first call comes in about the kidnapping of Russel Antonovich’s daughter comes in, Rachel is right there with her friend Detective Bailey Keller.

This book plays out like an episode of Law and Order. The first half is primarily about the investigation and the trial takes up the second half. There’s some overlap of course because the trial can’t possibly go smoothly and the investigation and strategizing continue up to the very end.

Marcia Clark knows her stuff when it comes to prosecuting high profile cases and I’m guessing that her experiences provided inspiration for many parts of this story.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot because there are many twists and turns along the way.

I will most definitely be watching for the next Rachel Knight book and I highly recommend this series. They can be read as standalones but there are some ongoing storylines that play out better if you read them in order.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Weekend Update September 15, 2013

>> Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I haven’t finished any books. I’m still reading the same two I was last week. In print I’m re-reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I haven’t read this since High School and it’s definitely creeping me out all over again.

On audio I’m about two-thirds of the way through Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters (narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. I’m enjoying it a lot but at the same time I know that I’m getting that much closer to the end of this series. It’s going to be sad when I have to say goodbye to Amelia Peabody and her family.

Other than books and reading:
It’s actually been kind of a boring week. I’ve been busy with work, errands and just life in general. We had a blast of summer heat earlier this week but fall is definitely in the air.

I’ll admit that The Hubster and I get downright weird sometimes. We got inspired by this post about a guy who put a Fitbit activity tracker on his cat Bunki. There’s even a Fitbit Cats group. Obviously we thought that was a fabulous idea so we put a Fitbit on Abby.


I had to laugh because when I was putting her stats on her Fitbit profile it turns out that at 1 foot high and 12.8 pounds she’s got a BMI of 62.4.


While we were gone yesterday to the football game in Eugene (Yay Ducks by the way) she she played for a while but then took a serious nap between 10:30 and 2:30.

Other random photos from this week:

The flowers in my kitchen this week are just a pretty soft lavender color.


Reflections fascinate me. This building downtown has a curve to the front of it which makes for some really interesting reflections of the nearby buildings.


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

>> Friday, September 13, 2013

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Series: #7 in the Little House series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: originally 1941, this edition 1969
Pages: 307
Source: library


The Short Version:
After The Long Winter of the previous book the Ingalls family settles in to the routine of life on their homestead as the nearby town grows.

Why I Read It:
I started my re-read of this series due to a Read-along but I’m finishing it up on my own because I can’t leave my re-read unfinished.

The Book:
After surviving the Long Winter, the town of DeSmet is growing at a rapid pace. Mary leaves for the school for the blind in Iowa. Laura takes a job in town. Almanzo’s sister is the new schoolteacher but that doesn’t work out well at all. The evil Nellie Oleson reappears in Laura’s life but her circumstances have changed a bit since she was last seen.

Social events are starting to become more common in DeSmet. Some of them are fun and some are simply awkward. Nevertheless they provide a way for Almanzo Wilder to act on his interest in Laura by escorting her home.

Both the town and Laura are growing up, not without a few bumps along the way.

My Thoughts:
I am not going to worry about spoilers with this series.

As I’ve done with previous books in the series I’m just going to post a few random thoughts that ran through my head as I read this.

No Haysticks – Yay. However, after the drama of The Long Winter this one seems rather sedate.

Nellie Oleson and Eliza Jane Wilder as Mean Girls. Laura let her temper get away with her and showed her own mean girl side at times.

Laura’s feeling obligated to take the sewing job she hated and continue to work toward teaching which she does not want to do at all is really rather sad. Granted it was the norm for women in that era to do what was expected but I can’t help thinking how different things might have turned out for the whole family if Mary hadn’t lost her sight.

Oh the Blackface Minstrel show section of the literary meeting definitely is a teachable moment for today’s kids.

Again I find myself reading these with a mixture of nostalgia for how much I enjoyed them as a kid and realizing how much has changed not only since the time period portrayed in the book but also since the late 1960’s when I first read them.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #204

>> Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Morning on top of Cape Perpetua
Oregon Coast

Morning on top of Cape Perpetua
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The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins

>> Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins

Genre: Suspense
Series: #2 in the Quinn Colson series
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 297
Source: purchased

The Short Version:
Small town Mississippi sheriff Quinn Colson takes on both a black market baby ring and a Mexican Drug Cartel after stolen weapons.

Why I Read It:
Both The Hubster and I enjoyed the first in this Quinn Colson (The Ranger) enough that there was never any question that we’d continue the series.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Fresh from ten years as a U.S. Army Ranger, Quinn Colson finds his hands full as the newly elected sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi. An old buddy running a local gun shop may be in over his head when stolen army rifles start showing up in the hands of a Mexican drug gang.

At the same time, an abused-child case leads Quinn and his tough-as-nails deputy, Lillie Virgil, deep into the heart of a bootleg baby racket and a trail of darkness and death. And when the two cases collide, Quinn and his allies are forced to realize that, though they may be home from the war, they are now in the fight of their lives.

My Thoughts:
Let me start by saying that I freely admit that I have a literary crush on Quinn Colson but this is also a series that The Hubster enjoys. I’m always happy to find series that appeal to both of us while not necessarily for the same reasons.

Some of the bad guys from the first book are still around to cause trouble but some of my favorite good guys are also back for more fun and adventure. I really enjoy Quinn’s Deputy Lillie. She’s tough and smart and I like the way she and Quinn read each other.

Along with the primary mysteries there is also a thread in the story that fills in some crucial background information about Quinn and his sister Caddy.

As the various storylines play out the tension builds and the final third of the book was hard to put down. The action is fast and dangerous and just the kind of mixture of action and suspense I enjoy.

Atkins has plunked an old fashioned Western hero sheriff in modern day corrupt small town Mississippi and it works. It works well enough that I won’t be waiting so long to read the third book in the series.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Weekend Update September 8, 2013

>> Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark. This series featuring Rachel Knight (an LA District Attorney) continues to be a favorite of mine. This one starts out with the kidnapping of the daughter of a powerful Hollywood director and gets complicated quickly.

I started reading ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I haven’t read this since I was in High School. It scared the crap out of me back then. I managed to get a special edition from the library which includes an introduction by King and some creepy photographs. It’s also got some additional features at the end including some deleted scenes and a couple of related short stories by King.

On audio I’m still listening to and enjoying Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters. It’s narrated by Barbara Rosenblat and just a ton of fun. Egypt during World War I is an intriguing setting and Amelia Peabody just makes me laugh over and over again. I love the way Peters uses actual events and characters in her stories.

Other than books and reading:
It’s been a busy week and of course it’s football season so yesterday was all bout college football for us. The Oregon Ducks played in Virginia but that didn’t prevent us from having a tailgate party in our friends driveway.

Driveway Tailgating
Driveway Tailgating

The theme was Baconfest 2013
Baconfest 2013
Bacon wrapped dill pickles (yum), bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers (yum) and grilled cheese and bacon on light rye bread (yum some more) had us all stuffed before the game even started.

Browsing phone photos for this past week:

Sunflowers on my kitchen island this week brightened up the place.
sunflower

Our weather was a mix of just a little bit of everything this week.
afternoon clouds

I played with my photo apps on my phone the other day for the Photo a Day prompt of “White” This one of a crumpled sheet of paper turned out pretty cool.
paper

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Audiobook – The Unremarkable Heart and Other Stories by Karin Slaughter

>> Friday, September 6, 2013

The Unremarkable Heart and Other Stories by Karin Slaughter

The Unremarkable Heart and Other Stories by Karin Slaughter

Genre: Short Stories
Publisher: AudioGo
Publication Date: 2012
Length: 4 hours, 13 minutes
Read by: Shannon Cochran
Source: Library


The Short Version:
A collection of six short stories by one of my favorite mystery/suspense authors.

Why I Read It:
When I read that the story The Unremarkable Heart won an Edgar award this year I decided to see if I could find it. My library had this audio available so I decided to give it a try.

The Book:
This book contains 6 short stories. Each of them features a woman or girl at a crossroads in her life.

Cold Cold Heart finds Pam driving across country two years after the death of her husband. She recalls their life together and why after all the horrible things he put her through she seeks her final revenge.

Necessary Women begins as what seems to be a story of survival and overcoming obstacles but takes a sudden and disturbing turn.

The Blessing of Brokenness is about Mary Lou Dixon, who works at Christ Holiness Church. As she’s overseeing the repair of the sanctuary’s cross, she reflects on her own life. She compares the teachings of her Lay Pastor uncle who preached that brokenness is a blessing because you can be repaired and be stronger with those of the church’s current minister who preaches the fear of becoming broken. As Mary Lou’s past is revealed the outcome of the story becomes clear before the story actually ends.

The Mean Time is about a twelve year old girl who is at what she later recalls as her ‘mean time’ of life. Her uncle is taking her and her cousins into town where she’ll learn the meaning of regret.

The Truth About Pretty Girls is what Jude Hanson is thinking about. She’s in her 40’s and has returned to the home town in Georgia she never thought she’d see again.

The Unremarkable Heart is the story that won an Edgar Award. It’s about June who is dying of lung cancer. Her husband is caring for her in her last days. Her memories of her past and her expectations of the process of dying are all she has left except for perhaps a final bit of truth.


My Thoughts:
All of these stories feature strong women of varying ages. They are all at an important moment or crossroads in their lives.

Karin Slaughter can write downright disturbing stuff and while not all of these stories have a gruesome or twisted element, most of them do so consider yourself forewarned.

I found a couple of these (Necessary Women and The Unremarkable Heart) particularly difficult to listen to. Both left me reeling and quite disturbed.

This was the first time I’d listened to Shannon Cochran. I’m not an expert in Southern accents but this collection of stories required her to attempt a variety of them and I know that’s not an easy task. I would definitely listen to her again.

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the book

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration



SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Fables Volume 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham et al.

>> Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fables Volume 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham et al.

Fables Volume 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham et al.

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #5 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 166
Source: Library



The Short Version:
A transitional entry in the series which fills in some background on one major character and summarizes a year in the lives of others

Why I Read It:
I can’t stop with this series. Every one leaves me wanting more and I immediately get the next one from the library.

The Book:
This volume 5 is a compilation of issue 22 and 28-33 of the comic series.

Spoilers for previous books in the series are inevitable but I won’t give away things about this particular volume beyond what is on the cover.

From the back of the book:

With the Battle of Fabletown won and the surrounding city of New York none the wiser, the Fables have gained a little time for rebuilding and reflection—in between the interrogation of the Adversary’s agent and the anticipation of Snow White’s impending motherhood.

For Bigby Wolf, the father of her soon-to-be newborns, that means a visit with an old friend -- and a reminiscence of another, even deadlier war. For the Mayor of Fabletown, it means a rude awakening to the harsh realities of civic administration -- and its conflicting demands. As for Snow herself, it means a long, painful labor -- and a series of joyous, heartwrenching surprises.

My Thoughts:
Even though this one skims through the year following the Battle for Fabletown in Volume 4 and sets up a launching point for the next major step in the story it is not lacking in action.

The opening section fills in some rather surprising stuff from Cinderella. She’s quite the spy but the question is who she is working for. This issue was drawn by Tony Atkins and the characters are drawn a bit different than I was used to but it was still fun and surprising.

The next section called War Stories fills in a bit of Bigby Wolf’s background and his time in World War II. This is also drawn by Tony Atkins but because most of the characters are not ones we’ve seen before it’s not as jarring to see them drawn by someone different. I liked learning a bit about Bigby’s past. I think he’s the character in this series who intrigues me the most. I’ve always liked the bad boys and at least at this point Bigby seems to be a bad boy with a heart. Willingham may have things up his sleeve in upcoming volumes that may change that opinion but I’ll find that out when I get to them.

That’s one of the things I love about this series. Familiar characters are the basis for a whole new type of story and the inventiveness and continual surprises make this both fascinating and fun.

The final section called The Mean Seasons takes the citizens of Fabletown and the upstate farm through the transitional year after the Battle that ended volume 4. Many changes are afoot and the results of the Mayoral election bring new insight into many characters and a few learn that things might be a bit more complex than they thought. This is drawn by Mark Buckingham who has done much of the previous artwork in the series and I do love his work.

The stories both in New York and at the farm are left hanging just enough to make me not want to wait too long to start reading Volume 6: Homelands.


4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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