THIS BLOG HAS MOVED!!

The new location is Whimpulsive.


Update your feed reader now!


The feed has moved to: Whimpulsive


Update your reader now with this changed subscription address to get your latest updates.

http://whimpulsive.net/feed/

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

>> Thursday, January 30, 2014

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 243
Source: e-galley provided by publisher.

The Short Version:
A noir-ish suspense story of a garbage man turned hitman set in a near future New York City.

Why I Read It:
The publisher’s description intrigued me.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, and before the city became a bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he's a hitman.

In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to "tap into" a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the ravaged streets, Spademan chose the streets. His clients like that he doesn't ask questions, that he works quickly, and that he's handy with a box cutter. He finds that killing people for money is not that different from collecting trash, and the pay is better. His latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist. Finding her is easy, but the job quickly gets complicated: his mark has a shocking secret and his client has an agenda far beyond a simple kill. Now Spademan must navigate the dual levels of his world-the gritty reality and the slick fantasy-to finish the job, to keep his conscience clean, and to stay alive.

My Thoughts:
This is an odd but intriguing book. The first half felt new and different and got me interested. Then the second half became more predictable and felt like a television crime drama show and left me feeling like it could have been better.

I really had no idea what to expect when I started this one. I actually went back and started over after reading about 20 pages and getting a feel for what was going on and the author’s style. He doesn’t use quotation marks (which annoys me), but I liked the futuristic noir feel to the story.

The no quotation marks thing I could manage to cope with for most of the book. I occasionally had to go back and re-read sections to sort out who was talking and when. The story is dialog heavy and at times I felt like I was reading a play with the actors names removed. It got problematic in a couple of scenes where there were more than two people speaking.

The story has already been sold for a movie and will probably lend itself well to that format. I also read that a second Spademan book is planned. I might read it because there was a lot I liked about this book but I just felt like the latter part didn’t surprise me nearly as much as the first part.

I’d give it a 3 out of 5 for the first half and a 2 for the second half so I’m rounding that out for my final rating.

2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5

Read more...

Wordless Wednesday #223

>> Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tierra del Mar, Oregon

Tierra del Mar, Oregon
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

Read more...

The Gates by John Connolly

>> Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Gates by John Connolly

The Gates by John Connolly

Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Horror
Series: #1 in the Samuel Johnson vs. The Devil series
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 293
Source: Library


The Short Version:
When his neighbors unwittingly open a gateway to hell, 11 year old Samuel Johnson must save the world as we know it.

Why I Read It:
Several people whose recommendations I trust were talking about the newest book in this series and it sounded like it would be fun.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween, which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe, a gap through which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out.... Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?

My Thoughts:
I never expected to be giggling my way through a book about demonic hordes trying to destroy the world as we know it but I did. As for what the Large Hadron Collider has to do with it I’m not going to tell you because you just have to read this to find out for yourself.

Within the first couple of chapters I was reading passages to The Hubster and making plans to get this book back from the library when he is ready to start a new book because he has to read this.

Samuel is a wonderful character. He’s smart and brave. When he confides in his two best friends and they join up to help him they make a team I had fun rooting for.

I absolutely loved all the footnotes and scientific information and humor interjected throughout the book.

Footnote #14:
As you can see from his picture, Einstein didn’t take himself too seriously, at least not all of the time. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid people who take themselves too seriously. As individuals, we have only so much seriousness to go round, and people who take themselves very seriously don’t have enough seriousness left over to take other people seriously. Instead they tend to look down on them, and are secretly pleased when they get stuff wrong, because they just prove to the too-serious types that they were right to not to take them seriously to begin with.

This from a later chapter is a good rule for the workplace:
No good ever comes of someone sticking his head round his boss’s door, a worried expression on his face and a piece of paper in one hand that, if it could talk, would shout, very loudly, “Bad! This is bad! Run away now!”

In addition to the human characters there are a variety of demons and creatures from the underworld. I think my favorite character was a not so demonic demon named Nurd.

This is just fun and I want The Hubster to read it soon. I am truly looking forward to reading more of this series.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read more...

Weekend Update - Summer on the Oregon Coast in January

>> Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Update

I have had an absolutely fabulous weekend!

(as always, click on the photos for full size versions)





Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda
Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda


S'Quarrels
This game is so fun!


S'Quarrels
The Whirlwind card means everyone's cards are taken away, shuffled and re-dealt


The Making of the African Queen by Katherine Hepburn
What I've been occacionally reading this weekend 


Tierra del Mar Beach, Oregon
Tierra del Mar Beach, Oregon


Uno game
This hand didn't end until well after midnight


Sunny and warm afternoon on the Oregon coast (in January!)
Unbelievable for January on the Oregon Coast


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Read more...

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham et al.

>> Friday, January 24, 2014

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham et al.

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham et al.

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: Companion volume to the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 140
Source: Library

The Short Version:
An out of series companion volume to the Fables series that could easily serve as an introduction to new readers as well as background to the established story for those who have read the first 8 books in the series.

Why I Read It:
I love this series and have since the very first volume. I’d read them faster but I have managed to gget The Hubster reading them along with me while I’ve got them out from the library and I don’t want to get too far ahead of him.

The Book:
This is a one-shot companion volume to the established Fables comic series.

From the back of the book:

Fables: 1001 nights of snowfall is set in the early days of Fabletown, long before the Fables series began. Traveling to Arabia as an ambassador from the exiled Fables community, Snow White is captured by the local sultan who wants to marry her (and then kill her). But clever Snow attempts to charm the sultan instead by playing Scheherazade, telling him fantastic stories for a total of 1001 nights, saving her very skin in the process. Running the gamut from unexpected horror to dark intrigue to mercurial coming of age, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall reveals the secret histories of familiar fables characters through a series of compelling and visually illustrative tales.

My Thoughts:
This entry in the Fables series is not a collection of individual issues. Instead it's a beautifully painted straight to hardcover volume that can be read by folks who haven't read the earlier Fables collections. It works as both an introduction to the series as well as a perfect interim piece between major story arcs in the ongoing comic series.

I thoroughly enjoyed the history and origin stories of some of my favorite Fables characters as well as some of the more minor characters. As with the rest of the Fables series, this is not comics for kids. The seven dwarves in this story are definitely not the whistling cute guys from Disney.

I loved the background on Bigby wolf and the images of him as the runt of the litter are excellent but it also shows why he grew up to be such an angry wolf.

The story of the frog prince made me cry.

The artwork in this volume is much more elaborately painted than that in the typical individual issues. There are also a large number of artists who worked on the illustrations. The style and appearances of familiar characters is quite different but since the events take place long before the rest of the comic series it works.

If you’re reading Fables, this provides interesting and important background. If you haven’t started Fables this could work as an introduction but keep in mind that it’s got a different feel to it before you go on to pick up Volume 1: Legends in Exile.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read more...

Wordless Wednesday #222

>> Wednesday, January 22, 2014

View from Crown Point
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

View from Crown Point in the Columbia River Gorge
click on image for larger version


For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

Read more...

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

>> Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Genre: Gothic Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 302
Source: e-galley provided by publisher



The Short Version:
A Gothic tale of a man who makes a deal with a mysterious stranger.

Why I Read It:
I liked the author’s first book and had high hopes for another well written Gothic story.

The Book:
From the publisher:

One moment in time can haunt you forever

Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

My Thoughts:
I had such high hopes for this book and ended up feeling less than enthralled with it.

Setterfield writes beautifully and the imagery and poetry of the words is wonderful. I could easily visualize and even hear the scenes as I read them. She can create a environment for a story that is at times beautiful and at others dark and mysterious.

Unfortunately the story that took place in this setting and imagery failed to capture me. The first part felt like a long buildup to whatever the fallout from William’s childhood act of cruelty would turn out to be. I read the entire second half waiting for something to actually happen.

While I think Setterfield has a wonderful way of writing but this one became tedious and never really explained why the killing of the bird resulted in the events that happened later.

I hope the author’s next book is a return to the level of storytelling she had in her first.

2 stars Rating 2/5

Read more...

Weekend Update – What We’ve Been Watching

>> Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend Update


Now that the college football season is over we’re back to working our way through the backlog on our DVR and our Netflix Queue.


We've been binge watching How I Met Your Mother off and on for the past few months.

 We’re now about halfway through Season 8 and have been recording Season 9, We should be able to catch up in time to be up to date before the series finale. Once we’re done with Season 8, we’ll have to pick another Netflix series.


Off the DVR we just finished Mob City. It was a 6 episode series on TNT set in 1947 Los Angeles. Good cops, bad cops, New York mobsters, LA mobsters, Bugsy Siegel and lots and lots of bullets. It was interesting to see the later stories of a couple of characters we’d last seen on Boardwalk Empire. The finale left the door open for more but who knows if it will be back.


We’re also watching the latest season of Downton Abbey. I have very mixed feelings about this latest season but I can’t stop watching now.

Justified is another favorite. I just heard this week that next season will be the last for the series. I’m sad to hear that but at the same time I think having a plan to end the series is a good one. When series go on too long it’s hard to make the choice to break up with them so I’d rather see a series while I still think it’s great.

Do you watch Grimm? This show is fun for us because it’s filmed here in Portland and full of familiar places. It can get a bit gruesome at times but it also can make me laugh. I love Monroe and Rosalee!


So what are you watching these days? Any recommendations for our next Netflix series to binge watch?

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Read more...

Y: The Last Man Vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan

>> Friday, January 17, 2014

Y: The Last Man Vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan

Y: The Last Man Vol 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #7 in the Y: The Last Man series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 143
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The last man to survive a sudden plague that killed all the male mammals on Earth is still trying to find out why.

Why I Read It:
I’m enjoying this series and have to continue to find out what happens. Besides, I’m pretty much predisposed to like anything Brian K. Vaughan writes.

The Book:
This volume 7 is a compilation of issues 37-42 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

Man Overboard

Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth, has finally reached the country where his fiancée Beth has been stranded since the male-killing plague struck more than three years ago. Unfortunately, the visit is just a stopover - the trail that has led Yorick and his companions (government operative Agent 355 and biochemist Dr. Allison Mann) to the shores of Australia continues on to Japan, where Yorick's pet monkey Ampersand - the only other male mammal to survive the plague, and the possible key to its cure - has been taken.

Before pursuing Ampersand north, however, Yorick has a brief window of time to find Beth in the remains of Sydney. But his search also provides a chance at the story of a lifetime for one muckraking journalist - a story whose consequences may be graver than anyone could guess.

My Thoughts:
This series has been either great or just OK for me so far. For me, this volume had it’s good points and bad points. Finally Yorick gets to Australia and while only a stopover on their way to Japan he’s determined to find Beth. Of course since it’s Yorick it doesn’t go well.

There are multiple story lines that are touched on in this volume and with only 3 left I expect them to start spiraling together but it does make up for some choppiness in the flow.

I did like the sections that went into the background stories of both Agent 355 and Ampersand the monkey. It was good to learn more about their histories.

Dr. Mann and her story in this one was where I was surprised. I’m curious to see where the next volume will take this.

There were also some surprises involving Yorick’s sister and characters from previous volumes.

I’m expecting this pace to pick up and continue to spiral toward the conclusion over the next three volumes.

I may have to binge read the last three volumes of this series

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

Read more...

A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen

>> Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Conspiracy of faith by Jussi Adler-OlsenREdemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen

A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Genre: Crime Fiction / Mystery
Series: #3 in the Department Q series
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: 2013 (Originally published 2009)
Pages: 632
Source: e-galley provided by publisher. I also received a copy of the UK Edition titled Disgrace which is why I posted both covers.


The Short Version:
Years after it was was written in blood, a message in a bottle leads the Department Q team in search of the truth.

Why I Read It:
I loved the first book in the series and while I thought the second wandered a bit I’ve been looking forward to continuing to read more.

The Book:
From the Publisher:

Detective Carl Mørck holds in his hands a bottle that contains old and decayed message, written in blood. It is a cry for help from two young brothers, tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea. Could it be real? Who are these boys, and why weren’t they reported missing? Could they possibly still be alive?

Carl’s investigation will force him to cross paths with a woman stuck in a desperate marriage- her husband refuses to tell her where he goes, what he does, how long he will be away. For days on end she waits, and when he returns she must endure his wants, his moods, his threats. But enough is enough. She will find out the truth, no matter the cost to her husband—or to herself.

Carl and his colleagues Assad and Rose must use all of their resources to uncover the horrifying truth.

My Thoughts:
Oh Carl and the rest of his team are back and I love them. Carl is troubled, surly and has a personal life that is even more of a mess than life at work. Assad is still hilarious and mysterious. Assad has secrets and this time we got a couple of more glimpses into his life and possibly his past but they were fleeting. There’s a big reveal coming about Assad. I just know it. Rose was introduced in the last book and I was hoping she’d be back. She definitely is and her story becomes quite interesting in this book. Assad and Rose both annoy the heck out of Carl but together the three of them are like a dysfunctional family but a functional detective team.

The mystery of the message in the bottle is a tough one for the team. Readers quickly know ‘whodunnit’ but the why and how as well as the ‘will they catch the perpetrator’ is what is played out piece by piece.

I was pleased that after a slight sophomore slump with the second book that the series is back to being as good as I thought it was with the first book.

I’m also glad that the series is being translated and released in the UK and US at a faster pace. The fourth book is already out and I plan to read it soon.

I highly recommend this series.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

Read more...

Wordless Wednesday #221

>> Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vista House at Crown Point
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Vista House at Crown Point, Columbia River Gorge
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

Read more...

Bout of Books 9.0 Wrap Up Post

>> Monday, January 13, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 ended last night. It was my second Bout of Books and I'm already looking forward to the next one in May.

Bout of Books

I had such a great time with my first Bout of Books last August and have had this past week marked on my calendar ever since.

Despite being completely swamped at work I managed to have a successful reading week. Bout of Books is a low-stress readathon and that's what I like about it. I never felt like I needed to stop doing everything else to just read but I felt encouraged to maximize and make more time for reading than I normally do. Obviously I worked full time all week so that limited my reading time but I managed to get a lot of reading hours in in the evenings and over the weekend.

These Were My Goals:
  • 2 hours a day total reading/listening time Monday - Thursday
  • 3 hours Friday
  • Read 4 books after I finished my current book
  • Participate in at least one Bout of Books Tweet Chat
  • Participate in one Bout of Books challenge
  • Spend some time each day visiting other participants blogs
  • Have fun

I missed my three hour reading time goal on Friday but met or exceeded my goal for every other day so I'm calling that one met

I finished 4 books during the week and got halfway through a 5th.

I lurked in both the tweet chats but was on my phone so couldn't really participate.

I participated in two of the daily challenges.

I visited a bunch of participants blogs and found a few new blogs I'll be keeping an eye on.

The books I finished this week are:
  • Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
  • Y: The Last Man Vol. 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan
  • 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham
  • The Gates by John Connolly

I also read or listened to part these two books:
  • Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh
  • The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith
All in all it was a great week of reading and talking about books with a great bunch of bloggers. I have Bout of Books 10.0 in May marked on my calendar. I hope you'll join me!

Read more...

Weekend Update – Back to the Real World

>> Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend Update

Holidays and vacation are over and the first full week back to work was a week that I’m pretty sure had at least two extra days in it and they were both Mondays. The back to work and busy time of the year for my department both hit with a bang this week.

Luckily I've been participating in Bout of Books this week so I was pretty focused on making myself take some reading time when I got home from work. I should really do that more often. It really does help me to turn off my day and relax. Obviously it’s not always possible but I think it’s something I need to put on my To Do list rather than think of it as something that happens after my To Do list.

Anyway – I had a great reading week. I finished Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield (finally). Because that one was something that took me longer to read than I expected I wanted to follow it up with something very different. I read a couple of the graphic novels I've got out from the library. I finished Y: The Last Man Vol. 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan. I’m down to three to go to finish out this series and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m curious to see how it will all wrap up.

I also read 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham. This entry in the Fables series is wonderful. It goes back to the history of the Fables characters and includes several origin stories that were great to read. Some were fun, others very sad but it was all great background.

I read The Gates by John Connolly and giggled my way through it. It may seem odd to be giggling when reading a story about the Gates of Hell opening and demonic hordes trying to destroy the world as we know it but it’s FUN!. The main character is a wonderful 11 year old and my favorite character was a not so demonic demon named Nurd. The footnotes and asides make this a great read. I need to check it out from the library again soon so The Hubster can read it and we can move on to the sequels together.

I just started Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh last night. It's different and I'm intrigued.

On audio I’m listening to The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith. I love Lisette Lecat's narration of this series. Once I’m finished with that my plan is to finish out the last two books in the Amelia Peabody series.

This weeks Random Photos:

Abby on the stairs
Abby plots to kill me
Forget R.O.U.S.es, Lightning Sand, and Flame Bursts. The real terror of the stairwell is the one that dares you to try to get upstairs without spilling your coffee at 5:15 am. She was in “trying to kill me” mode the other morning. I should really get around to reading both The Princess Bride and How to Tell Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You but not both at the same time.

A timely break in the weather gave me a chance for a walk after work and an interesting sunset.
Sunset

These guys seem to have a favorite game of “how fast can we empty this feeder after she fills it?”

Busy time at the bird feeder


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Read more...

Audiobook – Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

>> Friday, January 10, 2014

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: #15 in the Amelia Peabody series publication order, #17 in story chronology order
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2003 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2003)
Length: 15 hours, 10 minutes
Read by: Barbara Rosenblat
Source: Library

The Short Version:
With World War I over the extended Emerson/Peabody clan is all together for the first time in a long time but they’re still in danger.

Why I Read It:
This is one of my favorite series and I’m doing a bit of binge listening even though I know I’m going to be sad when I finish the final two books.

The Book:
From the publisher:
The Great War has ended at last. No longer must archaeologist Amelia Peabody and her husband, Emerson, the distinguished Egyptologist, fear for the life of their daring son, Ramses, now free from his dangerous wartime obligations to British Intelligence. The advent of a season of joy and peace marks a time of new beginnings in Luxor, with delightful additions to the growing Emerson family and fascinating wonders waiting to be discovered beneath the shifting Egyptian sands.

But in the aftermath of conflict, evil still casts a cold shadow over this violence-scarred land. The theft of valuable antiquities from the home of a friend causes great concern in the Emerson household. Ramses's strange encounter with a woman costumed in the veil and gold crown of a goddess only deepens the mystery. And the brutal death of the suspected thief washes the unsettling affair in blood.

My Thoughts:
Note on series order: I read this one out of publication order because I’m reading the series in order of the story. You can find the chronology here.

I always enjoy an adventure with Amelia Peabody Emerson and her family. I'm down to the last few books in the series and I'm binge listening to them close together and having a wonderful time.

My favorite part about this one was having all the extended family in Egypt and the multiple generations all together for the first time in many books.

With the war over and Ramses done working for Military Intelligence it seems like a peaceful time is ahead for the family but it’s not to be. A kidnapping followed by multiple occurrences of obvious sabotage make it clear that someone is out to get the family and their friends.

Amelia is her usual intrepid and hilarious self and she made me laugh along the way. The way the solution to the mystery played out was both interesting and fun.

Barbara Rosenblat does such a masterful job of voicing a wide variety of characters in this series. She manages to portray a large cast with varying accents and I never lose track of who is speaking.

This continues to be one of my favorite series to experience via audio but you really need to start at the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 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.

Read more...

Wordless Wednesday #220

>> Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Crown Point, Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge

Crown Point, Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

Read more...

Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

>> Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Genre: Science Fiction, Superheroes (Graphic Novel)
Series: #3 in the Runaways series
Publisher: Marvel
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Our teenage heroes determination to take on their evil parents turns deadly.

Why I Read It:
What can I say? I’m hooked on this series.

The Book:
This volume 3 is a compilation of issues 13-18 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

The world as we know it is about to end, and the Runaways are the only hope to prevent it! But if our fledgling teenage heroes are going to succeed, they may have to become just as evil as their villainous parents. The Runaways have learned how their parents' criminal organization began, and now they must decide how it should END. As the Runaways' epic battle against their evil parents reaches its shocking conclusion, the team's mole stands revealed, and blood must be shed. Which kids will still be standing when the smoke finally clears? This is the story that changes everything (seriously!).
My Thoughts:
So much happens in this volume!! As the final volume of the first major story arc it wraps up most of the story lines yet leaves the door open for more to come. I’ll admit I was surprised at the identity of the mole but once it was revealed it made sense and I’d just missed the clues.

The kids are growing on me as they mature and learn to use the skills and abilities that they have. The dialog gets a bit corny now and then but for the most part works well. They’ve become their own non-traditional family in a way and I’m pleased to see them continuing to support each other.

I enjoyed the cameo appearance by Captain America and the nod to Tony Stark late in the book. I’m hoping for more appearances by established Marvel characters.

The artwork is a blend of classic Marvel comics and a bit of Japanese style art. It makes sense given the target young adult audience.

Mostly it’s just a lot of fun and a bit of escapist adventure. They’re quick reads and I’ve got the next two out from the library already.

43 stars Rating 3/5

Read more...

Bout of Books 9.0 Goals and Updates

>> Monday, January 6, 2014

I am participating in my second Bout of Books this week. I did my first one in August and have had this week marked on my calendar ever since.

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
My goals for the week and all my updates will be on this post. I’ll also be updating via twitter.
___________________________________________________________________

Time Devoted to Reading
I am working full time this week so I can’t possibly spend a gazillion hours reading. I'm using the same approach I did in August for getting extra reading time in because it worked pretty well. I do plan to limit some of what is normally my time spent on social media or wandering aimlessly online and replace those activities with more reading time.

I also plan to keep my iPod with my audiobook with me as much as possible. I typically only listen when I’m in the car by myself or when I’m out walking but I keeping my iPod handy might give me some extra listening time.

Usually weekends are not a big reading time for me. That’s when The Hubster and I tend to do things together whether it’s chores and errands or out doing fun stuff. This upcoming Sunday however he'll be gone so I'll have that day all to myself. It will be nice to finish out the week with a day of mostly reading. Taking all of that into consideration these are my goals for time devoted to reading this week:
  • 2 hours a day total reading/listening time Monday - Thursday
  • 3 hours Friday
  • Saturday and Sunday as much as I feel like
___________________________________________________________________

My Goals:
  • Read 4 books after I finish my current book (typically 2 books a week is a good week for me)
  • Participate in at least one Bout of Books Tweet Chat
  • Participate in one Bout of Books challenge
  • Spend some time each day visiting other participants blogs
  • Have fun
___________________________________________________________________

Reading List (which may end up having no resemblance at all to the books I end up actually reading):
I can’t possibly read all of these and it’s highly likely that I’ll pick up something that’s not even on the list. There’s a reason this blog is named Whimpulsive.

Anyway - here’s what’s on my radar for reading soon and that includes this week.
  • Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (have been meaning to get to this one for weeks)
  • The Gates by John Connolly (I've had it out from the library for a while and need to get to it)
  • Let Me Go by Chelsea Cain (Local author - the latest release in a series I caught up with last year)
  • Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Frye (This was on my goals post last time and I still haven't started it)
  • Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (it's been on my shelf since I finished the first in the series)
I've got several graphic novels out from the library and they're great for a change of pace or a break from other books
  • Y: The Last Man Vol. 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K. Vaughan 
  • 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham (next up for me in the Fables series)
  • Jack of Fables: The Great Escape by Bill Willingham (time for me to start this spin-off from Fables)
  • 100 Bullets Vol. 1: First Shot, Last Call (a new to me series I found out about via Crimespree Magazine)
  • Runaways Volumes 4 and 5: True Believers and Escape to New York (next up in a series about some teens with special powers)
I also plan to start a re-read of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I've read it several times but seeing photos and information about the upcoming TV series has me itching to read it again so it will be my first chunkster of 2014.
On Audio I'm on the first CD of The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith so I doubt I'll finish that this week but if I do I've got plenty more on the iPod

All of these are in the house and available and I've got a good mix of audio, print, ebooks, genres and types of book so I can change up the pace or mood when it strikes.
___________________________________________________________________

Updates:

Monday:
  • How much I read or listened to today: 3 hours 15 min of reading time and 20 min of audiobook time
  • Total number of books completed this week: 1
  • Thoughts on today’s reading: I finished the last 125 pages of Bellman & Black which I ended up feeling extremely "meh" about. For a total change of pace I picked up a graphic novel. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 7: Paper Dolls is next up in that series for me and I got through about 30 pages of that before I fell asleep.
  • Other Bout of Books related stuff: I did the Mad Libs Challenge and giggled at my story that ended up being about a Mythic Lost Couch. Check out the challenge and entries Cheap Thrills.I didn't get around to visiting participants blogs because I really wanted to finish Bellman & Black so I could move on. Blog visiting is on today's agenda

Tuesday:
  • How much I read or listened to today: 2 hours and 20 minutes of reading time but no audiobook time
  • Total number of books completed this week: 2
  • Thoughts on today’s reading: I finished Y: The Last Man Vol. 7: Paper Dolls. I'm down to three to go in this graphic novel series and curious about what will happen next. I started The Gates by John Connolly and I'm loving it. I also started 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham which is the next in the Fables series for me.
  • Other Bout of Books related stuff: I did another of the daily challenges. Sarah at Sarah Says Read asked folks about thier strategies for getting extra reading time in during Bout of Books. There's some great tips in the comments. I also managed to get around to visit a few participants blogs.


Wednesday:
  • How much I read or listened to today: I managed about an hour and a half of reading time and a half hour of audiobook time so met my goal
  • Total number of books completed this week: 2
  • Thoughts on today’s reading:I continued with all three of my books. I'm enjoying listening to Lisette Lecat narrating The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith. I don't think I'd enjoy that series nearly as much in print but I love listening to her. The Gates by John Connolly is wonderful. It's a fun adventure story and I keep giggling. 1001 Nights of Snowfall is a wonderful entry in the Fables series. The background and origin stories of some now favorite characters is fascinating to read.
  • Other Bout of Books related stuff: I did manage to lurk for part of the twitter chat yesterday but I was on my phone so participating wan't really an option.I also managed to get around to visit a few participants blogs.


Thursday:
  • How much I read or listened to today: 2 hours and 25 minutes of reading time but no audiobook time
  • Total number of books completed this week: 3
  • Thoughts on today’s reading:I finished 1001 Nights of Snowfall. I really enjoyed this entry in the Fables series. I continued with my other two books. I'm really enjoying both The Gates and The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. I think I'm going to finish The Gates before I start something else.
  • Other Bout of Books related stuff: I did a bit of blog visiting yesterday and plan to do more of that tonight


Friday:
  • How much I read or listened to today: 90 minutes of reading time and 45 minutes of audiobook time. Didn't make my 3 hour goal for Friday but no big deal. Should get plenty of time over the weekend
  • Total number of books completed this week: 3
  • Thoughts on today’s reading:Just continuing with my current books. Print book is The Gates which I should be able to finish today. I don't think I'll get any audiobook time today but I'll get back to The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon tomorrow.
  • Other Bout of Books related stuff: I did a bit of blog visiting yesterday and plan to do more of that todayt


Saturday:
  • How much I read or listened to today: I managed to get a total of 3.5 hours of reading in today. No audiobook time though
  • Total number of books completed this week: 4
  • Thoughts on today’s reading: I finished The Gates by John Connolly and liked it a lot. I started Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh. It's very different but I'm intrigued. I didn't get any audiobook time but I should have some time to listen to a bit of The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon today
  • Other Bout of Books related stuff: I did a bit of blog visiting yesterday and plan to do more of that todayt


Sunday:
  • How much I read or listened to today: I managed to get a total of 3 hours of reading in today. My planned audiobook time didn't happen because I got involved in watching football instead
  • Total number of books completed this week: 4
  • Thoughts on today’s reading: I read a good chunk of Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh. It's a very different type of book. After I read the first 20 pages and had a feel for what was going on I went back and started over from the beginning. It's interesting but I'm annoyed that the author chose to not use quotation marks. That's something that bugs me.
  • Other Bout of Books related stuff: I did a bit of blog visiting and found some new blogs that I'll be watching. I like this part of Bout of Books as much as the reading.

Read more...

Weekend Update: Kicking off the New Year

>> Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weekend Update

I'm not one for a lot of resolutions or goals. Most of the goals I wrote about here last year ended up not happening. Nevertheless, it's a time of year that feels like a fresh start and a good time to change things up a bit. Something about l those new spreadsheets, new groups and threads on LibraryThing, and a new document for drafting of posts. It's hard to not feel inspired and excited.

I am going to try a few new things and I figure that some will stick and some will be abandoned.

First off will be a less structured format for weekend update. I’ll still be talking about what I’m reading and what we’re doing and there will always be photos but the posts won’t necessarily be the same format every week.

I’m going to try something to help me read some of those books that end up on my shelf or in my ebook library and then remain there unread while I pick up something new and shiny from the bookstore or library. I won’t be planning specific books but I want to try to mix it up a bit by where I’m getting the next book I read.

I've set up a list of categories that is a start and likely to change but I've got to start somewhere.

  • Review book
  • Library book
  • Book from my bookshelf
  • Book from my ebook library
  • Graphic Novel
  • Section of a Chunkster
I want to use these categories in rotation to make sure I get those books from the bookshelves upstairs and the unseen ebooks on my ereader and also tackle some of the Chunksters I want to read. I may end up putting that graphic novel category in the rotation more than once because they tend to be short and a nice break between longer books. I won’t get through all the categories every month and I may change up the rotation here and there but mostly I hope this will help me read the books I already have as well as leave room for something new that catches my eye.

Speaking of those new ones, I’m also going to try keeping track of books I acquire this year. This is partly because I'm curious about how many I get during a year and partly as a way to quickly note in google doc the information I need when I add the book to my LibraryThing data. One of the groups I joined at LibraryThing is the ROOT - Read Our Own Tomes group and I need to make sure that books I acquire this year don't get counted for that. I'm only counting books that were already on my shelf, in my iTunes or in my ebook library before December 31, 2013 for that group.

OK – enough talk for this week. On to what I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks

The holiday weeks were busy and fun and we had a mostly relaxing holiday. I was on vacation this past week and watched a lot of football as well as getting out for a bit of local sightseeing.

We went to the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at our local science museum. What a fun exhibit. It was a bit history about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his inspirations as well as information about London at the time. It also included a mock up of Holmes flat that was fun to see.
Detective's Notebook - International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes
Our Detective's Notebook
The interactive part let us play detective and solve a mystery. It was a lot of fun. I think it’s headed to Cleveland next but it this exhibit ever ends up near where you live I highly recommend a visit.

Here are a few random phone photos since my last update:

Straight No Chaser marquee
We went to the Straight No Chaser Concert last week and it was just a whole lot of fun. If you ever get the chance to see these guys in person, do it.

St.John's Bridge
St. John's Bridge
No I wasn't driving when I took this. The Hubster was driving, I was passengering. It's the only way to get this shot of my favorite bridge in Portland.


A foggy morning in town cleared up just enough as I headed out the historic highway to the Columbia River Gorge and it ended up being a beautiful day.
Columbia River Gorge
Columbia River Gorge
Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls
A day spent stopping and viewpoints and waterfalls reminded me that I'm lucky to live here.


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Read more...

Audiobook – The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

>> Friday, January 3, 2014

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2013 Audible Inc.
Length: 3 hours, 39 minutes
Read by: Jim Dale
Source: Free Audible download

The Short Version:
A novella often included with Dickens’ Christmas stories is a tale of Victorian home life with a guardian angel and Shakespearean misunderstandings and mistaken idenities.

Why I Read It:
When I got the email from Audible that they were offering this as a free download I considered it. When I saw that it was Jim Dale narrating it I downloaded it.

The Book:
From Google Books:
The Cricket on the Hearth is the third in Charles Dickens' series of Christmas classics that started with his beloved A Christmas Carol. In this tale the Peerybingle and Plummer families find themselves at odds with crotchety toymaker Mr. Tackleton, who hates children as much as he hates making toys.

My Thoughts:
I have discovered that with older classics I often do better listening to them than reading them. I’d never read this story by Dickens and the fact that Audible was offering it for free just before Christmas worked well for my listening plans. I was close to finishing my last audiobook and something short to listen to during Christmas week was perfect.

The narration by Jim Dale was the thing that made me download it. I could listen to him read me the dictionary.

It’s a light charming and predictable story but that’s exactly what I wanted to listen to this past week. I’m not sure why it’s considered a Christmas story since Christmas is never mentions and the only time indicator puts the story in January but whatever.

It’s a Victorian Shakespearean melodrama complete with an evil villain, a good hearted toymaker, his blind daughter and a few other characters who range from likeable, to unlikeable and downright funny.

It was a good diversion to finish out the year and besides . . . Jim Dale.

2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5 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.

Read more...

Blog Archive

My latest Photo a Day

See a photo a day on SuziQoregon's ShutterCal

  © Blogger template Webnolia by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP