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Audiobook – How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

>> Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy
Series: #1 in the How to Train Your Dragon series
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2003 for the book, 2006 for this audio edition
Length: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Read by: David Tennant
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a young Viking boy who manages to go from being known as “Hiccup the Useless” to being a hero.

Why I Read It:
I’d heard that this was a fun kids series and when I discovered that David Tennant narrated it I had to get it from the library.

The Book:
From the publisher:
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as "the Dragon Whisperer" ... but it wasn't always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and becomes a hero!

Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.

My Thoughts:
I do enjoy listening to the occasional children’s series on audio. So far the most successful choices have been those narrated by the amazing Jim Dale. When I heard that David Tennant narrated the How to Train Your Dragon series I decided to give it a try because I’d heard it was a fun series.

Let me say this. Before I’d even finished listening to the first CD of this book I went back to the library and got not only the next two books in CD format but I also picked up a print copy of this book so I could reread parts when I got home and also so I could see the illustrations,

Illustration from How to Train Your Dragon

David Tennant does a simply fabulous job of narrating this series!

Yes, it’s a middle grade book and the target audience is 8-12 years old but my inner 9 year old had a great time. I plan to make The Hubster listen to this on our next road trip because his not so inner 8 year old boy fits right into the target audience for this book.

I didn't even mind the sound effects and music between chapters because while those things are normally a distraction for me they fit with the style and typical audience,

The story was fun and simply a delight for my commute and running errands time for listening in the car. I didn't even mind traffic problems because I was giggling so much. I loved the character names, and the story. I learned some new insults that I’d like to try to work into my everyday conversation.
You shut up or I will tear you limb from limb and feed you to the gulls you winkle-hearted seaweed-brained limpet eating pig.
The books are short so they’re quick listens and for me they’ll make nice breaks between my typical audio mystery fare.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 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.

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Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

>> Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Genre: Science Fiction
Series: #1 in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series
Publisher: Accent Press
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 332
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
A story of time travel, history, adventure and plenty of humor along with a healthy dose of danger and a touch of romance.

Why I Read It:
It seemed like everyone in the LibraryThing 75 books group has been reading this book and enjoying it so I decided to give it a whirl.

The Book:
From the publisher

“History is just one damned thing after another” - Arnold Toynbee

A madcap new slant on history that seems to be everyone's cup of tea...

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting. Follow the catastrophe curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake ...

My Thoughts:
I don't get too caught up in the 'correct science' of time travel stories and I was encouraged to read this comment from the author at the beginning of the book:
I made all this up. Historians and physicists - please do not spit on me in the street.

I enjoyed the heck out of this one. It was fun and adventurous with some characters I liked and a few I despised. There were plenty of surprised along the way. Yes there are some huge leaps of logic, science and credulity but gosh darn it, it was fun.

Madeline Maxwell (Max) is invited by an old mentor to apply for a job at St. Mary’s and after a bit of a mysterious introduction she’s soon in training to become a member of the time traveling team.

Initially it all seems like a big fun adventure but soon the danger increases and she learns that it’s not all observing history and learning what really happened.

The book truly is just what the title suggests as “one damned thing after another” happens and I'm not going to say anything more because it would be spoilery. Mostly, I enjoyed the escapist story and will be reading the sequel.


3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #240

>> Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First Baptist Church
Portland, Oregon

First Baptist Church Portland, Oregon
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

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Weekend Update – The Thank Goodness for Long Weekends Edition

>> Sunday, May 25, 2014

Weekend Update

I finished three books since last week’s update.

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor was a fun time travel adventure and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. I totally blame my friends in LibraryThng’s 75 books group for this one. It seemed like everyone I know there was reading and enjoying it so I had to check it out.

Then I grabbed the next one of my stack of Graphic Novels I”ve got out from the library. Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity was just as good as the first volume. It answered some questions and raised a whole bunch of new ones. Luckily I've got the 3rd volume out from the library already.

I also finished listening to How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. I absolutely love David Tennant’s narration of this. I moved on to the second in the series (How to Be a Pirate). I need to figure out when I can make The Hubster listen to these. I really need an 8-12 year old kid to share these with but The Hubster is a close approximation.

I started reading Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone. I was due for a non-fiction read and this one about the early years of flight intrigued me. I haven’t read much so far so I don’t really have an opinion about it one way or another yet.

I also started the next book in the Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen. There is an awful lot going on in Purity of Vengeance and I’m needing to keep my focus on it which is why I haven’t read much of Birdmen yet.

Yesterday was busy and today we’re off to Seattle to go to a baseball game so I’m holding out in hopes of some major reading time on Monday if I’m going to get much this weekend.

As usual, the random phone photos from this week:

I just really liked how this one turned out

purple flower


My current crochet project is a baby afghan for a friend at work. I let her pick out the color yarn for something for her baby boy but she doesn't know what it is yet.
baby afghan


The birds have been very busy at our backyard feeders. They're a bunch of little yellow flying pigs.
busy bird feeders


On Friday the City of Portland was under a boil water order. Luckily my house is not on city water but I think the folks at my office building were rather zealous about the whole thing.
do not drink the water


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

>> Friday, May 23, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 272
Source: Copy provided by the publisher


The Short Version:
A.J. Fickry is a widowed, curmudgeonly bookshop owner on a small Martha’s Vineyard-ish island who has his life and a few other lives changed in remarkable and lovely ways.

Why I Read It:
When my friend, The Surly Bookseller talks about a book the way she did this one I know I need to read it.

The Book:
From the publisher:

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over,

My Thoughts:
There’s actually a little more to the publisher’s synopsis but that’s all you need to know.

Well, that and the fact that as soon as I finished this book I knew I’d be reading it again just so I could focus and highlight again all the small moments and phrases that spoke to my booklover’s heart.

This is just a lovely book. It’s got humor, sadness, joy and pain. It is utterly charming without being saccharine. I liked A.J despite his grumpiness. Amelia was just this side of too earnest at the beginning but I grew to love her. There is a hilarious scene early on when A.J. is telling her all his reason for not ordering various types of books.

Interspersed in between chapters are A.J’s notes about different books and stories and they are fun references to various classics and other books that often land on those “Books You Need to Read” lists.

As the book continued and some of the secondary characters became more important I found myself resenting the fact that I had to go to work instead of just sitting down and reading until I finished the book.

One of my favorite parts was when A.J and the Police Chief were discussing plans for a party”
“So it’s basically like a book party.”

“Yeah, sure.” Lambiase has never been to a book party.

“I hate book parties.” A.J. says.

“But you run the bookstore.” Lambaise says.

“It’s a problem.” A.J admits.

I fell in love with this book and it’s one I’ll be reading again. You should give it a try.


4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Nutshell Review: No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

>> Thursday, May 22, 2014


Photo Credit


No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

Genre: Fantasy
Series: Novella length prequel to Dorothy Must Die
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 135
Source: Purchased



The Book:
I recently purchased a copy of Danielle Paige's book Dorothy Must Die. Then I discovered that there was an ebook prequel novella available so I had to read it.

From the publisher:
Dorothy clicked her heels three times and returned to Kansas. The end . . . or was it? Although she's happy to be home with Aunt Em, Dorothy has regretted her decision to leave Oz ever since. So when a mysterious gift arrives at her doorstep on her sixteenth birthday, Dorothy jumps at the chance to return to the glittering city that made her a star.

Setting off for the Emerald City, Dorothy is eager to be reunited with her friends: the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. But she soon discovers that in the time she's been gone, Oz has changed—and Dorothy has, too. This time, the yellow brick road leads her down a very different path. And before her journey is through, Dorothy will find that the line between wicked and good has become so blurred she's not sure which side of it she's on.

My Thoughts:
I not only enjoyed this novella all on its own merits but I'm not even more excited about reading Dorothy Must Die. Even though I hated the audio production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that I listened to a few weeks ago I was glad that I chose to re-experience L. Frank Baum's original story. This novella is definitely a follow up to the book and not the movie of The Wizard of Oz. There are characters and story from the original book that are referenced in this and while it’s probably not necessary to be familiar with Baum’s book it helps.

While Dorothy has been back from Oz two years, Time has passed differently in Oz so when she returns things have changed. By the end of this novella, Dorothy has changed quite a bit too. I am looking forward to continuing the story in Dorothy Must Die.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Wordless Wednesday #239

>> Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Riverwalk Stairs
San Antonio, Texas

Riverwalk Stairs
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Bout of Books 10 Wrap Up Post

>> Monday, May 19, 2014

Bout of Books 10 ended last night. It was my third Bout of Books and I've got the next one marked on my calendar the week of August 18-24.

Bout of Books

Once again I had a great time having a reason to say 'not this week, it's bout of books and I'm going to read instead".

I had 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:
  • 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

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 6 books during the week.

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

I didn't do any 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:
  • Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak
  • No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
  • Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity by Jeff Lemire

I also read or listened to this book:
  • How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (narrated by David Tennant

All in all it was a great week of reading and talking about books with a great bunch of bloggers. I'm looking forward to Bout of Books 11 in August marked on my calendar. I hope you'll join me!

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Weekend Update – The Not This Week, I’m Reading Edition

>> Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weekend Update


This has been a great week of reading for me. I've been focusing on getting as much reading time in my normal routine as I could because of Bout of Books. Yes it means that I've let some of the To Do list slide but that’s what next week is for, right? Besides I was still getting over being sick so reading as much as I could was therapeutic. Of course I’m also piling up the reviews to write but I can work on those tomorrow. Today is for reading and listening to my audiobook because it’s the last day of Bout of Books and that’s why I got most of the errands and chores done yesterday.

I finished reading Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak and honestly the only reason I finished it was that I owed a review to two different sites. If not for that I would have set it aside. Read her first book though. The Winter Palace is good.

Next I read the novella prequel to Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. It’s called No Place Like Oz and I liked it a lot. It tells how Dorothy went back to Oz and how things changed there and for her. It has me looking forward to diving in to Dorothy Must Die.

I also read The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry which I adored. There are so many quotable lines in this book. It's just a delight for booklovers.

My current books is Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, It’s the first in a time travel series and it’s a lot of fun so far.

I am still enjoying the heck out of listening to How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell which is narrated by David Tennant. It is just making me smile. I hope to finish listening to it today and I already have the next in the series ready to go. I also have the books checked out from the library so I can page through them in between listening. That way I don’t miss the illustrations and visual stuff from the book and I can re-read the best parts.

Of course I can’t leave without a few random photos from the week:

My neighbor's pink dogwood tree is just gorgeous. I look forward to it blooming every year.

pink dogwood


Luckily for me the weather was great this week. I was able to spend some quality time reading on the front porch when I got home from work almost every day.
front porch reading time


Even the mornings were pretty this week. I walk by the Central branch of the Multnomah County Library on my way to work and this week it was so tempting to just stop and sit on one of the benches to read instead of going to work.
Central Library wall and benches

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak

>> Friday, May 16, 2014

Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak

Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 375
Source: Copy provided by the publisher

The Short Version:
As she nears death, Catherine the Great of Russia recalls her life and experiences.

Why I Read It:
I liked the author’s first book a lot and hoped this second one would be just as good.

The Book:
From the publisher

As the book opens, the charismatic monarch is in her final hours. From the fevered depths of her mind, Catherine recalls the fateful trajectory of her turbulent life: her precarious apprenticeship as Russia’s Grand Duchess, the usurpers who seek to deprive her of a crown, the friends who beg more of her than she was willing to give, and her struggle to know whom to trust and whom to deceive to ensure her survival.

“We quarrel about power, not about love,” Catherine would write to the great love of her life, Grigory Potemkin, but her days were balanced on the razor’s edge of choosing her head over her heart. Power, she learns, is about resolve, strategy, and direction; love must sometimes be secondary as she marshals all her strengths to steer her volatile country into a new century and beyond—to grow the Romanov empire, to amass a vast fortune, and to control a scheming court in order to become one of history’s greatest rulers..

My Thoughts:
I did enjoy Stachniak's first book (The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great).

In that one the life at the Russian court and the early years of Catherine the Great's life there was explored through the eyes of a palace servant. I had been looking forward to the author's second novel about Catherine ever since. Unfortunately this one was a disappointment.

The servant from the first novel (Varvara) does make some minor appearances in this book but it's not told from her perspective. In this one Catherine tells her own story.

It opens with Catherine suffering the stroke that would take her life. As she struggles to understand what is happening to her and as she receives medical treatment she flashes back to her life and experiences.

The result is a choppy and disconnected series of scenes in which names and nicknames are tossed out, often without context. It would be difficult for a reader who is not already familiar with Catherine's story to follow and make some of the connections. It is also frustrating for a reader who is familiar with Catherine to have the book focus on the events and parts of Catherine's life that the author has chosen to highlight. While much of Catherine's effort to find a lasting love is chronicled, it is done in a way that seems distant and aloof considering that Catherine is supposed to be telling her own story. Also much of her political rather than personal life is ignored or glossed over.

While I do still recommend Stachniak's first book, this one just didn't work well for me.

2 stars Rating 2/5

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Audiobook – The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson

>> Thursday, May 15, 2014

Audiobook – The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson

Audiobook – The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson

Genre: Mystery
Series: #5 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2009
Length: 9 hours, 35 minutes
Read by: George Guidall
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Sheriff Walt Longmire goes undercover in a nearby town to prove the innocence of a woman accused of killing her husband.

Why I Read It:
This is one of my favorite audio series and it has been several months since I listened to the last one.

The Book:
From the Author’s website:
Wade Barsad, a man with a dubious past, locked his wife Mary's horses in their barn and then burned it down. In return she shot him in the head six times—or so the story goes. Sheriff Walt Longmire doesn't believe that Mary's confession is the truth, and he's determined to dig deeper. Posing as an insurance claims investigator, Walt goes undercover and soon discovers that the population of an entire town might have wanted Wade dead, including a beautiful Guatemalan bartender and a rancher with a taste for liquor but not so much for honesty.
My Thoughts:
It's been a while since I listened to a Walt Longmire book. It was nice to be back in Wyoming with Walt and having George Guidall narrating.

I enjoy this series so much and it's one of those that to me is perfect blend of author, characters and narrator. This audio edition includes an interview with the author by the narrator.
I knew that people made noises in jail, whether they were conscious of it or not. Angry sounds, boisterous sounds, sad sounds--some even sang--but as she continued, I could hear it was the wounded sound, the tone that caused the stillness in my hands and the cooling in my face.

The one I couldn't stand.
This time around there is not much presence from the usual supporting cast. Even though some of it is set on home turf in Durant, much of the action takes place in a small town where Walt is working undercover for the first time in his career. It's a different role for him and a tough one to do when you're the well known sheriff from a neighboring county.

Nevertheless it's a well done story. It alternates present time with flashbacks from several days earlier and chronicles both Walt's initial interactions with murder suspect Mary Barsad and his foray into working undercover to prove her innocence.

As a long time reader (listener) of the series I trusted Walt's instinct that Mary wasn't a cold blooded killer but as for who set her up there were plenty of suspects to choose from.

Along the way there was the usual moments of humor that I love in the way the character of Walt tells the story. There was also bits of insight into Walt's past which has gradually been filled in a little bit at a time as the series has progressed.

I missed some of the home town folks who had less of a presence in this one but it was still an excellent book.

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.

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Wordless Wednesday #238

>> Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Downtown Portland at Sunset

Downtown Portland at Sunset
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Bout of Books 10 Goals and Updates

>> Monday, May 12, 2014

I am participating in my third Bout of Books this week. I did my first one in August and again in January. I 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, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th 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 10 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 as I have previously 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 busy so I'll have that day pretty much 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.
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (Highly recommended by many in my LibraryThing 75 books group)
  • The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (highly recommended by many people I trust)
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (I recently listened to the original Wizard of Oz so it's time for a retelling)
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
  • Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity by Jeff Lemire (next up for me in the Sweet Tooth series)
  • Sweet Tooth Vol. 3: Animal Armies by Jeff Lemire (and the next)
  • Jack of Fables Vol. 2: Jack of Hearts by Bill Willingham (next in this spin-off from Fables)'
  • Jack of Fables Vol. 3: The Bad Prince (and the next)
  • Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince (next in the Fables series)
On Audio I'm listening to How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (narrated by David Tennant). It's short so i might be able to finish it and move on to the next in this series because it's making me laugh out loud and I feel a binge listen of this series might be in order.

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:
I managed to get about 30 minutes of audiobook time during my commute time today. As for reading I had a pretty good day. I got a total of 3.25 hours in today. The two hours on the porch when I got home from work was the best part.

Total number of books completed this week: 1

Thoughts on today’s reading:
I finished the last 210 pages of Empress of the Night and I'll admit that skimming happened because it's just not that good. I started a novella called Back to Oz which is a prequel to Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. I only read the first chapter though.

Other Bout of Books Stuff:
I stopped by a few friends blogs to cheer them on and visited a few new to me blogs. I passed on the mini-challenges for today but I did catch a bit of the Twitter Chat.


Tuesday:
How much I read or listened to today:
Again I got about 30 minutes of audiobook time during my commute time today. As for reading it was another pretty good day. I got a total of 2.5 hours in today including a little over an hour on the front porch when I got home from work

Total number of books completed this week: 2

Thoughts on today’s reading:
I finished the novella called Back to Oz which is a prequel to Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. I'm really glad I read this before starting Dorothy Must Die. It's all about how Dorothy goes back to Oz and the big changes both for Oz and for Dorothy.

I started reading The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin but only read the first few pages before bed.

Other Bout of Books Stuff:
I visited some friends blogs to cheer them on and also checked in with a few ne to me bloggers. I passed on the mini-challenges for today.


Wednesday:
How much I read or listened to today:
2.75 hours of reading
30 min of audiobook time

Total number of books completed this week: 2

Thoughts on today’s reading:
I'm really loving both of my books right now. How To Train Your Dragon is just a fun listen. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of those books that made me resent having to go to work yesterday because I truly just wanted to keep reading rather than getting off the train downtown.

Other Bout of Books Stuff:
I did my usual visiting of my friends blogs and a few new to me blogs. Once again I passed on the mini challenge for the day.


Thursday:
How much I read or listened to today:
1.25 hours of reading
45 min of audiobook time

Total number of books completed this week: 3

Thoughts on today’s reading:
I finished The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and I LOVED it!! Such a delightful story and so many extra special quotable moments for booklovers.

I'm still listening to How to Train Your Dragon and it's just fun.

I started reading Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. This is a time-travel story that comes highly recommended by many of the folks in my LibraryThing 75 Books group so I'm glad to be finally reading it

Other Bout of Books Stuff:
Once again I visited a few of my friends blogs and a couple of new to me blogs. I still haven't done any of the mini challenges but today's have me intrigued. I just need to find the time to do one or both of them.


Friday:
How much I read or listened to today:
2.25 hours of reading time
30 min of audiobook time

Total number of books completed this week: 3

Thoughts on today’s reading:
I'm really enjoying Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. It's an interesting and fun take on time travel.

Today was the last of my commute time audiobook time for the week so I brought the ipod in the house. Need to find some listening time this weekend so I can finish off How to Train Your Dragon and count it for this week's reading.

Other Bout of Books Stuff:
I had every intention of doing one of the mini challenges but I got busy and didn't get it done. I may end up not doing any this time around.

I also didn't do any blog visiting. Will have to make up some of that over the weekend


Saturday:
How much I read or listened to today:
about an hour and a half of reading time

Total number of books completed this week: 3

Thoughts on today’s reading:
Today was get all the errands and stuff done day so I didn't get much reading time but I did set myself up to have lots of time to read on Sunday so I can finish the week strong.

Read more of Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. This is fun. Hope I can finish it on Sunday

Other Bout of Books Stuff:
As I said - this was a out of the house and offline most of the day kind of day so no mini challenges or blog visiting.


Sunday:
See the Wrap-up Post on Monday May 19th

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Weekend Update - The Lost Week Edition

>> Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekend Update



Last weekend I was in San Antonio with a bunch of friends and then I got sick so the rest of this past week has been a bit of a blur.

San Antonio was fun and beautiful. I love the Riverwalk. Parts of it are bustling and busy and fun and other parts are quiet and peaceful and relaxing. I had a great weekend with the best bunch of girlfriends ever.

on the Riverwalk
on the Riverwalk

The being sick part? Not so fun. Also all The Hubster’s fault. He gave me the cold in the first place but over the course of the week it went from cold to flu to bronchitis to shoot me now. I haven’t been reading much because my attention span has been pretty much non-existent.

I did manage to finish and post reviews for All the Light We Cannot See which is simply lovely and Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire which continues the always amazing Fables series.

I also finished listening to The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson. This fifth book in the Walt Longmire series was a good one and the audio edition included an interview with the author.

My new audiobook is just a whole lot of fun. I’m listening to How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell which is narrated by David Tennant. It’s FABULOUS!!. I also picked up the book at the library because even though the audio is wonderful on it’s own I like seeing the visual stuff from the book too. Fortunately my library has all the David Tennant audios of this series because I definitely plan to listen to and read along at the same time to the rest.

Tomorrow is the kickoff of Bout of Books 10 so I’ll be pushing to maximize my reading time this next week. I've got a stack of graphic novels out from the library as well as a bunch of books on the shelf and my ereaders all ready for it. It’s not too late to join in so get over to the Bout of Books blog and check it out!!

More photos:
at the Alamo
at the Alamo

ducklings!
Ducklings!
Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Nutshell Review: Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham

>> Friday, May 9, 2014


Photo Credit


Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham

Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Series: #9 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 200
Source: Library



The Book:
This volume 9 is a compilation of issues 52-59 of the comic series.

From the publisher:
The Best-Laid Plans

The free Fables living in the mundane world have struck a decisive blow against the Adversary, destroying one of his most valuable assests at the very heart of his empire - and setting the stage for an all-out war between the worlds in the process. Now, while the rule of the Homelands licks his wounds and gathers his forces, the denizens of Fabletown have a rare chance to savor the brief peace their victory has brought them. Everyone, however, knows that this is just the calm before the storm - and that even the winds themselves will have to choose sides before it's over.

My Thoughts:
In the last volume of the series The Adversary was dealt a blow. This time around he's gathering his forces and making plans.

Back in New York the Fables are enjoying a peaceful time but are a bit unnerved when an envoy from the Adversary shows up. Hansel is clearly not a nice guy.

Bigby Wolf, Snow White and thier kids visit Bigby's Father and chaos and conniving follow.

I love this series and it just gets better and better. This volume is a good mix of action and setting the stage for future storylines. The final section is a series of short stories answering fun questions from readers of the series,.

If you haven't started this series you should.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

>> Thursday, May 8, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 546
Source: Copy provided by the publisher


The Short Version:
A blind French girl and a German boy with a fascination for radios parallel stories intersect in Saint Malo France at the end of World War II.

Why I Read It:
An extended review in Shelf Awareness prompted me to add this book to my reading list.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

My Thoughts:
This was a beautifully told story and a book I highly recommend. I was enchanted by the prose and the characters of Marie-Laure and Werner from the very beginning.

The book opens as the allies are bombing Saint-Malo in August of 1944 in an effort to rout the Nazi soldiers holed up in the ancient walled city. Marie-Laure and Werner are both there. Then the story shifts to 1934 and begins to fill in their parallel stories. There are time and location shifts throughout the book in short chapters that shift back and forth between the two main characters and their stories that will eventually intersect.

The story is a complex one with a broad scope. Werner’s story is that of the young boys and men of Hitter’s empire and how they were indoctrinated and used. Marie-Laure’s story is that of the civilians of France as the German occupation and Allied invasion changed their home and lives. Mare-Laure’s father’s story is that of a man trying to keep his daughter safe and also do his part to protect the treasures of the Louvre from the greedy hands of the Nazis.

It’s charming, beautiful, tragic and hopeful all at the same time. Don’t miss this one.


4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #237

>> Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bath Time

White Winged Dove in Bird Bath
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

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Weekend Update - The Random Recent Photos Edition

>> Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Update

It's been a weirdly busy couple of weeks. I realized the other day that I haven't finished a book since April 16th. Busy at work and away from home for several weekends in a row has me out of my reading routine. I'm looking forward to kicking that reading mojo back into gear next week and be in the swing of things in time for the Bout of Books starting on May 12th

In the meantime here are a few random photos from the past few weeks that I haven't posted yet.

Mt. Hood from the Pittock Mansion
Mt. Hood from the Pittock Mansion




Mt. St. Helens from The Pittock Mansion
Mt. St. Helens from The Pittock Mansion


Cherry trees in bloom on the waterfront
Cherry trees in bloom on the waterfront





And here are a couple that I posted on Instagram recently that I like a lot and wanted to share again here.

I cannot live without books
Exactly



Tulips



Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Nutshell Review: Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire

>> Friday, May 2, 2014


Photo Credit


Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire

Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Science Fiction, Grapic Novel
Series: #1 in the Sweet Tooth series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 123
Source: Library



The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-5 of the comic series.

From the publisher:
The first five issues of Jeff Lemire's acclaimed new series introduce Gus, a rare new breed of human/animal hybrid who was raised in isolation following a pandemic that struck a decade earlier. Now, with the death of his father, he's left to fend for himself . . . until he meets a hulking drifter named Jepperd, who promises to help him. Jepperd and Gus set out on a post-apocalyptic journey into the devastated American landscape to find 'The Preserve,' a refuge for hybrids.

My Thoughts:
This was both gritty and charming all at the same time. In a post-apocalyptic North America the young part deer, part human child Gus has an innocence that seems extreme but fits with his isolated upbringing. The big man he meets up with may be good but I'm not completely sure. He does save Gus from bounty hunters but can he be trusted?

The story is interesting and the artwork while a bit rough in places fits the mood and theme of the story.

I'm looking forward to continuing with this series.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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