Monthly Archives: September 2011

Drawing My Own Conclusions: Comic Book Reviews by a Non-Comic Connoisseur

I know I have talked quite a bit about comic books lately, but I just can’t help it. They are all so new and exciting to me. I know, I know, once again late to the party, but I am here now! Now, there are plenty of people out there who know a heck of a lot more about this than I do writing comic book reviews, but I am hoping my newbie status will be charming (or at least not as intimidating. Have you seen some of these sites? Wow!). Anyway. This week I read two of the new 52 from DC Comics. I am dismally unaware of superhero history so I am happy about this relaunch. The heroes and there stories are starting fresh.

First up, Batgirl

Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Gotham City’s police commissioner. She is also Batgirl. Issue 1 takes place three years after Barbara was shot and paralyzed during a home invasion by the Joker. Babs is back on her feet, literally, but soon discovers her superhero skills are a bit rusty. While she manages to stop a double homicide, she finds she is not so prepared to deal with The Mirror.

I really liked the first issue of the new Batgirl. I think the cover is beautiful and the art between the covers is just as wonderful. Barbara Gordon is young and cute, but Batgirl is stunning and fully clothed, which has just got to make fighting crime so much easier! As for the story, there was a lot going on in a small package, but it wasn’t confusing. I really enjoyed Batgirl’s inner dialogue and little pep talks and her motorcycle is pretty darn cool! The cliffhanger ending really surprised me, which I suppose is exactly the point of a cliffhanger. I will definitely pick up the next issue because I want to know:

1. Why is Barbara Gordon on The Mirror’s hit list?
2. How will the tense scene at the end be resolved (that’s all I am saying, no spoiler here.)
3. How will Barbara Gordon juggle her new roommate and her secret Batgirl life?

I definitely give the new Batgirl two thumbs up.

It’s getting late and I am daydreaming about my vacation, so you’ll have to wait to hear my thoughts on the new Justice League.

Happy Reading!



Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel Everyone But Me Has Read

Yay! It’s Top Ten Tuesday again! I have the folks over at The Broke and The Bookish to thank for this weekly bit of list-making fun. This week it’s true confession time (sheepishly shuffles feet). That’s right, here is a list of books that just about everyone else has read but I have not. I have divided my list into two parts-books I am A-OK about not reading and probably never will and books that I really want to read or feel I should read.

Part 1: Haven’t read and feel just fine about it

1. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Bleh.

2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson. Not for me.

3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. No thanks.

4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Sigh.

5. Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. True Blood is enough Sookie for me, though I understand the show is nothing like the books.

Part 2: Haven’t read, but really should/will try to read/on my TBR list…

6. Eragon by Christopher Paolini. If only I could get my hands on a copy. They are never on the shelf at my library (the librarian side of me loves that, so I will patiently wait…)

7. The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series) by Michael Scott. These books are really popular with my teens right now!

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. There are a surprising number of classics that I have not read and I am generally okay with that, but this one shames me. I was named for a character for goodness sakes! Maybe I’ll read this when I am done with Emma

Ok, I lied. There is a Part 3 to this list.

Books I am on the fence about:

9. The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I have heard great things, but I am off the vamps for a while. Maybe someday.

10. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I feel like I should read it, but I might be okay with skipping it. But maybe I should? See? On the fence.

That’s all for me today (I am mentally preparing for my vacation).

Happy Reading!


Ahoy Mateys! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Seriously. September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Why not get into the spirit of the day?

You could get your own pirate persona using this Pirate Name Generator. I did! The code doesn’t seem to work perfectly, but you get the idea!

My pirate name is:
Red Morgan Kidd

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Even though you’re not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

You can change the language on your facebook page to English (Pirate). I did!

You can translate your homework into pirate speak using this English-Pirate Translator. I don’t miss homework!

And of course, I highly recommend you read or listen to an action-packed high-seas adventure tale. Maybe Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer? My fave!


Or some really cool nonfiction? Try A Thousand Years of Pirates by William Gilkerson.


 Ok all you scurvy bilge rats and kind readers, that is all from me.

Happy Reading!



My Comic Collection Gets a Reboot

Inspired by DC Comics’ decision to reboot all 52 of its continual series, I have given my comic book collection a face lift. I got rid of all the grubby (read: well-read, or much-loved) volumes, cancelled some not-so-popular titles, added some exciting new titles, and put up some fresh signage. I have a couple of clever coworkers to thank for the awesome new labels. See for yourself how cool this is:

What do those labels say, you ask? Well, here are a couple that I am most excited about:






Have you seen the new Aquaman?



The new Aquaman starts September 28th. I’ll be checking that one out!






That’s not the only new title in the collection.

I hear that Thor, the movie is awesome. Why not start reading the comic?




How about some Captain America action? Are you familiar with Deadpool? Talk about a crazy back story!




I’ll confess, I’m pretty excited about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!



Other new titles include Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and Stormwatch. Don’t worry, you can still find Archie, Betty, Betty and Veronica, Looney Tunes, Sonic, and the Simpsons! There’s something for everyone here.

Happy Reading!



On Not Feeling the Book Love

So it turns out that my reading rut is more of a reading funk! I am not totally in love with a book right now. You know what kind of love I am talking about? The kind where the daily business of your life is annoying because it is keeping you from the enjoying your amazing book. The kind of book love that keeps you up way past your bedtime, but who cares because you absolutely must keep reading. Yeah. That kind of book love. I don’t have it. I miss it. But I think there is too much going on right now for me to focus. Therefore, until further notice, I am only reading books with pictures in them. I will also be reading comic books. Here is my new TBR pile:

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

This graphic novel HAS NO WORDS! Yes, please.




Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

This is from the author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret so it is sure to be a treat.

Here is an interesting tidbit: this book is huge! It is over 600 pages long and weighs almost 3lbs (2lbs, 14.8 oz to be exact).


 The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelluci

I think I want to give this to my book club, so I am rereading it just to make sure.



Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

This is the first volume in a new adult graphic novel series. It comes highly recommend, and it is a book with pictures, so it’s going home with me today.



I am also taking the new Batgirl comic, a Deadpool comic, and the new Justice League comic and I am waiting for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. Heroes in a half-shell!

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Read Because of a Book Blogger


It’s time again for anther Top Ten Tuesday list! Special thanks, as always, to the hosts at The Broke and The Bookish  for organizing this weekly bit of bookish fun. In honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week we are listing the top ten books we read because of a book blogger. This is a tricky one for me. I honestly cannot keep track of where all my book recommendations come from. As a librarian I am constantly reading reviews from both professional publications and book blogs…things blur together after a while. My list would more accurately be called Ten Books I Have Read or Plan to Read Because Of What I Read About Them (Probably from a Book Blogger). But that is a ridiculous title, so here is a list of books. No bells or whistles today, just a list.

1. Divergent  by Veronica Roth. Loved it!

2. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Can’t wait!

3. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Really, really can’t wait!

4. Wither Lauren DeStefano. Disappointing and weird.

5. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. A unique take on the fairy world. I will eventually read the rest of the series.

6. Insight by Jamie Magee. This book has been blogged about a lot! It’s on my list.

7. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. A coworker recommended this one AND blogged about it

8. The Future of Us by Jay Asher. This is on the list because of a Facebook reviewer, Peace, Love, Teen Fiction

9. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Again, TBR

10. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin. I have it now!

Happy Reading!


Mondays with Megan and Phineas Gage: The Man With a Hole in His Head (Book Review)

Happy Monday everyone! Last week I talked a bit (ok, fine, a lot) about being stuck in a reading rut. So frustrating. Anyway, another great tip for getting out of a rut is to read nonfiction. That one is hard for me. I have never been a big reader of nonfiction. For years I have lived under the misconception that nonfiction is dry and boring. It turns out that I am very much wrong! My most recent experience with nonfiction was this:


Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman is anything but dry and boring.

Meet Phineas Gage, a 26-year old foreman of a construction gang. Gage and his crew are responsible for blasting through a granite bedrock in Cavendish, Vermont to make way for the railroad. It’s a dangerous and delicate process because gunpowder is highly unstable. Phineas learns first hand how dangerous gunpowder can be on the fateful day of September 13, 1848. Eyewitness accounts for of the gruesome accident are varied, but the end result is the same: Gage’s tamping iron (an iron bar, shaped like a spear that is three feet, seven inches long and weighs thirteen pounds) sets off an explosion and is propelled into and through Gage’s skull. Miraculously, the man survives, but according to friends and family his personality is completely changed. The book goes on to explore what medical and brain science was like over 150 years ago and the ways in which Phineas Gage’s bizarre accident contributed to science.

Here is a daguerreotype of Phineas and his tamping iron. After the accident he was never without the iron bar. Many years after his death his body and the tamping iron were exhumed. Gage’s skull and the tool that damaged it are both on display at the Countway Library of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts.

This book is an engrossing (and kind of gross) read. Scientific terms are defined within the text as well as in a glossary. Photographs and illustrations are plentiful and interesting and an index is included. This book is both an interesting read and an excellent resource for a school report.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton, How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Brigg, and Ancient Medical Technology: From Herbs to Scalpels by Michael Woods, all available right here at Rocky River Public Library.

Happy Reading!


Book Beginnings on Friday: A Gentleman of Fortune

Welcome back to Book Beginnings on Friday, a weekly meme hosted by A Few More Pages. Last week was my first BBOF and I have to confess that I gave up on the book. Actually, I am totally ok with that. Here is a new teaser:

                                  Richmond, Wednesday 27th May 1806

My Dear Eliza,

The great Mrs Lansdale is no more.
She was carried off on Tuesday night by a sudden seizure. It is a very heavy loss, for not the neighbourhood can no longer discuss the alarming symptoms of her nervous complaints, nor can it exclaim over every rumoured disagreement between the lady and her nephew.

So begins A Gentleman of Fortune or, The Suspicions of Dido Kent by Anna Dean. This sequel to Bellfield Hall is another charming Regency era mystery. Having read the first book, I knew I was in for a treat when I started the second.

I am sure I will be back to a YA book next week.

Happy Reading!


How to Get Out of a Reading Rut


I have about 20 library books at home, I have recently purchased at least that many, my TBR list is always growing, and I have a book club book that needs to be read and yet, I am in a rut. I think it started last week with Rot & Ruin. Despite my love of zombies and all the rave reviews, I could not get into this enormous book. I tried. Really, I did. So, over the weekend I set it aside (not quite ready to abandon it) and tried something else, and another something else and another…until I finally found a book that held my interest for more than ten pages. My relief was short-lived. Yesterday on my way to work I realized that I was not enjoying my audiobook. I spent all day feeling anxious about what I should pick to replace it. I am pleased to report that I once again found the book that I needed and I am completely free of my reading rut. What did I pick?

Currently reading: A Gentleman of Fortune, or, The Suspicions of Miss Dido Kent by Anna Dean. This sequel to Bellfield Hall is a charming Jane Austen-esque mystery.


Currently listening to: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling.

I chose each of these books for different reasons. I chose A Gentleman of Fortune because it is not YA. The majority of what I read is YA, and I love it. However, sometimes I miss reading a good “grown up” book. I have also been going through a bit of an anglophile phase (I have recently enjoyed the BBC show Sherlock, a young Sherlock Holmes mystery, and Downton Abbey), so it was a natural fit. The book is clever, charming, and fun and a welcome break from all the awesome YA dystopian I have been reading.

I chose Harry Potter because it is familiar. The sonorous voice of Jim Dale is just an added bonus. I have read all the books and seen all the movies and I know exactly what is going to happen next. I am enjoying the fact that I don’t have to concentrate to hard on what is going on. It’s a fun vacation for my brain.

I have found the perfect books to get me out of my rut, but there is one more thing I need to do. I need to return all of my library books and start fresh. It’s hard for me to do that, but it has to be done. Actually, I am kind of excited to have a whole new stack of books to neglect, I mean read. So, if you find yourself in a reading rut my advice to you is to ignore the books you currently have and choose something that is either familiar and comfortable or something you don’t normally read.

Happy Reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can’t Wait to Read

Did everyone have a nice holiday weekend? I worked on Saturday so I am looking forward to a short work week. It’s time again for another Top Ten Tuesday list. This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week the topic is the top ten sequels I am dying to read. My first thought was just look at last week’s list, but upon further consideration I have a brand new list for you.


Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins is book 3 in the Hex Hall series. Due out March 2012





There is no cover art for Endlessly by Kiersten White yet, but I am dying to read book 3 in the Paranormacly series. Due out sometime in 2012.





I am not sure if this is the final cover art since it looks nothing like the rest of the Spellman books. I can’t wait for Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. Book 5 in the Spellman Files series is due out in February 2012.





I keep looking for more information about The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi. I have read that it’s not a sequel to Ship Breaker, but companion book. I have read that it will be out in April 2012. No cover art, not much hype…I am not sure what to think. But, if it’s ever published I want to read it!



The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee is book 3 in the Mary Quinn Mystery series. I do enjoy a good Victorian mystery starring a spirited female detective/spy. This one is due out in the U.S. in February 2012.





Black Heart by Holly Black is the third book in The Curse Workers series. I can’t believe I have to wait until April 2012 for this one!





Broken Harbour by Tana French is another one with no cover art and an ever-changing release date. Book 4 in The Dublin Murder Squad series should hit the shelves in the U.S. in March 2012




Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey is the fourth book in The Drake Chronicles series (the Drakes are my favorite vampires). From what I can tell this one will be more about Lucy and Nicholas. I am so excited that I only have to wait until the end of October for this one!



Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles is the final book in the Perfect Chemistry series, starring the smokin’ hot bad-boy Fuentes brothers. We finally get Luis’ story. This one is out now, I am just waiting my turn. Soon, very soon.



10. Finally, I am also dying to get  Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, Frost by Wendy Desol, Crossed by Ally Condie, and The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I hope you read that really fast like it was all one title. No pictures because then I would have to list them individually, making this a Top 13 list, which I just can’t do two weeks in a row…

Happy Reading!