Tag Archives: Stephen King

Let’s Celebrate: I’m Reading Again!

I’ve been feeling rather self-congratulatory lately, because YES! I’ve started reading again! And by reading, I don’t mean my comfort listens of Agatha Christie mysteries. I mean new-to-me novels.

Yes, I’m back in my reading seat. Which alternates right now between my sofa and my bed. Neither feels ideal, so I have a feeling I’ll be spending a bit of time rearranging things furniture-wise.

But still—I’m reading!

Here’s what I recently finished:

The House on Cold Hill

The House on Cold Hill by Peter James. Peter James writes mostly mysteries, none of which I’d read before (I rectified that after I finished The House on Cold Hill by putting a hold on some of his previous books). The House on Cold Hill is a standalone, and as you might be able to tell from the cover, it’s a haunted house book.

I like a good haunted house book, although I haven’t read that many in this genre. I definitely enjoyed this one. I read the occasional horror, and one thing I find is that often, what’s labelled as “horror” is really all about the gore. I prefer horror stories that scare the crap out of me without diving into too much gore. The House on Cold Hill is that kind of book. It has a slow, almost soothing build-up and of course I ended up finishing it late at night, which increased the scary quotient quite a bit.

Opening Belle

Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry. Yes, I’ve actually managed to read a fairly new book for once! Not only that, but it’s apparently already been optioned by Reese Witherspoon …

But really, how could I resist? It’s not that often I get to read a book where the protagonist bears my name (well, okay, so she’s “Isabelle” but people often call her Belle, which works for me). Plus there were certain things about her life that really resonated with me (not, however, her salary—to that, I can only say “if only!”)

It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I particularly liked learning about women on Wall Street—and it’s amazing how caveman-like the environment continues to be. I think this will make a good movie, although there were a couple of things about the ending that didn’t particularly thrill me. I won’t say anymore, though, because they’re definitely on the spoiler side.

I’m looking forward to settling back into reading again. Here’s what I might (or might not, because I’m persnickety that way) be reading in the next few days/weeks:

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. I was at the library a few weeks ago picking up some holds so I decided to browse the New Books section. I came across the trade paperback copy of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. I’m not sure what prompted me to pick it up—it’s not in my usual genres of mystery, horror, fantasy or science fiction. But the cover was so obviously of a bookish nature. And then there’s the “Readers” in the title.

So I flipped it open and began reading, and I liked what I read.  Such a quirky bookish book! Hopefully I’ll get to it before I have to return it (I’ve already renewed it once).

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories by Stephen King. I’m looking forward to dipping into this one, especially since I’ve started a re-listen of King’s On Writing in the hopes of getting myself back on the writing track, so dear Uncle Stevie has been on my mind a fair bit. (I love listening to On Writing, partly for the inspiration and partly because King narrates it himself, and he does some great voices). And maybe the best part of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams will be the forward King’s written for each of the stories that are included in the collection, which details why he came to write that particular story. I love stuff like that—it’s like getting a lovely peak straight into an author’s “writing mind”.

The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney. This was sent to me by the author; I don’t normally accept a lot of review books that come my way, but the storyline for this one was very intriguing:

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon a Latin palindrome embedded with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two global conspiracies dovetail to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The real identity of Christopher Columbus.

Glen Craney also sent me a link to an instant preview of the book, which was great, as I always like to read the first chapter or two before saying yes to a review book. I took a look, and liked what I read. And while I’m not big on historical fiction, things change when you throw in a modern-day component, plus mystery and a great deal of suspense.

So this is what’s (tentatively) on my reading agenda right now. But no matter what, I know I’m back on the reading track, and that’s definitely something this particular writer is celebrating!

Snapshot: June 10, 2015

Time: 9:26 p.m.

Feeling: Pretty good. Probably a good thing that I didn’t write my Snapshot yesterday, when I was feeling rather bummed out. Today? Much better.

Eating: Nothing spectacular to report today. I do have an organic steak defrosting right now. I had a mostly-veggie dinner earlier and sadly, this is my later-in-the-evening snack. Sadly, because I’ve been trying to kick the late-night eating habit but it’s too hard.

Drinking: It’s too hard because of the wine. I like to have a glass of Malbec at nights, but I don’t like to drink wine without food. Quite the dilemma, no?

Reading: I’m still reading Misery for #MiseryRAL but haven’t gotten too much further into the book yet.

I spent some time today reading a bit more of Gideon by Alex Gordon. I’m past the historical chapters, so just diving into the present-day scenes. It’s been very interesting, and so far I can see it living up to the blurb on the back of the book:

Gideon blurb

Listening: I just finished Peter Clines’ The Fold this morning and all I can say is: go read it if you like sci-fi thrillers!! It was so good. I like how Clines gives us the science without it being too academic or overwhelming. And the ending! I was on the edge of my seat (actually, I was running/walking at the time—even though I haven’t been bringing an audiobook with me on my walks, I decided to this morning because I only had about half an hour to go and I just had to find out what happened. Luckily, I finished the audiobook before it got dark and cold and the skies started spitting rain …)

thefold

I really liked the protagonist, Mike Erikson, and I’m hoping we’ll get to see him in another book. Ray Porter’s narration was stellar. I definitely recommend this one in audio.

Writing: I finally “got” the short story i was working on way back in April when I was trying to write a short story a week (and then my mom broke her hip and my time and daily schedule went out the window). I’d written down the first paragraph a few weeks ago, and yesterday the rest of it came to me, so that was nice. I haven’t had a chance yet to write it out, but I did capture notes so I wouldn’t forget anything.

I still have to get the first 20 pages of my dark fantasy ready for my workshop course with Kelley Armstrong next month … I’m definitely procrastinating!

Working: I’ve got an index due next week, some more articles, and I’m working on the book marketing stuff, of course.

I’ve also decided to work on something fairly large as a complement to the book marketing: a site for readers. Not a Bookriot-type of site, but one for those readers who aren’t already blogging about books or a part of the online book community, but who do like to go online to get information about books. I think a site like that would be excellent for featuring book bloggers too, so I’m working on incorporating weekly features that will promo book bloggers somehow into my ideas as well.

Since I tend to try for too big too soon, which just overwhelms me, right now I’m developing the features I want to have, but I’m going to begin implementing them a bit at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. Wish me luck, because I’m going to need it!

Stress Relief: I’ve been doing quite well! I think the walking has a lot to do with it. I’m juggling a lot of things but so far I’ve been quite good at keeping the overwhelm at bay. Hopefully I can keep it up!

Snapshot: June 2, 2015

Time: 3:19 pm

Feeling: A little disappointed. I worked late last night, which meant I was late getting to bed, which means I woke up later than I have been recently … which means I didn’t have my morning walk.

The plan is to go for a walk when Dylan’s at his dance class. Only problem is, I’ll be carrying my handbag so I don’t know how pleasurable it will be walking and lugging that thing around with me at the same time …

Eating: Ward recently made this Thai Celery Salad with Peanuts, and when I tasted it, I said, “We absolutely have to add cooked shrimp to this!” (Notice the we? *cough*) So he made it again, only this time he added a bag of cooked shrimp, which he chopped into half-inch pieces.

And I was right. It IS delicious! A perfect summer salad. So if you do want to give the recipe a try, I’d suggest you add shrimp for an entreé-ready dish.

Thai Celery and Shrimp Salad

Drinking: I really could use another coffee. Might make another decaf.

Reading:

misery

Why, Misery, of course, for Care’s #miseryRAL readalong this month! Anyone else joining in on the readalong fun?

Listening:

thefold

This would be a classic example for an article entitled “Why Newsletter Marketing Works”. (Or maybe it’s just an example of how much of a consumer pushover I am …). I just received an email from Audible telling me that Peter Clines’s new book, The Fold, is now available in audio. I didn’t even realize he had a new book out! So of course I had to scoot over and spend last month’s credit on it, because I’d enjoyed his previous book, 14, so much.

Working: I’m a little afraid if I type out everything I’m working on, I’ll immediately crash into overwhelm. On the bright side, aside from three legal articles I need to get done for Thursday, much of what I’m doing has to do with the book marketing for Booktrope and it’s very, very enjoyable. It’s just that there’s SO MUCH TO DO. Argh.

Writing: And then it dawned on me last night, my writing workshop course with Kelley Armstrong starts mid-July which is only six weeks away. I hadn’t realized it was coming up so fast. I need to have the first 20 pages of my dark fantasy ready for workshopping by the end of this month!

Procrastinating: So of course, with all the work I have to do, I spent a pleasurable two hours organizing my Goodreads shelves. It kind of makes me feel productive. Sort of.

The rest of today: I have nearly two more hours to get stuff done, and then it’s off to hip hop class with Dylan. During which I may, or may not, take my walk. I should, because my Instagram is missing its #dailywalk photo. Or so I think.

[TSS] Bookish Bliss: Readalongs

I’m SO glad I’ve discovered how much fun it is to read a book in the company of others. Fun because reading is still a very solitary thing (which I also love) but when you’re doing a readalong, it’s like being able to take a trip down the hall to the office water cooler (aka Twitter, Facebook and blog posts) for a quick chat, but with an added bonus: you certainly won’t be discussing the weather!

I’m joining in on three readalongs this month and next, with a fourth one coming in June. (One of the readalongs, alas, I’m already behind on (as in, just got the book haven’t read a thing yet, and it’s been a go for twelve days already now), so maybe I shouldn’t actually say I’m joining in on that one …)

So, first up:

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Readalong

windmeup

I’m really really excited about this one—you can read all about it on Jill’s blog. Murakami is top on my list of “authors I want to read but oh my God they’re a bit on the intimidating side aren’t they?” and I’m going to need all the hand-holding I can get. (Strange Library doesn’t really count, because it’s more of a novella, plus it has lots of illustrations so it felt a little like reading a graphic novel or maybe a picture book for grown-ups. Although length probably doesn’t mean anything when it comes to Murakami, now that I think about it, because I’ve also read two Murakami short stories and let me just say, one of them flew right over my head. As in whoosh. I fared a little bit better with the other one.)

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle also made it to the Guardian’s list of “most disturbing novels” and after reading why it made it to the list I know there will definitely be some scenes I’ll be reading with eyes half-closed while quickly turning the pages. Because I’m squirmish like that. (My spell check is telling me that’s not a word and I should be using squeamish but squirmish feels right to me.) I have a feeling Jill is the perfect person to be reading a squirmish novel with …

So do come join us if you’re in the mood for tackling Murakami! It’s an informal readalong that runs from April 15 to May 31, so there’s lots and lots of time to read the book. The hashtag for this one is #windmeup.

And then some science fiction:

The Dune Readalong

Starting April 19, Suey, Jenni and Kami are holding a Dune readalong. I have had Dune, by Frank Herbert, on my to-read list for a very long time now. I can remember when I was a kid seeing my mom read it.

We used to have these weekly reading sessions where my sisters and I would all pile onto her bed with her, each of us with our own book, happily reading together. My mom doesn’t read fiction any more now, but when I was growing up she was a huge mystery, thrillers and SF reader. I grew up with Agatha Christie, John Le Carré, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov scattered all over the house. So I do come by my genre leanings honestly (maybe it’s even hereditary!).

And I had to smile because this cover that Suey posted with the sign-up post:

Dune_Herbert

is the very same cover of the copy of Dune that I remember my mom reading! I love that she picked this cover instead of the one that graces the more modern edition.

There will also be three Twitter chats, which sound like they’ll be fun. The Twitter hashtag for this one is #DuneRAL. If Dune‘s been on your to-read list, too, I hope you’ll join in!

The one I missed (but maybe not):

Cloud Atlas Readalong

This is the one I’ve kind of dropped the ball on—it started back on April 1—but I’m still hoping to start Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell this month, and maybe even join in some of the discussion posts. Cloud Atlas is another one of those “I’m kind of intimated by this” books, although unlike Haruki Murakami, it’s not the author himself I find intimidating, just the book. I know this because I also want to read The Bone Clocks and I’m not intimidated by the idea of reading that one at all.

(Can you all tell, by the way, this is my year for reading outside my comfort zone?)

Hosted by Katie and April, the sign-up post is here, and the Twitter hashtag is #CloudAtlasAlong.

And coming in June …

The Misery readalong, hosted by Care! This is definitely going to be my year for reading Stephen King. I love the guy but I’ve really only read his earlier novels, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

I haven’t read Misery yet so this will be a first-time read for me. Haven’t seen the movie, either, although I always picture Kathy Bates when I think of the movie. It promises to be a fun, informal readalong. The hashtag for this one is #MiseryRAL. And you really need to pop over to Care’s post to see the really scary looking Stephen King picture she’s posted.

Pet Sematary Readalong Completed!

I finished Pet Sematary a few days ago which means Yay! I’ve completed the readalong! This was my first large-scale readalong, with hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and everything, and it was a whole lot of fun.

But probably the best part of the readalong was this little guy, a little cat-duck sent to me by Jill to be dressed in whatever gangster cat gear I wanted:

Gangstercat poses

Dylan and I had so much fun dressing this little guy up today! Dylan made the gun and the suit, while I made the hat and the tie. We used Crayola Model Magic, which worked quite well. We even googled 1940s gangster suits, hats and guns so we’d have a good idea what we were aiming for!

And now this little guy will sit in a place of honour on my desk, reminding me of the fun of joining in on the #gangstercats readalong.

gangstercat at home

And as for Pet Sematary itself? Definitely not my favourite King book. I enjoyed the first part—King writes those family with kids scenes so well, brings such life to them. And what happens to the Creed family is just gut-wrenching. But once we get to the part where we know what Louis is going to do, and we also know it’s not going to turn out well (not to mention, we’re screaming at him, “No! Don’t do it! Don’t do it!”), it started to feel (to me) more a matter of turning the pages in order to get to the end than anything else.

Compared to It, which I read back in February, Pet Sematary lacked that tightly wound tension that makes you hold your breath in anticipation … of what, you have no clue, but you know for sure it’s going to be good, whatever it is.

The ending was a nice touch, though. I liked the question it left in my mind: was Louis right? Was that really the reason why things went so terribly wrong? Was it in his power to right this one last particular wrong?

Despite the book not being my favourite King book, it was still a good read. And #gangstercats more than made up for the lack of oomph as the book neared its end.

Have you read Pet Sematary? Or seen the movie?

Random on a Saturday – 14/03/2015

I know I said last week I was going to start a new feature called This Week in Pictures but ha! I’ve changed my mind (I’m prone to that kind of thing). I woke up this morning with vague memories of a random-type post that I used to write here, and even vaguer memories that it was usually on a Saturday (or a Tuesday but I’m doing my Snapshot posts on Tuesdays, so that’s taken).

Being too lazy to look it up, I’ve decided to just go ahead with it.

***

Woke up to a bit of a puzzle this morning. The WordPress app on my phone had sent me a notification that my stats were going through the roof (there was something about things going “boom” but I can’t remember the exact wording). Since there’s nothing at all on this blog that could possibly send my stats going through the roof, I checked the app and discovered that I was somehow getting all this traffic from Google News.

Of course, it’s impossible to figure out exactly why I was on Google News, since the links on there keep changing. But the really puzzling thing is that all the people Google News was sending my way were landing on my home page, rather than to any particular blog post. Google News only links to posts and articles on specific sites, rather than to sites themselves, so how was this happening?

I’ll probably never figure it out. On the bright side, people seemed to have liked what they saw, as most of them clicked through to read 2.48 pages. Yes.

Update: I should probably mention that to WordPress, “stats going through the roof” seems to be all relative.  So if you normally get a couple of hits a day, and it sees ten visitors in two hours, it will interpret this as your stats going through the roof. At least, that’s how it seems to have been working in my case – my “stats explosion” didn’t even get into triple digits!

***

Filing this under “it figures”, I was all set to read Pet Sematary today while waiting for Dylan to finish his dance classes (on Saturday afternoons, I am there for three and a half hours) and my Kobo ran out of juice. I can’t fathom how this happened, because I checked the battery gauge before I packed the darn thing, and it was nearly full. If it hadn’t been, I would have taken the charger with me. So I ended up having to do some work instead.

***

This week’s photos

(Thought I’d sneak this in here, which will then also save me the trouble of scrambling around for a graphic for this post.)

Photo 2015-03-08, 1 25 31 PM

Photo 2015-03-08, 4 23 22 PM

Photo 2015-03-08, 1 25 47 PM

The first two photos were taken last Sunday on our walk back from the ballet. The last picture was taken on our way there. I thought the book-reading demon‘s shadow looked so eerie.

On set today, what I’m reading, and some random stuff

I was in stage mom mode again today. It’s been a while since the last time I had stage mom duties, when Dylan was a child extra in a number of operas during the CoC’s 2013-2014 season. Last year when he was in the National Ballet’s Nutcracker (he played a guard and a chef), there was no need to be a stage mom, as parents were not allowed backstage at all (and they were very strict about this rule), so there was no waiting around, which was nice. We just dropped him off and picked him up (although what the book-reading demon and I actually did for each performance was buy the cheap standing room tickets, and came back to watch Act II, which was the Act Dylan was in).

Today, Dylan was an extra in a film my daughter Hayley is working on. It’s a thesis film for her final year in filmmaking school, and for this one she’s the cinematographer, or director of photography. They were to be on set the entire afternoon, and I had this vague idea that I’d be able to drop Dylan off and pick him up again later in the afternoon. Ha!

They weren’t too sure exactly when they’d be done (although they knew the time when they had to be finished by), so I ended up hanging around, just in case. (And can you believe it, I forgot to take pictures  of the set- I really need to make picture-taking a habit.)

At first I was on my phone – I mean, I can spend hours on my phone, right? Only I’d already spent time on my phone in the morning, and after a while, I realized I should have brought a book to read. Luckily we live close to where they were shooting, so I ended up coming back home and getting my Kobo (for Pet Sematary) and Dead Scared, the second in S.J. Bolton’s Lacey Flint series.

It was a good thing, too – I read a few more chapters of Pet Sematary for the #gangstercats readalong, and a huge chunk of Dead Scared. It was quite nice to get some unexpected reading time into the day. Dylan had a great time (there were seven other kids there) and we got home in time for a bit of a rest before having to trek back out for his dance class.

Dead Scared

While waiting for him during dance class, I managed to finish Dead Scared, so that’s another one for the done pile! (Now that I’m tracking my reading, I find myself geeking out every time I get to add another entry to my spreadsheets.)

Now the random stuff:

  • our dishwasher started leaking yesterday, so we’re handwashing until the plumber comes tomorrow morning to fix things. My hands are not particularly pleased – this weather’s already been pretty rough on them, and the soapy dishwasher isn’t helping!
  • yesterday on their way home from dance class Dylan and the book-reading demon decided to expand the taxi counting game. We’d been counting only the taxis coming and going on the street we were on, but now it’s been extended to any taxi we see while we’re waiting for the bus or riding the bus back home. They came home with a whopping 267, so tonight on our way home, Dylan and I were determined to beat yesterday’s total. And I believe we would have, too, only the bus we got on had extremely dirty windows, and we had a tough time seeing out them. We only counted 231 taxis but I believe in my heart we would have bested 267 if we’d only been able to actually see out the window.
  • I bought a new laptop today. It should arrive in a few days. The current laptop has been acting rather temperamentally for about a year now. Little things like a black screen even though the rest of the laptop is running fine (when that happens, I have to hook it up to a TV or monitor so I can power it down properly, remove the battery, remove the AC/DC power cord, hold down the start button to discharge whatever energy it is that’s jiggling things up, replace the battery and power cord and restart. Really. I found these instructions online last year and was so amazed they actually work). Oh, and documents not saving when I use “save as”, for a variety of programs. Chrome being laggy, oh, so so laggy. Many more grievances I won’t air here. I’m happy about getting a new laptop, BUT I’m not looking forward to that “transition from old laptop to new laptop” thing we all must do. Mainly because there are a number of programs I think I might have forgotten to save the serial codes for on Evernote (hello, Word? And Roboform?).

[TSS] Bookish bliss: a #flashreadathon weekend

Back on Thursday, Andi put out the word about the Flash Readathon, a no pressure, read and have fun kind of readathon. I loved the idea, and ended up spending quite a bit of time with an assortment of books this weekend as a result.

I’ve never participated as a reader in any of the formal readathons, although I’ve been a cheerleader several times – in the past, each of the big readathons fell on weekends during which I was unable to commit huge chunks of time for reading. So participating in this Flash Readathon gave me a little taste of what it feels like – and now that I’ve had that little taste, I think the next readathon that comes around, I’d like to play!

Here are the books I got to over the weekend. These aren’t start-to-finish books, which is what I guess I’d be aiming for with one of the formal readathons. These are just the books I dipped into (and in one case, finished) over the weekend:

pet sematary

First up was Pet Sematary, for the #gangstercats readalong. I read about five more chapters, bringing me to chapter 30 – I want to take this slowly so I can play along with everyone throughout the rest of March.

The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.

The Woods

Up next, I read more issues of The Woods by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas. I’m really liking this series, which I’m reading on Scribd*, and I’m hoping more issues will be coming to Scribd soon.

On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine.

Norwegian by night

I then hopped back into Norwegian by Night, and when I went to bed last night, I had another forty pages to go on it. I finished up those forty pages late this afternoon when I’d had a chance to get back into the Flash Readathon. This is a good book, with an octogenarian protagonist who is real, not stereotyped as depictions of the old tend to be in fiction.

Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway—a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman. Not until now, anyway.

Home alone one morning, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor’s young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. As Sheldon and the boy look for a safe haven in an alien world, past and present weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.

Now You See Me

I’m finishing the readathon off with the first in S.J. Bolton’s Lacey Flint series, Now You See Me, which I’d listened to a while back. I’d like to read the rest of the books in the series, so I’ve decided to give this a reread. Now that I’ve read a few chapters, I think I do remember some of the ending, but I’m not sure, and the book is definitely engaging enough that I won’t be bored during this reread.

Late one night after interviewing a witness, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before. Within twenty-four hours, a reporter receives an anonymous letter pointing out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.

No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. But as the case unfolds, the details start reminding Lacey of a part of her own past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.

So that was my Flash Readathon weekend. How about you? Did you get any #flashreadathon reading done this weekend?

*the Scribd link is my referral link. If you sign up for a trial membership through that link, you get two months free trial rather than just one, and I get a free month too!

Monthly Wrap-up: February 2015 Reads

February kind of flew by, didn’t it? It turned out to be a great reading month for me, though – I managed to finish 13 books! It breaks down to three audiobooks, two graphic novels, and eight print books. No ebooks! Which is a little surprising, although I did finish Stephen King’s IT in ebook format (because it was too suspenseful to finish in audio).

Here are my February 2015 reads, in the order I read them – and oh, can I just say here, I love love love my reading spreadsheets – never before have I had access to such information about my reading! Before I started keeping track this year, I would have been hard-pressed to tell you what I’d just finished reading the previous week, much less the format and the order of reading!

February1

What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga (manga/graphic novel). This is definitely one for those who like graphic novels about food. It’s the story of Shiro and Kenji, a gay couple living in Tokyo and the food they eat. Lots of cooking on these pages, plus a recipe after each story. Do not read on an empty stomach, or you’ll find yourself raiding the fridge.

Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print copy). This is the third book written by Bolton, but the first one of hers that I’ve read (although I think I may have previously read the first in her Lacey Flint series a while back). This was a suspenseful mystery, with a nice twist at the end. My favourite character was Harry, the vicar. I didn’t like the way the book ended, in the epilogue, but I really enjoyed the book as a whole.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (print copy). The story of a truly epic detour that Amy, whose dad has recently died, takes with Roger, the son of an old friend of her mom’s, when they drive cross country to the new life her mother’s making for herself in Connecticut. This is not the type of book that normally finds its way into my TBR, and I don’t know what prompted me to put it there in the first place, but I’m very glad that I did. The depiction of Amy’s grief felt so very true to me.

“Good-byes didn’t seem as important to me as they once had – I’d found that when you’re never going to see someone again, it’s not the good-bye that matters. What matters is that you’re never going to be able to say anything else to them. And you’re left with an eternal unfinished conversation. (p. 118)

IT by Stephen King (audiobook) (I talk about it here). I started this one in January, but it got so intense near the end, I had to wait until I could get an ebook copy from my library to finish it.  I really liked the way King went from the present to the past so effortlessly, without giving the reader any jolts. An enjoyable read, although I still say – what was up with that scene with Bev and the boys? It was SO unnecessary.

February2

Saga Vol 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (graphic novel). I really enjoyed this one, although I’m a little embarrassed to admit, I was talking with Tasha earlier today about the Saga series and totally forgot I’d read volume 4 already. (I told her I really had to get to it – haha!). I think mostly I had it confused with volume 5, which hasn’t been released yet. That’s my story, anyway, and yes, I’m sticking with it. My bad book memory should in no way reflect on the awesomeness of this series.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook). I will probably be in the minority here, but I enjoyed Fangirl mostly for the Simon and Baz segments (and I’m thrilled that Rowell is going to be releasing a book about Simon and Baz!). And it was lovely seeing Cath finally figure out how to be her own person who can stand apart from her twin Wren. The characters are also nicely developed – not just Cath and Wren, but Reagan, Cath’s roommate and Levi, Cath’s boyfriend. Where the story dragged a little for me was Cath and Levi’s relationship, once they were clearly together. But overall, I enjoyed this one.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (print book). This was another good read – my first Murakami that wasn’t a short story, although I can’t call it my first full-length Murakami either, as it’s more of a novella. The illustrations really added to the very strange and quirky story. It was a fun read, and at the end, there are quite a few ways you can take the final paragraph. It does take some getting used to, this not being able to say with any certainty exactly what’s meant by that last paragraph. But that’s also part of the appeal, I think.

Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print book). I enjoyed Blood Harvest so much, I decided to check out Bolton’s debut novel. It definitely didn’t disappoint, coming as it does with twists galore. You do have to read it fully willing to suspend your disbelief, as the plot does get quite wild there at the end. It’s a page-turner, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself staying up late into the night to finish this one.

February3

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (print copy). Trigger Warning is a collection of Gaiman’s short stories and poems. Very very lovely read, especially if you’re a Gaiman fan. I wrote more about it here so I won’t repeat myself now.

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry (print copy). Yes, I finally did finish this one! And it took me a while not because it wasn’t good – it was very very good – but because I’d put it down on my desk and it got buried under a pile of papers. (I find it impossible to keep my desk tidy.) Since it’s nonfiction, I didn’t miss it the way I would a story I was in the middle of. But I’m glad I remembered to dig it out and finish it, because it was very very good (oh, did I say that already?). If you’re interested in creativity, imagination or drawing comics, this is a fun one to read.

Victims by Jonathan Kellerman (audiobook). Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series is basically a comfort series for me. For the longest while now, I only ever read these in audio, and I obviously don’t retain much of what I hear, as another blogger recently reviewed this book and I was all like “hey, you mean there’s an Alex Delaware novel I haven’t read?” because the plot did not sound familiar at all to me. So I borrowed this from the library, and started listening to it. And while I was listening to it, bits and pieces felt very familiar. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through that I realized I’d already read this one before. But despite this, I still couldn’t remember how it ended, so I just kept on going with it.

Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders (print copy). If E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It formed any part of your childhood reading, then you really must pick up this wonderful book by Kate Saunders. Saunders has taken the story of the five children (now six) and the Psammead ten years into the future, when England is at war with Germany. It is a lovely read, and it made me cry. I knew it would.

awakening

Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Sharon Bolton) (print copy). As you can see, I was somewhat enamoured of Ms. Bolton last month. Awakening is her second book, and another enjoyable read. It wasn’t quite as twist-worthy as Sacrifice and Blood Harvest but it was still a good read. I do enjoy the characters Bolton creates – in this case, particularly Clara, with that giant chip on her shoulder (and understandably so). And the larger than life Sean North! He was fun to read about.

So those are the books I read in February. Hopefully I will do as well in March! How did your reading go in February?

The Pet Sematary readalong starts tomorrow!

pet sematary readalong

Mind you, I thought it started today.  All week now, I’d been thinking Saturday was March 1. And as you all probably know, Saturday is not March 1. Sunday is.

This post was actually supposed to be titled, “The Pet Sematary readalong starts today!” Which would have been kind of embarrassing, but luckily I’m not organized or efficient enough to write and schedule my posts ahead of time.

On the bright side, I’ve now got a one day jump on things. This is a good thing, as I have a tendency to “fall behind in terms of stuff in general”, and I understand this is to be a totally stress-free readalong so now I won’t get stressed. Right?

There’s still lots of time for you to join us! The readalong runs from March 1 to April 15, which gives you six whole weeks to join in on the fun. Hop on over to Jill’s post to read all the details. It’s pretty informal – all you’ve got to do is say, “I’m in!” in the comments on her blog, or on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #gangstercats, and then readalong with us.

Why #gangstercats? Because gangster cats are funny, not scary. The same probably cannot be said of Pet Sematary.

Just how scary is it? I suspect the answer might be “very very scary”. In the intro, Stephen King writes,

“When I’m asked (as I frequently am) what I consider to be the most frightening book I’ve ever written, the answer I give comes easily and with no hesitation: Pet Sematary. It may not be the one that scares readers the most – based on the mail, I’d guess the one that does that is probably The Shining – but the fearbone, like the funnybone, is located in different places on different people. All I know is that Pet Sematary is the one I put away in a drawer, thinking I had finally gone too far. Time suggests that I had not, at least in terms of what the public would accept, but certainly I had gone too far in terms of my own personal feelings. Put simply, I was horrified by what I had written, and the conclusions I’d drawn.”

Seriously, doesn’t that make you want to just dive into the book right away?