Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano... a Thanksgiving Day Reading

                                         Happy Thanksgiving!

     Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano and read by Laura Irrgang of Rhinestone Armadillo:                                    

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Sunday Salon and Talking Turkey... Gobbler's and Good Books

Welome to the Sunday Salon!  It's that time of the week we sit back, relax and talk books! Grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair, and let's talk... Turkey! Next week is Turkey Day, but instead of the turkey visiting us, let's talk about visiting the Turkey, or rather visiting Turkey, the country, through the pages of a good book! Here are a couple books that will whisk you away...

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières ... from Goodreads: Louis de Bernières creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history. The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It’s a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn’t Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world.

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk... from Goodreads: “It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn’t know it.” So begins the new novel, his first since winning the Nobel Prize, from the universally acclaimed author of Snow and My Name Is Red. It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal, scion of one of the city’s wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. Once the long-lost cousins violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeosie—a world, as he lovingly describes it, with opulent parties and clubs, society gossip, restaurant rituals, picnics, and mansions on the Bosphorus, infused with the melancholy of decay—until finally he breaks off his engagement to Sibel. But his resolve comes too late. For eight years Kemal will find excuses to visit another Istanbul, that of the impoverished backstreets where Füsun, her heart now hardened, lives with her parents, and where Kemal discovers the consolations of middle-class life at a dinner table in front of the television. His obsessive love will also take him to the demimonde of Istanbul film circles (where he promises to make Füsun a star), a scene of seedy bars, run-down cheap hotels, and small men with big dreams doomed to bitter failure. In his feckless pursuit, Kemal becomes a compulsive collector of objects that chronicle his lovelorn progress and his afflicted heart’s reactions: anger and impatience, remorse and humiliation, deluded hopes of recovery, and daydreams that transform Istanbul into a cityscape of signs and specters of his beloved, from whom now he can extract only meaningful glances and stolen kisses in cars, movie houses, and shadowy corners of parks. A last change to realize his dream will come to an awful end before Kemal discovers that all he finally can possess, certainly and eternally, is the museum he has created of his collection, this map of a society’s manners and mores, and of one man’s broken heart. 

This is one of those books that has been in my TBR pile for some time. This post is a nice reminder of why it's there and I should finally read it! 

AND, something for the little ones on Thanksgiving Day...

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano... Turkey is in BIG trouble! It's almost Thanksgiving and he doesn't want to be the main course! So, what's a turkey to do?!? A disguise of course! First, he ties a brush to his head and wears a tiny saddle to look like a horse, because no one would eat a horse, right? But the barnyard animals recognize him anyway. Open the pages of this delightful picture book and follow Tom's idea's on out smarting the Farmer with these funny disguises! You're children will enjoy it and so will you! Written with 3 - 7 year olds in mind, this would be a great book to read to the little ones at Thanksgiving!

Do you enjoy reading stories set in far away countries? Have you ever read any set in Turkey? I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!AND enjoy visiting Turkey through a good book!

Happy Reading... Suzanne

*P.S. Stop by on Thanksgiving Day and listen to a reading of Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Sunday Salon and... Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe: 3 Ways to Pick Your Next Book.

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week we visit our reading friends virtually and share our thoughts on books and reading. Grab a cup of Joe and sit back and relax... Let's talk books... and mainly, how the heck do you figure out the next book you're going to read?

I'm a reader, so when I finish a book, I generally pick up another book to read. When the book I just read is totally amazing, it may take me a few days (maybe more) before I pick up another book, but eventually I'll be trying to find a book just as good. But how? Here are 4 ways to tackle that job...

Serious Reading... or Reading a Series... reading a series can be like reading a 5000 page book and if you like the writing it's a dream come true. And usually if you like the writing in the first book in the series, you'll enjoy the rest of the books.

The Dewey Decimal System is Your Friend... or being Systematic... Have a pile of books and go through them one at a time. You've bought books (how many are in your TBR shelves?) and instead of putting them aside, you read them as you buy them!(or check them out of the library). This takes discipline! But the rewards are that you won't have that HUGE TBR pile looming over you!

The More the Merrier... Reading 2 books at a time. Why do  you have to pick one book over the other?! This is like getting a sampler at the restaurant! And the good thing is, if you decide you want to stick with one over the other, you've got your next book lined up already.

Alphabet Soup... or choosing your authors or titles by their first letter. Start anywhere in the alphabet. C is for Cornwell, then choose a "D" author, etc. Or this can work with titles of books too! This is like a reading challenge all to yourself.

This week I followed "The Dewey Decimal System is Your Friend", by taking out 4 books from the library and reading them one at a time. I do like reading series, but sometimes I suffer from "series overload", depending on what I'm reading. And I have read 2 books at the same time. Alphabet Soup is something I think might be fun too!... So, what's your method of choosing your next book?

Happy reading... Suzanne

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge Updates

Did you challenge yourself to read more this year?! It's almost the end of the year and I thought I would share some updates on the reading challenges I joined this year. How has it been going? Well, I basically started the year by picking out books to meet my challenges and then slowly forgot about books specifically for the challenge and just read books I thought I would enjoy (plus books chosen by my reading group for book club). So, as I look back at what I've read so far, 41 books as of today, here's how they all fit in…

*Done: Southern Literature Reading Challenge… I've read two book that fits into this category: Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin, and Ruby by Cynthia Bond. Met my goal of 2 books written by an author from the South and that take place mainly in the South.

Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge… I've read one book of poetry so far, Dog Stories by Mary Oliver, but have read plenty of poems in different books all along. I will be getting out one of my poetry books and start to enjoy a full course from one poet so I can finish this challenge. I think it will be a Billy Collins poetry book.

*Done: Graphic Novel Reading Challenge 2014… I've read 5 individual graphic novels, plus all 15 Manga books in the Battle Royale series and 7 books in the Ooku Manga series. My goal was 12 books, so I actually reached my goal.

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge… OMG, I haven't picked one book off that TBR pile yet! My goal was to at least read ONE book off my shelves, so I will be grabbing one of those soon!

*Done: Dystopian Reading Challenge 2014… I thought I would have read more dystopian fiction this year, but I haven't. I do consider my most recent read, Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk dystopian, so I have reached my goal with one book read.

Chunkster Reading Challenge 2014… It's all about FAT books, and I read 2 so far, Three Souls by Janie Chang (468 pages) and Under The Wide And Starry Sky by Nancy Horan (497 pages).

2014 Book Bingo Reading Challenge… 25 squares, many books, and lots of categories! The challenge is to read the books from at least one row. I have completed 2 rows! 5 Different Genre books and 15 books in a series! I am 6 new release books away from completing the New Releases column (for a total of 15 new books read). It is a lot of fun filling in the bingo squares to see what I have accomplished. Technically I'm done, but I would love to complete a few more bingo's before the end of the year.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge… My goal was 50 books this year, and I'm at 41! Goodreads is a great place to keep track of all the books you've read, want to read and a great place to get motivated to meet your reading challenges!

So, did you join any reading challenges or make a reading resolution? How are you doing with your reading this year?! All that really counts is that we are enjoying our time reading! Let me know how you are doing!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue… A Review

OMG! What a great book! I could not put this book down! A cross between The Shining and Where The Wild Things Are…What if the monsters you imagine really do go bump in the night?!

A doomed ship wrecks off the coast of Maine over a century ago, and still the screams can be heard floating off the water… or is it just the whistling of the wind? All hands were lost at sea, some young children… do they cry for revenge? And a little boy caught in his own mind, draws the monsters in his head… or are they visions of something else?

Tim and Holly, Fred and Nell, two couples living similar lives, outsiders by long time Maine residents standards, giving birth to boys just about the same time and best of friends - the boys, Jack Peter & Nick, and the couples. J.P. and Nick grow up together, friends from the start, but then a near tragedy happens and launches J.P. into a world of his own - inside, never venturing outside, literally. A near drowning makes JP afraid to go out of the house, with only his friend Nick to pass the time with him inside. But then strange things start to happen… a bump in the night, a strange ghost like monster lurking outside, scratching at a bedroom door. And all along, Jack Peter feverishly drawing… the monsters in his head… the monsters heard in the night.

A priest, a one-eyed Japanese house servant filled with ghostly tales, and two imaginative boys whose parents think nothing of their screams in the middle of the night… until it's almost too late. What's real and what's imagined?! I was holding my breathe in spots and could feel my heart racing. This is one book filled with all that great edge of your seat tension until the very end, where a bone chilling twist  made me want to read the book all over again! If you like ghost stories or if you like horror novels, you'll love The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue! This is truly heart stopping in spots. The writing is solid, the story is great and the ending trumps it all! Warning… don't turn the lights out until you're finished reading this and then make sure you look under the bed first!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day, Remembrance Day and Thank You to All Who Serve and Have Served!

                                                       In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.                                   
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

                                                                                                ...Written by John McCrae 

Today is Veterans Day in the United States. A day set aside to honor all those who have served our country honorably in the military - during wartime and peacetime. It is different than Memorial Day, in that it primarily is meant to honor the living and to acknowledge that they too have sacrificed for their country. Remembrance Day is what the Commonwealth of Nations celebrates and in doing so, dons the traditional red poppy on their lapel from Oct. 31 thru Nov.11th. In the United States we honor our veterans on Memorial Day with a red poppy, which had become popular due to the poem In Flanders Field by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. These red poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields in Flanders. 

Thank you to all the veterans for your service, dedication and sacrifice!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk… A Review

Fifty Shades of Grey meets Bridget Jones, sprinkled with a heavy dose of The Walking Dead and Eat, Pray, Love. And even though I am not a prude, there was some gross added too…

How's that for a review? All of which describes Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk. I picked up the book at the library, read the inside front jacket, which made this sound like it would be a hoot to read, but it really went beyond what I could have imagined…

Penny Harrigan is a small town girl from Omaha, who has ambitions beyond her good girl nature. She studies law, moves to New York and finds work at a prestigious law firm while trying to pass the bar exam AGAIN. In the meantime, she accidentally falls face first into a meeting room with none other than C. Linus Maxwell, richest man in the world, aka Climax-Well, because he is famous for his amazing sexual prowess, who immediately asks the plain jane clerk out on a date. (Sound like a familiar plot?) Fast forwarding ahead a bit, Penny starts to "date" the rich guy. At first it's pretty platonic, but then it takes a different turn, and Penny understands his nickname AND his abilities with the ladies. But their "romance" is more like Penny being a lab rat for Max's development of a line of sex toys than anything else. Max breaks up with Penny after the research is done, and sends her on her way. Things start to turn a bit sinister here, with women all over the world obsessing over these sex toys and abandoning their jobs, husbands and lives (Here's where The Walking Dead part comes in). Good girl Penny decides she needs to save the day because she feels partly responsible for these "toys", and tries all her resources, including a trip to Nepal for a visit with a hermit sex witch who is well versed in… well you know. If that weren't enough, there is a plot twist at the end that almost redeems the bad guy, in a "I did it all for love" kind of scenario.

So, did I like it?… Yes and no. The writing was good, the plot was unique and was humorous, but then it went just a little over the top for me with the trip to Nepal and the hermit. The ending made me sad for good girl Penny, who I thought deserved more. But this is Chuck Palahniuk, cult writer known for what is termed transgressive fiction, or fiction that "focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways." This certainly isn't going to be your Momma's cup of tea, unless she's Erica Jong, but if you can get past the hermit, and some of the graphics, the story itself was that kind of tongue in cheek look at what would happen if women didn't "need" their male counterparts any more, and that part was funny.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Sunday Salon and the 3 Books I Discovered as I Legally Loitered...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that one day of the week we sit down virtually and chat books! This week, I visited my local library to find what I want to share with you this week...

It was Saturday, and I missed a phone call on my cell. Calling my voice mail, I heard the familiar voice of the local librarian telling me my book was in. Hmmm, a book. What book? She never tells me what book I have in, just that "the book I requested is in". Now to be fair, when I get in the mood to reserve a book, I usually reserve more than one because you never know if someone is going to bring back their library book on time, and I want to read something NOW. That's one of the reasons I buy books- the instant gratification of reading what I want when I want. I do try to reserve books before they're out, just so I don't have to wait, but it doesn't always work out that way. But in any case, library card in hand I drove off to the library. It is a beautiful day here in Connecticut.

The sun was shining, the temperature a little cool and breezy, but perfect fall weather. When I got to the library there was plenty of parking, I guess due to the beautiful weather, and I found my way inside and up to the reserved stacks. It's a little strange for me even now, but if I reserve a book or even find a book on the shelves to take out, I never have to make human contact. The reserved books are in a separate section of the library, and there are 3 check out machines in the front. Scan the bar code on my card, scan the bar codes on the books, out pops a receipt (or I can have them email the receipt), and off I go.

On this day, though, I did not just grab my reserved book and go, I loitered. Probably the one place on earth they encourage loitering is your local library and I took full advantage of their generosity. Our local library has a beautiful section for new and newer books. It reminds me of a book seller display, with the covers facing out and beckoning you to check them out. Who doesn't judge a book by its' cover or at least open a book just because it has an interesting cover? Especially when you're loitering...

 My loitering took me to a book of changes and second chances, from a professor in Madrid; a new book by a well known author that takes women to the erogenous zones of sarcasm; and the book "I had requested" and was waiting for me? Is a book that will have us wondering about the monsters under OUR bed...

The Heart Has Its Reasons by Maria Buesnas... A talented college professor in Madrid, Blanca Perea seems to have it all. But her world is suddenly shattered when her husband of twenty years leaves her for another woman. Questioning the life she once had and whether she truly knows herself, Blanca resolves to change her surroundings. She accepts what looks like a boring research grant in California involving an exiled Spanish writer who died decades ago. Anxious to leave her own troubled life behind, she is gradually drawn into his haunted world, with its poignant loves and unfulfilled ambitions.

But in delving into the past, Blanca finds herself simultaneously awakened to the present by Daniel Carter, a charismatic professor with crucial knowledge about the dead writer that he has never before revealed. Amid this web of passion, conflict, and hidden feelings, including her own, Blanca advances like an avid detective, refusing to quit, and ultimately discovers startling answers that resonate deeply in her own life.

First of all, I love Spanish writers. Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to name just two. What I usually find in Spanish writing is this beautiful fluid imagery written out with a pen. What caught my eye on this book was the title. The cover made me think that it wasn't a romance, but something a bit more substantial. (not that romances can't be substantial!) I opened it, read a few paragraphs and fell in like with the writing. I'll be enjoying this library pick first! And I'll let you know what I think, but from first impressions, I am really looking forward to reading this. The story sounds interesting- research, dead writer, new beginnings. And the writing drew me in!

Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk...  A novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of female pleasure. Sisters will be doing it for themselves. And doing it. And doing it. And doing it some more . . . Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, aka "Climax-Well," a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan's most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of orgasmic pleasure for days on end. What's not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of sex toys to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell's plan for erotically enabled world domination must be stopped. But how?  

OK, I have a friend who loves Chuck Palahniuk, and when I saw this I had to at least pick it up. Palahniuk is well known for his book (and the movie that followed), Fight Club. He's also got a cult following. His fiction falls in what I would consider tongue in cheek and he makes us looks at ourselves in different ways as a result. The title of this book definitely did not give away what it was about, but after reading the inside dust jacket, I just had to smile. It sounds like a hoot and I had to take it out.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue... A novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

Didn't we all have monsters either under the bed or in the closet? What if they were real?! I enjoyed Keith Donohue's book Stolen Child many years ago and when I read about this new book, I had to give it a try. My library didn't even carry it, I had to request an interloan library loan. I am really looking forward to reading this!

After checking out these books, I wondered out to the car, but first took a short break in the courtyard. It was just too nice not to sit for a few minutes in the beautiful sunshine and I thought I would read a bit more from each of these books. What I discovered was how much I loved actually holding the books in my hand and turning the pages. My bookshelves are stuffed full, overflows everywhere, so I really needed to read more eBooks, but there is something still special about that physical book. Sitting there, turning the pages, brought back a flood of memories of other books I had taken out and enjoyed in that same courtyard, and I suspect there will be more memories of other books in the future.

Happy reading... Suzanne

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Sunday Salon and Cold Weather Reading List

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week we all get together virtually and talk about BOOKS! Grab a cup of java, pull up a comfy chair and relax...

The cold weather is finally rearing its' ugly head in Connecticut! Up until a week ago or so, I could not believe the beautiful temperatures! It was in the 70's or there a bouts and I thought I had already moved to the South. Even Halloween was mild, with no jacket required when giving out the candy. BUT, today is a different story… the wind is howling and the leaves that are on the ground are swirling about like a tornado. The temperature is 39 degrees this sunny but cold Sunday morning. Fall is here and winter is not that far behind.

So, what does that mean for our reading? Can we really read about white sand beaches and wear our flip flops while we do it?! Some would say, beach reads are an escape in the winter, but for me, colder weather means a different type of reading. Maybe something a little more thought provoking or serious… maybe a classic or two… Just opening some big fat book while I'm curled up on the sofa with a quilt and a hot chocolate on a cold winter night, makes me content. How about you? Do you change your reading habits? Do you have a reading list? Sometimes that great book I was so excited about and bought, I just wasn't quite in the mood for with margarita's on the veranda, so I put them aside. Some of those become my cold weather reads. I don't have a list per say, but I do have a few reserved reads on the nightstand.

Now that we've determined that there is a chill in the air, here are 3 books on my cold weather reading list…

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine… From the publishers:  an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old “unnecessary” woman. Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family’s “unnecessary appendage.” Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read—by anyone. In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya’s digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya’s own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.

When I sampled the writing in this book, I was immediately drawn in. I immediately liked Aaliya, and could almost imagine myself as her, surrounded by my books and living a sedentary life when I become an old woman. All of us readers Chicks, I think, should appreciate her story, and Rabih Amameddine's writing seems perfect to translate Aaliya's story.

Liar Temptress Soldier Spy by Karen Abbott… From the publisher: the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War. Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War: the stories of four courageous women—a socialite, a farm girl, an abolitionist, and a widow—who were spies.

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives. Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies’ descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoleon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy draws you into the war as these daring women lived it.

I just can't resist reading about women who secretly made a difference in a man's world. When I read a little sample of this, I was happy to find it wasn't  a dry factual account of the lives of these women, but written more like a historical fiction. Definitely on my TBR list and look forward to reading this!

The Moors Account by Laila Lalami… From the publishers: In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America—a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record.

In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés. But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril—navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantes’s Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.

This is historical fiction and again, the sample of the story just drew me in. Interesting take from the slave's perspective. On my TBR list.

Weekly Update… The past week was filled with me getting out some of those long overdue reviews for my graphic novel reading challenge this year, sharing a new Memoir Monday book, and reviewing some of the great children's books that I enjoy here and there. Click on the links to find out more about the past week...

Memoir Monday was about a girl and her birds. Michele Raffin's journey to preserving and helping exotic and endangered birds. If you're an animal lover, this book is for you!

Tuesday was the Children's Corner, with a children's picture book about handling worrying. Is Worry Worrying You? is humorous with great illustrations appropriate for children AND adults!

Wednesday was a review of a two book manga series called Rabbit Doubt. If you love a good mystery, you'll enjoy these manga. A stand out storyline, although a bit violent, this is a great series!

Halloween was filled with things that go bump in the night and I shared a great cartoon from the old disney days called Silly Symphonies, The Skeleton Dance. It's from 1929 and has all the charm from Halloween's gone by..

Saturday was about DC comics. They have published a compendium of a sort that describes all the comics they have produced, with checklists that you can use to check off what you have and what you need. If you aren't a comic book enthusiast, this is a great resource for gifts or finding something that may internets you. Lot's of superhero's in the DC line.

That was my week, how was yours?! What interesting books did you crack the spine on? And tell me, do you change your reading habits during the seasons?

Happy reading… Suzanne

Saturday, November 1, 2014

DC Entertainment Graphic Novel Essentials and Chronology 2014… a Review

DC Entertainment Graphic Novel Essentials and Chronology 2014… Isn't that a mouthful?! What it is, is a catalog of all DC comics, from the earliest superhero's, such as Superman and Batman, to the current such as Fables. And DC Entertainment also includes Vertigo and MAD.

As you open the pages, it begins with the 25 essential (DC) graphic novels, with short summaries of each, and goes on to "The New 52", which are new beginnings to their favorite line of characters, with new #1 issues so newbies can have a place to begin. Then there is more in-depth coverage of the top superhero's and their graphic novels; next is coverage of the essential Vertigo graphic novels, including The Sandman and Fables, with some coverage of MAD magazine and DC Comics: All Ages. The tome ends with a full backlist and suggested reading order.

154 pages front to back, with full color graphics, this is a nice reference guide to DC graphic novels. I had collected a few of the graphic novels listed (The Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1, Promethea, vol.1 & 2) and it's nice to see how many more volumes in a series there are, for my own reference, if I did want to complete the collections. For the more serious collector, I would say this is an invaluable resource. For the person just getting their feet wet in graphic novels, who enjoy the superhero genre, this would be a great resource as well, to learn about the different superhero's and their story lines. Remember though, this is ONLY for DC graphic novels. It's available in eBook only, but it's also FREE! You can download The Kindle Version or The Nook Version with these links.  I rate this 4 Wonder Women!

*BTW, I received an eGalley of this book from DC comics in exchange for an honest review.
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