March Wrap Up

Its the post that no one asked for but that your getting anyway!
The name of the game for March was making a dent in the comics and graphic novels in my collection.
Ok Team! Lets get a run down of what I read and how I felt.

25489134The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: I started this one in Feb and finished it in early March. I was completely sucked in and only really stopped reading when I got super spooked in some of the later chapters. I really enjoy fairy tales and folk takes and was delighted to get some insights into stories of the Russian variety. I was also really interested in the way the church was portrayed, not as the enemy, but as deceived.                      4.5 Honey Cakes out of 5.

23129410Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor: I had such high hopes. I really love the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. Cecil and Carlos are my OTP and I am all about the episodic randomness that pulls together into a beautiful surprise. Unfortunately I just didn’t feel connected to either of the main characters. Neither Jackie or Diane really drew me in, and I was honestly much more interested in learning more about Josh or Old Woman Josie and the Erica’s. I did listen to this on audiobook, which is the only reason this got a 3 rather than a 2.
3 Flamingos out of 5.

29780171Archie Vol 2 by Mark Waid: I’ve really been enjoying the re-emergence of the Riverdale fandom. Archie himself has never been a favourite character, lets be real, he’s a total jerk. I’m here for Betty and Jughead and Dilton and Ethel. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep going with the next volume, not because I don’t like these last two volumes, but because I just don’t like Archie enough to keep investing $20 into these.
3 Fickle Redheads out of 5.

27405590Jughead Vol 1 by Chip Zdarsky: This is what we are here for!! Juggie has always been my fav. He was snarky and sarcastic and just not about that date life. This first volume paid hommage to the classic Jughead stories and it made me so incredibly happy. Can we also talk for a moment about Juggie being asexual? As someone who identifies as demi, I’m all about this. Its only dropped in passing, but I’m happy they did it this way rather than making it a big production.
4 Burgers out of 5.

2057897925943106Amulet Vol 6 and 7 by Kazu Kibuishi: I’ve been working my way through this series and have been liking it quite a bit so far. The only issue I’ve had so far is that the story can be hard to follow at times. I’ve found myself needing to go back and reread sections, and in more then a couple cases, feel parts of the story are skipped over and we are expected to fill in the gaps. Its a very interesting fantasy story with a delightful mix of mechs and sci-fi.
3 Robot Houses out of 4.

28354793Chupacabras Song by Jim C. Hines: I have weird feelings about this one. I love Jim C. Hines. He is a phenomenal writer. I have loved everything I’ve read from him. Sure it can occasionally be a little fan servicey, but heck, you do you Jim. I had to read this tiny short story 4 times before I got a solid idea of what was going on. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t in the right headspace for the story, or if it just wasn’t up to Mr. Hines usual calibre , but this one wasn’t for me.
3 Magic Vet Assistants out of 5.

30776605Jughead Vol 2 by Chip Zdarsky: Yes, just Yes. 100x yes. This volume was perfect, it was everything I wanted and more.  We get more Juggie, being Juggie, this time in less episodic and more slice of life story telling. Which is what I live for. We get to see Juggie interacting with his friends, and going on a date, which is a beautiful thing. That Juggie is ace is further developed in this volume and it truly gave me life. One of the things I found myself enjoying more than I thought were the interatctions between Archie and Jughead, where we explore how friendships change over time, and it was really delicately done.
5 Burger Women out of 5.

25138266B26067583atgirl Vol 1 and Vol 2. by Cameron Stewart: I don’t know team, maybe Batgirl just isn’t for me. Batwoman? Yes, always Yes. Batgirl… Meh. I had a really hard time with this one. I don’t know if its because despite this being a Volume 1 and 2 there is a tonne of back story that is hinted at rather then explained. I don’t think the story is inherently bad, it was just not an ideal jumping in point. I also found our main character to be rather dislikable over all. I’m down with flawed characters, and that your protagonist doesn’t have to be a nice person. I honestly just find her more annoying than anything.
3 Needy Batgirls out of 5.

28954189Scythe by Neal Shusterman: I need to stop trying to describe Neal Shusterman books to my friends. They can tell by my face how excited about them I am, but the content is so dark, and psychologically messed up that my friends become concerned. Scythe was absolutely phenomenal and I would 100% recommend. I will do a full on review of this one. I love it too much not to. Long Story Short: World without death gives two teens a license to kill.
5 out of 5 Flamethrowers

28186137Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood: I might have been mildly disappointed by Welcome to Night Vale, but that honestly is nothing in comparison to Angel Catbird. This thing was a monstrosity. Maybe it was intended to be one of those its “so bad its good” cult comics, but it blew past that and exploded into 3 years of unchanged kitty litter. Margaret Atwood has written a couple of my favourite books, and even though I had seen pretty brutal reviews for it, I wanted to give Ms Atwood the benefit of the doubt. This was a wrong choice. The art was good, but the dialogue was juvenile and story went from 0-60-300 in a matter of panels. The only reason my Goodreads says 1 star is because there is no option to give 0 and still give a rating.
0 Creepy Half Rat Harems out of 5

Thats it team. It was a pretty wild ride. I had some really amazing reads this month, and more then and a few disappointing reads. Heres to April and a beautiful new month of reading.

Reading Intentionally

So its been a while.
Lets be honest. I’m never going to be very good at staying up to date, logging in regularly, or sticking to a plan. There are a lot of things I say I am going to do that I never get around to, or things that, if we are being completely honest, I wouldn’t keep up with if it wasn’t for friends (lovingly) finger wagging.
One thing I do regularly, out of both habit and as a necessity, is read. I like reading, I love reading, I down right need to read. It helps me escape, and cope with a world that righteously blows some times. Reading is not something that I will ever really need to be forced to do.
So while I have a litany of other resolutions I’d love to try my hand at this year, I’d like to make at least one that has a chance of succeeding. This year I want to read more intentionally. My book collection has almost doubled in the last 3 years, and I’m constantly trolling the various Value Villages in my city for new books to add. Some of my hunting has been intentional. There are two Canadian children/middle grade authors that I purchase on sight, and have multiple copies of their titles. I constantly keep my eyes open for titles I recognize from my childhood that I never hesitate to throw in my cart. But if I’m being honest with myself, a majority of the books I’m picking up are impulse buys. Books I’ve either heard about on BookTube, authors I’ve heard about but never read, or books with an awesome cover and half decent synopsis. Considering I’m really only spending $20 at a go and walk away with 3-6 books, I guess it’s really not too bad. The problem is how many of these books just sit on my shelves, looking beautiful and not getting read. I’m much more likely to pick a book from a most recent haul then I am to browse my own shelves.
This year I want to pull up my socks and give my books the respect they deserve.

To do this I’d like to challenge myself to the following:

5 Book Challenge
There is a 5 book challenge that has been floating around for a while in the blogger and BookTube community. It’s not particularly new or revolutionary but it’s really smart. The idea is that you have to read 5 books before you are allowed to purchase one new one. The rule does not apply to books given as gifts or books received for free, but I’m personally only going to allow gifts. This will still allow me the freedom to pick up the out of print titles I am hunting for, while ensuring I’m purchasing more responsibly.

img_20160520_190823EOG Book Club
The Edmonton Open Genre Book Club is going on 5 years strong this year, and I’m pretty dang proud of it. What started out as an excuse to talk books without having to force a particular title on people, has turned into a solid group of friends. Yes, we can find just about way to justify how your read fit the theme, but the idea is to have fun and get us reading. I’d say I read about 40% of the genres in a given year, but this year I’d like to commit to reading at least 80%. I could aim for 100%, but think of how awesome I will look if I over achieve?!

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Monthly TBR
Loads of people have TBR piles, I have TBR shelves. Heck, I could probably make a whole bookcase of TBR without breaking a sweat. The problem is I have very little documentation to just how big my current owned TBR is. I can look through my shelves and easily recognize titles I’ve never read before, but I don’t have a list telling me just exactly which books those are. I also dont ever have a plan when it comes to what I’m going to read. I might pick up something from a recent haul, or take a quick glance and see if anything tickles my fancy, but I’ve never sat down at the beginning of the month and said, “These are the books I’m going to read.”. This year I’d like to give this a shot. Even if I dont stick to my list precisely, I think I will be good to know that I have a plan. This year my reading goal is 70 books, which equals ~6 books per month (or 5.83333333). By the 1st, I’d like to have a rough list of 5 books (leaving one free for book club) to get through that month.

So it’s not a lot, but the idea is not to overload myself with so many goals that it becomes unrealistic. I think all three of these “challenges” will help me to read with greater intention, as well as help save my pocket-book and floor space.

Heres to a bright and literary new year, and (hopefully) many new blogs to come.

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Top Ten Tuesday: What Books?

Top Ten Tuesdays

Hola!
How goes internet peeps?! I am back! Hopefully? Maybe? In an attempt to create some regularity and scheduling in my life, but I’ve made these promises before, so lets be forgiving shall we? At the very least I feel like I can do my memes. So lets take a trip back in time to the world of Top Ten Tuesday hosted over on The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year, and unfortunately I’m going to have to cheat. See problem is this year has been 100% bunk in the way of reading. I’ve barely gotten any in, and some of it has been re-reads, and the rest hasn’t necessarily been awesome, so realistically this is going to be The Only Books I’ve Read In the Last Little While. But hey, its a start?

1. The Circle by Dave Eggers: Bought this book on a whim when I was in Costco, I cant seem to stay away from that giant isle all covered in books. As mentioned before, I 100% judge books by their covers, and this one drew me in. Flipping it over I saw a glowing quote from Margaret Atwood, a very strong point in its favour. But then I opened it up and saw the following quote, emphasis mine:

The Circle is Brave New World for our brave new world . . . Now that we all live and move and have our being in the panopticon, Eggers’s novel may be just fast enough, witty enough and troubling enough to make us glance away from our twerking Vines and consider how life has been reshaped by a handful of clever marketers . . . There may come a day when we can look back at this novel with incredulity, but for now, the mirror it holds up is too chilling to LOL.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

I knew I had to read it. I fell into this book and emerged a couple of days later more wary of Facebook then I had ever been. It was eerie in that this could be today, or tomorrow or 5 years from now. Its the future but today, and nothing is so blatantly wrong, but everything is just off enough to make you feel super uncomfortable, like someone shifting your furniture 3 inches to the left. It was marvellous.

2. Codex Born by Jim C. Hines: OK remember a million years ago? I had Libriomancer on my TBR for fall list? (OMG I looked it up, its from way back in Oct 2012) Well I read it, and I loved it. And I will be the first to admit that its not perfect. It gives into fan service a little too much, and all of the references will make no sense to anyone in 1o years, but dear lord was it fun. The premise is filled with potential, and despite some of the characters being a little flat, I loved just how nerdy Isaac is. So I read the first book and this year I devoured the second, Codex  Born. I would not say that it was as good as the first one, but I was glad to see old friends come back into the picture and have a chance to get fleshed out. The biggest downer to this book were the flash backs. I get it, Lena is a dryad created from a sci-fi smutt novel, she is going to be sexy and have some sexy times, but i feel like it got a little out of control at times. Lena is trying to grow from that, become a person in her own right so to keep throwing her own trope at her time and time again felt a little defeating. Don’t get me wrong, I will read the next book. And I will likely read just about anything that Jim C. Hines put out, I just wish he would trust his readers to be a little more intelligent and less hormone driven.

3,4. Orxy and Crake/Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: So in an attempt to finish off the MaddAdam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, I’ve gone back and done a little rereading. It was great going back and falling into the amazing world Atwood has made for us. Also, because I read them in quick succession it was easy to pick out all the places that the stories crossed over. I had initially read each book after it had been written, meaning I had a hefty 6 year gap in between, so getting the chance to read them both so closely together was a treat. Sneaky references to characters I loved and hated popping up all over the place. I’ve started reading MaddAdam, but shortly after starting reading it, I found The Circle, and if you cant tell from my love letter to it above, it consumed all my reading. Its back on my radar, but is playing second fiddle to The Cloud Atlas, which i need to crack out for book club this month.

5. Wandering Son by Hōrō Musuko, illustrated by Takako Shimura: There is always room in my life for manga, but I feel like I’ve completely ignored this medium as of late. So when we had Graphic Novel up for EOG Book Club last month, I decided to renew this passion and dive head long into this beautiful manga. Manga in general gets a lot of criticism for looking the same, and I cant agree more. A majority of the titles have a very similar quality to character design and plot, which means that you can have two characters from two different titles look identical. With that being said, I feel that i gravitate to the more unique drawing styles. This title isn’t vastly different, but the sketchy style and slow, very natural pacing of the story makes it stand out. The story (in as far as I am, because I am only at volume 4) follows two children, a boy and a girl, who are struggling to come to terms with their gender identity. Without going into it too much just let me say that its beautiful. The author broaches a very delicate subject with charm and tact, and like i said a slow plodding pace that is absolutely essential to the material. To have children come to conclusions and figure everything out at a normal manga style clip, would do the characters a total injustice. I will 100% continue to follow this series.

So its only five, but its a start.
Here is to trying again!

Much Love!
Micheline

EOG: Only The Good Read Young

I am a terrible leader! 😛 I have been harassing the rest of the members for the last week to hand over their blog posts for May and yet I just finished wrapping mine up an hour ago.

However I will say that our group verges on the point of being too epic to even be described! I was both pleased and apprehensive when our little band of 4 sprang to 6 with the addition of two fabulous new ladies to our group. Would they meld well with the rest of the group? Would they laugh at our stupid jokes? Thank goodness not half an hour in we were all cracking jokes and piping up and getting along just swimmingly!

One of the many many things I love about this book club is the freedom to say just about anything. We seem to have tackled a lot of books lately with real gritty or heart wrenching themes or plots, but have been lucky enough to have one book that is either so ridiculous or so different that we are able to grab something and turn it into a running joke. Last time around it was Genghis and the marvellous poop sword, and this time it was Bumped and the  crazy teen who slept with a boy who looks like Jesus so she could “feel God”.

In between the laughing and joking and eating the amazing vanilla cupcakes filled with lemon curd and lemon meringue buttercream frosting (I almost died from the numminess), we were actually able to delve deep into our books and find meaning in the mass of easy to read fiction.

Jenna dove into Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan and found a book that looked unflinchingly at LGBT teens and their struggle to come to terms with who they are, as well as big gay musicals.

Dana read White Cat by Holly Black filled with curse-workers whose very touch can change the essense of who you are and  how you think, it also gave us a good laugh over the term blow back, which were the consiquences of using their touch.

Amanda got a taste of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and was happy to finally encounter a strong female lead in today’s teen fiction, and I tried desperately not to give away all the juicy bits.

Christine read Bumped by Megan McCafferty and was enraged by its interesting premise and terrible execution, but it did provide us with our joke book of the night and so many incredibly hilarious laughs. Read her review of this book and the last 3 EOG Book Club books over at her blog : Delusions of Grace – Sex, tears and books thrown in anger

Andrea fell in love with A Fault in Our Stars which was also by John Green as she found a book that spoke to her on a very personal level and reminded each of us that no day is guaranteed. Check out her review over at: facelessmasses – A Fault in Our Stars; or how to break a nerdfighter.

I read Insurgent by Veronica Roth which gave me a feisty young heroine in a world divided by personality types, and addressed suicide without glamorizing or trivializing. My review is hanging out over at: Where You Go I May Not Follow – Insurgent

We also have a couple people who are joining us long distance and are reading along:

Tawnie is out in Hong Kong right now and gave us a write up on Cinder by Marissa Meyer, nothing like a dystopian future fairytale to get the blood pumping. Take a look at her review over at: There is joy to be claimed in this life – Book Club May

All in all, May Book Club was another fantastic time of good friends and great books.
Looking forward to another Month.

Our Genre for June: Fantasy

 

Our List Thus Far

historical fiction
fairytales
biography
science fiction
fantasy
teen/young adult
memoirs
urban fantasy
romance
mystery
classics
chick lit
thrillers
true crime
self help
religious fiction
children’s literature
dystopian
foreign translated
non-fiction
conspiracy

Insurgent

This Month for EOG Book Club our genre was YA or Teen Lit. This gave me the opportunity to dive back into the rather entertaining Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I read the first book, aptly named Divergent shortly after it came out, and found myself enjoying it. Sadly that meant waiting nearly a year til I could get my hands on and sink my teeth into the next instalment.

As soon as I got it I popped off the dust jacket (I never read with them on, I’m always scared I am going to ruin it!!) and nested down with  my new read. I was very confused! I read the opening chapter and found myself remembering nothing. I recognized one name, the setting of factions and the city, but otherwise found myself drowning in a sea of unfamiliar names. So I popped it on my shelf and picked up the first book for a quick reread before my glorious adventure onwards and  upwards.

Ripping through a book a second time is pretty simple. You remember large chunks and have the option of skipping over parts that are familiar or rereading chunks that baffled you the first time with the benefit of whole book context. It took me til about the middle of the first book to start remembering who everyone was and how they all fit into the first chapter of the second book. The confusion only aided by the fact that several key characters change their names at one point or another. But I got the gist and was back on my way.

For those who have not read the first book let me give you a quick world builder: There is a city and the city is set up in a very particular way. People are catagorized into one of five groups depending on what they believe is the most important value:
-Abignation: selflessness
-Euridite: knowledge
-Dauntless: bravery
-Amnity: peace
– Candor: honesty
If for some reason you are unable to fit or function into any of the factions you are doomed to a life of the factionless, second rate citizens with few rights and no wealth. When children turn 16 they take a simulation exam to determine which faction they are most suited for and help them choose which faction to be a part of for the rest of their life, faction over family. Leaving your old faction means cutting all ties. When our lead character Tris goes for her test she finds that she has an aptitude for 3 factions and the ability to control the simulations. This labels her the danger and unspoken title of Divergent. And when she chooses to leave her life of selflessness for a world of danger, bravery and ruthlessness she finds theres more behind being Dauntless then she ever imagined.

Insurgent picks up quite literally right where Divergent left off. No great span of time has passed its only moments later. Tris and Four, she calls him Tobias which is his given name (and one of the reasons the first chapter threw me off) must escape the fallen Dauntless and Abignation districts of the city along with Four’s father Marcus, Tris’s brother Caleb and the ever hateful Peter. They flee with other Abignation to the Amnity compound and seek refuge from the power hungry Euridite. The book chronicles the movement of Tris and Four as they attempt to save what Abignation is left and muster the forces of Dauntless to retake their city.

I honestly cant say a whole lot more about plot without giving away some key events that really make or break the story, I will however give my thoughts on how it was done.

Veronica Roth does a spectacular and delicate job of handing suicide. We loose someone in the first book to suicide and in Dauntless they are exalted as a hero and truly Dauntless, for having been brave enough to take on the final adventure into the unknown. By so parading something we know to be so blatantly untrue she is able to tackle the idea without trivializing it and alienating people who might have had the same thoughts. She shows suicide as the tragedy it truly is and I applaud her for it. Suicide pops up again in the second book but we see it in another of its forms. Not as the overt taking of ones life, but as acting foolishly and recklessly with no regard for their own life, putting themselves purposely in harms way. It is all too common, but under recognized in a lot of cases. By highlighting it in the way she does, showing the danger and impact it has on others, Roth is again able to call out such behaviour for what it is without becoming preachy or condescending.

The idea that we are more then one dimensional is also tackled in the innovative idea of factions and separation of people for what is considered their key characteristics. This is most prevalent in the writing of the main character Tris, who has an aptitude for 3 different factions and gives her the label of divergent. But it can also be seen in all of the transfers as well. Al, while from Candor shows he can be brave by excepting to join a faction he has no desire for, as well as being selfless in his throwing fights so as not to hurt the other transfers. Christine who is also from Candor never looses her propensity to tell the truth, but her strength and desire for adventure pegs her as Dauntless. Even Peter, who we love to hate, shows signs of his Euridite past along side his violent Dauntless tendencies.

I also have two problems with the books thus far, but they create spoilers. So read beyond the cutline at your own risk.

For those who don’t and do read on, let me say this. The Divergent series has proven to be a very good series thus far. I have enjoyed it immensely. It is a YA title which I know is likely to throw people off but it really shouldn’t. Its not the next great American novel by any means, but it hits on some really important points that more then just teenagers need to hear. Its not quite brain candy with all the serious themes riddled throughout, but it is written in an easy to read style that will have you whipping through it in a couple of days.

This is my pretend cutline because WordPress won’t do it for me!

Warning Spoilers below!

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In the first book we learn through Tris’s fear landscape and just her general personality that she does not do intimacy well. Touching and physical affection is just not something that people in Abignation are taught or are generally exposed to. We get one brief and awkward scene of Tris and Four talking about it and it all seems to just disappear. Suddenly kissing and making out and touching half naked Four is no longer an issue. I get that the fear landscape helped her to face that fear, but it doesn’t make a fear go away. She goes from being shy and uneasy around Four to having zero qualms about getting all up in his grill and being super touchy. The transformation for me was far too fast  and therefore left it feeling unrealistic.

In the first book we see Tris kill Will (told you spoilers) during the simulation attack.  She in reality had some choice about what she did, but in the absolute terror and adrenaline of the moment we have to give her some forgiveness for her actions, it was an extraordinary circumstance. The guilt of this carries on with her through the entirety of the the second book and it drives me a little bit bonkers. I understand that the timeline of the second book doesn’t cover much more then a month at most, and that the drama of killing your best friends boyfriend is going to linger. What makes me the most annoyed is how long she goes with it bottled up and not telling/lying to others about it. She buries it deeper and deeper until it entirely envelops her and stops her from doing what she needs to do, as well as alienating from absolutely everyone she loves when it finally does come out. I get that she is suffering, but she is portrayed and being a thinker and percieving things in situations, you’d think she would look at what she was doing and say to herself “Hey, this is only going to cause a TONNE of problems later, maybe I should just get it out quick and easy!”

The Story Of Beautiful Girl

For all I know this book is a book club phenomenon that has been love and adored by millions. But that is not how I found it, or grew to fall in love with it. I was simply racked for time to pick a Historical Fiction for The EOG Book Club, and couldn’t muster the energy to blow through a Jane Austen novel in a little over two weeks. This lead to me frantically wandering the newly created book section of my mothers local Wal-Mart. (There is only one very tiny book store in town that keeps bankers hours.)

I was about to give up after seeing nothing that peaked my interest, regency royal scandals are not my cup of tea, when I saw this beautiful little blue cover glowing brightly on the top shelf. I thought to myself, it will be too good to be true if this turns out to be historical fiction, but low and behold it was and I was very happy.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon is set in the early 70’s and leads right up to current day, taking place at the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, an institution where the disabled and mentally handicapped are dumped and taken care of only in the most basic way, and rarely even that.

The story follows 3 main characters:
Lynnie – a woman with developmental delays who is housed at the school who runs away with Homan after becoming pregnant due to the abuse of of the the grounds keepers.
Homan  – An African American deaf-mute man sent to the School simply because no one is able to communicate with him. He falls in love with Lynnie, and after finding out about her pregnancy promises to free her from the school.
Martha – A little old woman with no children of her own living on her farm after the death of her husband. Lynnie and Homan turn up on her door step one night and trust her with hiding and caring for the new born baby after Lynnie is apprehended and Homan is lost to the night.

I was incredibly impressed with the writing style and how well the author was able to put across the thoughts and emotions of all the characters. She masterfully delves into the mind and speech of an African American man who grew up in the 50’s, and surmounts the awesome challenge of him having to describe words and people he has never heard of. She also delves into the mind and feelings of Lynnie with such delicacy and insight I wasn’t at all surprised when the author turned out to have grown up with a sister who had a disability.

Without giving too much away I want to say that this book is really amazing, a lot of really important themes were explored in interesting and engaging ways. All the characters were well fleshed out and believable, well all but one but we can gloss over her. And the setting was almost 3 dimensional. I would recommend this read to absolutely anyone, the themes are universal and there is not so much romance that it would turn a guy off reading it.

My only critique was the ending, I felt that it could have been handled way better then it was. It felt a little rushed, and really the only part of the book that didn’t feel believable to me. There are so many ways that the writer could have resolved the story and brought Lynnie’s daughter to the realization of who her family was, it may have made the book a few chapters longer but would have been well worth the extra time. Luckily the story seems to resolve its self before we get to this disconnected feeling last chapter, so it was easy to disregard it and let it end a chapter earlier.

EOG: Inappropriate Cupcakes and a Poop Sword

Good Afternoon everyone!

I hereby apologize (deargravyboat why are all my blogs starting like this lately) for the enormous gap in coverage! Feel free to throw all the pointy rocks and angry glances my way. They are deserved!

So this is going to be a mini update of both months I suppose! March which was Romance Month. And April which was Historical Fiction month.

March as you can expect was filled with all manner of hilarity as we dove into the terrifyingly wacky world of romance novels. Not a one of us was particularly impressed with our chosen topic but we knuckled down under the oppression and sprang forth with great enthusiasm. (That last part may or may not be true.) But truth is four of us procured books for the reading, put our time and energy into exploring these books and came together to talk about them. We were greatly blessed by the baking of man-bit and booby cupcakes by our dear Christine, and ate them henceforth. We then proceeded to crack jokes and laugh mercilessly at the genre.

Here is the break down of our opinions:
1 Reader – Couldn’t get passed the first 30 pages, as there was some pretty gross gaping chest wound sex. This saddened the reader as the premise of vampires that weren’t total sissies and had an awesome wicked sounding back story was rather enticing.
1 Reader – Was not particularly impressed or disappointed in her historical horse circus romance, involving a cock-blocking dog and a perfectly packaged ending. Was deemed an easy read that was good for zoning out.
2 Readers – Inexplicably fell in love with their books which turned out to be series which they both become deeply invested in. One was an urban fantasy which the reader used as a very handy motivational tool for weight loss. Loose weight buy the next book. The other a historical romance which the reader found had a surprising amount of detail and back story, then ran out to buy the whole series…

3 phrases to sum up March: inappropriate cupcakes,  jokes, laughter

April was a little more contemplative but did not fail in its ability to make us laugh like mad fools. We had a wide range of books this time around. Christine read Markus Zusacks’ The Book Thief Dana read Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden, Andrea read the play The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer and I read Rachel Simon’s  The Story of Beautiful Girl. 

Our books all focused on different people groups in different eras, but this did not stop us from drawing parallels between our stories. The Story of Beautiful Girl, A Normal Heart and The Book Thief all touched on the social acceptance of ignoring and hiding the suffering of others based on a lack of understanding and acceptance. The Book Thief and A Normal Heart both highlighted the incredible damage that hate can create not just for the individuals but for the world.

Genghis gave us a fascinating look into one of history’s most recognizable villains, which we learned had pretty good reasons for going crazy and killing people. Two words people… Poop sword… You want that to make sense read the book…. or show up at book club! 😀

Really book club is much more stimulating then this, and we got a chance to look into some really deep issues, share in the heartbreak of eachother’s stories and laugh at the ridiculous parts. We all ranted, and raved and got a lot off our chests and genuinely enjoyed each others company… and the cake…. damn fine rum cake.

For a look into Andrea’s two books check out her post at: Faceless Masses – White Horses and a dose of The Normal Heart

Christine in all her amazingness and madness has covered not only March and April but has tackled and written up her review for May as well! Check her out at: Sex, tears and books thrown in anger

Tawnie one of our distance members (<3) also chimed in with her fantastic April Review over at her blog: There Is Joy To Be Claimed In this Life – April

For a look into my April pick check out my post at: The Story Of Beautiful Girl

Our Genre for May: Teen/Young Adult Lit!

Our List Thus far

historical fiction
fairytales
biography
science fiction
fantasy
teen/young adult
memoirs
urban fantasy
romance
mystery
classics
chick lit
thrillers
true crime
self help
religious fiction
children’s literature
dystopian
foreign translated
non-fiction
conspiracy