Review: Missing Person

Missing Person
Missing Person by Patrick Modiano

Missing Person by Patrick Modiano, was originally written in French I believe.  I of course read an English translation.  Mr. Modiano won the 2014 nobel prize for literature.  Because of this, I was expecting an amazing book with shocking brilliant prose.  The book is not bad, it is in fact a some what interesting story.  But it doesn’t move very quickly.  It is a kind of detective novel.

I bought this copy on abebooks I believe and it was hard to find.  I had to purchase it because none of the local libraries had a copy.  I think I know why they didn’t have a copy now.  There is nothing special about this book.  The story is just kind of there.  Nothing exciting.  Maybe this was just over my head, I’m not sure, but I can’t give this a good rating as it just didn’t interest me very much.  I think the best part was the first 40 pages or so when the story is just getting started and I thought it was building up to something great.  But it was anti-climatic.  I was let down.  This book only earned two stars out of five from me.  Very disappointed.

Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle

The Sleeper and the Spindle
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman was recommended to me from Lucythereader.  You can see her recommendation in the video below:

Start at 1:10 if you only want to hear about The Sleeper and the Spindle.  This book has fantastic illustrations and I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing work that Chris Riddell did in this book.  Simply astounding.  Take a look:

The Sleeper and the Spindle - Inside
The Sleeper and the Spindle – Inside

Just gorgeous.  If you are a Neil Gaiman this one is a keeper.  I however, didn’t purchase this one.  I borrowed it from the library.  I was thinking I have about an hour what can I read in that time.  So I glanced at my to-read list on goodreads and this was a short book that I remembered from Lucy’s video.  I’m so glad I read it.

My local library had a digital copy ready for download.  So, for the first time I tried downloading an ebook on my iPad.  It worked really well.

The Sleeper and the Spindle - iPad
The Sleeper and the Spindle – iPad

Back to the story though.  It was a wonderful fantasy about dwarfs and a princess and an evil witch/enchantress.  They have a dangerous and wondrous adventure.  In typical Gaiman style, things are never as you expect.  This book is easily a 4 out of 5 star book!  The only thing I didn’t like was that it ended so soon!

If you want something like this but a little longer I highly recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel, another Neil Gaiman novel.  This one is just perfect.  I read it in 2015 and it is definitely a 5 star book!

Review: The Secret History

The Secret History
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Halfway through The Secret History by Donna Tartt I knew I was going to give this book a 5 out of 5.  It is a story about a handful of students that are taught by a special professor.  The professor only has this handful of students and teaches all but one or two of the students classes himself.  An oddity in college.  The story takes place in Vermont.  The students see them self as elite as does the professor and the professor helps them see only the best in themselves.

The students take things too far.  Further than you or I would think possible.  There are several places where Greek is spoken but you get the just of things so it’s okay.  It helps if you have read some of the Greek classics.  Just when you think the book is winding down, boom!  There is a surprise.  Great book!

I listened to the audio edition of the book.  It is read by Donna Tartt, the author.  I love it when the author does the audio book themselves.  You know they are reading it the way it is meant to be read.  They are putting emphasis in all the right places.  They do the voices of the characters as they should be and as they felt they would be.  Really it’s the best thing you can get if unable to read the print version.

This book is on the BBC 100 list that I have been referring to often in my writing on this blog.  So, I’m very glad I can put a line through another title.  I would recommend this book to my friends.  It is a great story and not slow by any means.

Review: Splendid Cities

Splendid Cities
Splendid Cities by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick

This is one of those new adult coloring books that are very popular right now.  I received Splendid Cities by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick.  My oldest daughter and I have been coloring a page together.  I took the right side and my daughter, 7 years-old, too the left side.

Splendid Cities Coloring
Splendid Cities Coloring

We had a great time coloring.  We only ran into one problem.  The center of the book, at the spine is hard to color, but I think this would be the same problem with any of these new coloring books.

Lost Ocean Cover
Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford

Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford is another one of these type of books.  I hope to get this one next, however, I’m not sure I’ll be doing that for a long time as Splendid Cities is a very large book and the coloring takes a long time because of all the detail.  It is calming.  I remember looking for adult coloring books long before this recent trend, say 8 years ago.  There really wasn’t anything on the market at that time.  I’m glad we have books like these now as it gives me something more challenging to color and I get to enjoy it with my daughter.

Lost Ocean Foldout Pages
Lost Ocean Foldout Pages

I’m not going to count this towards my 100 books read goal for the year, it is not reading after all.

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett

I think I know why I don’t read many graphic novels.  I don’t feel like I’ve really gained anything by reading them.  With non-fiction there is an obvious additional of knowledge gained.  With Fiction (at least good fiction) I come away feeling I have accomplished something and learned an interesting story.  With most graphic novels, I think I feel guilty.  Guilty that I’ve wasted my time reading something purely because it looks pretty.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
Maus by Art Spiegelman

Of course, with graphic novels like Maus, that is not the case.  That was a deep and serious work, that was by far my favorite graphic novel of all time.  However, with something like Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett, I don’t feel as though I am gaining any additional insight or learning from the story.  But I still enjoy it.

After this, I’m definitely going to take a break from graphic novels for a bit.  It may be time for some serious non-fiction to cleanse my palate so to speak.  I checked this out from the local library and saved $21!  Yeah!

Okay, so now that I am done with this, Im totally going to read more graphic novels.  Not only was the art awesome, the story was really good.  A little difficult to follow for me.  I find it hard to figure out the reading order of the word bubbles in comic books.  I guess I’m so used to the linear reading in regular books this throws me.

We are going to the library tomorrow, and I will be stoping at the graphic novel section again.  Even though my to read pile is dwarfing my house right now.  This gets 4 stars, because nothing can ever be better than Maus.

Wonder Woman: The Circle

Wonder Woman by Gail Simone
Wonder Woman by Gail Simone

UPDATE:  I didn’t think I would finish this book so soon.  I forgot how quickly graphic novels are read.  I loved the art in this book and the story was better than most of the Wonder Woman graphic novels I have read.  I would recommend this for Wonder Woman fans.  It is a strong 3 star read.

I started Wonder Woman: The Circle by Gail Simone last night.  I originally got this after finding out that one of my local libraries has a very large collection of comic books, or graphic novels.  Will someone tell me what the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel is please.  I’ve always used comic book when talking about just one individual copy and graphic novel when referring to something like this book which is a collection of issues combined into one book.  Someone please set me straight in the comments.

Anywho, the library, Yorba Linda Library, had this and I’ve always been into Wonder Woman, I mean she’s hot right?  Last year I read The Secret History of Wonder Woman by by Jill Lepore, which was a little slow, but a great foundation to really understand the origins of Wonder Woman and those who created her.  I was never into the early comics and I think I would have found them disappointing as Gail Simone points out in the introduction of this book.

It’s around $19 on Amazon so this goes into 2016 savings bucket!  I saved $19 already this year on books because I got this from the library.  Last year I saved over $800 on books because I borrowed them from the library.  I really need to do a post on that as well.

I borrowed this in part because I’ve been slowly getting more interested in comic books in the last few years.  I have been attending comic-con regularly with my dad (it’s kind of a tradition with us, and no we don’t dress up).  Also, with the new Star Wars movie out, I know that a lot of what happens between episode 6 and 7 is being covered in the comic books and regular novels.  I want to know everything so I’ve put somethings on hold and I also have plans to check out the local comic book stores soon.

There are a lot of Wonder Woman comics out there and I find it confusing to figure out where this one lies in the Wonder Woman timeline.  I looked on wikipedia and I’m having trouble finding something that lays it all out on a timeline like the Star Wars novels are laid out on Wookiepedia.

I picked this up to read over the winter break, I took vacation from work, and I haven’t gotten to it until now because I was reading Shade Me.

The Best Books I Read in 2015

Book Lust
Book Lust. Sums 2015 up well.

Just as in previous years I’m writing a post about the books I read in 2015. I read 87 books in total, below is the breakdown. This year I’m adding a few metrics which I think will be interesting. Like, how much I saved by borrowing books from the library ($807.40) and what percentage of the authors I read were men (67%).

Fiction was the majority of my reading at 60%. Fantasy (20%) and Science Fiction (21%) being the largest portion of all genres. Read a few series this year, meaning I read 8 books by Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles), 3 from C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia), 2 from Timothy Zahn (The Thrawn Trilogy) and 2 Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson). Paperback was the least popular binding at on 17% of my reads.

Most of my books came from the library (37%). Longest audio book I listened to was Capital at 1,503 minutes (25 hours), shortest was The Hamburger: A History at 180 minutes (3 hours). Total audio listening was 11,751 minutes (196 hours, 8.2 days).

Longest book I read was Hadoop in Practice (536 pages), which was for a class and I didn’t read every page. Next was All the Light We Cannot See at (530 pages). Shortest was 30 pages, a short story called Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo. In all I read 14,560 pages.

The longest it took me to get through a book was Capital (195 days), Michelle and I listened to it in the car. Shorts books included a lot of the Spiderwick Chronicles, in all I finished 12 books the same day I started them.

I finished the most books in July (20). The most popular book (according to goodreads) I read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The least was Valkyrie.

So how does this year compare to previous years? Well, I read the most I have in the past 3 years, but still not as much as 2011, when I read 96 books. That big 100 is still just out of reach. Maybe this year…

Some of my favorite books of the year were:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Falling Up

Tuck Everlasting

The Nixie’s Song

How Reading Changed My Life

The Wrath of Mulgarath


The Field Guide


Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason

The Read-Aloud Handbook

Dark Force Rising

The Last Olympian

Shade Me Review

Shade Me
Shade Me

So I read Shade Me by Jennifer Brown. Before we get to the spoilers let me just say quickly that this is a very strong 4 on a 1-5 scale. The only reason I held back on 5 is because of a bit too much teenage angst for my liking. Although, not nearly as much as the Twilight books. Also, there were a hand full of times, that I caught myself thinking, come on Nikki really, that’s dumb, don’t do that. But this actually might be a reason to give it more stars not less because if you are talking to yourself while reading the book, its got you. Full disclosure, I entered a contest on EpicReads and was sent this book for free. It doesn’t get officially published until 1/19/16.

**Spoilers Below**

Continue reading Shade Me Review