Tag Archive | Books

Free Comic Book Day – Loot!

Free Comic Book Day  / California Bookstore Day has come and gone and I must say we made out like bandits. The bookish awesome kind of bandits anyway. This year the CYaN staff took it to the next level and hit up independent bookstores and the local library sale to celebrate. As you can see from the picture the selection is pretty varied. (click on the links to see what was available and more info on what we got).

Click the jump to see what my favorite pieces this year were: Read More…

The Fat Man – A Tale of North Pole Noir by Ken Harmon

fat noir

Fired from his longtime job as captain of the Coal Patrol, two-foot-three-inch, 1,300-year-old elf Gumdrop Coal is angry. He’s one of Santa’s original elves, inspired by the fat man’s vision to bring joy to children on that one special day each year. But somewhere along the way, things went sour for Gumdrop. Maybe it was delivering one too many lumps of coal for the Naughty List. Maybe it’s the conspiracy against Christmas that he’s starting to sense down every chimney.

Either way, North Pole disillusionment is nothing new: Some elves brood with a bottle of nog, trying to forget their own wish list. Some get better. Some get bitter. Gumdrop Coal wants revenge. Justice is the only thing he knows, and so he decides to give a serious wakeup call to parents who can’t keep their vile offspring from landing on the Naughty List. But when one parent winds up dead, his eye shot out with a Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model BB gun, Gumdrop Coal must learn who framed him and why. Along the way he’ll escape the life-sucking plants of the Mistletoe Forest, battle the infamous Tannenbomb Giant, and survive a close encounter with 12 very angry drummers and their violent friends. The horrible truth lurking behind the gingerbread doors of Kringle Town could spell the end of Christmas – and of the fat man himself. Holly Jolly!

I read this book a few years ago and it is a story I find myself circling back to each holiday season. Every time I see A Christmas Story on TV I think about how the characters fit flawlessly into this story of an elf turned detective. It pulls the right nostalgic strings and also manages to be a fun tale of North Pole Noir. The above summary gives you a pretty good idea of what the book is about, but I feel the amazing way this story references other works is what makes it special. Spoilers, there is a trip to the island of misfit toys! Seriously, give it a shot!

Update on New Neil Gaiman Book

neilOne of the many perks of having an account with Audible is that you get free short stories and excerpts from your favorite authors. This week there is a short story from Neil Gaiman from his smoke and mirrors anthology as well as an excerpt from The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

For you regular readers you know the plot from my previous post, and you also know how excited I am. This excerpt is basically a first chapter of the book and gives us an idea of who the narrator is as well as a better feel for the three Hempstock women.

I am totally against spoilers, but if you are unable to get your hands on the excerpt I have made a vague list with a bit about the book, which I would like to call:

Three not so spoiler-y spoilers: Read More…

The Cemetery of Lost Books

Every couple weeks I go window shopping at my local bookstore. I browse the shelves and take pictures of the covers that catch my eye. I know I know… don’t judge a book by its cover. I have been burned many many times for this particular vice, but this time it has paid off!

I have stumbled upon a series by an amazingly gifted writer, Carlos Ruiz Zafon; The Cemetery of Lost Books. He is a Spanish writer and these books have been brilliantly translated. The cemetery is also referred to as the a place for forgotten books, but that is the only inconsistency I had found.

Zafon’s writing style makes you wonder if magic truly exists. His stories are woven in a way that you wonder if it is supernatural or perhaps an illusion to detract from the man behind the curtain. It is very clever and entertaining. This extends to his characters each of whom has a back-story and easily discernible characteristics.

As I have mentioned before I enjoy when stories share the same universe. This series takes place in Barcelona over a few generations, but you get updates on the amazing characters you grew attached to in the other stories. Each book has its own story and the character is linked to the world through the cemetery and their connection to a forgotten book. I am going to explain this Fight Club style. Read More…

“This moment will just be another story someday.” A Book Review with No Spoilers

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Lately, I have been asked what i thought about this book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I think the fact that the movie is coming out soon is behind the increased curiosity.

This is a straight forward YA novel, but Stephen Chbosky has made it so personal that you cannot help but connect to these characters. The protagonist, Charlie, is an innocent 15 year old boy who is trying to find his place in the world instead of observing from the edges. Read More…

What’s in my Library Bag?

I practically live at my local library, I mean it is perfect for people who possess insatiable media-based appetites. I can find that book I have been wanting to read, listen to the new album by <insert band name here>, flip through magazines that I don’t want cluttering up my coffee table, and even rent a movie to take home.

This week my haul is pretty amazing. Here is my week of figurative consumption:


 I have been on a quest to understand the comic book world and since Batman is such a big part of 2012 I thought I would start from the beginning. First page and I feel so comfortable because an old friend from my Archie Comics days is there. Commissioner Gordon is a dead ringer for Hiram Lodge (Veronica’s father) in my humble opinion. Sorry, I am partial to tangents. The dialogue in this volume is amazingly bad! I mean he sees a light in a window and says, “A light! I should go there!” don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t take much away from “The Batman”. It is fun to see where this character we all grew up with came from and appreciate the evolution in art and writing.

What stuck out?:

The violence in this book is different than what I see in modern day heroes. Batman has no qualms about killing in the early issues and he is injured quite a few times. He gets shot and because he is human, he needs to make tactical retreats and lick his wounds. Oh and of course the Joker! He is not some lame mobster like the other villains in this volume. He is smart and has a game in place while also being insane. I immediately thought of The Dark Knight when i read it because this Joker calls his plays. Another touch I loved was the use of nerve chemicals to leave his victims with a gruesome smile. Very dark, I enjoyed it.

Please Click to see my advanced review of the new Bloc Party album and the rest of what’s in my library bag.

Read More…

Ghosts: Recent Hauntings

Attention Book Nerds:

Today, I received an e-mail alert for one of my favorite authors; Neil Gaiman! The alert is for an anthology of ghost stories that he has contributed to called, Ghosts: Recent Hauntings.

“The spirits of the dead have walked among our legends, myths, and stories since before recorded history. Ghostly visitations, hauntings, unquiet souls seeking the living, vengeful wraiths, the possibility of life beyond the grave that can somehow reach out and touch us are some of literature’s most enduring icons. Now, in the twenty-first century, we are no less fascinated with phantoms than our cave-dwelling ancestors or our Victorian-age forebears. Thirty modern masters of fright and fantasy fill this anthology with shivers, chills, and spooky explorations of both sides of the veil. Be prepared to keep a light on all night!”

Don’t get too excited, this collection has 29 reprinted short stories (whomp whomp) and one grim original by Stephen Graham Jones titled “Uncle”.

That shouldn’t discourage you though. I have perused the list of authors and this anthology is pretty promising. Tim Powers for example wrote “On Stranger Tides” which was used as inspiration for the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Also the author of Bubba Ho-Tep Joe R. Lansdale has a story included. Lots more (including Gaiman goodness) after the jump. Read More…

Day Two of the Kingkiller Chronicles: The Wise Man’s Fear

The Wise Man’s Fear

As you may have read I recently finished the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy. I was so impressed that I finished the second book; The Wise Man’s Fear, shortly after and have been trying to put into words what I thought about it. Kvothe develops greatly in this installment and it is hard to sum up because he feels like different people throughout the story.

To recap this trilogy is based on the true telling of the main hero Kvothe’s life. He recounts his life over three days (three books) to Chronicler, a traveling scribe, in order to have the truth out in the world instead of the lavish exaggerated tales. The world in which Kvothe lives contains science, magic and adventure. He attends the university (there is only one) and learns sympathy; a form of alchemical magic. This magic proves most useful in many of his adventures and helps to mold his legend.

This particular installment is filled with Mercenaries, the Fae, Sympathy and so much action you feel a bit dizzy at times. This story has a great message that is used to further the story and helps to develop Kvothe. The thing that keeps this story exciting is that Kvothe is one person in the present who is obviously lost spiritually and in the past is just a boy who is learning about life through his mistakes and amazing adventures. Neither one of these versions of our protagonist is fully realized and it is exciting to ponder where he may end up by the end.

What I got from this story… (Spoilers ahead)     Read More…

What is your girlfriend reading?

Let’s talk about the fifty shades of Grey….

Once in a while I enjoy picking up a book from the current best sellers list and since I am almost finished with the Kingkiller Chronicle book 1  I have been watching the New York Times best sellers list in preparation for my next read. However, the past few weeks this list has been dominated by the Fifty Shades Trilogy of  E.L. James.

For those of you living under a rock this is a popular series that began as a Twilight Fan Fiction where you switch Vampires for Dominants and Submissives.

The plot traces the relationship between recent college graduate Anastasia Steele and manipulative billionaire Christian Grey. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her life as well as a non-disclosure agreement, something that he’s required from all of his previous submissives. Upon learning that she is a virgin, Grey agrees to have sex with her in order to prepare her for later encounters, fully intending that the contract would be signed. As she gets to know him, she learns that his sexual tastes involve bondage, domination, and sadism, and that childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual. In order to be his partner, she agrees to experiment with BDSM, but she struggles to reconcile who she is (a virgin who has never previously had a boyfriend) with whom Christian wants her to be, his submissive and a to-do-with-as-he-pleases partner in his “Red Room of Pain”

Yes, I read this trilogy, mainly out of a sense of morbid curiosity. Read More…

Battle Royale: Game of Thrones Ep. 2.06

So as a trio, we enjoy getting together to watch certain shows. The current series we’re enjoying as a group is Game of Thrones. For those wishing to avoid spoilers of the books or who haven’t seen this week’s episode, avert your eyes.

Without any further ado, Game of Thrones Episode 2.06: The Old Gods and the New.


The amount of things that are being changed from the book interests me. So far, we lost Storm’s End and Edric Storm, and in this episode, we’ve lost Reek to the gods of adaptation. Granted, his true identity is mentioned as the Bastard of Bolton, but we’re bound to only see him take Winterfell. The occurrences surrounding Daenerys’ visit to the House of the Undying is changed. Only time will tell if it was for the better. Overall, a good episode. A first glimpse of Ygritte, and yet again the circumstances are slightly different. But those scenes were enjoyable.

The complaint I did have was the riot in King’s Landing, specifically the scene with the High Septon. It just seemed poorly directed. The crowd seemed more like zombies than unruly hellions. And yes, I know in the book they tore him apart, but in a show that is so consistently realistic, it just could have been better.


They have definitely started to rewrite the story or maybe I just do not remember it from power-reading I did over the summer. Either way while they are leaving some of the fans from the books a little disheveled, they are keeping the story fresh and different for everyone (still surprises to be had for someone who is caught up in the books).

I am a little on edge on whether I liked this episode or not. I mean it still keeps the story interesting, but the whole hour feels disjointed. As a person who was able to follow what was going in season one and knows the story of the second book, I am frankly lost as to where they are in the story. With so many different ideas being rewritten, it is hard to know how accelerated the show’s story has become. Now I have to wonder how Theon and Reek will interact, knowing that there is no subterfuge. The show’s budget is obviously to blame for most of this. Again, I hope it shows when it comes to the Battle of Blackwater.

On a positive note, the show continues to impress me with the location of their shoots. The frozen wasteland of the north is a great backdrop for the Night’s Watch. I especially enjoyed the chase scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte (Ygritte is pretty hot).


I think I must have asked Danny 5 or 6 times while watching this episode, “Was that in the book? I don’t remember this at all.” I understand that this show is not going to follow the book word for word, but I think some of the plot points they’ve changed are kind of important. Many minor characters are missing from Winterfell and they killed Sir Rodrik so early! Well, I will put my faith in the series to sort it out.

Was is just me or was this episode kind of funny?  We finally get to see Ygritte and she is doing her best to get under Jon Snow’s skin the whole scene. Eventually he ties her up to make camp where they are forced to spoon to keep warm. “Stop Moving!” “I didn’t even realize I was doing it that time…” Another fun exchange was between Arya and Jaqen H’ghar; she is frantic trying to keep Tywin from learning she stole his correspondence and demands that Jaqen kill the messenger. The messenger dies in Tywin’s doorway without a word. Well… my synopsis leaves much to be desired, but I laughed when I watched it.

Daenerys is becoming so strong and her speech about how she is a special person was great. Although I think the choice to have her dragons stolen was a poor one. The character in the book had instilled enough fear and awe that no one would have been successful in stealing her children. Perhaps, I just want to think that though. As I said earlier… I am putting my faith in the series. What would happen to the Mother of Dragons amazing storyline without her dragons? This will be resolved in the next episode… right?

Well four episodes left… I am expecting big things!

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