Mid-February Book Haul

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Is it me or is this year already off to a fast pace? It’s only the middle of February and I have a full blown TBR on my hands from all the books I’ve already acquired this month. So, I figured it was time for a mid-month book haul!

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I think I may be getting slightly better at this whole taking pictures of books thing? Maybe. Probably not, though. Because, let’s be real, I own a camera and sometimes I’m way too lazy to pick it up. So, until I get past that, it’s iPhone pictures with some fancy filters for the win.

28220892Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

27883214Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

29772863Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer, illustrations by Douglas Holgate

In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure — with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

127459The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle #3) by Libba Bray

IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF CHANGE since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds. The Order – the mysterious group her mother was once part of – is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence’s burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

25647303Can’t Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon

In the early 1950s, Odessa Drake (Dessa) is rescued from a bleak existence with a single mother. She takes a chance on the unknown to work in a boarding house owned by a widowed great aunt in Mineville, New York. Dessa is devoted to Aunt Flo and especially a young man, Nicholas, who appears and takes shelter in the attic, the only available space. Four years pass. She looks forward to each day because of his presence, in spite of the tedious work. Dessa is now eighteen and knows little more of Nicholas than the day he arrived to work the mines. She knows only he is a remarkable man who has a limp and she trusts Nicholas explicitly. There is a familiarity both recognize and an unshakeable bond develops. Nicholas has reasons to keep his past buried. Dangers loom and become evident when Nicholas gets too close and exposes their bond. What is the mystery behind this threat? To discover the answer, they escape by railway heading West, colliding with treachery and uncovering secrets, mile by mile. Their journey is impossible, but, they are supported by friends who risk their lives to make sure a great love and lineage is preserved. Or is it? None will forget their odyssey as they proceed to their destiny farther than they imagined.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Review to come.

289695Seeing Redd (The Looking Glass Wars #2) by Frank Beddor

Alyss of Wonderland’s rule has only just begun, and already those who prefer chaos to peace are threatening to destroy everything worth imagining. Trailed by newly appointed royal bodyguard Homburg Molly, Alyss is doing her best to keep pace with the non-stop demands of being queen while attempting to evade Molly for a few private moments with Dodge.

Alyss’ life is a challenging mix of duty, love, and tough decisions, and then a series of phantom sightings set fire to an urban myth of Her Imperial Viciousness’ return and have everyone… seeing Redd.

Has Redd somehow freed herself and her chief assassin, The Cat, from the confines of the Heart Crystal? If not, then who has resurrected Redd’s brutal foot soldiers the Glass Eyes and set them loose to attack Wonderland on all sides?

Battles rage, looking glasses explode, and the Alyssians once again unite to defend White Imagination in this fast-paced follow-up to the New York Times best-selling The Looking Glass Wars.

13477819Who Could That Be at This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions #1) by Lemony Snicket

The adventure began in a fading town. Far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket started an apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in mystery and secrecy. He asked questions that shouldn’t have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published that shouldn’t be read. Not even by you. Seriously, we recommend that you do NOT ask your parents for this, the first book in his new ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS series.
Lemony Snicket, in case you don’t already know, grew up to be the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events series.

78408Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket

A Warning from the Publisher:

Many readers have questions about Lemony Snicket, author of the distressing serial concerning the trials of the charming but unlucky Baudelaire orphans, published under the collective title A Series of Unfortunate Events. Before purchasing, borrowing, or stealing this book, you should be aware that it contains the answers to some of those questions, such as the following:

1. Who is Lemony?
2. Is there a secret organization I should know about?
3. Why does Lemony Snicket spend his time researching and writing distressing books concerning the Baudelaire orphans?
4. Why do all of Lemony Snicket’s books contain a sad dedication to a woman named Beatrice?
5. If there’s nothing out there, what was that noise?

Our advice to you is that you find a book that answers less upsetting questions than this one. Perhaps your librarian, bookseller, or parole officer can recommend a book that answers the question, “Aren’t ponies adorable?”

HAVE YOU READ THESE? OR GIVE ME RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON THESE READS.

 

January Book Haul

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I, like most bibliophiles, have a serious problem when it comes to having anything resembling self-control about how much money I spend on books on a monthly basis. Between frequent visits to local independent shops, living two seconds away from a Barnes and Noble and a used bookstore, not to mention being an avid Target enthusiast I buy a lot of books. This isn’t even taking into consideration the book subscription boxes that I receive. I told you, it’s a problem.

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What’s strange is I was shocked at the small amount that I had actually acquired this month. Of course, this could be due to my over active imagination exaggerating how many books I actually buy, but it seems like smaller haul than normal. Also, please ignore the obviously terrible lighting that I took this picture in that caused major glares on a couple of the books. I read books, not much for photography.

21416690The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents, and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

23272028A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Homes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.

15839976Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

29938354Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang

From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . .

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate outside Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Until now she’s led a secluded life behind courtyard walls, but without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Murder, political intrigue, jealousy, forbidden love … Jialing confronts them all as she grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother. Through, every turn she is guided, both by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past toward a very different fate, if she has the courage to accept it.

23310751First & Then by Emma Mills

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

Have you read these? Or give me recommendations based on these reads.

January TBR

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Finally! 2016 is here and a new year means more books to read! Here’s what I plan on reading this month, hopefully I’ll get to all of them! Especially since I’m still only about a quarter way thru The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. If you’ve read any of these books, let me know what you thought about them.

25733954If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

A heartfelt and wondrous debut about family, fear, and skateboarding, that Karen Russell calls “A bruiser of a tale . . . a death-defying coming-of-age story.”
Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and fun- loving—full of art, science experiments, and music—and all confined to their small house.
But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  At his new school he meets Jonah, an artsy loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding.  Together, they search for a missing local boy, help a bedraggled vagabond, and evade a dangerous bootlegger.  The adventure is more than Will ever expected, pulling him far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood, and all the risks that everyday life offers.
In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and uncertainties, and the lengths we’ll go for those we love.

Layout 1My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels #1) by Elena Ferrante

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.
The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.
Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this novel, the first in a trilogy, she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction.

19063The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

23129410Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor

From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Valepodcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves…no matter where we live.
Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.
Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “King City” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.
Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.
Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “King City”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.

18490533Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente 

Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Timesbestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.
But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.
Aesthetically recalling A Trip to the Moon and House of Leaves, and told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.

2108198Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

The winter isn’t ending. Nobody knows why.
And Odd has run away from home, even though he can barely walk and has to use a crutch.
Out in the forest he encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle – three creatures with a strange story to tell.
Now Odd is faced with a stranger journey than he had ever imagined.
A journey to save Asgard, City of the Norse Gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.
It’s going to take a very special kind of boy to defeat the most dangerous of all the Frost Giants and rescue the mighty Gods. Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever.
Someone just like Odd…

7728889The Diviners (Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Happy Reading!

Winery Library

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Welcome to Winery Library, a sometimes weekly post where I semi-drunkenly reflect on all the books I’ve started reading as well as the wine I’m consuming.

This week I started reading a whole slew of new books, from e-book to audiobook and the paper pages in-between. The picture above was haphazardly taken atop my husband’s hand-me-down laptop (which I gifted him) while I was skyping with my best guy friend who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Not only do I make my own husband weirded out by talking to myself aloud about books, but I also subject my best friends to watching me take pictures for this blog. I’m truly the friend you put up with.

ready player one by ernest cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready? —goodreads

I started reading this book for the Nerdist Book Club, which (if you click the link) will be written according to the timeline provided by the every so amazing Amy Ratcliffe. I’m super excited to finally be reading this book, I’ve been wanting to for some time, but have been putting it off thanks to my ever-growing larger TBR collection.


The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.
In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.
 —goodreads

This book is the first book I’ll be reading with the Blogger’s Book Club which was started by wonderful bloggers April of Bookishly Speaking and Stefani of Caught Read Handed. I, honestly, haven’t heard much or read much about this book so I’m very excited to be starting a book without bias. I’m also very excited to discuss the book with a group of great bloggers. Please join us, if you haven’t already.


Night Fall (John corey, #3) by nelson demille

John Corey, former NYPD homicide detective, assigned to the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force in the pre-millennium 90’s, makes a return appearance in a thoughtful novel offering an alternative to the government’s “official” position on what really happened to TWA Flight 800, which crashed off the Long Island coast in the summer of 1996. Accompanying his wife Kate to a memorial marking the five-year anniversary of the crash, Corey’s curiosity is aroused by what appears to be a concerted effort by Kate’s fellow federal agents to keep him–and her–from investigating a case that appears to be closed. Corey’s detecting skills lead him to two witnesses to the crash, who were enjoying an adulterous interlude on the beach at the time the plane went down–and videotaping their sexual escapades while what appears to be a terrorist missile attack takes place in the background. What ratchets up the tension in this capably written thriller is what the reader knows but Corey doesn’t as he heads for a showdown with those responsible for the official cover-up as the clock ticks down to the morning of September 11, 2001. DeMille’s deft touch with a riddle wrapped in an enigma–what really happened to Flight 800–makes his “what if” scenario a more than plausible theory; you don’t have to believe in conspiracies or government cover-ups to find his latest engrossing, entertaining, and enlightening. –Jane Adams —goodreads

My best guy friend recommended me Nelson DeMille’s series of an arrogant, slightly misogynistic and former NYPD homicide detective. I’ve never really been a big mystery reader, but this series really grabbed me. This is the third book of the series and I’m very excited to start it. The first two were full of smart, witty characters who don’t take any crap from anyone. Just how I like them.


wanted (pretty little liars #8) by sara shepard

In Rosewood, majestic estates sprawl for acres, and Tiffany toggle bracelets dangle from every girl’s wrist. But not all that glitters is gold, and the town harbors secrets darker than anyone could imagine—like the truth about what really happened the night Alison DiLaurentis went missing. . . .
Back in middle school, Ali plucked Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer from obscurity and turned them into the beautiful, popular girls everyone wanted to be. Ali was the best friend they ever had. But she also made them do terrible things and taunted them with their worst secrets. Now, three years later, all their questions about Ali have finally been answered and they can put this awful chapter of their lives behind them. Or so they think.
Not every story has a happy ending, especially when four pretty little liars have done so many wicked things. In the dramatic conclusion of Sara Shepard’s bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer could get everything they’ve ever wanted—unless A has one more horrifying twist in store. —goodreads

These books will never end. The goodreads blurb says that this is the “dramatic conclusion”, but there are some six or eight books left after this.


Soul eater, vol. 2 by atsushi ohkubo

The remedial assignment continues as Soul and Maka confront Dr. Franken Stein, the man behind Sid-sensei’s unfortunate transformation and the strongest meister ever to graduate from Death Weapon Meister Academy. Even without a weapon, his massive soul dwarfs them all-even big shot Black*Star! Can Maka rally her strength to face Stein in battle, or will despair be her downfall? —goodreads

I finally got a good manga reader for my iPad, so I’ve been drowning myself in downloads. Soul Eater is one of my absolute favorite animes, I can prove that by the giant fabric poster I have next to my bed. It’s really fun reading the manga of a show I’ve already watched to find the little differences they missed.

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Winery Library was brought to you by Ghost Pines 2012 cabernet sauvignon. It’s a big, bold 14% ABV wine that’s smooth and delicious. The first sips are intense with a juicy flavor that round out with, what I’d call, a smokey nut flavor. I tend to pick my wines based on the names of the winery, Ghost Pines has proved to be a good choice for me.

what are you reading?

Graphic Novel Haul!

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Along with my love of the great American (or non-American) novel, I read a fair amount of graphic novels. Though, I’ve been wanting to read more. Two doors down from one of the locations I manage happens to be a comic book store, at which I’ve made friends with the owners who follow me around the store while I pick up graphic novel after graphic novel. I’m very behind on my TBR list of graphic novels, but hopefully that will change soon. I, however, have a weakness for growing my collection every time I walk in the store. It’s a curse.

Here’s what I picked up today:

saga: volume two

From award-winning writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist FIONA STAPLES (Mystery Society, Done to Death), SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet… grandparents.
Collects Saga issues #7-12 —goodreads


the wicked + the divine, vol. 1: the faust act

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5 —goodreads


fables, vol. 1: legends in exile

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown’s sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber. —goodreads

I have actually read this volume of Fables before and should have picked up volume two as well, but I didn’t own a copy and how can you progress in a series if you’re too worried about the fact that your missing the first volume on your bookshelf? Fables is a really fun retelling of the characters from fairy tales and fables (hence the name) in the modern world. Definitely worth the pick up.


the walking dead, vol. 2: miles behind us

An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living. This volume follows our band of survivors on their tragic journey in search of shelter. Characters live and die as they brave a treacherous landscape littered with packs of the walking dead. —goodreads

do you read graphic novels or comics?

Barnes and Noble Book Haul!

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I went on a little bit of shopping spree tonight. My husband drove up to Phoenix to see one of our favorite bands, Cursive, and I wasn’t feeling too hot to endure jumping up and down surrounded by sweaty like-minded individuals. So, instead, I went shopping. I’m one of those shoppers that once I know I want something I need it and I need it now. Which lead me to Target, a used bookstore and Barnes and Noble in search of Ready Player One.

The reason behind my madness is that Ready Player One is the second book pick of the Nerdist Book Club. As a fellow nerd, lover off all things Nerdist and obsessor of book clubs I went out and bought the paperback in order to better keep up with the sections planned for discussion. For some reason, this book was sort of hard to find. That’s probably due to its popularity, but I digress. I didn’t exactly expect to find it at Target, since I was there to get a new phone case, but I did expect to find at least one copy at the used bookstore near my work. They usually have everything, I was highly disappointed and since the independent store I like was closed and I HAD to have the book RIGHT NOW I ran over to Barnes and Noble and luckily found a good copy on a buy two get one free table. My lucky day!

Here’s what I picked up:

ready player one by ernest cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready? —goodreads


the lowland by jhumpa lahiri

Two brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel–set in both India and America–that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.
Growing up in Calcutta, born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead of them. It is the 1960s, and Udayan–charismatic and impulsive–finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty: he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.
But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he comes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind–including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.
Suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland expands the range of one of our most dazzling storytellers, seamlessly interweaving the historical and the personal across generations and geographies. This masterly novel of fate and will, exile and return, is a tour de force and an instant classic. —goodreads


the circle by dave eggers

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America–even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. —goodreads

what are your thoughts on book clubs?

Winery Library

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So on top of being a huge bibliophile (check the name), I am a huge wine drinker. Wine isn’t for everyone. For a long time I considered myself solely a beer drinker, mostly because I spent most of my adolescence drinking Coors Light with my Harley-Davidson riding softball coaches and the majority of my college life drinking Coors Light in the desert with baseball players. Needless to say, I hate Coors Light now. No offense to the Silver Bullet, but I’ve out grown you. Thanks to a couple of great friends, when I finally turned twenty-one and was old enough to indulge freely with whatever beer of my choosing they took it upon themselves to steer me in the right direction. Once on my righteous path of alcohol consumption I finally came across wine. OH BOY, did my life change for the better.

While I can be found reading pretty much anywhere and at anytime these days, if I’m in a place where I can let my hair down and the risk of needing to use heavy machinery is at a minimum, I can be found with a book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Or, like I am now, a glass of wine in one hand and veal parmesan in the other. I’m a multi-tasker.

That unnecessarily long introduction leads me to the first ever, Winery Library. The Library is Open! Basically, this is semi drunken explanation of what is currently being stuffed into my purse for my reading pleasure.

Ruby by cynthia bond

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city–the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village–all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.
Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love. —Goodreads

I received this book courtesy of The Nervous Breakdown’s Book Club, a book club I’m about six months behind on. So far, I’m fairly enjoying this book. The dialogue is a bit difficult to get through thanks to the amount of slang and omitted letters. Though, I’ve learned it is much easier to read it with a faux Texan accent. The story, also, has taken a surprising turn. This is definitely not your typical Southern comfort novel.


bad feminist: essays by roxane gay

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.
Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.”
In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.
Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better. —Goodreads

Bad Feminist is my current audiobook of the month. It’s been fairly interesting seeing the array of reactions I receive from coworkers when they walk into my office only to hear the voice of a sassy narrator talking about Sweet Valley High and competitive Scrabble. I’ve already been accused of being a Feminazi and repeatedly asked if I’m listening to Feminist propaganda. Gay’s voice is very refreshing and honest. It’s nice to know that I shouldn’t feel bad for being a bad feminist myself.


Johnny the homicidal maniac: director’s cut by jhonen vasquez

Mayhem and violence rule in this collection of issues one through seven of Jhonen Vasquez’s Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, as well as material seen before only in Carpe Noctem magazine. Dark and disturbingly funny, JTHM follows the adventures of Johnny (you can call him Nny), who lives with a pair of styrofoam doughboys that encourage his madness, a wall that constantly needs a fresh coat of blood, and–oh, yeah–his victims in various states of torture. Join Nny as he frightens the little boy next door (Todd, known to fans of Vasquez’s work as Squee), thirsts for Cherry Brain Freezies, attempts suicide, draws Happy Noodle Boy, and tries to uncover the meaning of his homicidal existence. —Goodreads

I’m a very big fan of comics and have recently purchased a few volumes of different comics in an effort to read more again. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and when I overheard a friend saying that he had this collection I practically leapt at the opportunity to borrow it from him. While homicide is definitely never a humorous subject, Nny’s insanity and creative torture tactics definitely are.


heartless (pretty little liars #7) by sara shepard

First Emily, Aria, Hanna, and Spencer claimed they found a dead body in the woods behind Spencer’s house, only to have it vanish without a trace. Then, when the same woods went up in flames, they swore they saw someone who’s supposed to be dead rise from the ashes. And even after all that, the pretty little liars are still playing with fire. Call me heartless, but it’s about time someone shut these liars up for good. After all, nobody likes a girl who cries wolf—least of all me. —Goodreads

I won’t lie, I love a good fluff read. Especially fluff reads that have teen drama television shows based on them. There are a ton of major differences between the book series and the TV series, which makes things all the more exciting and interesting for me to read. The only thing I find unsettling is while I picture Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily as the actresses that portray them, the only character that even remotely resembles their real life counterpart is Aria. I find it very difficult to picture Spencer as a blonde and  Hanna as a brunette.

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Tonight’s Winery Library was brought to you by LaMarca prosecco, a extra dry white wine that, honestly, I hated. I’m not a huge fan of white wine, I’ll take a red anytime. White wine always seems sour to me, like it’s spoiled. If anyone has any white wine recommendations for me to try, I’m game. My best friend, however, brought this over as it was taking up room in her parent’s fridge for a quick pregame before heading out for a night of karaoke. And we never waste alcohol in this friendship.

what are you reading?