Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Praise for #1 New York Times best-selling author Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal:
"All runners wonder, at some point or another, why we do what we do. Mr. Inman's explanation is the best I've ever seen. And the funniest. Because he is clinically insane."
-Mark Remy, editor at large, Runner's World, author of The Runner's Rule Book

"He runs. He sweats. He heaves. He hates it. He loves it. He runs so hard his toenails fall off. He asks himself, why? Why do I do this? Here, gorgeously, bravely, hilariously, is Matt's deeply honest answer."
-Robert Krulwich, NPR

"Finally! A voice that sings with the Blerches of angels!"
-Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run

This is not just a book about running. It's a book about cupcakes. It's a book about suffering.
It's a book about gluttony, vanity, bliss, electrical storms, ranch dressing, and Godzilla. It's a book about all the terrible and wonderful reasons we wake up each day and propel our bodies through rain, shine, heaven, and hell.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author, Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal, comes this hilarious, beautiful, poignant collection of comics and stories about running, eating, and one cartoonist's reasons for jogging across mountains until his toenails fall off.
Containing over 70 pages of never-before-seen material, including "A Lazy Cartoonist's Guide to Becoming a Runner" and "The Blerch's Guide to Dieting," this book also comes with Blerch race stickers.

My thoughts:

I found this saved in my drafts from 2015 when I got this book as a Christmas present.  I recall it being a fun read showing how sometimes long distances are fun and sometimes they suck.  I started running again this summer, but my longest run lately was 5 miles.  I hope to feel the urge to run further, but for the moment I'm fine with my 2 to 5 mile runs a few times a week.  I've moved into more HIIT and weight training, but I still enjoy running as well.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781449459956
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/30/2014
  • Pages: 148

Meet the Author is an entertainment Web site full of comics, quizzes, and stories. The site gets more than 7 million unique visitors and 30 million page views a month; 250,000 blogs and Web sites have linked to it. is written, drawn, and coded by Matthew Inman, a king of all trades when it comes to the Web. Matthew lives in Seattle, Washington. He subsists on a steady diet of crickets and whiskey. He enjoys long walks on the beach, gravity, and breathing heavily through his mouth. His dislikes include scurvy, typhoons, and tapeworm medication.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

Green Angel (Green Angel, #1)

From Goodreads:
"The startling, universally acclaimed breakthrough YA novel from master bestselling author Alice Hoffman, now in paperback.

Left on her own when her family dies in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by loss and by the past. Struggling to survive physically and emotionally in a place where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself, erasing the girl she'd once been as she inks darkness into her skin. It is only through a series of mysterious encounters that Green can relearn the lessons of love and begin to heal enough to tell her story."

My thoughts:
I didn't realize that Hoffman had written YA fiction until I picked this book up from my shelf.  I have really enjoyed some of her other books and this seemed like a perfect size to read in a day on a not so busy weekend.  It seemed like it came to an ending, but on Goodreads I see that there is a sequel.  Now to wonder if I want to find a copy to read.  For the moment I think I am okay with where this one ended.  I also have to wonder why this was not just written as one book since it was only a bit over 100 pages.

Please don't take that to mean I didn't like this one, I did, but it came to a satisfactory conclusion in my mind and I finished it a week or two ago not left wondering what would happen next.  I love how Hoffman weaves magic into her stories.  

I found myself wondering if the terrible disaster was a parallel to the attack on 9-11,  maybe because it is almost that date again.  At the same time  it seemed like a simpler time so I wasn't sure.  How do we go about protecting ourselves from  danger and how much of that protection changes who we are and how we see ourselves?  How fast does the illusion of society fade in times of crisis?

It seemed similar to my last review because something terrible had happened, many people had died and we saw the disaster from the point of view of a teenager.  I am used to encountering a lot of either romance or end of the world topics in YA, I may need to explore some more and see what other genres are encompassed by YA.

Monday, September 9, 2019

the shade of the moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Shade of the Moon (Last Survivors, #4)

From Goodreads: 
"The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.

It's been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?"

My thoughts:
I read the first three books in this YA series right in a row.  I listened to the first one on audio and then borrowed the next two from the library.  This one I found at the Dollar Store so I grabbed it to have on hand, and then took almost a year to get to.  Once I got going I read it in a weekend.  I'm not sure what was stopping me from reading it.  Sometimes it feels like it needs to be the just the right time for a book.

Since it had been a little bit of time since the first three it wasn't all right at the top of my memory, but the author did a good job with adding in reminders without saying her is what happened which I appreciated.

In book one we met Miranda and her family and learned about the chaos that happened when a meteor hits the moon and moves it closer to earth.  In book two we meet Alex and his family in NYC and see what the events were like in a city versus a more rural area.  In book three the two groups meet and end up working to survive together.  Now we are at an enclave with an us versus them feel.  Those living in the enclave have purified air, schools, homes and servants, and plentiful food.  Those who live outside the enclave are the ones who work in the greenhouses and mines, they drive the buses and work as the domestic help to clean the homes, cook the food and take care of young children.  Jon, his stepmother Lisa and step brother Gabe are able to live within the enclave with the passes Alex and his sisters were given by a family friend.  Alex, ,Miranda and Laura (Miranda and Alex's mother) live in an unlocked apartment in town and work to earn their way.

A lot of parallels can be drawn about the way the clavers, those who have ids that allow them to live within the enclave walls and have fresh food and clean air, and the grub who are bussed in to do the menial work for the clavers.  The attitudes and treatment are something Jon hasn't really thought about much until a new doctor and his daughter Sarah move to the enclave.  Then he starts to see things with a fresh perspective that he isn't fully comfortable with.

When his sister Miranda has a baby even more questions are raised leading to some big decisions for all of the characters.  The authors note at the end had me wondering if there was a 5th book in the series, but her blog says she retired from writing in 2014 with this being the last book that she wrote, so I think it will be up to the reader to imagine how things will go for the characters who are part of the conclusion.

Here is the link to the author's blog about this being her final book:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

The Rumor 

by Elin Hilderbrand

A friendship is tested in this irresistible page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.Nantucket writer Madeline King could not have picked a worse time to have writer's block. Her deadline is looming, her bills are piling up, and inspiration is in short supply. Madeline's best friend Grace, is hard at work transforming her garden into the envy of the island with the help of a ruggedly handsome landscape architect. Before she realizes it, Grace is on the verge of a decision that will irrevocably change her life. Could Grace's crisis be Madeline's salvation? As the gossip escalates, and the summer's explosive events come to a head, Grace and Madeline try desperately to set the record straight--but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it. 

My thoughts:
I am mourning the end of summer, so I needed a beachy read to try to hold onto it  for  a little longer.  I have had this book on my shelf for some time, but I actually decided to listen to the audio book from the library which allowed me to pass along my hardcover copy to  a friend.  

Rumors can be very damaging and it is surprising how much people are willing to believe things they have heard through the grapevine.  In this novel there are multiple rumors, mostly about Madeline, her best friend Grace and their families.  The funny thing is some of the bigger and more juicy stories are happening under the radar as false rumors spread  around the island of Nantucket.  

An author in need of an idea for her next novel, who is worried about an advance she invested, her best friend who is feeling ignored by her husband and daughters as she works on a garden paradise, twin teen aged girls who have drifted apart, a pilot,a realtor, a garden architect and the way people talk about those they think have it all.  This book kept me listening and wanting to find out what would happen next.

I think this would make for a fun book club read, I hate spoilers so I won't add any here, but it would be fun to pull apart how each of the rumors was started and the motivation of the one who started it, along with how the ripples from the rumor spiraled out into the lives of the characters. It helped to see how people felt about the rumors, or if they were even aware of them by having the chapters from different characters points of view.  This added to the story as we actually knew what each of them really thought and felt about things.

Honestly I was a little sad when it ended.  I think I will be trying another book by this author.

I know I started with a blurb from Amazon, but I also need to plug my favorite indie bookstore which is where I do most of my book purchasing.  I love having a bookstore in my community to shop at.  They also have an online store, so you can order books and have them delivered to you.  I hope avid readers already know where their independent bookstores are, but in case you don't have one, i highly recommend Let's Play Books (  I have both ordered online and shopped at the store and I have never been disappointed.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia


"For its darkness and its glee, I loved this novel."  —Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
A high school music festival goes awry when a young prodigy disappears from the most infamous room in the Bellweather Hotel, in a whip-smart novel sparkling with dark and giddy humor
Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a colossal snowstorm is threatening to trap them all in the hotel. Then Alice's roommate goes missingfrom room 712. The search for her entwines an eccentric cast of characters: conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.
Bellweather Rhapsody is a genre-bending page-turner, full of knowing nods to pop culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee. But its pleasures are beautifully deepened by Kate Racculia's skill with her characters, her melancholy, affecting writing about music, and her fearlessness about the loss and darkness that underline the truest humor. This is a wholly winning new novel from a writer to watch.

My thoughts:
I read this book for a book club and, since the author lives in the area, we were lucky enough to have the author come to the club when we met to discuss it.  The meeting was unusual since we were able to ask Kate about the book and why she wrote things certain ways, where she got the ideas from and anything else we might have been wondering about the book.  I used to read mysteries all the time in high school, but not so much in recent years.  I enjoyed going back to my mystery roots and seeing what I was able to figure out as I read.  There were twists and turns, especially towards the end, some of which I saw coming and some that I did not!

Rabbit has a secret that he hopes to reveal to his twin sister at the festival, but when her roommate disappears and Minnie and her dog appear, he decides to bide his time.  I loved how everyone has their own private demons that peak their heads out and decide how much out in the open they want to be.  How civilized someone can seem when inside they are anything but and how not everyone is working with the same moral compass. Many of the adults were working from a position of how to work though what happened in their past and how to move towards a future they can look forward to.  Whereas the students are all sure that they are the best at what they do and have bright futures ahead of them, but do they?  How many of these musicians  will still be at their craft in ten years?  How many of them really have a chance to make a life at it and should the adults encourage them to reach for the stars or suggest they think about ways music can be a part of their lives, but maybe not their career.

Along with all these personal concerns there is the issue of the missing first flute.  How can she have disappeared in a hotel in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard?  Where can she be and who took her?  I loved how there were so many stories going on at the same time, sometimes together and sometimes in opposite directions, but moving along.  I loved the high incidence of twins, which was on purpose, starting with Alice and Rabbit and going from there.  I really can't say more without revealing answers to mysteries and I hate when people do that!  I am so glad this was a book club pick because I'm not sure I would have found it on my own.  I'm loving being involved in a book club because it is getting me to read books that I might have missed.

I'm Back!

I have been reading like crazy, but never seemed to get around to blogging about it.  Then about a month ago I decided I wanted to and I couldn't get into my account.  It was so frustrating!  Tonight I decided to give it another try and I got in!  Not sure what I was doing wrong then, but I am happy to be back and hope to make the time to start posting about all the great books I've been reading.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Over The Moon (Mageverse series) by Angela Knight, MaryJanice Davidson, Virginia Kantra and Sunny

Overview:  Three bestselling superstars and one exciting new voice in paranormal romance in a hot new anthology. 

When it comes to sexy werewolves, fairies, and magic, there's only one place for readers to go this winter: Over the Moon. 

Angela Knight ventures to the borders of Mageverse, a land ruled by vampire knights. 

MaryJanice Davidson returns to the wicked lair of the Wyndham werewolves. 

Virginia Kantra finds magic and wonder in a strange fairy kingdom. 

And Sunny discovers a Mixed Blood Queen in command of a new realm.

My thoughts:
I picked this book up for the beach because I love the sarcasm used by MaryJanice Davidson.  I haven't read her in a while and I was intrigued to see what I had missed.  I almost just read her story, but decided to give the others a try.  Out of the four three I liked and one I did not care for at all, but none of them impressed me overly much.  It seemed like you needed to have the world these authors have created already known to you to get into them.  Short anthologies are not always my favorite because they don't have enough time to really get to know the characters, especially in ones like these that are adding in paranormal beings that have all sorts of powers and changes.  Getting their power from the moon, keeping royalty lines going in were populations, hunting down vampires that ruined your life and such.  It was fine for the beach, but not all that memorable.  It has been a couple weeks and I had to really think to recall one of the four stories.