Friday, October 31, 2014

Midnight Rambles and the Bookish Lust List

Maybe more like 3 a.m. rambles. As many of you already know from the social medias, I had a blood transfusion this morning to help correct a severe case of anemia. I've been iron deficient all my life, and typically it's been corrected for years on end with a month's worth of iron pills. Earlier this year, I tested low, took a month's worth of iron pills, and assumed I was good again like all those times before. No dice! The crap (former) PA at my doc's office didn't bother telling me HOW LOW I was, and I didn't take the iron long enough to correct the issue. I found out the truth when I went in for a sprained ankle last week.

All-in-all, it was an easy procedure, I feel fine aside from the unrelated allergies kicking my butt right now, and I'm hoping I came out of this with at least some minor super power like x-ray vision or a little mind reading. Right now it just looks like a day of rest renders me unable to sleep. I konked out watching Gilmore Girls earlier, and now I'm wide awake.

So what better time to round up some books that are calling from my TBR? Given, my funky reading moods may mean that I don't get around to these as soon as I'd like, but this is at least what's calling to me.

I grabbed Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery (volume 1), by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch, from Interlibrary Loan. I had big plans to read during my transfusion, but napping and TV ended up being the thing that kept my mind off being trapped in a hospital bed. I hate sitting still! Nevertheless, this one is a total winner, and I will probably finished it during lunch at work today. 

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, is on everyone's lips and blogs lately. When I found it for $6 on Kindle, I took the plunge. 

I bought John Saturnall's Feast, by Lawrence Norfolk, months ago. What's not to love about food, the 16th century and Saturnalia? I mean, really? 

Sweetness #9, by Stephan Eirik Clark,  is lingering on the edge of my mind. Has been for months, Looking back at these picks, it appears I'm in the mood for light sf. I can handle that. I usually get in the mood for sf and historical books this time of year. 

Finally, The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, is one of the books I can see from where I'm typing in bed. It's another book that's been whispering in my ear for months. 

What's on your list of whispery, insistent books? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

RIP IX - The Comics! Wytches and Sabrina

What to read in the early morning hours of a 24 Hour Readathon? You guessed it! Comics are my choice. I had a couple of review copies on my e-reader, so this is what I read that was RIP IX-worthy. 

Wytches #1 by Scott Snyder and JOCK opens with a bang! It's quite violent and grisly, a true horror comic, so beware if that's not your bag. 

Across the globe, century after century, men and women were burned, drowned, hanged, tortured, imprisoned, persecuted, and murdered for witchcraft. None of them were witches. They died protecting a terrible and hidden truth: witches, real witches, are out there. They are ancient, elusive, and deadly creatures that are rarely seen and even more rarely survived. (via Goodreads)

I probably need to re-read this one since I actually went through it at 3:30 am during the Readathon, but it was a fairly shocking start to the series, and the artwork was rough and a little chicken scratchy. That's a terrible descriptor, but it definitely played into the fact that in this story witches are primordial nature dwellers who can suck their victims into trees to imprison them. Thing long craggy fingers, fingernails, tree branches, scratching on windows. That kind of visual and that kind of scary vibe run all the way through this first installment. I definitely want to read more. 

On the other end of the spectrum we have Sabrina #1 from Archie Comics, created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack. Remember Sabrina the Teenage Witch? This is her, rebooted. While this is lauded as a "darker take on Sabrina," it wasn't terribly dark, especially in comparison to Wytches

Terror is born anew in this dark re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s origin. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda. (via Goodreads)

Overall, while this one was fun, it was also silly, and I wasn't a huge fan of the artwork. If you're into the Archie universe, give it a go. Others might end up in the "so so" boat with me. 

That's all for now! I read more comics during the Readathon, so you'll see reviews of those soon. 

Wytches #1
Pub. Date: October 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: E-galley
Source: Publisher for review consideration.

Sabrina #1
Pub. Date: October 2014
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Format: E-galley
Source: Publisher for review consideration.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

RIP IX: White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

I didn't have much luck with Oyeyemi's most recent release, Boy, Snow, Bird, so I went into White is for Witching interested but with tempered expectations. While it definitely surpassed my BSB experience, this novel was not without its issues. 

As a child, Miranda Silver developed pica, a rare eating disorder that causes its victims to consume nonedible substances (for Miranda, chalk). The death of her mother when Miranda is sixteen exacerbates her condition; nothing, however, satisfies a strange hunger passed down through the women in her family. And then there’s the family house in Dover, England, converted to a bed-and-breakfast by Miranda’s father. Dover has long been known for its hostility toward outsiders. But the Silver House manifests a more conscious malice toward strangers, dispatching those visitors it despises. Enraged by the constant stream of foreign staff and guests, the house finally unleashes its most destructive power. With distinct originality and grace, and an extraordinary gift for making the fantastic believable, Helen Oyeyemi spins the politics of family and nation into a riveting and unforgettable mystery.

Soooo, yeah. That blurb makes some big promises, and the book only partially follows through. Miranda's story is interesting. She's all screwed up from the loss of her mother, and rightly so. The house seems to have an even more destructive effect on her, but is it really the house or is Miranda just crazy? Signs point to both. 

This book is just weird. Weird-beautiful in spots and frustratingly weird in others. While I enjoyed the smattering of fairy tale elements in this story, I was less satisfied by the alternating perspectives of Miranda, her twin, the house, and one of Miranda's friends from college. 

There was definitely an off-kilter, menacing atmosphere in this book, but I kept looking for some deeper message or meaning to it. The blurb mentions issues of politics, family, and nation, but those things were only glimpses. The overarching story seemed to lack depth, and like Boy, Snow, Bird, I thought Oyeyemi had way too many conflicts in the air to flesh any of them out to a satisfying degree. 

In short, while I enjoyed bits of it, I doubt I'll pick up more of Oyeyemi's work. 

Pub. Date: February 2014 reprint
Publisher: Riverhead
Format: Trade paperback
ISBN: 159463307X
Source: Bought it!