Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year!!! After a year filled with ups and downs I am ready to start fresh. I have big hopes for what lies ahead for me and my family in the new year. Each new year I take some time to reflect on what has happened and try to move past some of the rougher moments. This past year has had a lot of change for me, and I am usually not very good with change. The biggest change for me was the birth of my beautiful daughter. I have a son who is 4 and an absolute joy, but when I heard my wife was going to have a girl I was terrified. I don't know anything about girls. I'm still shocked I landed my wife and that she has been with me for 8 amazing years of marriage, let alone the 11 years total.

The other change for me, that took a lot of courage for me, was to become a blogger. I have followed several blogs for years such as Angela's Anxious Life and Read and Reviewed. I have always wanted to be a writer, but I have been terrified of any form of social networking. You will not find me on Twitter or Facebook. I wanted to try my hand at writing and see what people actually thought. So far all I write here is reviews, but I am slowly building up my courage to write something original to post here. This was a big step for me, and I am loving it. Blogging has become a new fun hobby that has allowed me to read more and share my opinions with a very large audience.

I really need to thank all of you who read this regularly and comment . You all have given me confidence to keep going with my blog. The only other person I need to thank is my wife for her encouragement and editing skills. She usually reads my post before I post them to make sure I didn't make a total fool of myself. What would I ever do with out my wonderful wife?

I have taken quite a break from blogging because of being so busy. I am dying to get back into it and have had some posts that I am really proud of. Doctor Sleep was one that I loved writing almost as much as I did reading the book. So as I reflect on 2013 I have had a lot to be happy about and even more to look forward to in 2014. The next few posts I have set up will be some of the reflections I've had. A friend of mine posted on her blog an end of the year survey she found so I can't wait to take the survey myself. I also want to share the best and worst books I read in 2013. Thankfully there weren't any books I just couldn't stand but a few I was disappointed in. I did read several amazing books that I can't wait to revisit down the road. For now I will just revisit my thoughts and take a moment to brag about the books and authors a little more.

Since I have rambled on long enough I want to wish everyone a New Year filled with joy and success. I hope you continue to visit my blog, and please feel free to leave comments. Good or bad I like to know people read this stuff.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

I started this book right when it came out. I was waiting a long time because Doctor Sleep was originaly set to come out in January 2013, but then it was pushed back to September. I made it a little over half way through the book when I had to take quite a break from reading due to life changing events. It always bothered me not having time to pick up this book because the story was really good and I was hooked. Plus I hate leaving things unfinished. I was so glad when things calmed down, and I was able to jump back into this. I couldn't put it down. That break gave me new excitement to find out which road King would lead me down next. Once it was finished I decided I needed to take some time and really think over what I wanted to say about this book. After a few days of thinking about it I am still at a loss for words.  I loved this book, and I wasn't sure I was going to. Sequels can be a let down sometimes.

I have only been reading King for a few years now. My first King novel was The Cell and I loved that one. I was hooked instantly. When Lisey's Story came out the following year, I jumped at the chance to get it. That book killed King for me, so I didn't bother reading anymore for a long time. Three years ago a bunch of friends started telling me how great the Dark Tower series is, and I was willing to give it a try. With how many people said they loved this series I decided that I had to read it for myself. Those books made me the die hard "Constant Reader" I am today. Since reading those I have made it my mission to read all of his work and collect some select titles in hardcover. Last year  I decided to read The Shining in preparation of this book. It was also January, and I figured that was the perfect time to read The Shining while snow fell outside. I really liked The Shining but it wasn't as scary as I had expected. It didn't scare me like  IT and Salem's Lot. Still, it was a really good story. Doctor Sleep was the same for me. Not scary, but a wonderful story filled with real, likable characters that had me hooked from the very beginning.

I loved this book!!! It was a thrill to see Danny Torrence as an adult who tried so hard not to follow in his father's footsteps but ended up just like him. The other main character in this book,  Abra, was so well written that I loved every time she was featured. Abra is a teenage girl who has the shine so strong that she has powers and abilities that rival those of Danny himself. The way King writes characters is amazing. He makes you feel like each one is a close friend you have known all your life. It really allows me to get into his books.

There really is so much to love about this book. I could probably go on for pages. Some of the things I really enjoyed was reading more about the "Shine". We get to see more of what this can do in both Danny and Abra. King also introduces us to a group of travelers who call themselves the True Knot. These people feed off of the shine and are becoming a threat to Abra. This book was really fast paced, and I was hooked from the very beginning. I will say that this can be read alone if you haven't read The Shining, but it will spoil the ending of The Shining, and there are some references that you might miss out on as well. Dr. Sleep is not one of King's scarier stories, but it was amazingly written, and I actually would love to know more about Abra or even the True Knot. King could do a whole book on the True Knot, and I would be fine with that. Maybe down the road he will wonder about what Abra is up to and write a book featuring her. Like King did, Danny is one of those characters that as soon as I finished The Shining I wondered what would become of him. This book is definitely one of my favorites, and I give this an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. I would say this is a must read for any Stephen King fan.

One last thing before I end this review. I am usually not a fan of book trailers. I think they are cheesy and a good book should speak for itself. If I am not captivated by reading the dust jacket  or the description on Goodreads then a trailer is not going to get me to read it. That being said, I really think the Doctor Sleeep trailer was pretty cool. It has some things that having read the book I picked up on. It was also rather creepy to watch. So I decided to include it here. If you haven't seen the trailer then check it out.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin by Jim Butcher

A little over a year ago I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try the Dresden Files series. I am not a fan of Sci-Fi/Fantasy other than The Lord of the Rings. A bunch of my friends on Goodreads kept raving about how great this series was, and I was intrigued by the description of the first book. I love detective stories, and these are written like a noir detective novel but with magic, vampires, and faeries. The writing was great, and the one liners Harry Dresden kept throwing out where hilarious. I was hooked from book one.

When I found out there were comics based off the books, I couldn't get to my library fast enough to get them. There are more I need to read, but a little while ago I was on Netgalley and saw the new Dresden Files graphic novel available. I downloaded it and couldn't wait to loose myself in the world Jim Butcher builds. Thank you Netgalley and Dynamite publishing for allowing me to read this. There are a bunch of books in the Dresden File series that I haven't read, so I am not sure if this is based on one of them, so for me this is an individual story and very well done.

In this book Harry is approached by a small town sheriff who has some violent and strange murders on his hands. Harry is interested in finding out what is going on and makes a trip outside of Chicago fighting the flu and a recent battle with a water creature. The story was pretty good. My attention was held all the way through, and I did enjoy this. I didn't think this was as good as some of the books I have read in the past, but this was a fun read. The art work in this book isn't bad, but not as good as it has been in previous comics adaptations. This book didn't have the same feel to the Dresden character that I picture in my head and has been in other comics.

I have read so many amazing graphic novels this year that when I compare this to those I feel this book could have been better. The story could have been a bit stronger, and the art work could definitely been better. Still, I liked this book, and I am so glad I got the opportunity to read this. I can't wait for the next Dresden Files comic to come out. I am going to give this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars.  This is for any fan of the Dresden Files books and comics, but if you are a fan of comics and not Jim Butcher's big series this is not where I would start.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thumbprint by Joe Hill

I love comics. If you have ever read my blog you would know that at times there are more graphic novel reviews posted than actual books. One series that I have been a big fan of is Joe Hill's Locke and Key. I really enjoyed the writing in the series. I am not a fan of his novels much, because I keep comparing him to his dad StephenKing. Every time I do, Hill comes up short, and I just can't get into the book. His graphic novel series was different for me and I really liked it. When I saw this Kindle single adapted into a graphic novel I jumped on the chance to read it.

Again I would have to admit that I was disappointed. The whole story is about soldiers behaving badly and the consequences of coming home with secrets. The idea sounded interesting. A soldier arrives home to find a mysterious thumbprint left on a card. The mystery drew me in at first, but I just couldn't get past the soldiers and their actions. I have read new articles, and this type of stuff happens. I am not in the military, so I have no idea what it is like to serve, but I like to think of our heroic men and women who do serve being honorable, and the stuff in this story bothered me. It kind of ruined the rest of it.

To add to this, the artwork wasn't very good either. There was a lack of detail to the panels that made this feel mediocre. This is a story driven book with little to no action. This makes sense that the art work isn't impressive since it is the story that is important. However, when I read a graphic novel I want to enjoy the art work just as much. This is one of those books where I've read it, and now I can move on. I will have to give this only 2 out of 5 stars. In the end I wasn't impressed with the story or the art work, and I slightly felt like I wasted the little time I have to read on this. I have a few other graphic novels I need to read and would have rather read those. I think Joe Hill is a good writer. I just think that he might not be for me. I am still looking forward to book 6 in the Locke and Key series with anticipation.