We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Following the premiere of season 10 of The X-Files, I decided to pick up We Are the Ants.

Henry has been continually abducted by aliens since he was 13 years.  If that wasn’t bad enough, his dad abandoned the family when he was a child, his single mom is struggling to hold the family together while his grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer’s, his brother Charlie knocked up his girlfriend Zooey, and Henry’s boyfriend Jesse committed suicide last year.  It’s a lot to sort though – oh and the aliens have told him that the world is going to end in 144 days and Henry has the power to stop it but right now Henry doesn’t feel like he or the world are worth saving.

Full Goodreads synopsis found here.

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I feel like I’m in the minority here but I thought We Are the Ants was just so-so.  This book reminds me of an Andrew Smith novel which I’m sure for some readers is a major selling point but for me it means a book about a 16 year old boy that thinks about sex a lot while being consfused and angry along with a really weird premise.  I love the weird plots in the background but not the inner monologue of the boys (good thing I’ve got 16 years until I have a teenaged son).

Some things I liked -> The chapters are interspersed with journal entries of how Henry thinks the world could end.  Henry’s estranged best friend Audrey.  Jesse’s mom. Henry’s grandmother.  Apparently all the ladies.

Some things I didn’t like -> Description of the sluggers (aliens), I had no clear picture of their appearance.  Diego (love interest), I couldn’t get a good grasp on him.  Marcus (bully/love interest – enough said).  ANGST.  How Charlie/Zooey’s storyline played out.  SO MUCH ANGST.

It’s not a bad story, it’s just not for me but if you’re looking for an angsty contemporary novel with a sci twist check out We Are the Ants for yourself.

I received an ARC from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA.

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Monday Comics

I didn’t get around to posting yesterday because our cat Bear was missing!! He went on a weekend long adventure into the great outdoors that nearly gave Mark and I a heart attack.  After searching on foot/by car, going to the animal shelter and hanging flyers, Bear turned up this morning laying on the porch like nothing had happened.  We are very happy to have the little troublemaker home.  

On to comics!  Just 3 this week plus a super awesome ARC. 

Giant Day #5 – Probably my favorite issue yet!!  I’m glad this was such a strong issue because I was a little indifferent about the last issue.  Issue 5 saves the day.

A-Force #2 – A lot is going on which seems like an understatement.  Still s relative newbie to comics, I am working on navigating Battleworld and Victor Von Doom.  I’m loving all the the action.  All the wonderful ladies in one comic is making want to seek out the solo comics especial She-Hulk.

Lumberjanes #16 – Month after month I love these girls.  The girls are reunited with Jen and we get some more backstory of Rosie and the old Bear Woman.

Black Widow Forever Red by Margaret Stohl – So so excited to have nabbed this ARC from my bookshop Little Shop of Stories and I can’t wait to pass it around my book club.  Due out this October, I’ll post a full review before then, hopefully within the next month.

What comics are you reading??

Saturday Morning Reading

I love the wide open weekends, the ones with no set plans or schedules, no adulting – time to just take it easy. This morning I had breakfast out on our picnic table before the Georgia heat and humidity comes out in full force.  Time to nurse my cup of coffee and read a good book. Yesterday I went to the library and picked up Mosquitoland by David Arnold, my Not-So-YA July Bookclub book.  What are you reading this weekend?

Little Free Library – Doctor Who Style

What is a Little Free Library?

It’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share – http://littlefreelibrary.org

I had never heard of LFL until I moved to Atlanta, at least I don’t readily remember any in Raleigh.  LFL are pretty much in every neighborhood in Atlanta, allowing people to share books with their neighbors and community members.  I’ve been thinking about implementing one in my own small neck of the Atlanta woods.

Today however I was visiting Macon and I kid you not, there was a TARDIS LFL! I flipped out! Obviously. Each of the panels open up to feature almost a dozen cubbies of books.  So cool!!

  

I grabbed one graphic novel which I’ll feature on my Sunday Comics post (stay tuned!).  I love everything this LFL  – Doctor Who, books, graphic novels, community ties – all the things!!

Are you familiar with Little Free Libraries?  Do you have a regular one you go to or have you set up your very own?

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

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Lauren Oliver’s new novel explores the relationship between sisters who are torn apart by a horrific car accident. The story alternates not only between Nick and Dara but between Before and After the accident which unfortunately makes the story a little fragmented. While the timeline is a little difficult to keep straight, Oliver has created unique voices for each of the girls with subtle overlaps adding to the narrative of their close relationship growing up together thick as thieves. The third musketeer to round out the trio is Parker, the girls’ life long neighbor and best friend. As we learn about Nick and Dara (and Parker) and their evolving relationship before the accident and their estranged relationship post-accident, the disappearance of a young girl named Madeline Snow looms in the background.

I liked Vanishing Girls – I didn’t love it and I’m not sure I can exactly pinpoint why. I liked that the story was interspersed with newspaper articles, emails and Dara’s diary entries. I felt like the story was a little slow, based on the back cover I expected Dara to disappear much earlier in the novel and Madeline’s connection to become clearer sooner. I wasn’t a fan of the love triangle (I rarely am) especially between siblings.

Overall, Vanishing Girls is interesting read. I read it mostly in two sittings torn between wanting to know what would happen next in present time and what happened in the past leading up to the accident. I have a feeling Vanishing Girls will be marketed as the next We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Lockhart is the cover quote after all). I think this sort of comparison does the newer novel a disservice → Liars ends with a serious twist and now the publisher/reviewer/whomever is creating a semi-spoiler by making the comparison. I went into Vanishing Girls, just like We Were Liars, knowing nothing about the novel beyond the back cover. I think it makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience, a slower build to the climax as I wasn’t looking around every corner to solve the mystery.

Now by even saying this I feel like I have become part of the problem I am describing and take ownership of that (boo/hiss/rude on me). Here’s a link to the newest podcast from BookRiot ‘Do Spoilers Matter‘ that I just finished which discusses the idea of spoilers in further detail. That said, I hope you enjoy Vanishing Girls and the mystery behind the intertwined lives of Nick and Dara.

I received an ARC of Vanishing Girls from the Not-So-YA book club in Decatur, GA. Vanishing Girls is on sale March 15th, 2015.

Decatur Book Festival 2014

August has been a whole mess of crazy in the reading department. And by whole mess of crazy I mean I actually accomplished a lot. After reading Landline by Rainbow Rowell and taking a dive into comic books with Lumberjanes by Brooke Allen and Noelle Stevenson, I read The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman, Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer, the first 3 volumes of Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples and last but not least Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I will do my best to post a review about each of them in the coming days (what in the world am I getting myself into??).

I wanted to talk about the Decatur Book Festival. DBF is one of the largest book festivals in the country which takes place every Labor Day weekend in Decatur, GA. This is the third year I have gone and its gets better and better every year (also hotter and hotter, like hanging out with Hades hot). I pretty much spent all Saturday and Sunday hanging out in Decatur square sweating my ass off but having a wonderfully bookish time.

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All day Saturday my butt was parked squarely at the teen stage (you know I love me some YA lit).  Here’s a run down of the panels I attended Saturday:

Just Do It Panel with Terra McVoy, Lauren Myracle and Len Vlahos moderated by Lauren Morrill

Tell Me the Truth Panel with Jennifer Armentrout, Adele Griffin and Jennifer Mathieu moderated by Judy Blundell

Map of My Heart: Love Stories Panel with Adi Alsaid, Isabel Gillies, Stephanie Perkins and Jennifer Smith moderated by Elizabeth Lenhard

Guys and Girls Like Us Panel with Geoff Herbach, Ellen Hopkins, Jandy Nelson and Andrew Smith moderated by Len Vlahos

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And Sunday – woah woah attending adult fiction panels:

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer

The Magician’s Land by Lev GrossmanIMG_3787

DBF is the perfect place to visit authors you already know and love (Stephanie Perkins and Lev Grossman) and to get to know new (at least to you) authors (Adele Griffin and Andrew Smith). In between panel discussions, book signings, and book browsing, you can attempt to beat the blistering heat and enjoy a King of Pops (orange passionfruit for me on Saturday and salted lemonade on Sunday). My book haul for DBF consisted of Authority and Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer, I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, and The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin. If my messenger bag (and my bank account) would have permitted, I would have bought even more books! I am going to be one busy reader this fall.

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In addition to these wonderful novels, I also bought this bitchin’ tee shirt from Little Shop of Stories – my all time favorite bookstore 🙂

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Definitely look for a future review of the first the volumes of the comic book series Saga – my new obsession.

Getting Settled In

Over the past week I have done a combination of unpack the apartment, lounge by the pool and watch an obscene amount of Pretty Little Liars on Netfilx.  Nearly everything but picture frames and posters have been put in their place.  When I’m not unpacking, I can usually be found reading by the pool.  I know, I know, it’s back-breaking work.

It’s a hard life not working.

I have read two books this week, both of which I highly recommend.  The first was Feed by M.T. Anderson, the second, as pictured above, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  You know it’s going to be a good book when the author’s name is Erin.  Next on the list is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, a gift from my friend Kelley.

As previously stated, I have watched quite a lot of the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars in recent days.  It’s quite delightful trash that you don’t feel too terrible at watching which is good but it’s so terribly addicting.

Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead…

Though fear not, I have also been productive.  I went to the Georgia DMV yesterday and procured a temporary GA license (while I wait for my real on in the mail).  Talk about a scary place… though if it wasn’t scary, it wouldn’t be the DMV.  I intended to put a picture of my delightful new license but as my renter’s insurance company tells me, I am the perfect candidate for identity theft and as I did not purchase identity theft insurance, I do not want to prove him right.  Also, I did not take a picture of my North Carolina license before it was ripped from my fingers, well maybe not ripped, but I didn’t even get to say good-bye.

I did however get a library card which I will share with you.  You never know when you may require the services of the local library, a scant ~2 miles from my apartment.

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Luna and Bear are doing better.  Being home during the day, I realize just how much cats sleep, which is an insane amount.  But no more hiding for the kitties, they are out and about and playing and causing mischief just like normal.

Rare bath time event.

I know that Bear definitely misses Mark.  He won’t need to miss him for long – Mark is coming next week for an interview!!  I am so excited for him but I am also excited that he will be here for my first day of work.  Only 5 more days – crazy nervous!!  But I can’t wait!

So far so good…