Thursday, 31 March 2016

March Wrap-Up

After the slightly odd month that was February, March has been outstanding.  I've read a lot more and my new job is less of a dim shining light on the horizon and more something that I can start preparing for actively.  We also went to New York for 5 days, which was an incredible trip!

New York

The trip has been planned for months - our best couple friends were going out to celebrate his 30th birthday.  He had no idea that we were joining him so after we'd checked into our hotel, we headed out and surprised him in bar, which was a heck of a lot of fun.  We spent Thursday on a river tour round Manhattan and wandering Central Park in the sun.  On Friday, we all headed to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.  It was all very moving (obviously) but the exhibit is extremely well done.  It was odd going to a museum and having children there learning about something that has happened during my lifetime and that I remember vividly.  I do recommend going though if you're in New York.  After some lunch, Boyfriend and I headed for the Freedom Tower.  We'd done the Empire State Building and Rockefeller last time and so we wanted to visit this one on this trip.  

And while we were at the top, HE PROPOSED.  I cried.  He cried.  I managed to get out a 'yes' at some point.  A guy who was a professional photographer offered to take some pictures for us, there was much excitement and I was completely overwhelmed.  I had no idea that he'd been planning it and he proposed with my grandmother's engagement ring.  So romantic :) It still seems kind of unreal to be honest but I'm so, SO excited!  I'll waffle more as we start planning I don't doubt but that's all of the gushing I'll do for the time being.  

The Books

After not finishing any books in February, March has been much better.  Admittedly I've read a few volumes of some comics but I was kind of craving something light while I was finishing off The Crimson Petal and the White.

I've read the first two volumes of the Lumberjanes series over the course of February and I like it.  I don't love it because it is clearly aimed at much younger readers.  It's still entertaining to read and it's funny but it's just a little twee in places for my taste.  I'll post some further thoughts soon!  Next up, I finally finished The Crimson Petal and the White and the ending was a disappointment.  I adored reading the book but I did not care for how the stories wrapped up.  I won't direct you to my read-along pages because there are spoilers abound but I'll hopefully write a spoiler-free review soon.

While I was away, I got a very small part of the way through what I'd hoped to read.  I did read The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge and it was excellent.  It was a solid 4 star read for me and I can see why it's so popular.  The writing is wonderfully atmospheric and surprisingly funny.  I didn't expect it to be a mystery story but it was really pretty great and I'm looking forward to discussing it at book club next week.  I've also made a start on The Fireman by Joe Hill but I haven't read enough to even really give an early verdict.  

On the Blog

Among the read-along posts for The Crimson Petal and the White, I posted a review of Amy Poehler's Yes Please and compared the audiobook with the paperback.  I also wrote about the stunning Through the Woods by Emily Carroll.  I'm not sure how much I'll get written this month but I'm really pleased with how March has gone!

So March has been stellar and April is shaping up superbly too :)  I hope you've had a great month and read some great novels!  

Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-along: Week 6 - Chapter 30 to The End!

I'm actually not quite sure how to start this post.  It feels like I've been reading The Crimson Petal and the White for ages and I'm not really sure how to adjust to having different characters in my life!

Before I put up the last prompts, I want to say a big THANK YOU to my fellow read-alongers.  It's been quite a ride of a book and getting to chat through the goings on each week has been a lot of fun!  It's helped that it's been a book that we've all seemed to love, whether it's a first reading or not.  Obviously scheduling the read-along to finish on a weekend when I wasn't actually in the country or able to find the time to write a post wasn't the smartest move I've ever made but the read-along itself was great :)

So...there are some obvious points that I've been DYING to ramble about so the "prompts" are pretty broad this week.  For the last time (*sob*), I've put the linky at the bottom for your wrap-up posts.

The Prompts

1)  THE ENDING!  Discuss. 

2)  How do you feel about the book overall?  Score out of 5?  Is it something you'd recommend other readers pick up?


My Responses

1)  THE ENDING!  Discuss.

I'm sorry - I'm not usually a particularly Caps-Lock-typer but WHAT WAS THAT ENDING?!  It felt like Faber had just got bored with writing the story and stopped.  Or that he'd run past a deadline and just decided to submit what he'd had time for.  I was really disappointed and felt pretty cheated.  

I didn't mind not knowing Agnes' fate for certain.  I felt as though that kind of fitted with how she'd drifted through the story and how flimsy her grasp on the world around her had become.  I do mind not knowing anybody's fates.  Did William track down Sugar and Sophie?  Did Sugar realise that what she'd done was crazy and return Sophie or did she manage to make something of herself and did they live happily ever after?!  I don't need everything spelling out for me but I do need to feel as though the author has put some effort into wrapping up the novel.  

What I think is odd is that nobody ever seems to mention that it just doesn't seem finished!  I've read that even the companion release, The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories, doesn't really tackle the questions, although it narrows the possible range of endings slightly it seems and may answer the question of what happened to Sophie.  I feel that for a book that is so meticulously written, it just seems like a huge oversight not to give readers any closure.  I felt as though I'd missed something.  When Sugar absconded, I looked at the page count and just assumed that she'd get caught before she got too far.  Who knows?!

Not cool, Faber.  Not cool at all.

For what it's worth, in my head, I like to think that it wasn't Agnes at the bottom of the Thames and that she died peacefully of her brain tumour in a convent somewhere.  I'm also choosing to believe that the loss of his wife, mistress and daughter in quick succession unravelled William and his success waned.  While I'm wishing for stuff, in my head, Sugar managed to evade her pursuers and set up as a writer or as a teacher somewhere and raised Sophie as her own.  It's more likely that she got caught and imprisoned if she was lucky.

2)  How do you feel about the book overall?  Score out of 5?  Is it something you'd recommend other readers pick up?

If there had been any kind of ending at all, I'd have given it a 5.  The writing was incredible and I really enjoyed reading it.  It would have been one of my favourite books of the year, almost certainly.  Without an ending, I've given it a 4 out of 5 on GoodReads.  It'll continue to be a really unique book and one that I do think people should read but I've recently retracted one recommendation because I know that the huge remaining question marks would have driven that reader crazy and I'd never have heard the end of it. 

I hope you've had a fantastic time reading The Crimson Petal and the White too!  Maybe we should reconvene and read The Apple soon?!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Gone reading!

Image credit
Picking out my potential reads is one of my favourite things about going on holiday.  I know that a lot of people hate all the sitting around of flying long haul but I've never minded it.  I can sit down with a book and read it quietly without feeling as though I should be doing something around the house and without being distracted by Netflix or my phone.

Tomorrow morning, we fly to New York and I'm unbelievably excited.  As I always am whenever we go on holiday!  We're only away for five days, there's tons that we want to pack in and we're away with friends this time so I'm not anticipating much reading time but there'll be flights at either end and maybe a quiet afternoon in Central Park if we all end up indulging too much and need some down time so that's at the very least more time than I would normally get to read. 

So what have I picked out?

The only book that I know I'll definitely read is The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge.  After my recent grumble about reading for book clubs, a couple of the members who I know better and I decided that we would make a last ditch effort to steer our group reading back in the right direction.  Much to all of our surprise, The Lie Tree is the choice for April's meeting and I'm ecstatic.  I'll be leaving this job (and therefore the book club - I'm moving locations entirely) in May so this is one of the last two meetings I'll be able to go to.  It's nice that I'll get to leave on a high.  Hopefully.

For other reads, I have a lot of books on my Kindle so I'm just going to read whatever I fancy reading on any given day!  I've been reading The Crimson Petal and the White for a long time (which is fine - it's wonderful) so I fancy a bit of a break from historical fiction and something a bit pacier.  If The Lie Tree doesn't meet the brief, I have these gems lined up...

I'm almost certainly going to pick up The Fireman by Joe Hill.  I was so super happy to get an advanced copy and it sounds so, SO good.  A dystopian novel about a virus that causes its victims to develop scales before bursting into flames and a pregnant woman trying to save herself and her unborn child by trying to discover the secret of the mysterious Fireman.  Amazing, right?  I've actually just seen that you can enter a GoodReads giveaway to win an early copy so you should get on that HERE.

I also have another advanced copy that I'm really looking forward to:  Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg.  It's described as "a chilling, compulsive debut about group mentality, superstition and betrayal – and a utopian commune gone badly wrong", which sounds frankly excellent. 

The other two are books I've owned for ages.  The Bees by Laline Paull and The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson.  The Bees sounds...well, a bit weird.  Apparently, it's The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games.  But with bees.  The Well of Ascension is the second in the Mistborn trilogy.  I read the first one when we were in Singapore last September and loved it. The magic system in the series is really unique and is focussed on metals and the properties that some people can extract from them if they consume them.  It sounds weird but it absolutely works and I'm looking forward to getting to the next one in the series!

And that's my plan!  Maybe.  Any tips on what I really do need to be getting to right now?  Either from that selection or otherwise!

Have a fantastic reading week!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-along: Week 5 - Chapters 25 to 29

Well!  Things are really moving now, aren't they?!  It's kind of sad that this is our penultimate week - this has been a great book to read and gossip about!

Even though I feel as though I don't really have to say this, I'm just going to add the regular 'If you haven't read The Crimson Petal and the White yet and don't want spoilers, look away now' warning in any case!

The Prompts

1)  Sophie and Sugar's relationship has developed a lot this week.  How do you think this is affecting them?  And the Rackham household generally?

2)  Let's talk about Agnes.  I don't think that even those of us that hadn't read the book before expected her to see the end of the book but her actual (maybe?) demise wasn't what I was expecting!  What do you think?  Was it her body that William identified or is she living happily at a convent somewhere?

3)  As we move into the last section of the book, how are your predictions from Week One panning out?  If you've read it before, how well do you remember what's coming up?  How should we be feeling?!


My Responses

1)  Sophie and Sugar's relationship has developed a lot this week.  How do you think this is affecting them?  And the Rackham household generally?

When Sugar first started acting as Sophie's governess, I wasn't really sure about how it affected the plot.  It slowed the pace right down and gave other characters more page time.  This week, though, I was completely sold.  I love how Faber has blended Sugar's memories of her own childhood with her interactions with Sophie.  It fits perfectly into the narrative and it incorporates more of Sugar's back story without having to dump it onto readers through some kind of awkward self-pitying internal monologue.  It's clever.  The juxtaposition of Sophie's innocence and Sugar's tragic upbringing works better to paint Sugar as a character worthy of sympathy than any 'woe is me' speech ever could have.

2)  Let's talk about Agnes.  I don't think that even those of us that hadn't read the book before expected her to see the end of the book but her actual (maybe?) demise wasn't what I was expecting!  What do you think?  Was it her body that William identified or is she living happily at a convent somewhere?

Not that I don't believe in identifying somebody by their genitals but I found William's identification of his wife pretty sketchy.  Also, how would she have ended up in the Thames if she was all but on a train the last time we saw her?  So either she got spirited away by the lady trying to lead her into a life of prostitution and then maybe murdered for struggling or she changed her mind about getting the train and wandered off and fell in the river?  I don't know.  It all just seems a bit odd, somehow.

3)  As we move into the last section of the book, how are your predictions from Week One panning out?  If you've read it before, how well do you remember what's coming up?  How should we be feeling?!

Generally, I'd predicted at least one death and at least one birth.  So far I've got two deaths and no births so maybe I was being optimistic!

Specifically, I thought there'd be a child between William and Sugar (nope), an incarceration in an asylum for Agnes (nearly!) and that William would gain and lose his father's fortune (he's gained it, at least!).  Time will tell but so far it looks like I wasn't a million miles away!

And now it's time to read that ending!  See you next week to dissect the ending!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Graphic Novel Review: 'Through the Woods' by Emily Carroll

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Most strange things do. 

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss. 

Come, take a walk in the woods, and see what awaits YOU there.

I'd heard an awful lot about this graphic novel even before I started getting into them.  After my success with the first volume of the Fables comic series, Through the Woods was one of the first into my virtual basket when I went on a graphic novel buying binge.  I finally picked it up off the pile one gloomy afternoon and curled up on the sofa under a blanket.  I didn't move until I'd finished it, slightly wide-eyed.  It was unsettling without being terrifying and had me quietly closing all of the curtains in the house so that I could move about without having to be too menaced by the darkness outside.  I gave it 5 stars without hesitation.  Anything that can be that impactive with so few words deserves all the credit I can give it.

The book's most obvious virtue is that it's absolutely stunning.  The cover is eerie and has a raised design that means that it even feels like something that's crawled out of the woods to haunt you.  The artwork is shadowy and dark and the colours are mostly primary colours that are stark against the black pages.  It's absolutely perfect.

Image from publisher's website
The stories themselves are quite short and vary in theme.  Some are more mysterious, others have supernatural threads.  Well, I suppose all of them hint at the supernatural but some are more explicit than others.  My favourites (by a not particularly significant margin - I loved them all) were Our Neighbour's House, a quiet and disturbing story about three sisters whose father goes missing and leaves them trying to decide whether to brave the woods to get to their neighbour's house, and A Lady's Hands Are Cold, a gorgeously illustrated story about a woman dealing with ghostly noises in the creepy mansion of her new husband.

They only very, very narrowly "beat" His Face All Red (which you can read on Emily Carroll's website for free HERE), a story of a man dealing with the guilt of betrayal that reminded me a lot of Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart.  Next up My Friend Janna, which feels desperately...sad and was the epitome of 'haunting'.  The last story was my least favourite (which is to say, I only really liked it), The Nesting Place.  It's the story of a young orphan who goes to visit his brother and his brother's fiancĂ©e and becomes concerned that all is not as it seems with her future sister-in-law.  The story had some wonderful elements and it was one of the longer stories in the collection with a lot more character development but for me, it was a little too obvious.  Most of the stories are subtle and open to interpretation but this one just felt different to me, somehow.

Any criticism that I have is faint and I really recommend that you hunt down a copy of Through the Woods.  Pick it up even you aren't a graphic novel aficionado and just want to read something different.  Heck, pick it up even if you don't care about the stories and just want to look at the pictures.   Just make sure that you do pick it up.

Overall:  Stunning, both to look at and to read.  I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more graphic novels by Emily Carroll.  I can't find any other collections out at the moment so I'll settle for Baba Yaga's Assistantwhich is written by Marika McCoola but is illustrated by Emily Carroll.  

Date finished: 30 January 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Genre: Graphic Novel; Horror
Pictured Edition Published: by Margaret K. McElderry Books in July 2014

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-Along: Week 4 - Chapters 19 to 24

It turns out that the weekend of your sister's hen party is not the time for writing questions about reading prompts for read-along discussion!  I naively thought that I'd be fine on Sunday afternoon to get home and get some questions written.  Cocktail making and shots, late night dancing (if you can really call it 'dancing') and a great deal of food did not make for an active Sunday afternoon!  

I'm on track with the reading and I'm still really enjoying it so that's something, right?

As always, if you haven't read the book, look away now!

The Prompts

1)  Out of all of the people that I thought would be written out of the story, I didn't have Henry down as the first to go.  Most underwhelming death scene ever?

2)  Sugar's visit to Caroline showed how far away from her old life she's moved.  How did you feel about their awkward exchange?

3)  The prostitute-turned-governess twist is a bit of an odd one!  How are you finding Sugar's efforts as Sophie's new governess?


My Responses

1)  Out of all of the people that I thought would be written out of the story, I didn't have Henry down as the first to go.  Most underwhelming death scene ever?

I actually had to go back and read that section twice just to make sure that I'd read it right!  One minute Henry's sat thinking his 'impure' thoughts about Mrs Fox and imagining her propositioning him and the next he's gone.  Given that I'd been expecting a great eked out death scene from Mrs Fox, it was a real curve ball.  Actually, now that I've written that, it seems to me that maybe that was the point.  That the whole consumption build up was meant to distract readers and make sure they really were wrong-footed by Henry's demise.  Still, I feel a little cheated.  Since his death, there hasn't really been much made of it (or at least, there hasn't been yet) and it all feels a bit as though he didn't really serve much of a purpose other than as a contrast to William.

2)  Sugar's visit to Caroline showed how far away from her old life she's moved.  How did you feel about their awkward exchange?

I've always been a fan of Sugar as a character.  I feel as though I shouldn't really like her but I found this scene and her disorientation quite moving.  I think perhaps because Caroline is such a likeable character so she highlights that not everything that Sugar has left behind is terrible.  The life is terrible but not all parts of it.  I felt sad for Sugar for not knowing how to fit into her old world and I felt sad for Caroline who reveres Sugar and can see how far apart they've grown.  I know that this isn't much of a question but I find Sugar's increasing disassociation from everyone fascinating to read about and wonder whether her pride is building up to the mother of all falls.   

3)  The prostitute-turned-governess twist is a bit of an odd one!  How are you finding Sugar's efforts as Sophie's new governess?

Bizarre.  I'm actually finding the whole section a little underwhelming.  The writing is still as charming but I feel as though there's something a little staid about having Sugar prancing about the Rackham residence, ordering books and teaching a child history.  And now that I've written that I feel as though this might be the point.  To wrap us up in the minutiae of Sugar's role as governor before slamming us with the next drama.  There's clearly something coming up with Agnes and her increasingly erratic behaviour.

See you on Sunday!  Actually this time...

Monday, 7 March 2016

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-Along: Week 3 - Chapters 13 to 18

These are a day late but I'm hoping that we can go with the adage 'better late than never'.  It's been a busy few weeks and there doesn't seem to be much of a let up so I'm juggling a bit.  Fortunately, this book is proving perfect for distracting me from the rush.  

Anyway, these are late enough so let's get a wriggle on with the prompts!  As with last week, I've got the prompts up first, followed by the link for your own posts.  I'll squeeze in my responses in between soon :)

1)  What do you think about the fact that Sugar seems to be starting to have feelings for William?  

2)  Does the change in William and Sugar's relationship alter your expectations for the rest of the book at all?

3)  Ah, Mrs Fox.  Consumption.  Between her and Agnes' brain tumour, it seems like the ladies of the story aren't long for this world.  What do you think about the medical treatment on display so far?

4)  We've seen quite a lot of Sugar's novel now - what do you think of Sugar's efforts as an author?  

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Amy Poehler's 'Yes Please': Audiobook v. Paperback

"It’s called Yes Please because it is the constant struggle and often the right answer. Can we figure out what we want, ask for it, and stop talking? Yes please. Is being vulnerable a power position? Yes please. Am I allowed to take up space? Yes please. Would you like to be left alone? Yes please. I love saying “yes” and I love saying “please.” Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission. “Yes please” sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request. It is not about being a good girl; it is about being a real woman. It’s also a title I can tell my kids. I like when they say “Yes please” because most people are rude and nice manners are the secret keys to the universe."

Full disclosure up front:  I love Amy Poehler.  I love her for Parks and Recreation.  I love her for being best friends with Tina Fey and proving that being a successful lady doesn't mean treading on or dragging down every other woman you meet.  Obviously, I also love her for just generally making me laugh and for proving that women are funny.

Now that I've read/listened to her autobiography, I love her for so many more reasons.  I feel as though it's important that you know all of that before you carry on with this review because there'll be very little moaning in this post and a whole lot of gushing.

I don't read a lot of autobiographies, largely because there are very few 'celebrities' whose lives or opinions I care about.  Since I started this blog, I've read five including this one.  Of those five, four have been by people known for being funny (Michael McIntyre, Caitlin Moran, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler).  I think because my primary focus isn't necessarily to find out about someone's life story but read something entertaining.

If you're already an Amy Poehler fan, you'll love this book.  Honestly, though, even if you don't know much about her work, I'm pretty sure you'll still really like Yes Please.  I'm not It's funny (unsurprisingly) but it's also quirky and creative.  It has random poems and snippets of writing on all kinds of topics that I loved.  The writing is relaxed and chatty.  It fires off on tangents much like you do when you're chatting with friends.  Actually, no.  It felt like chatting with a familiar older (although admittedly not that much older) relative.  There are snippets on how to be great at just being a woman (there's a really great section on how women need to learn to be less judgey and live by the phrase "Great for her! Not for me") and on how to live well and happily that manage to still seem fresh and funny, never patronising or worn.
"Treat your career like a bad boyfriend. Here's the thing. Your career won't take care of you. It won't call you back or introduce you to its parents.Your career will openly flirt with other people while you are around. It will forget you birthday and wreck your car. Your career will blow you off if you call it too much. It's never going to leave its wife. Your career is fucking other people and everyone knows but you. Your career will never marry you. (...) If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else"
I whole-heartedly recommend it.  So which version should you be hunting down?

The Paperback

I started out reading the paperback, which I bought pretty much as soon as it was released.  I really wanted to read Poehler's writing but I hate hardbacks.

The paperback is a lot of fun.  It's packed full of photographs from Amy Poehler's life, copies of letters and scribbled notes and generally has a scrapbook feel to it.  It's bright and the presentation style fits perfectly with the writing style.

My main gripe with the paperback, though, is how it feels.  I know that sounds ridiculous but I really didn't like the finish on the cover and the feel of the pages.  They're glossy and look good but they feel terrible.  Especially if you accidentally happen to catch one with your nail and it makes a squeaky noise that made me entire body want to curl in on itself, not dissimilar to the feeling catching your nail on some dried paint or a blackboard.

To sum up: looks great, feels gross.

The Audiobook

Out of the two versions I own, it's the audiobook that I'd recommend the most.  It's mostly read by Amy Poehler but has a ton of appearances from people who have written chapters for the book (including Michael Schur, who is a writer on Parks and Recreation and Amy Poehler's parents) or other actors (Patrick Stewart's cameos are particularly hilarious).  It sounds gimmicky or gratuitous but because the writing isn't linear, it works.

The last chapter is a live recording of Amy Poehler reading aloud to an audience at a theatre and it worked so brilliantly.  It's impossible to listen to this and get bored; there's always someone or something new to keep your attention.

I listened to it while driving and I adored it.  If you listen to audiobooks, I absolutely recommend it.  If you've wanted to try audiobooks but haven't been sure where to start, this is a TERRIFIC choice.

Overall:  I loved both the auiobook and the paperback but it was the audiobook that I preferred.  I'm glad that I own both because I do think that they both offer something unique but it's the audiobook that I think I'm likely to revisit.

Date finished: 07 January 2016
Format: Audiobook; Paperback
Source: Bought
Genre: Autobiography; Humour
Pictured Edition Published: by Dey Street Books in October 2015

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

February Wrap-up

Image credit
February has been an odd month.  It started out on a high when I got offered a new job that I really wanted and it's ended on a bit of lull as I've had to then deal with the flip side of that good news and tackle leaving my current job.  It's been busy and awkward and tiring.

So between one thing and another, I haven't actually finished a book since 31 January.  Normally that would be causing me all kinds of discomfort but I'm surprisingly fine with it.  I think because what I've been reading has been so good.  I've read half of A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.  I adored Life After Life when I read it in January 2014 and this companion novel is shaping up to be another great read.  The writing in A God in Ruins has a dry tone to it that feels very British and has made me smile plenty.  I've been reading it intermittently while I'm read-alonging and I'm hoping to finish it over the next couple of weeks.

In the middle of February, I started The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber for a read-along I'm hosting.  It's not a quick read as such but the pages are flying all the same.  I could talk about the book all day but I'll move swiftly given that this is my first non-Crimson Petal based post in a while.

I've also been reading the first volume of the Lumberjanes comic series (Beware the Kitten Holy) on the Comixology app on my phone.  I thought I'd ordered the first volume through my local library after enjoying Nimona so much in January but when I went to pick it up, it turns out that I'd ordered the second volume.  Rather than start acquiring too many volumes of comics straight away, I had a bit of a nose around for digital comic apps.  I plumped for Comixology because in a great stroke of coincidence it was running a sale on the Lumberjanes series (I picked up the first volume for £2.49) and it offers some first issues/trials of comic series for free.  As it turns out, the app itself is fantastic for reading comics on.  It uses a panel by panel display that really does seem to have been designed with comic readers in mind.  I love it and I'm definitely going to keep using it to read comic series that I might not want to own physically.  Just a word to the wise if this is the kind of thing that bothers you,though - it's part of the Amazon group.

What else did I do?  Oh, I posted a review of The Ballroom by Anna Hope.  It was a stunning book and one that I'm sure will sit comfortably among my top reads for 2016.

I also gathered up this pile of beauties while I was collecting my pre-ordered Lumberjanes volume...

Even though none have ever lived up to The Woman in Black, I still can't ever resist Susan Hill's ghost stories.  Dolly looks and sounds wonderfully creepy (sinister dolls...bleugh...) and is only about 150 pages long so I'm looking forward to spending a gloomy evening with it soon.  If on A Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino sounds wonderful, the edition in my library was a brand new Vintage edition and the librarian picked it up and was telling me how incredible a book it was so I'm excited to pick it up.  Just look at this blurb:
You go into a bookstore and buy If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino.  You like it.  But there's a printer's error in your copy.  You take it back to the shop and get a replacement.  But the replacement seems to be a totally different story.  You try to track down the original book you were reading but end up with a different narrative again.  This remarkable novel leads you through many different books including a detective adventure, a romance, a satire, an erotic story, a diary and a quest.  But the hero of them all is you, the reader.
Can't. Wait.

Last up was The Ship by Antonia Honeywell, which was another brand new copy of a book that sounds fun.  I saw Ellie's review and it sounds interesting so we'll see.

And that was February! Hope you all had a super reading month!