June Monthly TBR

My reading in May took a big hit – 4 novels, 2 novellas, and about 46 comics. Partly because I’ve been hitting the gym more, and watching my nephew every weekend, and have dived back into Borderlands 2 BIG TIME.

I’m not thinking that June is going to be a big reading month either, because THE HONEYMAN COMES HOME THIS MONTH YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! So I want to read all these, but between Borderlands distraction, getting the apt all prepped for the honeyman’s returned, and then actually getting to spend time with him when he gets home – my reading expectations are not that high.

Anyways, here’s some books I want to read, if by some miracle I get the chance to sit down and focus.

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  • Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids edited by Meghan Daum – This book basically lives in my wheelhouse.
  • Manhood by Terry Crews – Big buff-ass Terry Crews wrote a book about growing up as a man and how to be okay with your feminine side and he’s a feminist and this just sounds amazing.
  • Missoula:Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer – Investigative journalism about the horribleness that is rape, specifically focusing on this college town, sound fascinating and terrible but like something I HAVE to read.
  • Crux by Ramez Naam – I’m going to try to FINALLY read the sequel to Nexus, which I really liked. Downloaded this to my Kindle so I can start it at literally any time – in the gym, in bed, waiting in the airport, etc.
  • Ginga by Daniel José Older – The author’s newest novella is already waiting for me on my Kindle. Something to hold me over until his newest novel, Shadowshaper, comes out at the end of the month.
  • Daredevil comics – I’m not being specific about which ones, because there are a ton on Scribd that I’m going to try. SO excited.

And I could add more, but I’m going to stop myself here. There will probably be a bunch of comics read too, of course.

What are you hoping to read this month? Anything you’re excited about?

~Sarah

#Comics – What I’ve Been Reading (Daredevil, Manifest Destiny, Alex + Ada, Copperhead, Fables)

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 Daredevil: Guardian Devil by Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada

Alright, so this was my first ever Daredevil comic experience. I absolutely LOVED the Daredevil show, and I want to read a whole bunch of Daredevil comics. Someone suggested I start with Daredevil: Guardian Devil by Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada. My library had it in stock, so here we are. In this arc, Daredevil is stuck with a baby in his care – a baby that some say is the Anti-Christ, and some say is the Savior. He doesn’t know what to do.

I did not enjoy this first foray into the Daredevil character. I generally like Kevin Smith – I will always crack up at his movies (except for Clerks, god I hate Clerks). But he doesn’t have the best handle of writing women, necessarily, and that really came through in this story. I didn’t appreciate the way he wrote any of the female characters. Daredevil himself thinks some pretty shitty things about females – granted, by the end there was a reason for it, but I didn’t like the reason either. It was a lousy plot device that I won’t spoil for you, just in case you want to check this out. So this was a fail for me, but I’m REALLY looking forward to diving into some of the Miller/Brubaker/Bendis backlist for Daredevil.

 

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Manifest Destiny:Volume 1 by Chris Dingess and Sean Macikiewicz

Lewis and Clark aren’t just exploring the new land – they’re on a mission from the President himself to catalog new species and destroy any monsters that stand in the way. I admit to not remembering a ton about Lewis and Clark from history, but this is fun. Sacajawea is a bad-ass and there are monsters, what more could you ask for?

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Copperhead: Volume 1 by Jay Faerber and Ron Riley

This actually might be my favorite trade of this post. Copperhead is about a woman and her son who move to Copperhead because she’s taking the position of Sheriff. Copperhead is a mining town on a outskirt little planet, and it has a lot of issues – including the massacre that happens on Sheriff Bronson’s first day. I really liked seeing a female taking a position of authority and totally living up to it, and there’s a lot of plot to work with already. The citizens are wondering who Sheriff Bronson really is and why she’s come to this lonely outpost. And Copperhead seems to hold plenty of its own mysteries and shady characters.

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Fables: Volume 2 by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham

I really enjoyed the first volume of Fables, but I was still a little nervous about going on to volume 2. What if it wasn’t as good? And it took place on a farm? What? Yeah, I’m an idiot, it was really good and man why don’t I have volume 3 yet. I need it. NEED IT.

Alex + Ada: Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

I definitely forgot that I had the first volume of Alex + Ada on the Kindle from a Humble Bundle purchase a while back. One of the comic shop guys mentioned it when it was recommending some stuff, so I finally went and read it. It was… interesting? I can’t decide if I want to continue on with it or not.

A man who is kind of drifting through life, kind of lonely, gets a present from his rich aunt – a companion android. Androids are a hot topic after some recent sentience problems, and the idea of having a “companion” that’s technically a robot is still strange to most. Alex goes to send the android back… but changes his mind.

The idea of a man falling for an android woman is fun, and I like stories that play around with concepts like that. But it’s usually one I approach in novel format, and I’m not sure I’m completely sucked in yet for this story, in this format. I don’t get enough of what’s going on inside the character’s heads. I may try getting the other volumes from the library as they come out, and we’ll see if I develop strong feelings either way.

Alright, that about catches me up on trades… what have you guys been reading?

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday!

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  • 25 DAYS UNTIL THE HONEYMAN COMES HOME!
  • The beginning of this week was really rough. It makes no sense, but now that we’re in the month-range till Treland comes home, I’m feeling almost constantly close to tears for no freaking reason. From excitement or happiness? Or maybe just because it’s on my mind ALL the time, whereas for the last few months it was always in the back of my mind, but not something I let myself think about all too much. I don’t know. But Monday night I got two letters from him and it set me off and I spent the rest of the night holed up in my apartment snacking and finally beating The Walking Dead season 1 video game.
  • And then Tuesday night I finally beat Borderlands 2. FINALLY. And I will probably continue to play kind of a lot of Borderlands within the next several weeks because man it’s a great distraction.
  • On the down side, this will probably mean not reading nearly as much as I want to. Which sucks, but also… whatever.
  • Anyways, busy week at work. Made it to the gym five days last week. So basically, tired all the time.
  • I have my nephew again this weekend, and we watched Jurassic Park 1 & 2 last night before we both passed out. It was a VERY long day full of running errands and shopping, and we both didn’t take naps and we really should have (I was running on 4 hours sleep). I may finish this marathon on my own tonight after I drop him off.
  • I finally have the first two issues of Secret Wars, so I’m excited to dive into those. And A-Force! YESSSS. And I picked up Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, which looks super fun and I may let my niece borrow, if it seems like she could handle it.

Alright, there’s laundry to do and comics to read and a nephew to entertain. My sister comes back in about two weeks, thank goodness, and then my weekends will no longer be dedicated to baby-sitting. I love my nephew, but this crap is exhausting.

How has your week been?

~Sarah

#Comics – What I’ve Been Reading (RUNLOVEKILL, Birthright, Squirrel Girl, Inhumans)

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RUNLOVEKILL #1 & #2 by Jonathan Tsuei and Eric Canete

I was really taken in by the covers here, so I grabbed these and I’m so happy I did. A wall is being built around Prygat, supposedly to provide security from outside aggressors. Assassin and fugitive Rain Oshiro knows this isn’t the case, and needs to get out of the city. Someone is hunting her, and they’re getting close. She has 24 hours.

I was immediately sucked into RUNLOVEKILL, by the writing and the art. I adore the art. It reminds me a bit of Rob Guillory’s style (he does Chew), but bolder, more stark lines and scenes. And the story grabs you from the first page. Who is this woman? What is she up to? Why is she running? The setting is very sci-fi urban, with a sense of doom and that the government is more of a harm to it’s people than a help. I am just the most excited about this. It’s SO GOOD. I can’t wait for issue 3.

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Birthright #7 by Joshua Williamson and Andre Bressan

This was a really great issue, a LOT happening. They’re still roughing it and trying to hunt something down. Mikey tries to teach Brennan about girls. There are some absolutely gorgeous panels. I need issue 8 like yesterday.

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 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 and #5 by by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

I love this series for how wonderfully ridiculous and fun it is. It’s lady-positive, it’s spunky, and it’s just a weird, weird ride. Issue 5 fell a little flat for me, it was kind of an odd thing where people pretended they knew who Squirrel Girl was and made up stories, and yeah… hopefully back to our regularly scheduled programming with issue 6.

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 Inhuman #13 and #14, Annual Inhuman #1, The Uncanny Inhumans #0 by Charles Soule, various artists

I like the Inhumans. They’re weird and there’s great power struggles and I love how Ms. Marvel is related and it’s all fascinating. I like Medusa a lot more than I initially thought I would, and am super intrigued by her husband Black Bolt. I’m glad there’s going to be a movie. BUT. I’m thinking I may take this off my monthly pull list and just start getting the trades as they come out. It’s not something I SUPER look forward to, and I think I’d probably enjoy the story more just being able to read several issues in one go.

And now for a few more comments on comics I was too lazy to take a picture of:

  • Storm is over now, yes? I’m glad. I got bored with it a while ago, but I was already so far in I figured I should just finish out the current arc. Of all the things I’ve been reading, this is one that I actually had to kind of force myself to. Sorry, Storm. You could have been really cool, but this was so DULL.
  • Nailbiter continues to be awesome. I think it’s the only crime/murder/mystery type of comic that’s really held my attention.
  • Saga is kind of breaking my heart. I just want Marko and Alana to be together forever, okay? And I’m an optimist so I’m sure it will turn out that way, but man so much action and tension happening right now.

Alright, that wraps this up I guess. I have a lot more to talk about, so hopefully I’ll get another WIBR post up this week to talk about some of the trade volumes I’ve devoured lately.

~Sarah

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

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I think it’s appropriate that I do this review in bullet-points, which are KIND of like a checklist… of things… that I have to say… (I’m reaching here, I know, just let me have it).

  • My first Atul Gawande book – he’s been receiving a lot of praise lately for Being Mortal, which I have on audio and still need to dive into.
  • I am fully aware that our minds and memories are not infallible – and yet, this was still very fascinating. We put so much emphasis on experience and knowledge, but often a tiny, seemingly insignificant thing can be missed and have a huge impact.
  • I particularly nerded out when I learned that we basically won WW2 because of the invention of the flight checklist. (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)
  • Gawande takes a look at checklists in several different businesses – construction, aviation, and medicine – to see what effect they have on success, and the reduction of mistakes.
  • I am seriously considering trying to find out which of my local hospitals (if any) use a standardized checklist in their operating rooms and making it clear to everyone I know that I only want to be brought to one that uses a checklist.
  • Less than 200 pages, which I appreciated. Immensely readable.
  • I like that he scolds surgeons and doctors a bit for resisting the use of the checklist, because they feel that they’ve been doing their job long enough that they don’t need one. They are the most likely to need one.
  • I spent most of this book wondering how I could implement checklists more in my own life. I basically do, I make a whole bunch of “to-do” lists, but it’s sticking to them that’s the problem…
  • I do use a checklist for one of my job functions, and it’s SUPER helpful. I love adding to it and seeing what I can remove and just generally trying to make it better.
  • Makes me feel all motivated to be efficient and find room for improvement.

Aaand that’s all I got! The Checklist Manifesto was an interesting read about a pretty common concept, that for some reason we rarely actually put to good use.

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

Aww, MINITHON is over

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The minithon is done, and fun was had.

I had a lot of mini things – mini pizzas, mini Butterfingers, mini goldfish. Nephew (mini-human) had some too.

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And as for reading, I read 25 pages of God Help the Child by Toni Morrison before I ended up taking an impromptu nap (downside of nephew napping, it was so QUIET AND PEACEFUL). Read three issues of Saga, and then read two Daniel José Older novellas that I’ve had on my Kindle for a while: Kia and Gio (20 pages), and Anyway: Angie (32 pages).

Basically, a reading and eating and napping success! Thanks Tika!

And since it is still Bout of Books until tomorrow night, I’m gonna go read some more. OR watch a movie with the nephew. We’ll see.

~Sarah

MINITHON TIME

 

I FINALLY get the chance to #minithon! Tika hosts these wonderful mini readathons once in a while, and somehow I ALWAYS miss it, but not this time. THANKS TIKA for putting this together.

So as you’re reading this I’m probably headed to the movies with my nephew, because I’m watching him this weekend (mini reading partner!) and we’re going to go see Big Hero Six at the dollar theater. But after that we shall be home and he should be taking a nap and I can read mini books and eat mini snacks with you guys. I should be able to read for at least 4-5 hours.

Much excite.

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Some mini books. And I have some Daniel Jose Older novellas on my Kindle, too.

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MINI SNACKS! I may be even more excited about the food than the books…

See y’all on Twitter.

~Sarah

 

New DC Titles Coming in June

You guys can tell I’m a bit of a Marvel snob. I’m not a fan of DC’s movies at all, and the only character I’ve had any interest in is The Flash – mostly due to the TV show. I don’t like Batman. Haven’t read any of the Batman comics, but from what I know about the character from all the movies and shows – ugh. Superman is only mildly interesting to me.

But, I want to give DC a better chance. They have 24 new titles starting in June, and these are the ones I’m going to try out.

Black Canary

Written by BRENDEN FLETCHER
Art and cover by ANNIE WU

I know zero about Black Canary, except she’s some sort of vigilante or undercover bad guy? She has a new run starting, and I figure I’ll give it a try. I want to get more of a feel for how DC treats their female characters.

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Martian Manhunter

Written by ROB WILLIAMS
Art and cover by EDDY BARROWS and EBER FERREIRA

This guy, J’onn J’onzz, is from Mars… so basically, I’m down.

Midnighter

Written by STEVE ORLANDO
Art and cover by ACO

I think I’m the most intrigued by this guy. I looked him up on Wikipedia, and apparently he has superhuman abilities, actually kills his enemies, and he is (I think) a gay character, which is something I don’t think I’ve seen for any male superhero so far.

 

Prez

Written by MARK RUSSELL
Art and cover by BEN CALDWELL

Beth Ross is the first teenaged President of the US? I’m in. And ditto wanting to see how DC treats their ladies. It makes me nervous that I don’t see any female writers on my list so far.

Starfire is a new title starting in June that I know has a female writer, but the cover image just kind of turns me off… so we’ll see. If I hear good things about it, maybe I’ll pick it up then.

Cyborg

Written by DAVID WALKER
Art and cover by IVAN REIS

So I guess this character was experimented on by his own parents? Yikes. And dudes half metal-machine, which sounds cool.

Alright, so those are the ones I’m going to give a whirl. Are there any that you’re looking forward to checking out? Giving me a few alternate suggestions doesn’t hurt.

~Sarah

Avengers: Age of Ultron – warning this is full of spoilers

This post is going to be literally FULL of spoilers. There will be nothing but spoilers and feelings. So if you haven’t seen Avengers: Age of Ultron yet, get your ass to a movie theater and then come back and read this.

So, I saw this on Friday the week it came out… and I was really taken aback by some things. So much so that it kind of threw me off and I left the theater not really knowing how I felt about it, but knowing I wanted to see it again. I saw it again last night, and am happy to say I enjoyed it much more this time around. And now I just want to gab about it. There will be lots of bullet-points and GIFs.

  • The opening was kind of rough, right? The action was totally fun, and I loooooved that little part where they all jump over a log/truck together, but I think they kept trying to inject jokes and it felt very awkward and forced. The best one was the “language” one.
  • I don’t like this Quicksilver. His accent is horrible. I know we couldn’t have the same actor that was in Days of Future Past because stupid Fox/Marvel ownership stuff, but that guy did it 1000x better.
  • Scarlet Witch messes with Tony’s mind and he sees all of his friends and fellow Avengers dead, and it’s all his fault. Everyone bitches at Tony a LOT in this movie, but dude – he’s a good guy. He feels like he needs to protect everyone, and that’s awesome.
  • Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s reasons for hating Tony are stupid.
  • So Tony wants to play with the scepter and then he convinces Bruce to help him create artificial intelligence. I will always love watching the science boys science.

  • One quick thing though – how is JARVIS not AI? Jarvis seems pretty self-aware, can disagree with Tony, can do things without being directed by Tony, can reason and plan… what am I missing here? Why wouldn’t Tony use JARVIS as his “suit of armor around the globe” protector thing? Tony isn’t the one who created Ultron in the comics, so maybe this is just a weird oversight…?
  • I was kind of heart-broken when it seemed like JARVIS was gone.

  • The party was weird and fun. This is where we get our first Bruce and Natasha flirtation… which I wasn’t totally thrilled about, but didn’t bother me. Yet. I’ll come back to their thing.
  • Sooo… Ultron. He was so HUMAN. This is one of those things that completely threw me off the first time I saw it. I knew James Spader was voicing Ultron and I really like him and was excited about that. I saw NOT expecting Ultron to basically be Raymond Reddington in a robot suit. Spader can monologue and muse on humanity like a boss, but I was definitely expecting Ultron to be a little more cold and robotic. I was not expecting Spader’s LIP MOVEMENTS on the robot. That was weird.

  • Ultron was kind of awesome in how he just creeped into the room and messed up the Avengers.

  • Wakanda was mentioned! This is relevant to both Storm and Black Panther. And I have minimal experience with reading Storm and zero with Black Panther so far, but I still caught that. Yay.
  • Sooo they go to try to stop Ultron from getting his hands on the vibranium, and that goes badly. But LOL forever at Quicksilver trying to grab Thor’s hammer.
  • Scarlet Witch messes with everyone’s head. Thor has a really weird, confusing dream. Captain America has a sad dream. And Black Widow has a dream flashback thing, which was mostly very cool because we don’t get enough of her. And who knows what Bruce saw, but he Hulks out and goes on a rampage.
  • Hulk versus Iron Man fight! So much fun and destruction. I love love love the idea of Veronica hovering up in space, ready to help out trying to contain him.
  • Bruce sees how much damage he caused and how terrified people are and he feels awful. Seriously, I want a Mark Ruffalo Hulk movie. I have never been interested in the Hulk as a character, but now I so want that. Do the comics do a good tortured Hulk/Banner like this?

  • Sooooo Hawkeye has a family? Ugh. Not a fan. Convenient place for Fury to show up, at least.
  • Super awkward and intense scene between Bruce and Natasha. Alright, let me dive into this mess…
    • I actually like the idea of Bruce and Natasha. That seems like a good pairing.
    • I did NOT like this insta-love romance crap that came out of nowhere.
    • It sucks that Black Widow is the only main female character and they gave her a romantic storyline. If it had been done well, I could have forgiven this.
    • It is completely uncharacteristic of her to ever want to run away from her duties as an Avenger. Her whole THING is atoning for her past misdeeds by doing good deeds.
    • And the kicker… the sterility thing. This immediately pissed me off. She goes on about how she can’t have kids because she was sterilized, and follows that with “So you think you’re the only monster?” This, to me, sounds like she is implying that she is a monster because she can’t procreate like a woman should.
    • I KNOW that’s not how it was intended. I know Joss Whedon wouldn’t want to imply that, and I am relatively certain it’s not a message that Marvel was trying to send. This is just really, really sloppy editing. Did no one watch that completed scene and think to correct that??
    • Her sterility didn’t even need to be brought up… it was weird and out of place. Save that for a Black Widow movie.
    • Here’s an idea – movie makers should show their movie or scenes to a panel of women so that they can correct shit like this before it gets to the theaters.
    • All the frustration at this.

  • Aww, Hawkeye’s wife makes him feel like he’s more important than he is. I mean, I like the character and all, but dude. Calm yourself.
  • So they go off to do things. Ultron is creating a new body for himself using vibranium, tissue, and the Mind gem. Uh oh.
  • Scarlet Witch realizes Ultron is a bad guy. Finally.
  • Lots of action happens, including Black Widow’s pretty awesome motorcycle scene. (Annoyance at more merchandising sexism here.)
  • Somewhere in the midst of this, Thor goes to some water in some cave to finish is dream, and realizes that the mind stone is important and stuff. I would have been happier if this whole cave scene had been left out. It was unnecessary and ridiculous. He could have just mentioned later on that he figured out his dream. One sentence. Boom, done.
  • They get the cradle back to Tony and he convinces Bruce AGAIN to play mad scientist and I love it.

  • Everyone is fighting and Thor shows up to shut it down.
  • VISION!!! Literally knew nothing about him going in (except for a tiny bit in the Ultron comics I read), but I loooooove him. I need to read Vision comics now.

  • Ultron wants to use Sakovia as a meteorite to kill off humanity. Brilliant.
  • Lots of action and fighting and trying to save civilians, which was cool.
  • Hawkeye gives a nice little speech to Scarlet Witch, which I enjoyed.
  • Seemed like Hawkeye was gonna die! Which I wouldn’t have been horribly opposed to. But nope, Quicksilver got it. Which I am also not opposed to.

  • I admit that Renner’s comments totally affected my reaction to Hawkeye. It was in the back of my mind the whole time. Asshole.
  • Hulk flies off at the end. My friend thought that this was because Bruce was mad at Natasha for making him Hulk out. I don’t think so, it seemed like more of a “I need to be by myself because I feel guilty for going on a murderous rampage and I’m too dangerous to be in a relationship/around people” thing.
  • One of the podcasts I listen to mentioned that MAYBE this is a way for Marvel to give us a Hulk movie? I would be super happy if they surprised us with that, and I’d be much more forgiving of the awkward insta-love between him and Natasha.
  • New Avengers! Falcon, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, and Vision. So excited about that, but a little concerned – this movie had WAY too much going on and juggled way too many characters. So that makes me nervous for future movies with even MORE characters. But I’m really, very excited and cannot waiiiiit for the next big movies to see them all in action.

Overall, I did still really enjoy this movie. The first movie was a lot better, and neater. But I’ll still see this again next month when the honeyman gets home, and I’ll be just as excited to see it.

Podcasts that did good episodes about the movie:

Fanboys at Large

Oh, Comics!

Alright, I think that about sums up my rants and fangirling… have you seen it? What did you think? TALK TO ME.

~Sarah

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I borrowed the description from Amazon, because it sums it up pretty well. This is about two lonely teens who become best friends, and they struggle together to get through ideas of identity, growing older, and sexuality. They commiserate over being Mexican-American, confusing parents, and not understanding other people. I did really enjoy Ari’s relationship with his mom, and his tendency to push other people away even with a joke in his voice. Dante is sweet, and open. He has a great relationship with basically everyone he meets, he reads poetry, he loves art.

There’s not much more that I can say – it’s a novel about two teens trying to find themselves. But it’s beautifully written, and I highly suggest it. I bought this back in October and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it.

“We sat, drinking out tea and watching the rain fall on his front porch. The sky was almost black and then it started hailing. It was so beautiful and scary, I wondered about the science of storms and how sometimes it seemed that a storm wanted to break the world and how the world refused to break.”

This is a perfect summer read – engaging, charming, and atmospheric. I absolutely sunk into this story, and was sad when it was over. I think Ari and Dante are characters that will stay with me for a while.

Sarah Says: 4 stars