The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)


I am a ridiculous person. I’ve owned The Cuckoo’s Calling for a long time now, because I found it in hardcover for like $2. But then I requested it on Overdrive one night (no real reason why), and then it became available, so THEN I finally read it. Very silly, Sarah. Anyways, I finally started J.K. Rowling’s new series! Which I guess isn’t so new anymore, since the second book is already out (The Silkworm) and the books are going to be made into a BBC show. But still.

Cormoran Strike is a P.I., whose life seems to be crumbling around him. His debt collectors are after him. He’s broken up with his gorgeous girlfriend, this time for good, so he’s living in his office. He has a new temp, Robin, starting that he can’t afford to really pay. And then in walks John Bristow – brother of the famous supermodel Lula Landry, who was found dead outside her apartment. Her death was ruled a suicide, but John doesn’t believe that she jumped off of her balcony, and he’s willing to pay Strike handsomely to find the murderer. Strike doesn’t believe that Lula’s death was a murder, but he agrees to take the case.

In the end, I really liked the book. Cormoran really grew on me, and Robin as well, though not as much. (The introduction to Robin was her walking around being constantly distracted by her awesome new engagement ring, so it’ll take a bit more to completely recover from that.) Cormoran has some of those typical down-on-his-luck P.I. tropes going for him, but he has his own quirks that make him more “him”. He lost half of a leg in Afghanistan, and has some trouble with that still. His unique parentage is common gossip. He tends to have real compassion for other people. He just forms into this lovable, kind of grumpy old-ish man that I ended up really liking.

One other thing that kind of made me like this book – there were black characters. At first I was concerned, since the first three introduced were either suspected murderers or car thieves. But as the story progressed, more black characters were introduced, one even pretty fully fleshed out. It was refreshing to see more diversity in a book by a white person, in which their ethnicity isn’t exactly the whole point of their existence. In fact, the black characters seemed more real and genuine than some of the white characters – there were a lot of stereotypical mean, rich, white people. I’m not sure if Rowling had any real intentions built around this or not, but it was something that stood out to me. She also had a couple passages that remarked on feminist issues – that awareness and caution that women feel working in close proximity with a man, and how deceased women with any sort of trouble in their lives are written off as just a tragic result of the life they lived, and not afforded the same amount of grief and attention as deceased women who lived “safe” lives. Rowling, man… she just brings SO much to the table when you’re not expecting it.

As a mystery novel, I’m not a good judge. I never see it coming, I never guess correctly who the bad guy is, and this was no different. It was a fun though, and I enjoyed seeing Robin get really excited at the intrigue surrounding working in a P.I.’s office on a high-profile case. I think her and Cormoran will make a great detective team.

And now I’ll leave off with just a couple of the highlight-worthy pieces:

“How easy it was to capitalize on a person’s own bent for self-destruction; how simple to nudge them into non-being, then to stand back and shrug and agree that it had been the inevitable result of a chaotic, catastrophic life.”

“Seven and a half million hearts were beating in close proximity in this heaving old city, and many, after all, would be aching far worse than his.”

I’m excited to read The Silkworm, hopefully sooner rather than later.


Top Ten Tuesday: Best Comics I Read in 2014

the broke and the bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

I’m excited for the end of the year. I’m eager to move on to 2015, but this time of year I always get really psyched to make best-of/worst-of lists, reflections on the year, posts of things I want to work on… you know, it’s just so tantalizing, that feeling of a clean slate and being refreshed. Anyhoo, the TTT topic this week is Top Ten Books I Read In 2014. I always save that list for December 31st, because who knows if I happen to read an amazing book in the next couple weeks? So instead, I’m going to make this post all about the best COMICS I read in 2014.

1. Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory - This is the series that really started it all. I had read graphic novels and a couple odd comics here and there, but getting sucked into the Chew series is what made me start buying the trade paperbacks of comics, and made me want to start seeking out others. It’s about Tony Chu, who gets physic impressions from the organic matter that he eats, including humans, and him putting that to good use. I read all 8 volumes this year, and am eagerly awaiting a 9th volume – I decided not to buy the weekly issues, since I was already so deep in with all of the trades. The wait is slowly but surely killing me.

2. Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez - I FLEW through the first five volumes that my library had, and I JUST read the sixth and final volume (which I ordered myself, because the library didn’t have it and I need my own copies anyways). You guys… it’s so amazing. I never actually got around to reviewing these, because I couldn’t put all of my feels into words. The art is FABULOUS. The storyline is GENIUS. Seriously a must-read, even if you think you don’t like comics – it’s Joe Hill. This is as good as his novels, if not better.

 3. Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch - Rat Queens is one of the first single issue comics I ever bought (the other that day was Ms. Marvel). After reading it it IMMEDIATELY went on my pull list and it’s one of my absolute favorites. It’s full of awesome women who enjoy fighting, cursing, food, and sex and it’s so fabulously perfect for fantasy and gaming fans. It’s been announced that Stjepan Šejic is going to be the new artist (previous artist Upchurch was kicked off due to a domestic abuse incident), and I have high hopes that the series will continue to be kick-ass and stunning.

4. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona - Alright, so I’m a comic and superhero newbie – but Ms. Marvel STILL feels like a breath of fresh air. Ms. Marvel is Kamala Kahn, a 16-year old Pakistani Muslim girl growing up in New Jersey who gets superpowers. She’s a complete geek, and trying to figure out how to balance things in her life, and she feels so real. In one issue she takes a selfie with Wolverine. I mean, come on, that’s so perfect.

5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples - Another comic series that the internet is always squealing with excitement over is Saga. It’s weird and inventive and addictive. I cannot help but to root for the main characters – a forbidden love story is my JAM. And this is in space, with aliens, and people with tv’s for heads having sex, and a cat that can tell when you’re lying. I love Lying Cat.

6. The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra - This series pushes SO many of my nerdy buttons. What is the Manhattan Project wasn’t really about building the first atomic bomb? What if it was really a cover for some much weirder shit? The characters are the scientists, like Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, and Richard Feynman – but different. Alfred Einstein is on some evil level, and Robert Oppenheimer is kinda sorta schizophrenic. This series is an absolute blast, especially if science is your jam.

7. Borderlands by Mikey Neumann and Agustin Padilla - I love Borderlands 2, despite the fact that I haven’t been able to play it much in the last couple months. And when I heard that there were Borderlands comics out there, I was SO excited. My comic book shop guys hooked me up and got the older mini-series trade paperback (Borderlands: Origins), and put me on the list for the new mini-series, Borderlands: Fall of Fyrestone. Both were fantastic – the characters were done perfectly, probably because the game creator wrote them. And the art is absolutely on-point – brilliant and bold, and just like the game. I hope there’s a third mini-series.

8. Deadpool Classic – volume 1 - I’m pretty okay with just jumping into long-standing character storylines anywhere, but when asking my comic shop to help me decide where to start with Deadpool, they recommended his early stuff. I’m super glad I listened. It includes some of his early appearances, and then the start of his own series, and I really enjoyed it all – the art, the humor, and at times, the feels. I knew I’d love Deadpool. I have volume 2 waiting for me now, and I can’t wait to dive in.

9. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro - Alright, so there’s only one issue out of this. It came out last week, and on Wednesday my Twitter feed absolutely exploded with people raving about this new series. It’s a FANTASTIC first issue. In this world, “non-compliant” women are taking to a prison on another planet. Just imagine all of the awesome in store for this. Seriously you guys, go buy the first issue, or download is for $4 on comiXology – you won’t regret it. I am SO excited.

10. East of West by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta - I’ve read the first three volumes of this, and I might actually cave and start buying the single issues to stay up-to-date on it. There are a lot of characters and it can get a little head-spinny at times, but seeing Death, one of the Four Horsemen, on a rampage because he lost the woman he loves is something that I am SO into.

Other notable mentions: Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, the Inhumans series, and the Nailbiter series. It was really hard to narrow down the top ten. And, because I just started reading comics this year and don’t want it to seem like I listed everything I read – I didn’t particularly enjoy Sex Criminals, or God Hates Astronauts. I’m indifferent towards Y: The Last Man – I’m basically reading it now just to read it along with the honeyman, because he’s liking it. And I’m liking Legenderry, Storm, and Thor, and enjoyed what I read of Damsels in Excess, but haven’t read much of them yet.

Have you read any of these, or are they on your to-read list? Tell me!


GET READY – BOUT OF BOOKS 12.0 is coming up!

Bout of Books, my favorite-est of the readathons, is coming up! It’s running from January 5th to January 11th, so mark it down now! On your calendar, or in your phone, or whatever.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


Reasons you should join in:

  1. NO pressure. Except for this post, pressuring you to join. But just read whenever!
  2. FUN.
  3. Crazy awesome Twitter chats with fellow readathoners. If that’s your thing.
  4. There are challenges, which are optional, but usually pretty nifty.
  5. Look cool doing it.

I am psyched! What an awesome way to start off 2015 :) Go sign up now!


Sarah Sunday!



It’s already late in the day. So, bullets.

  • We saw Mockingjay Part 1 on Monday. Meh. I think the second part will be better, but this one was a whole lot of Katniss looking around with a horrified expression on her face. This so didn’t need to be two movies.
  • I’m seeing an old friend tomorrow for dinner! We used to work at the bookstore years ago and used to hang out all the time, but I think it’s been a couple years now. I’m looking forward to catching up.
  • I finished Age of Ultron and The Cuckoo’s Calling this week. I’m hoping I can make a big dent in HP 4 today, I’m about 25% in right now.
  • I ALSO read the first issue of Bitch Planet, and OMG, read it. Go download / buy it and read it. I read it on comiXology because I wanted to see what all the excitement was about, and then I called my comic store and asked them to set aside a copy for me and add it to my pull list.
  • I’m looking forward to Christmas being over. I’m excited for it of course, but I still have SO much shopping to do and only one more paycheck to do it with. My neck and shoulders have been achy all week, and I’m thinking it might be due to stress. Gotta love this time of year.
  • Getting Christmas cards from blogger friends is definitely one of the best things about this time of year :)
  • I’m also just really looking forward to the new year. 2014 wasn’t the greatest – I worked way too much. I’m hoping I can avoid 65 hours work weeks in 2015. The overtime was nice, but it’s really just not worth it.
  • We started watching American Horror Story: Coven because it’s FINALLY on Netflix. It’s so fucking disturbing. A small part of me misses the subtleties of the first season. But on the plus side, in-your-face weirdness like in Coven probably won’t give me nightmares. Probably.
  • I made venison stew last week. Mmmmmmm. So yummy.
  • I didn’t work out enough this week – I was busy some nights, and then the weather just turned into absolute crap. It took me 40 minutes to shovel my car out of all of the snow behind it one morning so I could go to work. Ugh.
  • I DID get to go to the gym today, and had a pretty good run – except now my ankle hurts. I don’t think it’s sprained, but it’s hurting to walk on. Great.

And speaking of all that, I think now it’s time to sit on the couch and read for a bit. I hope everyone is having a great weekend!!


2015 Reading Goal – Read More Non-White Authors

You guys. I did this last year, remember? I looked at my current-year reading stats, was horrified by them, and declared that I wanted to read more books by women and more books by non-white authors. Well, let’s see how I did (looking at January through November). For the sake of simplicity, I’m not counting comics in these stats. Let’s look at the books.

57 books read 

26 were by men, 31 were by women

46 were by white authors, 11 were by non-white authors 

Well shit.

Alright, so I did better with reading the ladies than I thought – although my Outlander and HP re-reads are in there, so that’s really two ladies and I’ve already read them before, but still.

My diversity stats are ATROCIOUS. What the hell happened? I actually have a good idea of how… I wasn’t paying attention. When I look at my spreadsheet, I can actually see that I stopped really paying attention in March – right after I switched to a new, very demanding position at work. This is in no way an excuse – I’m mad at hell at myself, for letting a busy schedule get in the way of me being aware of what I was choosing to read.

Well that just sucks. So here we go again for 2015. I’m going to try to maintain my roughly 50% gender stats, and I’m going to aim for roughly 50% non-white authors.

And in the spirit of actually making more of an effort, I’ve been making a list of non-white authors.

  • Michio Kaku
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Sharon Draper
  • Alice Walker
  • Octavia Butler
  • Ralph Ellison
  • Toni Morrison
  • Meg Medina
  • Benjamin Law
  • Zadie Smith
  • Gene Luen Yang
  • Jason Mott
  • Jacqueline Woodson
  • Nnedi Okorafor
  • N.K. Jemisin
  • Ishmael Beah
  • Teju Cole
  • Karen Lord
  • Helen Oyeyemi
  • Walter Mosely
  • Jesmyn Ward
  • Cynthia Bond
  • Amy Tan
  • Ruth Ozeki
  • Saul Williams
  • Roxane Gay
  • Samantha Irby
  • Sherman Alexie
  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Saladin Ahmed
  • M.K. Asante
  • Maya Angelou
  • ?

If you’d like to suggest anyone to add to this list, feel free. I have it handwritten out in a notebook that I usually have on me, so I can refer to it at the library or when I’m bookstore browsing.

I’m also adding a secondary goal – spend more dollars on non-white authors than white authors this year. I haven’t tracked my book purchases in a couple years, so this will suck. BUT I want to make sure I’m using the small power I have as a consumer to show that I care about diversity. I can’t wait to see those stats this time next year. And while I think the indiegogo campaign for We Need Diverse Books is over now, I’m going to try to continue supporting them whenever I can. It IS something that I care about – and I’m going to prove it, if to no one other than myself, in 2015. I can’t wait to get started.


Blog Survey – A Bit About Sarah Says Read

slow peer

Christine at Bookishly Boisterous posted this, and well, I needed a post to do since I’m not going to bother reviewing my Harry Potter re-reads. So here we are. We all know I can’t resist a good survey. Ready to get a peek at my genius?

1. Why did you start blogging?

Because I had free time at my desk job, and no one to talk to about books. BAM. Magic formula.

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

I wanted something that had “Sarah” in it. Because I’m an egomaniac like that.

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging?

Oh good lord… I can’t even try to guess. My sister used to make me headers and stuff that I would change every season, and now I just have a simple, clean WordPress theme.

4. Have you ever switched blog platforms?

Yup. I started out on Blogspot, but it was always screwing up and WordPress seemed like it was better. I’m glad I made the switch – WordPress looks a bit better, and they have a lot of handy stuff. And they make owning my own domain pretty easy – I’m dreading trying to figure out how to switch to self-hosting but still keeping my mitts on “”. I don’t know how all that works.

5. How long does it take you to write a post? What is your process like?

Depends on the post, but some posts take me HOURS. I’ve been a blogger for like 6 years or so, and I’m still not so great at the words. And my attention span is worse than ever. So there’s no real process… I just sit down and do it when I can.

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post?


7. Do you have a blogging schedule?

I used to, and I miss that! I was really organized, had a blogging-only calendar and everything. I just don’t have the time now :(

8. Do you tell people in-real-life about your blog? What are their reactions?

Depends. I tend to not tell work people about my blog. Other random people, sure.

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most:

In no sort of order…

Okay, ten was not enough… should’ve been like top 25. Come on now.

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

I want to write better, and more often.

I want to switch to self-hosting. It’s been my goal for about two years now. The first year it didn’t happen because I didn’t have the money to do it, and this year it didn’t happen because I switched jobs in February and my new position kept me SO much busier, so I didn’t really have the free time to invest. And I’m still pretty busy, so I don’t know when I’ll finally be able to make the change. I need some balance.

Well that was fun and a teeny bit depressing! I need to come up with a plan, man.



Sarah Sunday on a Monday



  • I was so good most of this week! I worked out, I counted calories well most days, etc. And then the Merry Movie Marathon happened this weekend and destroyed all of that. It’s cool though – back on track.
  • The MMM was fun – lots of socializing, lots of drinking, lots of Christmas movies and playing Yahtzee, Cards Against Humanity, etc. Seriously though, a whole weekend of seeing random people is a bit much for me. I took today off of work to catch up on normal weekend errands and to just relax at home.
  • The BookRiot Quarterly box came this week! This is my third one (fifth overall, I think) and it did not disappoint, as you can see from the picture above.
  • I stopped in to my comic shop on Saturday real quick because I hadn’t gone in weeks and I had a lot of goodies waiting for me. I’m still reading Age of Ultron (it’s so massive!) and then I can’t wait to dive into that new stack.
  • I’m super behind in reviewing comics I’ve been reading… but basically East of West volume 3 was fantastic, the new Captain America is good so far, and I don’t know if I’m going to stick with The Fade Out or not. I don’t know if straight-up noir is my jam.
  • I’m re-reading Harry Potter #4, but also reading The Cuckoo’s Calling because it became available on Overdrive. I’m kind of focusing on TCC right now since it’s a library read, and I’m about 30% in… I’ve highlighted a lot. I’m wondering if Rowling is trying to make any special sort of statement on race, because it seems to have come up a lot so far. I’m very curious to see how the rest of the book goes.
  • And speaking of race, I’m sure you all heard about the Eric Garner decision… I don’t even know if I have words for this kind of bullshit. And while I still absolutely support police being required to wear body cameras – this is proof that even that solution is not enough. Something is seriously fucking wrong here.
  • Anyways… so if you guys have noticed in my comic-talk, I’m not much a DC fan, with the exception so far of The Flash. BUT. The honeyman showed me a youtube video this weekend that talked about a character called Dex-Starr – he’s a Red Lantern, and he’s a CAT. A cat that became a Red Lantern because his owner was murdered and he was mistreated, and all of the rage in his little kitty heart called a red ring to him, and then he’s on a mission to avenge his owner’s death. I need this in my life like NOW. I don’t think he has his own series, but whatever series he’s in, I need it so bad.

  • I’m finally going to see Mockingjay tonight, with the honeyman and my brother. And I’m excited to see it, but part of me would rather skip it and see Big Hero 6

And anyways, I have other posts to write so I should stop rambling. How was everyone’s weekend?


How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson



Oh non-fiction, you are so delicious.

How We Got to Now is a book about just that – what innovations and inventions have contributed largely to how we each live today. The author focuses on six things – artificial cold, glass, clocks, recorded sound, clean water, and artificial light. Each chapter talks about the origins of each, and how the science progressed to what it is now. For example, how we went from glass being a mysterious substance found in the desert thousands of years ago to something that is used in almost everything today – glasses, cell phone screens, fiber optic cables that we use for the internet, etc. He also takes a look at the indirect consequences of those innovations, the good and the bad.

I can’t go into too much detail, because otherwise I’d be stepping on Johnson’s toes. His book does a fantastic job at looking at these things in a straightforward manner, and I’m absolutely bursting with weird little facts that I learned while reading. (To the annoyance of my friends and co-workers, I’m sure.) Most interesting about his book though is the idea of the “adjacent possible” – the concept that ideas and inventions are most often a result of a network of other ideas, studies, advances, and conditions available at the current time, rather than the result of one person’s sudden stroke of genius. Even further, that many advances and inventions would not have been possible at earlier times, because the adjacent possible wasn’t there – the idea would never have occurred to a person without the networking of other ideas in the current society.

If you’re looking for a good, engrossing non-fiction read, this is it. I’m definitely going to seek out more of Steven Johnson’s work.


Sarah Says: 4.5 stars

December Monthly TBR

November wasn’t a great reading month, of course. I think I ended at about 9, and 4 of those were comics and/or graphic novels. Anyhoo, I’m excited for my pretty tiny December TBR.


On the Kindle:

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I’m re-reading all the Harry Potters. It’s a Very Harry Christmas! I’ve already finished the first two. This is probably my fifth or sixth time re-reading them, and I should have no trouble flying through these this month. AND, I’m able to read them all on my Kindle right now for free, which means reading in bed and at the gym. I signed up for Amazon Unlimited, and the first 30 days are free. From what I can tell by browsing so far, the selection for Amazon Unlimited isn’t great. They don’t have nearly the fantastic selection that Oyster does. I might keep Amazon Unlimited for a month after re-reading the HP books, just to read some of the books they had that I am interested in, but ultimately I’m still hoping to get a Kindle Fire and get Oyster back.


  • Superfreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – I enjoyed Think Like a Freak so much on audio, that I grabbed this without hesitation last time I was at the library.
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler – Still plugging away at this on Audible.

Physical books:

  • My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories – This is an anthology of stories by mainly YA authors, but one of those authors is Rainbow Rowell, so clearly I needed this. Hoping it gives me some good warm fuzzies as it gets closer to Christmas.

And that’s all I’m planning on! I may dip into other books on my Kindle, or other library books I still have laying around the house, but really I’m just planning on enjoying the magic of HP and reading whatever.

Anything special you’re planning on reading this month?


Sarah Sunday


Hey everybody!

This week has been busy – it definitely didn’t feel like a four day weekend. What with Thanksgiving, then decorating all day on Friday, then game night at the honeyman’s mom’s house last night. FYI, I beat everyone in Monopoly (cue evil laugh), but we didn’t get home until about midnight. We’ve decided today is a don’t-leave-the-house kind of day… but I am slightly tempted to go to the gym. I actually went to the gym on Friday & Saturday, and it feels great but man my legs are tired and achy right now. I’m going to try to go several times a week… hopefully work doesn’t completely ruin that plan.

In other way more exciting news – my little sister got offered a federal job she’s been aiming for! But on the down side, it means she’s moving to Maine right after Christmas, & then she’ll be going away somewhere else for training for 5 months, right around the time Treland will be away for basic. Aaaand the rest of the family and I will watch my nephew while she’s away, we’ll figure that all out soon. But congrats to my little sis, she’s been working really hard for this :-)

I’ve started my Harry Potter re-reads – I’m halfway through the second book now, and I’ll probably finish that today. Being able to read it on my phone & Paperwhite is basically awesome. Harry Potter at the gym, Harry Potter on the couch, Harry Potter in bed – Harry Potter everywhere!

single hp ladies

I’m also reading the Age of Ultron right now, and it is so insane. There are SO many characters that I’ve had to look up as I’m reading, and so much is happening, but it’s fun. And I’m going to enjoy being that annoying person pointing out the differences between the comics and the movie ;-)

I’m thinking about 2015 goals already… whether or not I want to continue doing monthly TBRs (probably), how I want to blog more and better, and keeping better stats. That, of course, led me to decide to combine my yearly spreadsheets (starting at 2011) into one master reading stats spreadsheet, and to go back and fill in all of the info for the columns I wasn’t previously tracking, like author name, gender, race, etc… Only about 400 more lines to fill in. Once that’s complete, I may upload it to GoogleDocs… I just then have to get more comfortable with GoogleDocs, especially on my phone.

Looking at my 2014 goals… I failed miserably. In all fairness, I was in a different position at work when I made that list. In February is when I moved into my current position, which has involved basically zero down time and working sometimes 65 hours a week. So I don’t feel TOO bad about it, but damn. The only things on that list I managed to accomplish was to get new running shoes and do another 5K. Maybe I can make a frittata in the next month. Or a quiche. Quiche is SO delicious.

And on that note, I’m hungry and I’m going to go eat an apple or something. I hope everyone’s enjoying their weekend!