Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're welcoming in a new month (it's March already?  Whoa!) and exploring a genre rarely (if ever) seen on the blog.  It's scarcity is no coincidence either; it's simply I'm not a huge fan of the works it encompasses.  Now don't get me wrong, they are by talented people and more than likely contain stories of merit...it's just not my chosen reading format. 



If you haven't guessed it yet, the genre is GRAPHIC NOVELS.  That's right!  Those books that are filled to the brim with illustrations telling a story through their images and the thought bubbles contained within.  Color me surprised when an ARC of one landed on my doorstep courtesy of First Second Books.  We're not even talking a shorter book say around 100-200 pages.  Oh no....we're talking a 496 page chunkster.  Good thing I'm not afraid of big books...and that the synopsis on the back intrigued me.  So, without further ado, I give you today's book of choice...


by
Scott McCloud
9781596435735

About the book....
David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier! 




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It starts out with a deal of a lifetime being made.
David gets to do the exact thing he has always wanted to but with more power than he has ever dreamed.  In exchange for all of this at his fingertips, a lifetime is taken and in its place remain 200 days.  One would think a swap of this magnitude would ensure smooth sailing for those limited days.  Here?  Not so much.  Talk about getting the short end of the bargain.  *uses big blue genie voice*  Phenomenal cosmic powers...no living space, family, friends, or additional notice to be had; in fact, far less actually.  Huh.  Bummer....or at least it is until an earthly "angel" helps him find his footing again.  He may not achieve the dream he wished so fervently for but his life is not without merit in the end.

Now, let's talk story since that's what I'm all about.
This was a hard one to swallow.  At first, I was betting on his Uncle being the devil himself (or at least inhabited by), especially with the whole angel interlude that occurs.  A little further in we are introduced properly and know him for what he is....Death.  Creepy right?  Yeah...it gave me a shiver when reading as well.  How does he appear as whom he is?  It's all explained in the pages so I'll leave you to unravel that mystery for yourself.  Moving forward.  As a whole, I found myself compelled to read on.  I simply had to know just what David would accomplish or in this case NOT accomplish in his final days.  Would he see his art's popularity soar?  Would he find love at long last despite the clock winding down?  Would he come to realize the journey he was on before all this started WAS the good life?  Would he regret his decision?  What would his final hours be like?  So many questions kept gnawing at me that despite any trepidation I may have had about the medium chosen, I had to read on.  By book's end, I was both satisfied and a tad perplexed (the latter due to my liking of tidy endings) but genuinely felt my time was well spent.


Now, let's chat about the chosen method through which the story was conveyed; the graphic novel.  I'm not discounting the talent that was needed to create the panels that grace each page.  I'm certainly not balking at the skill utilized to allow readers a glimpse of the emotional roller coaster that every character goes through as the story unfolds.  What I am saying is that this particular genre is not for me.  If consolidated into simply a written novel, the actual story would have been a mere fraction of the books current length and could have still been effective in communicating everything necessary for readers to enjoy the tale. I appreciate illustrations as much as the next person but this much, for me at least, is too much.  Also, I could have done without the sans clothes panels and while we're on that topic, why is it okay to depict women topless yet preserve men's privacy?  No, I'm not saying I want all THAT illustrated...I'm merely making a point.  "Privates" are private; there shouldn't be a double standard between the sexes.  Anywho...


To summarize my far-too-lengthy commentary here...
...the story was worth the time.
... the artwork held merit.
...the combination for this reader was too much, but fans of the genre will flock to it like birds to a wire.
  

Recommended read for older teens or adult readers for concepts covered, and several moments between the sheets (well, mostly without sheets).



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About the author...

Photo by Lori Matsumoto

Scott McCloud is the award-winning author of Understanding Comics, Making Comics, Zot!, The Sculptor, and many other fiction and non-fiction comics spanning 30 years. An internationally-recognized authority on comics and visual communication, technology, and the power of storytelling, McCloud has lectured at Google, Pixar, Sony, and the Smithsonian Institution.


SITE   |   FACEBOOK   |   TWITTER



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Special thanks to Gina at First Second Books for the ARC for review.  (THANKS!)  To find out more about this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title hit store shelves 02/03/15 via First Second Books, an imprint of MacMillan Publishers, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time...happy reading!



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Everything can change in... Eight Minutes by Lori Reisenbichler

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

It's that time again.  Time to look between the pages of another title you may or may not have had on your radar.  Are you ready?  Today's featured selection comes to us courtesy of Mindbuck Media Book Publicity and stars a Fiction title with a touch of the "great beyond".  Okay, perhaps more than a touch if you're willing to admit it but before we dig too deep, allow me to introduce you properly.  Ladies and gents, today's book of choice is...


by
Lori Reisenbichler
9781477821824
Lake Union Publishing

About the book...
On the night that Shelly Buckner finally became a mother, she very nearly became a widow. Her husband, Eric, seriously injured in a car accident on the way to the hospital, was dead for a full eight minutes before being revived—all while Shelly was in labor. Those eight minutes changed everything Shelly thought was possible.
 
Three years later, their son, Toby, brings home an imaginary friend. But he’s no ordinary playmate—John Robberson is a fighter pilot and Vietnam vet. As Toby provides unlikely details about John’s life—and Toby’s tantrums increase—Shelly becomes convinced that John was real and now wants something from Toby. But her husband has his doubts, and as Shelly becomes involved, even obsessed, with finding out the truth, their marriage begins to disintegrate. Torn between protecting her child and keeping the peace with her husband, Shelly desperately searches for a way to finally put John Robberson out of their lives.





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This was a hard one to make head's or tales out of, truth be told.
I wanted to be in love with it but I can't say I honestly was.  If we flip to the other side of the same token though, I wasn't in dislike with it either.  I suppose by book's end, the story and I had struck an agreement:  I would follow it wherever it lead so long as it did in fact end and release me from whatever page turning spell I was under.  Deal struck, I continued my read and was rewarded with an ending to be sure, but I can't say that I was happy.



Now, before you start throwing things at me through the screen (because frankly, that's dangerous...for YOU that is; I'm virtually impossible to reach), I don't think every book has to have a happy ending.  In fact, many stories that aren't actually "happy" are still rather satisfying.  This one...well, once again my answer is middle of the line.  I do believe though it is my lack of connection to the characters that is getting the best of me, or perhaps better stated, my change in opinion of them at certain points.  Allow me to explain.

Initially, I like Shelly.  She took on childbirth by herself (though her husband's absence was certainly excusable), brought her concerns about the changes she noticed in Eric (the husband) to the proper people (not that they were helpful in the least), and even when things looked bleakest, she continued to follow the path she truly believed when it came to Toby and John Robberson.  She was a woman unafraid of standing on her own two feet and figured the support she counted on would be there when needed.  She was wrong.  Could she have known this in the slightest?  No, at least from my point of view. 


SO, why did my opinion change from higher regard to lesser regard?  For me, it was when Eric began the ultimatums, such as threatening to protect their son from HER no matter what and if she didn't stop obsessing about solving the John Robberson riddle, their marriage would be over.  He had already been a pretty large three-letter-word-beginning-with-A-and-ending-in-a-double-S up to this point, but that was the icing on the already overdone and gaudy cake.  Grant it, some of this cl-ass-icness is explained by book's end, but I guess I felt that she was compromising herself SO MUCH when he didn't feel worth it anymore.  Anywho...

Overall, the story was curious.  I liked how the idea of an imaginary friend was explored not only on a basic level but also cross culturally.  It was interesting to note how different people view a similar phenomena.  The paranormal aspect of it all was certainly enough to put you off-kilter, especially when Kay arrives in the flesh and John does too...in a manner of speaking.  (Talk about a creepy deja vu moment.  ~shakes head~) Though it could have added too much to an already full storyline, it didn't; things balanced out rather well in fact, despite my personal likes or dislikes.  I do have to say that the ending leaves us a bit on a precipice though; so many ways it could potentially turn and yet I know that one of them would certainly end in my own person being confined for fifty to life.  I'll let you sort it out from there. 

Recommended read for Fiction fans that appreciate thinking outside the box and can be left to ponder multiple options for the ending in their own time contentedly. 



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About the author....


Lori Reisenbichler has loved stories all her life, but did a lot of other things before she got serious about writing. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Spalding University and has been an editor for the Best New Writing journal. She's recently told stories onstage at The Moth and the Oral Fixations storytelling series. EIGHT MINUTES is her debut novel.

She was born in Moore, Oklahoma, grew up near Kansas City, Missouri and now lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband. Thankfully, all three of their grown children are close enough to enjoy, and grown enough to allow her time to sit in coffee shops and make things up. When she's not writing, she throws dinner parties and cheers much too loudly at sporting events.



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Special thanks to Jessica at Mindbuck Media Book Publicity for both the review copy as well as the chance to bring this title to your attention.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, this promotion or those forthcoming, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title reached published status February 17, 2015 via Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time...happy reading!


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