The Resurrectionist

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black

Can I just start out by saying that I was THRILLED when Eric from Quirk Books sent me the summary of this book?! It instantly caught my attention, especially when he said it was a "cross between Mary Shelly's Frakenstein and Gray's Anatomy." I mean seriously, how could that NOT get you excited?! It was hard, but I saved it to read during Dewey's Read-a-thon, and enjoyed it in one sitting!

About the book:
Philadelphia. The late 1870s. A city of cobblestone sidewalks and horse-drawn carriages. Home to the famous anatomist and surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a “resurrectionist” (aka grave robber), Dr. Black studied at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs— were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?

The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from his humble beginnings to the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts—dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus—all rendered in meticulously detailed black-and-white anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story.

My thoughts:
I absolutely LOVED The Resurrectionist. It really is two books in one, and both are exceptional. The first half of the book is all about Dr. Spencer Black. Hudspeth put this part of the book together as if it were a short biography of the mysterious Dr. Black, gathered through letters and journal entries. As I was reading, it was easy to get caught up in the story and almost forget that this was fiction. I loved that. There was a lot of mystery surrounding Dr. Black, however I do think that his character could be flushed out a bit more. I understand we need mystery, but I would have loved to know a bit more about him.
I also really enjoyed the inclusion of journal entries and letters throughout the first half of this book. It added a dose of historical relevance and dialogue that illustrates just how ahead of his times Dr. Black was.
The second part of this book is in one word stunning. Hudspeth is a masterful artist. The Codex Extinct Animalia reads like a beautiful anatomy text. This is not only Dr. Black's crowning jewel, but E.B. Hudspeth's as well. The artwork within is simply incredible. My breath was taken away more than once as I read through The Codex. Extremely detailed is both illustration and text, this second half of the book is more than worth the splurge of glossy hardcover. With anatomical renderings of such animals as Pegasus Gorgonis, Ganesha Orientis, and Minotaurus Asterion, you will be blown away and transported to another worth where these creatures just could exist.
The Resurrectionist is incredible. It is one of those stories that comes around once in a blue moon and leaves you wondering how one mind can create such mystery and beauty.

4 stars! Great read!!!
As if you need any more convincing... check out this youtube video, A Conversation with E.B. Hudspeth

About the author:
Author E.B. Hudspeth is an artist and author living in New Jersey with his wife and two children. This is his first book.

{Summary, book & author information, and video provided by Quirk Books}

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

FTC: This book was received from the publisher for a fair and honest review
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Comment Confusion

I put InstenseDebate on my blog to make my comments appeared threaded and more attractive... however, it was giving me troubles and my comment count never synced which annoyed me. I took it off and now all the comments that were left when I had IntenseDebate on the blog are gone! UGH. Those of you who have commented recently-- I'm sorry! I didn't delete our comments intentionally!

However, I have finally figured out the coding for making blogger's comment form threaded with a custom template. YAY. So, comment away and lets get back to some good bookish dialogue.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Readathon Wrap-up!

Phew! That was a BLAST. Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-thon is always a great time, but this was the first year I was *really* able to commit. I had so much fun! Since it was my first full-on readathon, I elected not to blog during it and just read and poke around on my phone. I have a horrible laptop (that isn't portable because the battery doesn't hold charge!) and I wanted to spend a lot of time outdoors, so I stuck to instagramming and a bit of tweeting. I am proud of how much I was able to read and hope that now that I've got my first full readathon under my belt that come October I can schedule and plan to blog and read!!

Readathon Recap:

As I'm on the East Coast, I started at 8am. I woke up and had a book ready to go on my nightstand and didn't even leave my bed for the first house... I just basked in the morning sunshine streaming through my window and read A Dog's Journey. 

Once I did crawl out of bed, Barrett was off to go get some supplies for the basement and I went to sit in the sunshine out back. He brought me back a vanilla chai and a yummy breakfast sandwich.

I spent the first few hours outside. I was reading A Dog's Journey on and off while lounging in the sunshine and helping Barrett. He was building some raised flower beds, so I helped him a bit here and there, then helped him place them on the side of the house and fill (half way) with dirt.

While outside I also had my first snack... I had yummy Mango-Pineapple infused water and sunflower seeds (totally a guilty warm weather pleasure!)

I stayed outside until almost 4pm. At that point I had finished A Dog's Journey and was starting Tomorrow, When the War Began. I was struggling to get into that one, so I decided to take a break.  

Barrett had a hankering for a burger, so we went out to Thirsty's for dinner and a round of quickdraw. I had pulled pork and fries... and naturally a hard cider. This was around 530ish... and a much needed break. I was full and rejuvenated!

Bear was planning to go out to a friends house to watch the Jon Jones fight (woohoo!.. go Jon!.. he won, AGAIN. Kick ass.) so we stopped at the store on the way home from dinner so he could grab some brews and snacks... I decided that I would probably need some junk food to get me through the second half of the readathon, so I grabbed some too.

Once we got home, I was ready to get back to reading... I took out Tomorrow, When the War Began and gave it another go. After a little more than 100 pages, I gave up. It just wasn't working for me. I decided to switch over to The Resurrectionist by EB Hudspeth. Since it was late and I could feel myself getting sleepy, I went out to the front porch and read while burning some nag champa incense.... I also had my second snack- some SmartPop!

I read until 9:45pm and decided that it was time for my first nap! I had previously decided I would give myself two naps during the readathon. One power nap for 30 minutes and one decent nap for 2 hours. I set my alarm and enjoyed a little snooze.

Back to reading The Resurrectionist! I read for a bit then went in to bed and slept for a few hours... I woke back up around 1am and got back to reading! I spent a little time reading in bed with my booklight, but was fading fast.

After an hour with the booklight, I realized I kept nodding off and rereading the same paragraph because I just couldn't focused. I moved out to the living and curled up on the couch and broke out my snacks. Chips and dip woke me up! 

I finished The Resurrectionist (which I LOVED) and took out some poetry to wind down with for hour 20. I had sprinkled a few poems in throughout the day, and finished this up right as we were closing in on hour 21. It was a nice way to break up the reading throughout the day and I enjoyed reading Emily Dickinson as a transition from The Resurrectionist.

I was beginning to fade again, so I took out some chocolate and did a little refuel. I started Blindsided and stayed on the couch until I fell asleep with the book on my face a bit before 5am. I was groggy and just couldn't focus when I woke up, so I decided to call it and roll into bed.

So, I didn't finish my first full-on readathon. I made it until 5am (which was hour 22)... I'm a bit disappointed I couldn't pull through another two hours, but I figured this was pretty damn good!

In all, I finished 3 books and started 2. I did zero blogging *hangs head in shame*, but did peruse some blogs and mini-challenges. I tweeted a tiny bit, and instagrammed a lot. My snacking was pretty good -- I munched on sunflower seeds, chips & dip, Smartpop, and a Cadbury egg... never did get around to the doughnuts or 3 musketeers bar. For bevies, I drank vanilla chai, coffee, infused water, and a glass of milk. I moved around a lot throughout the day... I read outside, on both porches, in bed, and in the living room. 

So friends, how did you guys do? Did you make it the full 24 hours? How much reading did you get done?

Can't wait to spend the remainder of the week catching up on readathon posts and browsing the blogosphere! Hope to see everyone around and many thanks to the hosts of Dewey's Readathon! It was such a great time and I can't wait to participate again in October! 


write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Book Blogger Hop!

I've been absent from BBH the past few Fridays... life just got away from me for a minute! I'm back at it this week though!

Our host is Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and this week our question comes from Tanya at Girlxoxo

April 26 - May 2nd <<< link up & read BBH answers here!

Tanya asks:
What is the last book that made you laugh out loud?

I just finished A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron and had quite a few moments of giggling and snickering aloud while reading... life from a dogs perspective is pretty darn funny, especially as a puppy!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Review Policy

I love reading, end of discussion. 
If you would like a book reviewed on Little Bird Reads, please review my policy and contact me if you feel it would be a good fit!

The only genres that I do not read and therefore will not review are:
- Religious titles
- General Romance
I am open to all other genres, but that does not guarantee that a pitch will interest me. I will only review books that appeal to me. As my tastes in reading ebb and flow, I am very open to reviewing books across the spectrum!

Since my tastes vary, I think it is beneficial to add in a list of books that I've thoroughly enjoyed.

A smattering of books I love (in no particular order):
- Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
- ROOM by Emma Donahue
- These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
- One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey
- Dark Objects by Gillian Flynn
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- The Compound by SA Bodeen
- Full Dark, No Stars  by Stephen King
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Candy Girl by Diablo Cody
- Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- Infected by Scott Sigler
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Crazy School by Cornelia Reed
- The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce D Perry
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
- Love in the Asylum by Lisa Carey
- Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fischer

As a teacher, I am also interested in reviewing children's literature - picture books to chapter books, I enjoy reviewing stories that I can add to my classroom library! I also have an 8 year old stepdaughter at home who LOVES reading and would love to share her thoughts along side mine.

Included in my review:
- Synopsis
- Image (book cover and often images of me reading the book at home)
- Publishing house & release date
- Author Links
- Rating (on a 5-star system)
- My honest opinion (I'm always straight forward!)
Where I will add my review:
- Here on Little Bird Reads
- Link on my Pinterest account
- Link in my Twitter account
- Other sites as requested
1 - 2 months (although I am open to requests with review timelines!)

I am new to giveaways and blog tours, but would certainly be willing to do so if requested

If you are interested in having  your book reviewed on Little Bird Reads, contact me at papajm25@gmail.com and include your contact information, book title, summary, genre, format, length, and any additional requests.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


5-star Rating system!

Yes yes, I am behind the times... but I am finally putting up a rating system on my blog.. bear with me while I work out any kinks as I start this rolling. I am also going to try and back-log at least my 2013 read/reviews with this system. I took Leeanna's advice and elected not to use 1/2 stars, because like she said- many sites don't utilize 1/2 star systems. I'm sticking with stars because sometimes I change up my blog look, and stars are totally universal... I found the star icon from Icon Search Engine by Icojam. 

Ugh, don't even bother!

Eh, it was okay, but I wouldn't recommend it
Good... middle of the road but worth the read

Oooh great one, give it a go!
YES YES YES! Loved it, a MUST read!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


In progress....

I would like this blog to be more professional and am working my way towards updating the way I review and rate books. I've always just added the synopsis and my thoughts... I would like to add a rating system and more deets on the book itself (like publish date / publisher / page count)... any ideas from my blogger friends of what else I should do?

I need to work up a review policy too... any guidance??

Time to let this blog grow up a bit!!... it was a goal of mine for 2013, and I've done well with my posting/review schedules, so now it is time for this blog to get a bit more polished!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

These Things Hidden

I love love lovedddd Heather Gudenkauf's debut novel The Weight of Silence. It was a great read. I read it in 2010 and did a quick mini review of the novel... you can find it here.

I was certainly excited to get my hands on These Things Hidden after I fell in love with Heather Gudenkauf. I have had the novel sitting on my TBR shelf for over a year... it somehow ended up in the back of the stack and I forgot about it. I unearthed it not long ago while I was recuperating from a serious bout of stomach virus. As with Weight of Silence, it was a quick and thrilling read for me. I just couldn't put it down!

These Things Hidden follows the stories of four women, all of whom share some type of connection. Claire is the mother of Joshua, Allison is a young women just released from jail, Brynn is Allison's younger sister who is trying to navigate her way through life, and finally there is Charm, the sweet nursing student who shows a great deal of love and connection to Claire and Joshua. All four of these women have a veil of mystery surrounding them and their connections to one another. Some of these connections seem coincidental, while others have a tinge of forced connection. The story is written from all four of these women's perspectives- each chapter beginning with another voice. As the reader tries to put the different scenarios together, These Things Hidden begins to unravel the mystery of each women and her own tortured history. Moving along in the story we uncover the truth about the little boy who is central to it all and the reasons why Allison was sent to jail.

Twists and turns abound in this novel (much like The Weight of Silence) and it is a spectacular read. I ate this book up. Finishing it in just a few nights, the story plowed through and I couldn't look away. I was sad when I had to tend to daily life.. ya know, work and such things. Another stunning psychological thrill ride, Heather Gudenkauf delivers once again with These Things Hidden. This is a MUST READ!!!

This book has been on the TBR for ages and is my 7th book read for the Mount TBR Challenge.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

I am an Amazon Affiliate 


Dirty Little Secrets

Dirty Little Secrets came across my desk in the classroom. It came with a Scholastic order as a freebie and I wanted to read it before adding it to the classroom library. This little book pleasantly surprised me!

Synopsis from Goodreads.com
Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.
With details that are as fascinating as they are disturbing, C.J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy’s desperate attempt at normalcy. Her fear and isolation are palpable as readers are pulled down a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen’s life will have readers completely hooked.

For those who have finished DLS, there is an "AFTER" chapter on C.J. Omololu's website which can be found here. NOTE that this contains many spoilers, so only for those who have read the book!

Lucy has a messy little secret... her mom hoards everything. She calls them her "treasures" and gets furious when anyone, including her own family, touches or moves them. Her hoarding has spiraled out of control over the years and has had a major impact on the way Lucy lives. As a high school student, Lucy does everything in her power to keep people at bay- she doesn't want to be known as the girl living in garbage. Lucy has to think fast when she comes home to find her mother dead in the home... how can she keep her secret safe?
While reading this book, I just couldn't quite figure out how Lucy was going to manage keeping her dirty little secret with her mother dead in the hallway. How on earth could this play out successfully?? I was so drawn into this messy world that I finished this book in one sitting... granted, it is YA lit and was short. Regardless, it was a captivating read. I was desperate to see how exactly Lucy would pull off the dirtiest secret of all.
This book was so incredibly interesting. It was a chance to see the inside of hoarding, but from the eyes of a child living in it- without choice. Lucy wasn't a character that I could relate to, but I do think she would be for someone living with hoarding or any serious secret they are hiding from friends. Even without personally relating to Lucy, I was still very involved in her plight. Omololu did a great job writing a character who would appeal to people both dealing with these issues and people who were just picking Dirty Little Secrets up for light reading. She also created a very vivid picture of the life Lucy and her family were living. Even if I had never seen a TV show about hoarding, I believe I would still be able to imagine it in my mind through her writing. I also am pleased with the ending- even though it was abrupt, it wasn't sugar coated. Reality is not always fairy tale endings, and I applaud Omololu for looking at the darker side of life. An emotional read, this book is a great addition to a list of 'tough topics' for teens.

Omololu took the veil off of a serious topic in mental health. Hoarding isn't just a reality TV show... it is real life. This book deals with the reality of keeping that secret as a teen and battling the mix of emotions that come with death. I would recommend this book to teens and will be adding it to my classroom library. Things don't always end up rainbows and butterflies... but that is okay- that is life.

Now I'm going to climb up on my little soapbox....
After reading this book, I immediately watched a few episodes of Hoarders on Netflix. It truly is a bizarre and fascinating part of the human collective. However, hoarding isn't about being dirty or messy or lazy; it is a mental health issue that deserves awareness. Hoarding is not in the diagnostic tool chest of the DSM-IV, but it will be included in the upcoming DSM-V. It is a compulsive disorder that has a wide berth of criteria for diagnosis. Typically, hoarding is compounded by other mental health diagnosis's. There are also other variants of compulsive hoarding, such as animal hoarding, bibliomania (yep- book hoarding.. ut oh, many of us could qualify for THAT one!), and OCD. There are now many forms of treatment for hoarding, and I do feel that there has been a raised awareness of the condition with TV shows such as Hoarders on A&E and Buried Alive on TLC bringing it to light. If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help for hoarding
**stepping down from my soapbox now**

This book is my April keyword challenge book, as well as a Mount TBR book (since it collected dust for quite some time on my desk)

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

I am an Amazon Affiliate