Friday, October 30, 2015

Inhuman And Undead

Who is ready for one last bit of spooky yummyness?   I totally forgot that I had this short story collection on my Nook, so yay happy surprise.  The book is Strange Afterlives edited by one of my faves A. Lee Martinez.  The premise is a collection of stories about undead creatures and objects that are not are my favorites as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Mouse Trouble by A.Lee Martinez - Magic mice, mummified cats, a mystical exterminator.  This little story has all the signature humor and everyday magic that I have come to expect from this author.  This right here is why I read pretty much every book/story he has written.

The Late Mrs. Buttons by Sally Hamilton - After watching Annabelle  at the firehouse last week, I am now terrified of dolls.  This story gives us another reason to treat these spooky human facsimiles with respect and a bit of terror as well.  After reading this, you might think twice about how you dispose of old toys.

An Undercover Haunting by Kristi Hutson - Speaking of humorous, this story features a haunted afghan...yep you heard me right a blanket that speaks from beyond the grave.  The addition of it being a bunch of college boys who are being possessed makes the tone of this tale spot on.

The Runner by John Bartell - This is one of the creepiest retellings of a children's story that I have ever read.  If you thought the tale of The Gingerbread Man was already a little dark, then this version takes to a level that is pitch black.  A bit of sadness and a twisted friendship make this story pack a huge punch for its small page count.

The Scavenger Hunt by J.B. Sanders Jr. - Zombie cars...not much else to say other then what a cool concept.  The author manages to pack a whole spooky story in just a couple of pages.  The setting is chilling, the idea is terrifying and the ending is perfect.

All of the stories in this collection are very creative and different, making it a book that has something for everyone.  At just 5 to 15 pages each, all 11 stories can be read very quickly.  After reading this I am now terrified that just about everything in my house is going to come back to life and kill me.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Family That Dresses Up Together

Dressing up is fun...dressing up as a group is awesome.  Here are some literary idea's to inflict on your friends and family.
Harry Potter Group Dress Up
There are so many ways to go with a group Harry Potter effort.  You can go with as few or as many people as you want, very versatile
Jane Austen Dress Up
With seven books to choose from I'm sure you can all find a classy costume
Narnia Family Costume
My siblings probably still have nightmares of me doing this to them :-)
Lord of the Rings Dress Up
Epic and creative and, win, win!
Game of Thrones Group Cosplay
If you can't find somebody to dress up as in this series, then you just are not trying hard enough.

Go grab a group of your literary minded friends, or blackmail you spouse, or pull your parental power with the kiddos and send me picks of your group of literary dress up.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reading Day Off

Enjoying a rare day off finishing my Halloween Reading.  It was glorious.
Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, October 26, 2015

When The World Went Cold

Hello all, how was your weekend?  Mine was exhaustingly busy and awesome and about the norm.  I promised you all some Halloween style ramblings this week, so let us start of with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.  I got this book on a total whim one day.  I was just sitting on my couch and out of the blue I decided that this was a book I need to get and read for the October season (I love ebooks sometimes, really feeds into my impulse buying/reading habit) and so I did.  Was my impulse decision good or bad?  Lets find out, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Tana wakes up in the bathroom after a wild highschool party completely alone and having a hard time remembering what happened.  As she makes her way through the house she realizes that every person at the party is dead, killed in a horrific manner, with all the requisite blood and gore.  The only survivor other then herself is her ex-boyfriend Aidan and a crazy (seriously deranged) vampire that goes by Gavriel.  Yep this is a vampire book...but it's's a good vampire book.  In flashbacks through out the book we learn that vampires have been around forever, but one by the name of Casper Morales bought into the whole human romanticizing of the undead (see what happens when you make your vampires glitter) and decided to go on a turning rampage.  In this world when you get bitten by a vampire you go Cold, which means you are infected, but not turned.  To turn you need to drink human blood, then you die and come back immortal, pointy toothed and thirsty.  If you don't drink human blood within about 88 days then the infection goes away and you remain human.  Cool beans, you think, if I want to stay human I'll just refrain from drinking blood.  Unfortunately it is not so easy, when you go Cold, you get progressively thirstier and thirstier until you turn into a super strong lunatic who would do anything to get blood.  So the vampire Casper goes around infecting as many people as he can sink his teeth into (previously the old vampires would carefully regulate the turning of new vampires to keep their existence a secret and also to keep the food supply plentiful) and all these new crazy insatiable vampires go around infecting more people...lather, rinse, repeat.  The governments doing what governments do, eventually get a bit of a handle on the situation and quarantine off a bunch of the cities, sending any vampires and infected to them. Back to Tana.  Hmmm if I write this all out the post is going to be 100 pages long...I'll do my best.  Tana takes both boys on a freaky road trip where they meet up with Midnight and Winter, a brother and sister duo with a death wish.  They make it to Coldtown where the infected Aiden and the mad Gavriel must live out the rest of their lives and Tana gets a marker to get out later as long as she remains human.  The twins also head in, hoping to convince on of their coveted undead to bite them...without killing them.  Gavriel leaves the group after a parting gift from Tana and the rest of the group head to a house of Midnights friends.  All kinds of absolute horrific, yet entertaining insaneness ensue with truly tragic results.  Tana gets caught up in an ancient feud between Gavriel and Lucien, the vampire who reigns over Coldtown as it's beautiful, untouchable star.  More madness and mayhem, more death and Tana gets bitten for real.  Tana's little sister Pearl comes looking for her adding even more chaos to the mess.  After approximately 2/3 of the characters die we finally end with Tana determined to defeat the infection and remain human.  Gavriel offers to stay with her, as he can easily over power her even in her infected state and in his madness her pleas mean nothing.  Tana asks why he would do this and he tells her she is the only person to ever try and save him.  We end with the two of them holed up for the fight of Tana's life.
Argh!  I hate trying to summarize books like this because it is so chock full of awesomeness and things and stuff that directly pertain to all my myriads of feelings on this book, but if I try and get it all in I'll just rewrite the book. I guess you'll just have to trust me on the stuff I didn't get in.  So I started reading this not knowing what to expect and I think that greatly added to my enjoyment of the book.  Like I said before it was a completely out of the blue, random buy and read.  Ok let's start with the good, and I will try and be coherent.  First of all, I love vampires.  They may be my favorite type of monster 'cause they are usually intelligent and can make choices.  I like the idea of immortality playing a role in their decisions and their weird mix of inclusion and aloofness in the human race. The vampires in this book made me happy because of the variety and realisticness of their attitudes.  You have your ancient and elite guys who have remained hidden for thousands of years, keeping tight control.  You have your young guns who want a change, you have your pathetic, your haughty, and your bat sh*t crazy, all with their own unique perspective.  I liked how the author had a fairly well thought out society and progression of history when it came to her vampires and their history with the rest of the world.  Next on the list surprised me.  I loved all the teenagers.  Yep, I usually am not a fan of modern YA books 'cause teenage angst drives me bananas, but in this book you could tell the author remembered what being a teen felt like without the over the topness you get in a lot of books.  The heroine Tana was tough, but not necessary kick-ass.  She had a history that would justify major drama, but she kept it to a mix of pragmaticness and an impulse control issue.  Tana was scared, confused, angry, tired, and a little bit in love...just like any human would be in her situation.  Aidan was a great character because he started out a bit twisted and messed up and getting infected and the way he acted after all seemed in-line with the character.  He is a character that a lot of writers try to include to show how "progressive" and "modern" they are, but it usually feels like a token piece.  Ms. Black however managed to make Aidan a real person, somebody who I swear I've met before, really well written.  Midnight, Winter and Pearl all show a fascination with the "stars" of Coldtown that mirrors our own societies obsession with a lifestyle they can't have, and they show us all facets of it.  A lot of bad stuff happens in this book, I mean a lot, like Game of Thrones style bad, but all of it is necessary and not only furthers the story, but adds consequences to decisions and actions. I love this because while there are some good outcomes in the book, not everything ended happily and wonderfully.  Choices were made, and sometimes it was the wrong choice and people suffered greatly for it.  There is romance in the book, and the main one is between the heroine and the vampire, but it is actually a decent romance.  Tana realizes that her attraction to Gavriel is in part an instinctive reaction to his looks and she tries to temper it.  The author also lets Gavriel be truly crazy, mad as a hatter and that adds an awesome dimension to a YA romance plot.  Really the only things that got to me were sometimes it felt like the vampires, especially Lucien and his cohorts were directly lifted from an Anne Rice novel.  I sometimes would automatically substitute the name Lestat for the various vampires. The author stated that this book was in part a tribute to the various vampire writers...but it felt a tad bit derivative at times (yay I got to use one of my big girl words).  I could probably go on for pages about the subtleties and nuances and social commentary, but I will let you go read it so you can come back here and discuss it with me. I recommend it to all my reading buddies (you know who you are), anybody who wanted Twilight to be better, or just wants a really nuanced YA book with action and awesome.  I give this book 8 out of 10 garnet necklaces and I hope they never try and turn it into a movie 'cause they will just ruin it.   Happy Reading Everybody!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Happy Birthday To Me!

It's the bestest day of my year MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
So go have some cake and read a great book in honor of this day of awesome.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2015


I know I've been slacking on the posts lately, I promise next week will be better with all kinds of Halloweeny goodness.  Until then, always keep this in mind.
Nancy Lemon
Hope everybody has an AWESOME weekend.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lost In Literature

Tis the season for corn mazes and what better way to wander then through a literary inspired labyrinth.

Alice in Wonderland
Down the rabbit hole and into the maze
The Maze Runner
A little bit meta, but still pretty cool
I guess it's better then a Kardashian maze...
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
A classic scare, perfect for Halloween
Just cool...really really cool
Make sure you bring a couple of books, just in case you get lost.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Scarey Ghosts

Who's ready for a quick rambling?  Cool, I'm a bit exhuasted after a 48 hour shift, but I think I can manage a quicky on our next October book of scares.  The book is Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton and is a collection of short stories threaded together with an underlying thread.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The book starts with a boy Jack going into a spooky old house and opening a door.  What he finds is 13 chairs, on unoccupied and an invitation to sit down.  Jack sits and the stories begin.  Each person around the room tells a scary story, blowing out their candle when finished.  This is normally where I would list my favorite stories, but they are all only between 5 and 10 pages long, so not really worth summarizing.  Each story is prefaced with conversation and a bit of back ground by each person telling the story, and each story is different and scary.  The second to last story is told by Mr. Osterley who tells his own story.  Turns out he was a mortician in life and when he died continued to help the dead.  Jack is then invited to tell a story and he decides to tell his own as well.  He tells the other story tellers that he knows that they are dead, and that they tell each other scary stories to feel that thrill of fear they felt when they were alive.  He then goes on to describe to them from a living boy's perspective how scared he felt with each story, giving the ghosts a taste of life.  The book ends with a girl headed towards the house after hearing about it from a boy named Jack.
I told you this would be quick teeheehee.  The book was pretty good, the stories were varied enough to keep my interest and the illustrations that went with each one were pretty cool.  I guessed pretty quickly that the story tellers were dead, but I wasn't sure about Jack until about half way through.  The only real issue I had was that I wanted the thread linking them all together to be different...more of a story instead of just a bunch of ghosts trying to scare each other.  The book itself looks spookier then it is (it was a complete impulse buy because of it's awesomely all black cover), but does its job as a ghost story book.  Overall not much to say about it, it is what it is, and it works just fine.  I give it 7 out 10 chairs and recommend it to anybody who wants a quick read, some good ghost stories or a really cool looking book to display around Halloween.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bats, Spiders And Skulls Oh My!

Time to decorate for Halloween!  Here are some literary critters to spooky up the place.
Bat Book
Looks like this little guy is ready to fly right at your face!
Spider Book Jar
I know a couple of people who would never put their hands in this jar no matter how badly they want the books...not me though, I'll stick my hand in anything to get a book.
Victorian Skull Print
Top O' the Halloween to you, Cheerio, Tut tut and all that.
Ghost Pop-Up 
Super cute, super easy, super ghosty
Witches Spell Book
Leaving this lying around might keep the kiddo's in line...especially if you cackle evilly every time you pass it!
Alrighty folks, I've supplied some starting ideas, now go forth and decorate to your spookiest most literary utmost.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Anthropodermic Bibliopegy

October, the month for spooky and spine tingly and all other kinds of awesome creepy goodness.  It is also a time for here is a new term for most of you - Anthropodermic bibliopegy which is essentially the practice of binding books in human skin...ew.  Yep apparently not only are there actually books bound in the epidermis of homo sapiens, but there is an official term for it.
Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame 
This is a book that is actually bound in human skin.  How do we know this isn't just some sick Halloween prank?  Well science has confirmed it.  Don't believe me, read this article all about it.  There are other instances of human skin bound books, but I think I have done my duty.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Not Quit Haunted House

Alrighty folks, it's gonna be a beast of a week.  Without being held over, or overtime I'm on the ambulance for at least 96 hours this if I miss a few days of posting you know why.  In the meantime, here is the first of my spooky October ramblings to tide you over.  The book is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and I have had my eye on it for quit some time.  It took me a bit to get into it, but it was worth it.  I will try and do my best to get my feelings down...but first as always SPOILERS AHEAD! (seriously if you haven't read the book yet do yourself a favor and read it first 'cause half the coolness of the book is the surprises)
The whole book has a bit of a dreamy feel to it, but I will do my best to get the basic story across.  We start the story with our unnamed narrator (we never learn her first name...or her maiden name) giving us the famous opening line of the book "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again."  This sets the stage for our story.  The narrator takes be to when she first met the older Maxim de Winter when she was no more then a shy poor girl, fresh from school in the 1930's.  She is the paid companion of a loud and brassy American woman who has decided to spend some time in Monte Carlo.  When the lady falls sick, our narrator is left to her own devices and ends up spending time, and falling in love with the quiet and reserved Maxim de Winter.  She finds out that his wife Rebecca died the year before, drowned in a boating accident and that he has left his beloved Manderly to get away from his memories.  He decides to marry her, making her the second Mrs. de Winter and takes her back to Manderly with him.  Once there our narrator spends most of her time just trying to figure out how to fit in to this new high class life.  She is haunted by the memory of Rebecca, constantly comparing herself to dead woman and coming up short.  This is not helped as most of the people in the surrounding area are constantly telling the second Mrs. de Winters how different she is from Rebecca, how Rebecca was beautiful and vibrant and personable and polished and pretty much everything that the narrator feels she is not.  The house itself holds many memories of the late Rebecca, kept alive by the mysterious house keeper Mrs. Danvers who keeps the west wing of the house exactly as it was when Rebecca was alive.  Maxim himself seems to be distant and occasionally angry now that they are back at Manderly and the narrator is concerned that he regrets his impulsive decision to marry her.  This all comes to a dramatic head when at a fancy dress party, Mrs. Danvers convinces the narrator to unknowingly wear the same costume that Rebecca wore to her last party before she died.  Maxim understandably is upset, further convincing the narrator he is not happy with her.  After the party, a boat runs ashore and subsequently a diver finds the boat Rebecca died in...with her body in it.  Maxim admits to his new wife that Rebecca didn't drown in an accident.  Maxim tells her that he shot Rebecca down at the beach after she told him she was pregnant with another mans child.  Maxim reveals that while to the world Rebecca was wonderful, she was actually quit awful and made Maxim miserable.  He shot her, put her body in her boat and sank it.  Instead of being horrified, the narrator is relieved that she no longer has to compare herself to the dead woman.  She is now confident in Maxim's love for her, precisely because she is so very different from his first wife.  The death is ruled a suicide and it seems that the de Winters can live their life in peace.  Unfortunatly, a cousin of Rebecca's declares that Maxim killed her and he has proof in the form of a note from Rebecca asking him to come see her.  He says that she would not have written the note if she planned on killing herself.  Mrs. Danvers is called in and she produces a notebook with all of Rebecca's schedule in it which shows a mysterious doctors appointment.  Maxim and the narrator are sure that when the doctor is interviewed he will tell of the pregnancy, casting doubt on the suicide story.  When the doctor is finally tracked down, it is revealed that Rebecca actually had ovarian cancer, which back in that day was untreatable and motive for suicide.  On their way home the de Winters speculate that it was possible for Rebecca to have goaded Maxim into killing her after hearing her last bit of revenge before she died.  Maxim gets a call at their hotel informing him that Mrs. Danvers has disappeared after the verdict and is assumed to have moved on to another house.  The narrator has a very bad feeling and encourages Maxim to get back to Manderly.  They arrive just in time to watch it burn down.  The pair then take to the road...taking us back to the beginning of the book.
I initially chose this book because many people who recommended The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson which I adored, said it had a similar feel.  I agree with that assessment to a point.  The book defiantly falls into the atmospheric category, with much of the suspense coming from the environment itself.  Unlike Hill House, which felt mad and haunted, this book felt sad and a good way...I'm not making any sense am I?  Ok let's try this again.  I mentioned before that the book was a little hard to get into, and this is really its only salient bad point.  It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the flowey, dreamy language which in my opinion tended to get way to overly descriptive of scenery and such.  Oddly enough once I got into the story just sort of flowed, it was one of those books that even when you put it down for a few minutes, you kept thinking about it, kept wanting to go back to it.  I absolutely LOVE this kind of book, because it feels living and breathing to me.  The author made the choice to never name the main character/narrator, leaving her as only the second Mrs. de Winters if she was named at all.  I think this was brilliant as it gave us even more of a feeling of this poor girls feelings of inadequacy.  In the end I feel that this is what this book is really about.  One girls journey into owning her own life and becoming a woman.  She starts completely powerless and then when given the opportunity to become the mistress of a very important house and family she is constantly made to feel inferior.  Lack of information, communication and encouragement from anybody at all connected with her just keeps her feeling sad and desperate to be happy.  It is not until she finds a way to posses herself and actually force communication to happen does she finally grow up.  The sequence of events in this book, while not necessarily horrifying are definitely suspenseful and surprising.  I will say I did not see most of what happened coming and that made my enjoyment of the book even more complete.  The ending of this book is the kind that I love because it ties right back to the beginning, making it possible to have a real ending without it feeling rushed or contrived.  I call this a loop ending and it is one of my favorite ways to end a book or series.  This book will not be everybodies cup of tea (or coffee), the style of it is very specific and you have to be able to let yourself just kind of get swept into the book to really enjoy it.  While not the spine tingling madness of Hill House, this book did deliver suspense and a few chills and was a great October read.  I give it 8 out of 10 cold lunches and recommend it to anybody who loves an atmospheric book, full of tension and imagery.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Awesome Present For ME!!!!

My baby sis is back in the states from her world tour and she came bearing an early birthday present for me :-)
Private Worlds 
It's a book published and printed in 1937...and yes the first thing I did was smell it, and let me tell you it smells awesome!
Other then being a really cool find from overseas, where she got the book is pretty awesome too!  Shakespeare and Company in Paris is an old book store built...or should I say created by George Whitman who said "I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter, and I like people to open the door the way they open a book, a book that leads into a magic world in their imaginations." —George Whitman
The builder of the bookstore and various authors who were passing through at the time used to be able to spend the night inside the bookstore.  There is a ton of history behind the store and the book and I cannot wait to explore both of them!  Thanks baby sis for a perfect present.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Just Reading In My Coffee Cup

Long week so far...just a couple more to go.  This pretty much sums up how I wish my life was (just substitute dark purple hair for the blond).
Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Astronaut

Had a blast with my Bubby, his wife and my Hubbin this weekend, which included watching the phenomenal movie The Martian...based on the book The Martian by Andy Weir.  My Hubbin asked me try and hold off on reading the book before watching the movie 'cause I have a bad habit of being "that person" during the movie who compares it to the book the whole time...I tried...I really tried, but we had a long distance transfer at work which resulted in a long trip home...and the book was there...As always SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! (for the book and movie)
Mark Watney gets brutally ripped away from his crew during a massive storm.  Presumed dead by his crew mates (which makes sense 'cause his bio-readings show him dead) make an emergancy ascent to their ship the Hermes and head home.  Shockingly Watney survives his ordeal and is now stranded on Mars as the only living creature on the planet.  We follow Watney through his journal as he tries and plans on how to survive.  This is made a bit easier as he still has most of the equipment from the aborted mission at his disposal including potatoes which he plants using his own poo as fertilizer...I call them pootatos..get it...POOtatos hahahahahaha....ok...need to get back on track.  Watney realizes that everybody must think he is dead.  On a positive note, he also realizes that if he can survive long enough, the next Mars mission will be arriving in about 4 years.   Of course he not only needs to figure out how to survive that long, but how to navigate a ton of the planet to get to the new landing site.  Meanwhile back at NASA a series of satellite photos reveal that Watney is still alive.  This of course causes a huge stir and much discussing on the possibilities of his long term survival and the chances of rescuing him.  An unexpected boon happens when Watney gets a hold of Pathfinder and uses it to communicate with NASA.  They work together on several plans starting with a rushed probe to get him supplies.  This goes very wrong when certain variables are not accounted for.  Watney continues on his own with various plans, mishaps and revamping when things don't go his way...turns out he is a savvy botanist.  All hope seems lost when the Chinese reveal they have a probe that they are willing to donate to the cause in exchange for a spot on the next Mars expedition.  NASA plans on using this to send more food to Watney.  Meanwhile a kid named Rich Purnell figures that using the right calculations they can use the probe to resupply the Hermes the ship that the rest of Watney's crew is on and send them back to pick him up.  The problem is they only have one probe and must choose which plan to go with.  NASA director chooses the "safer" option of sending Watney food, only to be foiled when an anonymous person sends the plan to the crew of the Hermes who execute it without permission.  With no other option they go for the rescue plan and head back to Mars to pick up their missing crewman.  Back on Mars, Watney has overcome all kinds of stuff to finally get to the landing site where he is told how to strip pretty much everything off of the ascent vehicle.  After a couple of harrowing maneuvers the crew of the Hermes get their man back. And that is the  basic story.
For some reason, every time I refer to this book I call it the astronaut instead of The Martian...not sure why...but there you go. What the synopsis does not do is convey the sheer personality of almost every single character in this book, it is just amazing to me  how varied, detailed and authentic each person has, while still being a pretty scientific novel.  This combination of personality and science (well as much science as one can have in a slightly futuristic fiction novel) really makes this book readable for several types of readers.  I especially enjoyed the sense of humor in what could have been a very dreary and depressing story.  The voice of Mark (which is the dominant one in this book) is my favorite as you watch him cycle through emotions, then get on with keeping himself alive.  He is smart, but sometimes messes up, he is scared, but not helpless, he is funny, but no inappropriate. A lot of the strength in this book comes in part from the format.  About 2/3 of the total book is a first person verbal journal style of Mark Watney and his time on Mars.  This works well 'cause his stream of conscious style suits his predicament and gives him ample opportunity to just talk things out.  This also gives us a lot of the humor as he pretty much says whatever comes to his brain as he records.  We also get a kind of real time "technical" peek into exactly how he is surviving.  This first person narrative is peppered with random flashbacks and the normal prose at NASA.  In the end we get to see things from both ends, get to know things the other end doesn't and laugh when Mark refuses to cooperate in a PC manner when they finally establish communication.  Another strength (for me anyways) is the beliveability of this book.  It is set just far enough into the future that we can assume certain technology is in regular use, but not so far that we loose the sense of familiarity.  The author is pretty good at giving scientific, yet not overly smarty pants explanations on to why something should or shouldn't work.  This makes it very easy to stay in this world the author has created.  I am also very into Mars and follow news of it closely and even have the Curiosity Rover T-shirt so this book spoke to that very much.  I loved the tone of this book, I loved the world, I loved the characters, I just really enjoyed this book.  I also LOVED the movie...not quit as much as the book of course, but it was still awesome.  It followed the book fairly well, and with out a doubt, kept the flavor and spirit of the book.  I would recommend this book to just about anybody with any interest in well, pretty much anybody.  With the exception of some gloriously placed swear words, this book is even suitable for the slightly younger crowd.  I give this book 8 out of 10 Pootatos and wish I had the patience to put in all of the awesome little sayings and quotes that make me smile and laugh out loud.  GO READ THIS BOOK!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wreck It

Spent the weekend hanging out with my lil bro (known as Bubby to me), his awesome wife and the Hubbin.  We got to hang out down in the National Mall area in the worlds most perfect, drizzily, cool October weather WOOHOO!  As we wandered the museums, Hubbin and I headed straight for the books.  One of the books I discovered made me squeal in delight.  It is called Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith and it is so cool.

I love the sheer wrongness of purposely destroying a book.  The best part though is the insanely creative ways people have come up with to "wreck" this book.  I have seen people purposly ignore directions, create art from the ruins, and come up with completley out of the box ways to follow the instructions.  This is an interactive book that encourages all the best part of reading and writing, creativity, different thinking and doing things your own way.  I want this SO BAD!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Books Have Feelings Too

During one of our random conversations, Hubbin wondered aloud if using a bookmark made a book feel anal probed...yep conversations with the Hubbin ladies and gentlemen.  As weird as that remark was, it did get me thinking what books would say if they could talk.  Would they freak out every time I read in the tub?  Would the brag to the other books on the shelf when they got taken on vacation?  Would they feel lonely if they didn't get read?   I can just imagine the conversation now as I once again pull my worn copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe off the shelf.
TLTWATW: "Oh no not again...can't she read something else for a change?  My spine is cracked and tired."

Other book:  "Oh shut up, at least you get read, I've been sitting here so long I'm covered in dust!"

Book still in my vacation bag: "Hey at least you get to see daylight, I've been stuck at the bottom of this back since July"

Fancy Old Hardcover collectors edition book:  Hush children, thou all gettest a chance to interact, or at least see the reader...I am stuck all alone behind this glass, never to be held or read, only to be viewed through the barrier as an untouchable treasure."

Ebook: "I don't even have pages to turn...(sad face)"

It may be that I have to much time on my hands...or not enough, but I really think my books have some of the personalities and now must go pull out and hug each and every one of them...even the old collectors editions, just so that they don't get depressed and lose their pages (or words in the case of my e-books).  I encourage you all to go do the same.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chalk And Circles

Picked up a book over the summer that had a very interesting premise that I felt could go very very well, or very very wrong.  Since the book involved chalk and a school as major components of the plot, I choose to read it when the school season started...'cause I'm weird that way.  Anyways the book is called The Rithmastist by Brandson Sanderson and apart from a few of my normal picky complaints I enjoyed it.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Our story is set in an alternate America where instead of a continent, we have islands...the map is actually super cool and one of the reasons I picked it up in the first place. Anyways, back to the story.  In this alternate America...which is set in an alternate world all together a menace called chalklings, two dimensional beings that swarm people and essentially eat them.  A defense has been devised by using a method of imbuing certain chalk circles with various types of defenses and then...well it's complicated and yet oddly in the book makes perfect sense.  Essentially the only people who can use this chalk power are people called Rithmatists, people who are chosen through some sort of pseudo-religious process when a child is eight years old.  The person is then trained in one of several academies along side the regular kids and then sent to the island of Nebrask where the wild chalklings have been contained for the most part.  This is very dangerous work and Rithmatists are partly revered, partly feared, and partly resented as they act very aloof and privileged.  The story itself
focuses on Joel, a boy who is at the academy along side the Rithmatist students.  He is obsessed with Rithamacy and can draw the circles better then anybody, but since he had to miss his inception due to his fathers death, he never got a change to be chosen as a Rithmatist so as good as his circles and drawings are, he can never actually use them.  He is working for a Rithmatist Professor Fitch over the summer and meets Melody, a wild, crazy, Rithmatist student who is also studying with Fitch for some remedial work on her circles.    The two of them assist the Professor in his investigation into a potential new menace.  Rithmatist students have been disappearing and the only clues are the terrified circles the students had drawn to try and protect themselves and odd marks through out the house and grounds.  Melody and Joel...after finally getting used to each other start to work together to try and figure out what is going on.  Melody also tries to help Joel by convincing the priest to let him "re-do" his missed inception.  He goes in, but he still does not become a Rithmatist (I love this, I'll tell you why in a bit).  After much research, events, madness, crazyness and back and forthness we finally figure out what in the heck is going on.  Turns out that at some point in his career both the main inspector AND a professor had been working on the defense of Nebrask and had gotten inside the circle.  When they came out, they were carrying a sort of shadow being inside their heads.  These shadow beings are the ones who had been kidnapping the students and turning them into wild chalklings.  The shadows had figured out that there are a limited amount of Rithmatists and for some mysterious reason a new one can only be chosen when an old one dies.  To this end, the shadows were turning the students into immortal, controllable chalkings that kept a new Rithmatists from coming into being.  The book ends with a unique collaboration between Joel and Melody that is just awesome, culminating in them winning a huge competition...and the promise of a second book.
If that didn't make any sense...well I really didn't expect it to.  This book is really hard to explain and in fact the book itself would be a bit difficult to follow if there were not these super great and simple illustration/diagrams in the beginning of every chapter.  I feel this added visual element clarified a lot of confusing concepts, making the book much more followable.  Ok, other then the pictures, what else did I like about the book?  Let's start with the characters.  Joel rocks it as a main character, he is layered and smart and still retains a bit of child like naivete mixed with an acceptance of his status that all combines with his obsession to make a complex yet relateable character.  And that totally sounded like a pretentious review description...sorry.  I like that Joel, while having some great talents...all
gotten by hard work and practice, he was never a super hero.  Even when he gets the chance to become a vaunted Rithatist, the author took the brave and awesome route of leaving him "ordinary".  This kept Joel from becoming one of those characters who just happens to be so talented that he can solve all the problems.  On the flip side we have Melody, who just makes me smile every time she is on the page.  She is loud, rude, attention seeking and at the center very good hearted.  She is a Rithmatist, but resents that her path has been chosen for her.  She sucks big time at all aspects of Rithmacy, except for the chalking creatures, which she excels at.  The other characters also have their various facets, making every person we read about interesting on some level or another.  One of the great things in this book is the various levels of cooperation between the characters.  Joel and Melody show this the best in the competition where Joel draws the circles and Melody traces over them and brings them to life.  We also see Professor Fitch work with the students, the head of the school work with pretty much everybody, all kinds of awesomeness.  I love it 'cause most books use conflict and misunderstanding to create interest, and this way of showing people use their talents and flaws to create awesome teamwork made me super happy.  World building in this book was both fantastic and infuriating.  Overall it was a complete world, with a history, customs, culture and whatnot.  We continually learn about this world (and it's awesomely unobtrusive steampunk elements) through out the story in many different ways.  That being said, we never really learn about what the chalkings are, exactly what it takes to become a Rithmatist (though it is hinted at) or why they even exist.  This is very annoying as it is kind of the center of the whole story!   That being said, even though I desperately want to know a full chalking history and all its details, the story and most of the world did not suffer from this lack of knowledge too much.  Overall I very much enjoyed this book for reasons that are difficult to describe.  I give it 8 out of 10 clockwork coins and can't wait to read the next one.  I recommend it to anybody who wants a non romance driven YA book, likes things that work, and want a great world experience.  Happy Reading Everybody!