Publisher: Berkley Books
Page Count: 210
Fiction Genre: Horror, Short Stories, Fantasy, Thriller, Supernatural
Dates Read: April 21-27, 2015
"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red." For those who only know Clive Barker through his long multigenre novels, this one-volume edition of the Books of Blood is a welcome chance to acquire the 16 remarkable horror short stories with which he kicked off his career. For those who already know these tales, the poignant introduction is a window on the creator's mind.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! There were so many deep and dark story. I think my favorite was Midnight Meat Train. The imagery Barker paints is beautiful and disturbing. As I was reading this I felt like I was there inside the stories. Barker is a master of horror and I look forward to reading his other pieces of work.
I give this a 4 out of 5
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
Page Count: 168
Fiction Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic, Novel, Humor, History, Canadian
Dates Read: April 24, 2015
Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens of New Yorker cartoonist and comics-sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscathed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world's revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villains of the best-loved fiction.
I love Beaton's web comic, and was very eager to read her book. She did not leave me disappointed. In her book, Beaton tackles Nancy Drew stories, famous book covers, and the Canadian Government, and many other things. She is brilliant and witty.
I give this a 4 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Image Comics
Page Count: 128
Fiction Genre: Humor, Romance, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Mystery, Crime
Dates Read: April 23-24, 2015
Suzie’s just a regular gal with an irregular gift: when she has sex, she stops time. One day she meets Jon and it turns out he has the same ability. And sooner or later they get around to using their gifts to do what we’d ALL do: rob a couple banks. A bawdy and brazen sex comedy for comics begins here!
When a friend first told me about the premise of this story, I laughed. I thought it sounded ridiculous. Then this friend lent me their copy of the book to read, and I was blown away. The animation is very well done, and despite what initially sounds like a ridiculous story-line, it is actually quite brilliant. I cannot wait to read the others in the series and find out what happens to our protagonists.
I give this a 5 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Page Count: 256
Fiction Genre: YA, Historical
Dates Read: April 21, 2015
When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.
Billie Jo is a young girl living in Oklahoma during the Depression and dust bowl. She lives with her parents, and is expecting a new sibling any day now. Billie Jo knows how to play the piano beautifully and helps bring in extra money for the family by playing concerts in town. Her whole life is about to be turned upside down because of a horrible accident. This story is told through Billie Jo's journal.
This was a very quick read, but I attribute that to the reading level. The book itself was good, and the writing style reminded me of Lois Lowry's Number the Stars. Though I believe this is a good book, in the end I didn't really care for it because the story line was very simple and there wasn't much complexity to this. However, I think that if I had read this at an age appropriate level I would have really liked it. I do have a lot of appreciation for the book and it's subject matter.
I give this 2 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: Regan Books
Page Count: 384
Fiction Genre: Historical, Romance, Book Club, Western
Dates Read: April 18-21, 2015
A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier. Scrupulously recording her steps down the path Providence has set her upon--from child to determined young adult to loving mother--she shares the turbulent events, both joyous and tragic, that molded her and recalls the enduring love with cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot that gave her strength and purpose.
I enjoyed this story, and found it difficult to put down at times. The only thing I hated about this is how predictable the love triangle and ending were. I would have given it 4-5 stars, if not for the bland ending. Through the entire book I kept waiting for the "other shoe to drop" for Sarah. Overall, there was something about Sarah and her love for her family that really drew me into the story. Admittedly, I will probably read the other two books to finish of the series. I gave it 3 stars and would recommend it to people who enjoy historical romance novels.
I give this 3 out of 5 stars.
Meet Domino. She's an almost 8 year old, 80 pound, American Bulldog. Or, as I like to call her, an 80 pound cat full of stupid and love.
Domino is one of the most loving dogs you will ever meet, and for the most part she is very well behaved, albeit, very stubborn. Before I get too far into what it's been like having Domino as a house guest, I should share with you why and how she has come to find a foster home with me.
Domino has an owner who is currently stationed in Germany. My "sister" Meghan, and her husband, Zach agreed to take care of Domino and her brother (Kodah) while their owner is stationed overseas, because he could not take them with him. After about a year away from them, their owner finally got approval to bring his dogs onto base. So, when Meggers and Zach were preparing to move to Fairbanks this past summer a mutual friend of Zach's and Domino's owner was supposed to come and take the dogs up until their owner could retrieve them. This friend never came, and Zach and Meggers were still in charge of taking care of these two dogs, plus their own 4. Not that this was a big deal for them to handle. They had it all under control.
This was a stressful living situation for Domino who is used to a small household, with one owner to share with one other dog. Now she was sharing two caretakers with 5 other dogs. As I've said before, Domino is a VERY loving dog, and because of this she is very needy. She wants to show you love and wants someone to return this love to her as often as possible. She's very pushy when it comes to being loved. Since Meghan has become pregnant, Dom has been even pushier, emotionally and physically. There have been incidents where Dom has so desperately wanted attention that she has nearly pushed Meghan down the stairs. Something that is not good for any human, but especially for one who is carrying a fetus. So, to help with some issues I have been dealing with, as well as to help Meghan and Zach out, I offered to take Domino until their owner comes back this summer to pick her and Kodah up.
I have never had a dog before; I'm a cat lady, so Domino's arrival came with a little bit of a learning curve for me. Though Meghan says that for a first dog, Domino is the best dog to have. She has been here for nearly two weeks, and things are going pretty well for the most part, and Domino seems to be happy. She does not bark nor growl. She doesn't need to go out every hour. Meghan warned me that Domino doesn't really like the outdoors, and is usually pretty content to lay in a warm ray of sunshine, indoors. I can usually coax her out once a day to go for a walk, on top of when she needs out to do her business, though she's pretty finicky about that, depending on the weather.
The biggest challenge I've had with Domino is the cat's acclimation to now sharing their space with her. It took Achilles all of two days to get used to to Domino, and very rarely objects to anything she does, and will occasionally rub up against her or cuddle Domino. Lenore on the other hand, has taken a lot of work. After two weeks, Lenore is finally able to share a floor with Domino, with no less than three feet between them. She has also gotten used to Domino sleeping in the same room at night, and will come and go as she pleases, so long as Domino is asleep or not watching her. Lenore is even willing to share a water bowl with Domino. The only on-going, minor issue I have is trying to keep Domino out of the cat food, and out of the litter box. That last one was a bit of a disgusting surprise to me, that I've since learned is pretty common for dogs. I don't think I will ever get passed that one. At least it's easy to keep that bathroom door closed to keep her out of the trashcan.
Today we made the most progress between Lenore and Dom. As Lenore was standing in one of the living room windows, Dom came over and started to sniff Lenore. This is usually when Lenore has a meltdown, cries, and swats at Dom. But this time Lenore stood very still and let Domino sniff. When I saw Lenore start to lay her ears back, I called Domino over to me and told her to lay down. So Domino laid down about 5 feet away from Lenore. With Lenore's eyes on Domino, she imitated Domino, and laid down in the window, eyes still on Domino. There's still a standoff, but this is the first time Lenore has not lost her shit over Domino being too close to her. I have hope that one day they will be the best of friends.
Publisher: Random House
Page Count: 254
Fiction Genre: Horror, Classics, Gothic
Dates Read: April 15-18, 2015
Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it ﬁrst appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting inﬂuence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
After years of recommendations from my sister, who declares that this is her favorite book, I finally decided to pick this one up. Though I already knew the secret and the ending (nerd warning: I kind of got a spoiler from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), I wasn't feeling great about this. Maybe it was because I knew the big plot twists, or maybe it is because classical books no longer hold my attention the way they once did. Thankfully I found my fears to be unjustified. This was an excellent book. I found it to be a perfect reflection on how obsessed society is (and always has been) with vanity. How this obsession can destroy a person, and no matter how attractive a person may be on the outside, it can never make up for the ugliness they hide inside. Wilde was a very smart man who was well ahead of his time. Of the three main characters, Basil, Dorian, and Harry, Basil is the only one with any redeemable qualities. A perfect reflection of a person who can see and appreciate beauty in anything, but can also see the darkness that hides underneath it. Though I could not find any likability in Dorian, I felt loads of pity for him. He tried so hard to be good, but was totally unwilling to take any personal accountability for his actions, blaming it on Harry and Basil. I'm convinced that Harry may be Wilde's depiction of the devil, filled with all of his temptations and his persistent encouragement of Dorian's behaviors. Even with all of these flaws in these characters, I still loved this book, and I can't believe I had avoided it for so long.
I give this a 4 out of 5.