An actual review? Yes, I still write them!

Yes, I’m still reading and I’m still writing. The writing is mostly my own and not fit for public view yet but I have been getting back into reviewing books.

I’ve been writing reviews on and off for the Book Reporter for a few years now and recently picked up The Ghost Clause by Norman Howard. If you’re interested, you can read my thoughts here. It would be a great vacation read, just saying.

Clearly, I have no photography skills

I’ve also joined a new Instagram read along hosted by @RedStarReviews. The July read was Jhereg by Steven Brust and if you haven’t heard of this series — GO FIND IT NOW! It’s awesome. It’s about a crime lord, Vlad Taltos, who moonlights as a security specialist, and yea, he also kills people because why not be an assassin too. And, there are dragons! Yes, I know that’s a lot but trust me, it’s worth it.

Next up on the read along is Horus Rising by Dan Abnett which I’m looking forward too. I’d offer up another bad pic but I just ordered it from my local bookstore today. You’ll have to wait for that beauty.

In the mean time, look at all my new library holds that came in. Where to start…

Look at me being all artistic with the black and white

Reading out of order

I intensely dislike reading books in a series out of order. Yet, I do it all the time. A reasonable person might ask me why I do this. Well, there are many reasons, some good, some bad, but what they almost all result in are happy accidents. By accidents I mean more books being added to the TBR.

My last out of order read was Hunting Price Dracula by Kerri Maniscalo. It was a great book. Fun, entertaining to the last page, interesting characters, a wonderfully creepy setting (a castle in Romania) with dead people, some of which are thought to be vampires. As a Dracula fan, a fascination with castles, and a desire to visit Romania, this was a perfect fit for me. So you might be wondering why and where I see a problem? Truthfully, there’s not a problem. The only issue is that this isn’t the first book featuring these characters. Stalking Jack the Ripper is the first.

Hunting Prince Dracula stood on its own for a second book in a series. The characters, clearly developed, took on a new adventure with ease, the setting was perfect and creepy, and I was more than happy when I finished this book. But. Yes, dear reader, a but. I wanted to know more about the characters. How they developed their saucy looks and lovely banter, why they were traveling to a castle in Romania together and their history. I missed that because I didn’t read the first book where that played out.

Is this really a problem? No. It’s not. Unless you’re a reader! And a reader who likes to read books in order! Then, yes, it’s a problem.

So, how did I end up in this predicament? I have a ginormous wish list on my library app. (I use Overdrive if you’re curious.) I found the book on Instagram and added it to my list. And I noticed it was a series so I added the first book too. I then decided I wanted to read these books and put holds on both, hopeful they would arrive on the same day and I could read my weekend away.

That didn’t happen. When Hunting Price Dracula arrived, I remembered I wanted to read this one and did. I forgot there was a first book, which is still on my holds list.

What I do know is that when Stalking Jack the Ripper arrives, I’ll devour it happily. I hope that happens before Escaping from Houdini makes it off the waitlist and puts me one step back. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ll read whatever book arrives.


My unscheduled hiatus lasted longer than anticipated. These things happen.

I thought about taking a permanent break. I decided against it.

Lately, I’ve been composing posts in my head. Obviously, none have made it from the brain wave stage yet.

That will happen. Soon, I hope.

To ease myself back into writing, I’m starting with a new look.

And when I do start again, it will be more than just book reviews.

I need, and crave, change right now.

Let’s see what happens.

Reading, again

This year has been difficult, and by difficult, I mean it has sucked and promises to continue sucking for a very long time. Because I’m not looking to vent about anything that’s happened, or am I looking for pity, (or feeling the need to answer personal questions), let’s just accept that’s where things are right now and move on. OK? Thanks. (I knew I could count on you.)

With life being so uncooperative, my reading suddenly became non-existent. I’m saw words but I wasn’t really reading. I took some time off. I re-grouped. I stared at my bookshelves. I pondered. I scrolled the books on the Nook. I’d start a book. I’d put the book down. It became a pattern. I’m a reader? Why can’t I read?


Eventually, words made sense again. The stories started to take on a soothing quality. I was no longer stressing over reading. I read slow. I savored. I went to my comfort reads: fantasy and Arthurian legend. I discovered a new series. I’m now reading all those graphic novels on my shelf.

I’ve started to acquire books again. I’m looking forward to new releases by a few favorite authors.

In the next days and weeks, I might even feel like talking about books again.

Scary & Scary

Scary vs. scary might be a better title…

I have two measurements for scary. One is for things that are scary because they are, or can be, real. The other is for things that are scary, but not really scary because they aren’t real.

Exhibit one, the movie The Silence of the Lambs. It’s scary in that this could be real scary way. As in my neighbor could be that crazy guy who abducts people, keeps them in a hole in the basement, every once in a while yelling down the hole, “It puts the lotion on or gets the hose again.” You know? Not that I think any of my neighbors would be capable of something like that. Come to think of it, I don’t know my neighbors that well. No, they wouldn’t… Would they? Now every time I need to leave my house I’m going to stare out the peephole and make sure no one’s in the hall. Way to go me.

Now, the other scary. Exhibit two, the movie Alien. It’s way more fun on the scary meter because it’s not ever going to happen to me. Not ever. Not that being abducted and thrown in a hole would either. (I live in a condo, there are no basements so I’m thoroughly convinced the first scenario can’t happen. See what I did there.) I’m never going to work for a commercial space towing company. I’m not going to hurl through deep space in a machine induced sleep while a computer named Mother drives. I’m not going to wrestle aliens with acid spit. I’m not. I’m good with that. Really good with that.

Is it weird that I picked movies to illustrate my already weird point? No. I don’t think it is.

I’m pretty sure some of you out there are going to have good examples, so tell me you’re scary vs. scary.

Also, I leave you with this. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go cover every single mirror on the planet.

I read Alien and I liked it


I found the book at a pop-up bookstore, and at $.75, how could I pass it up? How could anyone? If you’re curious, it reads exactly like the movie. I was so excited to get to the scene, you know it, the scene where the alien pops out of the guy’s chest, that I announced it to all my traveling companions. And everyone else on the train with us that evening. They were not as amused but who cares. I forgive them.

Here’s the thing. I’m a read the book before the movie person. I think of movies and books as two different mediums and don’t try to evaluate them as one entity. They are not. But there was something refreshing about this being exactly like the movie I remember.

Now, a story.

I loved bad horror movies as a kid (still do as an adult) and my dad and I used to stay up late and watch bad monster movies — the type of movies about the man-eating yeti you can still find on the Syfy channel on a weekend afternoon.

When I was about eight or nine, Alien was the movie on HBO that summer. I begged my dad to let me stay up late to watch it on Saturday night. You know when the HBO Saturday night movie was a big deal. He finally relented although I’m pretty sure my mom was preparing to stay up all night with me sure I would have nightmares.

I spread out my blanket on the floor and prepared for all the alien goodness this movie was promised to offer. I was expecting this to be much like all the swampthing movies I’ve always been allowed to watch. Also, it was on a spaceship! I was so ready.

Scary it was but I hung in there. I wasn’t going to let anyone think I was scared. Abandoned ships, alien pods, awesome. Bring on the alien. Que this dinner scene. Yea…I made it through and as soon as it was over, I picked up my blanket, announced I was going to sleep, and walked up the steps to bed. I don’t remember having nightmares and the parental units have never said anything about it. However, a few weeks later, I found the courage and I watched that movie again. And it was awesome.

A few days after I finished the book, I came across the movie on TV. I settled in, I watched. The dinner scene, well, it was so campy and fake. And you know what, so wonderful.

Ah, childhood memories.

I cleaned out my email and found…

Some things I want to share.

The importance of Ron Weasley. Yes, he’s important people, but no, he’s not my favorite either. However, this essay did make a compelling case for loving Ron.

Gender in science fiction and why it matters, and should be discussed is the focus of this column. I share because it’s an interesting topic.

AwesomeCon and Billie Piper is going to be there! And more reasons to come to DC in April.

I’ve got several reviews I need to write today including Red Rising by Pierce Brown and The Book of Apex: Volume 4 which was amazing and will probably be the most difficult review I have to write this month; so many great things I don’t know where to start. Also, I need to get started on my review of Vampires Don’t Sparkle. Another amazing read.

Speaking of vampires, this discussion on vampires on reddit is fantastic. Feel free to fall down this rabbit hole.

I’ve been reading Black Bottle by Anthony Huso which is the sequel to The Last Page. It’s long and I’m half way through and want to finish this post so I can go sit on my couch and read. Priorities, people. I have them.

Enjoy today.

Classics to read

The historical fiction class I finished in the fall had me reading short snippets of classics — classics I’ve never read, or for some reason, decided outright that I wouldn’t like and never read. For instance, The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper. I read two short chapters and rather liked it; I’m considering going back and starting from the beginning just to see how it goes. The Last of the Mohicans was just as violent as I thought it would be, and in the one and a half chapters I read, I didn’t particularly care for the characters. It’s an interesting time period although I’m not planning to go back to read more of this one.

However, Charles Dickens does have me thinking. I’ve never cared for Dickens (even the stories I did read), always took dark and sad for me. After four chapters of A Tale of Two Cities, I think I may have to go back and start this one from the beginning. Previously, when I’ve tried to read this book, it was  just too depressing for me to take. But I did find A Tale of Two Cities very intriguing this time — strange how time can make you see things from a new perspective. It has me considering an actual read of A Christmas Carol too. Sad to say, I only know this one from plays and movies and I feel I should read the book.

Chaka by Thomas Mofolo was so very good and I’m sad I haven’t been able to find a copy of this book. I have to check some used bookstores for a copy since my library doesn’t have it. It’s the story of a mythical Zulu Chief and his rise and fall from power and the one and only chapter I was able to get my hands on left me wanting a lot more. It’s a setting I’m very unfamiliar with but I want to know so much more about the characters and their traditions. I need to get my hands on a copy of this book because the first chapter was just amazing.

Tell me, any classics you’ve avoided and why?