Category Archives: eight shoes

Book Review : The Daughter of Time

Title : The Daughter of Time The Daughter of Time

Author : Josephine Tey

Publisher : Touchstone

Publication Date : November 29th, 1995 (first published 1951)

Pages : 206

Stand Alone or Series : #5 in Inspector Alan Grant series (each a separate story)

How obtained: print book from the library

Three Words : mystery, British, historical

Red Flags : none

Summary : Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard is laid up in the hospital after the humiliating accident of having fallen through a trap door while chasing a criminal. He is literally bored out of his mind. When a friend brings some historical portraits for him to browse through during his convalescence, he is taken with a portrait of man who seems both full of suffering and thoughtful. When he finds out this is a portrait of Richard III, he is shocked….THIS is the murderer of small children, the evil hunchback of Shakespeare’s play? As he begins to explore the history and with the help of an American researcher finds sources to figure out the mystery, he starts to doubt the historical version of the events surrounding the murders. Together they try to solve this mystery – did Richard really kill the little princes?

My Take : Remember the whole finding Richard III in a parking lot thing? Maybe you were much like me and thought “Well that’s interesting but I’m not sure why I should care…” But THEN I found out that this was the guy who was supposed to have killed two little boys in order to keep the throne of England and it became infinitely more interesting. So when all of this happened, the blogosphere (at least the booky one) was blowing up with mentions of this book. So that is how I happened on this little gem of a book ( at 206 pages, it doesn’t take very long at all). This appeals to me on so many levels – historical, I am a total sucker for anything having to do with English monarchy especially of the Tudor kind (Richard was the last of the Plantagenets subsequently replaced by Henry VII – a Tudor), mystery – I just love a good mystery and this one is real, library research – there’s no going around interviewing persons of interest in this one, it’s all research at the library, digging through primary sources, making deductions based on such. I’m sure I’m not selling this one very well because it probably sounds crazy boring but somehow Tey manages to make this whole thing completely interesting. I really enjoyed this one and it certainly made me think about Richard III more and definitely made me think I should check out more books in this series. My only issue with the book was two things : one (and this is somewhat a criticism for myself) the family history, some of the other English things were a bit confusing to the point where I just gave up understanding it completely and two, it was a little bit TOO one-sided in defense of Richard. It really didn’t allow for any other points of view. Not much to criticize though…

Rating : eight shoes – solid, interesting, mystery.

Interesting side note – in looking into this whole thing online, there is an actual Richard III society that is trying to clear his name still to this day. If you are interested you can find them at http://www.richardiii.net (Maybe I’m the only nerd who likes to research these things online….)

 

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, Mystery, Tey;Josephine, The Daughter of Time

Guest Post by Sasha! Book Review : Midnight On the Moon

Hello Dear Readers! Today we have a guest post from my daughter Sasha. She is ALMOST seven years old and just like her mom she loves reading! I suggested that maybe she would like to do a review on the Bookinista. She was so excited about it – it was beyond adorable. Anyway, I went ahead and typed her review for her (word for word). I think she did a pretty good job for her first endeavor. Thanks Sasha!!

Title : Midnight on the Moon

Author : Mary Pope Osborne Midnight On The Moon (Magic Tree House, #8)

Publisher : Random House Books for Young Children

Publish Date : June 15th, 2010

Pages : 80

Stand Alone or Series : #8 in the Magic Tree House series

Red Flags : none

Summary (from Sasha): Jack and Annie are brother and sister. They go to a magic tree house in the woods belonging to Morgan. Morgan is a ghost librarian. In this book, Jack and Annie go to the moon. They are trying to find four things that will save Morgan and the last thing is on the moon. Will they be able to do it??

(from Goodreads) Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House!

Three . . . two . . . one . . . BLAST OFF!

The Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie off to the moon—and the future. Their mission? To find the last “M” thing that will free Morgan from the spell. Can they do it before the air in their oxygen tank runs out? Will the mysterious moon man help them? And why is Peanut the mouse acting so strange?

Sasha’s Take  : I thought that it is a cool book. Also, they tell you stuff about the moon like the moon has no rain or wind so footprints will not go away naturally. They just stay there. I liked how they wrote it like it was in a notebook because Jack was writing it in a notebook. I think other people should read it because it is adventure stories and I like adventure stories.

Sasha’s Rating : Eight shoes

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Guest Post by Sara: Book Review – Painted Faces

Title : Painted Faces

Author:  L.H. CoswayPainted Faces

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Date Published: December 16, 2012

Pages: 358

Stand Alone or Series: Stand alone

Three Words: Romance, Cross-dressing, hilarity

Red Flags: some sexual situations, some language and did I mention there was cross dressing?

The Blurb (from Amazon):

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love…

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn’t have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she’s around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn’t know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

My review:

I can admit that I am a walking cliché.  I am the stay at home mom of two kids and I read a LOT of romance novels.  A ridiculous amount that I think I’ve not even admitted to Trina, but she must know (or does now!). However, it is books like “Painted Faces” that allow me to go forth and state loudly and proudly that I do, indeed, read romance novels.    That’s right folks…it’s not all tawny skin, muscled perfection and huge members, it can be a multi-faceted and nuanced tale of two people who fall in love.  It can be unconventional and it can be entertaining and hilarious.

Freda (aka “Fred”), our heroine, is delightfully irreverent.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to highlight her monologues throughout the book, and I’m not normally a highlighter.  She’s pudgy – yet sexy –, self-deprecating and just real.  Her take on life is fresh, witty and I have to say that I felt comfortable and invested in her story from the get go.  She’s a very well-crafted character.  She meets our Hero, Nicholas (aka “Viv”), when he moves into the flat (yes, it’s a tale from Ireland that uses great words such as “flat”, “crisp”, “posh” and “snogging”) next door to her.  It’s not one of those “love at first sight” tales.  Fred and Viv meet, form a friendship, are wildly attracted to one another, but take their time to truly know each other…all the darkness and light that makes a person who they are.

Nicholas is a cabaret performer, and here’s the twist – he’s a drag queen.  He’s not gay…but he dresses up in women’s clothes to perform.  That is part of what makes this story so refreshing…he’s an unconventional hero, and I think the stories that challenge our preconceived notions of ideas of convention and societal norms are some of the best.  This book really kept me engaged and engrossed in the story to see where it would go and how it would all work out.  One of the most surprising books I have read in a while and an 8 shoe read for me!

Rating : 8 shoes

This sounds like such a different and surprising read! I’ve definitely put it on my TBR list. Thanks for another awesome review- Sara!

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Book Review : Jane

Title : Jane

Author : April LindnerJane

Publisher : Poppy
Date Published : October 11th, 2010
Pages : 373
Stand Alone or Series : Stand Alone
Three Words : Classic retelling, romance, mystery
Red Flags : some sexual situations, some language and drug use

Summary : Jane Moore has not had a happy couple months. Her parents died in a car crash, she is forced to drop out of college and her siblings don’t seem to care too much about her circumstances. She is forced to sign up for a job with Discriminating Nannies, Inc. Her serious demeanor wins her points with the interviewer who is looking for somebody for a special job – working for the uber famous rock star, Nico Rathburn. Although initially turned off by his arrogant demeanor, she can’t help but be fascinated by him. She starts to realize that beneath his brooding exterior lies a magnetic personality and a kind heart. But Jane must contend with more than just this forbidden romance, there is a mystery at Thornfield Park. Something is going on, but you don’t know what is….do you Miss Jane?

My Take : If the plot seems extremely familiar to you….congratulate yourself dear Reader, it IS a retelling of Jane Eyre. If you read my previous post then you know that Jane Eyre is my top favorite book OF ALL TIME….so the stakes were high for this one. I actually ended up really liking this one. Now, if you are expecting something that is as good as Bronte’s version, then you should probably not read this. Come on, we are dealing with one of the classics here… but if you are looking for something fun, something romantic, something interesting and new, then please read this book. I enjoyed Linder’s writing, it was quick paced, didn’t drag at parts and meshed the old time themes with modern vernacular. I thought it was a stroke of genius to make Rochester a rock star, because truly what could give you both money and fame in this world, making you attractive to the wrong kinds of women. Jane is her usual recalcitrant, serious but deeply passionate self. My only real issue with the book was that it seemed to almost follow Jane Eyre too closely (which I know doesn’t make complete sense). I found myself occasionally wondering why I was reading this book if it was basically the same thing as the original just in a modern setting. But this was only occasionally and I found myself wanting to finish it. I give this one eight shoes.

Anybody else read this? Did you enjoy it or did it just make you long for the original?

Remember to sign up to follow my blog!

Trina

 

 

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, Jane, Linder; April, YA

Book Review : Throne of Glass

More lady assassins!!

Title : Throne of GlassThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Author : Sarah J. Maas

Stand alone or Series : #1 in Throne of Glass series (there are also four prequel novellas)

Three Words : YA, fantasy, assassin intrigue

Red Flags : violence, some sexual situations

Summary : Celaena Sardothien has spent a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier…this is just as hard as it sounds. In fact, most don’t survive a month let alone a year. Calaena has been sentenced for her super bad-assery in the assassin department. She is so good as to be a legend already.

She is suddenly taken and put before the Crown Prince Dorian. He is offering her freedom but on one condition: she must be his champion in the competition that his father is holding to find a new royal assassin. The prince and other peers of the realm are pitting their chosen champions in this competition – a motley crew of thieves, assassins, soldiers, etc… These “champions” will be put through a series of tests; fail and you will be eliminated. Celaena would only have to serve the king for three years and then she would really be free.

She is taken to court where she is trained by the captain of the guard, Captain Westfall. He is gruff and tough, not to mention hard on her but he seems to understand her better than anyone. Meanwhile, she starts to notice that Prince Dorian is more than he seems and things get all complicated. As the competition begins, there is added problems when contestants start being found murdered….in an extremely gruesome manner. Celaena decides to investigate before she becomes the next victim. Will she find the killer? Will she win the competition or does she even want to? Does she have feelings for the prince or for the captain or for either,hmmmm?

My Take : If you look at the Goodreads reviews, there were definitely strong feelings about this one. Some loved it, other really hated it. I fell into the category of loved it! I am really digging on the whole I am woman, hear me roar thing going on in books right now. It’s nice to see female characters, kicking ass, taking numbers, not relying on men to save them but also having the ability to mess up, asking for help when needed and realizing their own fallibility. Something I feel used to be relegated to male characters only. Also, it is about time a character acknowledged that she is pretty and likes getting dressed up. I can’t tell you how tired I am of the whole – I’m plain Jane tomboy girl that somehow attracts a bunch of men to me. I wish there was a little more of Celaena doing some actual killing or some such but I wasn’t hugely bothered by this. Others also really hated the love triangle aspect of it. This was probably not my favorite part of it but I appreciate that she made neither man an obvious “why is she even interested in him?” character – you know when they are too nice or too mean or too something.

I enjoyed the action of this book. The plot was nicely paced and kept me interested in going back to the book again and again. I read this one fairly quickly .  I am really interested in reading the prequel novellas which show how Celaena became legendary assassin because who doesn’t love a good back story? To wrap it up, there are some things that could’ve been done better with this book but overall I really liked it and would recommend picking it up. I give it eight shoes : flat boots that I have been craving so I can go ahead and tuck all my pants in already!

Trina

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, Maas; Sarah J., Throne of Glass, YA

Book Review : Kept in the Dark

Yeah! It is almost Halloween! I love Halloween mostly because my girls are so excited they can hardly contain themselves. We will be escorting Princess Ariel and a princess vampire around for candy treats this year ( don’t worry I will post pictures…). I haven’t decided if I want to dress up or not. This year I have mostly decided to channel my Halloween urges into decorating the house in a spooky yet elegant manner. I did some fun things in the dining room that I will post on Wednesday.

On to the book review….I had read this book over my long hiatus and somewhat forgotten it. But as I’ve been reading other blogs with lists of creepy or horror novels to read, my mind had a flash and I remembered this book. Kept in the Dark reminded me of Before I Go To Sleep and The Collector – you know psychological suspense type thriller novels. Since I didn’t really have a “horror” book to review for this Halloween week, I thought I would share my thoughts on this one.

Title : Kept in the Dark (also published as Tideline in England)

Author : Penny Hancock

Three Words : psychological, suspenseful, disturbing

Red Flags : Drug use, sexual situations, violence… not appropriate for children

The book begins with Sonia opening the door and inviting in fifteen-year old Jez, who is there to borrow a record from her husband. As she talks to the boy, Sonia becomes convinced that she doesn’t want him to leave and just decides to keep him there. Sounds crazy but that is literally what happens in the first chapter. Jez is the nephew of a family friend – an alcoholic woman with problems of her own. She isn’t convinces that he is missing but reluctantly begins to search for him. She never suspects that Sonia has taken Jez. After all, Sonia is wealthy and attractive, a successful voice coach who has been seeminlyg happily married for more than twenty years. As the search for Jez intensifies, Sonia must devise ways to keep Jez in her control and hidden from the world, while dealing with the memories of the terrible truth of her childhood. Why is she keeping this boy? How far will she go? Will Jez ever go home to his family? What is Sonia’s secret past?

I enjoyed this book although occassionally it felt a little slow. It succeeded in conveying the “banality of evil” (as Hannah Arendt called it). Sonia isn’t all crazy Hannibal Lecter-y style. In her mind, all of her actions are completely reasonable – she needs to keep Jez and that is all there is to it. In every instance, she simply decides to go through with ever more horrific actions. Also, the terrible secret of her past is pretty crazy – I did not see that coming at all. Jez’s aunt is not the most sympathetic character in the world, she is an alcoholic who feels like everyone is over-reacting when they are concerned by Jez’s disappearance. She is so self-absorbed with her own issues and problems, it is difficult to connect with her or sympathize with her on any level.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the pace of the writing. It was a pretty slow buildup to the final events. Sometimes, I just wanted to scream “Alright! Get on with it!” In the end , I was glad I stuck with the book and found out the secret because that really made me feel all creepy and disturbed inside. One of those books, I just think about for a couple of days which is one of my favorite feellings. I would give this book eight shoes – my black knee high boots which I love, but they have a boxy toe on them so sometimes I feel like they look a little old-fashioned but I digress.

What creepy books do you recommend for Halloween? Has anyone read this one?

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, Hancock;Penny, Kept in the Dark, psychological suspense, Uncategorized

The Leopard or The Guy with the Leopold’s Apple

The big new thing in mystery books is Nordic Noir. What is this Nordic Noir, you may ask? Well, it was basically spawned by the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and therefore has many of the same attributes or as this hilarious article describes the Seven Dwarfs of Nordic Noir – Guilty, Moody, Broody, Mopey, Kinky, Dreary and Anything-but-Bashful. I myself loved the Millenium Trilogy and so I decided to do some more Nordic Noir reading. I started with Snowman, which I liked pretty well and Jo Nesbo recently released the newest tome in the Harry Hole series – The Leopard.

So two young women have been recently found, killed in a most horrific way – they have drowned in their own blood from 24 strange puncture wounds in their mouths. The police are baffled and there are no good clues. Then a MP also gets killed by being hung in a public place which decapitates her and the hysteria reaches a fever pitch. The police decide to find Harry Hole, veteran serial killer finder, but he has disappeared. When one enterprising young detective finally finds him, he is mired in the opium dens of Hong Kong and doesn’t want to return to Norway. Harry reluctantly agrees when he finds out his father is dying. Now, he is investigating these three strange deaths which seem to have one thing in common : a trip to a remote cabin. There are several more names on the list of people at the cabin who are in danger. Will Harry find out who the culprit is before they are all killed? What happened at this cabin? Will he ever get it together and find love or happiness or just maybe not want to kill himself?

I have got to say this was one of the goriest books I’ve ever read…so if you are not into that sort of thing, skip this one. The Leopold’s Apple (I’ll let you find out all about it in the book) is fictional but super creepy torture weapon. This book had a bunch of plot twists and turns, it kept me on the edge of my seat. I actually liked this one better than The Snowman. Harry Hole is his usual messed up, smart self. The killer is both psychotic and brilliant. The cabin deal is very intense. I loved the story and the mystery. If you like Nordic Noir, this is a good one! I give it eight shoes – teeteringly high stiletto pumps (it hurts so good!).

Three appeals : dark, intense setting, creepy thriller, twisty turny mystery

Red Flags : Sex, Violence, Gore, Language – not for children…

This is Jo Nesbo’s 6th Harry Hole installment, so if you like this one you should definitely try the others. The Snowman is similarly awesome. Other authors most frequently cited in the Nordic Noir realm include : Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and Camilla Lackberg. They all have series attributed to them and similarly contain the Seven Dwarfs 😉

Specifically you should also try :

1) The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

On a cold and rainy Stockholm night, nine bus riders are gunned down by an unknown assassin. The press, anxious for an explanation for the seemingly random crime, quickly dubs him a madman. But Superintendent Martin Beck of the Stockholm Homicide Squad suspects otherwise. This apparently motiveless killer has managed to target one of Beck s best detectives and he, surely, would not have been riding that lethal bus without a reason.

Do you like Nordic Noir? Who is your favorite?

Trina

 

 

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, Nesbo;Jo, The Leopard

The House of Silk or The game is afoot!

One of my RA (reader’s advisory) blogs that I check frequently had a list of good mysteries to check out and The House of Silk was one of the books listed (also Revenger which I previously reviewed). This is the only book officially authorized by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate as an official Sherlock Holmes novel. Very prestigious indeed… I’m a total sucker for a good mystery and I really enjoyed this one. Check it out –

Holmes and Watson are at their aparment when they are visited by an art dealer named Edmund Carstairs. He is being menaced by a creepy silent stranger in a …. (wait for it) flat cap from AMERICA (the horror!). When Carstairs is robbed, Holmes is on the case and following the clues. But the clues lead him to find the first body, possibly of the man who was menacing Carstairs. When Holmes puts his Irregulars on the job, one of them winds up dead as well. This one is severely beaten and a length of white silk is tied around his wrist. As they investigate both of these murders, they start to hear about the mysterious House of Silk – a place with connections to the highest levels of government. Will Holmes solve the mystery or ruin himself in the process?

This was a really good mystery. I enjoyed how the author really tried to keep the tone, atmosphere and cadence of the original Holmes novels while adding some more modern sensibilities. Unlike the original Holmes, this one actually starts to feel badly about using young destitute children to do dangerous work on his behalf. Also, Watson starts to develop a conscience, albeit in his old age, about not giving their housecleaner a second thought or the millions of poor, underfed, desperate people in their city. In some ways very refreshing but could be grating for the true Holmes afficionado. All in all, a completely solid mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. It was filled with menacing characters and a palpable sense of danger including creepy opium dens. Definitely an eight shoe book – black stiletto platform pumps – stylish, sexy and goes with anything.

Title : The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Three Appeals : Familiar characters, great mystery, atmospheric quality

Red Flags : Pretty sanguine as mysteries go but obviously there is some violence

There is a plethora of books out there with Sherlock Holmes as the main character but first check out the originals. There is a reason that Holmes has endured as the greatest detective of all time, they are great novels. It won’t have the same blood and gore effect that most of us are used to but definitely has the awesome crime solving and detective work that I love.

Here are some series featuring Sherlock as a main character :

1) The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

In 1915, long since retired from his observations of criminal humanity, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. Never did he think to meet an intellect to match his own–until his acquaintance with Miss Mary Russell, a very modern fifteen-year-old whose mental acuity is equaled only by her audacity, tenacity, and penchant for trousers and cloth caps. Under Holmes’s tutelage, Russell hones her talent for deduction, disguises, and danger: in the chilling case of a landowner’s mysterious fever and in a kidnapping in the wilds of Wales. But her ultimate challenge is yet to come. Soon the two sleuths are on the trail of a murderer whose machinations scatter meaningless clues…but whose objective is quite unequivocal: to end Russell and Holmes’s partnership–and their lives. (taken from Amazon.com) The series has 11 books in it so far. I loved the first book and would highly recommend it.
2) The Infernal Device and Others: A Professor Moriarty Omnibus by Michael Kurland
Since they originally appeared over two decades ago, Michael Kurland’s novels featuring Professor Moriarty – The Infernal Device and Death by Gaslight – are amongst the most acclaimed novels to have arisen out of the characters first introduced by Arthur Conan Doyle. In Doyle’s original stories, Professor Moriarty is the bete noire of Sherlock Holmes who proclaims him to be his mental equivalent and ethical opposite, declares him to be “the Napoleon of Crime” and who wrestles Moriarty seemingly to their mutual deaths at Reichenbach Falls. But indeed there are two sides to every story and, while Moriarty may not always tread strictly on the side of the law, he is also, in these novels, not quite the person that Holmes and Watson made him out to be. (taken from Fantastic Fiction)
3) The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
First discovered and then painstakingly edited and annotated by Nicholas Meyer, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution related the astounding and previously unknown collaboration of Sigmund Freud with Sherlock Holmes, as recorded by Holmes’s friend and chronicler, Dr. John H. Watson. In addition to its breathtaking account of their collaboration on a case of diabolic conspiracy in which the lives of millions hang in the balance, it reveals such matters as the real identity of the heinous professor Moriarty, the dark secret shared by Sherlock and his brother Mycroft Holmes, and the detective’s true whereabouts during the Great Hiatus, when the world believed him to be dead. (taken from Amazon.com)
There you go readers, dig into some Sherlock.
Have you read any Sherlock? Do you have a favorite?
Trina

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, Horowitz;Anthony, Mystery, The House of Silk

Supergods – book review

I am trying to really broaden my reading horizons and get some more interesting genres into my reportoir. So I saw many good reviews on the book Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can
Teach Us About Being Human by Grant Morrison and thought this would be a good opportunity to read some non-fiction while impressing my husband with my newly acquired nerdy knowledge. The title sounded so promising…

For those of us not in the know, Grant Morrison is a comic book writer – a very famous comic book writer. In fact, he wrote the best selling graphic novel of all time (Batman: Arkham Asylum) a fact which he never misses an opportunity to let the reader know. We get it dude- you have made lots of the moneys with this comic book thing and should therefore be respected. This is where the book really has its’ downfall.

The first two thirds of the book deal with the early ages of comic books – the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee dominated eras filled with the names we all know – Superman, Spiderman, Batman, The Green Lantern, The Hulk, etc… Morrison does an excellent job of detailing the genesis of the most popular superheroes. He relates it not only to what was going on in the States but also to his own childhood in England. And it is interesting! We find out what not only motivated him but what he thinks motivates anybody who is interested in comic books. I was REALLY digging this part.

Then we get to the part where he is actually writing graphic novels and we get to the self-aggrandizing/putting other people down part. This is where the book took a very steep sharp turn for the worse. Not my fave. I am willing to admit that this may be partly due to the fact that I LOVE Watchmen (arguably the greatest graphic novel of all time) and Morrison puts it down throughout the book. It is only later that you learn that Morrison and Alan Moore (the author of Watchmen) have had an ongoing feud for a good ten+ years. Enough already!

So I’m really split on this book review : I give the first two thirds a resounding eight shoes and the last third an even more deafening two shoes – barely readable.

Three Appeals: Comic book history, interesting personal anecdotes, literary quality

Red Flags: Language, Drug use – Does hubris count??

If you want to read more non-fiction about comic books then try:

1) The Comic Book Heroes: The First History of Modern Comic Books – From the Silver Age to the Present by Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs

A comprehensive history of comic books.

2) Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution by Ronin Ro

What happened between two of the greatest comic book creators – a great feud and lots of wrangling over money.

3) Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean by Douglas Wolk

Want some non-fiction about other genres in literature? Try:

1) Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance edited by Jayne Krentz

A book of essays by romance writers on what draws readers to the romance genre.

2) Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon

A book of essays by the Pulitzer Prize winning author on his own love of different genres and how he writes his books.

3) Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader  by Anne Fadiman

A must read for anybody who loves books! This small tome is a collection of essays on reading – how it affects your life, your relationships and the relationship you can only have with a book.

My final recommendation is to read Watchmen! This is one of my favorite books of all time let alone my favorite graphic novel. It is the only graphic novel to be on the Time’s 100 best novels. It is amazing and would definitely garner my 10 shoe review. Amazing story, interesting art, engrossing characters….can you ask for anything more?

Fair warning- this is chock full of sex, violence, language, everything else. This is NOT appropriate for children.

Thanks and happy reading!

Trina

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, non-fiction, two shoes

Trick or Treat!! A Halloween Post

In honor of one of my favorite holidays of the year, I thought I would read some scary horror. Personally, when it starts to get chilly and there is that kind of cloudy gloom in the air indicating the presence of fall – I feel like it is time for some scary books served with a warm mug of coffee (or hot cocoa or possibly some alcoholic beverage – you choose). So for you my readers I have two (yes TWO) book reviews and a list of some horror reads that you may want to check out for Halloween.

The first book I read is Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlmann, the author’s first novel. It has such a good title…replete with images of shadowy evil figures just waiting across the river but just out of sight. Here’s the dl : Frank Nichols and his almost-wife Eudora have moved to his ancestral plantation home in Georgia in order to escape their lives. Frank was a successful academic until he took up with Dora, most recently another powerful professor’s wife. Now he has no job, no prospects, and no money and it is right in the middle of the Depression so he is SOL. When his aunt dies and leaves him the plantation Savoyard, it seems like a gift from God. However, he receives a strange letter from his aunt asking him NOT to move to the plantation because there are horrors that are waiting for him. Frank decides that he doesn’t really have a choice and they move there anyway. Besides, Frank has decided to write a novel about the horrific crimes his ancestors perpetrated on this plantation, mostly having to do with some sort of sexual sadism and misuse of slaves although this is only hinted at and not fully explained.

Enter creepy Southern town in Georgia, chock full of bigotry and weird Tennessee Williams-like alcohol-soaked townspeople. Frank and Dora try to fit in but have a hard time doing so. Frank is warned away from the woods over on the other side of the river, but of course he goes there only to be encountered by a strange half-naked little boy who doesn’t speak. CREEPY. For a little more added fun, the townsfolk typically send two pigs into the woods to appease “whatever is out there.” Suddenly they decide they can’t afford to send out pigs anymore and decide to stop. That is when the craziness really starts to happen…

I really enjoyed most of this novel. The creepy and stifling feeling of the town, the people in it, the weird boy in the woods, the strange goings-on all gave me that unsettled feeling. I had no idea what would happen next. Where I think the book was not very successful was the climax…it felt like a little bit of a let-down after all the tension that had been built up. The actual horror across the river was not as crazy as I had built it up in my mind. After that, it felt like Buehlman was desperately trying to rush and finish the story. It was a good ending but certainly didn’t live up to the first three-quarters of the book. All in all, I give the book six and a half shoes – definitely worth a read but maybe didn’t live up to all my expectations. I will be on the lookout from more books from Buehlman…let’s hope he gets better with age.

Three Appeals: Creepy Atmosphere, Interesting Characters, Tension-filled

Red Flags: Sex, Violence and Gore, Language No drugs unless you count lots of alcohol

Next book review : a graphic novel named Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Vol. 1 by Joe Hill with art by Gabriel Rodriguez. That’s right I said a graphic novel! I know many of my readers will scoff and make faces at the though of reading comics (said with sneer and pulled face) but you have GOT to try it. So many of these are fantastic stories with creative plots, interesting characters, original ideas plus awesome art! What’s not to love….so stop judging and give it a try. Plus all of the graphic novels I read are meant for adults, no kiddie stuff allowed.

Locke and Key is the story of the Locke family. We jump back and forth through time showing what is happening in their lives. The husband and father has been murdered. The wife is moving the family with their three traumatized kids, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode back to their ancestral home in Lovecraft, MA. Bode is only six years old but sees things that the other do not at the house including a seemingly friendly spirit in the well and using keys to open doors in the house that seem to have strange powers. Meanwhile, one of the teenagers who murdered Mr. Locke is also talking with the spirit in the well who is helping him with a plan to escape the mental asylum he is in. When he does escape there is only one place he is going to go: Lovecraft.

This was an awesome graphic novel. The story was interesting, full of plot twists, sinister evil, teenage angst and family issues. The characters are slowly developing. The art is amazing having both a realistic and cartoon-like quality that serves the graphic nature of many of the events well. I really enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading Vols. 2,3 and 4. I give the novel eight shoes – a great read.

Three Appeals : Complex and Scary Story, Interesting Characters, Visually Stunning

Red Flags : Violence, Gore, Scary, Sex,

Now on to my list off good Horror reads from 2011. This was partially taken from the blog http://raforallhorror.blogspot.com – please check them out for even more horror recommendations.

1) The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. The home’s new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain due to double engine failure. The body count? Thirty-nine. A creepy ghost story with  literary leanings (taken from Fantastic Fiction)

2) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

‘R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.   Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.   This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…(taken from Fantastic Fiction)

3 ) American Vampire Vol. 1, 2 & 3 by Rafael Albuquerque, Stephen King and Scott Snyder

Volume 1 follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King. Snyder’s story is set in 1920’s LA, we follow Pearl, a young woman who is turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European Vampires who tortured and abused her. This story is paired with King’s story, a western about Skinner Sweet, the original American Vampire– a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before with rattlesnake fangs and powered by the sun.

4) Bed Bugs by Ben Winters

FOR RENT: Top two floors of beautifully renovated brownstone, 1300 sq. ft., 2BR 2BA, eat-in kitchen, one block to parks and playgrounds. No broker’s fee.

Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment. Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric. And the elderly handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the basement. But the rent is so low, it’s too good to pass up. Big mistake. Susan soon discovers that her new home is crawling with bedbugs . . . or is it? She awakens every morning with fresh bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter Emma has a single welt. An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears she’s going mad—until a more sinister explanation presents itself: she may literally be confronting the bedbug problem from Hell. (taken from Amazon.com)

5) Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

It’s been 14 years since First Night, when the dead came back to life. Six billion people have died (and reanimated) since then, and America has collapsed into isolated communities living within the great “Rot and Ruin.” Benny is 15, which means it’s time to get a job or face cut rations, but his general laziness leaves him with only one employment option: join his stuffy, sword-swinging,
Japanese half-brother, Tom, as an apprentice bounty hunter. This means heading beyond the gates to slice and dice “zoms,” but Benny quickly begins to see the undead in a new light—as well as realizing that Tom is much more than he ever
let on. (taken from Booklist)

6) Willy by Robert Dunbar

In an isolated school for boys with emotional problems, a disturbed adolescent struggles against a mire of superstition and oppression. Then he meets Willy, and the other boy – charismatic and strange – saves him … or damns him. (taken from Fantastic Fiction)

7) Houdini Heart by Ki Longfellow

Weeks ago, she was one of Hollywood’s biggest writers, wed to one of its greatest stars. The doting mother of their golden
child.  But now?  She’s alone, tortured by a horrifying secret no woman could bear. Pursued by those she can’t outrun, anguished by a guilt she can’t endure, and driven close to madness, she flees to the one place she’s ever called home: a small town in Vermont where River House still stands.  To a child, the splendid hotel was mysterious and magical and all its glamorous guests knew
delicious secrets. Cocooned in its walls, she will write one last book.  Her atonement? Or her suicide note? But life is never as you dream it, and River House isn’t what she’d always imagined it was. (taken from Amazon.com)
Holy Crap Balls….that was a lot of writing! Enjoy my readers and let me know if you are or have read one of these books. How did YOU like it???
Trina

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Filed under book review, eight shoes, graphic novel, horror, six and a half shoes, YA