Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: 2000s
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-06-21 20:55
Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac
Skeleton Man - Joseph Bruchac

This was another middle grade book that came after my time. It's still requested a lot, so I decided to check it out for myself. 'Skeleton Man' opens suddenly with Molly coming home to an empty house. Her parents are gone, at school a teacher notices somethings wrong and soon Molly is handed by social services to a strange old man who claims to be a distant relative and has the documentation to prove it.


It doesn't take long for Molly to figure out something is wrong with her "Uncle". He never eats and there seems to be something in the food he gives her, so she she stops eatng it, and he locks the door of her room at night. This is a gripping middle grade horror story built off of a Native American legend. Molly's dreams offer her horrific visions, but also inspire her to make her escape and possibly save her family, too.


Skeleton Man


Next: 'Return of Skeleton Man'

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-06-20 21:11
The Ghost's Grave by Peg Kehret
The Ghost's Grave - Peg Kehret

Josh's mom and stepfather recently moved, but he's begun to adjust. He plans on making new friends and settling in during summer vacation, and has already earned a place on the baseball team. Unfortunately, his parents will both be away for work this summer - jobs that are sorely needed - so instead of baseball, Josh is forced to stay with his stepfather's Great-Aunt Ethel in some backwater town for the summer. Spending time in a treehouse, he runs into the ghost of a coal miner named Willie who has a very specific favor to ask....


This is your classic shipped off to the boonies for the summer story, but Kehret elevates it by giving the characters depth and focusing on small details to ground the work. 'Ghost's Grave' is a ghost story with a bank-robbery subplot, but it doesn't skimp on the relationships between the characters. This reminded me of 'Ghost Cat' in that a book that very easily could have been hokey and silly, turned into something memorable instead. I loved these kind of stories growing up.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-06-04 21:30
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her - Melanie Rehak

I read this in college and it opened my eyes, on finding a copy on our first venture out this past weekend in a second hand shop I figured it was time to give it another go since I've read a few of the original Nancy Drews now.


 'Girl Sleuth' traces the history of the 'Nancy Drew' series from its genesis in a memo from the Stratemeyer Syndicate to the cultural momentum Nancy Drew had achieved by the end of the 20th century. The focus is on the original author of the series, Mildred Wirt Benson, and editor Harriet Adams Stratemeyer who shepherded the series and, infamously, revised the original books and claimed sole authorship for decades. 


The story is a fascinating one. It is very hard to feel sympathy for Adams, but Rehak does a fine job on Adams' background and restrictions and the hardships she faced as a woman in a man's industry. Benson, on the other hand, was an amazing woman who would be noteworthy even without her having ghost-written Nancy. A journalist, pilot and - though she refused the title - feminist who paved the way for many after her.


I would have liked there to have been more discussion of the racism and classism inherent in the books written in the '30s and '40s. How much was present in the Stratemeyer outlines that Benson couldn't deviate from, written by Harriet and her sister for the most part, and how much did Benson add? Rehak goes straight into the era when the books needed to be revised. Those images, stereotypes and ideas were a part of the times, but they were not mandatory. Did Benson ever make a statement of regret? Did Adams? 


Still a good read for those of us who can't get enough.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2020-03-09 21:34
8-Bit Theater, Entire Series by Brian Clevinger
8 Bit Theater Vol. 1 - Brian Clevinger

'8-Bit Theater' is a sprite comic (a comic using video game 'sprites' as characters instead of unique creations) based off of the original 1987 'Final Fantasy' video game for Nintendo. It follows Black Mage, Fighter, Thief and Red Mage (helped along by the exasperated White Mage) as they trade-in on orbs 'lukewarm' with destiny to get in on a quest to become Light Warriors and defeat Chaos.


This was, in my opinion, the King of Sprite Comics, which, is not a whole lot of praise to be honest. Sprite comics are looked down upon in world of web comics as lacking in artistry and being plagued with lazy jokes and storytelling. I mean, this is true, but '8-Bit Theater' was a lot of fun and I ended up following it all through high school. I was pleased to discover before graduating college that it had been given a conclusion. There were so many of these comics back in the day that I used to follow, and I'm sure there are many more out there, but I don't think any of them reached the scare-quoted 'stature' and longevity that '8-Bit Theater' enjoyed.


In total, '8-Bit Theater' was made up of 1,224 comics, a drawn epilogue, and dozens of guest/holiday comic one-offs. Brian Clevinger has made several other comics that have been given actual acclaim, but this is the only one I really loved.


Now, since a stray comment reminded me of the 'armoire of invincibility' joke, I ended up re-reading the whole series. A lot has changed for me since the high school computer lab. The comics are rife with dated, classic 'nerd' sexism and mild homophobia - nothing truly toxic, after all, White Mage and Princess Sara are among the smartest characters in the series, but still it effected my enjoyment. Clevinger also used a lot of wordy, rambling humor that made many strips an exercise in patience as Red Mage or Fighter babbled on for eight panels to end in yet another face-palm sigh of exasperation from Black Mage.


'8-Bit Theater' in its ~8 years of publication created a rich world of insider jokes and was my first introduction into the many tropes of gaming and fantasy in general. This was a great experience and got me to play my first video game in almost a decade. I'd never played the first Final Fantasy and borrowed the upgraded edition of the game on PSP from a friend. So, an old time-waster inspired me to give up a whole weekend on a thirty year old video game. Fun!


But, whatever, its still pretty damn funny. It also helped that it brought back some great memories of laughing at these panels with my friends clustered around the same monitor in the computer lab. "Ye be facin' THE CLAW!" If we'd had smart phones back then, I don't know if we would have gotten anything done in high school.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-03-06 21:27
The Killing Song, Dragon Below #3
The Killing Song - Don Bassingwaite,Don Bassingthwaite

With the binding stones in hand, Dah'mir heads to Sharn to twist more kalashtar into service of the Master of Silence. To save innocents from madness he must be stopped. At the same time warnings have to be given to the orcs of the Fat Tusk to prevent Dah'mir's return to the Bonetree Mound if he succeeds in Sharn. Singe, Dandra, Ashi and Natrac head to Sharn, while Geth, Ortrac and the Dhakaani hobgoblin Ekhaas head overland back into the Shadow Marches.


Splitting storylines in books is always tricky (and breaks a D&D house rule - you never split the party!). Its hard to sustain action more than one direction without resorting to cliff-hangers and/or leaving a thread hanging for a hundred pages. Bassingthwaite keeps things interesting and rolls more interesting characters into the mix.


Up until now Bassingthwaite has avoided Sharn, but he does the city justice and with his portrait of the kalashtar district and its ways provides another look at an 'other' community in the Eberron world. I won't spoil anything, but all in all this was a spectacular finish.


A new adventure begins with these characters in Bassingthwaite's follow-up trilogy 'The Legacy of Dhakaan', first volume: 'The Doom of Kings'.


Dragon Below


Previous: 'The Grieving Tree'


Next: 'The Doom of Kings'

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?