logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: 2019-september-posts
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-09-21 00:26
Fairly Brief Thoughts: Ice
Ice - Linda Howard

Ice

by Linda Howard

 

 

Gabriel McQueen has only just arrived home on holiday leave from the service when his county-sheriff father sends him back out again with new marching orders.  A brewing ice storm, and a distant neighbor who’s fallen out of contact, have the local lawman concerned.  So he enlists Gabriel to make the long haul to the middle of nowhere, and make sure Lolly Helton is safe and sound.  It’s a trip the younger McQueen would rather not make given the bitter winter weather–and the icy conditions that have always existed between him and Lolly.

But there’s no talking back when your dad is the town’s top cop.  And there’ s no turning back when night falls just as Gabriel arrives–and discovers that the weather outside isn’t the only thing that’s frightful.  Spotting strangers in Lolly’ s home–one of them packing a weapon–is all it takes to kick Gabriel into combat mode.  And his stealth training is all he needs to extract Lolly from the house without alerting her captors.  But when the escape is discovered, the heat–and the hunt–are on. And the winter woods are nowhere to be once the ice storm touches down, dropping trees, blocking roads, and trapping the fleeing pair in the freezing dark.



Ice was pretty much like an exciting action/thriller and romance movie.  While the beginning of the book was kind of slow to start up, once our couple gets trapped in the ice storm on the mountain, the action just kept moving forward.  This isn't a mystery or anything, really just a suspense and thriller that takes place throughout the night in an ice storm, with danger lurking everywhere in the form of mother nature as well as human.

Character development was sorely lacking, but I still found that I liked the main hero and heroine enough.  I wish we could have delved more into the relationship between Lolly and Gabe, because the ending of the book seems rather abrupt.

Nonetheless, this was a rather exciting and entertaining read, even if not my favorite of Linda Howard's work.

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/fairly-brief-thoughts-ice.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-09-21 00:23
Thoughts: Half-Off Ragnarok
Half-Off Ragnarok - Seanan McGuire

Half-Off Ragnarok

by Seanan McGuire
Book 3 of InCryptid

 

 

When Alex Price agreed to go to Ohio to oversee a basilisk breeding program and assist in the recovery of his psychic cousin, he didn't expect people to start dropping dead.  But bodies are cropping up at the zoo where he works, and his girlfriend—Shelby Tanner, an Australian zoologist with a fondness for big cats—is starting to get suspicious.

Worse yet, the bodies have all been turned partially to stone...

The third book in the InCryptid series takes us to a new location and a new member of the family, as Alex tries to balance life, work, and the strong desire not to become a piece of garden statuary.  Old friends and new are on the scene, and danger lurks around every corner.

Of course, so do the talking mice.



I went into this third book in the InCryptid series knowing that we were switching perspectives from Verity Price to her older brother, Alex Price.  I hadn't exactly decided on any kind of expectations, but I was still a bit wary about how much I'd like the book based on what little you get to know about Alex from Verity's POV in the first two books.  And while I didn't really squee or love Half-Off Ragnarok as much as I loved the first two books, I admittedly enjoyed following Alex's POV very much.

Alex Price is a science nerd and his sort of socially awkwardness only makes him so much more endearing.  Especially since this book didn't really focus on the quirks of his personality, even while displaying them in ways that I absolutely enjoyed.  I'm not sure how I felt about Shelby, although she seemed a bit one-dimensional and stereotyped--though this could have just been because of the first person POV wherein we only really get to see things from Alex's perspective.

The mystery of who was turning people to stone was actually a rather great premise to start the book off with, and made this an interesting page-turner... even as the rest of the book felt a bit lackluster.

Don't get me wrong--I absolutely enjoyed myself reading this book.  But somehow it just didn't bring about the giddy feels and the laugh-out-loud moments that I'd found so much fun from the first two books.  This could just be because of the little book time you get with Alex's splinter colony of Aeslin mice, or maybe the absence of a specific carnage-loving Gothic-lolita Waheela whom I ended up loving from the second book.  Even Alex's miniature griffin, Crow, didn't really help much, cute as the little snot was.

Nonetheless, this was definitely a great inclusion to the series, and I actually kind of appreciate seeing the cryptid world from more than just Verity's perspective.  And the nerdy scientist thing that Alex is sporting is quite endearing.

We still could have used more time with the Aeslin mice, though... just sayin'...

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/thoughts-half-off-ragnarok.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-09-15 22:09
Quick Thoughts: Footsteps in the Dark
Footsteps in the Dark - Georgette Heyer

Footsteps in the Dark

by Georgette Heyer

 

 

Locals claim The Prior is haunted and refuse to put a single toe past the front door.  Left empty for years, and even their deceased uncle chose to live in a different house, far away from this particular property.  But the ramshackle old house, with its rambling charm is the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday for siblings Peter, Celia and Margaret, who have inherited it from their uncle.  It wasn't the lack of modern conveniences that made a summer spent at the ancient priory mansion such an unsettling experience.  It was the supposed ghost... or whatever was groaning in the cellars and roaming the countryside around Framley Village after dark.

But when a murder victim is discovered in the drafty Priory halls, the once unconcerned trio begins to fear that the ghostly rumors are true and they are not alone after all!  But traditionally ghosts don't commit murder.  And in this case, the things which go bump in the night are deadly.  With a killer on the loose, will they find themselves the next victims or will they uncover the true in time?  Does the key to the crime lie in the realm of the supernaturalr?  Or is the explanation much more down to earth with a more corporeal culprit of flesh and blood?



The premise for Footsteps in the Dark was definitely one that I was extremely excited about.  Even though I'm a scaredy cat, and don't really like scary stories, I get really giddy about haunted house stories, and a double whammy would be a haunted country house setting.

This is my second Georgette Heyer book, and while I didn't care for the first one I read of hers, Death in the Stocks, this book definitely made up for it.  By rights, it's not the best book in the world, and the investigative process was probably a bit questionable, but the characters were fun, even if the humor slipped into "tackily overdone" territory a few times.

And yet, I still found the bit of comical interactions rather appealing.  I DO wish that the women had more of a role in the investigation... and well, more of a role at all in the book--they seemed like background scenery, to be totally honest.

The romance was most definitely insta, which made it a little hard to take it seriously, especially since Margaret's love interest was more or less a creepy unknown who kept secrets when they first met.  I'd have been happier if their courtship didn't only consist of one walk together and a cryptic conversation in which Margaret is still unsure whether or not Michael Strange was a killer.

Nonetheless, the rest of the book was very enjoyable.  The few moments involving the Monk got appropriately creepy enough to maintain the haunted house atmosphere.  The side characters were also appropriately delightful as comic relief.

And so I'd definitely give Ms. Heyer my continued interest in her work.


***

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/quick-thoughts-footsteps-in-dark.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-09-15 06:04
Halloween Bingo 2019 | Update #1

 

Halloween Bingo 2019



So there's a nasty flu thing going around knocking out my co-workers, and apparently it had decided to make its way to me.  I started off being laid up in bed for a couple days, but even after feeling like maybe I was recovering, I've still been rather dizzy where the infection settled in my ears, so I spent the rest of the past week in a perpetual state of motion sick.

It has been an excruciatingly long week, and I haven't felt like doing anything at all, not even reading.  Sleep or staring off into space on the couch seemed to be my main recreations, and it wasn't until a couple days ago that I finally started feeling like maybe participating in life again.

So here's an overdue update for Halloween Bingo, of which I'm quite glad I've managed to finish anymore books at all.

Meanwhile, Red-Eyes Penni has returned to help me with my bingo game, as I was just too blegh to really feel like coming up with anything else fun.  We'll just return to a nice, tried and true marker that I, personally, really liked.

I've already made a lot of changes to my previously listed possible books, and I'm also going to determine a couple squares I'm definitely going to Transfigure, probably in the next update.  As for how I'm going to depict that in my graphics... we'll come up with something.  Now that I'm ready to human again, I might feel a bit more creative... maybe not.  We'll see.

I've just finished reading Footsteps in the Dark and Half-Off Ragnarok, and am planning reviews to go out soon in the next week.  I'm also hoping to be moving onto the next few books pretty quickly, as Ice and Lost Among the Living are both books by authors that I've always enjoyed, and will fly right through their books.

I'm super curious to jump into Truly Devious, which will actually be the second Young Adult book I will be reading for this game, which is more than I can say about most of the year already.  If I like it, there's a high possibility that I'll want to read the rest of the series... maybe for this game.

Happy reading and hope everyone's staying in good health.

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 



Read: Red-Eyes Penni
Called: Green Square Outline

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Up Next:

 

 

 

Books Read and Unallocated:


TBA

 

 

Squares/Books/Called Dates/Update Post Links:


Progress on my card:  3 squares called || 4 books read || 1 squares completed

 

Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
book
by

author
book
by

author
Dreamer's Pool
by

Juliet Marillier
book
by

author
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called: 9/13/19
Read: 9/11/19
Called:
Read:
book
by

author
book
by

author
book
by

author
Footsteps in the
Dark
by
Georgette Heyer
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
book
by

author
The Visitor
by

Amanda Stevens
book
by

author
Truly Devious
by

Maureen Johnson
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read: 9/14/19
Called: 9/1/19
Read:
Called:
Read: 9/1/19
Called: 9/4/19
Read:
Firelight
by

Kristen Callihan
Half-Off Ragnarok
by
Seanan McGuire
Lost Among the
Living
by

Simone St. James
The Sign of the
Four
by

Arthur Conan
Doyle
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read: 9/2/19
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
The Epic Crush
of Genie Lo
by

F.C. Yee
book
by

author
book
by

author
book
by

author
book
by

author
 

 

Daily Calls
 
Date Square Date Square
09/01 Ghost Stories 10/01  
09/02 Genre: Horror 10/02  
09/03 Creepy Crawlies 10/03  
09/04 Amateur Sleuth 10/04  
09/05 American Horror Story 10/05  
09/06 Dystopian Hellscape 10/06  
09/07 Fear Street 10/07  
09/08 Black Cat 10/08  
09/09 Relics and Curiosities 10/09  
09/10 A Grimm Tale 10/10  
09/11 Stranger Things 10/11  
09/12 Creepy Carnivals 10/12  
09/13 Country House Mystery 10/13  
09/14 Classic Horror 10/14  
09/15   10/15  
09/16   10/16  
09/17   10/17  
09/18   10/18  
09/19   10/19  
09/20   10/20  
09/21   10/21  
09/22   10/22  
09/23   10/23  
09/24   10/24  
09/25   10/25  
09/26   10/26  
09/27   10/27  
09/28   10/28  
09/29   10/29  
09/30   10/30  
    10/31  

 

 

Transfiguration Spell:

 



No Transfigurations used as of present.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/halloween-bingo-2019-update-1.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-09-06 05:17
Long Rambling Thoughts: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo - Kevin F. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

by F. C. Yee
Book 1 of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

 

 

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb.  You know, the type who wins.  When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged.  Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons.  While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries.  The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven.  But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.



I don't know what I was expecting when I went into this book, but it certainly was much more delightful and fun than I'd anticipated.  While the voice of Genie Lo's first person POV might have felt a bit immature, I sincerely appreciate all the humor and sarcasm--truth, there are some moments when the comical nonsense is overdone, but I'm not complaining, really.  As far as the story goes, at times I felt like I was watching/reading a cross between Inuyasha, Dogma, and various other modern adaptations of Journey to the West mashed together.  There might have even been a lot of American pop culture references, though I probably would have been MUCH more impressed had Yee included some Chinese pop culture references as well.

But seeing as we are looking through the eyes of uber millennial Chinese-American Genie Lo, I can kind of see the voice working.

While there have been a numerous amount of movie and television adaptations of Journey to the West or a simple Monkey King retelling, I think this is the first time I've stumbled across a book retelling based on the legend.  So, needless to say, I was very, very intrigued.

For anyone not familiar with this tale, Journey to the West follows the adventures of a Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who is tasked by the heavens and his king to travel west in search of a set of holy scriptures, which is said to be crucial in helping to alleviate the world of suffering.  His disciples include the infamous Monkey King, Sun Wukong; the Piggy Demon, Zhu Bajie; the River Demon, Sha Wujing; and Xuanzang's white horse, previously an exiled dragon prince.  As the tale goes, each of Xuanzang's disciples has been selected for this journey by the Siddhartha Buddha because they each have terrible sins to atone for, and therefore must guard Xuanzang on his journey.  Along the way, the five monks go through a lot of trials and tribulations, testing their resolve and determination.

It's actually a really, really long tale, but one of the most well-known legends in China.

Getting back to this book, Epic Crush was written in a chaotic fashion, but it still managed to draw me in, especially since Genie, her friends, and her mother were portrayed in a way that I really could relate with.  Genie is a very American, Chinese-American teenager living in modern-day America, under the close scrutiny of her very traditional Chinese mother.  We get to see glimpses of the affect culture has on Genie and her mother amidst their behavior towards one another, from the high expectations and immense pressure that Genie's mother puts on her, and Genie's latent need to seek approval and acceptance from her strict mother even in spite of her more independent, gruff personality.

Of course, heart-rending, heart-warming, self-revelation journey about a teenage girl, this book is not.

Because this book is more about Genie's destined path in life based on who she was in a previous life.  Basically, as Genie herself finds out, the fate of of the Bay Area is in her hands alongside that of a strange kid claiming to be the great Monkey King of old Chinese mythological lore.  Demons have been loosed from the Eighteen Levels of Hell, and the gods have decided that it's up to Genie and her Monkey King partner, Quentin Sun, to take care of the problem.

So... in a way, this book is sort of a hero's journey, following Genie as she relearns her magical abilities from her previous life of fighting evil demons.  Truth... I was quite floored by just exactly who Genie was in her previous life and chuckled my ass off.  Sorry Genie--you're a wonderful character, but that plot twist was gold!

Meanwhile, this book touches upon so many tangents that I'm not entirely certain we get a clear focus on any of the significant conflicts at all.  And the ending, truth be told, might have been a little rushed, and very deux ex machina... if only because this is, after all, a book based on Chinese mythology, and the gods and goddesses tend to have a hand in everything, while they torture the poor characters who are stuck on Earth who have to do their bidding.  In other words, the gods and goddess want the Earthly beings to take care of themselves, but they aren't above interfering to get the job done if the need arises... and only when they feel inclined to do so, which is usually whenever a story plot backs itself into a corner and needs divine intervention that had been denied for the past forty-nine episodes of a series, or two and a half hours of movie, or three hundred pages of book.

Le sigh...

One thing that I already knew about Chinese mythology and their gods... a lot of times, they act even more human than we expect them to, seeing as there's equal opportunity corruption, shirking of duties, irrational expectations, and childish behaviors.  In Chinese mythology and religion, gods, goddesses, and even Buddha are not infallible after all, and, as this book shows, can all be kinda douche-y.

Anyway, a few quibbles stood out to me, but might just be my own personal bias or whatever.

For instance, I had a hard time believing that Genie had no idea who the Monkey King is.  Maybe it's a generational thing, or maybe it's a Westernized upbringing.  But Journey to the West and the Monkey King is such a widely told legend in China, and there have been adaptation after adaptation, both old school and modernized, that it's hard to believe that Genie had never even heard of him.  Even my youngest brother, who has the least Chinese knowledge in my family, understands references to the Monkey King, even if he doesn't know the story or the details.

I would have expected Genie to at least be familiar with the name even if not familiar with the legend.  As Quentin puts it, it would be like American teens NOT knowing who Batman is... although I probably wouldn't have used that kind of comparison--Batman and the Monkey King are both two very different kinds of characters.

But I suppose if she never took any interest in her own culture, that might be possible.

The other quibble I might nitpick is how all the Chinese gods, goddesses, and even the demons all speak colloquial English without fail.  I might overlook that, because maybe our author just didn't want to go through the whole "he said in Chinese" narration--I understand that sometimes that can get a bit tedious.  Or maybe it's an unofficial understanding that the gods and goddesses just know how to blend into whatever setting they land in, whether it be ancient historical China, or modern day Bay Area California.  And so they somehow know how to speak flawless English with all the right slang and using all the most up-to-date references and such.  Who knows?

But being that Genie spends a good chapter ruminating about Quentin's perfect handle of the English language, I guess I'd have thought that she'd make note of whether someone was speaking English or Chinese at the time.  Or the fact that all of the very Chinese gods, goddesses, and demons spoke modern-day American English.

On the other hand, I DID like the random thrown in Chinese phrases, denoted in italics.  And for those Asians out there who are interested, apparently the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin chooses to make her random exclamations in Cantonese instead of Mandarin, unlike the other Chinese characters in this book.  Just pay attention, if you understand Chinese or Cantonese, you'll note the pronunciations and romanizations are different.

My final quibble with this book is the extreme romanticizing of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.  While I like the idea of a the Monkey King posing as a high school boy to implore Genie to help him with his demon hunting, I'm having a hard time reconciling the Monkey King I'm familiar with from the tales, the movies, the television series, with the immature teenage romantic depicted in this book.  In fact, I'm not even entire sure that romance was really necessary in this book (and I'm a hopeless romantic who reads romance like I breath air).

The Monkey King is a self-important, egotistical, arrogant being who loves himself, and loves his little monkey followers, loves his monk master and monk siblings, and loves his Goddess of Mercy... but not in a romantic sort of way.  Sun Wukong loves those he considers his or his family, but romance has always been beyond him, and as a monk in training, romance is even a strictly forbidden emotion.  In Buddhist teachings, human emotion oft times leads to suffering, and the only way to achieve Nirvana is to completely dispel all human emotion from one's being.

This means that the Monkey King, his monk siblings, and his master, aside from setting off to obtain the Holy Scriptures from the West, are also on a journey to obtain the highest level of monk-hood.

I'm not saying that the Monkey King would be completely immune to human emotion, and in fact, the whole point of the journey is to obtain that higher state of being.  So there will be trials and tribulations that test his ability to reach that higher level of Nirvana.

The impression I get from this story is that the Journey to the West adventure has already come and gone, and it's been centuries since.  I would have thought the Monkey King would be a little wiser than a teenage boy and show more maturity.  Yes.  The Monkey King was always a jokester and troublemaker, but his actions were always explained away by his lack of understanding about society's expectations, as well as the rules and regulations of the Earthly and Heavenly worlds, or even Hell.

But by this time in his life, after centuries... I wouldn't have expected him to so readily develop feelings for a teenage girl, even if she were the reincarnation of one of his best demon fighting partners.  Even if, setting aside the age difference, I wouldn't have expected the legendary Monkey King to be acting like an immature teenager at all, especially after the journey he went through with his monk master and monk siblings to reach that higher level of monk-hood.

Epic Crush aside, this is actually one of the hardest concepts for me to get behind--a supernatural being who has lived for hundreds or thousands of years, who's seen and experienced so much, showing up in a YA novel, acting like an immature child, and romancing main teenage hero/heroine, who, by the way, could very well pass for a great-great-great-great, many times great, grandchild... at best.  I don't care that you still look like a sixteen year old boy or a sixteen year old girl... you're not, so don't act like one.  It's hard to get behind, which is one of the biggest quibbles I have with this book.

Of course, my familiarity and impression of the Monkey King is obviously a personal opinion.  And over the years, the entire Journey to the West and the Monkey King stories have been recreated in rather romanticized ways in different, more modern movies.  And, spoiler alert, in the end, there has always been a rather bittersweet ending to those romanticized notions.

Anyway, that's kind of my two-cents... or twenty, seeing as how I've rambled on.

Nonetheless, this was a rather fun read and I may or may not continue with the next book.  I DID enjoy Genie Lo as an individual, though she's a lot more prone to violence than I'd have expected.  And I also hoped to see more of her friendship with best friend, Yunie, just because we see so few positive female relationships emphasized on.

I would recommend this book for fun, or if you're interested in Chinese mythology.  But I wouldn't go by Genie's snarky retelling of the Monkey King's tale, if I want to be honest.  It's not a terrible one and touches upon all the most important events that happen to Sun Wukong before the events of Journey to the West, but her rendition might be a bit more comical than it needed to be.

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/long-rambling-thoughts-epic-crush-of.html
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?