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review 2017-12-11 09:25
"Snow" by Howard Odentz - not worth the time it took me to read its 34 pages.
Snow - Howard Odentz

I bought "Snow" as a short story to help read myself into Christmas. Even though it's set in October, it is a Christmas-related story albeit in an unconventional way.

 

I won't go into to the story, other than to say that it involves some teens doing things they shouldn't, a big bad who is a threat to them and some snow. Although the opening sentence reads:

"The night my friends and I almost triggered the next ice age, I was with Danny McDermott and Jackie Kagan"

I didn't feel any real sense of threat in this story and certainly nothing that meant anything to anyone except some high school kids with a lot of growing up still to do.

 

The writing is slick and skilful. The pace is fast. The idea is novel. It's a good goosebumps story to tell around a campfire.

 

But mostly what it is is disappointing. It fizzles out rather than ends. It never gets beyond a cartoon view of the world. This idea, in the hands of King or Simmons, might have been chilling. In Odentz's hands, it's a draft for pitching an episode in a teen high school drama.

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text 2017-12-04 22:33
November 2017 Round up!
The Devoured - Jason Sprenger,Curtis M. Lawson,Curtis M. Lawson
Ash Wednesday - Chet Williamson
Deadbomb Bingo Ray - Jeff Johnson
The Travelling Grave and Other Stories - L.P. Hartley,John Howard Reid
Room - Emma Donoghue
Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains
Childgrave - Ken Greenhall
The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror - Eric C. Higgs
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan
The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

I read 12 books during the month of November!

 

Audio books:

 

The Devoured by Curtis Lawson

Room by Emma Donohue

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS:

 

Deadbomb Bingo Ray by Jeff Johnson

The Traveling Grave and Other Stories  by L.P. Hartley

Childgrave by Ken Greenhall

The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror by Eric Higgs

The Listener by Robert McCammon

 

Total: 5

 

Reads for Review:

 

Sweet Aswang by Anthony Hains

Red Room Magazine Issue One

 

Total: 2

 

Random Reads:

 

Ash Wednesday by Chet Williamson

 

Total: 1

 

READING CHALLENGES

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge: 

(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)

Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017

 

 

January Count: 1

February Count: 2 

March and April Count: 0

May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)

June & July: 0

August: 1-The Talented Mr. Ripley

September: 1  Carter & Lovecraft

October: 0 (But had LOTS of fun with Halloween Bingo!)

November: 0

Running Count: 7

 

Graphic Novel Challenge:

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

April count: 5

May count: 3

June count: 4

July count: 4

August count: 5

September: 1

October: 1

November: 0

 

Running Count: 35!

Challenge Met!

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review 2017-12-04 15:19
Review: A People's History of the United States
A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present - Howard Zinn

In many ways, this is not my typical five-star review. The People's History of the United States is tedious, repetitive, and an overall slog to get through. Though so much of the information provided is wholly interesting, some of the Zinn's examples are merely empty fodder and these cause the already long book to slow. Zinn was anti-oppression, and this means that sometimes he seems pro-whatever-is-being-oppressed, though I don't think this is always the case. For instance, it's easy to surmise from the many examples that Zinn is pro-socialist, but I'm not entirely sure that's true. Certainly, he backed the socialist stance when it was the voice that was being oppressed. And certainly, of the major forms of government, Zinn likely felt the most affinity with socialism. But in later chapters as well as in the conclusion, it seems that Zinn acknowledges that socialism is also a broken system—a step forward, but not the solution. Additionally, Zinn's anti-oppression position means that he sometimes illustrates a part of history from an angle that obscures some bit of inconvenient truth. This is unfortunate, because it gives the naysayers cause to spit on this book and declare it “communist propaganda” (or whatever the taboo phrase of the day is). These moments are few and far between and majority of this book is quite historically accurate, in my layman's opinion.

The People's History of the United States was also difficult for me to get through because I've long studied this history and I already knew the more major events covered in this book. Perhaps many of those other narratives I've read owe their information to Zinn, but having come to this book later in my journey, I found much of the story to be old news. That's not to say Zinn doesn't provide considerable history I have not come across in my previous studies. In fact, what Zinn most convinced me of was how so many of these events that I thought were motivated by various reasons primarily (perhaps exclusively) came about because of money.

The reason The People's History of the United States deserves a five-star rating is because, though it's not an enjoyable read, it is such a immense labor of love and passion for the subject. Zinn put his heart and mind into every page of this book and it shows. Even so, I was tempted to slap four stars on this book and move on until I came to Zinn's afterword. Prior to this, Zinn had merely provided over six-hundred pages of dry facts without much commentary or call-to-action. Here, in these final pages, Zinn stirred my emotions. He took all the information he'd provided and agitated it within me and said, “now what are you going to do?” It was an effective challenge.

The People's History of the United States is the kind of book that is difficult to read straight through. Did I learn some things? Absolutely. But so much of what I learned has already sifted straight through my brain. This is the sort of book one who is passionate about the subject should own. It is the kind of book one should keep handy in case someone is eager to argue about the perfection of the state. It is the kind of book that should be picked up from time to time and serve as a reminder to the people of their history and the vicious circle that has been built up around them, keeping them caged for over five hundred years.

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text 2017-12-01 08:42
REVIEW BY ANGI - Kyth the Taker by Jonathan L. Howard
Kyth the Taker - Jonathan L. Howard
Kyth the Taker’ features the stories: The Beautiful Corridor, The Shuttered Temple, and The Silent Castle.
 
Kyth the Taker is not a thief. She may have trained as a thief and -- as her name suggests -- be very good at taking things, but she never steals. What she uses her unusual skills for leads her into perils both mundane and weird as she takes on the best locks and traps created by the minds of men and gods, and -- so far at least -- emerges triumphant and reasonably unscathed. Tombs, temples, vaults, and crypts have all unsuccessfully attempted to kill her, but Kyth is the best of the best. Sometimes, she even gets paid.

 

@JonathanLHoward, @AngiPlant, #Short_Stories, 3 out of 5 (good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/angi/kyththetakerbyjonathanlhoward
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review 2017-11-29 13:30
Unhinged : A G Howard Book Review
Unhinged (Splintered #2) - A.G. Howard


This review can also be found at LostBetweenThePages & Goodreads.

 

"All I have to do is set the power free. Escape the chains of humanity, let madness be my guide. If I forget everything but Wonderland, I can become beautiful pandemonium.”

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole, faced the truth of her family curse and come out with her sanity mostly intact. This book takes place in the human realm after Alyssa choose to come home instead of staying behind. But Wonderland isn't ready to let go of her, as it starts to bleed into her world Alyssa realises that something just isn't right, especially when Morpheus decides to make an appearance.

In my previous review I shared my hopes for this series, mainly the love triangle. I was hoping that it would become less of feature as Aylssa has discovered who she really is and the looming threat to Wonderland. The other thing I didn't enjoy was how over the top her sense of style was, it seemed a bit much for me.

I thought it was a great idea to set this book in the human world, Alyssa is still figuring everything out but she knows the truth now. So reading her deal with having to 'normal' again was great, missing being able to fly and be free was great. There is a dark seductive power that comes with being part of Wonderland. But once Wonderland starts to bleed through and Morpheus arrives she finds it hard to keep it in check. Morpheus wants to let the reckless side of her out, he wants her to embrace what lurks below. Unfortunately Morpheus can be quite blind to what's in front of him, Alyssa didn't grow up in Wonderland. She is a whole different person, and that's what makes her special, she has the best qualities from each world. So she'll never become truly savage because it's not who she is in our world.

My most favourite and redeeming part of this book, other than the setting, is the family dynamic. Mum's home. This is all her dad has ever wanted, he's never given up hope on his wife, Thomas wants it all to just go back to how it was and for Alyssa to cut her mum some slack. Reading them trying to be a family again is great, her mum is quite over protective and doesn't like what she wears and naturally Aylssa wouldn't like it.

But her mum is hiding something, and it's great. She just doesn't want to talk about it, the frustrations that Alyssa deals with feel so real. All of it from her mum telling her how to dress to wanting to squeeze Wonderland into a box and bury it. She is the one person she could talk to about it, and to be honest would help them bond again, it made me want to know more about her mums past and what happened when she went down the rabbit hole.

Alyssa and Jeb. This whole love triangle part is hugely tiresome for me, she gets jealous so easily especially when he is commissioned by a mysterious woman to produce a portrait. Sure I get it, he's working round the clock and isn't spending all his time with her. But he's doing it to provide for them, it's who Jeb is. But what I find ridiculous is that whilst she is blowing the situation up in her head she's off flirting with Morpheus as usual. I guess due to the fact that Jeb no longer has her memories Alyssa can confide in Morpheus.

This was a promising second book with some great parts, the end was defiantly a strong finish setting everything up nicely for the final book. The end of the book is just chaos, but in a good way. Slowly things are coming to a head and Wonderland won't wait anymore.

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