30 Jan 2011

The New Year hath arrived

Crap.  Six months without posting is never a good thing.  I blame it on insanity.

Lets see ...  the big events of the past six months:

1.  We bought a house.  Yep.  Moved in sometime in September and had our first Halloween and Christmas here.  Took a little getting used to, but everyone is pretty much settled in now.  Still have some boxes that need unpacking but have no where to put the stuff that is in them so... yeah.

Heh.  Yeah that's about the only real major thing that's happened.  Halloween was really cool.  We had a /ton/ of kids come by for trick or treating and it was great to see all the really neat costumes.  Christmas was fun, though busy.  My brother and his family came down from up north and A's brother made it as well, so it was a full house here.  Lots of noise and lots of food and everyone seemed to have a good time even though we had no snow.  Mother Nature has since made up for that lack in the last few weeks.  We've got our winter wonderland outside now. 

I managed to read 74 books last year, so I've set my goal for this year to 100.  5 down so far.  I also started a separate blog for my book reviews.  If you are so inclined you can find it here.

Oh.  We got a dog.  After we moved in we got a gorgeous Golden Retriever puppy and named her Bailey.  She's six months old now, just recovering from being spayed and microchipped.  Lovely dog with a great personality and soooo good with the little guy.  Speaking of ... he just turned 5 yesterday.  Five years... lord that's gone by fast.

The other two are doing okay in school, though the eldest is slacking and really needs to work on his time management and keeping track of his assignments.  Keeping my fingers crossed that his next semester will make that sink in.  Middle child ... well we're still working on his anger issues and trying to find something that we can all agree on re: his autism.  I've been a bad parent and haven't made all the phone calls I should have to find programs for him.  I know it is going to come back and bite me in the ass, but he's not even remotely interested in making an effort so ... can i force him to hang out with other autistic kids just to make him realize he's not alone?  Bah.

New addictions of note:  Fallout 3 for the PlayStation 3.  My new video game addiction.  Wasn't doing so great at the shooting part of the game, but I love that it is an RPG as well as a first person shooter.  There is a story in there that is really interesting to watch evolve.  I still have issues with staying alive while exploring, but at least I'm still having fun with the game.  Enough fun that it drives the eldest bonkers since I'm cutting into /his/ game time *snickers*. 

Ah well.  Life rolls along and we're all doing just peachy for the time being.

29 Jan 2011

Thoughts: Fay

First time reading anything by Larry Brown and, despite the fact that I only found Fay to be OK, I'd be willing to try another book by him simply because his writing style is amazing.  Fay does read easily, but the situations and the main character just felt too much like a Lifetime movie and, no offense, but I really wasn't expecting that.

The inside jacket information pretty much tells the entire story:
She's had no education, and you can't call what her father's been trying to give her "love." So at seventeen, Fay Jones leaves home, carrying a purse with half a pack of cigarettes and two dollar bills. She's headed for the bright lights and big times of Biloxi, and even she knows she needs help getting there. But helps not hard to come by when you look like Fay.
There's a highway patrolman who gives her a lift, with a detour to his own place. There are truck drivers who pick her up, no questions asked. There's a crop duster with money for a night or two on the town. There's a strip-joint bouncer who deals on the side. And in the end, there are five dead bodies stacked in Fay's wake.
And that is why I picked the book up in the first place.  I was looking to see just how this uneducated girl could/would end up on some sort of murderous rampage leaving all those bodies in her wake.  Well, I was left hanging on that, since only one of the deaths actually occurred at her own hands.  The prose does make the story very readable, though it rolls along towards an incredibly predictable conclusion.

From what I've gathered, this novel is actually a sort of sequel to one of Brown's earlier works, Joe: A Novel, in which Fay's brother is one of the main characters.  Perhaps reading that first would have given me more sympathy for Fay, but reading this novel stand alone left me rather blah about the entire thing.

Source: My copy of this book was borrowed from my local library

25 Jan 2011

Thoughts: Dexter is Delicious

Jeff Lindsay's Dexter is Delicious is the fifth book in the Dexter series and fans of the books will likely enjoy this installment, if only to see what happens when Dexter decides to try and be more human.

This time around we have our darling Dexter mooning over his newborn daughter and dwelling on all things that he'll get to do with this bundle of joy and bliss that has come into his life. At least that's his plan until his sister manages to drag him into an investigation involving a missing seventeen-year-old girl who's been running around with a group of self stylized vampires/cannibals. As usual, Dexter ends up in the middle of all the bad things and has to find a way out of the situation before he ends up being the main course.

Overall, a typical romp in the Dexterverse, though it is horribly lacking in our (anti)hero's usual playtime with his dark passenger. That, along with the more "human" version of Dexter in this book, left me longing for the Dexter of days bygone.

I'll be honest; I wanted to see more of Dark Dexter teaching his little minions more of Harry's Law. I wanted more of dear deadly Dexter and not this wishy-washy version of Dex that was dumped onto the pages of this book. The story itself was good, don't get me wrong on that front, I just wasn't happy with the way the character looked to be headed. I'm still a fan of Lindsay's writing style and I'll keep an eye out for the next book in the series to see what happens.

Source: I read my own ebook copy of this novel.

22 Jan 2011

Chizine Publications Announcement

Chizine Publications has announced on their blog that preorders are being taken for signed, limited edition hardcover editions of Gemma File’s A Rope of Thorns: Book Two of the Hexslinger Series over at Horror Mall.

I have the first book in the series, A Book of Tongues, sitting on my bookshelf in my "still need to get to" pile. I bought it from Chizine at a local horror convention along with People Still Live in Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess (one of my guilty pleasures ever since reading Pontypool Changes Everything) and Objects of Worship by Claude Lalumière.

Chizine is one indie publisher I like to keep an eye on because they carry an interesting and varied selection of books that feed the spooky/horror fiend in me.

19 Jan 2011

Canada Reads

The 10th anniversary of the Canada Reads program, hosted by CBC, is getting ready to start the debate portion of the program. This year the novels were picked by the public in a campaign that started back in October. The public vote determined the top 40 essential Canadian novels which were then put to public vote until the final five were chosen.

Feb. 7, 8, and 9th will be the air dates of the hour long debates to determine which of the five finalists will be this years Canada Reads selection. The debates will air on CBC Radio One and will be hosted by Jian Ghomeshi in front of a live audience.

This years final five are: (covers click through to nominee pages with info about authors and defenders for each novel)

The Best Laid Plans The Best Laid Plans

by Terry Fallis

Defended by:
Ali Velshi
The Bone CageThe Bone Cage

by Angie Abdou

Defended by:
Georges Laraque
The Birth HouseThe Birth House

by Ami McKay

Defended by:
Debbie Travis
The Complete Essex CountyEssex County

by Jeff Lemire

Defended by:
Sara Quin

by Carol Shields

Defended by:
Lorne Cardinal

You can listen to all the lead ups and the actual debates on CBC's website. Here's the direct link to the listen page: Watch/Listen at CBC

11 Jan 2011

Postertext - Interesting gifts for booklovers

Not a review, really ... okay maybe it is.

I know Christmas has come and gone, but I'm sure there will be times in our lives when we're looking for the perfect gift for the booklover on our lists that isn't a book! I stumbled across this website while on one of my long, random link clicking trips through cyberspace and was immediately intrigued, then amazed and then I actually found something I had to buy (in the not book related section) for my other half for Christmas.

Postertext has some really cool posters based around books, and a few other written items, where the image is formed by using the entire text from the novel. The poster I ordered was actually made from the text found inside the Linux kernel and made a cute image of the Linux mascot, Tux the penguine; my boyfriend is a Linux administrator for a large telecom company so it was the perfect present for him. Ordering was simple, delivery was quick and the poster came packaged in a super sturdy tube so there was zero damage to the product. Best of all ... he /loved/ it and was amazed that he could actually read the Linux code straight from the poster.

So, there you go. If you want a bookish present that's not a book, feel free to check out this site.

And no, I have absolutely no affiliation with the place at all. Just was impressed with the entire ordering process and concept of the place.

7 Jan 2011

Thoughts: Dust

Title: Dust
Author: Joan Frances Turner
Publisher: Ace Books
Pages: 374
Source: Borrowed from the library
Opening Line(s):"My right arm fell off today. Lucky for me, I'm left-handed."

Nine years ago, Jessie had a family. Now, she has a gang.

Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian. Now, she eats very fresh meat.

Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. Nine years ago, Jessie was human.

Now, she’s not.

After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.

But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life

I first heard of this book through an email newsletter I get from my local library. The summary sounded rather interesting so I put it on hold.

First and foremost this is a zombie novel told from the point of view of the zombies. These are not your typical zombies; they communicate with each other, they form groups for company, safety and survival, and fun. Zombies, intelligent or not, are NOT sexy and Turner does not shy away from keeping that point right in the reader's face. Many reviews of this book have mentioned the overly gross/disgusting descriptions of the zombies, their life stages, the way they eat etc, but none of those scenes bothered me much at all because the writing in the novel is great.

Turner has done an amazing job at building her world. The zombie culture is well written and fleshed out and even though Jessie and her crew don't have much ambition; they're content to eat, sleep and fight, that in itself is still interesting to read about. I found the first half of the book to be more enjoyable than the second simply because the characters were just that much more, pardon the pun, alive than in the second half.

So, why three stars? I liked the book. I did finish it. My biggest problem was that the second half of the book took a huge turn towards the almost mystical/philosophical and I wasn't really expecting it. I was hoping for a much more dramatic reveal about the sickness and how/why it was occuring and I didn't get that. Instead the whole how/why was rather a let down and the ending of the book was almost too pat and a touch corny.

I've heard there are to be two more books in this series. I'd certainly be willing to read them when they're released, if only to see where this world could possibly be heading.

5 Jan 2011

Happy 2nd Blog Anniversary, Pam!

Pam at Bookalicio.us is having a two year blog anniversary. She is giving away tons of books and advance readers. The Grand Prize is a NookColor! Head on over to Bookalicio.us to enter.

1 Jan 2011

Out with the old...

... and in with the new.

Welcome to my new book blog. Here is where I'll be posting reviews, discussing the books that I'm reading and just generally trying to keep up with my insane book addiction.

With Christmas over and done with my to-be-read shelf has had a few new additions and so I have come up with a single New Year resolution; no more new books until I have read at least half of my current collection. Hopefully this won't be too hard to keep and will help me chew through the crazy number of new books I own but have yet to read.

I've got three books on the go at the moment, two physical and one ebook, which I hope to put up as the first set of reviews in this new year.

Wish me luck and thanks for joining me on this journey.