Dead Mann Walking

I recently borrowed Dead Mann Walking by Stephan Petrucha, a comic book writer who worked on The Walking Dead, from the library, and actually finished it. I know, what? More than the feat of actually finishing a book, because lately that has been a hard road to hoe, I actually enjoyed it as well. Bonus.

dead mann walking

Dead Mann Walking is the story of Hessius Mann a zombie detective. That is, he’s a zombie who used to be a cop and is now a detective for zombies and anyone else who will pay. At some point in the not too distant future, a way to eternal life emerges, a miracle, people can be brought back to life. Wrongful convictions don’t mean permanent death and those wrongly killed at the hands of the State are brought back to life, including Mann who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder.

But then people realize that the dead brought back to life start to decompose after a time, they don’t feel pain like a liveblood and some of them even go feral. The new type of being is called Chakz and they don’t have the same rights as those with blood rushing through their veins. Mann lives and works in a condemned building, he cleans his wounds with bleach and super glues broken bones back together.

One day the Eggman (not his real name, it’s the name Mann comes up with to remember that he has a client) shows up at Mann’s door with a proposition, find a Chakz for him and the Eggman will give Mann a lot of money, but he needs the zombie detective on the case right away. Mann sets off to find the lost Chakz and discovers the case is more complicated than he first thought, which is a problem. Mann used to have a photographic memory, but since he has been brought back from the dead his brain is not as sharp as it used to be so he uses a recording device, that is, if he can remember where he put it.

It took me a bit to get into the book as I’m not the world’s biggest zombie genre lover, but once I got into the thick of things, the story really picked up and takes off faster than a half faced zombie’s feral run. Petrucha’s writing is excellent and his universe well plotted. Personally, I liked that the zombie apocalypse happens because of science. That depending on their emotional state the zombies have different states of being. It’s not just monsters eating people.

I also loved all the twists and turns the story took. I tried to figure things out before Mann since he has a bad memory and all. Unfortunately, as the narrator he also forgets to tell parts of the story, so while I figured out a few things, there were twists I didn’t figure out before they happened. Which I love! Mann does solve a mystery or two in this book, but there are a lot of questions left at the end which is why I practically ran to the library to get the second book in the series.

Like an Addict

Today was very stressful. The sun shone for a few moments but most of it was quite dreary. The wind was blowing hard enough and cold enough to make me wonder if I was back in Chicago.

I ran all over town and back again. I left my house twice and forgot to brush my teeth before I left the first time. But in the end I staved off panic attacks and successfully mailed my application for the Texas Bar Examination. Win, win?

To reward myself for this trying ordeal, and it was one, I rewarded myself with a trip to the library. I picked up a requested item and a few more items as well. I add them to my collection of library books already at home that I have yet to read and which are due in 2 days.

I can’t help myself. The intense high I get from wandering among the bookshelves, feeling the binding of the books, and allowing myself the pleasure of taking them home is too much to resist.

I think this must be what it is like to be addicted to heroin.

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Winnie the Pooh Homage

According to the Huffington Post, A.A. Milne was born in January in 1882 and so they did a whole piece on favorite quotes from the Winnie the Pooh books. Check them out here, they are adorbs. But if that isn’t enough cuteness for you here is some more Winnie the Pooh to aid in your addiction.

Because I’m an enabler.

Winnie the Pooh coffee mug.

Christopher Robbin encourages that gang. Sweetness.

Winnie the Pooh cake with Piglet and Eeyore.

Nailing the tail puzzle tray for sale on Etsy.

Stuff versions of the gang reading.

pooh and his books

Books, Books, and More Books

I’ve found some wonderful book related items on pinterest. Check them out!

YA book addiction

Calvin and Hobbes cake

Lord of the Rings book ends

Altered book of poison

Book bed sheets

If you like these I recommend following Ned Hayes-Writer on Pinterest. He finds some wonderful book related pins. He leads to awesome places like these wonderful surreal photographs by Joel Robinson.

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Graphic Novel Book Review: The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman is a graphic novel series I keep hearing about, so I decided it was time to at least attempt to read it. We all know I’m not the biggest fan of graphic novels.

SANDMAN

Synopsis from GoodReads

In Preludes and Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman weaves the story of a man interested in capturing the physical manifestation of Death but who instead captures the King of Dreams.

Summary from Such a Book Nerd

Beginning in 1916 with a ceremony attempting to capture Death, Sandman kicks off big.   The ceremony goes wrong, and instead The Sandman – a strange figure – is brought to earth/reality.  From that moment on, people fall into the sleeping sickness, and don’t awaken for decades.  Sandman is kept in a  glass bubble until 1988, when his original captors are old men.  Finally freed, he’s out for revenge on those who kept him locked up all those years.  Arriving home, he sees the remains of his crumbled kingdom – which, in his absence, has fallen apart.

He learns from the three graces that he must collect three items to regain his power – a bag of sand, a helmet, and a ruby.

What I enjoyed about this graphic novel that it had some short stories, a few longer pieces of the arch for the season (the collecting of the three items), as well as, laid the ground work for the larger story about the sandman. I thought the stories were well written and that the art added to the feel of the story in a way that made sense and made the story telling more interesting.

Some of the art work was very heavy and dark. And I did find it interesting that the silhouette of the sandman looked kind of like Gaiman. But of all ways to consume a horror story, the graphic novel may be my newest favorite. I’m not a huge horror fan (dare I tell you, but Stephen Kings Salem Lot puts me to sleep without fail as it is overly descriptive?) But I did find the horror stories compelling in this format.

Perhaps my favorite  character though was Death. She was quite memorable, and one of the reasons that I will probably continue reading the graphic novels. 

sandmandeath

You can read another review here on Such a Book Nerd or on Some Reading.

eBook Review: Risen

risen

I found book one of the Dark Victorian series, Risen, by Elizabeth Watasin free on my Kindle App.  It looked like my type of reading, which is still important even if the book is free, it was set in the Victorian period, looked a bit steam punky, and had a skull on it. I’ve had moderate success when I pick random free books, so I was still a bit wary. However, this was my most successful, random, free book on Kindle to date.

It is 1880 in a mechanical and supernatural London. Agents of Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, their criminal pasts wiped from their memories, are resurrected to fight the eldritch evils that threaten England. Amidst this turmoil, Jim Dastard and his new partner Artifice must stop a re-animationist raising murderous dead children. As Art and Jim pursue their quarry, Art discovers clues about her past self, and through meeting various intriguing women—a journalist, a medium, a prostitute, and a mysterious woman in black—where her heart lies. Yet the question remains: What sort of criminal was she? A new beginning, a new identity, and new dangers await Art as she fights for the Secret Commission and for her second life. (Synopsis from GoodReads)

The premise for the book was intriguing. Dead people brought to life to make up for past deeds. I liked that there was a story in this book that ended, the dead murderous children mystery is wrapped up, but the mystery of who Art was, is only just beginning. I enjoyed the character Jim Dastard, a talking skull, perhaps due to his  likeness to Bob from Harry Dresden, but mostly because he had some of the best lines.

There were a few things that were a bit odd. A little out of place was the fact that Art is Quaker but adept at fighting and hitting on women. However, it’s possible all of this explained as more about Art’s past is revealed. Also a bit odd was that the author could have set this in any time period she wanted, she’s the creator after all, but has her main character dislike many of the things about the Victorian era, and even goes about modifying clothes so her fighting makes sense. While they do this on Warehouse 13 with H.G. Wells, perhaps the disjointed feeling is that Warehouse 13 is purposefully campy and gets away with sideways turns of characters while this gothic steampunk book takes itself seriously.

These are minor questions that were raised as I read, in the end Risen is a very good book. The writing is excellent, the concepts are intriguing, and the characters have the feel of fully fleshed out individuals even if all the parts of them aren’t revealed in the first book. The author clearly knows where she is going with her story, and a fun story it is! I know the murderous dead kids seems a bit gruesome, but even that is done well, and I’m known to like things a bit dark, so I was not put off by that. If you like steampunk with a twist of darkness, the magic arts, and talking skulls, give this series a chance.

Audio Book Review: American Gods

american gods

Everyone, and everyone, has recommended I read American Gods. They told me it should be my first taste of Gaiman. But, I’m never one to do what everyone tells me. So I picked at Gaiman’s prolific work, reading some of his children’s books, his graphic novel The Sandman series, fell in love with Neverwhere, and even watched him sing with his lovely wife Amanda Palmer on Youtube. Then I decided it was time to delve into the oh so popular American Gods. Chris ordered it on Audible and once he was finished I started listening to the story. It took me a while to get through it because I had just moved to Texas. I read the 10th Anniversary edition, with the author’s preferred text. (Following synopsis from GoodReads)

. . . . Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. It is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.

Along the way, Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing – an epic war for the very soul of America – and that he is standing squarely in its path. . . . 

According to the author, either one loves this book or hates it. Apparently, Chris and I are not everyone because he found the book just so, so, and while I enjoyed the book, Gaiman’s way with words is quite wonderful, I didn’t exactly fall in love with it. I see the appeal though, Gaiman pulls from many mythologies, across the world, and compares them to those we Americans hold dear. And it’s not football, like you might think. The imagery that Gaiman pulls out of his head and puts down on paper is amazing. I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. Further, I enjoyed the many twists and turns of the book.

What American Gods does is makes one think. What gods do we hold dear, and why? Are they more important, do they compete with the old gods? Is there anything wrong with that?

However, those twists I mentioned? Well, perhaps it is because I’m my father’s daughter, but I saw each of them coming before it was more than a whisper of a thought in the book. I was not at all surprised by the ending. They were excellent twists, they were unusual and captivating, but I guessed a good 80% of them before they happened. This doesn’t make the book less enjoyable, but it is probably why I didn’t fall in love with it.

I did really like this as an audio book. The voice over actors are all very good, and there are many of them, so the different people are all distinguishable. Even though I can tell some of the voice over actors read several parts, they read them differently enough that even before the narrator says who is talking you can tell. That is the hallmark of a good voice over actor to me. Additionally, I wouldn’t have read the book nearly as fast in person because I was only really able to listen to this as I drove to work. Some times it made leaving the car hard, but it was always fun to come back to on the drive home.

I do recommend reading this piece of Gaiman’s work. It is excellent, a contemporary novel with a twist of the supernatural. Like his other work, Gaiman’s book will make you think and ponder the things we have deemed gods. The start is a bit slow, but once the story hits its stride it surges forward and may drag you to the end before you are ready.

Tearing Up Books, Litterally

Here is our latest project. Tearing about Where the Wild Things Are like the wild things inside of us wanted. Plus, we had a cool ideal to relieve them in black and put them up on our wall as decoration. Additionally, we found our favorite pictures and framed them and hung them up. Furthermore, we made some Christmas presents too, which were a big hit. All in all, tearing apart this book was a fabulous idea.

Chris cutting them out of the book

Chris cutting them out of the book

A wild thing cut out and its relief next to it

A wild thing cut out and its relief next to it

I used special paper modge podge to glue the wild thing to its background and then added a layer on top to seal it.

I used special paper modge podge to glue the wild thing to its background and then added a layer on top to seal it.

Max ready to be hung on the wall

Max ready to be hung on the wall

 

Wall with the Wilds Things playing in between tree photos I took.

Max in the boat

 

30 Days of Thankful: Books and The Ones I Loved in 2013

As you have probably guessed by now, I’m trying to catch up on my 30 Days of Thankful Challenge. There is a reason, and you will see why tomorrow. So, you get four posts from me today! Woot. Aren’t you lucky? :)

I always do an end of the year, here are my favorite books go back and read my links so I get better stats post, so I’m doing a two-fer here and posting a think I’m thankful for and following tradition. ‘Cause I’m awesome like that. Also, everyone else is posting their favorite books and I have to jump on the bandwagon now, cause I’m good at that. Some times. Ok, like every once in a while.

Hoo, boy this is difficult. I read a lot of books in 2013 and a lot of really good books in 2013 and some I haven’t even gotten around to reviewing yet. Here are my favorites.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (click on the link to read my full review)

Summary: Code Name Verity is a historical fictitious tale, Wein writes the struggles of two friends as they help their country in a time of need. The story is written from both girls’ perspectives, and I guess it could also be termed an epistolary tale, as it is told from the letters one girl writes and the reports another girl writes.

Why I loved it: I liked the period that it was set in and the way the story unfolds. There are a lot of twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I especially love the relationship between the two girls, their friendship is inspiring and amazing. Wein’s writing is excellent and makes the amazing (could be true, but wasn’t) tale all that much better.

Cinder by Melissa Meyer (click on the link to read my full review)

SummaryCinder is a fairy tale retelling of the classic Cinderella story, but this one has cyborgs, plagues, and a Moon Queen who threatens the Earth’s existence!!!

Why I loved it: This book has all sorts of elements that I absolutely adore. It had cool sci/fi centered around androids and cyborgs, a dystopian future because of a plague, and a really cool take on retelling fairy tales. Meyers takes all of these elements and brings them into a cohesive story that has heart, great character development, and interesting relationships. I read the second book immediately, and I greatly anticipate the third book in the series, Cress, when it is expected to be published in February 2014 (there is a count down on the author’s page).

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (click on the link to read my full review)

Summary: When Richard Mayhew stops one day to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London pavement, his life is forever altered, for he finds himself propelled into an alternative reality that exists in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere. Blurb from GoodReads

Why I loved it: Honestly, this is when I fell in love with Neil Gaiman, and then I discovered his wife Amanda Palmer and they became my favorite people that I’ll never know in real life of 2013. Gaiman has an amazing way with words and story telling, that I even got my hands on a copy of his comic book series The Sandman. And long time readers know how much I hate to read graphic novels. This was also the year I started really listening to audio books and I enjoyed listening to Gaiman read his own creation.

Gaiman has an excellent speaking voice, is a good voice actor, and  hearing the story from the author was one of the best parts of this audiobook. The minute I started listening to Neverwhere I was entranced.  I also like how Gaiman writes stories that discuss greater human themes in subtle and engaging ways. He does this without preaching, he does it with out pointing it out, he just makes his comments about society fall at the right moment from the right person.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (click on the link to read my full review)

Summary: The Raven Boys follows the story of Blue and four boys from a local prep school set in the Virginia nowhere. Blue, daughter to a psychic, goes with her “aunt” to the corpse road on St. Marks Eve as amplifier for her psychic aunt who sits on a wall drawing a strange symbol waiting for the soon to be dead people to walk down the path. Every St. Marks Eve those people who will be dead within the next year appear as ghosts traveling the corpse road and Blue’s family takes down names to tell clients if they are soon to die. Blue never sees any of them herself, merely an energy amp, she is tasked with writing down the names and waits for her aunt to be finished. But this fateful St. Marks Eve (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) she sees a ghost, a boy who calls himself Gansey. No less shocked her aunt tells her “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

Why I loved it: I know a lot of people had some difficulty with this book, even devoted Stiefvater fans. But I loved it. It was dark and startling and unsettling. If felt like and unfinished tale, a beginning, and it is. I don’t mind the first book in a series, being a bit raw, I think it was done on purpose. Once again, Stiefvater is a masterful storyteller, pulling pieces of the story from each of the five characters. The magic of the book is just as entrancing as the story itself, and I have high expectations for the finished product (supposedly there will be four books).

Book Review: Pleasure Unbound

pleasure unbound

I read Pleasure Unbound as part of the Virginal Fantasy book club. I read it after the group had, but that was my library’s fault. So there. I don’t often post reviews of the scifi erotic type of books that I read because they are all very similar and I read a lot of books so culling out the scifi erotica on my to do list has made the list much more manageable. However, lately my reading has decreased significantly and so culling is not as necessary, plus I thought this series had some unique aspects to it.

Synopsis from GoodReads:

She’s a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

I liked how demonic did not necessarily equal bad. It reminded me of Whedon’s show Angel. Demonic is more similar to alien than necessarily evil. They even have an underground network to take care of each other, including the aforementioned hospital. The hospital has a spell on it so creatures who normally don’t get along can’t fight each other there. It reminds me of Lorne’s karaoke bar on Angel. I dislike that the brothers are exempted from the no fighting rule, seems an unnecessary exemption, the author just wanting to write some fight scenes. If you are the models for the demon society, maybe you should be modeling peaceful interactions? But what do I know.

The demon slayer is your typical, I don’t really know what’s going on, type of characters. But I did like that when she begins to understand how her organization may be corrupt she investigates further and wants more knowledge. She doesn’t stick her head in the sand. The sex scenes are appropriately power struggle filled, but didn’t really stick out in my head. Honestly, the book would have been fine without them.

In my mind this series is part of the Buffy/Angel universe, just a part we never heard about before. It has some similar organizations and story line aspects to Whedon’s shows. It was enjoyable and I plan on reading more of the series.