Krampus, Krampus, Krampus...we're hearing a lot of that name this year. It seems the beast of legend, one of Santa's helpers with the not so nice on tKrampus, Krampus, Krampus...we're hearing a lot of that name this year. It seems the beast of legend, one of Santa's helpers with the not so nice on the list, is finally making his way into our modern world consciousness. I find it exciting actually. I love the old legends surrounding holidays so I welcome Krampus as the dark alter ego of Santa. After all, everyone has a dark side, whether it be small or large.
Manochio's Twelfth Krampus Night is set in medieval times when people were very superstitious and believed in such legends as Krampus and Frau Perchta. But even the people of the time found themselves having to suspend disbelief when they encountered these individuals, especially Krampus, the demon/man/goat monstrosity. Turns out, these two have a score to settle with a very naughty individual. Little do they know...they're not after the same person. When they decide to join forces, all hell breaks loose...literally.
This novella is a short read, but it packs a lot of punch. It's not really Christmas-y, but it is set during Twelfth Night so still within that window of the festive season. Manochio shows a real talent for spinning a good, scary yarn, with some humor thrown in for good measure....more
Boy oh boy, what a werewolf novel! We're not given long until we're served up a truly scary massacre by one monstrous werewolf. At that point, that'sBoy oh boy, what a werewolf novel! We're not given long until we're served up a truly scary massacre by one monstrous werewolf. At that point, that's it...you can't put it down (or stop thinking about it when you must put it down). I keep asking myself, "Is this really my first Janz read? What the hell have I been waiting for!?"
Let me tell you though. He doesn't just do gore. Oh no. There is some serious character development here. So much so that you're either rooting for the good guy, or seriously hating on the bad guy. Also, he writes werewolves the way I think they would/should be. More like a man-wolf beast rather than a wolf in the traditional sense, a la Twilight or True Blood. But it's not just the look. The charisma and self assurance that I also feel would accompany a werewolf's physique is also here. We're treated to downtrodden characters with low self esteem suddenly becoming confident and enigmatic. Never mind that they're also becoming monsters. Good stuff!
Janz has written a good many horror novels that I will be scooting closer to the top of my to-be-read stack (or the queue in my Kindle). This novel, Wolf Land, is not only a true masterpiece of werewolf horror. It is also just a damn good novel. I can't help but think of Stephen King. You get the scares, but you also get great writing. This book definitely fills the bill. Read this one...now!...more
I first learned of Marguerite de Valois (Princess Margot) upon watching the 1994 French film, La Reine Margot. The subject matter and her character faI first learned of Marguerite de Valois (Princess Margot) upon watching the 1994 French film, La Reine Margot. The subject matter and her character fascinated me and ever since I've been intrigued to learn more about her. When I was given the opportunity to read and review Medicis Daughter, I couldn't wait to say yes.
Perinot is a talented historical author. She takes characters already known to us and makes them even more real. Princess Margot's mother, Catherine de Medici, a woman both maligned and admired in history, quite lives up to her reputation of Madame la Serpente in this depiction. I have heard arguments on both sides regarding her true nature, but the fact remains that she would have had to have been a formidable woman to navigate the treacherous times she lived in. That she pretty much used her daughters as pawns while worshiping her sons, namely Henri, was the difficult part of this book. How women of royalty could stand to live the way they were forced to live is beyond my comprehension. I guess my 21st century self can't wrap my head around having no choices in your own life. This being said, Margot really learned to hold her own. Perinot has depicted Margo as a strong and resilient woman who weathered the storm and finally came into her own when she showed her mother she had no control over her any longer. It was a triumphant moment and I cheered at the end.
There are so many remarkable women in the history of the world and I know I can always count on Sophie Perinot to tell a compelling story while staying true to historical detail. I can't wait to read what she publishes next. If you haven't read this one, you really simply must! ...more
I have to admit to going through something of a midlife crisis at this point in my life. I'm not acting out or experiencing it in the traditional, obvI have to admit to going through something of a midlife crisis at this point in my life. I'm not acting out or experiencing it in the traditional, obvious ways (like an affair...not possible since I'm no longer married), but in subtle ways like job disillusionment. Really just disillusionment in general, I guess. So, Pilgrim's journey/experiences in these brilliantly written sonnets really hit home for me.
The written word has always had a deeper meaning for me than just entertainment, and never is that more so than when I read poetry. As I'm going through this period in my life, I found myself really identifying with many of Pilgrim's experiences in these sonnets.
She finds herself at parties, teeming with the examples of the seven deadly sins and she shuts herself in the bathroom to escape, to read. Soon, she is always armed at these occasions with a book in her purse. Sound familiar? I always have a book with me and could so see myself doing this. Especially if subjected to the narcissism and elitism she finds herself exposed to.
"...Pilgrim ran for the bathroom, not for coke as others supposed, but for something more covert and rare: a book, or any bit of anything written. An antidote to the twitter Out There..." (Page 5)
And then her fears in regards to her special needs son (autism, Asperger's, spectrum disorders), as I have dealt with these same fears with my son. Powerful, powerful words...
"...and where to find the manual that tells how to respond to the loved child who from his snug bed whispers, I wish I were dead, Mom? Tell me, Dr. Spock, what to do about that, what does a mother fucking do about that?" (Page 18)
And what so many of us run to and alas, it doesn't help/didn't work, at least not in my case...
"Pilgrim knew what the answer was: get born again. Even if it hadn't worked out so well the first time. Te altar-call part, the prophesying, the speaking-in-tongues all felt a lot like a Ouija board cheat, you know, wanting it so much that, OK, SHE NUDGED THE PLANCHETTE..." (Page 61)
And here, I think what we perhaps all were taught and continually strive for, even through our trials, midlife crises, etc...
"...So clear then, the rules: better yourself. Work hard. Save. Pay the bills." (Page 15)
As I said, profound. If you love poetry, you must pick up this book.
I leave you with this final sonnet, which speaks to my love of books and reading, to the mother who instilled that love in me, and to the validity of the escape and redemption that can come from reading a book...
Your mother, reading on the stairs in light poured in a wide shaft. At night, shadows, soft thuds and pleading, clink-clink of his ice in the glass. Your mother, reading. Light seen through a chink in a cellar wall. The attic air, dry and danced with bright motes. You know it's there, at the top of the house, the stairs you must muster the mind to ascend. But how? Where is the first step? Your old notebooks, dust-felted, stacked up somewhere. Your mother, reading. The sense of another life, inside and outside the walls. An attic, other upper rooms in the home. Other homes. You are a mother now, too--so many open mouths, so much to do-- your mother reading, reading herself alive. Showing you....more