I have a weird fascination with creature features, particularly movies. Whenever SyFy is coming with a weird new movie – Sharktopus, Sharknado, PiranhI have a weird fascination with creature features, particularly movies. Whenever SyFy is coming with a weird new movie – Sharktopus, Sharknado, Piranhaconda, etc. – I’m there to watch it, much to my family’s annoyance.
Once in a while I like to let my hair down with a creature feature book. Most of the ones I’ve read have been bad. Not to say I watch/read creature features for a good story, but at least I want to be entertained. They have to be a good bad movie or book. But most of them are just bad bad.
Dinosaur Lake, narrated by the Chief Park Ranger at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, who discovers there just might be something prehistoric living in the lake, falls just on the edge of bad bad. It wasn’t as bad as some I’ve read but I guess that’s not saying too much. To illustrate, I’ll leave you with the few notes I took as I read this story:
* Let the typos and errors begin! * Weird stuff - who says "I’ll Federal Express some books" instead of just using “FedEx”?? * And the main character is supposed to be from NYC and he's been in Oregon less than 10 years and he sounds like he's from some small town?? [a little later] Oh wait, EVERYONE, no matter where they’re from, basically sounds like they’re from some small town if the narrator likes them. * "He knew she suspected he was up to something, but being the good wife that she was, she didn't question him further." Gross. * In one scene the narrator puts his hand on his gun as comfort. Then a couple pages later, he's apparently not been comfortable carrying a gun for the past 10 years. * The author learned a big word, anachronism, and decided to show everyone how much she knew this big word by using it a million times. * Oh great, now we have an X-files type agent who believes in "evil in nature." Can I roll my eyes any harder? * Within a few weeks, this guy is ready to propose to the ranger's daughter? The 33-year-old to the 20-year-old? Apparently he never believed in love at first sight till until he met the daughter. Why am I reading this? * (view spoiler)[Aaand the moment the old man says he's shutting down the paper, retiring, and possibly moving to LA to live with his son, you know he's getting chomped. [at of the book] Well, that’s a trope that didn’t come true! (hide spoiler)] * SERIOUSLY?!? (view spoiler)[The wife decides to sneak into the park after all she's heard from her husband?? All the death and gore? This is such a Syfy-esque creature feature book with dumb decisions and all. (hide spoiler)] * Now all of a sudden it becomes a nautical tale, with the author throwing in words like astern and aft. Jesus Christ. * "Don't worry so." Who the hell talks like that?? No one except in this book. * "The young always had to have their music." I don't even know what this is anymore. * "The four men talked among themselves, of things only men liked to talk about." Not enough eye-rolling emojis for this and I won't even bother with the grammar.
There you have it. Final rating: 2.5 stars (mostly because I’ve ready some doozies to which I gave 2 stars, so I had to rate this slightly higher).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Despite this being a post-apocalyptic story, a genre I tend to enjoy, I avoided reading it for a long time because I thought it was going to some supeDespite this being a post-apocalyptic story, a genre I tend to enjoy, I avoided reading it for a long time because I thought it was going to some super Shakespeare-heavy book. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, maybe the whole thing written in Shakespearian English? Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Short version of the story: the world goes to hell after a new type of virus kills off most of humankind. We see the world, both before and after, through the eyes of various characters. At first the shifting timelines were confusing, but I got used to it pretty quickly.
If I had to pick, I’d say the main character of the book is Kirsten, a young woman who’s part of the Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors that travel around between small towns (really just small groups of people), performing music and Shakespeare’s plays. Their motto, taken from Star Trek, is: “Because survival is insufficient.” I love this. It’s not enough just to survive – you have to live, you have to have some meaning, some point, to your life. This theme is suffused throughout the entire book, even in the parts that happened before the world ended (even in the negative parts). And I’m just beginning to realize that as I type this review.
And here is my favorite quote, which is probably not a surprise to people who know me (and why I tend to enjoy post-apocalyptic stories): The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?
For a better, more in-depth review, I suggest you check out Karen’s here....more
I originally read this as an ebook so I waited till I saw the physical book to review it. I’ve found that any book that involves art incorporated in aI originally read this as an ebook so I waited till I saw the physical book to review it. I’ve found that any book that involves art incorporated in any way always works better as a physical book than the ebook version. This was certainly true here though this worked better in ebook than other art/illustration books I've come across because a large part is text.
This was a cute story of a lost cat that turns up again after a couple months (weeks?) and the lengths his owner (and her girlfriend) went to figuring out what had happened to the cat during the time he’d been gone. It turns out to be more than just the story of the cat. And of course, Wendy MacNaughton’s illustrations are great, as always.
I think this cliched quote sums it up: If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with....more
I was really excited when I first heard about this book – I’ve been fascinated with the Farallon Islands myself for a while. I first learned about theI was really excited when I first heard about this book – I’ve been fascinated with the Farallon Islands myself for a while. I first learned about them from Susan Casey's book, The Devil's Teeth. Then when I was living in San Francisco, I finally got to go out and visit (on a boat). The islands have this air of mystery and are almost always surrounded by gray skies and fog, and I was excited to photograph that, but the day I went, we were greeted by the most unusual, calmest seas and bright sunshine.
The book is about Miranda, a nature photographer who goes to the Farallon Islands for a year for personal photography project. She lives in a small house that’s occupied by 6 other people – biologists and one intern. A couple months into her project, she’s assaulted by someone and the story depicts the events that follow.
From my initial understanding, the book was obviously a mystery but was supposed to be infused with nature writing. It delivered on that but unfortunately, some of the facts that were presented weren’t quite accurate. For example, humpback whales do not have lasting mates nor do they follow a strong leader. And her characterization of some animals, like the octopus and whales as “monstrous” seemed quite off for someone who was supposed to be a nature photographer and had been doing that work for a while. I was also annoyed by this description of humpback whales: “There is something inartistic about their bodies, too. […] Even the babies aren’t photogenic.”
Say what?! Again, coming from someone who’s supposed to be a nature photographer, this just doesn’t sound right. Tell me these photos are of something “inartistic.”
Anyway… The story was fine, it was entertaining, but the thing that really just annoyed me was the amount of incidents that happened in the short time that Miranda is on the island crosses the line into unbelievable. Some of it made sense but then some of it crossed over into sensational and ridiculous. So I had to knock off some stars.
I know this was meant to be satire and the characters are supposed to be over-the-top but... It was just too much for me. I couldn't look past the facI know this was meant to be satire and the characters are supposed to be over-the-top but... It was just too much for me. I couldn't look past the fact that these were basically caricatures - they were like real people to me and I couldn't stand a single person in this book....more