Review soon - but this book really irritated me with Dante's stupidity and attitude. The author also ended on an annoying cliffhanger like a...more2.5 stars
Review soon - but this book really irritated me with Dante's stupidity and attitude. The author also ended on an annoying cliffhanger like a tv show, which I find cheating in the way it's done. It figures this would make my challenge finish as the 100th book of the year too.(less)
3.5 stars. The ending almost killed me, then gave redemption/hope, although I'm still not hoping that plot poinit carries on long the next book. Don't...more3.5 stars. The ending almost killed me, then gave redemption/hope, although I'm still not hoping that plot poinit carries on long the next book. Don't like rewininding and trying to convince someone, that irks me. I also wish more progression had happened in her personal life. There are many questions raised in this book about the vamps, her court, and how much everyone is hiding from her, but nothing is answered either, and to me she doesn't wonder enough. I would have liked more resolution, and cliffhangers aren't my thing. Full review soon.(less)
Another re-read of this one for some reason. 4th time in 10 years. It has some poor writing and melodrama but the story sucks me in and I love the cha...moreAnother re-read of this one for some reason. 4th time in 10 years. It has some poor writing and melodrama but the story sucks me in and I love the characters. A guilty pleasure I'll probably keep returning to.(less)
Such a cute book for young children. Plenty of humor, lots of imagination, magic, legends, animal interactions, colorful and detailed pencil drawings,...moreSuch a cute book for young children. Plenty of humor, lots of imagination, magic, legends, animal interactions, colorful and detailed pencil drawings, and quick pace. The book ends with a guide of different camel features which make them well suited for the desert. Also puts in a new play for the words 'Hump' and 'Humph!'(less)
It’s been so long since I’ve read these that reading them now is almost like experiencing them for the first time all over again. Having a shoddy memo...moreIt’s been so long since I’ve read these that reading them now is almost like experiencing them for the first time all over again. Having a shoddy memory mainly sucks, but in the case of book re-reads, it holds its gifts.
I do remember some things though – like when this came out, Barker was making his way on the horror scene big time, heavily endorsed by King himself, who said: “I have seen the future of horror, and his name is Clive Barker.” This quote was even used, with an actor voiceover, for the Hellraiser’s trailer years later. It is used, of course, on the Books of Blood as a selling point.
Barker has since demonstrated extreme versatility in genre and form; you’re more than likely now of days to find his imaginative tombs lining the shelves in a fantasy section rather than a horror one. When he erupted onto the scene he did so with big bangs – the Books of Blood series being one of the biggest.
Immediately it’s clear Barker possesses a beautiful and poetic prose. If you asked me what stood out the most about this anthology, I’d answer that first: writing style. Altering rhythm to fit the story and not become repetitive, there’s emphasis where there should be, distance when that fits, all the while weaving both sides together naturally.
The opening story, ‘The Book of Blood,’ is almost indecisive on where it wanted to go, but ultimately the end is a horrific, well-written arrival. Twisted, surreal, somewhat mystical, the tone for the rest of the anthology is accurately set. Basically the dead have highways by which they travel, and on one of these highways, at an interval, is a house. Inside that house is a poser boy pretending dangerously to be something he isn’t, joined by a paranormal investigator who goes in being duped but leaves exalted. And of course the dead are there. They’re ready to share their stories, how they ended up on this particular path, their personal damnations, so won’t you listen? 3.5/5
In the Midnight Meat Train, Kaufman ends up traveling a dangerous path of his own. The man has loved, cherished, and longed for New York city from afar his entire life, but now that he’s finally planted his roots in the Big Apple, he finds only bitter tastes. Kaufman soon discovers a hidden aspect of the city; apparently one man’s horror is another man’s paradise. It’s grim, it’s brutal, there are gory details but nothing just for cheap shock value. Tension is severely taut in this one. I was chewing my lip and sitting wide eyed at a particular scene at the end. Dark and gritty finale - some disturbing stuff and interesting too. 4/5
The Yattering and the Jack is whimsical and mildly amusing. The story shows the POV of a lower-level repulsive type of demon who is trying to ruin a man’s life and break him in the process. To his annoyance, this man seems to have no breaking point. There were amusing areas but I didn’t outright laugh. Que Sera, Sera…3/5
‘Pig Blood Blues’ starts off reminding me of those redundant school type movies that glorified in teen rebellion in the 80’s and 90’s. You know, the one where a decent person starts at a new school, wanting to teach and do well, but the kids are hellions and the governing figures don’t seem to give a damn. Then the other adults start getting a bit too out there with some of the kids, and flashes of the Wicker Man start burning in my head. Finally it just ends up leaving me with the memory of those nasty little pigs from that Hannibal scene in the movie. Quite disturbing. 3/5
Sex, Death and Starshine is my personal favorite. It revives the old magic of the theatre, a love which apparently transcends death for the dearly departed. I give little thought toward theatre, but Barker is a fan in real life, and it shows through his words as he convincingly weaves his web on yours truly. I also ended up feeling the nostalgia, the magic. There’s some cheesiness I’d like to dust off from the second half, but the story shines the strongest because of a subtle, still eeriness that one can’t put into effective words. 4/5
For the last offering, ‘In the Hills, the Cities,’ I liked the beginning banter between the two mains but became bored after. I dug the unique plot creation and the sociological, potent basis of it, but couldn’t hold focus in between that. 2/5
Overall this anthology is the ideal length – a groovy, gory intro story followed by five tales that offer disturbing doses of disturbed reality in completely different ways. This anthology deserves to be read and known, Barker did a great job creating unease and clearly has a poetic license to boot.(less)
* Note this rating reflects the book's worth as a young children's book*
For young kids, this is an in between books - mainly words with a few occasion...more* Note this rating reflects the book's worth as a young children's book*
For young kids, this is an in between books - mainly words with a few occasional pictures. The pictures when shown as bright, colorful, and well illustrated. Every text page has fun blue font for sound effects to hold interest for children starting to read.
Superman is made ultra powerful for this book. So sad many movies can't follow route for budget and plot effects. It starts immediately into the action, involves thinking processes on the side of Superman, assistance with the military, moral lessons on not letting anger control you, and surprises that should keep the young reader happy.
It's a short book but a perfect length for children of this age group. Highly recommended for young superhero fans. The end gives a brief biography of Doomsday and his abilities, as well as a thesaurus.(less)
A great book for children who have a curious nature or who enjoy science. Some of the content is interesting and I learned a few things mysel...more3.5 Stars
A great book for children who have a curious nature or who enjoy science. Some of the content is interesting and I learned a few things myself.
Good questions and chapters such as
Why is the Universe Expanding? Why does the wind blow? Why does Iron Rust? Why does water freeze? Why do things burn?
There a few odd questions that don't seem to belong in a science book though, especially "Why are babies and puppies seen as universally cute?"
There's this weird bit thrown in there too:
"Cute babies get more attention and are more likely to be looked after. Babies with tiny eyes, flat foreheads, and square faces unfortunately tend to get less attention."
I took off a star s the nonfiction book opens with a bible quote of all things, and then disagrees with it. The scripture it uses isn't even talking about not questioning things of science necessarily, is taken out of context, and the book quotes it without listing the scripture it's quoting from. It seems in poor taste to me.
It also makes clear that in the chapter on the greenhouse effect that if we continue at our current rate, the earth will not be inhabitable in a few centuries. It does not put in beyond this that it is very unlikely we would continue with the same usage, since very likely we will not be as dependent on the same fuel sources as heavily for the next hundred years.
Questions range from easy and clear such as Why do Apples Fall down, to more complex ones like "Why does E=mc2?" (I can't do the right 2 symbol on here...)
The book is divided into three segments - Nature and the Earth, The Human Body and Mind, Physics and Space.
Not perfect, but a good gift for young scientists and children if you run into it, especially with Christmas around the corner.
Alien…a classic, epic movie. Created from a screenplay, they turned around and made the movie, then made the book off the movie/screenplay – one rarel...moreAlien…a classic, epic movie. Created from a screenplay, they turned around and made the movie, then made the book off the movie/screenplay – one rarely thinks of this book offspring when they hear the word “Alien.” The movie is better too, but for fans of the series, especially completionists, this spawned book is a good addition to the shelves.
I won’t go into the details of the story – what’s the point? If you don’t know the story of Alien, rent it immediately or miss out. The book stays pretty faithful to the film. This didn’t work for the beginning, though, as reading about drug out technical aspects of landing, planning the course, and positioning lasted far too long and bored me. After page forty or so, my interest finally shipped off.
The scene where Lambert, Dallas, and Kane explore the alien vessel and find the chamber is especially eerie and great. In written form, I was able to appreciate the impressiveness and uniqueness of the ship much more than when staring at it on the screen. I think this was due in part to the author taking such time to detail the structure and how truly alien it was, emphasizing this fact further than the movie did. Creepiness was laid on thick as Kane explores the chambers; that climb down seemed longer in length, more suspenseful, in written form.
After the first half, the book starts changing small things from the movie, which is fine. Overall the deaths in the book were lackluster to the movie though. There wasn’t as much suspense and impact. There is even more kitty emphasis. Mother plays a smaller part, especially at the end. The chase scenes were great and made sense (in other words, they weren’t in trouble because they were acting stupid like some stories rely on, they were acting with intelligence but happened to be up against something stronger than they.)
And of course, there was no underwear showdown!
Character wise, Ridley was less likeable. She is flatter, bitchier, and her arrogance irritated me as well as the crew. Dallas is as likeable in written form as the flick. I cared more about Parker and Brent reading about them. Ash was well done and further fleshed out.
Oddly the alien’s appearance isn’t discussed hardly at all. Weird, right? The author goes into detail about the egg, the facehugger alive and dead. Ash eagerly dishes out revelations and theories about the being’s abilities and superiority, but when it comes to the adult’s alien appearance, it’s ridiculously vague. Was it because the author struggled with the right wording on describing the unique creature right? Writing error and accidentally leaving that description out despite the many chances to include it? Did they want to leave that particular surprise for the movie buffs, what? It bugs me.
Overall fans should read it if they own it or stumble across a copy. The book doesn’t add in any missing pieces or further insight but it’s still an enjoyable read. The characters, even the alien, are flatter – but the action segments work and it’s a fascinating story. It also has made me in the mood to watch the movie again. <3 (less)
My mother was not a cookbook collector, recipe horder, coupon clipper, or gourmet cook when I grew up. She had two cookbooks, one being the old fashio...moreMy mother was not a cookbook collector, recipe horder, coupon clipper, or gourmet cook when I grew up. She had two cookbooks, one being the old fashioned Better Homes and Gardens. Every year at Christmas time she would spend hours creating the same recipes to hand out to everyone on Christmas plates – Banana Bread (she makes the best ever, a secret is self-rise flour instead of all purpose for hers), chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, mint brownies, coconut balls, date balls, and snowballs (which I found out since are also known as Russian tea cakes.) Almost all of her recipes came from better Homes and Gardens.
No matter how simple it seems, or how complex, it’s almost always delicious. I was absolutely delighted to have this one to read – dedicated to baking from the best? Yes, please. Their traditional kitchen and timeless techniques are covered in detail within these pages. They go through everything in their basics, each page a large picture with writing over it, many times with additional pictures. Everything from lining pans with different items to all the types of sugars, chocolates, and extra ingredients. They even show four pictures and instructions each on every way of mixing and blending baking ingredients.
Thinking the instructions weren’t fancy enough, even the recipe pages are decorated with background photos and art. It’s awesome, really. I wonder how their chocolate chip cookie recipe measures up to my beloved tollhouse cookie recipe? I’m especially curious to try the Soft Maple Sugar cookies! I’m so picky on sugar cookies already but these look delicious. Maple icing too? Yum!
I love their chapter on decorated cakes, especially the make-it-mine mini birthday cake ideas and cheeseburger ice cream cake. I have made a Big Mac cake before but never with ice cream. The burger part turns out to be the chocolate ice cream and the fries are part of the food. How great does this look?? Their cakes are all easy to do without having to purchase special molds, which is a nice change for some fancy, creative cakes such as the lollipop one.
It’s normal – and I expected – for them to have chapters on stuff like cakes, cookies, pies and tarts, but I didn’t expect an entire chapter on Cheesecakes, one of the more difficult items to make. Excellent. Good grief, cheesecake is rich enough, I think the Chocolate Peanut Butter cheesecake should almost be illegal! They had my favorite, and I kept searching for it, a Pumpkin Cheesecake. But theirs is with Sugar Pepitas, and I really have no idea what that is. It looks like something you make (they give you a recipe for it), but I think I’d rather have it without.
My favorite section ended up being “Coffee Shop.” Not because I want to make these for coffee, but because I have an obsession with baby desserts and having them with tea and for tea parties. I’ve found some of the most delicious recipes in the world doing that, trust me. The ones they have here are pretty good too and in the same vein, although I suppose they use the title coffee shop since that’s the more popular drink.
Did all my mom’s recipes from the book make the cut and carry through? Sadly, no. For the size of the book they of course can’t fit all the recipes in there that were in the original. Plus, there are more than triple the pictures and detailed instructions in this edition. I did spot her banana bread, using all purpose of course as before, but they’ve now added the twist of cinnamon. I missed the sight of her other Christmas classics, but at least I have her recipes handed down for those.
Overall a great recipe/dessert book from a cookbook publisher I trust. Since it’s baking, they of course don’t have it filled with the newer, modern low fat editions. They do make a note at the beginning on ways you can cut down on fat in any recipe you create at home, which is to me more useful than just providing it in the recipes themselves. This leaves the option for the creator.
The most intriguing, unusual recipe I found that looks delicious, a bit difficult, and to wow people: Opera cake. (less)
Delia’s Shadow promises quite a bit: Victorian Society; Human-Ghost Interaction; Gothic ambience; Paranormal Mystery. While the book delivers...more 3.5 Stars
Delia’s Shadow promises quite a bit: Victorian Society; Human-Ghost Interaction; Gothic ambience; Paranormal Mystery. While the book delivers all it promises, it holds back a bit at the same time.
Delia is returning home to be reunited with her childhood friend who is about to be married, and her surrogate mother who is on the eve of her deathbed. She’s not returning home alone, though – a ghost is trailing her, encouraging her to return home for reasons Delia can’t figure out. Meanwhile, Sadie’s fiancé Jack and friend Gabe are on the hunt for a serial killer who has been terrorizing the small town.
The story is a great concept. It has a lot going for it. The ambience is potent, and I could almost feel the fog on my face as I was reading the flashback scenes. I loved the psychic and she turned out to be my favorite. The gothic theme is used strongly and without shame. I do love how the plot is intertwined with so many secrets and how these connect to the characters in surprising ways.
Issues arise with the characterization. They didn’t seem convincingly, too good to be true, especially the police force. Delia and Gabe’s relationship also rang false since neither were convincing. As it typical with Gothic romances, the rushed love is usually unrealistic and without much buildup for that special connection. Also, for the house being full of ghosts, it was surprisingly non-eerie. I would forget about them being there unless the author mentioned it after a while. More could have been done with them.
While the mystery stayed a mystery, it was intriguing enough, but I feel the mystery was dropped too soon and fell off. The villain is a creative twist by identity, but I wish it could have been discovered a little later. It isn’t gory, although deaths are tragically felt.
I think one of the scenes that will stay with me the most is when the ghosts send Sadie on a vision, and Teddy looks at her once they arrive before evaporating into a cloud of dust. Beautiful stuff. You could certainly feel the haunting, paranormal elements swirling around.
There is one more thing to mention: weird POV struggles. It’s not unusual to have two points of view, one male and one female, but never when that’s done does it switch from first person point of view to third. Each section is labeled by the name Gabe or Delia, and when in Gabe’s head it was “He said…”, but when it’s Delia, it was “I thought…,etc.”
It’s the first of the series. I’m not sure where it will go from here, but I’m curious. And surely I’m not the only one who has massive cover love?
An enjoyable novel but ultimately parts of the ghost story are a little lifeless. (less)
Such a CUTE book. Intensive colors, great graphics, funny little tidbits, it covers every pet to every hero and villain. Kids who love DC should love...moreSuch a CUTE book. Intensive colors, great graphics, funny little tidbits, it covers every pet to every hero and villain. Kids who love DC should love this book. Filled with pictures and trivia, although not too much in depth information (a lot of these don't have much of a backstory...) They also have separate pages for the different leagues these pets make up. Recommended.(less)
This slender book turned out to be a cinch to sink into and a delight to finish.
Austin Carr, with his ‘infectious grin’, is a down-on-his luck stockb...moreThis slender book turned out to be a cinch to sink into and a delight to finish.
Austin Carr, with his ‘infectious grin’, is a down-on-his luck stockbroker saddled with a vicious ex-wife, office politics, and mucho debt to settle. It becomes much worse, however, when he ignores his instincts and takes a gamble on a bad deal. Will he be able to survive his mistake, or is this the big one he’ll never walk away from?
The fun ‘hero’ is humorous, shamelessly male in his pursuits, and a father with the right priorities where his kids are concerned. He is also one of those who life likes laughing at while it keeps tossing him cards of irony and chaos. The story’s bombshell is classic noir – alluring, inviting, and dangerous. I won’t go over every character but will say even the smaller roles stand out proudly. Even when they follow trademark roles, they’re still enjoyable.
Jack Getze delivers his tale smoothly using short paragraphs and mini chapters. Action and pacing keep the story moving at a good speed through humorous inner musings, convincing dialogue, and the classic traits which make a story shine. The ending holds at least two surprises, dishing out tantalizing twists mystery fans will enjoy.
Overall, Big Numbers excels by borrowing age-old noir crime qualities we already know and love, but those familiarities are intertwined with a fresh, unique style all of its own. (less)
Richard Laymon has always been a much revered horror author, choosing as his style to employ horror, shock effects, and sexuality in his work. Unfortu...moreRichard Laymon has always been a much revered horror author, choosing as his style to employ horror, shock effects, and sexuality in his work. Unfortunately, The Lake is not a book worth praising. Suspense is there, but it’s scarce, and frankly the reader doesn’t really care. I couldn’t get over the bizarre plot, the too unbelievable coincidences, and I could loan even less forgiveness to the hideous characterization.
It’s a rule in the publishing world that the ! sign be kept to a minimum. Also, capitalizing words or sentences to show that the character is screaming, or else is stunned, is lazy writing if overused. Here Laymon sins repeatedly, and I almost feel that the book was only published and this was overlooked simply because he had already gathered a following. His other works did not have this flaw, and one must wonder what was going on in his personal life to create such a rushed piece.
Dialogue is painfully pitiful for the most part. It’s unnatural that when characters speak to each other, they keep saying the others name in each sentence. The dream sequences used with the young girl, Deana, grows confusing, and so many times is not needed and only hurts the story. To make matters worse, the story is told through a valley girl style, with exclamations and comments capitalized by teenage slang that screams cardboard character.
The plot isn’t better. In fact, the book was hard to finish, and even harder to keep picking up. It starts promising enough, but then everything becomes so muddled it’s painful to wade through. The ending doesn’t answer all the questions, being obviously a bizarre twist just inserted to have something. Storyline isn’t consistent, and some things are rather irrelevant seeming. If he had following up with the story line the book began with, it would have been more interesting, or even the second storyline, but as it stands….well, I’m speechless.
Due to the weaker writing style, the bizarre plot that doesn’t entertain, bounces all over the place when it doesn’t need to, doesn’t make sense, and the false characters with painful internal and external monologue, The Lake isn’t a book I’d recommend. Frankly, I’m surprised it was even published. Read another Laymon book if you wish to be entertained, but stay far, far away from this one. (less)