A young orphan is stalked by cannibalistic, sharp-toothed psycho. Set in the early 20th, this comic is slightly reminiscent of Snyder’s other work, American Vampire. Unfortunately, the characters here are nowhere near as memorable or interesting as those in some of Snyder’s other work. While Severed is billed as being super scary, it’s really not all that horrifying. It’s not because the artwork is lacking, rather because the story itself is rather pedestrian. There’s really nothing all that original going on here. What really redeems the comic is the artwork itself, which is nearly perfect and absolutely lends itself not only to the tone of the story, but creates atmosphere where the story is lacking in it. A serviceable entry in the horror comic genre.
Adam Strand has killed himself 39 times. Most of them involve bridges or cliffs; Adam hates to leave a traumatizing mess for others. It’s not that he was simply unsuccessful in attempts at killing himself, he literally died each time, only to come back to life shortly after. It’s gotten to the point that the rest of the town treats these incidents with surprising nonchalance. If someone finds Adam, they simply pick him up and take him home; no reason to bother with the hospital. No one, least of all Adam, has any idea why Adam keeps coming back and only Adam knows why he keeps trying.
Adam is about as normal as it gets. He lives in an unnamed Southeastern Iowa town, right across the river from Illinois. There’s not a whole lot to do in town, so most of Adam’s free time is spent hanging out with the kids he’s known his whole life, drinking and hanging out under the bridge. Adam’s home life is decent; his grades are fine. His problem is mostly existential. Adam always seems to be fighting the urge to throw himself off of something. In his mind, it’s preferable to the grind of daily existence.
It’s not a cheerful premise, but it is darkly funny. Adam is sardonic and articulate. The characterizations of his friends and small town feel authentic. In spite of the fact that the main character of this book has committed suicide not once, but dozens of times, it is treated more as magical realism rather than a magical ability. Adam is not immortal; he has no other supernatural abilities; he is not a “chosen one”. He’s just a normal guy who desperately wishes he could end his own life, but for reasons beyond his comprehension, cannot. Don’t go into this one expecting blood and gore. It’s more of a coming-of-age story than anything else, but it’s definitely a story I haven’t heard before. For that, I am grateful. There was a lot of potential for this to be completely over-the-top, but it never crosses that line. It also leaves plenty of unanswered questions that will leave the reader pondering the ontological ramifications of growing up in the modern world.
There is something about this books that really sucks you in. I love the story of Elisa the reluctant princess with the godstone in her belly who becomes the symbol of a revolution and its leader. This is a coming of age story; a story about a girl who becomes the woman she was meant to be. It is not an easy journey for Elisa, but she endures, she perseveres and she triumphs.
I love the fact that Elisa is not your typical heroine. For one thing she is fat. There is never a fat princess main character in teen books. She is fat and she really doesn’t care in this book. She likes food and she eats it. She isn’t really happy with her body but she doesn’t bemoan the fact that she is fat. She is who she is. Sure she eventually slims down, but that is because of the lifestyle she comes to lead. She is forced to become a different person than the pampered princess who she started out as. I think her journey is amazing. She grows so much in this book. You can see the changes in her and those around her as her circumstances change.
I like that Carson is also not afraid to make hard decisions in her writing. She kills main characters, she makes people have questionable motives, she makes us as readers ask questions, and she makes her central plot all about religion. This may turn some people off, but it is essential to the story. This is a book that revolves around a religion. Elisa is the bearer of the godstone which means she is connected to God. Even though the plot is religious it doesn’t get heavy handed or preachy. It is just part of the plot which I appreciate.
I also appreciate that even though this is part of a planned trilogy this book can stand on its own. It ends in a good place and really doesn’t need more books if you don’t want to read more about this world. However, the rest of the series is just as amazing and you won’t want to miss it. Rae Carson has created a world and a heroine you can truly root for. She is as badass as Katniss with just a little bit more emotional depth. She is proactive and smart and brave and you believe she can lead a rebellion or become a queen.
A fun read — we follow the adventures of Arizona Territory Ranger Sam Burrack as he tracks the outlaw Orez. As a western, one would expect the usual cast of characters – stage drivers, Native Americans, soiled doves, mysterious strangers, railroad men, outlaws — and they are all included. This tale is a bit different, however, in that it takes place in the desert during a round of severe storms. Burrack battles on and, as expected, meets up with Orez in a final showdown. Who will win? OK, it is pretty obvious, but it is still a good story.
The final part of the trilogy, Tris and Tobias’s lives continue to be jumbled as they are selected to leave Chicago and visit the outside world. Once there, they find that their entire world-view is false and they have to decide to live in this reality or face that all they know will be erased. This book is a good conclusion to the trilogy, although the wrap-up chapters take way too long, in my opinion. The book is also written differently than the others — it alternates between Tris and Tobias as first-person POV. It becomes clear why Roth did this as the story unfolds, but I found it a bit distracting.
One hundred years ago, steamboats ruled the rivers. Captain Twain of the Steamship Lorelei is one of the best-known captains on the Hudson River. One day, he rescues a mermaid who has been injured by a harpoon. The captain hides her away in his quarters and tends to her wounds. As she recovers, the two begin get to know one another. Twain, who hopes to be a writer one day, also finds that his writing block has vanished. Meanwhile, the ship’s owner, the Frenchman Lafayette has been corresponding with a mysterious author about ways to rid oneself of a mermaid’s curse. The mysterious author prepares for a very public debut aboard the Steamship Lorelei. As the three characters’ lives converge, so too do elements of mythology and folklore, culminating in a series of events that none of the characters could have ever foreseen.
I went into this thinking that it had something to do with that other Twain of Midwestern fame, but such is not the case. The real Mark Twain is, however, referenced at least once by the characters themselves. Captain Twain is, in many ways, a parallel to the literary figure. I loved the artwork in this comic; it suited the story beautifully. It tends to have an almost-underwater/dreamlike quality to it. The story is rich and unexpected, with distinct magic-realism tendencies. In short, it’s pretty much everything I look for in a graphic novel.
If you were to mention the American’s attempt to spy on the British, most people could come up with Nathan Hale. Unfortunately, he was caught before he did much spying. Kilmeade examines the lives and work of Washington’s spy ring in New York that was so secretive, that even today some of the actual names are not known. They are credited with capturing a British Navy signal book that helped the French fleet stop the British from evacuating Cornwallis at Yorktown, uncovering the plot by Benedict Arnold, and many other acts of bravery — all while living in British occupied New York. Many of the techniques that they used are still used today — yet most Americans have never heard of the Culper ring.
I don’t normally read nonfiction, but this one is a keeper. It is short, informative and well-written. I highly recommend this to any history buff.
Tris Prior continues on her adventures in factioned Chicago. This book is the typical second act of a three-act play — darker and basically a “how much worse can it get” plot. Tris’s life continues to unravel with losses of family and friends. Politically things erode to a point that she is faced with joining the Factionless. However, there are agendas at play there as well…
This book continues the pace of the previous and does a good job building to the climax. Not a bad read.
Tris Prior lives in a future Chicago that is recovering from war. Society is broken into groups of like people, and at the age of 16, each person gets to choose their group. Tris makes a difficult decision to choose against her family’s group and the adventure begins. Plots are uncovered and all of society (as they know it) is at stake. Much like the Hunger Games, this book is a good read and would be appealing to teens who do not feel in control of their lives. It is fast paced but still has some substance.
A continuation of the title Touch of Power. Avry believed to be dead by everyone, sneaks into Estrid’s army and trains them in stealth moves. We also get Kerrick’s point of view (for better or for worse – I often suspect authors of padding their pages when they insert another POV). It was exciting, though I really wanted to follow only one storyline, and then come back to the other plotline. Another enjoyable read!
I never knew how funny Dave Barry is! I will have to look into more of his material. The two best vignettes were Fangs of Endearment: a Vampire novel which spoofed Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series, and I also really liked Tips for Visiting Miami which incorporates some data on crime in Miami (which I guess is kinda high). He has some more serious vignettes on health which include urging people to get their routine exams, like oscilloscopes.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kristi Bentz is lucky to be alive. Not many people her age have nearly died twice at the hands of a serial killer, and lived to tell about it. Her dad, New Orleans detective, Rick Bentz, wants Kristi to stay in Baton Rouge and out of danger. But if anything, Kristi’s experiences have made her even more fascinated by the mind of the serial killer. She hasn’t given up her dream of being a true-crime writer – of exploring the darkest recesses of evil – and now she just may get her chance. Three girls have disappeared at All Saints University in just one term. All three were “lost souls” – troubled, vulnerable girls with no one to care about them, no one to come looking if they disappeared. The police think they’re runaways, but Kristi senses there’s something that links them, something terrifying. She decised to enroll, following their same steps. All Saints has changed a lot since Kristi was an undergraduate. The stodgy Catholic university has lured edgy new professors to its campus and gained a reputation for envelope-pushing, with classes like the very popular “The Influence of Vampirism in English Literature” and elaborately staged morality plays that feel more like the titillating entertainment of some underground club than religious spectacles. And there are whispers of a dark cult on campus whose members wear vials of blood around their necks and meet in secret chambers – rituals to which only the elite have access. To find the truth, Kristi will need to become part of the cult’s inner circle, to learn their secrets, and play the part of lost soul without losing herself in the process. It’s a dangerous path, and Kristi is skating on its knife-thin edge.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee uses the format of a travelogue to humorously describe knitter’s foibles (including the STASH). She also incudes a number of quizzes so you can find out what type of knitter, stasher, etc. you are. It was quiet funny and I actually learned a few things I hadn’t know (I am Not a process knitter).
Jesse Bering asks thoughtful questions in this examination of what acts or even thoughts are considered deviant in our culture. Are you ready to label someone deviant because you’re grossed out by the thought of their behavior, or because you’re concerned about the harm to the individual (or animal)? Nope, its Not 50 Shades of Gray. He draws a distinction between pedophilia and hebephilia (attraction to physically mature teenagers). He asks us to make choices that actually improve children’s lives, and not prioritize moralizing. Bering uses both logical arguments as well as scientific research.
During the expansion of the Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles, Willard Carroll unearthed a leatherbound scrapbook from a site that was once a pet cemetery. To his amazement, its yellowing pages contained the rags-to-riches story of Terry, the cairn terrier who played Toto in the enduring film The Wizard of Oz. Reprinted here in its entirety, I, Toto traces the canine star’s tragic beginnings, her exhilarating film career, and her happy retirement in Southern California. Best of all, it offers the inside scoop on Toto’s signature role, her costars, and the making of The Wizard of Oz.
There are also some endearing passages about Terry’s (a.k.a. Toto) interaction with Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, and Spencer Tracy. A book written from a dog’s point of view is not unique, but from this famous dog’s point of view it is unique.
Children and adults alike will like this book. There are plenty of pictures to entertain the young ones while an adult reads the story. It’s a very quick read and packed with lots of entertainment about a very special little dog.
Weaver and fiber artist Edith “Pen” Meyer knew her friend Sandy Merritt’s relationship with a married man was wrong. she had even urged Sandy to take out a restraining order against Kenneth Carpenter. Which was why her call to Sandy on February 23, 2005, seemed to come from out of the blue. During it, she told Sandy to drop the restraining orer and get back together with Ken.
Pen was never seen again.
One man stood to gain fro Pen’s disappearance: Ken Carpenter. But evidence was bleak; no blood, no DNA, no body. Until detectives found notes that led them to the killer.
A true crime story at its best.
Twenty years ago, a fire ravaged the Dillinger family’s old homestead, killing Jude Dillinger and crippling his girlfriend. Most people blamed a serial arsonist who’d been seen around town. But strange things are happening in Prairie Creek, Wyoming.
Ira Dillinger, the family’s wealthy patriarch,, has summoned his children home for his upcoming wedding. Eldest son, Colton, and his siblings don’t approve of their father’s gold-digging bride-to-be. But someone is making his displeasure felt in terrifying ways, setting fires just like in the past. Only this time, here will be no survivors.
As fear and distrust spread through Prairie Creek, soon all the Dillingers, and those closest to the, are targets – and suspects. A killer has been honing his sill, feeding his fury, and waiting for the moment when the Dillingers come home – to die.
This book keeps you in suspense right to the end. A great mystery to read.
Actress Dolores Hart’s journey from Hollywood starlet to taking vows as a nun. The book takes you through the early years of Hollywood and Dolores’ decision to join a cloistered convent. Since I was a fan of Dolores from her films with Elvis Presley and knowing she left Hollywood to become a nun, I found the book quite interesting. The book does provide a deep insight into her difficulty leaving a glamorous lifestyle, a career she loved, and a marriage engagement to the ultimate decision to join a life of prayer.
For a short time she was at the Carmelite Sister’s House in Jefferson City, Missouri, and was recently featured in an article in the Catholic Missourian.
Another wonderful novella telling the backstory of Hector in the Fire and Thorns world. Hector is a page for King Alejandro and wants to be a Kings Guard. Alejandro pulls him out of the trials to undertake a mission for him. Hector and two others, Lucio and Fernando, must find the Queen’s cousin and bring her back. Of course things don’t go quite as planned, but it does highlight Hector’s leadership abilities even at the age of 15. It is great to learn more about this pivotal character in this fantastic world Rae Carson has created.
Wonderful novella from the Fire and Thorns world. The events in this book take place before The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Alodia and Elisa head to a wedding. Once there they come across the shadow cats. Seems these jaguars have been terrorizing the area. The people believe the upcoming wedding may be to blame for the shadow cats and the blight on the land. When a young girl goes missing Alodia takes off to find her. She discovers what’s really happening and takes care of it. All ends well. The main point of this book is to show that Elisa can take charge and is more than a useless bearer of the godstone.