Happy Halloween!

Aside from Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday!  What other time of the year can you dress up and act crazy?  Okay, besides Fat Tuesday and conventions ^_~

Instead of dressing up and hitting parties, I plan to hand out candy to the neighborhood kids, eat frozen pizza, watch the season three finale of Face/Off, and finding horror movies on Netflix.

What are you dressing up as this year?  Also, since this is Halloween, what is your scariest experience?
Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Silk

Title:  Silk
Author:  Caitlin R. Kiernan
Genre:  Horror
Pages:  Paperback, 351
Published:  June 1998
Publisher:  Roc
ISBN:  978-0-451-45668-7
Opening Lines:  "Two nights before Halloween, as if it matters to anyone in the house, as if every day in this house isn't Halloween."

"They are the young misfits...society's castoffs...urban strays looking for a thrill. Something cheap, anything to get them through the night. Sleepwalking on caffeine, nicotine, and drugs, they wait out the dawn in death-rock clubs and shadowy back alleys...

"Then into their midst comes the enigmatic Spyder. A patron saint of the alienated and lost, she invites them into her mesmerizing world-but has she been sent to redeem them or destroy them?"

~ Goodreads

Thoughts:  I first picked this book up about four years ago.  For some reason, I was really in the mood for horror.  About 30 minutes before the local Hastings was closing for the night, I drug my husband out in the snow to cruise the minimal horror aisle. Aside from the big guns like Koontz and King, Hastings is lacking on quality horror, so I was surprised when I stumbled on this gem.  I didn't know anything about the author, but the jacket copy and cover drew me in.

How does one describe this book?  The book follows the members of Stiff Kitten (Daria, Mort, and Keith), Theo (Mort's girlfriend), Spyder and her group of goths (Robin, Walter, and Byron), and Niki Ky.  Through various reasons, they are all drawn to Spyder.  And, in one way or another, she becomes their downfall and/or salvation.

In many ways, Kiernan reminds me of Lovecraft.  There is a building of anxiety through this novel, and it is unknown how much is truly inside the head of each of the characters.  However, one thing is known for sure, there is something lurking outside in the darkness.  The skitterers can be heard in the corners, under the floorboards, and their porcupine hair scratches on the ground as they move.  At times, this book feels like an acid trip, but it is amazing.

Kiernan is able to bring this book to life with her amazing prose.
The espresso flowed from the scooper like liquid midnight, dry fluid so perfectly dark, so smooth, it seemed to steal the dim coffeehouse light, to breathe it alive and exhale velvet caffeine fumes . . . The espresso drained from the brewer's jets, twin golden streams, smooth as blood from an open vein . . . (22)

Honestly, I find myself unable to fully review this book.  Like the spiders in Daria's apartment, it gets under your skin and you're unable to shake it.  When I first read it, I found myself jumping at shadows.  The second time through, I look at corners twice.  This book is twitchy, wonderful, scary, and dirty.  Kiernan is able to make the sanest person question their mental stability.

If you're in the mood for a different kind of horror, a pseudo-Lovecraftian adventure, a mind-fuck, and something that will keep you up at night, I suggest grabbing this book.

Current Pages: 13,694
Current Progress:

44/50 books

Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (35)

Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my pick this week:

Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World has reminded me of Silk since I originally read it back in 2008.  Spyder has many people enter her life, and, in some way or another, all of them need her.  And, in her own weird way, she cares for every single one.  After I read this book, my Jimmy Eat World CD cycled to this song, and, for one profound moment, it felt right.  On this read through, I wonder whether I will feel the same. 

Leave a link to your pick in the comments ^_^  
Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Taking on the Dead

Title:  Taking on the Dead
Author:  Annie Walls
Genre:  Post-apocalyptic with zombies
Format:  E-book
Opening Lines:  "Some people say you can't change overnight.  I'm sure this is true."
Author Links: Website   ♠   Twitter   ♠   Facebook

"Life for Kansas was perfect until the day the world changed.

"She has been hiding out for four years in solitude. It's the only way to survive. The only way not to draw the living dead. Helping a small group of people, she learns the new world might not be what she assumes. Venturing out of her refuge and comfort zone, she meets Rudy, who helps her find a greater purpose. She realizes that the world has moved on without her. Only it's not what she expects. Her knowledge of the living dead grows and only makes her more curious as humanity continues to hang on by a thread. While on her search for answers she finds comfort in new friendships and love, but her past seems as if it will haunt her forever.

"Kansas takes it upon herself to help other survivors, which would be easy if the famished were the only obstacles.

"In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is emotional as much as it is horrifyingly gripping."

~ Goodreads

Thoughts: Sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, I finally finished this book. Since then, I have been trying to figure out how best to approach and write this review. The first time I saw this novel was on an ad for a book tour. Being a zombie apocalypse book, I was very quick to jump at the opportunity to read it. Unfortunately, despite my love, I really did not enjoy the book. The reason is because this book completely failed. And it failed spectacularly!

At first, I had high hopes for this book. Reading through the prologue, I was fairly impressed. It was very powerful, gave a wonderful opening for the story, and did a good job of showing how the zombie apocalypse can seemingly come out of nowhere to disrupt a perfect life. At this point, I started to notice a few extraneous commas, improper placement of punctuation, etc. However, since it could be easily explained as a typo, I didn’t think too much of it. That is not to say that it didn’t put me on alert. As the book progressed, I started to have issues with the voice. It can be very hard to write in first person present active; however, the author manages to pull it off. That being said, something about Kan’s voice was very troubling. Unfortunately, I still cannot quite put my finger on it. And, while the narration was bothering me, I started to notice that the grammar issues continued to get worse. It evolved from a few mishaps into the author’s haphazard attempt at throwing in punctuation because it seemed appropriate. She started doing clause fragments. (Keep in mind, this is not a technical term; it is one I coined to describe her errors.) Further into the book, I started to wonder whether she understood what adjectives, series, and multiple adjectives to describe a noun really were. It is hard to describe fully what she did; however, if I had not known what she was doing, this book would have been hard to understand. Unfortunately, comma misusage can seriously change the meaning of a sentence.

Aside from the author’s haphazard and willy-nilly approach to grammar, she had grievous issues with consistency. On one page, she would oscillate between “t-shirt” and “T-shirt.” Unless the author was trying to write within a certain style, I do not care how she chose to spell T-shirt. My issue stems from lack of consistency. Decide how you want to spell the word and keep to it. Even if the word was misspelled, if she consistently used the same spelling, I would not be as annoyed.

While the author’s grammatical errors were egregious, this book also suffered from an obvious lack of content editing. I felt there were a lot of things that Kan did in the later part of the book that were completely out of character with the original girl the audience met. In most books, this can be explained by character development; however, there was no true character development. Further, at one point, Rudy makes it clear that he worked as a contractor before the zombie outbreak. If the reader continues reading, Kan makes a comment that helping at the greenhouse made sense due to his carpentry background. Where did Rudy ever say he had a carpentry background? Working construction does not guarantee you have that as a background. In addition, I cannot fully grasp Kan’s need to carry around a computer. Granted, her computer used to connect via satellite; however, it might not be able to connect at other locations outside of her home base. Further, if some person manages to get the Internet up and running, why would she suddenly have access to wireless? This makes no sense to me. Even my husband, who has worked as a systems administrator for over a decade, could not understand the rationale behind this.

If the author had mentioned “arrow holster” one more time, I would have broken my husband’s Kindle. Anything that is used to hold arrows is considered a quiver. The fact that her quiver is larger than others and made out of a gift container for a bottle of wine does not automatically make it something other than a quiver. This really got on my nerves. Another thing was her explanation of bows. Yes, long bows are fairly old; however, a recurve bow predates them by more than a millennium. In addition, a recurve bow was desired for its power and the energy it put into the arrow. Long bows were more desired for range and the fact that they worked well en mass.

Along with the bows, the author really needed to do her homework when it came to guns. Yes, a grip is one of the most important things in determining the correct gun. However, her comment about making sure the person could use the slide very fast isn’t accurate. You need to be able to move the slide smoothly and have a good grip. Further, the weight of the gun also needs to be considered when finding the right weapon. And Kan’s adventure with the sawed off shotgun was fully inside the realm of fiction. Yes, because of the shortened barrel length, a sawed off shotgun will have a nasty recoil—and will more than likely bruise your shoulder. However, it will not knock you off your feet and send you several feet in the air. Well, I guess it will if you’re on the receiving end of the spray.

When talking to Reece about her book collection, Kan pooh-poohs The Jolly Roger’s Cookbook by stating that it wouldn’t be able to teach them how to make things like pipe bombs because it is too old. This could have changed in the last decade; however, when I was still a teenager, the book was not static; people kept adding to it. And, at the time, it had recipes for making pipe bombs. Further, Kan tells Reece that they can get better books by looting bookstores. So, by the author’s logic, I can walk into a Barnes & Noble and purchase a book on advanced bomb making (and, of course, making a simple pipe bomb is extremely advanced bomb making).

It stuck out to me that Reece—in a time period where infection is easy, antibiotics are not easy to come by, and an open wound could possibly mean zombie infection—doesn’t take the time to cover his new tattoo. Yes, the ointment is important; however, a fresh tattoo is still an open wound and susceptible to infection. This really upset me because I have multiple tattoos. It seems to me that a tattoo artist would be extremely vigilant about that, especially during a zombie apocalypse.

Honestly, Kan is zombie bait. The only reason she has survived is because she was alone and then surrounded by men that would take care of her. She can only handle a pistol crossbow and her few blades. She talks about not being overly accurate with a full-sized crossbow, she is not able to handle a regular bow (a compound bow), and cannot find the safety on a gun. I honestly wondered why she was put in charge of a group. Further, aside from the few she dealt with on her way to the survivor camp, she had no experience with the famished. Someone like Reece would have made far more sense. I cannot stand a heroine who has to rely on male characters to keep her alive. If the characters acted as partners and relied on each other, I could easily accept that. However, I am sick and tired of seeing these supposedly strong female leads that cannot take care of themselves. Half of the things Kan does to get herself in trouble are simply because she lacks common sense or forethought. Her use of the Molotov in Wal-Mart is a perfect example of this. It would not have taken her two seconds to figure out it was an extremely stupid idea.

I do not understand why Kan was so hell bent on bringing Julie with her. It made no sense. Further, how would a woman who is eight months pregnant be able to fit on the back of a Ducati? If she was able to (which I sincerely doubt), how would Kan keep her from getting off the bike? It would have made more sense to leave Julie, reunite with the gang, tell them the information she learned from the doctor, and then plan another strategy to gain entrance into the base. In addition, since the doctor knew about the impending attack (because Kan was too stupid not to tell Julie next to the playground), I don’t understand why extra security measures were not taken. Further, I am not sure how a few pipe bombs were able to breach the walls. I have to wonder whether the author really knows what pipe bombs are for. Using them against zombies is a pretty good idea. They are shrapnel bombs meant to inflict as much damage to a person as possible.

The author’s constant obsession with the “happy trail” was enough to make me gag. I understand being in isolation for four years will cause a girl’s libido to spike when they’re around a sexy man; however, it was over the top.

There is a lot more I could address in this review, but it has gotten to be quite long. Needless to say, when I finished this book, I was very disappointed. To me, it is the perfect example of why I dislike self published pieces. Granted, there are some wonderful things out there! Unfortunately, a lot of people are in a rush to get their novels published because they think it is good and they completely forego editing. I’m sorry, but there is a reason for the process. I will give the author a little credit, she has the bare bones of something that could potentially be a good story. However, she needs to go through several revisions and rewrites. Honestly, by just having some friends and/or family read it to see if it made sense, a lot of her issues would not have appeared in the final book. Further, if she decided to completely turn her nose up at the editing process, I wish she would have spent a little time researching things and rereading her story before it was made available to the public. As it stands, this book is a long way from a polished work of fiction. That being stated, I will end up reading the other books in the series. However, I hope for her benefit—as well as that of her audience—she will seriously look into getting her next books edited.

Current Pages: 13,343
Current Progress:

43/50 books

Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Lolita

Title:  Lolita
Author:  Vladimir Nabokov
Genre:  Fiction/Classic
Pages:  Hardback 327
Published:  1955
Publisher:  Campbell Publishing Ltd.
ISBN:  0-679-41043-0
Opening Lines:  "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.  My sin, my soul."

"When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause of célèbre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist.  But Vladimir Nabokov's wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the twentieth century's novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

"Awe and exhilaration—along with heartbreaking and mordant wit—abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze.  Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love—love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation."

~ Jacket copy

Thoughts:  At some point, my father told me that his mother would not allow him to read Lolita.  I cannot remember if it was before or after I chanced upon the Jeremy Irons rendition of the film.  Either way, that started my love affair of Lolita.  Something that could grab my father's attention, bring my grandmother's disapproval, and capture Jeremy Irons had to be worthwhile.  However, for some reason or the other, I never got around to reading the book.  A few weeks ago, after reading an article on my phone, Lolita was brought back to my mind.  Spending a few minutes on my local library's website, I was happy to learn that they had a copy of the book!  And thus began my adventure with Lolita and the lovelorn Humbert Humbert.

Lolita is a hard book to discuss.  The subject matter alone is enough to cause one to curl their toes in disgust.  The idea of a 37 year-old man falling in love with a 12 year-old girl is rather startling.  More so was his devious way of getting close to the young girl, becoming her stepfather, and taking her on a cross country road trip after her mother died.  However, for all of the fault people can and will find with this book, I found myself enjoying it.  Vladimir has a way with words.  The prose in this book is simply remarkable.  Even though, at some level, I wanted to despise Humbert, I found myself feeling somewhat sorry for him at the end.  To me, that is the mark of a master storyteller.

Reading a lot of reviews, people are torn between the true villain in the story.  Some believe that Humbert was just Lolita's victim and not at fault for his actions.  While some view him as the ultimate sexual predator.  While I read this book, I kept both view points in mind, and I think both parties fall short.  Even though his actions were deplorable, I place a lot of the blame with Lolita's mother, Charlotte.  I am not sure where it started, but, by the time Humbert enters the picture, Charlotte seems to be fostering severe feelings of hate for her daughter.  She is constantly picking on Lo, she fills out surveys to describe the girl as horrid, she makes of a point of calling Lo "plain," and so on.  When it is obvious that something might be brewing between Humbert and Lo, she quickly sends the girl away to summer camp because she does not want competition for the affections of a handsome European.  Further, she seeks to send Lo away to a boarding school until she graduates.  Even Humbert himself remarks on these actions towards the girl.  When Charlotte discovers incriminating evidence in Humbert's desk, she still seeks to blame the child.

Coming from a family life where she lost her father at a young age and living with a mother who hates her, it is easy to see why Lo grabs onto Humbert.  He is a dashingly good looking European male.  He seems charming and gives her attention.  He does not scold her for normal childlike behavior.  It makes sense to me that she would flirt with him and so forth.  However, at some level, I think she knew full well what game she was playing.  That being said, at 12 years-old, she had not way to understand the ramifications of the game.  And, as the story progresses, I was left to wonder whether the child was horribly damaged by other past occurrences—things that would make a young girl think the only way to get attention from a male was through sex.

None of this is to say that Humbert was in the right.  From the onset of the book, he makes it clear that he knew he was in the wrong.  Knowing and continuing to act on something is disgusting!  Further, his constant justifications disturbed me.  Just because a love affair with a 12 year-old was common in the Middle Ages doesn't mean it is acceptable now.  (Also, the comment about Sade's Justine made my skin crawl.)  At many points during the book, I found myself wishing that Lo would tell one of her friends or someone would find out.  It was not fair to rob Lo of a childhood, because Humbert was in love with her.  That being said, I found myself feeling somewhat sorry for Hum at the end of the book.

The beginning and ending of this book will stay with me.  I am not sure how to describe the ending without giving anything away.  Let's just say, when all was said and done, in his own way, Hum truly loved his Lolita.

I truly loved this book.  It is hard to read and not for the faint of heart.  I would not suggest this book to most people; however, if you can get by the subject matter, I think it is well worth the read.        

Current Pages: 13,343
Current Progress:

42/50 books

Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (34)

Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my pick this week:

I Get Off by Halestorm is probably in bad taste; however, I still feel as though it describes this book.  Granted, Lolita is only a teenager and cannot fully understand the consequences of her actions.  That being said, she gets a lot of pleasure out of Humbert's response to her and, at some level, flaunts it.  So, in a sick and twisted way, this song kind of fits.

Leave a link to your pick in the comments ^_^  
Much love, Sinn

Theme Song Saturday (33)

Welcome to Theme Song Saturdays, a new weekly meme, hosted by yours truly, in which we share our love of music and books! Since I love books and music, this meme is for fun to try to incorporate those two loves! Whenever I read a book, a certain song -- kind of like a soundtrack or theme song -- plays through my head.

Want to know how to play? Head over to this post to read the rules and get the code.

Here's my pick this week:

Lolita by IAMX doesn't need to really be described.  The song is perfectly describes Humbert's perceptions of Lolita.  He first sees her in the summer, she likes to wear pink, and she is ultimately his downfall.  

Leave a link to your pick in the comments ^_^  
Much love, Sinn

Book Review — Proven Guilty

Title:  Proven Guilty
Author:  Jim Butcher
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Pages:  Paperback 479
Published:  February 2007
Publisher:  Roc Fantasy
ISBN:  978-0-451-46103-2
Opening Lines:  "Blood leaves no stain on a Warden's grey cloak."
Author Links:  Website   ♠   Twitter  ♠   Facebook

"There's no lover between Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the Chicago phone book, and the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined.  But war with the vampires has thinned their ranks, so the Council has drafted Harry as and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in the Windy City.

"As Harry adjusts to his new role, another problem arrives in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend, all grown-up and already in trouble. Her boyfriend is the only suspect in what looks like a supernatural assault, straight out of a horror film. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago, but it's all in a day's work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob . . ."

~ Jacket copy

Thoughts:  I loved the start of this book.  Admittedly, I thought of Dragon Age: Origins (of which I have played twice in the last month *sheepish grin*) when Harry talked about Wardens and grey cloaks.  It was the perfect foreshadowing for the rest of the book.

This book is really hard to describe without giving away too many details.  After receiving a note from the Gatekeeper tasking Harry with finding black magic in Chicago, he gets a phone call from Molly Carpenter to help bail her boyfriend out of jail.  Being the only witness to a brutal beating, Molly's boyfriend has been wrongly arrested.  And if seeing Michael Carpenter's daughter tattooed, pierced, and dressed like a Goth isn't enough, the attendees of a local horror movie convention are being killed by the villains of the same movies they love.

Akin to the previous book, Harry is still struggling with identity issues.  Now he is a Warden of the White Council and directly in charge of Chicago.  However, even while he understands the Council's need, he is still at war with whether their methods are correct.  He is still that teenager standing before the Council, waiting for them to pass judgment on something he never fully understood.  In this book, it is painfully apparent that he is still struggling with that.  Honestly, I wonder how this will change the outcome of the next books.  Further, he is still being hunted by Lasciel.  While she seemingly accepts her position as a guest in his mind, she is still very much a powerful presence.  When Harry is preparing to enter Faerie, he is faced with the fact that he might be too cocky in his belief that he can control her.

This book also deals a lot with his loneliness.  Even in the first few books, Harry has always been battered with being alone.  With Susan, that really seemed to abate.  However, with each book, that struggle has turned into a torment.  And Lasciel's scheme in the previous book kind of drove that notion home.
"I saw what kind of man you are.  Kind.  Gentle . . . Lonely.  And . . . And hungry.  No one has touched you in a very long time." (465)

This will play a really important role in the future, and, I fear, might mean Harry's downfall.  During several points in the book, he made a point to say that this was a very weak area of him.

It was nice to see Michael return and offer a helping hand in Harry's dilemma.  However, his statement near the end of the book was rather distressing, and I hope that we will never see it in the books.

In a lot of ways, I felt this book was a lot darker than previous ones.  Butcher is really digging into Harry's character and trying to show his internal struggles.  This book really mirror that.  I felt it was extremely deep. I am anxious to see what crosses he will have to bear in the next books.

Note:  The newest Dresden book will hit the shelves this November!

Current Pages: 13,016
Current Progress:

41/50 books

Much love, Sinn



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"If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.
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