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Bark's Book Nonsense

Reading the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. I'll read most any horror, romance & M/M novel that comes my way but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

Currently reading

A Gift of Ghosts
Sarah Wynde
Revival: A Novel (Audio)
Stephen King
The Phantom of the Opera
Gaston Leroux
Progress: 75 %
We Are All Completely Fine
Daryl Gregory
Facial
Jeff Strand
Circus of the Damned
Cornelia Grey
Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great
Lindsay S. Nixon
The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Progress: 5 %
The Silver Chain
Primula Bond

Slush by Glenn Rolfe

Slush - Jason Lynch, Glenn Rolfe, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Sorry so long. Collections are a pain in the bum to review.

 

Slush is a collection of short horror and dark fiction and the forward to the stories tantalizes:

These stories will make you feel real, feel alive, feel creeped out, feel entertained, BUT the key word here is FEEL.

Most books only succeed in making me feel bored, aggravated or frustrated or nothing at all. So it was with no great amount fear that I turned the first page of Slush, afraid if it didn’t make me feel something that I may truly be dead inside.

So here goes.

Skull of Snakes
It’s the summer of ’89 and young Lennie and his pals have the whole summer ahead of them. On the way to a parade, Lennie picks up an old coin that is oddly decorated with a skull full of snakes. He drops it in his pocket and forgets about it. Then some very bad things begin to happen to those closest to Lennie and he remembers the coin and realizes that it may be cursed. Now his carefree summer will forever be marred by tragedy and loss. Note to self: don’t ever pick up that shiny penny, life is tough enough without tacking on a curse. Action drives this story and I would’ve preferred a few quieter moments for Lennie to catch his breath and process some of the grief. It could’ve been a tear-jerker but it wasn’t. 3.5 stars

Sweet Sixteen This is a disturbing short tale of first love and lost innocence. Love goes good until it’s not so good. Then horror ensues. All in the name of true love, of course. This story is kind of a screw you to fickle young love and one can almost feel for the boy, if he weren’t crazier than Norman Bates. Though very short, the opening paragraph gives it all away which was a bit of a letdown but I am the type who runs screaming from spoilers so you have to take that into consideration. 3.5 stars

Jackie Boy This story is gloriously grisly and one of my favorites in the collection. Jackie Boy has found a rather unique way to dispose of the rats bothering his beloved horse. Turns out Jackie is quite the resourceful, if very creepy, little man. This one is bursting with gory fun. I don’t know what this says about me but I loved it for its in-your-face, more than slightly disturbing, grossness. 5 stars

The Curse Five students plan revenge on their evil coach. Coach Haggis has managed to torment generations of teens with nary a complaint to administration. She’s a terrifying old bitch, I’ll give her that, but I found this mighty suspicious. From the Courtney Love lyrics I’m setting this smack in the 90’s when kids weren’t so helicoptered and tried my best to let it go (admittedly not my strongest point). Instead of telling anyone in authority about the abuse, they seek out the local hermit/rumored witch because, you know, that’s always a fantastic idea. She thrusts a be-spelled candle at them and sends them on their way. Revenge ensues. To be honest, this one wasn’t my favorite. I found it too predictable and the characters too stereotypical. Can’t win ‘em all, right? 2.5 stars

The Delicious Death of Parker Stevens Already creeped out after watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a friend, Parker’s head definitely wasn’t in the right place to walk home alone through the woods. He starts hearing weird sounds and tries his best to shrug it off. This is one horror scenario where I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had run back to his friend’s house shrieking in terror.

Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz Just woodsy sounds. Perfectly normal.

Click, click, click Animals in the woods, he tells himself.

“Boy,” a raspy voice whispered. Uh oh, that’s probably not any species of animal he wants to meet in the dark!

“Boy,” she repeated. “Come to us.”

Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz And out of the woods the creatures come. . .

This one made me cringe in all the right places. It was deliciously evil just as promised. 4 stars

I’m In Here This one is terribly unsettling and manages to achieve that in only a few paragraphs. That’s all I’m saying. It made me feel sad (whew, guess my soul is still intact!). 4.5 Stars

Henry Oooo, here comes the body horror!

Poor Henry is 13 and suddenly stricken with a severe case of acne. He can’t dare face the girl of his dreams looking like a pus filled beast and decides to take drastic measures to remedy the situation. With His Daddy’s Shiny New Razor. Henry has no beard. Ponder that, if you will.

I had to actually look away from this story because I did not want to see what was coming. But then I looked again (the things I do for you people) and yep, it’s just as awful as you can imagine. 4.5 Stars

Something Lost This is a short tale of grief and the importance of musical memories. Not horror but very moving all the same. 4 Stars

Ballad of the Best-Selling Author A bitter horror fan/struggling writer butts heads with a smug hipster who has made a fortune peddling zombie tripe. The struggling novelist shows him the meaning of real horror and the comeuppance is kind of glorious. 4.5 stars

Candle Magic This is a super short rumination on the magical qualities of the candle. Not enough here to rate.

Flaws I did not enjoy this story. One day a man awakens with the urge to start snuffing out the lives of innocents.



Why and why now? I don’t rightly know. A bit more insight into his head would’ve made this go down easier. As written, we’re basically forced to watch him as he does terrible, horrible things to innocent creatures. I’d like to unread it, please. It was unpleasant and too dark and terrible even for the likes of me. 1.5 stars

Halloween Worm This story makes up for the last one. A young boy is coerced into helping the town bully get revenge against an old man who gave him a worm infested apple the previous Halloween. A nasty surprise awaits them. This story is pure gory fun and a great way to end the collection. 4.5 stars

So, yeah, these stories made me feel all sorts of things. Some good, some not so good and that’s why I read horror. Guess the soul is still intact for the moment.

 

*I was given a copy of this book to review for Horror After Dark.

Reading progress update: I've read 75%.

The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux

Gah, this Raoul is such an effing cry baby. Wah, wah, wah. All the live-long day. Toughen up man. Your tears are a perfectly good waste of suffering and they are not attractive.  I hate guys who go all weepy for no good reason. So what if Christine hasn't fallen head over heels in insta-love like you did, you silly man-boy. Too bad this Marie Claire study wasn't around for you back then.

 

Men apparently fall in love more quickly than women: 54 percent of guys say they've felt love at first sight, for instance, compared to 44 percent of women. Guys are also less interested in having time to themselves, away from their significant other: 77 percent of women say having personal space is "very important," compared to just 58 percent of men, and only 23 percent of guys think it's crucial to have regular nights out with their pals, as opposed to 35 percent of the ladies.

 

This isn't going all that well for me. I've had to rewind three times. The first time I had go back 2 hours because I was apparently daydreaming the entire time.

 

That is all. For now.

Freebie for the Kindle (US)

A Gift of Ghosts  - Sarah Wynde

Decent reviews (but we all know how much that means on Amazon) , promised nerdy-ness and my good friend recommended it to me last night so I'll give it a go even if it is part of series..  It's free, at least today, so there's nothing to lose except perhaps a few hours of your life.

 

Akira Malone believes in the scientific method, evolution, and Einstein’s theory of relativity. And ghosts.

All the logic and reason in the world can’t protect her from the truth—she can see and communicate with spirits. But Akira is sure that her ability is just a genetic quirk and the ghosts she encounters simply leftover electromagnetic energy. Dangerous electromagnetic energy.

Zane Latimer believes in telepathy, precognition, auras, and that playing Halo with your employees is an excellent management technique. He also thinks that maybe, just maybe, Akira Malone can help his family get in touch with their lost loved ones.

But will Akira ever be able to face her fears and accept her gift? Or will Zane’s relatives be trapped between life and death forever?

WTF Wednesday

 

Sorry, I had to. :P

Reblogged from Valancourt Books

Clive Barker for .99 Cents

The Damnation Game - Clive Barker

Marty Strauss, a gambling addict recently released from prison, is hired to be the personal bodyguard of Joseph Whitehead, one of the wealthiest men in the world. The job proves more complicated and dangerous than he thought, however, as Marty soon gets caught up in a series of supernatural events involving Whitehead, his daughter (who is a heroin addict), and a devilish man named Mamoulian, with whom Whitehead made a Faustian bargain many years earlier, during World War II.

As time passes, Mamoulian haunts Whitehead using his supernatural powers (such as the ability to raise the dead), urging him to complete his pact with him. Eventually Whitehead decides to escape his fate after a few encounters with Mamoulian and having his wife, former bodyguard, and now his daughter Carys taken away from him. With hope still left to save Carys, Marty Strauss, although reluctant to get involved in the old man Whiteheads deserved punishment, decides to get involved and attempt to save the innocent gifted addict from being another victim to the damnation game.

 

I read this back in high school and don't remember a damn thing about it, probably because most of it went over my head. I may reread it one of these days now that I'm so much more wordly ;)

Emma Holly for .99

The Billionaire Bad Boys Club - Emma Holly

Self-made billionaires Zane and Trey have been a club of two since they were eighteen. They’ve done everything together: play football, fall in love, even get smacked around by their dads. The only thing they haven’t tried is seducing the same woman. When they set their sights on sexy chef Rebecca, these bad boys just might have met their match!

 

 

There may not be much of a plot, if the reviews are true, but hey there's billionaire's.

FREE book by Hauten Whett (LOL, you know you want it)

Bigfoot and the Bridesmaid: Sex With Bigfoot, Book 1 (Monster Erotica:  Sex With Bigfoot) - Hauten Whett

You can thank Miranda for the recommendation! 

Rise of the Thing Down Below by Daniel Kelly

Rise of the Thing Down Below - Daniel Kelly

DNF

 

I was expecting a fun monster romp when I saw the cover for Rise of the Thing Down Below. Wouldn’t you? Though there are a lot of vividly written and sometimes over the top sexy times going on here, they’re not with a monster (boo!). The monster has a small community in fear for their lives but other than that he hasn’t really made much of a splash in the rest of the plot. It’s more a story about a bunch of men hooking up, having fun and creating amusing new boardwalk sexcapade attractions for their beachfront community. There are also two adorable pups and some decently written friendships and a lot of cheeky humor. I’m down with all of that and I can go with the flow if a book hooks me but, most unfortunately, this one would hook me with some cute couple or turn of phrase, then lose me , hook me again, then quickly lose me.  Several weeks later, at about 75% of the way in, I had to call it a day, give it a DNF, and get on with my reading life.  Here’s why.

 

There are so many characters and couples introduced in this story that I spent the first 50 or so pages straining my brain to remember who was who and who was humping who.  Eventually I caught on but by then my poor brain was toast. And then at about 75% complete (or so) more men are introduced and I had to call it quits. The book would shift from one couple/trio to the next and reference past events and it just couldn’t keep me.

 

I’m so sad right now. I thought this story was meant for me but it wasn’t meant to be.

 

This, of course, is completely my fault. This is a middle of a series book which I didn’t realize when I requested it from Netgalley (I will not lie, that cover & blurb sucked me in). If you’ve read the previous books recently or have a brain that works better than mine, you more than likely won’t have any such problem. I also read in 30 minute increments (on a good day) so that did not help. If you have a large chunk of time to sit down and read this in one sitting you probably won’t have as much of a struggle. Alas, this is not my life and I will not force myself to finish a book anymore.

 

I’ll finish this up with a few tidbits:

 

1.  A fish man arises from the sea, slimy appendage at the ready. Yes!

 

2.  Men start turning up dead. Uh oh!

 

3.  If you’ve read the previous books you’ll probably be thrilled to meet all of the previous characters who keep on coming as the book continues. Yeah, I see what I did there.

 

4.  There is a lot of crazy, over the top, messy sex. It’s more amusingly campy than arousing, if you ask me (and I know you didn’t).

 

5.  There are adorable puppies! Puppies make almost everything better.

 

6.  There are so many sex-crazed men in this town that we don’t have enough time to get to know many of them very well.  But you may already know them very well from previous books, perhaps?

 

7.  I’m selfish. I prefer a more intimate story with a small handful of characters. But that’s me.

 

8.  That’s all I’ve got because I’m a quitter.

Status Update: Caribbean Bowl Review

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great - Lindsay S. Nixon

*I'll be updating this periodically as I test out the recipes. New updates will be at the very end.

 

I lucked out and bought this on the Kindle for only $2.99 (now it'll cost you $9.99 for an ebook, what?!)

 

There is a very handy shopping list in the beginning of the book, some blah, blah info about caloric density which I tuned out because I'm not really interested in all that and the author's journey from yo-yo dieter to healthy vegan where she states that Skinny Bitch was one of the books that set her on the path to wellness. I have to admit this scared me. I despise that damn Skinny Bitch book.  It's filled with craptastic recipes that use a ton of processed faux food. I couldn't get it out of my house fast enough. Anyway, no worries. This author uses mainly whole foods so I will give it a go.

 

I have realized I absolutely do NOT enjoy reading cookbooks on my Ipad and I'm a little PO'd that I am unable (either due to my incompetence or some Kindle App fuckery) that I am unable to print any of the recipes. This makes it near impossible for me to use. I am blind as a freaking bat and have to have that Kindle App close to my face so putting it near me on the counter when I am cooking is not going to happen. I am not putting my Ipad's life in jeopardy to make dinner. I have four cats that will gleefully knock it on the floor and I am a complete disaster in the kitchen, dropping things and splattering food to and fro with reckless abandon (my clean up crew, the dogs, love it when I cook). None of these things are the books fault, of course, but it might explain why it has taken me months to finally attempt one of the recipes.

 

So last night after typing up one of the recipes (seriously, in 2014!) and printing it out and putting it in a protective sleeve to keep it safe from my slobbery, I tried the Caribbean Bowl. Naturally, it is one of the most calorie dense recipes in this  book :)

 

It contains cooked quinoa, steamed kale, pineapple, pineapple salsa, black beans, green onions and I added in some lime juice, avocado and a few big dashes of smoked chile pepper because everything is better with a little spice, right?

 

The verdict? One child did not like it. She took a few bites and gave the rest to the dogs.  

 

"I don't like sweet and savory or pineapples in my dinner."

 

Fantastic! This is why I go through so much trouble.

 

My son and husband who are carnivores and usually throw some chicken on top of any vegan dish I cook, raved and raved about it. I don't know if they actually loved it (though they did put a big dent in the bowl and ate it for lunch the next day) or if they're maybe a little afraid of me. Either way I'm just happy they didn't attempt passing it off the dogs.

 

I thought it was tasty though next time I would lighten up on the lime juice and add more pineapple salsa. It was a bit tart for me but again that's on me, not the recipe. I give it 4 1/2 stars. It was good, it was easy and I will make it again.

 

More later. Perhaps sooner if some kind soul can explain to me how I can print out these recipes!

 

Later is here. I made these Pumpkin Pancakes yesterday.

 

 

It's kind of difficult to screw up pancakes and these were good. The recipe calls for 1 TBS of baking powder (or soda, I can't remember now), 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of non-dairy milk, pumpkin, spices, brown sugar and a pinch o' salt.  Hmmm, I was skeptical when the batter was so thick it resembled the consistency of cookie dough so I added more milk and they came out alright. They are on the heftier side and super filling. They could've used a little more cooking time (instructions say 2-3 mins on each side) because some of the middles were a wee bit undone.  4 *'s  Quick & tasty & I'll make 'em again.

Short Story Contest at Horror After Dark!

 

Click Here For More Info!

 

 

Reblogged from Char's Horror Corner

Yet Another Giveaway!

This time I'm giving away 3 copies of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, narrated by Tim Curry. Click on the image below to enter. Share away!

 

Reblogged from E.

Help a student out, redux

So, beggar for punishment that I am, and having double majored, it's thesis time again! Unlike the last time, this one everyone can fill in.

 

Psychology this time, specificallly consumer behaviour, social influence, and online book reviews.

 

The survey is anonymous, and takes about 10 minutes to fill in. 

 

http://goo.gl/ODk8Gx 

 

I'd greatly appreciate if you share or pass the link on to, well anyone who reads or writes reviews. There's remarkably little existing research into book reviewing, although there's quite a lot about related topics, such as hotels, yelp, consumer electronics. And people do so like to yell about "Reviewers do X" and "Reviewers think Y", so I thought it would be nice to try get some actual data. 

 

Apologies in advance if I get a teensy bit spammy with this. And for me, spammy might be reposting it once in a couple days time. And on leafmarks.

 

And thanks also in advance for anyone who takes the time to fill it in, your participation is deeply appreciated.

Reblogged from Krazykiwi @ Kiwitopia

Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!)

Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!) - Rory Freedman, Kim Barnouin

Craptastic. This book is lazy and the bitch kitsch gets old fast. I love snark but this book is not snarky it's just rude and dumb (well, unless being called a whore sends you off into a fit of hilarity). The "meals" contain tons of processed crap and "fake" foods in place of dairy and meat. It's a vegan cookbook but the authors (editors/publishers?) are too chickenshit to come out and say that and apparently think we're too dumb to figure it out. It's intentionally misleading to make them more money. That irritates me beyond words.  I don't typically write angry reviews but the fact that I wasted precious time reading this book makes me crazy mad. Vegan recipes can be amazing but these recipes are lame.

My advice? Buy whole foods, grains, veggies, protein and cook 'em yourself. Skip the butter, the cream, the white sugar/white flour/white rice and the over processed everything. Shop mainly the outer aisles in the grocery store. You'll feel better and look better (if that's your goal). There I just saved you a whole bunch of cash and a slew of insults! If you're looking to get a healthy well written cookbook buy one of Tosca Reno's Clean Eating books. I can usually find something good to say about most everything I read but the only good thing I can say here is that I'm glad I borrowed this from the library. It's not even worth wasting a credit on over at paperbackswap.com. I would really like the hour of my life I wasted reading this back. I could spend that time cleaning up the dog poop in the yard or doing anything else but reading this tripe.

Why am I deliriously happy right now?

I have over an hour wait in a waiting room and I can read without interruption! This feels like some sort of early holiday present!

 

 

Krampus Giveaways @ Horror After Dark

The Dark Servant - Matt Manochio

Click on over for some Krampus related giveaways over @ Horror After Dark. 

Finally, Friday

So glad this week is nearly at an end and I can soon read and do whatever the heck I want! I am officially retreating from reality for two days because the little bit that is left of my brain is tapped out.

 

 

We got us some bad dancing.

 

 

A little Daryl for Char . . .  and a cute kitty for me. 

 

 

 

Honestly, what more do you need?!