Books

Quiet Kid poems by Grace Carras

Book Details:

  • Format: Softcover
  • Title: Quiet Kid
  • Author: Grace Carras
  • Publisher: Finishing Line Press
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Release Date: 11 August 2020
  • Length: 36 pages
  • Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Never have I experienced such raw power and emotion from 36 pages as I did while reading the work of Grace Carras. Her perfectly crafted scenes and imagery, the way she displays her emotions – all of it! – is nothing less than beautiful. If there’s one book of poetry you read this year, make sure it’s this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Continue reading “Quiet Kid poems by Grace Carras”
Books

The Guardian

Book Details:

  • Format: Audible Audio
  • Title: The Guardian
  • Author: Alice Raine
  • Narrator: Stephanie Cannon, Mark Meadows, and John Guerrasio
  • Publisher: Audible Originals
  • Genre: Erotica
  • Release Date: 4 August 2017
  • Length: 1hr and 17mins
  • Rating: 2-stars

Product Description:

Eighteen year-old Jessica’s life is turned upside down the day the police knock on her door to deliver the news that her parents have been in a fatal accident. Her late father’s gambling and reckless lifestyle leave her finances in turmoil and threaten to leave her homeless…until a chance meeting with a 30-year-old stranger means that her life changes forever.

Finding herself an unofficial ward of a mysterious, serious man, our American heroine and her enigmatic British ‘Guardian’ get used to living with each other…with all of the tensions, pitfalls and excitement that entails….

Continue reading “The Guardian”
Books

How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World

Book Details:

  • Format: Audible Audio
  • Title: How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World
  • Author: Kate Jordan
  • Narrator: Tiffany Morgan
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Genre: Biography & Memoirs (/How-To)
  • Release Date: 31 July 2015
  • Length: 2hrs and 13mins
  • Rating: 3-stars

Product Description:

How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World is not just a catchy title. It’s a promise. Herein contains all the information you need to tuck in your desk chair for the last time. If you dream about exploration and adventure, if your heart croons wanderlust, this guide is for you.

With tips and tricks, Kate will not only help you find your way, but know what to expect. Learn how to find work while you travel; how to be a ski instructor, au pair, tour guide, teacher or travel blogger. Learn about finding places to stay, couches to crash and how to make homes along the way. Learn how to make friends and most importantly, how to be safe and save money for future travel plans.

Gift your skin a life of vast sunsets, it deserves more than your fluorescent office lights. Let Kate help you follow your heart, literally. (via: Amazon, Kindle Edition)

Review:

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book from the Audible store. I thought it was a rompy romantic comedy novelette, just something to listen to while I shelve books at work. Didn’t even think it would be a memoir-slash-how-to guide on actually quitting your job and traveling the world.

Despite my last post, I have no intention of quitting my job and traveling the world. Not the traveling world aspect at least. However, this book does offer some good tips for those young enough and still devoid of any responsibility outside of taking care of themselves (no school, family, etc.). It’s short and to the point, offering up resources while also telling you what to look out for when it comes to scams. It also introduces you to the types of employment you can seek while you’re traveling and making sure you get the right visa for your travels and possible employment.

I do recommend this book for those who are willing – and brave enough – to take this step in their lives. However, if you’re listening to the audiobook, I suggest you have something to jot down notes with; I’m sure this is not an issue with the Kindle edition.

Afterthought:

Audible launched its unlimited subscription tier Audible Plus last month, which goes for $7.95. Unlike its $14.95 premium plan, this tier doesn’t come with a monthly credit. Instead, subscribers have access to Audible Originals and podcasts. Those with the premium plan also have free access to these carefully curated titles.

How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World is one of the Audible Originals you can listen to with a subscription, no credit needed. However, you can purchase the audiobook or ebook for a low price if you’re not inclined to purchase a subscription to Audible Plus. There’s a MP3 CD edition also available, as well.

I’ll keep my Audible subscription for a while longer; I need something to listen to while I ride this pandemic out at work after all. Until next time, keep on huntin’.

Also see:

Books

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

“That’s the horror, the most awful thing: to have a child the world wants to destroy and know that you’re helpless to help him. Nothing worse than that. Nothing worse,” writes Matt Ruff in “The Narrow House,” just one of the many interconnecting stories that make up his novel, Lovecraft Country. Set in Jim Crow era America, the novel tackles racism in a Lovecraftian way. It’s done so well, it can’t even be considered ironic—can it?Lovecraft Country

Unless you’re a delusional nutcase, there is no hiding the fact that H.P. Lovecraft had some unsavory opinions when it came to people who didn’t look like him (i.e. a white male). This can make it difficult for a person of color (or a woman, for that matter) to enjoy the book without the nagging realization that the author penned a poem called “On the Creation of Niggers.” Or that, in his story, “The Rats in the Walls,” the narrator’s cat is named Nigger Man.

There is no forgetting that the greatest monster this country has to offer isn’t some unknowable creature that lurks in the dark or some interplanetary beast with an insatiable appetite. In the title chapter/story, Atticus is pulled over by a state trooper for no other reason than being a black man in a predominately white county. In “The Narrow House,” Montrose remembers his father’s death during a race war. In “Jekyll in Hyde Park,” Ruby is given a job opportunity that allows her to shed her blackness in exchange for white skin and red hair. Amateur astronomer, Hippolyta Berry explores a planet only few humans have set foot upon in “Hippolyta Disturbs the Universe,” only to learn she’s been the pawn of a dead man’s game in order to further punish the black housekeeper he imprisoned there. And the interconnecting plot has Caleb Braithwhite using these African-American characters as pawns in his elaborate take over of natural philosophers.

The novel is reminiscent of the Lovecraftian tales mixed in with dark comedy within the pages. It’s a must read for those into weird tales and escapism. For those who loved the film Get Out, this is the book for you. And it’s not just because Jordan Peele is producing the TV treatment Lovecraft Country.

Well, until next time, keep on huntin’.

Books

Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes

I have this saying: A good book’s worth whatever the price, but a bad book always costs too much.* I picked up a copy of Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes. It was a bargain priced book, an excess copy that Barnes & Noble was trying to get rid of. barbara the slut

I wanted to read the book a couple of years ago when it was first released in hardback by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. There’s always a hesitation when it comes to me buying a collection of stories by a debuting author. I was a bit more reckless in college when I purchased Julie Orringer’s debut, How to Breathe Underwater.  However, I never regretted that purchase—and, I purchased the book new.

How to Breathe Underwater is a prime example of a book worth its price. Not so with Barbara the Slut and Other People. First story left me wondering if Holmes just grew bored with writing it. The second left me wondering the same. By the third, the realization that even at bargain price this book was too much.

The biggest problem I see with these stories is the lack of endings. Lauren Holmes offers several “non-endings.” And I define non-endings as open-ended conclusions that felt unplanned by the writer, leaving the reader confused and annoyed. (Imagine seven or so cut-to-black Soprano-styled endings.)

There aren’t many lovable characters in the story. They’re human, except those who aren’t, with flaws and dreams. But most of them are fall short of being relatable. Most come off as flat and underdeveloped, lacking motive in the their actions. And several seem to have suffer from fatigue as several of the stories end with them sleeping for a long time.

There are two stories I did enjoy in the collection. “My Humans,” a tale told through the eyes of an adopted dog, focuses on the crumbling a relationship. We’re giving the ending before it matters to the reader. So when the story does end, the blow is swift but strong. “Desert Hearts” tried to the same method, but it missed several marks. Still, the story is worth reading.

If you find yourself holding a bargain priced copy of Barbara the Slut and Other People at a Barnes & Noble, perhaps place it back on the table. If you really must read it to see for yourself, please check your local library to see if they have a copy.

Until next time, keep on huntin’.

*Ok, I’m not sure if I came up with this saying, if it’s a saying I picked up somewhere, or a saying that I heard someone say about something, but I later changed it to make it about books. Either way, it’s a saying and it’s a philosophy I live by.
Books

Star Wars: Battlefront II – Inferno Squad by Christie Golden

No one would mistake me for a gamer. Sure, I’ve dabbled in blowing off a zombie’s head here and there; I’ve taken to the streets of Gotham and defeated the Joker three times; my portal-thinking skills have propelled me through a dystopian future; and I’ve crash landed on a strange alien creation harboring some pesky secrets. None of these has ever made me a serious gamer. They’re more of a pastime than a passion or even a hobby. Inferno_Squad

I do read, though. And I do love traveling through the depths of fandom that might lead me to other forms of it.

Earlier this month, I wrote a review for Delilah S. Dawson’s take on under-used character from The Force Awakens. And if you can get through the tangent at the beginning, you know that the it blew my socks off. Today, I sit in front of my computer trying to find the right words to describe Christie Golden’s prequel to the Battlefront II video game. And the only adjectives that pop into my head are “conflicted” and “heartbreaking.”

The story picks up during the final battle in A New Hope, as Senior Lieutenant Iden Versio maneuvers her TIE fighter, shooting down the Rebellion scum stupid enough to on the galaxy’s ultimate weapon: the Death Star. It’s by chance that Iden is clear when Luke (though not mentioned in the book) takes his shot that causes a chain reaction which destroys the Death Star and every Imperial member on board. Iden, understandably, wants revenge.

She isn’t alone. The destruction of the Death Star has injured the Empire far more than they’re willing to admit. And the knowledge that one of their own created the flaw sends a shudder through those loyal to the Empire. Under the guidance and instruction of Garrick Versio, Iden’s father, she and three others are teamed together to make the Empire’s last best chance to fight against the Rebels who’ve blindsided them.

They are the best of the best (or the best of the worst, depending on perspective) and are known as Suicide Squad Inferno Squad. The other three members are Gideon Hask, Lieutenant JG, Lieutenant Commander Del Meeko, and, my personal favorite, Lieutenant Seyn Marana.

It isn’t long, nor is it a surprise, when Iden is given the role of captain. And after, several successful missions (don’t worry, these are glossed over in the book), the team sets off to infiltrate the last of Saw Gerrera’s partisans known as Dreamers. It’s in this mission where their skills are put to the test and have their limits pushed. And the more time they spend with the members of this Rebel group, the more difficult it becomes to carry out their mission.

This book paces itself despite its slimmer length. There were moments in the story where I wondered if I’d fall in love with any of these characters as I had done while reading Phasma. (With the exception of Seyn. I fell hard for her “quirkiness” from the start!)

By the rise of the conflict, I felt torn between wanting these guys to succeed and desperately hoping they’d fail and betray the Empire. When the resolution came, it left me empty and happy. Giving me, not the ending I wanted but the one I needed.

Christie Golden’s writing talent isn’t up for questioning. She managed to craft a fantastical tale that renders the reader reaching for the tissue while cheering on the bad guys. And upon concluding the book, I’ve a strong urge to play the game upon its release.

It’s just that I really suck with controllers.

Oh well, until next time—keep on huntin’.