"Corcoran’s fantasy debut is equal parts thrilling and ridiculous. [...] Readers will look forward to the sequel."

November 23, 2020

Rant Rave Review: The Ickabog

It's, like, baby's first 1984?

Today, I review J.K. Rowling's The Ickabog. Get ready for cute illustrations, numerous murders, and my kitties growling off screen!

November 15, 2020

Rant Rave Review: The Devil and the Dark Water

It's, like, a major letdown.

Today, I unfortunately rant about The Devil and the Dark Water, by Stuart Turton, featuring Smart Girl character who can't live as she pleases, self-immolating lepers, Smart Girl Child character, preachiness, and Smart girl character who was married against her will. (Did I mention girls who are smart??? And how hard it is being them????)

November 11, 2020

Klaus, El Dorado, and The Liar Revealed

Mediocrity vs. Cliches

Around this time last year, when we were young, innocent, and oblivious of the horrors of 2020, people in internet circles were loosing their minds over a movie called Klaus. You have probably never heard of it, but if you had, it would have been by stumbling across it on Netflix or from hearing a YouTube reviewer singing it's praises.

The main reason people loved it was that it was traditionally animated. In fact, it's director, Sergio Pablos, worked on several Disney Renaissance films, and it shows. The animation is gorgeous. The character designs are stylized and unique. What I found the most pleasing was the color palette, which I would describe as pastel watercolor. The film is set in the Far North, and the dour scenes feel cold and depressing while the heartfelt scenes look warm and cozy. The film was a visual delight.

The story? Eh, it was ok.

November 1, 2020

October Reading Roundup

Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller

  • Genre: Literary fiction with notes of thriller
  • Why I read it: Book club pic
  • What I thought of it: The only thing worse than first person present tense, it turns out, is third person present tense, which most of this book was written in. There were a few flashbacks written in past tense, which, unsurprisingly, flowed better, were more engaging, and sounded more natural than the rest of the book. As for characters and plot, it was an ok thriller I guess? Not really my thing, though.
  • Would I recommend it: The people in my book club really liked it, so sure. Not for me, though. The lit fic stuff was too lit fic-y, and the thriller stuff too boiler plate for my tastes. 

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics by Bruce Goldfarb

  • Genre: History - Forensics
  • Why I read it: I like true crime and true-crime-adjacent books
  • What I thought of it: I'm glad the story of Glessner Lee was told, as she was a fascinating woman. Essentially, she used her wealth to force the field of forensic medicine into existence in America (it already existed in Europe and the Middle East). I think the book could have been edited to be a little shorter, though, as it was a long and not always interesting read.
  • Would I recommend it: If you are into forensics, niche history, and women's history, then yes.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

  • Genre: Supernatural spooky with notes of horror
  • Why I read it: I re-read it for a book club
  • What I thought of it: I loved it just as much as the first time I read it. The prose, the characters, the creepy carnival folk. It was all perfect.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes! Especially during October. It is the quintessential fall read!

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (DNF!)
  • Genre: Fantasy Horror
  • Why I read it: The concept intrigued me, plus the cover rocks
  • What I thought of it: It was... kinda boring? And predictable? And not scary. And not Lovecraftian. Like, there are so many ways one could riff on Lovecraft's racism by using his own stories and themes (none of which are under copyright), and Ruff chose none of them. Disappointing.
  • Would I recommend it: No. I gave up on it and read the Wikipedia summary of each story, and it doesn't seem to get any more interesting after the parts I read.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
  • Genre: Mystery
  • Why I read it: I loved Turton's previous book, The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
  • What I thought of it: Ohhhhh boy... Let's just say, it had massive potential, but was ruined by one and a half horribly cliche female characters whose POV takes up roughly half the novel. Plus, it was way too long, (could have been shorter without the skirt, tbh...)
  • Would I recommend it: No. It was so disappointing, and, even worse, preachy.

Ghosts of the Grand Canyon: Personal Encounters that Will Have You on the Edge by Brian-James and Judy Martinez 
  • Genre: Nonfiction - parapsychology
  • Why I read it: AZ book club pic
  • What I thought of it: The writing wasn't great, but I feel like that's kind of a plus for a hokey ghost story book; makes it feel more authentic, in my opinion. As for the stories, though many of them were very similar, there were some really creepy ones. There was also a lot of info about the Canyon that I didn't know.
  • Would I recommend it: If you're into ghosts in famous places, yes. It's a short, spooky little read.

Is ESP Real? The Science of the Sixth Sense by Robert L. Kuhn, Ph.D.
  • Genre: Nonfiction - parapsychology
  • Why I read it: Ya'll should know by now that I'm into this nonsense
  • What I thought of it: It was kinda meh, as it's just a guy interviewing various people and getting there opinion on whether ESP is real. The funny part, though, is that everyone tries so hard to couch psychic powers in scientific, rather than spiritual terms, because if we don't, "it would completely change how wee see the world" which is like... You know that you can believe both, right? That the physical world is governed by physical laws, while the spiritual, specifically nonphysical world is governed by metaphysical laws? They're basically bringing the wrong tools to bear on the question at hand, like trying to measure the amount of salt in a sample of water with a ruler; they are ill-equipped. 
  • Would I recommend it: No. As I said, it was meh. No new or cool information to be had.

October 31, 2020

Rant Rave Review: Ghost Trick and Coco

Today, I rave about two of the four perfect stories: Ghost Trick and Coco. Featuring memory loss, Rube Goldberg machines, bureaucrats, and many, many skeletons!

October 24, 2020

Rant Rave Review: Disability and Horror

It's like, FULL of spoilers!

Today, I discuss how disability is used in the horror genre. Featuring psychopaths, eugenicists, the Rest Cure, and grim reapers!

October 18, 2020

Rant Rave Review: Spooky Movies!

It's like, a good movie even if it's not scary? Today, I rave about The Eye (2002), The Visit, and The Ritual, and rant about Us. Get ready for visual vocabulary, pretentious teenagers, The Dark Soul's School of monster making, and one of the dumbest twists ever written.

October 7, 2020

Rant Rave Review: Spooky Books!

It's, like, Spooky Season! Today, I review Dracula, Frankenstein, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Exorcist, and Tales From the Gas Station. Get ready for blood-swelled vampires, dark carnivals, insomniac gas station attendants, and whatever that face is that I'm making in the thumbnail!

October 2, 2020

September Reading Roundup

It's time for this month's reading roundup, but first, a little announcement that no one but me will care about: I'm staying off the internet until the election. Well, mostly. I'll still post to Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram when the mood strikes me or when I have a writing update. I'll still post Rant Rave Reviews on here and Youtube (the theme this month is spooky stories, of course). But I won't be interacting much (ie, I won't be spending hours reading through Twitter and Tumblr and watching random Youtube videos I've already seen). If you @ me or retweet or reblog a post, I'll probably respond in a day or two, but other than that, I'm becoming a recluse.

The reason for this is twofold. First, I'm offering it up. For those of you who aren't Catholic, "offering it up" is sort of like giving up something for Lent. You discipline yourself by enduring some deprivation (either natural, like pain, or of your own choosing, like not watching hours of Youtube). At the same time, you offer up your (albeit, in this case, slight) suffering as a sacrifice for some good. I'm offering it up for America. Not the election, America. Because, not to get political or anything, but no matter who wins the garbage fire that is the 2020 election, America is doomed unless our culture changes. As I said to a friend recently, if this was the 90s, we could weather whatever storm Trump or Biden brings, but people hate each other so much right now that our country is pretty much over. Unless...

September 25, 2020

Rant Rave Review: The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

It, like, restored my faith in humanity?

Today, I review The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, featuring body hopping, time loops, a country house mystery, and a murder that happened 19 years ago!