Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck Written By: Pete Bodo

Hunting, well, this book magically appeared on my e-reader, and so I took that as a sign that well, time to learn about hunting. Now, I know next to nothing about hunting aside from the occasional hunter in movies, and what tid bits I hear from my in laws I know nada. This book taught me a great deal about the culture in a very tongue and cheek kind of way. The story teller himself you realize very quickly is very into hunting, but can also take a moment to make fun of himself and the culture he's immersed himself in. For example he speaks about this book that deals with and is dedicated to fishing and hunting clothing and gear. The company dedicates itself to every niche and each catalogue is as thick as a New York phone book. He states "Just thinking of the paper wasted on those catalogues makes me want to run out and hug the first tree I see." Now, that is humor indeed. I looked up a lot of what this book talks about and yup, this gentlemen got his facts straight. I also really felt for this guy. I was trapped between wishing this guy to get his dream whitetail buck, but also every time he aimed his gun screaming in my head. "No! No! No! Run away cute beautiful young deer! RUN!" Though, I learned Deer are not so friendly and cute as you may think... some things are just gross. Example, I never knew that baby deer, fawns give off no scent when they are born, and when the mothers lick their fawns this causes them to go to the bathroom, they don't otherwise, and then the mother eats the feces...well, yum? Ick... 

Just learning about the special soaps, deodorants, shampoos, gear, food, and actual guns and accessories, is just mind boggling. His love for the hunt, and the respect he has for both nature, animals, and his craft are very cool. This book also spoke about the different types of hunting seasons. I had heard of bow hunting, musket, and rifle, but the bow just sounded so cool. I enjoyed the main characters and the storyteller, I won't spoil it for you if he actually got that monster buck he was pursuing all over America, but I will say it is an amusing read and will give you a glimpse into the life of a person who wants to hunt a deer without having to actually go out and join them. I liked the humor and cannot wait to ask my in-laws how accurate this book was, or if they themselves have faced similar situations as in the book.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sacred Story and Art By: Lizbeth R. Jimenez

Hello all, Another Manga review:) And, this is a special treat! I had the pleasure of meeting the author/artist before I read this book. Lizbeth is just a wonderful treat and breath of fresh air. She's just so fun and quirky. She did two panels and after viewing her art and hearing why and how she created her Manga I just had to pick up the book! She admitted her story dealt with a few clichés, but that it was her story and she wanted to tell it her way. She's self published and I must say she works very hard from what I can see and has tremendous support from her loved ones. Now, onto the book. I can see why some people may think there are some clichés here, but everyone has a story and everyone’s story is different right?  There are some very interesting takes on magic, religion, and the supernatural world from what I can see. The two main characters Cecero and Sheko are just adorable and have some interesting traits. Their friendship is just so cute and endearing.They're studying "Mejic" and students cut off from the rest of the world, they are not supposed to use their Mejic outside of a controlled environment. As for the other main cast of characters they too are all just awesome and kick butt in their own ways. Skylar is fastly becoming someone I wish I knew in the real world. The art is just so cool! It has its own style and its own life. There of course is room for improvement, but there is rarely blank spaces and lack of candy for the eyes. The story had its own beat and flowed very differently, but it reminded me a bit of Vampire Knight in it gives you a few choice bits and will probably fill in the blanks later. I hope! The tale itself is about this different world within a world known as Grandome. I feel like we've only seen a small piece of this world, and so cannot wait to learn where this tale is going, and what will in the end make it a real kick butt stand on its own series. There are so many elements I feel confident I will stick to reading this series.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Small Favor Book 10 Dresden Files: Written by: Jim Butcher

Oh Harry Dresden, how you continue to amuse me. This book was yet again happily listened to, and the gangs for the most part all here, some characters from the past make appearances in very amusing ways, and quite terrifying especially since one of these characters was Queen Mab of Winter. There were some amazing tongue and cheek jokes made here. I cannot help but wonder if something very interesting was going on during Jim Butcher's life. The jokes were just so "screw you world! And, very..."Ha Ha Ha! I am wizard! Hear me roar!" Harry just cracked it seems and all the sarcasm just came pouring out. Now, this was not just typical Harry, he has a few wise ass remarks to his tormentors or friends, but rather just SNAP! and Insert Witty remark one after another. This story brings a lot of elements that the series has been building up to. However, for as much as I love the characters the story itself has a very odd and unusual pace. A lot happens in a very short amount of time. Rather this feeling like a stand alone book it felt more like a book that was setting something up for something bigger. I really hope Harry does not become an uber complete 100% bad ass character or rather the Superman character. Then again...slight very small spoiler that has no real issue with the plot, he does around 90% of the book with two black eyes and looks like a raccoon. I can only imagine where this series is going, will it become darker? Probably a good guess, will Harry's life ever calm down? This book brought some old fun fairy tales and vamped them up quite a bit, and brought Harry in the middle of Summer, Winter, and some very bad foes from the past and present. And, for a funny question I have to have answered someday and hopefully sooner rather than later...will Harry ever find some release for all that tension? If you read the series you'll understand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith

How awesome is this? I admit I listened to the audio book back in the beginning of 2011 or was it the end of 2010? Any who, I loved this book, I then read a few biographies on Abraham Lincoln since I always loved his story and history mostly to refresh what was true and what wasn't. Well, I must admit I am in love with this book. The historical accuracy of the book itself was quite refreshing. If a person could allow themselves to believe in the supernatural this book eerily makes one think..."could there actually have been and currently are vampires?" The historical cast that enters upon this stage is just mind bending it is so cool! Characters that I am sure many of people have never heard of or have forgotten play a role in this book, and again it is not far off from the actual historical roles they played. Plus, how cool is it to remember this American President was a very good woodcutter, self educated, and in this fantastic twist a Vampire slayer? It is interesting to also re-examine the civil war and to really remember what the newly elected President was going through and what brought him to the life many know him for. If you are a history buff and can take the incorporation of vampires I think this breathes life into an old story of one man’s very Grand life. If you take away the vampires all that he does is still quite amazing as a lot of the book deals with the human aspect and how they are being manipulated and how they manipulate others in turn. Both the audio and written book are quite awesome. I am glad I had a chance to stumble upon this book before the movie release. Will I See the movie? Hells yes! But, from what I've seen it looks like they are going to try to uber human Abraham Lincoln, and though I have a wicked love for the Great man who helped reshape a nation and had some of the most amazing speeches and personality traits to me, he was just a man, or was he?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Bed Game: Hot & Erotic Sex Stories By: Eve Welliver

Well, the title says it all about this book. This actually took me some time to read through, there was some decent writing in this book, but some of the writing was just awful. I mean really, really, awful. There were some really sexy, risky, and fun stories, but some were just sooooo poorly written I was distracted and had to hold myself back from trying to contact the author and ask if they need an editor. This book was just BAM, yup and the characters all got it on. Huzzah for everyone. Yes, I must refrain from being immature and giggling like a teenager, but c'mon it's difficult. Would I recommend this book to you? Well, if you want a book that is not erotic fantasy, but just the average everyday life good ol' fashion erotic book then yes I will say this is for you. I still cringe over some of the poor grammar and spelling errors though, other than that, a decent collection of erotic stories.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Irish Fairy Tales Written by: James, Stephens

Now, this was an interesting book indeed. It was written by Stephens, James an Irish Poet an author born perhaps 1882 he wasn't really sure of his date of birth and he passed away in 1950. This book follows mostly this main character Fionn and his decedents and forbearers. The tales themselves were at times a bit confusing, but I think that might be my own fault for not knowing the history of Ireland and her families. Or, they could have been complete works of fiction. I do not know, but the humor and whit were so fun and kept a very interesting pace. I am not sure if these were moral stories or not some seemed that way and then would just end. I did enjoy them though and found myself laughing at a few of the characters predicaments they found themselves in. There were some familiar aspects to the book such as the land of colors, people being turned into hounds, etc... classic Celtic and faery lore. It was also interesting since this seemed to take place during the time when the Irish had their old Gods and then their "new" God. My favorite quote and story does not come until the end of the book, there is an Abbot and he wishes to collect all of the stories or Ireland which were in danger of being forgotten. He says "These things also must be told. For said he, there are very good tales among those ones, and it would be a pity if people who come after us should be ignorant of what happened long ago, and of the deeds of their fathers." Very interesting that an Abbot of the Christian faith would want to preserve the past and her many Gods, supernatural, and fathers tales.

It was a very nice and pleasant read, though I think a bit too much wife swapping went on in that time and the fact women who were beautiful were thus considered all fare and good, where as a hag was nothing but evil and a nuisance. But, those were the times. Right? Those were the times, not at all relevant to today... Or is it?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beautiful Mess Written By: Lucy V. Morgan

Well, I took a chance and downloaded a free book for my E-Reader and I must say I was not dissapointed at all. After having read yet again a lot of heavy reading. I thought to myself I need a pick me up, some good ol just for fun reading. I actually saw the blurb on the author and thought this British writer just sounded so fun that I just had to read something she wrote. Well, again not dissapointed. The book is a short one, like fourty minutes short. Bailey the main character is so much fun and going through a terrible breakup with a boyfriend she thought was going to propose. She lives with two basically three flat mates all guys. They're all very fun characters and in my age group so I could identify with them. They're a young fun crowd with interests less than average, but common place with the younger generation. A simple story, but with a lot of quirky and dirty humor. It was an upbeat story but it also had a lot of sweet moments too. I had to stiffle a laugh several times and think I have friends like this. I also love the very romantic sweet moments as I am lucky enough to have had such similar moments. If you're looking for a quick read while waiting at the DMV, waiting room, or just find yourself needing to kill some time, this is so a good book. I definetely will have to look up her other stories. Warning there is some erotic moments in this book if you're not into that, but if you are enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Demon In The Freezer Written by: Richard Preston

I'm a little torn on this book, really I am. I loved Richard Preston's previous book I read "The Hot Zone", but this one was missing a lot of the fluidity that the other one told. It jumped around a bunch, and had a lot of people descriptions that seemed to fluff up the book to make it longer. Now, that being said. I did find the topic of the book incredibly fascinating. Or, rather I should says "topics." This book covered both Anthrax and Smallpox, both quite scary, both natural occurrences at one point, and one now "extinct from nature." As I read this book I was trying to piece the two scary agents together, but they did not completely mesh, but where it does latch on proves to be quite terrifying. I am pretty sure now, I would rather die by a gunshot wound, or some other bash, smash, cut, type of death than anything virus related. The author again describes in ghastly detail just exactly how people who suffered from both Anthrax and Small pox died, and Ladies and Gents, it aint pretty. I mean, I cannot believe the world up until the 1970's had such a natural virus that was so common amongst the world over. I remember as a child asking both my grandparents and parents about their odd markings on their arms. Only to later learn they were actually scars from smallpox vaccinations. I remember learning about this virus in school as a kid, but very little on the detail and the war on this virus was ever told. It really is incredible. I also was thinking while reading "Why can't we just get rid of all the viruses in the world? Wouldn't that be nice?" Granted, that's not likely to ever be possible, and just some nice little fantasy, but the book also stated "Viruses are an essential part of nature." Now, I'll let you decide, but if they are an essential part of nature and crowd control then...was it right to wipe out the Pox virus just because humans value their lives more? I don't know. Was it the right things? Did humanity screw something up?

Another thing that terrifies me is I recently heard on the news that again the scientists of the world gathered and decided "To not destroy the remaining existing strands of the Pox Virus" They are afraid other countries even their own countries still have their own stocks and are manufacturing bio-weapons.... Scary, but entirely possible especially when in this book the author quotes a scientist saying. "It disturbed him that he could make such a powerful virus, but he also felt excited." These scientists create viruses to look for cures, they make super viruses and it is legal on certain viruses... yes they're terrified but it seems that they are also enlightened like someone who just cannot look away from the sun even though it is burning their eyes! I felt a chill go down my spine at this scientists reaction. Actually, I felt a body jolt over a lot of this book. The conclusion of this book is something that no horror novelist can ever fully grasp in their stories. Because, at the end of the day most of theirs are just that stories, fiction. This however is quite real. Nature has created these awesome viruses that at the end of the day most of us do not have a prayer with surviving. The world wiped out smallpox in the general population, but Mr. Preston reminds us the dream of total eradication failed. I will not quote his final sentence I will let you decide if you agree with him or not. The book was a good gateway to learn more about these topics and to do your own research, or just enjoy a scary as anything book and then move on. Either way in a twisted way I enjoyed yet again learning from Richard Preston.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Revolutionary Mothers. Women in the Struggle for America's Independence Written by: Carol Berkin

Warning some spoilers. And very long.

The American Revolution is painted as a harsh time, but a patriotic time when men threw off the chains or taxation nooses of their mother country and her tryanny reign. Rarely are the women who were part of this Revolution mentioned and those that did partake quickly became distant memories and shadows who walked the road of Independence. The war touched so many and yet these women until recently were never really mentioned, and still are not in the major history books. To this day I hear groans when a strong female character in some action movie rises up and does some great deed. Some of my friends call it unessecary "girl power moments." I hate when they say that, because why should it be rare to have a kick butt female?

Now, this book speaks of every women from the Revolutionary war the White demure colonists who had to follow her husband's, brothers, or father's politics. The Native American council women who had such a strong voice, but thought the Revolution a battle between brothers and tried to figure out a way to not become involved and to not lose more of their homeland. The strong African American who was either slave or even freed were still treated as a lower class than the men fighting the war. All were thrust into a war, and encouraged by their men to do their part to help their causes. Carol Berkin writes a very good book. It is not so much a story but a collective story of those women who lived, fought, survived, and died during the Revolutionary war.
I read quite a bit abou the Revolutionary War, and paid great attention to this topic in school. Her book is grouped in a very agreeable way. An introduction, that is so colorful so vibrant right off the bat she tells you what this book is a collective telling of women's stories. She also states. "The Revolution also left much undone. The eighteenth-centry embrace of freedom liberty, and equality was not yet wide enough to encompass women, men without property, African Americans, or Indians." So, this book also speaks of others and also a great deal about Americas founding fathers and their beliefs and the interaction they had with their wives.
Her next chapter goes into what women thought of what caused the rift and the final straw. It is a good chapter indeed, and shows just how much women gathering and banding together had such an impact in those first few days when there was talk of Liberty.
Chapter three deals with the horrors of much does not change even in this modern day these cases still creep up. Seriously page 39 may just make you as angry as I am. I was shocked to learn Thomas Jefferson, was well known for his opposition to women's participation in, or concern with, politics. I never knew that. I certainly don't remember that being a foot note in my schools text either as a child.
Chapter four is just a kick in the gut. This chapter deals with the women who followed the army, both armies. General Washington could not stand these women and neither could most of the men it seems. It is interesting as the Dutch during their war in India would take camp wives, and so it seems the British and Colonials did as well. Also sad, these camp wives could easily be discarded and drummed out, and many were and could claim no compensation. How horrendous. Yet, these camp women were so fully needed! They were the nurses of the sick, cloth menders, laundresses, cooks, scavengers for supplies, and so many more duties fell to them. They were even used as soldiers and spies, and yet still many men thought them wretched creatures and generals thought them as beast of burden. Why when women had no clothes, shoes, and other necessities and it was requested they be given these bare minimum items the state legislature refused... just shocking.
 Chapter Five deals with war being hard on domestic happiness. I feel this is pretty obvious that yes it does upset happiness. Still it is an interesting chapter and you see how the original Patriotic fathers dealt and interacted with their wives, and how clever these women could be.
Chapter Six deals with loyalist women in exile, and again it is quite a fascinating chapter and so depressing at the same time. The Revolutionary governments were eager to confiscate the property of men they considered traitors. They would seize homes, land, clothing, basically everything. If a wives husband was a known loyalist and died she was not safe she was not permitted to keep her home or her clothing she was cast out. And, to make matters worse British military commanders and civil officers "were no more eager to shoulder the burden of support for a number of useless Consumers of Provisions, than the patriots." So these women were nothing to either side.
Chapter 7 deals with the Native American women and how they thought the women of Loyalists and Patriots must hear their words. It is again a very moving chapter, and so sad to see a society which looked to women and listened to them collapse and all but vanish.
Chapter 8 tells the story of African American women it is a sad, sad, story so many really thought they were to be freed, and those that were, were treated so inhumanely. It also shows so much even more than two hundred years later has not changed. "In 1784, poor white veterans in Shelburne rioted against blacks, whom they accused of coercing them out of the labor market." This argument goes on even today, though not against blacks, but against the immigrants that migrate to America each year, they too are treated harshly they too are persecuted and risen against, another group, but the same argument continues. It is rather sad no?
Chapter Nine: tells of the Spies, Saboteurs, Couriers, and Other Heroines, though I find most of these chapters pages filled with amazing stories, this chapter hones in on these particular topics, and these women again were just amazing. They surprised themselves. "To achieve their ends, these women often played on the gender expectations and stereotypes of their day, feigning innocence or employing charms and wiles to gain the trust of the enemy."
The final chapter deals with the Legacy of the Revolution. It tells how before the war "Girls knew quite enough if they could make a shirt and a pudding." The Republic though did realize something very significant. "They required informed citizens, able to resist the siren call of the tyrant and the temptations of corruption. Thus, patriotism had to be instilled in each succeeding generation..." Yes, a women’s education would now be needed, but it would not expand on a women's economic opportunity or extend their legal rights. They were instead taught if a war broke out again their way to survival would be, “Patience, endurance, frugality, and fortitude." Abigail wife of John Adams insisted to his wife that his "Masculine system" was benign rather than oppressive." Abigail did try again to ask her husband John to see what she was saying... it is rather an amazing sentence that the author placed here. "I cannot say that I think you very generous to the Ladies, for whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to Men, Emancipating all Nations, you insist upon retaining absolute power over Wives." Though, she was not asking for women’s suffrage, she only wanted a revision to the laws, and to throw away the notion that she was in the same category as children and the insane, thus robbing her of most of her legal identity.
I found this book to only touch upon so many topics for women during the Revolutionary War, I really had a hate love relationship with this book, because of how much women did, suffered, and endured, and yet they are not really mentioned! There is a movement in the Tea party currently to remove the mention of the Founding fathers as having slaves, then these Tea party members might as well throw out the mention that they had wives or even Females in America seeing as that too would paint a not so happy picture on many of the Founding Fathers in their quest for Liberty. This was a good book, and I think will prove to be a gateway drug to other books of similar topics.