Brainssss! On The Mississippi (Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim – A Book Review)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim
Author: Mark Twain & W. Bill Czolgosz
Published: 2009

Huckleberry Finn

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

There warn’t no home like a raft, after all. The monsters cain’t get you there. Not so easy.

In this book, by the father of American Literature, the pox is causing people to drop left and right and they come back as zombies, also called baggers. Huckleberry Finn and his dearest friend,  Jim, a bagger now, go on the run after Huck fakes his death and it’s blamed on Jim. The two travel the Mississippi and there’s more than scammers, robbers and the people pretending to be baggers.  Peoples’ baggers are turning on them, going crazy and eating them. Huck can’t help but wonder if Jim will turn on him.

Huck Finn

I was very surprised with this book. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of America’s biggest classic novels right along side Tom Sawyer and To Kill a Mockingbird. I debated whether or not to get this book and in the end decided to give it a read (obviously). I was glad that I did. The adventure this time around was much wilder and dangerous than before.

One of the primary curiosities I had about this novel was if it would run along the same vocabulary and language as the classic novel did. It does and even adds some new vocabulary to keep with the time period and tone of the characters. A bagger or bunderlug refers to a zombie. Huck will often refer to zombies as bagger. I was very happy to see that with that extra addition. Keeping with the language Twain created really got me to respect this book on a major level. Keeping this was incredibly beautiful and a great homage to Twain. The book didn’t have to keep the language so I loved that it did.

The addition of the walking dead added some detail I didn’t expect. People were able to hang on to their loved ones, though sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. I found that element to be extremely touching since zombies are usually portrayed as hungry and utterly brainless. It was also pretty funny the way Huck would describe the way they acted. There were some real The Walking Dead moments that I thought of while reading though.

Huck Finn

Approaching a classic with such a spin can be tricky I imagine. It does add something unique and fun however. More so, the novel twists the idea of blind trust and faith. You see this the further you read about Huck and Jim’s wild adventure on the river. Jim protects Huck from a bagger gone bad. There’s even a man who pretends that he’s a bagger.

If you’ve enjoyed Mark Twain’s work of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn then you’ll enjoy the twist. The zombies did make the novel more interesting and yes, I was pulled in because of the zombies. Using the undead angle has the perk to pull in different audiences to get them to read the classic. I was certainly surprised. This was great.

Quotables:

“A full bagger is a damn problem. You got to go after the marbles in his head and knock ’em all out ‘fore you can put him down.” (Huckleberry Finn, p. 12)

“I don’ feel too much, Huck. Stuff is all dead inside o’ me. Sumtimes I’m not even sure I’m here. I gots to touch myself to know, an’ even dat don’t always work.” (Jim, p. 86)

“Jim sat still. Baggers was good at sittin’ still. They was already dead, so it was only a matter of bein’ themself’s. No tics or twitches or nothin’.” (Huckleberry Finn, p. 114)

“I neva hear o’ no bagger sellin’ himself. You is dead now. The only one who kin sell you is some’un other than youself.” Huck to Birdock

“Jus’ cause somethin’ ain’t been done before, it don’t mean it can’t be done at all. An’ why can’t a bunderlug sell his own self? I knows of wimmen who sells themselves all time.” (Huck and Birdock, p. 205)

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XOXO,Holly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s – A Book Review)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Author: Truman Capote
Published: 1958

Breakfast at Tiffany's

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Autumn of 1943, during World War II. The setting is an apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the newest tenant moves in to pursue his career as a writer. His life is changed when he meets Holly Golightly, a young girl who’s turned socialite. With all of her stories and the famous people she knows, like a model and a mobster, her life appears to never be dull. Full of life, naivety and the illusions of love, this bittersweet novella will charm even you.

Breakfast at Tifaany's

Truman Capote’s most well-known novella of which you can connect Audrey Hepburn to is a wonderful classic of a young woman with no true direction who believes that nothing bad can ever happen to her. I first read this during my freshman year in college and discovered it a few weeks ago in a stray box, all dusty and longing to have its pages turned.

The seemingly endless possibilities that Holly had in the novella really brings out the dreamer in me while realizing how she appears to have such a fantastic life is unsavory. She doesn’t take up the workforce to earn her way, but uses her wits to get other people to pay her way and help her keep her cushy lifestyle. There is a lot of disregard for the possible consequences of this, showing just how wild Holly and how she values people.

One of the parts that have always reached out to me is Holly’s dislike for cages. It comes up more than once throughout the story. Looking beyond the cage, it’s the idea or reminder of being stuck in one, whether literally or metaphorically, that I believe makes Holly dislike them. It seems simple enough to dissect, but then you have to discover what is caging her in, which you can figure out for yourself when you read the novella. (I can’t spoil it for you, but I can give you a thought.) I can honestly relate to that. For me, and I’m sure a lot of people, the small hometown is my cage. While I would love to travel, I also want to find a home of my own, a home that doesn’t feel like a toxic vortex that’ll never let me go. It’s a strong element to think on. What’s your cage?

Breakfast at Tiffany's

It’s a beautiful and buoyant piece. Capote’s writing is wistful and direct. While it seems like I’ve given away too much, trust me when I say I haven’t, but if I’m making you think about it, then give it a read. It’s worth it.

 

Quotables:

“You’ve got to be sensitive to appreciate her: a streak of the poet. But I’ll tell you the truth. You can beat your brains out for her, and she’ll hand you horseshit on a platter.” (O.J. Berman, p. 31)

“Never fall in love with a with thing, Mr. Bell” (Holly to Joe Bell, p. 74)

 

More to come soon…

P.S. Song today? NOT Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something. Nope! It’s Beautiful by Ben Rector. Love you, bookworms.

Dead Hot & Turning to Dust? (Accidentally Dead, Again – A Book Review)

Accidentally Dead, Again
Author: Dakota Cassidy
Published: 2012

Accidentally Dead, Again

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

 

Nina gets more than she bargains for when Sam is dropped on the doorstep of the Out in the Open Paranormal Support (OOPS) office unable to remember very much about how he was turned into a vampire. Enter Phoebe Reynolds, a young woman who claims to be Nina’s sister. She’s turned into a vampire in the midst of a fight between her and her new sister. Trying to process, or rather, not process it, Nina and her friends have to figure out how to help the two newest vampires after discovering that vampires are being experimented on and then turning to dust. They’ll all have to get to the bottom of it before both Sam and Phoebe disappear.

 

Every once in a while I’ll jump into the middle of a series. It mostly happens when I find the book in the wild—on a bargain shelf or dollar rack. That’s how it happened here.  I have started in the middle of a lot of series and loved them! And for being only $1.00 this book was fun.

This is basically a supernatural soap opera. The drama is like a prairie fire from the very start and it blazed hotter and hotter until the very end with romance that was red hot and fast paced with no holding back. Every once in a while you just need those steamy, muscle tensing parts. No shame from me, bookworms. It was pretty yummy.

The language was fun and extremely laid back. If you’re not into a lot of cursing from your characters then steer clear, but I didn’t have any issues with that. There was an abundance of puns, cliches, and sarcasm. All it of was both great and not so great. I can’t handle so many cliches, even if they are well placed. I feel like their something to use only in dabbles, not five a page. The punniness and sarcasm kept me hanging on. Sarcasm is my first language, English came second. Ask my mother. So while there was one thing that itched me, the overall language was fun and consistent.

Now, while this book was whipping me back and forth with the plot twists, the story didn’t get me entirely engulfed. Each over dramatic twist felt forced, like they were pulled out of nowhere. That made it difficult to get attached to the characters and the story, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have any favorites. I actually loved Nina. She’s a bipolar firecracker with no tolerance for stupidity. Reminds me of myself a little.

Angry

More so, there was so much that didn’t need to be dragged out as much as it was. While I understood the main points getting drawn out, the repetition of small bits like vampire sleep, was something that grated me. It was pointed out too much. However, I loved seeing everything about being vampires as brand new through Sam and Phoebe’s eyes and how they were struggling with the adjustment, showing that not everyone can just skip to bloodsucking like it’s pie.

This isn’t one I think I’ll tackle again. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I enjoy paranormal novels to no end, but I feel like there just wasn’t enough to keep me captivated.  However, if you love the quick and steamy and nonstop drama, definitely pick up this book along with the rest of the series.

 

Quotables:

“What the fuck is next with you two? Invisibility? I don’t get it. You can jam your ass in a wall, dude. She can teleport and see her reflection. Swear to Christ, if you two can eat, even one bite, I’ll stake you myself.” (Nina, p. 92)

“We’re vampires, Sam. Sweet baby J, vampires really exist. They really drink blood. They really live forever. They have friends that are werewolves and demons.” (Phoebe to Sam, p. 177)

“Girls, I’m going to say this once. Keep it clean. And if you want to pummel each other like nothing more than common thugs—I will hit you with my shoe. Hard. Often. With so much glee.” (Wanda to Nina and Phoebe, p. 268)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? All I Have by Jennifer Lopez.

It’s A Pond, No, It’s An Ocean (The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – A Book Review)

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2013

Ocean at the End of the Lane

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Attending a funeral, a man comes back to the remnants of his childhood home and then is drawn to the house at the end of the lane where he sits at the edge of a pond. This pond is special. It isn’t a pond at all, but a a sea…an ocean. That’s what Lettie Hempstock called it and she was right. She, her mother and her grandmother, women who were mysterious and mystical had more than once told him how they came there across this ocean. That there was a world there beyond his wildest dreams and worst nightmares past it.

As the narrator sits there, he begins to remember when he nearly choked in his sleep from a coin being lodged in his throat, and an Opal miner turned up dead, and how his friend, Lettie, who promised to protect him, had to defeat a supernatural creature that came in the form of Ursula Monkton, the new housekeeper/babysitter that came from another world and was taking over his home. There was something magical and frightening in that memory, down at the end the end of the lane. As he recall every minute detail he relives a world that shouldn’t have made any sense, but it did. And as quickly as he remembered, he forgot.

I do not know how to express how much I’ve come to love Neil Gaiman and his magic. Having read American Gods, I was ready to read his other works wherever I could find it. Down at the bottom of a dusty box, in the stockroom of the bookstore, Ocean At The End Of The Lane stared up at me like a beacon and I was so excited. I can still recall jumping up and down faster than the speed of light and getting to set it on the back counter so that I could buy it on payday.

Excited

Gaiman’s riveting detail still surprises me to no end. It’s so beautiful and frightening in a single breath. The storytelling comes from a unique standpoint as well.

As I read, I became enchanted and amazed by the world that was created just between two houses. This story didn’t take place across a large setting like a country or a town. There was no road trip. More so, the world seemed so much larger than just these two places, in the memory of one man. I can’t pinpoint it precisely, except to say that I was deeply reminded of The Spiderwick Chronicles and the harrowing adventures in the small series. This was like the grown-up, more intense version.

Ocean at the end of the Lane - Spiderwick

 

One of the most important elements (to me anyway) that I’ve come to notice in Gaiman’s books, the ones that I’ve read so far, is the great detail he gives to the moon. It is such a magical and fantastical being, though it’s so far away and, maybe it’s just me, but we can’t help but want to reach out and touch or let it swallow us whole in its beautiful, pale light or even just talk to it because it’s such a great listener. I’m taken over by a bout of warmth and fuzziness with how Gaiman writes about the moon and that it’s more than just a rock in the sky. It gives light in the dark, shining a way home.

Moon

While I was deeply enveloped in the magic of the book and I do believe it was all magic, there is a question to be posed. Was this memory all in the narrator’s imagination? Was this how he coped with serious events that rocked his life, like for example, the man’s death that he and his father discovered? After all, this book takes place in the narrator’s memory and people remember things differently from other people.

 

This book was phenomenal. If only I had enough words to describe how extraordinary Gaiman’s storytelling is. All I can say is, you have to read it for yourself.

 

Quotables:

“Can’t drink the water from the sea, can you? Too salty. Like drinking life’s blood.” (Grandma Hempstock, p. 7)

“Small children believe themselves to be gods, or some of them do, and then can only be satisfied when the rest of the world goes along with their way of seeing.” (narrator, p. 51)

“Adult stories never made sense, and they were so slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood.” (narrator, p. 53)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Runaway by Thriving Ivory. 
Twitter: @CheshireKat_92

Goodreads: Kat J. 

Midnight Tease

 

Midnight Tease - Giphy

 

Hello, bookworms!

It’s October! And that means Halloween, which is Christmas and my birthday put together. The best holiday ever!

Halloween

And here I am with a brand new Midnight Tease to show you what I’m reading, going to be reading and what is up for review this month. There’s a few coming. A twist on a classic novel. Some Neil Gaiman. Good stuff.

 

Coming soon…

Ghost_atniquity - LiveJournal

 

Huckleberry Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim
Author: Mark Twain & W. Bill Czolggosz

There are zombies!

 

Friedrich

Friedrich
Author: Hans Peter Richter

I found this in the classic section of the bookstore. Similar to The Diary of Anne Frank, you follow the story of a boy’s friend who is Jewish.

 

Gotham

Gotham: Dawn of Darkness
Author: Jason Starr

With the new season of Gotham started, I am ready to tackle this fun book. The origins of Det. Gordon (who is crazy dreamy; loved Ben Mackenzie since The O.C.) is a completely fascinating starting base. I’m always looking for a tide-over to feed my favorite TV shows. Now if I could only get my hands on that one Teen Wolf novel: On Fire.

 

Awake

Awake
Author: Natasha Preston

I never write off an author if I’m not fond of only one of their books. I’m very curious about her other stories. This one looks ultra-creepy. Just look at the first sentences on the back of the book gave me nasty chills.

Of course, the dress was white. This is what I’m supposed to die in.

 

 

 Love & Misadventure

Love & Misadventure
Author: Lang Leav

I have a love for poetry. It’s not all of the time, but it is subtle and personal. Love and misadventure reached out to me like a mystery about the ups and downs of the strong emotion. About what it can do for you and to you and how to it makes you feel.

 

Poison Princess

Poison Princess: The Arcane Chronicles
Author: Kresley Cole

This was actually a recommendation from my boss and in all honesty, it sounded fun.

Imagine this, each card of the tarot deck are actual people. The Fool, Death, etc. they’re real. And they’re after one girl in particular. So she’s on the run. It already sounds crazy! Crazy fun and twisty on that little tid-bit.

 

 

Currently…

Currently

 

 

Diary of a Sex Fiend

Diary of a Sex Fiend
Author: Abby Lee

 

Accidentally Dead, Again

Accidentally Dead, Again
Author: Dakota Cassidy

 

Up For Review…

Up for Review

 

 

Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman

 

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast of Tiffany’s
Author: Truman Capote

Due to my busy schedule I was unable to get to it last month, but I am on top of it this month!

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. And remember, precious bookworms, reading is fun and mental.

Tales For the Fae Inclined (The Poison Eaters – A Book Review)

The Poison Eaters And Other Stories
Author: Holly Black
Published: 2010

Poison Eaters

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Holly Black, the queen of fae, and probably best known for her Modern Faerie Tales trilogy, brings forth a collection of twelve short stories ranging from a prom gone wild because of the Latin club invoking Bacchus (also known as Dionysus) to a tale about a group of girls with poisonous kisses of deadly proportions. Magic comes in all shapes and sizes and variations in this book.

Poison Eaters

Whether this is the first book you’ve read by Holly Black or just one of the many, you’re in for a treat. All of the stories were magnificently written. They range from many different settings—a trailer park, medieval castle, to a fae café. And I really loved the specific details so subtly added to the characters.  Each story was beautifully constructed with the right amount of imagery and struck me with wonder.

While one or two of the stories can be connected back to Modern Faerie Tales, all of them can stand alone so you don’t need to worry about whether you’ll be missing important parts from her other novels or not.

For me, the most interesting stories were In Vodka Veritas, Paper Cut Scissors, and The Land of Heart’s Desire.

In Vodka Veritas followed a kid shipped off to boarding school. He’s discovers that not everything is as it seems and he’ll have to decide whether he wants to save his best friend from the effects of a wild prom turned Bacchanalia (crazy, violent, orgy; season two of True Blood anyone?).

The lore of Dionysus and Maenads have always been fascinating and to come across a story dedicated to that was an utter joy. I may have squeed. Holly Black didn’t have to get extremely vulgar and revealing to get across what kind of parties the god liked to throw. I loved the odd anti-hero coming to the rescue. Really showed the great debate of a teenager knowing what kind of person they really are. It’s a debate that follows a person for the rest of their life.

Poison Eaters

 

Paper Cut Scissors is unlike anything I’ve ever read when it comes to complete originality. My bookworm nerdiness and love for libraries really came to the surface. Imagine being able to change an entire book by putting something in it. Imagine being able to put yourself into any book. What about an epic party with characters from books all over? As I read this, it was like a dream come true. I wanted to be in this story. From Dr. Watson to Anne of Green Gables to Wolverine, this is a party I would definitely attend.

Poison Eaters

 

The Land of Heart’s Desire. I was instantly taken back to a place I know well and that I was more than happy to return to. Back to Modern Faerie Tales (Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside). In a fae run café, Moon in a Cup, which is also populated by fae patrons among the good ol’ fashioned human ones, Corny puts out a little advertising to get some business. And he gets just that albeit not in the way he expected. Roiben, the faerie king, is put work with the overflow of customers. The two have an unexpected conversation.

If I’m honest, Valiant is my favorite out of the trilogy and I know that isn’t the case for a lot of people who are fans of it. I loved Val and Luis and Ravus. To see Val and Luis again and the other characters of Ironside made me all giddy. My eyes did a little bugging out.  This story really gave a great overview of how far each of them had come since the trilogy. There was heartache, struggle, and a bit of funny.

 

This book was a delightful read. It definitely left me wanting to read more. Not one story was similar to another. Something different for every occasion. That little book for when you want magic and by now you should know that I love magic.

I could see a Netflix show taking this book on like The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, shows that have new stories every episode. It would be invigorating to see a new POV of the fae world. Faeries aren’t all light and sweet.  They can get nasty if you aren’t careful and I love that Holly Black shows this while making it fun. It would be interesting to see on the screen.

 

Quotables:

“I’m a collector. I have to have the whole set—complete. All souls. They’re going to look spectacular all lined up.” (A Reversal of Fortune-The Devil to Nikki, p. 41)

“A crow doesn’t rip out the eyes of another crow. Nice.” (In Vodka Veritas, p. 113)

“The Latin Club is totally evil.” (In Vodka Veritas, p. 118)

“He was just a read and readers can’t do anything to make the story stop—except close the book.” (Paper Cut Scissors-Justin, p. 152)

“I don’t think people usually have terrible secrets the way characters do, but people often aren’t amazing, either. We’re watered down.” (Paper Cut Scissors-Justin to Sarah, p. 164)

“I envy what I fear and hate what I envy.” (The Land of Heart’s Desire-Corny to Roiben, p. 178)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls.

For the Fairies! (A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Book-Play Review)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Author: William Shakespeare
Published: 1600

Midsummer Night's

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Let’s start with a love square. That’s right, not a triangle, a square. Lysander and Hermia are very much in love, but Hermia is arranged to marry Demetrius by her father. Helena, her best friend is in love with Demetrius, but he only has moon eyes for Hermia.

So what are two forbidden lovers to do? They run away into the forest together, determined to be together.

In the forest, a fairy king and queen are at odds so the king gets his right hand fairy, Puck, to play a trick on her. Then to go a step further, he implores Puck to help Helena after she is found saddened because Demetrius refuses to love her back. In this Comedy, fairy magic wreaks hilarious havoc.

Midsummer Night's

We all know William Shakespeare. You start to read his works in high school, usually, and I don’t know about anybody else, but I read and studied Romeo and Juliet. A Midsummer Night’s Dream came later when I started forcing myself to read more on the great playwright and poet. He’s pivotal, one of the first stepping stones, for any book lover, English major, and author.

The comedy tickled me. Rereading it this time, I was still enveloped in the hilarity that fairies and magic can often make situations worse rather than better. Laughing out loud as Bottom who talks like an ass and then is turned into an ass while on the job in the bookstore turned a few heads. This is ultimately my favorite play. I’m not one for mushy romance. I seek realism no matter the genre when it comes to such this strong emotion. The play is in the percentile that makes me truly believe in it.

 

I love this play. It’s lighthearted, magical, and fun. It toys with the free will of love, making me a completely hopeless romantic. Very different from his tragedies. Definitely find time to read this if you haven’t done so yet. There’s a reason that William Shakespeare is more than just one of the most studied writers in British Literature. His approach to themes, emotions, and his style in writing are fundamental not only to learn from, but to understand people from; that we are capable of such strong emotions.

Then again, maybe this is just me. I do worship his plays. Sonnets? Well, I love poetry, but I’m terrible at writing sonnets. Tried to write one about Neverland once, (yep, I’ve always wanted to be a lost boy) and I don’t think it went well. I’m pretty sure that my British Lit. class knew it too. It’s a good thing I never got that assignment back.

Anyway, enough rambling about the legendary man. Read this, not because you’re forced to, but do it because it’s beautiful and the language will make you swoon and most importantly, do it for the fairies!

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Whatever You Imagine by Wendy Moten)