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. 

Down in the Mud (Lord of Misrule – A Book Review)

The Lord of Misrule
Author: Jaimy Gordon
Published: 2010

Lord of Misrule

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Welcome to the world of horse racing. This isn’t about the Kentucky Derby or any of popular races that we know about. No, this is a story at the bottom of horse racing at the track of Indian Mound Downs in West Virginia. Experience life on the racetrack for various characters from a veterinarian to a dangerous trainer that threatens the well-being of several people, to a girl that keeps up folks’ hopes and works as a hotwalker (person that cools down the horse after a workout or a race) and anything else that involves working with the horses. This will give you a personal, inside look at the gritty, and even a dark side, of horse racing. Trying to cheat the system, get the upper hand, and survive in this world where horses whose best running days are long lost are put up on the track.

This book became an instant classic for me. I don’t put classics in subcategories. Classics come from all over time. But anyway, a classic, yes. While the story took place in our modern time, the depth and detail really sunk in and I admired the way the book moved from one character’s POV to another. Each character had a different view of Indian Mound Downs and those that inhabited it, and that pulled me in even more because each character had opinions and even various ways of recognizing other characters, making them very independent of each and made the imagery extremely vivid for me.

The detail in Jaimy’s words envelop the senses, allowing you to feel like you are really there. You can feel the hot, humid air that stings your nose with horse manuer and sweat and see as these horses are pushed beyond their limits. She makes the senses tingle and capturing this sport from such an intense and unlikely angle that horse racing isn’t as glamorous as we believe it to be is what truly sparked my interest. It can make and break a person and horse over and over again. That and this was a gift from my professor, (by the way, thank you).

Before my brother and I were born, my mom worked on a racetrack. While the work was grueling, she loved it and wouldn’t have given it up for the world. I believe that if we hadn’t been born that’s where she’d still be today. That doesn’t make me upset. I’m thrilled by the thought because she had been so passionate about something. What does that have to do with this book? Well, this book gave me a glimpse at what it was like for her to work on a track, aside from the dark intentions of some characters. From the stories she’s told me, I imagine my mom to be much like Maggie from the book—in the aspect of working with horses that is.

This book was a challenge for me. There were no quotation marks to direct conversation between characters so I had to train my brain on reading the text without them. In my opinion people should find a book that challenges them every once in a while, give them a different and/or new angle to at life from. It’s part of the reason it took me so long to get this review up. This book was quite enjoyable and really kept me involved. I recommend it to anyone looking for a challenge.

 

Quotables:

“You can drink yourself to hell, Duecey said, and I know you will. I ain’t taking this horse.” (Duecey to Kidstuff, p. 68)

“I tell you a secret, horse racing is not no science. Some of em tries to make it a science, with the drugs and the chemicals and that, ma’fact it’s more like a religion. It’s a clouded thing. You can’t see through it. It come down to a person’s beliefs.” (Medicine Ed to Maggie, p. 83)

Midnight Tease

Midnight Tease - Giphy

 

Hello my bookworms! It is the witching hour and with that hour I bring the list of what’s coming up on my reading queue, what’s currently being absorbed by my eyeballs and brain and what is up for review.

I just realized that I got quite a bit done in August. 8 books. Like whoa!

I’ve got more reviews coming and even a book list that I’ve been working on. I’m very excited about this list actually. I’ve asked people across social media to tel me what their favorite book is and the answers are phenomenal and surprising.

Anyhow….

Here we go…

 

Coming soon…

Ghost_atniquity - LiveJournal

 

Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Author: William Shakespeare

I do love the occasional play and I have read this before. It’s my favorite by the famous playwright actually. I look forward to  rereading and reviewing this play.

 

Poison Eaters

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories
Author: Holly Black

I’m a fan of Valiant so I was curious about this book, but when I read the back cover I was intrigued. Holly has a knack for impressively bringing fairytales and fantastical creatures to the modern age.

 

Princess Saves Herself in This One

the princess saves herself in this one
Author: amanda lovelace

I’d heard about this book while I was browsing around on Goodreads. I became interested because of the theme of girl power.

 

Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule
Author: Jaimy Gordon

This book was a gift during the Christmas season last year. I received it from a professor of mine and I have been looking forward to reading it all year. It revolves around the horse track and I LOVE the races. It’s on my bucket list to attend the Kentucky Derby at least once.

 

Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman

I found this around the bookstore that I work at and after reading American Gods, I had to snatch it up. Neil Gaiman has proven to be a phenomenal icon in the world of modern literature. I suspect that I won’t be able to put this book down just like American Gods.

 

 

Currently…

Currently

 

 

Triple Moon

Summer on East End: Triple Moon
Author: Melissa De La Cruz

 

 

Twilight

Twilight the Graphic Novel: Vol. 1
Author: Young Kim

 

 

Diary of a Sex Fiend

Diary of a Sex Fiend
Author: Abby Lee

 

 

Up for Review…

Up for Review

 

 

Triple Moon

Summer on East End: Triple Moon
Author: Melissa De La Cruz

 

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Author: Truman Capote

 

Twilight

Twilight the Graphic Novel: Vol. 1
Author: Young Kim

 

Diary of a Sex Fiend

Diary of a Sex Fiend
Author: Abby Lee

 

Looks like September aims to be a busy reading month as well.

If you’d like to be a part of my next book list (I would certainly love it!) then tell me your favorite book and why it’s your favorite. That’s the only guideline. Genre doesn’t matter.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

Stalker Much? (I Know What You Did Last Summer – A Book Review)

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Author: Lois Duncan
Published: 1973

last summer - amazon

My Rating:Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Four teenagers make a pact after a devastating car accident, promising to never talk about that night. A night when their lives changed forever. A year later the teenagers start receiving letters that remind them of what they did and worse, what they didn’t do. Being haunted and stalked, they try to figure out who is behind it all and what to do before one of them or all of them end up dead.

I know

First things first, this book is nothing like the 1997 film, which was a horror and went off of the urban legend of the man with a hook for a hand. There are so many differences between the book and movie from what the characters look like to what actually happened that made them form a pact of silence. Also, the body count was much lower in the book. However, both cover the theme of revenge and guilt very well.

This book is quite accessible as it read on a 7th-8th grade level. And I realize it took me two months to read, but in my defense, it sits right beside my pillow as my bedside reader. It wasn’t heart attack inducing or anything of the sort. Nonetheless, I found the story to be quite enjoyable.

Books like these are rare these days. The build-up and curiosity reeled me in. These kids had ordinary lives and now what should be the best time of their lives—going to college, getting an amazing job—is actually riddled with anxiety and dread. But I think what really surprised me was that it was both predictable and unpredictable. I discovered who the antagonist was. It was easy, but I certainly didn’t expect the plot twists and in depth explorations behind the accident. Lois explored each angle, detailing each family and showing how each of them struggled. It really opened my eyes about the varying relationships between parent and child.

I know

One of my favorite things about this is the consistent tone of the story and the way the language magnified the time period when pot and alcohol was revered as major gateways to a low life. That you wouldn’t go anywhere in life if you partook in these things. You were breaking all kinds of rules if you were out partying all night. The vocabulary itself showed just how much language changes over time. We certainly don’t talk like the way they do in the book anymore. It’s so light and simple compared to the complexities of today’s ever-growing language. These days we’ve even added emojis to our language base.

This book is an instant classic and it’s one worth reading again. One certainly gets a feeling for what it’s like to harbor terrible secrets. Definitely earned five bolts from me.

I know

 

Quotables:

“It’s like something out of a move. You think of things like this happening in New York and Chicago and places like that, not in peaceful towns with normal people.” (Elsa, p. 108)

“Something bad is going to happen and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.” (Julie’s mom, p. 268)

“The heavy blackness was all around her. And she knew at last what it was like to be alone in the night.” (Julie, p. 195)

 

More to come soon…

K.

 

P.S. Song today? Eighteen by Creed.