tweets for 2015-05-29

May 30th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Alien Child, Pamela Sargent (1988/2015)

May 29th, 2015 12:05 pm by Kelly Garbato

A Solid SciFi Story for the Tween Set

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape.)

The emptiness of the world outside told her that the last story of her people had ended badly.

For as long as she can remember, Nita has lived in the east wing of the Kwalung-Ibarra Institute with her furred, cat-like guardian, Llipel. Their only company is the robotic gardeners that maintain the grounds; the artificial intelligence that controls the Institute; and, later, a cat retrieved from the cold room for Nita. Llipel’s companion and fellow space traveler Llare occupies the west wing, but the two only communicate through the mind, and then only when necessary: this being their time of separation, Llipel and Llare are compelled to pursue solitude – from members of their own species, if nothing else.

As far as Nita knows, she’s the last remaining human on earth. That is, until she attempts to call Llare on the intercom and is stunned to find a furless face staring back at her. On the cusp of womanhood – no longer a child, but not yet an adult – Nita makes a shocking discovery: there’s a human boy named Sven just a stone’s throw away. And, for some reason that neither of them understand, both their guardians have kept the presence of the other a secret from their charges.

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tweets for 2015-05-28

May 29th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

The Rat Terrier Review: Paul Blart Edition!

May 28th, 2015 10:35 pm by Kelly Garbato

2015-05-27 - Five for Paul Blart! - 0012 [flickr]

Last night we ticked another item off Peedee’s to-do list: the drive-in! I’m happy to report that, while it was not an unqualified success – I spent much of the night in a state of hyper-awareness vis-a-vis his big damn mouth – the trip went much better than expected.

Way back when it was just three dogs, we tried taking Ralphie, Peedee, and O-Ren in various combinations – it’s hard now to remember the exact configurations – but all three were such big barkers that we quickly gave up. (I have vague memories of slinging blankets over their crates to keep them quiet, like birds.)

And then I fell in love with Kaylee, and she became a regular. She was happy just to be near me; the popcorn was a bonus. Needless to say, Kaylee was not a big barker; she saved her voice strictly for communicating her demands. Kaylee and Rennie grew so close that we eventually decided to give her a second chance and – surprise! – Rennie was much improved. After Kaylee passed, we handed her spot over to Mags, who was equally well-behaved.

So. Last night I’m loading the van up: blankets, pillows, crate, water, food. Mags and Rennie, both well-versed in the routine, work themselves into the usual excited frenzy: WE’RE GOING OUT! MOVIES AND TREATS AND A WHOLE NIGHT ALONE WITH MOM AND DAD! WALKS AND STRANGE SMELLS AND DISCARDED GREASY FOOD EVERYWHERE!

I can’t bring myself to look Mags in the eye, because it’s her spot Peedee’s taking.

Like, I seriously cannot describe how bad I felt: here she is, just two days off crate rest, and Mom and Dad and her BFF O-Ren are ditching her for the evening. Possibly other evenings to come. And she looked so happy, you guys! OVER-FUCKING-JOYED.

But we didn’t know if we’d be able to handle three dogs, especially when one of them was wild card Peedee.

Shane offhandedly joked that we should just bring her. And so it was decided.

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tweets for 2015-05-27

May 28th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Gracekeepers: A Novel, Kirsty Logan (2015)

May 27th, 2015 10:29 am by Kelly Garbato

Positively Enchanting

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher.)

Alone in their coracle, they were not performers, not burdens, not dangers, not weapons, not food. They were family.

Her whole life she had been afraid of the sea, terrified that it wanted to swallow her whole. And here she was, and it held her.

What’s the use of a clown who doesn’t subvert? What do they bring to the crowd? Everyone has sadness, and rage, and frustration – and so everyone needs a clown.

Callanish Sand will always remember the bear.

She was just a little girl when the Circus Excalibur visited her island, North-East 19 archipelago – home of the sacred World Tree – docking only long enough to put on a night show for the landlockers’ amusement. (And some food and provisions, gods willing.) Everything was going swimmingly (pun intended); the acrobats, fire-breather, and equestrians performed to the audience’s delight. And then the show reached its climax: a veritable bloodbath.

Two adults, a man and a woman, performing a courtship waltz with a giant bear, when something went tragically (yet predictably) awry. Even today, Callanish isn’t exactly sure of the what or the why, shielded as she was from the fray by her mother’s steady arms. Before she was carried away, Callanish saw three fallen bodies: those of the man, the woman, and the eviscerated bear. “And in the center of it all, [...] two figures: one draped in white, one furred black; both with eyes open moon-round and empty. A small girl and a small bear, hands and paws still linked.” The children of the dead, left to pick up the pieces.

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tweets for 2015-05-26

May 27th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

The Rat Terrier Review: Memorial Day Edition!

May 26th, 2015 10:53 pm by Kelly Garbato

I’m not sure one post makes it official, but I am making this a thing, people!

On Saturday, the dogs helped me plant marigolds.

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0009 [flickr]

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0016 [flickr]

Well, Rennie and Peedee helped; Mags had a fit from behind the bars of her crate, and Finnick tried his best to avoid the camera.

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0003 [flickr]

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0001 [flickr]

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tweets for 2015-05-25

May 26th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

A Brief Comedic Interlude

May 25th, 2015 9:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

2015-05-17 - Outside with the Dogs - 0034 [flickr]

The week before last, Mags had surgery to remove a fatty mass from her left buttock. Fatty deposits are nothing new around here, but this was by far the largest we’ve seen – nearly golf ball-sized. Plus it was in a rather awkward place, wrapped up in muscle tissue; there was a chance that it (or the surgery to remove it) could have damaged one of two nerves controlling her anus, which would have meant temporary incontinence while the right-side nerve learned to compensate.

Luckily, nothing of the sort happened. But. The mass was so large that it grew through the muscle tissue and into her abdominal wall, causing a hernia which had to be repaired. She had an overnight stay in the veterinary hospital and has been confined mostly to a crate for the past two weeks. It’s funny, we never knew just how hyper she was until she was forced to stay still! Her two-week follow-up is tomorrow; I’m seriously hoping that the hernia is healing faster than expected, because I don’t know how we’ll manage another week of this.

There’s a decent chance that she’ll be cleared for water therapy (Shane just set up the pool today!) but still be restricted to a crate otherwise: THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS. Oh, the horrah!

Anyway, here are some photos I took during the first week. (I already shared them on Facebook, which is funny; I hardly ever use it, except when I have a dog-related emergency to kvetch about. I really need to be better about posting personal stuff on my blog. Maybe I’ll try out a weekly dog feature in the future?)

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Book Review: The Well, Catherine Chanter (2015)

May 25th, 2015 12:34 pm by Kelly Garbato

One person’s paradise is another person’s perdition.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape, pedophilia, and domestic violence.)

There is one last emotion, though, which I have not anticipated. I am feeling smug. There, you thought you were just guarding a middle-aged crank who had delusions of grandeur, but now you’ll have to think twice, smart-arse.

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day. I dance like a witch doctor around the sitting room.

Determined to salvage her marriage – not to mention what’s left of her husband’s sanity – Ruth Ardingly agrees to trade in her London home for a small farm in the country. Hailing from a long line of farmers, it was always Mark’s dream to work the land, reveling in nature and solitude and self-sufficiency. Yet he forfeited these plans when, as a college student, he met and fell in love with Ruth – already pregnant from a one-night stand. Instead, he pursued a law degree, committed himself to Ruth and their daughter Angie, and settled for an ordinary, middle-class existence.

And then came the child pornography, discovered on his work laptop. Though Mark was investigated and eventually exonerated, that didn’t stop the harassment and social ostracization. So Ruth acquiesced, hoping that the change of scenery and fresh air would do them both a world of good. Perhaps it might have, had the move not come smack dab in the middle of a drought – a drought to which their new, thirty-acre paradise seems immune.

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tweets for 2015-05-24

May 25th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

This is not the Peedee update I wanted to share.

May 24th, 2015 9:38 am by Kelly Garbato

2015-05-22 - Rennie & Peedee Wanna Drive - 0028 [flickr]

Clowning around with Rennie over the weekend.
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You guys, Shane and I got some really bad news about Peedee last week. “Bad” doesn’t even begin to cover it; more like “devastating.” We thought Thursday’s chemo appointment would be his last, at least for a while. And it was. Just not for the reasons we’d hoped.

First, a quick recap for those who’ve no idea what I’d talking about (and also because I’ve been rather crappy about posting updates): last March, our eldest dog Peedee was diagnosed with cancer: a tumor on the outside of his lung. The good news was that the cancer was slow-growing and localized. The oncologist recommended surgery, and in mid-April, a surgeon cracked his sternum open and removed the tumor, along with 20% of his left lung. The surgery was pretty brutal and left him sore and bruised, though he bounced back much more quickly than we expected.

The surgeon was fairly confident that she got all the cancerous tissue, but of course only time would tell whether it had metastasized. Post-surgery follow-up included x-rays every three months to monitor his progress.

2015-02-10 - Post-Walk Laziness - 0015 [flickr]

Because I don’t wanna post pictures of his surgical wounds anymore.
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Everything went well for a while; x-rays at three and six months came back clear. After month nine, his team of vets were all but ready to declare him cured. In January, we reported to our regular vet, who was taking the x-rays; he inspected the images and didn’t see any areas of concern. He sent the x-rays off to the oncologist – no biggie, we thought; just a formality – and a week later we got the call: she spotted something in the opposite lung. Naturally, we hoped against hope that it was anything but cancer; an anomaly in the x-ray, maybe?

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tweets for 2015-05-23

May 24th, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Stacking the Shelves: Birthday ed. + Kelly Joins Edelweiss

May 23rd, 2015 11:17 am by Kelly Garbato

2015-05-11 - Birthday Book Haul - 0001 [flickr]

2015-05-11 - Birthday Book Haul - 0005 [flickr]

So my birthday was two weeks ago, and even though I’m well into my 30s now, my mom still insists on buying me gifts. I’d just as soon she make a donation to an animal rescue group in my name, but she never does, so I’ve long since stopped suggesting it. Instead, I send her a wishlist populated with books, usually comic books. I think my lack of interest in adult items, like china and nice sweaters, frustrates her just a smidge, but she’s learned to deal. She humors me, anyway.

This year she got me volumes 1-5 of Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman run (I already have #1 and #6 has yet to be released in paperback), along with Volumes 1 and 2 of Ms. Marvel. My sister got me a swanky X-Files hoodie, and my mom and dad also gifted me a no soliciting/vegan cookies welcome sign from etsy.

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tweets for 2015-05-22

May 23rd, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Ice Twins: A Novel, S.K. Tremayne (2015)

May 22nd, 2015 12:03 pm by Kelly Garbato

This Book is Bonkers

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape and violence, including rough sex.)

“Mummy, why do you keep calling me Kirstie?”

I say nothing. The silence is ringing. I speak:

“Sorry, sweetheart. What?”

“Why do you keep calling me Kirstie, Mummy? Kirstie is dead. It was Kirstie that died. I’m Lydia.”

It’s been thirteen months since Sarah’s six-year-old daughter Lydia – one half of the “Ice Twins” – died in a tragic fall from her parents’ first-floor balcony in Devon. In the wake of the accident, the family all but fell apart: Sarah spiraled into a morass of grief and guilt – for it was she who was supposed to be watching the girls that fateful night – while her husband Angus found solace in the bottom of a whiskey bottle. An angry, sometimes-violent drunk like his father, Angus eventually was fired from his architecture job after assaulting his boss in an alcohol-fueled rage.

And the remaining daughter Kirstie? Well, she’s adrift without her other half. Best friends and then some, Kirstie and Lydia lived in their own little world. They had their own secret language and elaborate in-jokes, and in the months leading up to the accident, their identities had become so intertwined that they often dressed alike, swapped personas, and referred to themselves as a single entity, e.g., “Mummy, come and sit between me so you can read to us.” Now that Lydia’s gone, Kirstie is an island: alone, apart, desolate.

So what could be better than relocating Kirstie to an actual island? (Yes, that was sarcasm. Sarah and Angus are the worst.)

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tweets for 2015-05-21

May 22nd, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2015-05-20

May 21st, 2015 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Scarlett Undercover, Jennifer Latham (2015)

May 20th, 2015 12:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

A BAMF WOC protagonist, smart & snappy dialogue, & a one-eyed rescue dog – what more do you need?

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

The funny thing was, I’d always been a skeptic when it came to Qadar. I didn’t like the idea that everything was already set, that no matter what choices I made, my path through life had been mapped out a long time ago. But ever since Gemma had showed up at my door, fate had yanked the steering wheel from my hands and hit the gas pedal hard. This case wasn’t just about some rich kid getting messed up by a cult. It was about old devils and new ones. It was about my faith. My family. About me.

In the wake of their parents’ tragic and untimely deaths, sisters Reem and Scarlett adopt different means of coping with their grief and anger. Reem decides to become a doctor, with the ultimate goal of opening a clinic that caters to Muslim women. Perhaps if Las Almas had already had one such practice, her Ummi might have sought treatment for the cancer destroying her brain before it was too late to do anything but watch her waste away. Reem also becomes more devout in her religion, taking up the hijabs worn by her Ummi, and encourages her younger sister to partake in daily prayers.

Meanwhile, Scarlett is still reeling from her Abbi’s murder several years previous. After years of acting out – culminating in an arrest for hot-wiring a Lexus in ninth grade – Detective Emmet Morales takes an active role in her upbringing. The then-beat cop who handled the notification for her Abbi’s case, Emmet becomes an adopted member of Scarlett’s family, even standing in as a pallbearer at her Ummi’s funeral. He puts Scarlett to work, starting with easy cases: seeing if liquor stores will sell to an underage girl, scouting for pickpockets in tourist traps. When she demonstrates a knack for the “gumshoe,” the real fun begins. Understandably bored at school, Scarlett graduates early – by two years – and opens her own P.I. business.

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