tweets for 2014-08-31

September 1st, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

2014 Real Book Challenge: August Roundup

August 31st, 2014 6:53 pm by Kelly Garbato

All nine of my reads this month were “real” books; this puts me at 44 for the year, which means I surpassed my original goal of 39 books. Yay me! Since I already bumped up my total goal to 101, I decided to increase my Real Books goal to an even 50. Still ahead of the game, yo!


  • The Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott (2014); reviewed here
  • The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (2014); reviewed here
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (2014); reviewed here
  • The Wraith (Welcome to Christmasland #1-6) by Joe Hill and Charles Paul Wilson III (2014); reviewed here
  • Fault Line by Christa Desir (2013); reviewed here
  • The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Caanan White (2014); reviewed here
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno (2014); review coming soon
  • The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi (2014); review coming soon
  • The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander (2014); review coming soon


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  • tweets for 2014-08-30

    August 31st, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    Twelve Little Peedee Things

    August 30th, 2014 11:32 am by Kelly Garbato

    2014-03-15 - Peedee's Gotcha Day - 0004 [flickr]

    Peedee on his Gotcha Day back in March.

    Oh, Peedee. What a year we’ve had. First there was the facial paralysis in October, which turned out to be idiopathic and more annoying than life-threatening, but of course we didn’t know that at the time; having just lost Ralphie and Kaylee, we were terrified that it was a stroke or something equally horrible. But you sure fooled us, didn’t you? Nearly a year later and the only sign of that scare is a slightly slack mouth and one ear that doesn’t quite rotate right. They’re kind of endearing, those quirks. Almost worth all the extra worry lines you added to my face.

    And then there was the cancer. It’s been four months since you had that tumor removed, along with a sizable portion of one lung, and so far you’re doing pretty amazing. Better than, according to dad; he’s convinced that you’ve got some of your old spark back.

    2014-07-12 - Dogs in Bed - 0018 [flickr]

    Showing off his sexy new scar.

    Personally, I think all these young, energetic foster brothers and sisters are to thank for that. I haven’t seen you play so hard in dog knows how long.

    There were some times I feared that you wouldn’t be around to celebrate today with us. Your twelfth birthday! TWELVE! It seems like just yesterday (and also forever ago) that you were a crazy, seven-month-old puppy, not too different from our current crazy foster Wookies: tearing ass around the yard, pulling on Ralphie’s face until it seemed the skin might tear clean off, dragging every. single. toy. from the toy box before settling on one you liked. Unlimited stores of energy. SO MUCH ENERGY. I don’t think 36-year-old me could have kept up with seven-month-old you.

    We’re just a coupla geezers, you and I.

    I love you, bud. Then and now and forever. Happy birthday, my new old man.

    2014-05-09 - Smithville Lake - 0088 [flickr]

    Testing out the water at Smithville Lake earlier this summer.
    Always the classy lady, that’s Rennie peeing on the beach.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2014-08-29

    August 30th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    Book Review: City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (2014)

    August 29th, 2014 2:27 pm by Kelly Garbato

    Stunning World Building, Complicated Characters, & a Refreshing Take On Religion

    (Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program.)

    five out of five stars

    More than a thousand years ago, the Divinities stepped out of their world to walk among humans. They were six – Olvos, Kolkan, Jukov, Voortya, Ahanas, and Taalhavras – and among their godlike powers was the ability to alter the very fabric of reality; to bend the laws of nature to suit their desires – and the needs of their followers. The Divinities found an eager and devoted flock on the Continent, which they carved up into six spheres of influence, each governed by the ruling Divinity’s own rules and realities. For their allegiance, the Continentals became the Divinities’ chosen ones, destined to rule over their godless neighbors.

    For nearly five hundred years, the Divinities and their followers fought amongst themselves. Seemingly overnight, and perhaps realizing the strength to be found in numbers, the Divinities gathered in the central city of Bukilov – thenceforth known as the Seat of the World – for the Night of the Convening, during which they agreed upon a treaty. This led to the onset of the Continental Golden Age, during which time the Continent experienced a surge in outward expansion as the allied Continentals raided, colonized, and subjugated the people of other countries, including those of Saypur.

    Around this time, and apparently spurred by her disapproval of the other Divinities’ increasingly harsh actions, Olvos – arguably the most compassionate and enlightened of the otherwise barbaric gods – withdrew from the world.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2014-08-28

    August 29th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    tweets for 2014-08-27

    August 28th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    Book Review: Broken Monsters, Lauren Beukes (2014)

    August 27th, 2014 12:03 pm by Kelly Garbato

    The Shining Girls just got bumped to the top of my TBR pile!

    five out of five stars

    (Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through Goodreads’ First Reads program. Also, trigger warning for sexual assault.)

    There’s a monster loose in Detroit. A whole lot of them, actually.

    First and foremost is the so-called “Detroit Monster,” whose story forms the backbone of Broken Monsters: The sick you-know-what leaving a trail of dead bodies disguised as art installations across the city, starting with an eleven-year-old boy named Daveyton Lafonte. From the navel up, the killer fused his mutilated body onto the lower portion of a deer’s using meat glue. (Google it.)

    But there’s also Philip Low, the middle-aged electrical engineer with the undeservedly kind face, who trolls the ‘net for young girls using the pseudonym “VelvetBoy”; Jonno, a “citizen journalist” from New York City, who exploits tragedy for page hits under the guise of journalistic integrity; and the adolescent boys of Hines High School, who think nothing of sharing a video of their classmate’s sexual assault – and then re-enacting the trauma for laughs.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2014-08-26

    August 27th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    You say “tomato,” I say “Red Lentil and Tomahto Soup.”

    August 26th, 2014 12:28 pm by Kelly Garbato

    2014-08-24 - SRJ Red Lentil & Tomato Soup - 0001 [flickr]

    So I know I said that I wouldn’t have time to cook out of Simple Recipes for Joy until after VeganMoFo. (Just six days, y’all! SIX DAYS!) But as fate would have it, I have a ton of fresh tomatoes from my garden – and Simple Recipes for Joy has a recipe that calls for a whole two pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Count ‘em, TWO.) On the weird side, it’s a hot soup recipe in a week when the temperature has been topping out in the high 90s every. single. day. But hey, air conditioning.

    I was concerned that maybe Shane wouldn’t be in the mood for soup after eight hours spent mowing the lawn in what is essentially hot, humid August Missouri soup, but he was actually stoked on the idea: “I need to rehydrate!” Um, okay then.

    So the soup is really tasty, though a little on the thin side. I ended up adding an extra cup of lentils and cooked the soup a little longer, just enough so that the lentils were tender, but didn’t dissolve (like the first batch did, and was supposed to). Along with the tomatoes and lentils there’s cumin and curry, which gives the soup a rich, savory taste.

    Perfect for dipping bread in! We didn’t have any fresh bread (boo!), so I cooked up some frozen dinner rolls and those were almost as good.

    tweets for 2014-08-25

    August 26th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    Book Review: Fault Line, C. Desir (2013)

    August 25th, 2014 12:38 pm by Kelly Garbato

    Well-Intentioned, but Sometimes Problematic

    three out of five stars

    (Trigger warning for rape.)

    Just a few days before the start of his senior year, Ben meets her: Ani Taylor, the new kid in town. A California transplant, Ani is everything Ben wants in a girl: Direct. Outspoken. Ballsy. Artistic with just a hint of hippie chick optimism. Gorgeous, with legs that just won’t quit. And the best part? She’s totally into him, too.

    All this changes when four or more young men gang-rape Ani during a house party. (While the book’s synopsis implies doubt about what exactly transpired at the party, Desir establishes that Ani was either a) drugged or b) intoxicated, either of which makes what happened rape.) As if being violently assaulted isn’t bad enough, first thing Monday morning the rumors start to fly. Before long, Ani’s known as the girl who fucked a lighter for an audience of strangers. Between the rape and subsequent bullying (“Firecrotch,” “Cum Dumpster,” and “The Manhole” are just a few of the nicknames devised by her classmates), Ani spirals into depression, shuts down emotionally, and begins acting out sexually. Meanwhile, Ben tries desperately to put the pieces of Ani – “his” Ani – back together again.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2014-08-24

    August 25th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    tweets for 2014-08-23

    August 24th, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    Book Review: The Harlem Hellfighters, Max Brooks & Caanan White (2014)

    August 23rd, 2014 12:20 pm by Kelly Garbato

    “How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?”

    five out of five stars

    (Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

    In 1917 we left our home to make the world “safe for democracy.” Even though democracy wasn’t exactly “safe” back home.

    We went by many names. The 15th. The 369th. And before going “over there,” we called ourselves “The Black Rattlers.” Our French allies called us “The Men of Bronze.”

    And our enemies called us “The Harlem Hellfighters.”

    Recruited in Harlem, trained in Camp Whitman, New York (and, disastrously, Spartanburg, South Carolina), and eventually deployed to the Western Front in France, the 369th Infantry Regiment – otherwise known as The Harlem Hellfighters – changed the course of history, even as its own government engineered its failure.

    The 369th spent 191 days in combat – more than any other American unit, black or white. None of their men were captured by the enemy, nor did they lose any ground; in fact, they were the first men to reach the Rhine River. The 369th volunteered to stay behind in the front trenches for an expected German bombing the day after Bastille Day, 1918, even though it meant almost certain death. One of their soldiers single-handedly fended off German raiders with only a rifle and a bolo knife; for this, Henry Lincoln Johnson earned the nickname “Black Death” – and was the first American to receive the French Croix de Guerre (the Cross of War). In 2003, the US awarded Johnson the Distinguished Service Cross; his supporters are still lobbying for the Medal of Honor.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2014-08-22

    August 23rd, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    tweets for 2014-08-21

    August 22nd, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

    Book Review: The Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland, Joe Hill & Charles P. Wilson III (2014)

    August 21st, 2014 12:32 pm by Kelly Garbato

    Christmas in August!

    five out of five stars

    NOS4A2 was one of my favorite new releases last year; I devoured it in a matter of days and then promptly added all of Joe Hill’s titles to my wishlist. (Too late for Christmas, but that’s the way the gingerbread crumbles.) So you can only imagine how excited I was when I heard that Hill was resurrecting the twisted innerscape of Charles Manx III in graphic novel format. I pre-ordered The Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland as soon as it became available on Amazon, and have spent the last six months eagerly awaiting its arrival.

    The Wraith is everything I wanted and more. It collects issues 1-6 of Welcome to Christmasland in a lovely (wait, did I say lovely? I meant nightmarish!) hardcover book, supplemented with oodles and oodles of extra artwork. The storyline briefly explores Charlie Manx’s childhood in the Wild West (we’re talking late 1800s here); after being violently assaulted and raped by one of his mother’s johns, Charles taps into the mysterious and unexpected power of his Fleet Fantom sled to exact his revenge.

    Fast-forward to 1988, when a trio of escaped cons – including Dewey Hansom, a sleazy, child-raping music agent who also just so happens to be Manx’s current accomplice – calls on Manx for help. Manx promises to make them disappear so that the authorities will never find them; naturally, he loads them into the Wraith and takes them to Christmasland to meet his kids (and by “meet” I mean at the end of a very long sword). But Chess Llewellyn has an ace up his sleeve: balloons filled with delirium-101, sent to him by his dead son Adam, whose untimely death Chess was about to serve seven years for avenging.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2014-08-20

    August 21st, 2014 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato