He can’t talk because he’s a pony… I think it’s his lung

40. Bronze – Kit Reed

Based on the three books and a short story I’ve read by Kit Reed so far (Enclave, Little Sisters of the Apocalypse, Bronze, & “Waiting”), I feel she is the Ween of authors. While there are some similar concepts in her books – strongly developed female characters (including likeable and non-likeable ones), an overarching sense of impending doom – if they weren’t labeled I wouldn’t have automatically known any of them were by the same author. Ween’s albums frequently span different genres and styles of music and it’s one of the reasons I love them so damn much. I’ve also enjoyed everything I’ve read from Kit Reed so far.

I do have a couple of issues with this one – for one thing, I read a first edition, with typos, and it ended with a comma. When I went online to research whether or not it is supposed to end with a comma (It could have been a period and it would have been just fine!) I found that this book has been largely ignored on Amazon – it has one review, one star (so, I have two reviews now on Dawn of the Interns and both are very nice, but it feels weird to me to be thinking that my book is doing better than something by Kit Reed in any capacity) and on Goodreads as well, one review with threeish stars, I gave my own book five stars (I like it. I’ve read it several times years after finishing it and pretending it didn’t exist and I like it. And other authors I respect also gave their books five stars, I feel no shame in liking my own work; I’m filling a niche, man, filling a funny, rodenty niche). And no one discussed the comma! So now I have to find another copy of the paperback or something to sort my punctuation business out. Anyway, the people who reviewed it didn’t seem to like it much, didn’t care about what happened and I guess that’s okay. That wasn’t exactly my experience.

My thing is that, while it’s got that little “a tale of terror” phrase attached to the title, it’s like reading a horror story by someone who is used to horror occurring in real life as opposed to being supernaturally based. There are some supernatural elements in the story, not many though, and they aren’t fully explored. I would have been very pleased if the horror had not been spurred on mainly by a consistently stated terror felt by the characters (I was happy that the priest who heard one of their non-confessions of whining was also annoyed by their inability to be direct about what was going on); if it had been environmentally presented in addition to being regularly stated it would have been better, as that would have allowed much more of a build in unease. To be fair, I am an artist and I suck at sculpture but Mr. Cheese doesn’t and he’s used wax to cast in iron, so I’m not oblivious to artistic processes, even lost wax. I think that gave me an edge in understanding the super-bitch villainess and her drive to keep the Benedict family name at the top of the artistic money chain, even by totally evil means. My artistic familiarity also allowed me to know exactly what the twist was going to be, but it did not play out as I expected – so, I have a lot of respect for that. For all the wailing and teeth gnashing and “you don’t understand!” of the terrified Benedict family members, I definitely will allow that the twist was nicely played out. If they’d said less and acted more creepy than whiny I would have appreciated it more though. There were zero times when I wanted to give up on the story, seemingly unlike other reviewers, and in contrast to the super-bitch villainess there was a meek but working on it heroine and Great Aunt Benta, the Gandalf of the Benedict family, so, yay for multiple fully formed female characters!

This is Peregrine. She’s newish and she looks like Sam the Eagle in certain lights. Surely, if someone was making a really serious, gigantic, multi-figure bronze sculpture, they’d want to sculpt a wax figure of her and include it. I mean, look at that stance.

This is Peregrine. She’s newish and she looks like Sam the Eagle in certain lights. Surely, if someone was making a really serious, gigantic, multi-figure bronze sculpture, they’d want to sculpt a wax figure of her and include it. I mean, look at that stance.

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Scorched cinnamon.

22. Dark Harvest – Norman Partridge

Carrie for the Pumpkinhead set. It’s not an epistolary work and it’s taking elements from The Long Walk and “The Lottery” as well (of course, Carrie also had that incident with the rocks); but, for the most part the shifting perspectives, the matter of fact tone, the destruction of homes and businesses, and especially the “we’re ending this shit tonight” element of The October Boy’s journey through the town were very reminiscent of Carrie. If it had been just a bit longer or dwelled just a bit more on the reality of the town perhaps I would have felt more like the characters had some stakes they were up against though. So, the Guild doesn’t like people leaving town, huh? Why? Consequences and their evil motivations didn’t feel fully discussed to me. At least not to the point where I felt something original was happening.

When you use tropes from two Stephen King books and toss in some Shirley Jackson I want some depth because I’m being asked to treat this as an original story as opposed to an homage and it’s not a movie. The thing is, in a novel you have the space to establish stakes, establish why the reader should care, establish a person or persons for the reader to care about and for me this was light on all of those things and at 169 pages, I’m not surprised. I would have appreciated more. Maybe more people should have been allowed to speak out loud to each other, I can’t help but think that the lack of dialogue might be what’s not working for me. Basically though, this is the kind of book where I want to say “it was really cool” or “this part was awesome” because I do like a good pumpkinhead and I enjoy the ideas of ancient rites or creepy traditions in small towns and I really like reading about small-town America in time periods where help is not a cell-phone call away, but I didn’t take much from this besides immediately wanting to describe it as I did in my first fragment, “Carrie for the Pumpkinhead set.” So nice I said it twice.

Look, Ozymadias already won. He gets to leave the town. At one point I believe the town was facetiously referred to as “Corncob,” I am not sure what its real imaginary-town name is.

Look, Ozymandias already won. He gets to leave the town. At one point I believe the town was facetiously referred to as “Corncob,” I am not sure what its real imaginary-town name is.

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Anniba!

35. Hannibal Rising – Thomas Harris

Did you know that Hannibal had a sister named Mischa? Did you know that Mischa had star-shaped hands when she spread her chubby child fingers? Those are the main things I took away from this book. Strangely, Mischa and her star shaped hands were already etched into my brain because they were mentioned repeatedly in Hannibal. And then they were back in Hannibal Rising… Anniba! Anyway, I’ve read previously that writing for Thomas Harris is like pulling teeth. Considering that he’s only written five books altogether and a plethora of news articles and the main detail I remember from two of his books is about a cannibalistically eaten child’s hands, I’d say that makes sense. Hannibal Rising also ended up being a movie full of Gaspard Ulliel sneering and having way less presence than Hannibal does in the book – or anything else featuring Hannibal – and Thomas Harris also wrote that screenplay. I assume in an attempt to free himself from having to write anymore. And I guess it’s really because the people responsible for making the film told him they’d write it without him if he didn’t. The ownership of characters is not something I want to understand – I think it blows that you can create a character out of thin air and then someone else can buy the rights and do whatever they want with it. It’s horrible to create sometimes.

The origin of Hannibal Lecter is an interesting story; to me what sticks out about it is that he always had some sort of dark hole where his moral center should be. He’s what people who don’t understand that you can have a moral code without religion think that atheists are like. With no one to answer to, why wouldn’t you track down the war criminals who ate your sister, eat their cheeks, murder them in interesting ways and then return to drawing quietly in your corner room and debating the merits of eating one of those delicate drowned birds? Ugh. I was very happy that no one brutalized Cesar though. He did not deserve it. Draft horses deserve respect.

I decided to read this because I adore the Hannibal TV show. I wanted to know what was being “remixed” from each of the Hannibal books into the show, especially since the one I read is the one they don’t have the rights to remix, yet… Thankfully, Mischa’s star shaped hands have not made it in to the show. She’s been mentioned, and I must admit I was surprised that any mention was not followed up with a comment about her star shaped hands. I suggest they keep it that way and leave that out. Of course, part of the reason that sticks out to me so much is that Pammy also had star-shaped feetsies when she was little. I didn’t eat her. No one will ever eat her. Or any of my pigs.

This is the picture of her starfish feet pose. It’s not as star-like as I remembered. Mischa’s probably weren’t either.

This is the picture of her starfish feet pose. It’s not as star-like as I remembered. Mischa’s probably weren’t either.

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Where has all my time gone?

5. Monster Nation – David Wellington

Now that VH1 has mined the first vestiges of nostalgia for 2000-2009, I can move back to books I read back in 2010 and muse a bit. When I cover a series of multiple books I always assign a guinea pig to be pictured in the reviews and this series’ mascot is my little Duncan. I started this blog and said assigning procedures well after Duncan died (she died Dec. 22nd, 2009) at nine months old, but basically right after my little Twiglet died at one and a half in 2011. My review of the first book in the trilogy that I also read in 2010 – Monster Island – is one of my earliest reviews on this blog. And when I think about it, 2010 was basically one of my best years in terms of guinea pigs and reading. None of my family of pigs died during the entire year and I’ve had at least one die each year since then, which is pretty damn depressing but strangely unavoidable. 2010 was also the year I decided to start keeping a list of what books I read and that encouraged me to read more. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but occasionally I’d forget about it completely for a while and now I do not have that problem because I’m always trying to read more books this year than the previous one. This year I’ve even decided to focus my reading habits and try to read more of what’s been published in the genres I like by female authors. There are just so many male authors. And I have noticed some trends amongst what’s been allowed to be published by female authors. But I shant get into any of that now. Musing over.

As for Monster Nation, I enjoyed it. I did not like it as much as Monster Island because I don’t quite like the way the supernatural causes of the plague and the extra-supernatural powers of certain zombies were handled, but Wellington’s zombie trilogy is better than most of the zombie trilogies in existence, so that’s okay.

We fear not death.

This is the picture I manipulated into being the cover of Day of the Robots. That cover is meant to look like a 1990s CD. I wish I had more pictures of Duncan.

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I’m pretty sure Jez from Peep Show is Jason Mulgrew’s English equivalent. Jez might not finish his memoir though, unless Mark helps him.

42. Everything Is Wrong With Me – Jason Mulgrew

Ah, a memoir written by a guy who doth protest too much…I believe there are several of these. I’ve read two, that seems like enough. When someone spends a lot of time telling me that they did not spend very much time writing the book I’m currently reading because they were squandering their advance on bullshit and it shows, I get a bit tired. Don’t brag to me about your advance while writing about how much you suck as a person and how you’re a shitty writer and practically had to be forced to finish this memoir, it just makes me wonder how you got your advance to begin with and whether or not you and Cooking Dirty dude hang out and talk about how you just stumbled in to this “writing” thing. Clearly, Mr. Mulgrew did not stumble in if he was taking any kind of class from Steve Almond. Did he use magic to obtain a book contract? Commune with Satan? Blow the right person in the right bathroom? Other things I wouldn’t be caught dead doing? I mean, I understand from the back of the book that dude has a blog and that’s great. I have one too. He also has a family that he grew up with. You don’t say. It seems like some people have those. Said family is more interesting than he is, which isn’t terribly surprising. Honestly, I just wish this had a point. And I mean that in all the potential ways that the end of a rambling blog paragraph about a rambling book could mean.  The last chapter though, my reactions were, “Ew” and “What the hell is he doing using this as the epilogue?”

I can’t necessarily say that this memoir is without merits, I wanted to read it for three reasons: 1. The cover is awesome. 2. The preface about writing is dead on – it’s nice to see others acknowledging that you have to forgo the work you’d most like to do, that you’re inspired to do, in order to feed yourself. 3. There’s a blurb from my fave writing instructor Mr. Steve Almond that’s actually funnier than the entire book about when Mr. Mulgrew was his student.

Twiglet, "Snorecery."

I’ve made Twiglet’s catchphrase “Snorecery” for a reason. It fits this situation.

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What will my skeleton key candle unlock?

41. Summer of Fear – Lois Duncan

This book features a main character with the same name as me, which is, of course, vastly important. And this other me is totally manipulated by this girl named Julia, who is a total witch. No, really. She moves in with her extended family (Rachel’s family) after some sort of “accident” happens to her parents, totally steals Rachel’s boyfriend and her family’s affections and attention, and does it all with her haunted eyes and apparently some herbal mixture. Thou shalt not commit crimes against Rachels. Not cool, fictional character Julia. Full disclosure, the first time I thought of saying “thou shalt not commit crimes against Rachels” was at a Kills show in New Orleans. This guy behind me was talking to a girl about how he and Rachel were “like, really close” and they were dating, but, then they decided (right) to have an “open relationship” and guy ended up making out with this girl Adrienne, like so much so that people at the bar asked them to stop (probably not for the reasons he assumed based on his tone) and he’s “like, feeling really guilty about it” and didn’t want to tell Rachel – and there’s another girl now that he’s interested in, plus there was the one he was fucking talking to right behind me…he was trying to seem so very desirable – so many ladies want a piece of him! – I was about thirty seconds away from turning around and telling him that his sentence for committing such crimes against a Rachel was to own up and tell Rachel that he wasn’t interested in seriously dating her, he just wanted to continue to feel desirable and be an asshole about it so his life seemed dramatic. Boys. Seriously.

Mixtape 8:

1. Blodsvept – Finntroll

2. Wild Witch – Restavrant

3. Speaking in Tongues – Eagles of Death Metal

4. Under the Spell – Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats

5. You Don’t Look So Good – The Urges

6. Nomad – Orchid

7. Night City – The Sword

8. Adrenochrome – The Sisters of Mercy

9. Black Nails – Pictureplane

10. Spectrum – Florence & the Machine

11. Dirtywhirl – T.V. on the Radio

12. I Might Be Wrong – Radiohead

13. Twisted Light – The Black Angels

14. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

15. Creeping Death (cover) – Apocalyptica

I am totally serious about no one committing crimes against Rachels. I’m over that shit.

New little ladies Merricat and Peregrine. They’re new and very young and they are beginning to build their legend without the help of witchcraft.

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We just want to see the hot hot side of Randy

24. Mirror, Mirror – D. E. Athkins

So, it’s possible that D. E. Athkins realized that all together her name spelled “deathkins,” which seems like a cutesy nickname for death. It’s also possible that it’s a nom de plume, but still, “Deathkins” would be a good name for a cute little grim reaper action figure, like my Tokidoki death action figure with his little cape and the “Adios” across his chest. Adorable.

Anyway, I’m wandering around nicknames because this book uses a pretty standard set of tricks, including a shortened name, to let you know who the villain of influence is. You can probably guess who it is based on me calling them a “villain of influence” and maybe somebody caught on just now that I’ve pointed that out. That’s fine and actually a decent idea. It wasn’t executed well. This book reads like a mixtape made from the radio. There are bits and pieces and scenes missing like those songs that get stuck at the end of the side and you think there’s room but there just isn’t. At a mere 130 pages (followed by a preview of R. L. Stine’s new one – Beach House!) there was room to write full scenes. It may be an example of an overzealous editorial situation. Somebody trying their best to cut the parts people tend to skip and not realizing that there’s room to create multiple fully realized scenes, especially when you’re trying to draw a picture without saying anything outright. A warm picture. Of somewhere that hasn’t frozen, yet, and probably won’t. And they have a hukilau.

Mixtape 2:

1. All I Have To Do Is Dream – The Everly Brothers

2. Eden Prison – Swans

3. Crystal Baby – Dum Dum Girls

4. Candy Cane Children – The White Stripes

5. Randy’s Hot Tonight! – Electric Six

6. Some Kinda Hate – The Misfits

7. Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles

8. Cheryl vs. Darryl – Electric Six

9. Captain Fantasy – Ween

10. Wet Nightmare – The Cramps

11. You Want the Candy – The Raveonettes

12. Teenagers from Mars – The Misfits

13. Devil In Me – 22-20s

14. Rolling Home – Gallon Drunk

15. God Monster – The Cramps

16. Isolation – Joy Division

17. Lucretia My Reflection – Sisters of Mercy

18. Ghost Rider – Suicide

19. Lucifer Airlines – Electric Six

The first thing I thought of when she mentioned the song was the last part of Interview with the Vampire. I love that damn movie.

Everybody loves a hukilau…even Murderface.

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I’m going to type every word I know! Rectangle…America…Megaphone…Monday…Butthole

15. Die for Me – Carol Gorman

My copy of this book is signed to Carol Gorman’s good friend Marilyn. The book is also dedicated to someone named Marilyn. I can’t remember where I got my copy. I’m pretty sure I picked it up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Carol Gorman lived when she wrote it and possibly still does live, but I can’t recall exactly where. That bothers me because I’d like to know how I ended up with the copy of the book that’s signed specifically to the person it’s dedicated to. I have a lot of YA books with their owner’s names in them, and some books I’ve picked up have been signed and weren’t labeled that way, but this is a little more personal and to me, it has the potential to be related to a sad situation like a falling out, a death, or an unfeeling book purge. Hmm. Mysteries.

Carol Gorman is able to do a lot more with a few words than most of the YA thriller writers I’ve read. This book clocks in at 138 pages (damn that’s short) and she’s got subtle clues, characters that feel real enough that I could remember their names throughout the story (Sometimes thrillers just need somebody to be there, you know? Like the murder victim who is quickly lost in the shuffle.), a very realistic motivation for murder, and supernatural tomfoolery. Once an Ouija board is involved, tomfoolery is sure to follow.  Or possession. Die for Me hints a bit at supernatural possibilities, but doesn’t engage and it works nicely because teenagers are gullible and paranoid. Also, there is a lot of driving around and threatening notes composed on a typewriter. Awesome! You have to really know what you want to say to use a typewriter and not end up with whiteout everywhere.

Mixtape 4:

1. First and Last and Always – Sisters of Mercy

2. Heart Attack Kid – Bass Drum of Death

3. Show Me What Your Lights Mean – Electric Six

4. So Many Ways – Morphine

5. Love Me Forever – The Black Angels

6. I Want Your Love – Chromatics

7. Is Vic There – Department S

8. I Hear Satan – Dax Riggs

9. Everything’s Ruined – Faith No More

10. Dirty Eyes (Sex Don’t Sell) – The Raveonettes

11. Down Boy – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

12. Spike Island – The Icarus Line

13. Unnatural Beauty – Electric Six

14. Bad Blood – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

15. Cutt Off – Kasabian

16. Dead Souls – Joy Division

One time Duncan spoke to me in a dream in a very creaky high pitched voice and it messed with me substantially, so my caption isn’t totally anecdotal.

If Duncan was contacted by teenagers via Ouija board, I’m sure she’d mess with them substantially. Or just have them spell out “wheek” over and over. That would be confusing.

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My favorite movie about abandoning a baby is Willow.

17. Hush Little Baby – Caroline B. Cooney

I’ve never been a person who has wanted to have children, so this was quite the horror story for me to read. When you stop by your father’s house and your ex-stepmother shows up, about the last thing you’d expect her to do is run away and leave you with her child. Before embarking on a wacky game of twists and turns taking care of the ditched baby, narrator Kit makes it very clear that her ex-stepmother is not the smartest. None of the characters in this book seemed to be particularly smart though, they made very strange decisions. It did remind me a bit of the end of Drive Angry. I enjoyed that movie quite a bit, but felt very annoyed about the “here, have a baby!” ending. The girl’s stuck in the middle of an abandoned prison, she just left her job and her living space with her stupid fiancee, and Nicolas Cage destroyed her car to help rescue said baby, and now she’s got a baby to take care of forever. Not Nicolas Cage, who, granted, is not really in a position to take care of a baby at the end of that movie – but who is? Wacky.

Mixtape 7:

1. Livin Thing – ELO

2. Bedlam – Gallon Drunk

3. Hold Tight! – Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, & Tich

4. Everybody’s Going Wild – The Detroit Cobras

5. 96 Tears – The Stranglers

6. Infected Girls – Electric Six

7. Heads Will Roll – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

8. Halfway Home – T.V. on the Radio

9. Willow’s Theme – James Horner

10. I’m Your Villain – Franz Ferdinand

11. Don’t Play With Guns – The Black Angels

12. Plowed – Sponge

13. The Seeker – The Who

14. Burnin’ In – Spirit Caravan

15. Heavy Soul – The Black Keys

16. Mister Mental – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

17. Sucker – Peaches

Thaddeus’ little face looks so cute and so hopeful in this picture. He could have been in Willow.

Thaddeus is about to climb the ridge of this pillow and see if there’s a baby on the other side. Pammy turns her back on any potential babies. She was spayed. She took care of her little one already.

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Oh, the old “shove them in a ravine.” If ladies really want to kill someone, Deadly Women has taught us that they use poison.

64. The Overnight – R.L. Stine

OMG Suki Thomas is such a skank! Like, how many dudes at Shadyside High has she gone out with? Did you hear that she’s fast? Her clearly terrible hookeryness has to be the reason why Della ends up killing a man. Damnit, Gary, why couldn’t you just stay a couple? Why did you have to move on so quickly? Why? Della didn’t even have time to listen to side one of her Pretty on the Inside tape before you were with Suki.

I know that whenever my relationships have ended, I’ve been able to reignite them by joining an outdoors club with my ex and his new girl, wandering off into the wilderness once I get pissed off at their canoodling, and killing some random dude. It’s very endearing, not at all insane. A stress reliever, really. In other news, this is the third Fear Street book and it takes place mostly on an island.

Mixtape 5:

1. So Hard – The Panderers

2. Wall of Death (cover) – Dax Riggs

3. Crab – Weezer

4. The Sweater – Meryn Cadell

5. Tonight – Basement Jaxx feat. Phoebe

6. I’m On Fire – Dwight Twilley Band

7. Sing – Blur

8. When the Lights Go Out/We Own the Night – UNKLE

9. Down in the Park (cover) – Foo Fighters

10. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

11. Mediocrity Rules – Le Tigre

12. Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But… – Arctic Monkeys

13. Tropical Pets – The Diableros

14. It’s Not Right – The Creeps

15. You Really Wake Up the Love in Me – The Duke Spirit

16. Howlin’ for You – The Black Keys

17. Like Calling Up Thunder – The Gun Club

18. Chaw – Spirit Caravan

It’s just funny to me that several of the early Fear Street books only have tenuous ties to the street. When did R.L. Stine decide that he should figure out its history and start cultivating some weird evil and misspellings?

Mortemer’s leaving. He doesn’t like gossip and he’s not going camping with you. Not now, not ever. No matter how many people you kill.

 

 

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