Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Humor

YA Wednesday: A Bad Day For Voodoo by Jeff Strand

YAWednesday

A Bad Day For Voodoo

Summary From Goodreads

When your best friend is just a tiny bit psychotic, you should never actually believe him when he says, “Trust me. This is gonna be awesome.”

Of course, you probably wouldn’t believe a voodoo doll could work either. Or that it could cause someone’s leg to blow clean off with one quick prick. But I’ve seen it. It can happen.

And when there’s suddenly a doll of YOU floating around out there—a doll that could be snatched by a Rottweiler and torn to shreds, or a gang of thugs ready to torch it, or any random family of cannibals (really, do you need the danger here spelled out for you?)—well, you know that’s just gonna be a really bad day…

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A Bad Day For Voodoo was really, really weird. It is all about the humor as opposed to Strand’s usual 50/50 split of horror and the hilarious. Unfortunately I think that this worked against him. I understand that this is a YA which is also unusual for Strand, but I never felt any fear or trepidation at all and I missed that. The book constantly makes fun of itself, the content and characters within and even the reader on occasion. If there were some serious bits mixed in maybe this would have worked but it felt over the top and the slapstick humor got old after a while.

The characters were empty shells for me. I didn’t connect with any of them and they didn’t feel like they had any substance. I’m not sure what Tyler (the MC) was supposed to be. A hero? Not really. Courageous? Not intentionally. A “model friend” type? Ya, I guess that fits the most. Adam, the best friend, was just a moron. His role was the funny guy with the outrageous plans and ideas, he succeeded in the latter part but his humor felt forced and mostly I just wanted him to get whacked over the head. If I had a favorite character it would be Kelley (the girlfriend) who was the closest to meaningful as the book gets. She was tough, had a good head on her shoulders and didn’t panic in the face of (ridiculous) danger or adversity. I liked her but I have no clue why she associates with the other two.

Part of my problem with A Bad Day For Voodoo is its constant breaking from the story to say something from the “author” to the reader. You know that fourth wall in comedy or acting where the person on stage acknowledges the viewing audience (especially if it is being filmed for tv or a movie)? Well if there is one in the literary world this book shatters it. Throughout the story the audience is being addressed, questioned and even given suggestions. While some minor use of this tactic would probably be effective it felt like I was never able to connect to the story because Strand kept taking me out of it. Immersing myself in a book’s story is often the best part of reading it, forgetting reality and diving into an alternate universe, A Bad Day For Voodoo refuses to allow that and it was irritating.

The plot was all over the place and just plain disjointed. There was no flow and random events occurred that were seemingly only for comedic effect but that added no depth, substance or truly anything of value to the story. Maybe the underlying message if there is one (I doubt it) just went over my head but I’m guessing if there was one it was buried so deep under the crazy antics that it didn’t want to be found or recognized. Voodoo, craziness ensues, random gang, more insanity, hey look the undead! Oh and now a psychotic family of cannibals… right.

Until I started writing this review I didn’t realize how much I didn’t enjoy A Bad Day For Voodoo. There were a few moments where I actually laughed but for a book relying so heavily on comedy it fell way short. The plot was a mess, the characters were (with the possible exception of Kelley) unsubstantial and the author refused to let the reader stay inside the story even if they wanted to. I can’t say I recommend this one even for fans of Strand. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #121/200; Mount TBR Challenge #69/150; 2013 TBR Pile #69/50

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YA Wednesday: Croak by Gina Damico

YAWednesday

Croak

Summary From Goodreads

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice – or is it vengeance? – whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

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Croak is a hilarious, if sometimes dark, read that had me captivated from the very beginning. It was easy to fall in love with the snarky MC, Lex, and the rest of the cast of goofball characters. The writing was great, the powers awesome and the plot intriguing. So ya, I liked it.

Lex is a perfect main character for me. She’s sarcastic, she doesn’t put up with crap and she happens to be an all around badass. Sure she’s a hot head and doesn’t have the most tact in the world but she’s genuine and I loved her for it. She wants to fit in just like every other teenager but she refuses to change who she is to achieve that and that is commendable.

The romance in Croak was the only thing that felt a bit forced to me. First, it was made painfully obvious from the get go that they liked each other, at least a little. Second, the back and forth romantic “tension” between them didn’t seem all that realistic especially the awkward exchanges and moments they kept having. The end reveal was obvious and I just didn’t care much about it. It was kind of cute and all but definitely the notable weak point in the book.

The plot though? Genius. Twists and turns, one unexpected reveal after the next and plenty of subplots worked in for depth made this story a great one. The reaper skills were pretty incredible, the possibilities seemingly endless and the creepy deaths added some extra chill to the otherwise humorous piece. Damico worked in plenty of moral dilemmas and discussions on a variety of different topics from who deserves to die, who deserves worse than death and who should hold that power if anyone. Plus the ending? Brilliant!

The quaint, if a tad wacky, little town was as easy for me to fall in love with as it was for Lex. The names were funny, the descriptions thorough without being overly so and I really liked the map provided at the beginning. The complex world of the reapers, the craziness they travel through to do their duty, and all of the other strange and wonderful places that are hidden within the realm are captivating. It’s simply lovely.

I really enjoyed Croak. The writing was unique and Lex was a fantastic, and relatable, main character. The world Damico created was nothing short of remarkable and while the romance was a tad irritating at times that was not enough to knock the story down too much. I already ordered Scorch and pre-ordered Rogue and I’m sure I’ll love those too. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #133/200; Mount TBR Challenge #74/150; 2013 TBR Pile #74/50

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Monstrosities by Jeremy C. Shipp: Frodo’s Review

Monstrosities

Summary From AmazonMonstrosities

A man with clown heads for hands. A city full of shape-shifting worms. A Cinderella story that ends with slaughter. These are just some of the monstrosities you’ll encounter in this horror collection by Bram Stoker Award Nominee Jeremy C. Shipp.

Table of Contents:
Figs
The Tunnel
Almost Paradise
Worms
The Little Glass Soul
Clown Hands
Cold
Flesh and Blood
Buried
Googly

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Jeremy C. Shipp is one of my favorite authors and is on the short list for my auto-buy authors. As such it was no surprise that I really enjoyed this collection of short stories as I have all his others. There are 10 short stories in Monstrosities but I will focus on my five favorites, sound good? Let’s get into it!

The Tunnel: This piece is insane and intense. It’s thought provoking with an ending that sums everything up perfectly but is one I never saw coming. It’s frightening because it reveals how far we go to escape our reality no matter what we might lose. In the end our choices will make us who we are, defining us. A simple truth, yes, but an important one.

Worms: Shipp continues one of the darker collections I’ve read by him with Worms. Loss, reality crushing imagination, good intentions proven useless as grief overwhelms all else. While it may not be a long piece it packs plenty of emotion into the story and is extremely powerful.

The Little Glass Soul: With dark and sardonic humor on full display, The Little Glass Soul is a little bit of Cinderella mixed with some Snow White and twisted into a horrifying display of cruelty. The ending is very satisfying and I really liked Shipp’s take on the fairy tale, only he would alter it this way.

Clown Hands: This is the piece that shows off Shipp’s writing style the best. It’s reminiscent of his Attic Clowns stories, which I loved, and shows the darker/twisted inner thoughts of humans being forced to the outside. It reveals that human nature that we would prefer to keep hidden while keeping the humor flowing throughout the story. It’s a bit silly and that’s why it works so well. Loved this one. More clowns please!

Buried: Using smooth transitions and beautiful insight into the human mind, Buried shows how a different perspective can change everything. One person sees a murderer and thinks them unfit to live while that same person might commit crimes just as heinous and view themselves as the righteous one. Who is worthy to live? Is anyone? Or all we all excess? Fantastic story and a superb ending.

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Overall I really enjoyed Jeremy C. Shipp’s latest anthology. There were a couple familiar tales for fans of his other work (Googly from Attic Toys and Figs from Here Be Monsters) mixed in with plenty of brand new hilarious and horrific stories. Monstrosities is a darker and edgier collection than Shipp’s previous ones as well as being more thought provoking. Shipp delves into the human mind farther than ever before with great (if creepy) results. You may not want to accept the truth as Shipp sees it, but it is hard to deny its validity. A must read for horror and humor fans. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #130/200

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Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin: Frodo’s Review

Wise Young Fool

Summary From Goodreads

Teen rocker Ritchie Sudden is pretty sure his life has just jumped the shark. Except he hates being called a teen, his band doesn’t play rock, and “jumping the shark” is yet another dumb cliché. Part of Ritchie wants to drop everything and walk away. Especially the part that’s serving ninety days in a juvenile detention center.

Telling the story of the year leading up to his arrest, Ritchie grabs readers by the throat before (politely) inviting them along for the (max-speed) ride. A battle of the bands looms. Dad split about five minutes before Mom’s girlfriend moved in. There’s the matter of trying to score with the dangerously hot Ravenna Woods while avoiding the dangerously huge Spence Proffer–not to mention just trying to forget what his sister, Beth, said the week before she died.

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Wise Young Fool, Sean Beaudoin’s latest release, is hilarious, mind blowing and is every great aspect of Beaudoin’s past work rolled into one crazy tale. The buildup is a bit slow but once you reach the meaty middle and the epic ending (apparently I’m in a wordplay mood) it’s all worth it. While the book is filled with humor there are plenty of serious issues discussed and that gives some weight to an otherwise light piece.

Wise Young Fool bounces back and forth between the main character, Ritchie Sudden’s, past and present. In the present he is in juvie and is being forced to write in a journal every day. In his journal entries, or past (depending on which makes more sense to you as the reader), Ritchie is working on starting a band and spends much of his time either playing his guitar or chasing Ravenna Woods, his crush, in the hopes that she will notice him.

Ritchie’s character is a mixture of very heavy sarcasm and not-so-deeply buried pain over the loss of his sister. He’s witty and clever but often uses those traits to his detriment rather than to benefit him in some way. Ritchie isn’t a lovable character, but he is certainly an identifiable one. He’s that guy who is cool without being part of the “in” crowd. He’s the one you know is destined for something awesome if he can just get out of his own way, but you don’t want him to lose that edge because you’d be losing a piece of Ritchie at the same time. I enjoyed learning about Ritchie and why he acts the way he does. He’s a deeper character than you could ever imagine, I’m a fan just like everyone else (in the book).

The romance in this book, to me at least, is the embodiment of all that teenage romance is and can be. There is the guy chasing after the gorgeous girl while making an ass of himself more often than not, the girl who really likes him that he ignores until it suits his purposes, and steamy goodness (don’t worry, Beaudoin doesn’t go into detail, this is YA) despite it all. Hormones rage, tempers flare, communication fails are abundant and the hot girl always gets what she wants, or at least thinks she wants. It may sound like a bunch of cliches but in Wise Young Fool it just feels honest. This is what teenagers, myself included, often experience in high school and the way Beaudoin displays the awkwardness that is teenage romance is perfect.

The references to different (and awesome) bands are abundant and the journey Ritchie takes as both a musician and a person can be linked to the songs mentioned each step of the way. The depth Beaudoin goes into to describe the process of becoming and being in a band is fantastic. The struggles are intense from infighting to romance conflicts and even into stylistic differences, Wise Young Fool has it all covered.

The parts of the book where Ritchie is in juvie provides extra depth for his character, shows where he ends up as a person and even touches on what life might be like for troubled teenagers in a detention center. As with most things it is a place that both helps and hinders progress for the inhabitants and that’s made clear in the piece. The time spent in Ritchie’s present aren’t as fast paced or filled with quite the hilarity as in his journal entries/past, but there are necessary elements and cool stuff that I did enjoy. It was a nice way to break up the insanity of the rest of the book.

Overall Wise Young Fool is another really strong and well written piece that I am thrilled to add to my collection o’ Beaudoin. While his other work certainly covers a wide array of topics and issues, Wise Young Fool, to me, is the best and most pure representation of any group of humanity, in this case teenagers/young adults. The book is hilarious as are all of Beaudoin’s works, and I couldn’t get enough. The messages that are covered are deep and will definitely make you think which is pretty impressive considering this is mostly a humor piece. Ritchie is a great MC, the supporting cast is really well done and the references to bands and music culture are spot on. I highly recommend it. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #128/200

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Haunting Sins by Zoe E. Whitten: Frodo’s Review

Haunting Sins

Summary From GoodreadsHaunting Sins

Desperate for work after months of unemployment, David Sands agrees to become the webmaster for an “adult entertainment” hosting company. The pay is great, the boss seems like a nice guy, and the uber-hot secretary is flirting with David. But the cramped back office is dusty, and David’s sinus pills are making him see things, things that cannot possibly be real…unless David’s office is haunted.

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Haunting Sins, a middle-length story at 89 pages, was a bit…weird. I know going into reading anything by Whitten that I need to be prepared for unexpected things being thrown my way. Think of a small dose of techie jargon, mix it with some paranormal and add in a bunch of discussions on porn videos and you might, maybe…kinda have a gist of the piece.

David is a sarcastic but playful MC that I quite like. He’s not really prepared to work in an “adult entertainment” company and his reactions to some of the material he sees were priceless. David has a pretty good sense of humor and while he puts his foot in his mouth quite a bit (not in the literal sense of course) he actually is smooth with the secretary Nina Cortez, which was a bit of a surprise given he’s a techie. Nina was hilarious, playful and just a fun character to get to know. She’s not ashamed of working in the porn industry and even defends it and the people involved at points in the book. Oh, and the chemistry between the two was fantastic, loved their banter. Nina is the girl you want to be with and if you are lucky enough to get to leaves you wondering how you got so lucky each and every day. I’d read a full length novel featuring her without question, though I have no idea of Whitten has anything like that up her sleeve.

The story itself is a little all over the place. There are a bunch of different elements as I mentioned in my opening paragraph and while it was enjoyable I’m not sure if I could even label it with a genre. There are paranormal aspects but half the time we aren’t sure if they even exist or are just a part of the effects David experiences because of issues in the building. Is it a psychotic breakdown or a paranormal breakthrough into reality? Is it a ghost or a hallucination? For the most part we don’t really know and maybe that’s the intent, if so it worked. There are darker discussions within Haunting Sins, but I’ll leave those for you to discover. They add some depth to the piece which I really appreciated and, as with most of Whitten’s pieces, makes you think and examine the human mind.

Haunting Sins is a quick and fun read that also will make you stop and consider how well you know the people around you. That’s something that few pieces I’ve read can claim and Whitten pulls it off with seeming ease. The hilarity involving the porn industry keeps it light and you’ll breeze right through the book, fall in love with the characters and be left wanting more. The ending will shock you, the prose will delight you and the humor will have you in fits. What more can you ask for? Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #114/200; Mount TBR Challenge #66/150; 2013 TBR Pile #66/50

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger: Frodo’s Review

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Summary From Goodreads

IT TAKES THE WISDOM OF YODA TO SURVIVED THE SIXTH GRADE

Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him “Captain Dwight.” This is embarrassing, particularly for Tommy, who sits with him at lunch every day.

But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that’s when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions.

Tommy wants to know how Origami Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. Is Yoda tapping into the Force? It’s crucial that Tommy figure out the mystery before he takes Yoda’s advice about something VERY IMPORTANT that has to do with a girl.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a lighthearted story of some middle school kids and the mystery that is Dwight and his Yoda-shaped origami puppet. I wanted a change of pace from my usual reads and this middle grade book is exactly what I was looking for. It’s funny, an easy read and remembering what it was like to be that age was a treat. The book uses multiple perspectives to piece together what makes Origami Yoda so special in a kind of case file type format. The puppet has been known to (seemingly) predict the future, how does he do it? Some characters believe in the puppet being magical somehow, others are undecided and one is a complete non-believer. Each short story, or case file, is hilarious and sheds some more light on Dwight, his puppet and how from the perspective of a middle school kid almost anything can be amazing and magical.

The underlying theme if you go beyond the humor is that you shouldn’t judge people based on their appearance or some of their habits. Because Dwight is known as a goofball, unobservant and not all that bright it gives Origami Yoda that much more mystique. While some of the kids seem to think Dwight might have more to him than meets the eye it is up to you as the reader to decide. What will you see?

I enjoyed The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. It was a quick read (only 145 pages) and was a wonderful change of pace from the usual books I read that are far more complex. If you want something light to read or need a good laugh I’d recommend picking this one up. It’s the first book in a trilogy and I will likely be picking up the other two books somewhere down the line. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #111/200; Mount TBR Challenge #65/150; 2013 TBR Pile #65/50; Genre Variety Reading Challenge – Category – Middle Grade #27/30

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Day 88: Newton in the New Age by Joseph Wurtenbaugh

Day 88

Summary From Goodreads

Some people are married to absolutely the right person. Some people are married to absolutely the wrong person. Some people are married to someone who is both the absolutely right and wrong person at the same time. This was the fate that had befallen Richard, a gentle, scholarly man, hopelessly in love with Annie – a firecracker of a woman, as sexy as she is bright, with whom any man could be completely besotted. The one small – actually, rather largish – fly in the ointment is that Annie’s life ambition is to be the best designer of thrill rides on the planet – and Richard is terrified of them.

But when Annie needs some random member of the public to test her newest and greatest device, surely she will call on someone, ANYONE, besides her long-suffering husband. Surely she would not hatch some fiendish scheme to lure him into the role of guinea pig.

Think not? Guess again . . .

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

If Wurtenbaugh’s name sounds familiar it might be because I reviewed another of his novellas, The Old Soul, last week. I really enjoyed that piece, and though I knew this was an entirely different genre I figured my odds would be pretty good that I’d like this one too. I wasn’t disappointed!

Newton in the New Age is a cute short story centering around Annie and her husband Richard. The sense of humor that Richard has and the storytelling ability of Wurtenbaugh come together to form quite the humorous piece. Richard talks about what he would say to his son, if he had one, about women and often gives specific examples referring to Annie. These were easily my favorite parts and it gave the story a uniqueness that it otherwise might not have had. Oh sure, the thrill ride and Richard getting freaked the heck out were enjoyable, but the banter, most of which was in Richard’s head, was very entertaining. Wurtenbaugh gives us a character that we can sympathize with, we all have our fears and our temptresses, and it makes the ending all the more satisfactory. I can’t wait to read another of Wurtenbaugh’s pieces in the near future, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 89!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #88/365

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Day 76: Don’t Eat Cat by Jess Walter

Day 76

Summary From Goodreads

In this brilliantly entertaining send-up of zombie lit, Edgar Award winner and National Book Award finalist Jess Walter offers a twist on America’s favorite monster: You don’t have to be dead to be a zombie. Walter creates a postapocalyptic nightmare that is as sidesplitting as it is moving—and all the more damning because it’s so recognizable.

Set in the year 2040, amid rolling epidemics, economic collapses, ozone tumors, genetic piracy, and an Arizona border war, “Don’t Eat Cat” is the story of Owen, a guy who just wants to forget the results of his recent full-body scan with a grande soy latte before going to work in Seattle’s food/finance district. The world has gone straight to hell, and the most horrifying part of it is that not a damn thing has changed: You still have to go to work, you still don’t have a girlfriend, and, unbelievably, the line at the Starbucks Financial still stretches on forever. Why? Because there’s a zombie working behind the counter, an addict of a club drug that causes its users to become aggressive, milk-pale, dead-eyed dimwits with an appetite for rodents and house pets—cats in particular (and, in very, very rare cases, humans).

When Owen finally makes it to the head of the line, the afflicted barista’s people skills falter under pressure and he mauls the store manager. It’s the first documented zombie attack in months, and it sets the sim-tweets buzzing, ultimately ending in a vigilante killing. As for Owen, he gets more than a free latte out of the incident: He’s forced to confront the brokenness of his present life by venturing into the past. With the help of a private investigator, he heads into Seattle’s Zombie Town to search for the only woman he has ever loved. In “Don’t Eat Cat,” some highs are better than a lifetime of being human.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I always find it a bit funny when the summary is so long like this one is when the piece is a bit over 20 pages. I guess they need to give extra reasons to purchase the short story since it isn’t free but is so short? Anyway, Don’t Eat Cat is a mixture of humor and a harsh view of reality. Zombies being a clear metaphor for anyone from druggies (the most obvious example) to the lazy and unmotivated (if you read between the lines/look deeper). The short plot is the selling point in this piece as you fly through this journey to discover what is left of humanity in the world as it is and the depth of some people’s motivations and choices. The best line by far in Don’t Eat Cat is delivered by a ‘zombie’ “That nobody chooses. That we’re all sick. We’re all here.” An enjoyable and surprisingly eye-opening short story, I’d say Don’t Eat Cat hit all the marks it was aiming for spot on, quite well done. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 77!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #76/365

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Day 73: Phoenix by Chuck Palahniuk

Day 73

Summary From Goodreads

Rachel married Ted because he was uncomplicated and loyal. But he was also devoted to his wretched house (done up in black granite, black appliances, even black dishware) and his first love, an old, flatulent cat named Belinda Carlisle. Once Rachel becomes pregnant, Ted reluctantly agrees to move and give up the cat. But the house doesn’t sell, and Belinda Carlisle still haunts their home: every day the creature becomes fatter and more malodorous. When the house burns to the ground in a freak conflagration and the couple’s daughter, April, is born blind soon thereafter, the marriage is never the same again. Only on a business trip three years later does Rachel begin to reckon with the damage.

In an Orlando motel room far from Ted and April, Rachel wonders: Is her simple-minded husband more vindictive and manipulative than even Rachel could have imagined? How far will she go to keep the upper hand—a bit of emotional and physical torture, perhaps? Will she win the battle, only to lose so much else?

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Phoenix is a twisted story of what one, likely deranged, woman will do to get back at her husband. She blames him for everything, from her daughter’s condition to what happened to the house, and whether she is right or not she refuses to let him get off “free”. The book jumps back and forth between the time before the fire and a bit over three years later and as the present moves forward Rachel becomes more and more paranoid. Palahniuk does a great job conveying her transformation and growing psychosis. Ted is just kind of there, but he’s an alright secondary character if a bit cookie-cutterish.

I didn’t think the plot was all that intriguing, but there was enough humor and crazy to keep the piece interesting. It is pretty short but entertaining enough for a very quick read. Overall, a decent short story for me. Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 74!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #73/365

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Day 62: This is a Book by Demetri Martin

Day 62

Summary From Goodreads

From the renowned comedian, creator, star and executive producer/multiple title-holder of Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Martin comes a bold, original, and rectangular kind of humor book.

Demetri’s first literary foray features longer-form essays and conceptual pieces (such as Protagonists’ Hospital, a melodrama about the clinic doctors who treat only the flesh wounds and minor head scratches of Hollywood action heroes), as well as his trademark charts, doodles, drawings, one-liners, and lists (i.e., the world views of optimists, pessimists and contortionists), Martin’s material is varied, but his unique voice and brilliant mind will keep readers in stitches from beginning to end.

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While I understand that the style of the humor used in each piece does vary, This is a Book misses the mark when it comes to being a truly funny book.

This is the case most especially when it comes to the longer form selections. Some seem intended to be humorous, though not all, but many are flat and dry without any life to them. Socrates’s Publicist, Better Than Sex, A Christmas Carol (the Deleted Scene) and Eulogy all fell short in various ways, though mostly from excessive repetition and being dull in general (I picked one from each section of the book because truly this is a problem throughout). While they aren’t all that rough (I rather enjoyed Bee Sting with its multiple points of view) overall they didn’t flow, in each section or in the book as a whole.

The highlights of the book are similar to those you would find in Martin’s acts, quick, and more importantly short, jokes, and especially those with visuals to go with. His drawings and captions to go with them are quite funny and they do help to liven up the book some. He also includes random things on the pages that were, as he makes sure to point out, either intentionally/unintentionally left blank and those serve as a pretty cute transition. I had favorites in his shorter bits of course, such as his diagram on GPA & Limbs, the letter r and his two statistics sections.

While those highlights were enjoyable to varying degrees, because of how rough I felt the longer portions were I can’t say I really enjoyed this book all that much. I like Martin’s comedy and his style of humor when it comes to his shows, but maybe I’ll avoid reading things from him from now on, this just wasn’t for me. The writing was fine, but it wasn’t fun, and that distinction proved to be its downfall in my mind. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 63 and the blog’s first ever giveaway! ^.^

Mount TBR Challenge #47/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #47/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #62/365

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Day 61: The Non-Adventures of Ricky and Amy by Antoinette Bergin

Day 61

Summary From Goodreads

Ricky and Amy are best friends. Probably because everyone else is a little bit afraid of them.

Spend some time with Ricky and Amy in these five short stories which may actually be appropriate for some children. I’m not sure. You decide.*

*May contain doll dismemberment, death, shrunken heads, rampant prescription drug use, alcoholism, and cross-dressing. May also have come in contact with wheat, soy, and peanuts.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I find it ironic that after specifically stating in my February “Month in Review” post that I would be doing certain things to try and avoid reading as many novellas that the first two pieces I have done are the very same. To be fair, Ethan was part of my Series challenge so that fit and TN-AoRaA (even the acronym is long!) was spontaneously handed to me in eBook form by the amazing author, Antoinette Bergin, legitimate reasons people! Also, yes I know the book says “Olivia Bergin” is the author, but I’m sure you can figure out why if you read it. ^.^

TN-AoRaA is a collection of five short stories that are (supposedly) suited for kids with (somewhat) valuable lessons in each. As with Bedtime Stories for Children You Hate, the stories are all humorous and a bit twisted in Bergin’s usual way. Though these are slightly more kid-friendly that didn’t stop me from grinning and shaking my head as I read, funny and a little screwed up, just the way I like it. From lessons such as sharing with your friends (even when it comes to decapitation), that cats are smarter than you think but won’t use their wits as long as they are satiated, to making sure to acknowledge that every person has a unique perspective even when concerning the potential elixir of life. While some stories seemed a bit more weird than funny (voodoo, does anyone really know how to do it?) they all hit the mark on entertainment value which is all that truly matters. I enjoyed them all and can’t wait to read another piece by Bergin! Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 62!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #61/365

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Day 54: Bedtime Stories For Children You Hate by Antoinette Bergin

Day 54

Summary From Amazon

Hate cute stories? Hate happy endings? Hate children? Not quite right in the head? If so, this deliciously twisted storybook is dedicated just to you.

Includes “Your Upstairs Neighbor Kills People” and “Blood in the Sink”. You know you want this book. It can be our secret.

**NOT INTENDED FOR CHILDREN**

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Twitter is an amazing thing. I follow a ton of bookish people so today I happened upon this article that one of them tweeted out which is all about weird eBooks. This guy decided to read a ton of them, 500+ independently published pieces in fact, and this was in his top 5 so I figured I’d give it, and at least a couple of the others on that top 5 a shot.

As this is a collection of short stories I figured I’d pick 3 like I normally do, this time my top 3 since I’m in a pretty happy mood. ^.^ So without further ado, my top 3 stories from Bedtime Stories For Children You Hate (in reverse order):

3. Your Upstairs Neighbor Kills People: A fun, creepy story that conveys a bunch of different potential messages that kids could learn from. Trust your friend when they say they’ve got a creepy dude upstairs that kills people, always a good rule to follow. If your friend seems crazy (insane kind) it’s probably because they are, you should find a new friend. If you associate with clowns there is a deeper problem there. Moral of the story: Bounty hunters aren’t to be trusted, especially ones that are actually serial killers.

2. I Said Not to Touch That: Really annoying kid meets human being with limited patience. The kid touches everything no matter what the well-meaning nanny says because he’s a spoiled brat. The nanny comes up with a plan, that plan may or may not cause permanent damage in some way. It may or may not be hilarious. Moral of the story: Stop touching shit. (This is both literal and figurative)

1. Evie: A good kid gets scared by a tall guy in a big coat. Said good kid takes off running yelling for help but because people are essentially assholes glued to their phones no one does. The kid starts to sweat from the running away and their vision is momentarily impaired causing them to run into something and bust their head open a bit. The tall guy rushed to help the kid with a first aid kit. Moral of the story A: Not all tall, dark and seemingly-creepy guys actually are. Moral of the story B: Good people, primarily girls, can wind up in precarious situations with skirts not properly positioned and have a totally viable excuse for it. Moral of the Story C: Exercise is dangerous, knock it off.

I don’t know if I properly conveyed my enjoyment of this collection of short stories well, but nevertheless I certainly did! If you want a little humorous read this is a great choice. Thanks as always for reading, come back tomorrow for Day 55 and remember to tell your kids quality bedtime stories like these.

Mount TBR Challenge #42/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #42/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #54/365

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Day 39: Going Nowhere Faster by Sean Beaudoin

Day 39

Summary From Goodreads:  

Stan Smith has the world’s dullest name, and the world’s dullest life to go with it. At 17, the former junior chess champion turned “Town’s Laziest Register Monkey at the Town’s Only Video Store” has no car, no college, and, of course, no girl. If that weren’t pathetic enough, he’s got an organic-food-freak vegan mother, an eccentric inventor father, a dead-end job, a dog with a flatulence problem, and a former classmate threatening to kill him. With a 165 IQ, Stan was expected to Be Something and Go Somewhere. But when all he has is a beat-up old bike that keeps getting vandalized, he’s going nowhere, faster.

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I seem to be in a humor kick. Yesterday I read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson and today I chose Going Nowhere Faster by the always-guaranteed-to-be-hilarious Sean Beaudoin. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll read something creepy soon, I do like to mix it up!

Anyway, about the book. Going Nowhere Faster has all the classics of a teen movie where the loser guy that is smart but awkward socially and doesn’t have anything going for him likes a girl who doesn’t seem to care. Boring and overdone right? Wrong! The difference here is that the girl doesn’t stay in her “I’m perfect just like you imagined me to be” shell. The best friend turns out to kinda be a douchenozzle even though in the end it doesn’t really matter because woohoo friendship! Also don’t forget that someone wants to kill the main character, Stan, which throws another wrench into the mix that usually isn’t there. Did I mention the constantly gassy dog? No? See, there are so many elements here!

But seriously, Going Nowhere Faster is a short, funny read that I couldn’t put down. Beaudoin uses his unique brand of humor, just as with Fade to Blue and The Infects to keep you laughing and if you aren’t a movie buff, constantly using google. The characters are fantastic. Stan is a great main character, the kind you want to give a kick in the butt to get him in the right direction (in life and in general) but that makes you laugh enough to forget to do so. The little sister, Olivia was really well done and instantly makes you want to take care of her (a bit better than her brother does at least). The Amazon, I mean Stan’s mother, is sufficiently scary and the father is just enough off his rocker as to be both humorous and to feel embarrassment for. Also, the girl, did I mention she was kind of nuts too? No? Well it seems like everyone in this book is so I guess that got lost in the shuffle, oh well.

The plot is simple but it works. Mixing in a plethora of movie references and nerd humor, the book keeps you intrigued and the pacing smooth. It’s short enough so that nothing turns into a “gimmick” or is overdone and the twist at the end, though a bit odd, serves to wrap up all the loose ends sufficiently.

The book was good, though The Infects is definitely still my favorite of Beaudoin’s work (seriously check it out, I’ll even link you here). If you want a quick, light read, and especially if you love quirky humor and movies then this is the book for you. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 40!

Genre Reading Challenge #19/30 – Category – Humor; Mount TBR Challenge #32/150; 2013 TBR Pile #32/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #39/365

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Day 32: Lessons (and Other Morbid Drabbles) by Michael Crane

Day 32

Summary From Goodreads

Lessons and Other Morbid Drabbles is a collection of 25 100-word shorts that range from darkly comic to downright terrifying and wrong. Some shorts feature ghouls and monsters while others are simply about people behaving very, very badly. Which is scarier? Find out in this sick and twisted collection.

They may only be a few words long, but that doesn’t lessen the bloodshed any…

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I came across this collection while I was perusing for eBooks that were similar to that of Jeremy C. Shipp, one of my favorite authors and a horror/creepy-humor specialist. For whatever reason I didn’t get around to reading it until now, but I’m glad I did! As Lessons is a collection of 25 “drabbles”, or 100-word short stories, it is only fitting that I do a top five, so without further ado, my favorites in reverse order!

5. Bedtime – A father refuses to believe his young son when the boy says there is a monster underneath his bed. The dad checks it out refusing to believe and pays the price. Let’s just say his…view on life has been adjusted.

4. Grim – When a couple cops investigate a home where Death is supposedly trying to kill a guy (go figure) they are surprised to meet a dark hooded figure. The solution? Go drink at a bar, can’t go wrong with alcohol right?!

3. S.O.L. – A combination of zombies and a teacher goes all to right for a student who received an unwanted grade. Suffice it to say that the teacher won’t be giving out anything anytime soon.

2. Detention – A homage to Bart Simpson lurks in this drabble, and just as the spiky-haired fiend would believe, the teacher really is a monster.

1. Overreaction – Marriage is never easy, and sometimes one person goes a bit too far, that is certainly the case when Monday Night Football is threatened. I recommend you just let them watch, pick your battles folks!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #32/365

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