Saturday, June 25, 2016

Nessie | Nick Redfern

*Image and book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Nick Redfern does not use this book to retell familiar stories about Nessie. Instead, he uses this book to connect Nessie to supernatural origins, while connecting the creature to others that have been recorded for centuries in Scotland. In doing so, he is able to raise questions about why the search for a single monster has been so unsuccessful and why the flesh-and-blood-creature theories may not be what is needed.


I've been a Loch Ness Monster fan since junior high. I would spend my lunches reading about Nessie's legends. So when I saw that a new book about Nessie was available, I requested a copy. I found the connections between Nessie and kelpies to be fascinating to think about. The idea that there isn't just one monster in Loch Ness, but an entire species was a lot of fun to think about.

I even got to read some new stories and see some new photos. As much as I love Nessie, I'm not much of a researcher on the topic. So Redfern's retelling of a lot of the stories of Nessie, as well as the legends of kelpies and wyrms, really kept my attention. I really do enjoy new takes on these kinds of legends and Redfern really delivers on that.

The last quarter of the book, or so, kinda lost me. It may be that I've been blessed to not have had many interactions with real magic or it may be that I felt Redfern was pushing me to his conclusions, but I found myself continuously thinking that many of the things he was talking about weren't that supportable. A number of the connections Redfern makes requires a belief in things that I don't subscribe to, so, naturally, I had problems keeping my interest up in the last parts of the book. I don't argue that Nessie could be a kelpie. I don't argue that Nessie could be supernatural. I even agree with Redfern that the plesiosaur theory is unsupportable. But, it seems to me, that the magical attempts to get a good look at Nessie are about as successful as the technological attempts. 

Overall, I loved reading all the new stories about Nessie and Scottish kelpies. Legends of heroes fighting wyrms and giant worms. But if you're not a full believer in all things supernatural (i.e. sorcerers, UFOs) you may find the ending of the book to be more frustrating than anything. 



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Intergalactic Book Tag

Why do i like space? SPACE IS WHYSPAAAACE - Why do i like space? SPACE IS WHYSPAAAACE  Portal 2 Space Personality Core

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I've done a book tag, I know. But it's been a while since I found a book tag that interested me. However, when Bookables did the Intergalactic Book Tag, it definitely got my attention. I'm a fan of the science fiction genre as well as non-fiction science so it quickly caught my eye. 

1) Out of This World: A book that takes place on a world other than our own.

The problem with finding a good answer for this is that 1 - I don't want to repeat books or series and 2 - many of the worlds I think of may actually have ties to Earth and I want this book to be completely out there. So, I'm going back to one of my favorite childhood/teen reads: The Redwall Series by Brian Jaques. Considering all of the characters are animals and there are no humans present whatsoever, I'm gonna say this doesn't take place on Earth. 

2) Black Hole: A book that completely sucked you in.

For this one, I definitely have to say The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor. Okorafor has a remarkable ability to get my complete attention and keep it. Even the short stories of hers that I have read leave me feeling like my soul is on fire and I can do anything. 

3) Light Speed - A book you're anticipating so much, you'd travel at light speed to get it.

Admittedly, I don't really go out of my way to pre-order books very often. I've only pre-ordered two or three books in my lifetime. However, when Tom Fischbach told of the next TwoKinds book to be published I was certainly excited. Admittedly it's going to be a print version of his web comic, but as I've shown with Awkward Yeti, I still love having a print copy. I actually bought a copy of Fischbach's Dragon Masquerade just to have a comic book of the TwoKinds world. So, yeah, I'm definitely look forward to the next TwoKinds volume. 
Book 3 Cover Preview

4) Nebula: A book with a beautiful cover.

I love pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, so any cover that has a similar image is going to be a beautiful cover, in my opinion. So I'm going with Far Orbit. Specifically the edition that I got from the Kerrytown Book Festival.

Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures

5) Multiverse: A companion or spin-off series that you love.

I'm not entirely sure that this counts, but I'm going with The Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey. This was the series that introduced me to Pern and was one of the first sci-fi/fantasy series I remember reading. The fact that I accidentally started with the second book and still love the series is saying something.

6) Gravity: Favorite romantic pairing that seems to have a gravitational pull.

Beren and LĂșthien from The Silmarillion  by Tolkien. A human and an elf that met in an enchanted forest. He sacrificed his hand to marry her and she gave up immortality that they could be together. It's a lot more beautiful of a story than I'm able to tell. I suppose it is similar to Aragorn and Arwen, but in this story the love just feels so much stronger. LĂșthien actually had to endure Beren's death. Her songs of mourning were so moving that Mandos, Judge of the Dead, agreed to give her and Beren new life.
Of Beren and Luthien by ullakko on DeviantArt

7) The Big Bang: The book that got you into reading.

I actually discussed this with some coworkers recently. There really isn't any one book or series that I can proclaim "got me into reading". The Little House on the Prairie series is the first I can remember reading. The American Girls: Addie series is the first I remember buying. Heck, I can remember being disappointed when all the copies of The Stupids were checked out. I really can't say that there was any one book or series that got me into reading. Reading has just always been for me. Whether it was the meaningful Dogsong by Gary Paulsen, or the funny Calvin & Hobbes series by Bill Watterson. I would like to note, however, that were it not for my local and school libraries, I probably would not have gotten so much into reading. Support your libraries. They're the best place to foster a love of reading.

Via the bookshelves tumblr.

8) Asteroids: A short story or novella that you love.

It's no secret, I LOVE anthologies of short stories; they're a great way to "meet" new authors. Recently I finished Press Start to Play, edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams. In it was the short story "NPC' by Charles Yu. At the time I read it, I thought it was a cute story, but my brain frequently goes  back to thinking about it. It was so well written and so intriguing a concept that I love to just think about some of the philosophical implications of it. The idea of being an NPC in a story, as opposed to a playable character. I may have to re-read this entire book now.

9) Galaxy: A book with multiple points of view.

For this, I will have to say the entire Ex-Heroes series by Peter Clines. The narrator/perspective changes just about every chapter. I LOVE this mechanic. It makes it so that, when you finally get a villain's perspective, it doesn't break up the flow of the book and you get the revealing information that you've needed. Or didn't know you needed. This mechanic also allows Clines to write about different stories in different places and lay the groundwork for future books. It also really helps to get information from the pre-zombie days that is vital to the character development.

10) Spaceship: A book title that would make a great name for a spaceship.

I'll admit, I was tempted to go with Chimichanga by Eric Powell, just for the fun of it. Instead I'll go with Basilisk, derived from Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan. What can I say? I'm a bit of a kaiju fan and basilisks are giant monsters. 

So that's my Intergalactic Book Tag! What do you think? Do you like some of my choices or do you think some of them were kinda weak? What would be your choices? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

F*ck That | Jason Headley | Mini-Review

*This book provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


I never watched the YouTube video this book is based on, but if the author's voice is as calm and serene as the pictures from this book, I will laugh my butt off. Unapologetically. For the entire video. Just as I did for this entire book. Clearly if you're not one for foul language, this book isn't for you. However, if you're like me and sometimes the clean words just don't cut it, you're gonna get a huge laugh from this. I had my mother, one of the most stressed out people I know, read this and she nearly fell out of her chair she was laughing so hard. This is a great book to read during or after a stressful day when you need a good laugh to break through the negative thought patterns. It's not a long book, so I'm not sure the price I saw on the cover is fully worth it, but if you find it on sale, pick it up! 4.5 hoots!


                Hoot! Hoot!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shaken But Not Stirred | Alexander Reed and Dirma Van Toorn

*This book was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


A compilation of real-life humorous stories about living with Parkinson's disease written by people with Parkinson's. Each story shows individuals affected by Parkinson's (whether being diagnosed with it or living with someone diagnosed) can learn to see the humor in some of their daily situations. Half of the profits from this book will go to European Parkinson Therapy Centre


I requested this book from NetGalley mainly because my father suffers from Parkinson's disease. He actually had Early Onset Parkinson's before it was an official diagnosis. It wasn't until Michael J. Fox admitted he had Early Onset that my dad was properly diagnosed. Now he is in end stage Parkinson's and, after over 20 years, it's getting difficult to see the humor in his situation. So, when I saw this book, which focused on helping combat the depression and anxiety so strongly associated Parkinson's, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. I was not disappointed. 

Each story not only had me chuckling, but it also had me taking copious notes about life with Parkinson's. It can be difficult to find the humor in a situation where your neurologist gives you a diagnosis and, instead of explaining anything gives you booklets and pills. The first short-story author, Dirma Van Toorn, describes a couple of situations where authority figures/security guards thought she was drunk, high, or acting strange because she was shoplifting. Life with Parkinson's is full of troubles. But it can still be a full life. 

There are so many funny stories in this compilation. Stories about situations that, in that moment, must have seemed like the end of the world, but in retrospect are funny. One of the authors talked about trying to go to the bathroom while conducting a phone interview and he ended up urinating in his pants. He chose to use this story as an anecdote in a speech and was later told by a woman in the audience "thank you!" Because she needed to know she wasn't alone. 

And, really, that's what's at the heart of these stories. If you have Parkinson's or someone you love has Parkinson's, you are not alone. There are groups of people out there who can help you. Parkinson's doesn't mean you can't live a full life. It just means you gotta work a little harder for it. And this book is a good resource for the darker times, when you can't find the light.

If you have Parkinson's, a family history of Parkinson's or are a caregiver for someone with the disease, I highly recommend the book. It's a bit shorter than I would like, but each story is poignant and well placed. There were some minor typos, but I received an advanced copy, so those should be cleaned up by the time the book is published later this year. Shaken But Not Stirred is a heartwarming, informative read and highly recommend it. 5 hoots!