Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Silver Streak by Jack Cole

This is a reprint of several of the original Silver Streak comics.  It’s not my cup of tea.  The pages are far too busy as was common during the early days of comics.

However, it’s a nice piece of nostalgia.  If you love old comics or origins, this is the edition for you.  Not only does this volume have the original stories but also includes several original ads that were printed with the comics.  Nothing like catching a red rider set ad in between issues.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster

Some stories will haunt you for a long time and this is one of them. 

Grace and her husband have moved into a cottage in the moors with their new baby.  It’s the start of a new chapter as Grace starts to come to terms with leaving London.  Christmas is coming and a new year promises great things, until Grace opens the front door to find her child sleeping peacefully in her pram and no husband. 

A year later, Grace returns determined to discover what happened to her husband on that cold winter day.  Filled with tales of ghosts and omens, Grace fights her fears to uncover why her husband was gone.  Everyone around her feels she should just move on but how can she when she has so many unanswered questions.

The story is frightening, sad and full of twists and turns.  It reminds me of Mary Stewart’s mysteries.  You just never know what dark secrets people harbor until you start digging.  Not everyone will come out of this alive but Grace won’t stop until she knows the truth.

I was captivated by Sara Foster’s book.  The life on the moors is enchanting and yet harbors its own secrets.  Are there ghosts on the moor?  What is up with the grandfather clock that stops when it wants and seems to still keep time? 

There’s a touch of romance and sweetness in this book.  Beneath the Shadows deserves a place with other gothic mysteries such as Rebecca and Wuthering Heights.  There are far more things to be frightened of than ghosts and they are all here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Claws and Saucers by David E Goldweber

If you are a Science Fiction, Horror and/or Fantasy movie buff, like me, then this is a must have for you.  I can’t tell you if it has everything but I will say that I was impressed by how many movies are in this book.  I love horror – the worst ones are my favorite.  I want cheesy and I want lots and lots of blood.  I don’t care if the plot makes sense – makes the movie more entertaining in a MST3K sort of way.

I love talking to the characters and questioning their motives. 

This book spells it all out – which are the good ones and which ones you’re gonna love because they are so bad.

This is not a sit and read sort of book.  You peruse like you’re picking up a date in a bar.  You chat up the pages and ask them out.  You explore the movies and, perhaps, come back and make notes.  This is the sort of book that needs to be shared and passed along. 

The only problem I have is that the new stuff won’t appear magically.  I’d love it if the book stayed current but, alas, they don’t.

However, that’s not going to stop me from working my way through this book and some of the worst movie fests my family has ever seen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The World’s Creepiest Places by Bob Curran

Bob Curran has put together a book of actual locations around the world that have frightening histories.  Many of the locations are lesser known hauntings (at least to me).  The segments are fairly short and in depth.  There’s a lot of history in these pages.

However, I wished there had been pictures.  I am a very visual person and I like to look at the places that are being written about.  I would have loved to even just have a website I could go to that would link to pictures of these places.  In this day and age, there’s no real reason not to have access to that visual accompaniment. 

If you are big on hauntings or ghosts or even just eerie feeling sorts of places – this is a great book for you.  Many of Bob Curran’s selections are out of the norm giving the enthusiast a new set of places to explore.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Severed by Scott Snyder

A good creepy tale about a young man who wants to find his real father.  Jack discovered he was adopted and decides to run away.  His dream is to be a fiddle player and travel with his father.  However, what he finds is a predator that feeds on children’s dreams.

Set in the early part of the 20th century, Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft have put together a tale that will leave you breathless.  It’s frightening in ways that you don’t expect.  The monster is not overly original but the tale will still cause your heart to pound.

Not only does Jack have to deal with this man who wants to eat him for dinner, he’s battling those who would stop at nothing to take everything from him.  It’s a dirty and tough time.  Monsters lurk in the shadows and look a lot like humans.  Jack is far too innocent to be on this adventure and it’s hard to watch that be stripped away from him.

The art is fairly basic – nothing overly dynamic but it also doesn’t distract from the story line.  It moves smoothly from page to page carrying the reader away.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Watchman William Ghost Detective by Diana Shaw

This was a cute juvenile chapter book.  William was the policeman of his time during the reign of Elizabeth the First.  Now he haunts Hardleigh Manor.  When the manor is turned into a museum, William meets Thomas, the grandson of the groundskeeper.  With his help, William tries to channel Sherlock Holmes and solve small mysteries around the villages.

The book is very English so I’m not sure how many kids in the US will understand some of the language.  Aside from that the book is cute and the characters are interesting.  The chapters are quite short so young readers can stay engaged.  The mysteries are quite basic and have some surprises.

I could see this book delighted various readers and is a fun read for all.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Today's post will be at my new blog Seeking Sanctuary at World's End. I'm going to slowly move this blog over there. I'll be posting regularly here until the beginning of August and then at that time, I'll post exclusively at Seeking Sanctuary - this will lessen my load and help me get back to enjoying my books instead of feeling like I need to rush through them all the time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rabbit Housing by Bob Bennett

If you plan on raising rabbits, then you need this book in your library.  As the title suggests, this book is all about housing rabbits.  Bob Bennett offers a variety of plans and ideas for housing for raising your rabbits.  He offers clear arguments for materials and designs.

There’s not much more to the book and most of the designs are not fancy so this is not a book for leisure reading.  I did enjoy the book and look forward to attempting my own housing someday.  This is a perfect book for 4-H and FFA students as well as adults who wish to raise rabbits.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Last of the Greats by Joshua Hale Fialkov

This was a weird one but I still enjoyed it.  I get the impression I’m missing part of the story and there’s definitely more to come but nothing indicated that this wasn’t a complete tale.

The Last is the last of his kind.  They came to Earth like Gods with a plan that you just get glimpses of.  They cleaned up the environment, healed disease, feed the starving and housed the homeless.  They wanted the nations to give up their military defenses so the world replied by killing them off.  The Last hadn’t joined his siblings in society so when aliens come to attack the Earth, he is their only hope.

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in this story.  It’s so multi-layered that I’m left feeling like I haven’t gotten any answers.

It’s well drawn and not for children.  It’s violent and sexual and quite disturbing.  I did enjoy it but it’s bittersweet.  I’m puzzled and wondering if there’s more volumes coming.  Thankfully there’s which gave me the answer – this is volume one.  That’s all I learned from their site.  It’s got potential but it’s falling short.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Ultimate Survival Manual by Rich Johnson

Great Book!  My only disappointment was that my E-ARC was missing pages so I didn’t get the entire manuscript.

Rich Johnson has written an entertaining and informative guide to survival.  I’m big on survival information and I know that not everyone is.  This is an important book because we are in an environment that is unstable.  You don’t have to go out in the wilderness to be in a situation that requires survival techniques.  There’s a chance that there is a large amount of information in this book you will never need.  However, the one technique that you learn that later saves yours or someone else’s life is invaluable. 

This is a short book and each segment is brief.  Keep it in your bathroom and learn a trick or two every time you sit down.  On page one, I learned something.  Okay maybe learned is not the right word but I realized there was something I hadn’t thought of. Rich recommends that you keep an emergency bag in your office or place of work that includes rugged clothing, socks and a pair of tennis shoes.  The bag is available if you need to leave your work in a hurry and are not dressed for an emergency.  I would, almost, have thought it unnecessary but I guarantee that one day you wear the tight skirt or new dress shoes is the day that the weather turns and you have to evacuate or a shooter comes into the area and you have to flee.

It’s a scary and dangerous world out there.  I just think this book is an inexpensive way to protect yourself.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Healthy in a Hurry by Karen Ansel

The problem with cookbooks is they are very subjective.  There’s nothing particularly wrong with this book – the pictures are engaging and the recipes are interesting but they didn’t do anything for me.  The recipes were far too simplistic and would not satisfy my family.  I liked the idea of the book.

This would be perfect for someone just leaving home or for someone who has just started using healthier foods.  This is not a family cookbook.  Many of the recipes do not make substantial meals – lots of appetizer like foods which appear quick but for a large group would actually make more work. 

There are great ideas here and I love the colors and textures of the foods offered.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw

Beautiful book.  The recipes are elegant and stunning.  The pictures captivate the reader and leave you craving something hot and amazing out of the oven.  The recipes work in seasonal fruits at the peak of perfection.  The crusts are crisp and golden while the breads are soft and aromatic.

The instructions are simple with fairly common ingredients.

A nice touch is the brief interviews of various bakers from around the country.  Each offer their own perspective of baking and share a recipe.  Grab a cup of coffee and pour over this book as if you were visiting with a friend.  Kim Laidlaw has put together a book that was meant to be handed down to future generations – preferably covered in stains with sticky pages.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Family Camping Cookbook by Tiff and Jim Easton

Not sure I would recommend this book as much as Camp Cooking in the Wild but there is merit to owning this book.  I like that the Easton’s included information on how to incorporate foraged foods.  To me, that’s a big plus because I love to forage.  Their recipes are far more simple, as well, which is nice when you are cooking with children.

I like that they offer menus with shopping lists to make preparation super simple.  Not only that but they offer different menus based on age.  They even offer a vegetarian alternative. 

The book is broken up into environments such as the beach or the woods.  While much of the food is easy to prepare – they encourage a wide range of flavors and styles of cooking.  I never thought about grilling a butterflied leg of lamb while camping but I love the idea.  The more I look at the recipes the more I love this book.  I love ethnic food and this book is full of kid friendly foreign foods that we can make while out on vacation or adapt to make at home.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Camp Cooking in the Wild by Mark Scriver

This is the perfect book for those learning to cook while camping or for those who want to do more than just roasted hot dogs while out in the wilderness.  The first part of the book focuses on learning the basics – what equipment, how to plan and pack your meals. 

Then comes the recipes.  They range from Effort Level 1 to Effort Level 4.  What I like best is that these are recipes that you would make at home.  It shows how you can cook like you normally do when you’re out in the wilderness.  You may not cook their recipes because you’ll learn how to cook your own.  I rather like that.

This is a great beginner book and a wonderful gift idea for those who want to spend more time outdoors but just don’t have the skills yet.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cooking from the Farmer’s Market by Jodi Liano

A beautiful book from Williams Sonoma, Cooking from the Farmer’s Market did not disappoint.  The photography is colorful and enticing.  The recipes are varied enough that there is sure to be enough to warrant owning the book.

I was a little put off by the assumption that all Farmer’s Markets are the same.  I’ve been rather stunned to learn that’s not true as I follow blogs that offer seasonal cooking.  I live in Washington and, though we have an amazing farmer’s market, our seasons and variety of produce do not match what is offered in this book.

With that said, that doesn’t mean I can’t find the produce at our local Co-op.  I do appreciate encouraging local produce and learning to eat those foods. 

This would be a perfect book for those who have joined a CSA or get Bountiful Baskets.  I’m always trying to figure how to use some of the unique produce we get each week.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Edible Party Bouquets by Fox Chapel Publishing

When this title came up in the NetGalley catalog, I couldn't wait to review it.  I love the idea of edible bouquets and I'm always telling my husband that he should go into the business.  He's amazing when it comes to prepping beautiful food for parties (just wish he'd do it more often and perhaps would consider going into business).
This book totally blew me out of the water.  The bouquets were amazing.  The best part - they were all fairly simple.  The most complicated designs were created using cookie cutters making the work so easy. 
Not only were there fruit bouquets but Fox Chapel Publishing stretched the gamut by designing bouquets made of cinnamon rolls, wraps, mini pies, and tortilla chips.  Many of the designs were fully edible.
If you love to play with your food, this is the book for you.  Most of the bouquets don't require more than the food and skewers.  Some have you make foods from scratch while others have you use store bought ingredients such as a tree made out of chocolate covered mint cookies.
I'm thinking this might be a future Christmas gift for my husband and already gives me the best ideas for future party foods.