The Big 1-0: Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge

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What trickier is this?! Andi and Heather hosting the RIP X Challenge? Why yes! The Estella Society is hosting this year’s Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge. The spookiest time of the year. As usual, I pick Peril the First

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Peril the First: Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux…or anyone in between.
I have a list of six at the moment, but I always claim the right to add or subtract to it.

rip x reading list
  • House on the Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson
  • Jezebel’s Daughter by Wilkie Collins
  • Ring by Koji Suzuki
  • The Last Man by Mary Shelley
  • Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due
  • Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino

I also have Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Ghostly Tales (Volume 1) ready for Peril the Short Story. I absolutely have to have some gothic frights for my RIP list!

I hope you’ll join in for a frightful couple of reading months! BOO!

*Artwork courtesy of Abigail Larson.

Comically Canadian

After signing up for Comixology a while ago, I finally bought my first comics. I really like being able to buy online. Say what you will about times-a-changing, but I still feel weird buying myself comics as a forty-something year old woman. Not to mention there aren’t many places to buy them here anymore. The Comixology app is great; I like it.

Let me get to the point of this post. I read the first issues of two new Canadian comic book series: We Stand On Guard and Power Up.

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Creators: Brian K Vaughan and Steve Skroce
Publisher: Image Comics
Rated: 17+
We Stand On Guard is a war comic set in a dystopian future. In 2113, the United States appears to be at war with everyone except Canada, but that is about to change. After the Americans blow up her home and kill her parents, Amber goes underground. Eleven years later, she joins a band of Canadian freedom fighters known as the Two-Fours.

In the first issue, Amber has to prove she’s not a spy to become a part of the group. The first thing one of the members asks is a question about hockey. I love that she says she doesn’t like hockey. If there was a stereotype that has to die it’s that all Canadians love hockey. Do all Americans love baseball? Probably not.

So, why has the United States invaded Canada? The answer is that it has something to do with water. Not entirely implausible.

power up
Creators: Kate Leth and Matt Cummings
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Rated: 9+
Power Up is a much lighter series. Twenty-three year old pet store cashier Amie comes into contact with an alien being while at work. Amie doesn’t love her job, though she does love animals. It’s clear that’s she’s just getting by in life. I’m sure this event is going to change everything. I don’t know what’s going to happen next but there will be shenanigans.

These two series couldn’t be more different, but I appreciate that the main characters in both are young women. We Stand On Guard is realistically drawn in that classic superhero style. Power Up is more cartoony and cute.

We Stand on Guard is dark. There is violence and dire situations. It’s not what I look for in my entertainment, but I like the storytelling and can’t wait to see how it plays out over the six issues.
Power Up is adorable and so charming. It’s an all ages comic, so it’s this mom approved. The fact that it has ties to Nova Scotia doesn’t hurt its appeal either. It is also a six issue series.

The only thing I don’t like about these comics is that they’re so short! Just as I was getting into the story, it ends. I guess that will keep me coming back.

Going Where Angels Fear to Tread with E.M. Forster

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When Lilia Herriton leaves Sawston for Italy with her lady’s companion Miss Caroline Abbott, her in-laws breathe a sigh of relief. The young widow had been making eyes at a local farmer, much to their dismay. Going off to Italy gets her out of their hair, with the side effect that she will better herself. Hopefully.

Mrs Herriton had been disappointed in her son’s choice of wife. Lilia not only was beneath the family socially, she also had the audacity to not conform to the family standards.  She found matters worsened after the death of her son.  “Lilia would not settle down in her place among Sawston matrons.” Lilia moved herself and daughter Irma back home with her mother where Mrs Herriton’s firm hand did not reach. The suggestion of Italy to Lilia is the solution to all their problems. Surely Lilia couldn’t get up to much trouble with the sober Miss Abbott there.

Reports from Italy were fine in the beginning, until Lilia and Caroline stopped in the village of Monteriano, where Lilia meets and marries an Italian, leaving Irma behind in England. At that point, the Herritons had enough and cut ties with Lilia forever. But then there is a baby…

At first the Herritons try to ignore the situation, but when word gets out in Sawston, Mrs Herriton worries that people will think them cruel to leave an English child in Italy. Italy! With all those Catholics and…art. She sends her children, Harriet and Philip, to Italy to set things right, as she sees things anyway, with Caroline Abbott hot on their heels.

Where Angels Fear to Tread seemed like a delightful little novel in the beginning. A flighty woman runs off with a younger man in a foreign country. Get it, girl! I was rooting for Lilia at first, especially when she tells her brother-in-law:
“For once in my life I’ll thank you to leave me alone. I’ll thank your mother too. For twelve years you’ve trained and tortured me, and I’ll stand it no more. Do you think I’m a fool? Do you think I never felt? Ah! when I came to your house a poor young bride , how you all looked me over- never a kind word- and discussed me, and thought I might just do; and your mother corrected me, and your sister snubbed me, and you said funny things about me to show how clever you were!”
It soon becomes clear that Lilia has made a huge mistake. She could have done whatever she liked but she married a man-child and chose to live in a country where she doesn’t have any friends. The cultural gap between them is too large. For example, she wants to go out and meet people, and he believes wives stay hidden away in the house. Understandably, she becomes depressed.
It stopped being delightful at that point.

Later, the three English knuckleheads, Philip, Harriet, and the guilt-ridden Caroline Abbott, arrive in Monteriano. Philip isn’t much older than the husband Gino, and no wiser. He fell in love with Italy on a previous visit. He fetishizes Italy and the Italian people, but deep down he’s a prude. Harriet thinks Italy is the home of Satan. Caroline has mixed feelings. She’s tired of her life in Sawston, the hypocrisy and “petty unselfishness.” Still, she’s driven to do the moral thing, as she was taught, but has doubts as to whether it is the right thing. 

Individually, they make a mess of things. It was entertaining to see these three self-righteous people come to disappointment time and again. That was until the end…

I’m not going to say anything about the end; I’m still trying to come to terms with it.

Written in 1905, Where Angels Fear to Tread is Forster’s first novel and a quick read at just over 200 pages. It’s an interesting commentary on how English society perceived itself in the world at this time: morally superior. This self-righteousness comes across as cold heartlessness. A theme Forster explores in A Passage to India, as well (but with more racism). The most intriguing character is Caroline Abbott, possibly the only character capable of change. I hope she became a Lady Adventurer after this episode.

Recommended

Media Madness Monday: Lore

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Well, it’s been a loooong time since I wrote one of these posts! But I really wanted you all to know about this podcast: Lore.

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From the description
Lore is a bi-weekly podcast about the history behind scary stories. The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core. Each episode of Lore looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth of what's behind it. Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.
Each episode Aaron Mahnke picks some tale, whether it’s a bit of folklore or a real life event or person, and explains the history behind it. It could be the history behind a werewolf encounter in medieval Germany, or a serial killer in Chicago in 1895. Aaron relays anecdotes in a casual storytelling voice accompanied by atmospheric music. He lays out the history, then gives an insight into the human psychology of the beliefs or the event. This is all just to give the listener some relief before giving them a “Oh and one last thing” that is sure to raise the hair on the back of the neck.

There are 12 episodes as of this date, most making the 20 minute mark. They’re a quick little scare, just don’t listen to them after dark! (I actively try not thinking about them after dark!) These are “clean” episodes, but some of the details of the events can be quite gruesome. Lore isn’t for everyone.

This is my jam. I love scary folklore stories, like Helen Creighton’s Bluenose Ghosts. With the Halloween season coming up in a month or so, Lore is the perfect podcast to add to your list.

If you dare!

Lazy Sunday Thoughts Are Home

Oh Hi! I’m back from my mini-vacation where I visited the brand-spanking-new Halifax Central Library. I’d tell you about it but I’ll be writing about it for Book Bloggers International next month.

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I’ll post about that when it goes up.

I couldn’t go on vacation without buying books.

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Yes, that’s a colouring book. It’s pretty, but very detailed. It is going to take me a while to complete just a page! I had to buy the coffee one for our house of coffee addicts. And The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly looks cute.

Just before I left, Margaret’s Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, which I won from Goodreads, arrived in the mail. Yay! Also Simon Van Booy’s future release Tales of Accidental Genius landed in my mailbox last week. 

I’ve been writing posts, so I actually have content again. I have to write while I have ideas. Writer’s block will strike again without warning.

Scribd Update: Warning!

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A couple months back I wrote a post about my experience with Scribd, the online book subscription service. It was a great service, unlimited access to thousands of book. I say was because a lot of things have happened since then.

In July, Scribd started removing romance titles from its catalogue. Why? Romance lovers read too much. It was costing the company more to pay the authors than they were making. Jane of Dear Author asked: Can a subscription service ever afford romance readers?  Apparently, that question can now be extended to fans of audiobooks.

This morning I received this email.
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I checked my account and yes several of my saved audiobooks have an expired banner across them.
This didn’t surprise me too much at first, since there was a FAQ that mentioned books could be removed by request of the publisher or author. I thought it was a courtesy email until I checked Twitter.

Other users got the same email today. Then I saw this tweet from Jessica Tripler.

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And yes, according to their Support Desk changes are coming, again, to Scribd. Starting September 20, some audiobooks will be converting to a credit system. By paying $8.99 USD per month, users will receive just one credit a month for one audiobook requiring a credit. Instead of access to all audiobooks with your subscription fee, you get access to a limited number plus one credit per month for these special credited audiobooks. Which audiobooks? I dunno. But I’ll hazard a guess that many of them will be from the romance genre. Oh, but don’t worry, if you want to listen to another, you can pay an additional $8.99 USD for one credit. No thank you. (The Canadian dollar sucks right now, so this will cost me more than $8.99!)

I’ve just paid for this month of Scribd, but I think I’ll be cancelling soon. What I dislike most about this is the unknown. There is no way a customer will know when or if a book they’ve added to their library will expire. I’m going to finish the books I’ve started and that’s it for me.

Like that old saying “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is”… In this case it was.

Update: 

After signing into my account today through the Android app, I got a warning box which explained the changes. Also, many of the audiobooks now have an exclamation point banner in the corner. When clicked it explains that this audiobook will be a credit as of Sept 20. 

Dinosaur Amigurumi !!!

dinosaur amigurumi

Know someone who likes dinosaurs and cute crochet stuffed animals? Maybe that someone is you (or me). Here’s a book for the crafty dinosaur lover, Dinosaur Amigurumi. Designer  Justyna Kacprzak created patterns for 14 different dinosaurs, including the one for the Tyrannosaurus Rex I made.


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The pattern was fairly simple to follow, divided into the different parts of the dinosaur. There are lots of photos of the finished toy from many different angles. This really helped with visualizing where I was in the pattern and how it should look. The photos are kind of small though. I wish they were bigger.

I picked Vanna’s Choice Prints in Purple Mist for my T-rex. A little Barney-ish, I know. I underestimated how much yarn I would need. I had one skein. Turns out I needed more. By the time I got to his arms, I knew I was in trouble. I had to improvise and make them smaller. His arms are a bit stubby, but, hey, he’s a T-rex! 

t-rex

A description of each dinosaur would have been a nice addition, but I guess I can Google that if so inclined. That’s my only complaint. Of the 14 dinosaurs, I’m sure dino fans can find a favorite.
Justyna Kacprzak also sells mini dinosaur patterns in her Etsy shop.

Thanks to Dover Publications via Netgalley for the review copy. All opinions are my own.