Saturday, November 24, 2018

Chasing American Monster, 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts by Jason Offutt

Chasing American Monster, 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts by Jason Offutt was a fun book to read. It appeals to your inner monster and is perfect for lounging next to the fireplace in your PJ's. (full review below)

Chasing American Monster, 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts by Jason Offutt gives you a brief, fun and sometimes scary look into the stories of cryptozoology, monsters, and the folklore in the United States of America. This would be an excellent book for a coffee shop, an on-the-go read, or sitting next to the fireplace in your PJ’s.

What to expect: The about the author/foreword, I enjoyed more than I probably should have (oh Gary, I have two like you at home). The introduction does a nice job explaining our fascination with monsters, the history (ex. Luigi Galvani, H. G. Wells), and why we need monsters. I’m glad to see the author mentions the Okapi, giant panda, coelacanth, megamouth shark, and more (research if you don't know why this is important).

The main part of the book contains monsters from each state in alphabetical order. The author gives a brief description of each state (terrain, famous people, and events), followed by monsters (multiple per state, nice variety).

The conclusion consists of the author’s personal thoughts about monsters. He leaves you with the question of whether or not monsters exist.

The meh of the book (for me): Some of the descriptions are rather short, leaving you wanting more. I'd rather more detail in a couple than a bunch of small falling short, but could just be my personal taste.

Whether you are a skeptic, a believer, or some where in-between, this book will appeal to your inner curiosity. Overall I would recommend and I plan to purchase this book for my nephews.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

#ChasingAmericanMonsters #NetGalley #Monsters #Folklore #Cryptozoology #Llewellyn #JasonOffutt #UnitedStates #AmReading #Books

Where to purchase:
Barnes and Noble

Where to find the author: Jason Offutt

Ghosts and Grudges: a Japanese-inspired Urban Fantasy (The Shaman Queen Saga Book 1) by Jasmine Walt

A fast-paced action book full of Japanese folklore...A must read for urban fantasy lovers!

Ghosts and Grudges: a Japanese-inspired Urban Fantasy (The Shaman Queen Saga Book 1) by Jasmine Walt is now the perfect urban fantasy book! For those who read the first book (by Jasmine Walt and J. A. Cipriano) and weren’t too keen on it, I’d highly recommend reading this version instead. The flow and story are better all around. (full review below)

Minimal spoilers below…
Aika is a medical student who has taken to running her mother’s restaurant as her mother is ill. While at work one evening, she learns she is a rare kind of shaman (one that hasn’t been seen in centuries) and all the stories told to her as a young child are indeed true. Enter Raiden and Shota, cousins who are from the Takaoka Shaman Clan. Kai, an ancient shaman who is possessed by the god of chaos, has kidnapped Aika’s mother. While making their way to rescue her, Aika, Raiden, and Shota meet unique creatures (The Sea Dragon King, mermaids, talking crabs) while battling others (The Monkey King). During this time, Aika learns more about her powers and the shaman world. There are plenty of adventures, creatures and folklore (even an occasional joke/snarkasm), but trying to keep spoilers to a minimum.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the lore in this book and it’s even more exceptional with this edition. I will be purchasing future books and can’t wait to see the story unfold. I see another reviewer mentions it would be good as an anime series- I fully agree with this- it would be fantastic!

Parental advisory/trigger warnings: a couple curse words scattered throughout (s-word, dammit, bastard), death, love not ending in a fairy tale ending, warring clans, mermaid breasts, mother sick with cancer, kidnapping, and weapons.

Where to purchase:

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Wow! Only put it down b/c I had to go to bed...

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland is in the top three books I've listened to this year. I couldn't put it down and only did when it was bedtime (reluctantly). Even got guff from my family that I was listening to a book vs. talking with them. So yes, this book is fantastic and you should be listening/reading it. This would make one brilliant kick-butt TV series or movie if done right. Full review below...

Where to purchase:
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound

Where to find the author:
Justina Ireland

I do no usually read any war related or slavery books, but thought I'd give it a chance since it had zombies (aka shamblers) in it. The book takes place at what should have been the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War, however, instead of that battle transpiring, dead soldiers turn to zombies and the fight is on. The book's main characters is Jane, a strong-willed young lady who has her own ways of dealing with the problems in the world. I'm not going to say anything more than this as I do not want to spoil the surprises.

I would love more books in the series, but there's also that part of me that says "This book is perfect how it is". I will certainly be checking out Justina's other books, along with the narrator. Bahni Tuprin is in my top three narrators. Do yourself a favor and listen to this book.

Parental guidance/Trigger warnings: This book is set to the time around the Civil War. Not going into specifics other than racism, sexism, slavery, killing, use of weapons, and like-things happening. There is one brutal descriptive scene of a lashing and a woman's breasts are exposed to the public. Minimal romance/talk of relationships (more along the lines of having a crush on a guy, mentions of loving a guy/being in a relationship in the past but no sex or sex talk from what I recall).

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bettie Page: The Lost Years: An Intimate Look at the Queen of Pinups, through her Private Letters & Never-Published Photos

I had the chance to check out the new Bettie Page book not long ago and loved it. This book is for the die hard fans, those new to her and the ones in-between. For those looking for racy photos only, this book is not for you. With this book you get a sense of who she was personally, how she connected with her family, and learn more about her sister Goldie. (more details in review below)

Where to purchase:

What a great book! This is a book for those new to Bettie Page, the die hard fans, and those in-between.

The book is full of awesome photos, ranging from her modeling days to family times, and handwritten letters to her sister Goldie (aka Gloria). The authors do an excellent job at describing the letters and then stating what was happening in Bettie’s life at the time. At no point was I bored with this book, despite having watched documentaries and read about Bettie over the years. This book gives a look into how normal of a person Bettie was and how ahead of her times she was. I think we tend to put her on this pedestal and forget she’s not just the legendary pin-up queen. She is someone’s sister, daughter, aunt, etc. and the letters show that. You’ll get a good idea about Bettie’s personality and humor throughout the book. At the end of the book, you will learn more about her sister, Goldie, and her nephew, Ron. Why Goldie didn’t become as famous as Bettie, I don’t know...when you see Goldie’s photo’s, you’ll wonder the same thing.

This book would make an excellent gift or if you’re a Bettie fan, it’s a must have. I will be purchasing this for myself and one for a friend who loves Bettie. Overall, I recommend the book and can’t say anything bad about it.

For those who need a little more info about the book layout: foreword by Tempest Storm, introduction, followed by four parts (The Early Years, The Pinup Years, The Lost Years, Meet Goldie Jane), then epilogue and acknowledgments.

While reading this book, I couldn’t help but wonder what mental illness and health problems did she really have? Was it what they said or something else (we’ve come a long way with medical advances/learning about diseases/illness since she was diagnosed)? How did she maintain such a positive attitude despite everything that happened in her life? The authors mentions the body positive movement (I thought the same thing at multiple times throughout the book), and wonder how Bettie would feel now about her photo being taken as she aged.

Parental Advisory/Trigger Warnings: talks of Bettie’s time in psychiatric hospitals due to her threatening others with knives/injuring them, lots of body image talk (dieting, indulging in food, gaining/losing weight, growing old and dislike for it), talk of suicide if she ends up in a wheelchair or bed-ridden, gambling, marriages and divorces, religion, sexual assaults (briefly mentioned, not detailed).

Thank you to the authors, publishers, and Netgalley for allowing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

#BettiePageTheLostYears #NetGalley #Reading #Books #QueenOfPinups #BettiePage #Vintage