Monday Afternoon Music

Ah, what a busy day it’s been so far. And there was an awesome, fun, busy weekend just past, as well. Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

So, I considered myself a Grateful Dead fan (never had the teddy bears on my car, so technically not a deadhead?) long before this song came out, got huge, and the dreaded word “sellout” was being bandied about. Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

Monday again. Yeah, that’ll happen. I woke up this morning not knowing what to post today, and I’ve been browsing around Youtube for a little while. The big discovery? Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

Happy November! The weather is changing into winter before our eyes up here in VT. I’m still in a spooky-ish video mood, though. Continue reading

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Dog Days by Joe McKinney – A Review

Dog Days
Joe McKinney
JournalStone (July 2014)
young adult/horror
Dog Days

I received a copy of Joe McKinney’s Dog Days through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewer program. The book got my hopes up with a strong start, introducing us to Mark, a Texan teenager at the beginning of his summer vacation, who wakes up to the aftermath of a hurricane that has struck his wealthy Houston suburb of Clear Lake (where my dad’s sister used to live, for what that’s worth). A shrimp boat stuck up a pecan tree with a pile of half-eaten corpses inside promised a rollicking old horror story.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way for me. I found McKinney’s prose and storytelling  to be pretty stiff after such a rousing beginning, and I didn’t find his narrator’s voice very believable. Mark sounds like a grown man, not the teenaged boy he’s supposed to be. There are also a lot of loose ends left floating in the breeze by the end, none of the characters are very interesting, and I didn’t find the mystery of the Hairy Man, or the man himself, to be compelling. McKinney’s attempt at an explanation is sorely lacking. I expect more from good YA fiction, especially stories that start off as well as this one did.

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Monday Morning Music – Hallowe’en Edition

Well, October is almost over. This is its last Monday, and I’ve only posted one spooky video in honor of Hallowe’en. That’s disappointing, at least to me. I’ll try to make up for it with a trio of videos today.

First up are the Brian Sisters, a singing trio successful in the 1930s and 1940s. Here they are in 1942 performing the tune “The Boogie Woogieman” with the Will Osborne Orchestra on a soundie called The Boogie Woogie Boogie Man (yeah, I don’t know with the titles)

Next up, another fun old clip: Louis Armstrong singing “Skeleton in the Closet.” This one’s from the 1936 Bing Crosby film Pennies from Heaven. I love Armstrong’s horn playing and the dancing skeleton.

And finally, something in color, although still kinda old. Let’s finish up with one from Siouxsie and the Banshees. Here’s “Spellbound” from 1981.

Happy Hallowe’en!

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Wolf Interval by Chrysoula Tzavelas – A Review

Wolf-Interval-Front-L-605x910 Wolf Interval
Chrysoula Tzavelas
Candlemark & Gleam (October 2014)
young adult/urban fantasy

Wolf Interval, the third book in Chrysoula Tzavelas’ Senyaza series, is coming out this month. I was lucky enough to get an ARC so I could share my thoughts about it with you. (And I will be honest here–the author and I are friends on Twitter; I don’t think that colored my review, but I want to get that out there.)

First thing to point out: isn’t that cover cool? Sean Dietrich did the artwork. I really dig AT, our protagonist for this volume, appearing as if she’s coming out of the wolf at the bottom.

Yes, that’s right. Another Senyaza book, another main character to follow. In Matchbox Girls, we met Marley, Research Girl with some serious magical skills; in Infinity Key, we meet Branwyn Lennox, the Action Girl who learns to work with her humanity. Wolf Interval brings us face to face with AT, a woman with a monstrous father who is afraid that she, too, is a monster. We’ve met her before, originally in the first Senyaza book, Matchbox Girls. She’s a figure of mystery in that book, a powerful young woman with a trio of magical dogs working with Corbin and eventually fighting with Marley and her crew. She leaves the story, severely wounded and in the arms of a kaiju who claims to be taking her to her father. Not necessarily a good thing!

We meet AT again in Infinity Key when Branwyn pays a short visit to her father’s creepy hunting lodge

I was excited that AT was going to have her own book, but I have to confess I found Wolf Interval a tougher read than the first two Senyaza tales. Mainly, because AT is not the most likeable character. She’s depressed, angry, and just not a joy to be around, even to the folks she’s hanging out with. It took me a while to realize that her being likeable to me was not the author’s point. This is a young woman who has suffered a lot of abuse and has returned to the home of her abuser. She’s got more on her mind besides what people think of her, including the folks she finds herself adventuring with. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from telling her what they think of her.

It’s a spooky kind of adventure. AT has to find the Horn of the Wild Hunt before Hallowe’en. If she doesn’t, the Wild Hunt–a mystical group that seeks out and destroys the corrupted souls of the deceased–will go after any souls, even those of the living.

Wolf Interval is a multi-layered quest novel, different from the first two Senyaza books, in that the protagonist isn’t new to this world of magic Tzavelas has built. This is her world, and yet, she is just as lost and learning as Marley and Branwyn were in their volumes, maybe moreso, as she’s the more wounded of the three.

As usual, Tzavelas’s writing is good, she keeps the story moving, and the reader turning pages. Some of her prose is gorgeous. My main complaint, as it was with Infinity Key, is that the catching-up from the last book feels a little info-dumpy in spots. Hard to avoid, I’m sure. (I haven’t finished writing a series yet; who am I to talk?) I also found AT’s voice (she’s the narrator) a little clunky in places compared to Branwyn’s in Infinity Key. But as I said, she grew on me. Another thing I like about the book is, well, look at the cover again. AT isn’t the standard white teenaged hero. That makes me very happy.

Notes to self:

  • googling the title was very informative. I’d forgotten what a wolf interval is. It really resonates with the story.
  • next time I get a cat (if that ever happens), I’m naming it “Grimwhiskers.” Best critter name ever.
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Monday Afternoon Music

And another Monday morning has zoomed by me. But it’s still Monday. And! It’s the first Monday of October, which means it’s time to start posting Hallowe’en videos! Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

Sorry to not have anything musical for you last week. Crazy busy weekend with Monday as recovery day.

And now another Monday has arrived. I decided to go back in the stacks for this one: an old prog rock tune from that odd little band, Klaatu. Here’s “Long Live Politzania.”

Why this song, you ask? Ah, well, I play Nation States and got to name my capital city this morning. So, there you go.

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Monday Afternoon Music

Sorry for the delay getting music to you this Monday. It’s been a busy one. Plus I couldn’t make up my mind which song I wanted to share today. I finally decided to go with something by Club d’Elf.

Continue reading

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