Ungh... Arrr... Books!

Ungh... Arrr... Books!

Favourite Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction


I read around 1-3 books per month.

Expect lots of random nonsense in between review posts.


I spent most of my day looking after these little munchkins. The story goes that they were found in a garden... the mother cat had four, took two and abandoned these remaining two for ten hours before the neighbour took them in. The black kitten was super sweet and quiet, the brown kitten was mewing his little heart out and crawling all over the place.


I hope they make it without their momma cat or that she returns later in the night to take them away. They have to be fed every two hours and you need to rub them to make them pee/poop. Super adorable but such a handful! Somewhat relieved I was just the babysitter and slightly concerned for my neighbour because she's in her 70s and well, that's a lot of responsibility.


A couple more pictures. :D


In other news, I will have a tag post up later tonight or tomorrow. Followed by my book review for Heart-Shaped Box.


I've been struggling to keep a schedule these last few weeks so everything is just all over the place. I keep piling on things to do even before I finish doing other things. I feel like I'm at a very chaotic place at the moment and hoping that it passes soon. It took me nearly a month to read Heart-shaped Box! That is so not right because the book was great. I'm also about 80% done with the BookLikes theme I've been working on, hope to have that finished up before the month is over.


The other things I've been working on are portraits for all the characters in the series I'm writing which first started from an idea of creating a Wiki to keep track of things easier. So working on those things are time consuming but also so unnecessary. I do these types of crazy things as a way to procrastinate editing. So sad that I know this and yet do nothing to stop my stupid behaviour. It's either procrastinating or some weird side-effect from being unemployed for so long. Whichever is the cause, it better end soon or I might just lose my mind. :P

Little Earthquakes - Tori Amos Live


I keep forgetting about Music Mondays! Well, I haven't been listening to much of anything else as I've been binging on Tori in preparation for her upcoming concert (next month, woo!). I've mostly been listening to her new album on repeat... I didn't take well to this album but now after about the 100th (lmao, I've edited this number 3 times now) play, it's growing on me. My favourite song off this new album is titled Weatherman. Been looking through videos of her current tour on youtube all day trying to pick a song, here were the runner ups!


Oysters (new)


Space Dog


Also, it looks like she's doing covers again this tour. Yay! Here is one of her performing Madonna's Frozen. Still, nothing holds up to this version of Running Up That Hill/God mix she did in 2005. Have I mentioned she's my all time favourite performer? I've seen her live so many times and I'm always weeping at some point. Good weeping. :)


*Linking the videos since I don't want to bomb the dash feed and I know some people just don't like this artist. *cries*

3.5 Stars
Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee
Kill the Dead - Tanith Lee

I'm having a tough time reviewing this book, I've started and scrapped the review three times now. I adore this author so much that anything I write about her work seems ungrateful. Here goes... my last attempt.


The characters are great! Parl Dro is a wonderfully complicated character; he's dark, has a dry sense of humour, and even though he walks with a limp... he's still awesome and attractive. Then there is Myal; he's had a tortured childhood, he's a thief, he's a minstrel (and a musical genius to boot), he's good looking!.. yet he has a weak personality. He's unsure of himself and finds himself drawn to the energy of Parl Dro and so he takes on the part of the unwanted sidekick for most of the tale.


The book opens with Dro demonstrating his craft and incurring the wrath of a woman that did not request his services. Here our antagonist enters the mix, Ciddey; she's an eccentric "noble woman" that knows a bit of witchcraft and will not rest until she has destroyed Dro to avenge her sister.


The journey is fairly linear, although there are a series of flashbacks that explain Dro's backstory and how he was placed on the path to become one of the world's most famous Ghost Slayers. The story tricks you into focusing on one aspect that turns out to be somewhat anti-climatic, but what saves everything is what I love about many of Lee's books... the magical twist! This twist pulls the story tight into a perfect circle of realisation. Needless to say, the ending is satisfying.


Lee's world building skills simply blow me away, for such a short book she really knows how to manipulate her descriptions for maximum effect. The scenery and atmosphere of this book, to me, is something very close to old fantasy adventure films like Ladyhawke. I think this is a great book to start with if you have never read this author before. She writes in several genres and I think this book is the easiest to sink your teeth into because it's a clean adventure from start to finish.


I suppose I'm ending it on this note because I've often felt like Tanith Lee is one of the most underrated authors of our time. I decided to review this book (even though it is not my favourite) because I discovered that this book is available through the Kindle Lending Library, which means that many of you might have the option to check this out hassle-free.

Computer Meltdown

Last Tuesday I kinda, sorta destroyed my Windows registry. I tend to do this every other year or so, because I'm pro like that. I spent most of last week looking for ways to recover the system, from using an image I had burnt to disk to just loading up Linux to at the least recover the data I hadn't backed up in the last three months. I always get lazy with backups after a year or so following a meltdown... I never learn.


Fortunately I recovered all my data and just formatted the beast. Whatever I mucked up with the registry was so bad that none of the sane recovery methods were working. Anyway, by Wednesday night I had Windows reinstalled and it took until Thursday night to apply all the updates and get my drivers and all that back in working order. I spent all Friday customising everything back to the way it was since I'm super anal about how my desktop and apps look. x_x


Now it is Sunday night and I'm still having issues. I basically have to redo a bunch of things to get things working smoothly because I am nuts when it comes to getting this machine to pump out the most power it's capable of. This just so happens to be a dangerous sort of activity and a moment ago I had my video card choke. So... yeah, my system still isn't stable yet and I don't imagine it will be for another week or so as I hunt down every little tweak to get it humming along peacefully again.


I was supposed to write my review on Kill the Dead last week... it's still fairly well stored in my memory so if all goes well I should have that review up by tomorrow night. I'm half way finished with Heart-Shaped Box so just maybe I'll have two reviews up in the same week. If I just disappear and stop providing loving to everyones posts... just assume my laptop imploded again and I'll be back whenever possible.

Magic Man by Heart


Since I started this blog in January I've had this crazy fear that somehow doing this would change my voice/style when it comes to writing fiction. My blog style is so super informal... so super! I bet ya never noticed! To counter this fear I have been writing a short - novella length story at least once a week. I have to do something to make sure these damn ellipses, exclamation marks and poorly structured sentences don't make their way into my writing! It's contagious, at least that's my fear. ANYWAY...


What does this have to do with the video above? Well, this week I used this song as a sort of writing prompt. When using music as a prompt, I'll usually use the first line of a song to get things rolling, or if I'm really fortunate... it will just be one word sung in a specific way that sets me off. Other times I will look at the theme behind a song and sometimes (when a piece is really good or if it's purely instrumental) all elements just come together without even having to think much at all.


This song ended up inspiring a ghost story where the main character doesn't know she is dead until she meets up with her mother at the end and discovers she died as a young girl. The magic man works as her guide to get her from point A (wandering spirit) to point B (acceptance of her death to pass on). It's funny because I know that this song was inspired by the lead singers relationship with her manager... and it's just fun for me to play with words and take them in unintended directions. So, yeah... if you need inspiration to start writing, music and other art forms are a great place to start! :)


It has been a ghost story sort of month for me. I had been planning on May being a month for horror, but somehow I stumbled off the path. It started with reading The Bird Eater and I was like, YES! Horror, it has been such a long time~ but then I was reminded of an author I love and after looking up books that are available for the Kindle Lending Library... I ended up checking out Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee. It isn't horror but it does involve ghosts and adventure, so I am enjoying it and changing this month to just ghosts.


I should finish this book by tomorrow and have a review up shortly after. Next book on my list... one I started a long time ago and just fell out of the mood for... Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill.


Apologies for the rambling and not really sticking to a main point here. I felt compelled to write something since it's been about a week since I've posted anything with substance. Tagging this post with multiple day themes... because I can! :P

Reblogged Image

THIS!!! *prints this out on sticky paper and applies to shirt* ^__^

Actually, this would make an awesome t-shirt!


Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile wrote:

I saw this on Epic Reads Facebook Feed, and probably laughed way more than I should have. *snickers*


But seriously, don't talk to me when I'm reading...

Reblogged from Jessica (HDB)
Kindle Daily Deal: The Dresden Files, $1.99 Each
Storm Front - Jim Butcher Fool Moon - Jim Butcher Grave Peril - Jim Butcher Summer Knight - Jim Butcher Death Masks - Jim Butcher Blood Rites  - Jim Butcher Dead Beat - Jim Butcher

Seven books in the Dresden Files series are only $1.99 each on Kindle. Great deal! :D

Some Theme Bug Fixes

Late last night I stumbled across a post under the BookLikes Official Group discussion board about some issues regarding the blockquote functionality/readability for both of my free themes. I have corrected the colours for links made inside a blockquote (silly me, I hadn't even tested for that!) for the Bundled theme. -edit- Forgot that I also changed the colours for blockquotes to a lighter shade and dark text, for readability/ease on the eyeballs. ^_^


I have also made some changes to the Custom Colours theme. I have stripped out all the styling for the blockquotes and instead added an option to change the background and text colours inside the customisation panel. I hope this change won't upset anyone... but this specific chunk of coding had already had problems before, so I've just squashed the entire thing to prevent any future problems.


I just sent in the updated files to BookLikes so these changes will probably be applied soon (at latest probably Thursday when other updates are pushed through). Any questions or feedback, feel free to chat me up in the comments to this post. :D


ETA: Hopefully I haven't introduced any new bugs... if anyone spots anything going crazy, please let me know!


Update: BookLikes has already applied the theme updates, however, I just sent in a couple of more updates for both themes. There was a gap at the bottom of posts without tags for the Custom Colours theme, fixed that! Also, I added in the blockquote overflow code to stop them from hiding underneath the books and other floated elements for both themes.



I'm a little busy this week and my PC time is less than usual as I am hiding downstairs (where my WiFi blows) to keep cool while SoCal goes through yet another super heat stretch... temps are in the mid 90's... and it isn't even summer yet! *cries*


I'll catch up with all of your awesome reviews this coming weekend when the temps go back to survivable 70s... til then, have a great reading week everyone! :)

5 Stars
Game Review: Child of Light by Ubisoft

Child of Light by Ubisoft


Aurora, a young girl from 1895 Austria, awakens on the lost fairytale continent of Lemuria. To return home she must fight against the dark creatures of the Queen of the Night, who have stolen the sun, the moon and the stars. At stake is not only Lemuria, but Aurora’s true destiny.


  • 2D Adventure RPG
  • Classic Turn Based Combat
  • Fantasy
  • Ages 10 and up!



This is a fantastic little game for all ages... the visuals are stunning and done in a watercolour style that anyone with an eye for art will adore. The soundtrack is also pretty sweet, the battle music is great!


The story is told in verse and rhyme, which I think anyone who loves to read will really enjoy. I would definitely recommend this to parents looking for a fun game for their young ones with the added bonus of encouraging their kids to love reading. Most lines are not voice acted (only cut scenes) and so, if you are weird like me, you read it aloud as you go along. I think this will have appeal for both boys and girls, but I think it leans heavier to the side of young girls. :)



The controls might take a little getting used to (it's 2D so you can control the MC to take different paths as the screen scrolls), but once you have it down, everything gets easy and fun. Also, there is flying! After about an hour of game play things really pick up with this ability... super cool. I did become lost, once or twice, but it's not such a complex game that you don't eventually find your way.


There are lots of simple puzzles involving blocks and levers to get to places you need to go to progress the story. The combat is turn based so you aren't going to require any 'skill'. If you bump into the monsters from behind, you get to attack first... which is easier to get done once you can fly (before this you can use your flame buddy to blind the enemy). Eventually you pick up more friends to join you in the adventure, at this stage you can start using strategies to stun and attack the enemy.


The skill tree is easy to understand, leveling up is not a grind. There is crafting, you can combine gems and attach them to your gear. I don't want to give too much away... so there it is, a gushing review but damn, it's worth to gush about! The detail in the characters (and the baddies) were done so well... there really wasn't anything I saw that I did not gobble up with my eyeballs.



The game is available for these platforms: PC (steam & uplay), PS3, PS4, Xbox360, Xbox One, and the WiiU. The best part, it's only $15!

4 Stars
The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn
The Bird Eater - Ania Ahlborn

This was a beautifully crafted psychological horror story. There was a combination of all sorts of loss—losing a loved one, losing your mind, losing your soul—cleverly woven together so that you aren't quite sure which of these is the true catalyst behind the tale.


This is exactly what I look for in psychological horror; that magic moment of coming away with so many "what if's" that I can create a dozen stories of my own, that spark to my imagination that only a gifted storyteller can evoke.


I chose this book during the March Kindle First selection and I am so glad this program exists because I might not have ever discovered this amazing author. :D


The Good: The first chapter. I haven't read such a great opening in a very long time. It could stand alone as a magnificent short story. This chapter could have been titled a prologue (what it is) and I wouldn't have cared... yes, I am one of those kinds that doesn't particularly enjoy prologues or epilogues.


I really enjoyed the writing style and I found no problems with the editing. The descriptions were great. I can still picture the blood slithering across Birdie's teeth as he menaced everyone with his most gorgeous, ghoulishly wicked grin. Aaron (the MC) was all inked up, the descriptions of his tattoos were vivid and I could imagine them coming to life, moving across his flesh and bursting into reality. This was how almost everything came across, I wouldn't doubt that this book gets optioned for film.


The central idea of the story unfolds in a number of flashbacks—through nightmares and visions. Each one builds upon the other, creating a clearer picture. This goes on until towards the end which might irk some with repetition. Basically, this book tells you straight what is going on every step of the way but raises so many questions that keep you turning the pages because you're so distracted by other bits that you really don't know what's going on—but in a good way!


I personally enjoyed this method of unfolding the plot, it gave the book a fast pace yet still held tight to the suspense... it allowed my imagination to run wild with questions and ideas of what was happening and what actually happened by the end.


The flashbacks were done in a charming way. The main character is around 35-36 years old, so I was able to easily relate to much of the world building. Name drops on music, movies and other media that gave this a very nostalgic feel. There were obvious nods to other works of horror and each time I spotted them, I have to admit... I gave a little silent fangirl squee. ;)


Aaron's descent into madness was intense and very well done. By the end of Chapter 20, and up until right before the disguised epilogue, I was looking like this every few paragraphs:


I felt ridiculous, especially with my husband giving me odd looks every now and again... but I was thoroughly enjoying the ride! I was incredibly slow at piecing things together, it wasn't until Chapter 22/24 that I wrote the following note:


Prediction, Aaron is going to live out the nightmare. Pushes best friend out of the window, who will he beat bloody with the bat? Hazel is going to play the part of the mother he knocks down the stairs and stabs to death... or maybe Cheri? Maybe Cheri is pregnant and the cycle is going to continue?

(show spoiler)


If you read the spoiler and have already read this book, you will see that I was partly mistaken as to how the ending was going to come about. I was a little disappointed that this prediction didn't play out, but after it was all said and done, I was satisfied with the ending given.



The Bad: Speaking of endings... the ending was done in such a way where I can see many people getting angry and thinking that it's leaving an opening for a sequel. I don't think this was the author's intent, fairly certain it was just completing the cycle to open up a ton of questions to the reader on how this evil is being passed on.


Some things didn't make sense... how did Aaron and Edie live in that house together for stretches of years without any sign of Birdie? This makes the idea of this being psychological more probable, however, evil doesn't really have logic. So, again, this is something I think other people might get miffed about... but it didn't really ruin the story for me.


There wasn't any sex in this book and that's not really a bad thing. The bad part was that sex did happen, except it was so curtained off that I didn't realise it had happened until a chapter or two later when Cheri is wondering about regrets. It was such a neglected idea that I'd almost forgotten it completely towards the end.

(show spoiler)


The character development wasn't the greatest, but I think this is another thing only certain people will be annoyed with. For instance, Cheri is the classic example of a girl who never got over her first love. Some may think this is an odd characterisation but I've known a Cheri or two before... plus, she had an abusive childhood with a drunk father... so it isn't too far of a stretch. The same can be said about her abusive/jealous husband. His actions could be seen as bizarre if you've never known a person like that or even a couple whose relationship is falling apart due to trust and low self-esteem issues. I've also met lots of guys like the other friend, Eric—not sure of himself and only doing things half-heartedly. They were true-to-life characters, just not the kind you are likely to want to be friends with.


All of these flaws made dialogue really awkward. You almost want to scream at the main character to just spill his guts... but under the circumstances (not seeing his childhood best friends for 20 years, his marital problems and being on the edge of madness) he reacted exactly like I'd expect... not trusting anyone.


I did think that the paranormal society side could have been developed further. Eric would have been more interesting had he been an informed investigator instead of just an incompetent one. Obviously I'd have loved more backstory on Birdie, but his mysterious history is what made him more creepy.


So, although all these things are probably considered bad by many... at most it only knocked off one star from my rating.


Warnings: Do not read this book if topics involving the loss of a child are triggers or if you have a great love for birds.


I personally didn't think there was much gore or frightening scenes... but I am rarely scared or even creeped out by anything so it's hard for me to rate on that. Going on my enjoyment factor, it's probably fine for fans of horror... but if you are not a horror fan, you might find it a little overboard.



Soundtrack Selection - The video I posted the other day is a perfect match for this book... but since it would have gotten nuts listening to it on repeat, I opted to listen to an album instead.


Chelsea Wolfe - Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs (available free, on Spotify)


ETA: This book and others written by Ania Ahlborn are available for free with Amazon Prime's Kindle Lending Library.

Tom Petty - Runnin' Down A Dream

The book I recently finished mentioned Tom Petty and so I just had to post this one for Throwback Thursday. Enjoy! :)


Review coming up in 10...9...8...

Halfsleeper by Chelsea Wolfe


Almost forgot about doing these weekly Music Monday postings. Here's an eerie one to match my Horror reads for the month of May. I really love horror so I'm expecting to get all 5 read and reviewed. Fingers crossed that nothing shiny comes along to distract me.


  1. The Bird Eater - Ania Ahlborn
  2. Fearscape (Horrorscape) - Nenia Campbell 
  3. Bay's End - Edward Lorn 
  4. The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson 
  5. Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko 


Lyrics to the song:

All the parts of me that lived inside
Are drowning in the sea of waking life
They don't know their colours don't belong on the outside
They don't know their colours don't belong

'Til they're spread across the open road
'Til they're spread across the asphalt on the open road
'Til they're streamin' in the wind like cassette tape or jellyfish
Long dark veins and records playing, memories...

All the things we yell don't mean a thing
When we're spinnin' out on darkened meadow wind
When we're flying like we're Mary's angels through the shattered glass
When we find that tall dark shadow waiting there with outstretched hands
He has given me a dress of red and you a skin of grey
We'll be twistin' here for hours 'til the light will bring us day

And we're spread across the open road
And we're spread across the asphalt on the open road
And we're streamin' in the wind like cassette tape or jellyfish
Long dark veins and records playing, memories...

May the 4th be with you!
May the 4th be with you!
Source: http://stankoillustration.com/?portfolio=jedi-meditation
3 Stars
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling

GPS Blog Read #2: Below are my ratings, under that an explanation on why I rated them as I did. Overall, there was just too much boredom or hate and not enough escapism.


Mowgli's Brothers 2 stars
Kaa's Hunting 3.5 stars
Tiger! Tiger! 2.5 stars
The White Seal 0 stars
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi 4 stars
Toomai of the Elephants 3 stars
Her Majesty's Servants 2.5 stars
The Jungle Book Movie 1 star


Mowgli's Brothers

I found the writing to be pretty terrible. I didn't feel any connection to the characters, the tale was disjointed and the ending was meh. I guess this is what happens when you skip all the middle and just highlight the important events. I couldn't bring myself to care or look closer at the societal themes. I tried reading aloud, and then even way out loud... nothing helped to improve this one. 2 stars for a decent introduction to the setting and cast of characters.


Kaa's Hunting

The writing and characterisation were better and the plot flowed. I felt a twitching of emotion when Baloo was panicking and I thought it was amusing that he felt guilty for the abusive tactics he used to teach Mowgli. Bagheera's love for Mowgli shown when he asks for assistance was also touching. I'm glad Mowgli's talents were demonstrated; that he's quick to think on how best to use the knowledge Baloo taught him even if at this stage in his life he isn't as grateful as he should be. I loved Kaa and his sneaky snake hypnotising dance. As for the bad guys, I could go into detail about what the monkey people represent but I think I'll spare everyone the rant and keep it to the group discussion. Two quotes, first from Baloo's perspective as part of the Jungle People and the second is from the monkeys perspective or the Monkey People:


"The Jungle People put them (the Monkey People) out of their mouths and out of their minds. They (the Monkey People) are very many, evil, dirty, shameless, and they desire, if they have any fixed desire, to be noticed by the Jungle People. But we do not notice them even when they throw nuts and filth on our heads."


"We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true," they shouted.


Tiger! Tiger!

The writing was okay, it became long-winded and boring at parts. Grown up (teenage?) Mowgli is arrogant and annoying. The humans are portrayed as simple and greedy, similar to the monkeys. This story just made me feel anger. Nope, didn't like it. Mowgli's Song pretty much sums it up...

"Ahae! My heart is heavy with the things that I do not understand."

The White Seal

"Scoochnie! Ochen scoochnie!" ("I'm lonesome, very lonesome!")

LMFAO at this translation. More like.... very boring! And depressing! I don't even... this story was probably the worst of them all. I just felt disgusted by the end. BLEH!


I met my mates in the morning, a broken, scattered band. Men shoot us in the water and club us on the land; Men drive us to the Salt House like silly sheep and tame, And still we sing Lukannon—before the sealers came.



The best story out of the bunch. Not much to say on it except that it was a fun ride through the life of the mighty mongoose.


Toomai of the Elephants

Eh, this started off slow and then it was okay and then boring. After reading all the animal tales, a story that followed a human wasn't all that captivating.


Her Majesty's Servants

This story had animals conversing that belonged to a military camp... mules, horses, camels, etc. Didn't really hold my interest.


Jungle Book Movie - Live Action (1994)

For a movie that has so many known actors, this movie sucked. The acting was horrible, the script was horrible. It's nearing 3am and this would have just been a rant anyway.... so yeah, if you value your time, just skip this movie.


Of course, I loved the Jungle Book record around age 6 and probably watched the Disney movie once or twice. So, listen to this after reading the book if you feel as drained from it as I did. :P

Feedback Request: New BookLikes Theme

I'd like to get some input on what everyone out there might be interested in for their blog theme/template choices. All suggestions are welcome! Links to blog themes you've seen somewhere that you'd like to see here, share! Customisation options that you want or even those you don't like. All feedback is important, even suggestions that are way outside possibility. :D


I won't be creating any themes identical to linked suggestions, but I will take a close look at the parts that look the best and figure out a way to implement them here. All suggestions I get in the comments to this post will be kept under consideration for the next theme I create. So, although I have a theme in the works atm... suggestions here will be put forth towards the theme I submit in June or July.


As for the theme I am currently working on, it will be a theme that is much different from what is available at the moment. Instead of having a right or left sidebar, this theme will have a fixed top bar. I am also playing with ways to display content. I've long wanted an ability to sort my posts based on review or misc. junk and so I have been playing with AJAX to find a way to do that. I'm also toying with the idea to use an infinite scroll option for the blog view, if I can get that to work I might also work on another theme for users who enjoy posting images so that it has a photograph album sort of look, like you find on many a tumblr designs.


I've already finished the design part, so now I am moving on to the coding implementation stage. I'm aiming to have it finished by mid-May, I'll post an update with more information and links to check out the design around that time.

Free counters!