Saturday, February 15, 2014

BOOKS * TEA * AND KITTIES UPDATE 2.15.2014 Saturday 3;23pm

                                                                                             CURRENT MOOD - home comfort to the max

February is the ultimate winter month, well at least to a European like me, it’s not the best to bear through but man can it be stunning at times. As I’m typing away on my living room couch with my lamps on low providing enough glow to make my room cozy I’m thoroughly enjoying the visual of the white fluffy snow falling down softly, covering everything I know of my  world and suspending it in perfect silence. I love looking out my window when it snows especially if I don’t have to run outside on some schedule but being early Saturday today is quite magical. I literally feel like a cake being dusted with powder sugar, my building must look like something out of Narnia by now. 

This is what I call the ultimate quiet and peaceful afternoon; cats are sleeping, boyfriend is sleeping, chinchillas are asleep too…. my babies suspended in cloud like reality so I decided to make use of this quiet day and this being a thee day weekend left me feeling extra relaxed and in mood for some fun cozy home stuff.  I have all ready spend the morning suspended in my own reality, reading part two of the amazing Wayward series by Blake Crouch, it blew my mind in all the right ways so after finishing I had to get my hands on some baking soon or else I would have to find a book as epic and deep to match it, a hard task. After some afternoon coffee I fed a few huddling birds and squirrels with pieces of my breakfast roll and some organic walnuts.  I love living near a tree, some critter will always come back to visit and I tend to share a bit from my window; I love feeing and nurturing animals, nothing better in the world... I read some great horror stuff lately that will be reviewed soon and moved on to some Amazon Vine reads gathered on my coffee table that needed my attention, I picked up The House of Journalists by Tim Finch, but it was too close to the book I just finished in the authority region so I picked up Taipei by Tao Lin next, boy did it wake me up, a rush back to my 20’s ( I’m only 32 but this still rang a funny bell) lol.

*Book currently reading - Taipei by Tao Lin.

                                                              The actual cover                                            My cover :)

Seems to be a book about city hipsters, empty flat drug fueled relationships, it made me want to read it right away, it was so different than the thriller and sci fi worlds I’ve read about since December with Dune and the Pines books and I made me shudder and recoil, my memories of being twenty came back, living this life then, wahh no thanks but I’ll read about all the wrong roads taken by others, sure! 

*Tea - I’m having some nice black tea that goes with a tea cake, and speaking of cake I made an old favorite today, a Sugar Loaf from an old edition of Bon Appétit magazine which is my favorite food magazine to read. The joy of making this light yoghurt based cake is profound, something about whisking that light primrose colored batter with some flour, sugar and lemon zest, topped with some almonds is beyond cozy, baking a cake that smells like vanilla and home is so enjoyable to me, especially on a quiet cold day, some sunshine and warmth form the oven is nice with the snow falling right outside the kitchen window. This one is easy and tasty, as a cake or cool in the morning with tea, even sliced and toasted, possibilities are endless, sprinkle some cooked or fresh berries with cream , okay I have to stop now..This will be a nice snack for the boyfriend when he wakes up. Lucky him, damn I’m awesome :P)

*Kitties - all cats are finally getting along, they are sweet babies although today I saw a scratch on Desmond’s nose, wondered if it was from Shaggy or his own toes. I wanted to take a picture of the nearest kitty to me as I’m typing this blog note, its 4;24pm now, took me a bit to shape this.. Shaggy is sleeping on the couch behind me :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kalayna Price's Grave Witch book review - snow day

Happy snow day, if you live anywhere near top of the the East Coast of our lovely America you are probably at home drinking some hot chocolate, snowed in  Narnia style and if you are reading from far away then hello, welcome to my winter. Staying home is luxurious, a perfect day to catch up to reading (still trekking through DUNE but it’s glorious, delicious, love it) and reviewing,  Grave Witch is a blast from the past, I read this in 2012 and re-reading the review makes me eager to read the third book, this a good series, I’m tough to please with dark urban fantasy and fantastic fiction but this is something I will continue reading, it's dark, gritty, well written and funny with surprising polished turns that make you sit back in awe.

 GRAVE WITCH by Kalayna Price
Book#1 in series

5* out of 5*

This happens to be a refreshing new dark urban fantasy series that goes beyond the usual witchy stuff, fast moving and thrilling enough to make me pick up the second book the same day I finished this one it delivered a good story and interesting characters that you don't mind spending a few days with. Alex Craft is a grave witch who raises shades; whisps of the life that have long left from any dead body and she's making strides in solving murder cases as bizarre as it is to the general public. One day when she's helping a friend raise a shade of a ritual victim she is scratched and infected with something dark and stinky and more dangerous that she has ever seen beyond the grave. Fear strikes Alex because it might be the end of her even if she is good friends with Death who loves coffee and is clearly smitten with her. On top of her attack she is forced to form a partnership with FIB's Falin Andrews who doesn't leave a good first impression. Together they have to solve a bizarre public figure death but Alex has a hard time trusting him and his reasons for helping her even though she finds him oddly alluring.

We learn that the Necro world is filled with witches and fae and you never know what will happen as the book takes off on full gallop and delvers many magical and intriguing situations and characters. One thing I learned from this series and from Patricia Briggs books is that you never thank a fae because you will owe them and they will collect the debt, faes wear disguises so what if you say "thank you" at the grocery store they work at? Kinda confusing... Fae's aren't my favorite, they almost seem like a cheat, they are so strong and powerful but can look like a frail beautiful human, too much vanity and ego for me, I prefer witches or more ferocious werewolves but still I really liked the book a lot. I had to chuckle every time Andrews told Alex that he has to take her to a hospital, the girl is quite vulnerable yet she manages to solve quite a few mysteries as well as explore her family and the reasons she doesn't get along with them. I really loved the whole book and especially the ending, I'm half way into book two and I'm all ready eying the third which just came out. Price can write for sure, I never read her before and she's quite young but what a talent! Murders, mystery, clever jokes and witty action make this a pleasant read for any day of the year for fans of action and magic in a modern setting.

- Kasia S.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dark Woods by Jay C. Kumar review - aka Bigfoot love fest

I read this book almost seven years ago yet it still haunts me, I don’t even care much about Bigfoot one way or another, but something about the cover compelled me to take it home with me when I saw it at the library.  Sometimes with books you have to follow your gut and sometimes it’s good to allow different things take your hand and show you the possibilities hidden behind all those pages, in all those books that are around us. So yay to good gut choices, never mind that I got repeatedly kicked in the gut as I read it lol, and I mean in a literal way, kicked by the story, so goooodd…. Actually a good time for a re-read as well :)


5* out of 5*

I often like to remember each week of my life by the book I was reading, it's a small habit I have that brings a smile to my face and helps the gray cells from shrinking. This week was truly good in the wild world between pages of a book that almost made me smell the earth, hear leaves flapping in the wind and the concentration and precision that made the main hero such an incredible character pushed through my veins and made me hold my breath on more than one occasion.

Dark Woods is an exquisite surprise, the world of hunting never interested me, a person who would never wear fur and who detest any type of animal abuse but I found myself lost and mesmerized by Mr. Kumar's polished language. The book was not only a real pleasure to read because it was so smooth, intense and woven with light and sound that leaped of the pages but it contained just a small handful of characters who stood out and who were truly memorable. Frank Vaughn is a Deputy Sheriff and a hunter who seems to have spotted a trail that left a dead body and a ripped apart animal that point to non other than a Sasquatch, that's Big Foot for those not familiar with furry monsters. He often goes hunting which is well depicted with great respect to the animals and with clear intentions of not wasting anything away. While on his hunting trip his friend Boone gets wounded and ends up in the hospital while Geek, I swear not everyone had funny names, helps Vaughn take their friend to safety but refuses to go back and make sure the animal is not staggering wounded and in pain in the dark woods. The also find a body of a local poacher who suffered a terrible death by the same dark creature that they caught a glimpse of. Pretty soon the word gets out and Vaughn is joined by a science professor Art Lansing and a few other characters, some with genuine intensions and some not so spotless. Some people in the group seemed to have an idea about how expandable the over populated human society is and would stop at nothing in the pursuit of the beast.

Mr. Kumar does an excellent job of writing about the Skookum County, Washinton's rugged mountainous terrain and the dark, the cold and lonely hunt that Vaughn and the others perused. The tale is truly addictive, I felt every breath held, every calculated step, the babbling of the cold brook, the serene air and grace of nature and the tiny powers of the human against its wrath. Everything was very tantalizing until the crew noticed something, the hunting slowly turned tables and they were no longer hunting, they were becoming the hunted and the terror was more than real, it was hair rising and quite fabulous to read about. For those who have been in the woods alone like a needle in haystack this book can reenact some of that eerie yet calm feeling. It was a really great experience since woods are nothing foreign to me and it reminded me of the tranquil days I spent, not chased by a colossal creature thank god but in the presence of nature.

This tale is about something that is greater than we can comprehend and perhaps it is real, running in the wild out there somewhere. Perhaps it's the world's smartest creature because it has never been caught and experimented on in the lab, free to me be king of its own dense domain of silent servants that the trees so willingly became. So read Dark Woods and find out for yourself what elegant and thoughtful writing is about, and this book will surprise on many levels that are beyond a creature story but a tale that deals with environmental issues and how politics can corrupt pretty much everything to appear the way the heavy movers want us to see, whether its an UFO, Yeti or the Aliens lol.

- Kasia S.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Hellbound Heart by Cilve Barker review

I finally got to read the masterpiece that started it all and well... I was horrified all right to actually admit that I liked the Hellraiser movies better than this book. I have always loved the movies but I value books pillars above any video type of celluloid so for me to enjoy the movie more is abnormal! The writing style is quite gothic and lyrical, and I was glad to have seen the movies in order to make sure I wasn't off the wall when it came to understanding the story which was dark, creepy and haunting but not as scary and sublime as I have imagined it to be. I was expecting hair rising gore form the Cenobites but come on, so few mentions of my favorite creepers ... they were a mere shadow of their glorious sanguinary power, I did love the resounding bell sounds when they were around but the book skimmed though them and overall was tiny, something you can easily read on the couch during the afternoon in two hours. I definitely wanted more, I wanted meat and juice and to be freaked out. The Hellraiser movies which the author has been involved in have been some of my favorites for years, I love this stuff in general, it’s definitely worth a read.


 by Clive Barker

*** 3 OUT OF 5                                                                       

The tale starts off with Frank Cotton ( nice pure name for a dirty bastard hehe) and his bored pursuit of pleasure, we don't find out much about what moves him and even when he finds the golden Lemarchand's box it all happens too fast to bring any suspense, he wants sick and twisted pleasure and he pays the ultimate price but I wanted to experience it with him and not just read about him being taken by the forces that made the puzzle and accept it, I wanted to be there front row. Luckily his brother's wife Julia is a total psycho who has been entranced by Frank and who discovers that he still exists in a creepy old house except that he's part of it in a way, so she finds him victims in her love sick way and bleeds them into the floors for him to absorb. The action in the story is mainly though Julia and the noisy next door neighbor who gets involved in business that has nothing do with her. I won't say more for those who want surprises but I expected a bit more, yes I gave this book four stars because it's Barker but he has much improved since this book, and the series is quite magnificent and he did come up with the whole theme which I will always be a huge fan of, I just wanted more out of the book, I felt like it wet my appetite but never fed me... I read this book in June of 2012 and now I feel like I want to re-read it, perhaps it will reveal more on my second trip into some delish Barker darkness.

- Kasia S.