Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Mayhem by: Angel Food Banks and Other Stuff and Thingies.

So at 6am I'm up and at em'!

What's the day got in store for you?

For me? It's not as exciting as you might think. You see I have to go to a food bank today. Why you ask? Well, because I'm nearly out of food and I don't get paid/child support or food stamps (Yes, I receive food stamps and if you have a problem with that kindly kiss my ass and read no further... that is all)until the 14th.

I really hate food banks, they make me feel like a douche, a royal stinky douche cause really it's like total charity and I hate RECEIVING charity. Giving it? I don't mind at all when I have the extra to give! I actually LOVE the feeling I get when I am able to help someone out! but, when it comes to me having to take it... I feel so.... HORRIBLE.

It makes me think, is that how people feel when I help them out?? God, this is an awful feeling! What is wrong with me? I should be appreciative of the help shouldn't I? So why oh why do I feel so freakin' low?

Anyway, this place I'm going to really is nice. It's in a big ole catholic church and the people are really nice and there's more stuff than just food, there's clothes and toiletries and all sorts of goodies I guess but... I've only ever been there once before and I didn't even take everything they wanted to give me cause wow, I would have never used all that so, I only took what I needed. The people running it seemed surprised.

Humph! What else is on the agenda for today? High School Open House and Parent Teacher conferences...oh JOY! Between 12-4 today I have to go up to my oldest school and schmooze with the teachers and other parents whom I have absolutely NOTHING in common with so's that they can all sit back and judge me. Yeah, that's how it feels anyway. Wow, I'm just a vat of positivity today aren't I?

Anyway! I do have some reviews coming up, and guest posts by reviewed authors! Interviews! Yes I have those too! So don't worry, things on the blog-front are A-OK! just be patient! The upcoming posts will be well worth it!

So my question for you today? Have you ever had to use a food/clothing bank or other charitable organization? What was your experience like? Good? Bad? Ugly? Discuss!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: The Hero Always Wins

The Hero Always Wins
The Hero Always Wins by Robert Eaton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sword and sorcery? Yes, please!

Sword and sorcery and lesbians? Engaging starving orphan eyes--please, sir, I want some more!

No, really. I want more. Where the hell is the sequel? I need to know if Carys and Arabella ever get it oooon. I mean, um, declare their deep and abiding love for one another. Yep, totally meant that. Heh.

Okay, let me get serious. Not that I'm not serious about the girl-lovin', of course, because...well. Have you met me?

Anyway, here's the deal: I can't pretend this book is perfect. If I'm honest--and I always am, whether you like it or not--it could use some work. You can definitely tell it's self-published, because it suffers throughout from a lot of simple typographical errors, missing words, confused syntax, that sort of thing, as well as a handful of formatting flubs that I feel confident would have been caught and corrected by any half-competent editor. And I say that in no way intending to belittle or disrespect the people mentioned in the acknowledgements section whom the author had proofread for him; I'm sure they did the job to the best of their ability, but the fact is that there is a difference, clearly, between what can be accomplished by an amateur compared to what can be accomplished by a professional.

As further evidence of this point, my biggest complaint about this book is not the basic typos, or the rest of the aforementioned, but rather that large portions of the narrative read like a summary. I will be the first to admit that Show, Don't Tell is NOT an ironclad rule of writing, as some would have us believe; it's more of a guideline, which some writers would do well to follow less strenuously. But I feel that having the guidance of professionals at a reputable publishing house would have helped Eaton to strike a happy medium, because what we have here is what should have been a 400+ page epic crammed into a mere 224 pages, the result of which is a book that feels more like an outline rather than a finished work.

And that pisses me off, quite frankly, because you know what? This book has a hell of a lot of potential. I didn't really get into it until about page 70 or so, but after that I started being pretty impressed with Robert Eaton as a writer. Despite the brevity of this book, he managed to lay the foundation for a really intriguing magical saga, with at least three concurrent storylines, and evoked some pretty badass imagery while he was at it. It would almost sneak up on me sometimes. I'd be like: reading, reading, reading--oh, hey, that's pretty cool!

And while we're on the subject of things sneaking up on me, can I just take a minute to discuss the subtle mindfuckery that goes on in this book? I don't want to give too much away and spoil the story, but let's just say that the person you think you're supposed to be rooting for ends up being, well, not. And someone you assume is only a bit player and basically disregard for at least a third of the story, if not closer to half, actually ends up being of central importance to the plot. The effect is that, by the end of the book, you're left going, "Hey, wait just a goddamn minute!" You totally don't see it coming. Or at least I didn't. I read a lot, and I'm used to seeing the same old tired tropes trotted out over and over and over again, so I thought I knew what was going to happen. I was wrong. And that, I think, is pretty fucking cool.

In the acknowledgements, Eaton states that he wrote this book as a hobby. Well, if this is what he turns out for a hobby, I would love to see what he could produce if he approached a book as a serious, concerted project. And what I would really enjoy seeing is if, at some point, he had the time and inclination to expand this book into the epic it deserves to be, with deeper explanations of the lore involved, the magic and how it works, and those bare bones sections fleshed out to tell a more comprehensive and elaborate story. But I realize, of course, that what I want to happen and what is actually going to happen have never exactly been similar, so I will content myself with a sequel. Please write a sequel? Pretty please?

Hero, as I said, is not perfect. But it is entertaining. For me, it was like reading a Baldur's Gate game. Which is awesome, of course, because I fucking love those games. (And I just found out via the magic of Wikipedia that there are actually Baldur's Gate/Forgotten Realms books as well, and now I'm peeing myself with glee, oh my god. But I won't say that reading this book is like reading those books, because clearly I have never read them and am therefore unqualified to make that assertion.) So if you're a fantasy fan, and especially if you're a fantasy fan who also likes the Baldur's Gate games--or probably any D&D-based game, really--then it might be relevant to your interests to give The Hero Always Wins a quick read. The open ending--which is not to say cliffhanger, per se--may prove a bit frustrating, but with any luck, we can look forward to seeing more (SEQUELSEQUELSEQUEL) from Eaton in the future.

Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

View all my reviews

Manic Mondays -- Paranormal Addict and Proud! by Donna of Booklover's Hideaway.

Angela asked me to write about why I love the Paranormal genre so much. Or the Paranormal Romance genre, to be more specific. Well, that is a good question.

To be honest, I wasn't a fan until just a few years ago, when my niece suggested I read the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. At first I was like, I dunno... At the time, I was a big-time fan of Historical Romance. Yeah, I can hear you now: "Those cheesy bodice-rippers?!" Yes, that's me. I can't help it, I love them. But I decided to give the Dark Hunter series a shot anyway; after all, there is a mixture of Greek and Roman mythology in these books, and I've always loved reading anything to do with that. So I picked up the first book, and that is all it took for me to become obsessed with this genre.

What hooked me? I'm not sure how to answer that. The stories and mythologies were unique...and I have to admit the hot, steamy stuff helped. There's just something about these dark heroes that make you want to sigh. You know, we all crave a bad boy now and again; maybe that was it. Maybe it's the danger these men represent? Or how loyal they are to those they care about? Or is it a combination?

What is my favorite Paranormal to read about? Why, it's vampires, of course. Dark and dangerous and sexy, oh yeah. Here is one example. This vampire is the reason I watch True Blood and have read the books, the Sookie Stackhouse series. Don't you just want him to taste a sample from you? Excuse me while I stare at this picture for while.

Oh yeah, sorry, I'm supposed to be finishing this post.

I have several suggestions if you are interested in whetting your appetite in the world of Paranormal Romance:

1. The Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I cannot pimp this series enough. Kenyon does wonderful job of mixing drama, sarcastic humor, hot and steamy, and Happily Ever Afters. In the Dark Hunter world, there are not just vampires, there are werewolves, and gods and goddesses.

2. Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. This is another series that is a must buy for me. Her vampires are a tortured bunch, but they are really good.

3. The Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter. This is another series that has a mixture of Greek mythology and vampires. These tortured souls possess a demon; for example, Pain, Wrath, Lust, and so forth.

4. The Demonica Series by Larissa Ione. This series is filled with demons and the inner workings of a Demon Hospital. Don't laugh; honestly, this is a fantastic series, not a soap opera.

I'd better stop now, or this post will never end.

Whether it's the danger, the hot steam that coats the pages, or just a damned good story, I love to just to be whisked away for awhile. Isn't that what we all want from a book?


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Angel Rants 10/1/2011 Schools and Rules.

So I though I might just blog today about whatever was on my mind. And, right now what's on my mind is schools and the differences I've noted in the inner-city and rural districts.

It really amazes me how different they really are and you might think that this is gonna be all about violence and lack of real education, but it's not. It's about the frivolous unnecessary rules based on appearance or style.

I lived most of my life in a small town and went to a rural school that was medium sized and for the most part, from the outside looked pleasant enough. My oldest daughter, up until this year also attended school in this district.

Now, back in the day, and even these days I was and still am somewhat of a rebel when it comes to style and trends. My daughter is the same way. If it's strange or different, she will do it or wear it. Purple hair? Piercings? yes, and yes. Strange clothing, unique jewelery? yes and yes again. Needless to say, I was frequently in trouble for these things, as was she. She wore a tutu over pants to school and nearly got detention. I got told via note from the principle that her hair was a distraction to the other students and the learning process and had to be dyed to a "normal" color within 7 days or she would be kicked out of school. Her pants were too long, she needed new ones that fit properly, (mind you, I'm not talking bout the pants on the ground type thing here where the underwear shows, I'm talking, the girl is simply 4'11 and probably not gonna grow much more so the pants are simply too long.)Or, I needed to take them to the tailor and have them hemmed/altered. If not she would be sent home to change and if she didn't have the "appropriate" pants she wouldn't be allowed in school. Her piercings we not to be worn anywhere on school grounds....

Are you getting the full picture here? Talk about frustrating? I went rounds with the principal trying to understand why such superficial things were so damn important that it would lead the woman to want to keep my daughter from her right to learn! I don't understand how someones hair color or the pants they wear affect the inner workings of the brain?

Well, let me tell you. this woman, (the principal of the rural school district) basically told me I was a piss poor parent, ruining my child's life by letting her be herself and express her uniqueness though style and that I was flat out wrong. I was devastated because I like to think of myself as laid back, open minded and approachable. I feel that's how parent should be to their teens and here is this woman telling me: Nope, you're a horrible mother.

Imagine my surprise when I relocated my family to a big city, Pittsburgh to be exact. I was very apprehensive about the move and the schools seeing as they are "inner-city" Would my kids be safe? Would their education suffer due to inferior schools and teachers? Would the environment be too violent and deter my girls from learning?

I am happy to say that while the school district is a bit rougher, they employ metal detectors everywhere, even in the elementary schools and security forces on grounds all the time, as a whole, they are so much more RELAXED!

There are no stupid rules about what color or style your hair or clothes can be! If you have Piercings so what! You wanna wear a tutu and ballet slippers in the middle of winter, more power to ya! The only clothing or style restrictions they have is nothing overly provocative or sexual and nothing relating to drugs/alcohol/violence/gangs. Otherwise, let your uniqueness shine!

These inner-city schools really have it together, they focus on important issues. children's safety and the core of education, as it should be!

My daughter, has gone from a mediocre student with grades riding steady C's to all of her classes grades at A' or B's, the lowest B being an 88% and that is in math which is her worst subject. She is no longer worried that her appearance is making people judge her. She is allowed to be herself and just relax and learn and not worry whether she "fits in".


Take a pointer from the inner-cities and focus on the important detail and quit ruin our kids lives with your vanity and superficial non-sense! Don't judge a book by it's cover. I know that's cliche but really, when it boils down to it... it is the truth. Outward appearances should have no bearing on a persons worth. Hair, clothes, make-up, piercings, it's all irrelevant in the grande scheme of life so seriously, WAKE UP!

That is all. I just had to get it off my chest. Do you agree with me or not? I am interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions!

I'm out---